L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


IOC-dealers’ spat: petrol stations go dry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
City residents faced a tough time as several Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) petrol stations went out of stock today. Owing to the problem on the issue of transportation between dealers and the IOC, dealers have refused to accept stock from the company's godowns.

By tomorrow, a majority of petrol stations across the city and also across the state are likely to go dry. Of the 70 petrol stations in the city, IOC has 30 pumps. The company has over 650 pumps in the state.

"I came to fill petrol here but am disappointed as there is no petrol. Now I will have to go to another petrol station to get petrol filled which is inconvenient as it is a little far and the fuel in my scooter might get finished," said Mr Ramesh Kumar, a resident.

Many others faced similar problem. A "no stock" board was put at Laxmi petrol pump which is among the highest selling ones. Other petrol stations, too, started running out of stock by this evening adding to the inconvenience of the residents.

"We have decided not to receive petrol and diesel from IOC godowns till the company permits us to use our own tankers to get petrol," said Mr Ashok Sachdeva, general secretary of the Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers Association.

The problem started last month as the company wanted private transportation company to carry petrol and diesel. Dealers who have been using their own tankers resented the move and observed a strike on January 1 to mark their protest.

The company, say dealers, agreed to permit them to use their tankers but stopped them again on January 4. They then held a statewide meeting and decided not to accept petroleum products from the company's godowns in Jalandhar, Sangrur, Bathinda and Pathankot.

The root of the problem lies in transportation charges, which the dealers say are Rs 142 per km per litre whereas the company wants it to be Rs 118.

The dealers are opposing the IOC's move to engage a private transportation company due to "fear of adulteration". "We have been using our own transport for the past eight years. If a transportation company is engaged, the responsibility lies on a dealer if the products are found to be adulterated. It would be the dealer whose licence would be cancelled. We do not want to take this risk as there have been a couple of incidents pertaining to adulteration by private transportation companies in the past too," Mr Sachdeva said.



Road safety council soon: Kaypee
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 6
Mr Mahinder Singh Kaypee, Transport Minister, Punjab, said accidents were increasing day by day. To avoid accidents, a State Road Safety Council would be formed and the chairman would be Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, while the vice-chairman would be the Transport Minister.

Many senior officers of different departments and those of NGOs would be included in this council.

Mr Kaypee was addressing the17th Road Safety Week state-level function held at Children’s Traffic Park, here today. The Road Safety Week started on January 2 and concludes on January 8. He said due to lack of knowledge of road safety rules, thousands of people lost their lives in accidents every year. He said 4,550 accidents took place every year in the state and 2,500 persons died whereas 3500 received grievous injuries.

To stop the accidents the council would soon come into existence. A 14-acre training centre to give driving lessons of traffic rules to drivers is being set up in Kapurthala with the assistance of Tata company.

He said to reduce the pollution, CNG gas would be introduced in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar, and for this the negotiations were on with oil and gas companies.

He said meter system would be introduced in the taxis plying on roads. To make the journey comfortable for the people, 360 buses had been introduced by Punjab Roadways and 400 new buses would join the fleet soon.

Mr Iqbal Singh, State Transport Commissioner, urged the commuters to observe traffic rules sincerely. Painting competitions are being held in schools. He said medical camps were being organised by truck and tempo unions to check the eye sight of drivers. The Transport Department was providing reflectors to drivers of tractor trailers.

Mr Sham Sunder Juneja, Road Safety Missionary, had organised an exhibition on “How to obey traffic rules” at Children’s Traffic Park. The minister awarded the winners of painting competition titled “Road Safety-Life Safety”. Kavita Wadehra of Govt Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, received the 1st prize and Mandeep Kaur of the school stood second while the third prize was bagged by Rakesh Kumar and Nishu Rani of Govt Senior Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar.

Head Constable Jagmail Singh, Mr Sarabjit Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Sham Sunder Juneja, traffic missionary, were awarded for their efforts in imparting knowledge of traffic rules to the people.

Present on the occasion were Narinder Pal Singh, SSP, Ludhiana, Gurdial Singh, SP, Traffic, Dr Karamjit Sarah, Additional State Transport Commissioner, Mr Priyank Bharati, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Development, Mr Kuldip Singh, District Transport Officer, Mr Balbir Rana, Additional ADTO, and Rajinder Basant.



Haibowal residents protest against delay in
sewerage work

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
In protest against the delay in laying of sewerage in their area, residents of Jassian Road in Haibowal staged a dharna today and raised slogans against the authorities for not heeding to their complaints.

The agitators gave an ultimatum to the authorities that if their grievances were not redressed within three days they would intensify their agitation. They would lay siege to the houses of Commissioner and area Councillor. They threatened that they would not pay house tax and would not even allow the MC teams to enter their area.

Addressing the agitators, former Mayor of the city, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, said the lack of sewer system was a cause of inconvenience to the residents and shopkeepers of the area. Due to overflow the top layer of the road had also given way.

Other speakers said they had written to the Commissioner and area Councillor a number of times about their problem but none of them had listened to them. The area Councillor was always asking them for some more time, they said.

Nr Narinder Singh Makkar, president of the Haibowal Social Welfare Society, said there were no streetlights in the area. He threatened that they would sit on a dharna outside the house of the MC Commissioner and the area Councillor simultaneously from Monday.

Mr Makkar said starting from Thind Chowk, a sewer line covered the area for 100 m only. The sewerage board had even chalked out a plan which was passed by the state government also. But the MC authorities were not releasing Rs 40 lakh required for the work to the board. The board could not invite tenders till it got the grant before undertaking any work, he said. 



2 firms surrender Rs 2 cr concealed income
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 6
Two groups of steel companies and woollen yarn manufacturers in the city have surrendered concealed income of nearly Rs 2 crore after survey operations were launched by Income Tax officials, which continued throughout the day on Thursday.

According to sources in the department, separate teams of IT officials had carried out surveys at the business premises of Sharman Strips on Kanganwal Road here, its sister concern Jain Steel in Miller Ganj, Bansal Spinning Mills and its selling agents Bansal Wool in the city under the supervision of Mr Roshan Sahay, Commissioner of Income Tax.

The tax sleuths inspected the books of accounts, computer data, stocks of finished goods and raw material. The owners of the companies were also quizzed about their immovable property and other assets. The survey continued till late evening and during this period, the entry to and from the business premises as well as phone calls were restricted. The survey was a smooth affair and without any resistance by the owners, sources added.

According to IT officials, the Sharman Steel group had surrendered an additional income of Rs 95 lakh while Bansal Spinning had disclosed concealed income of Rs 96 lakh. The additional tax liability of around Rs 65 lakh against these companies would be cleared by March 15 this year.

Senior officers of the department indicated that in the face of staggering revenue collection target of Rs 1,150 crore for the current financial year, pressure would be maintained to unearth tax evasion under the Ludhiana Chief Commissionerate. The department was learnt to have collected Rs 580 crore so far even as the three quarters of the year were almost gone.

The IT officials further revealed that the database of high value transactions had been prepared with inputs from commercial banks, stock exchange, mall plazas and other high-end stores in the region and notices had already been issued to a large number of firms and individuals. 



Coldest day of season
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
With the temperature touching the 0.2 degree Celsius mark, residents shivered and the cold wave persisted in the city. Though the sun was shining bright, chill was present in the air that made the conditions worse.

Residents preferred to stay indoors. Some tried to keep the cold at bay by lighting campfires. Meteorology experts at PAU said today was the coldest day of the season.

“It is very difficult to work in this cold. If you keep any body part uncovered, it feels as it would freeze,” said Mr Kamal Nath, a labourer, adding that the cruel winter was taking a toll on their output. He added that the poor had no way to keep themselves warm. They were depending on rags to light a fire and sit near it.

Hosiery industrialists were, however, happy with the extreme weather conditions as they are expecting a good sale this year. “We had started putting our products on sale. However, the cold wave has given a new lease of life to our products,” said Mr Sunil Datt, a hosiery industrialist. 



Conspiracy to malign Ramdev, claims BJP
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Senior BJP leader Lala Lajpat Rai today claimed that there was a “deep-rooted Communist conspiracy” in the tirade against Swami Ramdev. He alleged that the Communists were afraid of the growing popularity of the Swami who was preaching Indians to be proud of their culture and heritage.

Reacting to the allegations against the Swami by the CPM politburo member, Ms Brinda Karat, he said: “It seems that the Communists are scared of the nationalistic teachings of Swami Ramdev which are not to their liking. So far they were distorting history and trying to bring in alien culture into India,” Mr Rai said, adding that “now they feel threatened as all myths created by them are being exploded”.

He said the alleged use of animal fat and bones in ayurvedic drugs prepared by the Swami’s pharmacy was an excuse to defame him. He expressed relief that the entire nation had stood up in support of the Swami.

The general secretary of the SAD, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, also regretted that an unnecessary controversy was being created on the issue. He said if people had accepted the yogic teachings of the Swami, nobody should have any objection. Moreover, the Swami had not been preaching any religious teachings and people belonging to all faiths had been attending his camps, he added.



Pirated CDs on home delivery!
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Those running the illegal multi-crore trade of duplicate DVDs-VCDs of movies and music albums have become smarter by starting home delivery facility of the discs only ordered by a “trusted” client.

The practice, yet to be noticed by the city police, is mushrooming with more and more mobile agents of various shopkeepers and pirates joining the trade and making a fast buck at the expense of film and music album producers.

They have taken a cue from the home-delivery system adopted by restaurants and eateries in the city. Working in the same way, the mobile agents of the pirates roam on two-wheelers with a bag full of pirated movies and music albums. They have a special collection of X-rated english movies.

Taking orders over the mobile phone, the agents deliver the goods generally at any hour, but prefer evening and late evening hours for the clandestine operation.

“Sir, Give me your address and the time you would be at home and I would be there.” said one such agent while talking over the telephone with this correspondent. He obviously doesn’t take all calls. One has to be referred through by some trusted client or directly ordered by the alleged pirate or shopkeeper.

The agent charges in the range of Rs 90 to 250 per movie. The rates mainly depends on the client. A new client is easily fooled to pay more. The mobile agents earn a commission per sale. Some of them have also started buying the goods at wholesale rate to be later sold at a premium.

“This system is safer. It is difficult to operate from the shops due to the frequent raids of the police and detectives of the distributors,” the agent adds.

Ludhiana Tribune reliably learnt that at any time pirates are on the job in Bhadaur House Market and Ghumar Mandi, where copies after copies of new movies and music albums are being churned out every minute.

Lack of stringent punishment for the violation of the Copyright Act is being termed as the main factor for the flourishing trade.



BKU (Lakhowal) to join kisan mahapanchayat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) will join the kisan mahapanchayat being convened by BKU national president Mohinder Singh Tikait at Kashipur on January 9 in protest against the police excesses on farmers there.

In a joint statement issued here today, president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and general secretary Manjit Singh Kadiyan disclosed that there was great resentment among the people of Punjab against the police brutalities on the innocent and helpless farmers at Kashipur in Uttaranchal.

They pointed out that it was the farmers from Punjab, who had gone there and cultivated barren land.

“Now the farmers are being forced to vacate the land which they have turned fertile by hardwork,” they said.

The BKU leaders hailed the initiative of Mr Tikait in organising a kisan mahapanchayat to express solidarity and support to the farmers of Kashipur. They regretted that the political parties were maintaining a mysterious silence on the issue. 



Drivers, beware of fog
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Dr Naresh Malhotra, a leading physician and an ENT specialist, today said drivers needed to be meticulous about driving during the fog. Dr Malhotra, who is also one of the leading dealers of the Maruti Udyog Limited, pointed out that a number of accidents had taking place recently and most of these could have been prevented with little more precaution.

Dr Malhotra revealed that from his experiences of treating accident victims and also those coming with the damaged vehicles, he had concluded that “maximum number of accidents” could be conveniently prevented.

He said during his survey, he had noted that usually drivers do not switch on the fog lights. Nor do they switch on the blinkers while driving, “which is very important”. He pointed out, when the blinkers are on, it gives an idea to the other drivers about the approaching vehicle.

Another factor, mainly responsible for accidents, he said, was wrong parking. He warned that the drivers must not park their vehicles carelessly. 



Dharna against factory pollution
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 6
The Mohalla Welfare Society, representing ward Nos. 13, 14 and 15, Mandi Gobindgarh, staged a dharna here today in protest against the alleged damage caused to buildings due to vibration and emission of polluted substances by Kumar Engineering Corporation, a hammer-producing unit.

The dharna was lifted on an assurance of Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, Amloh, that a notice to shift the unit out of the populated area would be issued soon.

The dharna was addressed by councillors Shiv Kumar Kakar and Krishan Kumar, the president of the Mohalla Welfare Society, Mr Bhagwan Singh, Dr Bakhshish Singh and block Congress chief Vaneet Kumar Bitoo. They pointed out that residents of the area had to spend sleepless nights as they feared that their houses, which had developed cracks due to vibration allegedly caused by the unit, might collapse anytime.

Earlier, a dharna had been staged on December 20, which was lifted on an assurance of the Naib Tehsildar, Mandi Gobindgarh, that the unit would be shifted.

The society had also made representations to the Executive Officer, Mandi Gobindgarh, the SDM, Amloh, the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, and the Deputy Director, Local Government, Patiala, but to no avail.

Mr Anil Aggarwal, a partner in the factory, said the factory had been running since 1972 with proper permission and the colony was developed afterwards in 1984-85 for homeless people.

Meanwhile, the SDM told this correspondent that he issued a notice today for shifting the unit to some other place. 



Warm sendoff to Rupan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj, Financial Commissioner, Revenue, who retired on December 31, was given a warm farewell by the Punjab Naib Tehsildars Association here this evening.

Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister Amarjit Singh Samra presided over the function. Ms Anjali Bhawra, Commissioner, Patiala Division, Dr Roshan Shankaria, Commissioner, Faridkot Division, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Commissioner, Ferozepur Division, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Priyank Bharti ADC (D), Mr Inderpreet Singh Khalon, DRO, and Mr M S Jaggi, SDM (West), were also present on this occasion.

Mr Samra, while addressing the gathering, said Ms Bajaj was an efficient, honest and straight forward officer who had brought substantial improvement in all those departments which, she had headed during her tenure.

Referring to the improvement to the Revenue Department, Mr Samra claimed that Punjab Revenue Department had been adjudged as the best Revenue Department of the country by way of land record system and for clearing 100 per cent pendency.

Addressing those present, Mrs Bajaj expressed thanks to all Revenue Officers for their cooperation for achieving excellent results in the department.

Others who addressed the function included Mr Gurpreet Singh president, Mr Mukesh Kumar, senior vice-president, Mr Gurmeet Nadala, patron, Mr Bhupinder Singh, vice- president and Mr Pal Singh, vice- president of the association.



Taxmen call on gift shop
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 6
Excise and Taxation officials today conducted a raid on a high-end gift shop in main Sarabha Nagar market in a bid to unearth tax evasion and unaccounted transactions.

Senior officials of the department told Ludhiana Tribune that incriminating documents indicating transactions worth several lakhs, not shown in the books of account, were seized from the store. Other relevant records, including sale-purchase data and stocks were being inspected by the officials. The raiding party of officials was still at work till the filing of this report.

Sources in the department disclosed that massive evasion of valued added tax (VAT) was expected to be revealed once the documents and data procured from the gift shop were processed and the stocks were evaluated.



Khalsa Dal condemns Ajmer’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
The Shiromani Khalsa Dal has condemned the arrest of Mr Ajmer Singh, a leading scholar and author of ‘Beeswi sadi di Sikh Rajniti’ from Chandigarh recently. In a statement issued here today, the Dal demanded his immediate release and alleged that this reflected badly on the working of the Chandigarh police.

The Dal Khalsa claimed that Ajmer Singh was a thorough scholar who had worked on Sikh history and polity. His books were quite authoritative in insight. It regretted that a scholar of his stature had to face the police wrath for no apparent reasons.



Dharna by anganwari workers
Our Correspondent

Khamano, January 6
Hundreds of aaganwari workers and helpers organised a protest march in the city and held a rally near the SDM office and blocked traffic due to non-implementation of their agreement with the government by officers of the Education Department.

These workers also burnt the effigy of a top officer of the Education Department. Mr Anurag Aggarwal.

They raised the slogans against the officers. The leaders in their address demanded that nursery schools be opened in state.

They said after dharnas and rallies at the block level and district level, a big rally would be organised at Chandigarh during the Budget session.



Tax advantage fund

Ludhiana, January 6
Fidelity Fund Management Private Limited today launched Fidelity Tax Advantage Fund — an open ended equity linked savings scheme (ELSS). The fund aims to generate long-term capital growth from a diversified portfolio of predominantly equity and equity related securities. — TNS


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