L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


GLADA puts off open auction
Finds no takers for prime commercial land
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 14
With no buyers turning up for the purchase of two prime commercial sites on the main Ferozepur Road, a national highway, the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) had no other option, but to put off the open auction after waiting till 4 pm here today.

On offer for sale were two chunks of commercial land with floor areas of 1.016 acre and 0.90 acre, adjoining the West End Mall.

GLADA additional chief administrator, Dr Jaswant Singh, who presided over the non-productive auction proceedings, told The Tribune that no one had deposited the eligibility fee for participating in the open auction.

“We did receive some queries regarding the sites, including a few from the multinational companies and big developers, but on one turned up till late afternoon with the result that auction has to be called off,” he informed.

In November, last year also, two pockets of commercial land measuring 3.60 acre and 1.60 acre from out of erstwhile old district courts complex, offered for sale by PUDA with a reserve price of Rs 80,000 per square yards, had found no takers and the auction had to be put off.

Even though PUDA had made elaborate arrangements, anticipating heavy turnout of prospective buyers, but just about two or three realtors had shown some interest and only one person had deposited the eligibility fee.

The freehold commercial sites, which were to go under the hammer today, are strategically located with sound business potential. While both pockets had the same reserve price of Rs 1,76,670 per square yard, site 1-A with floor area of 1.016, being a corner plot was to be sold at a premium of 10 per cent.

Intending bidders were required to deposit an eligibility fee of Rs 86,87,641 and Rs 76,95,745 for two sites, respectively, before taking part in the auction proceedings.

Barring the unproductive auction of two sites at the old district court complex in November 2010 and a couple of commercial sites, which remained unsold today, GLADA and PUDA have a sound track record of selling commercial sites, residential plots and flats in the mega city.

Besides receiving a huge response to sale of residential plots in Sector 40 on the Chandigarh Road, MIG and HIG flats in Dugri, GLADA had made most of the two pockets of old courts complex, measuring 3.60 acre and 11,000 square yards, which were sold at a whopping Rs 228.26 crore and Rs 169.69 crore, respectively, after the land was handed over to the agency by the state government for commercial exploration under the “optimum use of vacant government land” policy.


NGO lends support to District Health Official
Anshu Seth 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Having failed to obtain any support from the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the District Health Officer (DHO), Dr Jagpal Singh, who was allegedly abused, intimidated and refrained from taking samples from a grocery store in Janakpuri, has received support from an NGO, Universal Human Rights Organisation (UHRO).

In the absence of any support from the health department to take up the matter with the police department for registering a complaint against the guilty store owner, the DHO had decided to submit his resignation.

But the UHRO, after reading about the episode in The Ludhiana Tribune on March 13, came forward to extend support to the DHO.

Surprising yet true that nobody from the Department of Health and Family Welfare accompanied the DHO to the office of the ADCP I Harsh Bansal. The IHRO activists accompanied the DHO.

As it happened, the owner of Pawan Karyana Store in Janakpuri had called goons when Dr Jagpal Singh, along with his team, reached his outlet to collect samples for food items on March 12. Dr Jagpal Singh had reached Janakpuri after collecting a number of food and milk/milk product samples from various localities in the city.

So much so that the goons not only used abusive language but also caught hold of the DHO by his collar and tried to strangulate him as was mentioned in the complaint given by Dr Jagpal Singh to the Commissioner, Police, Ludhiana.

When apprised of the situation, the Ludhiana Civil Surgeon immediately informed the Commissioner, Police, who, in turn, talked to the police official concerned, who further shocked the health officials by advising them to "amicably" resolve the matter and leave the spot.

UHRO president Satnam Singh Dhaliwal said adulteration had become a major problem for Ludhiana that needs to be checked at every cost. "But the drive against adulteration becomes a farce if the health officials do not get support from the law-enforcing agencies. Thus, the Commissioner, Police, should give clear instructions to police officials to extend support to the raiding/checking teams," said Dhaliwal. 

‘CM, Health Minister should look into matter’

The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association condemned the episode at a special meeting held in Ludhiana today. "The drive against adulteration is a prerogative of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Punjab Health Minister Laxmikanta Chawla. They should look into the matter and ask the cops to take immediate action," said PCMS Association state president Dr Hardeep Singh. Terming the above episode as "negligence" of cops on duty, the association demanded that the DHO, food inspectors and drug inspectors should be provided police security during the raids.

‘Govt should protect employees’

Working under such circumstances is unacceptable to any honourable and sincere official. I am a pharmacologist and can get a package of Rs 1 lakh per month in any reputed private institution, but I give preference to good work over monetary benefits . Thus, the government should safeguard the interests of its employees, the DHO said.



More thefts at mobile shops
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
After a lull of nearly a month, theft incidents at mobile shops have again started gaining momentum in different parts of the city, catching the city police napping.

The revival of theft incidents has hinted towards the involvement of an organised gang of thieves, which had struck at mobile shops located alongside the Ferozepore road earlier this year.

The gang is suspected to have shifted its base and started striking at mobile shops located in the old city area.

In a fresh strike, the gang pulled open the shutters of two shops located in Chhauni Mohalla and on the Bhadurke road and fled with 20 and 150 mobile phones, respectively.

Besides stealing mobiles, the thieves decamped with cellular recharge coupons worth over Rs 15,000.

However, the police is claiming that the latest mobile thefts could be the handiwork some other gang operating in the area, as the modus operandi employed in the fresh strikes is strikingly different from the thief incidents reported in the past.

In the latest theft incidents, the thieves laid their hands on possibly everything that was lying inside the mobile shops.

The thieves, who committed thefts at five mobile stores during the last week of January and first week of February, used to pull out the mobile phones from their cover, leaving behind a trail of empty boxes.

The police has also taken proactive measures to keep a tab on the increasing cases of mobile phones thefts.

After witnessing a steep rise in mobile phone thefts, the police has set up a centralised social counter to deal with such complaints related to mobile phone thefts.

The social counter for mobile phones has been set up at community police resource centre at mini-secretariat.

In a majority of cases, complainants had to rush from pillar to post to register complaints related to mobile phone thefts. Most of the time, complaint was not even registered by the police and the matter was buried in the DDR.

Incidents so far

January 28: Thieves struck at mobile store in Ishmeet Chowk near Model Town and stole 70 mobile phones and Rs 50,000

January 30: In the second incident on Sunday, thieves struck at two mobile stores at Ghumar Mandi and Ferozepur road, respectively, and fled  with 92 mobile phones.

February 4: Thieves decamped with 42 mobile phones by breaking the locks of a mobile shop located at Feroze Gandhi market.

March 11: Thieves struck at a mobile store located in Chhauni Mohalla and decamped with 12 mobile phones, seven demo mobiles and cellular recharge coupons Rs 70,000.

March 12: Thieves fled with 150 mobile phone, cash and recharge coupons worth Rs 2 lakh by breaking into a mobile shop located on the Bhadurke road near Jodhewal.



Punjab Budget
Varsities cry for more funds
The Budget presented by Finance Minister Dr Upinderjeet Kaur failed to evoke a positive response by authorities in Punjab Agricultural University and Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. Educationists feel that more funds should have been given to colleges to develop infrastructure, reports Shivani Bhakoo.

The authorities in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) are not happy with the Budget announced by the Finance Minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur here today.

MS Kang
MS Kang 
(Vice-Chancellor, PAU)

As per the Budget: “The state will emphasise on agricultural research and development by providing an allocation of Rs 25 crore to PAU in 2011-12. This is a part from the normal grant-in-aid of Rs 85 crore, which is being provided on the non-plan side.”

Vice-Chancellor Dr MS Kang said, there was an increase of just Rs 5 crore. At present, PAU was getting Rs 85 crore under non-plan scheme and Rs 20 crore under planned scheme. “Now, PAU will get Rs 110 as a grant by the state, which is not sufficient to fulfill the needs of the university. We were hoping to get at least Rs 135-140 crore for sustainability, but the increase of Rs 5 crore is, too, less to take PAU out from the financial crunch, develop research programmes, bring latest technology etc,” said Dr Kang.

Dr MS Sidhu, professor and head, department of economics and sociology, PAU, said the amount announced by Finance Minister was, too less to solve the problems of the university.

He said with this amount, even the sustainability of the university was not possible.

“We are contributing maximum to educate farmers in Punjab, who are putting in maximum food-grain to the nation’s kitty. We expected at least Rs 135 crore from the state government, as Punjab’s economy is based on agriculture and agriculture depends largely on suggestions made by the PAU scientists. The PAU must not feel neglected,” said Dr Sidhu.


Dr VK Taneja, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), said the university welcomed the Budget, but there was nothing much to appreciate about it.

VK Taneja (Vice-Chancellor, GADVASU
VK Taneja (Vice-Chancellor, GADVASU)

He said expenses of the veterinary university under non-plan scheme were already Rs 45 crore, 50 per cent increase will not serve much purposes.

Dr PD Jual (Registrar, GADVASU)
Dr PD Jual (Registrar, GADVASU)

“As per today's Budget, the university will be given Rs 37.5 crore by the state, whereas the requirement was of Rs 50 crore. The monthly salaries of employees have been increased due to the Pay Commission recommendations and we need to cope with that. Besides, GADVASU is providing the diversification prospects to farmers. We need to educate students in case we have to grow in other industries, including dairy farming, pig/goat farming etc. For this, more funds are needed for vet universities,” said Dr Taneja adding that the realistic expectation by GADVASU for development was Rs 200 crore (under one time grant).

Dr PD Jual, Registrar, GADVASU said: “The university was started in 2006. Since then three colleges have been started, but the building is all old. We were hoping to get grant for bringing latest technology, facilities, but the announced amount is not enough to serve the purpose. We need to bring appropriate cost effective technologies for growth and more funds are required for that progress.”

Higher Education

Higher education has not been given much by the Finance Minister. Educationists feel that higher education and technical education must be given equal pace with the school education.

Dr Prem Kumar
Dr Prem Kumar
(president, Punjab Commerce and Management Association )

Dr Prem Kumar, president, Punjab Commerce and Management Association (PCMA), said it was a welcome step to provide free education to girls from class 1-12 in government-run institutions, but the major emphasis should have been given to improve quality of education in these institutions.

“Funds earmarked for infrastructure, including Rs 916 crore were not sufficient and it should be raised to at least Rs 1,200 crore and some portion should be given to the universities and government colleges to upgrade their infrastructure to start more job-oriented courses. On an average it is good, but it needs some innovations in allocation of funds. Finance Minister must have raised some more resources for the development of primary sector of economy, particularly health and education. The state government must have done something to initiate the process to establish Special Education Zone to encourage private sector to establish educational facilities in the rural sector where more than 68 per cent of youth is waiting to get skill development education to get employment.”

(Photos by Inderjeet Verma)



Industry left high and dry
The budget was a disappointment for the city industrialists who were hoping to get some compensation in the wake of negligible allocation in the last budget. But this budget has left them high and dry. Bebe Nanki Ladli Beti Kalyan Scheme for investing ` 15,000 with Life Insurance Corporation at the birth of a girl child is the saving grace. Manav Mander speaks to industrialists for their reaction.

Industry has been left high and dry in the state budget. Nothing has been allocated to the industry except Rs 10 crore for upgradation of industrial focal points, while in 2010-2011, the state government has spent Rs 30 crore for the same. The budget has proved to be an utter disappointment for the industry.

Terming the budget as void, PD Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said nothing had been granted to the industry. “The government has given a wrong impression about its performance. The industrial sector has been totally ignored and it seems to be a planned budget,” he said.

While Badish Jindal, president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association, said the budget had been planned keeping in view the coming elections. While Finance Minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur said there had been a 44 per cent increase in the growth rate, but nothing had been allocated to the industry.

“Last year, the fund allocated for the upgradation of the focal points was Rs 30 crore, while this year, it has been reduced to Rs 10 crore only,” he rued.

Even the funds given under the social security are those, which the state gets from the Central government.

Adding further, he said the state government already assigned 10 per cent of total VAT collections in the state to urban local bodies to compensate them for losses on account of abolition of octroi. The state government has recently promulgated an ordinance to assign 20 per cent of surcharge on VAT to urban local bodies.

“If the government proposes to pay this 20 per cent surcharge from its own funds then it will further create problem, as the government does not have enough funds for paying VAT refunds and if it is to be paid by the people than it will prove to be an additional burden for the people,” he said.

Monika Khurana, president of Women and Children Welfare Council, applauded the “Bebe Nanki Ladli Beti Kalyan Scheme” for investing Rs 15,000 with Life Insurance Corporation at the birth of a girl child. In addition to this, Rs 9 crore will be given for providing free utensils in all schools that have been covered under the midday meal scheme.

“The Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme with an outlay of Rs 75 crore to provide free bicycles to all girl students studying in Classes XI and XII in all government schools is another welcome step,” added Khurana. 


* Rs 986 crore, including ` 626 crore, is proposed to be spent on road infrastructure and transport in 2011-2012

* Rs1,030 crore for irrigation and flood control, an increase of 59.68 per cent

* Rs 3,300 crore for the power sector, which is about 30 per cent of the total plan outlay for 2011-12

* Rs 916 crore for creation of infrastructure by Punjab Infrastructure Development Board

Rural development

* A sum of Rs  200 crore is proposed to be spent in 2011-12 for cleaning of village ponds

* A sum of Rs 200 crore has been provided for construction/brick paving of passages/drains in villages

Social security

* Proposed to lower the qualifying age limit for old age pension in case of women to 58 years from 60 at present

* Outlay for social security has been increased by 24 per cent to ` 924 crore

* A new scheme “Bebe Nanki Ladli Beti Kalyan Scheme” for investing ` 15,000 with Life Insurance Corporation at the birth of a girl child

Defence services welfare

 * Rs 2 crore for providing grant of ` 5 lakh each for
purchase of plot or house for widows of martyrs or disabled soldiers

* Rs 6 crore for construction of Sainik Rest House and Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum, Ludhiana

* Decided to raise allowances of all our war decorated soldiers by 40 per cent

* Rs 13 crore for defence services welfare in annual plan 2011-12


* Rs 10 crore for upgradation of industrial focal points

* Rs 9 crore for providing free untensils in all schools covered under the midday meal scheme



Medical fraternity welcomes allocation for weaker sections
The Rs 720 crore allocation for the health sector in the state budget announced by Punjab Finance Minister Upinderjit Kaur has evoked mixed reactions from various sections of society. Anshu Seth spoke to some experts in their respective fields. On the one hand, the medical fraternity has appreciated the allocations for weaker segments of society; on the other hand, no allocation for clinical work in the public health sector has left many disappointed

The medical fraternity has welcomed the provision of Rs 25 crore for free healthcare to the backward classes/castes and economically weaker sections with income below Rs 30,000 per annum.

Dr LS Chawla, the former Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), said it was a good step on the part of the state government to extend the benefits of free healthcare to the economically weaker sections, who are unable to afford the treatment at private hospitals.

The Rs 20 crore corpus for cancer patients is insufficient if we look at the widespread prevalence of the disease. “The need of the hour is to fund special projects to carry out extensive study in the belts having maximum cancer patients and to appoint cancer specialists in the government hospitals across the state. Provision of drugs and chemotherapy at the government hospitals will be an answer to the problem,” said Dr Chawla.

Dr Hardeep Singh, state president Punjab Civil Medical Service (PCMS) Association, appreciated the announcement of new scheme for institutional deliveries under the Mata Kushalya Kalyan Scheme wherein an amount of Rs 12 crore has been allocated for cash incentive to all mothers, who will undergo deliveries in the government hospitals. The amount for every institutional delivery has been increased to ` 1,000. However, Dr Hardeep said a major part of the budget allocation would go in dispensing salaries, arrears and remuneration to employees, who were earlier paid by the Central government, but now salaries will be given by the state government.

“There is no segregated allocation of funds for the clinical work to be carried out in the hospitals and health centres, thus the common man will not get any benefit in the public healthcare sector,” observed Dr Hardeep Singh.

Also, the budget does not have any allocation to improve techniques, sanitation and to add super specialists so as to bring the Civil Hospitals at par with private hospitals, observed PCMSA president.

Harish Kumar, (retd) Superintendent of Police, feels that cashless medical insurance scheme for all employees of the police department were long awaited. “It is good that the state government will spend Rs 25 crore per annum on the indoor treatment facility up to Rs 2 lakh per annum to the cops and their family members and dependents. But need of the hour is to provide regular medical check ups, healthy lifestyle and relief from overwork to the cops, as more than 40 per cent of the cops are sick with one problem or the other,” said Harish Kumar.

He also said special funds should have been allocated for health packages, including awareness programmes on “preventive measures” against obesity, addiction, hypertension and diabetes.

Sham Sunder Juneja, a crusader in road safety programme for the last four decades, feels, “240 ambulances in the state to take accident victims to the nearby hospitals is a dream come true for me.”

The ambulances will be available within 20 minutes of an emergency call from anywhere in the state by dialing the toll free number 108 to which Juneja said, “The project had been initiated earlier also but did not commence due to some problems. There is the need to employ some dedicated persons to carry out emergency services for which the state government should conduct tests.



Petrol continues to be dearer
The imposition of VAT and other cess on the cost of petrol is higher in the state than all other neighbouring states and Union Territory. Residents and petroleum dealers blame the government that growth rate of sale of petrol in the state is just 2 per cent whereas that in country is more than 10 per cent. Manvinder Singh sums up the official and public reaction on the budgetary allocation

The biggest disappointment from the state budget has came to residents, who were expecting that in their last budget, the state government would focus of decreasing the duty on petrol, which is making it dearer in the state contrary to the whole of the region.

Owing to imposition of duties like VAT and other cess, the cost of petrol is higher in the state than other neighbouring states and Union Territory. This is not only creating trouble for the residents, who have to spend a huge amount of their monthly income on petrol, but even petroleum dealers have been opposing the levying of these duties, as they claim that the growth rate of sale of petrol in the state is just 2 per cent, whereas in the country it is more than 10 per cent.

Expressing resentment on the budget, JP Khanna, president of Punjab Petroleum Dealers’ Association, said the SAD-BJP alliance had not fulfilled their promise made in the election manifesto regarding abolishing of octroi barriers from petrol pumps in the cities.

He said the rate of petrol was highest in the state because the state government was levying 32.5 per cent VAT, 10 per cent surcharge, Rs 1 as infrastructure cess and about 1 per cent octroi duty.

Khanna said instead of removing VAT from petrol, the government had increased its rate from 27 per cent to 32.5 per cent due to which the rate of petrol has touched Rs 63 per litre in the state at present as compare to Rs 57 in Haryana, Rs 58 in Chandigarh and Rs 50 in Himachal Pradesh.

“The result of which is that volume of our sale has decreased in the state resulting in a huge loss to us,” he added.

Similarly, Rajinder Beri, legal advisor of Punjab State Tanker Union, also said the state government was bent on ruining the common man and petroleum dealers in the state.

He said heavy imposition of duty on petrol had already ruined their business in the state, adding that though they were hoping that keeping in view the demand of general public, the government would remove the duty, all of their hopes have been dashed. Beri said due to high rates, people from the state go to other states for getting petrol, which causes huge loss to them. “Nothing good can be expected from this anti-people government,” he added.



Excise duty: Industrialists feel the heat

Textile industry has an annual turn over of more than ` 18,000 crore. But today, the industry in the city is witnessing a complete shut down and even wholesale market is against the Union government to levy duty on it.

— Ashok Lakra, President, Chamber of Knitwear and Textile Associations

The aim is to ensure that indigenous industry is destroyed so that MNCs can be benefited. This injustice can’t be tolerated at any cost.

— Tarun Bawa Jain,

BJP leader and Industrialist

Imposition of excise duty on textile industry is a big threat, as this is being done under the influence of MNCs so as to ruin our industry, which is the largest labour employer in the country. Now, due to this, Congress will have to suffer in a big way.

— Sunil Jain, IndustrialistThis is a big blow to the local industry. We are leading in the country and providing a lot of employment to people. But the decision of Union government will have an adverse affect on it.

— Bhushan Aggarwal, Yarn trader



‘VAT surcharge proposal welcome’
The state government has announced an increase in the share of value-added tax (VAT) to be given to local bodies from 10 to 20 per cent. Similarly, a proposal for the setting up of Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company for undertaking and funding of various infrastructure projects in urban areas has been announced. Following are the reactions of some councillors:

The proposal of increasing the share of VAT will ensure more income for civic bodies and will give more impetus to the working of the civic body. In the same manner, the setting up of Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company for undertaking and funding of various infrastructure projects in urban areas is also a welcome step.

— Jaspal Singh, Akali Dal councillor

The proposal of enhancing the share of VAT surcharge and setting up of Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company for undertaking and funding of various infrastructure projects in urban areas is highly commendable.

— Sarbjeet Singh Kaka, BJP Councillor

The decision to enhance the share of surcharge on VAT from 10 to 20 per cent to be given to local bodies is of no use as the state government is always lethargic in giving this share to us. The Budget is a total failure as it has kept nothing for cities.

— Rakesh Prashar, Congress Councillor 



Protest against excise duty
Poor show by industrialists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Despite a daily loss of several crores and much hue and cry regarding the levying of the excise duty by Union government on cloth, industrialists failed to present an impressive show in a protest rally held at local grain market here today.

Though in the rally the industrialist leader, including Ashok Lakra, state general secretary of BJP Kamal Sharma, district BJP president Rajiv Katna, district Congress president Jagmohan Sharma, former district BJP president Om Parkash Bhardwaj, BJP leader and industrialist Tarun Bawa Jain gave impressive speech against levying of the excise duty, but it failed move audience present at the rally.

Though organisers had been able to mobilise a handsome number of migrant labourers associated with the industry, the number of industrialists in the rally was miniscule.

Similarly, there were inadequate arrangements made by the organisers to prevent audiences from heat at the venue. Most of the people were seen scattered in groups, resulting in chaos at the venue, which lasted for more than one hour.

However, leaders and industrialists present at the venue lambasted the Union government for imposing the duty, which they asserted would ruin the textile industry of the country.

They also asserted that textile industry is the lifeline of nation, as it alone provides employment to more than eight per cent of country's population, but they rued that the Union government is destroying it.

They also rued that as the industry had been shut due to the protest, there was a huge loss of money, but no one seems to be bothered.

BJP leaders alleged that in order to benefit MNCs, the Union government was destroying the local industry.

Meanwhile, industrialists also expressed hope that since local MP Manish Tiwari had been pursuing the matter, so some solution should come out soon.

Earlier, the industrialists had announced that they would block traffic on the National Highway No 1, but then considering the inconvenience to people they dropped the idea.

However, the industrialists announced that they would continue their protest on Tuesday also.



Building Violation
Coloniser told to pay Rs 15 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Efforts of building branch of the Municipal Corporation (MC) to recover pending dues from building violators by terrorising them with ditch machines met stiff resistance from general public, who opposed the MC’s move.

According to sources, a team of building branch of the MC led by assistant town planner SS Bindra went to get recovery from an illegal colony that had been carved out at Haibowal about five years ago.

As the MC staff was accompanied with ditch machines, which was a part of civic body’s strategy to get money by terrorising the public that their buildings would be demolished if the payment was not given, so the residents opposed the MC move. As residents were afraid that the MC would demolish their houses, so they lodged the protest against the MC staff due to which MC’s drive lingered on for more than five hours.

The residents asserted that they had not done any fault by purchasing house in locality and rather than getting money from them, the MC must recover it from the coloniser.

Finally, the MC asked the coloniser to pay the money after which a payment of Rs 15 lakh was submitted by him. Confirming it, Bindra said they had received a payment of Rs 15 lakh from the coloniser.



MCPI-U slams Centre, state for ‘anti-people policies’

Ludhiana, March 14
The Marxist Communist Party of India-United (MCPI-U) today slammed the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the SAD-BJP government in Punjab for its anti-people and anti-poor policies.

A state-level convention of the party held at the Bar Room of the District Courts Complex here today decried the spiralling prices of essential items, increasing unemployment and rampant corruption, while calling for immediate solutions of the problems of people.

The presidium comprised Pawan Kumar Kaushal, Zora Singh, Niranjan Singh Safipur, Iqbal Singh Mandauli and Hardev Singh Kheri.

Moving the resolution at the convention, MCPI-U state secretary Kuldeep Singh focused on the problems of rising prices and unemployment, even among highly qualified youth of the country.

“The corruption has become a way of life in every sphere like bureaucracy, politics, judiciary, sports and even Army is not spared. Corruption has polluted society beyond repair in this bankrupt parliamentary system, in which the major ruling political parties are responsible due to the policies of liberalisation, privatisation and imperialist globalisation,” he observed.

Further, the Budget 2011 under the UPA, led by Dr Manmohan Singh, is absolutely anti-people and pro-corporate sector. Rather than providing any relief to the common man, it would boost the uneven and jobless growth of the Indian economy, leaving room to concentration of wealth in a few monopolist hands, while putting the vast population into poverty, which is negative growth, the party state secretary said. — OC



District Congress chief stands against UPA 
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Political compulsions, in view of the coming state assembly elections, forced the district president of the Congress to join hands with BJP leaders and industrialists to unfurl the banner of revolt against the Budget presented by the Union Government of his own party.

The rally was dominated by BJP leadership, including state general secretary Kamal Sharma, district president Rajiv Katna, leader of BJP councillor group Gurdeep Singh Neetu and senior BJP leader Tarun Bawa Jain, who was one of the chief organisers of the rally.

However, it was the presence of district Congress president Jagmohan Sharma and district Youth Congress president Dimple Rana, which came as a surprise to many.

Sharma had to raise his voice against the levying of the excise duty by the UPA government, led by the Congress, at Centre apparently due to the large concentration of industrialists in Ludhiana (East) constituency from where he is an aspirant of the party ticket for assembly elections.

In a move that could certainly upset his political bosses, Sharma left no stone unturned to prove that industrialists would be ruined by levying of the duty.

In his speech he expressed his support for industrialists who were up in arms against the Union Government, led by his own party.

Terming the levying of the duty as unfortunate, he also announced that he would not hesitate to leave the party for the sake of safeguarding the interests of the industrialists. “For me the interests of industrialists are more important than any party post,” he asserted.

However, making a wise move, the politician also warned the industrialists against giving a political colour to the issue. He said he was supporting the move as the duty would ruin the local industry. He added that the political parties should not try to take any mileage out of the issue.

He even warned the industrialists about the black sheep among them, which could sabotage the agitation. However, later on talking to The Tribune he said he had already raised the matter with Punjab Congress president Captain Amrinder Singh and Ludhiana MP Manish Tiwari who would find a solution for it.



MC violates law to appease BJP
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
In a glaring example of how the Municipal Corporation authorities leave no chance of appeasing their political bosses, even by violating prescribed norms, civic body officials sent tankers of water to serve their political masters at a venue of rally organised by BJP leaders.

It was sheer misuse of the government machinery by the industrialists and BJP leaders, who had organised a rally for protesting against the Union government. According to prescribed provisions, in any of such anti-government protests the MC is not allowed to send any of its machinery or vehicle.

However, as the protest was being spearheaded by leaders of the BJP, who are at helms of affairs in state along with the Shiromani Akali Dal, so in order to appease their political bosses the MC officials sent two tankers of water to quench the thirst of those gathered at the rally.

Sources revealed that no prior permission from the MC was taken by the organisers for taking these tankers of water from the civic body. The overzealous MC officials had rather gone out of the way to oblige their bosses.

A senior officer of the MC, on condition of anonymity, said as per rule it was not allowed. However, as BJP leaders were at the helms of affairs in the state, the MC could not dare to say ‘no’ to them.

When asked to comment on the matter, VP Singh, superintendent engineer of operation and maintenance, feigned ignorance about the matter. However, he asserted that he would inquire about it. “I will look into the matter,” he added.

On the other hand Congress leaders had termed it a blunt misuse of power. Commenting on it, Congress Councillor Parminder Mehta said the BJP leaders were misusing the government machinery for their own interest.

Sanjay Talwar, another Congress Councillor, also accused BJP leaders of misusing power. He also said that MC officials must avoid such acts to appease their political bosses as they were illegal.



Strike by safai sewaks makes Doraha stink
Loveleen Bains

Doraha, March 14
The strike by safai karamcharis and the consequent piling up of garbage heaps has created an awful situation in the town. It has not only exposed the residents to dirt, squalor, filth and foul smell everywhere, but has also made them conscious about the sanitation and health all of a sudden.

The residents complained that heaps of garbage was although not an unusual sight in the town, but since the strike began the cleaning of the town had come to a complete halt. Not only were the streets in the town stinking, the sight of the main market road, which had a maximum flow of public, had become unbearable.

“If the safai sewaks are on a strike what does it means? Should all sanitary norms be thrown to winds so blatantly? Has the municipal council no duty on its own to understand such a grave problem of the residents? As in Ludhiana, where alternate arrangements are made to pick up garbage heaps, it could have been easily done in Doraha also. However, the council is least bothered about the sanitary needs of the residents,” rued an angry shopkeeper.

The garbage heaps had become a real nuisance, which needed attention at the earliest, but the authorities showed negligible concern. “To avoid the outbreak of an epidemic, the administration should wake up to its basic responsibilities rather than turning a deaf ear to the pleas of the residents,” said a resident.

“Despite the fact that the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, in a meeting of the executive officers on March 11 had issued written instructions to ensure proper cleanliness in their towns, the one which is barely expected from the council is also not being carried out,” said a senior citizen.

The residents were already facing problems due to lack of adequate drainage space in the town as a result of which the sewer water gets accumulated on the streets, thus multiplying the problems.

The strike of C and D group of municipal council employees started from March 7 for an indefinite period in various regions of the state. Their demands included regularisation of contractual employees and immediate release of arrears and pensionary benefits to the retirees.

The executive officer could not be contacted for comments. The sanitary officer said nothing could be done in this regard till the government accepted the demands of the safai karamcharis.



Man who replicated film stunt dies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Replicating a film scene cost him his life as after struggling for nearly two days with a bullet injury, victim Ramanath Bhanot (42) succumbed at Dayanand Medical Hospital here today.

Bhanot sustained a bullet injury on his head and was subsequently rushed to a hospital in a critical condition on Saturday evening. He was attempting to replicate a shot of a Hindi film “Jabaaz” in which the protagonist (Anil Kapoor), who was shown high on drugs, places a bet with another character by keeping one bullet in a revolver while leaving the remaining five chambers empty and then placing the gun on his temple and pressing the trigger.

Bhanot was a real estate agent and a resident of the city’s Sant Nagar locality in the Haibowal area. He was said to have been recreating the same scene and kept one bullet in the revolver and left the rest of the chambers empty, when he ended up accidentally shooting himself.

The incident occurred after he had reportedly consumed liquor with friends at his office. He suddenly pulled out a revolver, placed one bullet in it and began rotating the revolving cylinders.

His friends, who were also reportedly drunk, decided to play a game. They started pressing the trigger one by one. However, Bhanot was not so lucky and as soon he pressed the trigger a shot was fired and the bullet pierced his temple and got lodged in the brain.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) PS Pannu confirmed the development and said, “Bhanot was replicating a scene from a movie and ended up accidentally shooting himself.”

The victim was taken to the Civil Hospital for the postmortem after the doctor declared him dead here this morning.



Reaching out to grandparents
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 14
Students of Mother’s Pride School celebrated Grandparents Day at the Nehru Sidhant Kender today.

The kids performed with enthusiasm for their grandparents on the occasion. The event was marked to focus on the relationship of children with their grandparents. Nuclear families have brought in distances among the two. Games were organised for the kids and grandparents like ball dance and statue game. Prizes were distributed to the winners of the games.

Students and teachers performed dances and cultural programmes during the occasion. Shobhan Soi, director of the school, thanked the grandparents for their blessings and prayed to the Almighty for their long lives.



Students forced to join agitation
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, March 14
The situation turned ugly at the College of Agriculture Engineering, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), today when several students, who were on a strike, forced about 100 students of the College of Agriculture Engineering to come out of their classrooms and support the agitation.

About 100 students of mechanical engineering (third year) failed to take their examination this morning due to the strike by Punjab Agricultural University Students’ Association (PAUSA).

The dean, College of Agriculture Engineering, Dr PPS Lubana told Ludhiana Tribune that the students of the college were going to take their exam when members of PAUSA entered the premises and asked others to come out for supporting the agitation.

“Being the dean of the college, it is my duty to maintain discipline on the campus. But the striking students refused to go out, ultimately, I had to seek the police intervention to avoid the ugly situation. The mechanical engineering students failed to take the examination due to the forced agitation by certain other students of the university,” said Dr Lubana.

It may be mentioned that the agitating students raised slogans against the authorities, dean, College of Agriculture Engineering, for not “supporting” their cause. Around 15-20 police personnel were called on the campus to control the situation.

Ravinder Singh Randhawa, president PAUSA, however, said it was due to “highhandedness” of Dr Lubana that the situation turned ugly at the college. “We had asked the students to support our cause, but Dr Lubana threatened that he will call the police if we did not go out from the campus. Why should we tolerate misbehaviour by any faculty member. Dr Lubana has been threatening students of the college not to support the agitation, else the authorities will cut short their attendance,” said Randhawa.

The students will observe strike tomorrow again against the apathetic attitude of the state government in notifying the vacant posts in the agriculture department and against “highhandedness” of Dr Lubana. Strike will be held outside the Thapar Hall at 10 am.



Megha crowned Miss Farewell
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 14
BCom and MCom final-year students of the Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, bid farewell today.

The function was presided over by principal, Dr Varinder Kaur Thind. Vipin Markenday was the chief guest of the occasion.

Students presented songs and dance items like bhangra, fusion, old movies songs, etc. The outgoing class performed various rounds of modelling, in which Megha was adjudged Miss Farewell. The first runner-up title went to Gundeep and Aditi was declared the second runner-up.

Madhu of MCom-IInd year was declared the best student of the commerce department.

The principal addressed the students and appreciated the efforts made by the students. She emphasised on the importance of punctuality in life and gave her wishes to the outgoing classes.



Thieves decamp with $4,000
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Thieves seem to be eyeing on foreign currency these days. A day after the thieves struck at a house of a property dealer at Krishana Nagar and fled with US $10,000 and Canadian $20,000 bills, along with gold ornaments and other valuables, another identical incident came to light today after thieves broke into a house at Avtar Nagar near Thrike and decamped with foreign currency notes and ornaments worth Rs 1.5 lakh.

The matter came to light when Sukhdev Singh, owner of the house, returned last evening after attending a function in Chandigarh.

He said, besides taking Rs 5,000, US $ 4,000 and Canadian $4,000 bills, the burglars laid their hands on gold ornaments and other valuables kept in the house.

According to the police, he suffered a loss of nearly Rs 1.5 lakh. Sukhdev said his NRI relative, who was visiting from America left the foreign currency at his house.

The investigating officer said that the theft might be a handiwork of an insider, who knew about the cash being kept in the house.

The thieves struck on Saturday night and were aware that the owner was away from the house.

The accused first scaled the wall and trespassed into the house and went straight into the room where the cash was kept.

They broke open the main door, cupboards and burgled the house.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC and investigations are on.



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