L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


I-T dept shifts Rs 20 cr to suspense account
TDS returns filed by 14,000 taxpayers found incorrect
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The income tax department has transferred Rs 15-20 crore to the suspense account, as the quarterly e-TDS returns filed by nearly 14,000 taxpayers were found to be incorrect.

The returns had been filed for 2007-08 and 2008-09. Now the taxpayers like banks, insurance companies and other private agencies have to submit a correction statement with the department in this regard.

The department is issuing notices if during the scrutiny of the returns PAN and other particulars did not match. In case, the year or section is wrongly mentioned in the return, then one needs to send an application for making corrections. While 9,000 notices have already been sent, the department is in the process of sending the remaining notices.

A senior official in the department said they had been issuing notices to the income taxpayers whose particulars failed to match during the scrutiny. They would now have to submit a correction return failing which penalty or prosecution can be the results.

Bobby Tuneja, working in an insurance firm, said these returns were filed for 2007-08 and the department could have informed us earlier. “They should have acquainted us with the mistakes at the earliest and not after three years. On top of it, they will slap a penalty if we fail to submit the correction statement on time. This sounds absurd,” he rued.

Jatinder Khurana, a tax professional, said, “The department should not act strict, as they have already submitted their returns on time. Anybody can commit a mistake and heavy penalty should not be imposed in such cases,” he added.


DMCH ex-principal Dr SB Khurana dead
Kuldip Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 16
Dr SB Khurana, a doyen of the medical fraternity, an eminent physician and former principal of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), passed away here this morning after a brief illness.

Born on November 29, 1938, Dr Khurana did his MBBS from Government Medical College, Amritsar, in 1961 and MD in medicine with cardiology as special subject in 1965. During his undergraduate and postgraduate career, he always secured university positions and got merit scholarships throughout the undergraduate career.

After joining the DMCH as a senior lecturer in the department of medicine in 1967, he rose to become professor in 1975 and took over as medical superintendent in 1980. He was actively associated in various committees of the college and the hospital and participated with zeal and enthusiasm in the growth of the institution from its humble beginnings to the present glorious status. He took over as principal of the DMCH on September 1, 1994.

The main area of interest for Dr Khurana had always been in the field of academics. He always considered his graduate and postgraduate students as his biggest assets.

Dr Khurana has many scientific paper presentations to his credit. He was nominated as a senator of the Panjab University for a period of four years and was also a member of the Syndicate for one year. As the principal in 1994, he helped organise new teaching schedules and methods, and the college attained new academic heights.

Besides his wife Dr Swaran Khurana, he is survived by three sons, all of whom followed him in the medical profession.

In his condolence message, the DMCH managing society secretary Prem Kumar Gupta said Dr Khurana was an able administrator, renowned teacher, researcher and clinician, and above all a great human being.

The demise of Dr Khurana is not only a loss to the DMCH, but has also created a vacuum, which will be difficult to fill in the coming years, he remarked.



DC takes U-turn
Tells MC authority to be lenient with employees found absent from duty
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
Political flick has yet again done the trick for erring Municipal Corporation (MC) employees, as even though they were found absent during a surprise checking by the Deputy Commissioner (DC), the official has now asked the civic authorities to be lenient with them.

According to information, DC Rahul Tiwari had conducted a surprise check in the D zone office of the MC a few days back, in which around 20 employees of the civic body were found absent. Taking stern action against them, the DC had recommended the MC to deduct their one-day salary after which the civic body had initiated the process regarding it.

However, apparently under the pressure of the MC unions affiliated with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, the DC seems to have taken a U-turn by asking the MC to take lenient approach, instead of strict one, towards the erring employees, who were found absent from their duty.

Sources revealed that the employees, which have been affected due to the orders of the DC, under the leadership of Lakshman Dravid, president of Municipal Karamchari Dal, which is considered close to the ruling SAD, met the DC and had requested him to review his decision. As the appeal had came from a powerful union affiliated with the government, the DC took no time in writing a letter to the MC officials for taking lenient view against the erring employees, who were busy in some other work during their duty hours.

Subsequently, the employees under Dravid met MC Commissioner AK Sinha here today and requested them to look into the matter.

When asked to comment on the matter, Dravid said the employees had been given an exemption because they had gone to attend a kriya following death of another employee’s kin. “Otherwise our staff is dedicated towards public service,” he added.

However, the DC was not available for comments.



Board Exam
Violation at exam centre
Teacher deputed as controller
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The district education office (DEO) has allegedly deputed a science teacher as the controller at a board examination centre near Lohara village.

The education ministry has recently highlighted that only principals and lecturers fulfill the eligibility to become superintendents or controllers in the board examinations.

Levelling allegations, president Sukhdarshan Singh alleged that Rajesh Kumar, who is a science teacher at Government High School, Banohar village, has been appointed as the controller at Indian Senior Secondary School, Lohara, who according to the rules is not fulfilling the qualifications to be appointed on the position during the examinations.

“He being a teacher is not capable. The education minister has strictly highlighted that only principals and lecturers should be appointed as the controllers or superintendents,” said Sukhdarshan.

He informed about another such case in which a senior teacher, who was disqualified by the authorities two years back, was reappointed on a responsible position during the examinations.

“Raghbir Singh, who has been performing his duty as the deputy superintendent at Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School, Payal, was disqualified two years back, as he misbehaved with the flying squad,” alleged Sukhdarshan, adding that two cheating cases have surfaced recently.

Sukhdarshan also alleged that, “A teacher, Ramandeep Kaur, has been appointed, specially at Government Girls’ School, Sahnewal, to support her husband (who is a teacher at the same school) in helping the students with wrong methods.”

Deputy DEO Paramjeet Kaur while defending said she would check the records of the teachers concerned. “After inquiry an appropriate step would be taken accordingly.

As much as the teacher appointment as the controller in concerned, when we do not have any qualified teacher left, we switch to senior teachers to appoint them as the controller and superintendents,” said the deputy DEO. 

Ministry requirement

The education ministry recently highlighted that only principals and lecturers fulfill the eligibility to become superintendents or controllers in board examinations



Film stunt death
Weapon-owner was friend of victim
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
In a latest twist to the case of death of the real-estate dealer who shot himself from a point-blank rage while replicating a film scene on Saturday evening, it has come to light that the weapon used by the victim for the stunt was not his, but belonged to his friend.

Reliable sources said the victim's friend and owner of the weapon that was used in the crime might land in trouble, as the police is planning to act tough against the persons who were part of the deadly game.

Addition Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP-I) Harsh Bansal said, "We are currently conducting investigation and after verifying facts, action would be taken against the persons responsible for the incident."

It is learnt that one of the close friends of Ramanth Bhanot offered him his pistol for playing the stunt.

Sources said the matter was brought to the notice of senior police officials after lower-rung officials gave a clean chit to the weapon-holder and the issue was buried by filing an inquest proceeding under Section 174 of the CrPC.

Ramanath, who sustained a bullet injury on his head on Saturday evening, was attempting to replicate a shot of a Hindi film "Janbaaz" 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.

Ramanath Bhanot, who was a resident of the city's Sant Nagar locality in the Haibowal area, was accompanied by three of his friends in the game. But the name of the friends never figured during the course of investigation.

The incident occurred after he had reportedly consumed liquor with friends at his office.

Lower-rung cops gave clean chit

Sources said the matter was brought to the notice of senior police officials after lower-rung officials gave a clean chit to the weapon-holder and the issue was buried by filing an inquest proceeding under Section 174 of the CrPC.



When English lessons stood deputy mayor in good stead
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The tuition classes taken by the senior deputy mayor of the Municipal Corporation (MC) for learning English before his visit to Leicester City ultimately gave dividends to him, as the BJP leader occupied centrestage during the whole visit.

A five-member delegation comprising senior deputy mayor Praveen Bansal, Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) member Pal Singh Grewal, executive engineers Kamlesh Bansal and HC Salaria, led by MC Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura had recently visited the Leicester City to gain knowledge about their roads, sewerage system and solid waste management.

Though being leader of the delegation, MC Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura was supposed to be at the centrestage during the visit, sources said owing to communication problems, the senior deputy mayor overshadowed him.

The reason was obvious, as the witty BJP leader had prepared well before going on the visit. He had taken coaching classes for learning English language. Sources revealed that before the scheduled visit to Leicester, Bansal used to attend coaching classes in the morning so that he could communicate well with his counterparts in Leicester. The result of it was visible during the visit, as a member of the delegation said that being mayor and senior deputy mayor both Giaspura and Bansal took part in every meeting so the latter made his presence felt by interacting with the gathering in English, while for the former, a translator was hired during interactions. This certainly gave an edge to Bansal over the Mayor, he added.

Not only this, media savvy senior deputy mayor also ensured his presence in the media back at home town for which he regularly sent emails regarding the proceedings of their visit to journalists so as to ensure that city residents remained in touch with the activities of the delegation abroad.

When asked to comment on the visit, Bansal said he had attended coaching classes to know techniques of English speaking in Leicester so that they were able to communicate well with them. He also said that it certainly proved a boon for them, as they were able to communicate with the authorities there in a proper manner. But the witty leader said there was no question of overshadowing the mayor, as ultimately he was the team leader and they were accompanying him.



Sadar police station adjudged best in country
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
Adding a feather in its cap, the Sadar police station of the city  was adjudged the best in the country during the Police Station Visitor Week competition.

Confirming the development, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Narinderpal Singh Ruby said, "It is indeed a matter of great pride for us, and finally all our hard work has started bearing fruit. I was informed by Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh about the achievement. Since then, my happiness has known no bounds."

The Sadar police station, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities received accolades from the delegation members in terms of facilities being offered to the visitors.

Subsequently, the Sadar police station was adjudged the best police station of the state and qualified for the national-level competition. The delegation members, including some of the retired director general police (DGPs), inspected the police station recently. It was on the basis of their assessment that the police station was adjudged the best in the country.

A merry-go-round for children, wheelchair for physically challenged and elderly people, recreation corner, fully-furnished separate waiting hall for women, LCD screen for recreation and information - elements that usually make up a theme park or a fairground- are, in fact, a part of the police station, in a departure from the menacing look generally associated with police stations.

Unlike other police stations where detainees squat on floor, proper bedding and mattresses have been provided to make their brief stay comfortable. Those coming to seek justice are no more required to get their applications written from a typist, as a policeman has been deputed to do this job for free.

Though residents of the rural area falling under the jurisdiction of the Ludhiana Police Commissioner are yet to acclimatise to the corporate-like functioning of model police stations, policemen here are busy updating targeted facilities for both complainants and suspects. 

It’s different

A merry-go-round for children, wheelchairs for physically challenged and elderly people, a recreation corner, fully-furnished separate waiting hall for women, LCD screen for recreation and information - elements that usually make up a theme park or a fairground- are, in fact, part of the police station marking a departure from the menacing look generally associated with police stations



PAU to hold kisan mela today
Association tells students to boycott it
Tribune News Service

PAU students protest against the state government’s failure to fill 300 vacant posts; and (bottom) a heavy contingent of police deployed outside PAU’s gate No. 2 during the students’ protest in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
PAU students protest against the state government’s failure to fill 300 vacant posts; and (bottom) a heavy contingent of police deployed outside PAU’s gate No. 2 during the students’ protest in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, March 16
Preparations are afoot for holding Kisan Mela tomorrow and on March 18 on the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus. Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, will inaugurate it tomorrow. This year’s theme is “Adopt agricultural innovations for better standard of living.”

Dr MS Kang, PAU Vice-Chancellor, has called upon farmers, farmwomen and rural youth to participate in a large number in this year’s mela. Dr MS Gill, director, Extension Education, PAU, said four innovative and progressive farmers namely Iqbal Singh Sidhu and Gurpreet Singh Shergill (in horticulture) and Surinder Kumar Ahuja and Surjit Singh Chaggar (in agriculture) would be rewarded with “Chief Minister’s Award” on the occasion.

The highlights of the mela include agro-industrial exhibition, which will showcase farm implements and other allied agricultural products.

PAU scientists will tell farmers about new innovations, techniques and technologies for the Kharif crop. The other important feature of the mela will be question-answer session in which the farmers will seek clarifications from the experts for their farm-related problems.

Dr Gill further added that a competition would be organised near the Kairon Kisan Ghar. Those willing to take part in it can send samples tomorrow till 11.30 am.



Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The Punjab Agricultural University Students’ Association (PAUSA) has asked all students of the university to not do any assigned duty by the university authorities during the two-day kisan mela to be held on the PAU grounds from tomorrow.

Instead, PAUSA has asked the students to be prepared to face “lathi charge” by the police during their protest against the state government.

The striking students blocked the main gates of PAU from 10.15 am to 11.15 am today and restricted the entry of visitors on the campus.

PAUSA president Ravinder Singh Randhawa said the students would garner the support of masses (farmers from all over the state and other parts) to address the adamant attitude of the Punjab government during the mela.

Randhawa said the director students’ welfare and deans of various colleges called the students this morning, who asked the students not to boycott the mela.

“We were told by the authorities that a meeting with the Finance Minister had been convened on March 14 at Chandigarh and the procedure to notify posts will take sometime. But we know that these are the tactics of the authorities to divert our attention from agitation. Had they convened the meeting on March 14, they would have informed us yesterday.

But we are adamant on our demand and will certainly boycott the mela,” said Randhawa, adding that the students were prepared to face any eventuality.

The students, in demand to fill the posts in the agriculture department, Punjab, said now the extreme step had to be taken by the students.

“At the same time, we make sure that we will not harm any public property for which any legal action could be taken against us. The history of Punjab was replete with the incidents of revolution, but the most unfortunate part was that the likes of Bhagat Singh fought against an external enemy, while the students will fight against their own people,” said Randhawa.



563 conferred degrees
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 16
The annual convocation function of the Khalsa College for Women and GHG Harparkash College of Education for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, was held today at Guru Nanak Bhawan of the college.

Union Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation MS Gill was the chief guest on the occasion.

The chief guest conferred degrees on 563 graduates and postgraduates belonging to arts, science, commerce and computer science streams. Four students of MEd and three students of BEd were honoured with the college colour.

Besides, eight students of graduation and postgraduation were honoured with the roll of honour.

Dr Baljeet Kaur Gill, principal of GHG Harparkash College of Education for Women, read out the annual report and enlisted the achievements of the college.

Dr MS Gill said in the present scenario, there was a need to set up more educational institutions to empower women.

Dr Gill also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for each college for promoting computer education. He also interacted with staff members and students of both institutions and said the educational institutions should lay emphasis not only on imparting knowledge to the students, but also on the development of personal qualities and morality.

Dr Paramjit Kaur, principal Khalsa College for Women, extended her gratitude and vote of thanks to the chief guest.



Violations at AC Market
MC gives 2-month time to shopkeepers for rectification
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
After getting directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities have finally got serious in getting violations rectified in the AC market, as building branch of the civic body set a deadline of two months for shopkeepers to mend all violations.

The Municipal Town Planner (MTP) of the MC’s building branch, Hemant Batra had a meeting with representatives of the shopkeepers’ association of the AC market in his office at D zone today.

Batra apprised the shopkeepers about the irregularities that had been observed by MC Commissioner AK Sinha during his visit to the multi-storey market last week. Batra said during the visit, they found that the lift had been shifted from the place where it had been shown in the site plan with the MC and escalators installed in the market complex were not working.

Similarly, he said two bathrooms meant for the usage of shopkeepers had also been locked due to which the shopkeepers and visitors are not getting facility in the market. He also said they had got complaint regarding the supply of water from the RO plant installed in the market to other areas outside the market complex.

Batra told the shopkeepers and their leaders that the lifts should be shifted according to its original plan, the escalators must be made workable and bathrooms should also be made operational. Similarly, he said water from the RO plant should not be sold outside. He said for rectification of all anomalies in the market, the shopkeepers have been given two months time and if they fail to get it rectified then the MC would conduct it.



Doubts raised over fire-fighting equipment
Low water pressure in hydrants incapable of extinguishing fire in emergency
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
Raising question mark over the utility of fire fighting equipments in big building malls, the fire fighting staff of Municipal Corporation (MC) has pointed out the serious discrepancy of low water pressure in such hydrants installed in AC market.

The fire fighting staff had conducted a check in multi-storey AC market of the city on the direction of MC Commissioner who had visited the prestigious market a few days back.

During their inspection of building held on Saturday, the fire fighting staff had minutely checked the fire safety equipments installed in this market where business worth crores is conducted daily. Likewise, the staff had also inspected the points from where the water is supplied to the building to check whether the fire safety equipments are working with it or not. In the same manner, the staff had also inspected the condition of equipments installed by the shopkeepers in order to submit their report to their higher ups in the civic body.

Likewise, the sources in MC revealed that in their report submitted to MC Commissioner AK Sinha, the fire fighting staff had expressed satisfaction over the fire safety equipments installed in the market. The sources also said that the staff had claimed all the fire safety equipments installed in building to be in a working condition and their martial intact.

However, the sources revealed the staff has pointed out a major discrepancy in the working of these fire safety equipments by asserting that the pressure of water which is supplied to the hydrants for using in case of emergency is not proper. The staff has said that as the pressure of water supplied from the tanks installed at the roof top of the market is not sufficient, so it could not be helpful in extinguishing the fire in case of emergency, added the sources.

Confirming it, Additional Divisional Fire Safety Officer (ADFSO) Amarjeet Sharma said that on the whole, fire safety equipments were in right order but the pressure of water was not up to mark. However, he refused to divulge any further details. 



Residents not forthcoming on servants’ verification
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The servant, who drugged six family members in Jodhewal Basti area on Monday night by offering them dinner laced with sedatives, was actually hired for the job just 20 days before the incident.

He was employed after the family took the test of his culinary skills.

The revelation was made by one of the family members after recovering from the influence of sedatives.

The incident of theft has once again brought fore the laxity of residents in getting their servants verification from the police.

Even the police seems to be taking the matter lightly, as despite repeated incidents of thefts by domestic helps, no action has been taken against employers yet.

“The repeated requests of the police to register the domestic help are falling on the deaf ear of the residents. In such cases, strict action is necessary for effectively implementing the orders of the police,” said Gurjeet Singh Randhawa, a resident of the city.

It was not a stray incident where the domestic help fled with cash and jewellery.

In a similar incident reported last month, a servant fled with 70 tolas of gold ornaments from the house of Mamta Jain at the Civil Lines.

On both occasions, it was servants of Nepal origin, who committed thefts. The police is suspecting that the accused might have boarded the train to Bihar and further crossed the border to enter Nepal.



Manufacturers’ body condemns Punjab budget
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
A meeting of the Ludhiana Machine Tool Manufacturers’
 Association chaired by its president Kirpal Singh Sagar was held today. All members strongly condemned the budget made by the Punjab government.

“The industry was expecting some relief from the Punjab government, but there was nothing for the industry. With the previous budget allocation for the focal points, the condition of infrastructure was worst. With the meager allotment of Rs 10 crore for the focal points, the condition of infrastructure in the coming years will only get worst.

“After the budget, the government has imposed a tax on all structures doing business outside the Municipal Corporation. Tax is not justified when these units have their own infrastructure and no government support is provided. We appeal to the government to withdraw this immediately,” said Kirpal Singh.

The proposal for levying excise duty on branded knitwears and sewing machines in the Union Budget was also strongly condemned. The units manufacturing these items are in the category of MSME and instead of giving relief to such units, the Central government has imposed the excise duty.

“We stand by our sister associations and demand that excise duty on these items should be withdrawn immediately. The central excise agencies are harassing entrepreneurs by raiding their units. We appeal to the government that government officials first educate the units on what and how the records are to be maintained and actual procedure to be followed,” said Narinder Singh, senior vice-president.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Knitwears and Textile Associations of Ludhiana also held a meeting and decided to meet the Finance Minister in the context of levy of excise duty on readymade garments and knitwear.

Ajit Lakra, president of the association, said a delegation would immediately go to Delhi to meet the Finance Minister and Sonia Gandhi, along with MP Manish Tiwari and Capt Amrinder Singh to get the desired relief for the industry.



Emphasis on better education system
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 16
Desh Bhagat College of Education, Mandi Gobindgarh, organised a one-day national seminar on “Inclusive education: A Step towards Social Justice.” Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, chairman, Punjab School Education Board, was the chief guest.

He said our education system gave more importance to the number of books for students than advanced countries. He said children suffering from physical disabilities should also get higher education like other children and the law also provides this facility.

Children between the age group of 6 and 14 years have the right to compulsory and free education. He also talked about strengthening the education system by launching “Sarav Sikhya Abhyan.” He emphasised that parents should also come forward for the education of their children so as to create a healthy society for the progress of our nation.

Chairman Dr Zora Singh said Desh Bhagat Group had been organising a number of free training courses for the less educated youth in order to make them self-dependent.

During the seminar, different speakers stressed upon the need to bring about relevant changes in the education system. They appealed that proper arrangements should be made for the training of teachers so that they are able to make their contribution in the development of education.

They also emphasised that syllabus for various courses should be designed as per the needs of the present time.

Prof Shalini Gupta, director general of the group, told the audience about the different courses being run by the institutes.



400 examined at medical camp

Ludhiana, March 16
A free medical camp was organised by the PCTE Institute of Pharmacy in collaboration with Kulwant Heart and Vascular Centre, Kichlu Nagar, and National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) here today.

Kulwinder Kaur, sarpanch of Baddowal village, and Charanjeet Kaur, sarpanch of Jhande village, inaugurated the medical camp.

A team of doctors included Dr Kulwant Singh, MD cardiologist; Dr R Thaper, president NIMA; Dr MS Dhaliwal, Dr Pawan Garg, Dr S Pandey, Dr S Gupta, Dr JS Kehal, eye specialist, and Dr HS Kehal. About 400 persons from neighbouring villages like Baddowal, Jhande, Threeke, Assi Kalan, Lalton Kalan, Lalto Khurd, Hasanpur and Ayali Kalan were examined by the doctors.

“These medical camps help the poor and needy people, who cannot afford the extensive and costly OPDs and also ensure better public health,” informed Dr KNS Kang, director general, PCTE Group of Institutes. — TNS



Cops threaten to book devotees in fake cases

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 16
Devotees visiting Himachal Pradesh to pay obeisance at various shrines are a harassed lot. Besides shielding exploiters, the policemen posted for the protection of life and property of those visiting shrines threaten to book complainants under fake case, in case they insist on justice.

The policemen don’t even give their ears to the pleadings of snatching victims. Office-bearers of religious organisations of the region, disappointed with the callous attitude of the authorities concerned, have urged the Punjab Chief Minister to look into the matter.

In a communiqué addressed to higher authorities, including the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, office-bearers of religious organisations of the region, have demanded probe into incidents of alleged harassment and exploitation of devotees at the hands of private contractors and policemen posted near shrines situated at various places in Himachal Pradesh.

Councillors, doctors, social activists and journalists were among the victims.

Inder Pal Singh, Deepak Sharma and Yogesh Goyal, office-bearers of the Durga Sewa Society, Har Har Mahadev Sewa Sangh and Bhartia Mahavir Dal alleged that some devotees from local town and surrounding localities had been harassed unnecessarily by unauthorised employees of private contractors collecting parking fee near Mata Chinta Purni Shrine on Sunday. Though the devotees had paid requisite fee at the entry of the state, they were made to pay “Parking fee” for motoring on the highways passing near various shrines.

Owners of at least 20 vehicles destined to reach Jabal village were made to pay the parking fee though they did not stop there even for a moment.

Those who sought justification were made to adopt a link road which was more accident-prone. A group of devotees led by a Congress leader was detained by the police for more than three hours, as it had dared to resist hostile behaviour of goons. The policemen showed their helplessness to entertain complaints against the hostile employees of contractor, but threatened to book the devotees under a fake case. Despite attempts, SHO could not be contacted. — OC



Show-cause notices issued to two MC employees
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities have issued show-cause notices to two officials of the accounts branch after they had reportedly passed a bill related to installing of tubewells despite objections levied by the civic body Commissioner.

Even after the detection of the fake bill scam, the MC authorities have not evolved any mechanism to keep a check on the working of its staff due to which only two officials of the account branch, including Deputy Controller Finance and Audit (DCFA) SK Gupta and Accountant Vinayak Kumar, have passed a contingent bill of around Rs 1.5 lakh for the installation of tubewells. This despite the fact that MC Commissioner AK Sinha had put an objection on the bill and asked the Superintending Engineer (SE) to submit the report regarding it because the signatures of some persons were missing from the file.

However, sources revealed that the irregularity in the file pertaining to the clearing of the bill despite objection by MC Commissioner was noticed by Additional Commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar, who is also the in charge of the account branch of the civic body. Sources further said that it was during the routine clearance of files that Brar detected the irregularity in the file of the civic body and immediately asked the accounts staff to stop payment regarding it.

Sources said taking a stern notice of such a big discrepancy, the Additional Commissioner also issued show-cause notices to both the erring officials. As per the notice, both Gupta and Vinayak have been asked to submit their reply within 24 hours, added the sources.

When asked to comment on the matter, Brar though confirmed that show-cause notices had been issued to both Gupta and Vinayak, however, she refused to divulged the details, citing it as an official matter. When asked why the MC had failed to evolve a system in which such incidents could be avoided, Brar said it was due to proper monitoring by them only that such incidents were being traced.



Sweepers’ Agitation
Residents fear overflow of sewage water on roads
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh/ Raekot/ Mullanpur, March 16
Areas falling under the municipal councils of this region have turned into garbage dumps, the streets and roads of urban localities are about to become open drains, as agitating scavengers have stopped emptying disposal tanks of the sewerage system.

Office-bearers of the civic bodies and councillors have shown inability to make alternative arrangements, the residents have started piling up solid wastes in their houses. Educational institutes and religious organisations are no exception to the tendency.

Apprehension of the blockage of sewerage system and stoppage of water supply during following days have sent a wave of shock among those residents, who do not have alternative sources of these basic amenities.

Investigations revealed that the level of waste water in disposal tanks of various localities had started rising after midnight today when activists of the Municipal Employees’ Action Committee and Safai Mazdoor Unions had switched off electric motors installed for emptying these tanks.

The action was taken in response to a call given by the state leadership after failure of talks with local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia two days ago.

Accusing successive governments of showing unconcern towards their genuine demands, activists led by Dulia Ram, district secretary, and Roop Lal regretted that the minister had shown no interest in resolving the issues concerned with hygiene of residents of localities governed by 137 civic bodies.

Referring to information received from the state president of the outfit, Parkash Chand of Kotkapura, the union activists lamented that deadlock was created following the minister’s alleged adamant attitude towards demand concerning regularisation of over 6,000 sweepers working under Mohalla committees.

“When he refused to give any assurance on our major demand, our leaders declined his suggestion to discuss other demands,” said Dulia Ram, maintaining that the agitation would be continued till all demands were accepted by the government. Leaders threatened to stop water supply in case their demands were accepted soon.

“Though we do not wish that innocent residents should be made to suffer for no fault of theirs, we are left with no choice than to interrupt basic amenities to get our genuine demands accepted by the government,” argued the leaders.

All sweepers, regular and those working under Mohalla committees of these towns and surrounding localities had been on strike for the last nine days. This resulted in a situation wherein the streets, roads and empty plots turned into garbage dumps. Huge heaps of garbage could be seen near the educational institutes, religious places and other commercial organisations too.



Prangna adjudged Miss Farewell

Ludhiana, March 16
A farewell party was given to the outgoing Post Graduate students of the Department of Mathematics, Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town.

Prangna was adjudged Miss Farewell, while Monika and Gifty were crowned first and second runners-up, respectively. The title of Miss Elegant was bagged by Amardeep, while Harpreet clinched the title of Miss Beautiful Smile.

Gurbir Singh, President, Guru Nanak Education Trust and Principal Dr Charanjit Mahal presided over the function.

To add colour to the occasion, the students presented an entertaining cultural programme. The juniors presented dance numbers and songs. The main attraction of the programme was modelling by final year students dressed in trendy clothes, as they walked down the ramp to rhythmic music playing in the background.

The seniors paid compliments to their teachers. Dr Jaskirat Kaur and Sunaina Deep were the judges on the occasion. Dr Charanjit Mahal crowned the winners and also advised the students to burn midnight oil for the approaching annual exams and wished that they would come out with flying colours in the exams.



Punjab Budget: Sweet for some, bitter for others
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 16
There are bouquets as well as brickbats for the Punjab Budget 2011-12 presented by Punjab Finance Minister Upinderjit Kaur in the State Assembly on Monday.

While a former senior economist of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has hailed the Budget, terming it pioneering and multi-lateral in many ways, the Marxist Communist Party of India-United (MCPI-U) has slammed it, saying it was far below the expectations of the people.

Retired senior economist, PAU, Dr Jaswant Singh Chamak, said the state Budget presented by the first woman Finance Minister could be characterised as unique as priority had been given to agriculture, education, health services, social welfare, power, rural infrastructure and women welfare.

He said, "A sizeable allocation has been made to agriculture and basic infrastructure, as also education, higher education and health sector, which will benefit the common man at large. Likewise, social security and sports, along with allied sectors, have also been given equal importance with the objective of weaning away the youth from drugs and creating aptitude for sports and creative activities."

Other commendable features of the Budget, added Dr Chamak, were providing bicycles free of cost to girl students, reduction in the eligibility age for old age pension, financial assistance to widows of soldiers for the purchase of plots and allocation for rural sanitary structures.

On the other hand, the MCPI-U described the Budget "disappointing". State secretary of the party Kuldeep Singh observed that there was a huge uncovered deficit in the Budget and the government might make attempts to cover the same through indirect taxes. "The Finance Minister has totally neglected the industrial sector, which is already hit hard by the recession and is passing through a critical stage. With no incentives and impetus, the Budget will inflict another deadly blow to the industry, in general and the small-scale sector, in particular, thereby affecting employment avenues and retarding the growth."

The MCPI further said that reduction in power subsidy for the farming sector and the absence of any tangible relief to the farming community from indebtedness were other negative features of the Budget. "Although more funds have been allocated to education, health and social welfare schemes, those need to be implemented in an earnest and transparent manner so as to benefit the people at large. These should not be mere election gimmicks," the party cautioned.



Committee poll
45 candidates in fray
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 16
After the withdrawal of nominations for the prestigious AS management committee elections, Khanna, to be held on March 27, 45 candidates are left in the fray.

There are 4,600 voters, which can cast their votes for 20 candidates of their choice. The Congress Democratic Progressive panel has 20 candidates in the fray, whereas two rebel Congress candidates are also in the field.

Apart from them, four independent candidates are also in the field. On the other side, 19 candidates of the Akali Dal-BJP led real progressive panel will contest against the Congress candidates.

The candidates of the Congress include Anil Joshi, Anil Shukla, Ashok Jindal, Ashok Sharma, BK Batra, Barinder Davit, Bhushan Singla, Dharampal Angrish, Hans Raj Virani, Jaswinder Lotey, Advocate Paramjit Singh, Rajesh Khanna, Rajeev Rai Mehta, Ramesh Jain, Ravi Sharma, Sudarshan Verma Papi, Sushil Kumar Sheela, Tejinder Pal, Vikas Mehta and Vipan Kapoor.

The Akali Dal-BJP led real panel include Ranjit Singh, Atish Bansal, Sanjeev Dhamija, Rajesh Dali, Rakesh Kumar, Paramjit Singh Mavi, Anurudh Ghai, Karan Arora, Dinesh, Anuj Chahria, Ajay Sood, Dr Sumesh, Harbhajan Singh Bhaji, Devinder, Jatinder Devgan, Vijay Dianand, Amrit Lal and Pardeep Kumar.



‘Eradication of social evils need of the hour’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 16
Eradication of social evils is the need of the hour for the development of the country. This target can be achieved by creating awareness in society through seminars, electronic and print media, said chief guest, Prof (Dr) Manjit Singh, Registrar Punjabi University, Patiala, while addressing a seminar at the RIMT College of Education here today.

As many as 65 candidates from different institutions participated in the seminar.

Addressing audience, eminent speakers said according to unemployment survey conducted during 2009-10 by the labour bureau under the labour and employment ministry, the unemployment rate is 9.4 per cent, which is higher in the urban areas and among the educated people.

Highlighting the steps taken by the government for promotion of education, it was stated that India has made a huge progress in terms of increasing primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy among two-third of the population.

Despite growing investment in education, 35 per cent of its population is still illiterate, only 15 per cent of Indian students reach high school and just 7 per cent up to graduation level.

Dr Satinder Dhillon, principal, DS Gurukul College of Education, Dera Bassi, presented the key note address, while Prof MS Saini, Prof IN Shana and Prof Rajesh Gill from Punjabi University and Prof SK Sharma from Himachal University, Shimla, expressed their views and suggested that solutions for these problems require inputs from different disciplines.



Students visit PAU museum

Ludhiana, March 16
Students of Radcliffe School today visited the Rural Museum Punjab at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) here. The visit was organised to acquaint the children with the rural and rich culture of Punjab.

The students keenly observed the scenes depicting rural household objects. They were accompanied by the teachers who explained in detail each and every object to the inquisitive kids.

Lifelike statues of colourfully dressed Punjabi men, women and kids were the major attraction for the children.

Principal Iqbal Kaur Pahwa opined that such visits were essential for the new generation to make them feel associated with the rich and colourful culture of Punjab, which was otherwise diminishing under the influence of the West. The visit to PAU Museum was an educational, informative and entertaining picnic, said the students and teachers. — TNS



Vehicle-lifter nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The city police has nabbed a vehicle lifter, who was using stolen cars as taxis. The accused, identified as Surinder Singh, alias Sonu, was nabbed by the Kochar Market police following a tip-off from the Feroze Gandhi market last evening.

Besides two stolen cars, the police also confiscated two fake registration certificates, which the accused had procured from Haryana.

During the interrogation, the accused cracked soon and confessed to committing the crime.

He told the police that he was in the process of making cosmetic change in the design of a vehicle so that the stolen car could not be identified. He said he would lend the stolen vehicles to his friend, who runs a taxi business, and was receiving Rs 600 per day for offering his vehicle for use.

On the clue given by the accused, the police recovered another vehicle that Sonu had stolen from the Durgapuri area nearly a month ago. The accused was earlier nabbed on snatching charges and was recently out of jail on bail.



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