L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC to spend 75 lakh on parking sites at pvt hotels
Land belongs to Forest Department
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 24
In what is being described as a ‘questionable’ decision, aimed at granting ‘undue’ benefits to certain contractors enjoying proximity to a couple of ruling party councillors, the Municipal Corporation here has set in motion the process to develop parking sites in the service lanes in front of a marriage palace and a hotel on Ferozepore Road.

Interestingly, the sites, where construction work had been undertaken to develop parking sites at public expenditure after getting a nod from the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC), belong to the Forest Department. Legally the civic body could not undertake any construction or development work, nor could these sites be used to derive any income till these were handed over to the MC.

Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the vacant land, now being used by most of the hotels, restaurants and marriage palaces all along the Ferozepore Road belonged to the Forest Department, which was handed over to the civic body in 1995 for maintenance with the express condition that this land would not be utilised for any commercial purpose.

As a result, even though the service lanes on both sides of the highway were even now being used for parking purpose, none of these sites were leased out to parking contractors for use as paid parking as was being done on many other places all over the city. It was also learnt that the process was already on to formally hand over these sites to the MC but formalities had not been completed till now. Eyebrows were being raised on undue haste being shown by the civic administration to start the work for development of this land for parking purpose.

According to MC sources, the F&CC had approved two works for construction and development of parking sites in the service lanes in front of the Embassy Palace and Friends Regency Hotel at a cost of Rs 31.05 lakh and Rs 43.34 lakh, respectively. Sources also maintained that some of the ruling party councillors had moved strings to see the work through in a hasty manner firstly because the contract was awarded to their ‘favourite’ contractor and also due to keen interest shown by the owners concerned of the hotel and the marriage palace.

The onus of providing parking facility to their customers lied with the owners of hotels and restaurants and the MC was in no way supposed to spend from its own funds to create this facility. On the contrary, the civic body should own up the responsibility for allowing construction of hotels, restaurants and other commercial complexes without adequate provisions for parking in the city, which were blatant violations of building norms.



22 injured as bus overturns
Mahesh Sharma

Jalaldiwal (Ahmedgarh), May 24
A private bus overturned and dashed into a tree near Gobindgarh village bus stand, near here today. At least 22 persons were injured and admitted to hospitals in surrounding towns, including Raikot and Barnala. The Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Verma, has announced grant of Rs 5,000 each to those injured seriously.

According to a complaint lodged at the local police chowki, a North Indian Corporation bus (PB30C-1313) dashed into a tree near Gobindgarh bus stand at around 7.45 am today, leaving more than 22 persons injured, five of them seriously.

Mr Balwinder Singh of Baba Jando Wala Road, Barnala, informed the police that the driver of the bus had allegedly driven the bus carrying more than 60 passengers recklessly that caused the accident leaving a large number of passengers injured. The bus, destined for Ludhiana, had left Barnala at around 7 am.

“Throughout the way he ignored our warnings about his reckless driving and every time we asked him to slow down the vehicle he reiterated that he had to cover the time he had lost at one level crossing. He played the stereo at full volume,” said Mr Balwinder Singh.

While overtaking a tractor-trailer carrying bricks, the driver lost control and hit it from behind. The bus then overturned and dashed into a tree.

“As the front windshield had broken, we came out of the bus and called the police, which helped the passengers come out of the bus,” Balwinder reported to the police. The injured were shifted to various hospitals at Raikot and Barnala town.

Mr Balbir Ram of Ahmedgarh, Murti Devi of Durgapur, Ludhiana, Hari Ram of Una, Bhola Singh of Pandori, Dinesh Singh of Bhathewala village, Harpal Singh of Bathinda, Kulwant Singh of Jand, Raj Kumar of Rore Ke, Baljinder Singh of Harigarh, Murbhi of Hoshiarpur, Kiran Bala of Sandaur, Sohan Singh of Barnala, Parveen Rani of Barnala, Harmit Singh and Upkar of Ludhiana, Harpreet Kaur, Davinder Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Jagjit Singh and Gurmit Kaur of Haibowal Ludhiana were admitted to private hospitals at Raikot. Other injured have been shifted to hospitals at their respective towns.

The Raikot police has registered a case against the driver and conductor of the bus who have been absconding.



Dissolution of Bihar Assembly draws flak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
The Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal and the Bhartiya Janata Party leaders today condemned the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly by the United Progress Alliance Government at the Centre. The SAD-B and the BJP leaders observed that the decision was most "undemocratic and unconstitutional obviously aimed at preventing a National Democratic Alliance Government in Bihar".

Senior Akali leader and former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said "this is a blatant abuse of the Article 356 of the Indian constitution".

He pointed out had the UPA Government dissolved the Assembly earlier when no party could cobble up a majority, it would have sounded just and unbiased. But when the NDA was in a position to get an absolute majority in the Bihar Assembly, the UPA Government acted in an unconstitutional manner.

BJP leader and former MP Lala Lajpat Rai also condemned the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly. He held that the UPA Government led by the Congress was not prepared to accept the defeat.

He said the Congress leaders would keep on accusing the BJP of not being able to reconcile to the defeat.

"But the Congress has betrayed the desperation by getting the House dissolved obviously with a purpose to preempt the formation of an NDA government", Mr Rai observed, while adding that the decision will boomerang on the Congress and its allies and the NDA will get a clear majority.

SAD general secretary Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal also criticised the UPA decision of dissolving the Bihar assembly without giving the NDA a chance to form the government. He observed, the Congress had resorted to its old tactics of either preventing the formation of the non-Congress government or getting them dismissed.

He regretted that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who is known for his integrity, could be party to such an unconstitutional step by the UPA Government, obviously at the behest of the Congress.

However, the Congress leaders defended the decision claiming that the UPA Government had done the best thing by dissolving the Assembly as it would otherwise have led to horse-trading.

Two senior vice-presidents of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Pawan Dewan and Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka and former district president, Mr KK Bawa in separate statements hailed the UPA Government decision. They observed that fresh elections would be the best solution as no party had got a clear mandate to govern Bihar. 



No aid for widow of ex-badminton champ
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, May 24
Persons who had donated money to the Ludhiana District Badminton Association (LDBA) to give assistance to the widow of former national champion (doubles), Harish Chander, have sought inquiry into the embezzlement of funds.

In a letter, addressed to Mr Chand Kapoor, president of the LDBA, certain contributors have expressed anguish over the association’s failure to provide financial assistance to local shuttler, Harish Chander who died in a road accident in Kolkata, last year. The LDBA organised Harish Memorial Punjab Junior Badminton Championship in Ludhiana and reportedly collected money to give assistance to the widow of former national champion.

They further said that the funds collected by the association were not handed over to the family of the deceased. Since, the wife of Harish Chander has not secured a job on compensatory ground, she required immediate assistance.

The signatories to this letter urged the president to arrange promised assistance to Harish’s wife or return the money back to them so that they could themselve hand over the money to her, failing which they would be force to take the legal action against the LDBA.



Power cuts irk residents, industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
As temperatures continue to soar, city residents are facing a tough time due to frequent and long power cuts. Cuts for even five to six hours are being imposed in several areas.

Electricity board officials attribute these cuts to a sharp rise in demand, resulting in scarcity of power, and say the situation may improve from the beginning of next month.

Shutting down of four units of power thermal units along with reduction in supply to the state from the Central pool has led to the shortage.

"It has become a norm with the PSEB to make tall claims at the beginning of every summers. This time too they had assured consumer regular power supply, however, the situation has only worsened," said Bhupinder Kaur, a resident of Krishna Nagar, adding that, "we are facing power cuts for even more than six hours at times." The situation is not better in other areas.

According to officials, two units at Ropar and one each at Bathinda and Lehran Mohabat are closed due to maintenance work. This has led to a shortage of over 160 lakh units in the state leaving the board with no other option than imposing cuts.

While the supply has fallen, demand has increased sharply due to the use of air conditioners.

The industrial areas are also suffering equally. "We are already passing through a tough phase due to an overall slump . Power shortage is adding to our woes. All this renders the industry uncompetitive," said Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

"If this is the situation now that the season has just begun we wonder how things are going to be once the paddy season starts," he said.

Condemning the government for its failure to manage the situation effectively, industry associations questioned the government's move to supply power to Maharashtra. The associations here have urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, not to take decisions that are detrimental to the industry's interests.

The PSEB officials, meanwhile said once the thermal plant units were put to operations, situation would improve. 



10-year RI for possessing narcotics 
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
The Court of Additional Sessions Judge Mr B.S. Sodhi has convicted a person, Tara Singh of Shallu Bhaini village, Koomkalan on the charges of possessing huge quantity of narcotics. The accused has been sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment of 10 years.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Sodhi held that the prosecution had successfully proved the guilt of accused beyond any doubt. Keeping in view the nature of offence, the accused did not deserve any leniency, remarked the judge, while declining the plea of leniency raised by the accused. The accused was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs l lakh.

The accused was booked under Section 15 of the NDPS Act, on August 16, 2002 at Koomkalan police station, when poppy-husk was found from his possession.

On that day, the Sub-Inspector Avtar Singh along with police party was present in Kohara Chowk. He received secret information that the accused was in habit of selling narcotics and at that time he was sitting in his fields with the poppy husk, as per prosecution.

Following this information, a telephonic message was sent to the then DSP Malkiat Singh to reach the spot for raid. Thereafter, the police party conducted a raid and recovered six bags of poppy-husk each weighing 40 kg from the possession of the accused, says the F.I.R.

However, during the trial the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed false implication. He also examined his son to show that he was picked up by the police a few days prior to the registration of the case. But after hearing the arguments of Additional Public Prosecutor-Mr Iqbal Singh and the defence counsel, the court found the accused guilty and sentenced accordingly.



SAD stages dharna
Our Correspondent

Amloh, May 24
In protest against the registration of criminal cases on behest of the ruling party against some Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) workers of Salana village on May 15, a dharna led by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary, SAD, and former Finance Minister was staged in front of the SDM office here today.

A memorandum was received by Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, Amloh at the dharna. The SAD demanded registration of cases against the Chairman, Zila Parishad, Mr Pakhar Singh Salana, and Block Congress chief Shingara Singh Salana for allegedly creating lawlessness with the help of their supporters at the local Gurdwara.

Earlier, Cap Kanwaljit Singh released during a meeting at Gurdwara Singh Sabha here, a list of SAD candidates for six zones of Agricultural Development Bank. Khanyan- Paramjit Singh; Salana – Ajaib Singh; Lakha Singh Wala – Gurmail Singh Gill Haripur; Shamaspur – Baltej Singh; Mehmoodpur – pending (3 member committee will decide later on) and Baronga – Karamjit Singh Bhagdana. 



17 Tanda mishap victims in city hospitals

Ludhiana, May 24
Seventeen-persons injured in an accident near Tanda in Hoshiapur district were today hospitalised in different local hospitals. Six persons out of them are reported to be serious.

These persons were going from Ludhiana to Dalhousie. Sources said that the occupants of bus were followers of Radha Soami sect and were going to attend a religious function at Dalhousie.

The bus had left Kidwai Nagar, Ludhiana, at about 5.30 am today. When the bus reached near Tanda, it met with an accident with a jeep. After giving first aid these persons were shifted to this city, as they belonged to Ludhiana. OC



Bhagwan Parshuram Jayanti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 24
The Brahmin Sabha, Samrala, celebrated Bhagwan Parshuram Jayanti with devotion and fervour. A two-day Mahautsav at Durga Mandir here was organised. A Shobha Yatra was taken out.

It was led by Baba Yaug Datt (Shekherji ) of Durga Mandir. Chabils were organised on the way. Mr Ashwani Kumar Kalu was the in charge of the yatra. A havan was performed where Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, MLA, and his wife Malkiat Kaur Dhillon took part. In the second session, the chief guest, Mr Bikram Sharma, from Sunam gave a discourse on the life and achievements of Bhagwan Parshuram.



Youth commits suicide

Khanna, May 24
A youth committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance at local railway station last night.
The deceased has been identified as Sunil Kumar, alias Sonu, resident of Khanna. OC


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