L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Bumpy roads may stay till Sept
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
With the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation seeming to be in no hurry to recarpet all major roads that need immediate attention, the work may be delayed and the commuters may have to take a bumpy ride for more than five months if the civic body elections are held in May.

Local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia had two days ago announced in the city that the elections were likely to be held in the last week of May and once announced, the Model Code of Conduct would come into effect in the last week of April. Then the MC would be left with no time to recarpet the roads. The work would be delayed further as roads cannot be recarpeted during the monsoons.

‘‘If the MC calls tenders for the road recarpeting today, it would have to give 21 days’ notice. Then the F and CC committee would approve the project and by the time all formalities are completed the Model Code of Conduct would be implemented. I do not think the roads would be recarpeted before August or September now, ’’ said a senior functionary of the MC.

He added that the commissioner, MC, had remained away from the city for quite some time as he was on a trip abroad. The tenders were not called and the residents would have to suffer bad roads for many months. The monsoon season would complicate matters.

All major roads of the city have developed craters and are in need of urgent attention. The rains during the past days had worsened the matters as the top layer was washed away. But it has been long and the MC is yet to wake up to the problem.

The busy Pakhowal Road has huge potholes. The ride on this road is bumpy and the residents are already complaining against it. The Ferozepore Road is also in a bad condition and there seems to be no respite for the commuters.

City mayor Nahar Singh Gill said he had asked the officials of MC to finish the work soon so that the elections did not pose any hindrance. ‘‘I had specifically asked them to do the patchwork where needed and recarpet the roads that were badly damaged. But it does not seem to be on the priority list of the civic body,’’ said Gill.

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Govt to polluting industry
Comply by May 31 or face closure
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
Under directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to clean up Budda Nullah at the earliest, the Punjab government today warned Ludhiana’s industry to comply with anti-pollution norms by May 31 or face closures.

The government also directed Ludhiana deputy commissioner to prepare the city’s master plan within a period of 9 months, which is a statutory period required to prepare such a plan. Meanwhile, Department of Soil Conservation and Punjab Water Supplies and Sewerage Board have been directed to prepare a viability plan to determine if the water treated under Sutlej Action Plan can be used for irrigation or recycling purposes.

In a high-powered committee meeting chaired by chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, it was decided that electroplating and dyeing units of the city would be given a maximum of 2 months to ensure that they treat their effluents before discharging into Budda Nullah.

To streamline the process of industrial waste disposal, Punjab government has already invited tenders for the setting up of common effluent treatment plant (CETP) at Ludhiana. The plant, government promises, will be commissioned by May 31 so that the polluting industry doesn’t take recourse in the fact that CETP is not in functional.

Meanwhile, industries have been sternly directed against disposing any industrial solid waste along the banks of Budda Nullah or into it, as per the recommendations of the P Ram committee set up to suggest measures for the stream’s purging.

Almost all the recommendations of the committee were endorsed by the high court which recently directed Punjab chief secretary to set a deadline for the execution of this mammoth project. The high court had earlier taken suo moto cognizance of the Tribune reports on Budda Nullah’s pollution.

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Survey on poor families for subsidised atta-dal 
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The administration has geared up the machinery for the conduct of a 14-day survey to identify poor families with an income less than Rs 30,000 per annum so that they could benefit from the government scheme of subsidised atta-dal at the earliest.

Sumer Singh Gurjar, deputy commissioner, issued these directions while chairing a meeting of SDMs, BDPOs and executive officers here last evening.

He asked the BDPOs of all blocks and EOs of municipal councils to constitute groups of enumerators to conduct the survey with each group surveying around 500 households.

The enumerators may be drawn from Group B (Non-gazetted) or Group C employees of different state government departments/PSUs.

The DC informed that the SDMs would hold meetings of employees to apprise them about the methodology of the survey and distribute the requisite forms to them by April 6. The survey would be conducted within a period of 14 days from April 9. From April 23-27, the forms would be compiled at the block /town level.

The results of the survey would be compiled and the draft lists displayed at the village level in the gram panchayat office, at the block level in the BDPO office, at the town level in the MC/NAC/ municipal corporation office and at the subdivision level in the SDM office on April 28.

From April 28 to May 7, the claims and objections would be received at SDM/BDPO/EC offices, which after conducting a summary enquiry, would be disposed of by the SDM on May 14 and the final list of poor households would be displayed on May 15 at the respective offices.

The whole data would be transmitted to the director of food and supplies on May 16.

He directed the officers to make it clear to the enumerators about the importance of the task and they should avoid any kind of laxity.

The supervisor shall also be responsible for ensuring regular monitoring of the work of enumerators and timely completion of survey work. Generally, one supervisor may be appointed for every set of 10 to 15 enumerators.

The DC said that SDMs must ensure that halqa patwaris provide necessary assistance to enumerators for verifying land ownership details of the enumerated households. Similarly, copies of relevant electoral rolls may also be made available to enumerators.

As regards the income, he informed that it has been decided that for assessing agricultural income, a minimum annual return of Rs 10,000 per acre in the case of irrigated lands and Rs 5,000 per acre in the case of unirrigated lands may be taken into account. Affidavits from households regarding the total income would also be taken.

Based on the draft lists of enlisted households, the Department of Food and Supplies would print sufficient quantity of cards (in the colour scheme and format prescribed by the government) and supply the same to the district by the second week of May. Upon the approval of the final results of the survey by government, new cards would be prepared and distributed among the beneficiaries within a week.

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Increase subsidy, says textile industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Keen on capturing a larger chunk of share in the global market, textile industry owners are striving to attain modernisation and technological upgradation for small and medium enterprises in the industry. The knitters feel that apart from increasing general awareness levels, an increase in the technological upgradation fund (TUF) subsidy is critical for this segment.

“We have learnt that the government is planning to reduce the TUF subsidy. This could spell doom for knitting and garmenting industry, a large section of which comprises of small and medium enterprises. To top it, rising interest rates would make credit even costlier. Instead of reducing, the subsidy should be increased to 10 per cent,” said Ajit Lakra, president, Ludhiana Knitters Association.

The introduction of the TUF scheme and easy credit availability in the last couple of years facilitated betterment of the textile segment. The scheme resulted in the adoption of latest technologies by the industry with improved quality and productivity.

However, even today a large potential remains untapped and the industry is still lagging behind in the global competition, said the knitters.

Among various segments, it was spinning industry that managed to avail the maximum benefit out of the TUF scheme, said Harish Dua, president, Knitwear and Apparel Exporters Organisation.

“The spinning sector is performing well and used almost 50 per cent of the benefit under TUF. The remaining 50 per cent was shared by knitting, waving processing and garmenting industries. Considering the fact that spinning industry comprises mainly of large players, it is the remaining three which need a fillip,” Dua said.

Industry representatives said any reduction in subsidy would result in a negative growth and the garment industry would not be able to compete in the global market. In order to attain targets set for export growth and textile industry, the government must take measures in this direction.

“A pragmatic approach is the need of the hour if this industry is to increase its market share. The government should not ignore this segment as it is also a heavy employment-generating one,” said Rajat Sood, general secretary, Ludhiana Dyeing Association.

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Production of wheat up despite weather
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Despite inclement weather and frequent squall, the wheat production will surpass its target this year.

This point was highlighted during a state-level meeting on wheat procurement at the PAU campus, under the chairmanship of Dr Gurdial Singh, joint director at the Directorate of Agriculture, Punjab.

Dr Singh said the target for wheat produce was set at 145 lakh metric tonnes this year, but according to the figures obtained from PAU and various agencies, at least 75,000 metric tonnes more wheat than the target was expected.

Though water logging in low-lying areas destroyed the crop, it was in full swing in other areas, he added.

Dr Singh said required cold weather, humidity and distribution of good seed varieties by the certified seed agencies contributed to this success.

Similarly, a collective effort from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Cooperatives and the PAU led to the minimal use of insecticides and pesticides. 

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Woman smuggler held with smack
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The setting up of an anti-narcotics cell in the city on the directions of the DGP, Punjab, has started paying rich dividends with the cops nabbing an alleged woman smuggler with 220 gm of smack. She is the widow of narcotics smuggler Vicky.

Addressing a press conference this evening, SP Detective, Gurpreet Singh, said the CIA in charge Jaswinder Singh Mangat nabbed the woman, Payal Bhatia, with 20 gm of smack. Later, 200 gm of smack was found hidden in an almirah of her house at Model Town.

The smack is priced at Rs 300 to Rs 500 per gram. The police has got a list of persons supplying her the booty as well as of those buying the drug from her. 

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Rumourmongers make his life hell
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
When Ankur Gupta, a local resident, paid an extra sum to a telecom company for a special number, little had he realised that his passion for that number would actually become a pain in the neck.

Just a month after Ankur succeeded in getting the special number (9888888880), it has not stopped ringing, thanks to a rumour doing rounds that receiving a call from this number could kill the listener.

Ankur does not know how the word spread about his number around 10 days ago that he was flooded with calls. Things have come to such a pass that he receives around 400 to 500 calls everyday.

The phone rings for 22 hours in a day. The only two hours it does not ring is between 12 am and 2 am, the time the people have been warned against by the rumour mongers.

“People threaten me, shout at me and even call me a killer. They ask me what would I get after killing so many people with a virus spread through my phone. They do not want to listen to my defense. I feel like committing suicide. I do not know how it all started. People are going crazy sending sms warnings that taking a call from my number could kill them,” says Gupta.

Upset at the calls, Gupta complained to the telecom company to do something about his problem but to no avail.

The calls continued. He then approached the police and gave a complaint in writing. The police registered a DDR and told him that they could not do anything about his problem.

‘‘We have made an entry in the DDR register that Gupta had made a complaint in this regard. We cannot do anything about the rumour mongers,” says the station house officer, Gursewak Singh, adding that he should ask the telecom company to come to his rescue.

‘‘But the telecom company is also at its wits end to find a solution to this problem. They are also helpless,” says Gupta, adding he did not want to surrender his number as he had paid extra amount for getting the number of his choice.

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Tell us about corrupt officials: Police chief
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 3
“People have many expectations from the police and they should develop a direct communication with society to provide corruption-free services to the people,” asserted district police chief, Fatehgarh Sahib, Nilabh Kishore, IPS, at a public meeting held in Government School for Girls.

He asked the people to contact him in case any demand of illegal gratification was made from them.

Mobile numbers of police officers were circulated for the convenience of the people. Besides, such numbers would be displayed at bus stops and other important places.

All complaints regarding the police would be registered at the police stations. The economic offences and those under Section 420 would require a preliminary inquiry.

The police would not insist that the parties go for a compromise and the respectables/panchayats should arrange for it at their respective villages.

The police would reach the place of incident immediately. People should not take the law into their hands and let the police control the situation. There shall be no torture at the police stations, he said

Former council chief Baldev Sedha spoke against chemists who sold drugs.

Jiwan Puri, president of the Arhtia Association, demanded police patrolling from 11 am to 2 pm.

Former council chief and advocate Tejwant Singh demanded one-way traffic in the bazar.

District BJP chief Raj Pal Garg, praised the SAD-BJP for providing corruption-free government. District general secretary, RSS, Pardeep Garg spoke against the sale of smack in the area.

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‘Create awareness against female foeticide’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
District and sessions judge, Harbans Lal, today stressed the need to sensitise the masses against female foeticide.

“It's a stigma on our society, which cannot be removed or curtailed by stringent laws. It can only be checked by creating awareness amongst the people,” he said.

Our state was witnessing a very bad trend in falling sex ratio. The coming generations would have to pay heavily, if it goes unchecked.

He was addressing a meeting of top brass officials of the distirct administration, judges and NGO's.

It was organised to chalk out the strategy in view of the arrival of the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Vijender Jain.

Additional deputy commissioner Kanwalpreet Brar, additional sessions judges A.K. Mehta, Sajneev Berry, Satvinder Singh, R.L. Ahuja, CJM K.S. Cheema, civil judge senior division S.S. Dhaliwal, deputy DEO Sudesh Bajaj, Ruby Fernandiz, district attorney Amar Ashok Pathak, assistant district attorney Arvind Markan, D.S. Saini, president, district bar association, Hemant Kalia and several NGO's participated in the meeting.

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5 booked for property fraud
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 3
Avtar Singh, Harprinder Singh and Kaka Singh of Khandoor, Gurbachan Singh and Sham Singh, lambardars of Kahara and Mindian Khurdi have allegedly fabricated documents and sold the property of Sardool Singh of Khandoor.

The complaint was taken to the SSP, Jagraon, who ordered the registration of the case. The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 479, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

Murder bid

The Sidhwan Bet police has booked Daljit Singh and Surinderpal Singh of Sidhwan Kalan, Sadhu Singh of Kular, along with two other persons on a charge of attempt to murder.

The accused allegedly attacked Gurwinder Singh of Pona village with a sword with the intention to kill him.

The police has registered a case under Sections 307, 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC. Some dispute related to money is said to be the reason of the crime.

Bid to take plot forcibly

Harmander Singh of Chachrari, Gurmit Singh of Dallah, Jagdev Singh and Harpreet Singh of Jagraon, Kulwant Singh of Agwar Gujjuran, Rajwinder Singh of Agwar Lopon along with three other persons have allegedly tried to forcibly take the plot belonging to Manga Singh of Minia situated at Kacha Malak Road, Jagraon and steal the articles. 

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44 pc rise in PSB profits
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Punjab and Sind Bank, Ludhiana zone, recorded a 44 per cent increase in its total profits for the year ending March 31. N.S. Anand, deputy general manager, said the zone witnessed a 14.5 per cent rise in its deposits and 33.5 per cent increase in advances during this period.

The net non-performing assets (NPAs) were 0.78 per cent of the total outstanding advances, and stood at Rs 12.93 crore, in comparison to Rs 25.01 crore in the previous year. The insurance business fetched Rs 2.15 crore as non-fund income.

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