L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Reinstate war museum caretaker: League
He was removed after election result
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
It may not be a mere coincidence that the caretaker of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum, Lt-Col B.S. Kular, was removed just a day after the declaration of the election results. The museum was one of the favourite projects of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who had granted generous funds for its development and maintenance. The Indian Ex-Service League, Punjab and Chandigarh, had already taken up the matter with the director Sainik Welfare Punjab on Lt-Col Kular’s behalf.

Today, the league demanded the reinstatement of Lt-Col Kular. President of the league Lt-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon accused the director Sainik Welfare, Punjab, of “throwing civil rights of rehabilitated defence services retirees in his department overboard by exploiting their mindset of discipline, and compelling them to either leave service or go to courts”.

He said, “The compassion and sympathy, a prerequisite for welfare, is almost absent. We, if need be, will publish a list of names of officers, JCOs, NCOs, class IV employees and widows, who were victimised and who left service, and also of those who are fighting in courts while their pay had been stopped or half pay had been suspended”.

Lt-Col Dhillon observed in the case of Lt-Col B.S. Kular, who was appointed member secretary of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum Society only 10 months ago, the exercise to edge him out despite his repeated requests to give him a no objection certificate, which was refused by the director, Sainik Welfare, and the principal secretary, defence services.

He regretted a board of officers was convened with a member of the district magistrate present. The museum office was sealed in his absence. He said such an exercise was unwarranted, as there was no dispute over the museum and a member secretary was requesting for a no objection certificate.

Lt-Col Kular said the board members in the presence of the member of district magistrate compelled him to hand over the keys of his office almirah and did not allow him to enter his office. A police force was also present there to scare the otherwise an honest, dedicated and military sena medal awarded officer. After giving a hand written receipt for keys, he was told to go. This was clearly a motivated and wishful action.

Lt-Col Dhillon had appealed to the government to order a high level probe into this malicious affair, which was a cover up exercise by removing or tampering records.

Meanwhile, Lt-Col Kular sought to clarify his position in a written statement saying “there was no delinquency on his part or any complaint against him on any matter and there was no dispute”.

He said, “In a meeting held in Chandigarh on January 18, a letter of Amardeep Behl (a designer for the lay out of post-independent war galleries) received by fax on the same day was read out by Brig J.S. Jaswal, DSW, Punjab. Mr Behl had claimed in the letter that work in the museum was at best ‘sluggish and the current member secretary was not having the understanding, experience or capacity to do the needful’. He said he objected to it. Since the eve of elections pressure was put on him to resign”.

Lt-Kular said on March 1, when he had gone to hand over the charge, he was told to hand over the keys and was not allowed to enter the museum. An atmosphere of intimidation was created by calling in the police. He disclosed that again on March 3, he was not allowed to enter the museum and was ordered by the DM’s representative to hand over the keys. Policemen in mufti were seen around. He said he handed over the keys and was given a receipt on his request. He told the board that the cash book and current cheque books were in his brief case, but he was not allowed to accompany the board members.

Lt-Kular said he apprehended that important records of bills, tender documents and all important correspondence regarding financial transactions might be tampered with and he was “being cornered without any justification and without giving me a clearance certificate”. 

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Badal vows to give clean govt
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 5
The Chief Minister today vowed to provide transparent and clean administration. He said scams committed by the Congress government would be probed according to law.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune after paying obeisance at gurdwara here, Mr Parkash Singh Badal avoided questions on the issue of the role of the Sacha Sauda chief in the recent assembly elections but maintained that he would ensure a corruption-free administration.

“As we have come here to seek blessing and pay gratitude to almighty, we shall not blight our motive by issuing political statements. I have prayed to ‘Waheguru’ to grant me strength to run the administration honestly and according to the constitution of the country,” said Badal, adding that all scams, including multi-crore Ludhiana city centre scam, would be probed according to law. Badal directed the officials concerned to mend the approach road to the religious place. Earlier, Badal and his family members, including Sukhbir Singh Badal and daughter-in-law Harsimran Kaur, paid obeisance at the gurdwara. They were presented siropas by the priests. They sought blessings from Baba Ghalla Singh, Sant Sadhu Singh and Baba Harbhajan Singh.

Former ministers Jagdish Singh Garcha, jathedar Tota Singh, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Harsurinder Singh, member SGPC, and Gurcharan Singh Grewal, president, Sikh Students Federation, were present.

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Police cases on rise after poll
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 5
While the civil administration feels relieved on conclusion of election process in the state, the police is busy handling disputes arising out of political vengeance.

Complainants and accused have started seeking help of supporters of winning Congress candidate Jassi Khangura and defeated SAD candidate and former minister Jagdish Singh Garcha.

As Garcha’s party SAD has formed the government, it is apprehended factionalism will reach its peak in months to follow.

Officials at the Dehlon police station were busy listening to allegations and counter-allegations from supporters of Congress and SAD of Barundi, Latala, Dhulkot, Jartoli, Lohgarh and Guram villages. While some disputes were settled through mutual compromise, the police had to register FIRs in case of many others.

At least three persons, including Harbhai Singh and Suridner Jit Singh, alias Babla of Lohgarh village, were booked under Sections 452, 323, 324 and 34 of IPC for allegedly assaulting Rachhpal Singh alias Pappu, and SAD leader and sarpanch of the same village after forcibly entering his house on the night of Saturday. The accused had attacked the victim with swords and axes. Bursting of crackers by SAD activists was reported to be cause of rivalry.

Profusely bleeding Rachhpal Singh was shifted to the civil hospital at Ludhiana.

Four residents of Guram village, including a general secretary of Congress, were booked under Sections 342, 365, 323, 148 and 149 of IPC for allegedly kidnapping an SAD worker and thrashing him after keeping in captivity.

Pritam Singh had accused Ravinder Kumar, general secretary, Congress and his associates Balraj Singh, Jasbir Singh and Mann Singh of kidnapping him and beating him up mercilessly after keeping in captivity. The victim was freed by SAD activists, led by former sarpanch Kaur Singh. 

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Poll results verdict against price rise: MCPI-U
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 5
The Marxist Communist Party of India (United) has described the electoral verdict in Punjab as the rejection of the policies of the Congress government which only led to rise in the prices of the essential commodities and the unemployment.

In a joint statement issued here today, Jagjit Singh Lyalpuri, general secretary of the party and Kuldeep Singh, state secretary, said, "The people of the state have voted against the rising prices, unemployment, rampant corruption and betrayal of promises made to the people".

The MCPI-U leaders alleged that the Congress government during the last five years had carried out anti-poor policies and benefits only the big capitalists. In the name of development, shopping complexes, multiplexes and special economic zones were set up after forcibly taking away the land of the farmers. They alleged, these elections have also exposed the secular face of the Congress which felt no qualms in taking the support of the Dera Sacha Sauda.

They said the new incumbents must learn the lesson from the mistakes of their predecessors and fulfill the promises made to the people.

The MCPI-U leaders also criticised the union budget alleging that it was anti-people and lacked any vision. 

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Holi celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
City residents celebrated the festival of colours in a cheerful and enthusiastic manner. Children, youngsters and elderly greeted each other with colours. Colours like red, yellow, green, orange, purple were spread all-over the roads, markets, shops, houses etc.

Most enthusiastic were the children and youngsters. Starting from the morning until late afternoon, the children celebrated Holi with family and friends. Water balloons, ‘pichkaris’ and dry colours were used with abandon. Youngsters reamined busy on the ‘geri routes’ of Sarabha Nagar, Civil Lines, Ghumar Mandi, Dandi Swami Chowk, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar etc. They were riding on motorbikes, scooters and four-wheelers with music on full blast.

Some people were seen dancing on roads with beer bottles in their hands. But the alert cops in various areas did not allow any unruly incident to happen.

Most shops in the city were closed due to Holi.

“Holi, being a favourite festival of migrants, is religiously celebrated here. The labour wants a holiday on Holi, so we close our factories. The population enjoys the festival of colours with bhaang. They sing and dance on dholak beats till evening,” said Pradeep Sharma, an industrialist.

Most young girls, however, celebrated the festival with their family and close friends. They opted to remain in the four-walls of their houses to avoid the “indecent behaviour” of boys. Kanu, a college student, said that she preferred to stay at home on Holi as boys on roads always looked for an opportunity to misbehave with them.

The newly-wed couples were the main targets of their friends on Holi. Their friends sprinkled them with wet and greasy colours.

Though some of the residents had already celebrated Holi on March 3 but a majority of the people celebrated it yesterday and had a great time.

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Tribune Impact
Volunteers start looking after animals 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 5
Following registration of case against a self-styled baba and his henchmen under Section 429 of the Cruelty to Animals Act for allegedly detaining cows and committing cruelty against them by starving them, volunteers of newly constituted committee led by panchayat of Kaind village have starting looking after the animals.

Taking cognizance of reports published in the Ludhiana Tribune, veterinary officers of state animal husbandry department have conducted medical examination of the animals being reared at Seth Gobindmal Chanan Ram Parmapati Gaushala.

According to Bimal Sharma, patron, and Ms Charanjit Kaur, sarpanch, Kaind village, and member of the committee, volunteers of the organisation had started looking after the cows and calf that had since been starving for alleged unconcern of the staff deputed for the purpose by the baba Virender Puri.

Though representatives of various social and religious organisations had been impressing upon the authorities to initiate action against baba and his associates, no action was against him as he was enjoying political patronage. Local leaders, irrespective of political alliance, hesitated to interfere in the matter as baba claimed to enjoy massive following in Ludhiana and surrounding villages.

It was after a series a stories, highlighting apathy of the organisers towards care of cows was published in the columns of the Ludhiana Tribune that the Dehlon police booked baba and his henchmen under appropriate sections of law.

A committee comprising activists of social and religious organisations from local town and Ludhiana was constituted. The committee members, besides contributing towards daily upkeep of the gaushala inspired cow lovers of the area to send fodder and cattle feed for the animals. The volunteer undertook cleaning work to provide hygienic atmosphere for the animals.

Earlier, Harish Chhabra, a trustee of the gaushala, had accused Virender Puri and his associates Karamjit Singh, Ekjot Singh and Jasbir Singh of allegedly detaining and starving cows and diverting funds collected from the donors of the area. A large number of cows had died due to the negligence of the workers deputed for taking their care.

Hundreds of animal lovers had started coming at Kaind gaushala to feed and take care of cows after the Ludhiana Tribune carried stories on cruelty meted to the cows. Apprehending that he might lose control on property worth lakhs, Virender along with his associates had tried to stop activists of the Brahmin Sabha, Ahmedgarh, Brahmin Sabha, Ludhiana, Gau Surkhsha Samiti, Ahmedgarh, Bhartia Mahavir Dal, Bajrang Dal and Kalgidhar Federation, Ahmedgarh and other cow lovers from coming there.

The Dehlon police had to intervene when the situation had become violent on Friday evening.

According to Gurmit Singh, executive magistrate, a team of vaternary doctors had conducted medical examination on animals at the gaushala. However, report was still awaited. 

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NSS camp held

Samrala, March 5
Under the directions of Hirdaypal, assistant director, youth services, Ludhiana, and programme officer Jatinder Kumar, a day-long NSS camp was held at the Government Senior Secondary school, Ghungrali Sikhan, yesterday. Principal Gurmeet Kaur Dhaliwal inaugurated the camp.

Volunteers undertook a cleaning drive on the school campus. The programme officer delivered a lecture on environment education. A cultural programme was also organised by the NSS volunteers on the occasion. — OC

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Death mourned
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 5
A meeting of the local Panjabi Lekhak Manch was held in the local civil rest house under the chairmanship of Prof Baldeep to mourn the death of Prof R.D. Gupta here on Monday. Prof Hamdardvir Nausheharvi moved a motion of condolence and two minutes’ silence was observed. 

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Pay attention to micro units, demands industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
Stating that over 99 per cent of units falling in the small scale sector actually fell under the ambit of tiny industry, the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, in a letter to the Finance Minister, has demanded that the word SSI (small scale industry) be eliminated.

"Keeping in view the third census 2002 wherein over 99 per cent units were found to be under tiny industries, which have now been christened as micro enterprises, the word SSI should be eliminated," said Joginder Kumar, president of the federation.

Industry representatives said that the word SME was very confusing and was creating problems while the "vital sector of economy, which are micro enterprises" are sidetracked and do not get due attention despite significant contribution in generating employment and production.

Mentioning the credit policy for the SME sector in August 2005, the representatives said that the policy had envisaged a 20 per cent annual growth in credit to this segment.

"Even in the budget speech it was mentioned that credit to SMEs went up to 1.73 crore at the end of December 2006. However, we are not clear as to whether there was any growth in credit extended to micro enterprises at all," industrialists commented.

Increase in central excise limit for micro enterprises from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore would help the sector a lot but a lot of measures still need to be taken to encourage growth of this segment, added industrialists.

Kumar added that even as rise in exemption from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 8 lakh for micro service providers in the Union Budget was a welcome step, the limit was insufficient for units engaged in electroplating and heat treatment of parts and accessories of cycle, cycle rickshaws and sewing machines. This limit should have been raised to at least Rs 30 lakh, he said.

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