L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Labour unions hold protest, industry dismayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
Labour unionism reared its head in the city today with the Lal Jhanda Mazdoor Union announcing its presence in the city by hoisting its flag in front of the Hero Cycle factory to express solidarity with the thousands of labourers, who had lost jobs after the closure of Rockman cycle factory.

In what could cause further tension to the industrialists in the city, the labourers staged a massive protest and they were well supported by thousands of activists of various organisations of farmers, employees associations and workers of several labour unions.

The protest rally passed off peacefully with a heavy poise of policemen deployed near the factory to avoid any untoward incident. The labour unions also stuck to their promise of organising a peaceful rally.

The flag hoisting was undertaken as a sign of recognition of some labour unions by the State Labour Department recently.

Among associations, which participated in the rally, were Moulders and Steel Workers Union, Bharti Kisan Union, Technical Services Union, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch, Lok Ekta Sangathan, Democratic Teachers Front, Rashtriya Shaheed Bhagat Singh Mazdoor Sangathan, Hosiery Workers Union, Lok Sangharsh Committee Jassowal Soodan, Istri Bhalai Sabha and Punjab Roadway Employees Union.

Various speakers said they would not tolerate any kind of retrenchment of labour and if some factories were being closed for some reasons, the interests of the labourers would be safeguard.



Businessman convicted in cheque bounce case 
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, December 25
A businessman of New Delhi, Mr Varinder Kumar Khullar, owner of M/s Babusha International, has been convicted in a cheque bounce case of Rs 27 lakh. He has been sentenced to undergo imprisonment for one year. Fine of Rs 4000 was also imposed upon the accused.

Pronouncing the verdict, Mr Vijay Kumar, Judicial Magistrate, held that the accusations levelled against Mr Khullar by Mr Sudershan Kumar, partner of M/s Lakra Brothers, Focal Point, stands duly proved. Hence, the accused did not deserve any leniency.

The complainant had submitted that the accused was purchasing knitted fabrics from him on credit from time to time since March 28, 1995. After adjusting the amounts paid by Mr Khullar an amount of Rs 27, 08, 094 was outstanding against his name.

In order to discharge his liability, Mr Khullar issued a cheque for Rs 27 lakh in favour of the complainant with the assurance that the same would be honoured on presentation. However, when the cheque was presented to the banker it was dishonoured with the remarks of insufficient funds in November 1998, added the complainant.

On the other hand, Mr Khullar pleaded false implication. He alleged that actually Mr Sudershan Kumar stole the cheque and he had filed a criminal complaint against the complainant in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate in New Delhi. He had submitted that he never issued or signed the cheque in question.

In support of his contentions, he had hired a handwriting expert. On the other hand the counsel for the complainant argued that the stand taken by the accused was contradictory as in the complaint filed before the Metropolitan Magistrate he had mentioned that the signed cheque was stolen, whereas here he was claiming that he never signed the cheque.

However, Mr Khullar admitted that the civil suit filed by him was decreed in favour of the complainant by the civil court. However, it was argued that the decision of the civil court was not final as the appeal was pending in the High Court. Apart from this, he had taken several legal objections. However, after appreciating the evidence on record, the court found him guilty and sentenced him.



Special scheme introduced for leather industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
Aiming at modernisation and technology upgradation in all segments of the leather industry, the government has launched a new scheme, Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLS), sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, with effect from November 2005.

This was stated by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma here today. He said all existing units in leather and leather products, including tanneries, leather goods, saddlery, leather footwear and footwear component sector, undertaking viable and bankable programs on technology upgradation on or after the due date of the notification were eligible for the assistance. He said any unit in existence for at least three years and having cash profits for at least two years as on November 3, 2005, would be considered as an existing unit. Modernisation programs funded by the SIDBI and other banks as well as those programs undertaken by existing production units from their own resources will also be eligible for the assistance, he added.

Mr Verma said the financial assistance under the scheme would be investment grant to the extent of 30 per cent of the cost of plant and machinery for SSIs and 20 per cent of the cost of plant and machinery for other units subject to a ceiling of Rs 50 lakh for technology upgradation, modernisation or expansion. Investment grant would also be available to the units investing their own resources. For the purpose of this scheme, the definition of small scale industry would be the same as notified by the government on the date of sanction of the project.

The DC said implementing agency would be in the form of an administrative unit of the department called the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) would function from two centers, one at CLRI, Chennai, for tanneries and other at FDDI, Noida, for footwear, footwear components, saddlery, leather goods and garments and saddlery.

He said the nodal agency for the release of assistance, monitoring, interface and coordination with FIs, banks and the government would be SIDBI. He added that there would be a steering committee for the implementation of the scheme whose mandate would be to ensure effective implementation. Its scope would be to lay down procedures, decide normative prices for standard plant and machineries required for the modernisation programme, accord sanction of financial assistance and monitor and follow up the disbursal.

Referring to the procedure, Mr Verma said any industrial unit desiring to avail the financial assistance would have to apply in a prescribed form (IDLS-I ) in triplicate to the concerned PIU. Declaration on the form should be unconditionally supported by an affidavit. The PIU shall acknowledge the receipt of the application and allot a registration number. The PIU shall complete the technical appraisal of the application received and shall send the application along with recommendation to the applicant within 15 days of the receipt of the application.

The DC said in case of projects involving no loan component, the industrial unit would be required to apply in a prescribed form directly to SIDBI and they would forward the same to the DIPP along with their specific recommendations and appraisal note. The financial assistance would be released through SIDBI on the basis of the site inspection report. The requisite documents shall also be submitted for the approval of the steering committee prior to the disbursement.



Christmas fervour deluge city
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 25
Christmas — the festival of love, joy and brotherhood — seems to have become one of the favourite festivals among city residents. If the enthusiasm with which the residents and children took part in the celebrations is any indication, then it can be said that the festival was no longer restricted to the Christians alone. Even the non-Christians celebrated it with equal ‘religious’ fervour.

Schools, markets, clubs, churches in the city were tastefully decorated with lights, balloons and posters of Jesus Christ, Mother Mary and Santa Claus. Prayers were held to spread the message of Jesus amongst the masses. Children felt on the top of the world when their favourite Santa Claus greeted and distributed sweets among them. Red colour remained dominant in the markets and clubs today.

The Sarabha Nagar market remained the centre of attraction for all. Christmas carols were played for children and Santa was seen greeting the kids in the evening. The traffic police had a tough time while regulating traffic as hundreds of cars were parked on the roads by residents.

The United Church of Northern India, Girija Ghar, celebrated the festival today. Pastor Bansi Lal gave the message of Christmas in the form of preaching and told people about the importance of the festival. Food was served to the devotees after the prayers. Another function was held at The Body of Christ India, Kidwai Nagar, where several people gathered to celebrate the occasion. Pastor Jarnail Singh spread the message of love and peace.

Kids-Zone Playway School, New Chander Nagar, celebrated Christmas with fun and frolic. Children came dressed up as ‘Santa Claus’, ‘Mother Mary’ and ‘Christmas Tree’. There was fervour, jubilation and excitement among the students.

The Sutlej Club celebrated Christmas with children here today. The first lady of the club, Ms Shweta Verma, cut the cake with children. Ms Payal, an anchor from Pogo and Cartoon Network, made kids play various games like Bey-Blade competition, Ankle Pop (balloon busting), musical chair, dodge the ball, corner dance, pin the rabbit, ABC pataka and many competitions. A fancy dress competition was held for the children between 1-3 years, 4-7 years, 8-12 years and 13-16 years.

There were free rides for children. Sweets and chocolates were distributed to kids by Santa Claus. A special D.J. Dance party for children was held and attractive prizes were given to them on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the Sutlej Club in association with the Ludhiana Philatelic Club also held a exhibition of rare stamps and released a book on Punjab stamps “Dak Ticket Ch Apna Punjab”. Mr Anurag Verma Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the exhibition and released the book written by Mr Yashpal Bangia, general secretary of the Ludhiana Philatelic club.

The stamps on display included Happy Christmas stamps, Chocolate stamps, embossed stamps, braille stamps, Lady Dyna, Red Cross, Bharat Ratna, birds, roses, Apna Punjab, history of Sikhism, record stamps of Bhutan, mountains, national personality, paintings of children day, expression of eyes, dynasore etc.



Dugri residents protest turbid water supply
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
Residents of Dugri, Phase-I, today protested against the local civic body claiming that they were being provided with turbid water. They said the danger of some infection was always lurking over their heads.

In a protest rally, the residents showed bottles filled with dirty water. They said that they had complained to the authorities in the morning but nobody came to their rescue.

Mr Amarjit Singh, president of the area welfare association said that Mr Major Singh Sekhon, a residents, was receiving dirty water but they had not been able to find out the reason behind the mixing of contaminated water with potable water.

“Every now and then city is in grip of gastro-related diseases. We do not want to suffer from the same. So we are going to meet the authorities today.” he said.



Ludhiana Calling

Hollow messages: The Municipal Corporation of the city has put up ‘ Keep Ludhiana Clean Green’ slogans all over the place, but the local body itself has failed to follow what it preaches. The MC has not been able to provide proper drainage on the roads, which causes accumulation of rain or sewer water. Sentinel observed that on the main Ghumar Mandi road a pond of water had accumulated just near one such slogan board. Interestingly, there has been no rain in the past for nearly two months and it is again some leaking or flowing sewer pipe that is causing trouble.

Police excesses unabated: When Capt Amarinder Singh took oath as the Chief Minister of Punjab, he had vowed to fight corruption. However, with the Assembly elections next year, the ugly face of corruption seem to have growing in height and size. So much so that some policemen in uniform were openly and blatantly picking up innocent persons, implicating them in false cases and then taking money to release them. One of the main complaint of the city residents during the Akali-BJP regime was that there was no let up in the police sponsored crime. But the residents have not got any respite from such excesses during the government’s regime either.




BJP flayed for opposing expulsion of tainted MPs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Parminder Mehta, has strongly criticised the BJP for its stand taken over the issue of expulsion of 11-MPs involved in cash-for-questions scandal. The opposition to the expulsion of tainted legislators has exposed the BJP in the eyes of masses.

Justifying the expulsion, Mr Mehta said that such type of persons, who disgraced the pious Parliament, deserved more stringent punishment. He welcomed the sting operation for exposing politicians and officials involved in corrupt activities.

He was addressing a function organised by Congress leader, Mr K.K. Suri at Harpal Nagar.

He stressed the need to launch a campaign to eradicate corruption from society.

Mr Yogesh Ram, Mr Anil Sharma, Mr Goldy Sabharwal, Mr Ravinder Bittu, Mr Balbir Billa, Dr Pardeep and Ms Saroj Bala were also present on the occasion.



Banking transactions next on IT dept’s list
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
After getting active on surveys at mega stores, jewellery outlets, art galleries etc, it is banking transactions that have caught the attention of the Income Tax Department to track down high individuals. Sources reveal that on the basis of returns submitted by banks, the IT Department has started sending notices on high value transactions to people, most of whom are businessmen.

The banks, said sources, submit the information details to their head offices, who in turn, forward those to the IT Department. This is the first year when the department has begun tracking individuals on the basis of transactions involving large sums of money, in most cases above Rs 10 lakh. According to sources, the information obtained by the IT Department in other places like Delhi and Mumbai is being sent to places concerned for the purpose.

Even though the return can be submitted till March 31, 2006, without penalty, several people have received notices. The department has sought details like PAN numbers, source of income etc from traders. This has created panic among the business fraternity and even lawyers are receiving customers in large numbers with such enquiries.

“People, mostly traders, are coming to us in large numbers with such enquiries. They are scared as a notice from IT Department is the last thing anyone wants,” said a city-based advocate.

Banks are a potent source of tracking high networth individuals. With a view to avoiding getting conspicuous through high value transactions, it is common practice among individuals to operate more than one bank account. In such cases, said sources, while one account remains the key account, which individuals mention in their tax returns, the remaining do not find a mention anywhere though transactions are conducted through those accounts too. Several cases in which wrong information pertaining to PAN numbers, address etc were given too have come to light in such accounts.

By tracking down banking transactions and tallying them with other details like PAN numbers and IT returns, the department expects to catch tax evaders.



Environment awareness month ends quietly
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
Even as the levels of pollution in the city are rising with each passing day, the state government and the Punjab State Pollution Control Board failed to get anything out of the environment awareness month, which ended recently.

Except conducting a seminar in collaboration with a school to sensitise the children, the PPCB failed to do anything concrete as the ground realities in the city remained the same with no change in the prevailing environmental conditions. Due to prevailing cold weather conditions, smog is affecting the city residents as many as reporting to various hospitals with diseases caused by smog.

The authorities concerned did not bother to check the spread of pollution be it caused by some industrialists who discharge their waste in Buddha nullah.

Though the state government did not mind spending lakhs of rupees on advertisements in a section of the media about observing the environment awareness month, the residents remained ignorant of any such activity being undertaken by the government.

In fact, the residents could not find any change in the environment conditions of the second most polluted city in North India. The autorickshaws continued to blow polluted air in the city and the industrialists continued to discharge polluted waste.

While all city areas are under a thick cover of smog during mornings and evenings, the effects are more pronounced in various areas, including the Industrial Area, Jamalpur, Jodhewal Basti, Tajpur Road and Sherpur Chowk.

Industries apart, autorickshaws continued to emit poisonous gases right under the nose of authorities. Despite the alarming revelations about the pollution in buddha nullah by various scientists, it continued to carry pollutants with it.

Even the pollution monitoring unit, which was put up in the city after spending lakhs of rupees remained in non-working condition. The SPM seems to be quite high in this season, still there was no monitor in the city, which was removed from its place six months ago. The residents wonder how long would it take for the board to repair it.

Dr B.D. Kansal, a scientist at Punjab Agricultural University, who had conducted a survey on the pollution levels of Buddha nullah, had confirmed fatal traces of heavy metals, including lead, nickel, and chromium, in the stream water in alarming concentration. After so many years down the line, the residents continue to savour vegetables grown on the nullah side besides drinking ground water polluted by the same risking their lives to fatal diseases.

“The amount of SPM is so high in the city that many people can fall prey to various bronchial diseases. There is a very high level of soot, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in the city,” said a city doctor.



Need to conserve water stressed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 25
Prof Harbans Lal Pathak, district governor, Rotary International district 3090, called upon leaders of all NGOs to make people aware about the need for water management and environment preservation so that future generations may have sufficient life sustaining constituents. He was addressing a gathering of representatives of various organisations on the occasion of the annual function of the local unit of the Rotary Club at M G M N Senior Secondary School last night.

Showing concern over the ever deteriorating environment, Prof Pathak claimed that joint steps taken by all social organisations, supplemented by the government, would save us from facing a situation when there would be no water to drink and no air to breath. He urged the directorate of the local unit to allocate enough budget for water management projects.

Prof Pathak said the Rotary International was the oldest social organisation serving society in 168 countries through 32,000 clubs. “Since its birth in Chicago, a century ago, the Rotary has ever tried to launch projects that satisfied the needs of people of respective areas on earth,” claimed Prof Pathak. Community projects, including group study exchange, youth exchange and matching grants were the backbone of the organisation, he said. Mr Vijay Singla, Mr Pardeep Sharda, Dr Bhupinder Singh Bedi, Mr Narinder Gogna and Dr N.K. Dhawan spoke on various avenues of the club services.

The organisers felicitated eminent personalities of the area and brilliant students of various local schools and colleges. Children of the members of the club presented a cultural programme that was appreciated by all.



A tale of forgotten freedom fighter
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, December 25
Perhaps nothing more can be unfortunate and disappointing for a minority community if its brave persons remain unrewarded for the sacrifices made by them. The same thing happened to Gen Mohan Singh who was the first to start an arms fight for the freedom of the country.

He became a victim of the biased policies of the Indian Government. Despite his establishing "Azad Hind Fauj", he was thrown behind and Subash Chander Bose who joined the Indian National Army (INA) later on was made the naik. So much so that no government ever made it convenient to remember the great soldier on his birth and death anniversaries.

General Mohan started struggle in 1927 after joining the Army. After having achieved commission in 1932, he was elevated to the rank of Major in 1941. He became anxious for the freedom of the country when his regiment was sent to Malaya during the World War II. Having already occupied Thailand, the Japanese Army had attacked Malaya and took possession of it. The defeated British Army comprised of plenty of Indians and General Mohan was one of them. Impressed by the brave deed done by the General, Japanese Army's Major Ivaechi Fujiwara introduced him to other Indian patriots in his army.

All Indian soldiers residing in Malaya launched the Indian National Army in 1941 and General Mohan was elected its commanding officer. Having taken command of the INA, he contacted the Japan Government through Indian Independence League for getting INAs' entrants trained. Japan could not hide its intention of using the INA against the British. The General informed the Japan Government about the independent and sovereign status of the INA as a result he was arrested and kept in Sumatra. To suppress any probable revolt by the INA, Subash Chander Bose was called to lead the army. Neta Ji immediately made the announcement about the Jalawatan Government after taking command of the army in 1943. Neta Ji had gone to Sumatra to see the soldier and chalked out the future courses of action of the INA.

But the nuclear bomb attack on Japan by America changed the complexion of the World War and the British took possession of Malaya and Burma again. General Mohan was brought with other companions and was imprisoned in Red Fort at Delhi. He was released in May 1946, along with Gen Shah Nawaz, Col Chanan Singh Dhillon and Col Sehgal after the hearing trial of the INA at Red Fort.

After Independence, General Mohan joined politics by forming the Desh Sewak Sena. It was later changed to the Desh Sewak Party in 1948.

In 1950, it was merged with the All India Forward Block and Mohan Singh was appointed its Chairman. Later on, the Forward Block merged with the Congress and the General joined the Congress too. Afterwards he was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1960 and 1972. He became a member of the Punjab Assembly in 1976. He did not gain anything during his political carrier. Rather he got the INA personnel honoured as freedom fighters and got pensions sanctioned for them.

General Mohan died on December 26, 1989. Though his family (wife Jaswant Kaur and others) at Jugiana village near Ludhiana remembers him by observing his death anniversary every year, but the Union and the state governments have completely forgotten their brave son as well as his unique and praise-worthy deeds.



Gabria to stay SAD district chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
The district president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Hira Singh Gabria, has reportedly been assured full support by the party leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal in running the organisation in the district. The two leaders have also reportedly snubbed the dissidents who had tried to raise a banner of revolt against Mr Gabria in the aftermath of the elections to the managing committee of local gurdwaras.

It is learnt that Mr Gabria had brought the issue to the notice of the party leaders. At one point of time he reportedly offered to resign and make way for Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, who was claiming proximity to the party leaders.

However, the leaders asked him to continue and also lauded his efforts in strengthening the party in the district. Particularly the sweeping victory of the party candidates in the local gurdwara elections has established his leadership here and won him the support from Mr Badal.

Even Mr Garcha is learnt to have beaten a retreat. He has reportedly clarified to Mr Gabria that he had nothing personal against him.

Others in the dissident group, including Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla, had already distanced themselves from Mr Garcha. Although they had attended a meeting along with Mr Garcha, denouncing Mr Gabria’s leadership, they retracted from coming openly against him.



Allow easy visa to Pakistanis: Bagga
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 25
Claiming complete normalcy in the state, Mr Nustrat Akram Khan Bagga, a SAD leader and former Sports Minister in the Punjab Government, has urged the Union Government to withdraw the notification that declared the state as disturbed and allow easy visa to Pakistani nationals, who were eager to embrace their counterparts in Punjab.

Mr Bagga, who has recently returned from Pakistan after visiting religious places there along with members of the Badal family, including Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, claimed that the rulers and the people of Pakistan were desirous of seeing two nations as friends. “When the confronting nations of the West can sink their differences and join hands in the name of development, then why cant India and Pakistan, who had a common lineage do the same,” political leaders and people of Pakistan had expressed these views to Mr Bagga.

Urging the Union Government to withdraw the orders stating the border state as disturbed, Mr Bagga said, “Now when the representatives of various political, cultural and social organisations of both the nations have observed that the residents across border were eager to embrace their counterparts, it is high time when we should declare normalcy and allow open visa to Pakistanis,” argued Mr Bagga.

On the economic state of the neighbouring country, Mr Bagga said despite better natural resources, Pakistan did not enjoy better economic status and agriculture was less remunerative there.

Members of families of Mr Badal and Mr Bagga visited Sikh, Muslim and Hindu shrines situated in Pakistan. They were welcomed by Mr Rai Aziz, Member National Assembly and Mr Mian Imran Masud, Education Minister Punjab at Wagha Border.



Shaheed Udham Singh’s birth anniversary
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The 106th birth anniversary of Shaheed Udham Singh will be celebrated by the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Trust at Pensioners’ Bhavan, Mini Secretariat, Ludhiana, on December 26, at 11.00 am.

Dr Tejwant Singh, Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, PAU, and Dr Jasdeep Singh Chandi, Associate Professor of surgery, DMC, will preside over the function.


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