L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Take Punjab to the top, Rodrigues tells industry
LMA annual function
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
Gen (Retd) S.F. Rodrigues, Governor, Punjab, today exhorted the industry to make efforts to restore Punjab’s number one position. “There are no prizes for second position. Let us make efforts to get Punjab on the top,” the Governor said, while addressing the 28th annual function of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) here today.

Giving industry a food for thought, he said that it was time to build “our own models for success instead of following others”. While citing examples of Nawanshahar that has managed to curb female foeticide and of Talwandi Sabo Rural Engineering College that has effectively reached out to the relatively disadvantaged sections of society, the General emphasised that instead of trying to imitate others, “we needed to form our own action plan.”

“The corporate sector must come forward with various programmes to invest in the development of our human resources in education,” he asserted.

Emphasising on formulating “our growth path according to our own requirement,” he said: “Time has come when we realise that whatever we have cannot be duplicated. Our path of growth needs to be framed according to our requirements. We need confidence in our own abilities to cope. Taking advantage of the intrinsic power remains a challenge.”

Citing examples to support his opinion, he said the administration in Nawanshahar used existing infrastructure to curb female foeticide, something that was becoming a stigma for that place. “Existing infrastructure, including various departments and NGOs, were roped in to attain that goal. If they could do it, we too can.”

The Governor further said as per the latest analysis India was soon going to be one of the world’s largest economies and the world will look for a vast pool of knowledge and workers and professionals from India. “We have to restructure our education programmes to equip our youth with the appropriate skills to come up to the required standards”, he added.

Dr Ishwar Hegde, chief economist, Essar Group, who was the keynote speaker on the occasion, explained the ongoing growth happening in the economy, drivers to the growth, opportunities and strategies for future.

He said easy availability of credit had increased spending in the country.

The Governor also presented LMA annual awards to Mr Shivinder Mohan Singh of Fortis Healthcare, Mr Satish Kumar Kaura, Chairman and Managing Director, Samtel India, and Mr N.S. Kalsi, Director-cum-Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Punjab.

Mr M.C. Munjal, president, LMA, Mr Kamal Vadhera, general secretary, LMA, Mr B.M. Lal Munjal of the Hero Group, and Mr Anil Kumar of LMA were also present on the occasion.



Firing incident: Is police hiding the truth?
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
As the mystery about the four “missing girls” accused of firing in Sarabha Nagar market deepens, allegations are being levelled against the police that wards of some influential persons, connected to the episode, were being shielded.

It is learnt that the truth goes beyond the gunshot alleged to be fired by the girls. Questions are also being raised over the source of the picture of the four girls being circulated in the media.

The police is allegedly sheltering at least two boys related to some senior political leaders. It is learnt that one of the girls was involved with one of the boys. The relationship existed for quite sometime. However, the boy backed out recently. They reportedly had some altercation following which a gunshot was fired.

Thanks to lot of hype created by a section of media about these “missing girls” the story remained in the limelight. The girls were denied anticipatory bail by a local court yesterday. There is general perception that the girls were being maligned and more sinned than sinning.

However, police sources assured that the truth would be established and nobody would be victimised. The sources disclosed that the police was getting closer to the case and some more revelations were expected. The sources refused to reveal whether some more people were involved in the firing incident or it was just the four girls.

Surprisingly, the photograph of the four girls being circulated in the media is believed to have been taken with a mobile phone of one of the boys who was also present during the incident. Questions are being raised as why the police was silent about the source of the photograph. Or whether it is holding back some facts about the case to ensure that the investigations do not get derailed and other accused do not slip away?

The other accused are reportedly trying to use their influence to build up pressure upon the police so that the case remains confined to the four girls only. However, due to huge public outcry about the alleged victimisation of the girls and the trauma caused to their families, the police might find it difficult to work on the half truths.



Park Management Federation writes to CM
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 15
The federation of pollution and park management committees headed by Mr S.S. Channa has been at loggerheads with the outgoing Commissioner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma, during his four year tenure.

The federation has been seeking the arrears of maintenance carried out by the federation under an agreement signed with the municipal corporation during he tenure of Dr S.S. Sandhu as Commissioner. But with the posting of Mr S.K. Sharma as Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation by the Amarinder Singh Government, the agreement was terminated. The federation knocked at the doors of the state government but failed to get justice. Finally it approached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission for its intervention and even the directions of the commission were ignored.

Mr S. S. Channa who has retired from the Indian Forest Service as a senior functionary in the Union Ministry of Environment has in a letter to the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, apprised him of the situation prevailing in Ludhiana with regard to the availability of the civic facilities and challenged the claims of the Municipal Corporation.

In a five page letter, Mr Channa has observed: “The residents suffer from non-availability of basic amenities in general and delivery of services in particular while enforcement of civic rules leave much to be desired. Apathy of the officers towards the public grievances have made life of the residents miserable. They are disgusted with the deteriorating water supply, bad roads, poor garbage disposal, neglected parks, receding greenery, non-functional lights, chaotic traffic lights, faulty sewer, illegal constructions, rampant encroachments, and commercial use of residential buildings even in posh colonies. Budhanalla is being blatantly used to discharge industrial waste and to dump garbage, making it a stream of sorrow and a big source of pollution. No doubt Mr S.K. Sharma will be remembered for destroying the well nurtured ‘green lungs’ of the city and causing general degradation of the eco-systems in Ludhiana.”

Strongly refuting the claims of the Municipal Corporation, Mr Channa has maintained that even for taking up new projects, the corporation had achieved very little. It is evident that none of the projects announced from time to time has materialised so far. He made a mention of the projects announced, including multitier flyover Samrala Chowk-Dhandari overbridge, Lakkar Pull, beautification of seven approach roads, cricket stadium and mini rose garden at Jamalpur dumping ground. “Needless to add that even the prestigious project of elevated road started in 2001, with completion schedule of June 2003 is progressing at snail’s speed causing immense hardship to the public. It is an established fact that the performance of an officer is judged by the delivery of the results rather than the excuses he makes to not to do the work,” he said.

Mr Channa has emphasised that Rs 1000 crore promised by the Prime Minister for developing high quality infrastructure and mass transportation system in Ludhiana be released only after a detailed perspective plan is drawn up and a more competent officer is positioned.

Expressing his concern over the deteriorating situation with regard to the pollution in the city, Mr Channa has pointed out: “As you are aware the industrial capital of Punjab is the most polluted city in north. Parks and green belts act as ‘sink tanks’ for the pollutants. On the basis of resolution passed on September 16, 1999, the Municipal Corporation approved allotment of parks to the mohalla committees was entrusted for maintenance at the rate of Rs 1 per sq metre. As many as 128 park management committees were entrusted with 470 parks which were rejuvenated with their missionary zeal. However, the grants were stopped when Mr S.K. Sharma took over as Commissioner in 2002. Thereafter, most of parks were deserted. Having failed to get any relief, the federation sought the intervention of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. The commission directed the Municipal Commissioner to abide by the agreement.

Mr Channa regrets: “It is a pity that the authorities have shown scant regard even for the directions issued by a statutory body like human rights commission. This amply proves how responsive this government is to the grievances of the people.”

Mr Channa has also drawn the attention of the Chief Minister to the fact that Ludhiana is a very dirty town and no satisfactory arrangements have been made for the disposal of garbage. “IMC has miserably failed to fulfil the legal and statutory provisions while it is wasting tax payers’ hard earned money on unnecessary works. Citizens have the right to know from the government which swears by development, as to why issues relating to parks and garbage have been neglected.”

The federation president has further drawn the attention of the Chief Minister towards the alleged siphoning off of public funds by the corporation employees due to lack of supervision by the controlling office. He has mentioned the fuel scam in this regard which ran into Rs 7 crore. Mr Channa has warned: “The myth about Ludhiana being the best corporation created by bluffing the public and misguiding agencies will explode during the next elections”.



Farmers protest against ‘misuse’ of
Land Acquisition Act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The Kirti Kisan Union, Punjab, today staged a massive demonstration for the alleged misuse of the Land Acquisition Act, 1895, by the Punjab government. It alleged that the Act was being misused to benefit some corporate houses in the name of the public interest.

The demonstration was led by the union president, Mr Hardev Singh Sidhu. The union said, wherever the government needed to acquire land in the public interest it must take the local people into confidence in advance. It suggested that the government must set up committees of local panches and sarpanches and justify the public interest for acquiring of land.

The union said that the way the government was acquiring land only indicated that this was being done with a purpose to provide benefit to some big industrial houses who could otherwise purchase land of their own at the prevailing market prices.

The union also demanded the reversal of hike in the prices of petrol and diesel saying it will adversely effect the farmers. It said, it was for the seventh time that the Manmohan Singh Government had increased the prices of diesel during last two years.



Lack of amenities irks residents of Urban Estate
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 15
Residents of Urban Estate Dugri, Phase I, are up in arms against the authorities over the lack of basic amenities in their area. The residents allege indifferent attitude of the authorities towards the problems relating to water supply, sewerage, roads, shifting of cremation grounds and delay in widening of bridge on Sidhwan canal.

According to Urban Estate Welfare Society president H.S. Lamba, the sewerage lines in the locality remained choked and overflowing sewerage manholes were a permanent nuisance and pose grave health hazards for the residents. The inner roads in the colony were in bad shape and in need of massive repair and immediate recarpeting.

Mr Lamba said the functionaries of the society, led by the area councilor Devinder Singh Bittu, had taken up the matter of traffic congestion on the existing narrow bridge on Dugri canal, but the authorities were ignoring the gigantic problem and no worthwhile action had been taken for widening the bridge.

Similarly, the demand for the removal of cremation ground from Phase I was also hanging fire for the past several years and despite giving assurance to the residents in this regard, the civic administration had not given effect to the plan.

Mr Lamba stated that with a cremation ground already existing in Phase II, there was no justification of such a huge piece of land being put to misuse. The site of cremation ground should be developed as a green belt for community purpose.

The residents’ body chief informed that in the wake of growing discontentment and resentment among the area residents, a deputation of the society would soon meet the officials concerned to draw their attention to the problems and impress upon them the need for remedial action without any further delay.



BSP stages protest demonstration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
Activists of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today staged a protest demonstration against the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel and in support of some other long-pending demands. They also submitted a memorandum addressed to the President of India listing several demands.

The memorandum appealed the President to ensure that the recent hike in the prices of diesel and petrol be reversed at the earliest. It observed that the common man was the most affected by this hike.

The memorandum alleged that even after four and a half years of its rule, the Congress government had not implemented various promises made to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes.

It demanded the implementation of the 85th Constitutional Amendment with effect from June 1995 as per the commitment made during the 2002 Assembly elections. It also alleged that the Mandal Commission report was not being implemented in the state. The other demands included finding a solution to the problem of rising unemployment, against privatisation, non availability of electricity to scheduled castes and other weaker sections of the society and for granting loan waiver to poor and small farmers. 



Tax payers put to hardships by banks
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 15
Income tax assessees are facing a lot of hardships and inconvenience due to affixation of illegible, smudged and improper mechanical stamps on payment deposit challans relating to income tax, wealth tax, TDS, TCS and other direct taxes.

Stating this here today, Mr Ashok Juneja, president, Taxation Bar Association (TBA), maintained that as per statutory guidelines, the banks were bound to issue 18-digit payment receipts on the challans which should comprise of BSR code of branch where tax was deposited (7 digits), date, month and year (6 digits) and challan serial number (5 digits).

On the basis of these particulars, the tax payers and bar members had to file annual returns. “The computer system of the Income Tax Department will be able to provide the credit of tax paid only if all these particulars are mentioned therein”.

Mr Juneja said in case of any of the statutory particulars was missing in the return, the tax payment would not be credited to the assessee and remain in abeyance, causing lot of inconvenience and hardship to the tax-payers. According to him, several tax payers and bar members had reported that certain banks were not mentioning BSR code or branch serial number, and as such were contravening the statutory guidelines. In many instances, the mechanical stamps of certain branches were not in conformity with the guidelines.

The TBA chief pointed out that many joint meetings between the senior officials of I-T Department, banks and bar bodies were held to stress the importance of the compliance of the statutory guidelines. Bank officials had several times assured full cooperation and promised to affix statutory stamp on payment challans but desired action had still not been taken in this respect.

Mr Juneja regretted that even after the bank authorities had assured that direct taxes could be deposited in any branch of the designated banks, irrespective of the area, certain branches were still insisting that tax payer should go to the bank branches in their respective areas of operation.

The association urged the banks to extend cooperation on these matters so that no inconvenience was caused to the bar members, tax-payers as well as to the I-T Department on account of tax payments and reconciliation of accounts thereafter.



Human rights march on awareness
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The human rights march being organised by the All India Human Rights Association (AIHRA) reached here today. The march aims at spreading awareness about human rights of people across the country. The march is being led by the AIHRA president, Mr MU Dua. It was received here today by the Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, Mr Paramjit Singh Sibia, the District Transport Officer, Mr Kuldeep Singh and the district president, AIHRA, Ms Rachna Sharma.

A seminar was also organised on the occasion. Speaking at the seminar, the AIHRA leaders underlined the need for creating mass awareness among people about the human rights. They pointed out, that even after 60 years of independence and democracy, crores of people were still living below the poverty line.

Ms Rachna Sharma, who is coordinating the march in Ludhiana, said it got good response from people, particularly the young and students. Some visually challenged students also presented songs on the occasion. She said it was for the second time that the human rights march had come to Ludhiana and people were coming out in large numbers to join it. 



Pensioners hail DA release
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 15
The Government Pensioners’ Association has hailed the release of four DA installments due for the previous four quarters for government-aided privately managed college staff in Punjab.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, general secretary, Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association, in a press statement issued here today, said the notification merging 50 per cent DA with basic pay with effect from April 1, had already been issued by the Punjab Finance Department for the staff of these colleges. After merging the DA, the staff would now get 24 per cent DA as was admissible to the state government staff, he added.

In a communication sent to the state Finance Minister, the association members have urged him to release the pending DA installments for the non-government aided school staff also. The members further added that the benefit of DA installments as well as DA merger should be extended to the pensioners of aided schools also.



Ice cream seller dies in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 15
An ice cream seller, was killed after being hit by an unknown vehicle on the Ludhiana - Malerkotla road near here yesterday. The local police has started a hunt for the vehicle after registering a case under Section 304 A and 279 of the IPC against unidentified driver.

According to sources at the local police station, Chand Kishore, a native of Dephra in UP had died after being run over by a speeding tempo near Akbarpur village on the Ludhiana- Malerkotla last evening. The local police has registered a case on the statement of Sattu a close relative of the deceased. Sattu told the police that a speeding tempo that was trying to overtake another vehicle collided with rickshaw rehri pulled by Chand Kishore and threw him at a distance.

“Though I could not note down the number of the tempo I can recognize the vehicle and the driver when paraded,” stated Sattu before the police.

Mr Darshan Singh, SHO, has sent teams to various transport offices to establish the identity of the driver of the vehicle on the basis of information provided by the friends of the deceased.



HDFC chabeel

Ludhiana, June 15
The Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) organised a chabeel and langar to commemorate the 400th martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev here today. According to a press note, all staff members of HDFC participated in the service. TNS



Gold chain snatched
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 15
Some unknown persons allegedly forced Ms Harbhajan Kaur of Dashmesh Nagar, Humbran, to inhale a narcotic substance in the grain market of the village and snatched her gold chain and earings valued at about Rs 25,000 and ran away. Ms Harbhajan Kaur fell unconscious and has been admitted in Pahwa Hospital, Humbran. The police has registered a case under Sections 328, 382 IPC at the instance of Mr Avtar Singh. No arrest has been made so far.

Two women assaulted: Ms Harwinder Kaur and her daughter Amrinder Kaur of Kreemulla were assaulted by Randhir Singh of their village with an iron rod. The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 324, 326, 506 IPC.

The injured has been admitted to Civil Hospital, Mullanpur. Some land dispute is said to be the reason behind the attack. No arrest has been made so far.

One held with poppy husk: Boota Singh of Pandori was arrested by the Sudhar police from Jassowal village and the police recovered 10 kg of poppy husk. The police has registered a case under the NDPS Act.

Encroachers make hay: Illegal encroachments continue unabated and the encroachers have raised illegal constructions on railway land at Sherpura Road, Jagraon. Since long people have raised constructions and the railway authorities about two year back served notices to them and even carried demolition work. The encroachers, finding the railway authorities inactive, have constructed shops and have even gone to the extent of selling them.



Park Plaza adds local flavour to World Cup
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
In order to add local flavour to the ongoing FIFA World Cup being played in Germany, the Hotel Majestic Park Plaza here has been organising daily live performance by V-Rhythm band. It is a three piece Filipino Lounge Band from Manila, comprising talented musicians.

The band creates good choreography to keep the audience well entertained and thrilled.

Talking to reporters, the General Manager, Mr Arun Jaie, said the hotel had refurbished the Terrace Grill, the open-air barbeque with its serene surroundings once a favourite pastime during winters with the city’s page three. He said, it was now back in the hot and humid summers with the new Barbeque Festival.

The menu offers a wide variety of Lebanese, Egyptian, and Mediterranean Salads. international choices of soups, special char grilled starters with a variety of exotic fresh and vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood.

The main course savours an international fusion cuisine the finest grills served in crisp and short courses amidst the mystery effects of mist fans, roving light effects in various shades to color your special moments, soothing effects of the water flowing in the backdrop and some scintillating foot tapping music all specially created in the heart of a lush green surroundings.



Allahabad Bank staff stage demonstration

Ludhiana, June 15
On a call by the All India Allhabad Bank Employees Co-ordination Committee, employees of local branches held a demonstration in front of the Zonal Office here today to protest against the procrastinating attitude of the management on the issues concerning the employees.

Addressing the employees, Mr V. K. Sood, general secretary said award staff strength in the branches was being reduced every year thus effecting the customer service. There is deliberate attempt on the part of management not to implement the legally binding settlements, and long pending vacancies of allowance.

Compassionate appointments where pre-employment formalities had since been completed after holding the interviews of eligible candidates are not being made. All efforts on the part of AIABECC to resolve the issues through discussion and peaceful means had failed due to the adamant attitude of management, Mr Sood alleged.

He appealed to the management to hold immediate discussions with the employees representatives to resolve the long pending demands and issues in the interests of all concerned with the situation failing which there will be all India strike in their branches as per decision of AIABECC. TNS



Hotel association poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
Mr Manjit Singh Nagpal of Nagpal Regency was elected president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association Ludhiana here today. Mr Amarvir Singh of Hotel Natraj was elected secretary.

Addressing the members, Mr Nagpal said pending issues and problems concerning hotels and restaurants would be taken on priority basis and he would apprise the government of the same.



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