L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Dawar dares Gosain
Says prove charges or quit politics
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
The allegations levelled by deputy speaker Satpal Gosain against his arch rival and former parliamentary secretary Surinder Dawar about having taken Rs 600 crore from polluting dyeing units are believed to be in continuation with their past rivalry that has often taken personal overtones.

During the previous regime, Dawar tried everything to finish off his rival politically. And now it seems to be the turn of Gosain to hit back.

Gosain recently alleged that Dawar had taken huge money from the polluting dyeing units to allow them to continue their operations. These units were alleged to be in the “red category” and had to be shifted out. According to Gosain, Dawar, in connivance with officials of the Pollution Control Board, Punjab, had helped them to operate without getting the mandatory no-objection certificate.

Dawar told Ludhiana Tribune today that, “Gosain is stooping too low to settle personal scores with me.” He challenged Gosain to prove any of the allegations. He said, “Even if a single allegation is proved against me, I will quit politics and if he (Gosain) fails to prove these allegations, he must quit politics.”

The former parliamentary secretary alleged that Gosain, despite having been elected from Ludhiana East, was scared of him. “That is why he is trying to use other means to malign my image,” he alleged, adding that “but everybody knows me too well to believe these allegations”. He claimed that his fault was only that he helped about 145 dyeing units not to be closed as he pleaded their case with the then Chief Minister. “Thousands of people would have been rendered jobless had these units been closed,” he said, adding that “let anybody ask the dyeing unit owners as to how much they paid me”.

Gosain and Dawar are probably the only rivals in the city who have tried to go personal in their attacks against each other. Whosoever of the two is in power, whether Dawar or Gosain, has always tried to use it against the other. Dawar was accused of doing the same during the Congress regime, what Gosain is doing now.

Some of their common friends in both political parties, the Congress and the BJP, had tried to seek a rapprochement between the two. But all attempts failed as the two stuck to their own stands against each other. The two leaders are also entangled in legal battles against each other.

A senior Congress leader observed that this was unprecedented in Ludhiana’s politics that leaders have taken the political rivalries to the personal level. He said the two leaders should sit together and sort it out and not wash the dirty linen in public. 



Land acquired for Trident group
No compensation yet for farmers
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Farmers in three villages of Barnala district, who were evacuated after their land was acquired for the Trident Group of industries, are yet to get the compensation promised by the SAD-BJP government to them after a renegotiated settlement.

The settlement was finalised on June 30, 2007, and it was promised that it would be implemented within one month. Three weeks had passed after the deadline, but the farmers were yet to be compensated.

Hundreds of farmers under the banner of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) today staged a protest against the delay in the implementation of the agreement. Under the agreement, the farmers of Sanghera, Fatehgarh Chhanna and Dhaula villages were to be given 70 per cent more money than what was decided earlier. Besides, they were to be compensated for two years crops.

Three farmers who died during the struggle against the forced acquisition were to be compensated and their kin provided with the jobs on compassionate ground. But not a single promise has been fulfilled by the government.

The farmers led by the district BKU president, Darshan Singh Koli, and general secretary Balwant Singh alleged that the SAD-BJP government had proved to be worse than the previous Congress government. They said the government made the farmers to withdraw their agitation against the acquisition by the previous government with a lot of commitments. “Not a single commitment has been fulfilled so far”, they regretted.

They reminded Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of his promise that he would ensure that all farmers got their land back. “He has forgotten the small compensation that had been worked out, what to talk of returning our land”, they lamented.

The farmers warned that they would not rest until all promises made were fulfilled. 



Chinese idols raise Sikh scholar’s hackles
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 17
Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, a former pro vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University and renowned Sikh scholar, has criticised the manufacture of idols of Guru Nanak Dev and their sale by the Chinese. In a statement here today, Kapoor said the Chinese were now more interested in producing idols of deities worshipped in India.

Kapoor said the popularity of Guru Nanak Dev had caught the eye of the Chinese and they had now started producing idols of the Guru. Guru Nanak had condemned idol worship. Gurdwaras do not have idols. Unaware of the fact, the Chinese had exported these idols to India, some of which had reached Punjab.

Kapoor said, “To save Sikhs from being misguided about their religion, it is the duty of the SGPC and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee to approach the Chinese embassy and ask them to desist from manufacturing these idols which distort the Sikh doctrine.” 



MMS Scam
SHO booked, suspended
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Heads have finally started rolling in the sensational MMS scandal which had the city police scurrying for cover for the past one week.

On the basis of an inquiry into the sordid episode by SP Sukhchain Singh, SSP R.K. Jaiswal today ordered registration of an FIR against inspector Arvind Puri, SHO, Division No. 8 police station, for outraging the modesty of a couple in police custody, illegal confinement, recording it with a mobile phone camera and allegedly circulating it.

The SHO has been suspended with immediate effect. The FIR has been lodged under Sections 364, 342 and 354 of the IPC.

The shocking aspect was that the couple, videofilmed allegedly by the cop, were caught on allegations of immoral activities. However, the cops seem to have surpassed them in immorality by forcing them to strip.

SSP Jaiswal said initially the MMS did not seem to have been shot in a Ludhiana police station. However, later investigation identified three constables in the nearly two-minute MMS clip. All belonged to the Division No. 8 police station. The SSP said their role in the crime was being ascertained.

In the clip, a naked man and a young girl are seen in police custody with three police constables standing guard around them. An unseen man (allegedly a cop) orders the man to embrace the girl.

The cop interrogates them about the flesh trade network in the city. He humiliates them in front of other cops. All of them have a hearty laugh.

The video was then allegedly circulated to other cops. Somehow it went outside the police circle in Jalandhar and the (mis)deed was exposed.



Federation wants park committees revived
Kanchan Vasdev/TNS

Ludhiana, August 17
Even as green parks continue to get shabby treatment by the authorities in the most polluted city of the state, the Federation of Park Management Committees has sought the revival of PMCs so that these “lungs” can get a breather.

Credited with bringing alive a number of city parks, the PMCs were started during the Akali regime and were “treated badly” by the Congress government. With the Akalis back in the saddle, the federation is now taking up the matter with the government.

While shooting off letters to the departments concerned, president of the federation S.S. Chana has reminded chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda of his promise before the elections that he would give priority to the upkeep of parks.

Of the 737 parks being maintained by the municipal corporation, 173 by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust and 38 by PUDA, most of these are in a shambles as these are 
not being looked after properly.

Some of these have been encroached upon, while some have been reduced to garbage dumping grounds, open toilets and grazing zones for cattle and pigs.

In the past, as many as 128 PMCs had entered into an agreement with the MC to maintain 467 parks at the rate of Re 1 per sq metre. Later, during the Congress regime they were told that they would be paid 50 per cent of the gardener’s pay subject to a limit of Rs 1,000. Since the new terms were not acceptable, most of the PMCs abandoned their parks.

Only 40-50 PMCs continued to look after their parks by collecting funds from residents.

The deadlock between the PMCs and the MC had been continuing all these years. The federation even knocked at the doors of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. The commission had even ordered a survey of parks to the deputy commissioner.

“We only want that the parks and open spaces be maintained properly so as to provide quality life to residents. But nobody is listening to us,” said Chana.

He added that the condition of parks and green belts was deteriorating by the day and some of these were being encroached upon.

“We want that orders be passed to allot parks to the PMCs to work at the rate of Re 1 per sq metre without any delay so that the parks can be saved.”



10 samples of foodstuff taken during raids
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 17
As part of the continuing drive to check adulteration of foodstuff, the field staff of the health department conducted raids on several establishments in different parts of the city and seized 10 samples of eatables.

Giving this information here today, civil surgeon Sat Pal Sharma said one sample of ice candy from an ice cream factory, two samples of salt and one of red chilly powder were taken from the Salem Tabri area, one sample each of mustard oil and vanaspati ghee, and three samples of refined oil were taken from a godown of a company at Kadian village. Another sample of butter chicken was taken by food inspectors from a restaurant on Jalandhar Road.

He said the samples had been sent to a government laboratory for analysis. Stern action under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act would be taken against the firms concerned if these samples were found to be adulterated or of poor quality. The campaign to check adulteration of food items would continue, Sharma added.



Businessman alleges harassment by bank
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
City-based businessman Rakesh Jain has alleged harassment by officials of a leading private sector bank.

Jain alleged that employees of the bank were threatening him and his family members on the phone for the past 15 days seeking repayment of a loan which Jain never asked for.

“It was in June 2005 that I received a draft from Standard Chartered Bank , which I sent them back. Later, I got a call from the bank and an employee persuaded me to take a loan. As I was reluctant, he offered me a lifetime free membership credit card and other facilities, following which he resent the draft which I deposited in my account,” said Jain at a press conference in the city today.

He said despite being told that his instalments would be deducted from August 2005 onwards, the bank deducted the same in July itself and also imposed extra charges and late payment charges.

He said he continued to pay the instalments.

“In 2006, I wanted the bank to reverse the extra amount that was charged from me as extra interest charges. I went to the local branch and was asked to mail the entire matter to customer care. I sent them mails in August 2006 and reminders too, but in vain. In March this year, I received a call from the bank to resolve the matter but nothing was done.”

Stating that bank employees had begun harassing him and his family, he said: “For the past 15 days I have been receiving threatening calls from various representatives who are also using abusive language with my family members.”aG.S. Bains, SHO, Basti Jodhewal, said he had asked bank employees not to make calls to Jain and a formal investigation would start soon in the matter. Bank employees could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



Child Labour
Minor rescued from shop
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 17
Acting on a complaint filed by a migrant labourer of Ekolaha village, the Khanna police rescued a minor child from a sweetmeat establishment and initiated proceedings under Section 3 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, against the owner of the shop.

Though the father of the child had been receiving wages on behalf of his son, he alleged that the ‘employer’ had detained his son illegally.

Meanwhile, Khanna SSP Gautam Cheema has directed the rank and file in the department to ensure that the provisions of the laws protecting the rights of minor children were followed strictly in the area.

Jatinder Kumar (11), son of Raja Ram of Ekolaha village who had allegedly been working as a ‘bonded labourer’ at Khanna Sweets, GT Road, was rescued by a team of officials led by Dharam Pal, SHO (city), and Amardeep Thind, tehsildar, today. Action was taken on the basis of a complaint by Raja Ram. The administration initiated proceedings against Sumit Garg, owner of the shop.

Investigations revealed that Jatinder had been working as a labourer at the said shop for more than one and a half years. The employer used to pay Rs 700 per month as wages for Jatinder’s services initially and later paid Rs 900 per month.

“Though the employer has been paying my son’s wages to me, he did not release him even after my requests,” Raja Ram reported to the officials. Raja Ram has six children and all are reportedly working at private organisations.

Cheema said the civil administration had received a complaint regarding the bonded labourer allegedly being forced to work against his wish at the shop. “I have directed all circle officers of my area to keep a vigil at such establishments where children might be forced to work against their wish,” he added.



People experimenting with looks, says makeover expert
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Deepti Peshoria, a makeover expert from London School of Fashion, feels there could be no place better than India for makeover specialists. Quite happy with the recent change in people wherein irrespective of age there is a rising keenness to improve and, in many cases, undergo transformation, she says people have become much more experimenting now.

"The change is very positive and there is no dearth of people who want to totally transform their looks. From teenaged girls and boys to professionals and even middle aged ones, everyone wants to look good and feel better," said Peshoria who was in city today.

The boom keeps her busy with shoots, catalogue portfolios, shows and grooming classes. Giving details on makeover she said these are not restricted to makeup. "A makeover implies total improvement in your style, looks right from your skin to your hair, your manner of walking. We also advise people to adopt a more positive outlook."

She said apart from makeovers, a large section of people were showing interest in grooming as well. Recalling one of the most interesting incidents, she narrated: "A young girl, who never used any makeup, did not get a hair cut came to us. After the makeover, when she went out, we were quite amused that her family did not even recognise her. They were quite happy with the change later on"

Peshoria, who also gives classes at Meyhar Bhasin's Academy in New Delhi, asserts on a healthy lifestyle and a positive outlook. "Merely a dress or facial makeup would not bear results if a person does not maintain a healthy way of living."

Talking about her experience with Ludhainavis, she said she found people here quite aware about brands and dressing. "They are aware of the latest trends and are willing to experiment which is the best attitude if one wants to improve."



Chemist shop raided, drugs seized

Ludhiana, August 17
A team of drug rules enforcement staff, led by assistant drug controller Ajay Singla, conducted a raid on a chemist shop in Sherpur locality on the periphery of the city yesterday.

District drug inspectors Sanjeev Garg (Ludhiana) and Dinesh Garg (Patiala) were also involved in the search and inspection of the premises, which continued till late in the evening. According to Garg, 14 types of medicines were seized from the chemist shop for which the owners could not produce invoices or other documents. — OC



Petro price hike move worries dealers
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Fearing a likely hike in the petrol and diesel rates, petroleum dealers here have said the government’s move will hit the industry and instead of increasing revenues may reduce them. Unhappy with the state government’s move on amendment to Section 2 of the Punjab VAT Act 2005 on adjustment in increase in petrol and diesel rates as announced by the union government, the dealers said further rise would shift their customers to neighbouring Haryana and Chandigarh.

While trade here was already suffering as petroleum was priced more in comparison to neighbouring states, a further increase would make diesel too more expensive, they said.

“The tax component on petrol and diesel is already very high in Punjab. Any increase is highly unjust and will hit our industry and also the economy,” said J.P. Khanna of the Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association.

Dealers are particularly worried about any increase in the diesel price as it is a major source of revenue for them.

“Over 76 per cent of the total demand for diesel comes from rural areas, where consumers are highly price sensitive. Previous experience has shown that despite being a necessity customers prefer getting their fuel filled from neighbouring states where it is cheaper. This has significantly diminished demand here.”

Dealers said they would chalk out their further course of action once the government took a final decision on the matter.



‘Vivaha—2007’ inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Celebrating “Vivaha—2007”, a wedding exhibition, was inaugurated in the city today. Tarun Sarda, CEO, said, "When we first launched this exhibition in 2003 it was decided to test the wedding markets of Mumbai and Delhi respectively. However, the last year's experience in Ludhiana was quite encouraging and we decided to come back."

Participants at the exhibition include designers, make up experts, jewellers and even holiday planners. To name a few among are Anant, Bhuramal Rajmal Surana, Bobby Creations by Sehgal Jewellers.

"From trousseau, to home accessories and furnishings, honeymoon destinations, jewellery, accessories and unique keepsakes, everything is wrapped together to give a classy lift to the age-old custom of traditional Indian weddings," added Sarda.



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