L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rs 450 cr earmarked for pension schemes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
The state government has launched a special drive to give pension to all eligible old age persons, widows, handicapped and destitute children and funds amounting to Rs 450 crore would be spent every year in the state for this purpose.

This was stated by Surinder Dawer, Parliamentary Secretary Power, Housing and Urban Development, while addressing a Mass Pension Distribution function organized at Mittra Janj Ghar in Ludhiana East Constituency here today. Sanction letters of old age and widow pensions were handed over to 300 beneficiaries.

Mr Dawer asserted that after fully revamping the financial condition of the state, Capt. Amarinder Singh’s government had earmarked around Rs 10,000 crores for the different welfare and development projects. He said that the state government had decided to ensure regular payment of pensions to all beneficiaries in the future and an amount of Rs 38 crores would be spent for this purpose every month.

He asserted that the government had also planned to spend more than Rs 2200 crore on the execution of different power projects, which would add more than 2000 MW power. This would solve the power situation in the state.

He claimed that the government would fulfill all the promises made during the elections and the coming two years would be fully devoted to the development of the state. He said that the problems of the industrialists and traders relating to the implementation of VAT had also been amicably settled by organising meetings of the associations with the Finance Minister.

Referring to the development projects taken up in his constituency during the last three years, Mr. Dawer said that works worth more than Rs 25 crores had already been completed in Ludhiana (East) constituency. Mr. Dawer said that to permanently solve the problem of pollution from the open sullage water nullah passing through the different mohallas, a special plan amounting to Rs 14 crores had been sanctioned. With the implementation of this project, the problem would be completely solved. The project would be started within one month.

He also announced that driving license camp would be organised every month in his constituency for the convenience of the people. He said that he had set up two offices in his constituency to get the local level works of the people done and two camps had been organized to issue learner’s driving licenses in this area.

Strongly criticising former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for instigating the people to rouse their emotions by raising dead religious issue, he said that the state government would not allow these leaders to spoil the peaceful environment of the state.

Among others present on this occasion included Mr N S Gill, Mayor, Mr Prem Mittal Dy Mayor, Mr K.K. Bawa, Chairman Housefed, Mr Jasbir Chadha, Mr Ashok Bagga, Mr Sanjay Talwar, Ms Malkiat Kaur (all Councillors), Mr O.P. Malhotra, Mr Pardeep Jindal, Mr Subhash Makkar, Mr Vijay Gabba, Mr Suba Singh and Mr Sushil Prashar.



Residents sceptical about City Centre project
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
With the scrapping of the entire bidding process for the proposed Rs 375 crore prestigious City Centre project, the residents of the city are once again sceptical about whether it would ever see the light of the day.

Following allegations of irregularities in allotting the contract for the development of the project, the state government had scrapped the entire bidding process last month and decided to call for fresh bids.

The development has forced the residents to think that there is some jinx attached with the project. It has always been mired in controversies. Conceived about five years ago, the proposed City Centre to be developed on 25.25 acres in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar here is yet to take off.

With the taking over of Mr Paramjit Singh Sibia as Chairman of Ludhiana Improvement Trust, the residents were hopeful that the project would finally see the light of the day.

The City Centre project has always been mired in a controversy. Earlier it was delayed due to the change in regime. Later, when Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, former chairman had taken over two years ago, he had postponed it for indefinite period stating that he could not start this project with corruption rampant in the trust.

Later he had gone to the extent of claiming that the Congress had hinted him to collect party fund in the name of the project. Mr Garcha had faced an unceremonious exit a year ago and Mr Sibia had taken over as the chairman.

As per the original plan, the City Centre would have had five main sections. The Mall — with shopping arcades, showrooms and offices, the Health Centre — comprising first aid post, OPD, emergency, indoor hospital, a helipad, the Podium — to provide hotel site, financial institutions, banks, post office and provision for a roof top swimming pool and the Square — which would have departmental stores, hotel, exhibition halls and a trade centre and the Forum for art gallery, an auditorium, food plaza, cinema complex, library, museum and cyber cafes.

Claiming that it would have a state-of-the-art architectural design, a former chairman of LIT, Dr S.S. Sandhu, had said that he had gone for a national level competition for architectural designs for the project with a first prize of Rs 2 lakh, on the basis of which, the design submitted by Arkitektural Grid, New Delhi, was finally selected.

On a total site area of 25.25 acre (997524 square feet), the City Centre will have a total built up area of 3299670 square feet, maximum ground coverage of 50 per cent (549945 square feet) and a total height up to 100 feet.

The City Centre had to face a major controversy, even before taking off. When the project was being conceptualised, a provision was added to have a four-acre indoor stadium as a part of the complex, which the engineers and the architect later found unsuitable and ill-conceived. The idea was later dropped amidst protests.



Injured refused admission to Civil Hospital
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 11
Members of the family of a person who was injured in an attack by some miscreants on last Sunday have accused a doctor of the Civil Hospital of demanding money for admitting the patient.

Dr Krishan Pilani, in charge, denied the charges levelled against the doctor and claimed that no such incidence was brought into his notice either by the complainant or the staff.

In a complaint made to Senior Medical Officers, Mr Faqira of Rohira village stated that he had been carrying his injured son Saudagar Ali from one hospital to another for the treatment but was not admitted. “While doctors at the Civil Hospital demanded money for admission, those at private hospitals refused to handle the case by telling that it was a medico-legal case,” said Mr Faqira.

Saudagar Ali was injured seriously when some miscreants had attacked him on Sunday night. “Though we had taken him to the local Civil Hospital at around 10 pm, no doctor came to examine him till the next afternoon,” said the old father.

Faqira said they were asked to take him to Malerkotla as they could not pay his “unofficial” fee. Doctors at Malerkotla refused to give any treatment till the police asked to do so.

“When none of the doctors either at Civil Hospital or private hospital agreed to treat my son, we brought him home and got services of private practitioner,” said Faqira. Seeking action against the erring doctors, the complainant apprehended that his son’s condition might aggravate in the absence of proper medical treatment.

Sources at police station revealed that no intimation regarding the incident was received from any hospitals.



One killed, 5 wounded in factory blast
Bhushan Sood

Mandi Gobindgarh, June 11
A worker was killed and five others were seriously injured when a blast took place in a steel re-rolling mill at Amloh road near Mandi Gobindgarh late last night.

The deceased has been identified as Saroj Rai (23). He died on the spot. His body was charged due to molten steel that fell on him due to the blast. He belonged to Nepal and was working in the factory.

Those injured have been identified as Saroj Kumar of Nepal, Chandan, son of Nandu Paswan (Bihar) and Kailash Mehto, son of Nathu Mehto (Bihar). They were admitted to a private nursing home. The condition of Manoj Rai of Nepal and Shri Kant of Bihar was stated to be serious. They were referred to DMC Hospital at Ludhiana.

Eyewitnesses said that the blast took place at 12.30 a.m. Due to blast molten steel fell on the workers who were standing near it. The body of Saroj was burnt beyond recognition.

The blast site presented a ghastly picture. The walls of the room, where furnace was kept, developed cracks. Eyewitnesses said that following the blast, labourers working in the unit started running helter and skelter. Within a few minutes, they spotted charred body of Saroj and shifted other injured to hospitals.

Mr Harbans Singh, SHO, Mandi Gobindgarh, Mr Daljit Singh Rana, DSP, Amloh reached at the place of incident immediately.

This is not first such incident that had rocked the town known as Tatanagar of Punjab. With most of the steel re-rolling mills located in the town, so many incidents have taken place here in which many lives have also been lost.



GS Electricals’ property auctioned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Chandigarh, today auctioned the property of M/s GS Electricals on the Radha Swami road here for an alleged default in payment.

The borrower had reportedly availed of term loan and loan for working capital from the State Bank of India, Civil Lines, but failed to repay even a single installment.

“The amount of loan availed of was Rs 6.60 lakh in 1996. However, the party never responded after it took the loan,” claimed Chief Manager, SBI, Civil Lines, T.R. Gupta.

As the borrower failed to make the payment, the case went to the DRT and a notice was served on the party in July, 2004, when the outstanding amount, along with interest, stood at around Rs 12.90 lakh.

“However, even after the notice was served and a time of one month was given to the borrower, there was no response,” said legal representative of the DRT Kapil Gupta.

Following the expiration of the notice period, the DRT decided to auction the property. “The premises of the party, which never responded, was locked when we went to conduct the auction today,” Mr Gupta said.

While the reserve price for the property was fixed at Rs 3.70 lakh, the property was auctioned for Rs 3.90 lakh, he informed. There was a single bidder only to whom the property was sold.

Further proceedings to recover the remaining outstanding amount would continue, officials said.

Mr Gupta said the action was taken by the DRT and not under the Securitisation Act as the case was more than five years old, when the Securitisation Act had not come into place.

The last few months have witnessed banks and financial institutions getting active for recovery of loans, a huge percentage of which was turning into non-performing assets (NPAs).

Tightening the noose around defaulters in loan payments, an increasing number of cases of notices to defaulters, followed by possession and auction of defaulters’ properties are being recorded.

Several banks claim to have substantially reduced their NPAs after they began focussing on recovery aspect of loans.



Foundation day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
Vivekanand Study Circle celebrated its foundation day at College for Boys, here today. Mr A K Jain welcomed the guests and read the annual activity report of the circle. Mr J B Goyal, IAS (Special Secretary-Technical Education, Punjab) who is also the founder president of the circle, presided over the function.

Mr C S Talwar, PCS (Executive Director-Backfinco, Punjab), and the founder secretary of the circle, said Swami Vivekananda was a true symbol of unity, strength and secularism. He explained the aims and objectives of the study circle.

Vivekananda Study Circle is a socio-cultural organisation that endeavours to promote the ideas of Swami Vivekananda among the society. It has its branches at Bathinda, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Nawan Shahr and Guniana Mandi.

Mr Satish Soi, Mr D P Grover, Mr S N Lakhanpal, Mr Sunil Garg, Mr P R Talwar, Ms Usha Gambhir, Mr Vishal Jain, Mr Vinay Sofatt, Prof Vijay Asdhir, Mr Vijay Kaushal, Mr J P Singh and Prof Vishrut Sharma were among those who were present on the occasion.



Contract for collecting market fee cancelled
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 11
Despite support by the civil administration and local market committee officials, the contractor, collecting market fee for fruits and vegetables, could not comply with the norms prescribed by the authorities, who later cancelled his contract. As the next bidder has declined to accept the contract, the process for the auction of the contract will be initiated soon, claimed the authorities.

Mr Sinder Singh and Mr Om Parkash Jain, Chairman and secretary of the market committee, respectively, said the contract for the collection of market fee, earlier given to Mr Davinder Kumar of the town, had been cancelled as he could not deposit the fee collected from the vendors and commission agents proportionate to the value of the contract.

“Neither had he deposited the required amount for the period ending on May 31, nor did he respond to notices issued by our office. Ultimately we decided to adjust the bank guarantee for the final payment and cancel his contract,” said Mr Jain. Davinder Kumar had been allowed to collect market fee for one fiscal year at the contract price of Rs 8.8 lakh.

The body had collected Rs 4.08 lakh as market fee and rural development fund during last year and the contact was to be auctioned above Rs 5.1 lakh. “However seeing the potential of the market, the contractors had shown overwhelming interest in the market,” remarked Mr Jain.

As the next bidder had declined the offer, the authorities have decided to initiate process for the auction of the contact once again.

Meanwhile, the authorities have declined the offer of the Fruits and Vegetable Sellers Association to handle the contract as such with assured collection according to the aspirations of the committee. “Though we do not disbelieve the association and wish to watch the interest of producers and the agents, we cannot go beyond the principles, which demand the re-auction under present circumstances,” said Mr Sinder Singh.



‘Recite gurbani, get cured’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
Balbir Singh, resident, suffered from sleep apnoea (obstructive type) in which he would stop breathing during sleep. For the past 10 years, he suffered from the disease and the sonography confirmed it. He was advised to use face mask and a machine to pump oxygen.

Desperate over the state, he was unable to do any work. But 4-10 hours of meditation under Sarb Rog Ka Aukhad Naam, a religious group, has changed his life. Today, he feels much better, cheerful and gets sound-sleep at night.

Dr Balwant Singh, secretary of the group, said hundreds of patients had been benefited from the camps, which had been organised time to time. The patients with chronic diseases had been cured by meditation. “Many diseases do not have any surgical or medical cure, but a few hours of meditation have done miracles”, claimed Dr Singh.

He said patients had been cured from diseases like pan uveitis — an eye disease which is the leading cause of impaired vision and blindness, aplastic anaemia — damage of blood forming system, celiac disease, allergic dermatitis etc.

Mr Darshan Singh, a senior bank manager, has been cured from pan uveitis during the five-day camp, organised by the mission. “The patient had a remarkable relief in the span of few hours of gurbani recitation. Patients come, get relief and go, gurbani heals them to a great extent”, claimed Dr Singh.



Magician O.P. Sharma honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
Prominent magician OP Sharma was honoured at a function organised yesterday. Mr Kamal Tandon president and members of All-India Crime Reforms Organisation, Kanpur honoured OP Sharma with All-India Crime Reforms Organisation award.

The award was presented to him in recognition of his services for removing superstitions, for dispelling notions about powers the tantriks exercise over people thus rendering a great social service to public. .

Director Magician Rajkumar of Delhi School of Magic extended a warm invitation to both Junior and Senior OP Sharma to perform in Delhi. Mr Vijay Maini of Maini Exports presented a shawl to OP Sharma .

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kamal said “We were on brink of losing our old Indian magic tradition.

OP Sharma with his painstaking research and devotion and deep interest has revived the tricks in ‘Inderjal’.

Besides during his performances , he has included certain acts that explode the myths of superstitions and exposes the exploits of tantriks who are out to cheat the simple people. He said OP should be honoured at national level.



‘Green’ units can increase power load without approval

Ludhiana, June 11
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has decided not to make it mandatory for industrial units covered under green category, which are exempt from obtaining an NOC from the board, to apply to the board for obtaining its consent to increase electricity load up to 100 kw, according to Mr Upkar Singh, joint secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU).

The CICU met the Chief Engineer, PSEB, Ludhiana, to apprise him of the problems being faced by industrial units.

“The PSEB has issued a circular stating that industrial units must have either ‘valid consent to operate’ from the PPCB or have applied for ‘consent to operate’ in unapproved (predominantly residential) areas, while applying for extension of load to the PSEB. This had led to complications and had been creating problems for the industry,” said Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, CICU.

The CICU also apprised the chairman of the problems faced by the industry.

“Now the PPCB has decided to allow industries covered under green category, exempt from NOC from PPCB, not to apply for load extension up to maximum of 100 kw.” The chamber said the validity of the new circular was also being extended from June 30, 2005 to September 30, 2005. TNS



Abandoned baby found

Mandi Gobindgarh, June 11
One-year-old girl child was found abandoned in a compartment of 3UL passenger train plying from Ambala to Ludhiana at Mandi Gobindgarh railway station. A bag containing some clothes was lying near the child. The matter was reported to the Railway police, who took the child.

It is suspected that the mother of the child was mentally unfit and she might have left the train at Sirhind. Mr Nahar Singh of the Railway police asserted that in case of no claim, the child would be sent to orphanage.

100 per cent result
: The local Robin Model High School has shown 100 per cent result in Class X examination this year, according to Principal of the school Tarun Sharma. All students scored good percentage. Kulwinder Kaur secured 84.15 per cent and remained first in the school, he added.



3 killed in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Three persons were killed and three others injured in three accidents in the past 24 hours.

A youth was crushed to death and three labourers were injured when a speeding truck veered of the road, climbed the footpath and ran over them near Sherpur chowk this afternoon. It damaged a handcart before crashing into a tree.

The deceased and the injured were having sugarcane juice near the handcart when the truck ran over them. The driver of the truck escaped unhurt but the vehicle was damaged.

The toll of victims would have been higher had the people not saved themselves.

The deceased was identified as 20-year-old labourer Pintu. The injured were Ram Shiv Ray, Surinder Kumar and Ram Sohail.

In the second incident, which took place late last evening, the driver of an auto-rickshaw first knocked down a cyclist, carried the body in his vehicle and then dumped it in an abandoned plot in Shimla Puri. The driver is at large.

In the third incident, a labourer Sham Sunder Bakshi, was crushed to death under a truck near Railway Station, Dhandari Kalan.


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