L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC adopts Rs 323.82 cr Budget
No fresh civic tax proposed
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 7
The Municipal Corporation adopted a development-oriented Budget of Rs 323.82 crore for 2004-05 with as much as Rs 151.95 crore (46.93 per cent) being provided for development works.

Amidst thumping of desks by councillors belonging to all the political parties in the general House meeting here today, the Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, announced that no new civic tax was proposed, the expenditure on establishment would be maintained at 29.03 per cent, that on contingency 3.61 per cent, on capital works 2.34 per cent and other expenditure 20.14 per cent, all of which were well below the government norms.

The City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, who presided over the meeting, also drew applaud of the House when he said that the F&CC proposal calling for suspension of all further works in those wards where an expenditure of Rs 1 crore had already been incurred, had been revoked and the ongoing and further development works would continue, irrespective of the expenditure done or further funds involved.

According to Mr Sharma, the MC had focused on development during the current year and as against Rs 232.97 crore spent on development works during the last five years till 2002-03, the civic body would had incurred an expenditure of Rs 146.57 crore by the end of this year. Among some of the future plans of the MC, he said, were construction of seven multi-level parking sites in different localities, making five major roads in the city completely dustless as a pilot project, speedy completion of ongoing major projects and taking up the project for construction of flyovers at Samrala bypass, Gill Chowk and a number of subways to reduce traffic congestion in the city.

Dwelling upon the major achievements of the MC during the year, Mr Sharma said the biggest of all achievements was the massive resource generation and cutting down the wasteful expenditure, coupled with deft financial management which had led to a turn around.

He claimed that with 100 per cent water supply in city limits already having been provided and the project for total repair of roads and providing streetlights to be completed by the end of March and September, 2004, respectively, the MC would achieve the distinction of perhaps being the only civic body in the country where coverage of the entire city population for all basic amenities was total.

The civic body would carry over a surplus of Rs 30.80 crore to the next financial year and after a total expenditure of Rs 330.46 crore during the next year, it would have a surplus of Rs 24.16 crore as per the budget estimates. The budget for the current year at Rs 298.95 crore was later revised to a realistic level of Rs 210.13 crore and the MC was confident of exceeding the Budget targets, the Commissioner maintained.

According to Budget estimates, octroi would remain the biggest source of revenue with a projected income of Rs 122 crore in the next financial year, followed by house tax Rs 42 crore, water and sewerage charges Rs 26 crore, octroi on electricity Rs 10 crore, composition fee Rs 3.5 crore, sale of property Rs 2 crore, additional excise duty Rs 56 crore, HUDCO loan Rs 42.27 crore, and licence fee Rs 1.25 crore.

Apart from development works, Rs 94 crore would be spent on establishment, Rs 11.68 crore on contingency, Rs 7.60 crore on capital works and Rs 65.22 crore on other works in general and O and M cells.

Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia (Cong), Mr Hakam Singh Giaspura (SAD-B), both members of the Finance and Contracts Committee, Mr Parveen Bansal (BJP) and Mr Harbhajan Singh Dang (SAD-B) took part in the discussion before it was adopted by the house.



Ikwinder Kaur death case gets murkier
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The Ikwinder Kaur dowry death case got a new turn today when her mother-in-law Ajmer Kaur, a co-accused in the case, today claimed that charges had been fabricated to blackmail her family.

Meanwhile, Ikwinder's father, Mr Karnail Singh, filed a fresh complaint regarding the case in the Raikot police station last evening. An FIR, already registered at the Indira Gandhi International Airport police station New Delhi, last week, had named Ikwinder's husband Rajinder Singh Kular, mother-in-law Ajmer Kaur and some other persons as the accused in the alleged dowry death case.

The fresh complaint is unlikely to have much impact as the Raikot police has declined to lodge another FIR. SHO Raikot police station Dharam Pal said there was no point in lodging two FIRs about one offence.

He said the Raikot police would, however, be willing to provide help to the Delhi police in the case. He said he had referred the complaint to the Mullanpur police station, which would raid the house of Ajmer Kaur in Mullanpur if the Delhi police wanted it to do so.

Ms Ajmer Kaur, who was reportedly in hiding ever since the case came to light, agreed to give her version to The Tribune here today.

Producing documents, she tried to prove that she had never visited Manila, where Ikwinder had reportedly died. She claimed that she had been funding her and her family ever since she married her son Rajinder Singh Kular.

She presented her passport, which did not have a single stamp suggesting that she had been outside India. She said she had never visited Manila to harass Ikwinder for dowry or was present there at the time of her death.

She said she had given Rs 1.80 lakh to a travel agent to sent Ikwinder to Manila, besides giving her $ 500 and gold jewellery.

Sitting in her house on street no. 7 in Mullanpur, she said she had come back after moving a bail application in Delhi. One being asked why she and her son had given different versions about the death, she said Ikwinder's parents Karnail Singh and Naseeb Kaur had requested her to tell others that their daughter had died after falling from a motor cycle.

“They were concerned about their position in society and felt that the fact that their daughter had committed suicide would bring a bad name to their family,” she claimed.

She even claimed that she had gone to the airport with Ikwinder's family to bring the body.

She claimed that Karnail Singh and others had demanded Rs 10 lakh from her and threatened that if she did not fulfill their demand, they would register a case of dowry death against her.

Mr Karnail Singh could not be contacted at his house in Kalsan village. His Delhi-based advocate Keval Kaushik, however, dismissed the counter-allegations levelled by Ms Ajmer Kaur, claiming that she had taken a dowry of Rs 2 lakh from Mr Karnail Singh. 



Compromise on birth certificate scandal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The birth-certificate controversy involving a Youth Akali leader and the Sacred Heart Convent School authorities has lost its sting as the school authorities have accepted the unconditional apology from the accused leader and written to the police that they do not want any further action in the case.

The accused, Inder Mohan Singh Kadian, got the reprieve in a compromise effected with the school authorities late last night. A copy of the compromise letter has been sent to the DSP, Sarabha Nagar, by Principal Sister Helema.

The investigating officer-cum-SHO, Sarabha Nagar police station, Mr Pawanjit Singh, however, said that the police would continue the investigation as all offences could not be cancelled by mere a compromise between the two parties.

Legal experts disclosed that only a court of law could cancel an FIR once lodged. They opined that the school authorities would have to give a statement in a court that a compromise had been reached and only then the case would be cancelled.

A copy of the compromise letter signed by Sister Helema states, “Inder Mohan Kadian has approached us and expressed his regrets for his conduct in the school on the day of admission result and has also expressed his regrets for submitting wrong birth certificates. We are fully satisfied with his explanation and do not intent to pursue this complaint any further.”

The Youth Akali leader was booked yesterday by the police under Sections 420, 467 and 468, amounting to cheating and forgery for submitting two birth certificates of his son for the purpose of admission in Sacred Heart Convent School here.



No unity with Akali factions, says Sukhbir
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 7
The question of poll alliance or unity in the coming parliamentary elections with the SAD (Amritsar) and the Akali Dal (Ravi) does not arise as they have never raised their voice against the alleged corruption by the present ministers and the son of Capt Amarinder Singh, asserted Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. He was addressing a gathering of SAD activists at Grain Market here today.

Earlier he was accorded a reception at the residence of a former chairperson, Ms Karamjeet Kaur Bhagrana, at her residence and from there Mr Badal was taken to the venue of the rally in the form of a procession. Addressing the gathering, Mr Badal said the SAD would allot 25 per cent seats to the youth candidates in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The SAD-BJP combine would sweep the poll due to the poor performance of the present Congress government in the state and the development made by the former government.

Former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar flayed the Congress government for withdrawing the facilities provided by the Akali government to the farmers and weaker sections of society. Mr Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon, all-India youth wing chief, appealed to the workers to participate in the rally to be held on February 16 at Ludhiana. Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, member, Rajya Sabha, former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi, SAD district chief Sawarn Singh Chanarthal, SAD youth general secretary Tajender Singh Salana, BJP district chief Dharam Pal, the senior vice-president, Karamchaari Dal, Punjab, Mr Karamjeet Singh Bhagrana, SAD general secretary Kashmira Singh, SAD (Urban) Chief Harichand Mittal, BJP district vice-president Raj Pal Garg and mandal president Ram Niwas Jain were also present.

Talking to media persons, Mr Badal pointed out that Mr Naresh Gujral, son of former Prime Minister I.K.Gujral, was likely to be fielded as Lok Sabha candidate from Jalandhar.



No seat-sharing problem with BJP, says SAD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
SAD General Secretary Sukhbir Singh Badal here today claimed that the party would win all seats in the coming parliamentary elections. He also set at rest all rumours over fissures in the party on seat-sharing with the BJP and the loyalists of SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

He was in the city to oversee arrangements for the statewide youth rally to be held on February 16 at Bhanout village. He called on former councillor Ranjit Singh Dhillon at his residence in Sekhewal. He was accompanied by former Mayor Apinder Singh Grewal and SAD youth chief Sharanjit Singh Dhillon.

Talking to mediapersons, he denied that there were any seat-sharing problems with the BJP. He said they had shortlisted the candidates and their names would be disclosed next week. Preference would be given to those who enjoy a clean reputation and have a solid base among the masses.

On the seat-sharing arrangements with Mr Tohra, he said Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the former were in regular contact and the final list would be prepared after mutual discussions. He said special care had been taken in case of the Patiala seat, where a strong candidate would be fielded to challenge Ms Preneet Kaur.

He claimed that the politics in the state would take a new turn after the poll.

He said the February 16 rally would be a show of strength and will also be an indicator of their resentment towards the anti-youth policies of the Congress. This is for the first time that such a rally is being held by the youth wing of the party. He also added that this time adequate representation will be given to the youth in the selection of candidates. A magazine devoted to the problems being faced by the youth will be released on the occasion. 



BJP wants CM to drop Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The BJP has said that framing of charges against Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in the case of alleged misappropriation of Rs 20 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund during her tenure as Chief Minister has vindicated the party’s contention that Congress leaders were by and large corrupt and have no moral ground to rule the state.

Prof Rajinder Bhandari, state general secretary of the unit, said Capt Amarinder Singh’s tall talk of eradicating corruption from the state was a farce and only a ploy to defame his rivals in politics. The CM should act as a responsible head of state and remove all tainted leaders, especially the Deputy Chief Minister, to present a clean image before the masses. He scoffed at the desperate outburst of Mrs Bhattal after coming out of the court that the state government should have helped her fight the case. Instead of expecting the state government to help her in the case, Mrs Bhattal should have immediately resigned and sought fresh mandate from the people after being proved innocent.

Considering the CM’s public stance on corruption, it was expected that he would drop her from his Council of Ministers as soon as criminal charges were framed by the court. By not resorting to such an action he has shown his real face and betrayed how serious he was about eradicating corruption.

Prof Bhandari further added that Capt Amarinder Singh has double standards and has different yardsticks for his party men and political opponents. His conduct in the Bhattal episode was glaring example of this, he added.



Arrest Ajit Singh’s killer, demand Baba supporters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
With no headway in the Nanaksar Ashram Thath controversy at Siahar, the warring factions continue to level allegations and counter-allegations against each other.
Supporters of Baba Mann Singh today said they were not eyeing the property of the trust as was being alleged by certain quarters.

In a statement signed by Mr Charan Singh Siahar, a spokesman for Baba Mann Singh said they were only against certain activities on the ashram premises of the trust at Siahar being carried out at the behest of some persons.

Baba Mann Singh is the elder son of Baba Meehan Singh, the founder father of the trust.

He said on October 6, the two warring factions had reached a compromise in the presence of DSP Payal, that the granthi of the thath would be removed. But the other faction failed to remove the granthi.

Alleging that Granthi Gurcharan Singh was an accused in the murder case of Ajit Singh, a villager, Mr Siahar further alleged that he was indulging in anti-religious activities inside the place and it was a long-pending demand of the villagers that he should be removed from there. But no heed was being paid to their demands.

He demanded that the murder accused should be arrested and the false cases registered against certain villagers should be withdrawn. Denying the allegations of supporters of Baba Harnek Singh, president of the trust, that Baba Mann Singh’s supporters had committed a sacrilege at thath, Mr Charan Singh said these allegations were false and it was granthi Gurcharan Singh, who was involved in it.

He alleged that the granthi had gone to even firing at some persons, killing one of them besides injuring many during the violence on October 11.

He said if the situation was not handled carefully it could become volatile. He said the supporters of Baba Mann Singh believe in maintaining peace in the area and were looking towards the administration for the solution.

He claimed that Baba Mann Singh had handled certain situations judiciously. He said villagers wanted to perform the last rites of Ajit Singh at the Thath but it was only due to the efforts of the Baba that he was cremated in the village crematorium.



Kukki’s parents optimistic of his release
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The family of Ranjit Singh Gill, alias Kukki, currently undergoing life imprisonment in Tihar Jail in connection with the assassination of trade union leader Lalit Maken and his wife, Geetanjali, has become more optimistic about their son’s release with Mr Ajay Maken, Delhi Vidhan Sabha Speaker and close relative of the deceased, announcing that the family had forgiven the accused in the case. Mr Ajay Maken has reportedly written a letter to the Chief Minister of Delhi, Ms Shiela Dikshit, to sympathetically consider Kukki’s case at the next meeting of the remission committee.

Bringing a ray of hope to the family of Kukki, son of a former Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Dr Khem Singh Gill, Mr Ajay Maken yesterday stated that he had written to Ms Dikshit to consider the case at the next meeting of the remission committee. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today, Dr Gill said that Kukki was a changed man now. He said that he had already spent 17 years in jail.

Expressing his sincere gratitude to Mr Ajay Maken, Dr Gill added that he was happy at the declaration after he read it in The Tribune today. He said that he would himself appeal in writing to Ms Dikshit to consider his case sympathetically.

Geetanjali and Lalit Maken were daughter and son-in-law of former President of India late Shankar Dyal Sharma and both were assassinated during his tenure. Mr Ajay Maken had also stated that Kukki was not involved in the Delhi riots.



Sukhdev memorial to finally see the light of the day 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
After 74 years of his martyrdom, the birth place of great martyr Sukhdev in the aughara mohalla, here, will finally get its due as a place of historic importance.
The Shaheed Sukhdev Yadgar Committee, Ludhiana, yesterday started the construction of the memorial and announced that it would be completed before March 23.

Without any assistance from a government agency, the committee, under the patronage of the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee, Jalandhar, and a UK-based NRI organisation, the Indian Workers Association (Southall branch), has initiated the project.

Dr Hardeep Singh, convener of the committee, in the presence of family members of Sukhdev, Com Amolak Singh, a representative of the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee, and Mr Parminder Singh, a representative of the Indian Workers Association, unveiled the proposed model of the memorial.

Prominent among family members were Mr Bharat Bhushan Thappar and Mr Mohan Lal Jhanji, nephew and brother-in-law of the martyr, respectively.

Dr Hardeep Singh declared that the monument would be constructed a in phased manner, In the first phase, the front of the house would be renovated and a statue of the martyr installed, In the second phase, a memorial gate would be constructed in the Naughara mohalla. In the next phase, a memorial gate would be erected at Chaura Bazar. The first phase of house would be completed before March 23, the martyrdom day of Sukhdev, Rajguru and Bhagat Singh.

Mr Amolak Singh said the committee would also publish a book in Punjabi about the life of Sukhdev, with translated chapters from a book written by his younger brother, late Mathura Das Thappar, who went from pillar to post to get a memorial constructed at the martyr's birth place by the government.

Mr Bharat Bhushan Thappar and Mr Mohan Lal Jhanji also sore at the government's apathy towards the great martyr, who laid his live to free India from the shackles of British rulers and dreamt of an independent India, built on equality and free from exploitation.

Dr Hardeep Singh appealed to all revolutionary and democratic organisational and individuals to cooperate in the effort.



Mandira to visit city on Valentine’s Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Actress Mandira Bedi will visit Ludhiana on St Valentine’s Day. She will visit the Tanishq showroom and meet her fans
Mandira is the brand ambassador of Tanishq and will propagate the “Get gold free with diamonds” campaign of the company.



Three held for possessing drugs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 7
Three persons were arrested by the police and booked under the NDPS Act after drugs were seized from their possession yesterday.
Gurminder Singh, a resident of Sector 32 in PUDA Urban Estate on the Chandigarh road, was arrested by the division number 7 police in front of BCM School after 50 gm of smack was seized from his possession. An Ikon car, which was being driven by the accused, was also seized, said the police today.

Two cases under the NDPS Act were registered at the Shimla Puri police station yesterday.

The first case was registered against Avtar Singh, a resident of Jammu Colony in Model Town, who was arrested after 1.5 kg of contraband charas was seized from him.

The other case was registered against Rajinder Singh, a resident of Railway Colony in Sunder Nagar at Kota in Rajasthan, who was arrested with 700 gm of contraband opium. The police said today that the accused was intercepted at the canal bridge in Lohara village.

Man dies in mishap: The Jodhewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on a statement of Mr Lal Mohammad, a resident of Medin Nagar in Samastipur district of Bihar and now living in Bal Singh Nagar, against Makhan Singh, who lives near the Daba chowk in Jalandhar. The complainant had stated that he and Rehmatullah, a migrant from Nepal, were going on bicycles when the accused, who was driving a truck, hit Rehmatullah near Cheema Timber Store on GT Road. As a result, Rehmatullah fell down and died on the spot. The accused fled away from the spot, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

Fraud alleged: The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406,420 and 120-B of the IPC on a statement of Mr Harpal Singh, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against Dalvir Singh, Parminder Singh, Balvir Singh and Harjinder Singh, exporters of various goods to Uganda. The complainant alleged that the accused had bought some goods from him for export but did not pay him. No arrest has been made so far.

Assault cases: The division number 3 police yesterday registered a case under sections 353,332,341,342,506,148 and 149 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Ajit Singh, Superintendent, Central Excise, Rishi Nagar, against K.M. Rakesh and Amrit, shopkeepers of Mochpura Bazar. The complainant stated that when he went had gone to the market, along with excise officer, to make investigations, the accused assaulted him and others. The accused then confined them in a room and also threatened the accompanying officials. No arrest has been made so far.

The division number 6 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 506,511,326 and 323 of IPC on the statement of Mr Pawan Kumar, a resident of Old City control room, against Mohinder Singh, a resident of Kachi Colony. The complainant had stated that on February 1 he had gone to the house of his sister, located near Aman Dharam Kanda on the Samrala chowk.

The accused, came to the house, beat him up and also threatened him. The complainant further stated that the accused, who was armed with an iron rod, ran away from the spot after injuring him. No arrest has been made so far.

The Jodhewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 324,323,427 and 34 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Ram Saran, a resident of New Kuldeep Nagar on the Rahon road, against Roshan, Rinku and his wife, residents of the same locality.

The complainant stated that the accused came to his PCO and assaulted his wife and his son. The accused also broke windowpanes of the PCO and damaged his Tata Sumo vehicle before running away from the spot, he alleged. No arrest has been made so far.

Liquor seized: The division number 1 police yesterday arrested Tajinder Singh, a resident of MIG flats, Jamalpur Colony and booked him under the Excise Act. The police said today that 11 bottles of illicit liquor were seized from his possession near the Clock Tower yesterday evening.



PSERA’s challenge to HC order flayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has criticised the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Authority (PSERA) for challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court order on electricity tariff in the Supreme Court.

In a statement, Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the CICU, said the appeal filed by the chamber in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the arbitrary orders of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission was accepted by the court and it had given its verdict in favour of the industry. They said, the order was a legal testimony to prove that the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission took arbitrary decision to impose unwarranted power hike.

They alleged that the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Board and the Punjab Government acting against the trade and the industry which was already reeling under grave crises. 


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