L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Demolition drive in the offing
Municipal Corporation to complete scrutiny of violators’ replies by March-end
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has started scrutinising the replies of notices sent to the residents regarding demolition of buildings constructed after 1995 and in violation of the PUDA Act. The MC would be finalising a list of all such buildings after scrutinising the replies by March-end and a demolition drive would start after that.

Taking a strict note of illegal encroachments as well as PUDA Act violations on prominent city roads, the MC had decided to demolish all the structures that are within 5 meters distance from the main roads. A comprehensive survey in this regard was carried out by the Building Branch officials of the civic body and around 2,500 such violations were identified in different parts of the city. Notices have been issued to all the violators twice.

According to the information, the MC would be carrying out this drive on roads from Jalandhar Bypass Chowk till Sherpur Chowk, from Sherpur Chowk till the Delhi Road octroi post, from Samrala Chowk till the Chandigarh Road octroi post, from Jagraon Bridge till the Ferozepur Road octroi post, from Jalandhar Bypass Chowk till the Jalandhar Road octroi post and from Gill Chowk till the Gill Road octroi post.

The MC officials found that more than 50 per cent of the violations exist on road, starting from Jalandhar Bypass Chowk till Sherpur Chowk.

A meeting in this regard was held on March 2 and it was decided to start the demolition drive from March 6. But due to counting of Assembly election votes on that day, the drive had to be postponed. The MC had planned that all these violations had to be removed before April 15.

“All violations that exist within five meters from the road and are in violation of the PUDA Act 1995 would be removed at every cost. I must clarify that we would calculate the distance from the road and a service lane is part of the road. Moreover we are not removing these building violations to widen the road but because they are violations in itself,” said the MC Commissioner. He claims that once the list of violations is prepared by end of this month, the demolition drive would start.


MC opens sealed portion of bus terminus
SC tells company to pay house tax of Rs 1.67 crore within four weeks
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today opened the portion of Shaheed Sukhdev Interstate Bus Terminus that was sealed for non-payment of house tax worth Rs 1.67 crore on March 14.

The MC officials said this action was taken after the Supreme Court of India directed the private company managing the bus terminus to make the entire payment within four weeks.

Hartej Singh, superintendent, Zone D, claimed that after the bus terminus was sealed, the company officials had approached the Supreme Court as they had already lost the case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

"The Supreme Court heard the case on March 16 and ordered the same day that the company should make payment regarding pending house tax of Rs 1.67 crore within four weeks from the date of order. As it was holidays on Saturday and Sunday, we received the court orders today. The court had directed the company to make 25 per cent of the payment within two weeks from date of pronouncing the order, which is March 16. And the remaining payment is to be made within four weeks of the order. So by four weeks, we would get the entire pending house tax worth Rs 1.67 crore," said an elated Hartej Singh.

So later in the evening, MC officials went to the bus terminus and opened the seals.

It is pertinent to mention that on March 14, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation had sealed a portion of the Shaheed Sukhdev Interstate Bus Terminus. MC officials had not only sealed the entry and exit counters used by the buses, but even deputed police force so that the private firm managing the bus stand is not able to collect “adda” fee from buses.

Even the parking was sealed and the company officials were asked not to charge the people visiting the bus terminus till the time pending house tax is paid.

This house tax is to be paid by the private company managing the bus terminus and has been due for the last three years. In the month of February, the company officials had met MC Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi at his office. They had raised this issue with Jaggi, who had told them to make the payment within a week’s time.

The city bus stand is being managed under private-public partnership and a private company is maintaining it. The bus stand authorities and the private company have signed a contract for nine years.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation had sent several notices to the private company as well as the Punjab Roadways regarding this issue.

But for the last three years, the MC did not get its due house tax, the amount of which has now reached Rs 1.67 crore.

Adopting a tough stance in its bid to improve the recovery of the arrears as the financial year draws to an end, the MC had sealed the office and “Adda” fee counter of the private company managing the bus terminus on February 23.

But even after passing of 20 days, the private firm failed to make the payment regarding pending house tax. That is why, on March 14, another portion of bus terminus was sealed.



High drama at library
Cong ex-leader pulls out pistol in ‘self-defence’
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
High drama was witnessed at the Panjab University extension library when former Youth Congress leader Narinder Makkar (51) pulled out a revolver allegedly in "self-defence" here today.

The incident took place here this afternoon when Narinder visited the library to get an examination form for his nephew.

On seeing the long queue he decided to sit in a lawn of the library along with his friend.

In the meantime, someone told him that his car was banged by a law student, identified as Robin, who was driving a Toyota Innova.

"My car was badly damaged and to cap it all, the youth abused me. I told him that I am of the age of his uncle. In no time the youth called his friends. I suspect that they would thrash me so I pulled out my pistol purely in self-defence and even dialled 100 for help," said Narinder Makkar.

Makkar’s action created a furore at extension library and the law department. The students gathered at the library and objected to the brandishing of weapon by former Congress leader and demanded action against him. The students alleged Makkar had started the trouble and scolded Robin for damaging his car.

The police soon reached the spot and took the weapon in its possession.

Both the groups were further taken to police station where the matter was resolved amicably. 



Yet another snatching
Mohit Khanna
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, March 19
There seems to be no stopping the snatchers. In the latest case two you youngsters snatched the gold bangles of 70-year-old woman in the Udham Singh Nagar area here today.

The incident took place when the victim, Parkash Kaur was sitting outside the house. In a statement to the police she said two youngsters, with their faces covering with cloth, approached her and asked for a glass of water.

When she was about to walk towards the kitchen to fetch a glass of water for them, they overpowered her and tried to snatch her earrings. She resisted and raised an alarm. In the meantime they got hold of her gold bangles and managed to pull it out of her hands. In no time the snatchers fled the scene. Her daughter, who is doctor in Samrala, reported the matter to the police. 



Criminal stages suicide
 Killed a man to show himself dead in police record
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
A criminal facing many heinous offences found a novel way to hoodwink the police. In order to show himself as dead in the police record, the criminal, identified as Varinder Singh, alias Prince (25), killed an innocent labourer from Uttar Pradesh and set the victim on fire on February 27.

Giving details, ADCP- II Sushil Kumar said Prince and his close aide Rampal, alias Lambar, had hatched a conspiracy to hoodwink the police. For this they identified the victim, Yadav, and arranged a meeting with him. On the night of February 27, Rampal and Varinder took the victim on a motorcycle and gagged him to death in Ghahi Bhani village.

The accused after killing the victim set his body on fire. In order to dupe the police, Varinder also left a note near the body stating that he had committed suicide because of the fear of being caught and tortured by the police.

Investigating officers smelled a rat as the suicide note was not burnt.

In the mean time the police received a tip-off that Varinder was alive and was planning to commit yet another crime. Following the tip-off the police conducted a raid and nabbed Rampal and Varinder Singh at Chowk Rattangarh, near Koom Kalan, this morning.

He is wanted in nearly six cases of heinous crime, including murder and robbery. The police has recovered a stolen motorcycle from the possession of the accused.



16 caught copying in class XII exams
Centre superintendent, clerk relieved from duty for helping students
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Flying squads constituted by the Punjab School Education Board to curb copying got success when they caught 16 students copying in the physics and history examinations of class XII today. Among the 16 students, the flying squad nabbed two students who were solving questions by using blue tooth device hidden in their turbans. The board authorities registered Unfair Means Cases (UMC) against those students. One centre superintendent and a clerk were relieved from duty allegedly for keeping six mobile phones allegedly to help students.

According to the officials, seven cases of copying were registered in Adarsh Senior Secondary School, Dehlon, by a flying squad team led by Surinder Singh Grewal. This team caught seven more students from an examination centre at Guru HarGobind Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Mandi Bahadurgarh. One student was using a blue tooth device while attempting the examination at this centre.

Parmveer Sidhu, a member of the flying Squad team, said: "Mass copying was at the peak at Guru Hargobind Khalsa Senior Secondary School Gurusar, Sudhar. Students were using helping material without any fear in the examination".

Surinder Singh Grewal, in charge of the flying squad, said: "We came across mass copying at the school. We did not register any UMC case at this examination centre but relieved the centre superintendent and clerk from their duties. We recommend to the PSEB to cancel the physics and history examinations".

Meanwhile, another team, led by Harjit Singh Balari, found two cases of copying at Government Senior Secondary School, Doraha.Harjit Singh Balri, in charge of the flying squad, said: "Our team visited five schools of Doraha and Sahnewal. We found that in most of the cases boys were caught copying. Moreover they were using hi-tech technology for cheating". 



Admin goes easy on child labour
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Law enforcing agencies seem to have adopted an "easy-going" approach towards child labour. The district administration claims that in days' to come, it will crack a whip against the employers, who force children to work in their factory premises/commercial establishments, but unless strict action is taken against those found guilty, rescuing children from factories will not serve much purpose.

The Child Labour Act says that hiring children below 14 years of age for work is an offence and the culprit can face both the penalty as well as imprisonment. Ajay Sood, SDM (East), talking to Ludhiana Tribune said that instructions had been passed on to departments concerned for further action (to register complaint against the employer) in the case in which about 20 children were rescued from a factory premises in Kalyan Nagar on March 16.

But the Daresi Police Station, (under whose jurisdiction Kalyan Nagar falls) maintained that a case was not registered against the employer, as they had not received any written orders by any authority. "As soon as we get the orders, we will register a case", the in charge of Daresi Police Station said.

The Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO, which had brought it to the notice of the administration, however felt that much more was needed be done to rescue children from being "exploited" in the city. "Imagine if one factory is seeking services of more than 30 children, what about hundreds of other such factories in the city? Their near and dear ones from the native villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar bring these children to work here. Their parents might not even be aware what kind of work their wards do in the factories/units and how much they were earning after working so hard. There is a need to stop this unethical practice to save the future of poor and needy children", said Dinesh Kumar from the Bachpan Bachao Andolan.

As many as 13 children were rescued from a factory, who were handed over to their guardians after medical examination and the employer had been asked to get eight more children in front of the Child Welfare Committee, who worked on his factory premises. 



Sutlej Club elections to be announced today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Elections of the prestigious Sutlej Club here will be announced during the annual general meeting of the club tomorrow. Fearing that the code of conduct will be imposed immediately, different groups in fray are already "done" with the parties at different venues to woo the club members.

If the members attending these parties are to be believed then members contesting for the key posts, have been spending in lakhs to "impress" the members to support them. While a majority of the members, have been attending the parties thrown by both the major groups who are contesting.

"Of Course, I have attended the parties thrown by both the groups as both had invited me. Casting my vote has nothing to do with the parties. We will cast the vote as per our conscience, no one can force us for anything", said an old member of the club, on condition of anonymity.

While, this time the members too feel that Deputy Commissioner-cum -president of the Club Rahul Tewari will be very strict with the election process, as he has already announced about it recently in different sections of the media. "For the smooth conduct of elections and to maintain the decency of the club during the elections, the members will have to follow the code of conduct strictly", said a member contesting for a key-post.

An office-bearer of the club, wishing not to be quoted said that the may be more strict than the previous one in March 2010. 



It is difficult to get skilled labour, say industrialists in city
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
While the industry in the city is upgrading itself with new techniques and innovations, it fails to get skilled labour. Labour shortage is one problem and shortage of skilled labour is yet another problem being faced by the industry. Even the industrial training institute does not produce the desired number of skilled workers.

"Gone are the days when any and everyone could work on the machines. Today things have gone technical but we do not get skilled labour for the same. Most of the work is today done by the machines and the remaining work requires skilled manpower but the city is facing shortage of skilled labour," said Ramesh Jain, a shawl manufacturer.

Upkar Singh, joint secretary of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking, said although we have an industrial training institute in the city it fails to produce the desired number of workers. We also have a training institute at Focal Point but still the workers required in the units are far more than the skilled workers produced," he added.

Another businessman, Jagdish Sharma, owner of a dyeing unit, said, "It seems dyeing is an easy task to do but it is no child's play. We require skilled labour that knows how to mix and match the colours and carry out allied processes like softening the cloth, giving special effects like tie and dye and stone wash etc. The labour available in the city is raw and we have to give them training before hiring them for work. Some of them learn it while others leave in between. Skilled manpower is the main requirement of the industry here," he said.

Another industrialist Kundan Sood dealing in cycle parts said though big industrial houses had their in-house training schools but not every businessman could afford that. The government should lay stress on setting up of more and more industrial training institutes. Industry needs trained labour for the expansion and growth, he added. 



brick-kiln owners vs mazdoor union
Admin to step in to resolve differences
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
On the "deadlock" between the Ludhiana District Brick-kiln Owners' Association and Lal Jhanda Bhatta Mazdur Union, the district administration has decided to intervene and resolve the matter as the brick-kiln owners approached the officials today.

While the meeting is to be convened tomorrow at around 12.30 pm, the representatives of the Mazdur Union said that they were unaware of any such meeting called by the administration.

Rupanjali Kartik, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) told Ludhiana Tribune since there was some issue between the brick-kiln owners and the labour union, a meeting had been called tomorrow.

While former MLA and president of Lal Jhanda Bhatta Mazdur Union Tarsem Jodhan said that he was unaware about any such meeting called by the administration. He said that brick-kiln owners, though, called meetings in recent times with the labourers' representatives but nothing came out of it. "They need to resolve the matter as labourers have suffered a lot at their (brick-kiln owners) hands", said Jodhan.

While Ashwani Sood, senior vice-president of the Ludhiana District Brick-Kiln Owners' Association said that the demand of union leaders was not justified. He said, "They want exorbitant hike in their wages which is not possible. In case we refuse to pay attention to their demand, they do not let the labourers work at the kilns. We are facing threat to our lives, too, at the hands of these leaders. In this connection, we had met the Deputy Commissioner today and a meeting has been called by the ADC (G) along with the officials from the labour department tomorrow to resolve the issue", said Sood. 



MC doles out freebies
 Allows pvt co. to install advertising boards at throwaway prices
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
When it comes to doling out freebies, one should take a cue from the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. The civic body has allowed a private company to install five advertising boards on the main roads of the city and that also at throwaway prices. These boards are installed using bamboo poles at Aarti Chowk, Bhai Bala Chowk, Sidhwan Canal Bridge on Ferozepur Road and some other parts of the city.

MC officials say that the company has been allowed to install boards on the orders of MC Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi, but Jaggi feigned ignorance over the matter and claimed that he would look into it.

Sources within the advertising branch of the MC informed that the company had paid merely Rs 7,500 for a period of 10 days - from March 15 to 24-, for five advertising boards. This comes out to be Rs 150 per day for every board, which is very less than the prevailing rates charged by the MC.

During the recent auction of advertising unipoles, the company which got the tender paid around Rs 23,500 per month for each unipole, which comes out to be around Rs 800 per day per unipole.

Naveen Malhotra, Superintendent of Zone D, said that the private company had been allowed to install these advertising boards on the orders of senior MC officials. “The company has taken permission from MC Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi and that is why these boards have been installed on different roads of the city,” claimed Malhotra.

An advertising contractor, who did not wish to be identified, rued that if the MC is to allow such advertising boards to be installed at places where tendered media is present, then they should allow all advertising contractors to place their advertisements on such boards instead of unipoles.

“We pay thousands of rupees as advertising tax for each unipole and if the MC is to allow such advertising boards, then they should stop floating tenders for the same,” claimed the contractor.

When contacted MC Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi feigned ignorance about the matter. “I have not given any such permission to anyone. Now that you have brought it to my notice, I will get the matter checked,” claimed Jaggi.



Delhi-Ludhiana flight timings changed
 New schedule to be operational from March 26
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
In view of approaching summer, Air-India has changed the timings of its lone flight from March 26. Now, the flight would be reaching the Ludhiana (Sahnewal) airport 15 minutes early than the existing time.

This is the second time that the timings have been changed keeping in mind weather conditions. Last time, the flight timings were changed on November 23 last year.

At present, the lone Air-India flight operates between Ludhiana and Delhi three times a week- on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The 46-seater Air-India aircraft departs from the Delhi airport at 11:05 am and reaches the Ludhiana airport at 12:10 pm. The same aircraft then departs from Ludhiana at 12:30 pm and lands in Delhi at 1:35 pm.

But from March 26, the flight would depart from the Delhi airport at 10:40 am and reach Ludhiana at 11:55 am.

The same flight would then take off from Ludhiana at 12:15 pm and land in Delhi at 1:25 pm.

When the air connectivity between Delhi and Ludhiana was resumed in April, 2010, the flight used to operate in the evening. Owing to poor visibility in the absence of DVOR, a device helping in better visibility, the flights used to get cancelled quiet often.

But after the timings were changed from evening to afternoon from November 23, 2011, the frequency of flights increased and for the past more than one month, the city has been getting regular flights.

Amrik Singh, manager of Air-India at the Ludhiana airport, said the timings have been changed in view of approaching summer. “As the days have cleared up, we expect the good run of flights to continue. The number of passengers from Ludhiana have increased too and in the coming days, we expect the number to rise,” claimed Amrik Singh.



PAU to confer Chief Minister's award on four farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) will be honoring four progressive farmers of Punjab with the 'Chief Minister Awards' on March 21, the first day of Kisan Mela at Ludhiana. This was stated by PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon.

Gulzar Singh and Jagdeep Singh will get award in agriculture and Meharban Singh and Surjit Singh Sandhu will get the award for horticulture Gulzar Singh (64)hailing from Barnala district has been an agriculturist for the last 46 years.

He is a regular reader of farm literature particularly “Changi Kheti” magazine and the “Package of Practices” for different farmers.

He visits other agricultural institutes and universities at Solan, Karnal and New Delhi and is a regular visitor to the Kisan Melas of PAU. He has won several awards at Kisan Mela over the years. Gulzar Singh believes in the rational use of natural resources and has taken a lead in water saving through zero tillage in wheat and laser land leveller for levelling his fields. He has used farm-ard manure in four acres of land for the better health of the soil. He has experimented successfully in the cultivation on turmeric and banana.

Jagdeep Singh Natha Singh, resident of Assal village, has made outstanding progress in agriculture.

He specialises in dairy farming, mushroom growing and bee keeping. He uses laser land leveller for growing wheat and vegetable crops through better water use efficiency.

Jagdeep Singh uses cattle dung and urine for biogas generation and uses manures in his fields. He uses solar energy for various purposes. He raises his own fodders for cattle on 49 acres of land.

Meharban Singh Saholi village of district Patiala is a successful vegetable grower. He has created his own marketing network to sell his produce. "Proper package and grading is very important for selling in markets abroad," he says. Surjit Singh Sandhu Shingara Singh Sandhu of Arianwala village in Kapurthala. He has excelled in vegetable-based horticulture. He has been honoured for disease-free nursery production in chilies and tomatoes by Pepsi Foods and department of Horticulture, Punjab.

He believes that farmers income can be augmented through auxiliary ventures such as poultry, goat farming, basket making and vegetable growing. He always experiments with new crops. 



dba polls
RO warns against defacing of judicial complex
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
The Returning Officer has warned the contestants of the District Bar Association against defacing the judicial complex by putting banners, posters, stickers and other publicity material for their annual election. Those candidates who had already pasted stickers, posters and boards have been directed to remove the same till March 20, 2012.

Contestants have been directed not to serve non-vegetarian items and liquor in the court complex. Though they have been permitted to host lunch parties on the court premises only in the lawn adjoining the DBA’s library subject to deposit of Rs 5,000. The Returning Officer has banned the distribution of pamphlets, cards, posters, banner or any publicity material in any manner whatsoever on the day of election. The violation of this direction may lead to cancellation of candidature, says the notice issued by RO.

As per the notice, the nomination will start from March 20 till 23. Scrutiny of papers will be done on March 24. Whereas the candidates may withdraw their nomination papers by March 26. Voting will be held on April 4, 2012 from 9 am to 4 pm. The results will be declared on the same day.



It’s not in public interest to hike service tax: Experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
A seminar on Union Budget 2012 was today organised by the Ludhiana Branch of NIRC of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Sanjay Aggarwal, central council member of ICAI, Dr. Girish Ahuja, scholar, tax consultant and author from New Delhi were the keynote speaker for income tax. Ashok Batra, CA and author of various books on taxation, from New Delhi, was the guest speaker for service tax.

Ashok Batra while delivering a talk on the topic of recent amendments in service tax said that the number of services that were mere two in 1994 had been widened to cover all the services except 17 classes of services. The new services introduced will further increase inflation in common services like, Life Insurance, Cable TV and will be burdensome for common man.

"It is not in public interest to increase the rate of service tax to 12 per cent from 10 per cent without raising the basic limit of Rs 10 lakh. Another complications that will arise will be on account of introduction of provisions for paying service tax by the person who will avail service of transport hiring, construction and manpower supply etc. It is against the principle of indirect tax that the service provider should pay service tax and not the service recipient".

In the following session, Sanjay Aggarwal, central council member, giving details on intricacies of proposed income tax amendments said that interestingly TDS had been proposed to be deducted on purchase of immovable property at the rate of 1 per cent, the limit for this is proposed Rs 50 lakh in urban areas and Rs 20 lakh in rural areas.



City loses Rs 75-lakh revenue
 Jewellers extend agitation against tax hike by two days
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Revenue loss of nearly 75 lakhs has been caused in the three days due to strike by jewellers in the city. Jewellers are on a nationwide strike due to a rise in the taxes in the budget 2012-13. Jewellers throughout the country went on a three-day strike on a call given by the Gems and Jewellery Association of India. The strike has been extended for two more days as the members of the association will be meeting finance minister tomorrow at New Delhi.

“The further course of action will be decided only after the meeting with the finance minister. The members of GJAI will be meeting the FM tomorrow in Delhi. As of now the strike has been extended to two more days. The total revenue loss cused from the city in three days is nearly Rs 25 lakhs,” said Anand Sikri, president of Jewellers Association of Ludhiana.

The Finance Minister on Friday dealt a huge blow to the gems and jewellery industry by almost doubling the customs and excise duty on gold, platinum and coloured gemstones. With more than 60,000 jewellers joining in throughout the country, the industry expected to lose business worth over Rs 5,000 crore.

“The reason for the strike is the fact that the Finance Minister doubled customs duty on standard gold and platinum bars to 4 per cent while on non-standard gold customs the duty doubled to 10 per cent. Even cut and polished coloured gemstones saw a hike to 2 per cent,” added Sikri.

Jewellers say that the overall cost to consumers for gold and diamond jewellery were up 7-8 percent over six months before these hikes- and now, the costs will rise even more.

“It seems the government has imposed a mini gold control act. The Finance Minister's proposals will make gold costlier and people will be discouraged to invest in the yellow metal. Gold is one means of savings for common people and, if it is discouraged, people are likely to put their money in unproductive avenues,” added another jeweller Sudesh Jain from Sarafan Bazar.

Jagraon (OC): A large number of local jewellers, under the banner of the Sawarnkar Sangh, Jagraon, held a protest march here today. They were protesting against the imposition of excise duty on non-branded gold by the Centre in the budget.

Urging the government to take back the excise duty on gold, the protesting jewellers threatened to intensify their struggle if their demand was not met.

The protest march started from the Main Bazar where most jewellers’ shops are situated and passed through various areas of the town. The protesters were carrying black flags in their hands to lodge their protest against the government’s decision.

All the jewellers of the town also kept their shops closed for the whole day. While speaking to the media, Sawarnkar Sangh vice-president Pritam Chand Verma stated: "We have also to shell out huge money in shape of sales tax. Now, the government has imposed excise duty on non-branded gold which is not acceptable."

"Our business has been getting affected," said another jeweller taking part in the protest.

Later on the protesting jewellers reached the local SDM office where a delegation of the Sawarnkar Sangh handed over a memorandum to SDM, Jagraon, Isha Kalia. 



Industry condemns Union Budget
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Avtar Singh, General Secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU), has criticised the Union Budget, saying that it has failed to serve the growing aspirations of industry. The Finance Minister didn’t give the domestic industry much to cheer about despite signs of crippling industrial slowdown.

"The government is adopting double standard as it has imposed import duty on cycle at the rate of 20 per cent and cycle parts at the rate of 10 per cent (which also should have been at the rate 20 per cent). It has doubled the excise duty on cycles, which would lead to an increase in their prices in the domestic market.

“The hosiery, auto parts, hand tools industries, which are already facing a tough time, have not received any relief whereas an increase in excise and service tax will add to their woes. The 2 per cent hike in the excise duty and service tax will dampen growth and development of the industrial sector which is already reeling under the pressure of higher interest rates and high fuel prices. The increase in customs duty from 5 to 7.5 per cent on non-alloy flat rolled steel will increase the prices of steel in India.

Upkar Singh, Joint Secretary, CICU, also condemned this budget. He has said the heavy dose of taxes will push up inflation and further delay rate cuts by the RBI. There is no focus on putting economy on a high-growth trajectory as fiscal deficit reduction is through higher taxation rather than expenditure management.

Meanwhile, the Indian National Bank Employees Congress has also criticised the budget and termed it as directionless, anti-employees, anti-working class as it will lead to inflation. "The budget will incraese the prices of essential commodities while comfort goods like ACs, refrigerators have also been made expensive," said Shiv Gupta, general secretary, INTUC.



Training on millets begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
A three-day training programme on "Processing and value addition of technologies for coarse cereals and millets” was today inaugurated at the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) here. The programme, which is sponsored by the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), is especially designed for the CBOs operating in various parts of the country.

Inaugurating the training, CIPHET Director RK Gupta said the purpose of the training programme was to train trainers. "So that eventually farmers and entrepreneurs could be trained in different processing technologies to enhance their income," he said, adding that millets processing could help in solving the problem of malnutrition. "Our aim is to push the technology to end users". Revealing that CIPHET would be a nodal institute in a Rs 500-crore mega project on health foods, Dr Gupta hoped that processing technologies developed in this project would go a long way in dealing with malnutrition in the rural hinterlands. 



Urbanisation takes toll on house sparrow population 
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Cheerful chirps of little house sparrows used to wake us up in the morning. They would play around in our courtyards making the evenings musical. But almost dramatically in a decade or so, these once ubiquitous companions, seem to have disappeared. As the world observes World House Sparrow Day, residents of the city miss playfulness of these little birds.

The most abundant wild bird has seen a decline in its population all across the world. According to Dr Tejdeep Kaur Kler, Assistant Ornithologist at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), working as a principal investigator in the All-India Network Project on Agricultural Ornithology, the birds are disappearing in cities and other parts mostly because the distribution of their habitat is getting disturbed.

As green cover and the traditional trees and shrubs in the cities are becoming less, the perching sites for these are disappearing. Even in villages, as the roofs and sheds have been cemented, little space is left for them for nesting, she said. However, these birds are in abundance in some pockets like some villages near Tarantaran and Harike Pattan where the ecology is still conducive to their sustenance.

One more reason for their disappearance from the rural areas of Punjab is burning of stubble in the fields, as these fields used to expose food for these birds, she said. The fire and fog increases mortality of birds.

"We can see the impact on our darling neighbour bird, which has all gone away. I hope that at least now, people wake up to the fact that we are harming the environment," said Ishvinder Singh, a resident of Urban Estate. "If the construction of concrete and destruction of nature continues at this pace, it won't be long when we'd be the only ones left," he lamented.

According to Dr Tejdeep, the house sparrow belongs to passeridae species of birds that flock and roost together on lower-height bush vegetation, including traditional trees and shrubs, and plantation of these should be encouraged, she said. These birds do not prefer exotic plants. More open areas and tree cover should be increased with more traditional plantation to provide enough perching and nesting space for these birds, she said. For this purpose, shrubs like bougainvillaea, raat ki rani, gulmohari, double chandni, gardenia, shoe flower, saawni can be planted in households. 

World House Sparrow Day Today
"We can see the impact on our darling neighbour bird, which has all gone away. I hope that at least now, people wake up to the fact that we are harming the environment." — Ishvinder Singh, a resident of Urban Estate 



Congress threatens to launch agitation
Seeks withdrawal of cases against party worker
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 19
A delegation of Congress leaders led by former MLA Isher Singh Meharban met Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana (rural), Amreek Singh Dhami in his office today and sought cancellation of the cases registered against a party worker by the local police some days ago.

The Congressmen also handed over a memorandum to the SP in which it has been claimed that local Congress worker Gurwinder Singh, who was booked and arrested by the local police for conspiring to murder a person of his village and being involved in making fake documents a few days ago, is innocent.

While terming Gurwinder’s arrest an outcome of "political vendetta", the Congress leaders alleged that the case against Gurwinder Singh was registered under the influence of his political opponents because he had played an active role during the recently concluded Assembly elections. The party leaders also demanded from the police to reinvestigate the whole matter.

While speaking to the media later, Meharban threatened to stage protests against the police if the case against Gurwinder Singh was not withdrawn.

It is reminded here that, the local police had booked Congress worker Gurwinder Singh for allegedly hiring contract killers to eliminate one of his neighbours due to a land dispute going between them. Besides Gurwinder, the police had arrested four other persons involved in this case. The police had also charged Gurwinder and others with indulging in making fake documents and certificates.

SP Amreek Singh Dhami assured the delegation of Congress leaders of conducting an impartial inquiry and doing the justice in this matter. 



From Colleges
200 participate in faculty development workshop

Ludhiana: Gobindgarh Public College, Alour (Khanna), organised a “National Workshop on Faculty Development: A Quality Initiative”, on the campus on Monday in collaboration with the Association of Indian College Principals. More than 200 participants from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pardesh attended the workshop.

Girls perform a dance during a farewell party of the Department of Fine Art at the Government College for Women in Ludhiana.
Girls perform a dance during a farewell party of the Department of Fine Art at the Government College for Women in Ludhiana. tribune photo: himanshu mahajan

In the first session, Dr. Amrik Singh Ahluwalia, Dean, Student Welfare, Panjab University, Chandigarh, was the chief guest. Swaranjit Singh Bagli (chairman, GPC) welcomed the chief guest. College Principal Dr Neena Seth Pajni informed about the objectives of the workshop. She said that the FDP was organised with the objective to sensitise the teaching community regarding self-evaluation, accountability and innovations. Dr Shirish V Chindhade, member, co-coordinator, NAAC Peer Teams and Dr RK Mahajan, principal, M.LU DAV College, Phagwara, were resource persons on this occasion. A case study on “Is your college a learning organisation” was organised and experiences were shared by participants.

Seminar on budget

The Union Budget was a document of confusions and fallacies. Though the government tried to balance the aspirations of all sectors, but their own aspiration of politically saving the government seems to weigh heavier than other aspirations. The government has given with one hand, but has taken away with both hands, opined researchers while participating in a seminar on “Economic Planning and India’s future” held at the Ludhiana Group of Colleges (LGC), Chaukimann, situated on Ferozepur Road.

The faculty members of the department of management, LGC gave presentations on different aspects of economic planning and Budget 2012 like agriculture, taxation, investment and role of service sector. The event was attended by MBA, BBA and MCA students of the institution.Dr. Parm Pal Singh Sidhu, principal, LGC, in his inaugural address said that Indian economy was passing through a transition phase. Therefore, challenges were bigger than opportunities. In such a scenario, short-term economic objectives would not lead India towards becoming a developed nation by 2020.

Harpreet Singh, head, department of management, LGC, in his views shared that the macro-economic tussles were ranging from global to domestic pressures. The Budget could not be economically prudent and politically correct at the same time. — TNS



From Schools
Kindergarten students enjoy moment of success

Ludhiana: B.C.M Arya Model Senior. Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, Ludhiana, held a kindergarten graduation ceremony to cherish precious moments of success and to herald the achievement of tiny tots amidst much fun and excitement.

Children come out of a hall after their graduation ceremony at BCM School in Ludhiana
Children come out of a hall after their graduation ceremony at BCM School in Ludhiana. A tribune photograph

Paramjit Kaur, principal of the school, graced the occasion as the chief guest. PK Oberoi (head mistress) accorded warm welcome to parents who passed out from the kindergarten to the primary section with new hopes and aspirations. It was a moment of celebration and pride for tiny tots attired in adorable robes and tassels who walked down the aisle to receive their graduation certificates amidst loud applause. The parents were proud to see their little graduates exuding with confidence. They thanked the teachers for ably nurturing their talents. The principal stressed on the need to give good education to children from an early age.

Farewell party

A farewell party was organised in Small Wonders Nursery School on Monday. Children were attired in beautiful dresses. Dance programme was organised and children danced merrily to their utmost capacity.

Their performances were mind blowing. Afterwards, they had a fun party, which he children enjoyed. Games were arranged for the children. The school was decorated to bid them a loving farewell. All children were given return gifts.

Principal Neeti Dewan, teachers and staff bade all the children a warm farewell and wished them a happy and prosperous future. — TNS



Ludhiana Scan

The elections of the Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association was held in which VK Abrol from Jalandhar was elected president, GI Rana from Amritsar vice-president, Sohan Lal Garg from Faridabad and Rajiv Puri from Ludhiana, both general secretaries, GS Khurana from Badi joint secretary and Jasvir Singh Saini from Patiala assistant secretary. Ashok Malhotra from Phagwara was elected finance secretary.

Laparoscopic surgeon of the city, Dr Narotam Dewan, Consultant Surgeon, Dewan Hospital and Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery Centre, Civil Lines, has been awarded the ‘honorary fellowship of International College of Laparoscopic Surgeons’ at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences by Dr RC Dekha, Director, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, and Dr MC Misra, Head of Surgery Department, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences. The honorary fellowship was awarded during a CME-cum-live workshop. “ENDOSURG 2012”, held during the Sixth AIIMS Surgical Week held at Jawaharlal Nehru Auditorium, AIIMS, New Delhi, on March 16.

Dr Navtej Singh, MD (Medicine), has been conferred the prestigious ‘Bharat Jyoti Award’ for 2012 for his contribution to the advancement of medical science and health care. The award was conferred on him at a ceremony at Speaker Hall, Constitution Club, New Delhi, by Dr Bhisma Narain Singh, former Governor of Tamil Nadu and Assam, and Joginder Singh, former Director, CBI.

Gurdev Kaur was elected president of the Free Animal Welfare Camp at Civil Veterinary Hospital, Barewal, by its women members while Baljit Kaur, Daljinder Kaur and Dr Parminder Kaur were elected general secretary, cashier and veterinary officers respectively.

Women’s club
Women's Day was celebrated at the Gayatri Ladies Club. A new team was also announced by the club which included chairperson Ravneet Kaur, president Anila Nagpal, secretary Jyoti Goyal, treasurer Sudha Arora, auditor Surinder Dhiman and cultural coordinator Shelly Goyal.

Camp held
A blood-donation camp was organised by Zindagi Live, an NGO, for the cause of thalassemia patients on Sunday. Around 340 donors donated blood at the camp. An awareness campaign also organised at the camp. — TNS



7 thefts in Phillaur
Our Correspondent

Phillaru, March 19
Seven thefts have been reported in last four days in and around Noormahal in Phillaur subdivision.

Two marble shops, one telecom shop, one general merchant shop, one electronics shop and two religious deras were burgled. Though the exact loss could not be estimated, 42 mobile phones besides cash were stolen from these places. The police is investigating in the cases.



Auto driver commits suicide 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
A 26-year-old auto-rickshaw driver allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan at his house located in the Tibba road area here today. The incident came to light here this morning when victim Lalit Kumar’s mother saw her son's body hanging with from ceiling fan.

Lalit's mother said his son was depressed after his wife deserted him some time ago. To further rub salt on his wounds his auto-rickshaw was also stolen two days ago.

Last night he went to sleep after having dinner. The police is suspecting that the victim might have ended his life at midnight.



Thieves decamp with jewellery

Ludhiana, March 19
Thieves struck at a jewellery shop located in Puneet Nagar, near the Tajpur road area, and decamped with artificial ornaments worth Rs 60,000 here today.

The incident came to light this morning when jeweller Ashok Kumar arrived at the shop and found it ransacked. Without wasting time he informed the police about the theft. The jeweller said the thieves entered the shop by breaking a door on the roof. Thereafter they laid their hand on the costly artificial jewellery. Ashok said it was for the second time in the past one month that his shop has been targeted by thieves. Earlier thieves had decamped with artificial ornaments by breaking the locks of the shops. — TNS



Ruby, Joginder emerge fastest runners
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, March 19
Ruby of the ITI, Patiala, while Joginder Singh of the ITI, Ludhiana, proved too good for their opponents in the 100m sprint and emerged the fastest runners among girls and boys, respectively, in the Punjab State Industrial Trainees Inter-Zonal Athletics Meet held at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

The following are the results.

Boys: 1500m race- Karnail Singh of ITI, Patiala 1st, Mangat Singh of ITI, Bassi Pathana 2nd and Ravinder Singh of ITI, Ludhiana 3rd.

100m race- Joginder Singh of ITI, Ludhiana 1st, Malkit Singh of ITI, Patiala 2nd and Jasvir Singh of ITI, Moga 3rd.

Discus throw: Gurpreet Singh of ITI, Moga 1st, Harpreet Singh of ITI, Patiala 2nd and Kuldeep Singh of ITI, Nathana (Bathinda ) 3rd.

4x100m relay race: ITI, Ludhiana 1st, ITI, Bathinda 2nd.

Shot put: Subhash Chand of ITI Nangal 1st, Balbir Singh of ITI, Samrala 2nd and Jaspal Singh of ITI, Ajnala 3rd.

200m race: Harpreet Singh of ITI, Samrala 1st, Jasveer Singh of ITI, Moga 2nd and Malkit Singh of ITI, Patiala 3rd.

800m race: Karnail Singh of ITI, Patiala 1st, Harinder Singh of ITI, Nawanshahr 2nd and Amandeep Singh of ITI, Bhudhlada 3rd.

400m race: Harpreet Singh of ITI, Samrala 1st, Maninder Singh of ITI, Nabha 2nd and Ashok Kumar of ITI, Jalandhar 3rd.

1500m race: Parveen Kaur of ITI, Morinda 1st, Babli of ITI, Khanna 2nd and Sukhjinder Kaur of ITI, Faridkot 3rd.

100m race: Ruby of ITI, Patiala 1st, Baljidner Kaur of ITI, Khanna and Jasvir Kaur of ITI, Bathinda 3rd.

Javelin throw: Veena of ITI, Ludhiana 1st, Ranjit Kaur of ITI, Nabha 2nd and Pardeep Kaur of ITI, Mohali 3rd.

Discus throw: Veena Rani of ITI, Ludhiana 1st, Amandeep Kaur of ITI, Amritsar 2nd and Pardeep Kaur of ITI, Fatehgarh Sahib 3rd.

200m race: Ruby of ITI, Patiala 1st, Sukhdeep Kaur of ITI, Bathinda 2nd and Mandeep Kaur of ITI, Ludhiana 3rd.

800m race: Ratna Devi of ITI, Patiala 1st, Manpreet Kaur of ITI, Morinda 2nd and Jaswinder Kaur of ITI, Ferozepur 3rd.

400m race: Ratna Devi of ITI, Patiala 1st, Sukhjinder Kaur of ITI, Bathinda 2nd and Gurmeet Kaur of ITI, Ferozepur 3rd.

Shot put: Baljinder Kaur of ITI Khanna 1st, Pardeep Kaur of ITI, Mohali 2nd and Sonia of ITI, Ferozepur 3rd.



Tennis academy trainees shine
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, March 19
Trainees of Harvest Tennis Academy, Jassowal, near Jagraon, have brought laurels to the academy by winning top positions during the HTA-AITA Championship Series Tennis Tournament played on eleven synthetic courts of the academy.

While Jajbir Singh of Harvest Academy emerged victorious in Boys Under-18 category, Rimpledeep Kaur and Nandini Sharma won Girls Under-18 and Girls Under-16 crowns respectively.

In Boys Under-18 category, Jajbir Singh defeated Hardeep Singh Sandhu also of Harvest Tennis Academy in straight sets by 6-4, 6-1. Top-seed Rimpledeep Kaur defeated third seed Rajbir Kaur in Girls Under-18 category in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.

In Boys’ Under-16 category, third-seed Shailender Boniface of Haryana beat Mingki Talom of Haryana by 6-4, 6-4 while third-seed Nandini Sharma defeated second-seed Kavita Mishra of Maharashtra by 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in Girls’ Under-18 category.

Dr Avinash Pratap, Director, Harvest Campus, gave away the prizes among the winners. Gaurav Bhardwaj, Tournament Director, and Todd Clark, Tournament Referee, were present during the prize-distribution ceremony.



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