Sunday, June 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


When fundamental rights were suspended
Dr R. Vatsyayan

LUDHIANA, June 24 —On June 25, this year will be the silver jubilee of the Emergency. I was appearing in the fourth year of professional examination at Patiala, but on that day I was in Ludhiana for a short break. The intensity of that summer was matched only by the political heat generated with the historic judgement of the Allahabad High Court, which was delivered on June 12 of the same year. Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha held Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, guilty of misconduct during her election campaign at Rae Bareilly.

The entire country was in a political turmoil because, for more than a year, the veteran freedom fighter Jayaprakash Narayan had been spearheading his famous but some what confused movement for a total revolution. This movement got a fillip by Justice Sinha’s judgement. Emboldened by it, JP called upon the police and other law and order agencies to defy orders form political authorities. Almost all opposition parties were demanding Mrs Gandhi’s resignation on legal and moral grounds, where as sycophants continued to flow towards the PM house in New Delhi in truckloads, expressing their solidarity with her.

As I woke up the next day, I searched for the morning newspaper. Not finding it, I came out into the street to look for our newspaper vendor, Hira Lal. In his usual loud voice he could be heard from a long distance. But that morning Hira Lal was nowhere to be seen. Around 10 in the morning, one of my friends told me that Mrs Gandhi was going to address the nation and that we should tune in to our radio. Speculation was rife that she might resign on account of the said judgement.

However, it proved to be otherwise. Without making a reference to the court orders, which unseated her, she said that a situation had arisen when there was a dire need to impose “internal emergency”. She compared the situation to a bitter pill, which however, had medicinal value. Mrs Gandhi justified its imposition to safeguard the integrity of the country. Her speech was followed by a special news bulleten that mentioned without giving any details that a few persons had been taken into ‘protective custody’.

Initially, utter confusion prevailed among the general public, as no one knew what the Emergency meant. With anxiety writ large on the faces of people that day, the city lacked the usual hustle and bustle. In the absence of any authentic source of news, rumour-mongers had a field day. Except for the arrest of some political activists from their homes, the city appeared peaceful.

I tuned into the BBC for its 8 p.m. news bulletin only to know that large scale political arrests had been made in the country which include JP. Next day’s newspapers briefly mentioned that press censorship had been imposed. An ordinance was issued suspending fundamental rights, which was soon followed by another one, suspending also the right to go to court for the restoration of these rights.

This was followed by a spate of arbitrary arrests and detentions. For a few days, five member jatha courted arrest daily at the Clock Tower chowk. Later, due to some reasons, the venue of the morcha was shifted to Amritsar. The late Prof Vishwanathan, who was a former MLA courted arrest in a very dramatic manner at Chaura Bazar.

When all important leaders of the city belonging to various opposition parties had been put in jail, the people of Ludhiana were scared. I saw the emergence of mohalla type leaders who had their khadi kurta pyjama stiched overnight . A country with 28 years of Independence was behaving as if it had been silenced with a single stroke for 19 months, the people of Ludhiana also of with their countrymen witnessed the Emergency which was hailed as anushasan parva by a veteran Gandhian of that time. The rest is history.Back



Proposal to open research institutes at Fort
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 24 — No vacant piece of land can remain free for long in this densely populated city of Punjab. Even if it is of some heritage value.

The latest example is the over five century old dilapidated ruins of Lodhi Fort, near Dresi Grounds, in the old city. The whole premises on a higher terrain than the surrounding areas had been recently vacated by the Government Institute of Textile and Dyeing Technology but hardly few weeks thereafter another proposal is being mooted to hand it over to some industrialists’ organisations in the city for opening up of some industry related research institutes.

The new proposal termed as a promising one for the betterment of the city’s youth has, however, not gone well with the senior citizens of the city who had established emotional chords even with the crumbled fort. These citizens say the site of the fort, after which Ludhiana got its name, should be developed as a heritage site for attraction of the tourists to the city. They also refer to the fort’s location on a mound replete with greenery as fit for making it an excursion spot for the garden-starved Ludhianvis.

According to the proposal forwarded to the state government, three organisations — Knitwear Club, North India Institute of Fashion Technology and National Institute of Fashion Technology — have grouped together to take the fort premises on lease for opening up an industrial research and training unit for the youth and another for training in modeling and fashion technology.

Mr Vinod K. Thapar, President of the Knitwear Club, explaining the project, said they would open the research and training institute which would train about 1,000 youths of the city every year for absorption in the city industries. He said the fashion institutes would open their research institutes and even conduct fashion shows here. He said the project would give a much needed boost to the hosiery industry of the city by providing the latest technology as well as trends.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.S. Sandhu, said he had sent the proposal to the state government as it would encourage self employment by offering several vocational courses. He said the other details of the project were being worked out. Regarding the heritage value of the fort, he said that as it was not declared protected monument there was no bar on any such activity.

Mr Thapar said the fort was already in ruins and could not be conserved now. He, how ever assurd of erecting some monument on the premises to inform the public about the historical importance of the site.

Notwithstanding these arguments, senior citizen, who have memories attached with the old fort, maintain it should be developed as a heritage site. One such 76-year-old citizen Giani Ajit Singh, who was born in the cit, said he along with several others used to play in the fort in the 1930s when the quila was in a far better condition. He said even though the fort was present in ruins only yet there was scope for preserving it in some kind or developing. 


Gosain lashes out at police
Law & order situation in Chowni Mohalla
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 24 — Firebrand BJP MLA Satpal Gosain today lashed out at the local police for allegedly playing partisan role in favour of members of a minority caste, said to be responsible for the deteriorating law and order situation in Chowni Mohalla and gave an ultimatum of 10 days to arrest the miscreants responsible for violence in the area.

Mr Gosain was talking to mediapersons after addressing a meeting of many irate residents of the area. He said any police officer, whether Senior superintendent of Police or Station House Officer, found to be dilly-dallying over the issue of arrest of the accused under any kind of pressure, would also face action.

He, however, assured that peace and tranquillity in the area as well as the city would be maintained at all costs. He also lambasted those politicians whose “petty cast” and “class politics” had manifested in the violence in the area.

Talking about the recent spate of violent incidents in the area, he said the locality had attained notoriety for violent clashes between members of a minority caste and members of two majority religions with arson, daylight robberies, eve-teasing and molestation being the rule of the day.

He alleged that the role of the police in the recent incidents had not been above board. He said that the first attack on Satish Kumar on June 13 was a result of the injured demanding money from the wife of a self-styled leader of the minority community for the goods that he had sold to him. He alleged that the police which had its own vested interests, first registered a case under section 308 of the IPC and only when people staged dharnas, a case under Section 307 of the IPC was registered . “However,” he said, “ No arrests had been made so far.

Meanwhile, a large number of residents of the area today spoke out against their subjugation and terrorising by members of minority caste. They lamented that they had been forced to withdraw their women to their home and hearth.

One of the residents, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, alleged that women were not even free to go to temples, gurdwaras or schools/colleges for fear of being molested. He also said that incidents of robbery and snatching were so common that these were almost a way of life for them.

The residents today decided to close down their businesses for two hours as a mark of protest against the alleged lawlessness. They were carrying placards and demanding that internal terrorism and anti- social elements be crushed and they be saved.Back


80,000 sign pledges
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 24 — In collaboration with the United Nations, Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya is in the process of signing pledges from people to mark the celebrations of the present year as ‘International Year for the Culture of Peace.

According to a press note of the sect, as many as 80,000 Ludhianvis have already signed up the Manifesto 2000.

The signatory of the manifesto takes a pledge of respecting all life, reject violence, sharing time and material with others, defending freedom and expression and cultural diversity, preserving the planet and to rediscover solidarity among ourselves.

The release said the sect aims to sign as many as 2 lakh residents by August. The sect also celebrated Brahma Kumari Dadi Prakashmani Day in the USA last week.Back




Little known facts about well-known Ludhianavis
By M.S. Cheema

LUDHIANA, June 24 — Former Chief of Army Staff, General T.N.Raina, was educated at Ludhiana not by his choice but because his father Pandit B.N.Raina was posted here as Head Postmaster located next to Bhadaur House. Similarly, the world-famous space scientist, Dr Satish Dhawan, who glorifies India, studied here because his father was posted here as a Sessions Judge.

Pandit Shradha Ram Phillauri, famous author of aarti (Om Jai Jagdish Harey), S. Mayya Singh, Dr Jain (Philologist) and (lexicographer) also belonged to the city.

Coming close to our time, very few people know this fact that author, teacher and scholar, Prof Sant Singh Sekhon, started an English journal from Lahore which flopped. He went to Quetta to earn money as a government contractor, his capital money in the capital city of Baluchistan (the largest province of Pakistan) ended in smoke. Prof Sekhon was M.A. in English as well as economics. His English was excellent. He even wrote poetry in English. His knowledge of economics was sound, his personal economics remained unsound. Very few people remember that he fought elections (Punjab Assembly and Lok Sabha) and lost.

Honey-tongued politician Giani Arjan Singh, alert contractors Niranjan Singh and Harlal, Mewa Singh Gill and Harjit Singh, advocate, shared a common interest, Urdu poetry. In his youth Harjit Singh profusely quoted Josh, Fani, Saif, Iqbal, besides Ghalib, Zauq and Mir. Having been born and bought up in Burma where his father was an engineer, he partly studied at Dehra Dun and therefore didn’t knew the Persian script. His sharp brain is a miracle of memory to store.

Poet Surjit Patar belongs to Pattar village (Kapurthala), printer’s devil rechristened him as ‘Patar’, his pen-name.

That late Devinder Singh Garcha (ex-MP) purchased ‘Panj Darya’ from Prof Mohan Singh, is indicative of his literary-journalistic ambitions. Ex.-M.P., Mewa Singh Gill is an advocate by profession, an agriculturist for personal economy and a poet by temperament and choice. He still has the probability of a potential poet. It is strange, Sahir wanted to be an advocate and ended as a poet. He cherished his dream as a photographer as a youth. With his means he could not afford camera. Strange are the ways of fortune, millions of footage preserves his songs filmed upon the heroes and the heroines.Back


Martyr remembered
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 24 — A large number of people from all walks of life, including friends, villagers, defence personnel, politicians and officers from the district administration, paid tributes to Naik Bhagwant Singh of the 12 Sikh Regiment at a shardhanjali function held at Bhaiani Roran village, 25 km from here, today.

The brave soldier had laid down his life fighting insurgents in the Kiran sector of the Jammu and Kashmir on June 13 this year.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, who was present at the function, announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh in addition to Rs 5 lakh for the construction of the house of his family. He also promised to provide a job to one member of his family. He said a library in the martyr name would be opened in the village and a school would also be named after him.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, also paid tributes to the departed soul.


Ludhiana: a city that does country proud
By J.S. Bedi

MAYA Dass, a dhobi from the Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh, often says that if the cities of Chandigarh and Ludhiana were not there, thousands of bhaiyas from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh would have died of starvation. Ram Kishore, another dhobi, endorses what Maya Dass says. Both of them, who migrated to Chandigarh about two decades ago, are now permanently settled in the City Beautiful where they have been earning enough for their livelihood. While talking about avenues of employment they say confidently that among the towns and cities of Punjab, Ludhiana is the only one which has the potential to provide employment to the maximum number of labourers from the said states.

Nand Ram is a mochi in Sector 23 of Chandigarh. Hailing from a village in Rajasthan bordering the town of Rewari in Haryana, he has been staying in the city for the past 25 years. He confides that a large number of Rajasthanis of his fraternity are either operating as mochis or working as labourers in the industries of Ludhiana. ''Ludhiana has provided employment to those poor Rajasthanis who languished in Delhi for a long time for the same,'' he said.

During my frequent visits to Ludhiana, I observed that migrants from the two states did not have to face any difficulty in obtaining employment in the small, medium and large-scale industries which pay them handsomely for food and shelter. That’s why, a majority of the labourers say that ''they are highly grateful to God who has made Ludhiana for them''. While in Ludhiana they try to do as the Ludhianvis do. Most of them even don’t want to be reminded of their place of birth because that gave them only unemployment, frustration and hunger. They say proudly: ''They are Ludhianvis to the core.''

The city of Ludhiana can, thus, boast of being a centre for providing employment to the poor and the depressed classes of society.

Today, if Chandigarh is popular as the capital city of Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the city of Ludhiana is widely known for its industrial prosperity. But there has been much more to these cities than all this. Now, Chandigarh has gained prominence on the art, culture and literary scene of the region. The Ludhiana-based prominent personalities of art and literature often come to Chandigarh to have an educational and literary interaction with intellectuals of Chandigarh through Ru-b-Ru as well as other programmes — holding of exhibitions, seminars, poetic symposia, etc.

Similarly, the renowned men of art and culture of the City Beautiful visit Ludhiana to participate in such activities. Punjabi Bhavan, Ludhiana, is the prominent centre for literary ventures where the scholars from Chandigarh and Ludhiana assemble to discuss vital issues relating to the promotion of the Punjabi language and literature in the region. Thus, the popularity of Ludhiana is not merely confined to its industrial glamour.

On the other hand, the Punjabi poets like Surjit Pattar, Kulwant Jagraon, Painter-popet Ajaib Chittarkar, lyricist Inderjit Hassapuri, litterateurs N.S. Tasneem, Gurbhajan Gill, M.S. Aulakh, Atam Hamrahi, photographers Janmeja Singh Johal, T.P.S. Sandhu, Rakesh Syal, novelist S.S. Narula, agricultural scientist Dr Khem Singh Gill, and above all Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, the cultural hero of Punjab, who organises the Prof Mohan Singh memorial mela at Ludhiana every year, have done Ludhiana proud by placing it on the literary and cultural map of the world. These are the few names which have come to my mind at the moment.

Down the memory lane, it was for the first time that in 1953 I had to go to Ludhiana from Shimla to stay with my uncle, Mr Ramji Dass Chopra, an officer in the Municipal Corporation, for some medical treatment.

At that time the city for me was nothing more than Sabzi Mandi, Chaura Bazar with the terrifying sarkari saand (official bull) roaming about freely here and there, Ghanta Ghar and the Budha Nullah. Besides, I remember having experienced the severe mosquito bite during night and the irritation caused by the huge army of flies during the day. In reply to my question, my uncle said that ''the corporation is helpless in controlling the mosquit-oes and flies, and if you continuously stay for a few months here you will get accustomed to them''.

Now, the situation in the old localities of Ludhiana has enormously worsened due to the increase in population as well as the commercial establishments which have extended beyond the Budha Nullah. During all these years, the old areas of the city have definitely escaped the attention of the Municipal Corporation as well as the Improvement Trust.

While not going into details of the ancient history of the city, it would sufficient to say that although it was founded during the rule of the Lodhi Dynasty, it came into prominence during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh when the British made it their cantonment for permanently settling their military troops here so that they could bring under their control the entire area of the Satluj states.

Since the Punjabi patriots of Ludhiana and the nearby areas were the last to tolerate the advances of the British, they jumped into the freedom movement and laid down their lives for the country’s liberation. Prominent among those who are remembered proudly and with a heavy heart are Gen Mohan Singh of the INA, Lala Lajpat Rai, Baba Santa Singh, Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman and Kartar Singh Sarabha.

Today, the city of Ludhiana has the pride of having the prestigious medical colleges, an engineering college and Punjab Agricultural University ''modelled on the Land Grant of the USA''. On visiting Phawara Chowk, Rose Garden and the Museum of Rural Life one forgets the industrial smoke and dust for a while.

The localities like Civil Lines, Sarabha Nagar, Punjab Mata Nagar, Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar and some of the buildings constructed on the modern architectural lines in the city and its nearby areas are praiseworthy. The newly constructed posh hotels, restaurants, markets and flyovers impart a modern look to the city. Besides, the city and its adjoining areas are flanked by a number of historical Sikh shrines associated with Sri Guru Gobind Singh.



New seed drill developed
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 24 — Paddy is one of the major crops of Punjab. But its cultivation has caused severe problems like lowering of the water-table. Efforts are being made to shift some of the area under paddy cultivation to some other crops like maize, soyabean and pulses. But the planting of these crops has been a problem with the farmers. The existing seed drills are very popular for sowing wheat but are unable to plant the crops where plant spacing has to be maintained.

To solve this problem, Dr I.K. Garg, Senior Research Engineer-cum-Head of the Department of Farm Power and Machinery, and his two colleagues, Mr Anup Dixit and Mr Baldev Dogra, has developed a simple planter for precision in sowing of crops like maize, groundnut, cotton, bran, peas, etc. The machine is operated by tractor. The number of rows and row spacing can also be changed.

Also, plant spacing for different crops can be changed by changing the planting plates, which have been developed for different crops. The machine can cover about seven to eight acres per day. According to Dr Garg, the development of this machine will help to solve the problem of planting of bold grains. Efforts are also being made to further modify this machine so that this single machine is able to sow any crop, including wheat. The approximate cost of this machine is Rs 10,000. Liaison is being made with the industry for commercial manufacturing of this machine.Back


NCP criticises Tohra, AISSF
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 24 — The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has taken strong exception to the remarks of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and the All-India Sikh Students Federation, Mr Harminder Singh Gill, describing migrant workers as ''second-class citizens'' and trying to create hatred among the local people against migrant population.

In a statement, the convener of the SC/BC wing of the party, Mr J.K.Valmiki, has said that the SHSAD and AISSF leaders must understand that migrant workers from Bihar and UP have equal rights of citizenship all over the country and cannot be discriminated against. "If they were denied the rights of vote and ration card in Punjab, people in other states can also demand similar treatment to Punjabis settled in those states," he observed.

He asked the akali dal and AISSF activists to desist from making such irresponsible statements which could adversely affect the harmony among people of different castes, communities and regions.



Truck carrying coal overturns
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 24 — Traffic was disrupted on the Ferozepore road here today as a truck loaded with coal hit bifurcators and over turned, blocking three of the four lanes of the busy road.

The driver of the truck, Babli, and a few others travelling in it had a providential escape as they did not receive any serious injury.

The Moga-bound truck No (PB-29-A-8888) was coming from Bihar. The accident took place at about 3.00 a.m. According to the driver, the accident occurred when his view got blurred because of the red coloured bifurcator and the truck smashed in to it. The coal lay all over the road as well as on the control verge. The truck had not been removed till the filing of this report. Back


Light drizzle
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 24 — The city had another fine day today following a light drizzle in the morning lasting 



Jagrata organisers disrupt traffic
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 24 — Traffic on one of the two lanes of the G.T. Road, opposite Chand Cinema, remains blocked since last morning because of a jagrata organised by a private outfit comprising residents of Chhawni Mohalla.

A spokesman of the organisation told TNS today that the tents and shamianas put on the lane would be removed tomorrow morning after the conclusion of the night-long programme of singing hymns in praise of Mata Jagdambey and other goddesses.

The jagrata, an annual affair, is the sixth being organised by the organisation, it is learnt.


Murder case registered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June, 24 — The police has registered a case of murder against some unknown persons for strangulating a 28-year-old businessman, Tirath Ram, to death. A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered in this regard.

The body of the man was found in factory yesterday morning under mysterious circumstances. He had stayed back in the factory on the night of June 22 instead of going back home to Jagraon, as he had to start a shift early on the morning of June 23.

Though the police had initially suspected this to be a case of suicide as no prima-facie evidence to suggest murder was available, the post-mortem report of the deceased late last evening showed the cause of death as strangulation.

The case has been registered on the statement of the brother of the deceased, Subhash Garg.

Cheating cases: The police registered two cases of cheating, fraud and breach of trust against two travel agents during the past 24 hours.

In a case registered at the police station division no. 1 under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC, Harmanpreet Kaur has alleged that in response to an advertisement by the accused A.L. Gulati and Swaran Singh, partners of M/s Global Travel Agency, for sending people abroad, she had deposited Rs. 1,45,000 along with three passports for going to America. She alleged that three persons were neither sent to America nor was the money returned.

In another FIR registered under Sections 420, 406 and 506 of the IPC against Subhjinder Singh Laddi and Gurbax Singh Bakshi of Kapurthala, Jagdeep Singh, a resident of village Baddowal has alleged that the accused defrauded them of Rs. 4,50,000 on the pretext of sending him to Germany.



Disparity in sales tax hits tea trade
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 24 — The tea trade in Punjab has been hit by the disparity in application of uniform central sales tax by the neighbouring states, particularly Delhi. In Punjab, after the adoption of a uniform CST policy, the sales tax on tea was fixed at 8.8 per cent. However, in Delhi it continues to be 4 per cent only, hitting trade in Punjab.

Punjab is one of the biggest trade centres of tea in the northern region, with major markets at Bathinda, Rampura Phul, Amritsar, Dhuri and Ludhiana. The traders feel that the low sales tax on tea in Delhi has been hitting their trade hard as the purchases are made directly from Delhi.

According to Mr Rajesh Kumar, General Secretary of the Tea Association, Ludhiana, tea trade has never found favour with the government. First, the Beant Singh government raised the sales tax on tea from 3.3 to 8.8 per cent. However, it was reduced to its original level after sustained pressure. But after the adoption of a uniform CST policy, the Punjab Government necessarily had to apply uniform CST rate of 8.8 per cent. However, the Delhi Government has reportedly not implemented the CST rules and the sales tax on tea there continues to be 4 per cent.

The tea traders have been arguing for slashing the sales tax rates of tea to 4 per cent. They pointed out that tea was being consumed by the common man. It should not be taxed so much. In comparison, they said, the CST rates for dry fruits had been fixed at 4 per cent only, which was not consumed as much by the common man.

A leading tea trader and President of the Beopar Mandal Mr Rajinder Kumar said that the state government was also losing on account of the disparity in uniform application of the CST.He pointed out that a huge quantity of tea was directly purchased from Delhi as it was relatively cheaper to do so.

The tea traders are hopeful that the government may either enforce the uniform application of sales tax rules by all the states or at least bring down it to the level of 4 per cent. The tea traders also want the government to set the minimum tax rate. Mr Rajindra Kumar pointed out that one of the important points at the time of introducing uniform CST was that the tax level should be the minimum.

The Taxation Department is reported to have submitted a proposal to the government seeking to bring down the tax rate to 4 per cent. The notification is likely to be issued very soon. Back


Cooperatives to sell agro-chemical
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 24 — The state government has recently introduced a new policy for procurement and distribution of agro-chemicals through cooperatives in order to capture the benefit of liberalised open market in agro-chemicals for the farmers in the state. It will be done with the association of the Apex Cooperative Marketing Federation and through the active involvement of primary and central cooperative societies.

It is learnt that the Registrar, Co-operative Societies Punjab, had recently mooted a proposal in this regard and a state-level committee was constituted by the Punjab Cooperatives Minister, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, on April 29, to supervise and monitor procurement and distribution of agro-chemicals through cooperative in the state.

This committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the Financial Commissioner (cooperation) at a meeting of the committee, on May 3. It was decided during the meeting that agro-chemicals manufactured by Markfed be sold through the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) along with one or two popular brands of other major manufacturers to provide wider choice to farmers in coping with their demand.

In view of this decision, it was decided that the following agro-chemicals - machetiI (butachlor manufactured by M/s Agro Evo); rifit (pretilachlor manufactured by M/s Modern Pesticides Supply), Marknil (Anilophos manufactured by Markfed) and Markchlor (Butachlor manufactured by Markfed) will be supplied through the PACS.

This decision is aimed at helping the farmers of the state in a big way as they will now be assured of pure, concentrated agro-chemicals at a subsidised rate and those recommended by the agricultural experts. It will also help in checking the spurious and adulterated agro-chemicals.

It is also anticipated that this policy would liberalise cooperative marketing in agro-chemicals and provide autonomy in marketing of agro-chemicals through primary and central cooperative societies at the local level.

The prices of the agro-chemicals marketed through the PACS will also be 10 per cent less than in the open market.

It may also be noted that cooperatives at all levels have succeeded in timely provision of agricultural inputs, these had till date been limited to fertilisers and credit. Markfed was also providing agro-chemicals but to a limited extent and from its own production units. According to information, the average annual consumption of agro-chemicals in the state is 23,213 metric ton with a total value of Rs 408 crore. Out of this, Markfed’s annual supplies were estimated between 1500-1800 mts, which is less than 10 per cent of the total demand. Thus more than 90 per cent of agro-chemicals in Punjab are selling through private dealers and farmers run a high risk of adulterated and poor quality of agro- chemicals sold by them.

Interestingly, this policy also outlays that agro-chemicals be sold on a consignment basis and unsold stocks of indented qualities with the PACS will be lifted back by the supplier. Back


PSEB goes in for Socomec meters
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 24 — The Punjab State Electricity Board is going in for electronic tamper-proof meters in order to minimise power theft in the state.

Mr K.L. Malik, Director, Marketing, HPL India Limited, revealed at a press conference here today that the board had placed an order for 10,000 electronic meters with the company which had been manufactured by the HPL-Socomec joint venture. Socomec is a leading electronics company of France. These meters carry a five-year guarantee.

Mr Lalit Seth, Managing Director, HPL Group, told that 500 meters had already been delivered to the PSEB at Amritsar.

The company has already been supplying these metres to the Rajsthan Electricity Board for the past one year and has orders worth Rs 1.75 crore from the Ahmedabad Electricity Board.

Mr Malik also demonstrated the latest state of the are energy monitoring/management system under the brand name of DIRIS which is ideal for hospitals, hotels, factories and colonies.

Mr Malik told that HPL was already running two factories each at Noida and Gurgaon. Another factory at Gurgaon was on the anvil.

HPL is already exporting to Sri Lanka, West Asia and the Far East.

The HPL group also manufactures Power Ten 10 KA miniature circuit breakers, distribution systems, switches, fuse switches, electric rotary switches, industrial plugs and sockets and HRC fuse links.





Week ends on bullish note

The week ending 23.6.2000 closed with a bullish mood in the market. It opened bearish with LSE index opening at 144.37 against Saturday’s closing index of 141.75. Overall during the week, dullness prevailed in the market along with donward closing direction at the end of each trading session and ultimately closed on Friday, the last day of settlement, at 142.24.

Recently, both NSE and BSE introduced derivative trading in the BSE and NSE index futures. In India, derivative trading has been allowed for the first time. SEBI treading a conscious path has allowed only the index-based future trading. The future trading has been introduced with the maturity period of one month, two months and three months. All future trades in the index, if not squared during the period, shall be squared on the last Friday of the period of future trade at the prevailing value of the index.

The BSE has allowed index futures on the 30 share BSE sensex and NSE has allowed index futures on the S&P CNX NIFTY FIFTY. In the index future, the sensex is traded instead of individual scrips. In BSE, the minimum value of transaction allowed is the value of sensex in the derivative segment multiplied by 50, whereas in the NSE, the minimum value of transaction allowed is the value of NIFTY FIFTY in the derivative segment multiplied by 200. Index-based future trading is an excellent mode of hedging against future loss. The move is likely to be extensively used by mutual funds and foreign institutional investors. So far, index trading at the BSE and the NSE is attracting low volumes. But once firmly established in the Indian Capital Market, the future index trading is expected to lend depth, stability and liquidity in the market. However, till that time, the investors are advised to refrain from index-based future trading.

Recently, the market was abuzz with the news that JCT Limited is in the final stages of negotiation with Reliance to sell its synthetic fibre division at Hoshiarpur in Punjab. There were reports that talks have been on for almost eight to nine months and are likely to be concluded in a couple of months. However, on the Reliance’s part, the company stated that it was not its policy to comment on speculation. JCT Limited has witnessed sudden spurts in its volumes as well as price on the basis of rumours. There is no denying the fact that the company is on the look out for suitable buyer for its synthetic fibres division. Last year, Polysindo offered to a pay Rs 245 crore for the plant. However, the deal fell through because of the objections from the creditors and financial institutions. The company has clarified that it is looking at various options in consultation with financial institutions/banks for restricting of its business activities/financial liabilities with a view to reduce the debt burden. Obviously, the Company has been continuously incurring losses for the past two years. Net loss for the 18 months ended 30th September was Rs 108 crore. It seems that the only way to come out of the mess that the company has created by incurring continuous losses is to sell off its fibre unit, the cash realised from which could be used to partly pay off the creditors and could be partly used for meeting working capital requirements. The scrip at the BSE closed at Rs 5.35 on Friday, 23.6.2000. The counter is not expected to attract price appreciation unless some confirmed news of sell-off hits the market. Investors are advised to watch the price movement carefully and book the profits when the price of the scrip firms up.

Henkel Spic India Limited is aggressively positioning itself in the high-growth FMCG Sector. The company is controlled by Henkel KGaA of Germany, the multinational giant in the FMGC Sector. The company has adopted an aggressive strategy of merger and acquisition for its growth. Recently, the Company acquired Calcutta Chemical Company Limited and Detergents India Limited. Thus, the Company has been able to acquire some famous brands such as Margo, Chek, Neem etc. These brands are highly recognised in the southern market. The company has also introduced Fa range of talcum, soap and deos. Fa is a recognised brand and is sold at a premium in the grey market. The company has also many other strong brands in its stable like Mr White, Limeshot, Brisk and Pril. The Company incurred a loss of Rs 5.86 crore for the year ended March 31, 2000. The scrip witnessed a high of Rs 130 before its rights issue during 1999. The scrip closed at Rs 51.75 on Friday, 23.06.2000. There is a recommendation of “buy” in the scrip.

Monsoon has already arrived. The consumer demand is likely to pick up once the cash is realised by the harvesting of crops. However, rising rate of inflation continued to be the cause of concern. Market is expected to be stable in this week.Back



Pact on power tariff hike disowned
From A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

 LUDHIANA, June 24 — The Industry and Trade Forum, Punjab, has disowned the agreement reportedly reached between the PSEB and the state government one the an hand and the representatives of the trade and industry on the other for a hike in the power tariff in the state and has warned of a statewide agitation.

The agreement was reportedly reached at a meeting held at Chandigarh on June 19. This has upset the representatives of the trade and industry here who continue to oppose the move.

The reported decision has sent shockwaves in industry and trade of the State, according to Mr Balwant Rai, President, Northern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Jaswant Singh Birdi, General Secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association and Mr Harish Khanna, President, Small Scale Manufacturers Association. In a talk with TNS here today, they said, there was a lot of resentment in industrial and trade circles of Punjab over the proposed hike in power tariff.

Intriguingly, they said, not all the seven members of the industrial panel nominated by the state government were called at a meeting held on the night of June 19 at Chandigarh. Barely four members of the industrial panel Mr S.P. Oswal, Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, Mr Inder Mohan Singh Grewal and Mr Amarjit Goyal were present in this late night meeting with the state government and the board officials and they were stated to have subscribed to the above proposed hike.

“Industry and Trade of Punjab disowns any such agreement arrived at by the board and the state government with the above four representatives of the industrial panel. If any hike in power tariff in the case of SP and medium power supply (up to 100KW) is implemented by the board, industry and trade of Punjab will resort to a statewide agitation and will also start satyagrah andolan”.

“Trade and industry also decries the action of above four gentleman who have not done good by agreeing to the proposed hike in power tariff by sacrificing the interests of industry and trade of the state and without taking the other members of the industrial panel and above all the trade and industry into confidence. Any such agreement will mean a virtual sellout of the cause of industry and trade of the state.”

They pointed out that in the beginning of the current controversy raging over power tariff hike, the Chairman of the Board had stated that the cost of electricity per unit came to Rs 3.55 per unit. However, when the figure was disputed by trade and industry, the state government convened a meeting of representatives of trade and industry and formed an industrial panel on power tariff. It was only when the industrial panel demanded data on the basis of which it had worked out the cost of Rs 3.55 per unit, that the board came out with the revised figure of Rs 2.58 per unit (delivered cost). Against this, on an average, industry was paying Rs 2.83 per unit to the board which made it abundantly clear that the industry was giving huge profit to the board. The loss of Rs 1800 crores per annum that the board was stated to be incurring was, by and large, attributed to free electricity to agriculture sector, unmetered supply of 8200 million units per year, 31% transmission/distribution losses, power theft and over-staffing of the board (board is currently over-staffed by about 30,000 employees).


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