L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

2 transport cos in excise net
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
The state excise and taxation department and the city police today claimed that they had, in a joint operation, nailed two transport companies, Patiala Carriers and Patiala Transport, that were evading tax for about 25 years on the strength of “goondaism” and muscle power.

The transport companies are reportedly related to the politically strong Libra family. While the officials waxed eloquent on how they had exposed the evasion and would be fining the offenders between Rs 25 to 50 lakh, the department had no explanation as to why there was no action for over two decades.

Additional excise and taxation officer Harkesh Singh Sidhu and divisional excise and taxation officer Jarnail Singh along with SP-Detective Gurpreet Singh claimed they had impounded 11 trucks of the two companies at midnight yesterday.

Verification of documents led the cops to detecting the tax evasion. The officials claimed that the company was flouting all norms till date. 



Only 4 city roads allowed shops
Vimal Sumbly/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
There are four roads in the city that are allowed to have shops. And the rest like the Mall Road, Rani Jhansi Road, College Road and Cemetery Road are not allowed to do so.

According to the list provided by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to a city resident under the Right to Information Act, the roads in the city allowed change in land use are the Malhar Road (from Ferozepur Road to traffic lights), Dugri Road (from Atam Nagar to the Sidhwan Canal bridge), Model Town Road (from Suman Hospital to Montgomery Road) and the road from Durga Temple in Sarabha Nagar to Ferozepore Road.

On the busy Mall Road, Rani Jhansi Road, College Road and Cemetery Road, the MC has been allowing change of land use in a discriminatory manner.

The state government had decided to allow shops on select roads in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar for boosting business. Only the "front depth" plots could be made into shops along notified roads.

However, in Ludhiana no such notification has been issued and the terms and conditions have been left vague and ambiguous.

It remains the discretion of MC officials whether or not to allow the change of land use. A committee, including the commissioner, the mayor, some officers and councillors, take a decision on the issue.

All commercial buildings which have come along these roads have been allowed change of land use on a selective basis. It is strange that a building on the Mall Road was not allowed to have shops while the one adjacent to it was allowed the same years back.

In case a particular area is notified as "commercialised", the people will not need to approach officials. They will simply have to deposit the standard fee.

Even the selective process of “commercialisation” is not transparent. In case a particular plot or area is to be converted into a shop, it has to be notified and objections, if any, are invited. But this is done in a hush-hush manner, leaving little scope for objections.



MC demolishes hotel staircase
Action selective, alleges hoteliers’ body
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
A demolition squad of the municipal corporation today demolished the staircase of Friends Regency Hotel on the Ferozepore road, claiming it to be an encroachment even as the hotel and the Restaurant Owners Association termed the action as selective and arisen out of personal enmity.

A squad of the MC reached the spot and razed the stairs of the hotel. The action was so prompt that the hotel authorities did not get any time to react. Even area councillor Bharat Bhushan Ashu reached the spot when the structure was just demolished.

The association condemned the action and stated that the MC had failed to give any notice to the hotel and took action without even informing the hotel owner.

Amarvir Singh, an office-bearer of the association, said that a number of commercial establishments on the Ferozepore road had encroached upon the public land, but no action was taken against them.

‘‘Why this selective action? Why should they not be just and take action against everybody who is flouting the norms?’’ asked Amarvir.

He said the association was going to meet Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary, to air their grievance in the evening.



Congestion On Road
Devotees add to the chaos
Vimal Sumbly/TNS

Ludhiana, August 23
Earmarking parking space seems to be the last thing on the minds of the people who manage religious places in the city.

Some of the most frequented temples and gurdwaras here, with huge structures decorated with lavish spendings have no parking space. And the rush outside these places causes frequent jams. As a matter of fact, no religious place has any parking space.

The huge rush of devotees at Durga Mata temple near Jagraon bridge is a frequent witness to traffic jams. There is twin trouble here. One, the devotees park their vehicles right outside the temple. Two, people wait for their turn to enter the temple on the road itself as temple gates open onto the road.

Compared to the rush of devotees, the temple has very limited space. During festival days, the road is practically closed and people have to take alternate routes to reach Jagraon bridge. There have been many protests against it, but the authorities seem to have little option, given the sensitivity of people towards religious issues.

Former commissioner of Ludhiana municipal corporation, S.S. Sandhu, was transferred following public outcry against his order to demolish a portion of the temple building that was allegedly constructed on encroached land. With such a precedent set by the government, no official would dare to take any action.

Some police and corporation officials, the Tribune talked to, expressed helplessness on the issue. In fact, they suggested that temple management should itself take some initiative and prevail upon devotees to park their vehicles at some distance so that it does not lead to traffic jam. Moreover, the management should also provide some space for the devotees to wait so that they do not form queues on the road itself.

Durga Mata temple is not the lone exception. There are a number of other religious places in the city which also lead to frequent traffic chaos. Like the main gurdwara at Sarabha Nagar, where vehicles remain parked on the road. However, given the great width of the road, it does not lead to frequent traffic jams. Moreover, rush of devotees there is relatively less, except during Gurupurab celebrations or marriage ceremonies.

These religious places seem to enjoy immunity from the law. No building bylaws are followed. Usually these are constructed without any building plan or even if there is any, it is hardly adhered or objected to. So there is no question of following the standard norms. And nobody bothers or dares to raise any questions lest he land himself in trouble. But ultimately it is the general public who has to suffer. 



Woman, 2 kids burnt to death
Our Correspondent

Khamano, August 23
A woman and her two minor children were burnt to death in a fire that broke out at their house at about 1 p.m. at Hargana village, near here, today.

Kulwinder Kaur and her two minor children Bobby (5) and Baby (2) were at their house when the fire broke out. Some villagers noticed smoke in the house and reached their house. They rushed them to Fatehgarh Sahib Civil Hospital, where the girl was declared dead.

The woman and her son Bobby (5) succumbed to their injuries after reaching the PGI, Chandigarh.

The woman’s husband Jinder Singh was not present at the time of fire, as he had gone for his duty. The cause of the fire was not known.



Onion rates decline
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Onion prices that recorded Rs 10 per kg increase within a week, and touched Rs 24 finally, declined in the city today.

The impact of increase in minimum export price of onions by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India to curb spiralling rise in domestic rates had a quick impact on the city markets and wholesale rate declined from Rs 20 per kg to Rs 16 within a day.

Traders are expecting the decline to continue and prices to reduce to Rs 10 per kg in a few days soon. 



Curb pollution, says CJ
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
Stop blaming each other and take the lead in curbing environmental pollution, stated Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain, while addressing a symposium on environment.

In a strong-worded address to the gathering during the symposium, the Chief Justice said there was a dire need to introspect and contemplate what type of environment were we going to leave for our coming generation.

‘‘They would not forgive us for what we have already done to the environment,” remarked the Chief Justice referring to the next generation. This is hard reality that water and air pollution is increasing day by day. Stringent laws alone can’t stop this menace. We all should come forward and contribute in reducing the pollution level.

We all are busy in passing the buck. This is not the way to handle such a menace. If we will not start caring about our environment, the temperature may rise by more than 5 degree celsius and life will be unlivable, added CJ.

He also inaugurated the Ludhiana chapter of the Asia Pacific Jurists Association (APJA) by installing Bar council member Balwinder Goel, as its secretary general here yesterday late night.

Speaking on the occasion, Justice Surya Kant, president of the state unit of Asia Pacific Jurists Association hoped that with the help of city residents, the association would be able to create awareness among the masses regarding the clean environment.

He said the APJA was aimed to provide a forum to the members of legal profession and associated fields to meet, interact, cooperate and share their experience for creating awareness about environmental hazards and social evils.

District and Session Judge Harbans Lal extended the vote of thanks and assured all kinds of assistance to the chapter in fighting against the social evils. The District Bar Association president Hemant Kalia, secretary Ravi Garewal, all the judges of Ludhiana, attended the function.

Twelve judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court including Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice K.S. Grewal, Justice M.M. Kumar, Justice Rajiv Bhalla, Justice Ranjit Singh, Justice T.P.S. Mann, Justice Mahesh Grover, Justice Ajay Lamba, Justice Arvind Kumar, Justice M.M.S. Bedi and Justice Nawab Singh attended the function.

PD Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Industry, K.K. Seth, industrialist and senior lawyer S.R. Wadhera, A.K. Jindal read out the papers on the problem of pollution.



Project Shakti to empower girl child
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
A conference by members of Project Shakti, an initiative undertaken by Anand Murti Guru Maa, was held here today at a city hotel.

Varinder Sachdeva, president of Project Shakti, Ludhiana, said Anand Murti Guru Maa felt the need to start Project Shakti to empower the girl child. She and other followers felt that the sex ratio between the girls and boys in Punjab was really skewed up and gravely affecting the social scenario. This was all a result of the obnoxious practice of female foeticide.

Under Project Shakti, the girls will be empowered through education so that they become financial independent. Hence daughters of widows, war widows, and poor families will be given free education. Moreover, to create awareness in society, a play “Maa Mainu Maarin Na”, written and directed by Nirmal Rishi, will be staged in Guru Nanak Bhawan on Thursday. 



‘Dissolve Valmiki Trust’

Ludhiana, August 23
At a meeting of the Valmiki Samaj with Prof Rajinder Bhandari, president of the state unit of the BJP, Mahant Baba Tarsem demanded dissolution of the Valmiki Trust and allotting of the duty of looking after Valmiki Tirath to the Valmiki Sabha.

The meeting was held at the residence of Dr DP Khosla, a senior leader of BJP, here yesterday.

Mahant Baba Tarsem said due to the “wrong” policies of the previous Congress government, Valmiki Tirath was in a dilapidated state . — OC 



PCMA to honour meritorious students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana August 23
The Punjab Commerce and Management Association (PCMA) has decided to honour the meritorious commerce students studying in different colleges of Ludhiana. It will honour those students who have got first positions in B.Com-I, II, III and M.Com-I and II examinations of Panjab University in their respective colleges.

This initiative has been taken by the PCMA to encourage the students to excel further and take the lead to achieve more in future. The executive committee of the PCMA has requested different colleges of Ludhiana to send the names of their toppers so that they can be awarded the PCMA Roll of Honour at the prize distribution function of the PCMA which is scheduled to be held soon at Sri Atam Vallabh Jain College of Management and Technology near the Jalandhar bypass.

While giving the details of the award function, Prof R.L. Behl, programme coordinator, said around 40 students of different colleges would be awarded prizes. The colleges whose students would be awarded include: SCD Government College, Ludhiana, Khalsa College for Women, Kamla Lohtia S.D. College, Devki Devi Jain College, Arya College, Master Tara Singh College for Women, Ramgarhia Girls College, Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management, Arya College, Government College for Women, G.T.B National College, Dakha and G.N.N College, Doraha.

Data from the remaining colleges was awaited. General secretary of the Punjab Commerce and Management Association, Prof Ashwani Bhalla, said the award function was going to be organised in collaboration with Sri Atam Vallabh Jain College and Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary (local bodies), Punjab government, would present the awards to the outstanding students.

Prof Behl said renowned management expert Anil Kumar, executive director of Shryams Group of Industries, will preside over the programme. Dr Prem Kumar, president of the PCMA, said the association would start a corpus fund with the help of the industry to help the poor students of commerce and management to pursue their further studies by providing financial assistance to them. 



3 syndics join issue with Col Singha
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, August 23
Three syndics of Panjab University have taken exception to the 
statement of Col H.S. Singha, director of the GNDMT, Ludhiana, assailing the vice- chancellor of university for failure to make satisfactory arrangements for teachers taking MBA classes at the regional centre here.

In a rejoinder, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former pro-VC, Guru Nanak Dev University, Jagpal Singh and Mukesh Arora, syndics of PU, said today it was wrong to say that the VC had not made efforts to recruit regular faculty and provide proper infrastructure.

The VC had to work hard to ensure admissions to MBA classes. "Singha does not know that the universities in the country are allowed to open classes in any discipline with the permission of their respective bodies.

“However, they can get approval from bodies like the All-India Council for Technical Education,” they said.

Kapoor, Jagpal Singh and Mukesh Arora alleged that those who had their commercial interests in education were finding fault with the arrangements at the regional centre.

There were at least six running MBA classes affiliated with Punjab Technical University and they were afraid that the regional centre business school could adversely affect their prospects.

"There is no doubt that Panjab University being the oldest university of the region carries prestige and their business school has also got good rating at the all-india level, they claimed.

Sounding a note of caution, they said it was not in the interest of city residents that they should incite students to disrupt the working of the business school.

The syndics and senators from Ludhiana hoped that “vested commercial interests” would keep their hands off and not do anything to disrupt the PU programmes in the city. 



Nature cure camp concludes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
A two-day nature cure health camp for teachers and students, held at Govt School No 5, Ludhiana, with the cooperation of Nature Cure Education Trust, Ludhiana, and other institutions like Bharat Vikas Parishad, Lions Club, United India Insurance Company, Ludhiana, and Nova Exports, concluded yesterday.

Three hundred persons participated in the camp, the theme of which was “How to Live Healthy and Happy without Medicines in tune with Nature”. Practical demonstration and training on techniques of yoga asanas, pranayam, breathing technique, body posture, care of eyes, how to improve memory, how to concentrate, benefits of clapping and laughing were explained and practised.

Various natural products including some herbs, were also displayed and benefits of these were explained. 



Urban Estate residents seek better amenities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
Urban Estate Ramlila Dasehra Committee Dugri, Ludhiana, and Urban Estates Welfare Association (Punjab) have submitted a joint memorandum to minister for jails, tourism and culture (Punjab Govt) Hira Singh Gabria.

The associations demanded basic amenities in Urban Estate Dugri, Ludhiana, where the price of land has increased to Rs 20,000 per square yard, but residents are facing a lot of problems.

Dr Shiv Gupta, general secretary of the committee, said a bridge over Dugri Canal is urgently required to ease the heavy traffic problems. Many roads need urgent repairs and maintainence, parks are in a dilapidated state and tubewells are urgently required in each block of Labour Colony. He also said that revenue records should be transferred to the municipal corporation, as PUDA had been causing unnecessary harassment to residents.



2 POs nabbed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 23
The Khanna police had arrested three criminals wanted in various cases. The nabbed persons include two proclaimed offenders and a chain snatcher.

Avtar Singh, son of Swaran Singh of Kutindh village in Amloh subdivision was arrested by a police party led by Darshan Singh, ASI, at T Point on Club road last evening. A golden chain weighing 15 gm was recovered from him.

Pooja Garcha, wife of Amandeep Singh of Lalheri road area, had earlier reported that her chain had been snatched by a miscreant, later identified as Avtar Singh.

A police party, led by Dharam Pal, SHO, Khanna city, nabbed Parwinder Singh, son of Nachhatar Singh of Khanna, a travel agent, who had allegedly duped Harban Singh of Salempur on the pretext of sending him to Spain in July 2000. The victim was duped of Rs 2.85 lakh and the accused had been declared PO on October 
9, 2006.

Bara Singh, son Jilla Singh of Meat Market, Khanna, an absconder in an FIR registered under the Arms Act, was nabbed by another party led by Dharam Pal, SHO. A court had declared him PO four years ago. 



Insurance plans launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India yesterday announced the launch of two unit-linked insurance plans, Fortune Plus and Profit Plus here.

Fortune Plus would be available to those in the age group of 12 and 60 with a policy term of five to 20 years and premium payment of five years. Death benefit in this policy would be sum assured or value of units whichever is higher and maturity benefit would be equivalent to the value of units held at the time of maturity.

The other policy, Profit Plus, can be availed by those in the age group of zero to 65, with policy term of five to 20 years and premium payment term of three to five years.



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