L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



City sits on powder keg
10,000 bombs to be defused; ministries pass the buck
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, November 29
The recovery of scrap bombs from a park in focal point here yesterday caused fear among residents of focal point where the industrial units are located.

Ludhiana has already been sitting on a powder keg for the past two years as 10,000 live and dead bombs recovered from the iron scrap, which were stocked at focal point, have not been defused so far.

The state government and the district administration had been writing to the defence ministry for defusing the same but so far, nothing has been done. At one time, the army had given green signal for defusing the bombs on the Sutlej bed but it was stopped as there was no clearance from the defence ministry.

Sumer Singh Gurjar, DC today disclosed that the defence ministry had informed him that the clearance was required from the environment ministry. He had written to the environment ministry and it had asked him to approach the explosives wing of the ministry of commerce at Nagpur. He had written to the explosive wing a few months ago but there was no response from the same so far.

Shmer Singh Gurjar said that he would now write to the state government to take up the matter with the Central Ggovernment and get the explosives defused to avert any mishap.

The Deputy Commissioner agreed that there was a sense of fear and panic over the delay in defusing the explosives. This was a huge task and the district administration could not take up the work single-handedly without the help of the explosive experts.

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Woollens, weddings further push up prices
Shopkeepers refuse bills to avoid tax
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
As city residents get on a shopping spree, shopkeepers here have jacked up prices of high-selling items like clothes, shoes and jewellery. Rates of most of these items are two to three times higher than in routine. And while shop owners are making big money, there are not many who issue a bill along with purchases, resorting to heavy tax evasion.

The impact of hiked prices is percolating to products of daily use like vegetables, fruits, sweets and other eatables as well. In retail markets, rates of vegetables, high in demand for marriages, like green peas (Rs 30-40 per kilogram) and mushrooms (Rs 80-100 per kilogram) are high.

While those who are shopping for weddings do not really mind shelling out money, for the routine buyers purchasing has become a tough affair. "I was shocked to see that prices of most items have been unduly hiked. Be it clothes or vegetables, these days everything is unaffordable for the middle class.To worsen things, markets are overcrowded and shopkeepers have no time to attend to the people," rued Sandeep Kaur, a homemaker.

Even service providers like beauty parlours have steeply increased their charges. "This kind of ‘muhurat’, our astrologer told us, has come after 12 years and the number of weddings is much higher, which is why we are busy throughout the day. It is time to make the maximum and why should we not," questioned Neetu, who runs a beauty parlour.

Discount sales, too, have minimised these days. And even in cases where such sales are on, a majority are offering poor-quality stuff.

"This is the best time to sell everything, from the best to the worst of things, as we get buyers during these days. We are offering discount only in case of items that are defective. And the fact is that people do not seem to mind," said Suresh Kumar, a shopkeeper.

Despite making brisk sales, a wide majority of shop owners are resorting to tax evasion and do not issue invoices for sale transactions that they make. "It was only during the introduction of VAT that there was heavy publicity that we should ask for the bill. Some shopkeepers used to issue it on being asked. But they have again stopped and now we have also grown used to the same old system of purchasing without invoice," confessed Raminder Singh, another resident.

According to estimates, sales of high-selling items are 70 per cent to 100 per cent higher than routine days. The quantum of tax evasion, thus, is also expected to be running into crores of rupees.

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Maiden business meeting of MC today 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 29
The first business meeting of the new house of municipal corporation (MC), to be held here tomorrow, will discuss a marathon agenda, comprising 154 items.

In the absence of finance and contracts committee (F&CC), all financial matters, including estimates of development works, purchase orders, work orders for tenders, reimbursement of medical bills and other routine expenditure, will be placed before the house for its approval.

With the statutory body (F&CC) not constituted till now, approval of the house will be sought for a large number of development projects worth around Rs 50 crore.

With a comfortable majority in the house, the ruling SAD-BJP combine should have no problem in getting the agenda items approved. However, if the fierce infighting within the SAD ranks and love-hate relationship between the alliance partners are any indication, their own councillors might obstruct the proceedings and assume the role of opposition party on issues like non-constitution of the F&CC, delay in holding general house meeting and alleged discrimination with certain councillors in allotment of development works to their respective wards.

Congress councillors, led by Prem Mittal, senior deputy mayor in the previous house, are also meeting late in the evening to decide their course of action. But in the face of massive development works being brought before the house in the first meeting, they might only put up a token resistance, that too due to their political compulsions.

The works to be undertaken after the house gave its nod would be carpeting of roads, pavement of streets, installation of submersible pumps to augment water supply, provide streetlights, development of parks, release funds to park management committees and mohalla sanitation committees and purchase other material for day-to-day working of civic body.

Among significant business to be placed before the house for approval were adoption of standing orders to revamp the working of fire brigade, appointment of 29 primary school teachers falling within municipal limits, contractual recruitment of 180 sewermen for two months.

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Bittu may part ways with SAD (A)
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu, a former senior vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal(Amritsar), has given a clear signal for an official split in the party at the coming party meeting at Alamgir tomorrow. A Supreme Council will be announced on the occasion.

Addressing a press conference here today, Bhai Daljit Singh said certain people with vested interests had created a rift in the party. The entire cadre of the SAD(A) was feeling let down by the leadership because the power, concentrated in "one hand", had become anarchical.

He expressed concern over the fact that the party had not evolved any constitution. In absence of any laid down norms, a number of senior party leaders had left the party.

He said all out efforts would be made to demarcate the party leadership lines, at the earliest.

He said under the current leadership, the party had been unable to give any political direction to the youth from the past 15 years under Simranjit Singh Mann.

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Poisonous fodder kills 25 buffaloes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
As many as 25 buffaloes died while 15 are in serious condition after consuming poisonous fodder on Taj Pur Road late last night. A case was registered against the supplier of the fodder.

Dairy owner Ramesh Kumar Kaura was informed about the incident late last night by his workers. A team of veterinary doctors reached the spot and declared 25 buffaloes dead.

A case has been registered against the fodder supplier Kernail Singh, a resident of Meharban village, for supplying poisonous fodder to the dairy owner. The 15 buffaloes that are in serious condition are undergoing treatment.

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At the Crossroads
Taslima Nasreen as political shuttlecock

Unpredictability is the hallmark of the present times. Nefarious things happen without any notice and the aftermath is heartrending. Tribesmen clash with residents in Guwahati and gruesome pictures are splashed on the small screen as well as in the newspapers and journals. The hooligans come like hordes on the streets of Kolkata for vandalising and setting on fire private and public property. In the growing darkness of the evening, they vanish into thin air, leaving behind deep scars on the secular image of the country.

In the daylight, the law-enforcing agencies start investigations in earnest. The blame is shifted from one person to another or from one political party to another. Nothing is done to punish the wrongdoers and no steps are taken to ward off such outbursts of insanity in the future. Then the fingers are kept crossed till something else of a drastic nature happens again.

The great Bard told centuries ago that there is always 'a method in madness'. The need is to go the whole hog into the disastrous happenings and come to the logical conclusion. Only then the persons crouching behind religious banners of various colours will be brought to the book. They are the ones who instigate the youngsters to do harm to the unwary people. But the reason for doing so is unknown to the greenhorns.

Mobocracy is the ruling factor in the present-day agitations as it saves the terrorists from the long arms of the law. Still the hounds can easily be traced to their lairs if the will is strong enough. Political parties are capable of making a mountain out of a molehill and vice-versa. At present we need statesmen who can rise above petty considerations of party affiliations and political moorings to set the things right.

In the case of Taslima Nasreen, fanatic elements in our society have raised much dust to hide their evil designs. As a result, she has been demeaned as a political shuttlecock, much to her dismay. We may not agree with what she has said in her books but to crusade against a woman with a mind is nothing short of inhuman treatment. I am reminded of the fate of Joan of Arc who was burnt alive for heresy, which had prophetic elements in it. Later she was consecrated as a saint.

Bernard Shaw is of the view that the likes of her may continue to be worshipped by the coming generations but they are not welcome as yet in the world of today. This shows that the present times are worse than the medieval age. In that period Joan moved about fearlessly on the horseback as she was a free person. But Taslima Nasreen is fearful of her fate and she is not a free person either. I wonder where that Frenchman called Voltaire is who had the audacity to say, "I do not agree with a word that you say but I will defend to the death your right to say so."

The world is not moving like a whirligig or spiralling up and down but is propelled in the form of a circle. Nothing can change in the materialistic world unless the attitudes of human beings change. When a person is dragged mercilessly on the road or huddled into a van like dumb-driven cattle, heading towards butchery, the mind of the right- thinking person is wrenched and his soul charred. What W.B. Yeats expressed woefully in his poem “Second Coming” is still relevant -

Things fall apart;
The centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed
upon the world.

— N.S. Tasneem 

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Unbilled stock of Rs 8 lakh detected 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
Officials of the state excise and taxation department raided Raj Collection, a wholesale shoe dealer, in Bhadaur House AC Market here today. Unbilled stock worth Rs 7-8 lakh was detected by the team of officials.

The raid started around 3 pm and a team of officials assessed the stock of goods with the trader who has not even procured a VAT registration number. The goods he deals in are 'made in China', said officials.

"The trader did not even have a TIN number due to which we could only assess the stock," said HPS Ghotra, AETC, adding, "irrespective of the quantity of import, a trader is required to have a TIN number in case he is procuring goods from outside. In this case, he did not have it, so he would be required to obtain it first."

The trader was not maintaining books of accounts as well, said officials. The department has sought details from the trader and the tax liability would be assessed only after complete details are obtained. Apart from tax liability, a penalty may also be imposed, said officials.

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Gurmat samagam gets under way 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 29
"Universal brotherhood, humility and equality of mankind without any discrimination of caste or creed - these are the moral values enshrined in Shri Guru Granth Sahib; the only holy scripture that has preachings of saints from different religions. And it is when we sincerely imbibe these teachings in not only words, but deeds also, that the sufferings of mankind will be abated in this age of technology and computerisation."

These observations were made by Sant Baba Jaswant Singh on the opening day of the annual gurmat samagam, which commenced at Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib, Samrala Chowk, here today.

He especially called upon the religious preachers and heads of the religious bodies to concentrate on educating the youth, who were getting strayed under the influence of drugs and liquor.

With endearing reverence and love, the 21 Sri Guru Granth Sahibs were respectfully installed at the Darbar Sahib and akhand paths initiated. Thousands of devotees, including many NRIs from all over the world, took part in kirtan and ‘gurbani vichar’, followed by langar.

Giving more details, Kirpal Singh, spokesman for the mission, said there would be "amrit sanchar" on November 30. After the bhog of Shri Akhand Path Sahib on the morning of December 1, there would be gurbani kirtan and sant samagam. On December 2, there will be overnight kirtan darbar and gurmat samagam from 4 pm in the evening till the morning of December 3.

A 3-day dental and medical check up and treatment camp, being organised by Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College and Hospital under the supervision of principal Dr Rana V.K., was also inaugurated today by Baba Jaswant Singh. 

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Website on used luxury cars
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
Passion Drive launched a new website on super luxury cars, www.passiondrive.in. The website, that was launched by company's founder Vishal Malhotra, provides information on used super luxury imported cars like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Rolls Royce and Hummer, etc.

It also provides new car prices of all these international luxury car brands. Passion Drive was launched in 2004.

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Letters
Govt stake in private hands

It seems our government fails in development work for both private and public sector or is sleeping. That is why the private bodies are doing the job. Hundreds of such types of societies under different name are working in the city without legal license and valid registration. The jobs being done by them are like maintenance of roads, installation of streetlights, installation of submersible pumps and electrical transformers etc.

Huge fund is being collected by these societies by way of monthly subscription from each family of a colony or locality. We are paying huge amount to the government for development but of no use. Development activities by the private bodies is the sign of failure of our government. Hope, our government will take stern action against such corrupt societies.

Ravi Chander Garg, 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.

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