L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Beeline for nominations 
34 file papers
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Senior political leaders Harnam Das Johar, Rakesh Pandey, Satpal Gosain and Surinder Davar filed their nomination papers on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchmi here today. The day witnessed a total of 34 candidates filing their papers from various constituencies in the district.

Amid shouting of slogans, Mr Johar arrived in an open jeep in the Mini Secretariat premises at around 12 noon. Wearing a saffron turban, he was flanked by supporters including councillors Ms Amrit Varsha Rampal, Ms Sushila Gupta, deputy mayor.

City Mayor Mr Nahar Singh Gill, senior deputy mayor Mr Prem Mittal, DCC Mr Jagmohan Sharma and Mr Rajinder Basant were also present.

In violation of the code of conduct, Mr Johar used official vehicles, which were parked inside the secretariat in the parking lot meant for bureaucrats.

While the cavalcade in his support waited outside the secretariat premises, three vehicles including the one in which Mr Johar arrived inside the secretariat.

As soon as he reached, his supporters shouted slogans in favour of the Congress and Mr Johar, who sat on a chair kept inside the jeep. He submitted his papers at 12.50 pm. His son Rajiv Johar filed his nomination as a covering candidate.

Mr Rakesh Pandey, contestant from Ludhiana West, was cautious and got down from his vehicle outside the PUDA office premises and walked down to the office to file his nomination papers.

Sitting MLA from Ludhiana East, Mr Surinder Davar, and BJP candidate from Ludhiana East, Mr Satpal Gosain, also filed their nominations amid much fanfare.

Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, informed that 34 candidates filed their nomination papers on the fifth day of filing nominations today.



List of candidates who filed nominations today



Jagraon Mr Gurdeep Singh (INC), Mr Major Singh (INC) covering candidate, and Mr Major Singh (Independent)
Raikot Harmohinder Singh (INC), Mr. Sukhwinder Singh (INC) covering candidate and Mr Tarlochan Singh CPI (ML)
Dakha Mr Darshan Singh SAD (B) and Mrs Paramjit Kaur SAD(B) covering candidate
Ludhiana North Mr Rakesh Panday (INC), Mr Deepak Panday (INC) covering candidate and Mr Suraj Walia (Shiv Sena Hindustan)
Ludhiana West

Mr Harnam Dass Johar (INC) and Mr Rajiv Johar (INC) covering candidate

Ludhiana East Mr Gurinder Singh (Panther Party), Mr Sat Pal Gosain (BJP), Mr Subhash Verma (BJP) covering candidate, Mr Surinder Dawar (INC), and Mr Avinash Dawar (INC) covering candidate
Ludhiana Rural Mr Ram Parkash (Nationalist Party)
Payal Mr Tej Parkash Singh (INC), Mr Gurkirat Singh (INC) covering candidate, Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh (Independent) and Mr Kartar Singh Bowani (CPI)
Koom Kalan Mr Inder Iqbal Singh (SAD-B) and Mr. Jasjit Singh (SAD-B) covering candidate, Mr Ishar Singh (INC) and Mr Gurinder Singh (INC) covering candidate
Samrala Mr Jagjiwan Singh (SAD-B), Mr Kirpal Singh (SAD-B) covering candidate and Mr Avtar Singh (RSP)
Khanna Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo (INC) , Ms Harbans Kaur (INC) covering candidate, Mr Swaran Singh (BSP) and Pramjit Singh (BSP) covering candidate



Nominations a pain for commuters
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 23
Frequent traffic jams by vehicles of supporters of various candidates, who filed nomination papers today, resulted in inconvenience to commuters here. Persons, who were commuting to attend to official work, were the worst hit.

Succumbing to the pressure exerted by the passengers, drivers of some buses resorted to reckless driving to make up for the delay caused by the traffic jams.

Vehicular traffic was blocked on almost all roads leading to the offices of the returning officers of various Assembly segments in this area. The situation was worse near Samrala, Khamanon and Kharar where a large number of private and commercial vehicles remained stranded for long periods.

"Had my counsel not been nice to attend court on my behalf, I could have suffered an irreparable loss as I got late by more than two hours due to frequent jams on the National Highway," said a local resident who had gone to Chandigarh in connection with a court case.

Similar situations persisted near Payal and Khanna towns where supporters of various candidates had converged to show solidarity with their respective leaders.

However, drivers of certain buses, both private and state transport, tried their best to make up for the delay.



Tiwari claims Congress wave across Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana January 23
The secretary, All India Congress Committee, Mr Manish Tiwari, today claimed that there was "Congress upsurge" all across the state, particularly in various constituencies in Ludhiana district. He claimed that after visiting various constituencies in the district, most of which fall in Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, he had found overwhelming response for the Congress.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Tiwari said the Congress was working on positive side of progress and development. He observed that the Opposition did not have any issue with it to go to the people and ask for votes. He claimed the Congress Government had ushered in an era of development which was too visible everywhere.

The Congress secretary claimed that the massive infrastructure laid out across the state, like roads, electricity and water, were being received well by the people. He said probably for the first time after a long time even the rural areas are well connected by concrete and metalled roads.

Mr Tiwari maintained that even farmers, for whom the Akalis claim to be the guardians, it was the Congress Government which had ensured timely and hassle-free procurement. He said he was being told by the people along the countryside that they were more than happy with the way the crops were lifted without any official demanding a single penny.

He said even the water treaty abrogation Act, which the Congress enacted in the Punjab Assembly had no parallel in the state's history. He asserted the Akalis who were claiming themselves to be the sole guardians of the interests of the farmers in Punjab had never ever thought about such a legislation.

The Congress leader claimed the measures had gone well with the people. He disclosed that in predominantly rural segments like Kila Raipur, Payal and Jagraon people were overwhelmingly inclined towards the Congress. "The party would perform much better in rural areas than in the urban areas, the traditional stronghold of the Congress", he predicted.



City Mayor twice unlucky
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
City Mayor Nahar Singh Gill has been twice unlucky as far as contesting Assembly elections from Ludhiana is concerned. It is not this time that he missed the Congress ticket from Ludhiana rural with a whisker but he could not contest the Assembly elections in 1997 even after he was allotted a ticket by the Congress in the regime of former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Mr Gill, who had been a leader of the Opposition in the previous Municipal Corporation House, could not fill his nominations on the last minute when he was the Congress nominee. He claimed that his claim was sabotaged by another leader, who was his covering candidate as he ‘’played unfair’’ in the nomination papers which were rejected at the last minute.

Sources in the Congress, however, said that the Mayor was not able to reach the Returning Officer's office in time and had jumped the deadline.

‘‘I did not want to fight as an Independent at that time also as I am a Congress loyalist. I will not take any step that would go against my party's wish, ’’ he added.

Setting aside the speculations that he would fight as an Independent from Ludhiana rural as he was denied ticket, Mr Gill said that he had no intention of doing so. ‘‘I will not leave the Congress. My time will also come,” he added.

He, however, fanned a number of speculations today when he appeared in public without his usual attire-the white kurta pyjama, also a symbol of Congress. Visibly upset, the Mayor was accompanying Mr Harnam Dass Johar's cavalcade when he was filing nominations.



Police had let off snatching accused
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
While the nabbing of Sanjeev Kumar, accused of snatching at knife-point, may lead to the solution of man such incidents, his arrest has left many embarrassing faces in the police.

Officials at the Division No. 3 police station allegedly let him off three days ago on the intervention of some women who were his friends after residents of Khud Mohalla had nabbed him red-handed trying to rob a lady doctor.

According to former councillor Satpal Puri, the accused had barged into the house of the doctor and demanded cash and jewellery at knife-point. He was overpowered by neighbours, who came to the woman’s help on hearing her cries.

The accused was handed over to the police and was all set to be booked for the crime when some influential women intervened on his behalf.

Mr Puri claimed that members of the family of the victim later gave a statement that they did not want any action.

The cops released him, violating rules that such a crime, if not out of personal enmity, was also against the state.

The man was nabbed again when senior police officials cane to know about the incident.

His face matched a sketch of an accused who had stolen a laptop from the house of Mr Ritesh Malhotra at Dyal Nagar.

He also confessed to his involvement and was booked at the Division No. 5 police station.

The police had got some strong leads about his involvement in other crime incidents, which were being investigated and verified.

No action of negligence or dereliction of duty had been taken against any official of the Division No. 3 police station. Had the senior officials not learnt of the matter, the accused could have committed more snatchings and robberies.

Mr Puri demanded a high-level probe into the matter, especially on the influence of the women who came to the aid of the accused.



Sailing in two boats
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Conspicuous by his presence amid supporters of Mr Harnam Das Johar, Congress candidate from Ludhiana West, was the councillor from Ward 48, Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashu.

The councillor, who was present during the filing of papers by a rebel Congress candidate, Mr Madan Lal Bagga, from Ludhiana North yesterday, was among those who accompanied Mr Johar in his vehicle today.

Mr Bagga, denied the party ticket, expressed his resentment openly and filed his nomination as an Independent.

Among those who supported him were Congress councillors Mr Ashu and Mr Satpal Beri, being viewed as offenders.

Insiders, however, termed Mr Ashu’s move of supporting both Mr Johar as well as Mr Bagga as a highly calculated move since Mr Johar was among those holding a significant position in the party.

When questioned on his presence at both places, he said: “Mr Bagga is my personal friend and I will support him. I am here for Mr Johar due to the party.”

He added that he had won as an Independent earlier and was not scared if action was threatened against him.



Mazdoor Morcha to back Left
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
The Dehati Mazdoor Morcha today announced its support to those left parties which had been fighting against the policies of the mainstream parties and had been fighting for the rights of the rural labour. The morcha announced that it would expose the CPM as it had been working against the interests of labourers by supporting the Congress at the Centre.

Mr Sher Singh Farwahi, convener of the morcha, said all mainstream parties were misleading labourers with false promises. He said the Akalis were making a false propaganda that they would supply food articles to the poor at very nominal prices but their policy was yet not clear.



Functions mark Basant Panchmi
Tribune Reporters

Students take part in a painting competition organised by the Sahitya Kala Manch in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
Students take part in a painting competition organised by the Sahitya Kala Manch in Ludhiana on Tuesday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, January 23
Basant Panchmi was celebrated at the GMT College here today. The programme began with ‘shabad gayan’.

A kite-flying competition was organised, in which Kulwinder and Hardeep were the winners.Basant Panchmi was also celebrated at the Sunrise Kindergarten. Students turned up in colourful dresses.

Yellow rice was cooked to mark the significance of the festival. Students presented songs and dances. The day was also celebrated at the Love Dale Montessori. The play ‘Ranga Rang Basant’ was staged.

Yellow flowers and costumes were seen all around. Giddha and bhangra were performed by the students.

The Sahitya Kala Manch held a function at the Punjabi Bhavan. Students presented cultural performances.

Painting and fancy dress contests were organised for students. At least 200 students from 15 schools took part.

Winners in painting contest were Surbhi Goel and Vridhi Jain. Akanksha won the fancy dress competition.

Mandi Gobindgarh: A function was organised to mark the Basant Panchami celebration at RIMT-College of Education, Mandi Gobindgarh today. On this occasion, a kite flying and kite making contest was held on the college campus.

Besides, the students were also acquainted with the history and culture of Punjab. Dr Rajwant Kaur, Principal of the college, called upon the students to inculcate and practice moral values. The prizes were also awarded to the winner of the contest.



My fight is against an elusive leader, says Bedi
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
After sitting MLA and Congress candidate from the Ludhiana North, Mr Rakesh Pandey filed his nomination papers today, his opponent and BJP candidate claimed the sitting MLA's inaccessibility and lack of development would be his main plank.

Flanked by various party leaders, the BJP candidate, Mr Harish Bedi, while addressing the media said it would be a cakewalk for him as the electorate of his area wanted a change. He said he had made a round of the entire constituency which was in a bad shape.

‘‘I am enjoying the contest as I am pitched against a leader who has not been seen by the electorate during the last five years. Moreover five Congress councillors out nine are openly against Mr Pandey, ’’ he said.

Mr Bedi even dared Mr Pandey for a debate on the development issue. ‘‘He can come on any platform. If he has worked for the constituency, he should come forward. ’’

‘‘If you want to take a stock of what he did in the five years just visit along the railway line and Peru Banda Mohalla. People of around 20-22 colonies are living amidst slush, ’’ he added.

He went on to say that the minister did not open a single dispensary, a school and there was no development at the grassroot level. The streets are in bad shape, he added.

Rubbishing allegations on himself being absent from the area for last more than a decade, Mr Bedi said that he was looking after the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha during the trouble torn days of terrorism in the state. ‘‘In fact I mobilised the youth wing of the party and it was because of him that the SAD-BJP combine had come to power a decade ago.

On a reply to a question about the absence of Mr Sunil Mehra, a contender for the ticket from North, who had openly shown his displeasure on Mr Bedi's ticket, the latter said that there was no resentment in the party on that account anymore.

‘‘Mr Mehra has been asked to campaign for Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, SAD candidate from Ludhiana West. We are a cadre based party and there are directions from the top of help party candidates in different area. Mr Mehra has been asked to join Mr Dhanda, ’’ he added.

Mr Pandey had been a strong leader of Congress from North segment. He had been an MLA for the last three consecutive terms. He had been a minister twice. His family has a lot of influence in the area and his father, Late Joginder Pal Pandey was a popular leader, who was assassinated by terrorists. Since then Mr Pandey has always emerged a winner and enjoys a committed vote bank.



Fighting for cause of women
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The involvement of more NGOs and voluntary organisations at block and village levels to curb social problems prevalent in the society shows that masses could be educated only by spreading awareness. Problems like female foeticide, dowry system and drug-addiction has spread its wings all over and there is an immediate need to put an end to these by organising awareness campaigns.

Several NGOs like Nirdosh, Ek Prayas, Nishkam etc have been organising campaigns in the city to educate people. The Shaheed Sewa Memorial Society, one such NGOs is working in the direction for the past many years. Without any financial support from the government, the members of the society organise plays and skits on social issues at various school and colleges.

The main objective of the society remains to help the down-trodden section. Besides, it educates the villagers about the social evils present in the society. Mr Vajinder Singh, general secretary of the society said such programmes were a source to establish a rapport with the general public. Through plays and skits on AIDS, dowry, female infanticide, women empowerment, it was easy to create awareness among the uneducated masses.

He said the society had recently organised a play on female foeticide at Government Girls School, Ramgarh, which was appreciated by all. "The girls took keen interest in the play and at the end they took a pledge to fight against it. We can not enforce our ideas on anyone but can try to make them understand", said Mr Vajinder Singh.

The society has prepared more than 35 posters on female foeticide which can be seen pasted on the walls and notice boards of different schools and colleges in the town and villages as well. With over 80 members in the society, Subhash Sagar, son of late Ramanand Sagar, remains its patron.



Ludhiana set to achieve tax collection target
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
Ludhiana region is all set to achieve its tax collection target for the year. The total tax collections had touched Rs 780.69 crore at the end of December 2006. The region had been given a target of Rs 1207 crore for income tax collection during the current financial year.

In the period till December last year, the revenue collection was Rs 574 crore. Another Rs 75 crore of additional income was unearthed by the IT Department by conducting 166 surveys during the year.

This was stated by Mr M.S. Rai, the new Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT), Ludhiana region, while addressing a deputation of Punjab Tax Bar Association (PTBA) and Taxation Bar Association (TBA) here today. The deputation was led by Mr Ashok Juneja.

Mr Rai was of the view that the assessee must be treated by the IT authorities with due respect. Bar members were equally important for the department since they bridge the gap between the assessee and department and create better understanding.

Mr Ashok Juneja, President, TBA and Mr B.R. Kaushal, General Secretary of PTBA, suggested certain measures to the CCIT for smooth and cordial working of the department.

Responding to the suggestions, Mr Rai commented that computerisation and e-governance was being comprehensively introduced by the department in such a way that within the next six months, all the refunds will stand credited to the saving bank account of the assessee through ECS.

He said that the refunds of Rs 98 crore were issued in the current financial year upto December 31, 2006. "For acceptance of returns, 510 cities having 732 offices, are being interconnected with the computer system in the country. The Income Tax Department is ushering in a new era and preparing in such a way to promote compliance with Direct Tax Laws and to provide top quality services to tax payers."

The CCIT, who holds the charge of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Khanna, Malerkotla and Moga districts, said that of the 6.13 lakh assessees in this region, the department had received 4.6 lakh returns till the end of December 2006.

He urged that those assessees, who had not filed their returns, to comply immediately since the last date for filing returns had already expired. Further, those persons, whose income was liable to be taxed, but they were not filing their returns, must do so to avoid penal action.

In the meeting, Mr Lalit Takyar, Mr Tarlok Bhalla, secretary general and finance secretary, respectively, of the PTBA, Mr Ravinder Garg, vice-president, TBA and other senior members of the bar participated in the deliberations.



45 countries to participate in technology fair
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
"International Engineering and Technology Fair (IETF) is structured as a comprehensive B2B event, segmented into well-defined technological sections of the engineering and manufacturing industry. These sections are branded and represented by concurrent focused business fairs," said Mr Roy Jacob, Deputy Director, CII, while addressing industry representatives at a session organised to promote the fair here on Monday.

The fair, which is scheduled to be held from February 13 to 16 in New Delhi, will involve participation from companies of 45 countries. It will have focus areas like automation and instrumentation, autocare, International Railway Equipment Exhibition 2007, India Infrastructure Show 2007, Manufacturing Pavilion, IETF Global 2007, Biotech India 2007, Safe 2007, Enterprise 2007 and Technovation.

It will provide a link in terms of knowledge, technology, credit, infrastructure and inputs, and will pave the way for making a favourite investment destination in the sector, said Mr Jacob.

Earlier welcoming the participants at the informative session, Mr Jacob briefly gave an update on IETF 2007. He further stated that in addition to Japan, which would be a partner company, IEFT would have participation from around 27 countries including Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, UAE and the UK.

He further said IETF would be a platform for B2B interaction, international conferences and seminars, business networking , technology assessments , strategic partnerships and vendor development. The IETF is traditionally visited by CEOs and decision-makers, buyers and sourcing personnel , technical experts, contractors, consultants, ministerial and trade delegations from India and abroad, diplomats, government/ PSU departments , overseas and Indian media.



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