L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC in no rush to collect house tax
Two malls yet to cough up Rs 6.5 cr
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
If it was not for the casual approach of the Municipal Corporation (MC), it would have been richer by about Rs 6.5 crore.Two shopping malls owe the MC this hefty amount in the form of house tax, but the owners of the malls have been asking for more time to clear the dues.

This year, the MC has been able to generate more revenue from house tax, but if it had been strict with the “influential” mall owners, it could have added crores of rupees more to its kitty.

Sources said a mall at the Ferozepur road had not paid a single penny as house tax to the civic body ever since it became operational about two years ago.

Another mall had to pay up house tax worth Rs 4 crore, but the owners had been seeking time and the MC seemed to be “obliging” them.

Another amount of Rs 2.5 crore was pending against a mall, but it had appealed to the Divisional Commissioner, Patiala, to reconsider the case.

A senior MC official, on the condition of anonymity, said anyone could appeal to the Commissioner, Patiala Division, but 50 per cent house tax had to be deposited before filing an appeal.

“A shopping complex has paid only 50 per cent of the amount due against it, and the case is going on in Patiala. We can claim the whole amount from the owners at one go, but we are bound,” the official said, adding that last year, the recovery through house tax was Rs 15 crore, while in the current financial year, the amount had gone up to Rs 18.11 crore. “If there was no political pressure, this pending amount could have been recovered by March 31,” he said.

Additional Commissioner KP Brar, however, claimed that the MC was not under any pressure, saying that almost all leading malls had deposited the house tax and since a matter was pending in court, they would wait, but eventually the MC would claim the amount.


Cong councillors try to open flyover
Police foils plan; inauguration assured within a week
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

A Congress councillor breaks a coconut to inaugurate the flyover in Ludhiana on Thursday.
A Congress councillor breaks a coconut to inaugurate the flyover in Ludhiana on Thursday.Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan 

Ludhiana, May 20
High drama was witnessed today when a few Congress party councillors led by Hem Raj Aggarwal, leader of the opposition in the municipal corporation, arrived at the site of the newly constructed flyover at Gill Chowk to “inaugurate” the structure. Fed-up with what they called dithering by leaders of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, the group resolved to go ahead and open the flyover for traffic “for the convenience of the public”.

The councillors, who included Rakesh Prashar, Sanjay Talwar, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Balkar Singh, Hem Raj Aggarwal and Gurpreet Gogi, gathered on the main Link Road to inaugurate the project but were stopped by cops from the MC and other police stations. Prashar, however, was allowed to march-ahead to perform the ritual (“offering of coconut”), which served no purpose. The flyover remains closed for the public.

For a good 40 minutes arguments took place between the councillors, police personnel and civic body officials before the former dispersed with an assurance that the flyover would be opened to traffic within a week.

With the flyover yet to be operational city residents have again become victims of petty politicking. They wonder wonder if the Punjab chief minister and the deputy CM were too busy with their engagements why has not the civic body opened the much-awaited project.

Ramanjit Badhan Lally, General Secretary, Bahujan Samaj Party, Punjab told that thousands of migrants/workers had worked hard to make this overbridge, let them inaugurate the flyover. "But political gimmicks are more important here. Be it Congress or Akalis or BJP, everyone wants to get the credit without realizing the fact that public becomes the sufferer in their games", complained Lally.

Witnessing the whole drama today, Sukhmanreet Singh, a shopkeeper rued, "A facility is ready for public on which crores of rupees have been spent. Is it justified to wait for bigwigs to inaugurate flyover for public? When these political leaders can not realise how much we suffer when we are caught in traffic jams for hours, they should not be allowed to do such honours".

City residents have been putting up with the inconvenience caused by the flyover’s construction for the past 18 months, taking alternative routes to reach their destinations. 



Another attack on cop by youth 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
A cop was at the receiving end yet again when a ‘rich brat’ today attacked a police station house officer with a baseball bat fitted with a knife and injured him following a hot chase that began when the youth, who was driving a car, ignored a signal to stop.

The incident took place in the afternoon on Malhar Road when Beant Juneja. SHO of the Sarabha Nagar police station, waved at Jasmeet Singh, 25, to halt for violating the high court's prohibition of use of tinted glass on vehicles.

However, Jasmeet, son of a Dugri based financier, who was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer with tinted windowpanes, did not heed the signal and sped towards Ferozepore Road. Juneja chased him in his official van parked on the street.

The chase continued for about ten minutes. When the youth took a turn towards Sarabha Nagar from Ferozepore Road he suddenly applied the brakes and his car screeched to a halt in an obvious attempt to have the police vehicle bang into his car.

‘‘His audacity provoked me to continue following him and I asked my driver to step on the gas. We decided we would not let him go”, said Juneja.

Jasmeet applied the brakes yet again near Guru Nanak Public School in Sarabha Nagar and Juneja's driver overtook him. When the cops came out and tried to overpower the youth he took out his baseball bat and attacked the SHO.

As the bat had a blade fixed on it Juneja’s fingers were badly injured and began bleeding and he had to tie them up with his handkerchief. He, however, caught hold of Jasmeet who refused to say anything when he was questioned. The only information he gave about himself was that his father was a financier.

‘‘His adamant attitude really left us ruffled. We are now registering a case against him for violating HC directive and for attacking the case, ’’ said the SHO.

The case was however not registered till the filing of this report. The police said they were completing all formalities before filing an FIR.

Tough going for cops

April 21: A drunk kin of an SAD leader jumps lights at Bhai Bala Chowk and manhandles cops when they signal him to stop

April 23: Two youths manhandle traffic cops and train a pistol at them. The accused are overpowered by commuters

April 24: Two youths in an inebriated condition gate crash in a cinema hall and thrash cops who go to arrest them. The cops are beaten up and hospitalised

May 2: Two youths, claiming to be relatives of a woman MLA, manhandle a cop and damage a police vehicle when the latter tries to stop them from driving recklessly in the busy Dugri area

May 12: The grandson of Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker, Amit Gosain, manhandles a head constable at Bhai Bala Chowk for stopping him for violating traffic rule

Some months ago, former SP (Headquarters) Harish Kumar sustained serious injuries while mediating a dispute between an industrialist and a doctor.



Death of Baby
Enraged father assaults doctor
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
Dr Naveen Bajaj, a neonatologist, received serious injuries after he was reportedly attacked by Maninder Singh, whose premature baby died while recuperating in the emergency of Deep Hospital last night.

Maninder’s wife Anita and her baby (weighing 1.5 kg) was referred to the hospital yesterday morning. The baby was under respiratory distress and was being treated by Dr Bajaj. Despite trying for hours, Dr Bajaj could not save the baby and when Maninder learnt about it, he attacked the doctor with a knife.

Dr Baldeep Singh, owner of the hospital, alleged that Maninder was under the influence of some “drugs and alcohol” as he was lying unconscious in the corridor of the hospital.

Soon after learning about the baby’s death, he attacked Dr Bajaj. “The staff intervened and caught hold of him. Later, he was handed over to the police,” he said, adding that in the morning, “Maninder apologised to me and Dr Bajaj, saying that he was not in his senses when he attacked the doctor, but we have refused to accept his apology as had it not been for the intervention of the staff, Dr Bajaj could have even lost his life.”

Expressing shock over city politicians, Dr Baldeep said: “More than half a dozen politicians have approached me since morning to effect a compromise with Maninder, but we want the law to take its own course.”

The police has registered a case against Maninder Singh under Section 307 of the IPC. 

IMA sees red

The local unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has come in support of Dr Bajaj and has sought strict action against Maninder Singh.

The government should implement the Act pertaining to violence against doctors effectively so that such incidents do not recur. “Doctors go out of their way to save lives, but people repay them by destroying their property and causing them physical harm. This should be dealt with strictly,” Dr Narottam Dewan, president of the association, stated.



Harvest of Grief - A saga of widows
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
“Harvest of Grief”, the 67-minute documentary depicting the “sad saga” of widows of the farmers, who have committed suicide in Punjab, moved scientists and human rights activists present during the screenplay of the documentary at PAU today.

The documentary was directed by Anwar Jamal and produced by Rasil Basu, chairperson of Ektra Productions, in collaboration with the Movement Against State Repression (MASR), a Chandigarh-based NGO run by Inderjit Singh Jaijee, former state legislator and human rights activist.

Emphasising upon the agrarian woes caused by unpaid debts, injudicious use of pesticides, increased cost of cultivation with globalisation, improper procurement, the causative factors for farmer deaths in Malwa region, the documentary was indeed an eye opener.

A clipping from the documentary depicted the agony of a family in Balran village wherein after losing four of its male members, the eldest woman of the household took the reigns in her hand to run the show. “My husband was the first one to consume poison, followed by my two brother-in-laws and nephew and now women are left to repay the debts and bring up the children,” rued Gurpreet Kaur.

The documentary carried an excerpt from an interview of a physicist and environmental activist, Dr Vandana Shiva, who lambasted the government for having connived with the multinational companies in promoting pesticides and selling them to the farmers as “dawa” (medicine for fields).

The plight of the thwarted farmers was evident from the diver's interview in the documentary. “It was a nightmare for me to spend days to fish out the bodies of the farmers. I recall fishing out 1,300 bodies from various canals,” revealed a diver.

Inderjit Singh Jaijee said we want to give a message to the Government of India that the suicides had occurred in Punjab and India at large owing to the faulty agrarian policies.



Rs 1.5 lakh given to horticulture dept
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
Former medical superintendent of Dr BL Kapoor Memorial Hospital, Dr TS Cheema, presented a cheque of Rs 1.5 lakh to PAU comptroller AC Rana for developmental activities in the department of horticulture, PAU.

Dr TS Cheema donated the amount in memory of his father, Dr Ganda Singh Cheema, an eminent horticulturist, who had been commonly referred to as the father of Indian horticulture and was accredited with three fruit varieties, namely Sardar Guava (formerly known as Lucknow-49), Ganesh Pomegranate and Cheema Sahebi grapes (Selection-7).

Those who were present on the occasion included Dr SK Mann, former dean, College of Home Science, additional director of communication, Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, head, department of horticulture, Dr PS Aulakh, senior horticulturist, Dr GS Kahlon, and horticulturist, Dr MIS Gill.



Australian farm scholar visits PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
Sam Archer, a farming scholar from the Nuffield Australia Farming Scholars (NAFS), Australia, visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) on Tuesday.

Malwinder Singh Malhi, manager, Signet, who was accompanying the Australian scholar, interacted with PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang. Dr Kang apprised the visitors about the prevailing scenario of Punjab agriculture and highlighted that the current problems, including the depleting water table, deteriorating soil health, increasing cost of production, shrinking land holding farmers leaving agriculture.

Dr Kang said lack of proper storage facilities for scientific storage of food grains was a cause of concern. He said the level of processing and value addition of farm produce in the country was far less than that in some other countries. Dr Kang shared the areas where the PAU has already inked agreements for collaborative research in Australian organisations. He said the PAU would welcome the delegation of Nuffield Farm Scholars to have interaction with its academicians and scientists.

Speaking on the occasion, Archer said they held PAU in high esteem owing to its pro-farming programmes. Sharing that he himself was a goat farmer and cultivates cereal and legume crops in Australia, Archer said he was touring Punjab to understand economics of farming, particularly, in wheat.

He also interacted with members of the PAU Kisan Club and later accompanied its president Pavitar Pal Singh Pangli to the farm in Sudhar to study seed production in radish and basmati.



Revenue Collection
Excise dept fixes Rs 10,000-cr target
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
The target fixed by the Excise and Taxation Department for the current financial year is between Rs 9,500 crore and Rs 10,000 crore. Last year, the department had collected Rs 8,250 crore, which was 17 per cent higher than the previous year. This was stated by Excise and Taxation Commissioner A Venuparsad here yesterday while presiding over the monthly review meeting of the department.

“Of the total revenue collection, 50 per cent is contributed by the organised sector while it is only Rs 1,000 crore that comes from the general public,” he added.

Commenting on the role of department officials in the mushrooming of the bogus firms which had duped it of several thousand crores, he said, “All cases has been thoroughly reviewed. No action has been taken against any official as none was found to be involved.”

“Anomalies were found in the VAT registration and we have taken action against such officials and show-cause notices served on them,” he said.

Talking about liquor smuggled in Ludhiana from Chandigarh, he said, “Strict law has been enacted to check this illegal activity. ‘Peti’ mafia, the other major problem before the department, still needs to be checked. Within two months, the flow of goods without bills at the railway station will be curtailed. We are working hard to put a check on this activity,”he added. 



CBSE Class XII Results
Despite odds, Harmanjit scores 91 pc
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
Facing acute economic crisis, Harmanjit scored 91 per cent marks in CBSE class XII non-medical by depending on self study. This 19-year-old boy, who aspires to be a space scientist, lost his father a few days after his exams.

But he did not let the tragic loss and subsequent financial crises dissuade his dreams and merely after a few days he took up the IIT entrance exam.

So far, he has appeared for the entrance ex]ams of IIT, AIEEE, NDA and IIST. His teacher said, “At the time when the students are spending lakhs of rupees on tuitions, he believes in self study.”

“Chemistry is my favourite subject and I love studying it, that is why I never felt the need of taking tuitions,” said Harmanjit Singh.

Crediting BCM principal Paramjit Kaur for his success, he said she had been a guardian angel and supported him when the chips were down.

Not only this, his entire fee was exempted in class XI and only half fee was charged during the class XII examination.

Though a non-medical student, Harmanjit has a special interest for English literature. He said he had read nearly 350 novels, including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Harry Potter series. Besides, reading novels, he is good at poetry too.



From Schools and Colleges
Graduation ceremony

LUDHIANA: BCM School, Dugri, organised a graduation ceremony for kindergarten students. Dr Khuswinder Kumar, principal, BCM College of Education, Amarjyoti Chawla, principal, BCM School, Basant city, and RB Khanna, education advisor, presided over the occasion. The young graduates were given degrees by the dignitaries along with principal. Dr Vandna Shahi, principal, congratulated the parents on the success of their wards. — TNS


LUDHIANA: The placement cell of Quest Infosys, Regional Centre of Punjab Technical University (PTU) under the distance education programme organised a seminar on career in networking and Internet technologies here on Thursday. Facilitator Prof Anand explained about the working of Internet and networking technologies and how the websites are playing crucial role in today's life. Neeraj Sharma, regional manager, Quest Infosys, Harinder Singh, CEO Quest Infosys, DS Sekhon, president, PTU DEP Associates, and Heera Kamboj, placement official, also spoke on the occasion. — TNS

‘Kavi darbar’

LUDHIANA: Playway and primary wing of Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School on Thursday organised a “Kavi Darbar”. Social worker Sonia Khanna was the chief guest on the occasion. About 30 students from pre-nursery to Class V participated. All participants recited poems in an impressive way. The chief guest also judged the competition and distributed prizes among the winners and appreciation awards to all other participants. — TNS

Poetry recitation

LUDHIANA: An inter-house English poem recitation contest was organised by the junior humanities forum for the students of primary section at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, on Thursday. The contest was organised to provide the students a platform where they can use language confidently and also to create their interest in reading and poetry. The students were encouraged and guided to write short poems. School principal congratulated the prize winners and gave away the prizes. The prize winners of English Olympiad, Taneesha Gaur and Dhriti Gupta, were felicitated with gold and silver medals for obtaining the state-level first and second positions, respectively. Twentytwo other students were also awarded. — TNS



35 jhuggis gutted
Tribune News Service

Machhiwara, May 20
About 35 jhuggis in Saijo Majra were destroyed in a fire this evening. The fire broke out due to the electrical short-circuit at around 4 pm. Two fire tenders from Samrala were rushed to the spot. It took more than an hour for the fire tenders to reach the place. While villagers and jhuggi dwellers managed to save some of their belongings and heads of cattle, many lost their entire savings and things of basic necessities.

At least 35 families were living in the jhuggis. Most of the people were migrants and were doing menial jobs.

Police officials and local administrative officials reached the spot to ascertain the loss. Preliminary investigations ruled out any foul play. 



Toll, sales tax rile Amarnath yatra organisers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
The extra money that the organisers of the upcoming Amarnath ‘yatra’ will have to shell out on the trip to Jammu & Kashmir is set become a big irritant. Trucks carrying rations for the travellers will now be charged sales tax and also have to pay a toll at the two barriers located at Lakhanpur and Banihar. Shortage of space provided for ‘langars’ (community kitchens) has also annoyed the volunteers who will accompany them to provide free food.

"The food items in the trucks will not be for sale. We’ll use them to prepare food for the community kitchens. Every truck will have to pay nearly Rs 3,000-4,000 in sales tax, which should not be imposed at all”, said Rajinder Sharma, national president of the Amarnath Yatra Welfare Organization. “Space for putting up the langars has also been decreased and the move to shift the existing sheds will lead to further problems”, he added.

"We’ve built permanent sheds on the space allotted to us where we have been holding the ‘langars’ for the past so many years. Building new structures will cost us lakhs of rupees, which is unacceptable. And, in the space presently allotted to us we may not be able to cater to the various needs of the ‘yatris’ (travellers). This decision should be reviewed," Sharma asserted.

The group has also sought waiver of police verification of ‘sewadars’ (volunteers) providing community kitchens. It has said that its president and secretary should instead be given this responsibility.

The group has also shot off a letter to NN Vohra, chairman of the Amarnath Shrine Board, saying it had been trying hard to get in touch with the board’s CEO, RK Goyal, regarding the forthcoming ‘yatra’ but he had bothered to reply.

Meanwhile, the Amarnath Baltal Langars Organization has sent an ‘ultimatum’ to the board, threatening to launch a nationwide protest against it if it does not meet its demands in a week’s time. Representations have been forwarded to the board’s CEO as well as to the president and prime minister of India as well as the Jammu & Kashmir governor and chief minister.



Govt assures NPA, vets defer protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
In a major relief to veterinarians of Punjab, the state government has assured the payment of non-practicing allowance (NPA).Following the assurance from Gulzar Singh Ranike, minister of animal husbandry, Punjab, and GS Sandhu, financial commissioner, animal husbandry, Punjab, the veterinary officers of the state have decided to postpone their district-level protests.

The decision was taken during a meeting between Ranike, Sandhu and the state executive of the Punjab State Veterinary Officers’ Association.During the meeting, Ranike assured the veterinary officers of notifying the NPA soon and appealed to them to suspend their ongoing agitation for a month.The minister said the government had decided in principal to give the NPA to vets, as it would directly benefit livestock farmers.

Veterinarians of the state had been protesting against the non-implementation of the NPA for vets, as recommended by the 5th Pay Commission.

Members of the PSVOA had been boycotting camps at grass roots, disease surveillance, cattle insurance and male-calf purchase, which had adversely affected the functioning of many important department schemes.

The vets were also preparing to initiate a state-wide protest in the form of district-level dharnas to press for their demand from May 25.During the meeting, PSVOA general secretary Dr Sukhdev Singh urged the Punjab government to notify the NPA for vets at the earliest, failing which they would be forced to intensify their stir.



12 cartridges seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 20
The Sudhar police has finally registered a case under Sections 25,54 and 59 of the Arms Act against an unidentified youth. Earlier, the cops had refuted the existence of any such cartridges as was reported in a few vernacular dailies.

A few youths, while taking the bath in the canal at Heran village near here on May 16, came across a polythene bag. They took out the bag from the canal and were amazed to see cartridges inside it. Soon the news spread like a wildfire. The SSP Ludhiana (Rural) directed the SHO Sudhar to probe into the matter.

The SHO dismissed it as a handy work of rumormongers. Meanwhile, the Raikot DSP and the Sudhar SHO approached the village sarpanch in this regard. After being persuaded by the sarpanch a few villagers surrendered the cartridges. In an hour or so, the police had collected 12 cartridges of AK 47 rifles.

The SHO said the cartridges recovered by the youths were at least 12 to 15 years old and were unusable now. The matter is being probed and those behind it will soon be nabbed. 



Illicit liquor seized; businessman held
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, May 20
The local police and the excise department of Jagraon and Ludhiana along with the excise police raided the premises of a local businessman here and seized 30 boxes of country-made liquor from his godown.

Acting on a tip-off, excise inspectors Darshan Singh from Jagraon and Krishan Chand from Ludhiana along with an excise police team led by ASI Gurdeep Singh raided the godown of Dhillon Batteries owned by Paramjit Singh of Basram village.

SI Swaran Singh from the Dakha police station also joined the raid.The godown was located right next to a showroom owned by Paramjit on the national highway.

Unaccounted for liquor worth over Rs 45,000 was found hidden under a tarpaulin in the godown.Having a good network among the rural clientele due to his dealing in batteries, the accused had been clandestinely running an illegal vend.The excise team arrested the accused from the scene.



Cheque-bounce case
72-yr-old businessman convicted
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 20
Judicial Magistrate Rajvinder Singh has convicted Shiv Bansal (72- year-old), owner of M/s Ajanta Hosiery and Exports, Focal Point, Ludhiana; in a Rs 2 lakh cheque bounce case. He was sentenced to undergo two years imprisonment.

“Despite being experienced businessman and senior citizen accused has failed to honour his commitment in discharging of his liability to ensure the encashment of cheque in question”, observed the court while dismissing the plea of leniency raised by the accused. He was also ordered to pay fine of Rs 5000.

The orders came on a complaint of Surinder Kapoor, owner of M/s Kapoor Traders, Tagore Nagar, Ludhiana. It was submitted that the accused had taken a loan of Rs 2 lakh from him. In order to repay the loan amount, he issued the cheque for the same amount on January 31, 2006.

It was assured that the cheques would be encashed on its presentation. But to the utter surprise, when the cheque was presented for encashment, the banker of accused with remarks-insufficient funds, dishonoured the same. A legal notice was served on the accused, requesting him to make the payment of dishonoured cheque. But he failed to make the payment, added the complainant.

The accused pleaded innocence and claimed false implication. He said actually the complainant had promised to advance a loan. He took the cheque as security but not advanced loan. However, the court disagreed with his



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