L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Major clash outside college
Panic grips GGN Khalsa College students; seven suspects rounded up for questioning
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
An ugly clash took place between two groups outside the main entrance of Gujranwala Guru Nanak (GGN) Khalsa College here today. Seven students have been rounded up for questioning by the police in this regard.

The incident took place at around 11.30 am when at least 12 assailants, brandishing swords and other sharp-edged weapons, arrived at the college and challenged youths standing on the college premises.

There was a heated exchange of words between the two groups, which turned ugly as both groups started pelting each other with stones.

Had Harinder Singh, a peon in the college, not intervened and locked up the college gate on time, the situation could have turned bloody.

Some assailants even tired to break open the gate, but failed in their effort. The incident spread panic in the area and led to a huge rush of people on Dr Sham Singh Road located near the Mall Road.

The clash caught commuters unaware and they were seen leaving their vehicles and running for cover.

"It was raining stones from both sides. I was travelling in a car with a couple of other women of my locality. We were scared," said Jyoti Gupta.

Soon, the police arrived on the scece. Seeing the police, the youths fled the scene.

ACP (West) Gurpreet Kaur Purewal, along with 10 policemen, reached the spot and cordoned off both the gates of the college.

SHO (Division No. 8) Ranjit Singh said seven persons were rounded up for questioning and were later let-off.

"We have not received any complaint in connection with the clash. However, we have started investigations and are trying to identity the persons who were behind the clash," said Ranjit Singh.

Sources said youths belonging to the Students Organisation of India (SOI) and the Gandhi group from Khanna clashed outside the college premises.

The clash led to panic among students. After the clash, students were scene rushing out of the college in fear. Swords, stones, bricks and other sharp-edged weapons were strewn outside the college premises.

Swords brandished

The incident took place at around 11.30 am when at least 12 assailants, brandishing swords and other sharp-edged weapons, arrived at the college and challenged youths standing on the college premises. There was a heated exchange of words between the two groups, which turned ugly as both groups started pelting each other with stones.

Principal's take

The incident took place outside the college and none of the college students was involved in the clash. Outsiders were behind the ruckus. Even on Tuesday, I received complaints that outsiders were roaming on the college premises. On Wednesday, I had ordered the gatekeeper that students who were not carrying identity cards should not be allowed to enter the college premises. The college gates were closed following my directions.

— Dr Gurdev Singh, Principal, GGN Khalsa College

College fights a 'routine'

The college authorities can't wash their hands of the matter. It has become a yearly ritual. Whenever a new academic session begins, such ugly fights become a routine and the college authorities remain mute spectators. A few years ago, some assailants even entered our house after attacking students inside the college.

— Sunil Vinayak, a resident of Dr Sham Singh Road


Jail inmates stage dharna
Demand action against Dy Jail Supdt Cheema
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Tension prevailed in the Central Jail on Tajpur Road here today when nearly 250 inmates staged a dharna and demanded action against Deputy Jail Superintendent KS Cheema. The incident took place after an undertrail in an attempt-to-murder case, Jagpal Singh Joga of Khanna, alleged that he was brutally assaulted by Cheema.

He alleged that Cheema thrashed him in the jail following which he had to be rushed to hospital. He said in the Civil Hospital also he was assaulted by the officer and jail guards.

The inmates who staged a dharna in support of Joga handed over a letter to Jail Superintendent RK Loomba demanding action against Cheema.

Cheema termed the allegations as baseless and claimed that the inmate was lying. He said instead it was Joga who had attacked the jail guards.

The jail guards stood claimed that Cheema was being targeted for maintaining discipline.

Soon after the Central Jail sounded an alert, police officials from Division No. 7, Jamalpur, Basti Jodhewal and Moti Nagar reached the jail and cordoned off key locations.

There were reports that the police had to use force to control the inmates. The inmates lifted the dharna after they were assured that the DGP (Jails) would look into their complaints.

The trigger

The incident took place after an undertrail in an attempt-to-murder case, Jagpal Singh Joga of Khanna, alleged that he was brutally assaulted by Cheema.

Mobile phones

The dharna was staged merely a day after jail officials seized eight mobile phones and two sim cards from jail inmates. It is not the first time that the inmates are at loggerheads with Cheema. Nearly two years ago, when Cheema was posted in Borstal Jail, inmates had threatened Cheema that jail officials' children would be kidnapped.



Induction furnaces to resume work today
Had gone on strike against new e-trip system
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Left with no option, furnace associations will resume work from tomorrow. The associations were on an indefinite strike against the new e-trip system started by the Excise and Taxation Department.

Furnace and steel re-rolling mills were up in arms against the online filing of information regarding the intra-state trade, which had been made mandatory from August 10.

"We will have to resume work as it not possible to completely shut down the units. We have to pay electricity bills and wages to the workers, which will not be possible without working. So we have decided to resume work from tomorrow," said Dev Gupta, general secretary of the Induction Furnace Association of Ludhiana.

He said they were hoping that during the Cabinet meeting held yesterday, the decision of filing online information of the intra-state trade would be rolled back. However, that did not happen.

Mohinder Gupta, president of the Mandi Gobindgarh Induction Furnace Association, said they had spoken to Industry Minister Anil Joshi and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and both of them had assured them that their problems would be taken up during the next meeting.

"On the assurance given by the Industry Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, we are resuming work and the units will start operating from tomorrow. We hope that our issue is solved during the next meeting," he added.

Meanwhile, Dev Gupta said they would file the trade details online. "We cannot escape the rules formulated by the department," he said.

Vivek Agarwal, an induction furnace owner, said they were hoping that the new system started by the government would be rolled back as had been done in the case of VAT imposed on sugar.



Wait for high-security number plates gets longer
Owners of 58,000 vehicles yet to get these
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

A huge pile of high-security number plates kept at the office of the Sub-Registrar (East) in Ludhiana
A huge pile of high-security number plates kept at the office of the Sub-Registrar (East) in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, August 29
Getting high-security number plates for new vehicles or the existing vehicles has become a virtual headache for the public. Even after a wait of more than four months, owners of vehicles have not been issued these number plates by the contractor entrusted with the task by the state government.

Interestingly, this despite the fact that the State Transport Department has introduced the concept of online registration of vehicles.

If the data with the District Transport Department is any indication, starting from the online procedure, about 70,000 vehicles have been registered so far in the district. High-security number plates have been issued to just 12,000 vehicles. The department, through its contractor, still has to issue number plates to more than 58,000 vehicle owners.

The public has been raising a lot of hue and cry for the long delay in getting number plates. However, the Ditrict Transport Officer (DTO) seems helpless in coming to the rescue of the general public. Talking to The Tribune, MS Chatwal, DTO, said there was a huge backlog of number plates and the public had expressed its anger with department officials several times. "Number plates have to be issued to about 58,000 owners. However, we can't interfere in it as the contractor has been assigned by the government," said Chatwal.

Indu Sharma, a college lecturer, said she had visited the place from where the number plates had to be collected at least thrice, but the visits turned out to be a futile exercise.

"I was shocked to see the way the number plates are kept. There are huge piles of number plates kept at the place with just two attendants. When I asked them about my number plate, they started searching one pile after the other and at the end asked me to come again. After about a week, I went again and this time I was told to find it myself. When I told them it was their duty to provide me the number plate, the attendant again asked me to come for a third time. And the third time, the attendant expressed helplessness in finding the number plate. He felt sorry and requested me to wait till the time some backlog was cleared," said Indu.



Dist to get 20 more child labour schools
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Twenty new child labour schools will be opened in the district during the next three months. There are already 20 such schools being run in the district. Child labour has been a cause of concern, especially Ludhiana, the industrial capital of Punjab. Hundreds of children are often seen working in dhabas and commercial establishments.

Many of these underprivileged children are seen collecting scrap from railway stations and bus stands. The law-enforcing agencies have failed to check child labour in the district.

For the rehabilitation of these underprivileged children, 20 schools are being run in the district at present under the National Child Labour School Project.

Rishipal Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), said the schools were being run with the help of NGOs and local teachers. "We make arrangements to provide vocational training to students, besides giving them mid-day meals. This initiative has been taken to rehabilitate children of the labour class and those belonging to poor families. Once they are given training in handicrafts, these children become self-dependent and start doing work. After that, we provide them a monthly stipend of Rs 150 each," said the ADC.

He said since many of these schools were being run smoothly and had produced beneficial results, 20 more child labour schools would be opened in the district within three months.

"Surveys are being conducted in villages, where such schools are needed, to rehabilitate and educate underprivileged children.

It will make a lot of difference even if a small population of these children becomes self-reliant, which is the ultimate aim of this project", said Rishipal Singh.



LIT turns a blind eye to illegal mobile towers
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 29
Despite a government policy in place for the grant of a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the installation of mobile towers in non-residential areas and provisions for the regularisation of towers put up without taking prior approval or payment of the stipulated fee, as far as the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) authorities are concerned, not a single mobile service provider has obtained permission for the erection of mobile towers nor has any such structure been regularised till date.

Ironically, LIT officials do not have any data regarding the total number of mobile towers erected in several colonies developed by the Trust, except for the 475-acre Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar where four towers, two each in residential and commercial pockets, have been installed. However, unofficial information gathered from the field staff puts the figure of mobile towers at 22, many of them in residential areas.

Lack of regulatory measures and indiscriminate installation of mobile towers, especially in residential areas, is not only exposing people to health hazards from radiation but also causing immense loss of revenue to the LIT, which it would have accrued by way of the one-time installation fee and the annual renewal fee thereafter.

Information obtained under the Right to Information Act (RTI) by Arvind Sharma, secretary, Council of RTI Activists, revealed that the LIT authorities had not given approval to a single mobile tower in more than a dozen existing colonies in different parts of the city. "The Trust has not accorded its approval for the installation of mobile towers (in residential or non-residential areas), and no application for the regularisation of towers installed without approval has ever been processed," LIT officials said in the information provided under the RTI Act.

The officials admitted on record that permission had not been granted to any cellular company for the erection of communication towers and all such towers had been installed without any permission or payment required to be made as per the government policy. They said as per the existing government guidelines, a one-time permission fee of Rs 10,000 had to be paid for obtaining approval and an annual license renewal fee of Rs 5,000 was chargeable for each tower. In case the tower was shared by any other cellular operator, an additional sharing fee of Rs 7,500 was levied for each sharing.

Charging LIT officials and the field staff with being hand in glove with owners of properties where cellular communication towers had been installed, the Council of RTI Activists has urged the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Local Government Department to initiate a high-level inquiry into the alleged failure of the authorities to take regulatory measures as well as causing financial loss to the Trust.

Health hazards

Lack of regulatory measures and indiscriminate installation of mobile towers, especially in residential areas, is not only exposing people to health hazards from radiation but also causing immense loss of revenue to the LIT, which it would have accrued by way of the one-time installation fee and the annual renewal fee thereafter.



F&CC Meeting
MC passes 193 development works
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
As the term of present Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) House is set to end on September 6, the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) meeting of the civic body was finally held today. The meeting could be dubbed as the last F&CC meeting before newly elected councillors are administered oath.

This meeting was organised after a gap of more than four months with the last F&CC meeting held on April 23. In today’s meeting, a total of 193 development works worth crores of rupees were passed.

The meeting continued for over three hours and was attended by Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal, Deputy Mayor Sunita Aggarwal, F&CC member Pal Singh Grewal and MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma. F&CC member and Atam Nagar MLA Simarjit Singh Bains did not attend the meeting because he is away to Ladakh for estimate committee meeting of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Most of the development works that were passed are from the operations and maintenance branch, health branch, bridges and road branch, besides others.

As the meeting was organised after a gap of more than four months, several development works were awaiting formal approval of the F&CC. Besides, some of the other development works were already approved in anticipation of F&CC and they were cleared formally at the meeting.

The development works passed included laying of sewerage lines in different parts of the city, repair of motors and starters of tube-wells, desilting of sewer lines, installation of new tube-wells, construction of new roads, installation of new streetlights, laying of storm sewer in different areas of the city, recruitment of contractual employees in DC rates, besides several other issues.

While commenting on the meeting, a senior MC official said, “Several development works were pending because the F&CC meeting was not being held after April 23 this year. Now that files concerning most of the projects have been cleared, we expect the development works to start now. We feel that this is the last F&CC meeting because the newly elected councillors might be administered oath on September 10.”

Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura said the F&CC meeting could not be held after the Vidhan Sabha elections because soon after the state had municipal corporation elections (on June 10).

But some of the works were passed in anticipation and we cleared a total of 193 development works worth crores of rupees today, he said.



Nobody informed me about meeting: Bains
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Atam Nagar MLA and a member of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC), Simarjit Singh Bains, has alleged that he was not invited to attend the two F&CC meetings held after the Vidhan Sabha elections. He even alleged that leave aside informing him about the meetings, he was not even sent the agenda for these meetings.

Bains, who is also the F&CC member, has shot a letter to MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma on August 22, demanding that agendas of two F&CC meetings held on April 9 and April 23, should be cancelled and action should be taken against official who was responsible for inviting him to the meetings.

In the letter to the MC Commissioner, Simarjit Singh Bains alleged that, “I want to bring it to your notice that after the Vidhan Sabha elections, I was neither invited to two F&CC meetings nor the agenda was sent to me. That is why these meetings are ‘bogus’ and have taken place only on paper. The F&CC is an important body of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and every issue concerning development of the city is discussed here. I demand that the agendas passed in those meetings should be scrapped and a fresh meeting should be called, which should be attended by all F&CC members. Departmental action should also be taken against those officials who were responsible for informing the F&CC members about this meeting,” demanded Simarjit Singh Bains.

Bains was missing from even today’s F&CC meeting. Simarjit Singh Bains claimed that he was not informed about the meeting. “Moreover I am away to Ladakh for the Punjab Vidhan Sabha’s estimate committee meeting. I will take up this issue of ‘bogus’ meetings with the director of local bodies department, so that it is not repeated anywhere in the state. Besides, being a member of the Vidhan Sabha’s estimate committee, I will summon all record pertaining to the agendas passed in F&CC meetings in the Vidhan Sabha and will make sure public money is not wasted by ‘some’ leaders with their own vested interests,” said Bains.

But Senior Deputy Mayor and F&CC member Parveen Bansal claimed that all meetings were held properly. “All members were duly informed, but I would not comment on the allegations levelled by Simarjit Singh Bains. I can only assure you that all F&CC meetings after the Vidhan Sabha elections were held in the presence of F&CC members,” claimed Bansal.

Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



Inauguration of Tube Well
Bone of contention between Congress, SAD-BJP leaders
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
The inauguration of a newly installed tube well in the Vishwakarma Colony area falling under ward number 14 of the city has become a bone of contention between the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)-Bharatiya Janta Party (SAD-BJP) leaders.

While the Congress leaders claimed that this tube well has been installed from the funds provided by MP Manish Tewari, the Akali-BJP leaders claimed that the funds were provided by Ludhiana east MLA Ranjit Singh Dhillon.

This led to tension among leaders from both parties and it was after the police intervened that the tube well could be inaugurated.

District Congress Committee (Urban) president Pawan Dewan claimed that Manish Tewari had provided Rs 10 lakh for the installation of tube well. He claimed that these funds were provided by Tewari on the recommendation of Congress leader Gurmel Singh Pehalwan and former councillor Kanwardeep Pappi.

But during the municipal corporation elections, BJP candidate Megha Aggarwal managed to win from ward number 14. Even after losing the election, the Congress leaders kept arranging funds for the development of this ward. Now that this tube well was installed, we were hoping that Manish Tewari would inaugurate it next week. While we were still making arrangements for this function, the Akali-BJP leaders started making preparations for the inauguration in a hush manner, which is a shameful act on their part,” alleged Pawan Dewan.

But Akali MLA Ranjit Singh Dhillon claimed that Tewari’s funds were provided in 2009 and till March this year only a bore well was dug. “When I became the MLA, I got the motor installed, a room constructed and got electricity connection for the same. I had spent at least Rs 17-18 lakh on the installation of this tube well because since 2009, it was nothing more than a bore well. Today, when we went to inaugurate it, the Congress leaders reached there and tried to create ruckus. Ours was a pre-planned function and no arrangements were made in a hush manner,” claimed Dhillon.

When Dhillon and other leaders from the ruling coalition reached there, the Congress leaders, too, reached the spot. Leaders from both parties started arguing over the inauguration of this tube well and the police was called to bring the situation under control.

Pawan Dewan claimed that when the Congress leaders were protesting against the inauguration of this tube-well, Dhillon inaugurated it in a hurry.

Meanwhile, taking a dig at MP Manish Tewari, MLA Dhillon said, “I never deny that the local MP did not provide funds for the installation of this tube well. But he just managed to get a bore well dug up. Nothing was done after that. Moreover when the Congress leaders had objected to the function today, I had urged them that we should inaugurate it together because it’s a development project. And if MP Tewari is providing funds for the development works in Ludhiana east constituency, then he should be more generous in his grants, so that we can carry out more development in my constituency.”



Civic body to upgrade ailing fire dept
Decides to purchase four more fire engines
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) has finally come out of slumber and has realised that the safety of fire brigade officials is also important. That is why the civic body is all set to upgrade its ailing fire brigade department. In today’s Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) meeting, it was decided that four new fire tenders would be purchased, besides the existing two will be repaired fully.

Not only this, the MC has also decided to purchase personal safety equipment for the fire brigade staff. The fire department, which should be the most advanced and up-to-date departments of the city, is sadly one of the neglected departments of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

The firefighting vehicles (fire tenders), which are about 33 in number, are old and the civic body gets them repaired regularly to ensure that there is no shortage of vehicles. According to experts, the life of a fire engine is only 10 years and the fire department is still working with 1980s models. Only 10 new models have been inducted into the fleet since 2002.

With the poor infrastructure and only 77 employees in the fire brigade, the city’s fire brigade is ill-equipped to tackle any major fire incident in the city. These employees include eight senior officials, 19 drivers and 50 firemen.

The purchase of four new fire tenders was cleared by F&CC members in the meeting.

The MC will be purchasing a Tata 407 worth Rs 12 lakh, a Tata 709 worth Rs 12.5 lakh, a Tata 1613 worth Rs 14 lakh and a Tata 2518 worth Rs 26.5 lakh.

Ironically, for a city having a population of 16,13,878, there are just 77 employees, including drivers, with the fire department. Besides this, the employees are ill-equipped to the extent that they don’t even have masks to cover their faces, leave aside any other safety equipment.

But it was decided at the meeting to purchase 120 fire helmets, 120 safety helmets, 80 head gloves, 100 full face masks, 400 disposable masks, 120 eye goggles (anti-fog), 60 safety belts, 100 safety shoes with steel toe, 80 rubber gum boots, 10 automatic escape device, 10 fire proof suits, 10 breathing apparatus sets and five chemical suits. This safety equipment will be purchased by spending Rs 68.82 lakh.

Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura said the process of recruiting new firemen was also under process. “Soon, the fire brigade will be one of the most modern departments of the city,” he claimed.

Fact file

  • For a population of 16,13,878, the city has only 50 firemen, as against a sanctioned strength of 86.
  • Only 19 drivers for 33 firefighting vehicles.
  • The department manages with just three leading firemen.
  • No 54-metre ladders to control fire in a multistoried building.
  • About 40 more firemen are needed immediately.
  • No hydraulic ladder.



Govt to introduce property tax in city
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
City residents should get ready to pay property tax on their residential properties. After the state cabinet announced that the city residents will now have to pay property tax, the process to come up with a formula for calculating the tax has already started.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation officials say that at present only the state cabinet has given their approval for the plan. The next step will be issuing a notification in this regard, after which a simple formula will be devised. It will be on the basis of this formula that the residents will themselves calculate their property tax.

It is learnt that the city will be divided into different sectors and each sector will have a different formula.

While speaking to The Tribune, MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma said that at present, the residential properties are exempted from paying house tax. "But now, one will have to pay property tax on residential properties as well. It will be a simple formula through which the property tax will be calculated."

This property tax will be calculated on the basis of a formula called "unit area system" and will depend on several factors like the sector in which the property falls, whether its commercial (hospital, school, hotel, shopping mall, shop, factory etc) or residential (self occupied or rented).

"It will be a self evaluation system, like the filing of income tax returns, under which the resident will calculate his property tax himself. Once the property tax is calculated, the resident will file their return with the MC. To make sure that residents provide correct information, we will scrutinise the forms submitted by residents. Slowly, this property tax will replace the existing house tax," informed the MC Commissioner.

But it is quite likely that the entire process will take around 4-5 months and the residents will start paying this tax from next year onwards. "We have already accessed the house tax of this year and so hopefully, this property tax will be implemented from next year onwards. As it is a simple process, I assure the residents that it will prove as a boon for the residents," claimed MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma.

It is learnt that the levying of property tax was one of the key reforms suggested by the central government under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), and once its levied the state government will be able to get more grants from the Centre.



Congress hits out at govt for increasing taxes

Ludhiana, August 29
The Congress workers from the Atam Nagar Assembly Constituency, under the leadership of the party MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu and senior Congress leader KK Bawa, conducted a "brain surgery" on the effigies of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as a mark of protest against the new taxes introduced by the ruling SAD-BJP alliance government in Punjab.

Speaking on the occasion, both Bawa and Ashu said that people were already burdened by the taxes, and the new taxes would worsen the economic condition of the state.

Criticising the SAD-BJP government, they said the state government had been following wrong industrial policies due to which the industries were shifting to other states.

Condemning the economic policies of the state government, they also said farmers, who were in debt, were committing suicide in Punjab. — TNS



Industry condemns hike in luxury tax, VAT
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
The hike in luxury tax from 4 per cent to to 8 per cent has not gone down well with the hotel industry in the city. In addition to this, 0.5 per cent hike in VAT on certain items has also not been well received by the city people.

"Since Punjab is not a state high on tourists' agenda, the hike in luxury tax is not justifiable. Even states like Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, which are tourist destinations, charge lower luxury tax (7.16 and 4 percent respectively). There is no point in levying 8 per cent luxury tax in Punjab. We have very small profit margins and the additional burden will ruin the hotel industry," added Amarvir Singh, secretary of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab.

The association will be holding a state level meeting to discuss the issue of hike in luxury tax. Now a person staying in a hotel will have to shell out 30.74 per cent as taxes in addition to the bill which includes VAT at 13.75 per cent, service tax at 6.18 per cent and luxury tax at 8 per cent, plus service charges at 5.15 per cent.

"On one hand, the public is happy with the reduced taxes on sugar, and on the other hand, the government has disappointed the common man with the rise in luvury tax and VAT. The industry is already in crisis and this hike in VAT is an additional burden," added Vinod Thapar, chairman of Knitwear Club.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations (FOPSIA) has also strongly opposed the increase in VAT by 0.5 percent. Industries in Punjab are not in a position to pay more taxes, said Badish Jindal, president of FOPSIA.



Govt rolls back VAT on sugar
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Much to the relief of common man, VAT imposed on sugar has been rolled back by the state government. Homemakers are happy that their kitchen budget will not be disturbed due to VAT imposed on sugar. VAT at the rate of 5 per cent was levied on sugar from July 25 and not only traders but consumers were also unhappy over the imposition.

Jagjit Singh, president of the Wholesale Sugar and Banaspati Association, while welcoming the move said, “It is the step taken in the interest of common man and we welcome the move. Now that VAT on sugar has been rolled back, the department should be instructed to issue a notification in this regard as soon as possible. If the notification is not issued, it will lead to a problem, as traders will not buy sugar in wait of notification and can result in shortage of sugar,” he added.

Seema Saluja, a homemaker, added, “With the prices of every commodity going high, it was a relief to hear that the government has rolled back VAT imposed on sugar,” she said.

Gursewak Singh, a sweetmeat shop owner, said, “The news came as a big relief to us. With the prices of every commodity like ghee, besan and dry fruits going up, it was a sign of relief to see that the prices of sugar are coming back to the previous one. VAT on sugar has been rolled back and we welcome the step of the government,” he added.



Ensure govt schemes reach the poor, says ADC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
A meeting between the members of Advisory Committees from different departments, chaired by ADC (D) Rishipal Singh, was held at the Circuit House to discuss the implementation of various schemes being run by the government for the benefit the scheduled castes, backward castes, widows and disabled.

Officials from various departments, including the department of irrigation, Punjab State Power Corpoation Limited (PSPCL), urban infrastructure, district food and supplies department and representatives from the marginalised sections of the society attended the meeting. Rishipal Singh asked the officials present in the meeting to make sure that the beneficiary schemes being run by the state and Central governments reached to the poor in rural areas.

The ADC (D) was briefed that loan at a very low interest rate was being given to the wards (class XII pass outs) of scheduled castes and backward class people to help them start their own ventures. It was being ensured that in the villages having over 1,000 population, Aanganwari Centres were opened to take care of the small children upto the age of five years. Women were being given training on health and physical fitness. The government was also giving Rs 10,000 as Widow Pension Scheme to the needy.

The ADC also listened to the grievances regarding the removal of electricity poles, transformers, which were becoming a danger to the public. He asked the concerned officials to quickly remove them and provide a report.



Residents complain against GGN students for parking vehicles
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Today's fight at GGN Khalsa College was just one of the many problems the residents of Dr Sham Singh Road are facing due to being in close vicinity of the college. The parking of vehicle by students of GGN Khalsa College is proving to be a nightmare for residents of Dr Sham Singh Road.

Every morning students park vehicles outside the houses of residents, making it virtually impossible for the residents to step out of the house.

The parking of vehicle also leads to a huge traffic jam on this road. The residents lament that they have often raised the issue with the college authorities but to know avail.

"We have told the college authorities and requested the students several times not park vehicles outside our house but they pay no heed to our requests. We cannot indulge in fighting with the students," said Deepak Kumar, a resident of Dr Sham Singh Road.

He said several times students even trespass into their house on seeing the gate open. He said even police has been raiding and challaning the students but nothing has worked to deter the students from parking the vehicles outside the college premises.

Taking a serious note of today's clash and the subsequent complaint by the residents, Dr Gurdev Singh, principal GGN Khalsa College, has asked the traffic police to impound the vehicles of students who park them outside the college premises.

"The students have been repeatedly told to park their vehicles inside college but they are not listening. Today I have asked the traffic police to challan and impound the vehicles," said Dr Gurdev Singh.



Plan to ease traffic in city
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana August 29
The traffic police has devised new plans to get rid of the bottlenecks that are causing nightmare to the commuters in the city. They have come with a three phase programme to tackle the traffic problems.

While addressing the media, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP-Traffic) Swapan Sharma said that after proper research they have identified some problems and have started implementing their plan. He said that they have identified ten major areas of the city so far. Swapan Sharma said that they would work on two roads a week and try to regulate the flow of traffic.

"We would try to ensure smooth traffic on the Slip Road and would also clear the service lanes along the Ferozepur Road and in Salem Tabri area. We plan to start towing campaign on these service lanes and to remove encroachment," says Sharma.

"Department is also going to write to Municipal Corporation Office regarding painting of yellow lines, zebra lines, stop lines and road repairing so that we could have good standard roads here," he added.

Phase 1: Areas to be covered:

  • VIA Hambran Road Session chowk to Rajpura chowk, Ferozepur Road
  • Jagraon Bridge to Octroi Post Gill Road
  • Vishwakarma chowk to Gill Canal Bridge, GT Road
  • Jalandhar Bypass-Jagraon Bridge-Sherpur Chowk Jalandhar Bypass
  • Samrala chowk-Sherpur Chowk- Giaspura Bharat Nagar Chowk
  • Cheema Chowk- Samrala Chowk, Pakhowal road
  • Bhai Bala Chowk to Phullanwal octroi post, Satpaul Mittal road
  • Hero Bakery chowk to Ferozepur road, CMC road
  • Jagraaon bridge to CMC

Phase 2: In the second phase, the traffic department would commence their towing campaign in the Sarabha Nagar area in September. The area will be divided into five routes on which the campaign would start.

Phase 3: In the third phase, the traffic department would commence the towing campaign in the Salem Tabri area The campaign is likely to start in the third week of September. ACP (Traffic) Swapan Sharma said they are going to start a strict drive against the defaulting auto drivers. He said they would check the driving licence, permit, registration and pollution certificate of auto rickshaws and if any of these documents was not produced by auto driver, the vehicle would be impounded. "Apart from this if we find any auto rickshaw overloaded or parked wrongly, strict action would be taken against the violator," said Sharma.



Sports infrastructure in doldrums
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
On the occasion of National Sports Day, youngsters and sports enthusiasts in the city pulled a wry face due to little sports infrastructure the city has to offer. Performance of players has been plumbing new depths and the poor sports facilities that the city has to offer only epitomises the poor condition of sports across the state, say youths of the city.

“Barring Guru Nanak Stadium, there is very little the city has in terms of sports. Even the sole stadium is lacking in all sports facilities and adequate number of sports and trainers,” says Harman Singh, a sports enthusiast.

“The track at the stadium has not been changed for years. Nothing is being done to encourage sports in the city,” he complains.

Many agree that there should be sports parks in every locality. “There is a strong need for developing the culture of playing sports. Children get glued to television, video games and mobile phones, but the sports infrastructure in the city continues to be in doldrums,” says Arun Sharma, a resident of Shastri Nagar.

Although the government has taken “commendable” steps to encourage the game of kabaddi, it seems that the government wants to invest in a traditional sport rather than encouraging sports played at the international level, says Avneet.

Our neighbouring state, Haryana, is producing great sportspersons and Olympics medal winners, and here we are, once at the foremost in the sporting scene, now lag far behind, says Sandeep, a sportsperson.

“The worst part is that the administration is not bothered about the poor performance and nothing.



Website to make sports selections transparent soon
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
The sports wing of the Education Department will be computerised to bring transparency in selection procedure for school games. Earlier, the department had been facing criticism from coaches, who had charged the department officials of changing the names of players from the list of selected players to favour their near and dear ones.

The sports wing has decided to make a separate website where all details regarding the selection of players will be uploaded seven days before an event.

While talking about the selection procedure, State Sports Organiser Ravinder Ravi said, "Now we have changed the selection criteria. We had conducted a seminar and had chosen five qualified selector from every district. We want total transparency in the selection procedure".

"All the entries for the state tournaments will be conducted online and the work of sports wing will be computerised. One will be able to find details on website.

The need to make the website is to satisfy players and coaches about the selection procedure."he added.



Nigerian delegation visits PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
An 11-member delegation from Nigeria had visited the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) here today. They were here to explore areas for cooperation in post harvest sector.

The delegation was headed by executive secretary of Agriculture Research Council of Nigeria, Prof Abubakar Baba Yusuf, and national co-ordinator of West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme, Prof Damian O Chikwendu.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Abubakar Baba Yusuf said they wanted to know new developments in Indian agriculture sector. He said he was impressed with the research initiatives carried out by CIPHET. We were trying to find ways to control post-harvest losses in fruits and vegetables, which were as high as 50 percent in Nigeria, he added.

Dr Damain O Chikwendu said they were having difficulty in transferring technology to end users.

Giving a brief overview of the institute's activities, Director CIPHET, Dr US Shivhare, “We are actively engaged in transferring technologies of this and other ICAR institutes.”

A film on CIPHET was also screened on the occasion. Meanwhile, a 13-member delegation of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ACRN) had visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today, and held a meeting with PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, and other office bearers.

While addressing the visiting delegation, Dr Dhillon said India has friendly relations with African countries, especially Nigeria. Stating that the technology available in India was more applicable to Nigeria, he expressed they should collaborate research and training programmes.

Dhillon suggested the establishment of a joint agri-institute and added that both the nations as well as institutes would be the beneficiaries.



Shruti Choudhry is GLADA Chief Administrator

Ludhiana, August 29
Shruti Singh Choudhry, Deputy Commissioner of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, has been appointed as the Chief Administrator of the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA). She will also hold the additional charge of the Administrator of Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT).

She assumed the charges yesterday. A 2004-batch IAS officer, she served as SDM at Chamkaur Sahib in 2007, then as Additional Deputy Commissioner at Bathinda for one year and as Deputy Commissioner of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar for two-and-a-half years before her current posting.During her tenure as the Deputy Commissioner at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, she made her mark towards creating awareness among people and mobilising them against the social menace of female foeticide. — OC




Govt to regularise teachers

Sarv Siksha Abhiyan Union and Rashtriya Madhyatmic Siksha Abhiyan Teachers Union (RMSA) said the government had given its nod to regularise the teachers, working under the schemes. The president of the Union Baldev Raj Singh said the decision would benefit 12,970 teachers. Now the teachers will get pay scale at par with the regular teachers. The union president thanked the teachers for giving full cooperation in raising their voice and expressed the hope that they would continue to face hurdles unitedly.

Imposition of new taxes opposed

The members of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association has strongly resented the property tax, which is being imposed by the Punjab Government. "The two percent property tax on Industry will cost dearly to the already depressed Industry. We want to remind the government that economy of the state will be ruined by imposing such taxes on industries," Gurmeet Singh Kular, the president of the association, said.

MCPI (U) hits out at Govt

The Punjab State Committee of the Marxist Communist Party of India (U) has condemned the imposition of fresh direct and indirect taxes by the Akali-BJP government on the people of Punjab. Kuldip Singh, secretary of MCPI (U), said the state government was burdening the common man.

Teachers boycott meeting

Teachers hold a protest at Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School in Ludhiana on Wednesday
Teachers hold a protest at Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School in Ludhiana on Wednesday. A tribune Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

About 400 teachers boycotted the meeting, which was called by the District Education Officer (Secondary), here today. The meeting was held at Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School here. The teachers, who boycotted the meeting, were against the new rationalisation policy. "The district Education Officer had called a meeting of the teachers to announce the new policy, according to which the teachers, belonging to lecturer cadre were to attend 32 periods while teachers of master cadre, were asked to take 34 periods. Therefore, we boycotted the decision and had demand to continue the old policy," Jagjit Singh, President, Master Cadre District, Ludhiana, said

ACs to function again

Much to the relief of students and staff at Punjab Agricultural University, the university will resume the functioning of ACs at the laboratory in the university hospital. Dr DS Pooni, Chief Medical Officer at the university, said the VC had given orders regarding this. The ACs were stopped, following the state government’s order to discontinue them at government offices and buildings, in order to meet the shortage of electricity. Facilities including biochemical testing, blood tests need controlled temperature, which were stopped due to non-functional ACs.

‘Flame of Truth Relay’

In the last 60 years, since the Communist China's brutal occupation of Tibet, Beijing has never changed its hardline policies on Tibet. China is exploiting not only Tibet's rich natural resources but also killing, torturing, imprisoning and harassing the Tibetan people continuously. The Tibetan parliament-in-exile had launched a worldwide on July 6 and in a month the torch has traveled 15 states of India and the people of India had actively participated in the relay. And now the flame of Truth will be hand over to the Tibetan Refugee Trader's Association's general secretary Chime Tsering here. The relay will go on in India and cover other countries, and will conclude on December 10.


Khanna: The Revenue Patwar Union of Khanna block today held a 'dharna' against the alleged bad behavior of SDM Khanna with a patwari Ekam Singh and demanded his transfer. The union declared that they would continue their stir till their demand was met. They alleged that the SDM had tried to pressurise the patwari for some illegal work but as the Patwari refused he was threatened and his salary was stopped. SDM Khanna, PS Sodhi, has refuted all allegations and said he only told the patwari to deliver a report in time, which was as per rules rule. — TNS



Refused money for liquor, man stabs wife
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
A man under the influence of liquor stabbed his wife after she refused to give him money, so that he could buy liquor. The victim, identified as Rekha, was rushed to the Civil Hospital where her condition was stated to be serious.

The incident took place this afternoon when Raju, victim's husband, arrived at the house after nearly three months and demanded money from her. The victim refused and the couple indulged into a heated argument.

In a fit of rage, Raju stabbed his wife and fled the scene. Meanwhile, the police has registered an attempt to murder case against Raju and started investigations.

70-yr-old ends life

In another incident, a 70-year-old woman, identified as Pritam Kaur, committed suicide in the Old City area today. The deceased was suffering from an ailment, as per information. The incident came to light when residents of the locality spotted her body hanging with a ceiling fan.



Carjackers strike again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Barely two days after the bursting of a carjacking gang, yet another carjacking gang struck again and fled with a Hyundai Verna from 21-year-old Eraaz Oswal while he was travelling on the Ferozepur road.

The incident took place at 10.30 pm when three armed assailants waylaid the victim on gunpoint and fled with the vehicle.



BVM hog limelight in sqay martial arts meet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
BVM, Kitchlu Nagar, won the U-14, U-17 and U-19 Boys’ Inter-School District Sqay Martial Arts Championship with nine gold, four silver and three bronze medals organised by the district education department held at BVM, Kitchlu Nagar, today.

More than 300 players participated in the championship. Students of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, bagged eight gold, one silver and one bronze medal and BCM, Shastri Nagar, students won three gold, five silver and two bronze medals.

BVM, Kitchlu Nagar, principal Santosh Mehra gave away medals to the winners.

Palpreet is second highest scorer

Palpreet Singh of the Ludhiana Basketball Academy has been declared as the second highest scorer in the Asian Basketball Championship for Juniors.

In the recently concluded 22nd FIBA-ASIA Under-18 Men Basketball Championship held at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, from August 17 to 26, the Indian junior men finished 10th out of 16 countries that participated in the championship.

Palpreet Singh Brar from Dodan village at Mukatsar district of Ludhiana Basketball Academy was declared the second highest scorer, scoring 129 points in the championship.

Wrestling Games

Sacred Soul Convent Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, conducted the Punjab School Wrestling Games Tournament for Girls (U-19) on its premises.

Badminton tourney

The Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex Badminton Tournament started at BCM Arya Model School, Shastri Nagar, today.

About 25 CBSE schools from Ludhiana district are participating in the event. More than 100 players will take part in the tournament. The three-day long tournament will be played in the U-14 and U-19 categories both for boys and girls.

Table tennis championship

Alpine International School won all titles in the Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex Table Tennis Tournament.

Alpine International School has accorded the rare honour of organising the tournament. Over 150 students from various schools of the school took part in the event.

Kartar Singh, district sports officer, and Sukhpal Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner, was the chief guest.



Pugilists emerge overall champions
Sher-e-Punjab Academy trainees clinch 3 gold, 2 silver medals
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 29
Continuing their good performance in various national and state-level championships, pugilists of Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy, Chakar, near Jagraon, added yet another feather in the cap of the academy by emerging the overall champion at the 8th Punjab State Junior Boxing Championship for Women.

The five-member girls team of the Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy clinched five medals, including three gold and two silver medals, in different weight categories to clinch first position in the boxing event that concluded at Hoshiarpur recently.

In the 64-kg weight category, Simranjit Kaur of Chakar defeated Amandeep Kaur of Bathinda to win the gold medal. Shavinder Kaur beat Muskan of Jalandhar, while Parminder Kaur defeated Neetu of Hoshiarpur to secure gold medals in the 51 kg and 48-kg weight categories, respectively.

Apart from three gold medals, two other trainees of the academy won silver medals. Manpreet Kaur defeated Pooja of Amritsar and Muskan Sidhu beat Priyanka of Sangrur in different weight categories.

Expressing contentment over the performance of the trainees of Sher-e-Punjab Academy, chief administrator, Dr Balwant Singh Sandhu, said, “This is perhaps the first time in the history of boxing of Punjab that players from a single village have emerged overall champions in the state-level competition.”



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