L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Residents pay for PUDA’s wrongdoing
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service 

Ludhiana, April 16
Residents of MIG Colony in Phase-II of Urban Estate Dugri are paying for PUDA's wrongdoing. They are forced to pay extra money to the Revenue Department to get their flats registered in their name as the area of flats is shown to be much higher on paper by PUDA than it actually is. 

They are forced to pay extra money as the area of flats is shown to be much higher on paper by PUDA than it actually is

On paper, they are the owners of 162 square yards of land while the ground and first floor flats are constructed on 81 square yards each. Hence the Revenue Department asks them to pay for 162 square yards of land instead of the actual piece that belongs to them. 

Consequently, the residents have to bear exorbitant expenses to get flats registered. ‘‘We are forced to pay anything between Rs 70,000 and Rs 75,000. If anyone has made any alteration they have to pay more to PUDA. The cost of flat, which was aimed to provide houses to residents belonging to middle income group, is much higher than the original price, ’’ said Kuldeep Singh Kreer, a resident. 

He added that as per the current government rates, the registry price of 162 square yards comes to Rs 6 lakh and for that one has to furnish stamp papers worth Rs 62,000. Besides the department also charges construction charges. ‘‘We fail to understand why the department has to take construction fee while these flats have been built by PUDA. So the total cost of getting a registry finalises to Rs 75,000’’ said Kreer. 

The residents have demanded a review of the above provisions and added that their grievance should be redressed immediately. 

‘‘The first registry should be done at the face value of each flat in three categories, including Rs 17 lakh, Rs 19 lakh and Rs 21 lakh. The subsequent registeries can be done at revised market prices.’’

Most of the residents did not have registries in their names due to the expenses although PUDA had transferred the flats to them long ago.

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Farmers prefer private agencies to govt
Mahesh Sharma 

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 16
Even after a fortnight of the commencement of wheat procurement at the local market committee and purchase centre associated with it, the government purchase is insignificant in comparison to the quantum purchased by private traders. 
State government agencies Markfed and Punsup are yet to open their accounts here. 

Higher price and prompt payment of the produce are reported to be main reason for the flourishing private business. 

Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman Marketing Board, and Jagdish Singh Garcha, former minister, claim that no official would be allowed to harass farmers on flimsy grounds. Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune reveal that a major portion of the wheat brought to the local market and nearby purchase centres had been purchased by private traders.

According to sources at the local market committee, as much as 60,450 quintals of wheat had been purchased till today. While the Punjab Warehousing Corporation was reported to have purchased 3300 quintals, state agency Pungrain had lifted only 150 quintals of the produce. Markfed and Punsup are conspicuous for failing to make any purchase.

Referring to information received from various farmers, Baldev Singh Latala, Kissan Union leader, said higher price and prompt payment offered by traders discouraged peasants from selling their produce to the government agencies. "Besides getting Rs 2 to Rs 5 per quintal more, they receive immediate payment from commission agents. Moreover, the traders do not harass on the pretext of colour and texture," claimed Latala.

Jagdish Singh Garcha, former SAD minister, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Gurjit Singh Majri, chairman, Truck Operators Union, Pohir, supervised the progress of procurement at the grain markets and purchase centres falling in the Kila Raipur constituency. The leaders warned officials against harassing farmers on various grounds. 

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‘Labour pain’: Farmers, industrialists suffer as migrants head for home
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 16
Ludhiana, and for that matter, the entire state is facing severe shortage of labour and that too when the harvesting season is at its peak. Even the industry has started feeling the pressure as most of the daily wagers have gone on a longish break. The situation has become grim this year especially as due to elections in Uttar Pradesh a large number of migrant labourers have gone to their parent state to cast votes.

With the farmers switching over to manual harvesting the demand for labour in the agriculture sector has also increased manifold. So much so that the farmers have been making rounds of the railway station in the hope of catching hold of some labourers.

Even the industrial ector has started feeling the pressure due to this scarcity. Actually a large number of daily wagers are preferring to work in the fields as farmers are paying them better wages than the industrial units. Besides, they are even offered meals twice a day. While the big industrial houses, that employ regular labour, have not been much affected by this shift, it is the small and medium sector units that are the worst hit. 

Vijainder Jain, who runs a small garment manufacturing unit in focal point area, disclosed that almost half of his workers had left on one or the other pretext. He said, he had learnt that these labourers were being “tempted” by politicians back home (in UP) to cast their votes. Thus a large number of migrants had taken off for a few days to enjoy “paid” holidays as election time is like festive season in UP. 
However, it is not only the labourers from Uttar Pradesh who have gone away, but those from Bihar have also been taking off due to the marriage season there. “Although there is always a shortage of labour during the harvesting season, but this year it has been more severe", disclosed Jain, who is eagerly waiting for his workers’ return. He is hoping that his woes would be over once the UP election and harvesting season were over.

The labour shortage is acute this year also due to increase in demand in the agricultural sector with most of the farmers deciding to go for manual instead of mechanical harvesting. 

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15 days without water, residents threaten dharna
Tribune News Service 

Ludhiana, April 16
Residents of Model Town Extension-D are without water for the past 15 days as the motor of the tube well there had developed a snag. 

Various representations to the Municipal Corporation authorities have fallen on deaf ears and the area residents have now threatened to stage a dharna with empty buckets if the water supply was not restored. 

According to Inderjit Singh Pardhan, an industrialist, the tube well became out of order 15 days ago and not a single drop was being supplied to the area since then. They were fetching water from far off areas and were even forced to buy drinking water. 

He added that he had personally complained to the MC authorities, which said the problem would be solved within a day or two.

“But nobody has done anything. An attendant on the tube well told me that they had to seek permission from senior officials and a letter was already sent to them in this regard. But to no avail,” he said. 

The attendant added that it was difficult to go without water in this warm weather and they had been suffering for the past 15 days. “We cannot take bath, cannot wash our clothes and utensils. For how long could we continue like this?” he asked. 

The industrialist said the MC was not providing any civic amenities. The roads were in a bad shape in the entire city, garbage was not lifted and now there was no water supply at a time when it was needed the most. 

“We have decided that if the snag is not rectified within a day, we would all sit in front of the Zone-D office of the MC. Otherwise also we visit there everyday to lodge a fresh complaint. This is the height of everything now. We cannot take it any more”, he said.

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Ward quota: Cong councillors fear manipulation
Vimal Sumbly

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 16
Wary of the 'manipulations' by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janata Party alliance over the delimitation and reservation of wards for the election to the Ludhaina Municipal Corporation, the Congress might take to legal recourse. 

Most of the influential party councillors fear that their wards are being reserved without following any proper pattern or precedent. The aim, they said, was to prevent most of them from contesting the elections scheduled to be held in the last week of May this year.

Although the proposals for the delimitation and the reservation of wards have not been finalised, preliminary reports have led to widespread apprehension among some senior party councillors that their wards were deliberately being reserved for the Scheduled Castes.

Party leaders disclosed that they had learnt that the wards of some of the prominent councillors who have a fair chance of winning were being reserved. Although there are no proper guidelines on as to which ward can be reserved after how much time, according to convention in every election, the reservation of the wards is shuffled by adding one number to the previously reserved ward. A similar pattern is adopted for reserving the wards for women candidates. 

But this time, according to the Congress leader, the SAD-BJP is learnt to be keen on random reservation targeting those wards where the alliance feels itself to be weak. While the councillors do not mind or object to their wards being reserved for the woman, as they usually field their spouse from the same ward and practically function themselves as the councillors, they oppose the reservation of the ward for the Scheduled Castes as it closes all options for them. 

This method has often been used by politicians in power to prevent their rivals from contesting. However, once a pattern was evolved not many objections were raised. 
But this time, according to local Congress leaders, during the several rounds of meetings for delimitation and reservation they have smelt a rat as important wards were apprehended to be reserved with the sole purpose of preventing some influential and potentially winning Congress candidates to contest.

Besides the shuffling of the wards for reservation five more wards are being carved out taking the total number to 75. A number of meetings have already been held for the purpose of reservation and the carving out new wards. 

A group of 'aggrieved councillors', whose wards are said to being reserved have reportedly decided to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court once the preliminary proposals are circulated. They have been demanding that the wards must not be reserved randomly and the proper convention be followed for the purpose.

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Most converts to Christianity illiterate: Singhal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 16
Vishwa Hindu Parishad general secretary Ashok Singhal has expressed concern over conversions being carried out by the Christian missionaries in Punjab.

He said he had proof about the latest conversions in the Lehra Gagga area, where all converts were illiterate which was proved by the thumb impressions on their consent forms. He also displayed the copies of the consent forms.

He expressed shock that 95 per cent of those converting to Christianity were Sikhs.

Singhal was here to participate in the celebrations of the 150 years of Namdhari Movement at Bhaini Sahib, about 30 km from here.

Talking to reporters yesterday, Singhal defended the controversial CD of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh. He said he failed to understand why the CD was being disowned by the BJP and observed it should have defended it.

Singhal asserted that the evil had to presented before the public. "Why should anybody take offence to it?" he asked, adding that the truth must be told irrespective of the fact in whose interest it went.

He said he and his organisation were supporting Kalyan Singh in UP as he had sacrificed his government for the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. The VHP movement for the construction of the temple there would continue till it reached its logical conclusion.

The radical Hindu leader admitted that his differences with the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on various issues particularly those related to the Hindutva continued. The NDA led by the BJP lost power because it had given up the core issues to stick to power.

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Indians models hot globally
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 16
Ramp model and actress Shikha Verma feels opportunities in television have not just introduced many new faces to the glamour world it has even giving options to professionals like models to diversify their sphere of working.

Verma entered the ramp modelling scene over four years ago. Apart from being associated with shows like Wills Fashion Week, she has acted in tele-serials like CID, Apradhi Kaun and Don, and is happy with the fashion scenario turning global.

"Earlier there was a feeling of awe associated with models who came from other countries but the scene has undergone  a change.

Now when we go for shows abroad we realise that even Indian models are hot favourites,"  she said.

On television, she added, "Tele-serial producers are quite happy to introduce models. Options have certainly increased, it all depends on how one manages ones time."

Opportunities apart, Verma agrees that work pressures are high in this field. "At times it does become pretty difficult to cope up but then one has to if one is to survive. I make the most of my free time and indulge in activities I like dancing, going to gym etc. Relaxing helps me put my maximum when I am at work."

Inaugurating the anniversary sale at Orra the model said changes in fashion had affected people from all streams. "People are a lot more conscious about everything they don, with accessories and jewellery forming an important part of it. Diamonds are quite a favourite these days."

Rajesh Kapoor, area sales manager, Orra, said demand for diamond jewellery was increasing . "In the last around one year we have recorded an almost 25 per cent rise in demand. People are experimenting with designs also. There is high demand for coloured stones. An interesting trend is that not just women, men too are buying diamonds."

Attributing the trend to rising incomes, Kapoor added that diamond jewellery was being considered a good investment option too.

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Weekly sangat darshan starts today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 16
The weekly sangat darshan programme will start in the district tomorrow.

According to Sumer Singh Gurjar, deputy commissioner of Ludhiana, to efficiently redress the grievances and problems of the people, district-level sangat darshan programmes will be conducted every Tuesday at Bachat Bhawan here from 11 am to 1pm.

The first programme will be conducted tomorrow.

He said the district heads of all departments would remain present during the sangat darshan, so that the applicants could be given satisfactory response on the spot.

Gurjar said the application submitted in the programme would be taken to the conclusive end. He appealed the people to make the maximum use of this forum and bring their problems for redressal in the programmes.

He also directed the officers to accord top priority to the complaints presented in the programme.

Chief Minister Punjab Parkash Singh Badal had given clear instructions to the government officers to give maximum time for listening to the problems of the people in their offices during working hours. He said that in his office any person can come at any time, whenever he was in the office, to meet him and could present the application for solution. 

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Rakesh Mittal, Prem Gupta honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 16
At a glittering function organised on the occasion of its second annual general body meeting held last week, the Senior Citizens Conclave, Ludhiana, honoured its patrons Prem Nath Gupta, chairman and president of the Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust, and Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman and managing director of Bharti Enterprises.

Lt-Col Dr D.B. Sharma, general secretary of the conclave, described Prem Nath Gupta as a pioneer in the industrialisation of Ludhiana and referred to his pivotal role in developing Dayanand Medical College and Hospital as a leading medical institution of the state.

Describing Rakesh Bharti Mittal as an industrialist of international stature, Lt-Col Sharma mentioned the outstanding work being lone by the Bharti Foundation in the field of education and its other welfare activities. The patrons were honoured by S.P. Karkara and Prem Aggarwal, president and its vice-president of the organisation, respectively.

Karkara welcomed the two patrons and thanked them for their constant support since the formation of the organisation two years ago. The annual report or the last year was read out by Lt-Col Sharma and approved by the House. Besides, the grant of scholarships of Rs 66,000 to 22 girl students belonging to poor and needy families studying in nine women colleges of the city was cleared.

Mittal congratulated the conclave for its good work for the betterment of society. He said though India was making rapid industrial progress, the country would face an acute problem of unemployment in a few years due to fewer job opportunities in public and private sectors. He stressed the need to provide quality education at school/college level to equip children for employment after the completion of their studies

The meeting was followed by an entertainment programme with theme “celebrate Baisakhi”. Joginder Singh, a retired college principal, started the programme by speaking about the historical and religious significance of Baisakhi. This was followed by a lively programme anchored by Neelam Khosla. While Khosla and K.K. Bhatia, members, regaled the audience with folk and other songs, bhangra and giddha by a troupe of amateur artistes lent festive and joyful colour to the occasion.

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Baisakhi celebrated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 16
The Lodhi Club celebrated Baisakhi here last evening.

The club provided an ambience of a village with charpais, pakkhis and wells all around. Lamber Hussainpuria from the UK enthralled members and guests with pop and folk songs.

Manoj Gupta, general secretary of the club, said it was the first theme-based function in the club. The ambience was provided by Tycoon group of Chandigarh.

President of the club Sumer Singh Gurjar appreciated the efforts of the newly-elected team for the success of the programme.

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Contests mark Baisakhi celebrations

Ludhiana, April 16
A function was organised in connection with the festival of Baisakhi at Lords Divine International School, Noorwala Road, today. The function was presided over by Principal of the school H.C Gupta. The function started with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp followed by the singing of ‘Vande Matram’. Over 200 students and their parents attended the function. Mehak and Kavita were the comperes. Several competitions such as one act plays, solo dances, group dances, skits, bhangra, giddha etc were organised on the occasion. The participants, dressed colourfully, depicted the joys of Baisakhi. Those who won the first prize, included: Solo dance competition- Samiriti; Group dance competition- Abhishek and co.; Skit competition- Sonam and co. Jokes competition- Gurkawal; Giddha competition- Sajjan and co.; Bhangra competition- Vivek and co. — OC

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Stone of orphanage laid
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 16
The Nishkam Sewa Ashram at Daad village laid the foundation stone of its new orphanage with a capacity to accommodate 200 children at Bihla village today. Chairman of the ashram Sarwan Kumar laid the stone. He said the setting up of a home for orphans was not a social service but was rather our duty toward society. He said this particular building would be built in 7,000 square yards, adjoining the existing Home for Mentally Retarded Women.

This double-storey building would have modern facilities, including attached bathrooms fitted with geysers, separate kitchens, common rooms, dining rooms, garden etc. There would be separate wings for boys and girls.

He said every effort would be made to complete the building by December- end and shift the children of Shishu Sewa Sadan at Lalton to this building. Other members of the ashram K.K. Sood, Raj Kumar, Kapil, Vijay and Shruti Bansal were present. 

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Badal to attend Parshuram jayanti on April 22
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 16
Behari Lal Saddi, organising secretary of the Punjab Brahmin Sabha, said today that the Bhagwan Parshu Ram Jayanti would be celebrated at Parshu Ram Mandir, Mandi Gobindgarh, on April 22. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal would be the chief guest while minister Manoranjan Kalia would be the guest of honour.

A memorandum of demands of the Sabha would be presented to the Chief Minister. The demands included the setting up of a Bhagwan Parshu Ram chair at the Punjabi University, Patiala, the heritage village status to Khatti, near Phagwara, the tapoasthan of Bhagwan Parsu, the construction of Parshu Ram bhawans at all districts, the compulsory study of Sanskrit at the school level, minority status for Brahmins in the state. Financial assistance to nubile Brahmin girls. Monetary help to poor Brahmin students up to the college level.

The sabha thanked Badal for accepting their demand of declaring Bhagwan Parshu Ram Jayanti a public holiday. The previous government had declared the jayanti a restricted holiday.

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Gabria, Gosian patrons of Dashera panel
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 16
The Urban Estate Ram Lila Dashera Committee, Dugri, Ludhiana, organised a function today where minister for jails, tourism and culture Hira Singh Gabria was the chief guest and Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Sat Pal Gosain was the special guest of Honour. MLA Harish Bedi was the guest of honour.

In a press note issued here, committee general secretary Dr Shiv Gupta and convener Sanjiv Malhotra stated that Gabria, Sat pal Gosain and Harish Bedi were honoured in recognition of their social welfare activities. Siropas were also given to them.

The dignitaries also gave their consent to become the patrons of the committee and assured their full cooperation in organising various social, religious festivals to maintain Hindu and Sikh unity.

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Elephant case: DC orders probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 16
Deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar today ordered an inquiry into the violation of Central Zoo Authority guidelines for elephants by a circus.

He directed a sub divisional magistrate to look into the matter and submit a report to him.

The action comes in the wake of a Tribune report highlighting the violation that an elephant was tied on two legs and that too with an uncovered iron chain.

Honorary wildlife warden Dr Sandeep Jain complained to the Deputy Commissioner this morning about the violation mentioning the Tribune report. He urged Gurjar to take immediate action so that the violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Central Zoo Authority guidelines should be checked. 

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One held with smack
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 16
Shashi of Chandigarh has been arrested by the local police from the area of Agwar Gujjran.

The police seized 23 gm smack from his possession.

A case has been registered under Sections 21, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

7 booked for assault

Seven persons, including a woman, have been booked for assault. According to the information, Baldev Singh, Ram Singh, Ajit Singh, Mati of Phalewal along with three unknown persons, allegedly stopped Santokh Singh of their village and attacked him with gandasas and sticks.

The Dehlon police has registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 341, 148 and 149 of the IPC against the persons.

The main reason for the assault is said to be a dispute over a plot. 

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MBD promises 5-star cuisine at low prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 16
MBD Neopolis today announced that it would bring a new concept , ‘Gigabite’, at its mall-multiplex projects in the state. Solely owned, managed and run by the MBD group, its USP will be a five-star global hotel cuisine at low prices, the company said today.

Commenting on this concept, Monica Malhotra Kandhari, director of the MBD group, said:

The Gigabite at MBD Neopolis Ludhiana and Jalandhar would have a five-star cuisine complimented by a well-stocked bar. The food court is expected to have varied dining options ranging from a buffet-stocking authentic-Indian dishes, to the exotic pan Asian and the classy continental. The buffet would have three distinctive sections over and above the extensive salad and dessert section. The food would be cooked and dispensed into the pan in small quantities, so that only fresh food is on display. Most of the finishing would be out of the show kitchen, bringing in the interactive element.

The USP of the food court would be its price - over a 100 varieties ranging from Rs 150 to Rs 250 per person. 

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