L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Petrol station in residential area
Taking fate for granted
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
Opening of a filling station in the Fateh Ganj Mohalla has kicked up a row with the owner claiming that he was issued No-Objection Certificates (NOC), by various departments and residents living nearby saying that they were sitting on a powder keg.

The petrol station — Royal Fuels — was given green light by the local administrative departments on November 23 and the residents could come to know about the allotment only a few days ago when it started functioning.

Owner of the pump, Sandeep Garg claimed that he was issued NOC by the District Town Planner as it was a commercial area, residents alleged that Fateh Ganj was predominantly a residential area and the rear wall of the station touched some houses.

They claimed the pump had storage capacity of 20,000 litres of highly combustible substance yet the authorities had allowed him to pose threat to lives of residents.

“A small fire on the station can lead to a major tragedy in the area which has cluster of small houses. The pump is infact surrounded by residential houses in all directions. How can the authorities allow a petrol pump in our vicinity?” asked a resident adding that the stretch of Khud Mohalla to Old Oswal Mill Road always had traffic jams. Besides there were encroachments on roadside also. If there is a fire, a fire engine will take too much time to reach there.

Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma, said that he issues NOC after receiving similar certificates from 10 other offices. He added that it was a very exhaustive process and if the other departments cleared the case he issued an NOC. He added that if the pump was violating norms and if some department had wrongly issued the NOC he would order an inquiry.

As per rules a petrol station owner has to seek NOC from various offices including District Town Planner, PWD, Fire Officer, District Rural Development and Panchayat Officer, Divisional Forest Officer, District Food and Supply Controller, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, Municipal Corporation, Department of Explosives and finally the Deputy Commissioner. A team from every department has to visit the site before issuing an NOC.

Mr Garg said that he had bought an old house on 650 square yards of land recently. He demolished the building to construct a petrol station. He added that it was only for two wheelers and soon the construction would be completed. He showed a licence by the Department of Explosives to the Ludhiana Tribune, however, he could not produce the NOC stating that it was at home.

Mr S.K. Sharma, Fire Officer, said that the Fire Department issues the NOC on two conditions. If the location is easily accessible, fire engines can reach it in case of fire and if the station has fixed all required fire-fighting equipment then there is no problem with the department. He added that in this case fire engines could reach the pump so he was issued the NOC.

The District Town Planner was not available for comments as he was stated to be out of station. DFSC, Ms Simarjot Kaur said that if it was located in a residential area then it was in violation of norms. She added that she would look into the matter and if she found some problem she will report the matter to authorities.



Missing hospital driver held, freed on bail
Ambulance impounded
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 20
An ambulance of Sudhar Civil Hospital in district Ludhiana, which was reported missing along with its driver and medical equipment, has been reported to be impounded by the police at Lathheri Chowki under the Morinda police station.

The driver who was booked by the police was released on bail but he has not reported at his place of posting.

The health authorities had reported that the driver had taken the vehicle unauthorisedly and reported for duties at the site of the Indo-Pak Punjab games on December 2 but he did not report back at his place of appointment after being relieved from the office of the civil surgeon Patiala on December 11.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that Gurmel Singh had been using the hospital ambulance for his personal use and making merry with his family. The ambulance remained away from hospital for three weeks.

During this period Gurmel Singh hit a cyclist Manpreet Singh on December 18 and was booked under Sections 279, 237 and 427 by Lathheri police. As he did not have a licence and documents of the vehicles the police impounded it.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, in charge of the chowki, said Manpreet was hurt seriously and the doctors at the PGI at Chandigarh had to perform two surgeries to save him.

The ambulance was also damaged. Gurmel Singh was released on bail but he had not reported for duties at Sudhar hospital till the filing of the story.

Dr Inderjit Singh Bagga, SMO, and in charge at hospital said he had apprised the district authorities of the latest developments. Further action would be taken according to the directions of the seniors, he added.

The in charge further added that Gurmail Singh had taken the vehicle to Patiala without the permission. Though the Civil Surgeon office had directed him to report for duty at the site of the Indo-Pak games on December 2, the orders were later withdrawn and Mr Avtar, another driver, was deputed for the purpose. Gurmail Singh left with the vehicle without taking the documents and logbook of the vehicle and any orders.

During his posting at Hathur hospital earlier he was found negligent in his duties and the department had staggered five increments on his salary as a consequence.



Balwinder Goel re-elected Bar chief
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 20
Mr Balwinder Goel proved his metal once again in the annual elections to the District Bar Association (DBA) for the post of president, by defeating his opponent, Mr G.S. Bal, with a margin of 356 votes, here today. He has been elected as President for the second time.

Mr Goel got the support of 756 lawyers, while his opponent got 400 votes. The third contestant for the same post, Mr Dev Raj Sharma, secured only 33 votes. Last year, Mr Goel had become the president of DBA by defeating Mr K.K. Bagai with the margin of 124 votes. He had secured 660 votes out of 1,201 polled.

The elections remained peaceful. Out of 1,293 votes, 1,196 votes were polled. Six votes were declared invalid, as per the information provided by the Returning Officer, Mr S.K. Pathak and Assistant Returning Officer, Mr P.S. Batra.

Mr Gurdeep Singh Gill was declared elected as vice-president of the DBA. He defeated the sitting vice-president, Mr Nagesh Singh Gill, with a margin of 112 votes. He got 584 votes against 472 ballots in favour of Mr Gill. Other two contestants, Mr Dwarka Bakshi Nath and Mr P.L. Anand got only 48 votes each.

Mr Rana Harjasdeep Singh was declared elected as secretary. He defeated his nearest rival, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Bajwa, with a margin of 268 votes. Mr Rana secured 721 votes and Mr Bajwa 453 only.

For the post of finance secretary, Mr Arvind Sood was declared elected. He defeated his nearest rival, Mr Deepak Rana, with a margin of 91 votes. Mr Sood obtained 465 votes in comparison to 374 ballots in favour of Mr Deepak Rana. The third contestant, Mr Ranjit Singh Rana, got 346 votes only.

The Goel group was jubilant as they won both the important posts of president and secretary. Former Bar presidents, Mr K.R. Sikri, Mr Hemant Kalia, Mr Jagmohan Singh Warraich, Mr H.L. Sethi and Mr Rajneesh Gupta, Mr Yogesh Kumar congratulated Mr Goel on his victory.

Till the filing of report the counting for the remaining posts was going on.



Election to Bar Association held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 20
Election to the Bar Association, Khanna was held here today at civil courts complex. The President and the secretary were elected unanimously while for the election of the post of vice-president 67 votes were polled out of total 114. The dissident group of the bar had boycotted today’s election as that group had already elected its office-bearers three day before the date of election.

The association has 114 members. 91 are practising Advocates while 23 members are non-practising.

Five candidates had filed nomination papers for the post of the president. Papers of the three candidates were rejected.

A group of the Bar members alleged that the office-bearers had rejected the nomination papers without fault. The dissident group sent proposals to reach on any compromise but failed. The dissident group holds election on December 17th and announced its own office-bearers. Today the group in power held election. Mr Rajiv Punj outgoing Secretary claimed today that president and secretary were elected unanimously while the voting process was completed for the election for the post of Vice-President.

He said that total 67 votes were polled and their candidate Amit Verma had secured 63 votes while the rival candidate Rajesh jalu scored only three votes. Mr. Kuldeep singh Nizzar and Mr. Mohan Bagga had been elected President and secretary respectively. A leader of the dissident group said they had no concern with today’s election as they had already elected their office-bearers and the list had been sent to the acting District Sessions judge. He claimed that the Sessions Judge had recognised their election.



Situation near normal in DMCH as agitation flops
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 20
With the management of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) taking a tough stand against the strike by a faction of employees, owing allegiance to Mr Chander Mohan Kalia, president of the employees union, coupled with immense pressure mounted by the district administration against the agitators, the strike seems to have fizzled out and the working of the hospital has got back to normal.

According to sources in the DMCH, a large majority of the employees have joined their duty only Mr Kalia, along with a handful of his close supporters, is sitting outside the hospital continuing his stir without any valid reason.

The show-cause notices issued to the striking employees by the management on Saturday had the desired effect as most of them resumed working.

In fact, Mr Kalia seemed, to have bitten off more than he could chew in resorting to an unwarranted strike a fortnight ago. Fed up with the frequent and whimsical agitations in the hospital over frivolous grounds, both the management of the DMCH and the district administration had decided to act tough this time and not to bow down to the pressure tactics of a section of employees.

Unlike during the previous agitations when Mr Kalia called the shots, the management assumed a proactive role this time and did not hesitate in thoroughly exposing the president of the union and made it clear that he was misleading the employees for his personal motives. The emergence of another leader of the employees in Ms Rajwant Randhawa had also eroded the following of Mr Kalia. Several allegations of misuse of hospital vehicles, air conditioners, violation of the MOU and taking away his father after treatment at Hero DMC Heart Centre without paying the bill had further alienated the trade union leader from his ranks.

It was perhaps for the first time that not only the district administration had gone to the extent of issuing a warning to the hospital employees against going on strike and one of the SDM’s was deputed to monitor the situation and submit a report, but the entire faculty of the institution had stood behind the management and had adopted a unanimous resolution to rid the DMCH of such trouble mongers.

Unconfirmed reports said that the managing society of the DMCH had lodged a complaint with the police as well, charging Mr Kalia with several criminal acts. The police was awaiting a nod from the administration to go ahead and take appropriate action.

Meanwhile, in a press release issued today, the management of the DMCH reiterated that all commitments made regarding the welfare of employees in the MOU signed in September 2004 would be fulfilled and welfare of all employees was their prime concern. The management further added that illegal actions of Mr Kalia were regrettable as these were interfering with the patient care and vitiating the atmosphere of the institution.

The statement by the management claimed that the medical and para medical staff was fully attending to the patients admitted to the wards, ICUs, private rooms and OPDs. “The section of striking employees has been completely isolated as most of the employees have gradually rejoined their duty.”



Garcha, trustees bury hatchet 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
Following a war of words with some trustees of Ludhiana Improvement Trust, (LIT), the chairman, Mr Ashok Singh Garcha today called a truce and said that all ‘‘misunderstandings’’ were over and all of them would work as a team for the development of the city.

The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of trustees and chairman which continued here till evening. After the meeting the trustees and chairman resolved to hand over Baba Isher Singh Nagar to Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

Cracking a whip at the Local Bodies Department, Mr Garcha said that it was due to the ‘‘over-interference’’ of the department that the Improvement Trust had lost its autonomy. He demanded that the interference should be stopped. He added that development works worth Rs 30 crore were pending with the department for clearance and he could not do anything till there was a green signal.

The Chairman denied that there was any political pressure behind not removing the encroachments in Model Town Extension-II. He said that the work was being delayed due to the unavailability of the police force during the demolition.

Mr Garcha also said that the demolitions would be removed from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar also as and when the LIT was made police force available. He said that he had requested the police to erect a temporary police post in the areas for 15 days so that the encroachers do not return.



Explosives in malkhanas defused, destroyed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 20
Taking cognizance of the explosion at one of the mal khanas at Amritsar last year the Sangrur police destroyed arms and explosives dumped at various malkhanas in the Malerkotla subdivision, destroyed explosives included mines and detonators also.

Mr Mukand Singh Malhi Deputy Superintendent of Police at Malerkotla disclosed that a substantial amount of the explosives had been dumped at various police stations including Malerkotla and local town.

The Senior Superintendent of Police at Sangrur sought the permission from court, to destroy the material to avoid an untoward incident.

After receiving the permission Mr H.S. Chahal SSP called a team of experts from Jalandhar to defuse the explosives and ammunition seized during period of terrorism.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill DSP Dhuri supervised the defusing operation at CIA centre Bahadur Singh Wala on Saturday.

Observations revealed that one anti-tank mine, one hand grenade, four detonators and four packets of explosives, which were seized in connection with cases registered at Malerkotla police station, were destroyed in the operation. The team defused two Hand Grenades (36 HE) and one detonator seized in connection with cases registered at local police station under the Arms Act and TADA.



Traffic snarls at Domoria bridge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 19
Traffic remained blocked for more than an hour near Domoria bridge causing inconvenience to hundreds of commuters here today. The traffic cops remained on their toes trying to manage the traffic.

The cops had to divert the traffic for some time also till the flow became smooth. The commuters who had to reach their destinations in time were the worst hit as it took them more than half an hour to cover a distance of less than 500 metres.

Domoria bridge, a known traffic bottleneck causes problems to the commuters almost everyday. There is not even a single day when the traffic flows smoothly through under the bridge without causing any block.

The residents who have to pass through the bridge are pinning their hopes on the elevated road, the work on which is in progress in the city.

Major cause of traffic overflow at the point is the narrowness of the road and unchecked traffic from four sides besides the slow traffic of rickshaws, bicycles and carts. Encroachments on both the roadsides by the residents as well as shopkeepers contribute to the narrowing of the road leading to traffic chaos.

Deputing of a cop on the spot does not help much as the width of the stretch is much less compared to the heavy vehicular traffic.

“It is not a day’s problem. We have to face it everyday. If you have to reach your destination in time leave home atleast half an hour in advance if you have to cross this bridge. I have never found this place free of traffic chaos,” says a shopkeeper in Calibre Plaza A.C. Market. The life is very difficult for the commuters who have to reach Bhadaur house market, clock tower market, Air Conditioned Market and Phillaur as they have no other option but pass through the bridge every morning and evening which are unfortunately the rush hours.

“We are helpless as we have to come from here only as the way from Jagraon bridge is even worse thanks to the ongoing construction of the elevated road. Whatever you do you have to waste your half an hour every day besides struggling to reach your destination,” said Joginder Singh, a shopkeeper.



Paying power bill a tough task
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
The location of a bill counter of the Punjab State Electricity Board on CMC Road for residents of at least 45 colonies in the CMC zone is a cause for serious concern for residents.

Situated on the congested the road, there is a small tin shelter in the name of a cash counter.

Serpentine queues are always seen on the busy road leading to a traffic bottleneck but there seems to be no solution in sight.

The residents claimed that they had to stand right on the road waiting for their turn and at times they were hit by fast moving vehicles.

They further claimed that there were only two windows where the residents could deposit bills and staff members had tough time in tackling the consumers.

Especially on the last date the rush increased manifold.

The PSEB deputed only two staff members who gave receipts. ‘‘If the PSEB knows that there is a problem why can’t it set up more windows?

Has the population not increased over the years? Then why not increase the number of staff members also?’’ asked Mr Mohinder Singh, resident.

‘‘It is surprising that in this area when people have race against time we have to face long queues. Government offices do not understand the value of time. Why can’t they do something so that we do not have to wait for long ,” he said.

Situation worsened on a rainy or foggy day in the Winter and hot day in the summer when the residents did not have a place to take shelter. They have to wait on the road.

They said the billing counter had been situated for the past many years when there was not much traffic on the road.

Then the work used to go on smoothly. But with added number of vehicles on the road, it was very difficult to run a public office like this.

They demanded that the bill counter should be shifted from the place and more staff should be deputed to receive the bills. PSEB officials were not available for comments.



Crime on rise due to drugs: study
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
Drugs are eating up into the vitals of the city with a good number of youngsters walking into the trap. This has also indirectly contributed to a rise in crime. Some case studies done by a leading Delhi-based psycho-analyst revealed that there was a set pattern of various criminal incidents and the drug addiction appeared to be at the centre of it. Smugglers have reportedly evolved a strong network to mislead the law as was found during the case study of the Ghumar Mandi daylight robbery incident.

Mr Michael Joseph, a leading psycho-analyst and criminologist of Delhi, during his case studies of some criminal incidents in the city have found that the drug addiction was “eating up into the vitals of the society”.

He observed that even the police was finding it in a fix. Of the two studies one related to the Ghumar Mandi incident where an ex-cop, Ranjit Singh, was involved.

The police had already reported that the cop was a drug addict and for procuring drugs he had planned the robbery.

Mr Joseph maintained that there was a series of criminal incidents related to one incident. “No incident should be viewed in isolation”, he observed in his study. He pointed out even the weapon used in the incident was also smuggled. Quoting the police, he said, the accused, who had fallen into the drug trap, had procured the US-made weapon from a Bihari, who assumed multiple identities.



Debt forced him to attempt suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
A debt-ridden drug addict resident of Shimla Puri attempted to commit suicide alleging acute harassment at the hands of an ex-municipal Councillor who had loaned him money on high interest rates besides luring him to drugs.

Ranjit Singh (32), was saved by doctors at DMC hospital after his family brought him there.

He was still unconscious and a suicide note recovered from his pocket revealed the reason for his extreme step.

Ranjit Singh states that he had taken a loan of Rs 50,000 at 5 per cent monthly interest from an ex-Councillor who also owns a chemist shop.

However, though he paid interest in time, the councillor started pressing for repayment and increased the interest. He also gave the victim some capsules to get rid of hypertension.

The vicitm allegedly realised later on that the capsules were drugs and was hooked to it. He had to sell his motorcycle and even the house had to be mortgaged. He decided to end his life then.

His wife Seema said his husband was quite depressed for a few months and she did not know what was disturbing him. The police was investigating the matter. No case has been registered so far.



Estranged husband beats up woman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
An estranged husband and his cousin’s wife together today beat up the man’s wife outside the District Court complex for allegedly eloping with his cousin.
Angrez Singh, the estranged husband and his cousin’s wife, Rekha, reached the district complex when Paramjit Kaur, Angrez Singh’s wife, too, was there for some work and they started beating up the latter. They were alleging that she was staying with Angrez’s cousin and Rekha’s husband, Nidaan Singh at Patiala.

Both the couples have grown up children. Rekha alleged that Paramjit was allegedly staying with Nidaan Singh leaving behind her husband and children. She, however, refuted the allegations stating that she was seeking a divorce from Angrez and was living with her relative in Rajpura.

Following the fight the police arrived on the scene and took the three along to police station division number 5. No case was registered against anybody. 



VAT to hit trade, industry: CICU
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 20
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has maintained that thousands of units in the state, including large scale units and big business houses would face crisis-like situation after the proposed VAT took effect.

In a statement here today, Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, Mr Ashok Juneja, vice-president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the chamber remarked that under the VAT regime, exemption of a large number of units would indirectly come to an end unless the units concerned decided to change over or opted for deferment of payment of tax for the remaining exemption period.

Elaborating problems likely to be faced by units enjoying tax exemption, Mr Juneja said that as per the proposed rule 93 of the Punjab Vat Act, no input credit would be allowed to the dealers, purchasing goods from exempted units.

In other words, exemption of such units would be rendered meaningless. “It will be a breach of promise by the Punjab government since exemption from payment of tax for a specific period has already been granted under the provisions of Punjab General Sales Tax Act and Rules.

The CICU functionaries pointed out that exemption from the Sales Tax and central sales tax was granted in special conditions like setting up industrial units in border areas, under-developed region or remote belts to create employment opportunities in such areas. The tax exemption allowed by the government for a specific period practically served as a cushion against the risk taken by the industrialists and entrepreneurs to enable them compete in with others.

Mr Juneja called upon the state government to evolve a suitable mechanism and make amendments in the act to ensure that the exempted units were not affected by imposition of VAT and not denied the benefits available to them for the promised period. In this respect, the government should make provisions for allowing input tax credit to those dealers, purchasing goods from exempted units.

Similarly, benefit of tax credit on purchases made by exempted units should also continue to be granted as before.

The chamber further wanted rollback of the increase in rate of tax of many items from 8 to 12 per cent under VAT and deletion of other arbitrary and harsh provisions so that the new taxation system could be introduced smoothly without any opposition from the members of trade and industry.



Seminar on VAT held
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, December 20
A seminar on ‘Value-Added Tax: opportunities and challenges for Punjab was organised by the Commerce Association of Guru Nanak National College , Doraha, today.

Prof Ajay Sharma, Faculty of commerce SGDSD College, Chandigarh, who was the resource person in the seminar explained the conceptual foundations of the Value-Added Tax. He viewed,”The system of levying taxes at the first or last point has its own limitations. As VAT helps us to overcome these limitations, there is a strong case for implementing VAT in India. But at the same time, it cannot be applied blindly.

One has to look into the issues such as refund problems, single rates and deposits by dealers.”



Biz Clips

LUDHIANA: Airtel, informed that it had crossed the two-lakh customer mark in Punjab and one-million mark nationally in the Airtel Hello Tunes that were launched in July. The company’s multi-access entertainment portal on mobile phones also crossed the five-million GPRS download milestone within five months of its launch. He said customers can also download MF Hussain’s paintings as wallpapers from the Airtel Live portal.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |