L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

City Centre Scam
Panel of public prosecutors constituted
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, March 27
The prosecution department of the state has constituted a panel of three public prosecutors to handle the high-profile 'City Centre Scam' case involving the former Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, former Local Bodies Minister Choudhary Jagjit Singh and ex-chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust Paramjit Singh Sibia.

The sources in the prosecution department revealed that the step was taken to ensure that the case was properly presented in the courts, particularly at the time of seeking remands of accused persons and to oppose the bail applications likely to be moved by the accused persons.

The panel has been constituted with the orders of director, prosecution department, Punjab, Paramjit Singh Rai. As per the orders issued from Chandigarh, Ashwani Bedi, Additional Public Prosecutor, M. L. Solanki, additional public prosecutor, and Sukhchain Singh, assistant public prosecutor, would supervise the hearings pertaining to all matters in the case.

Vigilance Bureau officials, who wanted to search the Moti Bagh residence of Captain Amarinder Singh as early as possible by obtaining search warrants from the court, were a disappointed lot. Neither they succeeded in arresting any of the prime accused in the case nor they could obtain search warrants from the court.

It may be recalled that on March 24, 2007, the officials of the Vigilance Bureau had filed an application seeking search warrants for houses of Amarinder Singh, Choudhary Jagjit Singh and Sibia.

The application was moved on behalf of SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu. But he did not appear personally to stress on the necessity for search warrants. Since the magistrate concerned, Kuldeep Singh, happened to be on leave, the application seeking search warrants was presented before the Duty Magistrate, K.K. Jain.

He had directed them to appear before the magistrate concerned on March 26. But on that day the Judge was also on leave. So, the Duty Magistrate, S. S. Jossan, adjourned the hearing till March 29.

Meanwhile, MP Parneet Kaur moved a city court through her counsel Balwinder Goel for obtaining the copy of FIR, in order to know the accusations levelled against her husband and other Congress leaders. 

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HC deadline fails to deter industry
Effluents continue to flow into Budda Nullah
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
The March 31 deadline by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to all the electroplating units and dyeing industry to stop discharging effluents in the Budda Nullah is fast approaching but the Common Treatment Plant put up by the Industries Department after spending lakhs of rupees lies non-operational in the Focal Point area.

The HC had asked the state government to ensure that the pollution from the industrial units must be stopped from throwing chemical laced waste water in the Nullah by March 31. The court had even gone ahead saying the deadline should be followed even if the industrial units had to be closed for the time being.

Meant for treating effluents of at least 350 electroplating units in Ludhiana, the CTP was set up around a year ago. After six months of trial period it stopped working due to the paucity of funds with the department to buy costly chemicals to keep it running. Since then it lies unused mocking at the half hearted efforts by the concerned department to check pollution in the Buddha Nullah.

Industrial units continue to discharge toxic effluents in the sewers that are emptied in Buddha Nullah. The erring units put the blame on the government saying that they were helpless as the government was not able to run the CTP.

Two days ago they invited the stationery and printing minister, Hira Singh Gabria, apprise him of the situation. Gabria after surveying the area assured the industrialists that he would take up the matter with the state government and sort it out soon. Gabria also said the state government had decided to hand over the CTP to a specially constituted committee comprising six private industrialists and three government officials.

He added that the plant would begin within two months. The committee would also be asked to work out the details to garner resources to generate funds.

The director of the Industries Department promised to sanction an amount of Rs 2 lakh initially to buy the required chemical to start the CTP.

Electroplaters said they had been told at the time of setting up of the CTP that all they were required to do was to carry the waste water in tankers to the plant but it worked for six months only.

President of Autoparts Manufacturers Association, Pargat Singh Kalhon, said the state needed to divert only a part of its resources for the treatment plant in the interest of a cleaner environment. 

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Teachers in the dock for ‘facilitating’ copying 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
The district education officer, Ludhiana, Major Singh Sandhu, has recommended stern action against teachers who were allegedly caught facilitating mass-copying in examination centre for Class XII, being conducted by the Punjab School Education Board at the Government Senior Secondary School, Sihar, yesterday.

A flying squad, led by Sandhu, had caught 16 students using unfair means at Sihar centre, three at Government Senior Secondary School, Kilaraipur, and one at Kartar Singh Dukki Government Senior Secondary School, Latala.

Four employees, including one superintendent, were relieved of their duties by the DEO.

In a communication, addressed to Avtar Singh, controller (examination) PSEB, Sandhu apprised the authorities of alleged mass-copying at the Government Senior Secondary School, Sihar, where as many as 16 students of Class XII were caught using unfair means during the English paper on Monday.

Recommending stern action against the erring employees, Sandhu informed the authorities that some employees, in connivance with Manohar Lal, superintendent, had been caught facilitating mass-copying in the centre.

Baljit Kaur and Gurcharan Dass, besides superintendent, were relieved of their duties. According to Sandhu, the action had been taken on the basis of secret information.

"We had received information that the centre superintendent at the Government Senior Secondary School, Sihar, had been facilitating students in the use of unfair means. When we checked the centre suddenly yesterday we found objectionable material with candidates," said Sandhu adding that a mobile was caught from superintendent also. 

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Apollo hospital plans expansion of facilities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
SPS Apollo Hospitals will expand its neo-natal intensive care unit, stroke ICU, nursing institution and introduce Diplomate of National Board

at the hospital to mark the completion of two years of its inception on March 28. Hospital director Jugdiep Singh said several projects were on the anvil and would be taken up soon.

Steps for expansion and upgradation had been undertaken to improve it’s quality of medical and nursing care and deliver world class medical and surgical facilities at affordable prices, said Singh.

"At Apollo, our doctors performed rare procedures like the first rib tumor resection, coarctation of aorta in one sitting with one incision, first bilateral hip replacement in Punjab and innovative shoulder replacement. Besides, it is the only hospital to have a department of Rheumatology, offer laparoscopic colonic, digestive and beriatric (weight loss) surgery."

Director of medical services, Dr Gurcharan Awasthi, said around 3000 cardiac interventions, 590 angioplasties, 260 heart surgeries, 100 knee replacements, had been performed at the hospital with a great degree of success. The state of art facilities and highly skilled professionals at Apollo had made it a key destination of medical tourism for knee replacements and beriatric surgeries, he added.

He further said during the outbreak of dengue in the city last year, the hospital had treated over 1300 patients with just one casualty. Further, in association with Nursing Council of India, the hospital had initiated a training programme for 'Critical Care and Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery Nursing' apart from introducing 'Life Savers Programme' under which training in basic life support techniques was imparted to drivers, students of schools and colleges and volunteers of NGO's to make them certified life-savers.

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Leftist leaders decry UPA govt’s policies
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 27
A meeting of the Marxist Communist Party of India (United) was organised at the K.K. Kaushal Memorial Hall at Doraha today.

A total number of 20 delegates, including Com Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, general-secretary, All India MCPI(U), Com Lakhwinder Singh Buani and Com Pawan Kumar Kaushal attended the meeting of the state committee of the MCPI (U).

The leaders criticised the "anti-farmer, anti-worker and anti-people policies" of the UPA government and demanded that all categories should be accorded their right and just due.

The party leaders asked the government to dissolve the special economic zones created by it by doing away with the mega projects.

They further demanded that the government should accede to the demands of the farmers and check inflation at all costs.

The loans should be made more people-friendly and special focus should be laid on the deteriorating health of the government schools.

Punjab Government should discontinue its policy of privatisation as the recent according of ZITIB to the Oswal group.

The leaders pledged to observe the year 2007 as an 'anti-imperialist' year by focusing mainly on the great sacrifice of Shaheed Bhagat Singh

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Seminar on ‘Ethics and Human Values’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
The two-day UGC sponsored national seminar on ‘Ethics and Human Values’ commenced at Guru Nanak Girls College here today. Principal Charanjit Mahal welcomed the scholars and spoke about the achievements of the college.

Delivering the keynote address, president of Guru Nanak Education Trust Gurbir Singh laid emphasis on the need to restore values, norms and morality in the society. He also appreciated the endeavours of the host department and encouraged them to organise such literary pursuits which would help the students to broaden their ambit of knowledge and vision.

The inaugural address was presented by S L Sharma, former-chairman, department of Sociology, Panjab University, Chandigarh. He said, “Ethics is something related to a state of mind which may develop into a pattern of behaviour or a way of life and social conduct.”

Other eminent speakers of the day included Rajmohini Sethi, former-chairman, department of Sociology, Punjabi University, Patiala; Jaspal Singh, professor of Sociology, GNDU Amritsar; R S Sidhu, professor of Economics, PAU Ludhiana; Harnek Singh, professor of Sociology, PAU; Kanwar Vijay Prataap (IPS) SSP Gurdaspur and Lalan Singh Baghel lecturer, department of Philosophy, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

The speakers created awareness, conviction and commitment to values for improving the quality of life and also suggested various remedies to curb the decrepit state of morals and ethics in our society. 

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Make-up and hairstyle tips at seminar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
“Make-up is not to reconstruct, but to bring out the best features in an individual. Moreover, there are no ugly women in this world. There are only women who do not know how to look pretty,” said Indira Ahluwalia and renowned cosmetologist Vineet Kapur during a seminar on make-up and skin.

Over 300 beauticians and professionals from Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Jalandhar attended the seminar. It was conducted by Grace Beauty Clinic and Institute here today.

Both the experts of cosmetology advocated the necessity of proper make-up and hairstyle with a blend of traditional and modern techniques. They brushed aside the theory of uniform make-up on all occasions and on all personalities. They dwelt at length the role of beauticians for the innovative, trendy and stylish make-up and hairstyles.

The participants were given tips for various functions like the ‘Roka ceremony’ to pre-bridal facials, engagement and wedding.

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Hoteliers seek industry status
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
The Hotel and Restaurant Association, Ludhiana has demanded that the hotels be given facilities and incentives at a par with the industry. They said, although hotels were included in the industrial sector, but no facilities were provided.

Presenting a memorandum to the Punjab tourism minister, Hira Singh Gabria during a function here last night, the association said, the hotels were still being charged the electricity tariff on commercial basis and not industrial basis, which is less. Even the house tax rate was higher as compared to the industrial sector.

The association urged the minister to ensure that the tourism industry is revived in the state. It pointed out, during the last one decade the tourism industry had seen a progressive decline in Punjab as compared to the neighboring states. The association said thorough review of the tourism policy was needed to save it from disaster.

Responding to the demands of the hoteliers, the minister assured them that his government would take all measures that ensure revival and progressive growth of the tourism industry in the state. He said, he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister also. He invited the hoteliers for further discussions.

Jassi Khangura, MLA, Kila Raipur and a leading hotelier himself hoped that the problems of the hoteliers and also that of the tourism industry would be solved at the earliest.

Rajinder Basant, Amarvir Singh, Baba Ajit Singh were also present on the occasion.

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Jewellers' wait for customers continues
Demand for gold low despite Navratras
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
City jewellers' wait for customers bore no fruit this Navratras too. Demand for the yellow metal, which jewellers expected to rise in the festive season, did not pick up.

Plethora of investment options and poor liquidity are being cited as major reasons for abysmally low demand, which is estimated to have reduced by 10-20 per cent in comparison to last year.

Market experts say the property boom has resulted in low liquidity which is why the number of customers declined. Commodity trading, they added, acted as a 
dampener further.

The fall in demand appears surprising amid opinions by financial experts on gold being a good investment option. "Whatever experts might have been saying customers stayed away. They have varied investment options and demand reduced even further," said Anand Prakash Sikri, president, Ludhiana Jewellers Association.

The market, which witnessed a significant decline in the last two years, was expecting to look up. "We were expecting this festive season to revert the recessionary cycle. However, even this Navratras, a time when jewellery purchase is on peak, demand remained depressing," a jeweller in Haibowal said.

Poor performance this season is being attributed to investments in other available options. Market experts say the property boom has resulted in low liquidity which is why the number of customers declined. Commodity trading, they added, acted as a dampener further.

"In commodities, one needs to invest barely 10 per cent of the total while in case of actual gold purchase the amount involved is higher. Those who would have considered gold as an investment purpose are not trading in commodities, a trend that has had a severely adverse impact on the gold market."

Another segment of high potential buyers, said jewellers, opted for investing in real estate, as a result of which their money was diverted. Plethora of financial products have also affected buyer decision, they added.

Demand for diamond, however, continues to increase. But jewellers are not very happy with the same. "For buyers of diamond, it is luxury. Their buyer is not affected by price changes and they are not our customers for gold, which is why there is not much reason to be happy about."

The low in gold market was expected to go this year. City jewellers are now pinning hopes on jewellery trends and gold coming in vogue again for demand to rise.

"As of now, gold is competing with all forms of investments. Our hope now is change in trends which would generate demand for gold."

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CICU delegation leaves for Singapore, Malaysia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
A warm send-off was accorded to an industrial delegation of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) scheduled to visit Singapore and Malaysia for a ‘Technology Innovative Mission’ here last evening. Hira Singh Gabria, Minister for culture and tourism, printing and stationery, presided over the function and extended his good wishes to the  delegates.

Addressing the function, Gabria said to meet big challenges created by speedy growth in technology and for liberalisation of trade at the global level, such knowledge-gathering trips of the industrial delegations were of utmost importance. 

He said the state government had decided to involve industry representatives in the formation of new industrial policy of the state.

The minister said to sort industry's problems related to sewerage and water supply, the government had set up a zonal sub-office of Municipal Corporation in the Industrial Focal Point, where one SDO and one JE along with other staff would remain present. 

He assured that infrastructure at dry port would be improved. 

He informed that the government, immediately after taking over power in the state, had started discussions with industry and trade to expedite their opinion to sort out their problems and in forming the new industrial policy of the state. 

He appreciated the efforts of CICU for organising the tour of industrialists to Singapore and Malaysia to gain innovative knowledge about the new technologies and export viabilities, which would further help in upgrading the mechanism in the local industry. 

CICU president Inderjit Singh Pardhan said delegation would visit various venues in Singapore and Malaysia to gain innovative knowledge about latest technologies and export viabilities. 

Giving more details, he informed that this 35-member delegation would visit Makino, a manufacturing unit of CNC Machines, and attend a meeting with Malaysian Automotive Component Parts Manufacturers Association (MACPMA). 

The delegation would also visit MTA 2007-Metal Asia Singapore Expo and Automechanika Asia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Asia s International Automotive Trade Fair) in which more than 120 companies from 16 countries regions would participate. 

Delegation would also have meetings with Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, Chines Chamber of Malaysia (ACCCIM) and Malaysian Automotive Component Parts Manufacturers Association (MACPMA) and would visit more factories there, he added. 

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