L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Duty evasion worth 2.5 cr detected, recovered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The local Central Excise Department has detected a fraud worth Rs 2.57 crore in form of customs duty evasion by owners of M/s Sambhav Textiles Ltd here. The raiding team succeeded in recovering the entire amount. It is the highest recovery made from one case in the region.

With this, the department has claimed to have recovered over Rs 4.2 crore from three firms in less than a week. Mr P.S. Pruthi, Commissioner, Central Excise, said in a press note that the department had tightened its noose around industries indulging in tax evasion and causing losses to the public exchequer.

He said a team headed by Mr A. K. Sharma, Superintendent (Preventive), conducted the investigations on the business premises of the textiles firm and registered a case involving shortage of goods valued at Rs 2.57 crore involving central excise duty against the party.

The modus operandi in the case was that the unit indulged in “on-paper transactions” of goods without receiving them. The manufacturing and clearance of goods was also done in a clandestine manner.

The party was utilising the Cenvat credit availed on such paper transactions on value addition in respect of goods exported under the rebate scheme, thereby causing loss worth crores to the government exchequer.

Officials claimed that the party had admitted to the evasion of excise duty amounting to Rs 2.57 crore and the same had been recovered on the spot, including Rs 1.15 crore in personal ledger accounts, Rs 97 lakh from rebate claims and Rs 37 lakh from the Cenvat credit. Traders and yarn dealers were also under scrutiny for their role in the transactions.

The Commissioner said they had detected the evasion of central excise duty of more than Rs 5 crore till date this year. He said a strategy had already been chalked out against units, that indulged in such frauds.

The central excise preventive staff had earlier booked two cases involving excise duty evasion of Rs 1.70 crore last week and the duty was recovered on the spot. 


‘Satta’ mafia holds over state lotteries
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, May 29
The ‘satta’ mafia of the city, doing a daily business of crores, is now spreading its tentacles over state lotteries, causing a huge loss to the state exchequer.

The illegal market of ‘darra’ and ‘satta’, in which bets worth crores are booked on plain paper, has been flourishing in Ludhiana and other towns and cities of Punjab at a brisk pace for the past four decades or so. However, it suffered a setback after a number of state-sponsored lotteries hit the market in the late eighties. The factor of payment guarantee further contributed to the popularisation of state lotteries among the masses whereas the illegal satta bookies were always in a position to exploit those who placed bets by making alterations in the bets and refusing to pay. Since a person duped was not in a position to go to the police, he started preferring the lottery since the tickets could be encashed anywhere.

But the state lottery could not make a dent in the illegal ‘darra-satta’ market for long. The simple reason was that while the state lottery offered a prize of Rs 100 only against a bet of Rs 11, the illegal ‘darra’ market offered Rs 700 against a bet of Rs 10 on any number starting from 1 to 100. No doubt, the lure of ‘darra’ is more catchy.

For any prospective ‘darra-satta’ bookie who wants to run the illegal business without bothering about the law, the best way is to open a lottery counter in any of the busy lottery markets of the city. The lottery stall provides all necessary contacts and business starts looking up quickly.

Initially, only a handful of lottery ticket sellers, catered to the needs of those lottery addicts who could not find tickets of a particular digit which was in demand on a particular day. In the absence of tickets, they would book the tickets on plain paper as an obligation to the customer.

Of late, the trend has undergone a change. Since the ‘satta’ sharks of the city have decided to expand their tentacles over the lottery business, more lottery operators are being lured by them to book as many tickets on plain paper as possible. The result is that the actual sale of lottery tickets has been slowly going down.

The wholesalers, who are the worst sufferers, recently complained to the controller of state lotteries at Chandigarh about the inroads being made by the ‘satta’ mafia into their business. To check the same, a police team arrived in the city from Chandigarh on specific orders of the DGP. The team, along with the local police, raided three lottery markets in different parts of the city and rounded up several individuals, including customers. They were released later after questioning. The police did not come across any ‘satta’ bookie operating under the garb of a lottery seller.

Sources said policemen owing allegiance to the local ‘satta’ mafia had warned the bookies about the raids. The illegal business of ‘darra-satta’ in the city has been patronised by politicians and policemen for ages. Various SSPs had launched operations against the menace, but they had not been able to eradicate it. The sources claimed that the network of underground bookies, operating in almost all parts of the city, was strong.


CICU condemns tax proposal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The signals to give a push to the economic reforms, by the present United People’s Alliance and the raising of funds by way of levy of cess on central taxes to finance the commitments made in the Common Minimum Programme, have not found favour with the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU).

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the CICU have condemned the proposal of the Finance Ministry to impose tax, considering it a double taxation on all taxable items which would load the trade and industrial community.

Moreover, the legal cell of the chamber has described the system of collecting cess on all central taxes will be illegal and not in accordance with the provisions of various Acts, if the collection made through cess on the central taxes has to be spent on the education and health sectors. 


Residents decry poor amenities
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 29
The availability of basic amenities in general, delivery of services in particular and enforcement of civic rules in the mega city leaves much to be desired and it is not only the underdeveloped areas or slums where residents have to suffer either due to poor amenities or highhandedness of unlawful occupants, but the fate of even those living in posh localities is no better.

The case of Model Town Extension colony along Sidhwan Canal is a classic example of how official apathy can make the life of the residents miserable. As if the rampant encroachments in every conceivable vacant space, pathetic condition of roads and parks and the poor level of sanitation was not enough, a score of transporters, ferrying building material, have caused damage to the sewer lines at several places as a result of which a large area in A block of the colony has been inundated by sewage and foul smelling waste water for last few days.

Rampant encroachment on footpaths all around and other open spaces by some of the transport companies, which also deal in building material like sand, bricks and sand stone, has made the matters worse. In addition to dirty water disposed in the streets and lanes from gurdwara, the residents have to live with flying dust and sand all over their houses.

To add to the woes of the residents, the entire dirty water is being disposed of towards the residential houses by the functionaries of a religious institution in the heart of the colony and the people are forced to live in worst kind of insanitary and unhygienic conditions with no one to turn towards for redressal of their persistent problems.

Mr Jagdev Singh Grewal, a senior citizen, and many other area residents told Ludhiana Tribune that repeated pleas made by deputation of residents through representations and personal meetings with senior MC officials for corrective measures, have failed to evoke any response so far. As a result, the offenders have been further emboldened and they care two hoots for the suffering and inconvenience, caused to the people.

“Rather than keeping the building material inside their premises, the transport companies, located in the area use the entire open spaces, footpaths and even part of the main road. With the result that sand and dust can be found all over the houses in the entire area. The transport companies also create nuisance with parking of vehicles right in front of the houses creating more problems for the people.”

Mr Grewal was critical of the management of Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Model Town Extension, for having failed to make proper arrangements for disposal of dirty water which kept flooding all the surrounding streets and bylanes. “We have all respect for the place of worship. But at the same time, the management is duty bound to be responsible and considerate towards the people all around.”

The area residents and functionaries of the Welfare Society of the colony told that in the past, officials of the MC had visited the locality in response to repeated representations submitted by the people, but that was that, and no follow up action was taken to provide any kind of relief to the harried and helpless residents. Way back in June, 2002, the then MC Joint Commissioner of Zone D had issued orders for challanning transport vehicles for unauthorised parking and creating pollution but till date no action has been taken to implement these orders, the residents rued.


Ludhiana girls excel in B.Com exams
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
Students of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, made their mark and grabbed 4 university positions in B.Com II year, the results of which were declared yesterday. Shilpa Ahuja made the college proud and got the Ist position in Panjab University, Chandigarh, by securing, 755/950 marks. It is worth mentioning that Shilpa stood first in Panjab University last year also in B.Com Ist year examination.

The college has got excellent results as Isha Gupta got 6th position in the university securing 717/950 marks while another student Indesh Kaur got the 8th position and Dolly Sharma got the 9th position. It is a matter of honour for the college as the college has got 98.6 per cent result whereas the university result was 62.7 per cent.

Dr (Mrs) Varinder Kaur Thind, Principal of Khalsa College, congratulated the Department of Commerce for getting excellent results and making the college proud.

Ramgarhia students pass in first division

Students of the Department of Computer Science and Applications of Ramgarhia Girls College again came up with flying colours in their university examination. All the students of BCA I, II and III passed with more than 60 per cent marks (first division). As usual the students of BCA got merit positions in the Panjab University, Chandigarh.

In BCA I, Ms Parampreet Kaur stood eighth in the University, fourth in the Ludhiana district and first in the college securing 80.6 per cent, Ms Mamta Rani stood twelfth in the university, fifth in Ludhiana and second in the college securing 79.37% and Ms Simranjeet Kaur got thirteenth position in the university, sixth in the district and third in the college securing 78.5 per cent.

In BCA II, Ms Rabia Tinna stood ninth in the University, sixth in the district and first in the college securing 80.25 per cent, Ms Gagandeep Kaur stood eighth in Ludhiana and second in the college securing 79.3 per cent, and Ms Mona Garg stood tenth in the city and third in the college securing 78.8 per cent.

In BCA III, Anju Garg got sixth position in the district and topped the college with 77.4 per cent, Aarti Arora secured eighth position in Ludhiana and stood second in the college with 77.2 per cent and Sandeep Kaur stood third in the college securing 75.66 per cent marks.


Sensor traffic lights installed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, May 29
District police chief Shiv Kumar Sharma inaugurated sensor-based traffic lights, the first of its kind in the state, at the G.T. Road bus stand here on Thursday. The lights were installed by the municipal council at a cost of Rs 6.5 lakh.

MC chief Joginder Pal Singla said the lights would help control traffic efficiently. He highlighted the development works of the council, including a modern truck stand at Chatarpura village that would be completed soon.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Lachman Singh Saini, executive officer, said work on a park in Ward No 17 and Guru Hargobind Sahib Memorial Gate was nearing completion.

Mr Jagmeet Singh Sahota, vice-president of the MC, said the national highway survey team had conducted a survey to lay the subway under the GT Road. The council would provide funds accordingly. Work on the construction of a modern park in Ward No 9 was in progress.


Akali MP to focus on industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
The newly elected SAD MP from Ludhiana, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, today pledged to work for solving the problems of industrial units and to strive for the setting up of more units with emphasis on agro-based processing units in the rural areas to generate employment.

Addressing a press conference here, he said he had already commenced a series of meetings with different segments of the electorate, including those from the trade and industry, in this regards.

Among the priorities listed by him were shifting of field ammunition depot at Baddowal, problems of industry related to raw material, power and marketing facilities and stepping up the pace for infrastructural development.

Asked if being in the opposition, what were the chances of success in getting the demands of the city accepted, Mr Dhillon remarked that as MP, he represented the entire constituency and was duty-bound to project the grievances of the people before the government. Moreover, the SAD, along with its allies in the NDA, including the BJP, had a formidable presence in the House and the government, irrespective of the political considerations, would have to concede the legitimate demands.


Incidents of crime on the rise
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 29
Deteriorating law and order situation in this industrial hub of the state has created a sense of fear and panic among traders and industrialists. A sense of insecurity is developing as a result of some daring robberies and incidents of snatching. The latest incident of daylight robbery took place on Wednesday when three robbers took away a sum of Rs 6.75 lakh from two persons, who were returning to their factory after withdrawing the amount from a bank. This incident has sent shock waves among the industrialists who have their units in the industrial focal point in Dhandhari Kalan.

Earlier, too, some incidents had taken place which have added to the gravity of the situation. On May 7 a sum of Rs 1.70 lakh was looted on Mall Road when two persons stabbed a man and managed to escape with the amount in a car.

In another incident a trader of Mandi Gobindgarh was robbed of Rs 6 lakh.

The incidents of other crimes are also on the rise as an attempt was made to kidnap a minor girl in Dugri Colony three days ago by two youth in a car. One person took the risk and grappled with the youth and managed to save the girl while’ he himself was injured by the two persons who drove away in their car. Three incidents of kidnapping of minor children were also reported during this month. The police authorities claim to have intensified the patrolling but the same has not proved of much help in checking the crime rate.

Seven lockers of a bank were broken a few months ago on the Ferozepore road and there has been no headway in the case. The loss was more than Rs 50 lakh. The owners of the bank lockers have not got any compensation from the bank as the bank authorities maintain they are not responsible for any loss in the bank lockers.


IHRO for change in SGPC leadership
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) today described the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) leadership and certain Akali leaders, as politically and morally corrupt, persons who have been using the SGPC and Sikh institutions, for their sinister political gains.

The need of the hour was to remove these leaders to pave the way for a genuine Sikh leadership during the SGPC elections, said IHRO chairperson, D.S. Gill, secretary-general Mohinder Singh Grewal, administration secretary Avtar Singh Gill and academic and religious affairs director K.B.S. Sodhi in a press note here today.

The IHRO, at its core group meeting, yesterday, called upon the Panth in general and all Sikh groups, including the SAD (Amritsar), the SAD (1920), the Shiromani Khalsa Dal, the Dal Khalsa and the AISSF, in particular, to converge on a common platform to dislodge the ‘saffronised’ leadership of the SGPC and Takhts.

The IHRO offered its activation for the mission of bringing together like-minded people and groups for fighting the SGPC elections for a change in leadership that could safeguard the interests of the people of Punjab.


Summer camp at Satluj Club from June 1
Our Correspondent

Ms Veenu Dhanda, Ms Kanika Dhanda, Mr Sanjeev Dhanda and Mr Ladi address a press conference in Ludhiana
From left
: Ms Veenu Dhanda, Ms Kanika Dhanda, Mr Sanjeev Dhanda and Mr Ladi address a press conference in Ludhiana on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, May 29
“The aim of Satluj Club is to provide its members an enjoyable summer vacation by providing them opportunities to learn new things. The club is organising a summer camp from June 1 to June 30. A cultural show would also be presented” Mr Ladi , general secretary of the club, said at a press conference here on Thursday. This year the club has engaged experts from Ludhiana and artists at the national level like Anis Siddiquie for calligraphy, Mr Sanjeev Dhanda, cultural secretary of the club, said.

Some of the experts taking different courses were also present at the camp. Among them were Ms Veenu Dhanda, who is going share her recipes with the participants.

Ms Kanika of Kala Kunj, Ludhiana, also said she would teach how to make the best use of waste material, and make lamp shades etc.

Disk jockey training would be given by Bhanu’s Studio 69. Mr Bhanu Ahuja said DJ Akash would be coming from Delhi to impart training in equipment training/ knowledge, bar count, pitching and mixing. Ms Manmeet Sodhia would conduct modelling and personality development workshop.

Theatre workshop would be conducted by Dr Mohammad Rafi, a gold medallist from Punjabi University. Mohammad Akhlaq and Inamur Rahman would be teaching the basics of theatre expression and enrolment action. Ms Gurvinder Kaur will conduct a workshop on literary events. Those fond of vocal music will learn nuances of classical music from Hema Aziz while dance lovers can learn steps from Teja Khan.


Ban tobacco, urge NGOs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
Representatives of various NGOs met civil and police officials and presented a memorandum for the implementation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003. The NGOs include Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, YES Club, Art of Living and Ludhiana City Jaycees.

The memorandum signed by Dr Charan Kamal Singh, chief secretary, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, demanded the removal of vends selling tobacco and asked the administration to impose a ban on tobacco at public places. YES Club representatives said as per the Act, there should be no tobacco sale outlet within a 100-yard radius of educational institutions.

Dr Deepinder Singh, Director, Social and Health Services, and Mr Jasbir Singh, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, said tobacco was responsible for the death of one million Indians in a year.


Three booked for getting false case registered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 46, 471 and 120-B, IPC, on the statement of Mr Varinder Kumar of Shashi mohalla, against Sushil Kumar, Shushil Thapar and Ashwani Kumar.

The complainant had stated that the accused had prepared fake documents to get a case registered against him under Sections 406 and 42, IPC, some years ago. The police said today that on inquiry, it was found that Varinder Kumar had been falsely implicated by the accused. No arrest has been made so far.

Man killed

The Sadar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337,338, 304-A and 427, IPC, on the statement of Mr Ram Dulare against the driver of a truck which hit a Matador van near Badowal village on Friday.

The complainant had stated that he and his relative Sonu were going to Moga in the van when the truck hit their vehicle as a result of which Sonu died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.


The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427, IPC, on the statement of Mr Sanjiv Ghai against Jagtar Singh, driver of a school bus.

The complainant had stated that the accused had hit his bus into his motorcycle as a result of which he was injured and the motorcycle was damaged on May 21 last. No arrest has been made so far.


On the statement of Mr Balvir Singh Dharni, AFSO, the police yesterday registered a case under section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act against Davinder Singh, a resident of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar.

The police said today that the accused had been arrested and nine LPG cylinders seized from his possession.

Hooch seized

The police yesterday arrested Suresh Kumar, a migrant from UP, and seized more than six bottles of hooch from his possession and registered a case against him under the Excise Act.


Six booked

The Khanna police has registered a case against six persons, including a woman, on the charge of taking illegal possession of private land in Bija village, 10 km from here, on Thursday.

According to the police, Mr Kartar Singh, a retired police Inspector, had lodged a complaint that six persons of the village had forcibly taken illegal possession of his land. A case has been registered against Jaswinder Singh, Mohinder Singh, Nek Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Sukhdev Kaur, wife of Jaswinder Singh, at the local Sadar police station.

Dowry case

Jaspal Kaur, a resident of Raipur Majri village, was allegedly beaten up by her in-laws on Friday morning. The victim was admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

According to Ms Jaspal Kaur, she was married eight years ago. After some time her in-laws started beating and harassing her for dowry. She left the house of her in-laws many times but the panchayat of the village made her reach a compromise every time. She alleged that last time she came to her in-laws’ house on April 28 after a compromise. She said she was again harassed for dowry and beaten up mercilessly.


CMP silent on small-scale units, says ACCI chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
For different segments of industry, particularly the small sector, the common minimum programme (CMP) of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, holds no significant promises. The industry has felt disappointed at the complete failure of the CMP to address the problems of the industry.

Summing up the pessimistic mood of the members of industry, Mr P.D. Sharma, President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (ACCI) said despite left turn to the economic reforms process, the plight of small-scale and tiny industry continued to be miserable as the CMP was almost silent about this sector of the industry.

He said adequate finance and its cost, among various other things, were the main features to sustain small-scale units. Some steps were taken by the previous government towards this direction but these proved inadequate and much more was still to be done. A separate ministry, created for the SSI sector, had still to show the desired results and sort out the routine problems.

The chamber had launched a campaign on bank lending to small-scale units and the interest charged by the banks. “Former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee had woken up and initiated some regulatory steps when it was conveyed to him that the hallmark of the regime is to take money from poor man’s pocket and gift it to the rich at low lending rate. He immediately ensured that no bank would charge more than 2 per cent above PLR. The Small Industry Development Bank of India (SIDBI) was also asked to reduce the rate below PLR.”

Mr Sharma stressed that the smaller units needed rationalised rate of interest and a fair treatment in bank lending. Citing examples of discrimination, he said if a big unit borrowed Rs 500 crore, it did not need to offer any collateral security. But on the other hand, if a smaller unit asked for a financial assistance of even Rs 1 crore, it was asked by many banks to give collateral security worth twice or even more of the borrowed amount. With this kind of unrealistic security, the small borrowers were charged interest at the rate of 13 per cent or at times, even more. In stark contrast, big borrowers of Rs 500 crore or upward just paid 6 to 7 per cent interest.

Alleging that the banks were denying the SSI sector a level playing field, the chamber president said if the same amount was borrowed for house building, the security was equal to the amount borrowed but the interest rate was just 7 per cent whereas the SSI units, with twice the security, had to pay double the amount as interest on their borrowing.

Mr Sharma made a plea to the Left-backed Union Government to take special care of smaller units. The government had talked of job creation through manufacturing and it was an established fact that this objective could be achieved only through small sector. Whereas the large units ensured growth through capital investment, the small and tiny units were labour intensive, employing more persons for the same purpose.

He said the government would have to assert itself to set the things in order. The common plea that the RBI played only an advisory role and that the government did not want to interfere in banking affairs would not do. If the prevailing conditions were allowed to continue, the banks would lose their way and destroy the small and tiny sectors of the industry. “The government ought to bring major changes in the banking sector and all borrowers — big or small, should get bank finance at the same rate of interest.” 


Scooterette launched

Ludhiana, May 29
Kinetic Motor Company Limited today launched a new variant of gearless scooterette ‘Kinetic Zing 80’ here. The company complained that the new product was stylish, peppy and affordable for students.

Mr Ajay Gupta, regional manager of company, said Zing 80 was expected to go straight to the top of the sales chart. The company was looking at doubling its market share at around 50 per cent.

“KMCL has lined up an aggressive promotion plan for Zing 80 during May and June across the country. To tap the youth segment, Kinetic has signed leading VJs from MTV to promote the new model” he said.

Launched: Bell Granito Ceramica Limited, a Mumbai-based company, have announced the launch of India’s first and largest 3ft x 3 ft vitrified tiles. With this new endeavour, the company aims to foster its stature of being the trendsetter in pioneering the most innovative creations and to capitalise on this launch to maximise its penetration within the vitrified tiles industry as well to consolidate its position as a market leader. — OC


Vijaya Bank opens new branch in city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
Vijaya Bank opened its new branch in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar locality yesterday. The MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, inaugurated the specialised commercial and personal banking branch named as Shatabdi junction branch. The new branch would offer locker facility and an ATM would also become operational soon.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr K. Naveen Kumar Hegde said the bank had a branch network spread over 28 states and four union territories, including 52 specialised branches dealing in industrial finance, SSI credit, asset recovery, commercial and personal banking, capital market services, corporate banking and special branches for women.

The bank would open 15 branches in the Chandigarh region and the Reserve Bank of India had already granted permission for five of them.

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