L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


 

MC shuts eyes to illegal complex
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
An alleged illegal multistoried complex is coming up barely a few hundred metres from the municipal corporation’s office. Not only have bylaws been violated, but also the building is causing inconvenience to the public. The construction is going on at a fast pace on the GT Road adjacent to the clock tower.

An FIR lodged by Mr Gurbax Singh for causing damage to his property and bringing the matter to the notice of the police and MC officials has also gone unnoticed.

The initial hesitation by the police to register the FIR notwithstanding, it took efforts on the part of Mr Gurbax Singh to seek an inquiry into why police officials were ignoring his complaints. Following the inquiry, SP(City-II) Pritam Singh reprimanded Kotwali police station officials for negligence in duty. He even recommended departmental action against the officials for not taking any action on the complaint of Mr Gurbax Singh.

However, no action has been taken against the erring police officials or those trying to illegally oust Mr Gurbax Singh with the objective of including his rented premises in the complex. Mr Gurbax Singh runs the a battery agency from the premises. He has alleged that the accused who are owners of a cinema house are influential and in connivance with municipal and police officials had overnight demolished the roof of the upper floors of the building that housed his shop. The removal of bricks from the roof led to seepage that caused heavy damage to goods.

The police despite lodging an FIR over a month ago has taken no further action in the matter. The FIR mentions that the accused did not show any regard to the directive of a local court asking them to refrain from altering the status of the property in any manner.

Mr Gurbax Singh has alleged in letters to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the DGP and the Minister, Local Bodies, that the police and MC officials were pressuring him to vacate the shop.

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Mayor under fire from party councillors
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
If the mood of the majority of Congress councillors at a meeting convened by the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, at his house here last evening is any indication, all is not well with the ruling party in the municipal corporation. The meeting was convened to take stock of the preparations for the August 22 state-level convention in the city to mark the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi.

According to information, while more than a dozen party councillors chose to stay away from the meeting, those present reportedly criticised the Mayor for his style of functioning and his alleged failure to take his party colleagues in confidence on crucial civic matters.

Some councillors even threatened to join hands with the opposition parties and disrupt the proceedings of the next general house meeting that if they were not taken seriously and treated properly by the party leadership, including the Mayor.

The common grouse of the councillors was the delay in the execution of projects and procedural wrangles in the areas represented by them. Some of them were sore over the alleged discrimination in the allocation of quota funds for development, which they maintained, was the sole prerogative of the Mayor.

The councillors charged Mr Gill with giving precedence to councillors from the opposition party during the ‘’rarely held’’ general house meetings and not giving time to Congress councillors to apprise the House of the problems of their areas. They were also critical of the ‘’shabby’’ treatment accorded to them in government offices and official functions. "The Mayor had promised on the floor of the House to hold a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, along with representatives of the councillors, which has not been done till date,’’ a Congress councillor said.

Requesting anonymity, one of the Congress councillors who was present at the meeting, said the Congress councillors were keen to convey a message to their leader and that had been done. "Now the ball is in the court of the Mayor and we shall decide the next course of action depending on his response," he added.

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MC, Health Dept staff face action for gastro outbreak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
The Municipal Corporation as well as the district health administration, both have been held responsible for outbreak of gastroenteritis in Mauji Colony on Daba Road in the city which had claimed seven lives.

The inquiry conducted by SDM (West) M.S. Jaggi, on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner, has recommended strong action against the erring officials of the departments.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has already forwarded the report to the Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab, and the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, for necessary action.

According to official sources, the report of the magisterial inquiry has fixed the responsibility for outbreak of gastro on the MC officials, citing supply of contaminated water in the area as one of the reasons. The health officials have been declared guilty for their failure to take timely measures for prevention and treatment of disease and to educate the residents of the affected colonies.

The inquiry report said some of the water samples taken from these colonies were found contaminated and there was sufficient ground to establish that this was the main reason for the outbreak of the gastroenteritis.

Certain records, produced by civic officials in connection with the chlorination of drinking water, also appeared to be tempered with. Similarly, the medical teams of the Health Department though claimed to have organised a number of health awareness camps to educate the people yet everything was apparently done on the paper and no work had been performed.

While forwarding the report to the departments concerned, the Deputy Commissioner had recommended that strong action should be taken against the guilty officials of the Municipal Corporation and the Health Department. At the same time both these departments should also be directed to implement the recommendations made by the inquiry officer to bring improvement in their working and to check recurrence of such mishaps in future.

MC Commissioner S.K. Sharma made it clear that the civic body would take action against the guilty officers. “We have already initiated departmental proceedings and the possibilities of criminal action, if warranted against the erring staff, were also being examined.”

Mr Sharma said it had always been the endeavour of the MC to work in close coordination with the Health Department in such situations.

On providing civic amenities to some areas, he said it was beyond the purview of the MC on legal ground. The matter of regularisation of such colonies in the state was already under the consideration of the state government. Once the policy was announced, the MC would evolve the necessary mechanism to provide civic amenities to residents of such colonies.

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Deol remanded in police custody
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
Ms Anshul Berry, Duty Magistrate, today remanded Raja Deol, accused of misappropriating lakhs of rupees from the NRIs through their money exchange firm, in police custody for a day.

The accused is son of Mr Pritam Singh Deol, president, Punjab NRI Sabha. He was arrested yesterday by the Mullanpur Dakha police. After receiving complaints from various persons, the police had conducted investigation and booked Raja Deol and his Canada-based brother, Devinder Singh Deol for cheating several NRIs. The duo were reportedly running a money-exchange firm in both the countries and used to transfer money of NRIs. They were facing allegations of siphoning off some of the amount. While in certain cases they had even kept most of the amount with themselves, handed over to them by people, said the prosecution.

The prosecution today sought the police remand, with the plea that it needed sufficient time for interrogation of the accused to unearth the scam. It was also disclosed that the police wanted to recover a C D from the accused, which was kept in Dhanbad. 

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Widow faces threat from foster son
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
She had brought up the orphaned son of her brother-in-law hoping that he would support her in her old age but her foster son, a Home Guard, has allegedly got her sons implicated in a rape case involving his minor daughter. The 60-year-old woman and her third son are now facing threat from him.

Ms Gurmel Kaur, widow of Ram Kishan, a GRP constable who was killed by militants on a train in 1991, has lodged a complaint with the police following which proceedings under Sections 107 and 151, CrPC, would be initiated. Mr Gurpreet Singh, SHO, Division Number 7, said he had been receiving complaints from both parties and he would start the proceedings soon.He said the complaint was basically of domestic nature and both parties needed to be warned.

Ms Gurmel Kaur, a resident of Police Colony, Jamalpur, said her foster son, Iqbal Singh, was orphaned at the age of three. Her husband vowed to shoulder his responsibility and she brought him up like her own son. Later he moved to a new house after he got married and he demanded his share in their property which she refused, saying that he had already inherited the land of his father.

She alleged that he threatened to implicate her sons in a rape case and finally made a complaint to the police that her sons Jagtar Singh and Avtar Singh had raped his 13-year-old daughter who used to stay with her.

‘‘When I heard about the case I was shocked. How could he cook up a story and make his own daughter a rape victim only to implicate his brothers. My sons have been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment by a local court,’’ she said, adding that she would appeal in the high court against the decision.

She alleged that her third son was also facing a threat to his life. ‘‘My foster son has already succeeded in keeping my two sons away and was also trying to eliminate my third son. He had came to our house and threatened us in such a way that my third son's wife preferred leaving him and is stay with her parents. My daughter and her
children have also been constantly issued threats,’’ she alleged.

She claimed that she had received feelers from Iqbal Singh to pay him Rs 4 lakh if she wanted the well-being of her sons. 

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3 held for labourer’s death
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 19
The Dehlon police has arrested three persons booked for allegedly causing the death of a labourer. Sources said Mr Bhag Singh, his daughter Gurdeep Kaur, alias Deepi, of Mukandpur village and Mr Uttam Singh of Balli Salra village in Guwahati district of Assam were arrested by the police while they were trying to leave the area. The three had been booked under Section 304, IPC, for causing the death of Raju.

Investigation revealed that Raju had been harassing Bhag Singh's daughter, who was a schoolteacher. “We got disturbed on Tuesday when Rimpy (name changed) narrated the humiliation she had suffered. Raju had teased her publically and we had gone to ask him to mend his ways. However, he confronted us instead of apologising”, the suspects told the investigating team. Raju was beaten up by the suspects and died at the Civil Hospital, Dehlon.

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PSEB engineers for administrative reforms
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The PSEB Engineers' Association has welcomed the steps taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to rein in the bureaucracy and make its functioning more transparent and accountable by acting on the recommendations of the P.C. Hota Committee on Civil Services Reforms.

Mr M. S. Bajwa, president of the association, said it was in favour of an administrative system in tune with the ground realities. No major administrative reforms had been undertaken by the successive governments after Independence.

In view of the complex problems plaguing the country, the need of the hour was to evolve an administrative system in consonance with requirements of the people. Mr Bajwa said the Rajya Adhyaksha Committee was set up in late 70's which proposed massive administrative reforms in the power sector with a view to improving state electricity boards and strengthen the technical bias in the top decision-making levels.

At the same time, the Punjab Government had set up a committee headed by an economist, Mr P.L. Tandon, including eminent technocrats like Mr R.S. Gill, a former chairman of PSEB. However, the recommendations of these committees never saw the light of the day.

Mr Bajwa said in case of the PSEB, it was clear that the bureaucracy was bent on ruining this organisation by not recruiting engineers, sub-station operators, upper division clerks for more than five years

The association urges the state government and the Centre to undertake administrative reforms at the earliest.

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Sarpanch seeks better banking facilities
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 19
Mr Rameshwar Dass Puri, Sarpanch of the Bhadson village, has sought improvement in the banking services provided to the residents of this village and the neighbouring villages by the State Bank of Patiala.

In a representation to the Governor, Reserve Bank of India, New Delhi and to the Chief General Manager, State Bank of Patiala, copies of which were circulated among the mediapersons here today, it was stated that 40 years ago one branch of the State Bank of Patiala was established here. Since than though the business has increased manifold due to the establishment of grain market, Primary Health Centre, Government and private senior secondary schools, sub/tehsil offices and market committee, no more branches have been opened here.

This single branch of the bank was incapable of meeting the increasing work load. The residents had to wait for long hours to get their work done. The Sarpanch urged the RBI to open another branch or bank to cope with the requirements of the villagers.

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Sarpanch receives memento from President
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 19
Advocate Lakhbir Singh who has been elected Sarpanch of Mulepur village of the Amloh constituency second time, was awarded a memento on the Independence Day by the President of India for his excellent services as sarpanch and as the chief of Rural Cooperative Society. The President also discussed the problems of the panchayats with him.

Mr Lakhbir Singh was elected member of the Zila Parishad securing a record number of votes in the district. He had also organised many free medical camps, sports competitions in the village. He had succeeded to bring his village under the sewage system scheme. 

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BSNL employees hold demonstration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The BSNL Employees Union held a demonstration in front of the GMT office at Bharat Nagar in support of its demands. Addressing agitators, Comrade Balbir Singh, circle secretary of the union, condemned the UPA government for allowing 74 per cent FDI in the telecom sector and lowering the EPF/GPF interest rate from 9.5 per cent to 8.5 per cent.

Comrade Balwinder Singh, district secretary, said all demands of the employees could be settled if the attitude of unions remained positive towards the rights of the employees.

He also called upon the employees to defeat the pro-management leadership in the coming membership verification drive for which the voting would be held in the first week of October.

The demands of the protesters included not allowing FDI in the telecom sector, payment of the balance bonus of 25 per cent, removal of anomaly in the wage settlement, graded promotion, upgradation of pay scales, posting of qualified officials in the higher cadre, counting of past RTP/casual/ part-time service for pension.

Others who spoke included Nikka Singh, Avtar Singh Jhandey, Parmjit Singh, Hari Narayan Singh, Shingara Singh, Mohinder Choudhary, Budh Singh, Kirpa Ram, Ramesh Chand and Yogesh Kumar. 

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Victim’s parents seek action against CMC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The parents of the boy, who was killed in a road accident yesterday after he was run over by a bus of CMC Hospital, demanded legal action against the CMC management today.

Claiming that the bus (PAL 2100) had caused the death of another person also, the father of the boy, Mr T.S. Mallik, said driver of the bus Tara Chand had a fake licence.

He also claimed that the breaks of the bus were faulty.

He added that the driver had been driving the bus without getting the breaks repaired for the past many days.

In a letter to the SP-Traffic, Ludhiana, Mr Mallik said the CMC management was equally responsible for his son’s death and legal action should be initiated against the members. 

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PPCC plea on Rajiv’s anniversary
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
The legal cell of the PPCC today held a meeting to motivate its members to attend the state-level function of Rajiv Gandhi's birth anniversary celebrations in Ludhiana tomorrow.

Presiding over the meeting, the chairman of the cell, Mr Dharmjit Singh Khera, said the contributions of Rajiv Gandhi towards the nation was still remembered. He had initiated several welfare schemes for the poor and was the leader of the common man, he added.

The office-bearers of the cell, Mr Ashok Bhakri, Mr Kamaljit Sharma, Mr Sharwan Sehgal, Mr S.S.Garcha, Mr Rahul Pathak and Mr Surinder Singh also addressed the meeting.

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New Rotract team installed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
The Rotary Club, Ludhiana north, organised an installation function of Rotract Club of GGN Khalsa College, Civil Lines, Ludhiana. Ms Antar Preet Kaur was appointed president and Mr Parvinder Dhillon secretary. The new team of Rotaractors was also installed.

President Gurjit Singh congratulated the new team and suggested to the Rotractors to involve themselves in maximum community service projects.

Prominent among those present were Kuldip Singh, D.S. Grewal, Prof. L.S. Bedi.

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CPM holds march against graft
Our Correspondent 

Amloh, August 19
A protest march was organised by the CPM against growing corruption in offices here today. The march started from the local grain market and passed through the main bazar before culminating at the tehsil complex, where a rally was held. A donkey sporting a motto against corruption in offices moved ahead of the march. 

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Murder accused booked for rape
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The Jassi murder case took a turn when the main victim of the case, Mithu, was booked by the Jagraon Sadar police on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to rape a Dalit girl of Kaunke Kalan village.

Mithu, who had recently been elected member panchayat of the village, had survived a murderous attack on him, perpetrated by contract killers allegedly hired by his NRI wife Jassi’s parents based in Canada in 2000. The case had hogged limelight all over the world and several documentaries were made on the case.

Jassi's mother met the SSP Jagraon, Mr Rajiv Ahir, and gave him an application saying her son had been falsely implicated. Mr Ahir has assured her that he will have the matter investigated.

Mithu had allegedly gone to the house of the complainant for a compromise between her family and another group in the village. However, he was picked up by the police today on the charges that he had attempted to rape the woman.

Mithu's family has alleged that he has been falsely implicated at the behest of the deceased Jassi's parents . 

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Steel industry pins hopes on government 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hopeful that the steel industry will get some kind of relief in the fluctuating prices of iron and steel following certain steps initiated by the government.

In a statement here today, the chamber president, Mr P.D. Sharma, commenting on the meeting the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, had with main steel producers, observed that the steel producers had given a distorted picture of the prevailing dismal scenario.

The fact of the matter was that main public sector steel plants - SAIL and the RINL- had raised the price of certain products by about Rs 5,000 per tonne in May, 2004. Going by the prevailing circumstances, it was almost certain that the main steel producers and the secondary producers were working in tandem. "If the main producers or, in other words, public sector steel plants withhold the supply of a particular product, the secondary producers get an opportunity to exploit this situation of shortage and raise the price."

Mr Sharma said it was just to cover up their own manipulative tactics that the main steel produces were crying hoarse over the high price of met coke, used in steel production. Further, the government had withdrawn 30 per cent custom duty on met coke, but the steel producers were still maintaining the previous level of prices. Contesting the claim of the steel producers that cost of inputs (of steel production) had gone up, Mr Sharma said it was a plain lie and a cover-up. "The profits of steel producers are spiralling by 300 to 500 per cent. According to available data, Tisco enjoys an operating margin of 32 per cent and SAIL 26 per cent. Similarly, other main producers are not behind."

That the artificial scarcity, or manipulated marketing policies of both the main and secondary producers were responsible for the woes of the industry was evident from the fact that more 1,000 secondary steel producers in the country were also maintaining a high level of prices on the basis of monopolistic policies. In the face of average conversion cost of secondary steel of Rs 4,500 to 5,000 per tonne, these producers were charging between Rs 7,000 and 8,000 per tonne.

Meanwhile, Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, has also welcomed the initiative taken by MPs from Punjab, headed by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, who met Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, and apprised him about the problems being faced regarding iron and steel material. Mr Joginder Kumar urged Dr Manmohan Singh to give an appointment to a deputation of the user industry of iron and steel from Punjab. 

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