L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

What a waste
Treatment plant hits roadblock
Only 30% electroplating units are members as deadline nears
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
The deadline for putting the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in operation is only three days away but electroplating units appear least bothered about closure they might have to face on failing to get their waste treated.

While deadline of May 31 had been fixed by the P. Ram Committee to put the CETP to operation, so far less than 140 of the total 500 electroplating units here have availed membership of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed to get the process going.

Low membership could also act as a bottleneck in meeting the deadline as the quantity of waste generated might not be sufficient enough to run the treatment plant, said sources.

At a meeting of the SPV, named Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society, promoted by industry itself, held last week, the contract for transportation of effluent to the treatment plant was awarded to JBR Enterprises.

Industry sources said SPV heads were worried over the lukewarm response and were keen to rope in other industries for treatment of waste. At a meeting, members discussed inclusion of industries like wire drawing, apart from electroplating, for membership. This is being done to ensure smooth functioning of the treatment plant.

However, including another industry might not be a feasible option as waste generated by industries like wire drawing needs altogether different facilities for treatment. "The process of treating waste generated from electroplating units and that from wire drawing units is quite different, and would need setting up of different facilities," said a representative of the wire drawing industry association.

For the SPV, the task to ensure smooth functioning of the CETP has been a tough task right from the beginning. Apart from poor response from within the industry, the SPV was trying to gain support from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to ask industrialists to take the matter seriously. However, no help came from the board.

The P.Ram Committee too was not much pleased with the Industry, as it was unable to meet the previous deadline of March 31 to make the treatment plant operational. Now that the committee has asserted that no further extension would be granted at any cost, putting the CETP to operation and sustaining it remains a challenge for the electroplating industry here.

Meanwhile, the members, will meet again on May 30 to review the situation.

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PAU dumps dry leaves at manure-making plant
MC, Forest Dept could learn a lesson
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
Safai workers of the Municipal Corporation and forest officials need to learn from PAU employees on the proper utilisation of waste dry leaves scattered near the green areas all over the city. While corporation employees burn this waste near the green belt, causing damage to the greenery around and air pollution, employees of the PAU make manure out of this waste dry material by dumping it at the right place.

Trolleys filled with dry leaves gathered from the grounds and roads of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) are sent for dumping at the Bio-Gas Plant near Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, here, on a regular basis. Good quality manure is made out of this waste.

V.N.Sharma, estate-officer-cum-dean, College of Agricultural Engineering, said due to the sudden dusty storms these days, dry leaves fell all around in the campus. "We do not burn the dry leaves as burning causes pollution and inconvenience to many. We instruct our employees to pile the leaves and arrange trolleys to take this waste to the Bio-Gas Plant for getting fertiliser. And this is a convenient practice, causing no harm to human beings and nature," said Sharma.

On the other hand, a handful of safai workers of MC cause damage to the tree plantation drive of the Horticulture Department of the MC by burning the waste and dry leaves near the green belt.

Environmentalists in the city feel that all departments, NGOs and other social organisations should put their hands together to provide "lungs" to the industrial city which has a population of about 30 lakh. 

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Thirsty village awaits water
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
Over 10,000 residents of village Partapsinghwala on Hambran Road have not been supplied drinking water for the past one week. All thanks to the callous attitude of the concerned authorities as the village does not fall within the Municipal Corporation limits.

The residents have complained about the grave problem to the village panchayat but to no avail.

"They are providing assurances that the problem will be solved within a day or two but nothing has been done so far and we are suffering," said Mahinder Singh, a resident of the village.

Another resident, Balbir Singh, said in this scorching heat, it was very difficult to draw drinking water from hand pumps. "But we have no other option. We have to make rounds to the nearby hand pumps to get water. Despite given assurances by the village tube well incharge, the fault in motor has not been rectified," he said.

Hundreds of village residents protested on the main Hambran road with empty buckets in their hands against the dilly-dallying attitude of village panchayat. A housewife, Gurmel Kaur, said that while more water was needed in the summers there was no supply of it at all. "Each family has been making rounds to handpumps throughout the day. They should do something to end this water scarcity," she added.

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Technically, it’s not an apology: Scholar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 28
The press note issued by the Dera Sacha Sauda is unlikely to be accepted by the Sikh high priests when they meet tomorrow at Amritsar to discuss the apology offered by the Dera. It is contended by the Sikh scholars that technically it is not an apology offered on behalf of the person who has committed the offence.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former pro-vice chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and renowned Sikh scholar, says that the format is false for being an apology. It is a press note. Secondly the apology could have been accepted although it was in the name of Guru Gobind Singh. But it neither bears the signatures of anyone nor the person who offended the feelings of the Sikh community as a whole.

Professor Kapoor said as for the apology being in the name of Guru Gobind Singh, it can be accepted because Guru Gobind Singh himself has said that he is very limb and body of the Khalsa. The Guru says, ”I belong to the Khalsa and the Khalsa belongs to me” and in this sense, the high priests are in a position to accept the apology. But the apology does not come from the man who was guilty of the offence by the high priests.

It is also learnt that the high priests are actively considering to appeal to the press also not to publish such advertisements that can touch the feelings of the people and stir their amotions.

Lieut-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), president, Indian Exservices League Punjab and Chandigarh, has appealed to the people of the state to maintain communal peace in the state as Punjab has already passed through a great trauma. “We cannot afford to have any communal disharmony in the state and the state government should take steps for the welfare of the state as a whole,” he said. 

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Milk union chairmanship row
SAD suspends Dhillon’s brother
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal today suspended Ajmer Singh Bhagpur, a brother of the party MP, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon from the primary membership of the party.

A show-cause notice has also been issued to him to explain why he should not be expelled from the party for indiscipline. He has been asked to submit his reply by June 2.

Bhagpur has been accused of seeking Congress support to become the chairman of the Ludhiana Milk Union, which manages the Ludhiana milk plant of the Milkfed, while the party wanted to appoint Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra as chairman of the union.

A meeting of the district unit (rural) of the party was held here today at the residence of senior Akali leader, Jagdev Singh Talwandi, under the chairmanship of its president Santa Singh Umaidpur. It was attended among others by Jagdish Singh Garcha, Darshan Shivalik, Bagh Singh Mallah, Mann Singh Garcha and Manpreet Ayali. Four directors of the Milkfed, Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra, Jagjit Singh Dakha, Karamjit Singh Salana and Sukhjit Kaur.

Santa Singh Umaidpur told the Ludhiana Tribune that the party had taken a serious note of the indiscipline of Ajmer Singh Bhagpur. In order to get the chairmanship of the union he had bought peace with the opposition Congress at the cost of the party’s interests.

Umaidpur said, even Dhillon supported the party move to suspend his brother from the primary membership since he had committed a serious act of indiscipline. "He (Dhillon) was asked whether he wanted to take the side of his brother or the party and he said, the party", Umaidpur said while disclosing Dhillon's stand. In fact, Dhillon observed, the chairmanship of a milk federation was too small a thing as compared to the party's principles and organisational discipline.

Bhagpur's election as the chairman of the milk union had come as a major shock to the party leaders in Ludhiana. Particularly after it became public that he had managed it with the support of some Congress-affiliated directors. The party had wanted to appoint Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra, a loyalist of the Garcha family. However, Bhagpur managed to outmanoeuvre them all.

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World Earth Day
Deterioration of land resources worrisome
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
About 1.96 billion hectares of earth's surface has degraded due to human activities and the rate of deterioration is on the increase. The global agricultural productivity since 1940, has declined by about 12 per cent and this decline is expected to rise to 30-37 per cent depending on the rate of degradation in next one decade.

Making these revelations during a lecture "March to future with the earth planet", organised by the Soils Department of the Punjab Agricultural University under the auspices of Ludhiana Chapter of the Indian Society of Soil Sciences, to mark the World Earth Day, Dr Pradeep Sharma, dean, Postgraduate Studies, Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur said, the share of agriculture for fresh water is going to decrease from the present share of about 83 per cent to 73 per cent by the year 2025 due to increased competition from domestic, industrial and other sectors of economy.

He disclosed that the situation with respect to air pollution is equally alarming as about 4.6 million people globally die because of air pollution. It is estimated that by the year 2050 the world population will grow to about 10 billion and thus with the present rate of degradation of natural resources there will be food-grain deficit of about 240 million tonnes in developing countries. He laid stress on the necessity of conserving the natural resources in order to sustain earth planet for future generations.

Dr G.S.Chahal, dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, said despite knowing the depth of the problem it is being ignored. He said that the message of sustaining the natural resources needs to be carried to masses and it needs to be ensured that some actions are initiated rather than just conveying the message. These actions should involve people from different walks of life.

Dr I.M. Chhibba, president, Ludhiana Chapter of the Indian Society of Soil Science, spoke about the significance of the earth day. He said, "We should not confine to raising slogans only but we must go beyond and give them a practical shape if we are seriously thinking of resolving the grave crisis the earth planet is facing at present".

Dr V.Beri, head, Department of Soils, said there is a need to give a serious thinking to the deteriorating health of the earth planet. Soils were being used as source of production only. Not much efforts are being put on the quality of natural resources. The anthropogenic activities are deteriorating the soil, water and air. There is need to reprioritize the thrust areas of soil research and much attention is needed on soil, water and air pollution issues. 

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Temple panel to sponsor education of 25 students
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 28
Bringing the light of education in the lives of children from poor families the Pracheen Shiv Mandir Chahlan Committee promised to sponsor the education of 25 students from classes VI TO VIII by paying their school fees for the whole year and by gifting notebooks and geometry boxes to as many as 11 children at a function today. The function was presidede over by commandant Rashpal Singh, president of the Anti-corruption Front, Samrala.

Chandar Mohan, president of the committee, announced that committee will also bear the expenses of the entire education of the student securing first position in Class VIII provided the child excelled in higher classes as well. He further told that 30 desks would be provided to the middle school soon.

M.S Kang, president of the Adyapak Chetna Manch, offered the services of the teachers to impart quality education to children. M.S Ghuman, senior vice-president of the front praised the mandir committee for its dedication towards the cause of education. Former sarpanch Balbir Singh, lambardar Bachan Singh, Bhushan Kumar, Balbir Singh Panch and Ramji Dass also attended the function.

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Staff shortage hitting work: PSEB engineers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
Engineers of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) said it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to fulfil the requirements of the public due to shortage of staff and material at sub-stations.

At a meeting of the regional body of the PSEB Engineers Association, Ludhiana Region, regional secretary Bhupinder Khosla said several subdivisions were working without SDOs, RAs, JEs, consumer clerks and cashiers. A subdivision is the basic unit of consumer service and shortage of staff was affecting consumers.

The association members condemned the delay in the construction of the thermal plant Lehra Mohabbat unit 2 for the last three years, due to which, they said, a gap of around 300 mega watt was being faced. As a result, the state has to face heavy power cuts. "In the forthcoming paddy season also, the board will have to purchase costlier power from other agencies”.

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One killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 28
Keshar Singh of Dulma Kalan was killed near village Brihempur when his scooter bearing registration number PB-10AA-1292 was hit by an unknown vehicle. Dehlon police has registered a case under sections 279, 304-A, 427 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the complaint of Avtar Singh of Dulma Kalan. No arrest has been made so far.

Woman assaulted

Parkash Kaur, Karnail Singh, Khanda Singh, Roopa Bai and Kulwant Singh of Madhepur allegedly assaulted Krishna Devi of their village with a bamboo staff and a knife. Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under sections 323, 324, 148, 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Krishna Devi has been admitted in Civil Hospital, Sidhwan Bet. No arrest has been made so far.

Two held with illicit liquor

In two separate incidents Sidhwan Bet police arrested two persons and recovered illicit liquor from their possession. Shinder Singh of Madepur was arrested from the Saddarpur area and police recovered 6930 ml of illicit liquor from him, whereas Ranjit Singh Motta of Abbupura was arrested in Sidhwan Bet area and police recovered a similar quantity of illicit liquor. Cases under Excise Act have been registered.

One held with knife

Tejpal Singh of Jaladiwal was arrested by Raikot police in the Gobindgarh area during patrolling. Police recovered a knife from his possession. Raikot police has registered a case.

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Knife-point robber arrested
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 28
The Division 8 police has claimed to have nabbed an alleged robber- Sanjeev Kumar alias Sunny of Rishi Nagar, who had spread terror in Kitchlu Nagar and Tagore Nagar areas over the last few days.

Giving this information, SHO Arvind Puri said that Sanjeev had committed many robberies at knife point. He was arrested at a check post by DSP Manjit Singh Dhesi and incharge, police post, Kitchlu Nagar, Jaswinder Singh, when the accused was travelling in a Tavera car.

At that time, he was taking two televisions and one DVD player to sell in the market. He had robbed these articles at knife point on May 24, 2007, from Kitchlu Nagar, said Puri.

He further said that Sanjeev had confessed to have stolen a mobile phone from a Tagore Nagar residence on May 21, 2007.

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New IT return forms introduced
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 28
"Various new income tax return (ITR) forms have recently been introduced by the Central Board of Direct Taxes for filing income tax returns under different categories which will require substantial and accurate particulars of various transactions. In case full information is not furnished by the assessees, the computer system of the IT Department will not accept the returns.

Addressing a general house meeting of the Taxation Bar Association (TBA) here today, B.R. Kaushal, president, and Deepak Chopra, general secretary, said the assessees should get in touch with their tax consultants so that they could be guided about the particulars needed for income tax returns. This would enable the ITRs to be submitted as required and well in time.

Giving details of the new IT return forms, Raj Pal Gupta and Vijay Bansal, convener and co-convener, respectively, of the TBA study circle informed that for the assessment year 2007-2008, the department had introduced new forms and formats.

These included Form ITR-1 (for individuals having income from salary/pension/family pension and interest), Form ITR-2 (for individuals and HUFs not having income from business or profession), Form ITR-3 (for individuals/HUFs being partners in firm and not carrying out business or profession under any proprietorship) and Form ITR-4 (for individuals & HUFs having income from proprietary business or profession).

Form ITR-5 would have to be filled in by firms, AOPs and BOIs (including FBT returns). The companies, other than those claiming exemption under Section 11, including FBT returns, would submit their returns in Form ITR-6. Similarly, Form ITR-7 will be applicable to persons, including companies, required to furnish return under Section 139 (4) or 139 (4B) or Section 139 (4C) or Section 139 (4D), including FBT returns. Form ITR-8 will be required to be filled in for FBT returns and Form 2B for returns of block assessment.

The bar members were of the opinion that each income tax return, in new forms and formats, will require much more effort and time as compared to the "Saral" form which was previously in operation. Therefore, it would be in the interest of the assessees to set the process of filing the ITRs in motion without delay.

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Upcoming malls show promise
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
International brands, that were earlier hesitant to enter the Indian market for fear of problems related to infrastructure, are now preferring to trust upcoming malls. The fact that most malls are recording near complete lease-out much before starting their operations is a proof to this trend.

This not only means more brands, particularly in B category towns, it is being viewed quite positively by mall owners.

"We have leased out more than 90 per cent of the space for our upcoming project of mall-cum-multiplex along with a five-star hotel in Ludhiana and in Jalandhar only two shops remain to be leased out. Leading international brands like Debenhams, Tommy Hilfiger, Marks and Spencers and Guess Next will have their outlets in our malls," said Monica Malhotra Kandhari, senior director, MBD Group, in an interview to The Tribune here today.

The company, which is investing around Rs 150 crore in Ludhiana and Rs 70 crore in Jalandhar, would start operations by April next year. A survey by Ernst and Young, that the company got conducted, revealed Punjabis' preference towards international brands and their high spending on food and apparel to encash which MBD would cater to the 'premium segment' in its malls.

"This means a designer arcade and various other luxuries ranging from spa, salon, nightclub etc at the 5 star deluxe hotel, a shopping zone that has only high end brands. We would focus only on this segment. Experience cannot be divided and a premium segment customer who spends highly would get the feel right from the moment he enters the building, they would be thoroughly pampered."

Kandhari said the group would invest another Rs 350 crore towards another project in Bangalore, MBD Zephyr, which would have a luxury hotel, luxury retail and premium retail and entertainment.

THe company, that would continue to have overall control over the management, would also provide in house training in hospitality to those recruited.

"This industry is facing skill shortage. To cater to it, we would provide in house training. Our top level staff could be shifted here to train the freshers."

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