L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


SHO booked for abetting suicide
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, March 9
A case has been registered against the SHO of the Dehlon police station on the charge of allegedly creating circumstances that forced a man to commit suicide. The case was registered on the directions of the SSP, Jagraon.

Sub-Inspector Rashpal Singh and two others have been booked for allegedly abetting the suicide by Harsewak Singh of Kila Raipur. The two other accused in the case are a woman, who was allegedly having illicit relations with Harsewak, and her cousin.

On the complaint of Ms Manjit Kaur, wife of the deceased, the SSP, Jagraon, got a case registered against Rashpal Singh, Sarabjit Kaur of Sarabha village and her cousin, Gurbhai Singh, a resident of Barundi village.

According to the police, despite being a married man, Singh allegedly had illicit relations with Sarabjit Kaur. On February 14, Sarabjit Kaur went to the house of Singh to wish him on Valentine’s Day. But instead of extending any pleasantries, beat up the woman in full public view, accusing her of exposing their relationship that he wanted to keep confidential.

Sarabjit Kaur lodged a complaint with the police that led to the registration of a case against Harsewak Singh under Sections 324, 294 and 323 of the IPC.

The investigation of the case was being conducted by SHO Rashpal Singh, who was in charge of the Dehlon police station. According to police sources, the SHO sided with Harsewak and chopped off his finger to make a stronger counter-case against the woman. The SHO thus complicated the case for both parties.

With the case gaining the limelight, had started avoiding public interaction for the past few weeks. He reportedly told his friends that the woman and her relatives had started harassing him to the extent that he could not take the humiliation anymore. Harsewak, a married man having a school-going girl child, took the extreme step and consumed poison to end his life on Monday.

His wife, Ms Manjit Kaur, rushed him to the DMC Hospital, Ludhiana, but the doctors could not save him.

In her complaint to the police, Ms Manjit Kaur has alleged that the woman and her family, along with the SHO, had caused emotional stress to Harsewak that forced him to consume poison.

A post-mortem examination was conducted on the body of the deceased at the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. The viscera will be sent for a chemical examination on Wednesday. A case under Section 306 of the IPC has been registered at the Dehlon police station, but no arrest has been made so far.



Liquor auction rigged, alleges Garcha
‘Govt vindictive, causing loss to exchequer’
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 9
After having been elbowed out from the liquor trade, which it was carrying out for last over four decades, the Garcha group is crying foul over the auction of liquor vends, charging that the entire process was rigged and the group was singled out for ouster as a part of political vendetta.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, former Technical Education Minister and a close supporter of SAD (B) supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today alleged that in a bid to settle political scores, the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, and senior officials of the Excise and Taxation department had caused a huge loss to the state exchequer. “Our group had made an offer to the government to fix the floor price for commencement of auction for Ludhiana district at 10 per cent higher than the last year’s earning of a little more than Rs 225 crore but the government bent over backwards to oblige the Chadha group and the vends were auctioned at a marginal increase of 2.4 per cent.”

Addressing a news conference here, Mr Garcha, who along with his brother, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, headed one of the biggest groups of liquor contractors in the state for several decades, said he had sent telegrams to the President of India, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Chief Vigilance Commissioner demanding an inquiry by CBI or a sitting Judge of the High Court to unearth the scam involving payment of crores of rupees to the ruling party by the liquor baron from Uttar Pradesh.

He further charged that all rules, norms, provisions of the excise policy and directions of the High Court were thrown to the winds by the officials in conducting the auction of liquor vends in Ludhiana on Monday for the simple reason that the government was bent upon creating monopoly of the Chadha group in the liquor trade in Punjab. Not only had the government suffered losses in the process but buyers would also have to bear the consequences because the monopolistic trade would lead to a steep hike in the prices of country liquor and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) from April onwards.

“That the Congress government is vindictive and functionaries of the Shiromani Akali Dal, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal are being targeted is clear from the fact that immediately after assuming power, several SAD (B) functionaries, including myself (Mr Garcha) and other members of my family were implicated in false and fabricated vigilance cases and now the government had chosen to push us out of business,” Mr Garcha maintained.

The former Minister further observed that Captain Amarinder Singh was in the habit of changing colours according to his convenience. Earlier, he had defended the selection of DSPs and PCS officers and now he was going all out to claim that the auction of liquor vends in the state was fair and impartial. “We shall not bow before the government sponsored reign of terror and would fight back with all our might, which would include seeking legal redressal of the injustice.”



Family awaits breadwinner’s return from Pak
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 9
All pursuits of this family to impress upon the Indian High Commission at Islamabad in Pakistan to enable their only breadwinner return home have proved fruitless.
Khushi Mohammad had landed in a Pakistan Jail after one of his family friends at Lahore stole his passport and his stay was declared illegal by the Pak authorities. He had not been repatriated even four years after the apex court in Lahore ordered his release.

Mohammad Bashir (75), a permanent resident of Nishant Colony, Malerkotla, who is now residing with one of his relatives in the Dehliz Road area, said his son, Khushi Mohammad, had gone to Pakistan to meet his relatives in 1990. His wife, Akhtar, along with minor daughter, Asma, and nine-month-old son, Rehman, followed him. While Khushi Mohammad stayed with his relatives in Lahore, after getting his visa extended, other members of the family returned to India after some time. During his stay there, one of Khushi’s friends stole his passport and complained to police that he was an Indian spy.

Khushi was sentenced to three-year imprisonment in Pakistan, as he had nothing with him to prove his identity. Referring to his communication with his son lodged in the Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, Mr Mohammad Bashir said, “Though the Supreme Court of Pakistan had ordered his release four years earlier, the Government of India had not agreed to accept his repatriation.” Karima, mother of Khushi, could not bear separation from her only son and died.

For Akhtar, long separation came out to be an acid test. “Besides financial constraints, I had to face social problems. Whereas our society does not allow a woman to move out of home, my son is very young and my father-in-law is too old and weak to travel,” she said. Till now, she had knocked at the doors of all offices concerned at Chandigarh and Delhi, but to no avail. Even the political parties could do nothing for the family. She lamented, “They invited us to their respective conferences and rallies, but only to thicken their gathering and did nothing concrete.” Besides frequent verifications by the intelligence wing of the Punjab Police, family has sent nikah certificate, voter list copies, electricity bills and school certificates of Khushi Mohammad to various authorities as evidence of his permanent residence, but the Home Department did not take up his case. Her despair swelled with problems of growing children. “Whenever they noticed a report regarding repatriation of prisoners from Pakistan, they asked such questions for which I had no answers,” she said.

The family had even visited the Central Jail, Patiala, when someone told that Khushi had arrived in India and had been sent to the said jail. The family has now pinned hope on the news that the Union Government will hold bilateral talks with Pakistan on repatriation before the parliamentary elections. Till then, the family is left to console itself with the letters and pieces of artifacts received from Khushi Mohammed which he had written and made while sitting in the Lahore jail.



Fashion studies get good response
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, March 9
The recent proposal of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to introduce a new course in ‘Fashion studies’ has drawn good response from the schools.

Unlike the courses in ‘Multimedia and web designing’ and ‘Biotechnology’ that received a feeble response from the affiliated schools in the last two years, there seem to be a higher number of applicants for the course in fashion designing. Low cost of infrastructure vis-a-visa other vocation courses of the CBSE, expectation of a better response from the students and brighter scope for the passouts are some of the factors propelling the school authorities to send applications to the board for approval of the course.

The CBSE has decided to start the course as an elective subject from the coming session. Students from any of the three streams, including medical, non-medical and humanities group, would be given an option to apply for the course as a fifth subject in lieu of other courses like physical education, music, computer education, bio-technology and web designing.

Mr G. Balasubramanian, Director (Academics), CBSE, during his recent visit at DAV Public School had said that the course would be introduced in 150 schools of the country in the first session. The schools would have to set a laboratory for the same as per manual that would be released by the board soon, he told.

However, most of the schools believe that the cost of setting up of a laboratory for fashion studies would be much lower than the expenses incurred for creating a bio-technology laboratory as Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, exclaimed, ‘‘If we could set up a bio-technology lab for Rs 8 lakh, I do not think that there would be any problem in setting up a lab for fashion designing. We are simply waiting for a nod from the CBSE so that we can begin with the preparations.’’

Similarly, Principal R.S. Patial of DAV Public School said that he would certainly opt for a course in fashion designing. He said that he wanted to give his students a wider range of subjects to choose from so that they could pick up a subject of their interest.

Ms Neena Khanna, Principal of Kundan Vidya Mandir, said that she had applied for the course as she felt that it would really help the students who wanted to specialise in fashion designing after completing plus two. She said that since the fashion industry was prospering year after year, she felt the demand for good fashion designers was also rising at the same pace.



Over 20,000 doctors not registered with PMC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
Out of the total 33,623 doctors practising in the state, only 9,229 doctors are registered with the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) as on June 12, 2003. The PMC, at its first meeting in Chandigarh recently, decided to provide all doctors another chance to get themselves registered with the Council, failing which a fine would be imposed on them, and if any legal action is taken against them, they would be responsible for that.

Dr Gursharan Singh, one of the members of the PMC, said it was decided at the meeting not to suspend the non-registered doctors for the time being. The Council would place an advertisement in the leading newspapers, inviting the doctors for registering themselves with the Council. "We are also writing letters to all Civil Surgeons and presidents of district units of the Indian Medical Associations (IMAs) for the same", said Dr Gursharan Singh.

Giving details about the decisions taken at the meeting, Dr Gursharan said the state medical council had also decided to form a new Punjab Medical Registration Act. This Act would be submitted for approval by March 31, 2004.

“All members have decided to make it compulsory for all registered medical practitioners (RMPs) in the state to mention their registration numbers on their letterheads. They will also be asked to mention their degrees (recognised ones) to the public”, said Dr Gursharan Singh.

The president of the local unit of the IMA, Dr Gursharan Singh, has also been made the chairman of the disciplinary action committee of the newly constituted PMC. He said the committee had received complaints against more than 50 doctors and about eight of them were city-based.



Ludhiana Calling

Holi, the festival of colours, is celebrated by the masses with fun-n-frolic. But the migrant population from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh celebrate the festival with much gusto. They prepare bhang, arrange dholaks and other musical instruments to celebrate the festival. The whole community get-together and songs are sung throughout night. The ‘hangover’ of the festival could be imagined from the fact that a majority of these workers never turn up for their work even after Holi. The factory owners and industrialists had to send repeated messages to them for coming to their duties. In some of the factories, the owners had to manage all the machines on their own.

Holika dahan

Saturday night witnessed the annual ritual of Holika dahan in all colonies inhabited by the migrant population of the city since it is not observed by the locals. In the Focal Point and the Sherpur area, which together have the maximum concentration of migrants in the city, several Holikas were consigned to the flames at midnight amid lot of shouting and singing. One of these ‘Holika dahans’ was performed outside Swaran Cinema in Sherpur. The celebrations continued well past midnight as migrants, some of them in high ‘spirits’, with their faces smeared like ghosts, danced around the bonfire and sang folklore associated with Holi or Holika. It is said that it is after the Holika dahan that the migrants prefer to discard the winter woollens.

Code plays spoilsport

The spate of laying foundation stones for development works in the city has come to a halt, thanks to the model code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections which came into effect on last Sunday. As the Municipal Corporation here had gone into overdrive mode in taking up the road development works and other projects, there was a mad race between political leaders of all hues to lay the foundation stones for these projects to the extent that there were clashes between the functionaries of different political parties, and in some cases two, or even more foundation stones were laid for the same project.

Lacklustre mela

Kisan mela that was organised at Punjab Agricultural University recently appeared to be a lacklustre show this time, especially after the last mela which was inaugurated by Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India. People from all walks of life had come to listen to the President in the jam-packed open air theatre of the campus. But this time, there were many vacant seats in the theatre as not many people seemed keen to listen to the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma. On the next day, Mr Jagmohan Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Poultry and Fisheries, was invited for the prize distribution function. In his absence, a member of the Board of Management was invited as the chief guest and the curtains fell down, once again in a lacklustre way.

Battle of wits

At the auction of liquor vends which was conducted here on Monday, the members of the press corps on one side and the police, acting at the instance of higher ups in the Excise and Taxation Department on the other side were involved in a battle of wits. The top officials of the department, purportedly under instructions from their political bosses, were all set to show favour to a particular cartel but the presence of media was spoiling their scheme of things. In a bid to keep everything under the wraps, the police were told to block the entry of media persons inside the auction hall. As the members of fifth estate were stopped from crossing the last barricade outside the venue of the auction, some enterprising scribes, including one of their women colleagues jumped across the barricade. When a senior police officer attempted to assert himself against this action, the scribes dared him to book them if they had violated any law.

Is it Holi?

Holi, the festival of colours, is celebrated to say welcome to the month of phagun in which, as mythology has it , Lord Krishna played Holi with his entourage. It is the time of the year when it is neither cold nor hot. Winter has just passed by, summer is yet to come. There is a slight nip in the air early mornings and late evenings. The nights are getting warmer but not enough to warrant the use of fans. Air-conditioners in homes and offices are yet to start humming again. It is the sheer beauty of the season that warrants a celebration and the fun and frolic associated with colours. The purpose of playing with colours, which denote the different colours of nature, is to seek harmony with the season, with nature. But alas, this spirit has been forgotten. Fun and frolic at the cost of someone else’s sensibilities (throwing eggs and brawls) violates the true spirit of Holi. This is the time to forget old enmities and forge new relations and make the most of the festival by making new, valuable friends.

Media savvy councillors

Barring a few exceptions, city councillors belonging to all political parties have gone media savvy. While development projects are taken up in their respective areas as a matter of routine, most of them make it a point to arrange elaborate functions to announce the commencement of the work and later for the inauguration, when the work is completed. On all these functions, presence of media persons along with the VIPs is ensured so that news item and the photograph of the councillor is properly carried in the print and the electronic media. The craze for publicity among the councillors has gone to the extent that recently a woman councillor from the ruling party announced the commencement of pre-mix carpeting of the road and her photographs with a bit of premix scattered on the road was released to the press. However, it was officially stated that the actual work was to commence after more than a week when the function was organised.

Health conscious children

People in the city have really become fashion and health-savvy. Not only young women, girls and boys have joined elite health clubs to maintain their figures but the children, too, are not left behind. In the evenings at Rakh Bagh, moms can be seen walking with friends while a special driver is arranged for a group of five-six children who picks them up from their homes, walks with them and then drops them all after an hour. They run and walk in the ground. One of them heard saying ‘maine mummy ko chapati pe ghee lagana mana kar diya hai, moti ho rahi hoon naa’ (I have told my mother not to put ghee on my chapati as I am putting on weight).

Festival confusion

A majority of the Indian festivals are now being celebrated on two consecutive days for there always remains a confusion over its exact day. While earlier it was Lohri which was celebrated on January 13 and 14, now it was Holi which was celebrated on last Saturday and Sunday. While this marred the festive spirits to some extent as the celebrations remained divided, there were others who got a chance to celebrate the festival on two days. Young boys got together and drove around the city making a long trail of scooters and bikes, hooting and splashing gulal on the faces of the passers by. There were others who tried to be a bit different by moving around in trollies and dancing to the tunes of a dholak being played all along the way.

— Sentinel



Cong responsible for ills plaguing country: Dhillon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
The SAD - BJP candidate for the local parliamentary seat, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, was accorded a warm welcome and weighed against coins in several villages in the Koom Kalan constituency along with the MLA of the area, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal.

Addressing a gathering at Gehlanwali village, Mr Dhillon said the Congress was responsible for the ills plaguing the country today. While the neglect of the public issues was true for the country in general, the Punjabis came in for special punishment. They were persecuted in many ways and even their shrines were not spared. Hundreds of innocent youths were gunned down in fake encounters and the situation was allowed to drift for narrow political gains, he alleged.

The SAD was targeted and many senior leaders, including the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his kin were framed in false cases and thrown behind bars. The workers were also not spared and all this was done in the name of eradicating corruption, he added.

At a rally organised at Bassian village, he said problems of the people had taken a backseat in the past two years since the Captain was marking his attendance in the Delhi darbar. The people were feeling betrayed and were coming out in a large numbers to rectify their previous mistake.

In the absence of the Chief Minister the law and order situation had worsened and criminals and anti-social elements were having a field day. The people were feeling insecure.

At meetings in other villages, he drew the attention of the people towards the just concluded liquor auctions wherein certain influential persons were favoured by the Congress at the cost of the exchequer.

He also listened to the grievances of the people and promised to help them if he was elected. The villagers of Bondli, Gehlewal, Siala and Todarpur weighed Mr Dhillon against coins while others resolved to vote from him only. 



‘Allow govt to revoke suspension of DEPB’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
The decision of the government to rollback the prices of steel has reportedly not gone well with the steel producers, who in tandem with the Ministry of Steel, are pleading with the Chief Election Commissioner to allow the government to revoke the suspension of DEPB - incentive for exporting of the steel.

Mr P. D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, alleged that the plea being given by them was that as per the government's decision, the steel producers had reduced the rates, hence, in lieu of this they should be allowed to export the steel. The factual position was that the Steel Alliance Members had arbitrarily raised the rates by Rs 4,000 and on government intervention rolled back Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 of it.

He said there was a massive shortfall of 1.8 MT in the production of HR coils in April - December vis-a-vis the target set by the Ministry of Steel. 



Punjab future bleak, say experts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
“The present-day politicians of Punjab are steeped in corruption that has led to nepotism and promotion of one’s own tribe. The future of Punjab appears to be dismal and it seems to be going the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh way,” said Prof Bawa Singh, former Vice-Chairman, Minority Commission. At Punjabi Bhavan here yesterday.

He was addressing a organised by Samvaad-Punjab. Prof Bawa said if no party took up the lead to cleanse this system, the future of Punjab would be dark. No party wanted to work for the benefit of the people. The chief aim of politicians was to use their clout to make money.

Prof Bawa was incensed with the intellectuals of Punjab for not raising a banner of revolt against corrupt parties. “Their attitude is like that of an ostrich with his head in the sand. Their silence in this matter is alarming,” he said.

He also made a reference to 55 lakh non-Punjabis in the state. The total population of Punjab was 2,45 crore and almost one-fourth of its population was non-Punjabis. This could lead to alarming results, but no one was bothered. He asked the voters to be wary of cunning politicians and urged the voters to exercise their right to vote judiciously.

Prof Santokh Singh Aujla said there was deterioration in the education system due to “poor policies” of the government. The widening gap between rural and urban education could prove to be dangerous. “The government should take over state education till matriculation, he opined.

Mr Ramoowalia of the Lok Bhalai Party said earlier when politicians were charged with corruption, there was a feeling of shame. “But now when Badals get bail in corruption cases, they celebrate.”

Prof Kulwant Jagraon said due to narrow-minded policies, communalism was on the rise and the social fabric of society was being torn apart.

Others who attended the seminar were Dr Gulzar Pandher, Prof Santokh Singh, Mr Kuldip Singh, Mr Rajinder Pal Singh, Mr Rampraksh of the Rational Society, Mr Budh Singh Neelon and Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, former president of the Ludhiana Bar Association.



Pothohar Brotherhood welcomes Gujral
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
Mr N. S. Nanda, president and other members of Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood, Punjab, received Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, former Prime Minister, at the local railway station Sunday. Mr Gujral received a bouquet of flowers from Mr Nanda and thanked the brotherhood for extending support to his son, Mr Naresh Gujral, who is contesting for the Jalandhar constituency.

Mr Nanda talked of his visit to Pakistan where he attended the World Punjabi Conference at Lahore and visited his native village in Rawalpindi after 57 years.

The residents there gave him a warm welcome. One of his father’s friend, Raja Mohammed, gave him two marble slabs bearing the name of his father, grandfather and great grandfather in Urdu.

Mr Nanda invited Mr Gujral as chief guest at the All-India Cultural Conference to be held in April, dedicated to the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Aagad Dev. Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, and seven other prominent personalities, including two from Pakistan, are to be honoured on the occasion.



An accident-prone bridge
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 9
The Kaind Canal bridge, situated on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, has proved to be a killer bridge, as confusion about the direction of the flow of traffic has since resulted in a large number of fatal accidents.

The frequency of accidents on the Kaind bridge near Dehlon has increased since the construction of a new wider bridge along the old narrower one. While the old bridge joins roads on both sides, the new one joins spans of diversions on both sides.

Mr Rachhpal Singh, SHO, Dehlon, said most of the accidents in the recent past had taken place due to confusion among drivers regarding the flow of traffic. Though vehicles coming from the Ludhiana side invariably move on the new bridge, those coming from the other side use both bridges. Blind turn and steep fall in the level of new bridge make drivers lose control of the vehicle and invite accident. Even in the case of a recent bus accident, the driver of the bus used the new bridge instead of the old one.

Mr Swaran Singh Ubhi, a local industrialist, blamed the PWD (B&R) authorities for such incidents and said the drivers were tempted to use the new bridge because the span of the road on the old bridge was in a very bad condition.

Residents of the area said they had requested the police and civil administration to install glow signs or reflectors at the bridge but to no avail. They have now urged the authorities concerned either to close the old bridge for traffic or erect dividers on both sides of the bridge so that the traffic gets diverted ahead of the accident-prone bridge.

Mr N.P. Aggarwal, Superintendent Engineer, PWD (B and R), at Ludhiana said both bridges were fit for vehicular traffic. He said,” As I have joined this office recently, I have not visited the bridge yet. A perusal of the records shows that the new bridge had been constructed as the old one was narrow. Otherwise the old bridge is fit for vehicular traffic and no process for its closure had been initiated.” He, however, said that a team of engineers would visit the site shortly.



BKU’s plea to govt on ecology
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
The Bharti Kisan Union has said the government should show some concern for the ecology of the state and conduct a fresh survey for the construction of roads in Ludhiana. A number roads proposed after a survey will pass through thickly wooded areas and orchards, the union has said.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Mr Prof Manjit Singh Kadian, president and general secretary of the union, said it was ironical that the authorities had spent crores on greening the areas in and around the district while preparations were afoot to undo the successful exercise. Thousands of shady and fruit bearing tress would face the axe if the recommendations were accepted by the government, they pointed out.

They said the union had so far not decided to support any party, but a decision was expected at the union executive meeting tomorrow. The views of the leaders and workers would be taken into consideration before arriving at a decision, they added.



Photographers’ panel opposes service tax
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
The Punjab Photographers Association, while opposing the levy of service tax, has urged the government to exempt the unorganised self-employed photographers from the purview of the tax.

In a memorandum submitted to the Commissioner of the Central Excise Commissionerate here yesterday, the functionaries of the association pointed out that self-employed professional photographers were finding it hard to fulfill the formalities of compulsory registration under the provisions of the Service Tax Act and the mandatory maintenance of the accounts.

Mr Krishan Kamal, president, and Mr Chaman Lal Kalia, general secretary of the association, said the majority of the professional photographers remained outdoors most of the time on assignments. With limited resources and financial constraints, the photographers of this category were not in a position to adhere to the mandatory provisions of the Act and consequently were living under a constant fear of the authorities.

The memorandum further stated that a large number of self- employed photographers had already closed down their studios and many more were on the verge of closing it. If immediate remedial measures were not taken, the photographers, would be rendered unemployed and the situation might lead to yet another social problem.

The association president said the expert group on the Service Tax Advisory Committee, headed by Dr M. Govinda Rao had recommended that the unorganised sector and small service providers should be kept out of the purview of the service tax by prescribing a threshold limit of Rs 10 lakh.

The delegation wanted that in keeping with the recommendations of the expert group and relevant provisions of the Service Tax Act, notified by the government on December 2001, this unorganised sector comprising 95 per cent of the photographers, be exempted from the cumbersome formalities of getting themselves registered under the Service Tax Act and the Finance Department should also be prevailed upon to notify the exemption limit from service tax as recommended by the Service Tax Advisory Committee.



Confusion over term of club general secretary 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
Confusion prevails among members of the Sutlej club over the election of its new executive body. Though Mr Anurag Verma, the Deputy Commissioner and the president of the club, has declared the election date on March 28, various contestants are a confused lot over the term of the club’s present general secretary. The aspiring candidates feel that until the president cleared the term status of the present general secretary, they would not be able to file their nominations for the post.

The contestants can file their nomination papers between March 13 and 15. March 16 will be the date for scrutiny and the members can withdraw their names on March 18.

Meanwhile, some candidates in the race for the post of general secretary said that the present general secretary had already completed his second term. One of the members, on condition of anonymity, said that as per the club’s constitution, a member could not contest for the third term.

Another member said, “We are ready to contest the elections but everything should be made clear to us. The nominations are on March 13 and only a few days are left. At least we should have the knowledge about the eligible candidates by now”.

Mr Sunil Jain, general secretary of the club, said that he had not completed his two terms so he was eligible to contest again. “As per the constitution, I am eligible to contest for the same post again. I had resigned in-between but was re-elected so I had continued that term only”, he said.

It may be recalled that Mr Jain had resigned from the post of general secretary in the middle of his term during the tenure of Mr Anurag Aggarwal, the then president of the club, and was re-elected unopposed during the next club elections.

Mr Anurag Verma, when contacted, said,“I have appointed Mr M.S.Jaggi as the returning officer. I have to check and confirm certain points regarding the second term of the present general secretary. After getting all details, I would be able to clear all facts by tomorrow”, he said.



Valmikis threaten stir against police inaction
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
Activists of several representative bodies of the Valmiki community today criticised the district authorities and police administration for their failure to initiate proceedings against the author and publishers of the controversial book “Janbaz Rakha” which contained derogatory references to the Valmiki community.

A joint meeting of several organisations held at Bhattian village, near here, took strong exception to the inaction of the authorities, which had caused resentment among the community.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sohan Lal Sidhu, president of the Bhagwan Valmiki Mandir Parbandhak Committee, and Ms Gian Kaur, president of the Bhagwan Valmiki Istri Sabha, observed that despite repeated representations to the administration, the said book was still being openly sold in the market and the community humiliated.

The speakers demanded stern legal action against Mr A.R. Darshi, author, Prof Kulvir Singh, translator and Bhai Chatar Singh Jiwan Singh, publishers of the book. They announced that representatives of the Dalits would soon meet the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, to respond positively and assuage the feelings of the community. A massive protest march would be taken out later this week, they said.

Among others who addressed the meeting included Mr Jagtar Singh, Mr Jang Bahadur Singh, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Des Raj, Mr Gurmeet Ram, Ms Joginder Kaur, Ms Paramjit Kaur and Mr Karnail Singh.



Samaritans come to Kamaljit’s help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
People from all walks of life have contributed generously for the ailing Kamaljit. A resident of Shimlapuri, 10-year-old Kamaljit, with a hole in his heart, is undergoing treatment at the Sigma Newlife Heart Institute here. A successful angiography was performed on him yesterday and he would be operated upon for the disease within next three-four days.

Dr H.S. Bedi, doctor treating Kamaljit, said the hospital had already received about Rs 1 lakh in the form of cash and drafts for the treatment of Kamaljit. “School and College students, businessmen, shopkeepers and gupt-danis have come forward for the noble cause. We will not wait for more donations and the child would be operated upon soon. We are extremely grateful to all those who came forward to help Kamaljit. There are 95 per cent chances that Kamaljit would be able to lead a normal life, though the treatment should have been started much before”, said Dr Bedi.



Bairagi Mandal to meet on March 14
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 9
A meeting of district presidents and circle presidents of Bairagi Maha Mandal, Punjab, will be held on March 14 at Ludhiana, according to a press note issued by Vaid Swarn Dass general secretary of the Mandal.

Mr Vaid said the mandal would discuss the “policy” to be adopted in the coming Lok Sabha elections. He claimed that the mandal had more than seven lakhs votes in the state. He alleged that no representation had been given to the mandal by any political party.



17 bags of poppy husk seized, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
The Jagraon police has seized 17 bags of poppy husk that were being transported in a truck. Two persons were also arrested on the charges of drug trafficking.
The SSP, Jagraon, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, said in a press note that during night patrolling, the a police party received a secret information that two poppy husk smugglers, Darshan Singh, alias Neela, and Kuljit Singh, along with five of their accomplices, were roaming around in the area in a truck and a Maruti car with the intention of selling poppy husk. The truck carrying the contraband was being driven by Buta Singh, while Darshan Singh was driving the car.

Several checkposts were set up for intensive search of vehicles. The accused were caught shifting some of the bags of poppy husk from the truck into the Maruti car. On being challenged, some persons managed to flee in the car, while Buta Singh, driver and suspected owner of the truck, and another person, identified as Pal Singh, were arrested along with 17 bags of poppy husk, valued at around Rs 1.70 lakh.

Mr Bhullar said five others, who had given the police a slip, had been identified and a massive manhunt had been launched to apprehend them.



Man cremated on the sly, one held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 9
The Khanna police has arrested a sheller contractor, Sukhwinder, for allegedly cremating body of a man without informing the police and his family members. The man had died in an accident a month ago while travelling in Sukhwinder’s vehicle.

Police sources said the city police station received information that Sukhwinder had cremated the body of Dil Bahadar, a cook, without informing the police and the family members of the deceased. The informer told the police that Dil Bahadar was seated in a Tata Estate being driven by Sukhwinder. On way to Model Town, Dil Bahadar fell after the vehicle took a turn and was allegedly crushed under the rear tyre of the vehicle.

Sukhwinder took him to a private hospital where the doctor on duty referred the injured to a Ludhiana hospital. He, however, died on the way. Sukhwinder, however, did not inform the police or the family members of the deceased and reportedly cremated him. A case under Sections 304-A and 201 of the IPC had been registered, SHO City, Mr Rajan Parminder, said. The accused was arrested and released on bail.



Youth kills mother 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
On the statement of Ms Bhawana Sharma, wife of Mr Krishan Kant Sharma, a resident of New Tagore Nagar, the Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against Sadhu Sharma on the charge of killing his mother, Arun Kumari (45), for allegedly having illicit relations with a youth living in Durga Puri.

According to information, the accused attacked his mother with a knife on Monday night. He also injured his sister as she tried to intervene. Later, the youth also allegedly made an attempt to kill the youth living in Durga Puri. However, he could not reportedly succeed as the youth ran away to take shelter in his house.

The complainant in the case, who is married to a son of the deceased and lives in the same house, stated that the accused killed his mother with a sword and ran away. Though sources said the accused had been arrested from near a tubewell in the locality, the police said no arrest had been made so far.

House damaged in assault: On the statement of Mr Dinesh Kumar, who hails from Bihar and lives in Shanti Nagar mohalla, the Focal Point police on Monday registered a case under Sections 452, 386, 323, 427, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC, against Rameshwari Giri, Ashok Giri, Anil Giri, Ram Malik Giri and Prithivi Giri.

The complainant had alleged that the accused, who were armed with iron roads, came to his house on Sunday night and assaulted him and his family members. They damaged the gate of the house and also threatened him, his brothers, Mukesh Kumar, Aklesh Kumar and Anshekhar Kumar. The complainant further alleged that the accused also snatched a sum of Rs 10,000 before running away.

Vehicles stolen: The Civil Lines police on Monday registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Darshan Lal, a resident of Model Town, against an unidentified person who stole his Santro car from the Mall Road sometime between 4 pm and 4.45 pm on Sunday. No arrest has been made.

The Division Number 8 police also registered a case under the same section on the statement of Mr Rajid Sabra, a resident of Green Park, Civil Lines, whose Yamaha motor cycle was stolen from Kitchlu Nagar on Sunday evening.

Assault cases: The Haibowal police has registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Amar Nath, who lives in Gopal Nagar at Haibowal, against Prem Chand and his wife, who also live in the same locality. The complainant had alleged that the accused had intercepted him and beaten him up in the locality on Saturday.

The Koom Kalan police registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mohinder Singh, a resident of Shalu Bhaini village, against Karamjit Singh, Harjit Singh, Paramjit Singh and Balvir Singh, who live in the same village. The complainant had alleged that the accused had stopped him on the way, beaten him up and also threatened him.



Fraud alleged
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 9
The Division Number 6 police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Dharminder Singh, who lives in Ram Nagar, against Balvir Singh, his neighbour.

The complainant had alleged that he had paid Rs 1.35 lakh to the accused on the understanding that he would send him abroad. But the accused neither sent him abroad nor returned the money, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.



Bankers panel reviews performance
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
A meeting of the state-level review committee of the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) was held here recently. Senior representatives from various government departments, the Reserve Bank of India, NABARD and other banks attended the meeting.

After having general review of the performance of banks and issues relating to the banking industry in the state, three subgroups were formed on agriculture, allied activities and industries. After deliberations, the subgroups made recommendations for improvement in quantity and quality of flow of credit to various sectors.

Mr U.S. Bhargava, convener of the SLBC, Punjab, said subgroups emphasised the role of media in dissemination of information to the public. Since many schemes offered by the banks were not known to masses, the facilities available under these scheme were not being utilised optimally. Proper dissemination of knowledge about the schemes would enable masses to take benefits of these.

Development of infrastructure was a key catalyst for overall progress of the state’s economy and helped in optimum utilisation of resources available. The banks could finance bankable projects and NABARD could also be approached for utilisation of the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund available with it for development of infrastructure in rural areas.

The government-sponsored schemes should be implemented in such a way that proper identification of the economically viable activities based on potential-linked plans prepared by NABARD preceded the sponsoring of the application and financing by the banks. This would ensure that the scarce funds made available were put to proper utilisation, creating stable sources of livelihood for the poorest of the poor.

Facilitation of rural housing would pave the way to the realisation of the President’s dream of extending urban facilities to rural areas. For this, the state government was requested to find ways and means for making available title deeds to occupants of land so that loans for rural housing be granted by banks.

PAU, an initiator of the first Green Revolution, should facilitate change in cropping pattern in the state. Contract farming and development of agro-based industries in the state would facilitate the availability of remunerative prices to the growers. The university could also play an important role by making available inputs and technical know-how to the farmers at reasonable cost.

For the purpose of increase in the shelf life of perishable products, cold chains should be developed. For the creation of entrepreneurship amongst the students of PAU, technical institutions, polytechnic etc., the banks should involve themselves in imparting the knowledge of banking facilities for enhancing the confidence of the students to avail themselves of the banking facilities.

Mr Bhargava said Punjab National Bank, being the lead bank for the state, would now follow up and coordinate various actions to ensure implementations of various suggestions made by the groups.


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