L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Couple arrested on cheating charge
Exploiting sentiments on pretext of being ’84 riot victims
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 20
A group of swindlers has been actively duping innocent people at local town and surrounding villages by pocketing money on the pretext of helping riot victims. But thanks to a section of media and the local police, one such dubious couple was nabbed last evening and released only after they assured not to repeat the action in future.

A middle-aged woman accompanied by a visibly mentally retarded man visited various schools at local town and surrounding villages with an appeal to collect money from the students for the surgical treatment of heart of their only son at a private heart centre at Ludhiana.

Introducing themselves as Surjit Kaur and her husband Darshan Singh of nearby Dehlon village they narrated a sensational story to this reporter also. According to the story narrated by Surjit Kaur, the couple lived at a camp area in Delhi till 1984 when the rioters killed their two sons and assaulted Darshan Singh also.

Though he survived the attack, he lost his balance and had been mentally retarded due to head injuries. One of their sons, Sukhdev Singh, now 22 years old was saved by a Muslim family.

Sukhdev Singh, who was yet unmarried had developed some heart problem and the doctors at a heart centre in Ludhiana had demanded Rs 2.5 lakh for his operation that was to be done soon.

“It is only for the sake of life of our only son that we have to beg, otherwise we could have never spread our hands before people,” couple broke into tears to impress this reporter also who decided to carry a story on the plight of the family.

Their reality was exposed when this reporter wanted to take a photograph of the couple and they resisted it.

The principal and the staff of school where the couple was being interviewed were surprised when Darshan Singh, who had been acting as a handicapped person, started running when his wife cautioned him that their crookedness had been exposed.

On receiving the information about the swindlers, Mr Bahadur Singh SHO sent police teams to nab them. The couple was nabbed by one of such parties.

Intensive investigation by the police made the couple break, who admitted that they had no son and they had adopted this method to make easy money.

Though they denied having other accomplice the police was told that more people of this type had been actively duping innocent people by pocketing money by one way or the other.

While the police was trying to explore the possibilities of confronting more groups it urged the residents not to entertain strangers who might be playing on the instance of some notorious gang. 



Change likely in BDS curriculum
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 20
The Dental Council of India (DCI) has mooted a massive restructuring and revision of the undergraduate dental course — Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in a bid to bring about qualitative improvement in the academic standards and to make them comparable with global standards.

Stating this here today, Dr Vikas Jindal said that the DCI had recently convened a two day undergraduate education review committee workshop at Bangalore which reviewed the draft course contents on different subjects and topics of training. The workshop also deliberated on the format of curriculum and discussed the strategy and time frame for introducing the revised curriculum.

He said the DCI president, Dr Anil Kohli, who was instrumental in setting the process of revision of curriculum in motion, and organising the review committee workshop at Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences at Bangalore, had made significant contribution to give academic shape to the final draft resolution for change in subjects and curriculum of the BDS course.

According to Dr Jindal, there was a consensus among the participating academic experts to shift the subject of dental materials and oral radiology to the second year, dental anatomy and oral morphology to first year and further to start clinical orientation of the undergraduate dental students in the first year itself. The review committee approved the concept of comprehensive dental treatment clinics, proposed to be introduced in fifth year while internship was likely to be scrapped.

He informed that a department of general dentistry was proposed to be carved out to improve the expertise of dental students in line with international training programmes. The subjects taught in the fourth year would be staggered to the fourth and fifth year with examinations of four subjects each to be conducted during two years of study..

Dr Jindal added that the review committee had taken many other landmark decisions such as introduction of management of medical emergencies, cardio-pulmonary revival techniques, behavioural sciences, geriatric dentistry and forensic dentistry. He said the draft proposals for change in curriculum were likely to be finalised in the next meeting of the DCI to be held in the near future.



Badal’s interference affects Takht status
K.S Chawla

Ludhiana, December 20
In an attempt to cut to size Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President SAD, chose to stab him in the back while Mr Sarna was on a visit to Nankana Sahib alongwith the golden palki. Perhaps, it was a reaction to the rousing reception and enthusiasm generated by the nagar kirtan that Mr Sarna led from Delhi to Nankana Sahib.

Although Mr Sarna has the tacit support of Capt Amarinder Singh, yet he has chosen to remain at a distance from the Congress.

The younger Sarna, Mr Harvinder Singh, rushed back to Delhi on a damage control mission . Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna on his return from Pakistan was able to control the situation after consulting legal experts regarding the action taken by his general secretary who had convened a meeting of the executive committee of the DSGMC at the instance of the Badal faction.

Mr Sarna was able to pre-empt the action of his general secretary and declared that the election of the office-bearers would be held on December 19— the date fixed by Mr Khurana— in his absence. Thus the scheme of Mr Parkash Singh backfired.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna showed his effective strength of 35 out of 50 members of the DSGMC and got his younger brother Mr Harvinder Singh elected as President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. The other office-bearers of the DSGMC were also from his group.

This has created a piquant situation for Mr Parkash Singh Badal. As a last resort, as usual, Mr Badal thought of using Akal Takht and asked the Jathedar of Akal Takht to get the meeting of December 19 cancelled forgetting that he himself (Badal) had defied all appeals by the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, when he had differences with Gurcharan Singh Tohra on the eve of tercentenary celebrations of birth of Khalsa.

The present Jathedar, Joginder Singh Vedanti, has proved to be too pliable in favour of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. As a matter of fact, after his retirement as a granthi of Darbar Sahib Amritsar, Jathedar Vedanti has been on extension and is only officiating as Jathedar of Akal Takht. That is why he has always been ready to act too willingly at the behest of Mr Badal.

In the present case, he has had the audacity to threaten that he would call Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna to Akal Takht. After all it has to be considered-what is his fault. It is a factional fight and it had to be decided within the framework of the Delhi Gurdwara Act. Jathedar Akal Takht has stopped short of summoning both the factions to Akal Takht.

His appeal was made in a casual manner with no effective force.

The Jathedar of Akal Takht was probably acting on behalf of Badal faction and did not have complete information in this regard. The action of Akal Takht Jathedar has definitely made a dent in the reputation of the institution.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a senior Sikh scholar, who is considered to be an authority on Sikh religious affairs is very much pained at the frequent misuse of Akal Takht for settling personal scores.

Mr Manjit Singh said here today that he had suggested to Jathedar Vedanti sometime back that he should constitute an advisory board of religious persons and scholars who can advise him on important Sikh issues and he should avoid being misused. But he regretted that he had not heeded to his suggestion.

As a matter of fact, since the appointment of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and Bibi Jagir Kaur as presidents of the SGPC, Mr Parkash Singh Badal has known the inner working of the SGPC thoroughly.

Mr Badal continues to interfere in the day to day functioning of the SGPC. Since the Presidents of the SGPC are nominated by him, they lack the initiative and they could never act in an independent manner on the religious affairs.

The present SGPC chief, Avtar Singh Makkar, is also dancing to the tune of Mr Badal echoing his statements for summoning Sarnas to Akal Takht. In fact, it is a serious situation which Mr Badal faces in the religious domain. How would he extricate himself from this situation is to be seen..



70 booked in land dispute
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 20
The Dehlon police has booked at least 70 persons under Sections 447, 427, 148 and 149 for allegedly attempting to take forcible possession of common land, worth crores of rupees, belonging to more than 24 Dalit residents of Dehlon village.

While SAD leaders, including MLA of the constituency, have blamed the police of acting at the behest of local Congress leaders, two of the arrested accused alleged that they had been falsely implicated in the case.

As many as 29 Dalit families, including those headed by Hari Singh, Sucha Singh, Bhag Singh, Kesar Singh, Gurdas Singh and Surjit Singh, reported to the Dehlon police that a group led by Dharminder, Tejinder Singh, Harjit Singh and Sumeet Saini, and armed with weapons had made a futile attempt to forcibly take possession of a common land on Monday night.

“Though the gangsters, including members of a land mafia, ran away after being challenged and confronted by villagers and members of our families, they threatened us of dire consequences in case we insisted on keeping the possession of the land with,” stated the complainants to the police.

The complainants supplemented their claim on the basis of documents that showed that they had been allotted a three-canal plot for dumping garbage in 1963. They claimed that a case regarding the final ownership of the plot was pending in Punjab and Haryana High Court and as such nobody was authorised to transact the rights in connection with the same.

The complainants had further stated that the accused had come equipped with heavy machinery and tractors to take possession of the land. They tried to construct a wall by demolishing some structures also. Some of the machinery and materials brought by the accused had later been seized by the police.



Congress on firm footing: Johar
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
The massive participation of people in the Congress rally held at Lambi, the home constituency of SAD president Parkash Singh Badal, has proved that the people of Punjab were fully sporting the policies of the Congress and would again vote for the party in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

In a statement here yesterday, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, said Mr Badal had been completely frustrated over the large scale gathering of people in his constituency and was making baseless accusations against Congress out of frustration.

The minister said the recent survey conducted by ORG –MARG, a reputed survey company, had also rated the prospects of his party as high for recapturing power in the state.

He said as per the survey as many as 54 per cent of rural voters had expressed their support to the Congress for its pro–people and development oriented policies and programmes, for which the Congress would certainly have an edge over it arch rival SAD in rural vote bank that was considered to be the base of Akali politics.

Mr Johar reiterated the firm resolve of his government to ameliorate the lot of Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and economically weaker sections of society and said the state government had created a Dedicated Social Security Fund of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular and timely pension/financial assistance to 10,07,386 beneficiaries, including old aged, widows, orphans and physically challenged persons.

He said out of the backlog of pensions of nine months, the arrears of six months to the tune of Rs 57 crore had been paid to the beneficiaries under various schemes.

The Education Minister claimed that fulfilling the aspirations of the Scheduled Castes, the state government had decided to allow 200 units per month of free domestic electricity costing Rs 50 crore to all SC families and had decided to implement the 85th Constitutional amendment as fulfillment of its poll promise.

He claimed that the government had earmarked Rs 886 crore for special component plan. On the farmers’ front, he claimed that the entire farming community was overwhelmed with the pro farmer policies of the government. He said the government had announced free power for tubewells of farmers, which would benefit the farmers by Rs 439 crore per year. He said the state government had also ensured hassle free procurement of nine crops in succession in the mandis.

Referring to the industrial growth in the state, Mr Johar said 60 mega projects worth Rs 27,000 crore had been approved by the government generating employment potential for 4.5 lakh unemployed youth.

He claimed that a crash programme had been launched for the repair of roads in the state and 22,000 km link roads had already been repaired and the remaining were being repaired. He said during the remaining tenure fast development would be carried out and the state would be at number one position in the country. 



Govt staff protest against reduction in EPF rates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
Employees of various government departments and industry workers today protested against the reduction in Employees Provident Fund interest rate to 8.5 per cent. On a call given by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), workers from cycle, brick-kiln, hosiery and other industries and from several government departments held a dharna outside the Provident Fund office here today.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Jagdish Chand, Joint-Secretary, CITU, Punjab, said: “The decision would affect over 4 crore employees in the country. We want the government to withdraw this reduction.”

Blaming the government for taking an “anti-people” decision, the union said the government on one side was taking decision that adversely affected common man, and on the other was giving heavy subsidies to industry.

“We had been demanding that the EPF interest be raised to 12.5 per cent. The government has done something that was absolutely uncalled for by reducing the interest. It should take back the reduction.”

The Northern Zone Insurance Employees Association also held a dharna outside the divisional office of the LIC here. “The Union Minister of Labour is ignoring the pleas of employees representatives and has announced a reduction in interest rate. We want them to maintain the previous rate of interest on the EPF as many people rely on it,” said Mr Mann Singh of the NZIEA.

Demanding restoration of previous interest rate, CITU threatened to intensify its struggle if the government did not pay attention to its demand.



Tax evasion unabated in city
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 20
In the wake of ambitious revenue collection targets fixed for the department of Income Tax for the current financial year, the top brass of the department kept themselves busy in devising ways and means to step up the collections while the members of trade and industry, as well as from other affluent sections of society, continued to elude the tax collectors’ net.

The year turned out to be ‘taxing’ for the Income Tax Chief Commissionerate here. The commissionerate comprises nine districts, including Ludhiana, as the total receipts till the end of November were around Rs 400 crore as against the target of Rs 1150 crore for the year 2005-06.

The number of returns filed during this period was 4.58 lakh whereas just 1,300 returns of more than Rs 10 lakh income were filed from the city, which the department considered as grossly ‘‘disproportionate’’ given the lifestyle and spending patterns of the city population.

Perturbed over non-compliance by the business community, the Income Tax department carried out a number of surveys, as well as search and seizure operations against a number of industrial and business houses, including hospitals, sweet shops, textile and hosiery units, yarn manufacturers, bicycle and parts manufacturers, exporters, jewellers, shopping malls, steel mills and sanitary ware dealers to unearth concealed income.

In a rather unprecedented incident, the tax sleuths had to face a tough time during an IT raid on a prominent coloniser in the city when an employee of the businessman managed to escape with a lot of cash and other seized items and the raiding party was charged with causing injury to a woman family member.

In keeping with the efforts to transform its image of being a taxpayer-friendly regime, the department continued interaction with different bodies of assessees and professionals. Computerisation was introduced in a big way, facility of e-returns was extended to assessees and process of issuing refunds was streamlined to cut down delays. To lend tax-related information and assistance to small tax payers, the department set up an Aaykar Sahayata Kendra in the city.

Towards the fag end of the year, The Chief Commissioner Mr S.J.S Pall retired after achieving the age of superannuation and Mr R.S. Mathoda took over the reins of the department. Confident of making the targeted tax collection, the new incumbent said the department was collecting a database of high-spenders in the mega city from different sources. ‘‘Once we have done our homework and have details of high value transactions, we shall crack the whip and bring the tax evaders to book,’’ Mr Mathoda remarked while interacting with mediapersons a couple of days back.

Surely, this note of warning portends bad omen for the elite Ludhianvis in the near future.



Seminar on traffic rules
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 20
After coming to know about the consequences of violation of traffic rules at a district level seminar and function organised at Sangrur, hundreds of students from local schools vowed to abide by traffic rules. They were told that driving under the influence of liquor and using mobile phone while driving were the two main reasons for road accidents in the recent years.

As a part of traffic awareness fortnight, the district police organised quiz contests and declamation contests on traffic awareness and felicitated winners from local Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, M G M N Senior Secondary School and Islamia Public High School, at a function held at Sangrur today.

The local police team, headed by Mr Bahadur Singh SHO, had taken as many as 200 selected students from these schools to Sangrur today.

The eminent speakers, including Mr S.M Sharma IG Patiala, Mr Bhamra DIG and Mr Harinder Singh Chahal SSP, Sangrur, had told the students that driving under the influence of liquor and using mobile phone while on wheel were the two main reasons for road accidents and along with this leniency by the traffic police too had contributed to the increase in the number of road accidents.

The authorities claimed that more than 425 persons had died in various accidents in the Sangrur district during the past three years. The number of deaths had increased from 123 in 2002 to 155 in 2004. This number was inversely proportional to a decrease in the number of challans issued in 2002 i.e. 19,508 to 12,106 in 2004.



Sarpanch booked for bid to murder
Tribune Reporters

Khanna, December 20
The Khanna police has booked four persons on the charge of attempt to murder, including the Sarpanch of Rasulra Majri village. According to the police, Mr Hardeep Singh, brother of Mr Surinder Singh, had lodged a complaint at the Sadar police station, Khanna, that his brother was going to Khanna when Maninder Singh, sarpanch of Rasulra, Jagtar Singh and two other persons, attacked his brother with swords and injured him badly.

He rushed him to Ludhiana for treatment but he became unconscious on the way.

He admitted him to a hospital at Doraha.

The police has registered a case under Sections 307, 323, 324, and 341 against all the four accused.

One booked
: Madan Lal of Jagraon has been booked under Sections 420,467,468,471, 120-B of the IPC on the complaint of Surjit Kaur sarpanch Bhatha Dhuan village and Minder Singh of Dame village on the allegation that Madan Lal obtained a stay, order from the court pertaining to panchyat land by producing fabricated departments resulting in economic loss to the village panchyat. No arrest has been made so far.

Bid to commit theft in bank: Some unidentified persons allegedly broke the inner lock of the branch of UCO bank at Rasulpur and made an attempt to break open the gun box but failed and later managed to flee without committing any theft.

The police has registered a case under Sections 457, 380 of the IPC on the complaint of Jit Singh manager of the bank.



Govt waives loan recovery from small-scale units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
The Punjab Government has waived the recovery of the interest against such small scale industrial units and other beneficiaries who have availed loan under the seed margin money, Punjab State Aid to the Industrial Act, 1935 and the Integrated Rural Development Programmes provided they deposited the entire balance of principal amount of loan in installment before December 26, 2005 .

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, informed that the entrepreneurs who had already deposited the principal amount of the loan are not required to pay the interest against the loan.

He has informed that the notification had been issued on September 23, 2005, and the units which would deposit the principal amount before December 26, 2005. They would be entitled to avail this facility. He informed that out of 1,431 such cases in the state, 551 cases had already deposited the principal amount and availed benefit of Rs 1,43,65,156 by way of exemption from the interest.

The DC informed that out of 409 cases, who availed the seed money, 167 have deposited the principal amount. He appealed to the entrepreneurs to positively deposit the principal amount before December 26, 2005 and get the interest of the loan amount waived off.



Jewellery expo in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 20
MMTC Limited, a Government of India enterprise, has put up the Festival of Gold, a jewellery exhibition, in the city. The exhibition will continue till December 21. “The exhibition has been organised with a view to make available jewellery from all across the country under one roof,” said Ms Preeti Kaur, Chief General Manager, Precious Metals Division, MMTC.


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