L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Two elite clubs under scanner for tax evasion
Rs 33.67 lakh penalty imposed on Sutlej, Nirvana clubs
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Two elite clubs of the city-Sutlej Club and Club Nirvana-face tax penalty for evading entertainment duty. The excise and taxation department has imposed Rs 15.46 lakh entertainment duty and penalty on the Sutlej Club located near Rakh Bagh, while Club Nirvana, on Hambran Road, will have to shell out Rs 18.21 lakh. Official sources told The Tribune that the duty and penalty was imposed on these clubs for evading tax on the revenues collected during the New Year eve.

The revenues collected from various sources like selling of passes attract an entertainment duty, which these leading clubs did not pay. Both clubs have city’s elite as their members. The deputy commissioner also happens to be the president of the Sutlej Club. Club Nirvana, on the other hand, is relatively new and also people from the upper income groups as its members.

On occasions like New Year, the clubs collect huge revenues for organising events in which celebrities are also invited. The clubs, said officials, were supposed to inform the department about revenue details within three days of such earning. Besides, they were also required to show the same in their tax returns. However, both clubs failed to do so.

A team of excise and taxation officers led by assistant excise and taxation commissioner H.P.S. Ghotra started their investigations as soon as they came to know about this evasion.

The investigations went on for three to four months and on detecting heavy evasion, the department decided to impose duty and penalty.

The department is also in the process of conducting investigations in the case of other leading clubs in order to curb evasion.


Cong councillors stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Congress councillors today staged a dharna against an officer of the municipal corporation, who they alleged had misbehaved with a senior Congress councillor, Hem Raj Aggarwal, over the issue of pending works in his ward.

The councillors, led by Prem Mittal, Leader of Opposition in the municipal corporation’s house, sat outside Zone D office and raised slogans against an XEN of O&M cell. They demanded that he should apologize to the senior leader.

Aggarwal had complained that many works of O&M cell were pending in his ward. The reply of the XEN concerned did not go well with Aggarwal and all councillors staged a protest. Not only the Congress councillors, but husband of a BJP councillor, Sunita Phanta, also raised slogans against officers.

It was only after the intervention of the mayor and the senior deputy mayor that dharna was lifted.

Earlier, the Congress councillors had met the mayor and said no development works were being taken up in their wards. They even alleged discrimination with Opposition and stated that while works of the SAD-BJP councillors were being taken up, the wards represented by former were left out deliberately.

They said all tenders of O&M cell were pending although the general house had already approved them.

They also complained about dearth of sewer men and sanitary workers. Issue of non-carpeting of Jassian Road was also taken up. The mayor assured them all works would be taken up within 10 days.



Finally, RPF constable held
Insecure in love, he had killed orchestra group’s driver
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 4
An insecure lover of an Orchestra dancer had allegedly murdered Balbir Singh Kala, driver of the orchestra group, along with an accomplice on June 28 night, fearing he could win over the dancer’s through love.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal said this during a press conference organised here today. He said the main accused, Kapil Dev, posted as a constable with the Railway Protection Force here, had taken along a relative Heera, that night and stabbed the driver.

The arrest of the two led the police to solve another such murder that had taken place on July 27, 2006. Heera confessed during questioning that he had killed Vicky for allegedly misbehaving with one of his woman relative. Vicky was killed in the same manner as Balbir.

He used to visit the Basti Jodhewal police station with relatives of Vicky for pursuing the case. A police officer recognised him and questioned him after which he confessed having committed the crime.

SP City-III, Sajjan Singh Cheema, and DSP Paramjit Singh Pannu said Kapil Dev knew about Vicky’s murder. They said despite being a hardened cop, he took Heera along for the murder as he had killed a person earlier as well.

The police narrowed down on Kapil Dev when his illicit relationship with the dancer and her proximity with Balbir came to the fore during the interrogation.

The police officials said orchestra dancer, with whom Kapil Dev had allegedly an affair, was already married but was living separately from her husband. She had a three-year-old daughter from the wedlock.

Kapil Dev told the police that Balbir Singh was the regular driver of the orchestra group. Kapil was getting jealous of the increasing closeness between Balbir and the dancer. He talked to the dancer about it who shrugged off his suspicion.

However, Kapil, unmarried, become more insecure with each passing day and decided to eliminate Balbir. On June 28 night he and Heera first consumed liquor with Balbir in his Qualis car. Later, they took him to an abandoned place on the Rahon road on some pretext and stabbed him several times.

The police has recovered a dagger from their possession with which the crime was committed.

The police was now on the lookout of Suraj, an accomplice of Heera, in the Vicky murder case.



Industry relieved as supplies resume
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
The local industry heaved a sigh of relief as transporters ended their strike today. Goods carriers and truckers began taking orders and also transporting goods today.

“After a meeting with our representatives the minister for transport has acceded to our demands and rolled back the hike in the service tax and toll tax. Our leader Charan Singh Lohara informed us about this development from Delhi today. Following this, we have ended our agitation,” said Yogeshwar Singh Lohara of the Ludhiana Goods Transport Association.

He added that the increase in service tax from 3.9 per cent to 12.36 per cent was causing great hardship and so was the steep rise in the toll tax. The government has withdrawn both, which has come as a relief for us, he added.

The industry, that was facing problems in its functioning heaved a sigh of relief. However, functioning would take about three to four days to normalise as heavy stocks are piled up for being transported to other places.

“We were facing troubles in conducting our operations. On one side production had suffered as we were unable to get raw material and on the other, we were not able to sell our finished goods to buyers. Now that they have ended the strike, we are hopeful that the situation would normalise in a few days,” said an industrialist.



MC turns blind eye to mosquitoe puddles
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Post heavy rains, puddles formed on roadsides and several localities in city have become perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes causing dengue and malaria, but the civic body is yet to wake up and start its fogging operations.

Residents have already started complaining about breeding of aedes mosquito responsible for causing dengue, but no control measures seem to be in sight as the MC is apparently unaware of the problem.

Neither any efforts are being made to educate masses to check breeding of mosquitoes nor any measures are being taken to kill the larvae.

Numerous puddles of rainwater can be witnessed in several colonies where these diseases spread every year. This does not bother the MC to wake up and take stringent measures so that the spread of dengue can be checked and several lives lost due to it can be saved.

The roadside depressions and several developing colonies’ vacant plots were waterlogged. The situation was worst in city mayor’s own ward in Gyaspura.

Residents, mostly migrants, of these areas said no measures have ever been taken to drain out water. The puddles were not sprinkled with any insecticide or kerosene. They said they did not see fogging machines during the last many months.

Residents of Muslim Colony claimed that after rains they did not see anybody from the MC to clear the stagnant water. “Nobody has come to educate us on what to do to prevent the disease. They only come when there is an outbreak,” said Mohammad Alam, a migrant.

Every year a number of dengue cases are reported. Two years ago there were nearly 300 cases. Many deaths also took place. However, no lessons were learnt.



Inadequate power for tubewells
BKU threatens to gherao PSEB headquarters
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 4
Upset over inadequate and erratic power supply to agricultural sector, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has threatened to gherao the headquarters of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) at Patiala. A detailed programme for agitation against failure of the PSEB to ensure committed power supply to farmers will be chalked out in the state committee meeting of the union being convened here on July 10.

Stating this here today, the BKU secretary general Puran Singh Shahkot and general secretaries Bhupinder Singh Mahesari and Ajmer Singh Gill regretted that assurance in this regard given by senior PSEB officials, including member (operations) H.S. Brar, to a deputation of the BKU on June 24 was not being honoured.

“The PSEB officials had made a commitment that eight hours uninterrupted power supply will be provided to run tubewells during paddy season. But the fact remains that power is being supplied for just about five to six hours with frequent tripping in between.”

According to BKU activists, the PSEB had also failed to fulfil its promise of providing temporary tubewell connections for the paddy sowing operations to those farmers whose cases under OYT (own your transformer) scheme were not entertained due to their transformers and other equipment being sub-standard. Power supply to a large number of such farmers had been disconnected by the board without making any alternative arrangements for them to run the tubewells. As a result, the farmers were forced to run their motors with diesel engines, which grossly added to their input cost, they added.

Shahkot and other BKU functionaries lamented that situation of domestic power supply in rural areas of the state was no better and rural population was facing a daily power cut of 10 to 12 hours. “Contrary to their promises, the PSEB officials have done nothing to reduce the load on grids and transformers feeding rural areas.”

The BKU called upon the state government to immediately intervene and prevail upon the PSEB to arrange uninterrupted eight-hour power supply to farmers and initiate necessary steps to improve the domestic power supply to villages. “In the absence of effective steps towards this direction, the farmers will be left with no other choice but to launch a mass agitation against the PSEB and the state government,” said a BKU leader.



Amarnath row: VHP to continue agitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
The VHP will observe Shri Amarnath Yatra Raksha Saptah from July 5 to 12 to highlight their demand for allocating the land for the Shri Amarnath shrine. The party in a statement issued here today thanked RSS activists and other religious and social organisations for extending support to their bandh call.

Sunil Sharma of VHP informed that their activists would stage protests at the state-level.



Devotees pay obeisance to Lord Jagannath
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
A large number of people paid obeisance to Lord Jagannath as the much-awaited “Jagannath yatra” passed from the busy city roads today. People came from various parts of the city to see the bejewelled “Rath” carrying the idol of Lord Jagannath amidst chanting on mantras and hymns.

The yatra started from Chander Nagar at 1 pm and passed from Civil Lines, Kailash Chowk, Bindraban Road, Haibowal, to conclude at Chander Nagar at 9 pm.

Various market associations have arranged refreshments for those accompanying the Jagannath yatra. 



Prevention Of Unsafe Deliveries
3,332 benefit from health scheme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
At least 3,332 women from the district have benefited from the Janani Surakhiya Yojana (JSY), a welfare scheme for expectant mothers falling under the below poverty line (BPL) or other weaker sections of society. About Rs 18, 266,00 had been distributed among the rural women from April 2007 to March 2008.

The Centre wherein women between 19 and 45 years of age are given Rs 500 and Rs 700 each for home and institutional deliveries, respectively, is funding this scheme. The family welfare department in order to motivate people for “two-child norm” has restricted the scheme only to the women having two children.

The scheme was initiated with an aim to discourage the practice of “unsafe deliveries” at the hands of untrained midwives in villages and towns. The state health department has launched a special campaign to discourage the ongoing practice of engaging midwives popularly known as “dais” in Punjab.

District welfare officer Reena Sandhu said auxiliary nurses-cum-midwives (ANM) and the lady health visitors (LHV) were doing the registrations after verifying their certificates. “The department has recently incorporated the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), who are being given 21 days training to work for the scheme,” Sandhu added.

Improvement in mothers and children’s health, nutritious daily diet followed by vaccination on schedule is the main aims of the scheme, the DWO said.

However, we are planning to shift the focus of people from home deliveries to institutional deliveries at primary health centres and mini primary health centres so as to ensure health and hygiene, Sandhu added.

Health officials have received overwhelming response from Hathoor, Manoopur and Malaud blocks in Ludhiana district.



Consumer Courts
PSEB penalised for harassment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 4
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the Punjab State Electricity Board to pay Rs 2,500 in compensation for causing unnecessary harassment to a consumer. The forum also quashed the demand of Rs 21,473 raised by the board on account of theft of power.

Forum president J.S. Chawla and member Daljit Singh Bakshi pronounced the order while deciding the complaint filed by Trishna Rani of Basti Abdullapur.

In its decision, the forum held that a consumer could not be penalised twice for the same offence. The complainant had submitted before the forum that on July 27, 2006 an official of the PSEB checked his electric connection and removed her meter.

Thereafter, a demand of Rs 25,427 was raised with the plea that the consumer had been committing power theft. The said amount was paid in installments by the complainant.

PSEB officials had sent the meter to ME Lab for checking. On the basis of checking report, a demand of Rs 21,473 was again raised from the consumer. It was submitted by the consumer that she could not be penalised twice for the same offence.

On the other hand, PSEB officials of Model Town Division justified the raising of the demand. But after appreciating the evidence on record, the forum termed the plea of the board unjustified and quashed the demand.



MC employees threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Activists of municipal corporation employees sangharsh committee today protested against the suspension of Municipal Town Planner, Amritsar, S.S. Bhatia, in the infamous Gulchaman Gali encroachment case.

The employees said the local bodies department had assured them that an enquiry would be conducted into the matter. But, Bhatia and others were suspended without facing any probe.

They submitted a memorandum with mayor who assured to take up the case with the government. The employees threatened to resort to stir if orders were not revoked at the earliest.



Private teachers’ pension

Retired non-government college teachers have been at the receiving end since long. Not only have they been unjustifiably denied pension by the government, but also the other benefits are not disbursed to them gracefully by the college managements. They often have to knock the doors of the court or higher authorities to get their rights.

The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) that had been looking after the interest and welfare of the teachers is now itself in a deplorable situation.

Under such circumstances these so-called ‘builders of the nation’ are leading a life of economic hardships and uncertainty, leading to mental strain, health deterioration and alienation in their family and social circles. Besides, this has a long term damaging effect on the teaching profession.

The government and enlightened citizens of the country must give utmost importance to this issue. NGOs engaged in social welfare and national reconstruction must step in to ensure a fair deal and economic security to this important section of society.

Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, 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.



Militant arrested
Our Correspondent

Jagraon July 4
A team of special Hoshiarpur police arrested Gurdeep Singh, alias Billa of Jhaj police station, Tanda, Hoshiarpur, yesterday. He used to help his Hamburg (Germany)-settled brother, Gurmeet Singh, alias Bagga of Jhaj, leader, Khalistan Zindabad Force, in carrying out his orders and work as a coordinator for carrying out terror activities in India. Gurdeep had been receiving money from his brother for distributing it among the activists.

The cops recovered one mobile phone from Chamkaur Sahib at the instance of Amrik Singh of Moga, who had been arrested along with Daljit Singh and Sarbjit Singh, alias Sokhu, with 34.5 kg explosives. Whereas Manjeet Singh, alias Meeta of Bardeke, and Gurbhej Singh, alias Sonu of Pakharpur, were arrested with 24.5 kg explosives, 25 detonators and wires.

The explosives recovered from Mandjit Singh and Gurbhej Singh were brought from Ropar and then kept in the house of Gurdeep Singh. All five have been sent to the Joint Interrogation Centre, Amritsar.



GADVASU starts fish culture project on saline land
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) launched a project in June last year on “Utilization of Inland Saline Waters of South-West Punjab for Aquaculture” under the auspices of the Punjab Farmer’s Commission.

The first on-farm trial for fish culture in salt-affected waterlogged land has already been initiated at Fazilka, in Ferozepur.

Punjab has about 1.25 lakh ha salt-affected, waterlogged area in the south-west districts, including Muktsar, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Bathinda and Mansa, which is unfit for conventional agriculture practices.

Farmers owning these lands are left with no option but to do labour for earning their livelihood, following which GADVASU launched the fish culture project.

GADVASU vice-chancellor Dr V.K. Taneja in a statement issued today informed that varsity experts are assessing the possibility of utilisation of these salt-affected waterlogged lands for fish culture. According to Dr Asha Dhawan, principal investigator of the scheme, chemistry of water collected from different spots in these districts was found to be extremely complex and varied even at same salinity levels.

After an extensive survey and analysis of water samples collected from these districts, the scientists have identified low, medium and high saline zones of southwest Punjab. Among the districts surveyed, Muktsar and Ferozepur are worst affected with both salinity and waterlogging. Bioassay studies were conducted with inland saline water from different areas to assess the sensitivity of different fish species.

Dr Kamaldeep Kaur, dean, College of Fisheries, GADVASU, further elaborated on fish culture and stated that fish culture success in inland saline waters will not only generate income from otherwise wasteland, but will also help in socio-economic development of the affected farmers. The GADVASU is contemplating to start similar project in Muktsar and Bathinda.



GCW raises wall’s height to curb rowdyism
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Government College for Women (GCW) has raised the college wall to discourage rowdy youth to peep inside the college premises.

The college has reportedly raised its wall from five feet to further 10 feet so that the outsiders could not peep inside the college premises.

An official source in GCW said, “The institute has raised the height of the wall to discourage the students, who gather at cafeteria situated outside the college, from peeping in the campus. The college authorities have decided to raise the height of the wall before the new session commence.”

The cafeteria, which is allegedly backed by a senior police official, has become the hub for all rowdy elements who make lot of noise during the college hours.

Moreover, even the police has failed to discourage these students. The cafeteria, which is open till late at night, allegedly serves as late night drinking point.

Chetna, a student of GCW said, “I support the move taken by the college authorities as the boys standing outside the campus pass comments at girls.”

A watchman said, “Whenever we try to shoo away the boys, the cafeteria authorities argue that they are their customers.”

Despite repeated attempts, GCW principal R.S. Aulakh could not be contacted for her version on the issue.



KVM to shun polythene
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
If all goes by plan, then Kundan Vidya Mandir (KVM) School would soon become the first polythene free school of the city.

Rajiv Nagalia, the newly appointed principal of the school, told reporters today after joining on July 1, that he was striving to make the educational institute a ‘no polythene school’.

A postgraduate in history from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, Nagalia said, “The institute will motivate students and sensitise them about the climate change. We will make full effort to spread awareness among students about environment change, global warming and its effects.”

He further said despite being an industrial city, Ludhiana has no place to dump plastic waste.



Chahal fails to appear in court
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 4
Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, former media adviser to former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh failed to appear before the Fast Track Court here today in an attempt to murder and land grabbing case.

His lawyer has moved an application seeking exemption on medical grounds. It was mentioned in the application that the Chahal was suffering from acute cervical pain. Another accused Kartar Singh Grewal also did not appear before the court and sought exemption on medical grounds.

Judge of the Fast Track Court, Manjinder Singh, exempted both of them personal appearance for today. The case was adjourned for July 14.

The case was today fixed for consideration on the application filed by accused Kartar Singh Grewal seeking discharge from the case. But no proceedings took place in this regard. On the last date of hearing the court had dismissed the application of Kartar Singh seeking permission to place on record the copies of certain judgment.

The case was registered against Chahal and a few relatives of his at the Sadar police station on June 10, 2007, following the complaint of Harchand Singh of Daad village. It was alleged in the FIR that Chahal along with his relatives had made an attempt to murder.



Tennis Championship: Haryana eves make clean sweep
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 4
Himani and Victoria from Haryana shared top honours by clinching titles in the girls’ under-12 and under-14 years categories, respectively, of the annual PAU AITA Total Tennis Talent Series Championship. The championship was organised by the Total Tennis Academy, which concluded at the Punjab Agricultural University campus courts here today.

In the under-12 years section final, Himani fought valiantly against her state mate Victoria, whom she overpowered 6-3, 6-4 to bag the title.

Meanwhile, in the under-14 years section, Victoria had turbulent time against Punjab’s upcoming player Rajvir Kaur whom she managed to overcome 7-5, 6-3 to win the title.

In the boys’ section, Fatehdeep Singh and Rishabh Dev from Punjab proved their mettle by winning the titles in the under-12 and under-14 years categories, respectively.

In the final under-12, Fatehdeep Singh faced a little resistance from Rahul Poria from Haryana before romping home victor 6-2, 6-3. In the boys under-14 years section, Rishabh Dev proved too good for his rival Chinmay Handa from Delhi whom he drubbed quite easily, 6-1, 6-1.

In the boys’ doubles’ final, the pair of Suraj and Rahul Poria outnumbered Fatehdeep Singh and Karanbir 6-1, 6-3 to win the title.



Prashar brothers nominated
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 4
Dr Deepak Prashar and his younger brother, Ravi Prashar,who runs a bodybuilding training centre in Ludhiana, have been selected as coach of the Indian Bodybuilding and Fitness Team and a member of the medical and dope control committee of the Indian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, respectively.

Dr Randhir Hastir, executive vice-president of the federation, said Dr Deepak, a judge on the panel of Asian Bodybuilding Association, will accompany the national team which would take part in the Asian Bodybuilding Championship and Congress to be held in Hong Kong from July 16 to 21.

While Ravi Prashar has been nominated as a member of medical and dope control committee for four years during the federation's annual general body meeting held at Aurangabad on June 22, the press note stated.



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