L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

civic body dues
MC may outsource recoveries
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
In view of the “lack of will” among officials of the Municipal Corporation and continuous interference by politicians, the cash-strapped civic body is thinking of roping in a private firm to make recoveries. The civic body has reportedly suffered losses worth more than Rs 300 crore on account of non-recovery of dues.

Sources in the MC said recovery of dues worth crores were pending. The dues pertained to property tax, water bills, building fees and octroi, etc. The said staff crunch, the lack of will on the part of officials and interference by politicians were to blame for a poor recovery of dues. “Seeing no other option, we have decided to outsource the entire recovery procedure. We are thinking of taking the proposal to the Finance and Contract Committee and the General House for clearance,” said an official of the MC.

Many RTI applications have been filed on the issue of recoveries. Replying to one such application, the Joint Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, through a letter 109, MOEO, issued on April 21, 2014, said Rs 22 crore was to be recovered by the building branch. Apart from this, water bills amounting to Rs 212.91 crore were also pending. The Octroi Tax Branch had to make recoveries worth Rs 23 crore while a huge amount of Property Tax (earlier House Tax) was also pending.

The spokesperson for the Congress councillors Parminder Mehta said the civic body could become financially sound if the recoveries were made on time. “But there is a lack of will among officials,” said Mehta.

Political interference

One of the officials posted at the Zone A office said in the past few days, more than 30 illegal connections of sewerage and water supply were disconnected by their team as the owners of these shops, hotels and factories were using water and sewerage without paying charges to the MC. “A hotel in the Bhadaur House area had been running on an illegal connection for the past many years. In many cases, persons were using double connections while paying the bills for just one connection. Many of the violators had not paid the property tax and other taxes worth lakhs.

“Politicians often ask officials to stop drives or spare some defaulters for the time being. We remain under tremendous stress all the time. If we do not act tough against violators, we are answerable to the higher-ups and if we do, politician and local leaders start pressuring us,” said the official.

One of the officials in the tehbazari wing (Zone A) said: “The moment we leave, encroachments come up again. Without the protection and support of MC officials, local leaders and politicians, the violators cannot dare to take such steps again. Our efforts go waste in such circumstances,” said the official.

The Zonal Commissioner, Devinder Singh, said the drive to make recoveries will continue. “How can the civic body be run in the absence of funds?” asked the Zonal Commissioner.


Youngsters rob man of his bike 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Three armed persons robbed a youth of his motorcycle near the Kitchlu Nagar market last night.

Deepak Arora (21), a resident of Block X, Rishi Nagar, Haibowal Khurd, said he worked at an apparel store on the Sat Pal Mittal road. After closing the store at 10pm, he left for home on his motorcycle.

When he reached the Kitchlu Nagar market, he stopped at an eatery to have a burger. After having burger, he got one packaged for his sister and left the place.

When he reached near Government School in Kitchlu Nagar, he was accosted by three motorcycle-borne youngsters. Before he could react, the trio started thrashing him and one of them pulled out a dagger and tried to stab him.

While showing a cut on his body, Deepak said: “Another youngster took away my Hero Splendor (PB-DY-3533). They tried to snatch my mobile phone but I managed to free myself from their clutches and ran away. In the meantime, I saw a policeman and raised the alarm. On seeing the policeman, the trio escaped.

“I narrated the incident to the policeman. He told me to sit in his vehicle and both of us chased the robbers. When we reached the bridge over the Budha Nullah at Haibowal, the trio disappeared, taking the benefit of the dark.”

In the morning, the residents of Block- X, Rishi Nagar, met the PAU SHO and brought the mater to his notice. Deepak told the police that two robbers had covered their faces.



LIT lenient to defaulting tenant
Canal Lining Division has failed to pay dues worth ~37.57 lakh
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 4
The auditors from local Fund Account have rapped the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) authorities on the knuckles for their failure to recover overdue rent for office accommodation from a government department for the last more than 15 years, which has now mounted to more than Rs 1.19 lakh. The tenant owes another Rs 36.38 lakh against electricity consumption, water and sewerage charges.

The audit report for 2012-13, obtained under the Right to Information Act 2005 by Arvind Sharma, secretary, Council of RTI Activists, revealed that a part of the office building of the LIT was rented out on a monthly rent of Rs 3,850 to Canal Lining Division (Irrigation Department, Punjab) in December 1980. In addition, the tenant was required to pay user charges on actual basis for electricity, water supply and sewerage.

Taking a serious view of the gross financial irregularity, the audit note has mentioned that outstanding rent till March-end 2013 stood at Rs 1,19,389 while the arrears of user charges till the same period were Rs 36,38,262.

The audit report further says despite repeated audit objections every year since 2005-06, the LIT authorities had not taken any corrective measures to recover the outstanding rent and user charges from the government department, nor had they taken any action for eviction of the defaulting tenant.

While forwarding the audit objection to the Directorate of Local Bodies, Punjab, the Audit Department has called for immediate action for the recovery of arrears and eviction of the tenant.

No user charges paid

The auditors have pointed out that the said department had defaulted in payment of monthly rent for 1998-99 while no user charges have been paid ever since the tenant occupied the part of the LIT building



GLADA sells 8 residential plots for Rs 3.27 crore
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 4
The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) today sold eight residential plots in Sectors 38, 39 and 39-A on Samrala Road in a public auction, which yielded Rs 3.27 crore against their total reserve price of Rs 3.04 crore.

Some 20 bidders, each one of them having deposited an eligibility fee of Rs 2.5 lakh, took part in the auction conducted by GLADA Estate Officer RK Popli in the presence of Additional Chief Administrator Kuldeep Singh and Superintending Engineer RK Jaidka.

Of the six plots, each measuring 100 square yards in Sectors 38 and 39, one was sold for Rs 34,700 per square yard while the lowest successful bid for another plot was Rs 32,500 per square yard against the floor price of Rs 30,394 per square yard.

In sector 39 A, one plot measuring 280.24 square yards attracted a bid of Rs 26,000 per square yard while another plot measuring 232.5 square yards went for Rs 24,500 per square yard against the reserve price of (both plots) at Rs 22,512 per square yard.

GLADA had made an offer of sale of 29 residential plots in all through public auction with 13 of these located in sector 39-A and 16 in sectors 38 and 39. While eight plots were sold at a premium of Rs 23 lakh, the rest failed to find buyers.

There was a general feeling among the bidders that five time hike in the eligibility fee (from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh) for participating in the auction of residential plots by GLADA was discouraging bidders. “The eligibility fee ought to be cut down to attract more buyers and encourage a healthy competition,” said Rajinder Sharma, a city resident.

According to Popli, the successful bidders were required to deposit 10 per cent of the total bid amount at the fall of the hammer, in addition to two percent cess under the Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Infrastructure Fund Act 2013. Another 15 per cent of the total cost would become payable within 30 days of the date of auction.

The buyers could make the balance 75 per cent payment either in lump sum within 60 days of the issue of the allotment letter, in which case a rebate of 5 per cent would be allowed, or else in six equated half yearly instalments.

The residential plots were sold on “as is where is” basis for residential use with no provision for subsequent division, or subdivision and with no permission for change of land use at any stage.



Kaler visits de-addiction centre
Interacts with patients, Civil Hospital authorities, promises every possible help
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 4
Local MLA SR Kaler visited the drug de-addiction centre at the Civil Hospital. He interacted with patients and offered every possible help to them on the part of the state government.

Kaler spoke with the hospital authorities as well. Ob being asked about the shortage of staff at the centre, Kaler said he had taken up the matter with the Principal Secretary of the Health Department, Nishi Mahajan, two days back.

“The Principal Secretary assured me of deploying more medical staff at the Civil Hospital, Jagraon, in near future. I am going to meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal shortly and would request him to provide the best of infrastructure at the hospital to make this drive a huge success,” said Kaler.

Drive a success, says SMO

The Senior Medical Officer at the Civil Hospital, Sukhjiwan Kakkar, meanwhile, claimed the drive against drug addiction initiated by the state government was getting a good response with hundreds of addicts rushing to the centre to get rid of the problem.

“We have treated more than 680 drug addicts so far. A majority of them belong to rural areas and were addicted to poppy husk and opium. A few are hooked to heroin and smack as well,” said the SMO.

Besides providing medicines to the addicts, the Civil Hospital has deputed a counsellor at the centre to help the patients with various psychological issues. Doctors said counselling was of immense help to addicts.



gadvasu protest
Students adamant, says Registrar
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Contrary to claims made by the striking students of the Fisheries College of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), the varsity authorities maintained they were trying to cooperate with students, who had adopted an “adamant” approach.

Registrar Dr PD Juyal said students were given provisional degree certificates and no dues slips, following which they should be treated as former students of GADVASU.

“Since new batches will come in with the beginning of the new session and hostel rooms had to be renovated for them, we asked the protesting students to vacate the rooms. We, however, allowed them to use the washrooms and other facilities whenever required. But they do not listen. We do not want the university to be held responsible if something happens to them in their tents,” said the official.

Dr Juyal said any development on the issue from the state government side was expected to take place on July 8 and till then the authorities were ready to accommodate the students.

“Our duty is to provide them degrees as an institute. It is now between them and the government and we have no role to play,” he said.

Unions extend support

Meanwhile, students continued with their dharna today. Also, various trade unions and other social organisations held a meeting under the leadership of Prof AK Maleri in support of the agitating fishery graduates, who have been demanding jobs from the Punjab government since June 2. The trade unions have decided to hold a protest march to the Deputy Commissioner’s office to submit a memorandum to him on July 7. DP Maur said the march will begin from the statue of Shaheed Katar Singh Sarabha at Bhai Wala Chowk at 10 am.



Mayor’s resignation sought
Protesting Cong councillors accuse him of creating a ‘mess’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Demanding the Mayor’s resignation for creating a “messy” situation in the civic body, the protesting Congress councillors said despite levying heavy taxes on residents, the MC has failed to improve its financial position.

On the third day of the protest, spokesperson for Congress councillors Parminder Mehta said the MC could generate huge resources through many schemes, but since “vested interests” were involved it was bearing losses.

Congress councilors, including Hem Raj Aggarwal and Balkar Singh, condemned the Mayor for not convening a meeting of the General House. They said the Mayor was scared that he would have to come clean on his support to those involved in various scams. The coucillors said “unrest” prevailed among certain SAD councillors too, as affairs of the civic body were not being carried on in a proper manner.



Amarjit, Sushant lead in chess tourney
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 4
Local players Amarajit Singh and Sushant Manuja secured four points each to lead the pack at the end of four rounds on the second day of the inaugural edition of the Open Ludhiana FIDE Rating (below 188 points) Prize Chess Tournament here today.

They are accompanied by both Santosh Gautam of Nepal, Manoj Kumar of Amritsar and Sudhir Kumar from Haryana on the top of the table. The five players displayed an impressive performance to garner full points to establish the lead at the tournament being held at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines.

Sanjeev Sood and Shubham Shukla of Ludhiana along with Vikram Mukhija (Rajasthan), Arpit Saxena (Rajasthan), Imran Hussain (Uttar Pradesh), Kirti Sharma (Jalandhar) and Jagdeep Singh Sudan (Delhi) gave many anxious moments to their respective rivals to accumulate 3.5 points each. 



‘Paise Yaar N Panga’ star cast, makers release trailer, songs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
The Trailer and songs of upcoming Punjabi film “Paisa Yaar N Panga” were released here today. Coming out under the banner of Bharat Arora Productions, the movie features Mukul Dev, Punjabi heartthrob Gavie Chahal, Karan Sekhon, and the “choon cha girl” Nia.

Producer Bharat Arora said the film is about friendship, love, ambition, betrayal and a revolt.

The story revolves around three friends: Fateh played by Gavie Chahal of “Ek Tha Tiger” and “Pinky Moge Wali” fame, Karan played by Veer of “Burraah” fame and Bollywood sensation Karan Sekhon. Bollywood actor Mukul Dev plays a negative character.

Talking about the music of the film, Arora expressed confidence in all songs, especially “Choon Cha-Choon Cha” that has become a rage among youngsters.

“The film is a complete entertainer and will be a delight to watch,” said 
the producer.

The stars interacted with the press and said they were confident the movie, set to release on July 11, would be a success.

“It will break all records of Punjabi cinema,” echoed the entire team.



ludhiana scan
Statement condemned

The District Audit Inspectors Association Cooperative Societies, Ludhiana, has condemned Ludhiana Milk Union chairman AS Bhagpur for claiming that the audit department had intentionally prepared a report showing a huge loss to the union. Union members Sushil Lumar, Sukhjeevan Singh among others alleged that Bhagpur had made this statement to the media. Bhagpur, meanwhile, said: “I am a responsible employee and have no ill will against anyone in the audit department.”

Schoolchildren perform during a competition organised by Bollywood Dreams Dance Academy at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan in Ludhiana.
Schoolchildren perform during a competition organised by Bollywood Dreams Dance Academy at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan in Ludhiana. Tribune Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

NGOs’ meet

Eminent poet Jaswant Zafar presided over a meeting of Sambhav Foundation. Various non-governmental organizations were invited for a plantation drive on the occasion. In all, 17 NGOs and 10 social activists turned up at the alignment meeting.

Jatinder Manchanda highlighted the work being done by the foundation.

Members donate money

The astrology branch of Asian Club held a meeting at the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre. The meeting was held under the leadership of Sukhminder to discuss preparations for the super camp to be held on August 3. All members donated Rs 7,000 to the visually impaired students.

New engine showcased

Tata Motors today launched an innovative nationwide campaign to showcase its new Revotron engine as a prelude to the launch of its new cars: Zest and Bolt. With many segment-leading features in the engine, the campaign seeks to engage with its customers and create brand awareness for India’s first 1.2-litre MPFi turbocharged petrol engine, the Revotron 1.2T. The Revotron Lab was showcased in Ludhiana at MBD Mall. The launch was announced by Amit Sagar, national sales head, north and west. — TNS



BSNL pensioner questions cutting down on facilities
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Satish Thaman has written a letter to Union Minister for Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Satish Thaman has written a letter to Union Minister for Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, July 4
A Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) pensioner has raised his voice against the cutting down on the facilities being provided to the employees and retirees after the incorporation of the Department of Telecommunications as BSNL in 2000.

Satish Thaman, who retired from BSNL and is member of the District Ludhiana Sub Division West Grievances Redressal Committee, wrote a letter to Union Minister Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad to apprise him of the problems being faced by the retirees and employees of BSNL.

MP Ravneet Singh Bittu has recommended the letter as top priority.

In his letter, Satish Thaman has complained that the Principal General Manager Telecom, BSNL, Ludhiana, failed to collaborate with reputed hospitals (such as Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Apollo Hospital and Fortis Hospital) for cashless medical treatment of employees and pensioners.

Thaman stated that the empanelled hospitals were not reputed enough and could not provide quality treatment.

Thaman wrote that the Centre government did the merger of 78.2 per cent DA of working employees, but failed to merge the DA of retirees. He stated that all other employees of the Central government got 100 per cent DA, while that of BSNL employees was only 90.5 per cent.

CS Bhanot, Principal General Manager Telecom, BSNL, Ludhiana, said: “We have met the authorities of DMCH and CMCH several times, but they refused to collaborate for cashless medical treatment of employees and retirees. We have collaborated with other good and reputed hospitals.”



from schools
Students get hockey kits

Ludhiana: Ramgarhia Educational Council distributed hockey kits to players of Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School (Boys), Miller Ganj. Council president Ranjodh Singh and general secretary Jagtar Singh Bhanwra were present on the occasion. School alumnus Ranbir Singh Sohal was the chief guest. Other former students also motivated the students.

Dental care workshop

Ryan International School, Dugri, conducted a workshop on dental care. Renowned dentist Dr Jaswinder Bhatia taught teachers techniques of floassing and cleaning the teeth. He said it was very important to clean the teeth or at least rinse after every meal. — TNS



Teachers motivated at workshop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Ryan International School hosted a workshop on teaching techniques, goal setting and communication skills on its premises.

Resource person Rishabh Khanna, a renowned educator, speaker and counsellor, gave the teachers tips on how to remain motivated and excel in life.

He said a teacher acted as a bridge between the child and the world.

"A toddler learns not only the alphabets and numbers from a teacher, but also sees the world through the teacher's eyes," said Khanna.

Emphasising a teacher's immense contribution to the society, he said teachers taught a child how to behave and react in the face of temptations, difficulties or when under pressure.

The resource person also shared teaching techniques with the attendees.

The workshop acted as a unique combination of value education and teaching tips.



knitwear club impasse
Industry at the receiving end
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

The locked premises of the Knitwear Club in Ludhiana.
The locked premises of the Knitwear Club in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, July 4
It has been nearly a year since the office of Knitwear Club is lying locked due to the rift between two factions of the club.

Elections were scheduled in May, but no concrete step has been taken by the office-bearers as both groups remain adamant.

With no one ready to bow down, members say the real aim behind forming the club has been lost.

The controversy started after the club’s chairman Vinod Thapar was placed under suspension and membership of cashier Harish Kairpal was cancelled during the general house meeting of the club.

The dispute took an ugly turn when it reached court in August last year, after both groups called the annual general meeting. Darshan Dawar filed a suit in court quoting the rule that only the general secretary could call the meeting with the consent of 
the president.

“It seems as if the present leadership of Knitwear Club has forgotten the club’s objective and vision just for its personal gains. The industry is facing difficulty as there is nobody to listen to grievances with leaders fighting their own battle,” said Vinay Kansal, a hosiery manufacturer.

Two offices are being run by the two factions while the original office is lying closed.

“It is a matter of shame and disappointment for the entire industry,” said a senior member of the club.



Anganwadi workers demand regularisation of services
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
On the call given by All-India Anganwadi Workers’ and Helpers’ Federation, the Anganwadi Mulazam Union Punjab staged a protest outside the Mini-Secretariat here today. A large number of anganwadi workers and helpers joined the protest.

District president Subash Rani said the protest had been organised in all states of India. Talking about the workers’ demands, Subash Rani said: “We want our jobs to be regularised. Anganwadi workers should be deputed under Grade III and helpers under Grade IV. We don’t have permanent buildings for centres and have to make do with rental accommodation, gurdwaras or dharamshalas. The government should construct buildings for running the centres.”

The district president said a number of anganwadi centres were running without helpers.

“The government should depute helpers in every centre. Also, anganwadi workers face sheer inconvenience while cooking due to the non-availability of gas cylinders and stoves. We also demand stoves and cylinders for centres,” said Subash Rani.

The anganwadi workers also complained that the government deputed them on several tasks not related to their job.

There are around 28,000 anganwadi centres in the state, where around 56,000 anganwadi workers and helpers have been working.

MP’s effigy burnt

The anganwadi workers also burnt the effigy of Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal for his recent controversial remarks.

“The West Bengal government must dismiss the MP for his anti-women remark. Such statements can’t be tolerated,” said Subash Rani.



I-T Return
Be careful while filling in your account number
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Fill in your bank account number with extra care while applying for income tax refund. If you happen to fill in a wrong account number in the return form, the refund will be credited to that account, even if it is in the name of another person.

The Taxation Bar Association general secretary, Jatinder Khurana, said: “From this year, the option of getting the refund through cheque has been removed. Now, there is only one column in which it has been mentioned that the refund will be directly credited to the mentioned bank account.”

A senior I-T official said, “If the IFSC code of the bank is mentioned wrongly, the refund will fail to get credited to your account.”

Hitesh Singla, a trader, said he used to give all details to his chartered account for filling in the form.

“This time, however, I ensured that the bank account number was filled in correctly. In case the refund is credited to someone else’s account, it will be very difficult to get it back,” he said.



Woman scribe foils snatching, injured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
A woman journalist was targeted by motorcycle-borne snatchers at Model Town Extension here this evening.

The victim, Kanchan Vasdev, was dragged for nearly 15 feet, but she did not let go of her purse. Instead, she pulled down one of the snatchers sitting pillion on the motorcycle. The snatchers, however, managed to flee.

Vasdev, a Chandigarh-based journalist, suffered head injuries besides bruises on her face, arm, legs and waist.

The incident took place at around 5.45 pm when Vasdev was on her way to Rajindra Eye Clinic for her routine check-up. Two youths riding on a black Bajaj Pulser motorcycle (one wearing blue-and-white striped T-shirt and the other wearing a pink T-shirt) came from the rear and tried to snatch her purse.

Vasdev responded bravely and got hold of her purse. Her head hit the road and she was dragged as the snatchers tried to flee.

The entire incident was caught on a closed circuit television camera (CCTV) installed outside a house.

The incident was brought to the notice of Police Commissioner Pramod Ban, who took a serious note of it. ADCP-III Satvir Atwal and ADCP-Crime MS Dhesi sounded a high alert in the area and visited the spot. Soon, ACP-Crime Jaswinder Singh, Inspector, CIA, Vinod Kumar, SHO, Division No. 5, Dharampal and SHO, Model Town, Gurdev Singh, too, reached the spot and started investigations.

At the time of filing of this report, police officers were scanning the CCTV footage of the incident and were in the process of filing an FIR.



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