Kidnapper arrested, child recovered
Ludhiana, January 14
The alleged kidnapper, Sucha Singh alias Bagha Singh, aged about 45, belonged to the same village. As per the police records, he had allegedly kidnapped a child for ransom earlier also, besides being charged with the murder of a man of the village.
Preetpal Singh, son of a sand-mining contractor Satnam Singh, had gone missing under mysterious circumstances last evening. His parents and concerned villagers reported the matter to the police today only after searching for him in vain the whole night.
SHO G S Bains said Jang Singh, another resident of the village, reported he had seen Sucha Singh Singh carrying a child. The police lodged a manhunt for him. He was found hiding in an isolated place near Qasabad village not far from the banks of Sutluj river.
The alleged kidnapper was planning to move out of the area this morning in some vehicle. He was hiding near Qasabad village since last evening, fearing the police would be looking around for him. He had planned to make the ransom call from some other place. Surprisingly, he travelled by foot .
Mr Bains said Sucha Singh had in pre-liminary investigations stated he had kidnapped the child for earning fast money. He lived with his 15-year-old son in the village . He was not able to contribute much to the family's income due to his alleged criminal activities.
The police has ruled out any personal enmity between the accused and the victim. The police has not found any involvement of the kidnapper's wife and son in the crime so far. His wife, was however, counter-alleging that her husband had been falsely implicated in the case.
She claimed her husband was not indulging in criminal activities now but some villagers were not letting him settle down.
The child though shaken by the separation from his family was recovered safe and sound. A large number of residents from the village gathered at the Salem Tabri police station and were quite agitated at the incident.
Industrialist ‘violating’ PSIEC norms
Ludhiana, January 14
The complainants claim that the industrialist, who had set up his unit on an undeveloped plot allotted by PSIEC, was not allowed to discharge his waste in the system meant for phase -VII of Focal point as he had bought the site at a much cheaper price under an agreement that he would not use the civic amenities provided by any state agency. But in connivance with some authorities they violated the norms and have been discharging waste in sewerage, alleged the complainants.
In a complaint to the local Municipal Corporation and PSIEC authorities, Mr T.R. Mishra, President of Focal Point Phase-VII Industries Welfare Association, has demanded that an inquiry should be initiated against the industrialist concerned and action should be taken against him.
The industrialists say that the sewerage system was working fine before 2002. Later the influential industrialist connected the waste pipes of 18 inches diameter of his factory to 8 inches diameter pipes of sewerage system. This played havoc with the existing system which choked and caused flooding of the entire area.
“Our units remain under one to two feet of water due to overflowing of sewer,” said Mr Mishra. He demanded that the connection of the influential industrialist’s unit be snapped so that this problem is solved.
He also demanded that the role of authorities, who had allowed him to throw waste into the phase-VII line, should also be probed so that the guilty can be punished.
He also alleged that the industrialist in question was allotted an undeveloped plot by PSIEC at the rate of Rs 126 per sq yard as compared to undeveloped plot at the rate of Rs 650 per sq yard. All the undeveloped plots were supposed to generate their own electricity and had to make their own arrangement for drawing water and throwing the waste.
“If they have to use the facilities provided by MC, then they should be charged at the rate of Rs 2000 per square yard as development charges for the facilities provided by the corporation.” said Mr Mishra.
He added that as per the PSIEC regulation, the main gate of these industries also opens in the phase-VII while it should open on main Chandigarh road. “He is using the roads of MC also so his gates should be closed or his allotment by PSIEC be cancelled.”
Mr Mishra said that though they had made various representations to the local MC authorities for initiating some action but to no avail.
Man found brutally murdered
Ludhiana, January 14
The throat of the deceased was slit wide open and there were injuries on his private parts also. SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh said the injuries suggested that the killer(s) had some strong personal enmity with the deceased likely arising out of some illicit relationship.
The body was first spotted by an employee of the bank. Division No 6 police personnel later took the body to the Civil Hospital here where a post-mortem examination was conducted in the afternoon, which confirmed death due to slitting of the throat.
The SP (Detective) said the man seemed to have been murdered elsewhere and his body was dumped here later. The police also found marks of bicycle tyres near the body besides some signs showing that the body was dragged.
The police was trying to establish the identity of the deceased by showing his picture in some labour colonies. The police had also called some labour leaders to identify the body. The efforts have proved futile so far.
Tax evasion continues despite VAT implementation
Ludhiana, January 14
While several retailers attribute the same to customers “who say they do not want an invoice”, the fact remains that the retailers themselves tell customers that avoiding a bill will amount to some reduction in the price of products purchased by them.
Restaurant owners are also issuing computerised bills. These are not proper printed invoices, which means that the customers are being charged the tax but the same is not being paid to the government.
“On many a occasion, if a customer demands a bill he is told that extra amount will be charged from him. Why will one insist on a bill even after that? Be it chemist shops, general stores, garment sellers or food joints, the situation is similar everywhere,” said Mr Ratan Malhotra, a resident.
People also allege that most of the retailers refuse to furnish a bill even when asked for. “I got my mobile phone handset repaired from one of the shops in Ghumar Mandi. When I asked for the bill, I was given a handwritten chit. On insisting, all I got was the signed business card of the shop owner. Although I am aware that a signed business card is not a document that will be useful if things go wrong, I did not have any option but to get my work done from him after all for how long will you keep fighting? It is not possible for common man to insist on all such things unless there is some control mechanism from the government itself,” said Ms Reena Goel, another resident.
Even as the fourth quarter of the current financial year has started and the government claims to be adding up to its revenues with the implementation of the VAT system, common man and industry are both condemning it for practical problems that it is creating.
“Those who issue bills are required to give printed bills with a TIN (tax identification number) on top, it is still common to come across computerised or handwritten bills, that do not mention TIN number and the type of tax that a customer pays, though they do not forget to add tax as an additional item,” a tax practitioner said.
He said many people were still using their old sales tax numbers, which are no longer permissible. A computerised bill without a TIN number means the one who issues can erase those bills with a single command on his computer.
The Taxation Department,it seems, is yet to take note of this massive evasion which is going on unabashedly in the city.
For traders and industrialists who have paid VAT, the situation is worse as they are yet to get any refunds. Frequent complaints of huge amount of capital being blocked due to non-refunds are being received.
Various industrial associations have given representations to the government about the same and the industry has now threatened to launch agitation if the government does not issue VAT refunds.
Assesses are also complaining of problems in getting amendments like change of address, addition in business, product items etc.
Taxation experts say the government needs to create awareness on such practical issues and also ensure foolproof implementation. Besides, the system should be consumer friendly and not create hassles for people, they feel.
“The government talked of awareness before it implemented VAT, but even today it is lacking. Besides, control mechanism is full of loopholes that need to be plugged,” said Mr Jatinder Khurana, an advocate.
BJP ‘jan jagran’ drive from tomorrow
Ludhiana, January 14
Addressing a party workers meeting at Rahon road here today, the former chief of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Mr Sukhminder Pal Singh Grewal said that under the leadership of party president Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, the party activists would seek to focus on the misdeeds of the government, including the deteriorating law and order situation, rising unemployment and corruption at all levels in the government offices. He said while the economy of the state was in shambles, crimes against women, Dalits and weaker sections had witnessed an alarming rise under the Congress regime.
According to Mr Grewal, first jan jagran rally in the course of the state-level agitation would be organised at Amritsar on January 16 for which Mr Vinod Sharma had been nominated as incharge. Similarly, Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla would oversee the preparations for the rally at Pathankot on January 23 and Mr Rajinder Bhandari would be incharge for the Jalandhar rally on January 30.
Mr Harjit Singh, Mr Om Parkash Kalia, Mr Anil Sareen, Mr Vijay Sampla, Mar Harjit Singh and Choudhry Swarna Ram would look after the preparation for rallies to be organised at Fazilka on February 4, Hoshiarpur on February 6, Phagwara on February 13, Ludhiana on February 20, Rajpura on February 27 and Nangal on March 6 respectively.
Mr Grewal claimed that the entire party machinery had been deployed to mobilise the cadres and the members of public for the district level rallies and there was great enthusiasm among the ranks to expose the mis-governance by the Congress Government.
Prominent among others present at the meeting were Mr Chamkaur Singh Pandher, Mr Vinod Sharma, Mr Navdeep Singh Mullanpur, Mr Vijay Sharma, Mr Gurmukh Singh, Mr Gurdev Singh Susrali, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Mr Surinderpal Singh, Mr Pawan Kumar, Mr Harish Kumar, Mr Balwant Singh and Mr Pradeep Jain.
Most women ‘ignorant’ about consumer rights
Ludhiana, January 14
A telling study by College of Home Science faculty Surinderjit Kaur, Manjit Kaur Dhillon and S. Batish has revealed that Ludhiana urban women are ignorant about much-touted Consumer Protection Rights, unaware of the Consumer Protection Act (1986) or District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum and even non-government consumer protection organizations working in their own city.
As regards utilization of services of consumer courts for redreal of purchase-related problems, Ludhiana urban women consumers are simply indifferent and inactive.
The Home Science scientists have concluded that consumer awareness among urban women is negligible. This calls for opening more avenues to educate women consumers of their rights and about acts.
Manjit Kaur Dhillon says the Home Science Extension specialists have now made it a point to spread awareness about consumer welfare services and legislations in training courses at PAU or university’s 15 krishi vigyan kendras.
The methdology followed by PAU researchers was through interview schedule and covered 250 respondents spread across five postal zones out of nine in the city. Nearly 50 per cent of the respondents were in the age group of 41 years or above and 1/3rd were between 31 years and 40 years. The rest were in the age group of 20 years and 30 years. A majority of the 250 women consumer respondents were post-graduate, nearly 30 per cent graduates and the rest matriculates. Nearly half of the randomly selected women consumers were earning members of the family.
Disclosing the findings of the study, Dr Dhillon, Dean, College of Home Science, said women respondents were aware of only certain quality assurance marks like ISI, ISO, AGMARK, WOOL MARK, FPO. They were, however, not aware of ECOMARK and HALL MARK standards for gold.
Interestingly, barely nine per cent of the respondents were aware of consumer protection rights. These rights were in respect of safety, right to choose, right to be informed, right to be heard, right to seek redrassal, right to consumer education and right to having healthy environment. It was equally disappointing for the researchers to observe that more than 80 per cent respondents were “ignorant” even about the rights which protected them from “fraudulent market practices”.
Dr Dhillon said: “Awareness about almost all Acts is negligible in the urban women”. This holds true in respect of at least 10 legislations that are operative. These ranged from Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 to Packaged Commodities Order 1975, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 etc.
The study has also revealed that nearly all respondents — 98 per cent — were not aware of “relief” provided to consumers under Consumer Protection Act 1986. Similarly, 90 per cent Ludhiana women had no knowledge about the essential documentation required for filing of complaints in consumer courts. In fact, because of such gross ignorance and negligible awareness, even the willing consumers did not know where to file complaints and how to seek redressal.
The study has concluded that a major obstacle in the growth of consumer movement was lack of knowledge and awareness among Ludhiana urban consumers about their rights and acts. This called for opening new avenues to strengthen consumer awareness.
Dr Dhillon said in this backdrop, the University Home Science Extension specialists are now working on a comprehensive consumer education programme to encourage women to make use of services provided by the existing government and non- government organizations. Certainly, education is one way for making consumers knowledgeable and self-reliant. Radio and TV channels do beam ads and consumer awareness “jingles”, yet the desired impact was missing.
Manmohan to visit city
on February 28
Ludhiana, January 14
A high-level delegation of the Punjab Government, led by the Minister for Public Works, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, including the Commissioner Secretary PWD, Mr R.S. Sandhu, the Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Mr P.V. Verma, and Senior Deputy Advocate-General, Mr Harpreet Sandhu, had visited the site earlier today where the foundation stone was proposed to be laid. The Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Verma and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Narinderpal Singh, were also present at the site.
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was keen that the Prime Minister should inaugurate the project, since it marked the beginning of his cherished dream of launching the state on the path of agricultural diversification and value addition of the agricultural and horticultural products. The project was expected to boost the rural economy and set the trend for further corporate investment in the agriculture sector.
The Bharti group was learnt to have been planning a huge investment to the tune of Rs 250 crore at Ladhowal for the export of fresh fruits and vegetables. The project would be completed by December this year. It would be spread over an area of about 300 acre. The project was being started in joint venture with UK’s Rothschild.
According to Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman and managing director, Bharti Teletech, who is supervising the project, Ladhowal would be the ‘model farm’ where the company would set up the Fieldfresh Agri Centre of Excellence’ (FACE), a Research and Development laboratory, which would offer protected cultivation, micro-irrigation besides a cold storage chain.
The project would be an important landmark in terms of the state government’s efforts towards crop diversification and value addition of the agriculture products. It was expected to generate a good number of jobs, besides helping farmers to take a break from the traditional crops. Although the work on the project had already started, the formal foundation stone was likely to be laid down by the Prime Minister on February 28.
Meeting of Anti-Corruption Front
Samrala, January 14
Addressing the gathering front president Rashpal Singh stressed that holding rallies like the one held at Lambi and so called historic nagar kirtans like carrying golden palki to Nankana Sahib created bitterness in the society. He said these gatherings were political in nature. The crowd was collected forcibly by offering them freebies, including free transport. However, these gathering may not get even a single vote.
Front president further said it was encouraging that many social organisations were being formed to fight corruption.
Langar marks Malwa Group
Machhiwara, January 14 According to Mr S.K. Maggu, vice-president (personnel and administration) of the Malwa mill, Malwa Mills at Haria was started in 1998. Now it had four units.
Machhiwara, January 14
According to Mr S.K. Maggu, vice-president (personnel and administration) of the Malwa mill, Malwa Mills at Haria was started in 1998. Now it had four units.
Judges, lawyers celebrate Lohri
Ludhiana, January 14 Judge Sangeetpal Singh presented Punjabi folk couplets and songs while lawyers Ashok Mittar, K.R. Sikri, Kamaljyoti, Sachin Arora, and Miglani presented cultural items. The Districts and Sessions Judge, Mr Harbans Lal, the Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda and Additional Sessions Judge S.P. Bangaru graced the occasion.
Ludhiana, January 14
Judge Sangeetpal Singh presented Punjabi folk couplets and songs while lawyers Ashok Mittar, K.R. Sikri, Kamaljyoti, Sachin Arora, and Miglani presented cultural items.
The Districts and Sessions Judge, Mr Harbans Lal, the Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda and Additional Sessions Judge S.P. Bangaru graced the occasion.
14 injured in clashes
Khanna, January 14 According to Dalip Singh of Ramgarh village, Darbara Singh started abusing him when he was going through a street. When he asked him why he was abusing him, he caught him and start beating him up. In the meantime, 10 to 12 armed persons reach there and attacked him. He raised the alarm and his son came to his rescue. The accused beat up his son also. In the scuffle, five persons received injuries. In another clash at Gosslan village, five persons were injured. They have been admitted to the Civil Hospital. In the third incident, two community police officers (CPO) were beaten up by some youths at Rahaun village. ACPO, Balram, said he was on night duty and on his duty route, he blew a shistle. Objecting to the whistle. Objecting to the whistle some persons dragged him. He escaped and went to the councillor of the area. He returned with the councillor to find about 10 persons beating up CPO, Sandip Singh. They again beat him up in the presence of the councillor. In the fourth incident, two persons, including a woman, received injuries during a clash at Chakohi village on Friday night. The police has registered cases under different Sections against the accused.
Khanna, January 14
According to Dalip Singh of Ramgarh village, Darbara Singh started abusing him when he was going through a street. When he asked him why he was abusing him, he caught him and start beating him up. In the meantime, 10 to 12 armed persons reach there and attacked him. He raised the alarm and his son came to his rescue. The accused beat up his son also. In the scuffle, five persons received injuries.
In another clash at Gosslan village, five persons were injured. They have been admitted to the Civil Hospital.
In the third incident, two community police officers (CPO) were beaten up by some youths at Rahaun village. ACPO, Balram, said he was on night duty and on his duty route, he blew a shistle. Objecting to the whistle. Objecting to the whistle some persons dragged him. He escaped and went to the councillor of the area. He returned with the councillor to find about 10 persons beating up CPO, Sandip Singh. They again beat him up in the presence of the councillor.
In the fourth incident, two persons, including a woman, received injuries during a clash at Chakohi village on Friday night.
The police has registered cases under different Sections against the accused.
Probe into fake medico-legal report sought
Ludhiana, January 14
In a representation to the DIG Ludhiana, Mr Pitambar Singh, has alleged that the report was tampered with and fictitious signs of injuries were “added” to help a person against whom he had lodged a complaint earlier.
Missing watchman’s body found
Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 14
According to Shawinder Singh, SHO, Sudhar, decomposed body of Dara Singh (65), son of Arjun Singh, who was working as watchman at Bhadel village and missing since January 4, was found in a dry well in the fields of a Congress leader near Mohi village today. Earlier Bahadur Singh, son of the deceased, had reported to the police that his father had been missing.
Referring to the information received from residents of the area, Bahadur Singh had told the police that Dara Singh had reportedly consumed excessive liquor with one of his friends at Ghuman village on the day he was last seen. “He was so drunk that instead of coming to his own residence he proceeded towards opposite direction and probably fell in a 45 feet deep well that was later found to be without fence,” reported Bahadur Singh to the police. The police got the postmortem conducted after registering a case.
Arms dealer booked
Jagraon, January 14
According to the information, Jatinder Singh, proprietor of Harbans Gun House, here agreed to get a licence for .32 bore pistol, belonging to the complainant on May 10,2003 and received Rs 90,000 in cash from him. The license was delivered to the complainant but on verification was found to be fabricated.
Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 14
According to an FIR lodged by Tarsem Singh (32), son of Karnail Singh, of Mansooran village, Chaman Lal of Khusropur in Muzzafar Nagar district in Bihar had tried to kill him and members of his family by intimidating Shambhoo Rishi Dev (14) of Purnia district (Bihar) to mix poison in food.
Chaman Lal and Shambhoo had been working as domestic servants with the complainant for some time. Chaman Lal, who had been working as a scavenger, had left the job. Tarsem Lal had scolded him for his irresponsible behaviour a few days ago. Having felt insulted, Chaman Lal decided to take revenge and asked Shambhoo to mix poison in the food. When he refused, he threatened him of dire consequences.
Sarabjit Kaur, wife of Tarsem Singh, however, got suspicious when she noticed Shambhoo stirring the “saag” with a ladle. She informed the matter to her husband who started questioning Shambhoo and asked him to eat the vegetable. On his refusal to consume the dish, Tarsem Singh reported the matter to the SHO (Sudhar).
The accused have been arrested but the nature and source of the poison is yet to be known. Meanwhile samples of the food and the powdered substance recovered from the vicinity of the kitchen have been sent to the state forensic laboratory in Patiala. — OC
Chawla is gen secy of chemists’ body
Ludhiana, January 14
In a virtually one-sided contest, he defeated his nearest rival, Mr P.C. Khanna, by 206 votes. The third nominee in the fray, Mr Paramveer Singh, got only seven votes.
According to the returning officer, Mr R.M. Goyal, 317 eligible members cast their votes for the lone post of general secretary. Out of these, Mr Chawla polled 258 and Mr Khanna received 52 votes. One vote was declared invalid.
Earlier, Mr Tikka Dalip Singh and Mr Pardeep Passi were elected president and treasurer of the association unopposed on January 10.
Members of the association offered garlands and distributed sweets to celebrate the election of new office-bearers.
Prominent among those who felicitated the new office-bearers were Mr Harish Kapila, Mr Brij Mohan Kapila, Dr Gurmeet Singh, Mr R.K. Miglani, Mr Rakesh Pinki, Mr Rajesh Aggarwal, Mr Atam Parkash Singh, Mr Naresh Bansal, Mr Manjit Singh Khurana, Mr Ravi Kataria and Mr Mohinder Singh.
Traders await upgrading of Halwara airport
Ludhiana, January 14
“Industry suffers a lot as there is no direct air link. Foreign buyers sometimes restrict their business visits due to this reason. Ludhiana offers unique products and services for the exports market. However, many companies have to sell these in the domestic markets only as foreign buyers do not even reach them,” said Mr G.L. Pahwa, president of the association.
“The direct link will facilitate frequent interaction between foreign buyers and the local industry. It will give an impetus to local exports along with an additional revenue generation for the state government,” he added.
“The industrial community”, the association said, “eagerly awaits the upgrading of the Halwara airport.” It said the government should ensure that the project was implemented at the earliest so that industry could derive benefit. “It would be a major infrastructure initiative by the government. We urge the government to take steps to ensure speedy implementation of the project,” the association said.
Export of cycles, parts
to pick up
Ludhiana, January 14
According to Mr Satish Dhanda former chairman, engineering export promotion Council (EEPC), the export of cycle parts was hit because of the reduction in the duty drawback and rise in the steel prices and the fall in the value of the US dollar.
Dhanda said that now the situation had been reversed as the duty drawback had been raised, the dollar had also become strong and the steel prices had crashed during the past six months. All these factors would help in boosting the export of cycle parts. The monthly export of cycle parts from India was to the tune of Rs 70 crore and the annual export was worth Rs 900 crore. He expected that the export would touch Rs 75 crore per month.
Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, said the export orders from overseas countries were expected now.
Importers of bicycle and parts are South Africa, West Asia European countries and North America.
According to Mr Dhanda, China is posing a serious challenge to cycle parts and the engineering goods.
Meanwhile the resentment against the Punjab Government is mounting among industrialists over the delay in the payment of VAT refund which have accummulated to more than Rs 700 crore.
the industry is also sore over the moves of the Punjab State Electricity Board to hike the power tariff and the unscheduled power cuts which have affected the production of the industry. The PSEB has announced a compulsory weekly off for the industry to tide over the power shortage in the state.