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Gaiety marks Eid celebrations in city
Tribune News Service

The Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, addresses the Eid congregation at Jama Masjid, Ludhiana, on Wednesday. The Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, the District Congress Committee President, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, Mr Atiq-u-Rehman and the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, are also seen in the picture.
The Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, addresses the Eid congregation at Jama Masjid, Ludhiana, on Wednesday. The Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, the District Congress Committee President, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, Mr Atiq-u-Rehman and the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, are also seen in the picture. Photo: I.V.

Ludhiana, January 11
Thousands of Muslims, who had gathered here today to offer Eid prayers, lashed out at the western media for maligning the image of Islam and presenting the religion in a bad light. They regretted that the western media was trying to generalise the activities of a handful of people and trying to brand the entire community as fundamentalists and terrorists.

Addressing the annual Id congregation at the historic Jama Masjid at Field Ganj here today, the Shahi Imam Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman said, the Islam meant peace and all Muslims across the world were peace loving. He criticised the attempts of certain western powers who were trying to subdue the Muslim sentiments.

Referring to the demand by certain people for the closure of the madrasas in the country, the maulana asserted that only the religious teachings were given there. “In madrasas we preach the students how to love and die for your country, but certain communal forces were trying to get the madrasas closed by giving a bad name to them”, he lamented.

The president of the Punjab unit of the Indian Muslim Council, Maulana Atiq-u-Rehman, also regretted the abrogation of the minority institution status to the Aligarh Muslim University. He said, the Muslims across the country, particularly those from the North, had a sentimental attachment with the AMU hence it should be allowed to retain its distinct character. He pointed out, the AMU had made an enormous contribution towards the freedom of the country.

The Eid congregation here, as usual, was marked with the traditional spirit of communal harmony and brotherhood. The members from the non-Muslim community led by the Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, joined their Muslim brethren in Id celebrations.

Others present on the occasion included the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, the Housefed chairman, Mr KK Bawa, MLA, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, Youth Congress leaders, Mr Ajay Johar, Mr Parminder Mehtar, president of the gurdwara Dukhniwaran, Mr Prithipal Singh Pali and others.

Addressing the congregation, Mr Atwal said out, India was the only country where the people of different religions lived together with trust and communal harmony. He said, “We take pride in the fact that our President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is a Muslim and is the architect of our nuclear programme”. He said, the strength of the Indian democracy was in its diversity.

He congratulated the people of the country for maintaining peace and brotherhood and never getting carried away by the provocations by commuanalists and fundamentalists.

As the space within the historic mosque feel too short, people offered prayers in open on the Jail Road and Shahpur Road.



Trade unionism gives industry sleepless nights
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Growing trade union activity in the city is giving sleepless nights to local industry. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) having decided to hold a state-level protest rally on January 31 here, not only the cycle industry, other industries too are a worried lot.

Industry blames administration for not controlling the situation and feels the city, where easy availability of labour and low labour costs were the plus points, is only recording rising labour unrest. The CPM-backed CITU is being blamed for provoking labourers and ruining working environment.

Low productivity is resulting in reduced margins and industry said many units were deploying Punjabi workers as migrant labourers were showing a growing inclination towards unionism.

“We have deployed Punjabi workers in night shift and their productivity is 1.5 times higher than migrant workers who are not working to their optimum capacity now as trade union activity is growing, an industrialist said.

Peeved over increased activity of unions, another leading industrialist said: “The very action to put their flags outside a cycle unit was a clear indication of how fearless they have become. Administration should have controlled them right from the beginning. If even now concrete measures are not taken, the day is not far when situation would go out of hand and industry would be ruined.”

CITU, on the other side, says it’s aim is to generate awareness and fight for workers rights. “They exploit workers and we are opposing them. We would continue our struggle against such injustice,” said CITU joint-secretary Mr Jagdish Chand.

The CITU rally on January 31, he said, would be attended by workers from various industries, including bricks kiln industry, textiles industry from Amritsar and others from across the state. “It would be a massive rally that would be held on Ludhiana as this is the place that is home to maximum number of workers,” he said.

Among the demands that would be raised would be wage revision and re-starting of closed factories.

“Wage revision should be done every two years. It is pending for over four years in Punjab now. Many others states are giving higher wages to their labourers,” alleged Mr Chand. The union is demanding Rs 5,000 as the minimum wage for unskilled workers and Rs 10,000 for highly skilled workers. It would also raise the issue of closure of factories, which it says, has rendered thousands of workers jobless in the last few years.

The issue of reduced EPF rates would also be taken up. We strongly oppose the decision to reduce interest rate on Employees Provident Fund as it is a matter of social security, CITU said.



2 EOs booked on corruption charge
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, January 11
The state Vigilance Bureau has unearthed a scandal of several lakhs of rupees in the Jagraon Municipal Council where a group led by two Executive Officers (EO) had allegedly remitted house tax payment of several persons against the rules and way beyond the permissible limit of 35 per cent.

The serving Executive Officer of the council Brij Mohan was arrested today in the case while raids were being conducted to nab the other three accused, including the former EO of the council Paramjit Singh Ghuman, who is now posted as EO with the Nangal Municipal Council and two municipal councillors Harminder Singh and Chaman Lal.

Brij Mohan was arrested when he was on way to the Municipal Council today morning.

DSP Narinder Singh Ruby, who led the team, claimed that the accused had misappropriated lakhs of rupees through the house tax return sub-committee of the Municipal Corporation. The Vigilance Bureau had conducted the investigation of records from the year 1999 to 2003.

The house tax is charged on the report of a survey conducted in routine by the Municipal Corporation. The house tax notices are issued based on the survey by the EO.

The DSP said that appeals or objections to the house tax levied by the Municipal Council is referred to the sub-committee. The committee consists of two councillors with the EO as the ex-officio member.

The committee was empowered to relax the tax by some per cent or waive it in case the objection was found correct. It could also remitt some amount on the basis of other permissible clauses.

However, the accused allegedly tinkered with the rules and wrongly waived substantial amount in several cases. In some cases even 94 per cent of the amount charged was remitted.

The Vigilance Bureau had conducted a year-long investigation on the basis of which a case was registered today against the four accused. They have been booked for cheating besides under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Vigilance sources said a number of incriminating documents were also seized from the accused. The Vigilance Bureau has also started making assessment of the property of the accused. The FIR may be amended later if the accused are found to possess more assets than their known sources of income.



Don’t use spray on crops, PAU cautions farmers

Ludhiana, January 11
After several complaints from farmers, particularly from the Malwa region, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has cautioned the farmers against the use of any spray to protect crops from frost.

“Farmers should not confuse frost with late blight.

Therefore, no spray of fungicide should be done on crops at this stage,” PAU Department of Agronomy and Agrometeorology Head Lal Singh Brar said here.

Unscrupulous pesiticide dealers in Punjab are taking farmers for a ride and asking them to spray either crop growth regulators or multi-nutrition mixtures in order to save their crops from frost.

Brar said seed potato, which was sown till mid-November and would be harvested in March, suffered irretrievable damage, however, potato crop of 90-100 days old would not be damaged by the prevailing weather conditions.

PAU has advised the farmers for light irrigation of wheat, vegetable crops and fodder like berseem and stressed that prevailing weather conditions would not have any adverse effect on wheat. — PTI



Be aware of threats, NRI broadcaster asks media
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 11
Kuldeep Deepak, a noted Punjabi broadcaster of Canada and winner of the first Global Broadcaster Award, has urged mediapersons to be aware of threats posed by certain forces who were trying to gag their voice when they tried to bring the truth to light.

Kuldeep Deepak, who is a noted singer also and was first to lend his voice to Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi in North America, took up broadcasting as his profession.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Deepak claimed that over commercialisation and sensitisation of electronic media would leave people listen to radio only. “Radio is more powerful than any other single mode of mass communication as one can listen to it anywhere and anytime,” argued Mr Deepak.

Referring to threats he had received in context with broadcasting of sequence of events during terrorism era in Punjab, Mr Deepak said “Punjab Dee goonj” radio could have lost its audience had he succumbed to pressures exerted by certain terrorist forces during dark period in the state.

“As we brought the truth then, and have been doing so till today, strength of our audience rose to more than 1.5 lakh,” said Mr Deepak.

On viability of the radio in Canada, Mr Deepak said it had turned to be profitable business these days. Government policies were so flexible that anyone could run his own radio after getting permission, procedure for which was simple. One could live nicely and project the demands of people, he added.

He claimed that “Dunia De Jharokhe”, “Aaj Dee Gall”, “Tuhade Vichar Tuhadi Nazar” and “Sade Mehman” had been appreciated by the audience of Canada. The “Punjab Dee Goonj” had been started 27 years ago.

Dr Harjinder Singh Walia, general secretary of the foundation, said the organisation aimed at providing a platform for Punjabis in the world. Mr Deepak had been conferred the award on the recommendation of Punjabi NRI.



Industrial group surrenders Rs 1.25 cr to IT Dept
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
Two hosiery units and a securities company, owned by a family, here surrendered concealed income worth Rs 1.25 crore following survey operations by Income Tax officials on Monday.

According to sources in the department, separate teams of IT officials, led by Mr Rajeshwar Yadav, Additional Commissioner (Range VII), had carried out surveys on the premises of M/s Goyal Knit in Deep Nagar, Goyal Hosiery on Humbran Road and Compusta Securities in the Tagore Nagar locality.

The officials, accompanied with the police, inspected books of accounts, computer data, stocks of finished goods and raw material and other record at the units. The owners of the companies were also questioned about their immovable property and other assets.

The sources said the survey continued till late in the evening.

The three companies disclosed a concealed income of Rs 1.25 crore and undertook to clear the additional tax liability by this financial year.

Senior officers of the department maintained that in the face of targeted revenue collection of Rs 1,150 crore this year, operations would continue to unearth tax evasion.

The department was learnt to have so far collected around Rs 600 crore.

The officials said the data base 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 been served on a large number of firms and individuals asking them to prove that the transactions were shown in the books of accounts.

Actions under the relevant provisions of the Income Tax Act would be taken against those found to be evading tax, the officials stated.



Red Letter Day for tribal police recruits
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, January 11
From walking bare feet in tribal areas of Jharkhand to parade gracefully with long boots along with over 600 recruits from that state, Anil uraon has come a long way in his six-month training at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy here today.

He was one of the proud 70 purely tribal recruits of the total 614 constables of the Jharkhand Police, which became the first batch to pass out the rigorous training at the prestigious police academy here, which has earned international fame for training Afghanistan police recently.

Anil Uraon and his close friend Santosh Kumar Uraon, who lived in the forest areas of the Garhwa district of that state till recently, used to run bare feet and the only career the youths seemed to have there was to follow the naxalite movement, willingly or unwillingly.

But today things have changed and youths like them have come forward to train and arm themselves against those very Naxalites. They revealed that they wanted to protect their families from Naxalites and have found no option better then a career in policing.

Though there were many recruits who had three or even five members already working in police or paramilitary forces, these 70 recruits were the first in their family. They lived in typical tribal villages with thatched huts and have traditionally learnt hunting bare feet.

ADGP cum Director of the Academy R.S. Gill touched the same sensitive nerve when he urged the recruits to go back to their state and take the movement by its horns, ‘‘You have been trained in latest system of policing, especially the art of combating with terrorists. Put all your earning in practice and save your homeland from lawlessness and anti-social elements,’’ he said while addressing the recruits.

On the occasion a galaxy of officials including Mr B.K. Garg, DIG-cum Joint Director, Mr G.S. Sandhu-Deputy Director (outdoor), Dr S.S. Chauhan, Deputy Director, (Indoor) and Dr D.J. Singh, Deputy Director, (Social Sciences) were present on the occasion.

Mr Gill presented the all-round first recruit and first indoor to Constable Yaduvendra Pratap Sinha, all-round second to Ranvir Kumar and all-round third to Constable Ram Bachan and first outdoor to Constable Anand Kumar.

A colourful cultural programme, including bhangra by the Jharkhand recruits enthralled the audience.



Brar evades queries on Maghi Mela
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, who was recently nominated permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee, said today that he was grateful to Amarinder Singh for his nomination.

Mr Brar said he would ensure that the “voice of the Congressmen was heard everywhere”, including at the government level. He said he would be working for strengthening the party in the state.

To a question whether he was invited to the Magi Mela function of the party, being organised at Muktsar, he evaded a direct reply. He said it would be a great show with the Chief Minister and Central leaders scheduled to attend it.



BJP condemns govt inaction on VAT refund
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has condemned the state government for delay in issuing refund of valued added tax (VAT) to the trade and industry even after a Cabinet decision had been taken in this respect.

A meeting of the legal cell of the party was held here today under the presidentship of Mr P.C. Garg. He said the government machinery was in different to the harassment being caused to the tax payers on account of delay in issuing notification for refund of VAT and implementation of the orders in this regard.

The party was critical of the indifference of government officials in carrying out the administrative or judicial orders. The lackadaisical approach to the Right to Information Act was also discussed in detail and it was decided to take up the matter suitably on appropriate levels.

Members of legal cell of the BJP focused on several other issues like parking places and level of cleanliness in Mini Secretariat and Judicial Courts Complex, poor civic amenities and infrastructure and obstructions in flow of traffic at different places in the city. It was resolved to submit a detailed memorandum to the district administration demanding remedial measures.

Prominent among those present at the meeting were Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, Mr Rakesh K. Gupta, Mr Ramesh Sharma, Mr M.L. Maini, Mr Deepak Chopra, Mr Ravinder Garg, Mr Pankaj Goyal, Mr Sandeep Kapoor, Mr C.P. Bhardwaj, Mr Anil Arora, Mr Satinder Sehgal, Mr Inder Sain Sharma, Mr Sanjiv Garg and Mr Rajinder Dharwal.



Leads prove futile in Reema case
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The police is again left chasing a wild goose in the infamous Reema Jain kidnapping and murder case with the emergence of two contrasting leads that promised a breakthrough but proved an exercise in futility.

Over five months after Reema Jain had disappeared under mysterious circumstances and her brother-in-law, Micky Jain, was arrested on the charges of organising her contract killing, the police continues to grope in the dark about the actual murderer. Her body has also not been traced.

Last week, the police went into a tizzy when it learnt that a senior employee in Reema Jain’s factory had received a call from a woman who was calling from a foreign country. The police suspected that Reema Jain could be alive and could be the caller.

However, persistent questioning and e-checking of the phone records revealed that some woman relative of the employee had called. She was not Reema Jain.

A few days before this incident the police was informed that Micky Jain could have given the money to another alleged contract killer, Sherru, who was also in jail. The investigation did not prove worthwhile.

Coinciding with that, a person, who identified himself as Sherru, made a call to family members of Reema Jain, claiming that he was offered Rs 35 lakh for the kidnapping and murder when he was in the jail. The police was verifying the contents.

Senior police officials remain silent over the investigation in the case, but reliable sources have confirmed the two futile leads. A police official said there was some substance worth investigation in these leads but there were lot of rumours floating about the case. Every other day, there is a new rumour in the case that causes more chaos and confusion, the sources said.



Newly married woman kidnapped

Ludhiana, January 11
Unidentified persons riding in a Qualis car allegedly kidnapped a newly-wed woman near Shivpuri chowk late today evening.

Police sources said the kidnapped woman, Ramanpreet Kaur, had got married to NRI Paramjit Singh against the wishes of their parents in Punjab and Haryana High Court a few days earlier and were living away from their families.

Initially, the police was informed that the couple was kidnapped but later Paramjit contacted the police saying he was safe but the kidnappers had taken away his wife. SHO G.S. Bains the matter was being investigated. — TNS



Tea vendor held with smuggled liquor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The police has arrested a local tea vendor on the charges of sumggling liquor into city from Himachal Pradesh.

Division No. 2 police station SHO Gurpreet Singh said Chander Sabharwal was yesterday caught with seven cases of liquor, which were available at half the price in Himachal pradesh, He used to sell it to his regular customers here.

The police official said Chander had stocked the liquor in view of Lohri.



Plywood manufacturers hike prices by 5 pc

Ludhiana, January 11
In view of consistent rise in input prices, the Punjab Plywood Manufacturers Association has raised prices of plywood and ply board by 5 per cent.

“The combined effect of increase in prices of input such as wood, face veneer and chemicals on the state industry has been at least 40 per cent. As a result of which we have been forced to raise the rates by 5 per cent,” secretary-general of the association Ashok Juneja said here.

This is the second time the industry has hiked rates in the past six months.

The state plywood manufacturers are also seriously considering hiking rates by additional 5 per cent if the industry does not get respite from rising input prices. “We will take the decision on another hike on January 20 if industry feels the need for it,” Mr Juneja said.

He said plywood manufacturers in Haryana had raised rates by 10 per cent while some other states had also been thinking on increasing price.

According to plywood manufacturers, the price of wood, a key input in plywood manufacturing, has increased by 50 per cent during the past one year. Similarly, prices of face veneer and chemicals have increased by 15 per cent and 10 per cent respectively in the past one month alone. — PTI



Dalip Singh re-elected chemists body chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
Tikka Dalip Singh and Mr Pardeep Passi were unanimously re-elected president and finance secretary of The Ludhiana Wholesale Chemists Association.

The returning officer, Mr R.M. Goyal, made the announcement of their election after the last day of the withdrawal of papers and scrutiny on the evening of January 10.

Members of the association will cast their votes for the lone post of general secretary on January 14, according to Mr Goyal. Three candidates were in the field for this post. Those in the fray are Mr Parambir Singh, Mr P.C. Khanna and Mr G.S. Chawla.



Moti Mahal opens first restaurant in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Moti Mahal, a chain of restaurants, marked its entry in Punjab by opening its 21st restaurant in the country in Ansal Plaza here today. The company plans to come up with 10 more restaurants this year.

Mr Monish Gujral, managing director, said the company would also start a customised catering units in Ludhiana soon. “Apart from the restaurant, we are expecting catering to contribute to our business in a major way,” he said.

He said the new restaurants would include Jalandhar, Kanpur, Lucknow, Indore and Delhi and several other places. Talking about the food being offered, he said north Indian food items would be available. Besides, customers would also have the option of ordering health food or food with less oil for which there would be no additional charges.

On company’s future plans, Mr Gujral disclosed that the company had also set up an office for dealing in food commodities in New York and it was likely to be operational within this year. He said the company had also entered into food courts business and was planning expansion on that front too.

Regarding the selection of place, he said 17 of the existing restaurants were located in malls and all the new outlets that were coming up would also be located in malls. “Retail boom has helped food business in a big way. We benefit not only from infrastructural support that comes with a mall,” he said.



Weekly power cut on industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Power woes, it seems, are there to stay. Aiming to meet power shortage, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to impose 24-hour weekly cut on industrial customers.

Official sources said the cuts would begin from tomorrow onwards and different days would be fixed for different areas across the state. According to sources, the state is facing a shortage of 150 lakh units per day due to which these cuts have been imposed.

City residents have already been suffering due to unscheduled cuts that stretched to even four-five hours a day.

“Even winters failed to bring relief. In summers, they say it is excessive demand, in winters they say it is maintenance. People stand to suffer only,” rued Tarinder Singh, a resident in Civil Lines area.

Shutting down of feeders in areas like Transport Nagar so as to maintain required frequency along with scheduled power controls had been giving residents a tough time.

The situation in industry, however, was relatively better “A cut of around an hour is being imposed daily. Though it is unscheduled, it has not caused much trouble as industry has been suffering cuts of a much longer duration,” an industrialist said.

Officials said extremely low temperatures had resulted in an unexpected rise in demand for electricity. “To tackle excessive cold, there is an increase usage of electrical appliances like heaters, blowers, geysers etc. The usage has suddenly risen as temperatures plummeted. It is to deal with this shortage that a decision to impose industrial cuts has been taken,” said sources.


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