L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


200 illegal colonies to have civic amenities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The residents of around 200 undeclared colonies in the city have something to rejoice. The colonies would be authorised by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, (LMC), which will provide civic amenities to the residents after levying development charges.

The issue came up for final approval of the council in its meeting that held here today following a green signal by the Local Bodies Department of the state government. Councillors passed the item on the agenda amidst thumping of tables.

With the state government fixing the development charges, which would be levied by the local body, the residents of these colonies would finally get potable water, sewerage, metalled roads and street lights.

The residents living in a house measuring more than 250 sq yds would be required to pay the development charges at the rate of Rs 175 per sq yd, those having houses measuring between 125 to 250 sq yds, would have to pay Rs 65 per sq yds and for the residents of houses between 50 to 125 sq yds, Rs 65 per sq yd would be charged. There would, however, be no development charges for dwellers of the notified slum area and those living in small houses measuring upto 50 sq yds.

According to Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner of the council, there were around 200 undeclared colonies and the development had come as a respite for the residents. It was a long-pending demand of the councillors and the residents to legalise these colonies, he said.

The council also accepted the demand of remitting interest on water and sewerage bills.

The council, however, did not pass the much-awaited dropping of various town planning schemes. The council decided to get the scheme reviewed by the Senior Town Planner before reconsidering it in the house. The scheme was sent for reconsidering following objections by some councillors that the dropping of these schemes would give a free hand to illegal colonisers also.

The other items on the agenda, including transfer of big chunks of land to the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, adjusting some relatives of deceased employees in the civic body on compassionate grounds, were also passed in the meeting. Interestingly, the zero hour in the House was stretched to three hours and the agenda items were passed within 10 minutes. The House also agreed to Commissioner’s proposal of constituting a three-member committee comprising a Joint Commissioner to consider the appointments on compassionate grounds.

In the zero hour, certain important issues like fogging for mosquitoes, cleaning of budha Nullah, shortage of water supply, illegal water connections, encroachments on scheduled roads, reconstruction of bridges, revenue generated from advertisements, non-payment of dues to park management committees, were discussed.



BJP seeks abolition of octroi
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 19
In the wake of sales tax collection going up by a whopping 38 per cent during the first quarter of current financial year under the new value added tax (VAT) regime, the Bhartiya Janata Party has reiterated its demand for scrapping of octroi in Punjab so as to provide relief to the trade and industry.

In an interview with Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Ashok Juneja, state finance secretary and in charge of legal cell of the party, claimed that tax collections during the first quarter of the year was in the range of Rs 1296 crore as against Rs 1000 crore in the corresponding period of last year.

"In other words, even if reasonable margin is allowed for tax refunds and periodic variation during the year, the government will mop up an additional Rs 1000 crore under the new tax regime (VAT)."

He said with the business commodity contributing more to the government coffers, it would be prudent for the ruling Congress to scrap octroi without imposing any new tax as an alternative mean of funding the local bodies.

According to Mr Juneja, total annual income of local bodies from octroi all over Punjab was approximately Rs 650 crore and the loss suffered due to abolition of this colonial levy could be easily made up from enhanced collection of VAT.

"Abolition of octroi will not only give a big boost to trade and industry but also provide indirect relief to public at large as the price benefit will be passed on to the consumers."

Expressing similar views, another senior BJP leader and former deputy speaker of Punjab Assembly Mr Sat Pal Gosain remarked that multi-tax system in the country was posing a big obstacle in the way of progress of trade and industry up to the desired level.

An average businessman or industrialist had to face so much mental and physical harassment in meeting the formalities of various taxes and levies like central excise, custom, service tax, income tax, wealth tax, central sales tax, octroi and VAT that he was hardly left with any time or energy to devote towards development and expansion of his business.

Mr Gosain, who also heads the trade and industry cell of the BJP, maintained that an average, 43 per cent was added to the retail price of commodities by way of different taxes which was absolutely unjustified.

In particular, the multiple taxation system and high rates of taxes were adversely affecting the Indian products in the global markets, besides putting an abnormal and avoidable financial burden on domestic consumers.

Mr Juneja criticised the Congress government in the Centre for imposing several new taxes on the business community during the current year, which, he claimed were not in line with the professed policy of economic reforms and globalisation. 



3 fresh cases of cholera reported
No let-up in cases of water-borne diseases
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
The attack of gastroenteritis and other water-borne diseases, gripping the mega city for the last more than 10 days, appears to have taken a turn for the worse as three cases of cholera, all children between the age of two and five years, were admitted to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here during the last 24 hours.

Two new patients of gastroenteritis from the Sherpur locality and another from Jamalpur had been reported to civil hospital since last evening. The total number of in-patients at the hospital now stands at 17, according to officials of the health department.

An estimated 50 persons suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration are said to be under treatment at different hospitals in the affected colonies.

According to doctors at the CMCH, two children — Amit Kumar (2) and Inayat (5) — hailing from Khud Mohalla and Karimpura Bazar in the old city, respectively, had tested positive for cholera.

Palak (2) from Iqbal Ganj was also a suspected case of cholera and was responding to specific treatment.

The health officials maintained that with the level of sanitation and quality of water supply in the city, the number of gastroenteritis cases, pouring in from different localities, mostly slums and under-developed areas, was almost normal for this particular time of the year.

However, the department, they claimed, had deployed a number of medical teams in the affected areas for creating health awareness, distribution of chlorine tablets and providing medical assistance, wherever required.

The acting deputy director of Health and Family Welfare department, Punjab, Dr Bhatia went round the colonies under attack from water-borne diseases in the city today to oversee preventive and remedial measures being taken by the department.

He was said to have expressed his satisfaction over the arrangements, particularly the health awareness programme being undertaken by the medical professionals and supporting staff of the health department.



Protest against school authorities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
Students of Shiv Sena and Vidyarathi Sena protested outside BVM School here today, demanding arrest of those responsible for the death of Dikshit Dhanda, a school student, who died on June 19 at Sundernagar during a school trip to Manali.

The students demanded action against the school management. Mr Suraj Ahluwalia, state president, Vidyarathi Sena, alleged that the police did not take action in the matter. “There is definitely a foul play. The tour organiser and others responsible for the death of Dikshit should be severely punished. We will intensify our agitation if nothing is done”, Mr Ahluwalia said.

He added that the school management did not show any concern towards the aggrieved family. Rather the family was being harassed by them.

However, the school authorities maintain that Dikshit had died as he slipped into a river near Sundernagar when the entire school trip was on its way back to Ludhiana on June 19. The parents of Dikshit allege that their ward had been murdered.



Bus falls into Sirhind canal, 5 hurt
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 19
Five passengers were injured when a private bus going from Samrala to Ludhiana via Doraha fell into the Sirhind canal when the driver while trying to overtake tempo at the level crossing at Rampur village, today.

According to a source, a bus of the Dhillon Transport (PB10AH- 9933) carrying 60 passengers being driven by Bara Singh fell into the canal when the driver allegedly in a hurry to cross the level crossing before its closure, tried to overtake a tempo and lost balance. Both its front tyres came out.

Speed of the bus, however, slowed down due to the coming out of the tyres and the mud deposited on the banks. Most of the passengers escaped unhurt, except five, who received minor injuries. Among those who were admitted at Rajwant Hospital, Doraha, have been identified as Harbhajan Kaur, wife of Sukhwinder Singh of Mehdoodan village, Amarjit Kaur of Mehdoodan village and Satwinder Satti of Mutton village. The injured at Sidhu Hospital include Amarjit Kaur of Balala village and Varinder Lal Begowal village.

The bus passengers stated that the accident could have been easily averted had the driver acted wisely. “It was because of his negligence and rash driving that we had to face inconvenience”, they added. The police has initiated preliminary investigation.



A day of protests 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
It was a day of protests at the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation before the start of the general house meeting here today.
Residents of New Vishawakarma Nagar, HL, HM and HE labour colonies falling in ward No. 17 laid a siege at the main gate of the MC office and did not allow their area councillor to attend the meeting. They were protesting against shortage of potable water, overflowing sewerage, encroachments by rehris and scores of other problems in their area.

Later, at General House the councillor of ward No. 9, Mr Harjinder Singh Gogi, sat on the floor in front of the dais where Mr S.K. Sharma and city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, were sitting. He claimed that he was protesting against the lack of civic amenities in his ward. He was accompanied by two more councillors.



Lisa plans to get married
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Model-turned actress Lisa Ray plans to get married soon. The svelte cat-eyed girl admits that she is involved in a “beautiful steady relationship which she desired to eventually culminate into marriage.”

Lisa was here in connection with a promotional tour for Rado watches. Dressed in a long skirt and a black waist coat, Lisa who kept journalists waiting for 45 minutes, apologised for the delay attributing it to “the love and warmth of Punjabis, a lot of whom she had to meet during her short visit”.

“I am extremely happy to be here. The love and warmth exuded by the Punjabis is simply touching,” she said, after a short programme bhangra dance that was presented as a welcome to the actress.

On her next film ‘Water’, by Deepa Mehta after a long gap Lisa explained she was busy with the shooting of a couple of foreign films due to which her fans in India did not get to see much of her. “I have been travelling a lot due to various projects which is why people did not see me very often here. But I am happy as I have been able to do some meaningful roles,” the half Bengali and half Polish girl said.

Among her other films is ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ which was shot in New York. Lisa who almost vanished after ‘Kasoor’, said she was happy with the new wave in Hindi films. “It is good to see movies like Parineeta, which are a combination of style and substance. Such movies provide meaningful roles to actors who can be proud of being a part of these ventures”, she said.

To Lisa, the “new wave” brings hope of getting meaningful roles she would love to do. She said in the near future it would be films that would keep her busy as she had quit modelling and wanted to focus on acting only.



Flood control steps inspects
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Senior officers led by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma today inspected the ongoing flood control works being carried out to strengthen the vulnerable points at dhusi bandh along the Sutlej in the district. Those works are being carried out from the funds amounting to Rs 50 lakh. He started the inspection from Khaira Bet and reviewed the progress of work being undertaken to restore of embankment from RD 41200-42800. 



Woman sets herself ablaze, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 19
A woman of Sujapur village in Ludhiana tried to commit suicide by setting herself ablaze after a scuffle with three persons of the village who had come to her house complaining against her alleged vindictive behaviour towards their college-going girl. The police has registered an FIR under Sections 306, 511 and 34 of the IPC and arrested two of them.

Ms Kulwant Kaur, who is struggling for life at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, alleged that Amarjit Kaur of Sujapur, her brother Harpreet Singh and mother-in-law Surinder Kaur had abetted her to commit suicide.


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