L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


VAT to be simplified, says Singla
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, today said the value added tax (VAT) regime, which came into force in the state from April 1, would be simplified and the traders and industry will find it most friendly. He said the state government was also presenting a case before the High Power Committee constituted by the Centre to look into various aspects of VAT, which was meeting in Delhi tomorrow.

Mr Singla was talking to representatives of various trade and industrial organisations who met him here at the official residence of city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill. Besides Mr Gill, the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer was also present during the meeting.

Addressing the grievances of the industry and traders, the Finance Minister said the government was concerned about them. “I want to assure you that the state government is for you and not against you”, Mr Singla made it clear, that there will not be any harassment to anyone.

He maintained that the taxes to be imposed in Punjab under the VAT regime would be at a par with the neighbouring states. “In fact I want to add that these would be at a par with the lowest rates prevailing in any of the neighbouring states so that the trade does not suffer here”, he said, while pointing out that Punjab would like to bring the tax on the tea to 4 per cent like it was in Delhi against the prevailing 12 per cent in the state.

Mr Singla hoped that all the misgivings and anomalies would be removed during the two day meeting of the High Powered Committee on VAT starting from tomorrow in New Delhi. He added, even if there are some anomalies which need to be addressed the state government will do the needful. He disclosed that the government had received about 120 representations on the issue so far and these were being thoroughly studied to ensure that all doubts are cleared.

The Finance Minister said the Taxation Department had been asked to ensure that there are no raids on the traders that would cause harassment. “The traders will themselves see as how friendly the VAT regime would prove for them, we only need to have some patience”, he assured.

Those who attended the meeting with the Finance Minister today included Mr P.D. Sharma, the President Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Virender Kapoor, General Secretary United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, Mr K.K. Seth, Vice-President, Ludhiana Engineering Industries Association, Mr S.C. Ralhan, President, Industrial Focal Point, Shed Manufacturers Association, Mr Ashok Juneja, Vice-President Chamber of industrial and Commercial Undertakings and others.



Students want CETs scrapped
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 24
Students and parents have called for the scrapping of the common entrance tests (CETs) in Punjab Technical University (PTU) as they feel that these tests are no more valid when seats are lying vacant. They alleged that the tests fleeced both parents as well as their wards by costly application forms, examination fees, counseling sessions, etc.

Mr A.K. Bhandari, general secretary, Public Cause — a forum for voicing common problems of the people, alleged that when the number of seats was more than the number of aspirants, then where was the need for CETs?

The students should be given admission on the basis of their 10+2 results. The university held CETs to mint money, he alleged.

According to sources, PTU charges Rs 2500 per student for an average time of 4-5 minutes counselling. Not only this, the university asks to deposit a sum of Rs 10,000 with an assurance to refund the balance, Rs 7500 after counselling. Incidentally, the balance of 2004 is still to be refunded.

In 2003-2004, total seats available were 9,000 and 7,000 seats got filled. As many as 2000 seats were lying vacant. In 2004-2005, seats available were 15,120 and 12,000 students got admission leaving 3,000 seats vacant. Mr Bhandari said when huge number of seats were lying vacant during 2003-2004 and without trying to find out reason for the same, six more colleges/institutes were added to the list, raising the number to 15,120.

Mr Bhandari further said the recent PTU carnival showed that there were few takers of PTU courses. “About 4,000 job seekers having degrees like MBA, BE, B Tech, M Tech came with high hopes to the carnival but only 47 of them could get the jobs, that too CETs were held to judge the eligibility of students on salaries much below what they deserved”, alleged Mr Bhandari.

Mr Tarsem Bahia, convener, Punjab Educationist Forum, said these tests were introduced in the eighties when there were few seats and plenty of takers, but recently the scenario had been changed.

With seats lying vacant these days there is a process of “admission for all”. The tests can be scrapped and credibility of a student can be judged from the 10+2 results.

Dr S. K. Salwan, Vice Chancellor, PTU, when contacted, said it was Central Government’s decision to scrap CET or not. The university had nothing to do with it. “But CETs are necessary in the sense that credibility of students outside Punjab can be judged from these tests only. Secondly, we do return the money (Rs 7,500) to the respective colleges in time.

If there is any delay, it could be on part of the particular college and university should not be blamed for that”, he said.



Alert resident foils robbery bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
Mr V.P. Dua, a former employee of the Department of Telecommunications, showed the presence of mind to thwart a robbery attempt at his house in Model Gram here last night. Despite being stabbed in an arm, he did not let the robbers open the door of the house. He raised the alarm that forced the robbers to flee.

Mr Dua was admitted to the DMC Hospital by his family members and neighbours. Besides him, his wife and granddaughter were at home at the time of the incident.

The victim said the robbers were speaking in Hindi and looked like migrant labourers. Two robbers came near the door, while the third one was keeping an eye on the street.

Mr Dua said he was surprised to hear the bell at that odd hour. He was taken aback to see the strangers who were trying to force their way into the house. However, Mr Dua managed to stop them. One of the robbers stabbed him on his right arm. 



Five injured in clash
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 24
Five persons were injured in a clash at Hargobindpur village in Ludhiana district today. The Dehlon police has initiated the investigations but a case is yet to be registered.

Mr Jagdev Singh, owner of a petrol pump, alleged that Dharampal along with his brother and five persons carrying a gun, swords and axes had assaulted his two sons — Nirbhai and Inderjit — who were working on a plot.

While Nirbhai Singh received head injuries, Inderjit received injuries on limbs. They were admitted to a hospital here.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Jagdev Singh claimed that the incident could have averted had the Latala police reached the spot in time.

“Dharampal and his associates had abused and threatened to teach us a lesson in the morning. Apprehending danger to our life we had reported the matter to the Latala police,” said Mr Jagdev Singh.

The other group on the other hand alleged that complainants had attacked them and in a shuffle members of both the groups got injured.

Mr Jatinder Pal Singh Khaira, DSP, Mullanpur, said the police had received complaints from both the groups.



Blast was due to bomb in scrap, say labourers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
The threat of bombs in scrap has once again come into focus with five labourers, who were injured in yesterday’s blast in a steel factory in Kanganval village, saying that scrap material had blown off while they were trying to crush it.

The focal Point police has registered a case against the management of the Waryam Steel under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the IPC on the statement of one of the injured labourers, Dina Nath, who said the blast took place in the scrap.

Till yesterday, some gas leak or cylinder burst was being floated as the reason for the blast. The statement of scrap bomb blast has put a question mark on the claims of the district administration and customs department that they were carrying out regular checks of the scrap arriving here for remoulding.



Passing Thru

Padmashree Kartar Singh
Padmashree Kartar Singh, Director, Sports, Punjab.

What is the purpose of organising seminars for coaches?

The main purpose of organising seminars for coaches of the Punjab Sports Department is to update their knowledge in sports medicines, sports psychology, training methods and physiology. Lectures by experts including doctors, educationists and experts in meditation and pranayam, have proved very useful for coaches.

What is your department planning to do to further improve the standard of coaching in the state and detain the Sports Authiority of India (SAI) coaches who are under transfers?

To further improve the standard of coaching in the state, the department is evolving a programme to engage some expert coaches from outside India who would impart training to the existing lot. We have also decided to introduce Hari Singh Nalwa award for the outstanding coach on the pattren of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh award for the outstanding player of the state. This award includes a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and a citation. And we are not going to relieve the SAI coaches as they have produced players of international repute. We have already written to the Union Sports Minister in this regard.

What is the Sports Department’s strategy to prepare for the next Asian Games and Olympics?

The department has been chalking out comprehensive programme to prepare for these mega events. We are focusing on preparing our players for three events — athletics, hockey and wrestling since we are very near to finish among medal winners in these discplines.

Anil Datt



Ludhiana Calling

Wondering about the declining fuel efficiency of your vehicle? Pay more attention to the fuel meter at the petrol station. It is here that you are befooled. After you ask for a certain quantity of petrol to be filled, and you notice that the full meter shows zero level, your attention is diverted for a second. This mostly happens when the service boy is to begin filling the fuel and he confirms from you the quantity to be filled, which distracts your attention from the meter towards him as you respond. This is the moment when numbers on meter skip. Sentinel was in for such an experience at a petrol station on Ferozepur Road here. However, much to the chagrin of the service boy Sentinel noticed the skip and pointed it out. Surprisingly, there was no resistance. The service boys at the station admitted the mistake as well. Wonder how many residents fail to even notice the ploy.

Tiger Safari

Tiger Safari beckons Ludhianvis. The number of tigers, Royal Bengal tigers, have been increased to 13 recently and a pair of bears has also been displayed now. If the bird lovers were feeling ignored, the managers of the safari have now put on display a number of bird species too. It seems high time that the name of the safari was changed to Animal Safari now.


Various high-profile businessmen have announced the opening of international-level malls in the city. While it will take a couple of years or more for the malls to actually come up and benefit the city residents in some manner, the journos and the advertisement agencies have begun harvesting profits here and now only. The journos especially are the most sought after by such businessmen these days thinking that the media will prepare a good ground for the popularity of malls. The build-up will make it easy for the mall owners to sell their space. Many special parties have been organised for the journos in which expensive gifts were also distributed.

Hazardous waste

How heavily polluted the city is and how hazardous waste is ruining the environment, is something the city residents have grown used to hearing about. That probably could be one of the reasons why industrialists are yet to contribute the required funds for a hazardous waste treatment plant for which even the government grant has been received. Now when efforts did not seem to motivate a section of the industrialists enough, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) chairman Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa called a meeting. Realising the urgency of the situation, Mr Bajwa wanted to motivate the industry to contribute towards the project. “It’s our duty to protect the Air, Earth and Water gods...,” he said, hoping the appeal will make the desired impact.

Road digging

Labourers can be found digging the city roads frequently. At times they dig the right and then the left sides of the road. Some roads like Pakhowal Road and the main road in Randhir Singh Nagar have been dug on both sides a number of times recently. Sometimes, red wires go in after digging and the road is covered. Then again it is dug , and another set of wires goes in. Mounds of earth and stones obstruct the traffic. What foxes most people is that why can’t all wires be put in place at one time and the public spared of inconvenience.

Pioneering step

Inner Wheel Club members had decided to run an institution for mentally challenged children of the city 25 years ago when no such institution for the mentally challenged children existed. The club members are counterparts of the Rotarians . Since Rotarians are committed to social service, the women members also decided to take up a challenging project. With their whole hearted support and dedicated efforts, Nirdosh, school for mentallly challenged, students came up. It celebrated its silver jubilee on Friday. The school is housed in Rotary Bhavan, Sarabha Nagar. The women have managed the finances on their own, with the help of donations as well as on their own. The school has been instrumental in rehabilating some of its students. It provides them with vocational, and yoga training. It has also made arrangements for physiotherapy sessions.

Peacock feathers

Even as various animal-friendly organisations in Ludhiana are doing their bit to save some animals and raise a voice against animal products, the sellers of peacock feathers are having a field day in the city. Little does anyone realise that these feathers in plenty are obviously coming to the market after killing the peacocks. Otherwise how many feathers does a peacock shed during its lifetime? The enforcement authorities need to question these peacock feather sellers who may spill the beans.

Mobile agony

‘Sadhaks’ take mobile phones to yoga classes also. When others are doing ‘Pranayam’ and beginning to feel relaxed, the filmi tunes emitting from mobile phones disturb the peace and other ‘sadhaks’. When people are told not to bring in their mobiles , they get offended . Similarly at cremations too, the shrill mobile tones jar on the ears of the mourners. The etiquettes of using mobile phones should be spelt out clearly. Even during the staging of plays or musical recitals, mobile phones should be a strict ‘no, no’.

— Sentinel



SAD leaders resent move to change Sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 24
SAD leaders of Kilaraipur Assembly segment have resented the administration’s move to remove the Sarpanch of Saharanmajra village on the basis of recounting of votes while deciding a petition filed by a defeated candidate.

TheDeputy Commissioner, on the other hand, maintained that the decision had been taken on the basis of facts and the counsels of both the candidates had signed the proceedings of the counting of votes.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders of the area have welcomed the decision.

Led by Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, and Mr Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra, an SGPC member, the local leaders and activists of SAD alleged that the administration had acted at the behest of a Congress leader while deciding the petition filed by Ms Swaranjit Kaur, who had lost to Ms Jagir Kaur in panchayat elections held two years ago.

Recollecting the events on the day of election, Akali leaders alleged that the same Congress leader had tried to use influence to get the result declared in favour of his candidate.

‘‘Even on the day of election, we had a tough time during the counting of votes. When Congress leaders came to know that our candidate had secured almost 50 votes more than their candidate, they insisted on recounting and the margin was reduced to five on third counting," explained the leaders.

Terming the decision as murder of democracy, SAD leaders alleged that the district administration had hindered their attempt to move to a higher court by not supplying the necessary documents.

‘‘Even now we will challenge the decision in High Court and do our best to save the spirit of democracy,’’ said Ms Jagir Kaur.

Deciding a petition filed by Ms Swaranjit Kaur, a Congress-supported candidate who had lost panchayat election to Ms Jagir Kaur, a SAD-supported candidate during general panchayat elections, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, declared that the petitioner had won by 14 votes.

Ms Swaranjit Kaur, a Dalit candidate supported by the Congress had filed a petition before Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, alleging that the SAD-supported candidate, Ms Jagir Kaur, had used unfair means to win the election held on June 29, 2003.

Mr Bhag Singh Dardi a close associate of Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, a senior congress leader, said the development would prove beneficial for the residents of the village, as the new Sarpanch would be able to bring more grants for development. 



Waste management project awaits industry’s contribution
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
With the Supreme Court deadline for developing a hazardous waste management facility in the state approaching fast, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has asked industrialists to expedite the process, failing which the board will be forced to take action against them by way of penalising or closure.

The special purpose vehicle (SPV), formed in the name of M/s Nimbuan Greenfield Punjab Limited, by a few hazardous waste generating companies for treatment it has already been sanctioned a grant of Rs 13 crore by the government. The Rs 22-crore project requires a contribution of around Rs 7 crore from the industry and it is only after receiving that contribution that the grant can be utilised and the facility developed.

The PPCB Chairman Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, held a meeting with industrialists from across the state to discuss the matter, here on Friday.

“It is time that you get serious about the project, if you do not, the board will have to resort to penalties,” Mr Bajwa told industrialists.

“Punjab is the only state to have received a grant for such a facility and industrialists should consider themselves lucky. Now it is up to them to utilise the grant, which shall lapse in case they fail to contribute within the specified time period”, said Mr S.P. Oswal, chairman of the facility.

He said that while Rs 7 crore was to be raised by way of equity from the participants, who would become members of the company, the remaining Rs 3 crore would be raised via debt or public equity.

The recommended contribution for the membership is Rs 10 lakh for units with an annual turnover exceeding Rs 10 crore, Rs 5 lakh for units with turnover between Rs 3 crore and Rs 10 crore and Rs 50,000 from units having turnover below that.

The SPV will cater to 1,800 units, including 520 large and medium units in the state, said Mr Oswal. He said the plan was to put the facility, located near Dera Bassi, in operation within a year.

While land acquisition for the facility, planned to come over 22 acre, is in process, the PPCB has agreed to bear the cost of land, said member secretary Malvinder Singh.

However, problem could arise in case industrialists do not disclose the actual waste generated by them. 



Railway pensioners hold meeting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 24
Mr Manish Tiwari, Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee, was the chief guest at the annual general meeting of the Northern Railway Pensioners Welfare Association held at Pensioners Bhavan, Mini Secreteriat, here today.

Mr Tiwari assured his full cooperation to the retired railwaymen Addressing them he said. “The Centre and the state governments have framed policies for senior citizens so that their grievances are redressed on priority basis.”

He said he would take up the matter of having a railway pension Bhavan at Ludhiana Railway Station so that association members can sit and discuss their problems there. He also said he would take up the issue of increase in medical allowance to Rs 300, and one per cent increase in pensions of those railwaymen who have served more than 33 years, and for acceptance of the fifth pay Commission Recommendation with Railway Minister, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav. 



Spurious kerosene seized, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 24
The Raikot police is reported to have seized 12,000 litres of spurious kerosene and has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 34 of the IPC.
It is learnt that Sub-Inspector Randhir Singh, SHO, Raikot, received a tip-off that Shankar Das Morris of Badhni Kalan district, Moga, and Malkit Singh of Rajgarh district, Bathinda, were selling spurious kerosene they had brought in a tanker bearing a false number plate and with fake registration documents.

The Raikot police arrested Morris and impounded the tanker containing 12,000 litres of spurious kerosene. However, Malkit Singh fled.

BOOKED: A local resident allegedly sold his passport to another who went abroad. The seller has been booked under Section 12 of the Passport Act, 1967, and Sections 419, 120 B, IPC. It is learnt that Vikram Gupta, alias Vicky, son of a local businessman, travelled to the USA some time back. After Vicky returned to India, he sold his passport to Harbinder Singh, alias Titu, of Amirpura district, Patiala, who on the basis of this passport, has allegedly gone to the USA.

LIQUOR SEIZED: The Sidhwanbet police claims to have seized 22.860 litres of illicit liquor in two separate incidents. In the first, the police arrested Munsha Singh, alias Munshi, of Parjian Biharipur from his village and seized 11.430 litres of ilicit liquor and in the second, Karamjit Singh of Talwara was arrested.


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