L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

‘DTO’ who refuses to go away
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Surinder Kaur is a clerk with the District Transport Officer’s office here. She is in this office for the past one decade. Barring some sporadic cases of transfers for a few days, she has always been there functioning like a de facto DTO herself. Numbers are issued at her discretion.

And she has duly qualified herself for this authority the way she has managed to get her transfer orders frequently cancelled to ensure that she remains in Ludhiana and that too on the particular “seat”.

Since May 31, she has managed her transfer four times to ensure her return to the city.

On May 31, she along with three others was transferred to Chandigarh. However, her transfer orders were cancelled the next day. She was again transferred to Moga on July 4, but she refused to join there. Ultimately, she was relieved on July 24. But again she managed her transfer to Ludhiana on August 30.

She holds the important charge of issuing new registration numbers, temporary numbers, permits, trade orders and is also responsible for handling various recently concluded number series. Compared to her, there are a few other clerks who are virtually jobless with little or no significant charge.

In Ludhiana, the charge of issuing new numbers happens to be the most important one. And every type of vehicle has a particular price for registration. Like the two-wheelers are charged Rs 150, four-wheelers (in smaller segment) Rs 300 and the larger segment like Scorpio, Innova or other sedans Rs 500 over and above the official registration fee for which no receipt is issued.

Given her influence, the local authorities seem to have little say in deciding her “seat” of work (read power). She was one of the four employees who were transferred to Chandigarh in May following a complaint by a local MLA. Surprisingly, she is the only employee who got her transfer orders revoked only the next day.

With public pressure mounting and reports in the media appearing regularly, she was again transferred to Moga in July. However, she did not join there for a long time. And when she was finally relieved, on July 24, she managed to return within a month. Her orders of transfer to Ludhiana (to the same seat) were issued on August 30.

Surprisingly, this time her transfer orders were not issued by the state transport commissioner, the officer supposed to issue such orders, but the transport (secretary), an officer senior to him after the state transport commissioner reportedly refused to issue these orders. It happens in the rarest of the rare cases that the secretary (transport) and not the state transport commissioner issues the transfer orders.

And this was done exclusively for Surinder Kaur, who has certainly proved herself to be the rarest of the rare employees of the department.

When asked to comment about the frequent transfers of Surinder Kaur, state transport commissioner Venkata Ratnam said he had no knowledge and it had been done at a higher level. The secretary (transport), who has issued the last transfer orders, was not available for comments.



Is ‘poor crorepati’ Kuldip Singh’s murder insider’s job?  
Autopsy makes it more mysterious
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The murder case of “poor crorepati” Kuldip Singh continues to baffle the police with the post-mortem report suggesting that he died around midnight but remaining inconclusive on the exact cause of death. On the other hand, accused Sarbjit Singh Pandher and his mother Sukhdev Kaur claimed that the police had implicated them for the murder.

“We were the first to inform the police whereas Pritam Kaur, the sister of Kuldip Singh, had already called area residents and a priest to fulfil rituals and take the body to the cremation ground,” they said.

Pandher, a swimming coach employed at the MC pool here, said it was strange that they had called the police as they suspected foul play in the death. But the cops booked them merely on the complaint of Pritam Kaur, whereas there was no evidence against them.

The post-mortem examination, conducted today, confused the matter more. It revealed that the deceased was stabbed multiple times but could not pinpoint if the man died due to stabbing or was already dead by that time.

The time of the death suggested by the report states that he died around midnight whereas it was initially believed that he died in the wee hours. The police was finding it hard to believe that someone entered the house and killed the man. The police was now waiting for the viscera report of the deceased.



Choked Sewer
Stagnant water dries up trees 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Laxity on the part of the local municipal corporation while cleaning a choked sewer line has taken toll on a large number of trees in the forest area near New Gurnam Nagar on the Jalandhar Road.

A large number of trees had dried up in the recent past due to the waterlogged forest area. Residents of Gurnam Nagar, New Gurnam Nagar and New Aman Nagar are constantly living under the fear of an epidemic waiting to happen due to the stagnant water in their neighbourhood.

As the trees are getting killed, authorities of the forest department seem to be in slumber. Though a few months have passed none of the officials have asked the municipal corporation to discharge the water elsewhere.

The residents say that the forest department imposes heavy fines on them if they cut a tree but they were not taking any action against the erring municipal corporation that was discharging its sewage directly into the forest area.

Residents said the sewer line was laid by a private company as there was no way to discharge waste water in the area. After some time the line developed a snag. The municipal corporation employees discharged the water into the area by breaking the pipeline connected with a manhole.

“‘Since then the water is getting collected in this stretch of the forest land. We have seen poplar and other trees dying. But nobody has cared to do anything. Many a times a few officials come and take stock of the situation. Nothing, however, comes out of it,” said a resident preferring anonymity on the grounds that he was a government employee.

‘‘It is really a sad state of affairs that they did not want to work to get the sewer cleaned. They got rid of that problem this way. ’’

He added that nobody was doing anything to save the already depleting forest cover. ‘‘The city already doesn’t have any trees. And if these are planted on the roadsides no efforts are done to save them. ’’

Earlier also a large number of trees had dried up on the Jalandhar Road in front of Greenland Public School as a dyeing factory had discharged its toxic effluents in the forest area. The forest department had ordered an inquiry. Till date no actions has been taken against anybody.



Rs 2.5 crore unearthed in IT raids
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Officials of the Income Tax Department have detected an undisclosed income of more than Rs 2.5 crore here today.

The income was detected after surveys were conducted on a few industrial units falling under Range 1 and Range 3 on Wednesday. The department had seized books of accounts and computer data of the assessees concerned during the survey.

According to sources, undisclosed income to the tune of Rs 1 crore was detected from Nagpal Group, manufacturers of bags and garments, in Moti Nagar. The survey was conducted under the supervision of joint commissioner, Income Tax, K.J. Singh.

In Range 3, the survey was conducted under the supervision of joint commissioner S. Kidwai and officials detected Rs 1.05 crore from Makhija Hosiery, located near Rahon Road. Over Rs 50 lakh of undiclosed income was detected from Dua Garments located on Bahadurke Road.

Investigations are on in case of National Paper Cone Group in Focal Point.

Department officials conduct surveys based on information received and on the basis of returns which indicate concealment of income. Tax experts, while emphasising that tax payers should pay their taxes honestly and file returns carefully, said property related transactions were one major area where high incidences of discrepancies were found.

"Since transaction amount is quite high , most assessees tend to hide amount spent on construction etc, which puts them in trouble," said a taxation lawyer.

The undisclosed income attracts tax and is normally treated as income of the current year. However, the department has the option of imposing a penalty on the assessee as well.

Traders protest

The traders in the city held a protest on Wednesday against the continuing raids on industrial units. They said since they paid their taxes regularly, such raids were unwarranted and gave a bad name to the community.

They said this was peak business season for them and the government action came as a damper. They also argued that they were the main contributors to state revenue and should be treated better.



Brave man let down by police
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The moment when most residents remain mute witness to broad daylight chain-snatching incidents, a resident has set a rare example of bravery by taking on four snatchers in Model Town, here, who tried to pull a gold chain and purse from a woman on Tuesday evening.

The 45-year-old man, Mohinder Singh, who was badly injured after being stabbed by a snatcher, is now struggling to meet medical expenses for his treatment in a hospital. He is let down by the police, civil administration and residents as they have ignored his courage as well as injuries.

Victim woman Kiran, who also suffered injuries, has extended some help, besides the Model Town police that has arranged some funds for him, but the money is not enough.

Despite being stabbed, he did not let the snatchers run with the chain. It was because of him that a snatcher, Gurmail, was arrested.

Gurmail later identified other three accused. One of them was Goldy, who died allegedly due to drug overdoze yesterday.

The courage of Mohinder assumes more significance as the four snatchers had already looted and injured another youth, Ashwani Kumar, near Krishna Mandir, a few minutes before they attacked Kiran.

Mohinder is undergoing treatment at Deep Hospital. He has suffered deep wounds on his right arm and chest. He has lost a lot of blood and urgently requires donors. Being financially weak, he does not have money for meeting with the medical expenses.

Mohinder said he had come to the Krishna Hospital to see an ailing relative.



Elevated road, a death knell
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
A few days after two youths had lost their life after they had fallen from elevated road, citizens for the Public Cause, a non-government organisation, today claimed that the road was a death knell as three incidents had occurred on the spot since last year.

Virinder Bhakoo of the Public Cause said the accidents occurred at night as the victims were not able to anticipate a turn. They banged into the wall of the road and fell over the elevation in front of B.L. Kapoor Hospital.

He said they had raised this point earlier also that the road was not made of good material and was slippery. This caused skidding and three people had lost their lives in the accidents. The situation worsened on a rainy day as the road turned more slippery.

The commissioner had promised to raise the railing on that part of the road but even after an year nothing was done, he added. “Innocent people are losing their lives and the administration is sleeping,” said Bhakoo. 



Mentally challenged tries to abduct girl

Ludhiana, September 20
A middle aged mentally challenged man created quite a scare near the Civil Hospital this morning when he allegedly tried to kidnap a minor girl.

Passersby responded to cries of the girl and nabbed the man. The accused, about 40-year-old, turned out to be a mentally challenged person. He could not reveal his identity or the motive of his crime despite persistent questioning by the police.

No one in the area could identify the man. The girl, Sapna, about 12-year-old is a resident of Field Gunj. — TNS



Khanduri for ban on killing cow 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Uttrakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri today said the Sikh Gurus had made an unparalleled contribution to the human history by sacrificing themselves and their families for the safety and welfare of others. He said he felt privileged to be in the land of the Gurus.

Khanduri had come here to participate in the Shiv Shakti Maha Yagya organised by the Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the Jyotish Math, Ludhiana. He said lessons need to be learnt and inspiration sought from the gurus' sacrifice.

He appreciated the untiring efforts of the mJagadguru in providing shelter to cows. He said the cow protection was one of the greatest services which had been preached by the saints and gurus.

Addressing a congregation, the Jagadguru said the religious leaders had an important role to perform in the present day. They owed a social responsibility also. He called for closer cooperation between the religious and political leaders for peace and harmony.

The Jagadguru strongly argued for the ban on cow slaughter across the country. 



Ex-MLA hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Khamano, September 20
An ex-MLA of Raikot, Ranjit Singh Talwan, was injured in road accident near Manderan village today.

According to information, Talwandi was going in his car from Ludhiana to Chandigarh. The vehicle hit a stationary truck near Mandia village. The former MLA was admitted to Fortis Hospital, Mohali. He was in a critical condition. His gunman and driver also suffered injuries but they are out of danger.



Book release function
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh is being celebrated on September 28. The birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 is being observed as International Day of Non-Violence.

To commemorate these two historic occasions, the College of Basic Sciences and Humanities is organising a function in M.S. Randhawa Library auditorium. On this occasion, two books, entitled ‘Freedom Struggle against Imperialism’ and ‘Apostle of Non-Violence’ written by Prof Hazara Singh, former head, department of journalism, will be released.

Dr M.S. Kang, vice-chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, will be the chief guest at this function. Dr S.K. Mann, dean, Post-graduate Studies, will preside over the function.



Traffic chaos

Ludhiana being the busiest industrial and commercial centre in Punjab is facing copious problems in traffic management.The traffic police is hard put to ensures continuity in the flow of traffic.

Today the city has become notorious for increasing traffic congestion, which has led to number of road accidents, traffic snarls and jams, besides frayed nerves and lengthening journey to work.

All sections of road users are finding it difficult to move from one place to another within the city. The condition of vehicular traffic aggravates during peak hours in the morning and evening, as also at the times of breaking of schools when a large number of school buses, vans and three-wheelers carry the students back to homes from their schools.

IBS Nanda, Ludhiana

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Akali councillor, 3 others booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
A municipal councillor belonging to the SAD-Badal has been booked along with three others on the charges of playing a fraud with a woman in order to grab her plot in Phulawal village.

K L Chhabra, a former congress leader who had joined Akali Dal recently, has been booked along with Harish Grover, Saroj Wadhera and Narinder Kumar on the complaint of Pooja Bhatia, a resident of Sant Ishar Singh Nagar here.

Pooja had alleged that the accused cheated her by forging her signatures and making fake documents of a plot owned by her. The accused allegedly occupied the plot also on the basis of the same documents.

The Division no. 5 police has registered the FIR. No arrest has been made so far.



Property dealers threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Local property dealers, while giving a 10-day ultimatum to the state government, has threatened to launch an agitation if the state government’s decision to increase land rates by 100 per cent to 300 per cent is not withdrawn.

“The rise is totally irrational and unjustified. Our business has come to a halt and there are no new transactions. If the government fails to withdraw it, we will observe a hunger strike,” said Kamal Chatly, president, Ludhiana Property Dealers Association, while addressing a press conference here today.

Decision to increase the land rate would, instead of increasing the revenues, result in losses to the government, the dealers said. “It would also hit common man as most deals in the past have been done at old rates only.”

Condemning the government for the “unprecedented” increase, Chatly added: “Prior to elections the government had promised houses at economical rates but now it has affected high increase. This is not for the first time that the land rates have been increased but the quantum of increase is unbearable.”

The association also alleged that the government had framed PUDA policy under the influence of “land mafia” and this policy would only benefit large colonizers. “As per the new policy no new colony will be developed in an area less than 100 acre on which Rs 42 lakh per acre fee has been fixed. After including all these expenses an increase of Rs 2,000 per sq yard will take place. As a result common man will not even be able to think of purchasing the property.”

The dealers demanded that the state government withdraw the increase and also implement the previous policy wherein colonies of 10 acres were permitted.

Condemning approval of mega projects, the association said the Akali government had opposed mega projects tooth and nail prior to elections. However, after coming to power the government had given a green light to these projects. These projects should be stopped, said the association.

Among others who addressed the conference were Tejpal Chadhha, Ashok Kalra, Neeraj Bakhshi and Naresh Sharma.



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