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Assembly elections: lobbying for ticket on
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 13
Although the elections to the Punjab Assembly are about one year away, aspiring candidates from different political parties have started lobbying for ticket. Most of the aspirants have also started “working” in their “prospective” Assembly segments. And for the Congress aspirants, as the strings are pulled from Delhi, the first round runs up to the Capital only.

A number of candidates from the Congress, the SAD and the BJP have even started working in their respective segments from where they aspire to be fielded. While the sitting legislators have the obvious choice and hope as well of getting renominated, those leaders who lost elections have also got active.

For the SAD aspirants it is the loyalty towards the Badal family, whether with Mr Parkash Singh Badal or his son Sukhbir Badal. Obviously, they do not have to make rounds of Delhi, as is in the case with the Congress aspirants.

“It is interesting to note that a lot of political activity has started in various Assembly segments”, said a senior Congress leader, while pointing towards various functions being organised by people, who consider themselves to be “the most eligible and suitable”.

He said more and more such functions would take place in the coming days as every aspirant wanted to be seen as “influential with a commanding following” in the particular area. This is mostly the case with the SAD aspirants. They have even started staging demonstrations on various issues of public interest.

For the Congress aspirants things appear to be little different and simple also. They just need to drive to Delhi. As everything is “decreed and decided” in New Delhi by the party high command, the aspiring candidates have started identifying their godfathers and making rounds of the capital.

“Since the influence of a candidate in a particular area hardly matters in the party and it depends only as how much connected you are in the high command, most of the aspiring candidates have opted that route only”, said another senior party leader, who is himself keen on getting party ticket. He said very soon most of the party “leaders and workers” would be seen more in Delhi than in their respective Assembly segments, because everything would be decided there (in Delhi) only.



Vigilance books 17 in tax evasion case
Five MC employees among those booked
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

The controversal godowns and trucks in the residential area of Guru Arjan Dev Nagar

The controversial godowns and trucks in the residential area of Guru Arjan Dev Nagar

Ludhiana, January 13
Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau has booked 17 persons, including five employees of the local Municipal Corporation, and 12 industrialists in one of the biggest scandals of evading tax worth lakhs of rupees by using residential area near Tajpur road for commercial purposes with the help of false building plans, by-laws violation and bribing MC employees.

The Vigilance Bureau withstood acute political pressure for taking action against the accused. A senior Congress MLA even camped in the local Vigilance office as late as 11p.m.last night in support of the accused.

Pulls and pressures continued even today to cover up the case but the local Vigilance officials and the senior officials in Chandigarh put their feet down and refused to budge.

The five MC employees booked in the case were an Assistant Town Planner, a Superintendent, a building Inspector, a draftsman and a junior draftsman.

The case involves construction of nine godowns by various industrialists in the residential colony of Guru Arjan Dev Nagar near Tajpur road. Yarn and other hosiery material was stored in the godowns in violation of the residential area. Most of the industrialists had got passed residential accommodation plans but constructed commercial buildings and evaded tax.

They did not even take licence from fire department to store the highly inflammable yarn and other material. The godowns were causing air pollution as the area residents complained of respiratory problems.

The industrialists include owner of the Varun industries, Vinay Industries and several other yarn and hosiery manufacturers, who had illegally constructed godown in residential area of Guru Arjan Dev Nagar on the Tajpur road.

Three of those namely — a junior draftsman Harjit Singh, Charanjit Kapoor of Varun industries and Vinay Kumar of Vinay Industries — have been arrested last night. SSP Vigilance G S Dhillon said the identity of the other accused cannot be disclosed at this juncture.

Mr Dhillon said the accused have been booked under Sections 420 , 120-B of the IPC besides the section 13-(1) D and 13-(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He said the Vigilance had acted on the complaint of Guru Arjan Dev Nagar Residents Welfare Society. The residents were up in arms against the industrialists and had complained in vain several time to the Municipal Corporation and other departments.

The Vigilance conducted an investigation and found ample substance to register a case. The violation by accused industrialists were of thee categories.

Of the 12 accused, the majority possessed construction plan of residential building but erected godowns there. The second category was of those who had got commercial plans but there were grave violations of building by-laws. Then there was the third which had non-compoundable violation .

Mr Dhillon said the MC employees had been charged with misusing their official authority for alleged corrupt motives.



CM’s assurance to schoolteachers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 13
A deputation of the association of the Punjab School Education Board, Affiliated Schools Punjab (Regd) met Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab under the presidentship of Mr Rajinder Krishan Sharma here yesterday. The deputation apprised him of the difficulties being faced by the affiliated schools of the state.

The Chief Minister listened to the grievances of the delegation and assured the members that due action will be taken to sort out their problems like special road tax imposed on school buses and the commercial rates of electricity imposed on the affiliated schools.

The Chief Minister also assured the delegation that the problems of shifting the examination centers would be solved as early as possible. The members of the delegation thanked the Chief Minister.

Members of the schools have decided to honour the Chief Minister, Mr Manish Tiwari, Secy A I C C, and Mr Harnam Das Johar, Education Minister.



RI for hotelier in cheque bounce case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana January 13
Judicial Magistrate K.K. Singla has sentenced Director of M/s Tri Mohan INNS Private Limited, Phillaur, Sham Mohan Sharma to one year’s rigorous imprisonment in a check bounce case. He was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 4,000.

“'The facts of the case do not call for any leniency”, the Magistrate said while declining the plea of leniency put forth by the accused.

Mr N.S. Kalra, proprietor of M/s Khalass Brothers, near the local bus stand, had complained that the accused, who runs a hotel at Phillaur, had placed an order for the supply of tent furniture, catering and other goods with his company. The latter gave him three cheques for Rs 50,000 each to be payable in May, 1999, as payment for the material supplied to him.

But, the Phillaur branch of the SBI dishonoured these with the remarks “exceeds arrangement”.

On the other hand the accused pleaded not guilty. 



Schools ignore new timings
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 13
Some of the private schools here have not been adhering to the orders of Deputy Commissioner regarding the change in school timings. Top private city schools, including DAV Public School, CFC School, BCM Arya Model School, Tagore Public School, Guru Nanak International Public School, continue to follow old timings.

Owing to extremely cold weather, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, has ordered the schools to start at 10 am and to close at 3 pm. But, thanks to some confusion, the District Public Relation Officer, got it advertised in the media, that the new school timings would be from 10am to 2pm.

With some private schools sticking to old timings, the children are forced to brave bitter cold on their way to school in the morning.

However, government schools have implemented new timings. The principals of private schools feel that the change in timings will upset their schedule for extra classes to prepare students for the coming Board examinations.



1 killed, 3 hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 13
One person was killed and three injured in a road accident near Malerkotla Chowk today morning. One injured was admitted at Civil Hospital here while two others were admitted to a private clinic.

According to information, a tempo was stationed at Malerkotla Chowk and about to turn after the red signal.

Meanwhile, a Punjab Roadways bus came and hit the tempo. The tempo overturned and crushed a cyclist and hit a motorcycle and a passerby standing there. The cyclist died on the spot. The motorcyclists and passerby received injuries.

The passerby was identified as Parveen Singh, a resident of Rajewal village. He was admitted to Civil Hospital here while the motorcyclists went to a private clinic for treatment.

The deceased is yet to be identified. The police has registered a case.



Baba Meehan Singh’s centenary birthday celebrations
Kanchan Vasdev and Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

Siarrh/ Dhapei, January 13
The birth centenary of founder father of Sri Nanaksar Ashram Trust, late Baba Meehan Singh, who has lakhs of followers the world over, was celebrated with great pomp and show at two different places simultaneously due to the ongoing controversy over the holding of power between two groups.

Extravaganza was at its best at both the places as a special chopper showered flowers and petals over frenzied devotees in Siarrh and decorative items like flags and frills were specially imported by the followers at Dhapei to mark the day today.

There were, however, no celebrations in the ‘thath’ at Siarrh, a place set up by the Late Baba himself, which incidentally manages offices of 24 ‘thaths’ situated the world over. Due to enforcement of Section 144 CrPC by the administration, the place wore a deserted look. The religious organisation is one of the richest in the world as hundreds of NRI are followers of Baba Meehan Singh. The trust has properties running in crores.

Addressing the function organised at gurdwara Bhagruana Sahib in Siarrh, Baba Mann Singh appealed to the devotees to maintain peace. “Ultimately truth would triumph,” he said, while pointing to the scenario that had led to factionalism in the trust.

Talking to the Tribune, Mr Harminder Singh, grandson of Baba Meehan Singh, said they just wanted the control over the Nanaksar thath at Siarrh as the place was founded by their grandfather himself and was of great importance to them. He reiterated that Baba Mann Singh and his supporters had no interest in any other properties of the trust, located round the globe. “We just want that the sanctity of the place is regained as it was violated by Baba Harnek Singh and his supporters,” he added.

On the other hand, the supporters of Baba Harnek Singh, who organised the function at Dhapei, voted for him only. A resident of Canada, Baba Harnek Singh, could not make it for the function though many supporters were looking forward to his visit.

Mr Jagdev Singh Aandloo, a supporter of Baba Harnek Singh, said that the latter was chosen by none other that the founder father himself to head the trust. “He was a tried and trusted disciple of Baba Meehan Singh and he wanted him to lead his disciples. His sons and grandsons were eyeing the property so they made an issue out of it. Most of the NRIs settled in Canada are also with him.” He added that they had started the celebrations for birth centenary from January 7 only.

It being the 100th birthday of the Baba, followers from all parts of the country, U.K., Canada and USA, reached at the functions and paid obeisance. There were certain members, who expressed their dissatisfaction at the factionalism prevailing amongst the followers of Baba. “We have come here for Baba’s birthday and not to support any of the groups,” said a devotee, who had come from Canada and was paying obeisance at the ‘thath’ in Siarrh instead of going to the functions. 

No celebrations at ‘thath’

Siarrh: Even as the birth centenary of Late Baba Meehan Singh was celebrated with pomp and show at two different places simultaneously, the coveted palanquin, which is taken out during the nagar kirtan every year on this day, remained inside the ‘thath’ at Siarrh village today.

Worth crores of rupees, the palanquin, studded with solitaires and etched out of pure gold, which used to be taken around the village every year remained housed in a hanger-sized garage at the ‘thath’.

Villagers revealed that management committee running affairs of the ‘thaths’ used to organise a nagar kirtan on the occasion of gurpurab during the time of Late Baba Meehan Singh. The celebrations were later shifted to January 13, the birthday of the Baba. The nagar kirtan used to be led by Guru Granth Sahib, housed in the palanquin, mounted on a 40-feet-long and 13-feet-wide platform. The organisers had specially erected huge poles to elevate electric power supply in the village to avoid inconvenience.

The palanquin was prepared in 1994, when all materials, including the wood, was imported from England. Unique in India, it has two look-alikes in England. People form far and distant places had been visiting Siarrh, especially to have a look at it. Mounted on a diesel engine run vehicle, it is controlled by the driver by close circuit miniature camera fitted on front. — TNS



Mukerian resident wins Rs 2 cr Diwali bumper
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 13
Naveen Kumar, a resident of Mukerian in Hoshiarpur, has a reason to believe that luck can bring you what you might not even have imagined. For, this 27-year-old, who operated a JCB machine to eke out a living, is the winner of the Rs 2 crore Punjab State Maa Lakshmi Diwali Bumper 2005.

And though this victory comes after purchasing lottery tickets for a couple of years, it was a gut feeling Naveen had due to which he purchased the ticket from Ludhiana that played a key role in what he has today.

“I used to purchase lottery tickets occasionally. For the Diwali bumper, I along with a few friends decided to purchase the tickets from Ludhiana and not from Hoshiarpur where we reside. We gave money to a friend of ours who came specially to Ludhiana to buy lottery tickets. He got 10 tickets, one of which I took.” His ticket was selected by his 9-year-old niece, who he considers lucky for himself.

As luck would have it, Naveen emerged the winner of the Rs 2 crore prize. “When the agent called us at home, I was not able to believe. Now I am a firm believer in luck and also in the lottery system of the Punjab Government,” he gushed.

The first thing he did after getting the news was leaving his job. “I have studied till matriculation and my job gave me only Rs 3,200 a month. We are a joint family and I want to use this money towards building our source of income, which is agricultural land. I want to buy more land and would also get a tractor,” he said.

A sense of pride engulfs him as he would now be able to provide a luxurious life to his mother who brought up her kids amidst trying circumstances as his father expired in his childhood only.

Accompanied by his elder brother Ranjot, who works in the Army, Naveen said he would continue buying lottery tickets in future. He was given the bank draft of Rs 1.32 crore (after deductions) by Deputy Commissioner Mr Anurag Verma here today.



Medical body adopts five girls
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 13
To tell society that the female child should not be taken as a burden on the family, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) adopted five female poor girl children to mark the festival of Lohri here today.

These adopted girls belong to poor families, whose parents are already having female children. The adopted babies are Renu of Sherpur, Ludhiana, Anjali d/o Jagdish Kumar, Gyas Pura, a baby of Kamaljit, Rahon road, and two more female kids from Haibowal and Simla Puri area, respectively.

The parents of these children have been informed and an amount of Rs 5000 will be handed over to them on the February 7 at Sutlej Club by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma. Expressing his happiness about this development the DC has welcomed the initiative taken by IMA. He said that this step will go a long way to change the mindset of people.

The IMA office bearers have thanked Dr. Mahesh Gupta, a paediatrician of Ludhiana from Gupta Children Hospital, for accepting this challenging project as the in-charge of the project ‘Save Female Child, Save Humanity’. The medical community has been bearing the brunt of this social and criminal evil of society due to a few black sheep indulging in pre natal sex determination despite the official stand of IMA right from day one, said Dr Mahesh Gupta.

“A handiwork of a few black sheep who are indulging in this highly deplorable act of sex determination should not be allowed to spoil the image of the medical fraternity as a whole. We are also human beings and very much part of the same society despite being doctors”, he said. IMA has also requested the NGOs to come forward and help in checking the menace of female foeticide.



Baisakhi Bumper revenue for police welfare
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 13
The lotteries department would use the revenue generated from the Baisakhi Bumper lottery by the Punjab Government in the aid of families of police martyrs and for police welfare, said Mr Ajeet Singh Pannu, Director, Punjab State Lotteries, at a function held to distribute drafts to winners of state lotteries.

He said the department would soon launch the Baisakhi Bumper lottery, the draw of which would be held on April 17. “It is an endeavor to acknowledge the sacrifices of the brave police personnel.”

Regarding the income of the lotteries department, Mr Pannu said while last year it was Rs 115 crore, this financial year, the department has already earned Rs 132 crore till December 31, 2005.

“The department expects to earn Rs 175 crore by March 31, which is an increase of Rs 60 crore in comparison to the last financial year,” he said.

The funds so generated would be utilised by the state to undertake development activities and for the welfare of people.

Encouraging people to try their luck in the Punjab State New Year Lohri Bumper- 2006, the draw for which is on January 16, he assured that “the tradition of transparency in lottery draws would be maintained”.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, presented drafts to winners of monthly, weekly lotteries and also of the Divali bumper lottery.

Among the winners who were presented drafts were Dalvir Singh, Surinder Kaur, Jora Singh, winners of monthly lotteries for the months of September, October and November, 2005, Mr Charanjit, Anoop Singh, Balwinder Singh, Yash Pal Jain, Benka Behari, Vijay Kumar, Akash Deep Bansal, Harbhajan Singh and Sanjeev Kumar, first prize winners of Punjab State Weekly Lotteries Friday Special.

Drafts amounting to a total of Rs 4.21 crore were distributed today.



Home for cattle inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 13
The Municipal Council here is trying its best to provide all the basic amenities to its residents, said council chief Mr Jagmeet Singh Sahota. He was addressing the inaugural function of a cattle-home for stray animals which has been set up with a cost of Rs 16 lakh. Stray cattle, roaming on the busy national highway, had caused many accidents in the past and the council had to take this decision to save precious lives.

The project is spread in an area of 10,000 yards which included a shed of 125x60 feet dimension, Separate godowns for storage of fodder have also been provided.

Mr Vipan Bansal, a representative of Vishav Hindu Parishad, announced that green fodder will be provided to the animals by the Parishad. The Parishad has been supplying green fodder to the ‘gaushalas’ at Mandi Gobindgarh, Amloh, Khanna and Sirhind. At Present, 16 acre land is being cultivated for the purpose. Among others council vice-chief Mr Suresh Kumar Babbli, councillors Mr J P Sharma, Mr Ajit Singh and Krishan Kumar Atri, the Municipal Engineer, Mr Suneel Kumar residents of the town were also present at the occasion. 



Complaint against unhygienic conditions

Ludhiana, January 13
Residents of street number-5 in Harcharan Nagar near Shingar cinema have complained of unhygienic conditions in their area due to lack of cleaning by the MC employees.

Mr S.L. Chopra, a resident, in a written complaint, said that their street was not cleaned for months together and garbage was lying all around. He said that despite requests to the incharge of the beat, nothing had been done. He said that he had gone to meet the MC Commissioner today but he was told that he had shifted his office to Sarabha Nagar. — TNS



1 held with illicit liquor
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January13
The Sidhwanbet police arrested Sardara Singh of Baghian and seized 40 kg of lahan kept for distillation of illicit liquor. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

MC employee booked: Darshan Singh, a clerk with the Municipal council Mullanpur embezzled Rs 31,964 from the funds of the council. The Dakha police, on a complaint of executive officer of the council, has registered a case under Section 409, IPC. No arrest has been made so far.


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