L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC demolishes part of building
Stay violated, claims owner
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today demolished the pillars of a building on the Shivpuri Road as it was not being constructed according to the sanctioned plan. However, the owner of the building, Mr Darshan Lal, claimed that municipal officials had violated a court order, which had prevented the corporation from interrupting the construction work.

A team of municipal officials led by the Joint Commissioner, Mr Jaswant Singh, led the demolition squad. The structure had been demolished earlier too, following which the owner had approached court. On September 30, 2004, the Civil Judge, Ludhiana, directed the corporation that "it will not stop or interfere in the construction being raised by the plaintiff (Darshan Lal) in terms of the sanctioned plan".

The corporation officials on the other hand maintained that they had only demolished a part of the structure that was in violation of the sanctioned plan. The officials reportedly took signatures of Mr Darshan Lal, making him confirm that they had demolished only the part not sanctioned.

They also refuted the claim of Mr Darshan Lal that he was constructing the building for domestic purpose.

Mr Darshan Lal alleged that he was being victimised and was constructing the building according the sanctioned plan.



Man convicted in cheque bounce case
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 7
A local Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sangeet Pal Singh, has convicted Paramjit Singh of Chotti Jawaddi and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for one year in a cheque bounce case. A fine of Rs 2000 was also imposed upon the accused.

Declining the plea of leniency raised by the accused, Mr Sangeet Pal Singh held that the intention of legislature was not to show any leniency in such matters because the question was of restoration of faith in commercial transactions.

The orders were pronounced while disposing of the complaint filed by Jaswinder Singh of Bhagat Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, under Section 138 of The Negotiable Instruments Act. The complainant had claimed that the accused had borrowed Rs 3,25,000 from him. In part discharge of legally enforceable liability he had issued cheque of Rs 3, 08, 000 on October 15, 2003.

But when the cheque was presented to the bank of accused for encashement, the same was dishonoured. Thereafter, a legal notice was served calling upon him to make the payment but he did not pay any heed to it, which forced the complainant to go to court.

In defence the accused pleaded that he had never borrowed any amount as alleged. He said in fact the complainant and his father were employed in Punjab State Electricity Board alongwith him. The complainant approached him and requested to give three cheques as he had to complete some formalities in Income Tax department. Complainant himself got opened his bank account and obtained three cheques from him, in good faith.

The accused also examined one witness Gurmeet Singh in support of his contentions. But the Court found the statement of accused as well as of his witness self contradictory. It was also held that the witness was enimical towards the complainant.

The court observed that if fraud had been committed with the accused then why he did not file any complaint to the police or any other authority and why the same fact was not mentioned by replying to the legal notice of complainant. Moreover, the complainant was not even cross examined by the defence counsel. Hence his evidence had remained unrebutted and the accused was convicted. However, the accused was granted bail as he opted to file an appeal in the Sessions Court against the conviction.



Teaching faculty sore at SGPC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Academic circles in Ludhiana are sore over the way the SGPC handled the issue of the students’ strike at the local Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, one of the prestigious institutions of the committee. A cross section of academicians observed that the SGPC by succumbing to the pressure of striking students had not set a good precedent. “Two teachers were attacked by students”, said a teacher of a local college.

Even a large section within the SGPC is not happy the way the SGPC President issued the suspension orders of the Principal and the Dean of the college for which she had even to cut a sorry figure as she was not authorised to do so without taking the trust and the managing committee into confidence.

“However, the issue is not whether she was competent to suspend them or not, the main issue is how the SGPC could act without giving a chance to the Principal and the Dean for being heard. This appears to be a typical case of ‘might is right’. Thanks to the internal politics within the SGPC and the SAD, which dominates it (SGPC), the things took the worst turn when the situation could have been handled in a better manner at a much earlier stage. The students, who were obviously supported by the same section of the SGPC, made their writ run large in the institution leaving the teaching community shattered and betrayed”.



Watchman found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
A Nepalese watchman was found murdered in his room near Pindi Street here early this morning. He was found lying in a pool of blood having been stabbed 10 times.

Vijay Kumar, 27, was employed as a watchman by the market a week ago. According to the police, he probably consumed liquor with some persons before his death. Personal enmity is suspected to be the reason behind the murder.

The police has found fingerprints of several persons. The body was spotted by a sweeper in the morning when he came on his daily routine.

The police has recorded the statements of several shopkeepers and their employees about the victims’s past and his associations in the city.



One-hour strike by insurance staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Members of the All-India Insurance Employees' Association, Class III and IV, working in the Ludhiana division, participated in a one-hour strike in support of their demands here today. Mr Amarjit Singh, divisional secretary, said it was part of the nationwide programme for settlement of wage revision overdue since 2002. He said the employees were serving more than 7 crore policy holders and the LIC had settled 99.86 per cent of the claims in 2003-2004 while salaries and benefits to employees had declined from 9.52 per cent in 2001-2002 to 6.07 per cent in 2002-2003, which had further declined to 5.49 per cent in 2003-04.

He said the government had assured through the National Common Minimum Programme that public sector undertakings in a competitive environment, which were making profit and were not dependent government budgetary support, would be given functional autonomy. He called upon the government to settle the wage question of LIC employees by advising the management to hold purposeful negotiations for resolving the issues as the government had so far not cleared the proposal sent by the LIC for settling the wage dispute.

Mr Harbans Singh, divisional president, opposed the proposed move of the increase in foreign direct investment in the insurance sector. He said private companies operating in the country had brought in only Rs 563 crore whereas the LIC has paid Rs 2165.56 crore as dividend to the government during the same period. He said increase in foreign equity in the insurance sector would increase the ability of private companies to manipulate and exploit the insurance market.

He opposed the imposition of service tax on LIC premium as it was not a service, but a security cover for family members. He called upon the employees to mobilise more signatures of policy holders in a petition addressed to the Finance Minister, requesting him to reconsider his decision in this context. Such a move would affect more than 17 crore policy holders of the LIC across the country, he added.



Chhatter Singh Park in a shambles
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
The historic Chhater Singh Park in Model Town continues to be a shambles. Even morning or evening walkers have stopped going to the park.

Mr Surjeet Singh, a morning walker, said he had stopped going to the park as it was difficult to move in the dirt.

The park seems to have become resting place for stray animals. Even the grass has grown in a haphazard manner. Mr Surjeet Singh regretted that the park had been reduced to such a sorry state.

He said he had personally approached people responsible for the maintenance, but there was hardly any response from anywhere. “Ultimately, I stopped going to the park”, he said.

A few years ago, a milk booth had been set up inside the park. Primarily the booth was supposed to provide shelter to the people in case of rain. But later it was decided that some refreshments could be provided to the people from there. Even the supply of milk was stopped there. Ultimately tea vendors grabbed the booth. They have turned the booth into a living room.

The park is spread over a sprawling area. In fact, it happens to be the only green space available in an otherwise congested area. The residents rued that the corporation was not taking due care of the park. The park is also used for the rallies and demonstrations by various political organisations and trade unions.



Awareness march by Rights activists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
The All-India Human Rights Association today took out a route march here to create awareness among the people about the basic human rights of the people. The association announced the constitution of its Ludhiana unit, with Ms Rachna Sharma being its district organiser.

Addressing a press conference here, Ms Rachna Sharma and the national president, Mr M.U. Dua, said the association believed that social, economic and political freedom were worthless without securing the basic human rights of the people. They pointed out that the association aimed at removing the exploitation of people in the name of religion or caste.

They said the association would seek equality and uniformity in providing opportunities to the people. They regretted that some people were practising untouchability in the 21st century.



Dawer confident of Cong victory
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawer today claimed that the Congress was sure to win the byelections in the state as the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had provided a "clean and transparent" government.

Mr Dawer, who has been assigned duty in Kapurthala, claimed that there was "a Congress wave" in the area as the outgoing MLA and the MP from Jalandhar, Rana Gurjit, had done a lot of development work there.

The Parliamentary Secretary claimed that the entire rank and file of the party was fighting the election in tandem. He said the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and most of the ministers and office-bearers were campaigning for the party candidates in both the assembly segments of Kapurthala and Garshankar. He said the party was fighting in Garshankar after a long time and there was a lot of enthusiasm among the workers there.



Dugri road in a pitiable condition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
The road from the Dugri police post to Phase I, which is full of potholes full of water, has been neglected for the past many years. Residents say they have not been able to find out whether PUDA or the local municipal corporation is responsible for its maintenance.

Hundreds of vehicles and thousands of persons pass through this road daily. According to Mr Hardeep Singh, a local businessman, these vehicles are in a bad condition. Other roads in the cities are being recarpeted, but this stretch continues to remain ignored.

The residents say they have been approaching the corporation, but officials maintain that the area is to be maintained by the PUDA. Officials with PUDA are not prepared to share the responsibility of maintaining roads.

They have told the residents that it is the responsibility of the corporation to maintain infrastructure.

The residents have appealed to the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, to help them. They claim that they are not being allowed access to the Mayor or the Commissioner.



Mishra brothers enthral audience
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 7
VIRASAT - a musical concert by renowned vocalists Rajan Mishra and Sajan Mishra- was organised at Delhi Public School, Ludhiana, yesterday under the aegis of SPICMACAY. Mr Vivek Ramchandani, Director (Education), Takshila Educational Society, other dignitaries, faculty and students of various schools, parents, besides students of Delhi Public School enjoyed the performance.

The programme began with a shloka recited by Ms Hema Sarma, music teacher at Delhi Public School, Ludhiana. The Mishra brothers enthralled the audience with their melliflous voice.

This rejuvenated the jaded spirit - a complete break from the daily grind.

The performance of 'Shri' and 'Sohni' ragas coupled with Tarana were mesmerising. The ornate backdrop provided a perfect match for their sonorous voice.

The two exponents of the Indian classical music also answered the queries of the audience.

They concluded the concert with a shabad of Guru Nanak Dev. Delhi Public School also presented mementos to Rajan Mishra and Sajan Mishra as a token of gratitude. 



Decision on Tehelka probe welcomed
Our Correspondent

Samrala, October 7
Mr Parminder Singh Gill, General Secretary, PPCC (Legal Cell), has welcomed the decision of Mr H.R. Bhardwaj, Union Law Minister, of not extending the term of the Phukan Commission, which was investigating the Tehelka probe.

Talking to mediapersons here, he said this decision would expose corrupt practises at high offices.



Viewers to benefit from DD’s DTH service
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Pressure to bring stability in cable service charges and improve services is increasing on cable operators, with Doordarshan's direct-to-home (DTH) service ready to be launched this month. Doordarshan will offer 30 channels free of cost, which one will be able to access via set-top boxes.

"Stability in cable service charges is critical at this stage because we do not want our customers to shift to Doordarshan. This can become difficult for us if broadcasters hike their rates further," says Mr Sarabjit Singh Dugri, president of the Ludhiana Cable Operators Association.

Cable operators are currently charging between Rs 100 and Rs 300 in various areas. The charges have been recording an increase owing to hikes by broadcasters. A section of consumers have surrendered cable connections on account of rise in charges.

The trial run of the DTH service is being carried out. Customers are looking forward to the channels Doordarshan will offer free of cost.

"There will be no reason to pay hefty cable charges if free channels are offered. The customer has to pay heavily every time a broadcaster decides to increase charges," says Ms Mangla, a resident of Tagore Nagar.

Cable operators say Doordarshan services are not likely to affect them much due to the "poor quality" of programmes. According to reports, over 50 per cent of the eight crore television owners have cable connections. Doordarshan is hopeful of a larger market share owing to its wide network.

"Consumers will not be able to view other channels using the set-top boxes that Doordarshan will provide. This will be a deterrent. If Doordarshan channels are not up to the mark, Doordarshan is not likely to capture the market share it is expecting," says Mr Dugri.

The levy of service tax on cable operators is likely to change the scenario. Sources say many cable operators have paid the minimum required amount to their multi-service operators and charged different rates in different areas. It is learnt that a service provider is required to pay for at least 100 connections. Service providers here charge varying amounts from customers and do not pay bills to them.

"With the levy of service tax, this practice will be curbed and service providers will have to bring in stability and consistency," Mr Dugri says.

Whether Doordarshan or other channels, viewers are bound to benefit.



Centre to execute auto-parts project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
A cluster development project for auto parts is being developed here by the Centre. The Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufactures Association plans to acquire land for this purpose. This was disclosed by Mr G.S. Kahlon, president of the association, at an executive body meeting here last evening.

The meeting was held to discuss the problems being faced by the auto-parts industry.

“Despite various measures taken by the government, steel prices are still being increased by the manufacturers," said Mr Kahlon. Association members said all benefits under the DEPB scheme should be withdrawn, a regulatory commission set up and the export of steel curbed to meet the domestic requirement on priority.

The association also said the recent circular by the CBDT empowering the Income Tax Department to attach properties and assets during recovery proceedings should also be withdrawn.

The members also said that after withdrawing the compulsory weekly power shutdown days, the electricity board should ensure regular supply so that the industrialists could recover the losses they had suffered on account of the cuts.



Biz Clips

: Hike in freight from Ludhiana to Mumbai has added to the woes of engineering industry here which is already reeling under pressure on account of increase in steel prices. ‘The plight of engineering industry has worsened," said Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, in a press note issued today. Urging the government to take immediate measures to control steel prices, the chamber said manufacturers are facing a tough time as they were not able to meet their supply orders on account of the prevailing situation. TNS

Shoes: Carlton London has introduced Gola Classic, a range of sports shoes, for men and women in the age group of 17 to 35 years. Priced from Rs 2,000 onwards, the range would be available at the four showrooms of Carlton London in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Gurgaon and Noida, stated a company press note. TNS


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