L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

CMC tenders apology to mediapersons
Beating up of photographers on Aug 4
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 7
The Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) authorities today tendered a written apology to local mediapersons for the alleged beating up of two press photographers by some hospital employees on August 4.

Dr John Pramod, director, and Dr John Abraham, medical superintendent, of the hospital also gave an undertaking that they would identity the culprits, take action against them and assist the police in arresting them at the earliest.

They read out the apology letter before SSP A.S. Rai, SP City-I Rakesh Aggarwal and mediapersons from all newspapers and electronic channels here today. One of the victim photographers S.P. Singh was also present on the occasion, while the second injured photographer Vijay Kumar is still not able to move much.

The SSP A.S. Rai, also ordered an inquiry into the alleged role of the SHO Division No 2 Inspector Gurpreet Singh who, as per the complaint of the victim photographers, remained a mute spectator to their beating up and illegal detention on that day.

The local mediapersons later, at a meeting, decided to postpone tomorrow’s proposed dharna outside the residence of Chief Minister Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh. However, the mediapersons have given time till Wednesday evening to the police for identifying the culprits. The video footage and the photographs in which the culprits were easily recognised has been handed over to the police.

The CMC authorities letter said, ‘‘They express regret for all, including some members of the Press, who were put to discomfort and may have been hurt in the unfortunate incident that happened within the hospital on August 4, 2006.’’

The letter further said that the CMC administration assured the police that they would help the city authorities and the police to investigate as to how the incident happened in an otherwise peaceful hospital and to identify the culprits.

‘‘The administration also assures that they will take appropriate action against those employees found guilty in the inquiry of the police in this matter,’’ the letter said.



MC squad flees amid protest
Fails to put up barricades in market
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 7
A squad of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation which had gone to erect barricades in Feroze Gandhi Market in compliance with High Court orders returned unsuccessful following a protest by car dealers today.

Led by Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, a team of the MC staff and a heavy police force reached the car bazar and started putting up barricades. The squad was scared away by car dealers who started raising slogans against the officials.

Despite being accompanied by police, it did not take a long for officials to return to their vehicles and flee.

Angry at the inaction of the MC staff, office-bearers of the Traders and Property Dealers Association said despite having a strong force of 30-40 cops, the squad could not do its duty. ‘‘They went back as if they had already prepared themselves to do so and were waiting for the protest,’’ said Mr N.K. Monga.

The car dealers had removed the barricades some days ago. Put up by the MC, the barricades were to ban the entry of cars belonging to car dealers. The High Court had directed the administration to keep the cars away from parking lots.

The genesis of this problem has in the inconvenience caused to visitors and shopkeepers who have spent crores on buying property in the posh area.

They have been demanding shifting of the car bazaar from the market. They had moved the HC after failing to get any response from the local authorities.

The shopkeepers allege that the car dealers have encroached upon more than 70 per cent of the open area of the prestigious market turning it into a car bazaar, besides creating parking problems, thereby affecting businesses.

They claim although they spent a huge amount on buying shops in the area, thinking it would develop into an upbeat market over the years, the occupation of pavements and other open areas for parking cars, use of parks as washing spaces and discharge of dirty water on roads by car dealers has sullied the once-clean environs.

They allege that the parking of hundreds of cars in the market leaves no space for the visitors, besides causing serious security and fire hazards to high-rise buildings.

On the other hand, car dealers claim that they are in the market for the past many years.



PCCTU stages dharna to remind govt of poll promises
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 7
In order to remind the state government of the poll promises that it had made on the eve of the last Vidhan Sabha elections in 2002 of granting the benefit of pension and gratuity to the teachers of privately managed aided colleges, Ludhiana District Council of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) organised a rally-cum-dharna outside the DC office here today.

Addressing the rally, Dr Manjit Singh Komal, President, District Council, said that teachers had been forced to resort to agitation as the government had not cared to fulfil its own commitment to college teachers regarding the grant of retirement benefits to them.

He added that in the poll manifesto of the Congress issued at the time of the last Assembly elections, it was mentioned that the genuine demands of private college teachers, in particular, the demand of pension and gratuity, shall be addressed by the Congress government if voted to power.

He said, “Five years are going to lapse since the promise was made yet there is no progress on this count.” He appealed to the government to fulfil its promises without further lapse of time.

It may be mentioned that the main demands of the PCCTU including house rent allowance and rural area allowance for staff of rural colleges, complete parity to librarians and DPEs, full grade to staff of unaided colleges, review of posts in aided colleges, regular and timely flow of full grants under 95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme to colleges, restoration of grant-in-aid to B.Ed colleges, payment of pending arrears due to revision of salary scale from 1996-1999, lifting of ban on filling of vacant posts in colleges and review of posts are pending since 1981.

Dr Kuldeep Singh said that on August 18, the private college teachers of the state under the banner of PCCTU will march from Barnala to Patiala as part of their programme of agitation for the fulfilment of their long-standing and just demands of pension and gratuity.

Another member of the state executive, Prof Kanwaljit Singh said that the government’s policy of not fulfilling its poll promises may prove costly in the coming Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections.



Pensioners resolve to launch stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 7
Members of the High Powered Punjab Government Joint Front held a meeting in the Pensioners Bhawan located in the mini secretariat here yesterday. Mr B.R. Kaushal, chairman of the front, presided over the meeting. The front members flayed the Punjab Government for its apathy towards the 26 points demand charter of the pensioners.

The front chalked out a two-pronged programme for launching an agitation. Mr Kaushal, said in the first phase the pensioners would stage marches with black flags at the district and sub-divisional levels in the state. In the second phase , the pensioners would hold a dharna in Chandigarh and would march towards the Punjab Assembly on September 15 during the Assembly Session.

A dharna would be staged in Sector 17 opposite Neelam Cinema in Chandigarh. 



Tribune Impact
PWD to meet Gill villagers on road issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 7
To redress the grievances of the residents of Gill village over the laying of the bypass, the Public Works Department (PWD) has called a public meeting at the village tomorrow.

After The Tribune highlighted the problem of villagers that the village pond would be closed if a new road was laid instead of widening the existing one, the PWD has invited all villagers to air their problems.

In a letter sent to the village panchayat, an XEN of the PWD has asked all villagers to attend a meeting at 11 am tomorrow. Mentioning the Tribune report, the PWD official said that the persons, who would be affected by the proposed bypass, would be consulted before anything concrete comes on the ground. The letter also stated that all misunderstandings would be cleared in tomorrow’s meeting.

The panchayat of the village had protested against the bypass away from the existing road.

In a resolution signed by the Sarpanch, Ms Baljinder Kaur, and panches, the villagers claimed that the levelling of pond would affect the drainage and ecosystem of the village.

While on the other side, some villagers had been alleging that if the existing road would be widened it would finish the existence of the village.

Maximum houses would have to be demolished and most of the population would be affected.

“If 80 per cent houses would be demolished, this much population would be displaced. Where would be the village then’’, asked a resident.

He said the PWD had agreed in principle to provide a sewerage for the village and there would be no problems if the pond was levelled for a road.

Soon after the proposal of the widening of the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road became public protests from Gill and Dehlon villagers reached the authorities.

Though the department tried its best to displace minimum number of people, the affected ones were raising a hue and cry.



Model Colony residents seek civic amenities
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 7
Feeling duped by an authorised private coloniser, residents of Model Colony in ward number 11 here have urged the councillor of their area to impress upon the municipal council to provide civic amenities in their area. The council authorities claimed to have initiated the process for the development of the area.

The colony was developed by a private coloniser about five years ago with the promise to provide all civic amenities to about 100 houses. Even though many owners have shifted to the new accommodation, many facilities in the area are lacking.

Residents, led by Mr Mohinder Verma, Mr Ravi Verma and Mr Bhupinder Singh alleged that they had been living in unhygienic conditions since they constructed their houses in the colony.

“Though we were made to understand that civic amenities, including drinking water and sewage, would be provided immediately after habitation, no development was made either by the ‘coloniser’ or the civic body,” said the residents, adding that their appeals to seek amenities had been falling on deaf ears.

Referring to interaction with the authorities during the past, residents said they (authorities) always tried to evade us by saying that we should seek an answer from the developer. Though some of the residents have constructed drains at their own cost, these were not sufficient to drain out the waste water. Rain added to their woes.

The residents also complain that a stretch of road is covered on the entry of the colony Foul smell from the garbage affects passersby as well as residents of the colony. They have demanded that alternative arrangements should be made by the local municipal council for the dumping of garbage.

Mr Jatinder Bhola, president, municipal council, and Ms Chiter Rekha Sharma, councillor of the ward, said the development work had been initiated in the area. “Unfortunately, the residents had been misguided by the sellers of plots that it was an approved colony. Now when they have approached us, necessary arrangements will be made to provide them all amenities,” said Mr Bhola.



Aggarwal Sammelan backs Akali-BJP alliance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 7
The Punjab Pradesh Aggarwal Sammelan has decided to support the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janata Party alliance in the coming Assembly elections in the state. This was decided at a meeting of the sammelan here today.

President of the sammelan, Amrit Lal Aggarwal said here today that the meeting was attended by all district heads of the sammelan. It was resolved that the community members would support the Akali-BJP candidates since the alliance leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had always remained supportive of their demands.

Mr Aggarwal claimed that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during his recent visit to his residence, had assured him that after coming to power special attention would be given to various problems being faced by the common people. He said Mr Badal had said the priority of his government would be to curb rising prices.

Among others who attended the meeting were Mr Surinder Gupta, Mr DK Gupta, Mr Sunil Jindal, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, Mr Arvind Jindal, Mr Rajesh Aggarwal and Mr 
Arun Gupta.



Plea on parking sites

Ludhiana, August 7
A delegation of shopkeepers and property owners in Bhadaur House Market today met the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Mr Vikas Partap, and urged him not to auction parking sites in the market.

Stating that the move would compound their already existing parking problems, the delegation said the space was not even enough for their private vehicles. And if the lots were auctioned, it would lead to chaos.

Mr N. S. Nanda, a hotelier and office-bearer of the association, after the meeting, claimed that the Commissioner had promised to visit the area. ‘‘He told us that he would do a survey himself and would not take action till then.’’ said Mr Nanda.

The office-bearers of the association had been protesting against the announcement of auction, as Bhadaur Market is already a very congested area. Housing a number of shops and offices, it does not provide for the parking facility of all cars, as a large number of people frequent the area. — TNS



Grain Market roads to be repaired

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 6
Office-bearers of the Market Committee resolved to initiate the repairs of certain roads leading to the Grain Market from surrounding villages and the yard. Mr Harjinder Singh, sarpanch of Nathumajra, presided over the meeting approving the resolutions.

Mr Harjinder Singh, acting chairman, said the repair works on all roads leading to the local Grain Market would be started soon.

The meeting resolved to undertake the necessary repairs at grain markets and purchase centres falling under the jurisdiction of the committee. OC



Booked for bid to murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 7
Varinder Pal, alias Lucky, of Akalgarh allegedly stabbed Sukhchain Singh in his back and injured him. The injured was first admitted to the Civil Hospital, Sudhar and later shifted to Ludhiana. The Sudhar police has registered a case under Sections 452, 307 and 34 IPC.

According to information, the victim was with his mother Harjinder Kaur and his maternal aunt Shinder Kaur when Lucky along with his friend entered their house and stabbed him and fled. Varinder Pal (15) is a student of class X. A case was registered on complaint of Harjinder Kaur.

Booked for firing: Harjit Singh of Pandori has been booked by the Dakha Police under Sections 336 and 506 IPC, and Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act for firing a shot with his single-barrelled gun and threatening Jagjit Singh of the village.

6 booked for assault: In two separate incidents, the Sudhar and Jagraon police have booked six persons for assault. In the first incident, Chamkaur Singh, Amarjit Singh, Harpreet Singh, alias Tidda, and Jagga Singh of Dhaipai allegedly entered the house of Paramjit Kaur, assaulted her and threatened her over a dog. The injured woman has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana.

In another incident, Avtar Singh and his father Kunda Singh of Agwar Lopo, Jagraon, allegedly assaulted their maidservant Amarjit Kaur in her house. The injured has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The police has registered a case under Sections 452, 323 and 34, IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



Industry alleges bias by Centre
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 7
Expressing resentment over the Central Government’s decision to give three years’ extension in exemption to new industrial units from taxes and excise duty to Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Sikkim, the Auto Parts Manufacturers Association said the “bias” of the government had disappointed industry in Punjab.

“The decision is very disappointing. Previous exemptions granted to these states, particularly Himachal Pradesh, had an adverse impact on Punjab’s economy. Now, when these exemptions were about to expire, the Central Government has extended these till March, 2010,” said Mr G.S. Kalhon, president of the association.

“A large number of industrial units have already shifted to these states due to tax exemptions. Further extension will only result in shifting of more units,” Mr Kalhon said.

The association said the Centre should not have taken the decision as it would particularly hit small-scale industry in Punjab and make marketing of products difficult.

“Small industrial units in the state are already passing through a tough time and great financial crisis due to various factors. Such biased decision would further aggravate their problem,” said Mr Surinder Singh, general secretary of the association.

“The Centre should declare a package for industry in Punjab as well so as to avoid exodus of industry from here,” he demanded. 



Airtel lowers call rates

Ludhiana, August 7
Airtel Broadband and Telephone Services has introduced local call rates on all calls across Punjab and those made to Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida.

A press note said by paying a top up charge of Rs 49, its fixed line phone customers in Punjab could avail of an extended pulse of 180 seconds for all calls made within Punjab and to the National Capital Region (NCR) as against a maximum of Rs 1.20 per minute levied earlier. The average effective calling rate would now be 40 paisa per minute. TNS



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