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Fraud of Rs 2 cr in foreign trade detected
Four city residents arrested
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The city police has exposed a huge fraud of over Rs 2 crore in which four city residents wrongly availed of subsidies and cash incentives on foreign trade by showing fake industrial units and foreign trade receipts with the help of forged documents, including bank statements and PAN card numbers.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, SSP Narinderpal Singh said so far 11 industrial units with local addresses have been found fake while investigation was on regarding over a dozen more such units.

He said the Centre gives subsidy on export and incentives in the form of rebate in Customs duty on imports. The incentives range from 12 per cent to 42 per cent of the total trade. The accused availed the cash incentives on forged documents without indulging in any trade.

They also allegedly tampered with the original bills by changing the name of items used in trade. The police has also recovered some documents in which the accused had indulged in import and export of some items. They had, however, changed the items to those which get higher incentive.

The police has claimed that certain officials of the Department of Foreign Trade as well as the Customs were hand-in-glove with the accused. The accused have, however, claimed that they were just used as pawns by an influential industrialist of the city who used their names to avail of the huge cash incentives.

The police was taking assistance of a senior official of the Foreign Trade Department in the investigations. The SSP said the documents furnished by the accused should have been found fake at the local office of the Foreign Trade Department or at the offices in Mumbai, Madras or Vishakhapatnam.

A special team headed by the SP, Detective, Mr Gurpreet Singh, and Incharge Economic Offences Wing, Inspector Anil Joshi, has unearthed the fraud and arrested four persons. They have been identified as Parminder Singh of Azad Nagar, Sukhdeep Singh of Miller Gunj, Surinderpal Singh of Civil Lines and Harbhajan Singh of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar.

Parminder Singh and Sukhdeep Singh were the main accused as they had floated 5 and 4 fake units respectively. They were in police custody while the other two were sent to judicial custody last evening on the charges of taking incentives on one fake unit each.

The SSP said the police had got details about the person who was the mastermind behind the multi-crore scandal as well as the officials of the Foreign Trade and Customs Department. The names, however, could not be disclosed due to investigation purposes.



Students get wheat infested with rats’ excreta
Mid-day meal scheme
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Ghalib (Ludhiana), March 7
Three kilogram of wheat infested with excreta of rats and loads of dust is what every primary school student is being given in a majority of village schools under the Mid-day meal scheme in this area. A Ludhiana Tribune team visited about 12 villages to take stock of this ambitious scheme that has been resumed in the state following the Supreme Court directions. What unfolded was a typical tale of paucity of funds hitting the scheme.

In many schools the scheme has just not taken off, while in some they got the grant a couple of months after the scheme’s launch and that, too, adequate to last a month. During this period, which witnessed the first phase of the scheme, students were given items like biscuits and “marundas”. Some districts of the state have even launched the second phase of the scheme, under which fresh cooked meals are being served to the students.

In the primary school of Ghalib Khurd village, students don’t even remember when they got the mid-day meal last time. Sources said following the launch of the second phase, the school students were served dalia for a couple of days, but none of them would like to remember it for long, as many students fell ill after consuming it. Sources said once a dead rat was also found in the wheat allotted to the school. Students of primary schools at Ghalib Ransingh and Fatehgarh Siwia are also deprived of mid-day meals.

This correspondent took out a handful of wheat from the stock lying at the primary school of Shekh Daulat village and discovered excreta of rats, stone pieces and dust in it. Sources said at times, the FCI officials also allot wet wheat for the scheme and the official concerned had to persuade them to provide good quality wheat. A school teacher, requesting anonymity, told that an FCI official even went to the extent of saying “if we can consume the same wheat, why can’t your students?”

Though the administration has issued orders to the primary schools to serve fresh cooked meals to their students, it has hardly made any arrangements for cooking the meals. They are neither being provided utensils to cook and serve meals nor the food items listed on the menu on the administration’s order. Many of the schools are either managing the affair at their own level or are seeking the help of village panchayats and voluntary organisations.

The Ludhiana Tribune team also came across a couple of schools whose staff had the guts to get the meal cooked despite not receiving any aid from the administration. One such school was at Sherpur Khurd village where students were found having their mid-day meal. Here the school staff has arranged utensils from the local gurdwara, which is right in front of it, and engaged the school’s sweeper for cooking meals. Some of the students were also helping her out in making chappatis. The school staff has diverted the 3 kg of wheat each, which has to be disbursed among the students, towards cooking meals at the school. But here too many schools complain that the wheat being provided to them is not of good quality and before grinding, it has to be cleaned properly and even roasted if dalia has to be prepared.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma said he would seek clarification from the District Education Officer as to why the scheme had not taken off in these schools. The DEO (Primary), Ms Harvinder Kaur, said the department had issued strict orders to implement the scheme and she would herself look into the matter.



Kila Mohalla gets contaminated water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The threat of an epidemic is looming large in the Maseet area of Kila Mohalla as residents are being supplied contaminated water for the past two weeks. Some of the children here are down with diarrhoea and typhoid fever. Many residents are claiming that this was all due to contaminated water.

Residents claimed that for the past two weeks discoloured water with black particles was being supplied to them. It was having bad smell also. They said that after drinking the water, their children were falling prey to diarrhoea and vomiting and doctors had advised them to give boiled water to their children.

A visit to Kila Mohalla by a Tribune team revealed that water being supplied to them was smelling and black particles were suspended in it. Residents were going to other areas to fetch water fit for drinking. Heaps of garbage were lying on various streets and it was very difficult for people to pass through the streets due to smell emanating from garbage and sewerage discharge.

The sewerage system of the area was being repaired and residents suspected that the sewer discharge was getting mixed with the drinking water. Ms Barkha, a resident, said that her daughter Diksha was suffering from diarrhoea for the past some days. She claimed that it was because of contaminated water only.

Another resident, Mr Sohan Singh, said his grandson, Rahul, (4), was vomiting for the past three days because of the same reason. Ms Sunita said that all her family members were having pain in the stomachache for the past many days.

Ms Amarjit Kaur said that her grandson, Bhupinder Singh (6), was also suffering from typhoid and was not going to the school. She said he was taking treatment at a private hospital. Uminder Singh (11), another boy’s mother, claimed he was detected with typhoid a week ago.

While they have made several complaints to the councillor of the area, the residents said that these were not being heeded. The area councillor Mr Satnam Ahuja said he was aware of the diseases and contaminated water and something substantial would be done to solve the problem by tomorrow. He attributed repairs of the sewerage system to the contamination and said sewerage was getting mixed with the potable water. 



No-trust motion against MC chief passed
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 7
Eleven of the 15 councillors of the local Municipal Council today voted in favour of the no-confidence motion moved against the president of the council, Mr Rajnish Sharma Gudoo, at a meeting convened here.

Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, supervised the proceedings of the meeting, which was convened following the requisition of some councillors led by Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola and Mr Sham Sunder, both former vice-presidents. As factionalism had reached its climax recently, the administration made elaborate security arrangements in the town to avoid any untoward incident. The councillors owing allegiance to the opposition group levelled serious allegations against the working of the president and demanded his immediate removal form the post.

Mr Mohinder Multani, Mr Mohammad Yaseen, Mr Jaswinder Sodhi, Mr Jagwant Jaggie, Mr Jatinder Bhola, Mr Sham Sunder, Mr Kishori Lal Badhan, Ms Santosh Rani, Ms Veena Puri, Ms Chitter Rekha Sharma and Ms Ramandeep Kaur voted against the president, while Ms Raj Rani, Mr Jaswinder Singh Lalli and Mr Harpal Singh supported him.

Mr Sharma had been elected chief of the civic body unanimously with the intervention of Ms Razia Sultana, MLA of the constituency. Things went smoothly for some months after which a majority of the councillors started feeling ignored and felt that their suggestions regarding the development of the town were not being taken seriously.

The president’s role in the formation of the management committee of the three educational institutes run by the Ahmedgarh Vidya Parcharak Committee was another factor that catalysed factionalism in the council. He went to the extent of dismissing a councillor who served as a head of a women college run by the sabha.

The situation had taken an ugly turn when the group led by Mr Sharma tried to pressurise some councillors who had been in power in the last MC House by getting vigilance inquiries initiated against them. They were, however, given a clean chit in the physical verification of the infrastructure built by them.

The group had moved a no confidence motion in June 2004 also but the same was declined on technical grounds.

It is pertinent to mention that all political giants, including Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, and Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhathal, Deputy Chief Minister, had declined Mr Rajnish Sharma’s request to intervene in the matter and had asked him to face the councillors who voted him out today.



CBI probe sought into land row
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The controversy surrounding land worth crores of rupees in Jhande village fails to die down with the complainant today demanding a CBI inquiry into case, transfer of some police officials and CRPF protection for himself, his son and daughter-in-law.

Mr Amrik Singh, a resident of Jhande village, accompanied by his son while addressing a press conference claimed that he and his son feared threat to their life as his younger son was trying to kidnap him to claim his entire property.

Accompanied by his son, Jatinder Singh Jhande, Mr Amrik Singh said he had written a letter to the President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam some days ago with the same demands and his secretary had replied that his case was forwarded to the Punjab Chief Secretary for further action.

Mr Amrik Singh said he wanted CRPF protection as some police officials of Ludhiana were hand in glove with his son and sarpanch of the village who were eyeing his property worth Rs 3 crore. An ASI of the police was the relative of the sarpanch. He demanded the transfer of three senior officials and the ASI from Ludhiana.

The controversy surrounding the land is becoming murkier day by day. Jatinder Singh and his brother Manjinder Singh had been levelling allegations and counter-allegations at each other that they were eyeing 5 acres of land worth Rs 3 crore owned by their father. While Jatinder Singh had been alleging that his brother supported by some villagers was trying to grab the land of his father, who had disowned Manjinder some years ago, Manjinder had been alleging that his father was being illegally kept in his custody.

Jatinder Singh had been alleging that his brother was trying to kidnap his father after he had learnt that he suffered from a neurological disorder. He added that his father was suffering from HSV encephalitis and was admitted to CMC Hospital also for some days.

He alleged that on August 24, his brother, his wife and their cousin had visited their rented house to inquire about the health of his father. But when they knew that he was not feeling very healthy mentally they allegedly connived to abduct him to make him sign some papers.

Interestingly, the case has seen various inquiries by the district administration and most of these have always reported in favour of Jatinder Singh. On the other hand most of the villagers and sarpanch of Jhande village are supporting Manjinder Singh.



Yash Chopra asks Amarinder for law to curb piracy
Shivani Bhakoo

Phillaur, March 7
Well known Bollywood film producer and director Yash Chopra has urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to persuade the Pakistan government to allow the release of his latest magnum opus Veer-Zaara in that country. Chopra said that the movie, which has Indo-Pak friendship, love, amity and brotherhood between the people of two countries as its theme, could be one of the main talking points of Capt Amarinder Singh during his forthcoming visit to Pakistan from March 14-17.

Talking to The Tribune during his short stay at the PPA, Phillaur, today, Chopra said that Veer-Zaara had drawn a magnificent response wherever it had been released in India and had drawn appreciative comments from Pakistanis as well. He said that he had tried to portray the picture of both Punjabs in the movie. “The culture, the emotions of people of both countries are same, Veer-Zaara is an effort to bring them together”, he said.

Chopra said it was disgusting that during the shooting of the film on the Wagah border, the officials of Pakistan were not cooperative. They wanted the shooting to be stopped. “But I have come to know that 50 crore illegal DVDs of Veer-Zaara were sold in Pakistan in the past two months. We have got a huge fan-mail from Pakistan”, he said.

He had also requested the state government for enacting a law to curb piracy of films. He said that the matter was of much importance as piracy was the biggest threat to the existence and growth of film industry. He added that the state of Punjab was amongst the highest revenue earners for film business and once piracy was curbed, there would be no limits to earnings from film business. To pursue the matter further, he sought help from Mr Harpreet Sandhu, Senior Deputy Advocate General of Punjab.”I have written to Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Cabinet Minister, Cultural Affairs, in this regard and his reply is awaited”, said Yash Chopra.

Later, Chopra took a round of the Police Academy. He saw the pen in the museum, which was used by the court for signing death warrants of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in March 1931. He saw various kinds of weapons manufactured during 17 and 18 century. He also paid obeisance at Pir Baba’s mazaar.



City Scan
Remembering Sahir

March 8 bears significance at several levels. Internationally, it is Women’s Day. Nationally, it is the birthday of one of the greatest poets of our time. Coincidentally, two great sons of Punjab share March 8, 1921, as their date of birth besides their place of birth: Ludhiana. They are Abdul Hayee Sahir Ludhianvi and Harkrishan Lall, the legendary painter. They share many more things. Both of them earned applause as students. Government College Ludhiana being their Almamater. Both were together honoured with gold medals on the historic golden jubilee of the college in 1970. They, in their own ways, fell upon the thorns of life, bled but never wept. They transformed their personal pains into aesthetically rich works of art. Both lived as bachelors. Coincidentally, they were born on a day which all nations celebrate as Women’s Day! Yes, ironically, see facts to wonder at hands of fate.

Sahir Ludhianvi was a person of rare mental make-up. He had wit and wisdom, besides love and affection for the whole of mankind. He was anti-war, anti-fraud and anti-hypocrisy. Many love-affairs are narrated about him. He did love. He did lose his lady love. He had a romantic frame of mind. Experience made him look beyond personal life. Friends conclude: “He hated only one man, his father. He had true love for only one lady, his mother”. He was mortally afraid of rwo things: Journey by air; non-suitability of a life-partner as his mother’s daughter-in-law. He turned nervous at the mere suggestion of possible choice or offer. He wrote on the pangs of womenfolk, even sufferings of the sex-workers. If Helen could launch a thousand ships, Sahir could launch a few female faces turning his way.

While remembering Sahir, one may recall the love of Amrita Pritam. She addressed a long poetic letter to him. The book was published as ‘Sunehurey’ (Messages). Records speak, the book won Bhartiya Sahitya Akademi Award. If Amrita is a genius, Sahir is no less.

Poetically, their genius did match. Historically, they could not make a match. Perhaps that is good for Urdu poetry and Punjabi literature.

In the memory of Sahir, an annual mushaira is organised by the Adeeb International, a literary and cultural body. Ludhiana owes him a lot. It is time we raise a befitting memorial to the art-twins, Sahir and Harkrishan Lall. Sahir Ludhianvi Cultural Centre was conceived. The efforts of a few persons nearly materialised in 1995. The scheme broke down. The dream is on. Let us do our bit. Sahir lives as a popular lyricist and a philosophical poet.

M. S. Cheema



Shobha yatra on Shivratri eve
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
During the maha shobha yatra, a day prior to Shivratri, taken out in the afternoon here today in the walled city , a sea of devotees chanting “Har Har Mahadev”, “Bam Bam Bhole”, showering petals jostling with enthusiasm could be seen covering the 5 km route. The Shivratri Mahotsav Committee organised the biggest ever shobha yatra . Multitudes of people carrying red flags and trishuls joined in to participate in the biggest shobha yatra.

The yatra started later than the stipulated time of 1 pm from Daresi Ground under the supervision of Sant Shri Narkewal Bedi ji maharaj of Ram Sharnam. The Shiv bhakats had started assembling in the Daresi Ground early in the morning. The devotees participated in sunder akhand path organised by Shri Hanuman Sewa Sangh at 11 am and enjoyed the rendition by behan Archana Bawari ji.More than 350 religious and socail organisations participated in this yatra. 



Kin of deceased hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Upset over the death of a middle-aged person after being hospitalised in the CMC for over two months, his relatives held a dharna on the premises of the hospital. They lifted the dharna only when the authorities released the body keeping the bills of over Rs 8 lakh incurred on the treatment pending.

Mr Harbans Lal Fanta, councillor of Ward No. 60 said Mohinder Lal had suffered injuries after he skidded on the road. However, he could not recover despite being under treatment in the hospital for over two months.

He said the family of the deceased had sold off a shop, which was their main business, to meet the expenses on the treatment. They had deposited Rs 2 lakh but were stunned to find after the patient’s death that the bill amounted to over Rs 8 lakh.

Dr John Abrahim told the Ludhiana Tribune that there was no laxity in the treatment.



28 poor girls married off
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 7
The Lok Sewa Society, Jagraon, yesterday organised 6th Samuhik Kanya Daan Mahayagya on the premises of DAV College, Jagraon, and 28 poor girls were married off. Sant Baba Mangal Singh of Nanaksar Kaleran blessed the newly wedded couples.

The members of the society with the help of the donors managed to gift all couples, necessary household items which included double bed, utensils and suits for the bride and bridegroom.

Mr Daya Chand Jain, chairman of the market committee, Mr Avtar Singh Mallah, Secretary, PPCC, were among the dignitaries present on this occasion. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gulshan Arora, chairman, of the society said, more such projects would be organised by the society.



DTO bereaved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Surjit Kaur, mother of District Transport Officer, Ludhiana, Mr Kuldip Singh, died here today. She was suffering from a brief illness. She would be cremated at Model Town Extension crematorium tomorrow. 



Youth goes missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Mystery shrouds the whereabouts of Kallu, a youth who went missing after attending the cremation of a relative in Amar pura yesterday. The family in its complaint to the police said that the youth was in a disturbed state of mind. They did not suspect any foul play.



Bank takes possession of defaulter’s property
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
UCO Bank today took the possession of the property of M/s N. K. Knitwear for alleged default in the repayment of bank loan. Mr P. M. Bhanot of the Bank, along with enforcement team officer Pradeep Jindal, took the possession of the property in Chander Nagar.

According to Mr Bhanot, Mr Naresh Kapoor, who had taken a loan from the bank, had been issued a notice under the Securitisation Act in May, 2004. But he could not pay back the loan amount despite the notice.

“Today the defaulter was issued a notice for 30 days and if they failed to return the money within the stipulated period the property would be sold off by the bank,” Mr Bhanot added.


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