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Rs 652-cr MC budget passed in 20 minutes flat
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Treating the budget like a mere formality, the SAD-BJP alliance today passed the financial plan for 2009-10, amounting to Rs 652.55 crore, in 20 minutes at the municipal house meeting here today.

The proceedings started at 10 am and were over by 10.20 am with councillors from the ruling and the opposition parties walking out.

While the SAD-BJP councillors stated that the budget had been passed and no more proceedings were required, Congress councillors staged a walkout in protest, saying that they were not given a chance to speak.

Deputy leader of opposition Amrit Varsha Rampal, who got a chance to speak on behalf of the Congress after a lot of hue and cry, was not allowed to speak after her first statement that “since the leader of opposition, Prem Mittal, has gone on deputation for some time...”

Without allowing her to complete her statement, Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura asked assistant commissioner Vinod Sharda to read out the budget statement and in the presence of 55 councillors, out of which 13 were from the opposition, the budget was passed.

When some SAD and BJP councillors were asked if they were satisfied with the proceedings, they revealed that the budget meetings in the MC houses of Jalandhar and Amritsar were wound up in just 10 minutes and termed the budget as one of the best-ever.

Income

According to the budget, the civic body would get maximum income from VAT which is expected to be Rs 249 crore as against Rs 166 crore last year. The other revenue to be received during 2009-10 is: house tax Rs 75 crore; octori on electricity Rs 24 crore; advertisement tax Rs 8 crore; entertainment tax Rs 5 lakh; license fee under Section 343 Rs 1.7 crore; license fee on vehicles Rs 12 lakh; slaughter house fee Rs 4 lakh; rent on municipal property Rs 22 lakh; tehbazari Rs 3 crore; composition fee Rs 5 crore; other miscellaneous income Rs 20.32 crore; sale of property Rs 10 crore; recovery of loan from employees Rs 2 crore; income of O&M cell Rs 35 crore; and additional excise duty Rs 75 crore.

Apart from it, Rs 100 crore would be coming from JNNURM for various projects. HUDCO loan has also been increased from Rs 12 crore to Rs 44 crore.

Expenditure

The MC would spend Rs 119.98 crore on account of establishment and Rs 17.80 crore from the contingency account. Apart from it, Rs 299.32 crore would be spent on development works that have been categorised as new works and maintenance works.

A sum of Rs 50 crore would be spent on roads; Rs 100 crore on bridges and Rs 19.82 crore on streets and drains; Rs 5 crore each on parks and streetlights; Rs 50 crore on development of slum colonies and Rs 6 crore on municipal buildings; and Rs 5 crore on solid waste management projects.

The funds allocated for maintenance works account to Rs 53.50 crore.

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Cracks resurface on Malerkotla road 
Premix laid during winter
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 28
Cracks have started resurfacing on a mettled surface of those spans of under-construction Ludhiana-Malerkotla road where premix was laid a few weeks ago. Though the construction company has started repairing damaged portions of the road, durability and robustness is still at stake.

Those living in the area have urged the higher authorities to impress upon PWD and the PRBD officials to get the road constructed under their supervision.

Massive cracks have appeared on surface of the under-construction Ludhiana- Malerkotla road where premix had been laid when the weather was much below the minimum temperature required for the processing, mixing and setting of the conglomerate. The premix laying work had continued all through the night as well.

The alleged failure of the authorities to get the work done as per the guidelines and specification being followed by most of the civil work agencies, resulted in degradation of the quality. Condition of road near Pohir, Lehra and Gopalpur villages got so bad that the constriction company had to remove layer of premix laid earlier.

The PWD authorities had washed their hands off the responsibility by claiming that a third agency was accountable for ensuring smooth running on the road for five years after completion of the work. Nobody seemed to be concerned about inconvenience caused to the public and the national loss, which were not denied.

Not a single official of any state civil works agency bothered to find reasons behind the damage caused to the road during laying it. 

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Eyewash, say Cong councillors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Congress factionalism and absence of a leader of opposition today affected the party during the financial budget session today. The party is in minority in the MC. Terming the budget meeting eyewash, Congress councillors said everything had been preplanned.

Talking to mediapersons, the Congress councillors said: “There were several points in the budget which should have been highlighted like income from property, advertisement revenue and fund for health facilities.”

Sanjay Talwar said the MC had failed to tackle dengue last year and even now the money allotted to the health department was only Rs 50 lakh. “They are ready to waste money on fancy lights, but not use it on potable water and drainage system,” he said.

The sale of property meant Rs 100 crore as income, but officials had shown only Rs 10 crore as income, he stated.

Similarly, Hem Raj Aggarwal said the income from house tax could go beyond Rs 100 crore. However, the ruling alliance was only expecting an income of Rs 75 crore.

Sham Sunder Malhotra said they would seek a legal opinion on the proceedings today. “The Congress also wanted to question the ruling alliance about the expenditure of Rs 40 crore during sangat darshan. We know that MC funds are being diverted for fulfilling sangat darshan promises and not that of the Punjab government,” he added.

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Whose park is it anyway?
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
The struggle for supremacy over parks has become an annual ritual in the city as senior citizens and children lock horns over their claim on parks.

Children, who have finished their examinations, are geared up to make the most of the free time by playing in parks of their localities, but are facing a challenge by the elderly who have restricted them from playing in the park.

At BRS Nagar Block I, some elders damaged the area where children used to play cricket. And it was done by an employee. This invited the ire of parents who complained to the head of the horticulture department, JS Billga. Now, children, most below 10 years, have no place to play.

The children alleged that the elderly had double standards. They always complain that children did not play and only watched television, but when they started playing, these very people objected to it.

The children said they didn’t know where to play as there were hardly any playgrounds in the town.

Six-year-old Harmanjot Singh, who fractured his leg a few months ago while playing on the street, is looking for a new place to play cricket with his friends. “We used to play here, but some uncles had problems. They told us to play in the street and prohibited us from playing in the park. It is dangerous to play on the road as so many vehicles cross it. I do not want another leg injury,” he said. He lamented that they dug up the place where they used to play cricket.

PK Jindal, former town planner, said he would try to convince those who were opposing the children from playing in the park. At the same time, the elderly also have a reason to object.

They said they had planted beautiful flowers in the park and children were ruining their beauty. Instead of playing cricket or football, they should play other games. “We have to walk in the evening and there is fear of getting injured by a cricket ball or football,” a woman said. 

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Bid to Murder
‘Accused’ on police advisory panel
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
The district administration has named an accused in an attempt to murder case a member of the district police advisory committee.

Gurpreet Singh Babbal, an Akali leader, has been nominated member following the recommendation by senior Akali leaders.

He, along with his accomplices, had been booked for assaulting a Raikot youth, Rajiv Dhir, and injuring him badly at a multiplex when he tried to help some girls who were being eve-teased.

The incident took place in January when Rajiv Dhir was injured and admitted to hospital. Babbal and his accomplices were booked for the attack. A CCTV camera had even caught the image of the accused before he attacked the victim. On the basis of this footage, the police had registered a case.

His nomination has raised many an eyebrow. A senior police official, requesting anonymity, said it was shocking that an accused had been made member of the advisory committee.

“When he himself has been booked for a murderous attack, how can he advise on checking crime. I am shocked. I do not know the criterion of selection, and this has happened just a month after he had hogged headlines,” he said.

He went on to add that the accused had even absconded after the registration of the case. Finally, a compromise had been effected between the parties. “This does not mean that the people would forget his act,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg said he did not know anything about Babbal’s record. He said though the nominations to various advisory committees of the district were done by him, he did not know the past records of the members.

“I could not have found out the record of so many people. Moreover, I do not have his file on my table so that I can tell anything about him,” he added.

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Brothers get life term for murder
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana February 28
A Fast Track Court has sentenced two brothers, Manjit Singh and Gagandeep Singh of Kakrala Kalan in Ludhiana district, to undergo rigorous life imprisonment on charges of killing Sant Singh of the same village.

Additional Sessions Judge Manjinder Singh while pronouncing the verdict held that the prosecution had proved the charges levelled against the accused beyond any doubt.

Keeping in view the seriousness of the offence, convicts did not deserve any leniency, observed the court while declining the leniency plea raised by the convicts. Fine of Rs 1,000 each was also imposed on them.

Initially a case under Section 323/341/506 and 34 of the IPC was registered on September 21, 2007, against the accused following the complaint lodged by Daljit Singh of Kakrala Kalan. He had accused them of attacking his father.

He had submitted before the police that he was an agriculturist. On September 20 evening his father was returning home from his fields. When he was at a few distance from home, both accused armed with sickle and cane attacked his father.

On hearing his crises, Daljit reached the spot. Even in his presence, the accused continued to inflict injuries with sharp-edged weapons on his father’s head. Daljit’s father became unconscious and fell down. Meanwhile, the accused fled away from the spot. He took his father to Samrala civil hospital from where he was referred to the CMC Hospital in Ludhiana. His father died on October 4, 2007, he added.

The complainant had submitted that Manjit Singh, one of the accused, suspected that he was having illicit relations with his wife. He had quarreled with him earlier also. A few days ago, he had threatened to eliminate his family members.

On the other hand, accused had pleaded innocence. They had claimed that the complainant was having illicit relationship with Manjit Singh’s wife. Due to this enmity, they were falsely implicated in this case. 

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200 people stage dharna outside Jagraon MC
Allege officials relaying streets despite restrictions 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 27
At least 200 men and women yesterday staged dharna in front of the municipal committee’s president and the executive officer’s offices and raised slogans against them for being biased in carrying out developmental activities and wasting the grants by relaying the streets that were in good condition. As per rules these can’t be even re-laid, the residents added.

These officials had even gone to the extent of demolishing a few concrete streets that were laid about a year ago despite restrictions imposed by the Deputy Director (Local Bodies).

He said the streets were in bad shape and conditions were ignored while passing the tenders. Municipal councillor, Vinod Goyal (BJP), said the house passed some of these tenders in gross violation of rules of the department. 

As per rules the concrete streets once laid could not be relaid within five years as in the case of brick streets, these could not relaid within three years again. They were alleging that the rules were being violated by the president and the EO just to please the councillors who voted in favour of the president.

When Jatinder Pal Singh Rana, another municipal committee member, raised the issue of corruption in the committee office and the commission charged from the contractors, the president openly said all senior officers were having their cuts and to meet the payment being made to the high ups, the percent of commission from the contractors will soon be raised.

Protesters called it a token protest but added that if the committee did not mend its ways, they will launch their agitation.

However, EO Shakti Kaushal refuted the charges of corruption and commission charged from the contractors. President Baldev Krishan Dheer said no rules were being flouted by him or his officials to benefit anyone.

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Dyeing units to treat effluent 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Following an order of the High Court to set May 31 as deadline for the MC to close all outlets being used for discharging waste in Budda Nullah, dyeing units have decided to set up a common effluent treatment plant (CETP).

Speaking at a press conference here today, Ashok Makkar, president of the Federation of Tajpur Dyeing Factories Association, said: “Though dyeing units on Tajpur road have set up treatment plants on their premises, the units are too small and don't have enough space or resources to get the treatment plants upgraded. So, the need is for a common effluent treatment plant.”

Bobby Jindal, spokesman for the association, said Rs 1 crore had already been arranged by way of contributions by association members. Such a plant would cost Rs 15 crore and was entitled to 50 per cent subsidy from the government.

Makkar said the proposal regarding the plant was ready and the association would approach the state government for land.

The dyeing industry has been accused of polluting the nullah by emptying effluents into it. Despite the Punjab Pollution Control Board setting norms for effluent treatment, it was being discharged directly into the nullah. With the industry announcing the setting up of a CETP, there is hope for the nullah.

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Pbi varsity riders pedal to glory
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 28
Riders from Punjabi University, Patiala, who emerged overall champions for a record period of eleventh year in the track events in the All-India Inter-University Cycling Championship held at the Punjab Agricultural University velodrome here yesterday, continued to dominate in road races here today.

In the 50 km team trial event for men, Punjabi University, Patiala, squad clocked 1.08.55:470 seconds to clinch gold. Bikaner University boys took 1.08.00:450 seconds to secure a silver while team from Panjab University, Chandigarh, boys with 1.10.02:343 seconds clinched bronze. In the 30km road mass start race (women), Gurpreet of Punjabi University bagged gold. Priyanka Desai from Pune University and Parvathy VS of Kerala University won silver and bronze medals, respectively.

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Bachan Academy enter finals

Ludhiana, February 28
Fine batting by Anil Singla (47), Chinton Sehgal (35) and an equally valuable contribution with the ball by Deepak Bansal (3 for 10) and Atul Kohli (3 for 15) enabled Sarpanch Bachan Singh Academy to script 5-wicket victory over the Sports Cricket Club to enter the finals of the inaugural edition of the Twenty20 Cash Prize Cricket Tournament being organised at Chahar village in Ludhiana today.

The Sports Cricket Club were bowled out for 108 runs in 20 overs. For the Sarpanch Bachan Singh Academy, Deepak Bansal and Atul Kohli bowled four overs each and grabbed three wickets while Varinder Patwari scalped two victims for 17 runs.

The Bachan Academy made 111 runs for the loss of five wickets. Anil Singla (47), Chinton Sehgal (35) and Raman (15 n.o.) enabled to win. For the losers, Harpal and Shakun Verma claimed two wickets each while Sunny grabbed one wicket. — OC

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