L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Free gurdwaras from Badal's control: AISAD
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) has suggested setting up of local committees for setting free the gurdwaras from the clutches of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the SGPC controlled by him.

The AISAD president, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, said way back in early twenties, the Sikhs had launched a mass movement against the undue control of the mahants on the gurdwaras. The movement culminated in the enactment of the Sikh Gurdwara Managing Act.

He said at that time also the funds of the gurdwaras were being misused by the mahants. Now, the situation appears to be no different, Mr Mann observed, while adding that a similar kind of movement needed to be started for setting these free.

At that time, local level committees of people had been formed for proper and efficient management of the gurdwaras. Similar measures could be taken even now.

Mr Mann said the proposal would be given practical shape in October and a movement would be launched for this purpose.

He took strong exception to the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narinder Modi, comparing the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, with Sardar Patel, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of the country.

Mr Mann said during a speech in Mumbai recently, Mr Modi had made a comparison between Dr Singh and Sardar Patel which was quite out of context. This has hurt the feelings of millions of Sikhs as he should not have referred to Dr Manmohan Singh as a Sardar who had proved to be so weak.

Mr Mann asked the Shiromani Akali Dal president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to ask his alliance partner, the BJP, which glorified Mr Modi, to clear its stand on the Sardars.

"Mr Modi has tried to denigrate the entire Sikh community, which all also known as Sardars", Mr Mann observed.



SAD-A resolves to be peaceful on July 21
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar today resolved that it would ensure peace during the 'Miri-piri' day celebrations being observed at Harmandir Sahib on July 21. The SAD-A leaders said they were committed to the sanctity of the Shri Akal Takht Sahib.

Addressing a press conference here today, the senior vice-president of the SAD-A, Mr Daljeet Singh Bittu, and the secretary general, Prof Jagmohan, asserted, "We are committed to peace and democracy and we would remain peaceful inspite of all provocations".

They apprehended that the workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal could create trouble on that day as Mr Parkash Singh Badal had announced to observe it as a "pachhtatap divas" (the day of penance).

They claimed that the SAD-B was feeling quite desperate and could resort to any desperate moves.

The SAD-A leaders maintained that Mr Badal had got no issue with him with which he could go to the people. He was resorting to desperate means and methods to draw public attention. But he and his workers would not be allowed to get undue media attention.

On the issue of 'tankha" (punishment) accorded to the party president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, by the Akal Takht, the SAD-A leaders said, "they held Shri Akal Takht Sahib in the highest esteem and all its orders were sacrosanct to them".

At the same time, they said Mr Badal was once summoned to Akal Takht, by the then Jathedar, Giani Manjit Singh. The SAD-A leaders claimed that the supporters of Mr Badal had almost lynched the jathedar that day. "That is the respect he (Mr Badal) and his supporters have for the Akal Takht", they said.

Referring to the allegations that the SAD-A was "anti-dalit", as levelled by some leaders who recently resigned from the party, Mr Bittu and Prof Jagmohan said, "Our party adheres strictly to the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib which forbids any caste or sect discrimination". They said, rather the SAD-A was a champion of the cause of the dalits and the downtrodden.

The SAD-A leaders also criticised the Punjab government for handing over land to big mulitnationals after acquiring it from the farmers at a meagre price.

The leaders also condemned the lathicharge on the farmers and the striking unemployed teachers. 



Changes in VAT return form cause confusion
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Changes in Value Added Tax (VAT) return form by the Excise and Taxation department have created confusion among industrialists. This was stated by Mr Jatinder Khurana, president of the Taxation Young Lawyers Association.

He said the last date for VAT payment by cheque was July 20 and industrialists were panic struck due to differences in the printed forms available in the market and those prescribed by the department. ‘‘They are unable to understand which form they should submit.’’

Alleging that the department was resorting to changes without considering the convenience of industry, the association maintained that even as Finance Minister of Punjab, made an announcement in the budget to do away with the requirement to get audit done from chartered accountants, the notification for the same had not arrived so far due to which industry and lawyers were in a fix.

The association demanded that notification to this effect should be issued immediately.



More UK MPs back World War soldiers
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Indian soldiers who fought in World War II have reason to become more optimistic for rectifying a decision taken against them by the British government.
A notice of motion moved by 19 Members of Parliament in May seeking compensation for the soldiers, especially the prisoners of war (PoWs), has garnered more support with another 38 MPs signing the petition prepared by Ludhiana-based Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd).

Colonel Dhillon had taken up the matter with British MPs after a struggle of over six decades. But now, he has a support of 57 British leaders.

The Tribune had highlighted his struggle and the notice of motion a few days ago. The British government had taken reparation from Japan after the war. It had compensated British soldiers who had fought against Japan and allied forces in Africa. But the Indian soldiers were ignored

He said British MPs, including Mr John McDonnel, Mr Rob Marrs and Mr Bob Rusell, had played an important role in highlighting the issue.

Mr McDonnel informed Colonel Dhillon over the phone yesterday that 38 more MPs had also supported the motion. He said the British parliament would soon approve the compensation plea. It would be then left to the Indian government to prepare a list of claimants.

Colonel Dhillon, a highly decorated soldier, was one of the few hundred surviving Indian soldiers who had escaped from PoW camps in Africa.

Colonel Dhillon said he was trying to get compensation not only for the PoWs but also for all soldiers who fought for the British government.

The Indian government did not pay anything after the Independence saying it was not supposed to pay anything as the soldiers had fought for the British government.

The motion reads: “This House calls upon the government to undertake in liaison with the Indian government an assessment of the plight of surviving members of the British army recruited from Indian subcontinent, who were taken PoWs on the Western Front in World War II with a view to ensuring adequate support and financial assistance is provided to those who served this country at its time of need.”

The British government was denying the compensation on the plea that the Indian soldiers were not included in the ex gratia because the responsibility for the old Indian Army had passed to the new Governments of India and Pakistan.



Campaign on UPA govt achievements
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Mr. S .S Pantode, Joint Director media and communication, Ministry of Information, Government of India, today said that a five-day public information campaign was being organised at Jifco Resorts, G T Road, Sahnewal, in Ludhiana District from July 24 to 28 to educate people regarding the various welfare and development programmes of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the country.

A special meeting of officers of the PIB and the department concerned was held under the chairmanship of Mr. Pantode here today to chalk out details of the functions to be organized during the campaign.

Giving details, Mr Pantode said the campaign is the part of the nationwide public information campaign on the flagship programmes of the UPA government like Bharat Nirman, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, National Rural Health Mission, Right to Information Act, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission ( JNNURM), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Universal Mid-day Meal Program. The campaign will disseminate information to the targeted beneficiaries of the above programs.

"Recently we have successfully completed first campaign at Tarn Taran in Punjab", he said, adding "the selection of Ludhiana district for the campaign was made, as the district comes under JNNURM, under which, the city of Ludhiana would be developed as the modern city of the country by providing state-of-the-art information facilities".

The Joint Director disclosed that the programme would be divided into three parts like seminar, lectures on the flagship programs and other important topical issues of local importance by local MPs, MLAs, government officers or the eminent media persons.

In the third segment field officers will conduct visits to villages, where they would contact panchayats and villagers to inform them about various government programs and to get feedback from them, he added.

Mr Pantode said that all the media units of the Ministry of I&B like DFP, DAVP, S&DD, AIR and Doordarshan would also participate in the campaign highlighting flagship programs of the UPA Government. PSUs/ NGOs would also put up their stalls at the venue of the campaign. 



Now electroplaters allege harassment
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
After the dyeing industry, it is electroplaters who have alleged high-handedness by the Punjab Pollution Control Board.
In a memorandum to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association said the chairman of PPCB has sent 156 notices to industrial units but did not give them any chance for personal hearing.

“Personal hearing is meant to afford a reasonable opportunity to industrial units before any punitive action is taken. But the chairman, instead of giving a personal hearing to these units, announced that they would be closed down, which is highly unjustified,” said Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the association.

The association also alleged that pollution control board officials resorted to corruption and unnecessary harassment of industrialists. Demanding that the staff of the board be posted at non-public dealing posts, they said that objections, if any, should be raised in one go by concerned officials.

Electroplaters also urged the Chief Minister to allot them land for relocation. Owners of these units are quite willing to move out. But the key problem is that there the government has not provided land for their re-location, they said.

Mr Kumar said that as many as 13 years ago, in year 1993, the government acquired some agriculture land of which it allotted 349 acres to the PSIEC. The corporation identified pockets for polluting industry on 110 acres. However, all this land was either encroached upon of was under litigation due to which the polluting units were not allotted anything.

The industry demanded that at least 50 acres of undeveloped land be allotted to polluting units for relocation. They said it was not possible for industry to stop operations. Allotment of land is necessary so that these units shift and are able to carry on with their operations, they said.



Amarnath langar operators face problems
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Various organisations providing langar facilities to the Amarnath pilgrims are facing problems. This is partly due to the apathy of the local administration and partly due to the inexperience of officials dealing with them. With the result, the pilgrims, who could otherwise get food and shelter free of cost, are made to pay many times than the routine expenses.

According to Mr Ashok Kakkar, who has been organising the langar for the past 27 years, every year they have to face different problems.

Without levelling any allegations against the local officials, he said most of the langar operators were facing unnecessary difficulties with some apparent motives. He said the free langar operators were provided space at remote places. Even they are provided less space for setting up tents where the pilgrims could stay free of cost.

Against this, local traders, who charge heavily from the pilgrims, are provided convenient locations with sufficient space.

Another langar operator Baba ‘International’, who has been regularly organising the langar, said every time they were made to face different sort of problems. He said even workers employed to prepare food were not properly identified. Many a time the workers flee with the good and other material.



DC launches plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, has exhorted the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to come forward for the plantation of saplings in the city during this season.

Mr Gupta was addressing a function in the Central Jail after inaugurating Vanmahotsava jointly organised by the jail authorities and the Rotary Club Ludhiana North today. The Deputy Commissioner and other dignitaries planted the saplings inside the jail.

He said effective steps would also be taken to create awareness among the residents regarding the environment and the problem of pollution.

Expressing concern over the rising pollution in the city, he said there was a lot of potential for the NGOs to persuade the people to work in this field. He also said strict steps would be taken to implement the laws to check the pollution.

Mr Gupta said the procedure to grant parole to the prisoners on various grounds had been simplified. He said most of the pending parole cases had been disposed off and the remaining were being decided within one week.

Mr Gupta exhorted the prisoners to take maximum interest in getting training of different ventures being arranged in the jail so that after the completion of their imprisonment they could become a useful part of society.

Appreciating the efforts of the jail authorities in arranging the training programmes like yoga, basic education, vocational training, etc, the Deputy Commissioner asked the jail superintendent to impart training regarding the yoga to some of the prisoners so that they could further teach yoga to the prisoners.

He said yoga and other physical and mental exercise not only keep them healthy but also help in improving their mental condition. He appealed them to cooperate with the jail authorities to provide vocational training.

He announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the repair of a tubewell and Rs 20,000 for the purchase of an ECG machine for the jail hospital.

Earlier, Mr Gupta checked the quality of food being provided to the prisoners and said he would also make surprise checks to the jail to ensure the quality of food.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, Jail Superintendent, informed that a special yoga camp was being conducted for the prisoners. He said during the plantation drive 1,200 saplings of different varieties would be planted.



Police looks for clues at jeweller’s shop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
A team of the city police today searched the New Punjab Jewellers’ shop situated in the Dhodha Complex, Rani Jhansi Road. The police was looking for clues of some persons known to the murdered jeweller couple, Darshan Singh and Paramjit Kaur. The couple had owned the shop.

The shop had largely remained closed after four unidentified youths had murdered the couple in their house on the intervening night of July 3 and 4. SP, Detective, Harish Kumar, said the police believed that someone known to the couple, may be a former employee or some regular visitor, could provide a link to the murder case, which had become quite challenging for the police.

Sources said the police could have matched the finger prints found from the jeweller’s house to those found from the shop. However, the officials were tight-lipped on what exactly they were looking for.



18 hurt in bus-truck collision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
As many as 18 persons were injured, two of them seriously, in a head-on collision between a bus and a mini truck. The accident occurred near Baddowal, when the ill-fated Ludhiana-bound bus of Punjab Roadwayscollided head on with a mini truck coming from the Ludhiana side around 7.50 am today.

Driver Natha Singh, conductor Buta Singh of the bus and driver Manga and cleaner Ramu of the mini truck were among the 18 injured.

The Highway Petrol Van of Ludhiana and ambulance of Medi City Hospital bought the injured to the hospital.



BKU (Ekta) holds dharna
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 19
Hundreds of member of different farmer unions hold dharna and offer themselves for arrest to accelerate ‘Zameen Bachao Kisan Jagao’ movement in front of the office of the local SDM here today. They demanded return of 376 acres of land to the farmers which was being allotted by state government to Trident Group in Barnala tehsil.

Leaders of unions flayed the government decision and alleged that it had not taken consent of farmers. They demanded market price of the land. 



Two booked
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 19
Rajinder Singh, a resident of Kila Raipur village, has been booked under Sections 363, 366, 376 of the IPC by the Dakha police. It is reported that Rajinder Singh allegedly kidnapped a girl of Chachrari village and took her to Rajasthan where he raped her.

In an another incident, Namdeep Singh, a resident of Pandori village, has been booked by the police under Sections 366, 376, 328, 506 of the IPC. It is reported that Namdeep Singh allegedly kidnapped a women of Pandori village on July 10, 2006, and raped her.

One held: The police has arrested Raj Kumar, a resident of Jagraon, from Jangpur village and recovered 35 kg of poppy husk from his possession.

Moped stolen: A moped Hero Effy ( PB-25C- 5259) belonging to Sukhdev Singh of Bhamal has been stolen from Agwar Gujjran Jagraon. The police has registered a case.

In another incident, some unidentified persons have allegedly stolen 15 water meter of value of Rs 6,000 from Akalgarh village. 



Review privatisation policies: PSSF
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
Reacting strongly to the government decision to hand over six more departments to the panchayats, the Punjab Subordinate Services federation (PSSF) has demanded immediate review of the policies of privatisation and initiation of steps for implementation of all pending demands of the employees.

A meeting of the district committee of the PSSF, held here today under the presidentship of Mr Gurmail Singh Melday, said the government move to hand over departments of irrigation, fisheries, dairy and poultry, animal husbandry, forests and public distribution was reprehensible, as also against the professed policies of the Congress government.

Speakers at the meeting remarked that even as the government employees and their representative bodies were already agitating against the policies of privatisation being pursued by the government, the recent decision to privatise more departments had come as a bolt from the blue.

According to PSSF general secretary, Mr Bhagwan Singh Bhangu, the failure of the government to fulfill its poll promise of accepting all pending demands of the government employees also came in for a sharp criticism in the meeting. Several demands like arrears of bonus, enhancement of medical and other allowances, regular recruitment against all vacant posts and regularisation of adhoc employees, were hanging fire.

The PSSF functionaries were sore that contrary to its claims of fulfilling all its poll promises, the Congress government had inflicted a serious blow to the employees by giving effect to drastic changes in pension commutation formula, thereby causing huge financial loss to all retiring employees.

The federation demanded that the policy of privatisation of government departments be scrapped forthwith and all pending demands of the employees be implemented without any further delay.



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