L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Courtesy, RTI Act
Scam in park upkeep grant unearthed
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13
While Park Management Committees (PMCs), which have been maintaining parks, are moving from pillar to post to get grant from the civic body, there are several PMCs that received money from the Municipal Corporation but their parks are in bad state.

As many as eight PMCs in the city, which have got Rs 1.66 lakh as grant during the last couple of months from the MC, have done nothing for the upkeep of parks.

The lid off this alleged scam was blown by S.S. Chana, president of the Federation of Park Management Committees after got information regarding the upkeep of parks from the MC under the RTI Act.

He was shocked to find that these PMCs were drawing the grant without maintaining the parks. These parks were in a bad shape and yet the MC had disbursed money to the PMCs without verifying any facts.

The list of the grants disbursed by the MC to various PMCs revealed that the Sahara Area Development Society, Shastri Nagar, had received Rs 56,000 from the MC since March, 2006, the City Park Welfare Society, Cheema Chowk, Rs 45, 000 since January this year, the Evergreen Environment Society, Dugri, Phase-I, got Rs 15,000 since January this year.

Similarly, the HIG Residents Welfare Society, Dugri, Phase I, were given Rs 5,000, the Ek Jot Welfare Society, Dugri, Phase- II received Rs 10,000 since January, the LIG Flats Welfare Association, the Urban Estate, Sector-32, Rs 10,000, the Management of LIG Flat Owners Association, Urban Estate, Rs 20,000, and the Jeevan Nagar Welfare Society, Haibowal Kalan, got Rs 5,000 but did not maintain the park, claimed Chana.

He added that he had the pictures of these parks to prove that not even a penny was spent on the upkeep. While demanding an inquiry into the alleged irregularity, Chana has written a letter to commissioner Vikas Partap that a senior official should be entrusted the probe or it should be handed over to an independent agency as the bills were passed by senior officials of the MC.

‘‘Is it not ironical that the MC, on the one hand, is paying grant to the PMCs which are not even maintaining the parks, on the other hand it has adopted an authoritarian attitude in refusing the arrears of grant due to the PMCs which have done excellent job? ’’ asked Chana. He is fighting a case pertaining to parks in the high court also.

Eight PMCs in the city, which have got Rs 1.66 lakh as grant during the past couple of months from the MC, have done nothing for the upkeep of parks.



Chahal examined by doctors
Taken to Patiala for arms recovery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13
A board of doctors today carried out a complete examination of beleaguered ex-media adviser B.I.S. Chahal after he complained of heart problem and other ailments in the custody of police.

Chahal was taken to Patiala, his hometown, after the examination. Police sources said Chahal had been taken there to recover the alleged weapons he had used in the land grab case. The Patiala police is also likely to seek his remand following another case registered against him in that city.

The sources said the board of doctors was constituted at the request of the police which did not want to land in any legal problem, if the accused alleged lack of medical facilities to him.

The police and hospital sources revealed that Chahal's examination did not yield any disturbing results that required immediate hospitalisation. Chahal had been complaining about heart trouble, hyper-tension and ill-treatment in the police custody.

He was reportedly taken to the CIA branch for questioning but was brought back when his condition deteriorated. The police had to summon a doctor for check up.

There was no rush of people at the hospital other than mediapersons. Chahal shouted several times that he was being ill-treated in the custody and tortured.



Land Grab Case
Statement recorded in court
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 13
In their bid to keep a tight grip on the attempt to murder and land grab case against BIS Chahal and his relatives in Daad village, the city police today got the statement of the complainant recorded before a Judicial Magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC.

The statement is of immense significance as the complainant cannot go back from his claims made before a judge unlike the statements made before the police. However, it is highly uncommon on part of the police to get such a statement recorded in an attempt to murder case. That too, only a few days after the registration of the FIR.

Sources said the case registered against BIS Chahal, former media adviser to the ex-chief minister of Punjab is of great importance for the local police. They do not want this case to go weak for any reason. The police officials of Sadar police station are putting their best foot forward to have a strong case.

Sources revealed that the complainant was more than 80-years-old and not in good health. If something were to happen to him, the statement could be of great value to the police.

A police official, Hakam Singh, accompanied the complainant to the court complex. The complainant was on crutches. Police had requested Duty Magistrate Ranjan Khullar to record the statement.

The details of the statement were not made available because after recording the statement, the Judge sealed the statement in an envelope. Now it would be opened at the time when prosecution presents evidence in the trial court.

Harchand Singh refused to divulge the details of his statements but sources confirmed that it was same as the one given to the police on the basis of which, the case was registered. This time, two alleged witnesses of the prosecution, Bikkar Singh and Ranjit Singh (grandson of complainant), were also present outside the court premises.

Sources further revealed that the police also wanted to get the statements of these witnesses recorded under Section 164 of CrPC but due to the paucity of time it could not be done. It is expected that their statements would be recorded in a few days’ time.



10 challaned for throwing garbage into Budda Nullah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13
The Municipal Corporation today challaned 10 persons for throwing garbage in the Budda Nullah falling in Zone A as a part of a special cleaning drive being carried out to clean the water body.

According to Narinder Pal Singh, chief sanitary inspector, besides the Budda Nullah, another drain in the Fieldganj area was also cleaned. The residents were warned not to throw garbage into the drains and keep the city clean.

An awareness rally was also taken out in the neighbourhood areas to educate residents against littering in drains that led to flooding in the monsoon.

Meanwhile, to redress the grievances of residents for water and sewerage, the Municipal Corporation set up a control room in the city today. The complaint room is set up at Daresi Ground office (Ph-2745166) of the MC and that will operate from 6 am to 10 pm daily. 



Tax advisers frown at 22-page return form
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 13
The Taxation Advisers Association has flayed the government decision to introduce a complex income tax return form in place of the "Saral" form for all categories of taxpayers from this year.

Addressing a meeting of the association here today, president Satish Aggarwal and press secretary Jatinder Khurana opined that a majority of the assessees in the country were small taxpayers and most of them did not maintain books of account. As such, they would not be in a position to file their returns in the much-complicated new form having 22 pages.

Khurana further said if at all, the department of income tax wanted to replace the "Saral" form with the new form, it should be made applicable only to those assessees, who had an annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh, while the small taxpayers should be allowed to continue filing their returns in Saral form.

Inderjit Sachdeva, chairman, and Rakesh Arora, general secretary,respectively, of the association criticised the government for taking a hasty step in forcing the new return form on the taxpayers.



Bank agent robbed of Rs 45,000
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 13
The police has registered an FIR against unknown persons for robbing a bank agent.

According to a complaint lodged on the statement of Prem Chand Verma, an agent of Syndicate Bank, some persons, including a child, had stolen Rs 45,300 lying in the basket of his scooter when he had gone to a branch of the bank to deposit it yesterday.

"As soon as I took out two bags, an 8-year-old child told me that my clothes had been spoiled by mud. In an attempt to clean my clothes, I placed one of the bags containing Rs 45,300 in the basket.

Before I could understand the matter somebody, took the cash bag and fled," Prem Kumar informed the police.

Joginder Singh, investigation officer, registered a case and started hunting for the suspect.



Lining of Pakhowal, Dehlon distributaries hangs fire
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13
The work for lining of the Pakhowal and Dehlon distributaries for the smooth flow of canal water right up to the tail end has not been started as yet despite the project having received sanction during the tenure of the previous government. The work could not be started reportedly due to the imposition of the election code of conduct.

According to Congress MLA from Kila Raipur, Jassi Khangura, the sanction for the project came following consistent efforts made by him and his father, Congress leader, Jagpal Singh Khangura.

He added that National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) had also sanctioned a loan for the project and tenders had also been floated. However, he said, the tenders could not be awarded as the election code of conduct came into force.

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Khangura said this was an important matter for the farmers at the tail end of these distributaries many of whom were under heavy debt.

While the lining on the Pakhowal distributary was estimated to cost about Rs 10 crore, the estimate for lining the Dehlon distributary came to about Rs 6 crore. The state government had to make a nominal contribution for this and the loan from NABARD would have to be repaid in seven years, including a grace period of two years. And both the projects were to be completed by March 31, 2008.

Khangura pointed out that little time was left for completing the work. But, he said, unfortunately the process had not even been started so far. He hoped that Badal will understand the urgency of the matter and issue necessary directions so that this very important project does not die an unnatural death. 



These teachers like learning
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 13
Notwithstanding antagonism from a section of government teachers regarding usefulness of teacher-training seminars being conducted under the aegis of the Sarv Sikhya Abhyan,a majority of the teachers claimed that the knowledge acquired during these tutorials would help them handle and teach students better.

However, some of the teachers who attended a recent seminar suggested that such programmes should be held in a pleasant weather.

The conclusion was reached on the basis of a survey of 67 social studies and English teachers who had attended a 12-day training programme at MGMN Senior Secondary School. All the attendees were asked to express their views about the success of the training programme during the concluding ceremony held yesterday. With the exception of a few, most of the teachers appreciated the role of the education authorities in enhancing their knowledge by specialised means and interaction with experts in various avenues of teaching.

Terming the seminar a useful tool for refreshing teachers’ knowledge, Tejinder Kaur, a teacher at Government High School, Pharwali, said the participants had shown

enthusiasm during the seminar. "Contrary to the common allegation that this practice is a waste of energy and time, we have come to know about latest techniques and teaching aids which when used in class will certainly bring the desired results," reads the written statement submitted by Tejinder Kaur to Ludhiana Tribune. She said the criticism of the practice, based on the fact that teachers were forcibly ordered to attend the seminars, was wrong.

Appreciating arrangements made by coordinator Pardeep Sharda, Ajit Kaur of Government High School, Khurad village, maintained that she, like many other teachers, had enriched her knowledge in various spheres of education. "I pray that we should get more chances to learn at such seminars and share our experiences with our colleagues from other institutes. This will enhance our knowledge and ability to teach," she concluded in her report.

Piara Singh of Government High School, Maholi Kalan, justified the practice by saying, "As a lamp cannot burn another lamp until it continues to burn its own wick, a teacher cannot do justice to his pious duty unless he continues updating his knowledge."

Parkash Kaur of GHS, Manki, Vaani Malhotra of Government High School, Baurhai, and Munish Malhotra of Government Senior Secondary School, Sandaur, echoed these sentiments.

Sukhdev Singh of Government High School, Jhaner, suggested that experts in various subjects should be called from universities or other bodies. He apprehended that little and unspecified knowledge imparted by certain resourcepersons might prove harmful for the teacher. "Though a majority of the speakers knew their subjects, one person, who was a lecturer in political science could not tell us about the constitution of Indian Parliament," commented Sukhdev Singh. He suggested that the duration of the seminar should be curtailed.



Verka officials allege fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13
Verka Milk Plant officials today claimed that a milk tanker owner had played a fraud on them and the public by supplying inferior quality milk besides less weight than the one prescribed on the packets.

Ajmer Singh Bhagpur, chairman of the Milk Plant, said they had taken action against the tanker owner.They said the tanker owner had been dismissed.



NSS special camp concludes

Ludhiana June 13
A 10-day NSS special camp and vedic charitra nirman shivir, organised by R.S.Model Senior Secondary School concluded here today.

The main aim of the camp was to develop the vedic culture and feelings of social service among the students. During the camp, 100 volunteers did community welfare jobs by organising cleanliness drive at Vridh Ashram and Ambedkar Nagar.

They also visited slum areas and held an anti-drug rally.The down-trodden section of society was given awareness on many issues. On the concluding day today, the students presented a cultural programme, including bhajans. — TNS



Aid from Canada for Sikh killed during protest
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 13
Urging the UN and the Canadian Government to impress upon the Indian Government to ensure protection of religious sanctity of minorities in general and Sikhs in particular, the Ontario Sikh and Gurdwara Council has declared to extend financial help to the family of Kanwaljit Singh, who was killed while protesting against the alleged sacrilege by Gurmit Ram Rahim, chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, at Sunam last month.

The council has also urged the government to book the Baba for allegedly disrupting peace and communal harmony in Punjab.

Referring to resolutions passed unanimously at a meeting held at Dixie Gurdwara at Toronto, Harbans Singh Jandali, chairman of the council, while talking on the phone from Ontario, claimed that religious sentiments of the Sikhs in Canada had been hurt with the reports of alleged act of blasphemy by dera sacha sauda chief and sequence of violent incidents.

However, he denied the reports that a resolution boycotting the Badal government had been presented or passed at the council meeting.

"It was after the meeting that a spokesman of SAD (A) had demanded boycott of the Punjab government. As the sangat had already disbursed we did not include the demand on the list already approved unanimously," he said.

"The council should appeal the Canadian government and the UN to impress upon the Indian government to ensure protection of minorities.

The council also urged the apex Sikh religious bodies to create awareness among people about these deras or institutes that were allegedly persuing an anti-Panthic agenda.

According to Rajinder Singh Jandali, an emissary of the council, the family of Kanwaljit was yet to decide about the nature of help to be taken from the council.



ESIC staff’s fast enters third day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 13
In the course of their ongoing agitation for the past one week, the employees of ESIC Model Hospital here continued their relay fast for the third day to press their demand for scrapping the policy of employing contractual workers. Two staff nurses in the hospital, Kamlesh Raheja and Sukhwinder Kaur Verma, observed fast today.

Addressing the agitating employees, Rajwant Kaur Randhawa, president of the DMC Employees Union, called upon the government to end the injustice with contractual workers and employ regular staff.

Other activists of the ESIC Model Hospital Employees Association, including Sarbjit Singh, Geeta Rani, Deepak, Manju Bala, Rachna, Alka and Kiranjit Sharma demanded immediate reinstatement of 30 sacked workers and recruitment of staff on a regular basis on various posts in the hospital. The union functionaries maintained that their agitation would continue till the acceptance of their demands.



Students visit milk plant
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13
Maple Bear Canadian Playway and Nursery School organised an educational tour for its students to Verka Milk Plant here today.

Children were told about how the milk was processed and made hygienic at the plant. The students were also told why drinking milk was good. They were also told about the importance of packed milk. The children were also told about the nutritional value of milk.



Summer camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13
With an aim to create health consciousness, personality development, enhance knowledge and vocabulary and to bring out the hidden talents of children, a host of activities were organised during the 12-day summer camp at Springdale Public School which concluded here yesterday.

Avinash Kaur Walia, Director and founder-principal of the school, in a press statement today said English- spoken classes were conducted in which students were taught how to converse in English with the help of audio-visual aids. Music (vocal and instrumental) training was given with the definition of music, sur and tal. Punjabi folk songs and Hindi patriotic songs were played by students on harmonium and tabla.

"Students were given knowledge on computers. Coaching in cricket and volleyball, self- defence through karate and skating was given, which was helpful in enhancing self-confidence and concentration of students. They also learnt claymodeling, POP, different types of paintings etc. The students learnt to make soft toys", said Walia.

On the concluding day, all the items prepared by the students during their training were exhibited. A cultural programme was also presented on the occasion. Walia while expressing her happiness appreciated the efforts of the trainers.



A painter with a message
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13
For Yash Momi, art knows no bounds. A painter from a small town, Phillaur, near here, Yash feels that an artist pours his emotions on the canvas after hard labour and when the work of art is received well, he feels contented.

After his maiden exhibition at Dalhousie recently, which turned out to be a great success, Yash Momi started taking his "hobby" seriously. A school teacher by profession, he has painted over 250 works in the last few years. All his paintings are theme-based, spreading one message or another among the masses. "Though there are not many opportunities in Phillaur, an artist always finds his way," he says.

Two of his paintings, Punjab Di Dhee and Punjab Di Awaz have earned him a lot of appreciation.

Yash says nature inspires him a lot."There is so much around us to get inspiration from. But it hurts when human beings try to go against nature. I try to focus on those unethical practices in my paintings. I make sure t3hat right message is conveyed to the art-lovers," he says.

He completes a simple painting within two to three months while a complex one takes more than a year's time to complete. "But one has to be very patient and concentrate thoroughly while working.A successful painter is one who touches many hearts through his work."

A small Taj Mahal on Atlas is the latest creation of Yash Momi through which he appeals to the masses to vote for Taj. "This rare historical monument needs to be recognised worldwide. The new seven wonders will be declared on July 7," he says.



Tips for safe driving

The most basic factor contributing towards good and safe driving, as with most things in life, is attitude. Attitude consists of:

n Being sensitive to the needs of other road users. Be positive and treat others, be they pedestrians, cyclists or other drivers, as you would wish to be treated.

n Ensuring at all times that you are maintaining the correct separation from other vehicles and not following too closely. Close driving can feel threatening to the driver in front.

n Understanding that everybody else may not have as clear an idea of priority of vehicles on the road as yourself. So be aware that all rules on priority won’t always be followed by other road users. Be calm and tolerant when other drivers break rules.




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