L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC to issue notices to 6,000 encroachers
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today decided to issue fresh notices to 6,000 encroachers following the directive of the High Court to produce the status of these encroachments on the next day of hearing on April 8.

It was quite an eventful day at the MC office today as following the directive two meetings of the senior functionaries were held to draw up the next plan of action. Finally it was decided that fresh notices would be issued to the encroachers, who would be asked to pull down encroachments within seven days otherwise the MC would launch a demolition drive against them.

Sources in the MC said the notices would be issued by tomorrow tentatively and encroachers would be asked to raze the illegal structures themselves failing which the MC would be forced to act tough.

Mr Ashok Bajaj, Legal Adviser to MC, said the next date of hearing was fixed for April 8 and they would submit the action taken report to the High Court. Senior officials of the MC said it was a difficult task to clear thousands of encroachments within a fortnight. As per the rules, the MC was supposed to send atleast seven days’ notices to the defaulters before taking any action. The problem was compounded by the fact that lot of political interference was faced by the officials while initiating any such drive.

The sources said the directive followed an objection raised by Mr Satpal Puri, a sacked councillor from the MC House, whose allegedly illegal shops were demolished by the MC a few days ago. He had accused the MC of ‘‘acting partially’’ as far as issue of the removal of encroachments was concerned. He had claimed that while the MC had razed his structures, all other encroachers were having a field day.

The High Court had, in December 2003 directed the MC to clear some 9000 odd encroachments on public roads and street, parks, pavements in the residential and commercial areas in a period of two months. The MC had submitted a list of 9,154 identified encroachments on civic and government land within the municipal limits.

At that time the MC had pleaded that in a large number of cases, involving encroachments, the civic courts had passed interim orders and in more than 200 cases, injunction orders were issued by the courts. The court had directed the MC to file applications, if not already done so, in all pending cases for vacation of injunction orders.

At the same time, the HC had also issued directions to the District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana to ensure that all the applications filed on behalf of the MC for vacation of interim orders were heard and decided by the courts concerned within a period of six weeks from the date of filing without fail.

Later, the MC had issued thousands of notices to the encroachers and the legal cell of the civic body had filed a large number of applications in the civil courts here for the vacation of interim injunctions in cases involving encroachments. While lot of paper work was taken up at that time, no headway into encroachment removal project was made.

The things seem to have come back to square one once again. While only a fortnight has been left for submitting the report to HC, the MC faces a challenge to complete the daunting work of clearing thousands of encroachments.



Bank takes possession of NRI properties
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24
Acting tough on loan defaulters, including “big players”, the Oriental Bank of Commerce, Mullanpur branch, took possession of borrowers’ properties today. The bank took over properties in the name of Mr Pritam Singh Deol for the non-payment of dues worth Rs 57.65 lakh.

Two properties, one situated on the periphery of Bhanor village and the other in Vishal Nagar here, were taken over and locked by bank officials.

“We had issued notice to them in February 2003 but they failed to make any payment,” said Mr Vinay Singal, senior manager, Mullanpur branch. He said despite attempts to settle the issue through negotiations, the borrower did not make any payment. “They promised to make payment, which resulted in deferment of the issue, and then used to come forward without anything. So, finally we decided to take action under the Securitisation Act, 2002,” he added.

Mr Singal said outstanding amount was for a loan taken for working capital purposes by Deol Motors Ltd, Mullanpur. Mr Pritam Singh is Mr Singal’s partner, he added.

This action has come as a warning to several big defaulters as till now banks had been taking physical possession of properties in cases where amounts involved were not very high.

The Deols are one of the high-profile NRI families in the state, who had also been accused of involvement in cases related to misappropriation of money. Based on complaints by a resident of Dango village and another resident of Mandi Gobindgarh, the police had registered cases against Mr Pritam Singh Deol and his sons Mr Raja Deol and Mr Devinder Singh Deol for misappropriating Rs 20 lakh.

Mr Pritam Singh Deol is also the president of the local NRI Sabha. The family, which owns properties in India and Canada, runs a money transfer business and according to complaints had misappropriated money by not transferring the entire amount to complainants.

Mr Singal said the borrower had another business in the name of Deol Road Carriers and over Rs 1 crore was due on that account too. “The amount involved is huge but that case is pending before the Debt Recovery Tribunal and was undecided as yet,” he said.



Miscreants take away truck with 306 gas cylinders
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 24
A vehicle-snatching gang took away a truck carrying 306 gas cylinders after beating up and drugging its occupants on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road last night. The police has registered a case against unidentified persons.

Sukhwinder Singh of Phullanwal village in Ludhiana district informed the police today that a group of miscreants took away the truck carrying 306 cylinders last night after beating and drugging him and another occupant of the vehicle.

Sukhwinder who had been working with Monika Gas Agency (Indane outlet) Ludhiana for the past six years had started from Nabha at around 8 pm yesterday. Jai Parkash an employee of Cook Well Gas Agency of the same city, who had gone there to hand over a draft accompanied him.

The vehicle was intercepted by a group of over 5 persons near Akbarpur Chhanna on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road. After boarding the vehicle they started beating up the duo and overpowered them after giving some intoxicant. One of the intruders drove the truck to an unknown direction.

“When we asked for water on the way they gave us drug-laced liquid which made both of us fully unconscious,” explained Mr Sukhwinder Singh.

They found themselves locked in a room at a deserted tube well near Kup village in the morning after which Sukhwinder telephoned Mr Raj Kumar Sharma, manager of the agency from a PCO. The manager later informed the police in the afternoon.

Mr Mukand Singh Mahli, DSP at Malerkotla said the police has registered an FIR under Sections 342, 328 and 379 of the IPC against unidentified persons.

Preliminary investigations by a team led by Mr Harinder Singh, SHO city, revealed that the miscreants had come in a white Qualis. Mistaking them to be some persons seeking a lift the driver of the truck stopped the vehicle and was overpowered by them. The victims failed to show the place where they were detained in the night.



Factory worker killed in blast
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 24
Sanjay Chauhan (25), a resident of Mohammad Pura in Balia district of Uttar Pradesh, was killed in a blast in a scrap godown of Sundram Steels, near Ajnali village, Mandi Gobindgarh, at 8 am today. Sanjay’s brother-in-law Mattoo, who was working as a helper with him, had a narrow escape. Matoo told mediapersons that they were cutting scrap with the help of gas. The blast took place when they cut a bomb-like object. Sanjay Chauhan was killed.

Mr Varinder Kumar, district police chief, Mr Baljit Singh Rana, DSP, Amloh, Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, and SHO Harbans Singh reached the blast site and seized 60 bomb-like objects. A case has been registered. The body has been sent to the local Civil Hospital for post-mortem.



PNB sells properties of 2 defaulters
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 24
In an open auction Punjab National Bank, Mandi Gobindgarh, sold properties of two defaulters M/s Bhola Steel Rolling Mills and M/s Star Metals, Mandi Gobindgarh. The properties were taken over by the bank last year under Section B(2) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Act 2002.

The auction was conducted by M/s Prem Garg and Associates in the presence of Mr K.K. Gulati and other officials of the bank. The bank will be able to reduce its NPA by Rs 53,80,000, said Mr V.K. Khurana, branch manager, here today. He further stated that under the Scrutination Act banks would take steps for reducing the NPA level. It is going ahead for 0 per cent NPA bank, which is at 0.28 per cent. The bank has already recovered 95.25 lakh during past two months.



Passing Thru

Dr Norman E Borlaug
Dr Norman E Borlaug, winner of Nobel Peace Prize

How do you think food security can be achieved in the world?

There needs to be an integrated approach to ensure that everybody gets properly fed. Although there is no hunger and starvation in the strict sense of the word, but people still remain malnourished.

What measures do you suggest?

There is no substitute for technology and innovation. Like the yield got doubled and increased in some cases four times, it can be further improved. Moreover, substantial area of land still remains to be unutilised. We need to explore all options.

What is the immediate cause of concern?

The growing population world over, particularly in the developing countries, does certainly pose a challenge. But the challenges can always be met. In fact the challenges are being met successfully by various development agencies worldover.

You are already 92. We wish you a longer life. But tell us the secret that keeps you hail and hearty even at this age?

I have maintained a simple lifestyle. I have always tried to maintain a balance in what I take and what I consume. I do not allow this balance to be disturbed.

— Vimal Sumbly



Govt gives a go ahead to VAT from April 1
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
The uncertainty over the introduction of value added tax (VAT) in the state from April 1 is over and the business community has been told to be prepared for switch over to the new tax regime.

Indication to this effect was given by the Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Mr Sardool Singh at a joint meeting with functionaries of Punjab Tax Bar Association (PTBA) and the District Taxation Bar Associations from several districts, including Ludhiana, at Chandigarh on Wednesday. Mr Mukul Joshi, financial commissioner taxation, Punjab and the State Excise and Taxation Commissioner Mr D.P. Reddy, besides other senior officers of the department attended the meeting.

The PTB chairman Mr Ashok Juneja, giving this information to Ludhiana Tribune here today, said the minister had emphatically stated that the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, had given a green signal for the implementation of the VAT system of taxation in the state.

Mr Juneja, along with other office-bearers of the taxation bar bodies, expressed their reservations about certain provisions of VAT Act 2005, terming them as harsh, arbitrary and discriminatory to taxation lawyers. They maintained that in the white paper on VAT, issued by the Empowered Committee of state Finance Ministers, it was no where mentioned that the dealers would have to submit audit reports or certification of accounts by the chartered accountants (CAs).

Members of taxation bar further pointed out that if the government did not want to dispense with the requirement of audit or certification of accounts, the tax practitioners should also be allowed to conduct audit and issue certificates, as was being permitted in several states like Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Among others, Mr B.R. Kaushal, Mr Ashwani Abrol, Mr P.C. Garg, Mr K.P. Bajaj, Mr Ajay Choudhry, Mr Prem Kumar Bansal, Mr Lalit Takyar, Mr Raj Pal Gupta, Mr Subhash Satija, Mr B.L. Bassi, Mr Anil Khullar, Mr Jatinder Pal Singh, Mr Ravi Arora, Mr Rakesh Kajla, Mr Paramjit Singh and Mr Devinder Batish took part in the deliberations.



Tribune Impact
Old damaged plaque replaced
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24
Just a few hours after the civic administration had put up old and damaged plaque on the statue of martyrs Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, a new granite plate was replaced on the statue here last evening.

Ludhiana Tribune had reported in these columns yesterday that twisted and rolled plaque was straightened up and put up on the statue and the authorities had saved money on the plaque.

Then the new plaque was hurriedly prepared as the martyrdom day fell yesterday. This was vindicated by the fact that the new plaque did not carry the contribution of the martyrs. Instead the plaque had the name of late Chief Minister Darbara Singh, who had unveiled the statue and the date of ceremony.

The issue of plaques which had gone missing had been staring the authorities in their face. The plaques had gone missing in December last year. These were stolen by some thieves who had sold these to scarp dealers.

The police had caught the thieves and recovered the plaques also. Meanwhile, granite plates were replaced on the statues and only this statue on the Jagraon bridge was wanting plaques till three days ago.



Kanishka verdict hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), while hailing the decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court for acquitting the two accused in the Kanishka bombing case, has condemned the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for “suppressing” evidence against the real culprits, who executed the dastardly act, which claimed 329 persons.

Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson of the outfit, said the Indian Government had something to hide in this case, “as our police had gunned down Talwinder Singh Parmar, the alleged prime suspect in the Kanishka case”.

He said if revelations in Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada by Zuhair Kashmiri and Brian McAndrew and Open Secret by Maloy Krishna Dhar, who served in India’s Intelligence Bureau for three decades, are any indication, the involvement of the Indian Mission in Canada and its Research and Analaysis Wing detachment in defaming Sikhs and painting them as terrorists the world over could not be ruled out.

The IHRO has demanded a judicial inquiry into the “staged” killing of Talwinder Singh Parmar by the police in India and public inquiry in Canada to sift the truth about the whole episode in order to punish the real culprits. This would also give solace to the people affected by the disaster, he said.

Mr Gill meanwhile, hailed the denial of visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narinder Modi by the USA.



Problems of women marrying NRIs discussed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
Roshani, an NGO, organised a meeting of its members and two West Midland police officials of the Indian origin in Guru Nanak Public School here today. They discussed problems faced by women of the Asian origin marrying U.K.-based NRI’s . A special focus of the discussion was on the women from Punjab experiencing domestic violence and emotional trauma of unhappy marriages to the U.K.-based NRI grooms.

Dr Kala, of Roshni said that the groom generally had the mistaken notion that marrying a simple and caring woman from India would suit him. In many cases she was treated shabbily by her in-laws and had to face many hardships and sometimes highly educated girls were treated like domestic servants.

In the U.K., recently set up forced marriages unit (FMU) provides assistance to women facing such harassment.

The meeting outlined strategies for future to help women in distress due to disturbed international marriages. Mr Karpal Sihota, Mr Harvinder Singh Rai and Mr Romesh from West Midland Police attended the meeting. The British police officers offered to extend support to the Roshni to provide support to the victims of failed international marriages from Punjab.

Dr D. J. Singh, president, Dr A. K. Kala, vice-president, Dr (Ms) Ravinder Kala, secretary general, Ms Jasbir Kaur, joint secretary, Mr Lekhraj Handa, member, Mr Rakesh Jain, treasurer, Mr Kewal Budhiraja, member, from the Roshni, participated in the discussions.

During the interaction, Dr Ravinder Kala, discussed about Roshni projects, especially related to the domestic violence project, at Jassian village. She also spoke about the proposed project about elderly women which is being planned at Jassian village. Dr D.J. Singh, discussed about his observations about victims of forced and fraudulent marriages in the U.K. Dr A.K. Kala, discussed about the role of drug abuse, alcoholism and mental illness in the context of violence against women. Mr Jasbir Singh, chairman and Mr Surinder Singh, secretary, Management Committee of Guru Nanak Public School, respectively, presented mementos to the visiting British officers. Mr R.S. Gill, Principal, GNPS, proposed the vote of thanks.



Rally against poor sewerage
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 24
A protest was organised against poor sewerage system in the city by municipal councillors, opposition parties and one councillor of the Congress at the Municipal Council Officer here today. A memorandum was also presented to the Executive officer of the council in which they demanded the provision of basic amenities to the residents.

Mr Vijay Sharma organiser of the rally said the council was misusing the money on laying sewerage lines in the areas where there was no proper drainage. He said this was being done at the instance of some ruling councillors. He criticised the council president and said that he had failed to save the interests of the council. Mr Devinder Singh Khatra while addressing the rally said residents were living in the fear of diseases.

Gurmit a leader of the CPI, Mr Balu Ram leader of safai karmchari, Shashi Mohan Sharma, Paramjit Singh Bobby, Santokh Singh a Congress councillor, Sarbjit Singh Kalirao, president BJP Khanna were among those who addressed the rally.

Later a memorandum was presented to the E.O. Mr Najar signed by Mrs Bhupinder Kaur, Sharda Sharma, Ranjit Kaur, Vijay Sharma, Dinkar Kalia, M.P. Jassal, Santokh Singh all M.Cs, Devinder Singh Khattra, Malkit Singh secretary, Rajnish Bedi, Mulkh Raj, Vinod Mittal and some other prominent persons of the city.



Elderly cry for attention
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
“The young and middle-aged can rarely visualise old age or what will happen to them when they grow old. But many could be in for a shock. In India, the elderly people are about seven per cent of the total population and this percentage is going up rapidly because of a drop in the death rate and increasing longevity. A large portion of the aged are poor and destitude, unable to meet their basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing and health care. They live and die unheard, unsung and uncared. The journey to the grave or funeral is sorrowful,” said Mr D.R. Ahuja, president, All India Senior Citizens Organisation. He was addressing the annual general meeting of the organisation in Ludhiana recently.

In an emotional address, Mr Ahuja said that today nobody knew whose responsibility was to look after the elderly in India — the government, society or the family ? It was an irony of fate that no one was concerned about the welfare of the aged and they were left alone to fend for themselves, facing odds, hardships, old age diseases when they were in the evening of their lives, Mr Ahuja added.

Mr Ahuja rued that the Government of India and the state governments were indifferent to the problems, misery and agony of the aged. The problem was becoming acute day by day with the breaking up of the joint family system. After marriage, sons feel that parents were treading on their privacy and they break away from the family just at the time when they should look after their parents and repay their ‘debt’, he said.

He further said that elderly parents feel miserable and lonely after their CHILDREN desert them. The aged parents had nobody to look after and they had to bear the pangs of loneliness, boredom and depression. They had to run their household often without adequate means to do so. Their plight was miserable and unbearable especially when they were hit by old age diseases, he added.

Mr Ahuja urged the Union Government to set up ‘old age homes in all the cities, make it compulsory for the civic bodies like municipal corporations, municipalities and development authorities engaged in the work of construction of dwelling units to set up these complexes. It should be made mandatory for colonisers or private builders to earmark a percentage of houses constructed by them for allotment to the aged at concessional prices, he demanded.

The government should also earmark spaces for recreational facilities, such as rendezvous and develop them for recreation of senior citizens. Provisions should be made in the National Health Care Policy to provide special wings for the aged in the hospitals on the pattern of the Central Government Health Scheme.

Lt-Col C.S. Dhillon and Mr Suresh Verma, both senior vice-presidents of the organisation, Mr Rattan Lal Pambi and Mr S.K. Thamman, general secretary and organising secretary, respectively, along with other office-bearers also addressed the meeting.



Sansi tribe yet to get SC status
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24
There appears to be no end to the struggle of the Sansi tribe for getting the reservation benefits under the Scheduled Tribes Act. According to Mr Rana Bawa Singh Sansi, Chairman, All-India Tribes Dal, the issue should have been closed about 10 years ago after the National Human Rights Commission intervened into the matter. But benefits are yet to reach them as the state government is yet to notify them under the Scheduled Tribes list.

Mr Sansi said he had made representations to the National Human Rights Commission and others in this regard, pleading that the Khana Badosh Vimukat Jatti Kabilla be included in the list. This would entitle them for the 7.5 per cent reservation in various jobs, besides other facilities being provided to the scheduled tribes. They could also manage some representation in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha as well, Mr Sansi pointed out. It was in November 1996 that the NHRC had conveyed to Mr Sansi that the government was seized of the matter and the issue should be considered closed. The order read that the demands by the sansis that certain castes which are treated as scheduled castes, should be included in the list of the scheduled tribes.

The commission had expected that the Government of India would take a decision to involve the Vimukt Jatis in the Scheduled Tribes list.



Income tax collection falls short of target
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 24
The target for income tax collection under the charge of Ludhiana Commissionerate in the current financial year is falling short by nearly Rs 100 crore and the department might step up enforcement activities like surveys and raids in the coming week to close the gap.

Addressing a news conference here today, the chief commissioner of Income Tax, Ludhiana Commissionerate, Mr SJS Pall, though did not say it in so many words but his remarks that as against the targeted tax revenue of Rs 800, the department, so far, had managed to collect only around Rs 700 crore, were indicative enough of the measures that might be taken to augment the income tax collections.

He said it was a matter of concern that even though people of Punjab were known for their spending capacity and lavish life style, yet as against the national average growth of tax collection of 30 per cent, the increase in this region was only about 18 to 20 per cent. Pinning his hopes on mopping up substantial revenue from advance tax deposited by the corporate assessees, he said the complete details of deposit made by corporate sector during this month were still to come in.

Mr Pall disclosed that several instances of the failure of commercial banks to deduct income tax on source (TDS) from depositors had come to the notice of the department, and the onus of deduction being on the banks, large number of notices were issued to the defaulting banks to comply with the statutory obligation, had been issued.

Claiming that the surveys conducted at some of the real estate developers in the city and elsewhere had yielded good results, he informed that a number of colonisers and property developers had come forward to disclose their concealed income. “But still the growth in tax collection from this segment is still disproportionate to the spurt in prices of real estate,” he observed. Giving details of the number of tax payers in the Ludhiana charge, the Chief Commissioner said that in all, there were 4.92 lakh assessees and out of these nearly 44,000 would be paying tax for the first time.



Shaheedi samaroh observed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
The Sukhdev Branch of the Bharat Vikas Parishad, Ludhiana, observed shaheedi samaroh here today to pay homage to the three great martyrs — Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.

The chief guest at the function was Mr Narinder Pal Singh Sidhu, SSP, and was presided over by Mr Ashok Juneja, Chairman, Punjab Tax Bar Association. The chief speaker on the occasion was Principal Sewa Singh Chawla, National Convener, Shri Guru Teg Behadur Balidan Divas.

Oath taking ceremony of the newly-elected executive body of the branch was also conducted by Dr Anil Kalia, state president, Bharat Vikas Parishad, Punjab (North).

Mr Chawla spoke on the lives and sacrifices of the martyrs. He also highlighted the barbarism and atrocities committed by the Britishers on Indian nationalists.

Dr Anil Kalia conducted the oath taking ceremony of the newly-elected office-bearers: H.C. Gupta —President; Mr Dalbir Nanda —secretary; and Mr Ashwani Goel — treasurer.



Ex-servicemen to hold rally
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 24
The Indian Exservices League Punjab and Chandigarh has obtained financial help for the Second World War veterans and widows from Royal Commonwealth League London. Indian ex-services League is affiliated to the Royal Common Wealth League of 52 nations and is recognised by the Government of India. This league is organising a rally at Lopon Ashram Jagraon on March 29. Mr Anurag Verma, IAS. Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, will be the chief guest and will distribute cheques received from the Royal Common Wealth League London to war veterans, widows and ex-servicemen.



Social front formed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
Concerned over the sorry state of affairs in Punjab and the country where a very small percentage of people are exercising their rights and are not leading a dignified life due to exploitation by unscrupulous elements, retired Army personnel and intellectuals have formed the Sant Sipahi, Saint Soldier Front,” said Dr Amrit Veen Kaur, secretary of the front, at the meeting held today. The members interacted with media persons and apprised them of the aims and objectives of the front. The front would meet on March 27 at the Pensioners Bhawan, Ludhiana, to deliberate upon the burning issues.


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