L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Labourer burning case: murder charge added
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The Shimla Puri police today amended the FIR regarding the sensational labourer burning case by charging the three accused with murder instead of attempt to murder after the alleged victim succumbed to burn injuries at a city hospital yesterday.

Only Bholla, one of the three accused, has been arrested in the case so far, with the other two accused Ranjit Singh and his son Manpreet Singh, owners of Sohal Cycle Parts Factory, still evading arrest despite raids by the police to nab them.

Bholla, a family friend of the owners, was, meanwhile, remanded to one-day police custody by a Duty Magistrate today late afternoon.

SHO Shimla Puri, SI Jogi Raj, said the accused had now been booked under Section 302 of the IPC after the death of Ravinder Singh. The case has been registered on the basis of the dying declaration made by the victim.

So far, no eye-witness has come forward to make a statement in the case. Bholla Singh was also yet to confess to the charges. He was counter-alleging that the labourer had burnt himself and made the charges to settle scores with them. Police sources said Bholla was maintaining that the victim had confessed to committing theft in the factory and they were bringing him to the police.

However, the post-mortem examination report received by the police today corroborated the charges that the man was beaten up before he suffered burn injuries. The report states that injury marks made by blunt weapons were found on his legs and arms besides other parts, suggesting that he was beaten with sticks or iron rods before his death.



Tribune Impact
Controversial DSP shifted
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The Punjab police has finally withdrawn its controversial orders to post a DSP as in charge of the marital disputes cell, who was himself facing trial in a dowry harassment case lodged by his daughter-in-law.

The orders come in the wake of a report printed in these columns last week highlighting the case faced by DSP Jaswant Singh while he was ironically posted as the in charge of a cell formed to settle such cases.

DSP S.S. Kahlon has been posted as the in charge of the cell. The fresh posting order of DSP Jaswant Singh was awaited. DSP Kahlon has joined duty.

The Tribune news report was handed over to Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal also by mediapersons at a press conference. She had promised to take immediate action. Police sources said the Punjab Government and the Police Department were quite embarrassed at the development.

DSP Jaswant Singh, formerly posted at the Punjab Police Academy at Phillaur, is presently on bail in a dowry case filed by his daughter-in-law, Ms Bhupinder Kaur (30), daughter of a local dairy farmer. Despite that he was made the head of a cell specially formed to solve such cases.

The complainant in the case, Ms Bhupinder Kaur had also shot off letters to senior police officials and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, also. However, the government had not taken any action on her representations.

DSP Jaswant Singh’s sons Rajinder Singh, Vikramjit Singh, and Amandeep Singh and his wife Satinder Kaur are also accused in the dowry case.



Traders to observe ‘black day’ against VAT
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM) has given a call to the members of the trading community in the state to observe a “black day” on January 25 against the proposed introduction of the value added tax (VAT) from April. The traders have been asked to wear black badges and put up black flags atop their establishments to lodge their protest against the “adamant attitude” of the state government.

In a joint statement here today, Mr Sunil Mehra, state general secretary, Mr Kasturi Lal Mittal and Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, president and general secretary of the district unit of the outfit, respectively, further informed that on January 31, the traders will submit memoranda against VAT to ministers, legislators and senior officials of the Excise and Taxation Department all over the state. The agitation against the “black law” would be intensified from February 1 and modalities of the stir would be finalised in the next couple of days.

The Beopar Mandal functionaries, called upon Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to review the decision in the larger interest of trade and industry. They apprehended that if the government went ahead with the legislation in its present form, without giving effect to the modifications as demanded by the representative bodies of trade, the introduction of VAT would have disastrous effects on the state economy.

“The prices of almost all essential commodities will go up, small traders and industrial units will go out of business, unemployment will shoot up and at the same time the members of trading community will have to dance to the tunes of excise and taxation officials, who will wield sweeping powers under the new taxation law.”

The beopari leaders reiterated their stand that without the demanded amendments and removal of “draconian” and “repressive” provisions, the trade and industry would not accept the state VAT. They also expressed their opposition to multiple taxation, which would result from VAT and demanded the withdrawal of all other state taxes and octroi before the new taxation regime could take effect. 



‘VAT replacement of sales tax’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 23
The impact of the value added tax (VAT) and its two rates of 4 per cent and 2.5 per cent on various types of goods were discussed at a seminar organised by the Steel Chamber and Excise Department at the Gymkhana Club, Mandi Gobindgarh, last evening.

Deputy Excise and Taxation Officer Mohan Singh from Ludhiana, Assistance Excise and Taxation Commissioner, who had been a member of the State Advisory Committee on VAT, and Assistance Excise and Taxation Commissioner Y.S. Mata from Fatehgarh Sahib spoke on various points to remove misunderstandings on VAT, which was only a replacement of sales tax.

At present, it is charged on goods by one state and when taken to other state sales tax is again charged. But now it will be charged only once.

The speakers pointed out that VAT provided relief once it was paid on the input items. The paid VAT would be credited to the input tax credit (ITC) in the account of the trader and the tax paid after sale of finished goods would be refundable.

Punjab Beopar Mandal chief O.P. Gupta, Steel Re-rolling Mills Association’s zonal chairman R.P. Bhatia, senior vice-president of the Steel Chamber Joginder Singh Mann, president and general secretary of the Furnace Association Mohinder Gupta and Kuldip Goyal, respectively, took part in the discussion. 



Unlawful building activity goes unchecked
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 23
Even as employees of the Municipal Corporation here had organised a protest rally on Friday following the arrest of a draftsman and two inspectors of the civic body by the Vigilance Bureau on charges of corruption, unlawful building activities with the connivance of the enforcement staff go on in the city.

In one such incident, the lentil of a basement in a commercial complex on the Maharani Jhansi road was put up on the night of Friday with it being partly completed on Sunday. Interestingly, pillars put up by the builder at the same site for raising the construction of the basement were pulled down by the civic body staff in the presence of the MC joint commissioner Dr Jaswant Singh on December 17.

Although residents around the complex were of the view that the builder had taken advantage of two holidays on Saturday and Sunday in the civic body, others alleged that certain members of the building branch staff were not only aware of the unlawful building activity but were hand in glove with the defaulting builder.

When the MC demolition squad had swung into action against the construction being made in violation of the bylaws in December 2004, it had been made clear that no building plan of the complex was approved for the said site. Moreover, the builder himself had admitted that a property dealer had sold the plot, measuring 9 x 30 feet, to him at an exorbitant price before he could realise that no construction with a front of less than 11 feet was permissible in this area.

The construction of the same building was stopped on the intervention of MC officials earlier in August 2003 as well, but after a futile attempt in December 2004, the builder appeared to have “won over” the enforcement staff and part of the construction had been completed. The affected area residents had lodged a written complaint with the MC authorities even as the builder was said to have publicly claimed that he enjoyed political patronage as well as the support of a senior civic official.



Medical report of minor confirms rape
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 23
The medical report of the minor girl of Chhapar village who had been abducted and allegedly raped by a married youth of Brahampur village has substantiated the charges levelled by her.

The accused had allured her on the pretext of sending her abroad after marrying her even though he was already married.

Police sources revealed that Gurmit Kaur a widow of Chhapar village had complained that Manjit Singh of Brahampur village and his mother had allegedly abducted her minor daughter Ramandeep on January 17. The police registered a case against Manjit Singh and his mother under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC.

According to Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, a team headed by Amarjit Singh Khaira, SHO, Dehlon, nabbed Manjit Singh during a naka near Chhapar village and the girl was recovered on the basis of information extracted from the accused.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Manjit Singh and his mother had abducted the girl on the pretext of sending her abroad after marriage. The accused allured her when she used to go a private academy.

During this period Manjit Singh and his mother started alluring the minor girl and concealed the fact that he was already married to a girl based at Ludhiana.

Manjit Singh had been close to a group of singers and had already visited some foreign countries.

The Dehlon police handed over the girl to her mother after getting the medical examination conducted. Referring to the information received from the doctors conducting the examination, Mr Amarjit Singh Khaira said the girl had been raped.



BKU demands compensation for crop losses
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
Demanding 100 per cent compensation out of the Natural Calamity Fund from crop losses due to hailstorm in several parts of the state, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has called upon the government to immediately order a special girdawri to assess the extensive damage to standing crops.

The BKU chief ,Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, and acting president, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, said here today that in the Muktsar and Malout areas, crops of wheat, mustard and fodder on thousands of hectares had suffered massive damage due to hailstorm, to the extent that in a large number of villages, no fodder was available to the cattle.

Lashing at the state government for a severe shortage of power and canal water, they claimed the farmers were made to spend heavily on diesel to irrigate their crops. To make the matters worse, the farming community had to deal with the menace of spurious insecticides and pesticides and black marketing of chemical fertilisers.

The farmers were already in a tight spot for having been made to purchase DAP fertiliser and other inputs at higher rates and the destruction caused by the hailstorm had inflicted a deadly death blow to them. The government would do well to come to the rescue of affected farmers by taking speedy action towards the assessment of crop losses and early payment of full compensation to the victims.

The BKU leaders further asked the Union Government to double the allocation made for the ‘natural calamity fund’ so that the farmers could be appropriately compensated for damage to crops caused by natural disasters. They urged the state government to take up the issue of power shortage with the Punjab State Electricity Board and to ensure that farm sector was provided 10 hours daily power supply during the day for tubewells.

Mr Lakhowal and Mr Kadian cautioned the government to take effective and early steps to defuse the crisis being faced by the farming community lest the farmers should resort to a mass agitation in the state.

“The BKU has launched district- level dharnas to focus on the pathetic plight of farmers and memoranda are being submitted to the administration.”

In the meantime, the union was mobilising farmers for the proposed national level kisan panchayat at Delhi on March 3 which was sought to be turned into a springboard to start a stir against increasing debt burden on the farmers all over the country, they added.



Netaji’s anniversary observed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
The 108th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was observed by the Arya Samaj (Dal Bazar) here today.
Mr Roshan Lal Arya, chief secretary of the Ved Prachar Mandal, presided over the function. It started with Gayatri Yajna which was performed by Swami Shobhanand.

Mr Arya said the observance of the anniversary would be meaningful only when “we are able to abolish the caste system in our society and youth also put in their full efforts in making society casteless”. He said “we should stop thinking about our selfish interests and start working sincerely for the development of our nation”. This effort would help us fulfil dreams of our martyrs and would be the true homage to them.

Students of SKN Model School sang a patriotic song titled, ‘Is desh ki dharti’, whereas girl students of SD Girls Senior Secondary School also sang “Suraj badle, chanda badle, badle chahe dhurv tara, Bharat ki shaan na badle , yeh sankalp hamara’ .

Ms Chetna Sharma and Ms Teena spoke on the life of Subhas Chandra Bose and the sacrifices he had made for India.

Meanwhile, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was observed as Sankalp Divas at Sekhewal under the presidentship of Congress leader Kewal Arora here today. The chief guest on the occasion was Mr Parminder Mehta, Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Committee.

Paying tributes to Subhas Chandra Bose, Mr Mehta said the youth of today needed to follow the path shown by Netaji. He said it was sad that a large number of young people were not even aware of the sacrifices made by the martyrs during the freedom struggle. He said it was imperative that the youth should be made aware of the sacrifices made by martyrs.

Mr Arora, paying homage to Netaji, said it was unfortunate that the young generation was turning to drugs. He said the political parties as well as members of society and government agencies should come forward to root out this evil.

He further said it was essential that young people ought to be aware of the efforts made by the martyrs during the freedom movement.

Other who spoke on the occasion included Balvir Billa, Ravinder Bittu, Pandit Ved Prakash, Sunny Sharma, Nek Chand Manit Arora and Harminder. 



Dawar holds janta darbar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, has said the state government had accorded top priority for the removal of grievances of the people by organising special public meetings at mohalla and ward level and asked the officials to give sufficient time for sorting out such grievances.

Mr Dawar was addressing a well-attended janta darbar organised at Shivaji Nagar here today. Over 100 complaints were received and most of these were settled on the spot, while the remaining were marked to the officials concerned for redress within a week.

Mr Dawar said he had set up a special office in the Cheema Chowk to receive the applications for the sanction of different kind of pensions, including old age, widow and dependant children, and for preparing ration cards.

The people from Beantpura and the Chandigarh Road complained about the problems arising due to the oil dump and demanded the urgent shifting of the same to avoid any untoward incident in that populated area. Mr Dawar assured that he would take up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner.

The people from Ranjit Park, Harcharan Nagar and Kashmir Nagar demanded the shifting of the area to Zone B from Zone A, which was nearer to the locality. He assured that the problem would be solved at the earliest by discussing the same with the Commissioner, MC.

Referring to the development projects taken up in his constituency during the past three years, Mr Dawar said works to the tune of Rs 20 crores had already been completed in the Ludhiana East constituency. He informed that in the Jankpuri area, a special storm water project, costing Rs 60 lakh, was sanctioned and the work on the project would start shortly. Once completed this would solve the major problem of water logging in the area.

He informed that a new bridge in Janakpuri was also being constructed. Mr Dawar said to permanently solve the problem of pollution from the open “nala”s, passing through different mohallas of his constituency, a plan was afoot. He said Rs 14 crores had already been sanctioned for the purpose.

Among others who were present on the occasion, included, Mr Ashok Bagga, Mr Sanjay Talwar, Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha, Ms Anju Bagga, Mr Sushil Prashar, Mr Subhash Dua, Mr R. K. Bakhshi and Mr Darshan Singh.



‘Canada haven for skilled Indian migrants’
Our Correspondent

Bhutta (Ahmedgarh), January 23
Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skill Development in House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada, disclosed that he was denied visa to visit Iran recently when he wanted to go there to inquire about the welfare of the Sikh youth who had been sheltered at a gurdwara.

“Unfortunately, the global political scenario has changed so drastically that it did not give enough time for the world powers to show their concern and take remedial steps so that faith was restored among all concerned,” said Mr Malhi while talking to The Tribune at Bhutta College of Engineering and Technology, here today.

Commenting on the state of skilled and educated Punjabis who migrated recently to Canada, he claimed that he had raised his voice 117 times in the House and demanded that the degrees conferred by the Indian universities should be treated at par with those in Canada.

“But the number of professional degree holders migrating to Canada has increased so much during the past decade that the government found it hard to accommodate all of them,” explained Mr Malhi.

He claimed that the government had earmarked $ 68 million for the placement of the skilled NRIs in the country. But the execution of the project was delayed due to the unforeseen affect of the tsunami disaster.

The MP further disclosed that number of persons migrating to Canada on family visa basis had been decreasing and that of the skilled persons had been increasing. There were 19,376 cases of family visas in 2003 that declined to 13,500 in 2004. The number would be between 5,000 and 6,800 during current year.

Canada was prepared to receive 1.35 lakh skilled Indians in future, he revealed.



Need for class-less society emphasised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Noted social activist Narbinder today underlined the need for a class-less society, which would be free from the divisions of caste, creed or religion.
While delivering the keynote address at a seminar on “Philosophy: Religion versus Marxism - its relevance as a tool for social transformation in favour of oppressed working class”, organised by Shaheed Bhagat Singh Study Circle, here today, the Marxist thinker appealed to the working and socially oppressed classes “to set aside the corrupt socio-political system while rallying around the scientific Marxist theory”.

He maintained that it would prove to be a tool for the “revolutionary transformation of Indian society to a class-less society, free from any socio political or caste oppression of toiling masses”. Such a scientific socio-political system, he said, would be free form any type of exploitation, which was the dream of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

He maintained that the Marxist and religious theories were far apart from each other, in their relevance as a tool, to replace the existing corrupt socio-political system, with a system based on equality free from any type of socio-economic exploitation.

He said, while, the Marxist theory provided the scientific analysis of the existing socio-political system and put forward a complete remedy to replace it with a classless society, based on equality and free from any parasitic exploiting classes.

He said the religious theory had a reformist idealistic role, while the Marxist theory was revolutionary tool in hands of the oppressed working classes and majority of the people living under socio-economical oppression in the existing system. Each social theory has to play a clear partisan role for different classes with different interests in the class-based society, he added. Dr Darshan Kheri, convener of Shaheed Bhagat SIngh Study Circle, compered the debate. In the second half of the seminar this sensitive issue was discussed minutely in philosophical as well as the social terms of liberation of the oppressed Indian working class.



Staines, sons remembered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
A prayer meeting was organised by the United Masihi Dal, Ludhiana, today in memory of Dr Graham Staines, a Christian missionary, and his two sons, Philip and Timothy, who were burnt alive six years ago in Orissa.

The day was observed as Great Christian Martyr Day. Pastor William Mattoo led the congregation with a prayer. David and his party sang hymns. Dr D.B. Lall from Australia was the keynote speaker. He spoke about the devotion of the entire family of Dr Graham Staines and their dedicated services to the people of Orissa.

He read out a passage from Bible and paid tributes to him. He also gave a sermon and asked the people to emulate the example of Dr Staines and his family and dedicate their lives in service of people.

Mr Hira Singh Garbaria, a former MLA, was honoured on the occasion. Mr Bharat, Director of Crime Free India, was also honoured. 



Fun drive for women
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
Nearly 100 women of the city experienced the thrill as they participated in a car rally called “Women’s Fun Drive”, which was flagged off by Mr S.K. Sharma, Municipal Commissioner, here today. The rally was organised by Maruti Udyog Limited.

According to Mr Dhillon, Regional Manager, Maruti Udyog Limited, Chandigarh, it was necessary for the lady driver to be accompanied by a male navigator. The route extended up to 40 km and passed through residential areas like Randhir Singh Nagar and Sarabha Nagar. The speed limit was fixed between 20 km and 40 km.

There were six checkpoints and the contestants had to pass through each of them. 



Surjeet warns industries against exploitation of workers
Tribune News Service

Mansuran (Ludhiana), January 23
CPM general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Politburo member Prakash Karat and other party leaders today warned the industrial houses against exploiting the workers.

Reacting to the complaints of some trade unions that they were not being allowed to organise, the CPM leaders said the right to protest was their constitutional right.

Addressing the 18th state level workers convention, the CPM leaders said they had been told that some industrial houses were not allowing the registration of the workers unions. They asserted if those industrial houses continued with that attitude, they would have to bear with the consequences.

Even Mr Surjeet, who spoke briefly, asserted that the workers had the right to strike. He said when it came to the interest of the workers the party could go to the any extent and let the law take its own course.

Mr Karat was also of the same opinion. He went a step further saying that the CPM would press for a law in Parliament by virtue of which the workers would have the right to protest and go on strike. He regretted that the NDA government had not reacted properly to various court judgments, which prohibited workers from resorting to strike.

There was an unprecedented rush of workers mostly from the bicycle industry at the convention. Most of them had paddled their way to Mansuran, 15 km from Ludhiana, carrying red flags on their bicycles.

However, for the first time, the workers, who mostly belonged to the outside states, outnumbered the locals. In fact the presence of the local workers was far too less than the industrial workers.

Mr Surjeet expressed satisfaction over the massive turnout of the cadres saying that he felt confident that he could take up any challenge with such a mass base. He said the party drew its strength from the grassroots workers only.

Probably it was for the first time in the modern day rallies that the number of vehicles was negligible, as the workers had mostly come on their bicycles. Only workers from other districts had come in less than a dozen vehicles.

A book in Punjabi on the life of veteran trade union leader A. Gopalan was also released on the occasion.

Others present today included state CPM secretary Balwant Singh, Raghunath Singh, Rachhpal Singh, Lamber Singh, Vijay Mishra and Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon.



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