L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


LIC Housing Finance acts tough
Seals properties of 6 defaulters
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Toughening its stand against defaulters LIC housing Finance Limited has started sealing premises and taking possession of defaulters. The company, under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 1972, has so far issued 69 notices to loan defaulters in the city and sealed properties in six cases.

While one property in Kishore Nagar was sealed today, the company officials sealed three properties yesterday, and two others on December 28.

Sources said permission had been obtained in several other cases also from the local authorities for obtaining the possession of properties.

The move assumes significance as other housing finance companies are likely to follow suit. Though housing finance companies, in the recent past, witnessed a major uptrend in business, the problem of increasing number of loan defaulters had been a major cause of concern.

The company expects a substantial reduction in the number of loan defaulters with this move. “Now that housing finance companies have been included under the Act, we have started taking these steps,” said Mr K.B.Kohli, Area Manager, LIC Housing Finance Company, Ludhiana.

He said properties that had been sealed were in Kishore Nagar, Guru Angad Colony, Suraj Nagar, Rasila Nagar on the Chandigarh Road and Amar Nagar.

LIC Housing Finance, which had issued 69 notices so far this year, is issuing such notices in case the borrower fails to pay the installments for six months. After six months, officials said , the company would issue a 60-day notice to the person concerned. However, in case the payment is not cleared by the borrower during this period the company gets the authority to seal the property and take its possession after which a notice is displayed regarding the same. Again if the entire payment, along with penalties and expenses incurred by the company in this process, is not made the company gets the authority to seal the property.

Company officials, along with enforcement agency and the police, visit the site to pursue the case.

The action of sealing the property did invite resistance from borrowers. "However, the situation was not difficult to control as we were accompanied by police personnel," Mr Kohli added.

He said the company was in the process of issuing more notices and it was advisable that defaulters paid their installments and amount due well in time so as to avoid any such proceedings against them.



Problems galore for BSNL subscribers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 4
The traumatic experience of non-receipt or late receipt of telephone bills, disconnection for no fault on their part, having to go a long distance to unimaginatively located TRA (accounts) offices and standing in long queues at post offices or on-line counters has become a routine rather than exception for a large number of subscribers of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in the mega city.

The General Manager of the BSNL, Mr G.S. Julka, however, disagrees, saying things have definitely improved over the past about two years and efforts were on to make the services more user-friendly and settle other procedural problems of the subscribers.

Scores of telephone subscribers in different parts of the city have complained that their telephone bills were either not delivered or received late, in some cases after the due date for payment had already elapsed. With the result that they had to pay surcharge on the bills for negligence on the part of the BSNL authorities. At times, non-deliverance of telephone bills led to disconnection and, in that case, the subscribers had to cough up not only the surcharge for late payment but another Rs 100 as reconnection charges.

Another grouse of the subscribers, who were not able to make payment of the telephone bills within the stipulated date for several reasons, was that the designated post offices refused to accept payment after the due date but this was not mentioned on the bills issued by the BSNL. The ambiguity resulted in avoidable harassment to the subscribers who were turned away by the postal staff and asked to make payment at on-line counters.

Similarly, the location of TRA offices, dealing with billing complaints or issuing duplicate bills was another sore point. The subscribers had to cover long distances and, in some cases, more than once to get duplicate bills or for correction of bills.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the BSNL General Manager, Mr G.S. Julka, said delivery of telephone bills was entrusted to post offices under a policy decision and once in a while, reports were received about late delivery in a particular area due to a lapse on the part of postal employees. “In such cases, the surcharge for late payment is waived off without any discrimination.” He said the department had gone for delivery of telephone bills through courier on experimental basis for some time which did not yield the desired results.

Commenting on other complaints of the subscribers, Mr Julka maintained that payment of bills at the online counters after the due date ensured that the information was immediately conveyed to the computer room and the disconnection of telephone even after making the payment could be averted. He agreed that the telephone bills should mention this fact and said the matter would be taken up immediately.

Mr Julka said the locational drawbacks of the TRA offices in the city were already being discussed at an appropriate level and corrective steps would be taken soon.



Love triumphs!
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, January 4
A love affair in which the boy faced a criminal case, was jailed for months, his family harassed and the girl was rendered house arrest by her parents besides being beaten up and forced to file a complaint of kidnapping and rape against her lover has finally ended in a happy reunion.

Charankamal and Charanjit Kaur, after facing problems for three years they both got married at a Gurdwara in Chandigarh.

The marriage was solemnised without the consent of their families. Fearing another round of harassment, the couple asked the Jagraon police to give them protection.

Narrating their tale of woes to the police, the couple stated that their families were against their marriage as they belonged to different castes. Both however decided to elope and then got married. The girl’s parents lodged a complaint against the boy and he was arrested.

Later, the girl Charanjit succmbed under the pressure of her parents and community and stated that the boy had kidnapped and raped her. The boy was booked and jailed at the Central Jail, Ludhiana.

Despite facing hardships, the boy wrote a letter to the SSP, he said he understood the limitations of the girl and had no ill-will towards her. The girl after suffering so much at the hands of her parents and remaining under house arrest, decided to stand by the boy.

The couple asked the SSP to keep their relatives at bay. Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, told Ludhiana Tribune that he had offered them police protection but they declined. They just did not want any interference from their relatives. He said he had taken the names of the relatives from the couples and issued directions to the Jagraon police to take care of them.



PU to send teachers on study tours
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 4
Panjab University has decided to send principals and teachers of its affiliated colleges and institutions on study tours to institutions in western part of India. This decision was taken during the Senate meeting held in the last week of December.

Mr Tarsem Bahia, Principal, A.S. College, Khanna, appreciated the step taken by the university and added that the first batch would be leaving for Maharashtra and Gujarat in March.

The respective college (sponsoring principal or teacher) would have to bear 50 per cent of the expenses and the remaining 50 per cent would be paid by the university. There would be six to seven principals, teachers, one or two officials from the university and the state government in a batch. 



Stamp duty: DC clarifies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma today said that the rates of stamp duty and the date from which they will be effective will be duly notified to the general public as and when these rates were actually enhanced. Till then, all transactions of sale would continue to attract 6 per cent stamp duty as earlier.

Mr Verma also appealed to the public not to panic and disregard any speculations and rumors spread by unscrupulous persons in this regard.

Any wrongdoing in this context should be brought to the notice of the officials, concerned he added.



Ludhiana Calling
Spate of burglaries

The city residents do not seem to have any respite from crime. If the last month of 2004 was replete with robberies and a dacoity, 2005 opened with a spate of burglaries and thefts. The most disheartening aspect was that thieves struck on the New Year night at around 10 places. They were busy celebrating the dawn of New Year in their own way even as the unassuming victims were celebrating the occasion at a hotel or some friend’s house. The police also remained true to its character by not registering cases in a majority of such incidents.

French lights

The residents of the city are waiting for the Mayor to practically transform his ideas, after his visit, to France into reality. After coming back he had announced that he would try to have French streetlights in the city which had fancy caught his attention during the trip. While only the Mayor knows when will the city have those lights, residents wish that this is done soon. Some are sceptical about such announcements as they claim that after his visit to Japan, he had promised a Japanese park for the city. It is yet to see the light of the day.

Harassed commuters

Apart from beggars, salespersons of different companies are harassing commuters at traffic light chowks. These salespersons throng the cars and keep on tapping at the window-panes. They will not budge till you take the pamphlets, posters or handouts from them. At times they disrupt the flow of traffic while moving from one lane to the other. The traffic policemen remain a mute spectator to their activities. It seems that they will react only when some major accident occurs. The car drivers always remain vigilant because if they bump into or crush one such salesperson, they will have to face the music.

SMS or jokes?

Mobiles are becoming a common feature these days. So much so that there are several users who actually don’t need these for any other purpose than mere show off or entertainment. One such person hailing from a remote village called up his friend in the city. He used to feel left out when his group of friends in the college exchanged jokes on their mobiles. He called up one of his friends to announce that he also has got a mobile phone. He said now send me jokes also. The friend replied, "OK, I will send a lot of SMS now.” He was exasperated at the reply of the new mobile user, “SMS nahi send only jokes, OK?”

Littering garbage

Are the MC garbage carriers meant for lifting garbage or littering it all over? The latter seems to be true for most of the MC trucks used for lifting garbage which have the rear doors missing. After loading the garbage from one spot, the trucks carry it through various roads, spreading garbage in cleaner parts also. The other day a colleague found a similar truck littering garbage as the closing door at the rear was missing. Some concerned residents were seen shouting at the truck driver but he went on. Insiders said several other trucks of the MC were without such doors. Some were eaten by junk as the vehicles were old and ill-maintained. Some doors were just stolen. Whatever may be the cause, the very purpose of the garbage carrier, to keep the city clean, was defeated with it littering on the roads.

Vulgar posters

The district administration seems to have forgotten its drive against vulgar posters in the city. Posters of nude or semi-clad girls are pasted on walls all over the city. The Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate, Mr Anurag Verma, had banned such posters six months ago. The police had launched a crackdown on cinema owners and booked several of them. However, after that, the orders seem to have been forgotten. Some posters are so outrageously obscene that it is difficult for women to pass near them.

Toy dogs

It is ironical that people shower all love and care on toys and dogs and are willing to spend hundreds, even thousands, to buy these. However, scores of stray dogs roam around the city with very few taking care of them. An appalling site is often seen on the city roads where toy dogs and puppies are sold on footpath or the roadsides. Stray dogs are kicked or stoned by toy sellers or passersby who readily spend money to buy toys to decorate their houses or cars!

Tsunami victims

Ludhianvis are often termed as money-minded persons. But the city has belied all myths by donating huge amounts of money for sending relief material to tsunami victims. Lakhs of rupees have already been donated according to administration officials. Politicians, social organisations have set up special offices to collect money for the victims. The activists are even roaming with boxes on the roads for the job.

Matka chowk

The historic Chattar Singh Park has become the matka chowk of the city. It has become a favourite place for staging or planning demonstrations. Cutting across party, community, religious or department lines, all organisations have formed a habit to meet here, hold meetings and stage demonstrations here. Many of them meet here only and then proceed towards the Mini Secretariat for submitting memorandums on various issues to the Deputy Commissioner. As a result, the park is lying in a shambles. The grounds are shorn of any grass and are bald. The fountains do not work and the landscaping has been lost. It was high time that the authorities wake up to restore its pristine glory.

— Sentinel



Pak delegation for mutual cooperation in agriculture
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Mutual cooperation in the field of agriculture and developments in this sector have the potential of making India and Pakistan the world leaders in the field of agricultural produce.

These were the views of a Pakistani delegation which is on a visit to India to study the practices follow

wed by farmers in Punjab. They visited Ghugrana Farms, near Ahmedgarh, and also interacted with local farmers today. They are here on an invitation of the Agrotech Division of the Birla group.

Dr Afzal Haider Okara, leader of the 20-member first-ever delegation of farmers from West Punjab, said the need of the hour for both countries was to cooperate so that the farmers across the border benefitted from the advances made in either country. The problems faced by the farmers were similar and in case the governments gave a free rein to the farmers to redress their problems jointly, then there was no way that the lingering problems could not be redressed in both the Punjabs, he pointed out.

The delegation largely comprises potato farmers. The members were of the view that they could lower the production cost substantially if they were allowed to buy seed from India. At present, they were procuring the seed from Western countries which was very costly. The Punjabi farmer grew the same crop at almost half the cost and it would be in our interest and that of our country if we learnt from their experiences, they added.

Dr Sayeed Awas Razvi, Mian Khalid Jang, Mohammad Sarvar Kamboj said they were not only impressed by the advances in agriculture but also had been bowled over by the hospitality wherever they went. The people were so nice and like us, they too wanted that both the neighbours enjoyed cordial relations, they added.

Kisan leaders Rift Hussain Sahiwal, Kausar Rizvi, Nizam Tariq Bodla, Chaudhry Abdul Gaffar, Haji Ali Mohammad said like Punjab, the Pakistani farmer, too, was under heavy debt as both were agrarian economies and the agricultural practices and social set-up was almost the same.

Addressing the delegation, former Chairman of Punjab Agro Jagjit Singh Ghugrana said the relations which had soured after the Partition were now cordial and “we should make the most of this well-earned goodwill and rapport.”

The members were earlier welcomed and felicitated by Mr Inderjit Singh, president of the Ludhiana Chamber of Industries.



Award for Gurbhajan Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Prof Gurbhajan Gill, Editor of farm magazine, Changi Kheti, brought out by the Punjab Agricultural University and senior vice president of the largest literary body of Punjab, the Punjabi Sahit Academy, will be honoured with the Balwinder Rishi Memorial Gazal Award- 2005. In February. This, the award carrying, a citation, shawl and cash will be bestowed on Prof Gill in recognition of his book Man De Buhe Barian’ by the Phagwara-based Balwinder Rishi Memorial Committee.

In this book of ghazals, Prof Gill has touched on emotions pertaining to his sense of belonging to his village, exploitation of the have-nots by the rich, quest for excellence and glorification of being a Punjabi.

The committee launched this award to recognise the contribution of writers who have contributed substantially towards the enrichment of Punjabi literature, culture and heritage. Another writer who will be awarded by the committee on the occasion, is Parminder Sodhi, a Punjabi poet living in Japan. Mr Sodhi has enriched the Punjabi poetry with his unique style and content of thought.



City to have gold and wedding mall
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Aerens Goldsouk International, today announced the launch of gold souk, a jewellery mall and wedding souk, a wedding shopping mall, here.
Souks (meaning bazaar in Arabic) will come up in two years on the GT Road towards Jalandhar, said Mr G.S. Pillai, president, Aerens Goldsouk International, here today.

He said these malls aimed at attracting customers from Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Phillaur, Phagwara, Patiala, Moga, Gobindgarh and other neighbouring towards.

Mr Pillai informed that the malls would showcase jewellery, watches and high-value lifestyle accessories. The mall will provide everything one needs for a wedding under one roof.

Wedding mall will showcase trousseau, accessories, perfumes, cosmetics, bags, footwear, furniture, furnishing and consumer durables.The mall will also have food court, children’s play area, executive lounge, ATMs, a bank counter and beauty parlours.



Freedom fighters’ gesture to tsunami victims
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The local members of the All-India Freedom Fighters Organisation of India have decided to donate at least Rs 1,000 each to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for tsunami victims. This was stated here today by Dewan Jagdish Chander, former legislator and general secretary of the All-India Freedom Fighters’ Organisation.

A meeting of the All-India Freedom Fighters Organisation and the Freedom Fighter Successors’ Organisation of India was held here today which was presided over by Dewan Jagdish Chander.

The freedom fighters observed two minutes’ silence in memory of the deceased.

Dewan Jagdish Chander said a resolution was passed at the meeting making it mandatory for the freedom fighters to pay at least Rs 1,000 towards the relief fund. He appealed to the freedom fighters to pay their one month’s pension towards the relief fund.

The meeting was, among others, attended by Mr Kalicharan Sood from Phagwara, Master Mangat Rai from Bathinda, Mr Tajinder Singh from Jagraon, Mr Avinash Chander Sahstri from Rajpura, Dr Sharda, Mr Chander Shekhar Azad and others.



PSEB staff oppose privatisation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Opposing privatisation of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees of the board observed a black day today. The employees also burnt an effigy of the Capt Amarinder Singh government.

Mr Swaran Singh, an employee, said the government had assured the employees that the PSEB will not be privatised. However, the core committee decided to divide the board into five companies, which has led to deep resentment among the employees.

The protesting employees threatened to intensify struggle if the government did not reconsider the decision. Mr Parkash Singh, Mr Ranjit Singh Gill, Mr Karam Chand, Mr Balwinder Singh and Baba Ram Singh also addressed the employees.



Media’s role in development discussed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Director of Extension Education of PAU, Dr Amrik Singh Sandhu, today said that the media played an important role in the development of agriculture. He was addressing scientists at the Centre for Communication, Languages and Culture of the PAU.

He emphasized the need of positive reporting in the print and electronic media and added that through the knowledge of new techniques and technology, we can revolutionise economy of the country.

Dr Sandhu, also released the new years’ university calender on the occasion. Dr Joginder Singh Nirala, Dr R S Gill and others resolved to serve the farmers.



Tributes paid to Akali leader’s mother
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Glowing tributes were paid to Sukhdev Kaur, mother of Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, a former minister and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal. Cutting across party lines, leaders belonging to the Akali Dal, the BJP, the Congress and the Left parties attended the bhog ceremony of Sukhdev Kaur.

Prominent among those who attended the bhog ceremony included the secretary-general of the SAD, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a former SGPC President, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Manpreet Badal, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mr SS Bhaur, Congress leaders, Mr Surinder Dawer, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, BJP leaders, including Lala Lajpat Rai, Harbans Lal Sethi, Mr Pran Bhatia and Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallapuri of the MCPI and others.



CICU condemns steel price hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) today condemned the fresh hike in steel prices announced by the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and other big manufacturers in the county.

Mr Upkar Singh, joint secretary, said an increase of Rs 500 per metric tonne by SAIL had led to a cumulative increase in the price of HR coils by Rs 1,500 per metric tonne. Withdrawal of rebate of Rs 1,000 per metric tonne had further escalated the price of HR coils and other steel inputs by Rs 2,000 per metric tonne which has affected engineering and steel industry in the state, he said.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, CICU, that SAIL promised last year that there would be no price hike till December 2005 but the decision effecting yet another hike will act as a blow to engineering industry.

He said even the customs and excise duty reductions made by the Ministry of Finance to keep under control the rising steel prices had failed to yield any positive result.

Mr Pardhan said the Prime Minister needed to intervene in the matter and direct the Steel Ministry to put a cap on the rising steel prices.


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