L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Police dist of 12 villages changed
HC stays change of jurisdiction
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mohinder Pal has stayed a notification of Punjab ordering transfer of 12 villages in Kila Raipur constituency from the jurisdiction of Payal police station to Dehlon police station. The bench has ordered that the notification changing the police station be not given effect to till the next date of hearing.

The judges also fixed December 13 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

The villages that have been included in the Dehlon police station include Sihar, Kalarh, Nanakpur Jagera, Jhammat, Kila Hans, Bhikhi Khatra, Dhaul Khurad, Dhaul Kalan, Pandher Kheri, Roshiana, Saharanmajra and Zirakh.

The gram panchayat of Dhaul Kalan in a writ petition contended that 12 villages which were under the jurisdiction of Police Station Payal have been illegally transferred to Police Station Dehlon which is going to cause inconvenience to the residents as Delhon Police Station is far away".

It has also been contended that the government was ignoring the need for keeping distances short between the villages and the police station. It has been contended that the villages falling under Police Station Payal had primarily supported the Congress MLA for Kila Raipur constituency Jasbir Singh Khangura for which they were being "punished for not supporting the Akali candidate".

Sarpanches of at least six more villages had sought intervention of the court to restore the administration of the villages to the Payal Police Station. The police on the other hand had initiated the process to take charge of the records. At the same time there were reports that residents of certain villages under jurisdiction of Sudhar police station had sought transfer of their village to Dehlon police station.



Prof Mohan Singh’s house needs upkeep
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
Today is Prof Mohan Singh's birth anniversary. The house, built by the late literary figure, Prof Mohan Singh, in 1971 cries for maintenance today. Neither his children nor the state government is paying any attention to the maintenance of the house, which was built by the legend after a lot of struggle.

Kamal Mohan Singh, Prof Mohan Singh's septuagenarian son, said the building was in a dilapidated state because of friction among the siblings. He said he, being Prof Mohan Singh's only son, wanted to preserve the house in the memory of his late father but he could not do it all alone. "For this, I need the state government's help. I have asked the government to take over the land and maintain it in the memory of my father, where all his literary works could be preserved and displayed for public. But it seems to be a distant dream as no positive response has been conveyed by the authorities", rued Kamal Mohan Singh.

It was unfortunate that the children of a great literary figure wanted their share from the house. Approximately Rs 50,000 were spent by Prof Mohan Singh in 1971 to built this 300 square yards house, situated near Gate Number 3 of PAU, where he spent most of his life. "My father did not prepare any will and all my sisters (five) want their share from their father's property. I feel disturbed to see the pathetic condition of the house, which my father had constructed after a lot of hard work", said the son, adding that he was always with his father in his (father's) struggling days.

Kamal Mohan Singh said his father was awarded prestigious awards including Sahit Akademi Award and Jawaharlal Nehru Award for his literary works. "He had written 10 books on poetry. More than 50 lakh copies have been sold of his famous work Saave Pattar. I also got published Rachnavai-his last writings”.

He further added that he had seen his father surrounded by noted personalities like Amrita Pritam, Balraj Sahni, Khushwant Singh, Balwant Gargi all the time. But after his death on May 3, 1978, the family was never visited by them. He said that except for Prakash Singh Badal, who gave Rs 10,000 to his mother on his father’s death, none bothered to ask about the family’s well-being ever. The son wants to renovate the house of his late father if the government took it over. “I am even ready to spend on maintaining a library in the house in his loving memory”, said the son with a heavy voice.



Shingaar reopens after blast
Low turnout of cinema-goers
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
Six days after a massive blast forced the closure of the three halls of the Shingaar multiplex, screening of movies finally began there with the police clearing the hall for opening.

Migrant labourers, the worst-suffering community in the blast, came to watch the shows of a Bhojpuri movie “Janam Janam ke Sath” and Hindi flick “Bhoolbalayia”. They did not come out in droves but still it was a healthy sign.

The owners performed puja and ardaas before opening the hall for the public.

The police had sealed the building since the 14/10 blast. Though the bomb exploded in the Shingaar hall, the Mini Shingaar and Midi Shingaar halls were also closed down. The cinema owner was crying hoarse at the huge loss of business.

Things at the cinema hall would, however, take some time to return to normalcy with the cinema-goers still hesitant to come to the halls in large numbers. The first two shows were free but still only about 100-150 persons responded. A majority of them were migrants.

With the police keeping the three halls of the Shingaar multiplex locked or accessible only to forensic experts and officials, the owner was ruing the loss suffered in the blast besides the damage caused after subsequent checking by the police in which seats and walls were damaged.

The owner, Gurcharan Singh, was meeting police and civil administration officials praying for the opening of the halls. Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, he said though he also deserved compensation as it was the duty of the state to protect citizens against criminal and terror attacks, he was happy at just being allowed to reopen the halls.”

He said the insurance cover may provide security against the blast and closure of the cinema for six days only but there would be no compensation for the lakhs of rupees he had given in advance to the distributor.

Gurcharan Singh claimed he had suffered a loss of over Rs 5 lakh.



Concealment of Income
Hard look at VAT returns
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
In a bid to check concealment of income and false refunds the Excise and Taxation Department, Punjab, has decided to bring maximum number of VAT returns under scrutiny. The decision, that would tighten noose around VAT dealers, was taken after the department detected high incidences of concealment, mistakes and cases where assesseses claimed higher amount of refunds than were actually due to them. e-filing of VAT returns is also expected to start from the next year onwards.

“It was noticed that a lot of asessees made glaring mistakes while filing the VAT returns. There was concealment of income and we want to control it. We have now directed department officials to scrutinize as many returns as possible so that such discrepancies are taken care of, “A. Venuprasad, Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, told Ludhiana Tribune.

Sources said the decision to conduct scrutiny of maximum number of returns is being undertaken due to low VAT collections in the state in comparison to other states. For 1.60 lakh registered VAT traders in the state, the only way the department could verify the returns were through entries made on the information collection centres (ICCs).

The system was not foolproof as verification could not be done in all cases and incidences of concealment of income were quite high.

“Bringing more returns under scrutiny means increased cross checking of sale-purchase transactions as well apart from the existing mode being adopted by department.” While the department expects significant rise in collections, the move is unexpected to be taken kindly by the industry, which files quarterly returns of VAT. As the VAT Act does not give a chance to the assessee to file revised quarterly returns and they can do so only after annual return is filed, scrutiny of more returns may put a large number of traders in trouble.

“Any discrepancy invites penalty to the tune of 200 per cent of tax amount. Mistakes cannot be totally avoided and it is not fair to perform scrutiny of all returns, including quarterly ones. If the department is to do so, it should do it on an annual basis,” opined Jatinder Khurana, president of the Taxation Young Lawyers Association.

The department is also planning to start e-filing of VAT returns soon. While software for the same has already been prepared the process is expected to be introduced from January next year.

“It would save us a lot of time that is taken in transferring the data. For dealer, it means that he can file the return anywhere, which also minimizes cases of delays in filing. In addition, the moment the data is entered, it reaches department, thereby speeding up the entire process.”

With e-filing the grievances of traders are likely to be reduced as frequent delays and mistakes occur while transferring data of returns to computerized records of the department, as a result of which assessees have to suffer many times.

e-filing would save department the time taken in completing the entire process. Industry is also expecting that the problem of d elay in VAT refunds would be taken care of.



2 get 10-yr RI for drug peddling
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 20
The Additional Sessions Judge- M S Virdi has convicted Surjit Kumar, resident of Mandi, and Duni Chand, resident of Joginder Nagar, Himachal Pradesh, on the charges of possessing poppy husk. The duo was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for 10-yr each.

Delivering the verdict, the judge held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charges levelled against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. Fine of Rs 1 lakh each was also imposed upon the accused. In case of their failure to pay the fine, their sentence would further extend for six months.

The accused were booked under Sections 15,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act at Haibowal police station on January 12, 2003. According to the prosecution, on that day inspector- Mukhwinder Singh along with sub-inspector Tehal Singh of CIA staff were checking the suspects near Dairy Complex, Barnhara Road, Ludhiana.

The accused were coming in a canter from Barnhara side. On seeing the police party, they tried to run away but were caught. Then DSP-Malkiat Singh was called there. In his presence, search was conducted in the canter. Twenty bags of poppy-husk each weighing 35 kg were recovered from their possession, as per prosecution.

However, the accused pleaded not guilty during the trial. But convinced with the evidence produced by the prosecution, the judge found the accused guilty and sentenced them accordingly. 



At The Crossroads
Learning from schoolchildren

Indeed it is true that nothing is constant except the change. We know this but still we hope that we will be present on the scene forever. Generally, we look around and imagine ourselves at the centre of the universe. At the same time, we expect that everybody is fully conversant with our contribution to art, literature and culture. Nothing of the sort, of course, exists.

The well known persons in various fields of human activity throng the stage, rather clutter it up, while the marginalised individuals are elbowed out unceremoniously. The cavalcade is rushing forward to imprint its footsteps on the sand of time. There is no looking back and the onward glance is focused on eternity. In reality, they are losing themselves imperceptibly into the clouds of oblivion.

The other day, I found myself among schoolchildren at a local institution. No one knew me, not even the teachers. The Principal introduced me to all of them and, in the process, I found myself on a plank drifting along the tide. In a way, I was on the verge of discovering a new territory where dreams weave their webs and hopes build their nests.

I realised that the approach of the children is single-minded and their expectations high. The elders seldom probe deep into their minds where horizons of the new world are ever in the process of demarcation. The young ones have no doubts and no fears because they have full confidence in themselves. Left to themselves, they can scale new heights but the elders stand in their way with their suggestions, proposals and apprehensions.

During the period I acted as a judge for debate as well as declamation, I was reminded of W.B. Yeats. In his poem, “Among School Children”, he imagines that these students must be having new concepts about the tall figure amidst them. For them, he was some sort of a caricature they scribble on their exercise books in vacant hours. The poet feels that he has no identity of his own in this new situation. As an inspector of schools, he may be a venerable person for the teaching staff but for the children he was merely an object of their laughter. Perhaps he was like old cloths upon old sticks to scare away birds -

Better to smile on all that smile, and show There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow. To be childlike is a virtue because the children are always in search of new avenues for the expression of their innermost feelings. There is no pretence in them, nor do they take recourse to deceit unless they have been much exposed to the ways of the world. Magic thrills their minds and their hearts crave for the unknown. Surprise, like an imp, encounters them at every step. They have their own priorities and their own icons.

To expect from them the knowledge of the creative works of the elderly persons is like expecting too much from the young ones. In fact, the man behind the book ceases to exist after the work has been accomplished. It is the product that is revalued and reassessed at different periods of time. Like Mirza Ghalib one has to wait patiently for the response, from the person concerned, after having told one’s tale -

Ghalib tumhi kaho ke milega jawab kya

Maana ke tum kaha kiye aur woh suna kiye 

— N.S. Tasneem



SGPC, DSGMC asked to stop war of words
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 20
An important segment of Sikh intellectuals of Ludhiana, led by Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former pro-vice chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and president, Master Tara Singh Institute of Studies in Contemporary Sikh politics, Dr S P Singh, former vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and president, Gujranwala Khalsa Education Council, and Lochan Singh, president, Senior Sikh Budhijeewee Council, have appealed to Avtar Singh Makkar, president, SGPC, and Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, DSGMC, to stop their war of words in the name of Guru Granth Sahib.

They said here today that it was unfortunate that Guru Granth Sahib and its unique position of Guru Manifest of the Sikhs was being used in the media... to run down one another. They have appealed to them to sit together, invite selected accomplished scholars of Sikh traditions and history, interact with them and settle the matter in a dignified manner.

The SGPC and the DSGMC have been engaged in a war of words over the carrying of Guru Granth Sahib Birs in a container in Mumbai.

The Sikh intellectuals have said that this unsavoury controversy should not be dragged too long in this year of ointment of Granth Sahib as Guru Manifest to the Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh.

They have also appealed to the jathedar, Akal Takhat, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to issue an appeal to the Khalsa Panth to stop politicking in the name of Guru Granth Sahib. 



No panic exodus of migrants
They go home during festival season 
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, October 20
Contrary to the expectations, the blast in Shingaar Cinema on October 14 has failed to make any impact on the migrant workers working in the local factories. There has been no panic exodus of the migrants and the functioning of the factories has been continuing as usual.

Kewal Krishan, secretary, All-India Trade Union Congress, today confirmed that there was no panic among the migrant labourers and the working of the industry had not been affected in any manner. Kewal Krishan said that there was already shortage of workers in the industry despite the fact that the industry was passing through a slump period because of the hike in steel prices and financial crisis.

Enquiries made by this reporter show that the migrants visit their native places during festival season-Dussehra and Diwali-and Durga Puja. Accordingly, they go to their homes and return in the month of November.

Moreover, the blast in Shingaar Cinema was a sporadic incident which had taken place after a long spell of peaceful working of the industry and trade. Even otherwise, the state of Punjab has remained peaceful and there has been no major political or labour agitation in the state.

The migrant workers have also seen a period of turmoil during the militancy as they were the biggest targets of the militancy when the migrants were made targets in order to scare them away and make them leave Punjab. But they faced the bullets and stayed in the place of their work.

In Ludhiana city, the industrial units kept up their production even when there was curfew in Punjab towns and the state as a whole during the days of Operation Blue Star. The migrants live near the factories and they could sneak into the factories without any security hassles. Kewal Krishan said there was shortage of labour because some of the states now had a lot of industrial units. The central government had extended benefits to states like Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh which attracted a number of major industrial units and the labour which used to come from these states was now engaged there.

The local hosiery industry is facing shortage of workers as well as slump in the demand for the hosiery goods. As a matter of fact, the readymade hosiery goods were also pouring in from states like West Bengal in bulk and Tripur textile complex.

Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, also corroborated the statement of Kewal Krishan and maintained that rather the workers have started returning from their homes. He said that workers usually returned before Diwali to receive Diwali gifts from the factory owners.

Avtar Singh said that the blast had not caused any panic or fear among the workers and industry at all.

He, however, complained that the industry was facing problems from the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the rise in the prices of the raw material.

Migrant workers who work in the fields in the countryside are definitely going back to their homes after earning during the paddy harvesting season. They will be returning to their places of work after Diwali for wheat sowing operations in the month of November. 



Traffic problem

PAU campus is known as joggers' paradise. It is rightly so, and the PAU administration has been going out its way, to ensure that the walkers and joggers enjoy their morning and evening sojourns in its folds. After having visited many parks in east and some overseas in west, it is a forgone conclusion that PAU is the best. I complement the VC and its staff for maintaining its enclosure attraction and its natural hospitality.

On the other hand we, the joggers, are responsible to make it into an inhospitable, hostile and even life threatening location. Here I am referring to the motorists and motorcyclists. The vehicle owners instead of walking or jogging to the sports field to warm-up prefer to preserve their energy by driving down from the main gate. In the bargain they cause immense panic a scare to the feet born walkers. They give rise to the noise and air pollution and also a continuous tension heart drabs to the general public. The VC and the security agencies of the university are requested to stop or restrict the vehicle entry into the campus between 6 and 8 am to those only that just can not mange a short workout as a walker. It may be noted that since about three months the situation has taken a grave proportion, as previously motorists were not allowed within the campus. VC Sir, kindly help to regain the paradise for the benefit of the walkers.

Satinder Pal Singh, Ludhiana

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.



Woman killed in road mishap, son injured
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 20
Shakuntala Rani, a resident of Karnail Gate, Jagraon, was killed and her son, Dushant, injured in an accident that took place near the Ramgarh Bhullar canal today. According to information, Shakuntala Rani was employed as tailoring teacher in Government High School, Ramgarh Bhullar, and being a physically challenged used to commute in her three-wheeler scooter with her son, who is studying in Class IXth in the same school. She was on her way to the school when a speeding Scorpio (PB-10BS-0440) hit her. She sustained serious injuries where as her son was injured. Both were brought to the local civil hospital. From there she was referred to DMCH, Ludhiana, but died on way. Dushant is being treated in civil hospital. A case has been registered against the Scorpio driver, Yuvraj Singh of Hathur, and the vehicle impounded.

Two booked for assault

Surjit Kaur and her son, Kala Singh of Patti Multani, Sidhwan Bet, allegedly assaulted Dharam Singh of the same village with a sharp-edged weapon.

The duo forcibly occupied the land owned by Dharam Singh. The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case against them.

A dispute over a piece of land is said to be the reason behind the assault. 



Price Watch
Jewellers hit as gold prices continue to rise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
Despite the festival season jewellery outlets in the city wear a deserted look as gold prices continue to rise. With rates touching an all time high, demand has drastically reduced. For jewellers, the steep rise in rates in the past 10 to 15 days has thrown cold water on their expectations of a good business in the festival season.

The prevailing rate of gold per 10 gram today was Rs 9,550. "We were expecting a good business this festive season. Much against it, business is even lower than the routine.

Demand has reduced by almost 50 per cent in comparison to last year,” said Vinit Dhanda of Prem Jewellers.

Apart from the rise in international prices, dealers blame forward trading in gold for the current scenario. Trading was affecting demand for gold as by paying a small margin the trader was in a position to block stocks, they added.

"This is resulting in the shortage, followed by increase in rates and a decline in demand." For this segment, it is festival and marriage season when business is on an all time high. "But as rates increase, customers do not expand their budgets. They rather reduce the quantity of gold they purchase," rued jewellers.

While earlier, jewellers tried to attract a large number of customers by holding exhibitions and launching other promotional offers, this time they are shying away from these as they are afraid they would not be able to recover costs involved in such promotional schemes.

As prices are unlikely to reduce for the coming few days, demand may further lower.



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