L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

IT raids on business houses
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 10
The sleuths from the investigation wing of the Income Tax department today swooped down on several business houses dealing in petrol, cooking gas (LPG), LPG bottling and cycle parts in a bid to unearth concealed income.

Different teams of income tax officials conducted simultaneous raids on business and residential premises of a couple of petrol pumps on the Old GT Road near Chand Cinema and Dugri, an Indian Oil Corporation cooking gas agency in Sarabha Nagar, an LPG bottling plant, a group of cycle parts manufacturers and dealers in the Industrial Area and the Club Road, where searches were conducted and seizures of incriminating documents made.

The team of officials, along with police personnel, barred the entry and exit of every body from the business premises and residential houses, thoroughly inspected the books of accounts and questioned the owners, partners, staff and family members of the business houses.

The raids, which commenced in the morning, were continuing till the filing of this report. While sources in the department claimed that cash, valuables including jewellery, documents pertaining to property and investment in real estate were seized by raiding parties and some bank lockers were also sealed, no officials were available for confirmation.

Sources also maintained that the raids would yield a sizeable amount of concealed income and tax evaded thereon but the total extent of tax evasion would be known only after the seized documents were processed and the scrutiny of books of accounts was completed.



Schoolgirls tie rakhis to cops
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 10
Various social and educational organisations of the area have appreciated the role of the Sangrur district police in building up the confidence of girl students and women by inspiring police personnel to get rakhis tied from them.

While addressing students of the local Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Ms Kamla Sharma, director of the institute, said the novel cause would go a long way in building up confidence among young girls. She said society must recognise the role of senior officials who had tried to come closer to the public.

Mr Chiter Rekha Sharma, director, Janta College for Women, said besides strengthening bonds among civilians the move would enhance the sense of responsibility among the uniformed personnel.

Mr Harjinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, said he had directed SHOs of all police stations of the district to go to educational institutes of their respective area and get rakhis tied from girls.

“Now when they have received token of fraternal love from girls coming from various sections of society they would feel more concerned about their safety,” argued Mr Chahal.

Acting on the advice of the SSP, Mr Darshan Singh, SHO, Sadar, and Mr Jaswinder Singh, SHO, City, visited Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, MGMN Senior Secondary School, Janta College for Women, Government Senior Secondary, Bhogiwal, Guru Har Krishan College, Phallewal, Jain Senior Secondary School, Kup, and Government Elementary School, Phalaund, and got rakhis tied.



Bodies of 4 kids found
Mahesh Sharma

Rara Sahib, August 10
Immediately after arrival of a team of professional divers from the Bhakhra Beas Management Board, the authorities announced to have retrieved the bodies of four children drowned in the Bathinda Feeder Canal when a truck carrying 46 devotees fell into the canal, near here, on Tuesday.

The fished out bodies were identified as those of two brothers Akashdeep (6) and Amandeep, alias Sukhchain (7), Puja (12) and Vijay Kumar (11). While other children had accompanied their parents to the pilgrimage, Pooja came alone, being the daughter of a tenant of the truck owner.

According to Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, two bodies were found in the canal near Rara Sahib and two near Khatra bridge this afternoon. The bodies were handed over to the kin of the deceased after post-mortem at the Civil Hospital here.

The Payal police has added names of the children to the list of dead in a case registered under Section 304-A against Darshan Singh, driver, and owner of the truck.

Demanding removal of obstructions and strengthening of the canal bank, the authorities have urged the people not to use vehicles meant for transporting goods for carrying passengers on this stretch of the road.

Search for the children’s bodies had proved futile yesterday as divers could not see anything under the swift flowing muddy water of the canal. The administration then called for professional divers from the BBMB, but the Army team had already located the bodies before the arrival of the divers.

Mr Dhaliwal said he had written to the authorities in the Forest Department, the PWD and the Canal Department to expedite the process for removing trees obstructing the path for vehicles.



Health staff threaten gherao
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 10
The coordination committee of para-medical and health employees, Punjab, has threatened to hold a state-level protest demonstration and gherao at the Directorate of Health in Chandigarh on August 18 if pending demands of employees were not accepted and implemented without any delay.

In a joint statement here today, Mr Amarjit Singh Pandher, co-convener, Mr Balvir Singh Kalia, secretary, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Buta Singh and Ms Sarbjit Kaur, all state committee members, regretted that health staff deployed on plan schemes had not been paid salaries for the past several months. Further, the demand for promotion of matriculate employees to health assistants and Class IV to Class III posts, already accepted in principle by the Director, Health Services, Punjab, had not been implemented.

The functionaries of the coordination committee alleged that Mr Bhajan Singh, state convener of the committee, had been issued posting orders in a “vindictive” manner.



MCPI(U) condemns bombing on Lebanon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
The Marxist Communist Party of India (United) has condemned the bombing on Lebanon and targeting of the civilian population by Israeli forces, supported by the US.

The party observed that Lebanese had been facing unprecedented situation for the past one month as a result of which more than 600 lives had been lost, many of them innocent children.

Thousands of Lebanese have been leaving the country to find refuge in Syria and other neighbours countries.

Even appeal by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to stop aggression has failed to stop aggression by Israel.

In a joint statement, convener Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri and All-India Committee of MCPI(U) member Kuldip Singh called upon the world community to put pressure on Israel to stop aggression against innocent civilians so that further bloodshed may be stopped.

The party observed that the crisis created by Justice Pathak report and privilege motion by Natwar Singh against Prime Minister and his further suspension from the Congress had created political instability in the country.

The party said it showed how leaders of the main ruling parties received commissions from various deals and how these political parties thrived on these funds of the deals.

The MCPI(U) took a serious note of the Punjab Government’s move to levy “abiana” on “commanded areas” rather than irrigated areas from canal waters in the state.

“This is a wrong policy and anti-farmer. Even British government did not levy ‘abiana’ on ‘commanded areas’.”

MCPI(U) leaders called upon the Punjab Government to rescind this policy of levy on commanded areas and recover canal revenue on the basis of actually irrigated areas by canal water.



CM vows to make state commercial hub
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today reiterated his commitment to turn Punjab as one of the major commercial centres of the country with world-class infrastructure.
He was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of a private township project near here. The township is being executed at the cost of Rs 400 crore in around 200 acres of land.

The Chief Minister said it was the second township project of its nature and 12 more projects would be launched in one month in the state.

The Chief Minister said the Punjab Government had so far approved 40 township and housing projects worth Rs 3,500 crore in the state.

He claimed that with the creation of excellent infrastructure in the state it had become a favoured destination for investments and added that so far the state-level empowered committee on mega projects headed by him had approved 203 industrial and other mega projects worth Rs 73,000 crore with an employment potential of 16 lakh jobs for unemployed youth.

He said more big projects worth Rs 12,000 crore were likely to be cleared tomorrow at a meeting of the committee and the government was committed to raising the figure to Rs 1,00,000 crore by the end of December, 2006.

Local MLA Milkiat Singh Dakha said investment to the tune of Rs 400 crore was likely to change the profile of his predominantly rural constituency.

Among those present on the occasion were Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawar, Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta, DIG Parag Jain and SSP Jagraon R.K. Jaiswal.



1,154 cr to be spent on weaker section, says Dawar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 10
The state government has allocated Rs 1154 crore for different schemes under a composite plan for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and other economically weaker sections during the current financial year. During last year, a sum of Rs 934 crore was spent for this purpose.

This was stated by Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Power, Labour and Employment, Punjab, while laying the foundation stone of a dharamshala for Dalit families to be constructed in Dr Ambedkar Colony in Industrial Area A at a cost of Rs 20 lakh.

Addressing the well-attended function, Mr Dawar claimed that development works worth Rs 70 lakh had been carried out in this colony, falling under Ward No 56. The projects completed till date included laying and extension of sewerage, carpeting of roads, development of park and sinking of a new tubewell.

He said to ensure timely disbursement of pension to over 11 lakh old persons, widows and the physically challenged, the state government had created a special fund of Rs 450 crore.

Several other welfare schemes had been initiated for empowerment of Scheduled Castes and weaker sections under which community toilets were being constructed for rural population, free text books and exercise books were distributed among students belonging to SCs, the “shagun” for marriage of girls had been raised from Rs 5,100 to Rs 15,000 and free residential plots allotted to Dalit families from out of common land in villages.

Mr Dawar maintained that the Congress government in Punjab had proved its commitment to the emancipation of Dalits and SCs by steps like implementation of the 85th Constitutional Amendment and grant of 200 units of free power for domestic purposes.



Power theft rules ‘draconian’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
Local industrialists today alleged that the government rules on power theft were “draconian” in nature. At a press conference by the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal and Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representatives of industry said the latest provisions on electricity theft pertaining to penalties would have an adverse impact on all sections of consumers.

“Consumers cannot afford such arbitrary and dracorian provisions. The government and electricity board should evolve a practical way to detect real theft,” said Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The associations said shortage of ‘C’ forms was creating problems for industry. “It is common knowledge that there is an acute dearth of C forms,. Earlier, a single C form was required for the entire year, but now it has to be submitted every quarter. As per VAT rules, if C forms are not given alongwith the annual statement, a dealer will have to pay a tax in lieu of this whereas procuring this form is not within the control of a dealer,” said Mr Sunil Mehra, general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal.

Industrialists demanded a year’s extension period for producing C forms.

They also said the provision of audit in VAT should be removed.



Sarna for probe into Palki issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
Former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Managing Committee and president of the Akali Dal, Delhi, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, today suggested an independent probe into allegations levelled against him by the Shriomani Akali Dal-Badal group on the missing gold from the Golden palki.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said in case he was found guilty by the probing authority, he and his family would quit politics and in case he was found innocent, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his family must quit politics.

About the constitution of a third front in the state, Mr Sarna claimed it was bound to come up. About Mr Ravi Inder Singh having begun to distance himself from the front, he said: “These are teething troubles and would soon be overcome”.



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