L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

A taxing day at banks
Heavy rush on last day of filing VAT returns
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
Customers of the State Bank of India (SBI), treasury branch on the Rani Jhansi road, raised slogan against the bank as the authorities downed shutters for around an hour this afternoon to accommodate heavy rush on the last date of submitting quarterly VAT returns.

“It was sheer harassment, they simply closed the gate and it was only after we raised slogans that the gate was opened. We had to wait for more than an hour,” Mr Harish Gupta, a businessman, said.

Majority of the customers who had to wait were those who had come to submit VAT returns. “It is the last date and banks should prepare themselves to handle the rush. The problem is that there is not sufficient number of branches to accept these returns,” said Mr Rajiv Aggarwal, another customer.

The bank branch remained jampacked and around 400 persons were standing in queues till lunch. Branch Manager R.K. Mehta said: “Being the last day, there is heavy rush. We have set up eight counters but the rush was so heavy that we had to shut the gate, otherwise, it could have proved dangerous.”

He said the bank staff was putting in extra hours to accommodate the rush and the measure was taken only to streamline the heavy flow of customers.

Most bank branches that were accepting VAT returns witnessed heavy rush today. Traders and advocates said more branches should have been assigned the job to prevent chaos.

“As today is the last date for filing VAT returns and tomorrow the last date for income tax returns (except companies), people are turning out at banks in large numbers. Moreover, yesterday was a Sunday. Increase in the number of branches would have lessened the trouble for the customers,” said Mr Jatinder Khurana, president of the Young Taxation Lawyers Association.

Adding to the confusion were the people who did not know that they had to fill separate forms for VAT and the Punjab Municipal Fund following the abolition of octroi. “Some people, who were not aware of the provision, filled one form instead of two. This created confusion,” said a trader.

Mr D.K. Verma, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, meanwhile, blamed it on the habit of submitting returns on the last day. “People are given 30 days period during which they can file returns. There is no shortage of branches. But if all want to come on the last day, there is not much that can be done to tackle the situation,” he said.



Father’s cry for justice goes unheard
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana October 30
Buta Singh of Garha village in the Noorpur area, near here, has been moving from pillar to post to get justice for his daughter who was allegedly abducted by four youths of the same village on October 12. They reportedly drugged her and released her the next day.

Buta Singh today alleged that although an FIR had been registered against the four, no action had been taken against any of them so far. Instead, he claimed, the police arrested a youth from a neighbouring village whom he had not named in the FIR and who was not involved in the abduction.

The SHO, Ladowal, Mr Rajkumar said, the police had registered an FIR against the accused and was investigating the matter. He said arrests would be made once the police was convinced about Buta Singh’s allegations. He said the youth detained by the police was involved but Buta Singh wanted to shield him for reasons best known to him.

Buta Singh alleged that the police had made a weak FIR as it had not included a charge of rape. He said, “The four youths abducted my daughter, drugged her and kept her with them for two days and still the police has not included the rape charge despite my repeated insistence.” He alleged that the police even refused to get his daughter medically examined.

He alleged that he was being compelled by the police to reach a compromise with the accused. He said the accused were roaming scot free and were even threatening him with dire consequences.

Narrating the incident, he said his 13-year-old daughter, a Class VIII student, left for her school on the morning of October 12. However, she was intercepted midway and forcibly pushed into a car. After that, Buta Singh said, his daughter had no idea where she was taken and what was done to her as she was drugged. She returned home only the next day after the alleged abductors left her at Ladowal.

Buta Singh alleged that the accused belonged to an influential family with whom he had a property dispute. “They are trying to threaten me into submission with all assistance from the police,” he alleged, asserting that he would continue his fight for justice until the culprits were brought to book. He said he feared for his life as the accused could go to any extent. 



Dirty water bane of Jugiana village
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, October 30
Jugiana village, near here, seems to be heading towards its doom as the only water outlet from inside a shutdown mill has now been closed by its owners. The villagers had been benefitting from it for the past more than five years.

With the ever-increasing number of migrants, the village pond outlived its capacity years ago. Since then, the Thapars’, who are the owners of the mill, had allowed the excess water of the village to be drained into their mill area, but now the outlet has been closed as they plan to sell out the mill.

In absence of any outlet, the waste foul smelling infectious water has found a way into the streets and has even entered some houses. The villagers have no choice but to wade through the dirty water to reach their destinations.

With the each passing day, the problem is getting aggravated as more and more water is getting accumulated in the area and creating panic among the residents.

“The water has entered our houses and it is a matter of grave concern for us. If the situation is not brought under control, it make lead to the breakout out of an epidemic,” a villager said. “In the absence of any water outlet, you cannot expect the villagers to stay here for long,” another villager added. “The situation has reached such a point that the villagers are now planning an exodus,” he added.

Ms Rajinder Kaur Bulara, former MP and resident of the village, said the authorities were not at all concerned about the situation prevailing in the village. “The village came under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, around 10 years ago. Since then, we have been paying thousands of rupees in the form of taxes, but what are we getting in return? No cleanliness drive has been ever launched in the village. Various verbal reminders and pleas have fallen on the deaf ears of the authorities concerned, thus aggravating the situation all the more,” she said.

“The problem has been plaguing the area for months together. With the closure of the factory outlet, it has assumed serious proportions,” said Mr Harinderpreet Singh Hara, another resident of the village whose family is confined to their house as their outer street is filled to the brim with dirty water. They have also erected a temporary blockade like many others, lest the infectious water should enter their house.

The villagers said a few days ago a pump was brought to the village by the authorities, but was taken back after three days without taking pains to pump out even a single drop of water.

The drinking water pipes are immersed in the dirty water, thus creating the fear of drinking water contamination.

Mr Manjit Singh Dhillon, another resident, said, “The stagnant water is providing a safe breading ground for mosquitoes thus posing a dengue threat.”

“The migrants residing in the village have further added to the woes of the villagers. Throwing all cleanliness norms to the winds, the grown-ups and their children ease themselves out around the pond itself, which is situated in the heart of the village. Moreover, the unhygienic conditions that they create around themselves by throwing waste near their colonies are also unbearable,” added Mr Jagdeep Singh Dhillon.

The villagers are planning a dharna in front of the civic body office at Ludhiana.

So frustrated are they with their present condition that they said, “The ministers, who were earlier garlanded by us, shall now be welcomed with nothing less than stones and brickbats rather than our precious votes.”

The people in power have visited the village several times and have given assurances about installing sewerage system in the village, but those promises were never fulfilled. Only last month, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, went to the extent of announcing September 20 as the date of sewerage installation. The date was later extended to October 3. But nothing concrete has happened so far and the villagers continue to live in dingy conditions.



Pankaj Udhas brings ghazal magic alive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana October 30
Noted ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas enthralled the audience at Lodhi Club at a function organised to mark the annual day celebrations at the club last night. Rendering some of his popular ghazals, Pankaj Udhas made everyone hum along besides cheering and applauding him.

Pankaj said, although the culture of ghazals was not that popular in the films these days, yet there was still hope. He pointed out that people still loved ghazals. He said, ‘‘Hindi films have now given up ghazal and item numbers have taken its place’’.

He maintained that ghazal needed a particular atmosphere. He said, they had formed a society in Mumbai where ghazal singers performed regularly and collections were donated for the treatment of cancer patients.

As he kept on rendering the popular numbers from his collection there were frequent requests for repeat performance. And the ever smiling singer did not disappoint anyone.

The programme continued till late in the night. It was after quite a long gap that the city hosted a famous ghazal singer.



Programme for vegetable growers on Nov 1
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana October 30
A field day on the net house technology for vegetable cultivation will be observed at Nawan Jatpur village, near Changran, Hoshiarpur district, on November 1. Punjab Agricultural University, the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, the State Bank of India and the Farm Advisory Service Society, Hoshiarpur, have jointly organised the event.

According to the Director of Extension Education, Dr S.S. Gill, the Chairman of the Commission, Dr G.S. Kalkat, will be the chief guest and the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, will preside over the function.

The farmers will have an opportunity to interact with a member of the PAU’s Board of Management, Ms Supinder Kaur Cheema, and Farmers’ Commission secretary and Additional Secretary (Home) K.S. Pannu.

The Additional Director of Extension Education, Dr Sat Paul Mehra, said the major benefit for net house technology was that farmers were able to grow vegetables without insecticides. 



LPG shortage in Mandi Ahmedgarh
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 30
Taking cognisance of the reports about the scarcity of LPG cylinders in the town and its surrounding villages here, the administration has directed the proprietors of Raj Gas Agency, Dehlon, to make supplementary arrangements for providing refills to the consumers at their doorstep.

Besides impressing upon Bharat Gas to expedite supplies for the area, it has urged the consumers not to panic and hoard gas cylinders. The supply of the lone gas agency in the town was recently interrupted due to technical reasons.

Meanwhile, consumers continue to face problems in getting refills.

After the interruption of the supply to the Ahmedgarh Gas Agency, the lone agency in the town, the supply was entrusted to the agency at Dehlon around 15 days ago. Since then, there has been a panic among the consumers as they feel it will take sometime before the supply became normal.

Situation became so uncertain over the past few weeks that consumers started hiring labourers for standing in queues for getting cylinders.

The proprietors of Raj Gas Agency, Dehlon, which has been entrusted with the task of supplying gas to the residents here, claim to have made all arrangements for providing uninterrupted supply of gas to around 19,500 consumers of the town and surrounding villages.

The administration has assured the local leaders that the supply would be entrusted to the Department of Food and Civil Supplies if the agency owner did not make enough arrangements for home delivery.

Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola, a councillor, said the working of the lone gas agency in the town had been paralysed after the supply to it was interrupted by the company. Raj Gas Company, Dehlon, which had been entrusted the responsibility of supplying gas to the consumers of the area, could not streamline the supply over the past 15 days, he said.

He said the consumers had to stand in queues for long time whereas they used to get the commodity at their doorstep earlier.

Mr Deepak Kapoor, owner of the agency, admitted they faced problems at an initial stage. But the things were normal now, he claimed. He alleged certain people, acting at the behest of the old agency, had been harassing him for obvious reasons.

With a registration of around 19,000 consumers, the local agency needed a supply ranging between 600 to 900 refills daily.

Meanwhile, the administration took notice of the reports of LPG short supply and urged the consumer not to panic and hoard cylinder. Mr Jaskiran Singh, SDM, Malerkotla, said he had taken up the issue with the authorities concerned in the supplier company and the supply would be enhanced soon.

Mr Mukesh Sharma, Executive Magistrate, and Mr Surinder Kumar Inspector, Food and Civil Supplies Department, supervised the distribution of refills after receiving directions from the SDM.



PPCC secretary, others join SAD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
Mr Satish Khullar, who was a secretary in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, yesterday joined the Shiromani Akali Dal along with several of his supporters at a function organised by the Civil Lines Citizen Council at Brindhabhan Road.

The function was attended among others by the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and several other senior leaders, including Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Attwal, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, Mr Vijay Danav, Mr Varinder Bhakoo and Mr Jiwan Dhawan, member of the working committee, SAD.

Mr Badal asserted that SAD was a secular party where every community of Punjab will be given due regards and would be adjusted accordingly.



Dist SAD (rural) announces working committee
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
The president of the Ludhiana (rural) unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Sant Singh Umaidpur, has announced working committee for the district unit.
He announced 328 office-bearers for the district unit.

This is purely for the rural areas of the district. Besides, he has to announce office-bearers for three more circles of Khanna, Sidhwan Bet and Sudhar, which might take the total number to about 500, making mockery of the whole exercise.

According to the recent orders issued by the district president, there will be 20 senior vice-presidents, 36 junior vice-presidents, 35 general secretaries, 18 secretaries, 14 joint secretaries, 20 organising secretaries, nine propaganda secretaries, 29 advisers, eleven circle presidents and 133 working committee members for the district.



Minister lays stone of dharamshala
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
Punjab Minister for Science and Technology Rakesh Pandey has said the Congress regime in Punjab is committed to the welfare and empowerment of Dalits and other economically weaker sections of society.

Mr Pandey was speaking at a felicitation function after laying the foundation stone of a Valmiki dharamshala in Nali Mohalla here today. He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the construction of the dharamshala, which entailed an expenditure of about Rs 2 lakh.

The minister claimed that the government had launched a number of welfare schemes for the SCs and STs. The shagun scheme for girls from Dalit families had been revived, Dalit families were getting power for domestic use free of cost and adequate funds had been earmarked for providing SC students with scholarships and exercise and textbooks.

Office-bearers of the Valmiki temple committee, including Mr Lakshman Dravid, chairman, Mr Ashwani Sahota, chief adviser, Mr Madan Lal Bhumbak, chief patron, Mr Varinder Bhumbak, president, along with other functionaries, presented siropas to the minister and other dignitaries in recognition of their persistent efforts for the welfare of Dalits.

Prominent among others present at the function were Mr Jaswant Singh Kuku, Mr Ashok Hans, Mr Shiv Lal Bhumbak, Mr Varinder Gagat, Mr Rajinder Hans, Mr Sanjeev Sahota, Mr Rajinder Boba, Mr Deepak Pawme, Mr Rimpy Hans, Mr Tarsem Lal Moong, Mr Sita Ram Shankar, Mr Walaiti Ram Kundra, Ms Raj Rani Gill and Ms Suman Rani. 



Minister lays stone for development scheme 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon ,October 30
Choudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Bodies, Labour and Employment, Punjab, today laid the foundation stone for a water supply and sewerage scheme to be executed at a cost of Rs 12 crore at Old Grain Market here.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, former MP, Mr Gurdip Singh Bhaini, former MLA, Mr Raj Kumar Malhotra, President of the Municipal Council, Mr Gurpreet Singh Khaira, SDM, and Mr Gurmander Singh, Tehsildar, were present besides others.

Addressing the gathering, the minister said the project would benefit all residents of the town. He asserted the project would be completed within four months.



Role of religion in world peace discussed
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 30
A conference was organised today at P-Grand Resort by the National Peace Foundation in collaboration with the Folklore Research Academy, Amritsar, the Hind Pak Dosti Manch, and the Spring Dale Education Society (PUNARJOT) in which the role of religion in the establishment of world peace was discussed.

Dr Farooq Abdullah former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was the chief guest and Jagmeet Singh Brar, senior Congress leader, presided over the function. The conference was inaugurated by Didi Nirmala Deshpande MP. Mr Munish Tiwari, Secretary, AICC, welcomed the guests on the occasion.

Speakers discussed the role of religion in the establishment of world peace. Choudary Manzoor Ahmed MNA, Kasoor (Pakistan), while speaking on the occasion stressed that the people of Pakistan and India should come forward and be courageous enough to extend love and affection to overcome the feeling of enmity. ‘‘This will be a wining point for India as well as Pakistan’’, he added.

Sadhvi Pratibha Pragaya, a disciple of Acharaya Mahapragaya, gave the message of peace and brotherhood. She explained that poverty is the root cause of violence and appealed to remove poverty and spread the message of non-violence.

Kaushal Kishore Saran, Mahant Farrari Baba, Ayodhaya, while speaking on the occasion, said the trait of selfishness was gaining ground. He said, ‘‘Religion is that which connects and does not disintegrate’’. He appealed to people not to allow religion to create a rift between human beings.

Hafiz Hussain Ahmed MNA Quetta (Pakistan), Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister Punjab, Abdul Rashid Shaheen, MP, Baramula, Lamma Laub Jaang and Mahant Kailash Nath were among those who gave the message of love and peace.



Six booked in assault cases
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 30
The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 452, 324, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Baljinder Singh, Mohan Singh, Bhola Singh, Harbans Singh and Raja Singh, all residents of Sidhwan Kalan, for trespassing on the residential premises of Darshan Singh of the same village and assaulting him with sticks and axe on Thursday.

Some land dispute is said to be the reason behind the assault. The injured have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Sidhwan Bet.

In a similar case, Major Singh of Choki Maan has been booked under Sections 325, 323 and 34 of the IPC by the Jagraon police on the charge of assaulting Dharminder Singh of his village at New Grain Market here recently.

One booked for cheating

The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC against Kirpal Singh of Leelan Megh Singh on the charge of duping Ajmer Singh of Jandi. The accused allegedly took Rs 1,30,000 from Ajmer to send him abroad, but he neither fulfilled his promise, nor returned his money.

7 held for gambling

The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act against Inderjit Singh of Talwara, Pawan Kumar of Sidhwan Bet and Manjit Singh, alias Titu of Katman.

They were allegedly gambling at Talwara village on Saturday. The police arrested Inderjit and Pawan, but Manjit escaped. The police seized Rs 21,400 and a pack of playing cards.

In another case, the Jagraon police arrested Mohinder Singh of Swaddi Kalan, Jaswinder Singh and Harpreet Singh of Gureh, Dalwara Singh of Hans Kalan in the Gureh village area on Sunday on the charge of gambling and seized Rs 23,865 and a pack of playing cards. A case has been registered under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.



Impersonator turns out to be Army deserter
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 30
The person, who posed himself as an Army Captain and duped a number of girls, aspiring to be nurses, of lakhs of rupees, turned out to be a deserter cook of the Army.

The police had last month received information from the Army Headquarters that the cook, Amarjit Singh, was a deserter. But, before he could be arrested, Amarjit took his victims, around 24 girls, to Goa.

The police investigation revealed that Amarjit had been employed as cook with No. 3 Training ASC Centre, Norakha (Bihar), till May, 2003. He deserted the Army on June 30 and returned to his native village Dehrka.



Seminar on survival of BSNL
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
The BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU), Punjab circle, will organise a seminar on “Survival of BSNL and role of trade unions” at the Nehru Sidhant Kendra here on November 1.

The main speakers at the seminar would be Mr V.A.N. Namboodiri, general secretary of the BSNLEU, Mr S.P. Sharma, general secretary of the BSNL Workers Rashtrya Union, Mr Balwant Singh, president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Punjab, Mr Inderjit Singh, senior vice-president of the Sanchar Nigam Executives Association (I), and Mr Bhag Lal, assistant treasurer of the BSNLEU.

Mr Rajendra Singh, Chief General Manager (Telecom), Punjab circle, will be the chief guest.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Balbir Singh, circle secretary of the BSNLEU, Punjab circle, said the trade unions in general had been striving mainly on the demands and problems of the employees.

But in the changed scenario, the employees were also required to bring about suitable changes in their work culture and delivery of high-quality services to the customers in order to make the BSNL more competitive.



Biz Clips

Balaji Garments
: Balaji Garments has opened M and B Factory Direct, a discount retail footwear outlet, which will offer domestic and international brands being marketed by the company. A company press note said on Monday that the showroom had been designed to offer an international ambience and products of high quality on heavy discounts. TNS

Samsonite: Samsonite, a US-based company, opened its exclusive showroom of bags and travel accessories in association with Pindi Attachi House here on Monday. The outlet will offer branded products in bags, laptop bags, suit cases, trollies, purses and accessories. Mr Balbir Singh and Mr Tajinder Pal Singh, owners of the showroom, said. TNS



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |