L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Eleven to be awarded today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
Eleven persons, including police personnel, doctors, social workers and educationists, would be honoured at the district-level Independence Day celebrations at the Government College for Boys tomorrow. They would receive special awards for their contribution and achievements in different fields.

Sub-Inspector Gurbans Singh Bains would be awarded for his contribution in busting various gangs of notorious criminals like Paramjit Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Rajiv Raja Gang and Nirdosh Dhand group.

SI Kuldip Singh, SHO Division No 3 police station, would be honoured for arranging the treatment of a female infant who was abandoned by her parents.

Mr Vinay Gupta, a civilian, would be awarded for saving the same infant from death in Sidhwan Canal while Dr K.K. Mahajan of the PGI would be honoured for operating upon the child.

Fireman Sunil Kumar would be awarded for dousing a fire at Oriental Bank while risking his life.

The Gian Sathal Mandir Sabha would be honoured for its social work while Mr Bhim Singh would be awarded for recovering government money in different cases.

Four women would also be awarded. They are Bably S. Singh who excels in art forms, including poetry, painting, literature and fine arts; Arshpreet Kaur, a student of BA-II, Ramgarhia Girls College, would be honoured for excellence in education, music and other co-curricular activities; while Ms Purba Puri would be honoured in recognition of her work in promoting art and culture.

Ms Kamaljit Kaur, Principal, Shaheed-e-Azam Sukhdev Thapar Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, would be honoured for her contributions in cultural and sports activities.



Heavy security for I-Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
Massive security arrangements have been made in the city, especially in areas around the Government College for Boys, where the district-level Independence Day celebrations would be held tomorrow.

Police nakkas have been set up on all entry and exit points of the city. Vehicles especially with the registration plates of other states are being searched.

The police has deployed commandos at crowded areas, besides installing detectors of explosives. Sniffer dogs are being used at the railway station, bus stands and religious places.

Police sources said the security has been beefed up in the wake of the threat of terrorists.



Brick-kiln factions strive to unite
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
In an endeavour to unite the brick kiln industry in the district, the Punjab Brick-kiln Owners Association today sent its representatives to assess the situation and find a solution to the same.

The association had got divided recently after some brick-kiln owners, led by Mr Inderpal Singh Walia, announced that a few members of their association had been expelled for five years.

Following that, another faction—the Walia group—announced its office-bearers.

However, realising that the disintegration was proving harmful for the industry, the main association today sent its representatives who attended a meeting conducted by the group led by Mr Jagjit Sood.

“If we are not united, it would become tough for our industry to raise its problems with the government. We realise that our strength is in our unity. Hence, our chairperson today sent us to attend the meeting and take stock of the situation. We wanted to assess the number of supporters this group has in the district. We would also attend a meeting of the other group soon,” Mr Manjinder Singh, president of the Fategarh Sahib branch of the association who was sent as an observer, said.

He said, “At least today’s meeting had a wide majority in the favour of this group. However, a final decision can be taken only after the other group conducts a meeting.”

He said the association could not afford factions in an important district as Ludhiana had a substantial share of brick-kilns.

Mr Sanjay Bansal, president of the association from the Sangrur division, was also sent as an observer.

The group led by Mr Sood, meanwhile, claimed that it had 100 per cent representation from the tehsils of Khanna, Samrala, Payal and Jagraon and 60 per cent from Raikot.

On issues concerning the brick-kilns in the state, Mr Sood said the association was waiting for the government notification regarding the exemption of brick-kilns from VAT.

“The government has already agreed to it and we are expecting it any time now. It would be a relief to kiln owners who have been paying 4 per cent VAT,” he said.



Flouting PNDT Act with impunity
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 14
If the recent detection of a racket of mass scale foeticide in Patiala district is shocking, the blatant violation of the Pre-natal Sex Determination Test Act (PNDT Act) here is far more serious due to the sheer number of ultrasound scan centres.

Even as a vigorous campaign against foeticide is being carried out by the government and NGOs, some scan centres here are known to be violating the Act.

Some gynaecologists with hospitals and nursing homes were learnt to be offering a “package” for the medical termination of pregnancy in case of a female child while some others were ensuring a male child for a hefty fee.

The racket is so well-oiled that the publicity is carried out through word of mouth by some beneficiaries. Couples from far-off places in the state, besides Haryana, Himachal and Rajasthan are said to be availing of these services.

Information revealed that the rate for the PNDT was around Rs 5,000 and since it was a one-to-one deal, no cut had to be given to physicians.



Four-year RI in fake currency case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana August 14
Nitin Jain, a stamp vendor hailing from Jalandhar, has been sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment of four years in fake currency notes case by the Presiding Officer of the fast track court — Mr Roshan Lal Ahuja, Additional Sessions Judge.

The local police had recovered fake currency notes worth Rs 13 lakh in this case. The accused was booked under section 489-A and 489-B and 489-C of the IPC at Focal Point Police Station, Ludhiana, on the information given by one fish seller, Mr Jai Prakash.

He had submitted to the police that the accused purchased fish of Rs 50 from him and gave him a currency note of the denomination of Rs 500, out of a new bundle. Thereafter, he returned the balance amount. Later he came to know that the currency note was fake, added the complainant.

According to prosecution, the accused had confessed that he had taken the currency notes on commission allegedly from one Darshan Singh of New Ashok Nagar, Jalandhar. He was also arrested and challaned by the police. But finding no evidence against him, the court acquitted him.



MCPI(U) stages dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
On a call given by the Marxist Communist Party of India (United), the district unit staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, against the alleged anti-people economic and political policies of the Punjab Government and the Centre here today.

The dharna was staged against increasing prices, unemployment, rampant corruption and a deteriorating law and order situation. They also expressed concern over the worsening power situation in the state.

The dharna was staged under the leadership of district secretary Lakhwinder Singh Boani.



NGO urges Centre not to amend information law
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
The executive committee of the People’s Awareness Forum (PAF), an NGO, strongly criticised the Centre over proposed amendments in the Right to Information Act and diluting its original character.

The government should not succumb to the pressures of the politicians and the bureaucrats and stick to its promise of curbing the corruption now rampant in various fields in the country.

The executive, which met with Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former pro-vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and also president of the forum, called upon the Chief Election Commissioner of India to ensure free and fair poll in Punjab and other states scheduled for next year.

The Election Commission was also urged to check the infiltration of criminals in democrationally elected bodies by making stringent laws.

The executive took strong note of the exposure of the ‘Patran female foeticide scam’ and felt that such heinous crimes could not take without the connivance of the officials concerned.

The forum called upon the Chief Minister to order a thorough probe into the racket which might be prevalent in some other districts of the state too.

The state government should fix the responsibility for such a scam on the officials of the Health Department who failed to detect the same.

The meeting also called upon the people of the state to transform themselves from daughter killers to daughter preservers. The efforts of Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshahr, in this regard were lauded and the deputy commissioners of the other districts were urged to follow his example.

The executive welcomed the new Municipal Commissioner of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and hoped that the major projects would be completed soon and residents of Ludhiana would get some relief.

The executive also appreciated the Ludhiana police for its efforts to check the crime rate in Ludhiana town and restoring the confidence of the people in the police administration by deploying the community police personnel.

The welfare societies of various residential colonies were urged to help the police administration in implementing the community policing scheme in the entire town.

The forum also expressed its anguish over the failure of the Central and the state governments to pay adequate attention towards the welfare of the senior citizens. The forum demands that senior citizens should be given 50 per cent travel concession and their medical facilities should be enhanced.

The meeting also expressed its concern over the rising cost of the life saving drugs and fleecing of the poor patients by the doctors at the private nursing homes. The government was asked to adequately equip dispensaries and remove the stigma of ‘butcher dispensaries.’



Widows given pension, ration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir Sabha disbursed relief to 777 widows of the town at a monthly pension-cum- ration distribution function held here yesterday.

According to Mr Naresh Goyal, press secretary of the religious body, the function started with a recitation of Hanuman Chalisa by Baba Kulwant Bhalla of Sankat Mochan Mandir.

Organisers presented mementos to brilliant students of the city who made it to the merit list of Classes X and XII.

Among those who attended the function were Swami Krishnanand of Bijewal, Ms Parpeet Brar, secretary, Indian Youth Congress, and Mr Anil Dutta, Managing Director, Central Cooperative Bank, Jalandhar.

The Gyan Sthal Mandir would hold a competition in Ras Lila on the occasion of Janmashtami, Mr Goyal added.



Paying a price for belonging to Indira assassin’s village
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
Mr Jagjit Singh Lambra has been in the Congress for the past three decades. He braved terrorist threats but never thought of leaving the party. He even performed the bhog of Indira Gandhi at his village Nurpur Bet, knowing that it could cost him his life. But he has been made to pay the price for what he is not.

Beant Singh, one of the assassins of Indira belonged to Maloya village, now in Chandigarh. His rivals in the party spread the rumour that he was Beant Singh’s real brother.

Jagjit Singh had left the village in 1962 and is settled at Burj Lambra village. He was the sarpanch since 1972. He says, “It is an irony that it was due to the harassment by the family of Beant Singh that our family left Maloya and settled at Burj Lambra and now I have been made his brother.”

This has cost Jagjit Singh dearly. He contested elections from the Dakha constituency in 1980 and lost by a narrow margin. To ensure that he did not have any further claims over the constituency, his rivals made representations to the party high command making it seem that it was the brother of Indira’s assassin.

Jagjit Singh maintains that he had to leave Burj Lambra for sometime due to terrorist threats as he was committed to the Congress. However, he regrets, the party has not acknowledged his contribution so far. Even if Beant Singh was his brother, what was his (Jagjit’s) fault, he asks.

He has been elected to block samitis and zila parishads several times. He has also held several party posts in the past. But now he is disillusioned but asserts that he would continue to remain a loyal Congress worker.

“I remained committed to the party during the worst of times when it could have cost me my life and I would continue to remain like that,” he remarks. 



At the Crossroads
Facets of a learned poet

Dr Som P. Ranchan had taught English and US literature in US and Indian colleges and universities. His forays into the areas of theology, mythology and psychology have earned him a name.

Basically he is a poet and his collections of poems like “America with Love”, ‘To Vivek then I came’, “Loose Ends”, “Mother Sharda and I” and “Love Poems” have considerably enriched Indian - English poetry. Sometime ago, he ventured into the territory of fiction, with his novel “Passage to Punjab.” How so?

He answers: “My poems are generally in narrative form in which dialogues predominate. Greek, Latin and Indian epics have held sway over my mind for long. This has now led me to the fictional work.”

He came from Lahore to Shimla at the time of the Partition. Shortly after his postgraduation in English literature, he went to the USA where he stayed for about a decade. He retired as Head of the English Department at Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, where he remained from 1977 to 1992. How come he has an affinity with the Punjabi culture?

I was born and brought up in Lahore. I appeared in my matriculation examination in March, 1947 at Lahore and then I moved with my family to Shimla where my father rejoined his service in the office of the Accountant-General, Punjab. I did my graduation in Shimla and postgraduation in Delhi and then joined Mahendra College, Patiala, as a lecturer-in-English. Punjabi culture has thrilled my being all along.”

Tell us about your long sojourn in the US. Do you consider it a momentous part of your career?

“For me, it was not less than a rebirth. I found myself well-adjusted there and I experienced for the first time the liberation of my soul. It was, however, on my second visit in 1966 that I realised my true affinities with that country.

“Strangely enough, the Punjabiat in me became accentuated in the USA.” Particularly as a result of my long stay in California where the Ghadar movement had originated a long time ago.

In the USA I was also drawn to tantra as I came into contact with the Indian Swamis residing abroad.

“In fact I realise that my mental faculties blossomed in the USA. I feel I have accomplished my task to a great extent but the urge to do something which the people, as Wordsworth said, ‘would not easily forget’, persists. Perhaps, I haven’t got the recognition I deserve. There is no atmosphere of discernment in our country. May be I am a misunderstood person”, the poet adds.

— N.S. Tasneem



Janmashtami, I-Day celebrations
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
Shri Durga Mandir Committee would hold a Janmashtami function at Shri Durga Mandir, Urban Estate, Dugri, Phase-I, on August 16.

According to Mr Ramesh Garg, president of the committee, the celebrations would start with the inauguration of tableaux depicting Lord Krishna’s life.

A session of sankirtan and discourse would also be held till midnight.

The discourses would be delivered by Swami Nirdosh and Swami Prashant. Children taking part in the depiction of Lord Krishna’s life would be given prizes.

Mr Ashok Malhotra, chairman, Ashok Malhotra Group of Companies, would be the chief guest.

Meanwhile, the Bharat Vikas Parishad celebrated Independence Day and Janamashtami by organising a yajna at Shri Krishna Model School today. Director Bimal Chabara and Principal Barkha Chabra prayed for the people of the country.

Mr J.K. Thakkar, Assitant Regional Manager, State Bank of India, was the chief guest and singer Randhir Kanwal was the guest of honour.

Kewal Bansal presented a quiz and magician Jagdev Singh delighted the audience.



Money power for cracking criminal cases
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

The poster released by Ludhiana Police regarding the cash award in Bikramjit murder case here on Sunday.
The poster released by Ludhiana Police regarding the cash award in Bikramjit murder case here on Sunday.

Ludhiana, August 14
With no breakthrough in the much-publicised Devgun murder case and the complex Bikramjit killing case being made even after months of the incidents and brainstorming investigation, the police is now hoping that the attraction of money can pull out some hitherto hidden information about the cases.

While the relatives of septuagenarian Prem Nath Devgun, owner of 100-crore plus assets worth MEFA Needles have announced a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, the family of the brutally murdered Bikramjit Singh have announced a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh to any persons providing concrete information about the case to the police. Earlier, a cash award of Rs 10 lakh was announced in the Reema Jain murder case.

Incidentally, the city police had announced the solution of the case within couple of days after the cash award was announced.

SP City-II D P Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that the police had worked on several theories in the Devgun murder case but could not achieve breakthrough. The victim was found murdered in his house-cum-office in the factory premises in November last year.

The police had early this year arrested one labourer of the factory from Bihar who had gone missing on the day of the murder. But he too was later found innocent. The biggest challenge was the complexities of relationships of the victim industrialist, who was said to have been married twice.

Then, there was the issue of his Will, which he had allegedly been changed a couple of times. The police initially ruled out robbery as the motive but then followed it for some time.

Similarly, in the Bikramjit murder case, the cops were left on wild goose chase again on different theories regarding the murder. Initially, it was thought that he was kidnapped for ransom but later when his body was recovered, the police followed the theories of murder due to personal enmity, robbery or a love affair but none could materialise into a breakthrough.

The police is also taking the help of the British police regarding the deceased youths student life in London. The joint investigation is also yet to produce some encouraging results.



Man unconscious on road for over 4 hours
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
Hundreds of persons passed by a labourer who had been lying unconscious on a road behind the Sadar police station for over four hours today. Nobody stopped to help him.

He was lying near a crossing adjacent to a cooperative society office. The labourer was not helped even though heavy showers lashed the place. No one bothered to pick him up.

The labourer was finally attended to when a journalist informed the SP City-II and the SHO Sadar. He was shifted to a hospital. The police is trying to establish his identity.



Industry team meets Excise Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
With a view to highlighting the industry’s problems arising on account of the value added tax (VAT), a delegation of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association and the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry met Mr D.P.Reddy, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, in Patiala today.

“The Sales Tax Department has fixed November 20 as the last date for filing the annual statement with forms C, H and F. Since some states don’t have sufficient forms, it has become difficult for industrialists to obtain these in a short time,” said Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, demanding that the date be extended to March 31, 2007. Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said dealers in Punjab should not be penalised for this.

Mr Kapoor said Mr Reddy assured help regarding obtaining C forms and solving the industry’s problem pertaining to this issue.

Industrialists also took up the issue of delay in VAT refunds. Mr K.K. Seth of Neelam Cycles said due to lack of coordination within the department, delay was occurring in issuing refunds.

The delegation also pointed out that the department resorted to locking at the ICC barriers in case returns of dealers did not reach well in time.

The industrialists said the Commissioner assured them that he would look into the industry’s problems.



Tax benefits in HP irk Punjab industrialists
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 14
Resentment prevails among industrialists over the extension of exemption of central excise duty and the new units which will come up in Himachal, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir.

The NDA government had announced incentives like remission of income tax, central sales tax and subsidy to attract industries in three states.

The UPA government had fixed the cut-off date for central excise duty exemption up to April 2007 but under pressure from the three states, it has now extended the exemption till 2010. The other benefits will continue till 2013.

This has irked industrialists in Punjab and Haryana as a number of entrepreneurs of these states have shifted their units to Himachal and Uttaranchal.

Inquiries revealed that some major industries like furnace plants, hosiery, nut bolts and engineering goods manufacturers have moved to Himachal and some local steel plants owners have set up their units in Orissa.

Mr Chanan Singh Matharoo, vice-chairman, steel-rerolling Mills Association, said there was a difference of about Rs 3,500 per tonne in the cost of production of steel in Punjab and Himachal. There was 16.32 per cent central excise duty, 5 per cent subsidy, no central sales tax and cheap power.

He said they had sought such benefits only for five years but the Central government did not agree.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and commercial undertakings, said besides steel units, engineering, pharma and fastener units had moved to Baddi. motor parts would also shift to Himachal Pradesh because they would have VAT exemption benefit.

Land prices in places like Baddi, Nalagarh and Chamba have sky- rocketed because of the shifting of the industries from Punjab. Moreover, there are more avenues of employment for Himachalis as the units outside Himachal have to give undertaking of employing 70 per cent local labour. This has brought prosperity to Himachal.

Some industrial units in Himachal, with their base in Punjab, continue to have production in Punjab and show the same as produced in Himachal, thus indulging in large-scale evasion of central excise duty and other taxes. This is a big racket, sources allege.

Mr Vinod thapar, president, Knitwear Club, said the export of hosiery and textile garments would suffer. The Ludhiana hosiery units exported goods worth about Rs 1,000 crore which had remained stagnant for many years. There was no initiative from the Punjab government to help the units in increasing production and modernisation of units to face international competition, he added.



Bank promotions
Our Correspondent

Samrala, August 14
Mr Hakam Singh Manager, Bank of India, has been promoted senior manager and transferred to the Bombay head Office. Senior Manager Sukhdev Singh Khaihra has taken over the charge at Machhiwara.

Similarly, Mr B B Goyal, Senior Manager, of Punjab National Bank, has taken over charge at Samrala in place of Mr R S Chana, who has been transferred to Maalkhana in Patiala District.

New Xen: Engineer Nirmal Singh Dhanoa has taken over charge as Senior XEN PSEB, Samrala in place of Mr R K Dhawan, who has been transferred to Patiala (Enforcement).



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