L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Cops indicted by SC panel, vigilance cell not booked
Had created false story, fabricated records
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
A direction of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to register a case against two ASIs of the Punjab Police and the indictment of the same cops in two separate inquiries at the level of ADGPs does not seem enough for the local police to register a case against erring cops for ‘gross’ misuse of their authority, “false” implication and violation of the procedure for police action.

The inquiries had held that the accused police officials ASI Karamjit Singh and ASI Jatinder Singh and some constables had created a false story by wrongly showing the cops present at a nakka, while the police post record (roznamcha) showed their presence somewhere else.

Further, the cops did not deposit the money and valuables recovered from the alleged victims in the police station concerned and pocketed those, the indictment said.

The local police, however, first went ahead with issuing challans in the case, ignoring the indictment and the direction to cancel the case.

Now, over two months have elapsed since the National Commission for Scheduled Castes had ordered the registration of case against the cops. But the order has not been implemented even though it stipulated 15-day time for action.

SSP A. S. Rai said the police could overlook other inquiries, as the local investigation had found evidence against the accounts officer in the fake degree case. The SSP office was not aware of the order of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

The case pertains to the alleged victimisation of Mr Surinder Kumar, a Senior Accounts Officer with Panjab University Chandigarh. He was booked for cheating, forgery and alleged involvement in a fake degree racket in January , 2005.

Inquiries conducted by DSP Bhupinder Singh and another by DSP Gurjit Singh, conducted on behalf of the ADGPs of the Internal Vigilance Cell of the Punjab Police and by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. Both inquiries recommended registration of cases against the erring ASIs and the other members of the police team.

The police in the FIR against the accounts officer had stated that he was caught in a car with a lecturer of a college in Moga carrying some material that connected them to the fake degree racket.

They were booked accordingly. However, the inquiry reports found that the police could not present any person to claim that Surinder Kumar had sold or supplied them fake degrees. Further, the police showed the arrest of the alleged victim at Midda Chowk, whereas the daily diary register of the Kochar Market police post does not show them leaving together. They were present in the police post only.

The inquiry report further stated the shocking violation of the police procedure. The cops showed they had recovered Rs 160 from Surinder Kumar and Rs 100 from the college lecturer, Roshan Lal, besides an HMT watch. As per the rules, the items should have been deposited with the police station. This was not found in the records of the police station.

The inquiry also showed that the entire record and entries in the register were penned by one constable only, which duly proved the inquiry. This showed how the cops had created the case, evidence and circumstances on their own.



VAT: industrialists’ threat to launch agitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The local industry here today threatened to resort to agitation if the government did not extend the last date for submitting annual Value Added Tax (VAT) returns.
“We will wait till November 20 for the date to be extended and if the same is not done, we will launch an agitation against the government,” said Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India (FOTSII), today.

He said FOTSII will be supported during the agitation by several other associations including the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association, the Focal Point, Phase VIII Association and the Ludhiana Wire Drawing Manufacturers Association.

“It has been a few months we have been urging the government to extend the last date to March 31, 2007. Acute scarcity of these forms is making it difficult for the industry to adhere to the deadline. Besides, extending the date would not cause the government any loss in revenue as trade and industry has been filing quarterly returns,” he added.

He said industrialists have sent a memorandum to the Chairman of the Empowered Committee on VAT regarding the issue. Industry representatives also demanded extension in summary assessment for 2004-05.

Enumerating the problems of industrialists, Mr Kumar said that sewer choking in Focal Point was adding to the industry’s woes. He said Phase VI, VII and VIII were areas where choking took place on a frequent basis. “In many units, it is difficult even to enter the factory premises due to the choking of sewers,” he said.

“The entire sewerage there has collapsed and the industry is suffering as a consequence.”

Industrialists also demanded a reduction in furnace oil rates.



PCMS doctors flay move to hike retirement age
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) expressed its strong opposition to the government’s move to hike retirement age of medical and dental teachers from 58 to 62 years. Calling upon the state government to intervene and halt this shortsighted and negative proposal, the association apprehended that the move would stagnate promotional avenues in the medical community.

The PCMS doctors have also reiterated their demand for grant of assured career progression (ACP) of 4, 9 and 14 years to the medical and dental teacher cadre to end the prevailing crisis of shortage of medical teachers.

In a statement here today, Dr Hardeep Singh, state president, PCMSA, and Dr Puneet Girdhar, state secretary, PCMSA (Dental), have termed the proposed increase in retirement age as totally unjustified while demanding a high-level inquiry into the mismanagement that had led to shortage of medical and dental teachers in the state and thereby posing a threat of de-recognition to some of the prestigious state medical institutions.

“Apparently, this move seems to have been initiated as a cover up of the gross mismanagement over a long duration. Lack of timely action on the part of the government has lead to deterioration of medical education in Punjab and such short-term arrangement will only defer the impending crisis for a few more years,” the body said.

The PCMSA leaders said for the past many years, the medical community had smelled a well-planned conspiracy by way of denial of promotions against various vacant ranks of medical and dental teachers. Those responsible for creating this mess were now misguiding the state government and creating an elusion of shortage of adequate qualifying candidates for the large number of vacant posts.

Dr Hardeep Singh and Dr Girdhar further asked the government to implement the ACP of 4, 9 and 14 years with retrospective effect from 1996 for medical and dental teachers to end the present crisis of shortage of faculty and the threat of de-recognition of medical institutions forever.



Postal employees demonstrate
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
Led by activists of the Joint Council of Action of Service Union, postal employees today held a lunch-hour demonstration at the Divisional Headquarters of Ludhiana City Division at Head Post Office in Bharat Nagar Chowk here to press their pending demands. The call for protest was given by National Federation of Postal Employees.

Speakers at the demonstration, while focusing on acute shortage of staff in all cadres, rued that more than 38,000 posts had been scrapped since the year 2001 and new schemes were being introduced by the Department of Posts without providing adequate staff strength.

The protesters demanded that the Department of Posts be exempted from purview of reduction of staff, the scheme for franchising of postal outlets be scrapped, the move to close down post offices, RMS offices and merger of post offices and divisions be halted, and the process of downsizing of head and branch post offices be discontinued forthwith.

The postal employees further asked the government to fill up all vacant posts, revive justified posts of postmen, group D and other categories, as also concede all other pending demands listed in the charter of demands submitted during the March 2005 strike.

Among others, Mr Iqbal Khurmi, Divisional Secretary, Group C and Mr Ramesh Kumar, Divisional Secretary, Postmen, and Group D of the All India Postal Employees Union addressed the protesting employees.



Infant girl found abandoned
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Despite the widespread campaign to save the girl child, the abandoning of infant girls continues unabated. A girl, who was just a few hours old, was found deserted near a bridge on the Sirhind canal at Garhi Tarkhana village near Macchiwara here today.

Farmers working in the fields heard cries of the baby. They found the girl covered in a piece of cloth. The farmers informed the Macchiwara police who shifted her to the civil hospital there.

From there, the baby was shifted to the civil hospital in Ludhiana. The hospital authorities said that the girl was seven hours old when she was brought to the local civil hospital. They said that she was out of danger and all her vital organs were working perfectly.

The authorities said that they would keep her in the hospital under the care of the hospital staff for some more days. Then, she will be legally passed on to a responsible agency. Though she has no health problems, she would be in a state of shock as she had nobody to look after her when she came to this world, said the doctors.

The police was investigating the matter. Villagers, however, suggested that from the way she was deserted, it appeared that she was an illegitimate child. They said that she was not even cleaned and was just wrapped in a cloth. Her umbilical cord and the placenta was also lying near her.

According to them, the spot suggested that she was delivered at the spot and her mother left her there. 



Gurdwara body to hold convention against Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar-II Parbandhak Committee will launch a frontal attack on former CM Parkash Singh Badal and his party at the protest convention to be held here on November 8.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the SAD (A), said during the last century, whenever the Sikhs had faced a situation when their religion was under attack, they had grouped together to put up a unified response. Presently it is a unique situation, wherein the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi), Dal Khalsa, Dam Dami Taksal and a host of other organisations will be putting up a united fight against the well entrenched SGPC leadership.

He said the situation had been further confounded by the unilateral and theocratic approach of the Jathedar of Akal Takht. Never in the past had Sikh bodies reacted so sharply against the Jathedar as they had done presently. Never in the history of the Sikhs had the five high priests issued edicts without consultation and deliberations, he alleged.

Commenting on the dilemma of the devout Sikhs regarding the role of Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, he said, “We are distressed, we would never think that a day would come when we would have to speak against the Jathedar of Akal Takht. But he is pushing us to the wall. He is acting as the spokesperson of Badal and the SGPC. He has to undo this if he has to regain the respect and honour of the Sikh masses,” he added.

Ever since its inception three months ago on August 16, 2006, the Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar Committee has presented 60 different issues before the Jathedar and his co-Jathedars. Hundreds of cases of gross mismanagement of funds were pending in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission but the Jathedar had not thought it fit to take them up with the SGPC, he pointed out.

Issues relating to the activities of the Noormahlia dera and other deras were also a bone of contention but it was ironical that the Jathedars had not taken any step in this regard, he said.

The Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar will be presenting a poser of 21 questions to Parkash Singh Badal at tomorrow’s convention.

An exhibition of pictures from Kathunangal nailing the lie of the Badal campaign would also be displayed at the convention venue.

A resolution for the impeachment of the Jathedar was also likely to be passed at the convention and a list of all the people who physically attacked Mann and other party leaders would also be circulated.

The convention would also decide to hold a parallel session to the SGPC session on November 25, he added.



Scheme for unemployed youth not practical: taxation lawyers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The government's recently announced scheme regarding the engaging of educated unemployed youth to help people file their tax returns is unlikely to generate desired results, taxation lawyers said here today.

Tax Return Preparers Scheme was announced to target unemployed youth who, the scheme said, could earn a fixed amount plus commission by helping people fill their tax returns.

"The scheme is not practical at all since in most cases the tax amount is not very significant, hence the proportionate commission amount, too, would also not be much. Besides, while filing returns, expenses like stationery and conveyance too have to be considered," said Mr Jatinder Khurana, president, Taxation Young Lawyers Association.

The association also said that the scheme would also be not of much use to tax payers who would have to rely on expert advice, as there are frequent changes in provisions pertaining to the Income Tax Act.

"The Income Tax Department, provides the facility of filing returns through help centres and post offices every year. Through the Internet too, it is quite easy to file e-returns. In the camps organised by the department, the amount of tax deposit is not significant," added Mr Khurana.

Asserting that the government provide employment to youth in the Taxation Department itself which was facing staff shortage, the association said such measures were impractical and would not be of much use.

The association also demanded that the last date for the filing of annual returns for VAT be extended till February 28, 2007, on account of the shortage of C forms.



Commissioner takes a round of Rose Garden
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The Commissioner, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, alongwith a battery of officials took a round of Rose Garden and heard the grievances of morning walkers here today.

The residents present at the spot told him that the garden was sans any facilities. Stray dogs had a field day in the garden and at times snakes were also seen.

Morning walkers said there was no arrangement for drinking water. The benches were broken and even the employees responsible for maintainence of the park were rarely seen.

Commissioner, Vikas Partap, assured them that the MC would soon provide them with all the facilities.

The residents said they felt unsafe because of potholes in the park. Garbage was also littered. They said two deaths had already taken place in the garden during the past few months. Even potable water was not available in the garden that could be given to the sick who died in the garden. 



Controversy over promotion of SE
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The elevation of Mr Manmohan Singh, Superintending Engineer of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), as Chief Engineer ruffled many feathers in the city today with MLA Kilarapur, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, levelling allegations that the official was given “undue” promotion as he had saved the “skin” of the Congress government by hiding some papers pointing to City Centre Scam.

While Mr Manmohan Singh rubbished all claims stating that these were wild allegations, Mr Garcha, while addressing a press conference, alleged that the former was awarded for helping the state government.

Mr Garcha said that it was Mr Manmohan Singh only who was elevated to the post of Superintending Engineer from an Executive Engineer some time ago and now he was promoted as Chief Engineer (CE) though no such post existed in the Improvement Trusts all over the state.

Demanding an inquiry into his promotion, Mr Garcha said that his role vis-a-vis the city centre should be probed. He said he had joined LIT as an SDO in 1990 and it was surprising that he became a CE in just 16 years. Moreover, when the LIT had been dissolved what was the need to promote an official.

On the other hand, Mr Manmohan Singh said that engineers of the trust had nothing to do with the city centre scam. He said that the project was with a private company and LIT had just provided land for the purpose.

He said that the state government was appointing Chief Engineers in all the improvement trust in the state and the minimum experience was two years as an SE. He claimed he had four-and-a-half years experience and he was the senior most in the trust and he deserved the promotion.



PSEB employees strike work
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
On a call given by the Punjab State Electricity Board Employees Joint Forum and the Co-ordination Committee, employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) observed a strike in support of their demands including the cancellation of the Electricity Act 2003 and a ban on outsourcing.

On account of the strike by the clerical as well as the technical staff, the cash counters also remained closed. The protesting employees held gate rallies outside various PSEB offices. Mr Kewal Singh Banwait, vice-president, Punjab Federation, INTUC, said that employees would intensify their struggle if the government did not pay heed to their demands.



Journalist threat case: SHO shifted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The SHO of Division No. 5 police station has been transferred to the Police Lines with immediate effect.
Police station officials were in the centre of a controversy for allegedly harassing a sports journalist of The Tribune, Mr Anil Datt, by telling him to trace the accused on his own, when he had complained of being threatened with a pistol by an unidentified person.

SSP A.S. Rai has appointed Inspector Mandeep Singh in place of the Inspector Harvinder Singh who has been posted to the Police Lines.



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