L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Civic body fears encroachment on Rs 3 cr land
Jupinderjit Singh and Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana, October 30
The zila parishad is helpless in saving its property worth Rs 3 crores from being occupied by a resident of Haryana who is allegedly acting on the behest of the land mafia and enjoys the patronage of some top officials and political leaders.

Though Additional Deputy Commissioner Sumer Singh Gujjar has recommended the registration of a case against the alleged encroacher, the police is yet to do so. The case of the zila parishad has been supported by Congress councillors. Jai Parkash and Sushil Raju Thapar. They have urged the Divisional Commissioner (Revenue), SSP, DC and the Secretary zila parishad, to stop the accused from trying to occupy a plot measuring about 3,000 square yards situated in Deep Nagar.

Though the authorities are yet to take action, the accused has reportedly started piling up construction material at the plot.

Mr Jatinder Pal Singh, Secretary, zila parishad confirmed the receipt of the complaint and claimed that the Parishad had initiated the process for the protection of the property. He said a number of cases regarding the property were pending in various courts. While the parishad had arrived at a compromise with occupants of some shops, the fate of the others was yet to be decided.

Referring to the orders passed by Mr Arun Goel, former Deputy Commissioner, he claimed that ownership rights of the property had been transferred to the parishad from the provincial government. However, some persons contested the mutation records before a revenue officer who cancelled the mutation. “His decision was later challenged by us in the court of the SDM(East) who remanded the decision of the lower official and gave verdict in our favour," he said.

Mr Sumer Singh , had also written to the SSP to get a case registered against the accused. The application had been marked to the SHO of division number 8 police station.

Preliminary investigation by parishad staff had revealed that the encroacher had “purchased”a shop next to the plot. He had reportedly paid “pagri” to the owner of the shop. After occupying the shop, he allegedly got the rear wall of the shop demolished and started piling building material on the plot belonging to the parishad.

Mr Balbir Singh, SHO, confirmed the receipt of the complaint through the district administration but no case had since been registered against any of the occupants as the property was “disputed and neither of the claimants had proper documentary evidence in their support,” according to him.



BKU condemns farmers’ arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
Condemning the arrest of farmers, the BKU Punjab, today said that the farmers would continue to voice their protest against the ongoing crisis. Concerned over the decline in cotton prices due to non-procurement by government agencies, the farmers said the government must take measures in this direction.

“Cotton prices have declined from Rs 3,000 per quintal last year to Rs 1,600 this year,” said Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, acting president of the union. “The situation has occurred as the CCI and Markfed did not procure cotton this time as a result of which private players have managed to buy cotton at prices as low as Rs 1,000-1,200 per quintal”, he said.

The decline in prices had created panic among farmers in the cotton-growing belt, he said, adding that they had been left with no option but to protest against this attitude of the government.

“By arresting peacefully protesting farmers, the government has only encouraged private players and middlemen and continued the unfair treatment being meted out to farmers,” he said.

Union members said cotton crop could substitute paddy-wheat as the crop did not require much water. This could also help government attain it’s aim of crop diversification.



BKU asks Rajasthan to accept farmers’ demands
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
The Bharti Kisan Union today urged the Rajasthan Government to accept all major demands of the agitating farmers in the state, register cases under Section 302 of the IPC against officers responsible for the killing of agitating farmers and provide government jobs to the kith and kin of the farmers who had fallen as martyrs in the current agitation.

At a meeting of the union here which was chaired by working president Manjit Singh Qadian and attended among others by general secretary Mr. Baldev Singh and Saranjit Singh, it was decided that if the Rajasthan Government did not accept the farmers’ demands immediately, the union would extend all possible assistance and support to its Rajasthan unit to join the agitation in a big way.

The union also demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of those farmers who had been killed in the firing incident and urged the government that the voice of the agitating farmers could not be suppressed with bullets.

The meeting also took serious notice of the falling prices of cotton , observing that the current rate of Rs 1,600-1,700 per quintal was not enough to encourage farmers to take to crop diversification as was being urged by the state government.

The farmers would not be willing to break the wheat-paddy circle if their cotton crop was not sold at the reasonable rates. Since cotton crop required less water for irrigation, it could also solve the water problem of the state, the meeting observed.

The union also demanded that sugar mills in the state should start the crushing season from November 10 and the government should fix the sugarcane price at Rs 159 per quintal. The union leaders also urged the state government to release sugarcane arrears to farmers which amounted to several crores.

Mr Qadian said the union had been staging dharnas in the cotton belt of Panjab since October 10 to press its demand for a better price for the current cotton crop but the government was ignoring it.

The working president of the union further revealed that a special meeting of the union would be held at Kisan Bhavan at Chandigarh on November 10 where the future course of action would be decided. Among others who attended the meeting today were Mr Sukhminder Singh Qadian, Mr Hardyal Singh, Mr Joginder Singh, Mr Ajmer Singh, Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Ajmer Singh Gill.



Ex-professors, deans favour vet university
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30 
Favouring the decision of the Punjab government to set up a veterinary university in the state, a number of former Deans, retired professors and former heads of various departments of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Punjab Agricultural University, (PAU), have offered help in setting up the university on an honorary basis.

Stating that the proposed bifurcation of PAU would not only help the veterinarians, the former PAU dons said it would also be good for the livestock as a whole.

They added that they would be available for all kinds of expert services for setting up the new institute.

Dr B. S. Paul, Dr K. K. Bakshi and Dr R. P. Saigal (all former Deans of the College of Veterinary Sciences, PAU) and Dr Kundan Singh Dhillon, Dr Mewa Singh Tiwana, Dr Jagtar Singh Sandhu, Dr Jasmer Singh, Dr Avtar Singh, Dr Gursharan Singh Khatra, Dr R. M. Bhardwaj, Dr Sudesh Bhardwaj, Mr I. S. Kalra (all former Professors ) along with other retired professors said they would be writing to the state government that they would render services and expertise free of cost to the new university.

They said besides advancing research in livestock sector including veterinary medicine, dairy, animal, food industry, fisheries, zoo and wild animals and laboratory animal medicine, the university would provide an independent and autonomous forum for expressing views in this regard.

Agreeing with the NRIs' idea of non-executive trusteeship and increasing the NRI quota seats at the college the veterinarians said such a step could generate millions of dollars for the project.

These academicians stressed that Punjab should follow Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh who have already set up the veterinary universities. 



20 LPG cylinders seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
The District Food and Civil Supplies Department has seized 20 gas cylinders meant for domestic purposes being used by shopkeepers in the Ghumar Mandi, Sarabha Nagar and Model Town areas.

According to a spokesperson for the department, the department has started conducting checks in various areas as a large number of complaints about domestic gas being used for commercial purposes are being received.

Issuing a warning to commercial establishments, the department said legal action would be taken against those who found using domestic gas for commercial purposes.



Man found murdered
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 30
Sukhdev Singh (25) of Bhamipur Kalan, was found murdered near the bank of a canal of Lamme village, 13 km from here, today.
According to Ajaib Singh, his son was having illicit relations with a married woman of Kacha Malak Road, Jagraon, and her husband Sukhminder Singh and his friend Manmeet Singh is suspected to have murdered his son.

According to the preliminary investigation, it was revealed that Manmeet Singh called Sukhdev Singh from Bhamipura and on the way, Sukhminder Singh joined and shot Sukhdev Singh.

Mr Jaspal Singh Dhanoa SP(D), Mr Gurmukh Singh Cheema, DSP (D), Mr Mohinder Kumar Ghai, Inspector reached the spot. The police has registered a case under Section 302 IPC.



Minister blows government trumpet on SC welfare
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
Assuring the state government's support for amelioration of the Scheduled Castes and weaker sections in the state, Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Sardul Singh Bundala yesterday said only Congress regimes have strived for the welfare of the SCs and backward classes while other parties merely paid lip service.

He disclosed that Rs 400 crore have been stipulated for the purpose under the Special Components Plan to implement various welfare schemes and Rs 162 crores had already been spent under it.

Mr Bundala was addressing a function organised to celebrate Parkash Utsav of Bhagwan Valmik Ji at village Lalton Kalan, 10 km from here, late last night.

The Minister claimed that it was only during the tenure of Congress governments in the state that major welfare schemes were launched for the upliftment of Scheduled Castes and the governments of other parties had been ignoring the interests of this deprived section of society.

He said the state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, had decided to provide 10 marla plots/houses to 2000 homeless SC families in the state and earmarked Rs 5 crore for the purpose.

The government had also decentralised the powers to allot residential plots to Dalit families, he added.

The Minister informed that the government was also providing free textbooks and scholarships to the students from the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes.

Last year, the government had distributed textbooks worth Rs 11.64 crores among 14 lakh students and scholarships have been given to 5 lakh students belonging to the weaker sections in the state, he added.

He said the state government was fully aware of the hardships being faced by the poor people and would accord top priority for their welfare.

Mr Bundala said under the Jan Shree Bima Yojna, implemented during 2003-04 , 2.50 lakh persons in the age group of 18 to 60 years , living below the poverty line, were covered with an initial premium investment of Rs. 2.50 crores and the scheme would be continued during the year 2004-05.

Mr Mohinder Singh Kalyan, former MP, called upon the weaker sections to positively avail the free education facilities provided by the govt and provide good education to their children.

Mrs Gurnam Kaur, Director of Punjab Khadi Board, Karamjit Singh, president of SC cell, DCC, Gurnam Singh, SDM, Moga and Mr Jagdev Singh in charge, Harijan Cell, PPCC also graced the occasion. 



‘Vested interests’ oppose privatisation of octroi
Kuldeep Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 30
The ‘extra income’ of some civic officials and senior political functionaries in the municipal corporation here is about to stop if the proposed move by the Local Bodies Department of the state to privatise octroi collection in the four major towns takes shape in the days to come.

The move, which would likely to yield rich dividend and help the corporations tide over the resource crunch through a significant increase in octroi collection, would prove to be a daunting task for the civic administrations if stiff opposition by vested interests to the decision is any indication.

It was no secret that a large scale evasion of octroi was taking place in all the major towns in Punjab with the enforcement officials of the Local Bodies and the ruling political functionaries entering into an unholy alliance to share the spoils. Finding no other alternative to check the menace, the state government had taken a policy decision to entrust the collection of octroi in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Bathinda to private contractors and the shift in the policy was projected to increase the octroi revenue in all these cities by a minimum of 25 per cent which would be no mean achievement.

The corporation in the industrial hub of the state, known to be the richest local body in Punjab, earns a revenue of around Rs 120 crore from octroi alone, which is the biggest source of its income, contributing a little more than 50 per cent of its total annual income. Highly placed sources in the corporation told Ludhiana Tribune that even going by conservative estimates, the average daily collection of nearly Rs 30 to 35 lakh from octroi was disproportionate to the size of trade and industry in the mega city.

Sources maintained that a sizeable evasion of octroi on a regular basis with the active connivance of major transporters was filling the personal coffers of certain corporation officials and ruling politicians. The supervising corporation officers and political functionaries were also diverting a part of the funds thus siphoned off to their superiors to keep them in good humour.

It was learnt that a section of affected officers and ruling party functionaries were strongly opposed to the decision of privatisation of octroi collection, citing several reasons, the harassment to the trading community and transporters being the main among them.

However, the real motive of their opposition to the move stemmed from the fact that once the collection (of octroi) was handed over to a private contractor the flow of funds by way of complicity with the evaders, would stop.

The sources said reports of alleged excesses and harassment by contractors in small towns where the octroi collection had already been privatised were being blown out of proportion and deliberately being planted in exaggerated versions by vested interests who wanted to scuttle the government move.



Protest march by Dal Khalsa on Nov 1
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
The Dal Khalsa will undertake a march in the city on November 1 in protest against the rise of migrant labour in Punjab.
The district President and General Secretary of the Dal Khalsa, Mr Birinder Pal Singh Saholi and Sukhvinder Singh Gill, said in a note issued here today that the problem of influx of migrants had reached an alarming situation. To bring Sikhs and Punjabis out of slumber, they said, the Dal Khalsa has chalked out a strategy to address the problem.

“In the first phase, we are were going to reach out to the masses by undertaking the march. It is need of the hour to educate the Sikhs against the implications of their dependency on migrant labour. “ they said.

“We feel the influx of migrants has had a serious socio-economic-cultural ramification on the Sikhs in particular and Punjab in general. The issue has set the alarm bells ringing,” they said.

The Dal Khalsa stressed that they were not averse to migrants coming to Punjab in search of bread and butter, but it was concerned on their permanent settlement in the state.” 



Marriages of poor girls solemnised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
Marriages of 10 poor girls were solemnised by the New Jyoti Club at a mass marriages function organised at Gurdwara Angad Dev Darbar in Janak Puri here today. Mr Surinder Dawar Parliamentary Secretary, Power and Urban Development, Punjab, and Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, attended the function and blessed the newly wed couples on this occasion. Household goods and other gifts amounting to Rs 35,000 each were given to couples by the club, besides gifts by the members of the club and other dignitaries.

Mr Dawar said the concept of mass marriages was quite helpful in eradicating the evil of dowry from the society and it was a great help to poor parents, as during the present times, it was very difficult for the poor to hold the marriages of their daughters because of dowry problem.

He called upon the social organisations and clubs to organise more such mass marriage functions so that the weaker sections could be properly helped at the time of their need.

Appreciating the efforts of New Jyoti Club, Mr Dawar said all members of the club had been making excellent contribution in the various social activities and eradication of social evils in the past.

He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the club to further enhance its social activities.



Chadha’s book released
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 30
The late Prof I.S. Chadha’s book “Literary terms and theory from classicism to post-modernism” was released after his bhog ceremony at Mai Nand Kaur Gurdwara, Ghumar Mandi, Ludhiana&

Prof Chadha, a literary personality of the area, had breathed his last on October 25 when he had suffered a heart attack while attending a party. The book was released by Mr Ravinder Singh Sohal, Vice-President, BSP, after his bhog ceremony was performed.

A number of teachers and students had assembled to offer their tributes to the late Chadha.



Seminar for Sikh women
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
A two-day seminar on "International Sikh Women Awareness" on October 30 and 31 is under way at Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women in collaboration with the UK-based International Sikh Women Council.

On its first day , the proceedings of the seminar were initiated with the recitation of soul-stirring and spiritually elevating hymn from Gurbani "Deh Shiva Var Mohe".

Mr Kuldip Singh ,an eminent scholar, delivered the inaugural address. Dr Davinder Kaur, Dr Sushil Kaur, Bibi Harjinder Kaur and Dr Bhupinder Kaur delivered enlightening talks.



Man killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Jagraon October 30
Jagdip Singh, a scooterist of Sarabha village has been killed in a collision with a truck at Sudhar, 25 kms from here. According to information, his scooter was hit by a truck driven by Ram Bhaia. The police has registered a case.



Shawl market in shreds
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 30
Come winter and woollens are out. The most convenient of all warm clothes are shawls. Be it a housewife, or a working woman, or a teenaged girl, shawls can be worn to give warmth and also draped in a style to make a fashion statement.

Men, too, find shawls smug and comfortable.

Mojpura Bazaar of Ludhiana, the biggest market of shawls in Asia, has more than thousand varieties and myriad colour combination in shawls. A visit to the market reveals that while some sellers have well-designed showrooms others were retailers and stock their piles of shawls in small shops which is too small to accommodate two or three customers.

The market has the latest shawls . These range from feather to Kulu, Kashmiri, Pashmina, semi-pashmina and rabbit shawls. Then there are shawls embroidered by Kashmiris in Kantha stitch. Some shawls are in fabulous prints. The printed shawls enjoy great popularity with the local buyers. The colourful shawls have tie and dye prints of Rajasthan embellished with mirror work.

Not only buyers from West Bengal, Bihar , Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Nagaland, Assam, Gujarat and many other regions of the country come to buy these shawls, but also the market has gained international stature as buyers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore USA and Australia come to the market to buy in bulk.

According to Ishpreet Singh and Kulvinder Singh, two shopkeepers, the market boasts of stocking shawls ranging up to Rs 50,000 in the market is the most vulnerable market to accidents. The greatest danger it faces from fire as overhead electricity wires are too old and worn out. They are hanging precariously low. They said in spite of making many representations to the Punjab State Electricity Board, no one had done anything.The market was not equipped with proper fire-fighting arrangements. Moreover, more than 15,000 shops stocked highly inflammable material.

The other great problem is unbelievable congestion of traffic. Not only the narrow road has countless shopkeepers selling shawls , but also the extremely narrow bylanes have big showrooms and small shops as well. The other problems are that there are no toilets for visitors or any eateries. Buyers from abroad find it inconvenient to shop without the basic amenities.

A few shopkeepers have got together and had constructed their own toilets. Ishpreet said during the rains the road becomes muddy as the sewerage has been blocked for many years.



Iron scrap ‘being overcharged’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, today alleged that the supply of iron scrap by certain PSUs had taken the shape of a scam.

He alleged that the official rate for the supply of iron scrap had been declared at Rs 8,500 per tonne but certain PSUs were selling it at Rs 17,000 per tonne. The official receipt, however, was issued for Rs 8,500, he alleged.

He said the Railways, Bhel and ONGC had sent letters to scrap dealers, quoting the price of Rs 8,500 per tonne.

Following adequate supply of steel in the market, the price of ingot (kulfi) had come down to Rs 21,800 per tonne today from Rs 23,000.


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