L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Colonisers violating PUDA Act
Illegal colonies mushroom in periphery areas
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
In stark violation of the PUDA and Punjab Apartments and Property Regulations Act, 1995, illegal colonies are mushrooming in the adjoining areas of the city causing a loss of crores of rupees to public exchequer besides leading to haphazard urban development.

While the process of colonisation in violation of its rules goes on unabatedly, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) continues to sleep over the problem. After a colony is fully developed, the authority runs after the defaulters and gets a case registered against them. Till then a full fledged colony springs up at the place and it becomes impossible to take any stringent action against anyone as a number of people construct their houses there.

Inquiries by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the villages which were in close proximity to the city were witnessing the most unplanned development where small plots had been cut and there was no provision of proper roads and public parks. At times it became very difficult for the civic authorities to provide civic amenities in such areas.

In Ludhiana district, various villages adjoining the city, including Gobindgarh, Mangli, Giaspura, Lohara, Dhandhari Kalan, Sahnewal, Mundian, Bhamian and Sahibiana, were witnessing such development where the PUDA Act was being violated with impunity even as the property prices had skyrocketed and urban development had started at a fast pace.

The local colonisers were cutting new colonies and getting sale deeds executed from the office of Sub Registrar but there was no authority to check the mushrooming of such colonies. Sources told the TNS that before executing a sale deed, every seller has to furnish an affidavit stating that he was not violating the provisions of the PUDA Act. But in most of the cases it had been found that the Act had been violated and the sellers were furnishing false affidavits.

Besides the unplanned development, the PUDA was also suffering losses worth crores as a coloniser is supposed to pay development charges at the rate of Rs 7 lakh per acre for a colony. The development charges could be used by the authority for providing better amenities to residents of already existing PUDA colonies.

Some colonisers were also indulging in taking licence from PUDA for selling a few acres of land and were then presenting the area as a PUDA approved colony. A case of Vikas House Building Company in the city had come a light some time ago. It was alleged that the company had sold off around 350 acres of undeveloped land while the owners had obtained a licence for selling 150 acres of land only.

In this manner they were allegedly able to sell hundreds of acres (apart from the land for which the licence had been obtained) in Ayali Khurd, Ayali Kalan and adjoining villages by falsely claiming that it was a PUDA approved colony by subverting the provisions of the Punjab Apartments and Property Regulations Act, 1995. The PUDA had ordered an inquiry into the case and different FIRs had been also lodged with the police.



Lineman electrocuted while repairing power supply line
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Less than two days after a lineman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) died while on duty, a lineman was electrocuted and another was injured seriously on GT Road today. Both of them were rectifying some snag in the hi-tension power supply line near a hotel here.

The deceased has been identified as Ram Sewak (56), while Rajmal, who had sustained injuries was admitted to the CMC Hospital. According to eyewitnesses, both the linemen of City Centre Subhani Building Sub Office of the PSEB, had climbed an electricity pole in the morning. Soon after there was a blast-like noise and Ram Sewak fell on the ground along with Rajmal.

Ram Sewak burnt his foot also and his body was lying in a pool of blood on the roadside. He had apparently died instantaneously. His body was sent for a post-mortem at Civil Hospital and the exact cause of his death would be ascertained after getting the report. The condition of Rajmal was, however, stated to be stable.

The body of Ram Sewak kept on lying on the spot for over three hours in heavy rain that had lashed the city soon after the accident. While officials of the PSEB were maintaining that it could not be moved until some formalities were completed by the department and the police, the shopkeepers and passersby were protesting the way in which the body was being treated.

“They could have at least moved the body under a shelter. When one of us tried to do so, they stopped us. If the formalities were to be completed, they could have done that fast. This is height of callousness,” said a shopkeeper.

A team of PSEB officials and the police reached the spot to investigate. The officials were tightlipped about the entire incident and did not want to make any comments. Mr N.K. Sharma, Xen said he was not able to comment on the issue as a meeting of officials would be called to decide about it.

Surprisingly, the president of the employees union, Mr Mehar Chand passed the incident as a “mere accident”. He added that the union was not demanding anything from the authorities and claimed that the department had cut the supply in the lower cable while Ram Sewak had stepped on to upper line. He added that it was up to him to check whether there was current present in the line or not. He said the PSEB had ordered an inquiry into the death of Ram Sewak.

Ram Sewak was a resident of Chander Lok Colony near Basti Jodhewal. His son and wife were informed by the police and his brother-in-law had reached the spot to claim his body.

Meanwhile, the local police today booked a Junior Engineer, Nirmal Singh, under Section 304-A, IPC, for allegedly causing death due to negligence in the electrocution case of Jugal Kishore, a lineman who had died while repairing a line near Cheema Chowk on Wednesday evening.



Excise Dept gears up for VAT regime
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
The Excise and Taxation Department is gearing up for a smooth transition to the new Value-Added Tax (VAT) regime in the state from April 1 and more than 90 per cent of the total registered dealers in the state had submitted their fact sheets and new tax identification numbers (TINs) had already been issued to them.

This was stated by the Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner (DETC), Mr Manmohan Singh, while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune here today. Terming the hue and cry against the new system of tax as “motivated”, he said the VAT Act had been finalised after a detailed interaction with all affected parties like the industry, the business community, tax consultants and officials over the past three years.

Claiming that a majority of the existing dealers, having submitted their fact sheets, had already been issued TINs, he asserted that some cases with minor discrepancies or jurisdictional hurdles were pending. The registered dealers were not required to submit fresh surety bonds and the process of issuing fresh TINs was, in fact, a renewal of their tax registration certificates with updated particulars.

The DETC remarked that for those who had not received their new TINs there was no need to get panicky since the existing dealers were permitted to apply for VAT registration up to April 30, 2005, and they would be deemed to be registered under the Punjab VAT Act up to end of May 2005. Under the Act, a provision had been made for composition of tax by small dealers, whose turnover varied from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 35 lakh and they were not keen to transact inter-state business.

Setting at rest the apprehension of double taxation on tax paid stock in hand, he clarified that for stock on which tax had already been paid under Section 5 (I-A) as on March 31, 2005, input tax credit would be available on 100 per cent of the value of the goods where tax had actually been paid by the dealer and at the rate of 75 per cent where goods had been purchased as tax paid goods. The government, contrary to the impression sought to be created by vested interests, had not prescribed any separate format for VAT invoice or retail invoice as such a step could have clashed with the format prescribed under the Central Excise Act.



Taxation lawyers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Alleging that the Punjab VAT draft contains discriminatory provisions against tax advocates and income tax practitioners, the District Taxation Bar Association held a protest march here today. The association urged the state government to defer implementation of the Value-added Tax (VAT) system by six months as no ordinance or Act has been issued till date.

The association, which observed a full-day strike, submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner and to the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

According to the association, there are several provisions in the draft that are discriminatory against tax advocates and income tax practitioners.

The members also said that the government should have released the VAT Act by now and despite only 12 days left for the implementation of the new system, no such ordinance or Act had been received so far.

Khanna: Members of the Bar Association (Taxation), Khanna, on Friday went on strike in protest against the imposition of VAT.



Tax survey on coloniser
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
The investigation wing of the Income Tax Department has carried out surveys at business premises of a coloniser at the Dugri road and a hospital on the Rajpura road here today.

However, officials concerned refused to divulge any details, since the process of checking records, account books and other documents was still on. They said several business transactions of the coloniser and billing register at the hospital were examined. The officials said such surveys were a routine process.



Driver ‘beaten up’ as cars collide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
A driver, Ramu Arora, working with a garment house here was beaten up mercilessly allegedly by Shailesh Gangwani, according to a complaint lodged at Division Number 5 police station by Ramu.

The altercation started when Gangwani’s car reportedly hit Ramu’s car from the rear. When Ramu protested, Gangwani allegedly beat him up. Ramu was saved by the timely intervention of the police. Gangwani is the husband of Mrs Rashmi Gangwani, former Mrs India.

However, Gangwani denied the allegations saying that it was Ramu who misbehaved with him. He claimed that he even apologised after the intervention of the police. He said he did not lodge any complaint as the two had reached a compromise.



Lift ban on recruitment, say teachers

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 18
Led by Mr Raghbir Singh, nearly 100 activists of the Punjab State Recognised and Aided School Teachers Union of the Ahmedgarh block today left for Chandigarh. They would join activists coming from other parts of the state to gherao the Vidhan Sabha.

While addressing the gathering, leaders criticised the policies of the government.

They alleged that the government was bent upon paralysing the functioning of private-aided schools.

The leaders demanded that the government should restore the benefits of pension and merger of 50 per cent dearness allowance. They also urged the government to lift ban on the recruitment.

Mr Subhash Sharma Secretary, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Pardeep Sharda and Mr Amarjit Singh spoke on the occasion.



Workshop on homoeopathy

Ludhiana, March 18
The Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) conducted its first national workshop at Sri Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital with the assistance of Department of AYUSH, Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, here, today.

A number of personalities, including Dr Ramjee Singh, Dr Lalit Verma, Dr Mohindra Singh, Dr P.S. Ranu, chairman, Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, Punjab, Dr Dhiman and Dr R. Kochhar, both principals of local homoeopathic colleges, and visitors from various parts of the country participated in the workshop. OC


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