L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Principal accused of molestation, transferred
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 25
The case of the principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Sihora, who had been accused of molesting a girl student of his school, has been sent to the DPI(S) for necessary departmental action. However, the district education authorities have transferred him to GSSS, Pakki Multani village.

Acting on the report submitted by a team of officials of the Education Department, led by Dr Anil Sandeel, Administrative Officer, the District Education Officer, Ludhiana, shifted Mr Bahadur Singh Madnipur, the principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Sihora, to Pakki Multani village and forwarded his case to DPI(S) for further disciplinary action against him.

The authorities had swung into action after people from about seven villages in Payal subdivision had locked the said school to protest against the alleged molestation of a girl student by the acting Principal, Bahadur Singh Madnipur, who is also the vice president of the Punjab Pradesh Teachers Union, affiliated to the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

A 21-committee constituted to impress upon the authorities to initiate action against the official had found that the incident had taken place on the night of November 14 when the principal took the student along with him to Ludhiana on the pretext of participating in a sports camp there. On the way back he allegedly stopped at a liquor shop. He got drunk and in an inebriated condition also molested the girl. He was reportedly spotted by some people who reported the matter to other people of the area.

The girl told about the incident to her father. But the principal, in an apparent bid to hush up the matter, reportedly influenced her father and took an affidavit from him and his daughter that nothing had happened.

However, the people who had spotted him with the girl continued with their campaign and mobilised the panchayats of the nearby villages to ensure that action was taken against the principal.

The committee informed the authorities after locking the school and the team of officials from Education Department had been persuaded to open the school.

Referring to information received from Mr Virender Kumar Sharma, acting DEO, Mr Tejinder Dhaliwal, SDM, Payal, Bahadur Singh Madnipur had been transferred to the Pakki Multani school and the case sent to DPI(S) to decide the necessary disciplinary action him.



Prayers, message of love mark Christmas
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 25
Mass prayers for the well-being of countrymen, message of love, peace and brotherhood spread in the city when thousands of Christians/non-Christians celebrated Christmas with fervour. Thousands of devotees thronged churches in the morning to take part in mass-prayers. Dressed in their best, the devotees included men, women, young as well as tiny-tots. All churches, where prayers were held, were beautifully decorated to celebrate the occasion.

More than 5000 devotees gathered at Kalvary Church near CMC for the prayer meeting. The prayers lasted for about two hours. Warris. K.Masiah, the main speaker spread the message of love, given by Jesus Christ. The story of Christ's birth and importance of the festival was told to the devotees.

Clarance Bansi Lal, Moderator, United Church of Northern India, held prayers at the United Church, Chaura Bazaar where hundreds of devotees had gathered.

Another prayer meeting was held at Aposal Church, near CMC Hospital, where the main speaker was Rev. Innamuel Mesiah. He spread the message of love and peace and asked devotees to follow the teachings of Christ. Master Eric. Gopal Singh addressed the gathering at Maranatha Revival Church, Issa Nagri. About 2000 persons attended the prayers at The Penticostal Mission Church, one of the oldest churches in the city.

Mr B.M.Fredrick, secretary, United Church of Northern India said prayers in all churches were held before lunch.

The city has approximately 50,000 Christians who along with Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims celebrate the festival.



Looking Back 2006
City epicentre of political battles
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 25
Ludhiana is not just the industrial and financial capital of Punjab, it is also turning out to be the epicentre of political battles in the state as well. No wonder then that the much hyped 'multi-crore’ City Centre scam had its roots in Ludhiana only. Whether the 'scandal' had any genuine basis or not, is difficult to tell at this stage, but it certainly rocked the political set up of the state for a while.

For sometime the Akali activists and leaders, supported by the alliance partners, BJP, tried to keep the issue alive. Even on the day when the Prime Minister addressed a rally at Guru Nanak Stadium, the Akalis staged a protest dharna against the 'scandal'. But the row over the scandal appears to be a thing of the past now.

After the Shiromani Akali Dal organised a show of strength at Chandigarh on October 14, the Congress decided to stage its "counter show" in Ludhiana, which from all accounts was equally impressive, prompting the SAD to organise a better show at Moga on December 8.

Moreover, the political parties, without an exception, have another major attraction in Ludhiana. With most of the big industrial houses and potential financiers of the political parties of the state based in the city, a large number of leaders are regularly seen in the city.

However, it’s not that they come here just to collect finances only, but that aspect is certainly in everybody's mind, whenever they come over here. Not surprisingly, many industrial tycoons of the city prefer to stay out of the city around the election time to “save” extra expenditure.

Ludhiana also witnessed some mild political upheavals as well. The Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, was removed from his post following his vituperative outburst against the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo. Mr Dullo is reportedly supporting Mr Nahar Singh Gill, the city Mayor and arch rival of Mr Birmi, in the race for the party nomination from the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment that is currently being represented by Mr Birmi. This all happened despite the Chief Minister supporting Mr Birmi.

Since then Mr Birmi has remained quite dormant, with Mr Nahar Singh Gill occupying the centre stage in the Assembly segment. He has been organising small and big rallies every other day in the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment.

Rifts are visible not just in the Congress, but in the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bhartiya Janata Party also where the aspiring candidates have started lobbying for themselves. With each segment having a number of aspirants, the intra-party competition appears to be more intense and stringent with candidates going all out to outsmart each other, even at the cost of denting the party's image.

With elections round the corner, the city is likely to bid a hot and intense farewell to the year 2006 with the anticipation of a hotter and more intense beginning of the New Year.



Stan autos tops CSI list again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 25
Stan Autos, one of the leading dealers of Maruti cars, has once again topped the customers satisfaction index in the country. It has also stood second in the nationwide survey about customer satisfaction.

Disclosing this here today, the Managing Directors of the Stan Autos, Dr Naresh Malhotra and Anil Malhotra, disclosed that they had missed the top rank in the country by only a few points. The Stan has earlier topped the CSI in the country on several occasions. The CSI survey is conducted every year among the auto dealers where customer satisfaction is rated randomly. The survey is monitored by the JD Power Study, a Singapore based Auto Industry monitoring and analysis group.

Dr Malhotra told the Ludhiana Tribune, "our endeavour has always been to remain close to the customer and that is why we have always topped in the CSI ratio". He pointed out, it is not just the sale of the vehicle, but the after sale services that is quite important to ensure and retain the customers trust.



Learning beyond blackboard
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
'Learning beyond blackboard' was the theme of Activity Week held at Peace Public School from December 18. It was organised to imbibe positive qualities like self expression, confidence, stage exposure, aesthetic sense and team spirit in the students.

A fancy dress show was organised where children dressed themselves up as doctors, cobblers, masons, plumbers, postmen, electricians, teachers and many more to gain information of these profession.

The ' Best out of Waste' contest unleashed the creative potential of the students.

Within a span of one hour, the deft fingers of children created magic out of waste like old newspapers, used cans, paper plates, empty boxes etc.

They made folders, pen-stands, photo frames, magazine stands and many more things.

The chief guest, Mrs Usha Jain (founder Principal of Atam Public Senior Secondary School) congratulated the school for providing the requisite environment vital for eliciting flair of the students which is often stifled by bookish education and activities like these instil confidence and creative thinking in the children.

The school also held a solo dance competition for the pre- primary block.

The little kids matched their steps to peppy tunes and folk songs.

All participants were honoured.

In the costume theme party the houses of the school chose topics like 'Child Labour,' 'Beware of Quacks' etc.

Children prepared their own costumes with coloured papers, foil, beads etc.

Fun and gaiety marked the Christmas celebrations in the school.



Separate laws demanded for Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Experts, including historians and academicians, today supported the demand for a separate jurisprudence for the Sikhs living in the country.

Speaking at a one-day conference on Sikh Jurisprudence in India: the futuristic vision, experts said all laws that are applicable to the other communities should not be made automatically applicable to the Sikhs too.

“Just like the Hindu Marriage Act and the Mohammedan Law, the Sikhs must also be given separate laws,” was the near-unanimous opinion of the experts.

Speaking on the occasion, historian J.S. Grewal said the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the best period in the country from the point of view of jurisprudence. He pointed out that during the long reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh not even a single person had been hanged or given the death sentence.

“Secularism was the hallmark of his rule. All communities lived in complete harmony under him,” Dr Grewal said.

In his presidential address, former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retired) said there was ample scope for the creation of Sikh jurisprudence in the country. He said the same would actually strengthen the secular fabric of the country and not destroy it, as some people have been claiming.

“Having separate laws for the Sikhs won’t mean that sentiments of other communities would be hurt. All laws should be made applicable to the Sikhs only after taking their consent,” Justice Bains suggested.

Giving an overview of the conference, advocate H.S. Gill, president, Judicial Accountability Committee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, said a similar conference of experts from across Asia would be held next year in the city.

Among those who spoke were Dr Kashmir Singh, Dr G.S. Dhillon, Dr Darshan Singh, Dr M.S. Nirankar and advocate Anupam Gupta.



'Extend date for submission of VAT forms'
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The Taxation Advisers’ Association welcoming the state government’s decision to extend the date for the submission of Central Sales Tax Form C to March 31, 2007, has made a strong plea for making a similar relaxation for the submission of Forms F and H which were to be furnished along with value added tax (VAT) returns.

A meeting of the association, held here yesterday with Mr Inderjit Sachdeva in the chair, pleaded that the traders had not been able to collect Forms C, F and H from the respective parties as these forms were said to be in short supply at several places.

Moreover, there being no provision for a revised return under the VAT Act, the Excise and Taxation Department was threatening with the imposition of 200 per cent penalty even for minor errors in the return in addition to Rs 100 per day penalty for the late submission of VAT forms.

Mr Jatinder Khurana, press secretary of the association, lamented that the Department of Excise and Taxation had failed to come out with a public notice regarding the imposition of 4 per cent VAT on towels with effect from December 1, 2006. As a result, the traders, who had issued bills of these items after December 1 without charging VAT, were facing technical problems besides financial loss.

Other speakers at the meeting, including Mr Rakesh Arora, general secretary and Mr Vijay Vohra, vice president called upon the government to ensure that all changes in rate of tax or other provisions in VAT were made in the annual budget before the commencement of the financial year to save the trade and industry from unnecessary misunderstandings and complications.



Ludhiana Commissionerate top performer
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The Ludhiana Commissionerate of Central Excise continues to be top performer in all areas of work at the national level. Despite small size in terms of revenue, it was now ranked at number two in preventive performance and number three in audit.

This was stated by Mr V.K. Garg, Commissioner of Central Excise, Ludhiana, while presiding over a meeting of Regional Advisory and Public Grievances Committee here today. He said the Ludhiana Commissionerate had achieved its revenue targets for the past two years in succession and on the basis of present performance, will do the same in the current year as well.

He gave an assurance that to step up revenue collection, the department will not put any undue pressure to block CENVAT or delay payment of valid rebates. Responding to queries raised by members, Mr Garg clarified that credit of service tax paid on mobile phone was eligible for adjustment provided the connections were registered in the name of assessee company and used for business purpose.

The members expressed apprehensions about number of demands given for the denial of 75 percent credit in the case of goods transport agencies and services. The Commissioner clarified that these demands were based on objections raised by the AG's office and further that the decision on these notices had been kept in abeyance as the matter was likely to be sorted out by the Central Board of Excise and Customs.

Regarding the admissibility of credit service tax paid by exporters on services availed of after clearance of goods, Mr Garg informed that such credit was available only for services availed up to the place of removal (factory or depot) but not after that, including at the port.

Outlining the open-door policy of the department for the redress of the genuine problems of trade and industry, Mr Garg expressed confidence that the assessees would also reciprocate in the same manner and ensure proper compliance so that the burden of taxes was shared equitably.



Setting up of pay panel hailed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The Punjab Government has, at last, set up the Fifth Punjab Pay Commission to review the pay-scales, allowances and pensions of its employees and pensioners. The notification to this effect has been issued. The panel has been given 18 months to submit its report. Mr S.K. Tuteja, a retired IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, will be Chairman of the panel. Pensioners across the state are happy over this development.

Presumably, the implementation of the recommendations will not put much financial burden on the state exchequer as some benefits have already been granted to the state employees and retirees. These include the merger of 50 per cent DA/DR from April 1, 2004, the grant of 5 per cent interim relief from November 1,2006 and hike in medical allowance by Rs 100 per month from November 1,2006.

Meanwhile, pensioner will meet here on December 31 to take stock of the situation and prepare a memorandum to be submitted to the pay panel.



Gen Mohan Singh — a forgotten hero
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, December 25
The death anniversary of Gen Mohan Singh, the brave soldier and founder of the INA, falls on December 26 and though members of his family, his wife, Jaswant Kaur, and residents of Jugiana village, near Ludhiana, remember him by observing his death-anniversary every year, the Centre and the state government seem to be oblivious of this and have completely forgotten the brave son of the soil.

Gen Mohan Singh joined was commissioned to the Army in 1932, he was elevated to the rank of a Major in 1941. He became interested in the struggle for freedom when his regiment was sent to Malaya during the Second World War. Having already occupied Thailand, the Japanese army attacked Malaya and captured it. The defeated British army comprised plenty of Indians and Gen Mohan Singh was one of them. Impressed by the bravery of Gen Mohan Singh, Japanese Army's Major Ivaechi Fujiwara introduced him to the other Indian patriots in his army. All these Asians planned to fight against the excesses being committed by non-Asians. All Indian soldiers living in Malaya launched the Indian National Army in 1941 and Gen Mohan Singh was elected its commanding officer. Having taken command of the INA, he contacted the Japanese Government through the Indian Independence League in order to get INA recruits trained. Japan, however, could not hide its intention of using the INA against the British. Mohan Singh informed the Japanese Government about the independent and sovereign status of INA, as a result of which he was arrested and kept in Sumatra. INA soldiers became furious on knowing about the arrest of their chief. To suppress any probable revolt by INA, Subhas Chander Bose was called to lead the army. Netaji immediately made announcement about Jalawatan Government after taking command of the army in 1943. Netaji had gone to Samatra to see Gen Mohan Singh and chalked out future course of action of the INA.

But the nuclear bomb attack on Japan by the USA changed the complexion of the Second World War and the British took possession of Malaya and Burma again. Gen. Mohan Singh was brought to India with other companions and was imprisoned in Red Fort, Delhi. He was released in May 1946 along with Gen. Shah Nawaz, Col. Gurbax Singh Dhillon and Colonel Sehgal after the trial at Red Fort.

After Independence, Gen. Mohan Singh joined politics by forming the Desh Sewak Sena. The name of the party was later changed to the Desh Sewak Party in 1948. In 1950, it was merged with the All-India Forward Bloc and Mohan Singh was appointed its Chairman. Later on, Forward Bloc merged with the Congress and Gen Mohan Singh also joined the Congress. Afterwards he was nominated a member of Rajya Sabha in 1960 and 1972. He became a member of the Punjab Assembly too in 1976. He did not gain anything during his political career rather he got INA personnel honoured as freedom fighters and got pensions sanctioned for them.



Biz Clips

Lucky Draw

Mr Parminder Singh of Jagraon and Mr Kanwaljit Dhillon of Patiala won return tickets to Bangkok in the lucky draw by Chief 19, a footwear retail outlet here. The company concluded its mega festival season offer here last evening as a part of which prizes were given away to winners. TNS

Shopkeepers meet Tiwari

Members of the Link Road Shopkeepers’ Welfare Society met AICC secretary Manish Tiwari and apprised him of the problems being faced by them on account of the construction of Dhuri Railway Over Bridge. In a press note here on Monday, the members said Mr Tiwari had assured them that he would take up the matter with city Mayor. TNS



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