L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC water unfit for consumption?
Civic body has only one operator for chlorination of 19 tube wells for the entire city
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 13
Before you gulp down a glass of water straight from a Municipal Corporation (MC) tap to quench your thirst on a hot day, beware! There is only one operator for the chlorination of 19 tube wells in various parts of the city.

For the 460-odd tube wells being maintained by the civic body, only 24 persons have been deputed for chlorination.

This is affecting the quality of water being supplied and even chlorination is not being done properly in the city with a population of over 13 lakh.

However, Municipal Corporation officials claimed that they have ample staff for chlorine machines installed in tube wells.

In summers, residents get 12 hours of water supply from 5 am to 10 am, 12 noon to 2 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm every day.

“Every operator is given a specific area where he operates and if we need extra manpower for the job, we depute our other staff such as ‘beldaars’. The number of employees is sufficient and if we require more, senior officials never refuse us,” Manjit Singh, executive engineer of the MC’s operation and maintenance cell, said.

But an operator has to take care of chlorination of 19 tube wells every day, which is a difficult task as the water is supplied in three intervals.

The city is not getting potable water in all areas, which is indicated by the fact that many water samples collected by the district health department have been found unfit for consumption.

The MC Health Officer, Dr Charanjit Uppal, said the MC undertook random sampling of water in the city. “Though some samples fail, most samples are fit for consumption,” he claimed.

Manjit Singh said electronic chlorine dozers were installed in 95 per cent of the tube wells. “Sometimes, there is a problem in the dozers as the pipe sucking chlorine also sucks powder accumulated at the bottom of the chlorine tank, which affects the functioning of the electronic dozer. But whenever we detect it, we get it rectified,” he stated.


24 samples out of 146 fail 
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 13
Out of a total of 146 samples taken by the district health department in June, 24 have been found unfit for consumption. Out of these, 13 were from the city while the remaining were from the periphery.

It was the same story in May, when out of a total of 173 samples, 44 failed the test. Of these, 18 were from the city.

Health department officials were surprised that even water samples from government schools, aanganwari centres and gurdwaras had failed. But most of these samples were collected from Jagraon, Malaud, Macchiwara and some villages of the district.

However, Dr Charanjit Uppal, Health Officer of the MC, claimed that a majority of samples collected by the civic body were found fit for consumption. But the facts and figures tell a different story.

Dr Anil Verma, officiating district epidemiologist, said they had been undertaking random sampling of water from different parts of the city as well as the district. Most of the samples were found fit for consumption.

Failed samples

y In June, samples collected from Ambedkar Nagar, Gurmat Gian Missionary College, Punjabi Bagh, Sherpur Kalan, Dhandari Kalan, New Tagore Nagar, Anand Nagar, Haibowal Kalan, EWS Colony, Shimlapuri, Jamalpur and Labour Colony near Jawahar Nagar failed.

y In the periphery areas, samples of Government Primary School (Ward No. 10, Macchiwara), Government High School (Khandoor), aanganwari centres at Halwara, Malak Majra, Ghudani Kalan, Mukandpur and Malaud, bus stand of Hathur and a gurdwara in Jagraon failed.



MC razes encroachments in Gurcharan Park
Drive meets scattered resistance from area residents
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Meeting some resistance from area residents, the municipal corporation conducted a comprehensive demolition drive in the city’s Gurcharan Park locality near Model Gram on Wednesday. The MC staff razed encroachments that had come up at over 100 houses with the help of two ditch machines.

A team of civic officials led by assistant town planners Nirmal Preet Singh and Kamaljit Kaur arrived in the Gurcharan Park area in the morning. Residents of this locality had encroached upon streets by constructing ramps and by extending boundary walls of houses. All the encroachments, which varied between 1.5 feet to 2 feet, were eventually demolished.

"We used two ditch machines to remove the unauthorized structures. These encroachments have been in the area for the past many years and some five months ago we had marked the encroached areas with red paint. But still the area residents failed to take any corrective measures and that’s why we carried out this demolition drive today," said Nirmal.

In Gurcharan Park and adjoining areas the drive was conducted on seven streets, with two ditch machines being pressed into service to accomplish the job. However, area residents complained MC officials had not given any prior notice before carrying out the drive. One of them, Satinder Bir Singh, said: “Had civic officials given us notices in advance we would’ve removed the structures ourselves”.

However, Nirmal asserted MC teams had marked the encroached areas five months ago and had visited the area at least four times. "We had apprised them about the encroachments several times, but the residents didn't take any action. That’s why we were left with no option but to conduct this drive," he added.

Civic officials had to face opposition from area residents. An elderly woman named Champa Pahwa was seen requesting MC staff not to remove the entry gate at her house, which was an encroachment, telling them she would herself get it removed.

However, MC officials remained adamant over demolishing it, but later relented and told the woman she should get the encroachment removed at the earliest or else the demolition team would be back again.

6 illegal colonies demolished

Officials of the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) on Wednesday demolished six unauthorized colonies that had come up in different areas of the city. They reportedly include a six acre colony near Bulara village, a ten acre colony near Khanpur village, a two acre colony near Thakkarwal village, a four acre colony near Dhandra village, a five acre colony near Dhandra village and a 10 acre colony near Mehmoodpura village.



Councillor accuses Mayor of step-motherly treatment
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Accusing the Mayor of step-motherly treatment, a BJP councillor held a protest outside the Zone A office of MC here today. 

The councillor, Sunita Fanta, alleged that it was because of the Mayor that the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) meeting was not held for many weeks, which was resulting in delay in getting clearance of various development projects.

Fanta, along with a large number of woman and other persons from her area, alleged that her ward was one of the most neglected wards of the city. 

"There are several projects which are hanging fire due to the delay  in approval from the F&CC. We are elected representatives of the people and we are answerable to them. 

The councillor's husband, Harbans Lal Fanta, who is a former councillor, rued that Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura was not clearing files related to development works in the wards of BJP councillors. 

“In our ward, the work of laying water supply pipes, sewerage, carpeting of roads and some projects are hanging fire. Residents say that when they are paying taxes, they are bound to get facilities," Harbans rued.

He warned the Mayor that if the F&CC meeting was not held within a week, he would resort to fast unto death outside the Mayor's office. 

‘Meeting soon’
n Coming to the Mayor's defence, Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal said: “The F&CC meeting could not be held because I was out of station while Deputy Mayor Sunita Aggarwal was busy in a family function. But I assure the residents that the meeting will be held soon,” claimed Bansal.



Prospective English teachers falter in interviews
College to readvertise post after dismal show by candidates
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Candidates who recently turned up for interviews for the position of assistant professor of English at a college located in the city’s periphery were found woefully deficient in the language that they were supposed to teach in undergraduate arts and commerce classes. After their dismal performance the college administration decided to readvertise the post, offering a higher payscale to attract better candidates.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, one of the members of the interview panel said on condition of anonymity: “One of the candidates, who had who had a masters degree in English from a government college, couldn’t differentiate between ‘troop’ and ‘troupe’ and couldn’t even explain the meaning of the word ‘treasury’. It was so disappointing - all these four candidates failed to give satisfactory replies to all our questions. Another candidate couldn’t say what the word ‘illicit’ meant. They weren’t even conversant with the basics of English grammar”.

GS Ghuman, who has taught English to students for almost three decades, said the standards were going down in schools and colleges.

“It’s really bad that quality standard education was not being provided to students at both school and college levels. In present scenario, the English language holds a lot of importance. One needs to have command over the language to succeed but here everything seems to be going wrong. The attitude of students as well as teachers towards Masters' programme has been very casual. Grammatical errors are being made by students but teachers hardly point-out the mistakes. The syllabuses lay stress on literature aspect. Spoken English or grammar is not being taken care of well at institutes", said Ghuman.

KBS Sodhi, a retired professor who taught English to students for four decades, admitted standards had declined steadily. "Students in graduate classes adopt a very casual approach. There was no in-depth study of topics. They just crammed a few questions to attempt in examinations. Both students and teachers avoid the grammar part, which are the basics of a language. At times MA students fail to describe characters in a particular lesson. The trend is similar among students from both rural and urban areas. We need to focus on the problem otherwise we won’t be able to compete globally", said Sodhi.



‘Free ride’ women gang busted, 3 held
Stole gold ornaments of women while offering them auto ride
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
In a major breakthrough, the city police nabbed three women members of the notorious "free ride gang", who had created panic in the posh localities of the city with their repeated strikes.

The women identified as Baljit, Manjeet and Hathyaro, of Channa village in Sangrur and Bhadson village near Patiala were nabbed from the Bharat Nagar Chowk area while they were hunting for their prospective target.

Surjit Singh Nagra, in charge of the Bus Stand Police Post said that they stole gold ornaments of women while giving them an auto-rickshaw ride and were hunting for an old woman travelling in an auto-rickshaw so that they could slip away with gold ornaments.

"They had created panic in the city with their repeated strikes and after committing the offence they used to flee. These women are chronic swindlers and have been in and out of jail. Slipping away with gold ornaments of elderly women was their only occupation. We were searching for them and had even laid traps at their possible target areas, finally they fell in the police net," said Nagra.

The terror of the free-ride gang was such that the elderly had shunned wearing gold ornaments, while going to gurdwara.


July 5: The free-ride gang members fled with gold ornaments worth lakhs of rupees by robbing two women on the pretext of offering them a ride near a gurdwara at BRS Nagar and Sarabha Nagar. In the first incident, the gang members robbed Joginder Kaur (70) of gold bangles. In the second incident, Surinderjit Kaur of Sarabha Nagar was also robbed in an identical manner. The robber took five gold bangles after offering her a ride in a car.

June 23: The gang snatched two bangles from a woman on the pretext of offering her a lift at Atam Nagar

May 5: 70-year-old Jaswant Kaur of Dugri was robbed near a gurdwara

May 3: Sneh Lata Singla and her husband Satpal (61) of Bhattian village were robbed of a gold bangle near the Jalandhar bypass

April 29: Another elderly woman was robbed of a gold bangle in the Model Town area. She was persuaded to take a ride in a car

April 21: Harbhajan Kaur, an elderly resident of Model Town, was robbed of her gold jewellery after she was "forced" to sit in a car by the gang members claiming to be her relatives.

No respite yet

Source said the free-ride gang used to operate in three groups in different parts of the state. The Phillaur police busted a similar gang recently and with the arrest of the trio by the bus stand police, there was a possibility that one gang was still operating in the city. 



ROs may not be the best bet
Filter out essential minerals too
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 13
People spend thousands of rupees on getting a water purifying system installed at home. But this is not a solution to water contamination problems as most water filters are actually a health hazard as these also filter out minerals which are required by the body.

Experts of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) said some reverse osmosis (RO) water purifiers were also removing minerals which were essential for the body. They claimed that chlorine-based water purifiers were the best and a lot cheaper than the RO systems.

“The MC depends on chlorination for supplying potable water. But the shelf life of chlorine is less and it is effective only if it is done properly. But I wonder if the MC is actually doing this job properly because the water we get for testing is mostly unfit for consumption,” said a senior scientist. PAU scientists said the occurrence of pathogens in water was due to deficiency in plumbing lines; inadequately laid plumbing lines; cross connections; treatment deficiency; biofilm growth problems; leakage or gap in the piping system with high external pressure; and hydraulic disturbances that allow biofilm material on pipe surfaces or sediments to enter the bulk water, among other reasons.

“The major types of pathogenic organisms that can affect the safety of water are bacteria, viruses, protozoa and worm infections. The emerging pathogens were responsible for the gastroenteritis epidemic in the city last year, which had claimed several lives. Inadequate chlorination results in potential biofilm formation in pipes,” the scientist said.

Manjit Singh, Executive Engineer (operations and maintenance cell), claimed that 6 kg of chlorine was being used in one drum. “We are supplying water with 6 ppm (parts per million) chlorine level and when it reaches the end point, the chlorine level stays between 0.2 and 0.5 ppm, which is permissible as per Indian standards,” he claimed.

Only one water testing lab

For a city with a population of more than 13 lakh, there is only one laboratory that tests water samples at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), besides some private ones.

How to test water

Take a glass bottle and fill it with boiling water

Leave it to settle for 1.5 to 2 hours with the lid tightly closed

Drain the water and refill it with tap water

Submit it to the laboratory for testing

At the department of microbiology, PAU, the charges for testing a water sample are Rs 100 and the result can be collected after 48 hours. The PAU has also developed a water testing kit which is available for rs 40.



Wore stylish clothes to trap housewives
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Wearing stylised clothes and hiring a taxi was their way to lure the elderly to get into their car on the pretext of hitching them a ride. This was the method used by the gang members, who were nabbed by the police.

They used to lay trap outside gurdwaras located in posh localities, including BRS Nagar, Atam Nagar, Model Town and Mall Road and wait for elderly women wearing gold ornaments to fall in their trap.

While Baljit and Manjeet used to get inside the gudwara along with the target, their third accomplice Hathyaro used to sit in the car along with a male driver and wait for them.

While paying obeisance Baljit and Manjeet used to befriend their target and smooth talk the latter to take a free ride in their vehicle. While those who used to resist sitting in the car, the duo forcibly made them sit in the vehicle.

While sitting in the car the trio used to bamboozle the elderly woman and slip away with the gold ornaments by making the latter uncomfortable. After travelling for some distance they used to desert the elderly woman and flee the scene.

According to Surjit Nagra, the trio of Baljit (30), Manjeet (45) and Hathyaro (44) are close relatives and formed a gang few years ago. The husbands of the trio are chronic drug addicts and aware about work their wives activities.

"In fact their husbands sit idle at home while the trio are running the show and nurturing their children from the money they receive by selling the stolen gold items," said Nagra. While Manjeet has four daughters, Baljit is a widow and Hathyaro has three children. 



District scan

International event for printers: A group of more than 50 printers from the northern states of India will participate in the “Pack Print International 2011” in Bangkok, Thailand, from August 31 to September 3, 2011. The event is being organised by Messe Dulleldrof Asia Ltd, Singapore, Thai Printers Association and Thai Packaging Association. Besides visiting the exhibition, the group will exchange ideas with the printers associations of Thailand to explore joint ventures and to study the problems and facilities available in both the countries.

March by Sikh bodies: In a bid to raise voice against the alleged injustice being inflicted upon the Sikh community, several Sikh bodies will hold a march for justice here on July 15. The march will commence from Gurdwara Shaheedan near Gujjarkhan campus in Model Town and will march towards the Mini Secretariat, where a memorandum will be handed over to the Deputy Commissioner. Leaders of participating bodies said the protest would focus on clemency to Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, other innocent Sikh youths languishing in jails and incidents of desecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Office-bearers assume charge: The following office-bearers of Lions Club, Ludhiana, took charge for the year 2011-12 during the first board of directors’ meeting: president: Nakesh Garg; secretary: , Inderbir Nanda; treasurer Rajiv Gupta; PRO Sanjeev Monga; vice-presidents Lalit Gupta and Govind Puri; joint secretary: Kuldeep Singh; tamer Satinderjit Singh: tale twister: Jiwan Garg; directors Ashok Kalra, Manmohan Singh, HS Bedi, Parminder Singh, Sanjeev Sethi, Ravinder Singh and permanent invitees Kishor Verma and Charnjit Singh.

Saplings planted: ABC Montessori, BRS Nagar, Ludhiana, celebrated Plantation Day in the school today. Teachers of the school highlighted the problems of global warming, deforestation and overpopulation. Tiny tots planted saplings.

Function: Baba Banda Singh Bahadur International Foundation will observe historic meeting of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur with 10th guru of Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh at Hazoor Sahib in Nanded (Maharashtra) by holding a function on September 3. Making this announcement at a meeting, president of the body Krishan Kumar Bawa said the meeting which took place at the banks of Godawari river saw the total transformation of the then Madho Das Bairagi. It was after this meeting that Bairagi-renamed as Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, picked up arms and avenged the martyrdom of two sons of the last Sikh guru.

Album out: Second album of “bhajans” (hymns) sung by noted singer Poonam Gupta was released by Baba Kulwant Bhalla, head priest of Sri Balaji temple, here today. Recorded by JCL Music Company, the album titled "Ram Bhakt Hanuman" has eight renderings dedicated to Lord Balaji. The music album has been produced by Dr Pran Gupta, while music has been composed by Jagjit Soni. — TNS



2 Punjabi men convicted of smuggling drugs in US
Duo smuggled about 36,000 kg of cocaine from California to Toronto
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 13
Even as a number of Punjabi youths have been arrested and convicted for smuggling drugs in different countries, the yearning to earn a quick buck has still been attracting a large number of Punjabis settled in Canada and the United States towards drug smuggling.

In a latest such incident, two Punjabi men hailing from villages near Jagraon have been convicted by a US court for leading a drug smuggling ring in the United States and Canada.

The Punjabis convicted in this case include Brampton resident 52-year-old Harjeet Singh Mann and 41-year-old Sukhraj Singh Dhaliwal, a resident of Bakersfield in the United States. Besides Brampton, Harjeet Singh Mann also owns a house in Bakersfield.

Mann and Dhaliwal hail from Gureh and Cheemna villages, respectively, near Jagraon. Both Mann and Dhaliwal, who had moved abroad around eight-nine years ago, were arrested while smuggling a huge cache of drugs from America to Canada around three years ago.

The duo smuggled about 36,000 kilograms of cocaine from California to Toronto between 2003 and 2008. During a court hearing, Mann indicated that he had shipped about 36,000 kilograms of cocaine between 2003 and 2008 from Bakersfield to Toronto through his Canadian trucking business ‘Star Leaf Truck Lines’. The contraband was distributed among some other Asian gang members who further supplied it to customers.

A Bakersfield California jury has found Harjeet Mann and Sukhraj Dhaliwal guilty of attempting to possess with intent to distribute 70 kilograms cocaine following the delivery of $9,72,000 dollars in cash to an undercover drug agent. US District Judge Oliver W Wanger ordered the seizure of more than $1.3 million as proceeds of crime, in addition to $60,669 seized from Mann's bank accounts.

Another Punjabi, Gurmeet Bisla (29), a resident of Livingston in California, was also found guilty of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a large quantity of cocaine.

According to the US justice department officials, investigators started their probe after Bisla, a drug transporter, was nabbed in Sheldon, carrying $196,000 in drug proceeds in a trailer. That led to the seizure of $972,000 that Mann, Dahaliwal and a third man delivered to an undercover agent for what they thought was the purchase of 70 kilograms of coke.

Mann offered to sell agents 50 kilogram buckets of ephedrine, a precursor chemical used to make methamphetamine. He claimed the substance was smuggled from India and sold for $38,000 a bucket, added officials.

However, Mann and Dhaliwal went to trial and were found guilty in June 2009. Mann received a sentence of more than 23 years and Dhaliwal was sentenced to 10 years. Mann will now receive a jail sentence of at least 10 years, the mandatory minimum term, when he appears in court on August 24.

Modern-day Robin Hood!

The people of their native villages consider Mann and Dhaliwal as modern-day Robin Hood as they spend huge amounts earned from drug smuggling in their native villages, Gureh and Cheemna.

Once Mann told the court that whenever he returned his village, he gave money to villagers. The prosecutors told the court that Mann and Dhaliwal were philanthropists in their villages. 



Shopkeepers told to remove illegal structures
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 13
Terming encroachments as the major impediment in controlling law and order situation in any area, Harcharan Singh Bhullar, Senior Superintendent of Police, Sangrur, urged office-bearers of social, political and constitutional organisations to persuade shopkeepers and owners of other establishments to remove illegal structures raised by them.

The SSP said patrolling would be intensified to enhance surveillance. DSP Amargarh Gurpeet Singh Sikand was directed to supervise the police control room set-up for the purpose.

Appreciating the role played by social organisations in maintaining law and order in the town, Bhullar said no government official could justify his job without cooperation of the local leaders. “As a majority of officials are from outside, they depend upon genuine leaders for information about anti-social elements and their sympathisers.” Seeking cooperation of residents in educating youths about causes and consequences of vehicular accidents, Bhullar directed officials to organise awareness camps at educational institutes. Among others present included Ravinder Puri, president, Journalists Association, Dr Rajinder Kumar Mittal, chairman, Social Welfare Organisation, and Tarsem Garg.



Power cuts reimposed
Industry fumes, residents sweat it out in sweltering heat
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 13
Negating the tall claims of providing uninterrupted power supply to all categories of consumers during peak summer season as also to the farm sector to meet the increased demand during paddy cultivation, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has reimposed heavy restraints on power supply to the industry while also resorting to rotational power cuts on domestic sector ranging between two to four hours daily.

While the domestic consumers were already facing unscheduled power cuts of half to one hour duration at least two to four times a day, the industrial units fed from category two feeders will observe one weekly off while power intensive industries like arc & induction furnaces and rolling mills will have to go without power for four days in a week staring from tomorrow. The restriction will remain in force till July 31.

Not only this, the large supply (LS) consumers have also been directed to use only 50 per cent of the permitted load during peak load hour restrictions till further orders.

On July 11, the power regulatory authority of the PSPCL had withdrawn all restrictions (compulsory weekly offs and unscheduled cuts) from all categories of consumers. But just within 48 hours, the orders have been revoked and restrictions again slapped on the industry.

Sources in the PSPCL attribute the prevailing grim power scenario to the failure of monsoon during first half of July. "Even though the PSPCL had made timely power purchase agreements to bridge the gap between the peak demand and the availability of power, the optimism of the top brass was more or less based on adequate monsoon rains, which lead to reduction of demand for power from the farm sector. The failure of rains during past two weeks has upset the applecart of the PSPCL management," sources added.

The power situation had further deteriorated yesterday with the shutting down of two units of 210 MW each in Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Plant at Ropar, which had made a big dent in the total availability of power in the state. "One unit of the Ropar plant has commenced generation while the other is also expected to become operational by tomorrow evening," senior officials of the PSPCL said, adding that the state at present was facing a shortfall of some 500 to 600 MW power which had necessitated restrictions and regulatory measures on purely temporary basis.


On July 11, the power regulatory authority of the PSPCL had withdrawn all restrictions - compulsory weekly offs and unscheduled cuts - from all categories of consumers. But within 48 hours, the orders have been revoked and restrictions again slapped on the industry.

Power cuts irk residents 
AMLOH: Unscheduled power cuts in the town have turned nights into a nightmare. While addressing Amloh residents, MLA Sadhu Amloh MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot submits a memorandum to SDM Poonamdeep Kaur. Singh Dharamsot said the Punjab Power Supply Corporation had failed to improve the situation. Later, a memorandum was given to SDM Poonamdeep Kaur, demanding an inquiry against the officials of the corporation responsible for disrupting the power supply. — OC

Amloh MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot submits a memorandum to SDM Poonamdeep Kaur. A tribune photograph



Industry pleads for simplification of VAT regime
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 13
Members of the industry made it clear that they would not accept introduction of new Value Added Tax (VAT) return forms 23 and 24 which would make things more difficult for trade and industry, while also being contrary to professed policy of the state government for simplification of the taxation procedures.

At a meeting convened by Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the state Excise and Taxation Commissioner (ETC) A Venugopal here late last evening, the industry leaders called for scrapping of new VAT return forms and reverting to old forms. They also demanded making the process of VAT refund as simple and practical as possible. “The VAT refund should be made within seven days without asking for forms C, D, F and H. And in case of delayed refund, interest should be paid along with the refund," they pleaded.

President of the chamber PD Sharma made a fervent plea to make the dealing officials of excise and taxation department accountable so that the possibility of deliberate procedural delay could be completely ruled out. He said the information collection centres should not act as barriers, what they are deemed top have become of late, but they ought to serve their desired purpose (collection of information) with clear instruction to forward the reports or files of suspected or detained goods to concerned district headquarters for settlement.

Commenting on the arbitrary power accorded to the information collection centres, Sharma and other functionaries of the chamber urged the government to withdraw their powers of blocking VAT/TIN numbers of registered dealers. They said the vehicles should not be detained on grounds of under-valuation or minor clerical errors.

Batting for manufacturers of auto parts, Sharma said the chairman of the VAT Empanelment Committee had slashed the rate of VAT on auto parts from 12.5 to 4 per cent in his home state of West Bengal, and a few other states had also followed suit with the result that auto parts units located in Punjab had been rendered uncompetitive in domestic market. Justice demands that rate of VAT on auto parts in Punjab should also be reviewed and brought at par, he said.

In a memorandum submitted to the ETC, the chamber made several other suggestions on maintenance of stock register, seizure of goods, cash checking, audit of accounts by Chartered Accountants, cancellation of registration certificates, harsh penalty provisions in VAT Act, hearing of appeals, summary and deemed assessment which it asserted, would lead to simplification of tax regime, if implemented earnestly.

In his address, Venugopal said the department had no intention of causing any kind of harassment to tax-payers, but at the same time compliance had to be ensured to mobilise tax collection. He said the department was always open to suggestions and redressal of genuine grievances. "Certain irksome procedural issues and practical problems in tax compliance had been brought to our notice, and the matter is being discussed at the appropriate level," he added. 

Refund within 7 days

The VAT refund should be made within seven days without asking for forms C, D, F and H. And in case of delayed refund, interest should be paid along with the refund, said industry representatives



Delegation from Mozambique visits farm university
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
A delegation from Republic of Mozambique, led by Prof Dr Bhangy Cassy, rector, Zambeze University, Beira, visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) yesterday and interacted with the director of research, Dr SS Gosal on wide ranging academic and development issues for a possible collaboration.

The other members of the delegation included Dr Edmundo Jossefa, director executive secretariat, PIREP, Dr Fernado da Silva, director general, Institute of Agriculture, and Joao Xerinda, second commissioner, Commission of Mozambique in India.

Dr Gosal apprised the delegates of the research programmes of the PAU and said it would welcome any collaboration in academic, research and extension education programmes.

He added that the collaboration in identified areas would be undertaken through an MoU. Dr Gosal discussed with the visiting delegation about the current agrarian scenario and said the focus of the PAU was to develop technologies aimed at resource conservation and rational use of inputs within the framework of eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness. He highlighted the state-of-the-art facilities available at the university.

Dr Cassy, a mathematician by profession, said the purpose of their visit to the PAU was to explore areas of collaboration between his university and the PAU as they held the latter in great esteem owing to its contribution in green revolution.

The visit was planned as a follow up of earlier visits, he said. Giving details of Mozambican agriculture, Dr Cassy said a majority of people there were involved in agriculture and community participation was significant.

He said the Zambeze University was the youngest in Mozambique and that they were greatly interested in developing a system of getting trainers from the PAU in addition to collaborating in education and research project development.

Dr Jossefa said they were impressed with the ongoing programmes of the PAU. He explored possibilities of faculty exchange in different fields of agriculture and capacity building. Those who participated in the interaction with the group included Dr PK Khanna, coordinator research (basic sciences), Dr TS Thind, additional director of research (agriculture) and Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director of communication.



Cancer awareness in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
The University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA), and Christian Medical College (CMC) have designed a two-month project to examine the effectiveness of direct education programmes on cancer awareness.

Kevin King, a student from the University of Wisconsin, has come to the CMC, along with his mentor Dr Gurwattan Singh Miranpuri, an alumni of Punjab Agricultural University, to work with Dr Neeta Kang at the Betty Cowan Research and Innovation Centre, on spreading cancer awareness in Punjab. Working with a team of the CMC medical doctors, the group will hold direct educational health sessions designed to increase cancer awareness among university students in the city and schoolchildren at a village in Bathinda district.

“Once known as the breadbasket of India, Punjab has witnessed a rise in cancer cases,” Dr Kang observed. 



‘Bride & Groom’ exhibition from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
“Bride and Groom”, an exhibition, will be held in the city from July 15 to 17.

Kiran Sharma, CEO, Bride and Groom, said, “From glittering jewels, outfits, swanky bags, dream destination packages to fragrances, everything will be available under one roof.”

Besides apparels, Bride and Groom-2011 will offer segments like jewellery, accessories and other gifts. “ The motto behind the exhibition is to make the bride and groom journey to be memorable and enjoyable. And above that, it comes with the latest and trendiest of the lot,” Kiran added.

Designers outfits, jewellery and accessories, wedding cards and trousseau décor, bags and footwear, gifts and silverware will be put on display during the exhibition. 



Newly wed couples plant saplings
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Concerned about the rapidly decreasing green cover in the city, two newly wed couples planted saplings on the occasion at the Ram Lila ground in Daresi here today.

The couples, Amit and Natasha and Sunil and Meenakshi, were attending the Vanmahotsava organised by CAPE-India and Shri Ram Lila Committee, Daresi. The couples urged their parents that they want to add their bit to save the losing green cover.

The couples said the saplings planted by them would remind them of their wedding vows and the growth of the tree would reflect the strength of their relationship.

They said every couple should plant a sapling during the time of their wedding, as sapling could become a symbol of their marriage. Besides, it would also add to the green cover of the city. 



School has no teacher for vocational course 
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, July 13
It may sound strange, but it is true! There is a vocational building, but amazingly there is no vocational group at Government Senior Secondary School for Girls here.

It has been found that Hargobindpura has been “erroneously” allocated two vocational groups, despite the fact that the requirement was of one.

The building came up with an aim to impart vocational training to girl students.

Principal of the school said, “Girls are keen on learning subjects like home science, commercial garment making, knitting technology, textile craft (weaving) and textile designing. But as there is no vocational group in the school, they have to opt for some other subject.”

Iqbal Singh, coordinator, vocational group, said the schools should be given vocational groups.

The Parent Teacher Association has demanded a teacher who can teach vocational subjects to students.

“Most of the students are keen on learning such courses, but it is sad that they have to leave the school without acquiring any vocational training.”



Notification issued

Ludhiana: The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), a statutory body of the Central government for technical education, issued a notification regarding approval of Ludhiana Group of Colleges-Polytechnic (LGC) situated at Chaukimann on the Ferozepur road. Brijpal Singh Sachdeva, chairman, LGC, said the institute offered diploma courses in civil, mechanical, electrical, electronics and computer engineering streams. Rajeev Gulati, general secretary, LGC, said the city was emerging as an educational hub of Northern India, especially in the field of technical education. Industry was facing a lot of problem because of non-availability of local trained professionals. The industry was hiring professionals from other states. “To cater to the needs of the industry, the institute will be forming an interface cell so that students can be prepared according to the industry needs,” he added.

Induction programme

Kamla Lohtia SD College has decided to bring about structural changes in the teaching methodology. An induction programme for postgraduate students of the college will be held this month. — TNS



Swimming championship: DSA felicitates winners
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 13
The District Swimming Association (DSA), Ludhiana, honoured boys and girls who brought glory to the city by emerging overall champions in the 36th Junior Punjab State Swimming Championship held at Jalandhar recently. 

They were felicitated at a function organised at the Municipal Corporation swimming pool, Rakh Bagh, here today. The Ludhiana contingent performed exceedingly well and secured 198 points to finish at top among all the participants. Hosts Jalandhar finished runners-up while Sangrur district had to content with the third position.

In water polo, Ludhiana waged a spirited battle in the final against Jalandhar but eventually, the latter romped home victorious 5-3.

The swimmers who swam to finish among position holders and also steered Ludhiana to emerge as overall champions include Kawalpreet who bagged as many as eight gold medals in the group I.

Kawalpreet hogged limelight as she created five new meet records (50m, 100m and 200m butterfly, 800m free style and 200m individual medley events).

Another upcoming swimmer from Ludhiana, Shubhkarman Dhaliwal, reaped a rich haul of medals including seven golds and a silver. He, too, established a new meet record in the grueling 1,500m freestyle event.

Arman Kaur Khangura clinched three gold and two bronze medals while Simran Brar fetched as many medals (three gold and two bronze).

In the group II, Ishpreet Mann won eight medals, including four gold; Khushnaz Soni annexed five gold and three silver medals and Mani Mehtab won seven gold medals to enable their team to celebrate winning the overall trophy.

Pukhraj Gill won two gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals and Akshit Bawa lifted two bronze medals while Prabhdeepak Singh Sidhu won a bronze medal. Manavdeep Singh Bal and Saksham Kapoor won one gold each.

Apinder Singh Grewal, president, DSA, Ludhiana was the chief guest on this occasion. Appreciating the swimmers' performance, Grewal congratulated the players and their coaches for this achievement.

Coaches Wasakha Singh and Amandeep Kaur along with office-bearers of the DSA, Ludhiana, including Ajay Kumar and Sunil Kumar, were also present.



Courier company told to pay Rs 2 lakh for lost consignment 
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, July 13
The permanent lok adalat has ordered On Dot courier and cargo company to make the payment of lost consignment worth Rs 2,02,800 alongwith 9 per cent interest from the day of its booking to the complainant.

The chairman of the permanent lok adalat, Lakhbir Singh, members RS Khokhar and Nand Lal pronounced the order while deciding a complaint moved by Vandana Jain, owner of Sunrit Biotech, Kitchlu Nagar, Ludhiana.

The orders have been passed against the courier company and its agent Balwant Kumar, owner of OK International, Near Bhuri Wala Gurudwara, Haibowal Kalan, Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted that she booked a consignment on October 13, 2009, valued Rs 2,02,800 with On Dot courier company through its agent. The consignment was to be delivered to Dhingra Surgical & Medicines, Moga.

But to her surprise, the consignment never reached its destination. She took up the matter with the courier company, but all in vain, added the complainant.

On the other hand, the agent of the company admitted the booking of consignment. He stated that after booking the consignment, he handed over the same to the officials of company for safe delivery. So, he was not at fault, he said.

Officials of the company took legal objections and stated that the liability of the courier company was limited to the extent of Rs 100, as printed on the booking slip.

The company argued that it was mentioned on the booking prescription that it was necessary to mention the actual value of goods, if value was more than Rs 10,000, the same requires to be insured. But in this case, the column was blank.

The permanent lok-adalat held that if the column was blank, it was the fault of agent of the courier company and not of the complainant. So, the company cannot escape from its liability. 



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