L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


March for Sarabjit’s release
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
To express solidarity with the family of prisoner Sarabjit Singh and to pray for his release, schoolchildren took out a peace march on the call of the Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission here today.

Carrying placards, demanding the release of Sarabjit, the students marching from the Division No 3 chowk, walked through Chaura Bazar. The march culminated at Sangla Wala Shivala in the afternoon.

The Ludhiana-based organisation, Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission, has been taking up the cause of Indian prisoners in Pakistan for the past two years. It had highlighted Sarabjit’s case two years ago and visited him in Pakistan and his family members at Bhikhiwind village. The president of the Canadian chapter of the mission, Mr Sital Dass Klair, will leave for Pakistan to put up a review petition in the case.

Mr Jaswant Kataria and Mr Shiv Ram Saroye, chairman and president of the mission, respectively, said it was sad that they had taken up this case two years ago, but the government had done nothing about it.

They said it was following the efforts of Mr Klair that Sarabjit could engage a lawyer to fight his case. “We are angry that the government did not listen to us that time. Had we been heard, Sarabjit would not have been sentenced to death. We are ready to forget the past if he is released, but at the same time we pray to the government to take the cases of other 275 prisoners seriously,” said the leaders.

They said they would appeal to the President of India to appeal to the President of Pakistan in Sarabjit’s case. They had submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Verma, two days ago, urging him to come to the rescue of family in whatever possible means. 



Roadways staff, pvt operators on collision course
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Employees of the Punjab Roadways and various private bus transport operators appear to be heading for a confrontation. The private bus operators have been questioning the authority of the roadways employees to check the private buses. They have also lodged a complaint with the police seeking action against the roadways employees who stopped their buses.

The roadways employees have been alleging that the private bus operators were plying a number of buses without valid permits. This, they claim, leads to substantial losses to the state-run Punjab Roadways. Yesterday, they stopped a number of private buses and started checking their documents. They “impounded” a number of buses, which they claimed were plying illegally.

The private bus operators said the Punjab Roadways employees had no authority to check the private buses. Only the police or the Transport Department were authorised to check the buses for various documents. The operators alleged that it was simply bullying tactics resorted to by the roadways employees. They said besides approaching the police, they were taking recourse to the legal remedies as well.

The private bus operators maintained that they had various court judgements in their favour also, which had already been submitted to the police. They appealed to the police to ensure that the roadways staff were not allowed to bully the private bus operators and their employees. They warned that the situation could take some ugly turn and the Roadways employees must be squarely blamed for the same.

The private bus operators said instead of interrupting the private bus services, the Punjab Roadways employees should improve their own services so that people would like to travel in their buses too. “They are trying to find faults with others, instead of looking into their own shortcomings”, a leading transporter said. 



City Centre Project takes off, at last
Contractors resolve differences
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
After a prolonged wait of over half a decade, the controversial Rs 375-crore City Centre Project has finally seen the light of the day with the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) starting work on the land earmarked for it in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar this morning.

With some contractors who had challenged the bidding process alleging irregularities, withdrawing their petitions, the project was finally cleared by the state government at a meeting held in Chandigarh yesterday.

Led by Wg Cdr Paramjit Singh Sibia (retd), chairman of the LIT, a team of trust officials inaugurated the work on the site. The Executive Officer, Mr D.C. Garg, said the work would start on a fast pace and the entire project would be completed within 21 months by May 2007.

He added that the differences among the contractors over bidding process were sorted out amicably and now there was no hitch in completing the work on the most prestigious project being undertaken by the state government.

Work on the site came as a whiff of fresh air for the residents of the city.

Mr Prince Walia, contractor of the project, said he would make sure that the work went on a fast pace.

The city centre has always been mired in controversies. It was conceived about five years ago. The centre is being developed on 25.25 acres in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.

Earlier, it was delayed due to the change in the regime. Later, when Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, the then chairman, had taken over two years ago, he had postponed it for an indefinite period, stating that he could not start this project with corruption rampant in the trust. Later, he had of claimed that the Congress had hinted him to collect party fund with the help of this project.

As per the original plan, the City Centre would have 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 rooftop swimming pool and the square - which would have department 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 selected.

On a total site area of 25.25 acres (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 total height up to 100 feet.



Chaman Lal killed by insiders: police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
The city police today claimed that some insiders were responsible for Chaman Lal’s murder in Vinay Nagar yesterday. Police investigations based on clues gathered from the crime site strongly suggested that an insider had committed the crime.

SP (City-II) Kuldeep Singh and SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh today announced at a press conference that the family members of the deceased, including his injured sons, had made contradictory statements to the police.

The police, however, did not name the accused, while claiming that they had closed in on the accused.

The police officials said there was no sign that robbers had scaled the 13-feet wall to enter the house. 



Passing Thru

 O.P. Kande
Dr O.P. Kande, B.C. Roy awardee, chief patron, IMA, Patiala.

How can female foeticide be prevented?

Mainly by awareness. Sex determination tests are still on. Unfortunately, some doctors still do it. Forceful bans of such tests may help in a limited manner only. Awareness in the society that girls are not only equal but even better than boys can erase this evil from our society. The moment our society starts celebrating the birth of a girl child and conducts her shagun and other bapitising ceremonies, the problem would be over.

What has IMA done to stop doctors from conducting the tests?

We have warned our members that the IMA would not support the doctors who are caught conducting the sex determination tests. Further, the IMA has been organising camps, seminars and distributing literature to spread awareness among the masses.

Do you think the problem of female foeticide could have been checked earlier?

Yes. Not many people are aware that in the 1950s there were posters and banners all over the state especially in Amritsar district stating that spending Rs 500 on a sex determination test today would save spending thousands or lakhs later on girls’ marriage. If the then state and Central governments and sociologists had made a clarion call against the practice, Punjab would not have got the pockmark of being a killer state of girl child on its face.

— Jupinderjit Singh



Don’t back out on commission, says SAD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Former minister and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today said the Punjab Government must not back out from its announcement of constituting a commission of inquiry to probe into the incidents of violence during militancy in Punjab.

Talking to the media here today, Capt Kanwaljit challenged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder, to set up an inquiry commission to find out the truth. “We (the SAD) are prepared to face any such commission and bring the truth before it”, he said, adding that his party was not sure whether the government would set up such a commission.

The Akali leader claimed that there were several skeletons in the cupboard of so many people who are occupying important positions in the government. This, he said, included the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

The former Finance Minister said his party would bring in Bills for the abolition of octroi and central sales tax in the state in the forthcoming Assembly session. Even after the implementation of the value added tax (VAT) regime in the state, octroi and the CST continued. He said it was mandatory for the imposition of VAT in any state that the octroi and the CST was abolished. But none of these taxes had been abolished in the state so far.

He demanded the abolition of additional tax on petrol in the state. 



Public views sought on local governance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, today said the third Punjab Finance Commission had sought views of the public in a specific questionnaire for strengthening the finances of panchayats and municipalities, as also to suggest measures for empowerment of urban and rural local bodies so that these could effectively discharge there functions.

Giving details, Mr Verma said the Commission had been constituted in compliance of the provisions of the 73rd and 74rth constitutional amendments to give suggestions for empowerment of urban and rural local bodies, by enabling the state governments to give them wide-range of functions and financial powers so that these could effectively function as self-reliant institutions of grass roots democracy.

He said the commission had also sought views from institutions of local self-government and districts, blocks and village administration in a separate questionnaire. Mr Verma said the administration had made the required questionnaires in Punjabi and English and well available in the offices of Deputy Commissioner and Block Development Officers for the general public.

He said the questionnaire had been devised to illicit suggestions and views on various matters relating to functional and financial empowerment of urban and rural local bodies. The questionnaire was also available on the commission’s website, www.punjabfincom.org.

Referring to the importance of the task, the Deputy Commissioner said these Panchayati Raj institutions, after getting full control of different departments dealing with the public, had to implement all development and welfare programmes in respective areas with the involvement of the people.



Booklets on IPC given to rural folk
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 26
To generate awareness about various Sections of the law among the rural folk, the District Congress Committee (Rural), Ludhiana, today distributed pocket-size copies of the Indian Penal Court among public and police personnel.

The copies have especially been published in Punjabi for the convenience of the common man and those NGOs in the police which are not conversant with English.

District president, DCC (Rural), Gurdev Singh Lapran distributed the copies. “As majority of the recipients belonged to the agrarian community, the booklets would go a long way in putting a tab on their exploitation at the hands of the police,” he said.

Publisher of the booklet Gurbhej Singh Chhabra claimed that it would help those social activists and local leaders of various political parties who had to take up cases pertaining to petty crimes.

“It had been observed that some police officials tried to pressure the parties concerned by threatening to book them under certain Sections of the law. Now they will not be able to do so if the leader carried a booklet of the IPC with him,” he said.

After going through the booklet, a police official said it would also help curb crime.

The book, which contains 95 pages, has various Sections of the IPC divided into 21 classes in tabulated form.



Jhankis mark celebrations
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh,  August 26
Janmashtmi was celebrated with fervour at the local temples. Jhankis showing “Makhan Chor Lila”, “Godhun Lila”, “Janma Lila”, and “Ras Lila” were installed at various temples, including Ram Mandir, Hanuman Mandir, Luxmi Narayan, Shiv Mandir and Baba Vishawkarma Mandir. Children dressed up as Bal Gopals, Gopies and Vasudev welcomed the devotees at the temple doors.



Nirvan Divas

Ludhiana, August 26
A three-day function to mark the 63rd Nirvan Divas or the death anniversary of Kali Kambli Wale Swami Devi Puri ji Maharaj, founder of Dera Harisar at Kilaraipur, would begin on August 28 at the dera.

According to sources, preparations were under way in a big way for the annual event which attracts thousands of devotees from all over the country and abroad. Swami Budh Puri ji, current head of the dera, would reach the dera tomorrow from Mallke in connection with the celebrations. — OC



Scribe’s wife assaulted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Neighbours of a journalist of a vernacular daily allegedly assaulted his two months’ pregnant wife in Hargobind Nagar area today. Ms Kanchan Sharma, (25) was alone at home in the pre-noon when their neighbour couple, their daughter and two unidentified persons allegedly attacked her.

The immediate provocation was a police raid at the neighbour’s house. They suspected the Sharmas to have provided a tip off to the police.

According to Mr Rajesh Sharma, her husband, the police raided his neighbours’ house following reports that they had stored some narcotics in their house.

“They thought that it was me, who had reported the matter to the police and they attacked my wife.”

Ms Sharma was admitted to the local Civil Hospital with injuries.

In her complaint to the police, she alleged that she was beaten up and given blows in the abdomen and other parts of the body.

The police is yet to register a case. Investigations are on. 



SEBI amendment to improve transparency
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
For investors avoiding registration with sub-brokers and sub-brokers who do not disclose their complete client list, there will be no escape now. With the latest Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) amendment on change in sub-brokers’ role being implemented, investors will not be able to conduct any transaction without getting registered.

Prior to the amendment, it was common practice to buy and sell through sub-brokers as several investors did not want to disclose their unaccounted money. The transaction, thus, happened in sub-brokers’ name, which increased the probability of misappropriation of investors’ money and other frauds. Since the latest amendment requires a tripartite agreement away the broker, the sub-broker and client, clients would have to get registered.

With brokers across the state implementing the amendment, installing new software besides communicating the change to sub-brokers, an increasing number of applications for registration of clients are being received.

The Ludhiana Stock Exchange Subsidiaries, which has spent over Rs 1 crore towards this, has received more than 4,000 applications in the past few weeks. Other brokers, too, are recording a significant increase. An LSE official said they expected more than 10,000 applications in the coming few days. Punjab has more than 15 big brokerage firms. The LSE Securities alone has around 150 sub-brokers.

Said Mr Amitabh Nijhawan, vice-president, marketing, India Bulls: “We are happy with the amendment which will increase transparency and curb frauds. While the uniform code does manage to control such transactions, the latest amendment where there would be a tripartite agreement will improve the overall financial system.”

SEBI aims to protect investors’ interest by increasing transparency in dealings. “According to the previous system, a sub-broker was able to use the float of a client on net basis. Now the money will rest with the subsidiary of the stock exchange,” said Mr Naresh Bishnoi, CEO, LSE Securities.

As main brokers have high creditworthiness, chances of misappropriation are also reduced. “Since no one, client or sub-broker, will be able to avoid registration, there will also be an increase in revenue to the government,” he said.

Market experts say the amendment aims at doing away with sub-brokers, the number of which is among the highest in India in comparison to other economies across the world. “Nowhere in the world we have such large number of brokers as we have in India. If we are to compete globally, we have to introduce such changes in our financial system that improve transparency in transactions,” said Mr Sanjay Tandon, promoter of Competent Finman, leading brokerage firm in Chandigarh.

Besides, the latest amendment states that no sub-broker would hold a position of director in the board of directors of the company.

To implement the amendment, brokers across the state are investing heavily in software and hardware systems. The LSE Securities is learnt to have invested over Rs 60 lakh towards software alone.



Oil mill equipment makers face problems
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Members of the Oil Mill Machinery Manufacturers Association said despite repeated requests, the government had not included them in the four per cent tax rate under the new value-added tax (VAT).

Apprising Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawer of the problems being faced by oil mill machinery manufacturers, the association said they were being charged 12.5 per cent VAT, despite requests to include them in the four per cent category.

The association pointed out the problem of poor power supply in the state, which, it said, was hampering production. “Industrial units must be informed in advance about suspension of power supply. When there is no prior information, operations suffer and we are forced to carry out extra expenses on account of various factors like labour,” the association said.

Besides, this industry also suffered due to instability in steel prices.



Cattle feed units seek regular power supply
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 26
The Oil and Cattle Feed Manufacturers Association has urged the PSEB authorities to resume uninterrupted supply of power to their units to save their industry from collapsing.

While addressing a meeting of the manufacturers, Mr Prem Chand Jain, president of the association, said the unscheduled power cuts and restrictions on the running of units had paralysed the functioning of the cattle feed industry.

“Contrary to the claims of the state government regarding facilities given to promote the industry, the authorities have been harassing the small scale industries by imposing restrictions on the working of the units. On the other hand, the large scale industrial houses were allowed to work round the clock after depositing some extra security,” argued Mr Jain.

Mr Pawan Kumar Goel, another office-bearer of the association, maintained that the oil and cattle feed industry had been facing a crisis for a long period due to various reasons. “After a long energy crisis we hoped to register a progress in the production but all our hopes shattered with the application of new policies. According to the new policies the large scale units had been allowed to work at peak hours also thus effecting small units adversely,” explained Mr Goel.

The association leaders urged the authorities to distribute power judiciously to all classes of industries and domestic sector instead of pleasing only the fairer section of large scale industries.

Mr Ramesh Chand, Mr Parveen Jain, Babal Goel, Nawab Chand and Nem Chand Jain also spoke on the occasion. 


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |