L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Principal Secy orders removal
of Municipal Council chief

Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 24
Finding no tenable reason to agree with the stand taken by the suspended president of the local Municipal Council that the councillors who had voted favour of a no-confidence motion against him had done so for “extraneous” considerations, the Principal Secretary, Punjab, has ordered his removal from office and directed the authorities to issue the requisite notification in this regard.

A perusal of the orders issued by Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary, revealed that a resolution of no-confidence against Mr Rajnish Sharma, then president of the local civic body, was passed at a special meeting held under the supervision of Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, on March 7. Out of 15 members who attended the meeting, 11 had voted in favour of the motion.

Mr Sharma was served a notice by the appropriate authorities that informed him that he had been placed under suspension in compliance with the provisions of Section 22 of the Punjab Municipal Act. He was also asked to submit an explanation in the matter within 21 days.

Mr Sharma accused the majority of councillors of uniting against him as he had tried to unearth fraud and embezzlement in municipal funds.

According to him, no action was called for on the said resolution as the members had used unfair means for passing the said no-confidence resolution.

During a personal hearing before the Principal Secretary, besides reiterating his earlier explanation, Mr Sharma accused the members of voting against him for certain consideration.

Mr Sharma had quoted the son of a deceased councillor as saying that his father had spent between Rs 30 and Rs 35 lakh for “dethronning” Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma was elected chief of the civic body on the intervention of Ms Razia Sultana, MLA of the constituency. Things went smoothly for some months after which a majority of the councillors started feeling ignored and felt that their suggestions regarding the development of the town were not being taken seriously.

The situation took an ugly turn when the group led by Mr Sharma tried to pressurise some councillors, who had been in power in the last MC House, by getting vigilance inquiries initiated against them. They were, however, given a clean chit.



Rainwater floods low-lying areas in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
Rainwater collected on roads and streets of various parts of the city after an hour of rain today. Commuters near Damoria Bridge found themselves in knee-deep water. They had to wade through the water while looking for shelter.

Many cars and two-wheelers were stuck on the flooded road. The Jalandhar Road, Ghanta Ghar Chowk, Chaura Bazar and Karim Pura Bazar were virtually under water. Residents of Karimpura Bazar complained that even after light rain, the area was filled with water. In some areas the water entered houses as the sewers were blocked.



A bridge of inconvenience
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
The railway overbridge which connects the Civil Lines area with the local railway station has become a bridge of inconvenience for the commuters who have to catch a train from platform numbers 6 and 7.

Instead of making a direct approach to these platforms from this bridge, the commuters have to first get down at platform number five and then take to the bridge connecting platform number 5 with platform 6 and 7. Normally passenger trains for Ambala , Jakhal, Hissar and Ferozepore leave from these platforms which also receive some mail trains sometimes.

Though the bridge has been in existence for long, it was only some years ago that the railways decided to open a booking window on the Rakh Bagh side for the convenience of commuters coming to the railway station from that side. Services of this booking window are also availed of by those rail passengers, who are in a hurry but unable to get their tickets well in time from the main booking office located on the GT Road side of the station.

It may be mentioned here that initially platform numbers 6 and 7 had no bridge approach from any direction soon after these were completed. It took a couple of years before these were made approachable from the GT Road side of the railway station. But still no attention has been paid to connecting the Rakh Bagh bridge with these platforms with the result that commuters, in a hurry, have to cross the railway track to catch their respective trains.

Sources in the railway, however, said that there was no plan as yet to directly connect the Rakh Bagh railway over bridge with these platforms.



Pvt publishers, NCERT official in league?
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
While parents are peeved at the shortage of NCERT books in the market, it is private publishers, who are making the fast buck. The parents an alleging that there is some sort of nexus between some officials of the NCERT and the private publishers that leads to the shortage of the books. With the result, the parents are forced to buy the books published by the private publishers.

The NCERT is the authorised publishing agency of the books prescribed by the Central Board of School Education. Even regional boards of various states also prescribe the NCERT books. The NCERT books should be easily available in the market when the new classes start.

The NCERT books are available for low price as compared to the books of the private publishers. But the parents, who cannot afford to wait for long, are forced to buy the books from the private publishers only.

It is learnt that some leading private publishers, in connivance with some officials in the NCERT, manage to get the details of the syllabus, according to which the books are to be published. They even manage the manuscripts or texts of the books and later publish these books. They use better paper and printing quality and good illustrations. The books of the private publishers are said to be at least four to five times more costlier than the NCERT books. After most of the students have already purchased the privately published books the NCERT books start becoming available in the market.

The parents wanted that the issue must be probed at the highest level. Even the staff and principals of some leading schools also agreed that sometimes there is shortage of the NCERT books.

An aggrieved parent pointed out, once the NCERT books came out quite late into the market, these were not sold. With the result in the following year, the NCERT authorities found valid reason for bringing down the number of copies of the books. Ultimately, they might even decide not to print the books and leave the field open for the private publishers, who had grabbed the market.

The parent said, he had also written to the NCERT authorities and the Human Resources Development Ministry at the Centre. “But no action has been taken so far and the NCERT books remain unavailable”, he said, while adding that, while some parents could afford the expensive books but not everyone could buy these.



Cop’s wife dies of burns, kin want action
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
Angry relatives of a woman who succumbed to her burns at the DMC today, staged a dharna against her husband, demanding action against him for allegedly pushing her to commit suicide.

Sukhwinder Kaur, mother of three, had set herself ablaze on July 7 and was admitted to the DMC Hospital. Mr Tara Singh, her father, said she was married to Iqbal Singh, a constable. He alleged that since the day of her marriage she was not happy as her husband allegedly had an illicit relationship.

On July 6, both had and an argument and on July 7, she sprinkled kerosene on herself and set herself ablaze.

After her death, around 200 persons gathered outside the hospital and started raising slogans against the police. They demanded that a post-mortem examination of the body should be conducted and a case should be registered against her husband. The post-mortem examination was not conducted.

Her relatives lifted the dharna only after a representative of the police department assured them that necessary action would be taken against the accused. The matter would be reported to the Dehlon police.

Mr Tara Singh said his grandchildren were rendered orphans as he had no faith that their father would look after them.



Passing Thru

Aroona Irani
Aroona Irani, actress, director and producer

During shooting of your Punjabi films, did you happen to visit Ludhiana?

Unfortunately no! I visited many places near Ludhiana, but never came to this city. Now that I have got an opportunity to visit the city for promotion of my new serial ‘Rabba Ishq na hove’ on Zee Television. I feel the people here are warm and helpful.

What changes have you noticed in 50 years of your acting span ?

Obviously a number of changes have appeared in the five decades that I have been associated with films. It reflects the changes in society. The stories have changed, their treatment has undergone a sea change and whether the change is for better or worse, only time will tell.

Why have you dissociated yourself from the Hindi cinema?

After acting in 600 Hindi movies, I felt I should go in direction. So I started directing television serials. Luckily, all my three serials were runaway hits and gave me a lot of satisfaction. The competition between television channals has become intense and it forces everyone to make technically superior serials. My latest serial “Rabba Ishq Na Hove” is like a mini Yash chopra movie as it is extensively shot abroad.

— Asha Ahuja



Ludhiana Calling

Living dangerously

Many linemen of the PSEB die of electrocution or after falling from a high pole. Two linemen were seen precariously hanging from a pole while installing cables with the help of a JCB machine. If they lose their balance, they could easily fall from the pole.

As several localities are under the grip of water-borne diseases, the area of Sherpur in Ward No 18, represented by Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, the municipal corporation attempted a clumsy cover-up job to save him from embarrassment. Teams of civic officials visited several places in adjoining Ward No 17 to collect water samples and later claimed that a couple of faulty and leaking water supply pipes had been disconnected. In a press note, the MC also claimed that there was no breakout of diseases in Sherpur. However, the councillor of Ward No 17, also from the Congress, refuted the claim, saying that it was the Mayor’s ward where residents had fallen prey to gastroenteritis due to the supply of contaminated water.

Glut of Shani collectors

Some years ago, only one or two persons came in each locality with an iron container and Shanivaar’s image steeped in mustard oil. To appease him, most people dropped a coin and felt relieved but these days on roads, girls and boys of different ages can be seen carrying Shani idols and pestering people to drop coins. Earlier, it stopped by mid-day but now the kids can be seen carrying it on till the evenings.


There seems to be a tug of war between the Minister of Health, Mr R.C. Dogra, and a senior PCMS doctor who wields political influence due to her family connections. During the past three months, the minister had issued new posting orders for the then SMO of the Civil Hospital here twice but both times, the SMO got the orders cancelled. The SMO was transferred in the last week of April after a surprise check of the hospital by the minister but she managed to come back at the same post in less than a week’s time. Once again given new posting orders during routine transfers earlier this month, the SMO came back even as the minister abroad.

Apni mandi or super market?

Apni mandi held on different days in a week was primarily held to facilitate direct selling of farmers’ produce. But over the years, it has changed visibly. Presently, colourful and attractive plastic tricycles, carpets, sarees, bangles and other articles are all available at reasonable prices. Every class of people shop here. The concept of original apni mandi has gone a sea change.

Unique way of stealing

A mastermind adopted a unique way of stealing and procuring a brand new wardrobe for himself. He devised a way to open car doors and would pick up shopping bags lying there. If the bags contained kids’ clothes, he would go to the shopkeeper concerned and tell him to exchange them for a T-shirt of his size as his kids did not like the clothes.

A woman who went to a shop to check whether she had left her racket there, found the man trying to exchange the clothes that she had bought. When caught, he promised not to do it again.



Cadres upbeat over Dullo’s appointment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
The appointment of Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo as President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has aroused high hopes in the Congress circles since he is considered as a nominee of the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi. Mr Dullo, who is a Dalit with a Sikh face, has been personally chosen by Ms Gandhi to win over the Dalit votes who form the highest percentage of the population in the state.

The appointment of Mr Dullo has been hailed by one and all in the Congress and he has received an unprecedented response from the party cadres irrespective of the group affiliations.The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was initially in favour of retaining Mr H.S. Hanspal as the PPCC chief, but has reconciled to the situation. As a mater of fact, the Chief Minister and Mr Dullo had one-to-one meeting before the final announcement was made by Ms Gandhi regarding the appointment of Mr Dullo.

Mr Dullo belongs to the area from where late Chief Minister Beant Singh came. One can hope that his style of campaigning and mass contact programme will keep the Congress in the same mode as it happened during the presidentship of Beant Singh.

Mr Dullo has the arduous job of reorganising the Pradesh Congress workers who in the past three years have remained unorganised and ignored despite the fact that the Congress is the ruling party in Punjab. This situation has developed because of the failure of the outgoing President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress H.S. Hanspal who did not take any initiative of mobilising the workers.

Mr Dullo told The Tribune that he would discourage the Congress workers and leaders from pressurising the officers for their personal ends and would want that they attend to the problems of the common man.



Tewari hails ring road project proposal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
All-India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Manish Tewari today hailed Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for mooting the Ring Road project and elevated road transport system for Ludhiana.

In a statement here yesterday, he said the project would not only end traffic congestion in city, but would also help in attracting the IT sector.

Capt Amarinder Singh had recently announced that the Ring Road project, which could involve an expenditure of Rs 5000 crore, would be taken up at the Cabinet meeting and after its approval, the project would be executed on a BoT basis.

Mr Tewari said the airport project at Ladowal, near Phillaur, would likely be completed by 2007.

As per the project details, global tenders would be floated by the Union Civil Aviation Ministry. 



Youth Cong flays traffic police
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
The Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) has taken strong exception to the “reign of terror” let loose by the traffic police in the city under the garb of observing “traffic week”. Alleging that vehicles were being challaned and impounded in an indiscriminate manner to achieve the assigned ‘quota’ of challans, the party has demanded an immediate stop to such avoidable harassment of people.

In a statement here today, the vice-chairman of urban development cell of the PYC, Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, said that two-wheeler drivers, in particular were made to suffer at the hands of traffic cops at all major intersections in the city. Not only those violating traffic rules or having incomplete documents were being issued challans but even those possessing all valid documents were being harassed. The plea given by the enforcement officials of the traffic police was “orders of their superiors” to issue a stipulated number of traffic challans on a daily basis.

Maintaining that this was no way to observe the traffic week, the PYC functionary pointed out that the traffic police should rather focus on educating the public and stressing the need to observe traffic rules in the interest of their own safety and that of other road users. “The traffic police ought to create awareness about traffic rules which, unfortunately, is very poor as far as average drivers or road users are concerned.”

Mr Bunty was of the view that traffic challans should be issued as a last resort, that too in those cases where the drivers had been given warnings for the same offence on earlier occasions, which could be written down on the driving licence or other documents of the vehicle. He urged the government to intervene and put an immediate end to the repressive and high-handed working of traffic police in the city, failing which the party would have no other option but to launch a mass agitation against the senior officials concerned of the traffic police in the city.



Cops get tips at workshop
Mahesh Sharma

Mullanpur, July 24
Moharar head constables (MHCs) from Ludhiana, Jagraon, Khanna and Ropar police districts attended a workshop held under the supervision of Mr Parag Jain, DIG, Ludhiana, here today.

Besides imparting training on various avenues of official duties of MHCs, the organisers evaluated their awareness. The low level response to the questions asked by the anchor was termed “rank fearing mindset” by the authorities.

However, the workshop failed to remove the barrier of rank consciousness from the minds of the MHCs who hesitated to answer even the simplest questions in the presence of their seniors.

The workshop was divided into four sessions, each headed by a resource person on a specific subject. Mr Parag Jain, Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon and Mr Kehar Singh Khaira, Mr Mandeep Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Jaspal Singh Dhanoa and Mr Darshan Singh Mann, all SPs, elaborated on various aspects of duties of the MHCs, including handling correspondence, sending reports and returns, writing of DDRs, allocation of duties, maintenance of records, maintenance of accounts, safe custody of case and government property, custody of inmates and public dealing. Mr Harjit Singh Brar, DSP, Mullanpur, conducted an audio-visual session on the role of MHCs that included skits and plays reflecting the ideal and forbidden attitude of the staff in a police station.

Earlier, Mr Jain inaugurated two waiting halls and a readers room at the SSP office at Jagraon. He interacted with the beneficiaries of a drug de-addiction camp and members of the women cell of the district police. 



Rotary Club goes on green drive
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 23
Rotary Club, Ludhiana, celebrated van mahotsava at BRS Nagar here yesterday. A large number of Rotarians led by Dr A.S. Bindra, president and Mr S.P. Karkara, secretary of the club, along with several members of Inner Wheel Club led by its president Ms Ruby Fernandez and Ms Madhu Qamra, secretary of the club participated in the function.

The function was organised by Mr Balbir Singh, director community services of the Rotary Club, Rotarian Mr I.S. Rekhi, chairman, and Mr Sarbjit Singh, co-chairman of the tree plantation committee, respectively.

Mr K.L. Chhabra, municipal councillor of ward No. 43 was the chief guest. Twenty saplings of behera, elistonia and neem were planted on the occasion.



Woman goes missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
A married woman of Upkar Nagar today went missing under mysterious circumstances. She left her house at 12 noon to visit a nearby beauty parlour. But she did not reach there. Her scooter was found abandoned Kailash Cinema Chowk. The family has complained to the police.



1 held for cheating
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 24
The police arrested Bahadur Singh, a resident of Bhadal Thuha village, under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC yesterday. He was arrested following a complaint by Gurmukh Singh who alleged that Bahadur Singh and his wife, Narinder Kaur, had promised to send him and his brother, Kuldeep Singh, to Italy. The deal was struck in Rs 12 lakh out of which Rs 5 lakh were paid in advance.

Instead of Italy, they were sent to Thailand from where they returned. They demanded their money back from the alleged accused, but they refused to return it. Narinder Kaur is evading arrest.



Exporters to protest against
government decision on DEPB
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
In protest against the government decision to consider ‘negative profits’ regarding duty entitlement pass book (DEPB), exporters from across the country will hold a dharna in Delhi on August 4.

To discuss the issues in detail, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) conducted a meeting of exporters from the region here yesterday.

“The levy of income tax on profit on sale of DEPB has affected a large number of exporters. It has already started showing effect and will result in a major decline in exports,” said Mr Ganesh Kumar Gupta, vice-president, FIEO.

He said exporters who exported products with high value addition would not be affected much. However, a vast majority constituted small and medium exporters, whose only margins were duty drawback or DEPB made available to them.

“Reimbursement of the customs and excise duty incidence borne by these exporters in the manufacture of the end product is the only export profit margin we have. In case where export incentives are more than profits directly derived from exports of a particular firm, the government has begun considering these as negative profits and are not available for tax benefits. In other words, if an exporter earns even Re 1 from export activity he gets full deduction of export incentive, but if he incurs a loss of even Re 1, he will not get any deduction under section 80 HHC, which is extremely unfair.”

The association also said exporters were being harassed on technical ground by the income tax authorities.

“Such decisions will only lead to closure of export units, thereby creating huge unemployment in the country and also reducing exports ,” said Mr R.K.Dhawan, chairman, FIEO.

He said exports were the backbone of the economy and if the government did not reconsider the issue, then exports would be badly hit.



Speed up labour reforms, says CII
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
The key to economic reforms and competitiveness of a nation lies in the efficient use of manpower, which, in turn, is influenced by its labour laws, said Mr M.C. Munjal, Chairman, CII Punjab Council, while addressing a workship on “Major Challenges in Application of The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970”, organised by the CII, Ludhiana Zonal Council, here yesterday.

Mr Munjal said a large number of countries like Britain, New Zealand and the USA had liberalised their labour legislation to facilitate the industry and India also needed to accelerate reform-oriented steps focussing on simplication of procedures and amendments in laws that were detrimental to economic growth.

Mr M.R. Gera, Director, Management Development Centre, who conducted the workshop, spoke on various issues like problems and concerns, overview of the Act, applicability and coverage of the Act, etc.



Bank to develop agri business projects
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
Punjab National Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Small Farmers’ Agri-business Consortium (SFAC), Ministry of Agriculture, for development of agri-business projects.

The agreement was signed by Mr S.C. Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, Punjab National Bank, and Ms Suranjana Ray, Managing Director, SFAC, said a PNB press note.

The MoU aims at encouraging producer groups/ organisations dependent on agriculture or allied produce, which provide direct access to farmers, as assured markets to establish suitable agro-based projects across the country. Through this arrangement, the qualifying agri-business projects will be provided credit from the bank and venture capital assistance from the SFAC. Venture capital assistance for the projects will be 10 per cent of the project cost or 26 per cent of the project equity or Rs 75 lakh whichever is less. Assistance is also extended to the deserving entrepreneurs for preparation of detailed project reports, said the bank.

Mr S.C. Gupta said the MoU would help farmers in crop diversification, assured markets and value addition for their produce. 



SBI launches open term loan scheme
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
With the introduction of ‘open term loan’ scheme for manufacturing units in all sectors, the State Bank of India (SBI) has become the first bank to provide such a facility.

Earlier, the scheme was available exclusively to hosiery industry. Stating this here today, a senior official of the Ludhiana module of the bank said under the scheme, manufacturing units could get term loan for expansion, modernisation, upgrading of technology and acquisition of software up to a limit of Rs 250 lakh.

In yet another ambitious plan to expand its customer base, the bank has also introduced a special promotional scheme “Independence Day bonanza” for a period of one month beginning from July 24. Officials of the bank at its zonal office here disclosed that during the validity of the promotional scheme, interest rates on loans would be cut down by 1 to 1.5 per cent for different products. 


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