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Industry threatens agitation over non-refund of VAT
Wants octroi to stay
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Doing away with octroi might be on the priority list of the state government but the idea has not gone well with industry. Irked with the suggestion of an alternate tax, local industry has declared it would not accept any other tax than octroi.

The industry, which is also sore over non-refund of Value Added Tax (VAT), has given a 10-day ultimatum to the government to issue refunds threatening to launch an agitation if the government failed to do so.

At a meeting of 24 leading industry associations here, it was decided that local industry would protest if the government did not pay heed to its demands pertaining to VAT refunds and abolition of octroi.

“Industry in the state is already reeling under excessive burden due to taxes. An alternative to octroi would only put additional burden on the industry and we would not accept it,” said Mr G.L. Pahwa, president, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

According to representatives of industry whereas octroi is a tax on buyer, any alternate tax like turnover tax would burden manufacturers. Besides, such a new tax would have a multiple effect, observed industrialists.

“Turnover tax would be imposed on all who are engaged in manufacturing. A product manufactured by one could be an input for another. It would have a multiple impact and would result in major increase in input costs too,” industry representatives maintained.

Not only octroi, non-refund of VAT is also causing major resentment among industry. Despite several requests, the government is not bothered to issue refunds due to which a huge capital is blocked, industrialists said. They rued that blocked capital was hampering smooth operations.

Industrialists say that when VAT was implemented, the government assured them that refunds would be made within three months. However, even after nine months of implementation, industry is yet to get its refunds.

They said if the government failed to respond by January 20, they would come out on roads and protest against government’s apathy. “If need be , we would observe a total shutdown of industry,” threatened the associations. They said as the survival of industry was at stake, they would resort to agitations, bandhs and declaration of black day for the trader and industrialist community.

Among associations that took the decision are Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), Untied Cycle and Parts Manufactures Association, Apparel Export Association and several associations from hosiery and other industries.

Earlier last month, local industry had declared a boycott of state government, a step that has had little impact. Industry did not attend any government functions nor did it honour ministers or government officials to mark its protest.

Industry associations also feel that the government is avoiding it as the Chief Minister cancelled several meetings with industry representatives. “The government should at least have sent some communication. Industry is suffering heavily and this cannot be taken for long.”

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Mayor faces penalty for violating building bylaws
Tribune News Service

Filling station owned by Mayor which is in the eye of a storm in Ludhiana
Filling station owned by Mayor which is in the eye of a storm in Ludhiana. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, January 10
Amid allegations that the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation was shielding the city Mayor, who had allegedly violated building bylaws, MC officials said today that they were looking into the legalities of the case and the Mayor might be penalised and his construction would be compounded.

MTP S.S. Bhatia said the civic body had taken a notice of the building bylaws violation by Mayor Nahar Singh Gill and they were studying the norms under which his structure would be compounded after charging the compounding fee.

He added that earlier also the MC had issued notices to Mr Gill under Sections 269 and 270 of the MC Act when he was alleged to have encroached upon public land. A team of MC had gone to his petrol pump and demolished the encroachment while getting the public land vacated.

Mr Gill had constructed a structure at his petrol pump on Chandigarh Road for which he had not got the plan sanctioned from the MC. Earlier also, his petrol pump was in the eye of storm for encroaching upon public land.

Mr Bhatia said now the MC was constructing a road adjacent to his petrol pump on the land which was allegedly encroached upon by the Mayor.

While the MC officials kept on singing in their praise that they were taking action against the Mayor also, leaders of opposition in the MC House said the civic body was trying to use the norms to the Mayor’s convenience.

Mr Parvin Bansal, a senior BJP leader and leader of the opposition in the MC House said while it was an ‘‘irresponsible’’ act of the Mayor having constructed a structure without caring two hoots for the building bylaws, the officials were also not daring to take any action against him.

‘‘If they want to compound his structure then why did they demolish so many buildings in the city in the past. If he is the first citizen of the city that does not mean that he is above the law. The local body should prove to the masses that it will not spare anyone if he flouts the laws.’’ he said, adding that as the Mayor he should not have stooped to such a low.

He added that they would demand his disqualification as a city Councillor.

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Attack on Ayurveda motivated
by MNCs, say manufacturers

Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 10
Crying foul over the ongoing controversy about Ayurvedic formulations, manufactured and marketed by the company owned by Swami Ram Dev, the Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers Association (ADMA) has maintained that the attack on the Ayurveda system was motivated by the powerful petro-chemicals and multinational pharmaceutical lobby. By casting doubts over the ingredients of some medicines, the vested interests were trying to create confusion in the minds of the people and bring a bad name to the indigenous system.

Addressing a news conference here last evening, the national vice-president of the body, Dr Pradeep Nagrath alleged that the Ayurvedic system was being given a raw deal by the government. He lamented that the Ayurveda was lagging far behind with less than 1 per cent share as compared to Chinese herbal system that enjoyed a share of more than 34 per cent. This was despite the fact that India held more than 70 per cent of the global medicinal plants. On the contrary, the Ayurveda was gaining popularity and greater demand the world over. “It is a part of the fast growing alternative health industry which, as per WHO estimates, globally stands today at Rs 3,30,000 crore or $ 75 billion and will grow to $ 5 trillion by 2050.”

He sought to clarify that the Ayurveda had provisions for various raw ingredients of animal, mineral and herbal origin, which had been in use since times immemorial. The list of all animal products that the relevant laws permitted for use in Ayurvedic preparations was contained in Schedule I of the Drug and Cosmetics Act. There was no question of human bones being permitted or used in Ayurvedic medicines.

Dr Nagrath remarked that by merely making a non-specific reference that some Ayurvedic medicines allegedly contained human bones and animal parts, the allegations seemed to be quite illogical and ridiculous. These appeared to be politically motivated and an attempt to malign India’s richest heritage of Ayurveda.

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Schools to open at 10 am from today
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 10
Keeping in view the severe cold conditions persisting in the region, Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar has ordered to change the school timings from tomorrow.

As per the orders, all schools, including private ones, will start at 10 am and get over at 2 pm. The order will remain effective till January 31.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Johar said, “It is really difficult for kids to go out early in the morning. Keeping in view the shivering cold, the government has decided to change the timings of all schools (government and private) from tomorrow.”

The parents have hailed the decision taken by the government. The parents of hundreds of schoolchildren had demanding the closure of schools for the past some days. They felt either the schools should be closed for a week or the timings be changed.

Mr Saranjit Singh, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, said the children would get respite from the biting cold now. At times, the kids refused to get up from their beds in early morning. “They go to school on bicycles and we try to cover them in the best possible manner, still they always get irritated because of the chilling weather,” he said.

Some schools had already changed their timings, but some others were adhering to the old timings. Ms Rachna, a BRS Nagar resident said, “Both my kids are too small to face such wintry conditions. Until now, their school used to start at 8.20 am and the school van came at 7.30 am. They had to be out of their beds at least an hour before. At times, I really pitied them. On many occasions, they even missed the school van.”

Ms Simmi, another parent, said she had arranged school van for both her children . “But these days, they wanted me to drop them in car because of the shivering cold. Now that the timings have been changed, I will also be relieved,” she said.

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A unique Lohri gift
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 10
A local couple has a unique New Year gift. Kamlesh, wife of Brij Lal, working in Punjab School Education Board, Gurdaspur, gave birth to triplets at Kiran Hospital and Laparoscopic Surgery Centre, Gill Road, here today. According to their attending doctor, two are the male babies and one is a girl child.

Doctors said that all the babies were normal and healthy. “They weigh 2.3 kgs, 2.4 kgs and 2 kgs. Since we did not want to take any chance in this case, the delivery was Ceasarian. The mother and the babies are absolutely fine but they have to be taken care in this shivering cold”, said Dr Tarlochan Singh.

The couple is already blessed with a two-and-a-half-year-old boy. “It is a celebration time for all of us. God has been very kind to us. And now it is our duty to provide them a hygienic and healthy atmosphere. We are going to celebrate their first Lohri with great enthusiasm.

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People throng Lohri mela
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 10
All roads seemed leading to the Punjabi Bhavan today. Ruralities from near by areas and urbanites visited this place to be part of the 13th Lohri mela. The mela was organised by the Malwa Sabhyacharak Society with Mr K.K. Bawa and Prof M.S. Cheema at the helm of affairs.

The stage was decorated with kites. Folk dancers, attired in colourful dresses, performed on the occasion. Singers like Pali Detiwalia and others sang songs related to Lohri.

Recipients of different awards also attended the function. Mr K.K. Bawa welcomed Mr Narinder Singh, SSP, Mr Manish Tiwari, Youth Congress president, and all award winners on to the stage. Prof M.S. Cheema kept the audience amused by his witty comments.

The persons honoured were picked from different walks of life and were given gold medals, citations and shawls.

Among those honoured was Dr Gurpreet Singh Wander. He received the Dr Edith Brown Memorial Award for Health and Medical Science. He is professor and Chief Cardiologist, Hero DMC Heart Institute,Ludhiana.

Dr Gurminder Sidhu received the Dr VN Tiwari Memorial Award for service to punjabi culture and contribution to literature. She came from Chandigarh.

Ravinder Grewal, with 15 albums to his credit, was given the Yamla Jatt Memorial Award for promoting Punjabi folk singing.

Jugraj Singh received the Dhyan Chand Olympian Award. He outshone in Busan-Asian games-2002 and has represented India at several international matches.

Jagdev Singh Jassowal, also known as Baba Baur, was given the Justice Gurnam Singh Memorial Award for culture.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Shergill got the Bhagat Puran Singh Memorial Award for donating his assets and bringing sunshine into the lives of many.

Comedian Jaspal Bhatti specially came from Chandigarh to receive the Shri Ramanad Sagar Award.

Mr R.P.S. Pawar was honoured with the PN Thapar ICS Memorial Award while Mr Hardev Singh Sangha received the MS Randhawa Memorial Award for Agriculture.

Some NRIs were also honoured on the occasion. It was a mela in true Punjabi spirit.

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Thakurs value their girl child
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh,  January 10
According a poster that fetched the best poster award to Ms Purnima Prashar at the 93rd Indian Science Congress held at Hyderabad last week, families from a lower stratum of society desist from sex determination test and female foeticide. This despite the fact that this segment also shows preference for male child.

The conclusion was based on a study conducted on a sample population of Thakurs, Brahmins and Aryas based in Dhamtal block of Nainital district in Uttranchal.

Contrary to the trend observed among other population segments in North-West India, girls outnumber boys in one of these population segments there.

Ms Purnima Prashar, a research scholar of the Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, had portrayed her conclusions on a study on sex determination among three caste groups of Bhimtal block.

Concern over the predominance of males over females in the north-western parts of the country inspired her to conduct the study.

Girls outnumbered boys in the sample population of Thakurs where gender ratio was 1038.5. Brahmins and Aryas of the area showed 995.5 and 939.5 females, respectively, for every 1,000 of males.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Ms Purnima said the demons of sex determination and foeticide were conspicuous by their absence in the sample.

“As the last child in majority of these cases was a male child, it showed they preferred to have male child. But no sex determination or foeticide was noticed,” elaborated Ms Purnima.

Claiming her conclusions to be a ray of hope for the modern society, she said the policy makers should make more efforts to spread awareness about consequences of gender imbalance.

“When a society in which majority of women are illiterate can maintain such a balanced sex ratio, others parts of our country can at least try to stop further deterioration,” she said.

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Vishva Hindi Day celebrated 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 10
“Hindi is the third most popular language in the world and yet we have had such a slave mentality that we do not want to speak in Hindi as we feel English is a superior language. Russians and other leaders always speak in their own language, but Indian leaders will give speeches in English. We send out our invitation cards in English. Why? Isn’t it high time that we started honouring our national language? “said Mr Narender Bangia, chief editor of Ekta Darpan , a Hindi newsletter published from Ludhiana.

He was speaking at Hindi Divas organised today by the Punjab Hindi Parishad (Regd) and Punjab Hindi Sansthan (regd) at Ludhiana Club here this morning.

Today all over the world Indian Embassies and High Commissions and Organisations devoted to propagating Hindi are celebrating Hindi Divas in order to give it a rightful position .

The chief guest on the occasion was Mr Rakesh Pandey while the guests of honour were Mr Madan Bassi, manager director, Suraj Industries, Mr Sukhminder, journalist Mr SK Jain, regional manager, New India Assurance Company, and Dr. KK Dhir.

They all spoke for promotion of Hindi. The Hindi newsletter ‘Ekta Darpan’ was also discussed.

A mini stamp exhibition showcasing the journey of Hindi literature had postal stamps of stalwarts of Hindi poets, novelists like Prem Chand , Nirala, Sumitra Devi etc .

The president of Hindi Parishad, Mr Mahesh Sharma, spoke on importance of Hindi .He said that it was sad that even after so many years of independence Hindi had not received its proper place in our day-to-day work,. Very few banks and other companies dealing with public use Hindi on regular basis.

The chief adviser, Dr Nirottam Sharma, spoke in detail about providing knowledge of Hindi on the world scale. The chief secretary of the organisation Mr Yashpaul Bangia, said that Hindi was being increasingly used in world business throughout the world which was a matter of great pride.

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Workshop workers hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 10
Field and Workshop Workers Union Punjab staged a dharna in front of the office of the SDO, (Canal), here today. They raised slogans in support of their demands. Later, a protest march was organised and a memorandum was submitted to the local SDM.

Their demands included cancellation of transfers of workers, uniform for staff, repair of residential quarters and filling of vacant posts. It was alleged that the SDO had been putting up at Patiala and people have to face difficulty in getting their problems solved. The union has demanded institution of an inquiry into the property of the officer.

Those who addressed the gathering included Mr Dedar Singh Kotli, unit president Khamano, Mr Nirmal Singh Mand, Mr Pawan Kumar, Mr Sewa Singh, unit chief Gounda, Mr Komal Ram from Samana, Mr Amrik Singh from Ghanaur, Mr Kesar Singh from Banur branch, Mr Balwinder Singh from Patiala branch, Mr Chajju Ram, district secretary and Mr Darshan Ballu Majra district president .

Mr Devinder Singh, SDO, (Canal) was not available for comments. However, Mr Harinder Singh Walia, assistant engineer, said two employees had been transferred from Bhadson circle to Amloh Circle and they were posted against the vacant posts. 

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Dr Aulakh on Right-To-Food group of NHRC
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, January 10
The Punjab Agricultural University Vice Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, has been nominated as a member of the Core Group on Right to Food constituted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

A communication to this effect was received by Dr Aulakh here today. It said that the Core Group would advise the commission on the issues related to right to food in India and would deliberate on the issues referred to it by the commission or it could submit recommendations to the commission of its own.

The Core Group had been constituted to enlarge the scope of the National Human Rights Commission.

The group comprises of 12 members, mostly drawn from various institutions in Delhi, Orissa, Karnataka, Mumbai.

Dr Aulakh is the only member from this part of the country. The Director of the National Human Rights, Commission will be convener of the Core Group.

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Charge baseless: MC chief
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 10
Surinder Pal Sood, acting president of the Municipal Council, Doraha, said the allegations of encroachment of land and to sell that land by Congress Councillors were baseless.

Mr Bant Singh Duburji said according to Revenue Department records, the Councillors had no relation with that land. The land was not in possession of any one.

He said some days ago a few persons had tried to made some construction on the disputed land. Taking action on the information, the Municipal Council stopped the construction and took the material in possession.

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97 pc Rly staff voted for strike

Ludhiana, January 10
Members of the Railway Employees Union, which resorted to secret voting to decide whether they should go in for a strike or not, today said over 97 per cent of the employees in the Ferozepore division voted in favour of strike. The date for the nationwide strike would be decided on January 15.

Mr Daljeet Singh, divisional secretary, Northern Railway Mens’ Union, said railway employees would go in for a nationwide strike in support of their demands. Among the main demands are forming the sixth pay commission, merging dearness allowance into basic, stoppage on outsourcing, increase in GPF interest rates and creation of fresh vacancies. TNS

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Garg promoted Supdt Engg

Ludhiana, January 10
Mr Suresh Chander Garg has taken over the charge as Superintending Engineer, Sirhind Canal Circle, Ludhiana. Before promotion he was working as Executive Engineer, Sidhwan Canal Division, Ludhiana. Mr Garg has experience in the canal wing of the Irrigation Department. OC

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One killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 10
Jagjit Singh of Siloani village was killed when an unidentified vehicle hit him. The injured was admitted to civil hospital, Ludhiana, where he succumbed to his injuries. Dakha police has registered a case under Section 304-A IPC . No arrest has been made so far.

Arrest sought: A group of representatives of Kirti Kisan Union, led by district president Tarlochan Singh Jhordan, met Mr Gurjit Singh Romana DSP Jagraon, today and demanded the arrest of Jagrup Singh of Hathur, owner of vehicle No DL-3CH-4877, involved in an accident in which union leader Sukhdev Singh of Chak Bhaika was seriously injured about two months ago. He is undergoing treatment in the hospital since then.

Mr Romana assured them that justice will be done . The representatives warned of stern action if their demand is not met. 

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Duke gets quality award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Duke has been awarded with a quality excellence award for T-shirts. A company press note issued here today said the award was constituted by the Institute of Trade and Industrial Development, New Delhi. The award was presented to Duke group chairman Komal Jain by Minister of Textiles S. Vaghela.

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