L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

War Museum’s records sealed
Caretaker removed, alleges victimisation
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
The local War Museum, a favourite of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, is in the thick of controversy just days after the change of government.

Its records were today sealed by an Executive Magistrate amidst allegations and counter-allegations of victimisation, mismanagement, financial irregularities and corruption.

Museum caretaker Lieut-Col B.S. Kular, appointed by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum Society 10 months ago for its upkeep and improvement, has been removed with his contract terminating mid-way.

While society members and the Sainik Welfare Board claim that the termination had come due to non-performance, the caretaker and the Indian Ex-Service League (Punjab and Chandigarh), which has come out openly in his support, allege that he had been victimised for his resistance to corruption and sincerity in pointing out irregularities.

With both groups at loggerheads for the past month, the district administration intervened today at the behest of the State Sainik Welfare Board.

Executive Magistrate Navdeep Singh Sidhu got the office at the museum opened and sealed the almirahs containing financial records.

He said the Deputy Commissioner was also a member of the society that ran the museum. “The record has been sealed owing to allegations of various nature. A team of the society will visit the museum soon to analyze the documents and act accordingly.”

Sainik Welfare Officer, Ludhiana, Lieut-Commander Tarlochan Singh (retd) said the caretaker was appointed by the society for its upkeep and construction of more galleries to add varied attractions for visitors. “A sum of Rs 5.5 crore had been allocated for the purpose but even after 10 months nothing had been done.”

He said the society was unhappy with the working of the caretaker and thus had removed him. However, he did not relinquish the charge and later resisted to hand over the record, he claimed.

However, Lieut-Col Kular said he had been victimised for pointing out irregularities. “I had been working under extreme pressure for the past over a month. I was being pressured into making heavy payments to a firm by senior officials. I did not refuse payment but wanted the firm to put their papers in order, as there were a lot of discrepancies in documentation.”

He said he had received Rs 4.5 crore and the money was safely locked away in a bank. He said work was going on at good pace up until problems arose after he pointed out irregularities. Moreover, he claimed, he was being pressured into giving contract to a firm hand-picked by senior officials.

Indian Ex-Service League (Punjab and Chandigarh) president Col Chanan Singh Dhillon said the league had rallied behind Lieut-Col Kular as he was an honest man. He was being victimised for his honesty. He said Lieut-Col Kular did not bow to the dictates of certain officials for the larger interest of the museum.

He said Lieut-Col Kular was not allowed to enter the museum office. “He wanted the record to be sealed in his presence as he had documentary proof of his claims.”

The museum would remain open to visitors but further development work would be possible only after the air was cleared.

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IT surveys at 5 top jewellery stores
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
Several teams of Income Tax Department today launched simultaneous surveys on the business premises of at least five high-end jewellery stores on Cemetery Road, Maharani Jhansi Road, Mall Road and College Road, all around Fountain Chowk in the Civil Lines area here.

The jewellery stores where the surveys were being conducted were Dhir Diamonds, Dhir Di Hatti, Anmol Jewellers, Paris Jewellers and Heritage Jewellers.

The surveys launched in the fore-noon under the supervision of IT additional commissioner (range VII) Rajeshwar Yadav, were ongoing till the filing of this report.

Officials, accompanied by supporting staff, were reportedly going through the financial records, account books, stock inventory, sale and purchase records and computer data with special scrutiny of high-value transactions.

The police, lending security cover to the IT teams, guarded the entry and exit of the showrooms and the movement of owners, as also members of the staff, was being kept under watch.

IT officials present on the scene refused to make any comment, saying the outcome would be known only when the surveys were over.

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Bad luck follows Malwa legislators
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 1
Legislators from this part of Malwa would retire without receiving berths in the Punjab cabinet consecutively for the second term. While SAD legislators could not taste power for being in the Opposition, Congress MLAs were denied berths for varied reasons last time. This time, contrary to the trend in the other parts of the state, people elected Congress nominees here.

Although known as a stronghold of the SAD, Kila Raipur Assembly segment paved way for the Congress here by defeating Jagdish Singh Garcha and electing Jassi Khangura, son of Gurdial Kaur Khangura, who had lost the game to the present loser. Obviously, the status of Khangura can not be more than that of a legislator as the SAD is already set to form government in the state.

As Khangura family had already proved its mettle against Garcha family during the Congress regime, the Garchas will try their best to repay the loan in the same coin during the forthcoming SAD-BJP government.

The electorate of the Raikot assembly segment has also repeated the trend of electing candidate to sit on the opposition berth. Ranjit Singh Talwandi reached Legislative Assembly in 2002 when Amarinder Singh formed his government with a clear majority. Despite senior Congress leaders like former MLA Nirmal Singh Mahant joining the SAD prior to the elections, Harmohinder Singh Pardhan, a confidante of the former CM, succeeded in reaching the Assembly this time but residents will have to depend on SAD or BJP leaders for bringing any development in the area.

Situation in the Sherpur constituency is similar again. In the last elections, when there was clear wave in favour of the Congress, the electorate rejected Congress nominee Harchand Kaur Ghanauri and elected rebel SAD leader Gobind Singh Kanjhla. Interestingly, the same Kanjhla who had succeeded in snatching the seat from the official nominee of the SAD last time lost the game to Bibi Ghanauri.

Though Tej Parkash Singh Kotli, son of former CM Beant Singh, and Razia Sultana had also won the elections, they were denied berths for varied reasons.

While Razia could not become a minister for being a fresher last time, Tej Parkash was denied the ministry due to much talked about factionalism in the party.

It is their bad luck this time that the party has lost balance in other parts of the state.

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2 held for youth’s murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
Two unemployed youths have been arrested for the murder of Paramjit Singh, a resident of Phaamra village, who was found stabbed to death near his house on February 9.

The two had allegedly attacked him with the intent to snatch his mobile phone and cash.

Addressing a press conference here, SP City-II D.P. Singh said the unemployed youths - Sanju and Chandan - had stabbed the victim as they tried to snatch his mobile phone and cash.

The two needed money and had found the victim alone in the street.

Both were held near Amaltas yesterday. They were produced before media today where they claimed they did not intend to kill him and just wanted to threaten him with the knife.

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150 cases of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
The Dugri police today seized a rich haul of liquor smuggled to the city from Chandigarh where it is cheaper.

As many as 150 cases of various costly brands of alcohol hidden in a container of an oil tanker were seized from near the Model Town railway station, DSP Bhupinder Singh announced.

The truck driver Sunder Kumar and owner Kishan Lal, arrested in the case, said they used to make two rounds of the city with the booty and saved Rs 150-200 per case of liquor.

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Ace stylist, cosmetic company set trends in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
Indian women have naturally beautiful hair. Latest techniques like re-bonding, colouring et al can drastically improve looks, said Creative Stylist of Lakme Beauty Salon Shailesh.

The Mumbai-based stylist who was in city today gave hair makeovers to four customers. Talking to media persons, he said that hair styling had the capability to create chic and sophisticated looks in line with global trends.

"With hair being an essential part of grooming, a new style can set one apart and make one look his/her best," he added.

Emphasising on maintenance of hair he said good quality products are easily available in market today and can help repairing and rejuvenating hair. The stylist, who has worked with ace make up artists like Coy Walia and Sandeep Desai, is the creator of the new defining trends at Lakme Fashion Week.

Business head Lakme Beauty Salon Reena Chhabra said, "creative stylists at our salons can make women style like a model. With world class services such as re-bonding, colouring and hair maintenance, we are a one stop salon for hair needs."

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Nankana Sahib martyrs remembered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
At a largerly attended function at Sri Guru Singh Sabha, tributes were paid to more than 250 Sikhs who laid down their lives for the liberation of the holy gurdwara from the corrupt mahants. Mr Gurwinder Singh narrated the harrowing tale of the bloodshed. He also urged the audience to maintain the sanctity of gurdwaras.

The narration of the tragedy was so powerful that many listeners started shedding tears. Bhai Gurmail Singh Barnala, Bhai Shubeg Singh and Bhai Hardev Singh recited kirtan and Shingar Singh, president of the gurdwara committee, made special efforts to make the function a success. 

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NGO launches website 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
Leela Johar Lok Suvidha Centre, a non governmental organisation today launched its website, leelajohar.com in which complete detail of social welfare schemes and day to day essentials like driving licence, passport have been given. Sample forms of all these schemes can be downloaded from this website. The centre has been set up in the name of Leela Johar, the late wife of former minister, Harnam Dass Johar.

According to Ajay Johar, the president of the centre, website was formally launched by Makhan Singh, founder member of the Viveka Nand Vridh Ashram and Ram Parkash Bharti, chairman, Vivekanand Vridh Ashram, Model Town extension, at a simple ceremony in which all members of managing committee of the ashram were present alongwith senior citizen inhabitants.

Johar claimed, it will be one of the first websites in India where one can login to know the minutest of details about concerned schemes and download the concerned sample forms. He said if the government had provided schemes, no citizen should be devoid of it. But to get benefit of scheme the knowledge for same is must for every citizen.

Other thing he stressed was the availability of forms and conditions and documents required and modus operandi to fill it correctly and information about offices where is to be deposited.

He said the suvidha centre served as facilitator centre for providing free forms, free guidance to fill it correctly and modus operandi of submission provided by well educated staff. He said motive behind opening of the centre was to serve the poorest of poor on one hand and enabling young boys and girls to know about the welfare schemes, like filling the driving licence forms conveniently thus avoiding hastle of agents and forged documents. 

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PNB to educate customers on policies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
With a view to generating awareness among people about its policies, the PNB Asset Management Company will organise several customer meetings in southern zone of Punjab.

Mr I.D. Singh, general manager, Punjab National Bank, said: “In this era of shopping malls, customers want to get all services under one roof. Keeping this in mind, we have planned to offer them a wide spectrum of financial services ranging from mutual funds, banking to insurance.”

He said the bank had entered a joint venture with Principal Financial Group (PFG), USA, a Fortune 500 company, and formed Principal PNB Asset Management Company.

“To provide another value-added service to deposit customers of the bank, we have forged a tie-up with MetLife and launched PNB Deposits Term Plan (P-Life) under which the customer will have to pay a nominal premium to get his life insured.”

Senior regional manager, Ludhiana region, Anil Sama said the bank would focus on awareness meets in the future.

He added that the net NPA level of the bank as on December 31, 2006, was 1.19 per cent and efforts were being made to make it nil.

To achieve the target, the bank would hold a mega recovery camp on March 8 here to settle the accounts of defaulters and help customers to get themselves debt-free.

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Beopar Mandal flays budget
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
Punjab Beopar Mandal president Tulsidas Jaitwani has described the central budget proposals as disappointing for the trade and industry.

Commenting on the budget proposals, Jaitwani said it was just a like a bamboo. “From within, it is quite empty and from without it is shabby,” he said.

Jaitwani regretted that the finance minister had failed to give any relief to the trade and industry in taxes and whatever relief was given was negligible.

However, Jaitwani appreciated the railway budget presented by Lalu Prasad in the Lok Sabha.

He said the railway minister had presented a surplus budget for the first time and given huge concessions to the passengers. He sought relief for the trade and industry. 

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