L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Dismissed cop ‘dupes’ 7 students of lakhs
Had assured them of overseas jobs as nanny
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 21
In a latest case of fraud with Punjabi youth after being assured jobs overseas, seven youngsters have been duped of around Rs 40 lakh by a person running an institute at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, which specialises in training nannies and personal care givers for Canada.

Ironically, the accused, Malkiat Singh, is a former cop dismissed from the Ludhiana police and has been threatening students with dire consequences if they demanded a refund.

The matter came to light when some students approached Lok Bhalai Party’s acting president Avtar Singh Mullanpuri at his office here today.

Accompanied by their parents, the victims — Amarjit Kaur and Paramjit Kaur of Chhrauli village, Parveer Kaur Grewal from Noorwal, Avtar Singh from Tanglian, Harpreet Singh from Doraha, Harvinder Kaur Dhaliwal from Ferozepore and Ravinder Thakur from the PAU — narrated their tales of woe and how they had been duped by the accused.

They said they had been lured by advertisements placed in various vernacular dailies on the “golden opportunity” to migrate to Canada under the “nanny care givers” category.

The advertisements invited girls and boys who had cleared their Class XII examination to opt for the scheme and undergo a six-month course at Institute of Care Givers and Allied Services to qualify for immigration.

Tricked by the assurances of Malkiat Singh, families of these youngsters arranged sums varying from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. The seven underwent training at the institute last year.

The accused had told students that he had contacts in Canada and could arrange job letters for them if they gave more money. He even claimed that he could help their families get settled in Canada. He also claimed that his institute was recognised by the Canadian authorities.

The victims got suspicious when their repeated rounds of the institute failed to get them an audience with Malkiat. He also stopped taking phone calls from them.

In the meantime, they learned that the previous batch of 17 students had also been duped by the accused and they had been running from pillar to post to get their money back.

Demanding a CBI inquiry into the episode, Mr Mullanpuri said the government should instruct the intelligence agencies to work proactively to nab such unscrupulous people instead of waiting for victims to report such crimes.

He said thousands of youth were being duped every year in the state. He said the tricksters were now turning towards those pursing a career as flight attendant.

In Bathinda, several girls were duped on the pretext of being trained for the aviation industry a few days ago. This reflected how such people operated with impunity, cocking a snook at the law enforcement agencies, he pointed out.

On the other hand, lawyer and immigration expert Tej Prakash Singh said the reason why most nanny-care trainers had closed their businesses here was because it took around 30 months for applications in this category to be processed.

This was a long time for most aspirants, he said. Moreover, most of the institutes were fly-by-night operators and not well versed in the guidelines laid down by the Canadian Human Resources and Skill Development Organisation.

But it was for people to check the credentials of such institutes before handing their money, he cautioned.



IT sleuths on trail of tax evaders
Colonisers under scanner
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 21
In the wake of reports that large amounts of black money were being pumped into high-value real estate transactions in the region, the investigation wing of the Income Tax Department had initiated comprehensive investigations to nab tax evaders and enforce compliance.

This was stated by Mr VDS Balhara, Director-General, Investigation, North Western Region, Income Tax, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday.

He said several real estate developers and colonisers in Punjab and Haryana were under the scanner.

That the focus of IT investigations is on real estate developers and colonisers in the region is evident from the fact that raids were conducted by the department at seven property developers in Ludhiana, Patiala, Chandigarh, Mohali, Amritsar in Punjab and Panchkula in Haryana which led to disclosure of a whopping Rs 52.3 crore of concealed income during April-mid September this year whereas the surrendered income during the corresponding period last year was just Rs 4.11 crore.

The seizure of cash, jewellery and other valuables during the same period was Rs 8.29 cr as against Rs 5.19 crore during last year.

Mr Balhara said the extent of black money playing a role in the real estate boom in the region could be assessed from the surrender of Rs 23 crore and Rs 10 crore made by two property developers in Chandigarh and Patiala during the IT raids recently.

Another area of tax evasion under the scanner, said Mr Balhara, was technical institutions which collected large amounts of money by way of capitation fee and sale of management quota seats without showing these receipts in their books of accounts.

He said the IT sleuths had recovered Rs 70 lakh in cash and Rs 25 lakh during raids conducted at technical institutes in Rewari and Faridabad, both in Haryana, a couple of weeks ago.

He indicated that a comprehensive data base of high-value transactions, related to real estate deals and other acquisitions, was in place and the investigation wing was all set to further step up the drive against tax evasion in the region.



Dutch experts to spread awareness on pollution
Shveta Pathak

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 21
Senior experts from PUM Netherlands, a Dutch organisation, which has been carrying out 150 projects every year in India, plan to conduct a detailed analysis of the reasons of environmental pollution in this region and ways to tackle the same.

“The focus would not only be industry but various sectors including schools wherein the first move is to generate awareness,” Mr Joost de Witte told Ludhiana Tribune today. The experts, on a visit to the city, conducted awareness seminars in schools and industries.

“Earlier, we conducted a study in Amritsar and gave our recommendations, following which we feel the first step is to create awareness. After a study of the area, our emphasis will be on the responsibility of municipal corporation and suggesting ways to include this awareness in daily life instead of making it a special event,” said Mr Witte.

He said their previous experience had shown that local bodies need to take the entire responsibility not only towards cleanliness but also beautification of a place.

“Cleanliness and beautification complement each other. For instance, when you enter this city, boards like ‘Keep City Clean and Green’ welcome you. But one is sad to see a gross absence of greenery. Attention is also drawn to the absence of bins at many places. These could be simple measures, but cannot be done away with,” he said.

Senior experts at PUM offer their services free of charge and will address meetings of NGOs, resident welfare associations, educational institutions etc. Mr Anil Aggarwal, regional Chairperson (region V), The International Association of Lions Clubs, said, “In cooperation with PUM experts, we are observing an Environment Week from September 17. There would be a specific reference to solid waste management.”

PUM also conducted an awareness seminar at the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association here.



Where every monsoon brings disaster to their crops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 21
Come monsoon and the fields in Baniewal village are flooded. Despite years of wait, no grant has been earmarked for proper drainage in the village.

Rains continue to play a havoc with crops but the persistent struggle of the farmers to get a drain connecting the village pond with the Budha Nullah has not yielded results.

Their requests continue to fall on deaf ears as the department concerned has not released a grant of Rs 5.15 lakh required for the work.

Mr Sant Singh, an affected farmer met the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh a few days ago. An officer on special duty in his office referred the case to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, for necessary action.

‘‘Though the file was sent to the DC on September 4, no official has visited the village so far. Our crop is dying but nobody is listening to us," said the farmer.

He said it was the faulty laying of the same road connecting Ranka with this village that had led to inundation of their fields. Due to the raised plinth level and in the absence of any siphon or pipes to discharge the pond water, the farmers had been losing their crop for the past five years.

Villagers say that a grant of Rs 2 lakh released by a former MLA for the drain was allegedly embezzled by a former sarpanch of the village. The Panchayat Department had initiated an inquiry to look into the embezzlement of funds. But no headway had been made into the case.

The department sources said that thanks to political interference, no charges could be framed against the sarpanch. The sources expressed their helplessness on the matter, claiming that their work was suffering due to interference of a local MLA.

A panchayat officer had gone on record saying that there was no account of around Rs 2 lakh released to the panchayat and no development had taken place in the village. Yet the inquiry officers concerned was not able to do anything in the case.

‘‘I had an arm fracture and was not able to make the rounds of offices. So there was no headway on the issue,’’ said Mr Sant Singh.



Mature much beyond his years
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 21
Hammer, not the pen, will help me serve my mother, says Mangal Dass (10), the only support of Mindro who had been deserted by her husband in her prime age. Unaware of the implications of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, he is too young to understand the helplessness of his master, a sickle manufacturer, in case law enforcing agencies adopt a strict attitude towards the centre’s decision to ban employment of children below 14 at homes, hotels and dhabas from October 10.

An innocent son of Mindro, a resident of Hargobind Nagar village adjoining the local town, Mangal does not know why his father Chhaju Ram deserted his mother years ago. He only knows that Mindro had brought him up with great difficulty and now it is his turn to extend helping hand to her in running the home.

“I have to be an expert in manufacturing sickles and other agricultural implements and work hard to earn handsome income so that my mother could relax in old age,” says Mangal, continuing hammering rivets in the iron sheets at the workshop of Kuldeep Singh.

Though he does not earn much with his day’s toil at this stage, he hopes to achieve his target of providing livelihood to a large number of boys after some years. When asked about necessity of his working in the unit, he reacted sharply, “Do you want that I should beg like thousands of other children?”

According to Kuldeep Singh, owner of the unit, Mangal has been working as a helper at some other units for more than two years. Though he did not learn much during his earlier training, he showed extraordinary performance during last two months. “Though he is not employed with me, he comes daily to learn various steps of sickle manufacturing. We pay him something as a goodwill gesture,” said Kuldeep. Mangal had declined his offer to get him formal education in a public school. “When it is clear that we have to do manual labour after getting education, why should I waste my precious time on receiving bookish knowledge,” argued Mangal Dass.



Poor sex ratio: village shows the way
Our Correspondent

Khamano, September 21
Jalowal village in Fatehgarh Sahib district, about 10 km from here, has achieved a favourable sex ratio of 54 baby girls to 46 baby boys in recent years. Though Fatehgarh Sahib district tops in female foeticide, this village has achieved the milestone without any government assistance.

According to village sarpanch Balvir Singh, the panchayat has passed a resolution banning female foeticide. If any one is found indulging in female foeticide the village will sever relations with such a person. He says they have not allowed any untrained doctor to practice in the village. Seven babies were born in Jalowal village last month and out of these six were girls.

According to Sarabjit Kaur, in charge of the aganwari centre, more baby boys were born in 2002, but in 2006, 22 baby girls were born as against 19 baby boys in 0-6 month age group.

Jupinder Kaur of the village, who now studies at Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, says all villagers show respect towards baby girls. She says most of the girls of the village are going to schools and colleges. The villagers demand a special development grant for the village so that they can fight this menace more effectively.



Ex-servicemen criticise politicians
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 21
Lieut-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retired), president, Indian Exservices League, Punjab and Chandigarh, today called upon leaders of political parties, particularly the Congress and the Akali Dal to refrain from mudslinging and character assassination and unite to work for the welfare of Punjab.

Col Dhillon said here today that it was unfortunate both major parties were engaged in a tug of war to make political capital in view of the approaching Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections.

Col Dhillon pointed out that if a scam had taken place in the Ludhiana City Centre, the Chief Minister had ordered an inquiry into the same. If the Opposition felt it was not satisfied with the inquiry, the Akali Dal could order a CBI inquiry if voted to power. There was no point in making the Vidhan Sabha non-functional on this issue.

Col Dhillon said the SAD-BJP government had also sold a number of government properties when the combine was in power in Punjab.



Held with illicit liquor

Jagraon, September 21
The Humbran police has arrested Nirmal Singh of Walipur Kalan and allegedly recovered 6750 ml of illicit liquor from his possession. A case has been registered under Sections 61, 1, and 14 of the Excise Act.

2 held with opium

The Jagraon police arrested Dilawar Singh and Gurpreet Singh of Jandwala (Haryana) from Kaunke Kalan and recovered 2 kg of opium from their possession and also impounded the Jeep (HRB-501) in which they were travelling. A case has been registered.

Drug peddlers

The Raikot police arrested Darshan Singh of Aandlu and allegedly recovered 5,300 gm of poppy husk from his possession. A case has been registered. In the second incident, the Jagraon police arrested Angrej Singh of Moga from Akhara village and allegedly recovered 30 kg of poppy husk from his possession. It also impounded a scooter (PB-37-5712).

Booked for assault

The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 452, 323 and 34, IPC, against Kulwant Singh, Charan Singh, Angrej Singh and Ajmer Singh of Daddahoor on the charge of assaulting Kulbir Singh of their village. The accused suspected that the complainant had illicit ties with a woman of their family. No arrest has been made.



Shopkeeper held for piracy
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 21
The local police has booked a video library owner for allegedly preparing and distributing pirated DVD and CDs, and selling pornographic films.

He has been booked under Sections 420, 292 and 294, IPC, and Sections 51, 52, 52A, 63, 64, 68 and 68A, Copyright Act.

Over 550 DVDs and CDs were seized from his possession.

According to DSP Malerkotla Rachhpal Singh Hara, a police party arrested Jasbir Singh, owner of Jassie Video, and seized 400 DVDs and 160 CDs from his possession. Ten of these were of pornographic films.

The accused is already facing two cases registered under the Copyright Act.

The accused was presented in the court of JMIC, Malerkotla, and was remanded in police custody.



Concession for SBI customers at Apollo hospitals
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 21
To provide high quality healthcare at concessional rates to its customers, the State Bank of India (SBI) has entered into an alliance with SPS Apollo Hospitals here.

The formal announcement of this unique healthcare facility was made at a news conference here today by the Chief General Manager of SBI, Mr Hemant Contractor, and Director of the hospital, Mr Jugdiep Singh.

Explaining the modalities, Mr Jugdiep Singh said that the hospital would issue special ‘Gold Cards’ to high value customers and silver cards to other customers of the bank. Card holders would be entitled to a concession of up to 20 per cent on tests and room charges. They will be entitled to free registration with the hospital.

Mr Jugdiep Singh said that SPS Apollo Hospital was in the process of earning international accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI).

According to Mr Contractor, the SBI was already running a programme named ‘SBI Vishesh’ to provide special privileges to its customers. “Through this alliance, the bank is using its brand equity to enhance the value it provides to its customers through access to the renowned medical expertise and facilities available with the SPS Apollo Hospital, Ludhiana.”

He further said that this was a unique programme being launched for the first time in Punjab. It would be available to existing and new customers of the SBI. The customers would have to provide theirs details along with their photographs at any branch of the bank. Based on this information, cards would be issued by SPS Apollo Hospital. The hospital would keep the details on their system and whenever the card holders visit the hospital, these concessions would be automatically extended to them.

Earlier, the hospital authorities issued Gold Cards to 75 SBI customers at a special function organised for this purpose at the hospital.



BSNL staff asked to provide efficient service
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 21
A meeting of district executive of National Federation of Telecom Employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) was held here today.

Addressing the meeting, the general secretary of the body, Mr Islam Ahmed, impressed upon the employees that while fighting for their rights, employees ought to accord due attention to customer services.

Employees were asked to provide efficient customer service to face the competition from private sector. “Only dedicated and diligent customer service can save the BSNL and put an end to speculative disinvestment,” said Mr Ahmed.

Mr Prem Singh, who presided over the meeting, gave a call to the employees to remain united to face the challenge posed by attempts to disinvest BSNL.

Mr Prem Mittal, senior deputy mayor and Mr Ajay Johar also addressed the meeting.



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