L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Order on Chahal's bail plea reserved
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 20
Additional Sessions Judge M S Virdi today reserved the orders on the bail application filed by former media advisor of ex-chief minister Punjab B.I.S. Chahal and his five relatives, in an attempt to murder and land grab case, for tomorrow.

The others who had sought bail included Jaswinder Pal Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Harjinder Singh and father-in-law of Chahal's son Kartar Singh Garewal, Jagdish Pal Singh.

All were booked under sections 307, 452, 379, 148, 149 of IPC following the complaint of Harchand Singh of Daad village on June 10 at Sadar Police Station.

It was alleged by the complainant that in October 2006, all the accused persons armed with weapons launched murderous attack upon them and took forcible possession of their land in Daad village. They alleged that since the accused were politically well-connected, none of the police officials took action against them.

Interestingly, the case was registered on the day Chahal was summoned for investigation of the City Centre scam by Vigilance Bureau. His four relatives who had come there were also apprehended in this case.

Thereafter, all the accused were remanded to police remand for three days by a city court. During the police remand, the police officials claimed to have recovered 11 weapons from the accused apart from recovering one tractor-trolley and few other things. Till now only one accused, Iqbal Singh, has been released on bail as he is a juvenile.

District attorney Mitter Sain Goyal strongly opposed the contentions raised by the defence lawyer to release the accused persons on bail. If that is done, there is every possibility that they will hamper the ongoing investigation, he said.

Not only is there the apprehension of threatening the witnesses but the risk of eliminating them also, he said. The land dispute has been going on for long and one person has even been murdered. On one occasion the parties exchanged fire in the court complex, added Goyal. Chahal's counsel alleged that he had been falsely implicated in the case due to political vendetta. He said his client was very close to former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, in whose regime present Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family were booked in a corruption case.

It was also claimed that one Balwant Singh of Mansa, the complainant in the corruption cases against Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal were close to Chahal. He and his relatives were apparently booked with a motive that Chahal would persuade Balwant Singh to not pursue the ongoing corruption case and help the Badal family, added the defence lawyer.

Apart from this, a civil court had already passed the decree in favour of Kartar Singh Garewal, declaring him to be owner of the land which the prosecution was claiming had been forcibly grabbed by the accused, said the defence lawyer.



955 students take CET at PAU
Result to be declared on June 22
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, remained abuzz with activity as the common entrance test for B.Sc Agri (Hons) was conducted on the campus today.

Dr G.S. Chahal, dean, College of Agriculture, informed that for 80 seats in the specified undergraduate course, 1,108 applications were received and out of which 955 appeared for the test.

Giving the discipline-wise break up of the applicants, Dr Chahal said 556 candidates belonged to the medical group while 389 and 10 were from non-medical and agricultural streams, respectively. Special arrangements were made for the evaluation of the papers and 80 experts would mark the papers tomorrow.

The marking would be done in one day and the results would be announced on June 22, Dr Chahal added.

Dr V.K. Sharma, registrar, said the CET for B.Tech (agri engg) was to be conducted by Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. However, there would be no entrance test for B.Sc (Hons), home science.

For postgraduate programmes, MET-agriculture would be conducted on June 27 for M.Sc in agronomy, extension education, entomology, plant pathology, pomology, vegetable crops, floriculture and landscaping, plant breeding and genetics, soils, food technology, forestry, agro-meteorology, agricultural economics and sociology.

The interviews for admission to diploma in agriculture and postgraduate diploma in agricultural journalism and mass communication would be held on June 29 and July 5, respectively. The counselling for B. Ed would take place on July 4.



Two held for making spurious kerosene
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 20
The Payal police has arrested two members of a gang involved in illegal preparation and trading of spurious kerosene oil and other fuel oils to farmers and owners of industrial furnaces. However, the kingpin of the gang is still at large. The police has seized the vehicle used in transporting the spurious products and 1,900 litres of kerosene oil from their possession.

Jasbir Singh, Randhir Singh and Chanan Singh of Sajan Singh, all residents of Sihar village in Ludhiana district, were booked under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act and Section 420 of the IPC.

According to Gautam Cheema, SSP, Khanna, a police party led by Randhir Singh, SHO, Payal, and Jaswinder Singh, in charge, Malaudh chowki, impounded a Tata 407 tempo owned by Chanan Singh of Sihar village from the Kishan Pura area and seized 1,900 litres of liquid that smelt like kerosene oil. While Jasbir Singh and Randhir Singh were arrested, Chanan Singh managed to flee.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the gang had been engaged in chemical transformation of kerosene oil meant for domestic consumption into superior looking fuel oils. The present consignment was brought from a public distribution depot at Hiana village, near Nabha town.

Cheema further informed that the gang had been exploiting farmers and industrialists, as there was a wide gap between demand for genuine furnace oil, diesel and kerosene oil and their supplies at depots. “Though the food and supply department has managed to add some blue pigment in kerosene oil for domestic consumption, the accused removed the colour by sedimentation with certain additives,” added Cheema.



A journey into danger
Pvt buses in city are hazardously overloaded
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
While the private sector is said to bring better service to the consumers, private buses in the city seem to be taking the opposite route. The buses, instead of providing better service, make the journey hazardous for the passengers, who sometimes have to travel on the roof of the bus. And the bus owners do this to make an extra buck.

This practice has led to fatalities in the past, but the city authorities seem to be least bothered to stop such buses that pass through the city all the time.

The overloaded buses pass through Ferozepore Road, Pakhowal Road and GT Road passing through the city especially during evening hours. Most of these cater to the villages where not many other modes of transport are available. So the villagers also choose to put their life at risk.

The drivers argue that they do not force the passengers to climb the roof but they do so voluntarily. "When they do not have the means of transport, they would of course willingly risk their life. If there are enough buses on the route why should they do so?" asked Pritam Singh, a driver.

Some villagers, who were travelling atop a bus said that it would take just 15 minutes for them to reach their destination. And it did not matter how they reached there. "We travel like this almost everyday. How many die?"

A number of times accidents happen. Many have been reported dead after they were entangled in the electricity wires.

Not only do these buses indulge in overloading but they also speed in a race to carry more passengers than the other buses. Such speeding buses can be seen on all the major roads of the city.

On Ferozepore Road, speeding buses zoom past the other commuters in a dangerous manner. But the practice continues even though travelling on the roof of buses is banned.



Khangura moots web-based NRI register
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
Congress MLA from Kila Raipur, Jassi Khangura, has suggested the setting up of a web-based NRI register for the benefit of non-resident Indians. This register, he said, could be launched within 90 days.

Registration can initially be provisional and confirmed in due course on submission of certified documents confirming the NRI status of the individual.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, with a copy to the leader of the opposition, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Khangura observed that most of the NRIs faced problems mainly on four counts. These included assets in Punjab like land, property, bank deposits, shares, matrimonial, litigation, mostly intra-family travel and transit .

He observed that the confirmed NRIs could be given the assurance that in case they were implicated in any Punjab police enquiry or FIR, or any other enquiry by any Punjab government department, the matter would be entrusted by the government for scrutiny by an officer two ranks higher than the responsible official.

The publication of a proclaimed offenders register on the internet could also be of great help as many of them facing charges could take remedial measures.

He said the NRIs wanted this government to fully understand their concerns.

He said the creation of a Register of NRI Assets, which would allow NRIs to voluntarily register their assets in Punjab and the formation of the Office of the Protector of NRI assets, which would have responsibility of communicating with NRIs regarding their assets would also be responsible for consenting to any transactions in any asset so registered.

Khangura said NRI marriages were essential to the economy of Punjab and to the maintenance of Punjabi culture amongst NRI Punjabis. However, many were forced, false or outright dishonest and led to the inevitable subsequent complaints, police actions and litigation.

This problem could be substantially reduced if the NRI partner was made responsible to present three overseas character references from individuals that had visited Punjab in the preceding 24-month period.

This would make it less likely that previous marriages and children from earlier marriages were concealed by the NRI partner.



2 robbers nabbed, arms seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 20
The Jagraon police today claimed to have arrested two robbers and recovered one countrymade .12 bore pistol along with two live cartridges, a gandasi, one scooter and cash amounting to Rs 800.

Giving the details, DSP, Jagraon, Bhupinder Singh, said the in-charge of Hathoo police post, namely Inderjit Singh, ASI was on patrolling duty near the village. He saw three youths coming on a scooter. Following suspicion, they were signalled to stop. But one person ran away.

However, the police succeeded in arresting Paramjit Singh and Gurdip Singh of Rasoolpur village, who were running after snatching Rs 800 from Gurnam Singh of Chakkar.

The accused were booked under Section 382/34 of the IPC and 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act at Jagraon police station.



Sangat darshan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 20
The Municipal Corporation Ludhiana today organised a sangat darshan programme at its Zone C office, under the supervision of commissioner of MC Vikas Partap Singh.

Around 240 cases involving disputes pertaining to house tax, water usage charges, sewerage and challans of building were taken up and majority of them were settled, claimed the MC authorities.

Joint commissioner of MC M S Kainth issued instructions to the concerned officials to be vigilant about the sewerage system, keeping in view the coming monsoon.

The MC officials claimed that this time they received very few complaints about drinking water and sewerage system, as adequate arrangements had already been made.

A deputation of people complained about the lack of facilities in Basant Park area.



Relief for docs recruited during tenure of Ravi Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 20
PCMS doctors, recruited during the tenure of Ravi Sidhu, the then chairman of the Punjab Public Services Commission, will get all pending financial benefits of annual increment and promotions of 4, 9 and l4 years from the period of their selection.

Through a circular number l5/83, issued by the Personnel Department, the Punjab government has directed all financial commissioners and principal secretaries of all departments to grant such financial benefits to all cadres selected during the tenure of Sidhu.

Hailing the government decision, the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) has expressed its gratitude to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for the dispensation of justice to the affected doctors while at the same time demanding speedy implementation of the government directions for each and every officer.

In a press release issued here today, PCMSA state president Hardeep Singh and district secretary Balwinder Kumar said the government decision to grant pending annual increments and promotions of 4, 9 and l4 year of service with retrospective effect to all the officers had come as a big relief to all officers concerned.

Like their counterparts in other departments, such PCMS doctors were compelled to serve on a meagre amount of entry scale of service, without any benefit of regular annual increment and assured career progression of 4 and 9 years of service even though the state vigilance bureau had cleared them of all charges.

The PCMSA functionaries said that with these government orders, the blanket ban for grant of all due financial benefits to all eligible officers, including PCMS doctors had been removed and an estimated one-third of the total cadre of PCMS doctors in the state stood to benefit.



Poet Ravinder Bhattal felicitated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 20
The Bairagi Mahamandal, Punjab, today felicitated noted Punjabi poet and general secretary of Punjabi Sahit Academy Ravinder Bhattal at a function here.

Bhattal was presented with "Baba Banda Singh Bahadur" award for his poem "Guru Te Banda" about the great martyr.

Speaking on the occasion, national president of mahamandal and chairman of Punjab Housefed Krishan Kumar Bawa said that those communities who failed to remember their national heroes and martyrs were obliterated from the pages of history.

Paying tributes to Banda Bahadur, he described the saint soldier as emancipator of the poor peasants, the underprivileged and the oppressed.

He said “we ought to follow the teachings of great gurus and examples set by the martyrs so as to be able to hold our heads high with genuine pride and put an end to exploitation of toiling masses”.

Presiding over the function, Jagdev Singh Jassowal, founder- chairman of the Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation remarked that Bhattal had emerged as a frontliner of the Punjabi literary movement in the state. "The writings of the eminent poet, depicting rich heritage and culture of Punjab, will always act as a lighthouse for the younger generations for times to come," he added.

Acting president of Punjabi Sahit Academy Gurbhajan Gill said that by felicitating a literary person like Bhattal, the Bairagi Mahamandal had done a commendable job because in general, the social, religious and cultural bodies were known to keep a distance from writers and literary personalities. More often than not, there always remained a wide gap between such organisations and the literary persons, which at times, was difficult to bridge.

Kanwaljit Shankar, organising secretary of the Baba Farid Foundation, spoke about the poetry of Bhattal and lauded the initiative of the Bairagi Mahamandal in giving due recognition to the poet.



Summer Camps
Children discover their abilities
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
To help children utilise their time fruitfully, discover their abilities and hone their talents for the best overall development, summer camps have always been the favourite choice of parents in the city.

Money has never been a problem to Ludhianvis and they look for opportunities to make their wards learn new skills and developing their talents nicely.

Hundreds of summer and recreational camps and hobby classes have been organised this season in the city out of which some have already been concluded while some others are still going on. Besides, thousands of children, women and young girls have shown great interest in these hobby classes offered by organisations, beauty clinics, fashion institutes, clubs, schools, colleges etc.

Ranging from simple dance forms, a plethora of activities are taught to the participants, including yoga, singing, modelling, self- grooming, personality development, English- speaking, flower arrangement, cooking, instrumental music, art and craft, trousseau packing, candle making, fabric painting, pot painting, table manners, sketching, effective communication and theatre workshop etc.

Manoj Gupta, general secretary, Lodhi Club, said one could learn many things at a reasonable cost or even free of cost during the vacation. The concept of summer camps had picked up in recent years. "We had recently invited chefs from famous restaurants to teach various kinds of mocktails, cocktails, cooking and bakery items. The women not only appreciated but have asked to conduct such classes on a regular basis", he added.

Sunaina Bharti, a gold medallist in dance from Punjabi University, Patiala, who has conducted several dance classes for kids and women in the city said dance was a fascinating activity through which one could discover his/her flexibility and rhythm. "People, specially the kids enjoy a lot during dancing. This is the best time for them to take classes as they are mentally free from school's hectic schedule", said Sunaina.

The fee of these activities range from Rs 100 to Rs 500 or even more depending on the activity and trainer. Reena, a parent, said her daughter was always scared of going on a stage but after joining these classes at one of the summer camps here, she was able to perform a solo dance number recently.



Budget growth oriented, says PAU V-C
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
Vice-chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University Dr Manjit Singh Kang today hailed the state Budget presented by finance minister Manpreet Badal as growth oriented and forward looking. He said the agriculture, horticulture and dairy sectors had got pointed attention in the Budget, which would go a long way in improving the health of agricultural economy of the state. He also thanked the finance minister for enhancing the PAU annual grant to Rs 100 crore from Rs 80 crore.

Kang said the agriculture sector received an allocation of Rs 200 crore, which was 48 per cent higher than the previous year. This allocation was to be spent primarily on strategies aiming for the growth of crop sector, he clarified.

According to Kang, the government had rightly recognised the role of dairying and horticulture, including fruits and vegetables, for the uplift of the rural economy and agricultural employment. Apart from funding received from the central government under the National Horticultural Mission, Rs 100 crore had been allocated to horticulture. “Punjab has a great potential in production of high value crops such as fruits and vegetables, which are considered to play a pivotal role in the stagnating agricultural economy of the state,” he explained.

Under this “visionary approach”, four modern markets in Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Muktsar had been proposed. These markets would house all modern post-harvest and other processing facilities. This would prove helpful in the marketing of agriculture produce in raw and in processed form to the other consuming markets in India and abroad. Such type of operations would result in the stabilisation of product prices and quick lifting of the produce. The strengthening of cargo facility at the Amritsar International Airport for promoting the exports of fruits and vegetables to other countries had also got a place in the state Budget, he informed.

Similarly, the development of dairy sector was of immense importance for the economy of Punjab. This had been appropriately considered in the Budget, Dr Kang felt, as Rs 50 crore had been allocated for this sector. The contribution of dairy to agriculture growth was less in southern districts of Punjab and this potential could be tapped by focusing on dairy development through animal stock improvement, development of marketing and processing infrastructure and monitoring of animal diseases in this belt as well as in other parts of the state.

Dr Kang emphasised that technology development through agricultural research was the prime engine of growth by improving resource use efficiency and improving the quality and quantity of produce. Expressing happiness over the enhancement of the university budget allocation from Rs 80 crore to Rs 100 crore to meet the growing demand of funds in developing cutting edge technologies in the agriculture sector, Dr Kang said it came in the recognition of the PAU’s role in the development and dissemination of new technology.



Parties should celebrate Badal’s career: Dhillon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
In a show of his faithfulness, president of the Youth Akali Dal and MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon has suggested that the golden jubilee of the political career of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should be jointly celebrated by all the parties.

He said as Badal had played a long innings in service of the people and earned their respect, it was the moral duty of all the parties to jointly acknowledge his services towards the society in a befitting manner. He said that his unit was also taking up the matter with acting president of SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal to chalk out some programmes in this context.

Recalling the political career of Badal, the MP said that this great son of the soil started his political career by registering his entry into Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1957 and till date he had been an elected legislator for 10 terms.

He said during his political career Badal has always stood in forefront for the cause of Punjab and Punjabiat and led a number of successful agitations for causes like creation of Punjabi suba, against Emergency and many others, involving the people of the state. He became chief minister of the state four times.



‘Mahindra and Mahindra too started from the city’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
While everybody knows that the Hero, Bharti, Oswals, Vardhamans and others, who have established their name in the industrial world have their origins in Ludhiana, not many people are aware that Mahindra and Mahindra, one of the leading automobile manufacturing companies in the country also has its roots in Ludhiana.

Disclosing this here yesterday while delivering the acceptance speech at the annual award distribution function of Ludhiana Management Association, the vice-chairman and the managing director of Mahindra and Mahindra, Anand G. Mahindra said that it was way back in 1945 that his grandfather K.C. Mahindra launched the company from Ludhiana only.

Later talking about his plans, he said, the group was planning to set up five university campuses across the country. One of these was to be set up in Punjab.

He said that they were approaching the Punjab government to provide land for this purpose. He said, it would be a state-of-the-art university aimed at providing best of education according to the modern needs.

Mahindra said the group was also planning to invest Rs 100 crore in the IT sector with a potential of generating 3,000 jobs in Punjab. The IT project named Tech Mahindra was coming up fast, he said.

He disclosed that the group was also laying special focus on the agri-business in the state. He said, "In fact we were first to start contract farming in Punjab way back in 2003 under the Mahindra Shubh Labh project." He said the area of focus would be quality seed production with special focus on potatoes.

He was today conferred with the Vardhman Award for the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), for his enterprise, particularly for the massive turnaround of the group under his leadership.

Mahindra has earlier been honoured with several other awards including the prestigious 'Knight of the Order of Merit' by the President of the French Republic.

He takes keen interest in matters related to education. Apart from being a trustee of the K.C. Mahindra Education Trust, which provides scholarships to students he is on the Board of Governors of the Mahindra United World College of India.



Industrially neutral: Chamber

Ludhiana, June 20
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has termed the Punjab budget as industrially neutral. There is nothing new in it and this is not a good trend.

P.D Sharma, president of the chamber, said so far the government had shied away from industry and there had been no interaction with the industrial sector. In fact, the industry was expecting a reduction in the electricity duty from 10 per cent to 5 per cent. This was a big burden on industry.

The central government had reduced CST from 4 per cent to 3 per cent. In Punjab, there are some major items like iron and steel and cycle which attract a CST of 2 per cent against the normal 4 per cent. With the reduction in CST, there should have been proper reduction for these items, he pointed out.

Apart from the budget, one positive achievement of the government is regular power supply to all sectors. This is really appreciable. However, for generation of power, the budget has very meagre provision of around Rs 100 crore. It may be recalled that in a similar situation in the early 80s, the then government earmarked 50 per cent of the budget for power generation.

However, this government is lucky that it is getting surplus power of about 400 MW from the furnace sector which is running only at 50 per cent capacity. — TNS



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