L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Slum hinders city centre project
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Even as the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) is all set to finally take up the Rs 100-crore city centre project on 25 acres in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar area, it is faced with a daunting task of removing hundreds of jhuggis sprung up near the site earmarked for the project.

The project, which has been delayed a number of times in the past, will finally be taken up and the trust has already started working on it. But before the project is completed, the Trust faces the challenge of clearing the slum that proves to be an eyesore and its dwellers create nuisance for the residents living nearby.

While the Trust faces a danger of losing the valuable property, the residents are up in arms against the authorities for not swinging into action.

The residents claimed that though they had spent their life saving on constructing the houses in modern colonies, such slums were spoiling the atmosphere of a good residential area. They also alleged that the slum dwellers indulged in some anti social activities like drug paddling and prostitution besides being a threat to their safety.

Now, they are hopeful that as and when the Trust completes the project, it will have to find a solution to take the slum away from the area. Sources said before starting the work, the Trust was exploring possibilities for rehabilitating the slum dwellers.

A visit to the area revealed that the slum dwellers are drawing electricity through kundi connections and they have erected their own poles. Almost all jhuggis have television sets, high-power music systems, room coolers, refrigerators and many other electrical gadgets.

The residents said the jhuggis had sprung up in the area 6-7 years ago and following protest by residents the jhuggis were razed during the tenure of former Chairman, M.M. Vyas. These came up again during the elections and nobody was able to remove them. They added that more than 250 jhuggis had come up in the area.

The residents threatened if the authorities did not redress their grievances they would be forced to resort to agitation.



Exporter, cop booked for stealing revenue case file 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
The Sarabha Nagar police has booked a local exporter and a constable of the Directorate Revenue Intelligence (DRI) along with two other persons on the charges of stealing and tampering with a case file of the DRI related to a Rs 13 crore excise duty fraud allegedly committed by the exporter.

The file was stolen from the DRI office in Sarabha Nagar here on a holiday. Ayeshwar Jain, owner of Girnar Export Company, Constable Narinder Singh and two others have been booked under Sections 380,381,409 and 120B of the IPC on the complaint of Mr B S Nanwal, Joint Director of the district unit of the DRI here.

The DRI has also initiated proceedings in the Rs 13 crore fraud case and served a show-cause notice to the accused, informing him that he could be detained for the alleged fraud and other charges, Mr Nanwal informed.

He said a DRI Inspector was also suspended last year for negligence in duty that had allegedly led to the theft of the file and later tampering with the records in the case.

Sarabha Nagar SHO Pawanjit Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that the FIR has been registered on the direction of the SSP after taking due legal opinion in the matter.

Giving details about the fraud unearthed last year, Mr Nanwal said the DRI had found that the accused had taken export-import incentives from the government by showing forged entries.

He had shown export of alloy steels where as his company was manufacturing non-alloy steel products only. The alloy steel products were costlier and got higher incentives. The accused had allegedly showed higher values of the products and availed incentives on the inflated figures.

The DRI also found that he had used fake receipts in connivance with some suppliers of raw materials. Mr Nanwal said the DRI was already proceeding against the accused after getting an overseas inquiry conducted with the help of the Indian Embassy in Dubai.

The departments was proceeding against the accused under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act, 1974, apart from laws prevailing on hawala transactions.



5 held in fake certificate racket
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 9
The police has unearthed a fake certificate racket and arrested five members of the gang allegedly involved in the printing and selling of certificates of various academic and professional degrees and diplomas by boards and universities of repute.

According to Mr Mukand Singh Mahli, DSP, Malerkotla, Mr Inder Singh, SHO at the police chowki near Sandaur village, had received a complaint from Mr Ekam Singh of the same village that Gurmel Singh and his sister-in-law Karamjit Kaur had allegedly duped his son by issuing a fake certificate of Class X of the Punjab School Education Board.

Investigations revealed that the accused were members of an inter-district gang headed by Amar Singh Katil who had earlier been booked under various sections.

Katil had been running “illegal business” by opening academies in the town and Sudhar village. Besides duping innocent people in the name of boards and universities of repute, he reportedly acted as a travel agent.

Preliminary investigations revealed that he used to charge around Rs 10,000 for a Class X certificate issued in the name of the Punjab School Education Board and the CBSE and between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh for professional diplomas and degrees, including those in nursing and pharmacy.

After receiving information, the Malerkotla police constituted a special investigating team to probe the matter that led to the unearthing of the racket.

The team raided several places at the instance of the kingpin of the gang and arrested Bhupinder Singh from Ludhiana and Pawan Kumar from here. Around 50 fake certificates were seized from their custody.

The accused so far were presented before a court at Malerkotla after being booked under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC.



Hotels inspected for star ratings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Mr Jagjit Puri, Managing Director, Punjab Tourism Development Corporation and Chairman, Classification Committee, along with Mr K.L. Dass, Regional Director, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, New Delhi, Mr Harmeet Singh from IATA, Chandigarh, and Mr Narinder Singh, Punjab Tourism, Chandigarh, inspected some of the hotels here and approved them under the star category.

Mr Puri urged hoteliers to focus on kitchen hygiene, and environmental hygiene, besides food production.

Mr Dass, said the owners of hotels should impart training to their respective staff to gather information regarding their shortcomings and weaknesses.

Mr N.S. Nanda, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, said the Punjab Government should allow the private sector to run food craft institutes to impart training to waiters, cooks and housekeepers. He also suggested that the Punjab Government should open a tourist office at the international airport in New Delhi. 



Passing Thru

Arvind Murti
Arvind Murti, Convener, National Alliance People’s Movement

What prompted you to be part of the “Aman March”?

Peace and unity has to be restored between the two nations. In my state Uttar Pradesh, I have set up a National Alliance of People’s Movement through which I try to spread the need for communal harmony and an integrated world order. My magazine “Sachi Sachi” brings out the reformative steps towards the achievement of specific goals.

How do you assess the role of Punjab in strengthening ties?

I feel that Punjab is the only state that is capable of representing the country in this ordeal. The literature by Punjabi writers to the achievement of this effect is immense and of great value today when the two lands are coming together. Further the emotional bonds between the two Punjabs is sure to conquer the hearts of administrators one day.

What sort of a relation do you nurture in your mind?

The outer boundaries may continue but the inner malice should end, once and for all, as a poet says : “Door rahen magar yaad rahen, kayoki fasle bhi payar ka ehsas jaga jate hain” (Even at a distance they should remember us, as distance makes love grow).

— Lovleen Bains



Fresh stocks of scrap arrive
Explosives found yet to be disposed of 
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 9
The container freight station (CFS) of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation at the industrial focal point, Dhandari, has started receiving fresh stocks of imported iron scrap for induction furnaces as the authorities have failed to destroy a huge quantity of shells recovered from scarp almost six months ago.

Ludhiana continues to sit on a powder keg as no practical steps have been taken to deal with the situation. The import of iron scrap from Arab countries and other parts of the world was stopped by the Central Government following the recovery of a huge quantity of bombs and shells which resulted in the death of a number of persons. The Union Government made amendments in the procedures for the import of iron scrap from foreign countries and Ludhiana dry port was deleted from the list. Only 18 ports were listed for the import of scrap from foreign countries.

But later on Ludhiana was also included in the list and fresh scrap stocks started reaching Ludhiana port. Enquiries revealed that fresh stocks were being passed after pre-shipment inspection which has been made mandatory by the Central Government.

According to Mr Amandeep Singh, General Manager of the CFS, Ludhiana, so far the scrap received is free from any explosive material. The pre-shipment inspection is carried out before the same is put in the containers.

Ludhiana dry port caters to the scrap needs of Ludhiana, Mandi Gobindgarh, Jammu and Himachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the delay in the disposal of explosives, nearly 12,000, which are stocked four containers an the premises of the Ludhiana CSF is causing concern to the authorities concerned.

The authorities are worried that the explosives are lying in the containers and the rise in the temperature will result in the heating up of these. This may lead to a mishap. Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma, who held parleys with the Army authorities in this regard, said now the matter was being taken up by the state authorities with the higher-ups in the Army. The Chief Secretary has already discussed the matter with the Army authorities, he added.

The Chief Secretary, Mr J.S. Gill, was not available in Chandigarh for comments yesterday.



‘India, Pak must end hostility’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Human rights activist and journalist Praful Bidwai said here today that India and Pakistan needed to sit together and seriously discuss the issue of demilitarisation for ending hostility.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Prospects of peace and security in South Asia’ in the context of arrival of India and Pakistan peace march that reached here yesterday on its way from Delhi to Multan, at the Ramgarhia College for Women here today, Mr Bidwai said, “India and Pakistan stand at a historic crossroad, but they can end 58 years of hostility and war and live peacefully by allowing free movement of people”.

He said, for this, it was not enough that there was improvement in state-to-state relation and people-to-people contact or even discuss Kashmir. “They must put the issue of demilitarisation and reduction of forces and work towards nuclear disarmament”, he asserted.

He said India had doubled its military spending since 1998 and Pakistan has followed the same. Today India’s defence budget stands at Rs 1 lakh crore ($ 23 billion), including establishment cost and pensions. Pakistan’s declared military budget last year was Rs 200 billion ($ 4.5 billion). In reality, it probably was $6.8 billion and is expected to rise by 25 per cent plus. Both countries spent more on military than on health or education. Both have their foot pressed on a nuclear accelerator. Unless this change is brought about there can be no durable and sustainable peace between them,” he said.

Dr Sandeep Pandey, who is leading the padyatra, said during the march till date, we have met scores of people and exchanged ideas of peace and brotherhood with them in person. People of both the countries are longing for peace. This desire of the people has to be developed into a strong movement so as to force the governments take further effective measures, particularly for the nuclear disarmament of the region.”

Dr L.S. Chawla, president of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), said no country could benefit from nuclear weapons.

Other dignitaries present on the occasion included Mr Dewan Jagdish Chander, Mr Ranjodh Singh, Dr Balbir Shah, Dr R.P.S. Aulukh, Mr Tejinder Mohi, Dr Daler Singh, Dr Gurpreet Ratan, Mr D.P. Maur, Ms Gurcharan Kochar, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Amrit Pal, Mr Sohan Singh, Mr Kuldeep Binder, Mr Ramadhar Singh.

Earlier, in the day, the march went to Punjab Agricultural University after passing through main bazaars of the city. A welcome function was organised by the PAU employees union and the PAU Students Association (PAUSA) in which over 300 persons participated. This was addressed by Mr Praful Bidwal, Dr Sandeep Pandey, Dr L.S. Chawla, Dr R.P.S. Aulakh, Mr D.P. Maur, Mr Sarwan Singh, president, PAUSA Ms Gurcharan Kochar, Mr Tejinder Singh Mohi, Ms Kusum Lata, Dr Gulzar Pandher. Large number of schoolchildren also participated in the function.

A play on Indo-Pak relations, directed by Prof Sompal of Doraha, was also staged.



More time sought to complete VAT documents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Tax practitioners here have demanded one month relaxation for traders from checks conducted on barriers regarding taxpayers identification numbers (TIN) for VAT and other formalities. The District Taxation Bar Association (Sales Tax) said since there were several traders who were yet to get TIN, the department should give them a month’s time to get accustomed to the new system.

“Several clients of ours are hesitating from sending their goods to other states as their vehicles would be stopped on barriers for checking of TIN etc. For any system to get into gear, it takes some time and traders should be given a month atleast,” said Mr Jatinder Khurana of the association.

He said the increase in surety amount from Rs 15,000 to Rs 50,000 and also the hike in fee to get registration number from Rs 100 to Rs 500 was unfair.

Traders also pointed out that at times handwritten acknowledgements, without any stamp, were given. “When we submit our documents, they say that computers are not functioning so the acknowledgement does not even carry any stamp. The department must avoid this as it could lead to gross errors,” a practitioner said.

Meanwhile, the association also conducted a seminar on Punjab VAT 2005 earlier this week. 



BKU opposes VAT on farm sector
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 9
Reacting to the imposition of VAT on farm machinery, chemical fertilisers and pesticides by the Punjab Government, the BKU has decided to launch an agitation.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, acting president and Mr Bhupinder Singh Mahesari, general secretary, of the BKU said in a statement here today that 4 per cent VAT on farm inputs would translate into a yearly financial burden of over Rs 150 crore on Punjab farmers.

The agricultural machinery as well as other inputs were exempted from the burden of tax in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere. The Punjab Government had promised not to tax farm inputs but the commitment had not been honoured, they said.

They urged the government to roll back the decision, failing which the BKU would launch an agitation.



International Sikh Confederation formed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
A group of Sikh intellectuals has formed International Sikh Confederation. The body will work directly under Akal Takht and the SGPC.
The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of intellectuals. The confederation would support and cooperate in all panthic work taken up by the two supreme bodies.

Convened by Lieut Col Chanan Singh Dhillon and Ishar Singh Sobti, the meeting was presided over by Dr Kharak Singh. Those who attended the meeting included Dr Gurbax Singh, Mr N.S. Kapoor, Col Dalwinder Singh Grewal, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Mr Shranjit Singh of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Chetna Manch, Dr Charnak Kanwal Singh, Prof Balwinder Singh, Mr Kirpal Sindh Chandan of the Sikh Missionary College, Mr J.S. Kohli, Mr M.S. Sodhi, Mr Davinde Singh Sekha, Mr Karmajit Singh Aujla and others.



Meeting on acarology
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
A group meeting of All-India Network Project on Agricultural Acarology will be held at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana from April 11 and 12, 2005.
Disclosing this, Dr G.S. Deol, Head of the Department of Entomology, PAU, said the meeting would be attended by more than 40 eminent acarologists from all over India and strategies to manage major mite problems of vegetables, fruit trees, fibre crops rice, pulses and ornamental plants would be discussed.

Progress of research done during past two years by different centres would be evaluated and discussions would also be held on mass production and evaluation of different biocontrol agents, he added.



Wheat crop gutted
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 9
Standing wheat crop on about six acres was gutted in a fire that broke out in Raipur Raian village here allegedly due to short circuit from a transformer.
The fire spread in minutes.

There was a rural tournament going on in the village and when the gathered people reached the scene and took the fire under control with the help of water tankers and saved a big disaster. The SDM, the SHO, and other officers concerned reached the scene.

While talking to mediapersons, the SDM said he had asked the officials concerned to make estimate of the loss so that a report could be sent to the government for further action.



Lecture on Indian banking
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana April 9
Rotary Club members of Ludhiana heard the views of Mr Hemant Contractor, Chief General Manager, SBI, Chandigarh head office, “Indian Banking-the changing scenario”.

He said with the nationalisation of banks, the SBI had played a pivotal role to help weaker sections of society.



Dr Sandhu honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
The Bee-keepers Association honoured Dr Amrik Singh Sandhu, Director of Extension Education, for his services for the farming community at its meeting held at the Centre for Training, Kairon Kisan Ghar, PAU, here today.



Man held with smack
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 9
In response to a campaign launched by Mr Varinder Kumar, district police chief, against anti-social elements, the Amloh police led by Mr Hemant Kumar, ASI, on Friday evening arrested a youth from Majri Kishna Wali village on the Amloh-Khanna road near here. The police has allegedly seized 16 gm of smack from his possession. The accused was identified as Raj Kumar, resident of ward no. 2 here.

Mr Gurdial Singh, SHO, said a case had been registered under Sections 21, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act and the police was investigating the matter to crack the nexus involved in the sale of intoxicants in the area. 



Chemists’ body seeks action against ‘erring’ member
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 9
The Ludhiana District Chemists Association (LDCA) while condemning the alleged attack on certain functionaries of the association and disturbance created by some disgruntled elements in a meeting, has urged the police to take appropriate action against the accused.

A meeting of the executive committee of the LDCA, which held here today under the presidentship of Mr Tikka Dalip Singh, took strong note of the action of Mr C.K. Sharma, who even though not a primary member of the association was issuing press notes on policy matters, allegedly causing damage to the interests of the association.

The members alleged that the accused had not only disturbed a meeting convened on April 7, but also attacked and injured some fellow chemists in Pindi Street here.

A deputation of the LDCA later met SP R.K. Jaiswal and submitted a copy of the resolution calling for action against the accused.

Meanwhile, Mr Surjit Mehta, president, Punjab Chemists Association, who attended the meeting as an observer, informed that following an assurance given by Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla that the issue of VAT on medicines would be appropriately dealt, the agitation had been suspended for the time being and the wholesale chemists had been asked to resume the purchase of medicines till further notice.



Govt going all out for IT units, says minister
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Local Bodies, Labour and Employment Minister Jagjit Singh today said that the government had formulated a plan for the fast industrialisation of the state to create substantial job opportunities under which 27 mega industrial projects amounting to Rs 7,500 crore had already been sanctioned. Besides this, a special economic zone (SEZ) for information technology in Mohali and for a multi-product facility in Amritsar are also being set up.

He was addressing a function after inaugurating a four-day Electro Trade Fair- 2005, organised by the Ludhiana Electrical Dealers Association in association with PELFED at the Government College for Women here today.

He said the state government had decided to facilitate, running industrial units to up-date technology so that the quality of the products could be made competitive in the international market. He said under the new industrial policy, the government had taken steps to empower the committee on mega projects headed by the Chief Minister to consider units of IT and IT-enabled services, electronics industry, knowledge parks and bio-technology, with an investment of Rs 25 crore or more and having employment potential of more than 500 jobs, for a special package of incentives on a case-to-case basis.

The minister also released a National Electric Dealers Directory on this occasion. 


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