L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


HC reinstates sarpanch after 21 months
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, March 19
Gurdeep Singh was declared winner on day before yesterday — 21 months after contesting the election for the post of sarpanch of Marewal village falling in Mangat block of Ludhiana district. A decision to this effect was given by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The dispute arose after Gurdeep Singh defeated Parminder Singh by one vote in Panchayat elections held in June 2003. after losing the election for sarpanch, Parminder Singh had appealed to the Deputy Commissioner (Development) Ludhiana who declared Parminder Singh winner after two months.

After having lost the battle which was really won, Gurdeep Singh challenged the election of Parminder Singh in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Gurdeep Singh got a stay on he petition on October 16, 2003.

Afterwards the case was referred to bench comprising Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice Swatantar Kumar. The bench sent the case to Election Commissioner of the state in June 2004.

In the meantime, a case was filed under Section 420, 468, 469, 470, 471, 477 and 120-B of the IPC against Ranjit Singh BDPO Block Mangat (Ludhiana-2), JE Kulwant Singh, Gurdeep Singh and Panchayat Secretary Manjit Singh.

Gurdeep Singh challenged the election in the Punjab and Haryana HIgh Court which ordered recounting of votes on March 10, 2005. In the recounting, Gurdeep Singh polled 86 votes against 85 of Parminder SIngh. Having verified the fact, Gurdeep Singh was declared elected on March 5, 2005 by the authorities.

Hailing the High court’s decision Gurdeep said he would file a case of defamation against the officials who had harassed him by filing false cases against him.



Drug peddler arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Bringing to light an increasing level of drug addiction in the city, the special staff of the CIA wing of the city police today arrested a narcotics smuggler who was allegedly supplying smack to over 30 youngsters daily for the past several months, the police said here today.

The accused’s arrest has also brought to light the growing incidence of drug addiction in the posh areas of Sarabha Nagar and Bhai Randhir Singh. He is the third smuggler caught after allegedly operating in these areas.

The accused, Gurwinder Singh Bhatti, alias Bhatti, was arrested by a team headed by Inspector Navreet Singh, in charge, special staff, CIA, here today from near Lodhi Club, Rajguru Nagar. Mr Navreet Singh said the arrest of the accused was significant as he was a link between the drug smugglers and peddlers.

The accused used to provide a door-to-door service. He allegedly used to receive calls over his mobile phone and supplied the drug at the place desired by the buyer.

The accused was 29-year-old. He has a three-year-old daughter and his wife runs a readymade garments shop, Shivangi Boutique, in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar market. The accused operated in his Ford Ikon car which has been recovered by the police.

He said the accused allegedly used to receive drugs in a huge quantity and then supplied it to drug addicts himself in his car or through a number of youths who he had employed for the purpose.

The accused used to operate in a clandestine manner till a few months ago but had become quite bold and was almost openly indulging in the trade. His main clients were below the age of 30 and many were schoolchildren.

Gurwinder Singh has told the police that he sold 1 gm of smack at Rs 300. He got involved in the trade after becoming a drug addict himself. He began peddling smack to arrange money for buying drugs.

The police has recovered 90 gm of smack from him. The accused was being questioned further by the police.



Rs 1,640 cr for drinking water, sewerage in cities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The state government has drawn up a comprehensive plan of Rs 1640 crore to provide basic amenities including sewerage and drinking water to entire urban population in all the cities of state.

This was stated today by Minister of Local Bodies, Labour and Employment, Jagjit Singh today while addressing a function after laying the foundation stone of a bridge over Budha Nullah to be constructed at a cost of Rs 75 lakh in Haibowal Khurd here today. He also laid foundation of two other bridges at Budha Nullah near Central Jail (Rs 93 lakh) and at Vijay Nagar (70 Lakhs).

Appreciating development in Ludhiana during the past three years, he said that Ludhiana city had become the first city in the country by supplying the drinking water to all population in the approved colonies and by achieving distinction in the country by installing Biomedical Waste Treatment Plant. He said that the Municipal Corporation had also achieved distinction in Integrated programme for slum development for all 210 slums in the city and computerising the functioning of the Municipal Corporation.

He said that the drinking water facility would also be provided to all unapproved areas in Ludhiana city and in the next financial year and to Rs 12 crore was being spent for this.

Referring to the welfare of weaker sections, the minister said that the government had created a fund of Rs 450 crore to ensure the regular pensions for old people, widows and dependent children etc. and launched a new scheme named ‘Ashirwad’ to give Shagun of Rs 6100 on the marriages of two daughters of Scheduled Castes families and poor widows. He announced that in this area Rs. 2 crore more would be spent on the development works in consultation Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha MLA of the Constituency.

Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA of the area said that the government had development projects and Rs 3 crore had been spent in this area and more than Rs 2 crore would be spent next year.

Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Ludhiana, said that under the guidance of Capt Amarinder Singh, development was taking place in city and work on all flyover and elevated roads was in full swing. Mr. Hem Raj Aggarwal, Councillor also addressed the function.



VAT proposals unfair, say lawyers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 19
The local District Tax Bar Association at a meeting chaired by Mr Ashwani Abrol, district chief of the association, decided today to submit a memorandum to Mr Sardool Singh, Minister Excise and Taxation and to the Commissioner Excise and Taxation, soon on the alleged discriminatory provisions of VAT regarding sales tax practitioners.

The VAT will be introduced from April 1. On a call given by the state committee of the Tax Bar Association, the district unit of the association observed a pen-down strike yesterday. Its members also staged a protest dharna in front of the sales tax office, Mandi Gobindgarh, against the provisions to authorise only the chartered accountants to issue VAT certificates. This, they said, amounted to ignoring the eligibility of other sales tax practitioners who had been in the profession for decades.

It was pointed out that members of the Bar have been guiding the traders regarding the VAT provisions for the last three years but with the introduction of new provisions, their interests have been ignored which can affect the proper implementation of VAT in the state. Mr Prem Kumar Bansal, Chairman, Sales Tax Panel of the Bar, and Mr Anil Khullar, Secretary of the District Tax Bar, highlighted the shortcomings in VAT provisions, including format of VAT invoice vis a-vis central excise invoice and non-allotment of tax identification numbers (TIN) to those dealers who have already filed their fact sheet to the department.

There is also a glaring drawback regarding the availability of various VAT performa on the help line/website of the department, they maintained. The governments of Gujarat, Karnataka and many other states have already authorised all sales tax practitioners to issue such certificates but Punjab has overlooked their interest.



Encroachment removed
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, March 19
Bid of encroaching 1.75 acres of Nagar Panchayat land in the local SJS Nagar by the members of Balmiks came to an end with the intervention of the SHO Machhiwara. The community vacated the occupied land by removing pillars and barbed wire late evening yesterday.

Having found no solution to the problem till yesterday evening, Nagar Panchayat officials and president were planning to take some legal action for getting the land vacated. All documents required for legal action were prepared. The Nagar Panchayat Machhiwara had submitted another letter to the Machhiwara police along with a warning of approaching the higher police authorities.

Sources reveal that the representatives of Balmiki community who turned a deaf ear to everyone’s plea for vacating the land approached the Nagar Panchayat President themselves along with the SHO, Macchiwara, in the Nagar Panchayat Office where the dispute was settled.

Talking to The Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Anil Sood, President, Nagar Panchayat, said that he had made it clear to all occupants regarding the legal action if the land was not vacated.



Five held for planning to loot petrol station
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 19
The Payal police has arrested five persons who were allegedly planning to loot a petrol station from near the Sidhu Nursing Institute on Friday night. The police has also recovered some weapons from them.

According to the police ASI Baljinder Singh, in charge, Doraha police post, conducted a raid near Sidhu Nursing Institute on a tip-off and nabbed five persons.

The police recovered two knives, one dagger and iron rods from their possession.

The suspects reportedly confessed that they were conspiring to loot a petrol station. They also confessed that earlier too they had committed some thefts and had been released on bail.

The arrested persons have been identified as — Sukhchain Singh. Vinod Kumar, Baljeet Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Satpal.

A case under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC has been registered against them.



Police told to submit detailed information
about abductions
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 19
The Punjab Police authorities have been directed to collect specific information about the abductions and kidnapping that took place after January 1, 2001, in the state. The process has reportedly been initiated to enable the state government face the questions on the issue likely to be made by the Opposition leaders during the ensuing Vidhan Sabha session.

Former Finance Minister of Punjab general secretary of SAD, the main opposition party in the state, has already pointed out that the law and order situation has deteriorated in the recent past and the spurt in the abduction cases was an indicator to the same.

Sources in the Police Department revealed that respective heads of the police districts had been asked to collect information about the number of persons in general and youths in particular who had been kidnapped or had gone missing during the period of over four years commencing on January 1, 2001.

Pursuance of the records at police stations in this belt of the state showed that ADGP (Crime) had directed the SHO’s through their respective SSPs to furnish complete information about the fate and number of youths abducted during the specified period.

“As the data is to be furnished in the current session of the Assembly, complete and precise information should be sent immediately,” read the orders received through a wire less message at all police stations of the state. The information sought includes total number of youths that were abducted, number of youths who returned home and number of unfortunate ones who were killed by the abductors.

Sources at the local police station revealed that notorious gangs had kidnapped two boys of prosperous business families of the local town but both were later released. While one of the cases was under investigation, the other had since closed as the family of abducted youth had hesitated to identify the abductors.

The state police authorities, which were under tremendous pressure after Punjab witnessed a spate of kidnappings, had to contact members of inter-state gangs involved in kidnappings and abduction, lodged in different jails. Special police teams visited different jails to question such gang members.

Earlier the state police authorities had started collecting information and data in connection with the kidnappings and abductions, which have taken place in Punjab since 1995.

A look at the crime figures of Punjab for the past five years had shown that the number of cases of kidnapping and abductions had been in the range of 500 a year. In 2002 there were 575 cases of kidnappings, while in 2004 there were 513 kidnappings. This year over 40 cases have been registered so far.

In Punjab most of the kidnapping cases ultimately had turned out to be cases of wishful disappearance or because of family feuds. Some cases also pertained to disputed financial or property transactions.

There have been a couple of cases where kidnappings were for ransom or with criminal intent. Further observation had revealed that Patiala, that had figured as a city with maximum recorded abductions and kidnapping, had lately shown a decline in the number of persons abducted.



Senior citizens resent exclusion from
SGPC jatha to Pakistan

Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Resentment prevails among two senior citizens of the city whose names were not included in the list of pilgrims’ jatha for Baisakhi pilgrimage to be sent by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee, (SGPC) to pay obeisance at historical gurdwaras in Pakistan.

Mr Sher Singh (70) and Mr Harbhajan Singh (73), both residents of the city, said they were very disappointed when they found that their names had not been included in the final list of pilgrims.

They had been hopeful that being elderly they would be given precedence over others.

Both of them have expressed dissatisfaction over the criteria followed by the SGPC to select the pilgrims.

They have demanded that their case should be reconsidered sympathetically and they should be allowed to visit the gurdwaras.

Stating that they had applied through Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, member of SGPC, Ludhiana, well in time, the elderly residents said they had never thought that they would be rejected.

“But now we are forced to think twice about the selection criteria of the SGPC.

It seems that only influential persons, who are somehow or the other related to SGPC members or the Shiromani Akali Dal find their names in the final list.

We flay this attitude of the selection committee,” said Mr Sham Singh.

“We are of this opinion that the elderly, especially those who have never visited Pakistan, should get preference over the youngsters.

We are in the twilight of our life and we should be given a chance to pay obeisance at our important religious places.

They should have been sympathetic enough to select our names for the pilgrimage.”

Both said they had submitted their passports and two photos to the SGPC member.

“We fell that we have been rejected because we tie our beards with net and we were not selected for the same reason. If this is so then it is unconstitutional”.

Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, an SGPC member, however, denied their allegations out-rightly.

He said he knew that both were disappointed but he was not in a position to do anything as it was upto the selection committee to decide about the names.

He added that he had recommended the case of both these persons but their names had been rejected.

He said only half of the pilgrims who had applied had been selected and several had been rejected on one or the other ground.

He, however, denied that tying of beards had nothing to do with their rejection.



Suicide bid

Khanna, March 19
A young woman tried to commit suicide by consuming some poisonous substance here today. The woman is identified as Kiran (22) wife of Ram Dass, a resident of New Model town area here.

The victim was removed to civil hospital Khanna from where a doctor referred her to a Ludhiana hospital. Cause of suicide is not known. OC


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