L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Government to simplify tax regime, says Bansal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
The Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, has said the government was going to simplify the tax regime in the country to make it moderate, predictable and vide, so that maximum number of people could participate in it and which will also help to further strengthen the democratic system.

Mr Bansal was addressing a well- attended function of industrialists of the city organised by the Urban Development Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee at a local hotel last evening.

The minister said the distinction between the manufacturing and servicing sector would be specified to remove any kind of confusion so that the industry should not face any problem. He said strict monitoring was being exercised to maintain the present growth rate of 8.5 per cent for which the industrial production would have to be enhanced.

Referring to the demands of representatives of associations of the industry regarding the non-compliance of the guidelines of the government by banks , Mr Bansal said he would conduct a meeting of officers of the banks and representatives of the industry within 15 days and all their problems would be discussed and sorted out amicably.

He said the Union Finance Minister would hold regular meetings of CEOs of banks to review the credit policy of the country. He said during the past three years the banks had recorded 32 per cent increase in the credit. The minister further informed that in the agriculture sector the government had fixed a target of doubling the credit in three years, but it was achieved within two years only. He informed the gathering that in the small-scale industry sector the credit had been increased by 20 per cent, which was a good trend for it’s growth.

Referring to the steps taken by the UPA government to facilitate trade and industry in the country, Mr Bansal said the Dedicated Freight Corridor to be constructed from Ludhiana to West Bengal would prove to be instrumental in the fast flow of goods from this part to the other parts of the country.

He also informed that the share of Punjab from the Infrastructure Development Fund had also been enhanced from Rs 186 crore to Rs 600 crore. He said the SEZs and industrial parks being set up in different parts of the country would help in enhancing the financial growth of the country and creating employment opportunities for the youth.

Addressing the function, Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, said the state government was paying attention to sort out the problems of the industry.

Mr Ramesh Joshi, Chairman, Urban Development Cell, PPCC, while welcoming the minister said the industry at Ludhiana had made a substantial contribution to the national industrial production and earned foreign exchange amounting to Rs 10,000 crore for the country. He demanded that the genuine demands of the industry should be sorted out by organising a high-powered meeting of the officers concerned.



City in festive spirit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
With Dasehra round the corner, festive spirit has enveloped the city. Ramlilas are being staged in different corners of the city. Also, people from different regions like Garhwal, UP, etc. are staging Ramlila in their languages.

A shobha yatra, depicting scenes from Ramayana, was taken out today. Devotees sang couplets from Ramayana, while tableaux had children dressed up in various characters.

To mark the culmination of Navratras today, Dandiya competitions and shows were held in several schools across the city.

The Gujarati Samaj organised Dandiya at Lakshmi Narayan Temple, BRS Nagar, yesterday. Gujaratis residing in the city got an opportunity to get together and enjoy the dance. The Bangya Samaj, formed by Bengalis living the city, have been organising Durga Puja during the nine-day Navratras.

The puja will culminate tomorrow with a lunch and the immersion of a Mata Durga idol in the Sutlej.

The effigies of Ravana, Khumbhkarana and Meghnada have been put up in around 100 Dasehra grounds across the city.



An ordeal finally over for Gola’s family
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Kamaljeet Kaur was happily pursuing higher secondary education when her brother Avtar Singh, alias Gola, was brutally murdered late evening on January 7, 2001, for he had dared to question police cat-turned-Inspector Gurmeet Singh Pinky and his gunmen’s right to block a street and drink openly in Maya Nagar.

Today, four and half years after the incident, Kamaljeet runs a grocery store as her fight for justice had forced her to abandon studies and help her ageing parents to fund the education of her younger sister.

She may well have been studying MBA like her sister today had it not been for the tragedy that struck the family.

After years of struggle — virtually fighting threats to life and property besides turning down settlement offers of nearly Rs 1 crore, allegedly made by the accused — the family is relieved to get justice, finally.

District and Sessions Judge in Yamunanagar Justice Varinder Singh yesterday held “encounter specialist” Gurmeet Singh Pinky guilty of Gola’s murder.

The Avtar Singh Gola murder case, which had brought the city to a virtual halt for nearly a week due to vociferous protests in January, 2001, finally reached the climax yesterday when the court held Pinky guilty of the crime.

But it was the struggle of three sisters of the victim and his aged parents that made this happen. The struggle was no less an ordeal.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune at her residence, Kamaljeet Kaur said the family was happy that Pinky had been held guilty. However, they are unhappy over the acquittal of three others accused in the crime.

She said the family would not rest till they got death sentence for Pinky and his associates.

The court has reserved its orders on handing out the punishment to the accused for October 9.

Speaking from their two-room house in Maya Nagar, Kamaljeet narrated how Pinky was patronised by senior Punjab Police officials, who used all means to terrorise them.

“When we failed to budge, they offered us a bribe of Rs 1 crore and all expenses for the marriage of all three sisters, besides other tempting offers. But we did not yield.”

Besides moving courts and seeking help of the police for the security of the family, the victims had to make two ends meet and handle threats on their own. “We used to get midnight visitors and prank calls issuing life threats,” reminisces Kamaljeet Kaur.

The investigation of the case was handed over to different officers and even the trial court was changed.

The case was shifted out of Punjab to Kurukshetra and later changed to Yamunanagar.



Rice scientist for diversification
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, renowned rice scientist, today said agriculture was at the crossroads in Punjab and massive diversification was needed for biodiversity and to meet the growing demand.

However, he underlined the need for assured market and good prices for alternative crops.

Dr Khush said scientists must study more deeply the water intake and requirement of alternative crops before coming up with acceptable crop rotation. The phenomenon of evapo-transportation losses in paddy and alternative crops had to be compared before making any recommendation for mass-scale adaptation. Seepage of water into soil could not be ignored.

Nevertheless, there had to be assured price and market for alternative crops, said Dr Khush, a decorated rice scientist.

He is currently on a visit to Punjab Agricultural University to interact with scientists engaged in research on rice and in biotechnology.

He held discussions with Dr B.S. Dhillon, Director of Research, and other scientists to update himself on the problems that beset scientists and the state agriculture.

Dr Khush will be honoured with the Dr M.S. Swaminathan Award at the World Rice Congress in New Delhi on October 9. The event is held every four years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will present him the award.

The award has been instituted by the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences, headed by Dr R.S. Paroda, former Director General, ICAR, New Delhi.

Around 1,400 plant breeders and geneticists from all over the world will attend the conference till October 13.

Dr Khush is a recipient of Japanese Prize (1987), World Food Prize (1996), Wolf Prize from Israel and Padma Shri (2000).

The State Council of China had bestowed upon him the China International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award in 2004.

Dr Khush and his team has been credited with evolving 300 varieties of rice during his 34-year stint at the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines.

At present, rice varieties developed under him are planted on around 60 per cent of the world’s rice land. One of his varieties, IR-36, is the most widely grown crop worldwide. It was sown on 11 million hectares in the ’80s.

Currently, Dr Khush is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis, USA. He graduated from the Government Agriculture College, Ludhiana, which is now the College of Agriculture, PAU.

Thereafter, he went to England and worked as a factory hand in a canning unit before moving to the University of California, where he obtained PhD in 1960 at the age of 25 years.



Early release of enhanced DA sought
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
More than seven lakh state government employees, including those working in various boards and corporations, and pensioners have urged the state government to release enhanced dearness allowance (DA) at the earliest.

According to the Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association, the Union Government has already sanctioned the enhanced DA, which was raised from 24 to 29 per cent with retrospective effect from July this year. The DA and arrears will be paid along with the pay and pension for the month of September. Several state governments, including Haryana, have also sanctioned the enhanced DA.

In a communique sent to the state Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, the association has urged him to release the enhanced DA on the pattern of the Central Government.



Ludhiana Calling

The brutality of the Ludhiana police on agitating veterinary doctors reminds one of the colonial rule in India. The way the vets, especially female, were treated had all and sundry criticise the police. Some of the victims were so aghast at the treatment meted out to them that they did not feel like talking to anyone even after a week of the incident. One of them quipped: “Even during the colonial rule, I have not read that any woman was ever subjected to such torture. Is it our own police?”


At the function of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Guru Nanak Stadium on September 27, ministers, MLAs and other politicians were seen picking up chairs from the middle and last rows to form new rows right up front despite resistance by security force. The reason? Well, one of them said: “You know, we all politicians want to be spotted by the Prime Minister or at least by public through cameras. And the front row has the highest probability of getting us on the television.”

Undying festivity

Even as Navratras near the end, the city continues to wear a festive look. People continue to be on a shopping spree, functions are being organised and religious organisations are in action with their usual zeal. Temples are decked up and chanting of hymns and mantras every evening makes the day pleasant. So does the nip in the air. No wonder why the festival season in this part of the world is much talked about. (see picture)

Special discount

A city journalist was at a loss for words when a “presswallah” (person who irons clothes) gave him a discount of 25 per cent in the bill. When he asked for the reason, he was quite surprised to hear the reply: “Sir, we both belong to the same profession. Aap bhi ‘press wale’ aur hum bhi.”

Lucky 30

A city-based ayurvedic doctor has got a rare honour with a national magazine including his letter in the best 30 letters published in the magazine in the past three decades. Dr R. Vatsayan had criticised the magazine in his letter published four years ago in the same periodical.

Lalu psychosis

The staff at the local railway station remained on tenterhooks when their minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav, came to the city accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Fearing that Mr Yadav would conduct surprise checks of the railway station and the godown, the staff remained on their toes, keeping the station clean and removing encroachers and beggars. Interestingly, no one took something “extra” for the services. Though the minister did not come, commuters were happy that the “Lalu aya, Lalu aya” fear prompted good service from the staff.

Un-bridged forever

While the elevated road is all set to be opened to public, residents are wondering when the railway overbridge, to replace old Lakkar bridge, would come in shape. Though four years have elapsed since the bridge was demolished, forcing people to cross the railway line, there has been no success as far as the new bridge is concerned. The construction work on it came to a halt months ago but the work was not resumed. One wonders why the MC needed to demolish the bridge when nobody knew when the new one would come up.

Public frisk

On the day of Prime Minister’s visit, the womenfolk who were part of the rally were quite upset with the shelter erected for frisking them. The police had made arrangements in a makeshift tent adjoining the wall of the venue. But the tent was not fastened properly and it failed to provide much privacy. They were literally frisked by the roadside. Wish if the police could be more sensitive to people.

Contributed by Kanchan Vasdev and Jupinderjit Singh



Razia boasts about grants for her constituency
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 1
Ms Razia Sultana, MLA, Malerkotla, has claimed that she had brought the maximum grants for the development of the area.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune after inaugurating a sewerage and water supply project worth Rs 5.25 crore and a new Maternal Child Health Wing at the Community Health Centre here yesterday, Ms Razia Sultana claimed that she had brought grants worth more than 10 crore for the area from the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

She maintained that none of her predecessors had succeeded in bringing substantial development in the area. “Moreover, the grants that were sanctioned for certain purposes were not utilised according to the norms,” she said alleging that the earlier incumbents had misappropriated funds.

Ms Sultana claimed that the residents would not face disposal problem after the sewerage and water supply project was completed. Besides laying of water and sewerage pipes, the project would include the laying of drains up to Maherna village. Later, she inaugurated the construction of the MCH wing at the Community Health Centre here. She handed over the documents of the first instalment of Rs 20 lakh for the wing and Rs 15 lakh for civic amenities in the town.

Acceding to the demand raised by Mr Jatinder Bhola, president, Municipal Council, Ms Sultana asked Mr T.R. Sarangal, director, PHSC, to initiate the process for the construction of a mortuary here.

Dr B.N. Bansal, Civil Surgeon, Dr K.C. Goel, DHO, Dr Narinder Goyal, SMO, and Mr Ravinder Kumar, president, City Congress, were also present on the occasion. 



Mandal to celebrate birth anniversary of Banda Bahadur
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
The All-India Bairagi Mahan Mandal will organise a function here on October 16 to celebrate the 336th birth anniversary of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. The members of the community from all over the country and abroad will converge on the city to remember the martyr in a befitting manner.

Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president of the mandal and Chairman of Punjab Housefed, said this while presiding over a meeting of the state office-bearers of the mandal here today. The meeting was convened to give final touches to the arrangements for the birth anniversary celebrations.

Mr Bawa made an appeal to the people of Punjab to observe ‘deepmala’ as a tribute to the martyrdom of Banda Bahadur, who had fought valiantly against the repressive Mogul rulers to avenge the killing of the two sons of the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.

He said the people should take inspiration from martyrs and strive to follow the path shown by them in order to strengthen the unity and integrity of the nation.

Prominent among others present at the meeting were Mr Hari Das Bawa, Mr Jiwan Das Bawa, Mr Bikramjit Singh Bawa, Mr Rajinder Bawa, Mr Baldev Bawa, Ms Kanchan Bawa, Ms Seema Bawa, Ms Neelam Bawa and Ms Rajni Bawa, besides several district presidents of the mandal from different parts of the state.



City all set for Dasehra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
The city is all set to celebrate Dasehra in a big way tomorrow.

The Urban Estate Ramlila Dasehra Committee is organising a function to celebrate Dasehra at Dugri. Mayor Nahar Singh Gill will preside over the function while Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal will be the chief guest.

The main attraction at Daresi grounds is a 65-foot-high effigy of Ravana. The event is being organised by the Shri Ramlila Committee. Mr Rakesh Pandey and Mr Surinder Dawar will the chief guests there.

The Dasehra Committee of Kitchlu Nagar is also organising a function to celebrate the event. Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Lal Lajpat Rai and Mr Satpal Gosain are expected to be present on the occasion. The committee will also organise a ‘healthy baby contest’ on the occasion.

The celebrations at Focal Point will begin as early as 12 noon with an entertainment programme by Jaswinder Bhalla and Balmukand and party. Folk singer Angrez Ali and party will also regale the crowds with their bhangra beats and lilting songs,

The political figures and the top brass of the police, who are expected to attend the Dasehra celebration function at Sukhdev Nagar in Focal Point, include Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Harchand Singh, Mr Chander Shekhar, ADGP, Mr Malkit Singh Birmi and Mr Nahar Singh Gill.



Information guide released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
The Leela Johar Lok Suvidha Centre has brought out a guide which provides information about various processes and procedures involved in issuing various important documents for day-to-day use. The guide was released by Swami Hansraj of Ram Sharanam at a function here today.

According to Mr Ajay Johar, who has named the guide after his late mother Ms Leela Johar, many formalities have to be completed to get various important documents. He said not many people know how to get a passport, a driving licence, a ration card or a senior citizens card issued.

The booklet not only provides information about the office where these are issued, but also gives information about the documents required for the cards.

Deputy Commissioner Ashok Gupta while commenting on the guide said, “As the administration cannot reach every commoner, an NGO with an objective to serve people is the need of the hour in our society.”

SSP A.S. Rai said, “This will help people of all strata of society to take maximum benefit from available schemes.”

The Leela Johar Lok Suvidha Centre has set up a single window system and also provides free home delivery of application forms of various schemes to disabled or sick persons.



Napoleon fancied Pashmina shawls
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
There is a legend attached to the traditional Pashmina shawl of Kashmir. The delicately embroidered Pashmina shawls from Kashmir would travel to France during the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, who used to gift these shawls to his mistress.

Carrying on with such the glorious tradition, the Jammu and Kashmir Handloom Development Corporation has been developing the replicas of the famous shawls preserved around the world, particularly in European countries like France and the UK.

According to Mr Zahid Hussain, Managing Director of the Jammu and Kashmir State Handloom Development Corporation, some shawls have been preserved in European museums for over 300 years. Now the corporation is developing the replicas of these shawls, some of which even take one year to complete from weaving to the embroidery.

Currently the corporation is holding an exhibition-cum-sale of the traditional Kashmiri hand knitted and embroidered Pashmina shawls at Hotel Park Plaza. The exhibition has drawn a huge response from the people here.

The range includes some of the rarest and the most exotic handloom shawls, handcrafted by master craftsmen with pure passion catering to the contemporary styles, moods and tastes. These carefully handpicked, choicest and perhaps the widest alluring range ever are of a very high quality, Mr Hussain claimed.



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