L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Garcha withdraws resignation
Levels corruption charges against Mayor, trustee, Basant
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
Creating a furore among the local unit of the Congress party, Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, Chairman of Ludhiana Improvement Trust, (LIT), today withdrew his resignation stating that he did not want the coveted post to go to certain ‘‘corrupt’’ leaders who were lobbying for it.

Targeting a group of the local Congress leaders, including the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Rajinder Singh Basant, a prominent businessman and Mr Surinder Singh Bindra, a trustee of LIT, Mr Garcha said that “The Municipal Corporation and the District Congress party is already paying the price of mis-selection of a member of this coterie as Mayor.”

“To hand over the LIT also to another member of this corrupt group would mean that the entire civic administration of the city would be handed over to that group in the Ludhiana Congress whose motto for the political advancement is ‘loot and distribute,” he added.

Mr Garcha, who had submitted his resignation in June this year said he had realised that by doing so he had “left the field open for some of the most dubious players in city politics to lobby for the post.”

Without mincing words, Mr Garcha , in a one-page-letter to the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, said that he was referring to Mr Bindra and Mr Basant. “It goes against my political conscience and agenda to facilitate the rise of such obvious misfits in principled politics,” he added.

The names of this duo were being discussed in circles for the post of next LIT Chairman.

Mr Basant had been a contender for this post at the time of the last appointment also. Bur Mr Garcha was selected Chairman.

The Chairman further stated in the letter that his resignation was always available if any decent replacement was there. “But if my replacement is to be someone of the nature of these people then I choose not to resign for I believe the political propriety lies in being dismissed rather than voluntarily paving the way for men of such dubious intentions and track records to assume the worthy position of chairman of the largest trust in the state.”

The Chairman, however, refused to reveal anything when he was asked whether he had any documented evidence to vindicate his allegations. He said that he would go public about the same at the right time.

Mr Rajinder Singh Basant, when contacted said that it was ironical that he had “a good reputation in the city and commanded respect from people of all walks of life” yet the Chairman was levelling allegations against him. ‘‘We have been helping the people of the city, there has been no police case against me. We are the owners of as many as 45 resorts and ice cream outlets in the state. Will we indulge in corrupt practices?” he questioned. He further said that it was up to the state government to decide the next Chairman and it was because of the “personal jealously” that Mr Garcha did not want him to be the next Chairman.

The city Mayor, Mr Gill said that he did not want to comment on the issue. “I do not want to react to the allegations levelled by a man who has lost his mental balance,” he reacted.

Mr Bindra was not available for his comments.



One killed, 6 hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
One person was killed and 6 others were injured in an accident involving four vehicles at about midnight last near Baddowal on the Ludhiana-Jagraon road. The accident took place when the driver of a Scorpio Jeep lost control and rammed into a Maruti car, auto-rickshaw and a rickshaw.

Kuldip Singh, resident of Mandeep Nagar, Haibowal, died at the spot while Surjit Singh travelling in the same jeep sustained injuries. The other injured were Avtar Singh, Jagjeet Singh, Rishu, Vinod and an unidentified person.

The impact of the accident was such that the vehicles were thrown away at a distance in different directions.



Court allows namaaz at disputed site
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The controversy over the ownership rights of a religious place in Bhaura village due to which communal tension had taken place last month has taken a fresh turn with a local court allowing Muslims to perform namaaz at the religious place without making any changes in the building.

Mr K.K. Singla, Civil Judge (Junior division), has also allowed the Muslims “peaceful use” of a graveyard in the village and restrained the villagers, represented by eight defendants in the court, from interfering.

These two issues had led to communal violence. The Muslims had been claiming that the religious place was a mosque and was changed into a gurdwara after Partition. The villagers, however, refuted the claim saying that it was a gurdwara.

The community had stormed gurdwara Ravi Dass early last month but were stopped by villagers. The police had to intervene after clashes broke out. Leaders of the Muslims claimed they had an order but were not able to furnish any document till now. After they submitted the attested orders of the court to the police, the latter referred it to the district administration to decide how the orders could be implemented.

Sources said the administration was taking its time to weigh the pros and cons of the implementation of the orders. The villagers have not helped much by not going in for revision of the court orders or to vacate the stay.

The villagers have been arguing that the Muslim leaders contesting the case were not even residents of the village and had their own axe to grind. However, this argument was not accepted by the court.

Though there was peace in the village, police and administration sources said they were keeping an eye on the turn of events. The police said they would not allow escalation of tension in the area and had referred the matter to the district administration.

The use of the graveyard was also a contentious issue. The Muslims had been arguing that the graveyard was meant for use by their community but had been encroached upon and they had no place to perform burial rites.

However, the villagers mostly Hindus and Muslims, claimed that they were using the place for cremation and due to pressure of population, even a tubewell was installed at the place. Under such circumstances, they could not allow the use of the ground as a graveyard. The villagers also said the ground was being used for burial purposes by persons not belonging to the village.



BJP leaders seek action against MC contractor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
BJP leaders who had levelled allegations against a contractor of the municipal corporation for not completing work on a park in the Jamalpur area despite getting the bills cleared, today demanded action against the guilty.

In a communique by Mr Satpal Gosain and Dr Subhash Verma, both BJP leaders criticised the statements issued by the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the area councillor in favour of the contractor that tiles had been stolen so the work could not be completed.

Stating that it sounded “ridiculous”, the leaders said the funds bungling was clear from various statements in various newspapers issued by the official, contractor and the councillor.

In some news reports the councillor was quotes saying that goods had been stolen from the site while the contractor was saying that the goods were lying in his godown. They claimed that the Xen’s report on the running bill says that work had been done and was up to the standards of PWD specifications.

They alleged that the matter regarding the stealing of pipes by a contractor was also hushed up by the same XEN, who was trying to help the contractor in this case also.



Mughal-e-Azam still numero uno
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
Living up to its reputation of being a timeless saga, Mughal-e-Azam, has been well received in the city, indicating the public’s acceptance of coloured and dolby digital modification of old Hindi movies.

The movie is running for the third successive week in various cinema halls here. All shows have been running house full for the first two days of the opening of the film.

The wide range of viewership also reflects the universal appeal of the film. People from all strata of society have made a beeline for the movie.

The film has also attracted young and old alike. Mr Satish Kumar Singla, a petrol station and brick-kiln owner, says that ‘‘ I was very young when the movie was released. I wanted to see it again with colour costumes to see if the majestic aura of the Mughal court, the towering personality of Prithvi Raj Kapoor and the captivating charms of Madhu Bala was better with the new edition’’

He wasn’t disappointed. He had come to see the movie with his children, who say that the present day movie makers should take lessons from the film, which despite being a saga of love is fit for family viewing unlike the present day films and TV serials.

Mr Kanwaljit Singh, owner of a Cinema hall said people were booking tickets in advance. The movie was doing better than some of the new releases.

He said a cinema owner was thrilled to see jampacked halls but for him the real pleasure was when people cheered a good dialogue, music or scene and broke into a long round of applause.



Admn cold shoulders gold medallists
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, December 5
The Punjab contingent of visually impaired players, which had won three medals, including two gold in the 14th National Athletics Meet for the Visually Impaired held in New Delhi from December 2 to 4, returned today.

However, there was no one from the district administration or the Sports Department present at the railway station to receive them.

Only family members of some of the players and Mr Parmidner Singh, President, Punjab Sports Association for the Blinds (PSAB), were there to receive the six-member squad which won laurels in Delhi.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Gurpreet Singh, a member of the team, said it pained them as the administration as well as the Sports Department did not bother to come to the station.

He rued that they deserved appreciation for their outstanding achievements at the national level. Had any body from sports fraternity or local official come here they would have felt honoured, he lamented.

Echoing his sentiments, Mr Parminder Singh said the State Government should take measures to provide facilities to the physically challenged players so that they could perform at the national level tournaments.

He informed that three players of this contingent who won positions at Delhi had been selected for the future international meets.

Now, they would require more training and better sports infrastructure to prepare themselves for the upcoming meets.

Meanwhile, three players of the Punjab team which won medals at Delhi were Gurpreet Singh of PUDA, Ludhiana (gold in shot put), Rajinder of PUNSUP, Noor Mahal, Jalandhar (gold in javelin throw) and Vivek Monga of Ramgharia College, Ludhiana (bronze in long jump).

Mr Gurpreet Singh accompanied the team as coach.



Major power cut in city area today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The industrial area of the city as well as some residential areas will face a major power cut tomorrow. According to a statement from the office of the Chief Engineer, Central Zone, the power supply to areas being fed by the Focal Point 11 KV feeder will remain suspended from 9 am to 5 p.m.

The units affected will include Oswal, Kangaroo, A S Alloy, Raja, Sukhchain, Metro, Hero Majestic and Mohan Dai Cancer Hospital. Power supply will also remain suspended to Vashisht, Gazebo, Rockman, Central Jail and Kular units from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Power supply to Adinath, D C Steel,Shreyans, Sambhav Spinning, B P Alloy, Jyoti Steel, C L Engineering, Mukesh Strips, Manish Forgings, Surindra Cycles, Hero Cycles Sharu Steels, Concast will remain suspended from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Similarly, power supply to Pahwa Hospital, Partap Nagar, Bhagwan Chowk, K W Highway, Dashmesh Nagar, Sangeet Cinema and the areas fed by the Miller Ganj and Nanakpuri Feeders will also remain suspended from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.



Market panel chief targets infrastructure
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 5
Restructuring infrastructure will be the priority, of Mr Sinder Singh Kanagnwal, newly appointed chairman of the Market Committee, who would take charge tomorrow. He said link roads were the prime constituent of the infrastructure needed for farmers to have an easy access to the respective markets.

“Unfortunately the condition of the roads falling under the jurisdiction of the committee was bad. The farmers had to bear losses on account of extra fuel and wear and tear of the vehicle used for bringing the produce to the market,” he said.



12 grievances redressed on the spot
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
Lack of civic amenities in New Hargobind Nagar dominated the grievance redressal meet presided over by Parliamentary Secretary for Power and Urban Development Surinder Dawar in the locality here today.

As many as 12 grievances related to sewerage, repair of roads, deposit of house tax and disbursal of old-age pension were redressed on the spot. Councillors Sanjay Talwar, Rakesh Prashar and Jasbir Chadha, president of the New Hargobind Nagar Welfare Committee and Sanjeev Kumar officials of the Municipal Corporation and other departments were present.

Mr Dawar said the civic body had sanctioned Rs 60 lakh to tackle the problem of accumulation of rain water. Water drainage would be strengthened in the area.

On the issue of old-age pension and quick issuance of ration cards, he said an office for this purpose has been set up at Cheema Chowk. Those desirous and fulfilling the criteria for the same could submit their forms. They would be intimated once the pension was approved or the ration card was ready, he added.

He said he had got the pension of 400 persons approved while the ration cards of 500 persons had been prepared and handed over to applicants. Disposing of a compliant where a resident, Sham Singh, alleged that the house tax levied on him was on the high side, Mr Dawar asked civic body officials to get the matter solved at the earliest.

Other residents brought to the notice of the Parliamentary Secretary that the power transmission lines in their area were too low and there were the chances of electrocution. They also said the transformer in was not suitably placed. Mr Dawar asked the SDO of the area to get the fault rectified at the earliest.

Earlier, Mr Dawar announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the New Jyoti Club for the construction of a dharamshala.



US Sikhs return to India from Pak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
No Khalistan slogans were raised nor any attempt was made to disturb the celebrations at Nankana Sahib on the celebrations of birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev this time.

This was stated here yesterday by Mr Raghvinder Singh Mahal, Sultanwind, president of the Sikh Religious Society of Palatine, Chicago (the USA), on his return to India after visiting a number of Sikh shrines.

A 31-member jatha of Sikhs from America was sponsored by Mr Harjinder Singh Sandhu and was led by Mr Mahal which participated in the celebrations of Gurupurab at Nankana Sahib.

Mr Mahal said here today that gurdwaras in Pakistan were in a bad state and no kar seva was being undertaken at the moment. Only at Panja Sahib, an organisation of UK Sikhs was busy in laying marble.

The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had organised the celebrations at Nankana Sahib. But the upkeep of gurdwaras at Nankana Sahib even was poor. There was no satisfactory arrangement for cleaning in the gurdwaras during the celebrations.

According to Mr Mahal, the gurdwaras in Pakistan were being looked after by the Sindhi sevadars who had been employed by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Mr Mahal said they did not come across any Khalistani supporter at Nankana Sahib and other places. All functions were held peacefully.

He disclosed that the Pakistan authorities had provided strong security to the jatha and even in buses during their travel, securitymen had accompanied them.

According to Mr Mahal, the people of Pakistan received them warmly. The jatha of American Sikhs first came to Delhi on November 22 and then went to Nankana Sahib via the Wagha border.



Workers flay govt on inflation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The Moulder and Steel Workers Union has condemned the wrong policies being pursued by the UPA government, which have not only resulted in inflation but has also made the life of the ordinary worker miserable.

Mr Harjinder Singh, a spokesperson for the union, said the government had been unable to control the rising prices. The hike in the price of cooking gas, petrol and diesel have had a cascading effect on the prices of essential commodities. The common man was unable to make both ends meet, he alleged.

He said it was also a matter of shame that successive governments had promised subsidies to those living below the poverty line. One just had to go to the fair price shops to see that the shelves were empty. This had come to such a pass that the authorities were not making the ration cards of the poor, he pointed out.

Not only this, emboldened by the oppressive policies pursued by the government the entrepreneurs too had started muzzling the voice of the workers. Employees who raised their voice in dissent were being targetted and in most of the cases they were dismissed or harassed by the managements to toe their line.

Mr Harjinder Singh said that they had decided to hold an agitation in front of the Labour Department office on the Gill Road on December 12 in support of their demands. A memorandum of their demands would also be submitted to the authorities.



Tributes paid to Amar Baath
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 5
Representatives of various organisations paid tributes to Amar Singh Baath at a function organised at the Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Jandali Khurad, yesterday. A grant of Rs 50,000 was announced for the construction of a memorial to Amar Singh.

Leaders of various political and social organisations recollected the contributions of Amar Singh, who had served the Burma Army and later Indian defence forces at various posts. He had played an active role in the establishment of many gurdwaras during his stay in Uttar Pradesh. He shifted to Punjab after 1984 riots and established a farm at nearby Dehliz village. Besides playing an active role in the development of village through panchayat, he also served the Gurdwara Singh Sabha of the village as president for five years.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP, sent a grant of Rs 50,000 for the construction of a memorial to Amar Singh.

Mr Jagwant Singh Jaggie, a SAD leader, Dr Sunit Hind, Mr Sinder Singh, Chairman, Market Committee, Dr Maghar Singh Kalia, DEO, Sangrur, and Mr Jagmeet Singh, Principal, spoke on the occasion.



Ambedkar function today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The Dr Ambedkar Chetna Sangh, Punjab, will organise a function at the New Azad Nagar extension on December 6 to pay homage to Dr B.R. Ambedkar on his death anniversary.

Stating this in a press note here today, the general secretary of the sangh, Mr Vijay Disawar, said tributes would be paid to the departed leader at the function. Among the host of leaders who would attend the function, were Mr Surinder Dawar, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, Mr Nihal Chand Diwana from Amritsar and Mr Ram Chand Sangar, president of the sangh. After the function, elections to the local unit of the sangh would also be held, added Mr Disawar.



Ration distributed among poor

Ludhiana, December 5
The Punjab Nishkam Seva Dal organised an annual ration distribution function at the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir here today. As many as 51 needy women were given ration free of cost.

The chief guest, Ms Gurmeet Kaur, SHO, Police Division (No 2), lauded the organisers for the efforts. She was honoured for her contributions to society.

The members of the Punjab Nishkam Dal who attended the function included, Mr Kulwant Singh Swami, Mr Rachhpal Singh Gill, Mr Rakesh Prashar, Mr Charnjit Bansal, Mr Rajinder Sharma, Ms Gian Kaur, Mr Tejinder Bobby, Mr Madan Lal, Mr Manoj Malhotra, Mr Rakesh Julka, Mr Johny, Mr Saurav Prashar and Mr Mukesh.



Shiv Sena to protest against seer’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
To protest against the inhuman treatment being meted out to the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Peeth, Shiv Sena (Hindustan) activists will sit on a protest dharna and gherao the residence of Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi on December 10.

This was announced by Mr Pawan Sharma, Secretary General of the Sena. Describing PM’s letter to the Tamil Nadu Government as an eye wash, Mr Sharma charged the Congress-led UPA government with the humiliation and disrespect being shown to the saint.



Sirjandhara awards
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The president of All-India Pingalwara Society was awarded Bebe Charan Kaur Khalsa award, while Mr Ishar Singh Sobti was given Bhai Kirpal Singh Khalsa Puraskar and Ms Chand Agnihotri and Mr Harbans Lal Agnihotri were conferred with Guru Samiti Puraskar for their contribution to Punjabi literature and Sikh history during the Sirjandhara Awards-2004 ceremony held at Punjabi Bhawan here today.

Dr Inderjit Kaur assured the organisers to continue the cause taken up by Bhagat Puran Singh while addressing the audience. Mr Isher Singh Sobti said that he would continue to write fearlessly.



Punjab Beopar Mandal decries VAT Bill
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has described the Punjab Valued Added Tax Bill 2004 as a 'nasty enactment' and conveyed its reservations regarding the bill to the Central as well as Punjab Government.

In a memorandum to the Punjab and Central Government, Mr Tulsidas Jaitwan, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has submitted details of objectionable and complicated provisions contained in the Punjab Value Added Tax Draft Act and Rules 2004.

Mr Jaitwani said draft rules were not acceptable to the trade and industry of the state.

"After looking at the objections contained in the Value Added Tax Bill 2004, we feel very much chagrined and frustrated," he observed in the memorandum copies of which have been sent to the Union Finance Minister, Punjab Chief Minister and also to the Finance Minister, Punjab .

The Beopar Mandal has sought that before imposition of VAT all other taxes like excise, service tax, entry tax, octroi, sales tax, Central sales tax, turnover tax, stamp duties, telecom license fee, tax on consumption of or sale of electricity should be abolished because in the countries where VAT is implemented there were no such taxes.

The Kelkar Committee has also made similar recommendations to the Union Finance Ministry.

The Beopar Mandal has also opposed the powers of cancellation of registeration as proposed in the draft bill and the same is likely to be misused by the officials.

The Beopar Mandal has emphasised that VAT provisions should not differ from state to state and should be applied in all states uniformally.

The Beopar Mandal has further opposed the levy of heavy penalties upto Rs 10,000 for failure to file return or annual statement.

The Beopar Mandal said the penalty should be fixed at Rs 2000 only because the offences mentioned were missing and no revenue implications were involved. 


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