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Advani seeks another term for NDA
SAD-BJP blame police for low turnout at rally
Tribune News Service

Workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) show black flags to the convoy of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s "Bharat Uday Yatra"
Workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) show black flags to the convoy of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s “Bharat Uday Yatra” on Thursday, near Jamalpur, in Ludhiana. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, March 25
Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today sought another term for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre for making India the number one country in the world.

He said, similarly for Punjab, it was necessary that the Congress government was shown the exit and the Shiromani Akal Dal-BJP government was installed here.

Mr Advani, who reached at Jalandhar bypass around 12 noon, said the achievements of the NDA government were very obvious for everyone to see. He said the Vajpayee government had surpassed all previous records of other governments as far as development was concerned.

He blamed the Congress for all ills facing the country. He pointed out, the Congress had ruled in the country for over 45 years. While other countries had moved ahead and taken lead, India remained far behind. He claimed the NDA had a vision of a great and prosperous India, which was being given a practical shape.

Later, talking to reporters, he said his yatra had been receiving a very good response. His earlier yatra had a different purpose, he added. Mr Advani evaded any reference to controversial issues like Ayodhaya and harped on the theme of development only.

He had a brief stopover here. His rath stopped about 15 minutes during which he delivered his speech in front of a modest gathering that had managed to walk through the tightly secured routes. BJP leaders, including former Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain, said the police had imposed a ‘curfew’ in the city and nobody was allowed to move freely in the name of security. All workers who managed to reach the venue of the rally had to walk a few kilometers on foot.

With the tightest ever security arrangements and diversion of traffic on most of the routes, the yatra route wore a deserted look. Although it passed through the main city via Clock Tower route, it failed to generate any enthusiasm among the public. There were not many people to receive or wave to Mr Advani’s rath.

Barring sporadic instances by some Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) activists, the yatra passed off peacefully. Even the SAD (A) workers appeared to make a formal protest only without much trouble or resistance. Later, they were detained by the police.

The SAD (A) general secretary, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, justified the resistance put up by his party workers saying, Mr Advani’s rath yatra could spell communal conflagration in the country. He alleged Mr Advani was opposed to the concepts of federalism and secularism and that was why the activists of their party observed a symbolic protest against the yatra. Activists of the party waved black flags to Mr Advani at Khamano also.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the BJP could not manage a good show for the public rally of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. It was only a modest crowd that had gathered at the Jalandhar bypass to listen to Mr Advani. The police had cordonned off the entire area, including the route throughout the city, claiming that this was being done for security reasons.

The SAD-BJP blamed it on the police and alleged that a curfew-like situation had been created in the city. Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Speaker, Satpal Gosain alleged that this was a repressive measure taken by the police. He alleged that people were prevented from going to the venue of the rally. People could be seen walking on foot to reach the venue, which was about 4 km outside the city.

Mr Gosain said that in the name of security arrangements, the police under the directions from the government, had sealed all roads leading to the rally venue. No vehicle was allowed to go near the venue and these were stopped 2 km ahead of the venue. The BJP and Akali Dal workers also staged a protest demonstration against the government. They raised anti-government slogans and alleged that the government was “panic-stricken” over the response to the yatra, so it tried to ensure that it failed in Ludhiana. They claimed that despite the “repressive measures” by the police, the rally proved to be successful and it would help the SAD-BJP. 



Advani’s yatra a cruel joke, says CPM
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
The Communist Party of India-Marxist, while terming the rath yatra being undertaken by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, a cruel joke with the toiling masses, maintained that the feel good factor was a fallacy.

Addressing a rally at Chattar Singh Park here while the rath yatra was passing through the city, the state secretary of the party, Mr Raghu Nath Singh, said the working classes had suffered much under the regime of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

“As a result of the economic policies of the government, a number of industrial units have closed down rendering many times more workers unemployed. The prices of essential goods like kerosene oil, petrol, diesel, power, medicines and foodgrains have gone up while the purchasing power of the common man has gone down. Despite the availability of adequate stocks of foodgrains, a major part of the population does not have two square meals a day. Safe drinking water is not available to nearly half the population of the country and health care facilities as well as education have become unaffordable.”

The CPM activist said the hike in train and bus fares, escalating cost of life-saving medicines and hefty increase in tuition fee structure of schools and colleges had threatened the very survival of the masses and there was nothing to feel good about in this grim scenario.

Mr Gurmukh Singh further charged the BJP and its allies at the Centre with rousing communal passions for their political motives and indulging in different scams, even at the cost of security of the country. The NDA government had bartered the interests of the nation to multi-national corporations, the WTO and World Bank.

He alleged that the working classes were being particularly targeted and the employers allowed to flout all labour laws with impunity. The government had gone to the extent of snatching the basic trade union rights of the workers and labour laws were being amended under pressure from MNC’s.

The district secretary of the party, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, vice-president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Mr Jatinder Pal Singh, assistant secretary, Mr Jagdish Chand, district vice-president, Mr Sukhminder Singh Lotey, and state president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, Mr Roop Vasant, among others, addressed the rally.



Chamber delegation meets Advani
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
A delegation of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Punjab), including its president, Mr P.D. Sharma, Mr K.K. Seth and Mr Ashok Juneja, met Mr Parkash Jawedkar, All-India Organising Secretary of the BJP, and Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, here today.

Members of the delegation conveyed their resentment over the rising steel and pig iron prices. Mr Advani was told that it would have serious political overtones if not checked.

Mr Parkash Jawedkar told the delegation about the steps government had already taken in that regard. He said steel producers had been warned to bring down the prices before March 30, failing which government would invoke the Essential Commodities Act.

Mr Sharma informed Mr Jawedkar that so far the main thrust had been on the main steel producers, but secondary producers had not been touched. Sponge iron manufacturers were fleecing the secondary producers who, in turn, were fleecing the steel consumers.

Mr Jawedkar talked to Mr Arun Jaitley, who assured Mr Jawedkar that all steel producers, including secondary sector and sponge iron producers, would be dealt with severely and prices would come down before March 30.



Hundreds toil hard to save buried labourer
Tribune News Service

The injured labourer, Channu, being taken to hospital in an ambulance
The injured labourer, Channu, being taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Ludhiana, March 25
A 17-year-old migrant labourer, who got trapped under a truck loaded with iron girders, was saved from certain death by people here today.
After an hour-long race against time, the tired Good Samaritans, with bruised, and in some cases, badly cut hands and fingers, were able to unload the truck and pull out the labourer, who had almost given up the hope of being rescued.

The labourer, Channu, was rushed to the DMC Hospital. He held his nerves for better part of the rescue operation, but was almost unconscious when he was finally pulled out. Doctors said he might take a day or two to recover from the shock.

The majority of rescuers were employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board, traffic policemen and cops from the Sarabha Nagar police station, besides mediapersons.

A number of mediapersons, who had gathered at the spot, also chose to help in the unloading of the iron girders. Amrik Singh Prince of a Hindi daily pulled out the labourer and carried him on his back to an ambulance that was parked some distance away.

The accident took place around 3.30 pm. The truck (PB 13-B 3404) was parked since last night at the main gate of the PSEB head office along the Ferozepore road here. The axle of the vehicle was broken. Mechanics from Mandi Gobindgarh, including the victim, Channu, were repairing it since morning. The truck was supported with a jack and its rear tyres were removed. The jack gave way and the heavily loaded vehicle fell on Channu who was standing near the jack.

He got trapped in a small vacant space formed between the footpath and the truck. There he lay for more than an hour.

The rescue operation was carried out with the help of cranes. The accident caused a traffic jam on the road. The day undoubtedly belonged to scores of persons without whose help the labourer would have died a painful death. 



Beware of travel agent-police nexus
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 25
Sarabjit Singh, an engineer and the sole bread winner of a marginal agricultural family of Bopla village, aspired to get a job at Montreal in Canada, but landed in Tihar Jail as his appointment-cum-contract letter issued by a placement agency at Chandigarh turned out to be forged one. His father Biker Singh, a mentally challenged senior citizen, had to arrange Rs 5 lakh instantly — Rs 4 lakh demanded by the agency and the rest for miscellaneous expenses.

The lure of money attracted Sukhwinder Singh of Dhanansu village in Ludhiana district to Italy, but he landed in jail after he was booked by the Delhi police under Sections 468 and 420 of the IPC. A travel agent had duped him by preparing fake documents for him.

Unaware of the nature of the visa in his hands, Tirlochan Singh of district Ropar went to the airport and the ultra modern gadgets there detected the fake visa that led him to jail.

Tejinder Singh of Amritsar, Surinder of Gurdaspur and Suresh of Kurukshetra were other such persons who hoping for a better life in western countries had ended up being cheated by agents.

Sukhvir Singh, another aspirant seeking a high-profile merchant navy job, had paid Rs 3 lakh to a placement agency. He was lucky that he had not presented forged appointment-cum-contract letter at the embassy, otherwise he too could have been behind bars.

This is a glimpse of the plight of hundreds of such youths who have been victim of travels agents. The plight of these youths was narrated to this correspondent by Sarabjit Singh of Bopla village, who had been released on bail from jail number 6 of Tihar, along with five other youths.

There are many such youths who frequently get lodged in this jail after being presented in courts at the Patiala house. Sarabjit and Sukhvir, who were allegedly duped by a placement agency at Chandigarh, alleged that a nexus between agents and the police existed.

The youths were arrested by the Delhi police on complaints of the respective embassies. After extracting complete information from the arrested youths, the Delhi police would call the agent to Delhi and exhort half of the booty as their share to protect their interest.

Referring to an FIR registered against Vikram S. Laddi and Gurpreet Sakhi, Sukhvir Singh, the complainant said the accused had in his written statement to the police admitted giving Rs 3.50 lakh to the Delhi police. A TPM sent by the Punjab police to the Delhi police to arrest the accused from their custody was ignored for obvious reasons.



Dhillon promises the moon to electorate
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
The SAD-BJP combine nominee from the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, has been raking up the developmental agenda and his pledge to safeguard the interests of the electorate in the course of his ongoing election campaign in the constituency.

In a series of meetings in the rural segment of the parliamentary seat, he made a bid to reach out to the people in a systematic but effective manner by raising several issues like grassroot democracy, welfare of the weaker sections, support to the farm sector, setting up of agro based industries in the rural areas to generate direct and indirect employment and opening up of the Hussainiwala and Fazilka borders for trade and communication with Pakistan. He also made a case for setting up of an international airport in the district Ludhiana and revamping of industrial and trade policies, both by the state and the Centre.

Mr Dhillon stressed the need to strengthen industrial economy and providing the trade a conducive atmosphere to flourish and contribute to the prosperity of the state. The hub of the tiny and small scale industry, also known as the Manchester of India, being a major revenue earner for the state exchequer, merited a special treatment and additional incentives.

Making attacks on the ruling Congress party in Punjab, he remarked that functioning of the government was basically anti-democratic. The government harped to empower the grassroot institutions and Panchayati Raj structure but in practice, it acted totally against these institutions. The previous Badal Government had implemented many welfare schemes for the weaker sections and for the people below poverty line such as old age pension, free education for poor students, free electricity for weaker section households, shagun schemes at the marriage and financial help at the birth of girl-child. But the present Congress Government has scrapped all these welfare schemes with a single stroke of its pen.

Mr Dhillon, who himself belonged to a farming family, dwelt upon the problems faced by the agricultural sector. Due to the policies influenced by World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank and IMF, the farm sector was under great stress.

Addressing election meetings in some of the city localities, he touched the specific problems of the urban population related to chaotic traffic, environmental degradation, air pollution, encroachment and absence of long-term plans for the city of about 3 million people. Mr Dhillon said he would focus his attention on development of an international airport in the city to serve its commercial and industrial interests.



Workshop on soya products
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
The Department of Food Science and Technology, Punjab Agricultural University, organised a workshop on ‘Soya enriched bakery and food products’ here today.
The workshop was organised in collaboration with the American Soya Association (ASA), Sonic Biochem Extractions Private Limited and the Ludhiana chapter of the Association of Food Scientists and Technologists.

Dr M.S. Tiwana, Dean, College of Agriculture, emphasised the nutritional significance of high-quality processed soya products in his inaugural address as the chief guest. He said the PAU scientists must work in close cooperation with the food industry, hotels and tourist industry to promote production and consumption of soya-fortified food products.

Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, said such training programmes should be often arranged for hotel chefs and bakers. Dr G.S. Padda, Head, Department of Food Science and Technology, highlighted the role of soya products in combating diabetes, heart diseases and osteoporosis.

Mr S.C. Dubey, bakery consultant, ASA, spoke on the use of soya flour and its products in bakery. He said soyabean was a cheap source of high-quality proteins and fats and could be used as an alternative to hormonal therapy using oestrogen for old women to overcome post-menopausal complications.

He, along with experts from New Delhi and Indore, gave a demonstration on preparation of soya products like cakes, cookies, pizza base, pastries, bread and buns.

Around 100 participants from reputed bakeries and hotels, noodle and snack manufacturers, teachers and scientists from various women colleges and institutions in and around Ludhiana attended the workshop. Mr Raj Kapoor, consultant with the American Soya Association, New Delhi, extended the vote of thanks.



Interest-free payment of arrears till Mar 31
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
City residents can pay their arrears of house tax, water and sewerage charges without accrued interest as one-time facility till March 31.
The municipal corporation has decided to accept the payment of civic charges even on Saturday, Sunday and a gazetted holiday during the intervening period.

According to a press statement by Mr S. K. Sharma, Commissioner, the receipt counters in the main office and zonal offices of the corporation would remain open till 1.30 p.m. on holidays while the payment will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on working days.

The Municipal Commissioner, further, said 10 per cent rebate on the renewal of licences could also be availed of only till March 31 and, thereafter, all outstanding bills would have to be paid with interest.



SHO not shifted, says SSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Mr Narinderpal Singh, SSP, Ludhiana, today clarified that Inspector Anil Joshi, SHO, Division No. 5 police station, had not been shifted to the police lines as reported in a section of media yesterday.
The SSP said that the SHO had only gone on leave for a few days. He joined the duty today.



Bar chief Shakti Sharma dead

Ludhiana, March 25
Mr Shakti Sharma, president of the New Courts Bar Association died today here this afternoon. He had suffered a cardiac arrest yesterday and was admitted to the Hero-Heart Centre. He was cremated in the evening. Mr Sharma is survived by his wife and two sons. OC



19-year-old raped
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
A 19-year-old girl was allegedly raped by two unidentified persons at Phagwara some days ago. The girl, a resident of Amritsar, was visiting her aunt Binder Kaur in the city.

Binder Kaur’s friend, Charanjit Kaur, who used to meet her had reportedly promised her a job and had allegedly taken her to some unidentified place, where she was handed over to two unidentified men.

Both took the girl to a house in Phagwara and raped her. The Ludhiana police has registered a case against Charanjit Kaur and two unidentified persons under Sections 376 and 120 B of the IPC.



2 undertrials hurt in brawl
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Two undertrials, lodged at the local Central Jail, were injured today in a brawl over an old enmity.
The duo, Akashdeep and Rakesh Kumar were admitted to the local Civil Hospital after they sustained injuries following the fight in which they were joined by the supporters of both in the jail.

The situation was brought under control after the intervention of the jail authorities. The injured were sent to the hospital. The jail administration has written to the local police authorities recommending action against the duo.



Man booked for forging property documents
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
The Civil Lines police registered a case under Sections 468 and 471 of the IPC against Rajesh Garg and his wife, Sunita Garg, residents of Model Gram, Cheema Park, here yesterday. The case was registered on the statement of Mr Raminder Singh of the Improvement Trust, Ludhiana.

The complainant had stated that the accused had prepared forged property documents in the name of his father, Darbara Singh, pertaining to an Improvement Trust property. No arrest has been made so far.

Man killed: The Focal Point police on Wednesday registered a case under Section 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Puran Kumar, who hails from Nepal and lives in Mundian Khurd village, against an unidentified person who was driving a truck (PAT-7174).

The complainant had stated that the accused hit his brother, Lashman Kumar, near Cheema Dharam Kanda on the GT Road on Wednesday afternoon and fled from the spot. Lashman Kumar died on the spot, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

Fraud alleged: The Jodhewal police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mukhtiar Singh, a resident of Sector 22-D, Chandigarh, against Jaswinder Singh, a resident of New Subhash Nagar.

The complainant said he had given Rs 70,000 to the accused for preparing a music album. But the accused neither prepared the album, nor returned his money. No arrest has been made so far.

The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Gurjant Singh, a resident of Rurka village, against Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Gill village, Karam Singh, a resident of Katari Lapran village, Mewa Singh, manager of a finance company located opposite Park Plaza Hotel, Sukhdev Singh and Sunil Kumar.

The complainant has alleged that the accused had obtained a loan of Rs 2 lakh on the basis of forged documents pertaining to his truck in 2001. No arrest has been made so far.

The Sadar police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Gholewal Kadim village, against Avtar Singh, a resident of Nawan Rajjapur village.

The complainant had alleged that he had paid Rs 3.5 lakh to the accused in lieu of some land. But the accused neither transferred the said land in his name, nor returned the money. No arrest has been made so far.

Linemen manhandled: On the statement of Mr Harjeet Singh, SDO, PSEB (unit-I), Focal Point, the Jodhewal police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 353, 332, 186 and 34 of the IPC against Khajan Singh, Davinder Singh and Pappu, residents of Grewal Colony on the Tibba Road.

The complainant had stated that the PSEB linemen, Balbir Singh and Darshan Kumar, were on duty in the area on Wednesday to collect arrears when the accused scuffled with them and interfered in the discharge of their duty. Balbir Singh was injured and admitted to the Civil Hospital. No arrest has been made so far.

Injured: The Model town police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Navkiran Singh, who lives in Phase-II at Dugri, against Jatinder Singh, who lives in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.

The complainant had stated that the accused had rammed his three-wheeler into his motor cycle on Tuesday as a result of which he was injured and his motor cycle damaged. No arrest has been made so far.

The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Inderjit Singh, who lives in Kot Mangal Singh mohalla, against an unidentified driver of a four-wheeler that hit his motor cycle near New Janta Nagar on the Gill Road on the evening of March 19 and sped away from the scene. The complainant further stated that he was injured in the accident. No arrest has been made so far.



Excise Dept to become trader friendly
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
The Central Excise Department will lay emphasis on strengthening mutual trust with traders and industrialist and will function in a more transparent manner.
This was stated by Mr P.S. Pruthi, Central Excise Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the Regional Advisory Committee of the Central Excise here yesterday.

Other senior officials of the department, including Mr Rajesh Sodhi, Additional Commissioner, Mr Sandeep Puri, Mr Rajiv Kapoor, Joint Commissioners, Mr Rajan Choudhry and Mr R.L. Bhagat, Deputy Commissioners, also attended the meeting.

Mr Pruthi said the department would solve the day-to-day problems of assessees on priority basis and efforts would be made to check harassment to traders and industrialists. He said instructions had been issued not to carry out any checking or survey at small-scale industrial units without an approval from the commissionerate. “We are moving towards an era of liberalisation and cutting down the procedural wrangles,” he added.

He sought the cooperation of traders and industrialists in fulfilling the obligations of the department and also to make the working hassle-free for the tax payers.

Among the issues discussed at the meeting were procedure for bringing back rejected goods into factories, audit schedule in respect of different units, job work under notification No. 214/86, procurement of excisable goods under CT-1 certificate and sharing of cost recovery charges by export-oriented units.

Members of the committee, including Mr S.C. Ralhan, Regional Chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council, Mr Ashok Juneja, Vice-President, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, Mr Balwant Rai, President, Northern Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr V.K. Goyal, Chief Executive, Vardhman Spinning and General Mills, Mr V.P. Chopra, President, Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association, Mr M.P. Jain, Vice-President, Federation of Associations of Small-Scale Industries of India, Mr Jatinder Khurana, Chairman, Young Lawyers Association (Taxation), Mr S.K. Malhotra, Executive Director, Greatway Private Limited, Mr Rajiv Jain, Deputy General Manager, Gujarat Ambuja Cement Limited, Mr Amarnath Grover, president, Snuff and Zarda Manufacturers Association; and Mr Pradeep Kumar Modi, joint secretary, Ludhiana Steel Re-rollers Association, participated in the interaction.


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