L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


500 traders gherao raiding excise staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 6
Four officials of a raiding Central Excise team had a narrow escape after they were gheraoed by a strong mob of over 500 angry traders in the Mochpura market here today. The traders prevented them from conducting a raid on the offices of KS Trading Company. Timely arrival of the police saved the raiding officials from the wrath of the angry traders.

A team of officials of the Central Excise Department led by the Superintendent, Mr R.P. Singh, and consisting of three inspectors arrived at the office of the KS Trading Company at around 2 p.m. in the afternoon. The raid was the follow-up of an earlier operation by the department from where the officials had reportedly got some clues about the duty exemption by the trading company.

It was learnt that sometime back the Central Excise officials had raided Ankush Processors, a shawl unit. From there they had got some documents mentioning details of some transactions with the KS Trading Company, which prompted today’s raid as the officials suspected some duty evasion by the company.

As the news of the raid spread in the market, the shopkeepers downed their shutters and started shouting slogans against the excise officials. Within no time they gathered outside the office of KS Trading Company. As the mob increased the raiding officials tried to retreat, but they were held back threateningly.

In the meantime, a police contingent from Division Number 3 reached the spot. The police officials managed to take out the raiding officials along in a private car. However, the angry traders tried to put up a strong resistance with the police. They even stoned the vehicle in which the raiding officials were taken away.

All the traders and shopkeepers observed a complete bandh today to protest against the raid. The market, which is otherwise busy, particularly during the winters as it mainly houses the hosiery and shawl market, wore a deserted look within no time. The traders alleged that the Central Excise officials were unnecessarily harassing them.

President of the Mochpura Traders Association, Jagdish Bajaj said that the traders did not have any objection to the functioning of the Central Excise Department. He said that the department should conduct the surveys in a proper and dignified manner. “The traders should not be treated like criminals or thieves”, he said, while adding that the raiding officials should at least take the market association into confidence. He suggested that the members should also be informed and taken along during such raids to avoid any ugly and untoward incidents in future.

A delegation of the traders’ association will also meet senior officials of the department. Mr Bajaj said while they were regularly filing their returns and also paying all the tax and duties, there was no fun in “harassing the traders like that”.



Youth Akali leader booked in fake certificate scandal
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 6
Coming as a shot in the arm of the authorities of Sacred Heart Convent School here, the district police has booked a youth Akali leader on the alleged charges of presenting fake birth certificates for the admission of his son to the school.

The accused Inder Mohan Singh of Kadian village has been booked after an inquiry by DSP Gurjit Singh found him guilty. He has been booked under section 420, 467, 468 and 472 IPC.

The sections include charges of cheating and forgery but interestingly, prima facie evidence suggested that the man had not forged the certificates but had given false information to get a second certificate made. The first one was issued by the Civil Surgeon's office while the second was issued by the Salem Tabri police.

The school authorities and the accused politician Inder Mohan Singh Kadian had locked horns over the issue, now infamous as the birth certificate scandal here. Though initially it was limited to the school only, it soon engulfed various departments, including the Civil Surgeon and the police.

The inquiry officer, DSP Gurjit Singh, told Ludhiana Tribune that the man has been booked on the basis of the evidence that one of the certificates was false. He said further investigations would prove the quantum of the crime as well as the involvement of any government official in the issuing of certificates.

He also announced that the present investigation was limited to the Kadian case only. There were reports that fake or false certificates were discovered in the other schools also.

Meanwhile, sources close to the accused Inder Mohan Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that they were hopeful of effecting a compromise with the school authorities over the issue. He said the compromise document would be presented to the media persons soon.

The accused had about two weeks ago threatened to raise the alleged ‘admission scandal’ in the school, in the legislative assembly through the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) legislative members after the name of a number of students did not figure in the admission list announced then. Ugly scenes, including verbal arguments and sloganeering against the school authorities, had taken place at the school on January 23 and even the Sarabha Nagar police was called to maintain law and order.

However, turning the tables on the political leader, the school authorities had furnished admission forms of the leader's son with which he has appended two different birth certificates.

The leader had applied for admission to LKG class last year and the birth date of his son was June 26, 1999. His son could not get admission last year but when he applied this year, the birth date was June 26, 2000.

The first birth certificate was issued by the Civil Surgeon's office but the second one was issued by the Salem Tabri police. Under the recent government rules, the police station of an area can issue birth certificates. It was probably lack of centralised scrutiny of the birth that provided people with the opportunity of making two or more certificates.



Steel industry annoyed with government
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 6
Steel manufacturers have criticised the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for recommending dissolution of Parliament without providing them any relief. They alleged, “it appears to be free all for except the steel and pig iron producers”. They said, instead of tying the hands of steel producers from exploitation, the government had instead tied its own hands by dissolving the Lok Sabha without taking action on the iron and steel prices.

Mr PD Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that apart from an abnormal rise in prices, these produces are floating false rumours about the prices in the market and making this trade speculative.

The latest hike of Rs 2500 per tonne was made a week ago. However, this news was repeated by some TV channels yesterday to give the impression that it was a fresh hike. This pushed up the prices further.

The parliamentary panel on industry has placed its report on the prices of iron and steel before Parliament. Although the report tried to draw the attention of the government on the issue yet it ignored it.



800 cr spent on repair of roads: Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 6
The Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has said the state government has chalked out a comprehensive programme for the repair of 7,000 km roads and funds amounting to Rs 800 crore were being spent for this purpose.
She was addressing a gathering on the concluding day of the Rural Sports Tournament before distribution of prizes at Ottalan village, about 40 km from here, today.

Ms Bhattal informed that the government had embarked upon a comprehensive programme to involve the elected panchayats in the development process and had decided to hand over the control of 29 government departments to the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the villages with a view to improve the quality of services. The programme had been launched recently by handing over the control of six departments in the first phase to 90,000 representatives of the people in the Panchayati Raj Institutions, she added.

She said with the empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions , the efficiency and quality of services of these departments was bound to improve. Referring to the steps taken by the state government to benefit the farmers, the Deputy Chief Minister said the government under its agriculture diversification programme had started contract farming for alternative crops to the wheat-paddy pattern and informed the government intend to shift 25 lakh acres of area from wheat-paddy crops to other higher income generating crops, including maize, vegetables, fruits, floriculture, oil seeds by year 2007.

She claimed that the government was going to execute development projects costing more than Rs 1500 crore during the current financial year. She said under the Kanya Jagriti Yojna deposits of Rs 5,000 each on the birth of up to two daughters in SC families were being made by the government and a new Ashirwad scheme had been launched from January 26 this year to give shagun of Rs 6,100 on the marriage of a daughter in SC families.

She also claimed that the EXIM forms had been withdrawn and the a summary assessment limit for sales tax had been enhanced substantially. Ms Bhattal informed that the government had started a crash programme for the repair of 14,000 kms roads in the state.

Appreciating the achievements of the sportspersons from Punjab, the Deputy Chief Minister said players from Punjab had earned a good name for the state and country at international level tournaments. She said the government had planned to provide the international level infrastructure and other facilities to the players.

She appreciated the contribution of the rural sports tournaments in diverting the youth toward sports and other productive activities and said more and more stadiums would be constructed in villages where reputed tournaments were being organised.

Referring to the demands of the panchayat the Deputy Chief Minister announced grants for development in the village.



BJP to play development card
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 6
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest the coming Lok Sabha elections on the issue of development in the country during five decades and historic leaps forward under the five-year regime of NDA government headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

This was stated by Mr Prashant Arora, newly appointed organising secretary of the state unit of the party while addressing a meeting of the district unit functionaries here today. The meeting was presided over by district BJP chief Dr Subhash Verma.

Mr Arora claimed that the SAD-BJP combine would win all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab and the electorate would, once again, give its overwhelming mandate in favour of Mr Vajpayee. He asked the party cadres to mobilise the people in favour of the party and ensure victory of the SAD-BJP candidates in their respective areas. Mr Rajinder Bhandari, state general secretary observed that people from all sections of society in the state were disgruntled with the poor governance by Congress government. The district president Dr Verma said the appointment of party activists at booth level would be finalised by February 15 and these nominees would be imparted proper training in workshops to be organised in each Assembly segment. He said youth workers of the party would be given precedence to look after the polling booths to enable them to get maximum exposure to the electoral process.



Encroachers flout norms with impunity
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 6
Despite the fact that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken a serious note of the increasing tendency of encroachments on government and municipal land in the mega city and explicit directions issued to the civic body to clear these unlawful structures in a time bound manner, the menace of unlawful construction and encroachment on public property continues unabated.

As a result of slack enforcement and the issue of building control to be exercised by the MC to whom the scheme was transferred quite sometime back for maintenance or the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), which had developed the residential and commercial scheme of Kidwai Nagar in old city area, with a few exceptions the owners of single storey built up booths had raised another floor on their respective booths and had also covered the corridors to extend their booths in gross violation of allotment norms and building bylaws.

According to some of the allottees of these booths, the illegal extension of buildings and coverage of corridors in front of the booths, which were provided for the pedestrians and shoppers, was being done since 1992 and the matter had been repeatedly brought to the notice of the LIT and MC authorities. While the building branches of both the bodies had given in writing that the commercial scheme of built up booths was for single-storey structures and any type of coverage on the roof was not allowed, no worthwhile action had been taken to check the blatant violations.

One of the allottees of the booths further alleged that in the face of total inaction on the part of authorities, the owner of booth no 9 in the market had encroached upon the adjoining vacant land, earmarked for the construction of stairs as also a part of public utilities, to extend his booth. Responding to the repeated representations made by the booth owners, the MC administration did take some action, including partial demonstration of unlawful structures and extensions, but undeterred by the half hearted measures, the law breakers were again back in business.

Ironically, some of the law abiding booth owners have been the worst sufferers in this whole episode. While majority of the booth owners have raised construction on the rooftops and have also covered the corridors, a few others who had sought permission from the building branch of the MC to extend their booths and approval of building plans were given a flat ‘no’.

Some of the booth owners in the market openly charged the officials of building branch of the MC with connivance and ‘underhand’ dealings with the offenders.

In another similar incident, a resident of Park Street on College Road in the Civil Lines area was alleged to have extended his building to encroach upon the part of a public street. More than one dozen residents of the locality had lodged a written complaint to the MC authorities, demanding immediate action against the defaulter and demolition of the unlawful extension.

That the menace of encroachment and violation of building bylaws had become a routine affair in the city is evident from the flurry of building activity in many parts of the city, particularly the construction of commercial buildings even in narrow bylanes and congested residential areas. The one time settlement scheme for building violations and to even regularise the encroachments, expected to be announced by the state government seems to have spurred the builders’ lobby to complete their buildings and then take advantage of the amnesty scheme.



24-hr power supply to 5,500 villages 
by June-end, says Birmi

Ludhiana, February 6
Punjab Minister for Jails Malkiat Singh Birmi has asserted that the state was all set to provide 24-hour power supply to the remaining 5500 villages out of the total 12,700 villages in the state positively by the end of June 2004.

Mr Birmi was addressing audience at the grants distribution function at Meharban village, 10 km from here, today. He also distributed cheques of grants worth Rs 19 lakh to 10 village panchayats for the execution of different development works.

The minister claimed that by improving the financial condition the state had been put on the track of integrated development, and a sum of Rs 1500 crore was being spent through the Infrastructure Development Board to undertake various development projects, including the construction of link roads, railway overbridges, strengthening of major roads and construction of buildings of hospitals and schools etc in all parts of the state.

The minister handed over the cheques for Rs 1 lakh each to the panchayats/welfare societies of villages/localities Kakka, Bajra Colony, Model Colony, Meharban, Jagirpur, Sarali Colony, Harkishan Colony, and Mangat and for Rs 75000 to Mangat village.

Later the minister also addressed a grant distribution function at Quadian village and distributed cheques for grants of Rs 1 lakh each among the panchayats of Quadian, Bahadekery, Noorwala and Jassian villages. Mr Karamjit Singh Galib also addressed the functions. TNS



Pensioners seek merger of DA with basic pay
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 6
The Punjab State Government Pensioners Confederation has demanded the merger of 50 per cent of the dearness relief into basic pension on the pattern of Central Government employees/pensioners. The benefit has been announced in the interim budget presented by the Union Finance Minister keeping in view the recommendations of the Central Fifth Pay Commission Wednesday.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, president of the organisation, said the Punjab Council of Ministers has authorised the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to take a decision in this regard. The Punjab Fourth Pay Commission, in its report, has made a similar recommendation for those in-service and the pensioners of the state. He said the government should follow the similar pattern to discharge its obligation.



Couple nabbed for fraud
Bhushan Sood

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 6
The local police has arrested Ravinderjeet Singh and his wife Sukhpreet Kaur, both residents of Badinpur village, under Section 364A, IPC. This information was given by Mr Shiv Kumar Sharma, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, at a press conference held at the local police station today.

Mr Sharma said Sukhpreet Kaur had filed a complaint on February 3 alleging that her husband, Ravinderjeet Singh had been kidnapped and the kidnappers were demanding ransom amount worth Rs 15 lakh for his release. Inspector Balraj Singh, SHO, Mandi Gobindgarh, was asked to register the case by the SSP.

Thereafter, a police party led by Sub-Inspector Tara Singh was sent to Pandori village under police station Ladokey in Amritsar district. The cops recovered Ravinder Singh from the captivity of Surjit Singh, a resident of Chogawan village, Lakhbir Singh a resident of Pandori and Gurmeet Singh a resident of Talab village (Jammu).

However, investigations revealed that Ravinderjeet Singh along with two agents Greece Kumar and Surinder Singh had taken a sum of Rs 16.5 lakh from Lakhbir Singh, Surjit Singh and Gurmeet Singh and had promised to send them to Japan.

But Ravinderjeet Singh neither sent them to Japan nor returned their money. He hatched a conspiracy with Greece Kumar and Surinder Singh and his wife Sukhpreet Kaur and came to Pandroli village while his wife Sukhpreet Kaur lodged a false complaint in the police station.

After investigation the police cancelled the FIR and registered a fresh case on February 5 vide FIR Number 32 under Sections 420, 120B, IPC, against Ravinderjeet Singh, his wife and two agents Greece Kumar and Surinder Singh. 



One held with poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 6
Jaspal Singh, alias Jassa, a resident of Lohatbaddi village in Sangrur district, now living in Gurpal Nagar here, was nabbed by the Shimla Puri police yesterday and booked under the NDPS Act. The police said today that the accused was arrested after the recovery of more than 104 kg of poppy husk from his possession.

Man dies in mishap: The Division Number 6 police station registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Dinesh Shah, a migrant from Bihar, now living near Lucky Model High School, Sherpur Kalan village, against an unidentified driver of a vehicle which hit Rajinder Shah, another Bihari, and killed him on the spot on the night of February 4. The police said today that it was clueless about the incident.

Cases of fraud: The Division Number 3 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406,420 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Naresh Kumar, owner of a hosiery manufacturing unit in Madho Puri, against Sunil Kumar, alias Sonu, who runs a garments shop in Azad Market at Delhi. The complainant had stated that the accused had bought hosiery products from him which were valued at Rs 98,186 but the accused neither paid the money for the same nor returned the goods. No arrest has been made so far.

The Division Number 8 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 420,467 and 475 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jagan Nath, Assistant General manager of Foreign Trade , against Vijay Sehgal, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar. The complainant had stated that the accused had supplied some goods which were found to be spurious on checking. No arrest has been made so far.

Chain snatched: The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under Sections 356 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Darshan Singh Grewal, a resident of Jeewan Preet Nagar on the Ferozepur road, against three unidentified women who snatched a gold chain from his mother at Bharat Nagar Chowk.

Theft: The Salem Tabri police, on the statement of Mr Lalan, a resident of Gandhi Nagar, yesterday registered a case under Sections 382 and 506 of the IPC against at least six persons who took away Rs 1,300 from him after threatening him with dire consequences on February 3. No arrest has been made so far.

Knives seized: The Division Number 4 police yesterday arrested Davinder Kumar, a resident of Shimla Puri, and booked him under the Arms Act. The police said today that the accused was arrested after a “kamanidar” knife was seized from his possession

The Salem Tabri police yesterday arrested Gurjant Singh, alias Bunty, a resident of Peeru Banda Mohalla in Salem Tabri, recovered a “kamanidar” knife from his possession and booked him under the Arms Act.

Gamblers held: The Division Number 6 police yesterday arrested Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar, and Sanjay Garg, a resident of Pathan Khilkian village in Fatehgarh Sahib district, and booked them under the Gambling Act. The police said today that the accused were arrested, while they were gambling. A sum of Rs 9,780 was seized from their possession, added the police.



Agitating industrial workers seek political help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 6
The agitating workers of Avon Cycles, presently under lockout, have sought the intervention of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) for acceptance up their just demands and reopening of the factory. Among other things they have called for reinstatement of three workers, who were sacked on Jan 13, 2004, a few days before the factory owners declared a lockout.

In a memorandum submitted to the state president of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) Mr Ravinder Arora, the Avon Cycle Workers Union demanded implementation of the Minimum Wages Act and a minimum salary of Rs 2185 per month, grant of 35 percent of wages as house rent allowance, grant of 22 per cent bonus in a single instalment, dearness allowance at the rate of 10 per cent, annual increment of 15 per cent and scrupulous implementation of all labour laws in the factory.

The party chief, Mr Arora, while expressing solidarity with the agitating workers, said that the party had always stood by the working classes and their constitutional rights. He said the issue would be appropriately taken up with the State Labour Commissioner, the district authorities and the factory owners so that the matter was amicably resolved and the factory could resume working very soon.

Meanwhile, the Moulder and Steel Workers Union, along with more than one dozen trade unions, have formed a ‘sahayta committee’ to join hands with the struggle of workers in the cycle industry. In order to focus on the plight of the workers and other related issues, a convention would be held at Jawahar Nagar here on Feb 15.

According to activists of the union, the sahayta committee had noted with concern that as a matter of routine, labour laws were being flouted in the local factories, minimum wages were being denied to the workers, benefits like over time, bonus, increment, provident fund and insurance were not being provided and the workers were hired and fired at will of the factory owners.

The committee, comprising prominent trade union bodies, would work for seeking justice for the working class and putting an end to their exploitation at the hands of factory workers.


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