L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Milk dearer by Rs 3
More expensive fodder the culprit
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 2
There is a bad news for consumers. Dairy owners have decided to increase the rates of milk by Rs 3 per kg. The increased rates have become active from April 1. The dairy owners attribute the hike in the prices of milk to the rising input costs. They said the rates of fodder, both dry and green, had increased by almost 100 per cent. The hike is likely to effect the consumers of all sections of society.

D.S.Oberoi, a committee member of the Dairy Complex Association, Tajpur Road, said milk would be sold at the rate of Rs 22 per kg to the consumers in the district. The major reason for this hike was the increase in the rates of dry fodder. The fodder which was available for Rs 1.50 kg had increased to Rs 4.50 in recent days. Secondly, the cattle gave less milk in summers.

"One cattle gives approximately 10 kg of milk in the winters whereas during summers, we get 6 or 7 kg only," said Oberoi.

Another dairy farmer of the Haibowal Dairy Association, Dilbagh Singh, said not only had the fodder had become expensive, it was also not even easily available within 5 km radius.

"This is not an individual decision. Dairy farmers representing many associations have taken this unanimous decision. We cannot bear the losses. We have to go to far-off places to get good fodder. The prices of milk were increased last summer also," he said.

Balraj Singh, member of the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association and recipient of the Best Dairy Farmer Award recently, said though their association had not increased the rates the prices were likely to increase after the meeting on April 24.

"The cattlefeed has become very expensive. We are getting nothing out of it. This increase will be just hand to mouth for us," he said.

Meanwhile, this decision has come as a jolt to the consumers in the city, many of whom were not even aware of this hike in milk rates.

Chander Maini, a home-maker, said she had not been told by her milkman regarding the price hike, but if it was true, it was very shocking. "We cannot develop the taste of packet milk because we have been consuming this milk for ages. Such an increase in very pinching," she added.



Packaging boxes to cost more
To hit cycle, sewing machine, hosiery, mithai box units
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Consumers of paper board boxes are in for a tough time as over 450 manufacturers in this industry here are planning to increase costs by at least 10 per cent in the near future.

The move would hit entire industry like cycle, cycle parts, sewing machine and hosiery, that uses paper boxes and cartons for packaging and also users of mithai boxes.

Citing an increase of 10 per cent to 15 per cent in cost of paper and duplex by paper mills, box manufacturers said they are planning to increase cost of their products as well. This increase might put the city, which is among the highest suppliers of paper made packaging boxes across the country, in an uncompetitive position.

Industrialists said the production of boxes had already declined in the past few weeks by more than 50 per cent.

"It is very difficult for us to continue supplying material on previous rates given the fact that paper mills have hiked the rates of paper and duplex, which are our key raw materials. The increase being significant, we might have to effect an increase at our end too," said Raj Thapar, chairman-cum-chief adviser of the Offset Printers Association.

While box manufacturers are reluctant to pay according to new rates, they allege that paper mills had started creating a shortage of raw material in the market so as to implement the increased prices.

"They told us that waste paper used for coating of board, which is procured from Canada, the USA and Europe, had been bought in large quantities by China that had resulted in the shortage. On account of the same, they increased their rates. But the increase is quite high and having an adverse impact on our industry."

Industry representatives said Ludhiana emerged as a big supplier in this field on account of cost effectiveness. Industrial units went in for specialisation and adopted the latest technology which helped them supply material at low margins in comparisons to industries in neighbouring cities and also across the country. They fear their consumers might shift to other places if the city did not remain as cost effective.

"Our consumers are unhappy. The quantum of rise being significant, all industries, right from cycle, to sewing machine, hosiery and others, would have to suffer on account of this," they said.



Fastener makers groan under steel rate hike

The Fastener Manufacturers Association of India today threatened to resort to agitation if the government did not take concrete measures to control the rising steel prices. The association said the steep rise in rates was giving steel consuming industry a tough time.

"The prices of iron and steel, in the past few days, have witnessed an increase of Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per tonne, which is badly hitting the engineering industry and fastener manufacturers, in particular," said Narinder Bhamra, president of the association.

Alleging that several traders were engaged in hoarding of the metal so as to sell it at higher prices, he said even exporters were suffering financial losses due to this hike.

The association said if the government failed to control the rising prices, it would resort to agitation as was done a few years ago.



Rs 5-cr fraud in farm coop society
Accused not booked as dept, police differ
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
A fraud of over Rs 5 crore has allegedly taken place in the Machhiwara Cooperative Agricultural Society, Machhiwara, through fake entries made in the name of over 500 persons. But owing to a difference of opinion between the department officials and the Khanna police, none of the accused has been brought to book so far.

It is surprising that the state Cooperative Department has also not intervened in the matter, which involves such a huge amount. The co-operative movement hinges on claims to improve the lot of the farmers by distributing such loans. The purpose stands defeated in case loans are given to fake persons.

While the assistant registrar, Cooperative Societies, Samrala, has after a detailed departmental inquiry recommended registration of nine FIRs against seven persons, including a branch manager, the Khanna police is contemplating registration of FIR against another employee on the basis of their own investigation.

Copies of letters written by the registrar’s office to the Khanna police, in possession of The Tribune, recommend FIRs against the seven accused persons-- Manmohan Singh, Devinder Singh, Gurmail Singh, Gurbachan Singh, Sewa Singh, Rajinder Singh and Balwinder Singh.

An inquiry conducted by the ADGP-Internal Vigilance Cell had also found allegations against the employees substantial for registering a case.

They have been accused of making fake entries, over-writing, fudging with the records and did not furnish along identity cards of the loanees as well as the revenue records (farad-jamabandi) of their land. The loan amount was even shown as returned but it was not deposited in the bank. Interestingly, one of the accused also gave in writing that he owed money and would return it.

However, the police in its own inquiry have claimed to have found that one salesman Surjit Singh and another person was allegedly responsible for the fraud. The police has sought opinion from the DA-Legal, Ludhiana for further action.

Police sources said the inquiry conducted by a DSP was based on two audit reports. The reports that Surjit Singh and his alleged accomplice had taken the loan money returned to the society but not deposited in the bank.

The police is also under fire for not registering FIR on the recommend action of the department, Charanjit Bakshi, counsel for Surjit Singh said, the police had no locus standi to conduct an inquiry, "It was mandatory under Section 154, CrPC, read with several judgements of the Supreme Court for the police to first register an FIR and then only proceed with investigation."

Gautam Cheema, SSP, Khanna, said the police was not required to register an FIR immediately at the receipt of the complaint in economic offences and marital disputes. He said the police was weighing the evidence in this case and necessary action would be taken.



City Centre Scam
Hanspal’s bail plea hearing adjourned 
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, April 2
The hearing on the anticipatory bail application of former president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) H.S. Hanspal in the multi-crore City Centre scam was today adjourned till April 13.

The bail application was put up before the court of additional sessions judge A.K. Mehta. SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, Kanwarjeet Singh along with special public prosecutors Ashwani Bedi and M.L. Solanki was present to argue the bail application.

SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, Mukhtiar Singh was also present in the court, as he was entrusted with the job of recording the statement of Hanspal. Sources revealed that Mukhtiar Singh had twice went to meet Hanspal for recording his statement, but failed. He had come to the court to disclose this fact.

However, the counsel for the former PPCC president requested for adjournment on the plea that they had demanded certain documents from the Vigilance Bureau but they had failed to provide the same. So, the hearing be adjourned. However, the special public prosecutors said the Vigilance Bureau had so far not received any such request. If any request would be made then the same would be considered.

Claiming himself to be innocent, the accused had submitted in his bail application that he was a senior citizen. He had been the president of the PPCC but he was having no locus standi to intervene in the government matters. He was implicated in the case due to political enmity, as the previous Congress government had registered corruption cases against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son.

Meanwhile, two persons arrested in the case namely Amit Sardana, director of IPE company from Delhi, and Kamal Kumar Verma, director, special project of the same
company, have moved regular bail applications before the sessions court. Sessions judge Harbans Lal entrusted the bail applications of both accused to special judge Gurbir Singh. Now, their bail applications would come up for hearing tomorrow.



MP redresses grievances
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The SAD has launched a series of sangat darshan programmes in the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency for on-the-spot redress of complaints of the people and to release grants for development works.

Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP and president of AIYAD, presided over the event in the programme at Sodhiwal village in Jagraon, about 40 km from here, today.

He discussed the problems of 35 villages of the Sidhwan Bet block with the respective panchayats and most of the problems were settled on the spot involving officers of the departments concerned present on the occasion.

The MP informed that during the first round, he would hold a sangat darshan in all nine Vidhan Sabha constituencies falling in his constituency being represented by him over a period of three months.

After that, programmes would be repeated in all constituencies to clear the remaining problems and development works.

He said sangat darshan was the most effective medium to establish a close rapport with the panchayats in particular and people in general, where the problems of the people could be sorted out easily and efficiently, as the officers concerned were also present to take on-the-spot decisions.

Dhillon, while reiterating the commitment of the SAD-BJP government for providing a transparent, efficient and corruption-free governance, said the corrupt officers who harass the people to extract bribes would not be spared. He called upon the people not to hesitate reporting to him or DC in case any officer demands bribe for doing rightful and genuine work.

He asserted the state government had already started fulfilling the promises made with the people during the elections. The loans of 26,000 Dalits and poor families had been waived, providing to them a benefit of Rs 14 crore within a few days after taking over the government and grant for the construction of houses for the houseless families had also enhanced from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000.

He said the government has decided to transfer the ownerships to cultivators of government agriculture lands in the bet areas along the rivers. He claimed that immediately after forming the SAD-BJP government in the state, Badal had taken up the issue of enhancement in MSP for wheat with the Prime Minister and got a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal declared on the purchase of wheat.

This year, farmers would fetch much higher prices for wheat crop and private traders would also be allowed to purchase at rates higher than MSP.

He said strict vigilance would be exercised in the mandis during the procurement season and no officer would be allowed to harass farmers.

He said the workers of Youth Akali Dal had also been activated to keep a close touch with the people at the lower level.

Dhillon along with Bhag Singh Mallah, former MLA, and other leaders of the area disposed of the complaints relating to development of roads, streets, heath facilities, water supply, electricity, education etc.

Dhillon assured that as announcement by Badal cultivators would get ownership rights of the agriculture land being cultivated by them at the earliest.

He also asked the SP Jagraon, Vijay K. Sharma, to settle the problems of the people relating to the police at the earliest. He assured that sufficient grants would be released shortly for the development projects in all the villages.



MC poll: BJP may demand more seats from SAD 
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Buoyed by its overwhelming success in the urban areas during the Assembly elections, the BJP is all set to assert itself over its alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal, for more seats for the elections to the local bodies, including the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. The election most likely will be held in May this year.

The BJP is believed to have even started shortlisting the probable candidate for the post of the Mayor.

Party sources revealed that it had asked its cadres to gear up for the local bodies elections and identify potential candidates for "each and every ward" it thought it was in a position to win.

The party is learnt to be hopeful of striking a better bargain with its alliance partner.

The BJP's hopes notwithstanding, the SAD is most unlikely to concede more wards to the BJP this time. Akali leaders have been maintaining that the party would like to retain and repeat the 2002 agreement when the two partners shared equal number of wards. And whichever partner has maximum councillors will get the post of the Mayor.

However, the BJP leadership is arguing that given the "overwhelming" support the party enjoys in the urban areas, it has the right to ask for more seats this time.

The party leadership has even been arguing that the SAD must compensate it for giving it less seats during the Assembly elections.

The party's formula is too clear. It has been arguing that all those wards where the Hindus are in majority should be left for the BJP, irrespective of the Assembly representative of the area. The party has obviously been eyeing the wards in the Ludhiana West Assembly segment, which is represented by Harish Rai Dhanda of the SAD.

It is learnt that in case the party is not able to get the ticket for wards, it wants to contest, its candidates are likely to be fielded as Independents with full party backing. Once they win, they would be made to join the party.

With both parties likely to assert for maximum share of seats, the seat- sharing is going to be a tough job for the alliance partners.

Although the coordination committee is likely to be set up very soon for the purpose, local leaders from both parties do not seem to be prepared to concede any ground to one another. 



Cheaper dal, atta soon: Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 2
“The first task before the SAD-BJP government is to lessen the gap between the government and the people.

For redressal of their problems, they have to simply ring up the  telephones of the  ministers concerned at any time”, asserted  Captain Kanwaljit Singh, minister for co-operation at Gurdwara Rori at Chehal village of Amloh constituency today.

The Captain assured the people that the government would fulfil all promises made before  the elections, including providing cheaper atta-daal, 200 units of free power to low income  people, improvement in services of hospitals  and schools.

He accepted the demand to set up barbed wire around the Bhadson beer.

He was honoured by local residents for  bringing laurels to his native area of the  Amloh Constituency.

Among others who spoke on the occasion included former MP Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, jathedar  Kirpal Singh Khirnia , former MLA Balwant Singh Shahpur,  Kuldeep Singh Machhrai, Nirbhai Singh Ghunder, Major Singh Dittupur, Randhir Singh Bhadson, jathedar Kahala Singh Beni, Zora Singh Gill Haripur and Krishanpal Gupta. 



Chanchal spills devotional magic
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 2
Thousands of devotees paid obeisance to Goddess Bhagwati and listened to bhajans recited by renowned religious singers Narinder Chanchal, Asha Kiran and their associates at an annual “jagran” organised by the Shri Luxmi Narayan Sewa Dal at the grain market here last night.

Many among the audience were seen dancing to his deeply devotional voice. Choreographic presentations of bhajans and presentation of some religious plays, including Krishan Sudama and Shiv marriage fascinated the spectators most.

While addressing the gathering during the “jagran”, Chanchal claimed that the religious functions were the only occasions where leaders of all political parties interacted with each other irrespective of political consideration.

"Contrary to common belief that the religion causes widening of gap among various communities and their leaders, including politicians, the ceremonies like ‘jagrans’ and nagar kirtans bring people from all sections of society closer," claimed Chanchal. He pointed out that representatives of many Hindu, Sikh and Muslim organisations had come to attend the “jagran”.

Jatinder Kumar Bhola, president, municipal council, Rajpal Garg, a BJP leader, Ramesh Ghaie, president of the local BJP unit, and Amar Singh, a SAD leader spoke on the occasion. 



Hanuman jagran concludes 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 2
The Jai Hanuman Sewa Sadan Charitable Society, Mandi Gobindgarh, organised ‘Hanuman jagran’ that concluded at the Dusehra ground here last morning. A large number of local residents and people from nearby villages attended it. MLA Gandhu Singh Dharamsot was present on the occasion. The town was decorated with flags and lights.

Dharamsot said the celebration of such festivals remembering our great gurus and saints teach us to follow the path of truth and serve society. Joginder Pal Singla, cashier, PPCC, Jagmeet Singh Sahota, president, Municipal Council, Harinder Singh Bhambri, councillor and secretary of the PPPC, Hukam Chand Bansal, chairman of the RIMT group of institutes, and Deepak Safra were also present. .

Society chief Jiwan Lal Singla appreciated the society for organising the jagran. 



Wildlife Dept comes to aid of elephants
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Coming to the aid of elephants in the state, the Wildlife Department of Punjab has issued directions to all divisional forest officers, conservators of forests and other officers to ensure that these gentle giants were protected and taken good care of in captivity.

The directions come in the wake of the issue taken up by Dr Sandeep K. Jain, honorary wildlife warden, Ludhiana, and state coordinator, People for Animals Punjab, who had stated that the rights of elephants should be protected under Section 38 H of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Dr Jain said that vide a letter no. Misc/Elephant/13-II/6025-45 dated 26-03-2007, the department has directed that the Schedule I animal should be protected against cruelty in circuses and private captivity. The guidelines say that the animal should be implanted with microchips for easy identification. It should be tied only in one leg with chain covered by leather tubes, the legs for tying may be kept changing and should be tied in both the legs only if any elephant is excited, irritated or creating any problem. Other restraining measures can also be taken under these circumstances.

The guidelines provide that the elephants in captivity should be walked for at least two hours in the early morning everyday. Tree fodder like peepal, jamun, neem should be provided with branches.

Treatment records should be kept as per proforma of CZA. Fecal samples of animals should be examined periodically in laboratory and screening against infectious and contagious diseases should be made regularly.

The department has also asked the concerned authorities to ensure that the birth, death and acquisition report should be submitted to the Central Zoo Authority at the end of each financial year.

It has further directed the circuses to procure a set of tranquilising equipment with essential drugs for meeting the emergencies.

Any violation of provision under Section 38(H) of Wildlife Protection Act attracts a term of imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs 25,000 or both. The animal can also be confiscated.

Various organisations all over India are demanding proper protection to elephants in view of their endangered status. They are demanding that no movement of elephants be allowed from outside states if the owners have not obtained recognition from Central Zoo Authority.

The Government of India has also set up "Project Elephant" on the lines of Project Tiger to protect the animals. 



Police, public meeting

Khamano, April 2
A police-public meeting was held at the police station, Khamano, on Monday. SHO Balwinder Singh Randhawa presided over the meeting. While talking to mediapersons, he said he was conducting meetings in all villages of the area to know the problems of the people. Akali leaders Gurdeep Singh Ghuman, Dab Singh Khamano, councillors were also present. — OC 



Three arrested with illicit liquor 

Jagraon, April 2
The Sidhwan Bet police has arrested Sardara Singh of Kholianwala Pul Malsian Bajan falling in the Sidhwan Bet area and seized 30,180 ml of illicit liquor from his possession. In the second incident, the police has arrested Lakhwinder Singh of Abupura from the Sherpur Kalan area and seized 6,930 ml of illicit liquor from him. It has also arrested Manjit Singh of Parjian Biharipur from Ramgarh and seized 6,930 ml of illicit liquor from him. Cases under the Excise Act have been registered.

One booked

Mohan Singh of Chhajawal village has been booked under sections 354, 294, 506 the IPC for allegedly outraging the modesty of a woman of the same village and using foul language. No arrest has been made so far.

Car theft

A theft case has been registered on the complaint of Satbir Singh of Sudhar that his Maruti Car No. PB-10S-9426 has been stolen from the Agwar Gujjran area.

6 booked for assault

Amar Kaur, Binder Kaur, Ranjit Kaur, Manjit Kaur, Balwinder Singh and his wife of Gahour village allegedly stopped Satpal Singh of the same village and assaulted him with baseball bats on Sunday. Satpal was admitted to the DMCH, Ludhiana. The Dakha police has registered a case under sections 323, 341, 506, 148, 149 of the IPC. A dispute with a neighbour is said to be reason behind the attack.

Couple booked

Baldev Singh and his wife Inderjit Kaur of Bhutta village allegedly entered the house of Gurmail Kaur of the same village and assaulted her with sticks. The Dehlon police has registered a case under sections 452, 323, 506, 34 of the IPC. A dispute over money is said to be reason behind the attack. No arrest has been made.

One killed in mishap

Satpal Singh of Chowkiman village was killed when he was hit by a vehicle on Sunday. His body was found lying on the roadside. A case has been registered under section 304-A, IPC. Later the body was brought to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon, for postmortem. — OC



SPV membership fee up 

Ludhiana, April 2
The Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society for Electroplating Units, the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for the purpose of putting to operation the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) today said industrial units that wanted to become its members would have to pay Rs 2,500, instead of the previous amount of Rs 2,000, along with an additional Rs 500 towards subscription.

Joginder Kumar, CEO of SPV, said in a press note that this amount would be applicable from April 1. — TNS



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