L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

BKU to back SAD in Assembly poll
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Raikote (Ludhiana) January 11
The Bhartiya Kisan Union(BKU), Punjab, today announced its support to the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP alliance in the Assembly elections. The announcement was made by the union president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, while addressing a SAD rally organised in support of the party candidate, Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, son of the Akali stalwart and former SGPC president, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi. Mr Lakhowal had been authorised by the general house of the BKU at Ludhiana, yesterday to take the decision on the union’s stand in the elections.

Mr Lakhowal said, the Congress government had failed the farmers. He alleged that the government had not only ignored the interests of the farmers but had been hostile to them. He said, the way the land was snatched from farmers and handed over to industry had led to resentment among the farming community.

The BKU leader said, the farming community had great expectations from the SAD-BJP alliance. He hoped, once the alliance formed the government in the state, the farmers plight would be ameliorated. He listed several demands of the union, which, he said, would improve the lot of farmers in the state.

The SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, expressed his gratitude to the farmer leader and promised to fulfil all demands made by the union. 



Badal at his Cong-bashing best
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Raikote (Ludhiana), January 11
Former Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Parkash Singh Badal today urged people to compare the SAD’s rule with that of the present Congress government’s before sitting on judgement.

Addressing a public rally in support of the area’s party candidate, Mr Ranjit Talwandi, Mr Badal said: "You have seen the five-year rule of the Congress and before that you have seen ours and now you judge us accordingly."

The SAD leader alleged that the Congress government, led by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had betrayed all sections of the society in general and farmers in particular.

He alleged that farmers’ land was forcibly taken away and handed over to the industrial houses at prices far less than the prevailing market rates.

He said despite the claims of the mega projects, the unemployment was quite widespread.

Mr Badal pointed out that often the police had resorted to lathi-charge and mercilessly beaten up the educated unemployed youth who were demanding their due.

Mr Badal promised to create employment avenues for the unemployed. He said the problem would be dealt with a humane touch and not in a barbaric manner as was done during the Congress regime.

Mr Badal said the seat-sharing agreement with the BJP had been finalised, adding that though the party wanted to contest the Garshanker seat, which was earlier with the BJP, yet if there was no consensus, the SAD would support the BJP there.

The SAD has renominated the sitting MLA, Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, from Raikote. Mr Talwandi is the son of the SAD stalwart and former SGPC president, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi.



Panthic Front, Left join hands
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
The Panthic Front comprising splinter Akali groups and the Left parties have decided to come together and contest the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections jointly to defeat the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance and the Congress .

The Lok Bhalai Party will also support the new Punjab Front. These parties will contest the election on one-point agenda and common minimum programme of defeating the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress.

The parties have already held meetings and decided on seat-sharing among themselves.

Stating this here today, Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the SAD (Amritsar), said the SAD-1920, headed by Ravi Inder Singh, the SAD (Longowal), headed by Inderjit Singh Zeera, the Majha Akali Dal, headed by Raghbir Singh, the Dal Khalsa, the Lok Bhalai Party, headed by Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, the CPI, the CPM and the Jan Morcha, headed by former Prime Minister V.P. Singh, would form the front.

According to Prof Jagmohan Singh, they were waiting for the Congress to release its list of candidates but since the same had been delayed, they would announce their candidates before the Congress list.

They had decided to have three-corner contest with the SAD-BJP and the Congress.

Prof Jagmohan Singh said senior leaders of the SAD-1920 and the SAD (Amritsar) had held discussions with V.P. Singh and Lok Janashakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan.



Sulking Cong freshers want a slice of ticket pie
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
With the Congress reportedly deciding in principle to field most of the sitting candidates from various Assembly segments across the state, the young and the fresh aspirants are feeling upset and disappointed.

However, they were still hoping against the hope to get a chance to replace the old guard.

The young leaders questioned the reported move of the Congress to carry on with the sitting legislators. They said in case the party went ahead with such a step, it was likely to lose quite a number of seats.

Because, they claimed, although the people were quite happy with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, they were totally against the local legislators at several places.

They asked when the party had already decided to field the sitting MLAs, what was the fun in seeking applications from the candidates with Rs 5,000 each. Besides, all applicants were made to rush to Delhi for so many days.

Some of them like Mr Krishen Kumar Bawa, Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Parminder Mehta, Mr Ramesh Joshi, Mr Madan Lal Bagga, who have applied for the party nomination from various Assembly segments, were quite sore over such a move.

The maintained that the party should have assessed the work of these (sitting) legislators before going for the indiscriminate renomination of almost all of them.

Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and an aspirant for the Ludhiana East Assembly segment, observed: "Such a move will only lead to disillusionment among the younger leadership which has great expectations.”

He said they would feel disappointed in case the sitting legislators were renominated without any critical appreciation of their performance during the last five years.

Mr Pawan Dewan, who has applied from the Ludhiana West, remarked that people wanted change and some younger faces.

He said old leaders were good for leadership and guidance but they must at some stage leave the field for the younger generation to ensure continuity. Otherwise, this could create a vacuum and a generation gap within the party.

Mr Madan Lal Bagga, a sitting councillor and ticket aspirant from Ludhiana North, said the MLA of his area was there for several terms and he had practically done nothing.

"Just because he considers himself to be too indispensable to be removed, he hardly bothers about the public welfare," Mr Bagga claimed, while adding, some new person should be given the chance to represent the people of the area this time.

For most of the urban Assembly segments in Ludhiana, fresh applicants have consensually appealed to the party high command to replace the sitting candidates with new faces.

This they argue would boost the party prospects as most people were not happy with the sitting legislators. 



Assembly poll: Panel to look into complaints
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta in an order today constituted a panel of three officers — ADC (D) Priyank Bharti, SP (HQ) Amar Singh Chahal and MC SE Kulwinder Singh Dhillon — to look into complaints relating to elections, including those regarding the violation of model code, on a daily basis.

The Deputy Commissioner said the committee would take up all complaints received and dispose these of as per the law within 24 hours of their receipt.

He said the committee was authorised to take the assistance of any officer of the district, if it so deemed fit.



Despite HC orders, car bazaars on
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Despite strong protests by traders and property owners in the posh Feroze Gandhi Market and subsequent direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court against holding of car bazaars in the market, the menace continues as the enforcement agencies prefer to look the other way.

The Municipal Corporation authorities have in fact allegedly provided car dealers entry to pavements and parking space by removing a part of the fence on the Ferozepore Road, creating a crossing on the footpath and the green belt.

Things have come to such a pass that car dealres have encroached upon almost the entire space in the market and there was no space left for customers to the markets. The cars put on sale blocked lanes, bylanes, pavements and even a green belt in the market.

Although the authorities had not allowed parking of cars soon after the High Court orders, things have come back to square one once again.Second-hand car dealers are having a field day and traders have decided to knock at the High Court doors once again.

The traders in the market had been arguing that as per the original plan, Feroze Gandhi Market was not a motor market. Some mechanics had taken some shops on rent and had started selling second-hand cars. This attracted many others and the entire place became a car market.

This problem had been marring environment in Feroze Gandhi Market and traders had knocked at High Court doors. The latter had directed the administration to keep the cars away from the parking lots.

The traders and car dealers have been at loggerheads for the last many years. The genesis of this constant problem was in the inconvenience caused to visitors and shopkeepers who had spent crores of rupees while buying property in the posh area. They had been demanding shifting of car bazaar from the market. They had, however, moved the HC after failing to get any response from the local authorities.

The shopkeepers had been alleging that the car dealers had encroached upon more than 70 per cent of the open areas of the prestigious market, turning it into a car bazaar, besides creating severe parking problems, thereby affecting their businesses.

They claim although they had spent a huge amount on buying shops in the area thinking it would develop into an upbeat market over the years, the occupation of the pavements and other open areas for parking cars, use of parks as washing spaces and discharging dirty water on the roads by these dealers has sullied the once clean environs. They allege that the parking of hundreds of cars in the market leaves no parking space for the visitors, besides causing serious security and fire hazards to the high-rise buildings. 



Jewellers, mill surrender
Rs 1.75 cr undisclosed income 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 11
The officials of the Income Tax Department virtually struck gold in the course of surveys conducted on two outlets of jewellers and a spinning mill when the business houses made a voluntary disclosure of Rs 1.75 crore of undisclosed income here today.

According to sources, survey operations were launched on M/s Kaur Sain Spinning and Weaving Mills at the Focal Point by a team led by Mr J.S. Minhas, Joint Commissioner, Income Tax Range I, while teams of officials headed by Mr J.R. Kajla, Additional Commissioner, Range II, conducted surveys on two business premises of Sardar Jewellers in the Chaura Bazaar and the Aarti Cinema Chowk.

The survey operations, under the overall supervision of the Commissioner, Income Tax I, Mr A.P. Srivastava, continued all through the day when the IT sleuths carried out detailed inspection of books of account, record of sale and purchase of raw material and finished goods, stock inventory and computer data. The key personnel of the companies concerned were also extensively questioned.

Even as the officials declined to furnish any details, it was authoritatively learnt that the spinning unit had come out with a surrender amount of Rs 1.10 crore while the jewellery firm had agreed to the addition of Rs 65 lakh in its returned income for the current financial year.

Meanwhile, under the directions of the Commissioner, Income Tax II, Mr R.K. Roye, different teams of IT officials led by Mr Rajinder Singh, Additional Commissioner, Khanna, had launched massive survey operations in Khanna, Machhiwara and other adjoining towns to unearth black money.

The surveys of four jewellers, a commission agent, a rice mill and some other business houses, which commenced on the morning of Wednesday, were still continuing and the officials were expecting to come across huge tax evasion by these firms.



Forgotten martyr
Mahesh Sharma
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 11
The statue of a martyr who laid down his life in the 1965 Indo-Pak war is crying for a whitewash and a fresh coat of paint. The interior of the cabin housing the statue is covered with cobwebs.

The statue of Captain Ravinder Singh was unveiled by officers of his regiment five years ago. The promises made by various political and social leaders and concerned authorities were not fulfilled as all of them have stopped paying floral tributes to the martyr after the members of the family of the martyr stopped sponsoring the event.

Dejected by the treatment meted to her son, Surinder Kaur, the mother of Captain Ravinder Singh, has shifted to her daughter’s house at Delhi.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Surinder Kaur and her daughter Harparkash Kaur said they had to shuttle between various administrative and defence offices to get the statue unveiled by officers of his regiment five years ago.

Though the unveiling function was attended by a large gathering of area residents and old colleagues and seniors of the martyr, the gathering had kept diminishing year after year. Ultimately, a situation arose when nobody, including family members turned out to pay floral tributes.

Capt Ravinder was killed in action during Indo-Pak war, on September 9, 1965. ‘A’ Squadron, 18 Cavalry, was operating in the captured areas of Sialkot and was ordered to advance once again to Ura Bridge in order to force the Pakistani army to divert some of their armour and facilitate the operations of two other squadrons.

Capt Ravinder Singh’s tank got bogged down on the side of the road. In the face of enemy artillery shelling and unmindful of his personal safety, he dismounted to supervise its recovery while he left his crew in the safety of the tank.

He was hit by a shrapnel and died on the spot. Seeing their officer fall, Sowar Raghubir Singh from the tank crew went to his help and was seriously wounded. Sowar Megh Raj, the squadron commander’s driver, dismounted and attended to the wounded. Capt Ravinder Singh’s tank was recovered with the help of an advanced recovery vehicle.

Though the government had christened a village girls’ school in the memory of the martyr, the authorities have paid little attention either to commemorate the martyr’s death anniversary or to keeping the martyr statue clean.



See Nithari in Muktsar, BJP asks Sonia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The BJP today asked the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to weigh the Muktsar incident in the same balance as that of Nithari. The BJP spokesman, Mr Prakash Javadekar, pointed out that Ms Gandhi had asked for a CBI probe in Nithari and she was silent about the Muktsar incident where the circumstances were almost similar.

Talking to reporters here today, the BJP leader claimed, like in Nithari, four mutilated and half burnt bodies of four children were found from the rice mill of the Congress Working Committee member, Mr Jagmeet Brar. “While the Mulayam Singh government was put on backfoot there, the Congress government in Punjab instead went on defending its leader without an inquiry or investigation”, Mr Javadekar pointed out.

He said nobody should be given clean chit at the first instance. He said the BJP was not politicising the issue but raising relevant questions. “Because the circumstances appear to be same and we want that the incident be probed along the same lines as that of Nithari”, the BJP spokesman said. “Just dismissing our concern in the name of politics is no answer”, he argued.

On the elections in the state, the BJP leader claimed the alliance with the SAD was smooth and perfect. The seat sharing agreement had already been finalised.

He said the first list of the BJP candidates was likely to be announced tomorrow. He said some senior BJP leaders would also be addressing public rallies in the state jointly with SAD leaders. 



Lohri: Newborns, newly weds to have field day
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Newborn babies will surely have a field day this Lohri as shopkeepers in various markets have tastefully displayed items meant for them. Special tents have been erected on roads by toy shop owners to woo customers as hundreds of city residents are expected to celebrate Lohri as an occasion to welcome their newborns in the family.

Things starting from baba-suits, rattles, multi-coloured chimes, soft-toys, vanity kits for babies, baby-blankets to tricycles, remote controlled motorbikes and cars have been displayed well by the shopkeepers to attract customers. The range of these attractive gifts starts from Rs 250 to Rs 1500 and above.

Mr Karanbir of Kids Choice said that Lohri celebrations have lately been associated with newly-wedded couples and newborn babies. As far as gifts for newly-wedded couples were concerned, people prefer to present them with bouquets or other home accessories. But for newborns, there were plenty of gifts.

"Ludhianvis seem to be introducing unique styles each time. Those, who are blessed with newborn babies have started buying return gifts for the children of their near and dear ones along with routine sweets on Lohri. As far as sales are concerned, the majority of the gifts are sold during these three-four days," said Mr Karanbir.

Special theme parties are being organised to welcome the newborns. During these parties, the venue is decorated with small and huge multicoloured kites, balloons and drapes of tissue and silks. People organising theme parties said that the decoration depends on the budget, venue and the size of the gathering. Small budget Lohri parties could be arranged for Rs 5000. For lavish parties, the sky is the limit.

Reena, a home-maker, feels that there should be a limit for everything. She said that they had received a card to celebrate the first Lohri of a grandson of a leading industrialist here. "Along with an expensive invitation card, a decorative silver boat filled with chocolates is made in which a toy baby covered with colourful drapes is sitting. If the invitation card is worth Rs 1000, one has to give more than that to the new-born," she added.



Ex-servicemen body rues maltreatment of World War II veteran
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 11
The Indian Ex-services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, has called upon the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to pay the arrears of pension to the family of Santokh Singh, a sepoy of the World War II, and help his family members to survive. Santokh Singh died last week and his bhog ceremony was held at his native village Sehjo Majra in Ludhiana district yesterday.

Lt-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (ret), president of the Indian Ex-services league, Punjab and Chandigarh, in a letter to the MoD, brought to its notice the plight of the World War II veteran. The league maintained that the soldier should have been treated in a better way. Lt-Col Dhillon disclosed that Santokh Singh had joined the Indian Army in the Punjab regiment in 1941 and fought in the World War II on the Burma front against the Japanese. He was invalidated in 1951 permanently in the low medial category due to a gun shot injury during the World War II. The bullet remained in his body till the day of his death.

The late sepoy was granted disability pension on his invalidation, which was abruptly discontinued by the Controller of Defence Accounts despite the fact that the Army through a resurvey medical board had recommended the continuation of the pension.

According to Lt-Col Dhillon, Santokh Singh continued his fight for the disability pension and it was restarted in 2001 after a gap of 43 years. His case was taken up with the Army authorities and the Defence Ministry for the payment of arrears. The ministry sanctioned his arrears from 1992 and he was paid Rs 1,80,000. The arrears should have been paid from 1958. He urged the Defence Ministry to pay the arrears to his family. One son of Santokh Singh was dead and another a former Naik was selling vegetables to make his both ends meet. His property had been usurped by some people in the village.

Lt-Col Dhillon, while lamenting the role of the Punjab Sainik Welfare Board, said this directorate did not take up his case with the government nor took any steps for the welfare of the family.

The bhog ceremony of Santokh Singh was held at his village yesterday where the representative of the Western Command, Col Gill, took part as he was detailed by the Station Commander, Ludhiana.

Rich tributes were paid to Santokh Singh for his valour for remaining in high spirits throughout his life even with the bullet of the enemy in his body. The board had been lukewarm to the needs of the ex-servicemen. He regretted that there was no representative of the board at the bhog ceremony.



Singing competition final on Jan 14

Ludhiana, January 11
The Ludhiana chapter of the Sangam Kala Group will organise a singing talent hunt competition. The programme is being sponsored by the Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust. The finalists in the competition will then participate at the national level competition to be held at the Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi, on February 17.

This year, a total of 200 participants from all over the state participated in the function held on January 7 at Nehru Sidhant Kender organised by the Ludhiana chapter of the group. As many as 30 participants were selected, who will again participate in the final audition on January 14 and will contest for the top six places.

The Sangam Kala Group is a national organisation with its head office at New Delhi. The organisation has been active in popularising the talent of amateur singers through singing competitions. — OC



Tasneem’s book released

Ludhiana, January 11
The Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, has published "The Lost Meaning', the English version of Prof. Niranjan Tasneem's award winning Punjabi novel 'Gwache Arth,' translated by the author himself.

The book is an 'odyssey' in search of meaning of life during the 1980s in Punjab and show cases the harmony with which the two communities of Punjab lived like Juno's swans -still coupled and inseparable.

On the occasion of book exhibition at Punjabi Bhavan by the Sahitya Akademi, Prof. Tasneem presented copies of the novel to the noted educationists, Dr Jagtar Dhiman and Ms lnderjit Paul Kaur Bhinder. Dr Dhiman appreciated the shifting trend of people for reading books and observed that the literary bodies ought to produce good quality books on constructive aspects of life.

Dr Manu Sharma Sohal of the Punjabii Culture Study Circle International said books were best friends of man and that the quality of production of books had improved over the years. Mr TPS Sandhu, Principal Prem Singh Bajaj and Tejbir Singh Bakshi were present at the function. They congratulated Prof. Tasneem for his award winning book that would be translated into 22 Indian languages.



Women achievers to be honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society in association with the Punjab State Women Commission and Government College for Women will celebrate the 41st ‘Great Women Day’ at the college on January 16.

In a press note today, society general secretary Vajinder Singh said National Commission for Women president Dr Girija Vyas will be the chief guest, while Punjab Women Commission president Parminder Kaur will be the guest of honour.



Coming, Samsung refrigerators with energy-saving rating
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The Samsung India has introduced 'Star' labelling on its entire frost-free range of refrigerators across the country.
"The rating, being implemented by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, would still take a couple of months to come into effect. But we decided to introduce the system from this month itself," said Mr R. Zutshi, Deputy MD of the company in a press note issued here today.

Explaining the process, he said a rating label portrays energy efficiency of a refrigerator and ranges from one to five, with five being the highest.in the form of a rating between 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.

"We fully support the government's initiative towards implementing Star rating labelling. It not only gives consumer a clear idea on energy efficiency of the unit he is purchasing, but also an idea about cost saving that he can derive from that particular refrigerator."

The difference in power saving between a 3 Star-rated and 4 Star-rated refrigerators would on an average be 100 electricity units over a period of a year.



Spice launches value-added services

Ludhiana, January 11
The Spice Telecom today launched a host of value-added services for its subscribers.
The company is offering downloading of 'Lohri' content like wallpapers, picture messages, ring tones and even religious quotes through multiple platforms ranging from GPRS, USSD, IVR-BGM, caller songs service and juke box service. — TNS



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