Sunday, September 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Doctor accused of removing kidney
It was done with consent, says surgeon
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Mystery shrouds the removal of a kidney of a handicapped man, whose relatives suspect foul play. On the other hand the surgeon, Dr Satish Arora, has been maintaining that the kidney was removed after due consent of relatives as it was damaged due to acute infection.

According to the relatives of Major Ram, a resident of Kang Arian village, near Phillaur, he was suffering from some kidney problem. He was reportedly operated for removal of stones. However, after sometime he again developed some problem. He went to Dr Arora in Phillaur where another operation was performed on him. He remained in the hospital for about 20 days.

The relatives allege that their thumb impressions were taken on some papers before the operation. The hospital reportedly charged Rs 50,000 for the operation. But within a few days Pappu again felt pain in his kidney. He was again taken to the same hospital, which reportedly demanded Rs 2,000 for further treatment.

Since the family could not afford this amount, Pappu's sister took him to another doctor in Nawanshahr, where doctors advised a scan. It was found that one of the kidneys of Pappu had already been removed. The relatives claimed ignorance, saying that the doctor in the hospital never told them that Pappu's kidney was being removed. The doctors in Nawanshahr referred him to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Unable to bear the cost, they took him back to their village and informed the Sarpanch about the issue. The Sarpanch asked them to approach the police. In the meanwhile Dr Arora reportedly came to them and offered Rs 50,000, alleges his family.

The relatives are charging the doctor of removing the kidney without their knowledge. However, the doctor has been maintaining that Pappu was suffering from acute infection in the kidney and it had to be removed after due consultations with the relatives. According to him, the samples have been sent to a pathological laboratory in Mumbai for biopsy tests.

Dr Arora has been maintaining that he had taken into confidence his relatives and explained it to them. Only after they had agreed, he went ahead with the removal of the damaged kidney. And he also took their consent in writing.


CM demands international airport at Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — The Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh may soon call on the Prime Minister to press for the construction of an international airport at Chandigarh.

This was stated here today by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at a function to lay the foundation stone of a new unit of Hero Cycles Limited at Industrial Focal Point at Mangli on the Chandigarh road. The Chief Minister said Punjab was among the few states in the country which are considered attractive investment destinations, as brought out by a survey conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He was keen that Punjab should become the most sought after destination in the country in the years to come.

However, there were certain infrastructural bottlenecks which needed to be removed, the Chief Minister said. One of the major hurdles was the absence of an international airport at Chandigarh. While Punjab was able to prevail upon the Centre to set up an international airport at Amritsar, a similar project had eluded Chandigarh. It was in this connection that he wanted the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh too to join hands with him to press the Centre to construct an international airport at Chandigarh.

He said if the Centre lacked funds for setting up an international airport at Chandigarh, the task should be handed over to the private sector. Construction of an international airport at Chandigarh would help the entire region to make rapid progress, he added.

The Chief Minister complimented the Hero group of industries which began as a small unit producing a few hundred bicycles four decades ago and had now developed into a giant industrial group with a combined turnover exceeding Rs 4,500 crore. He was happy to note that the group was now diversifying into the IT sector also. He said the group should set up an IT unit in Punjab also in addition to the one proposed at Gurgaon in Haryana. The government would be willing to give them land at Mohali or at any other place of their choice, he said.

Mr B.M. Munjal assured the Chief Minister that the group would set up one IT unit in Punjab.

The Chief Minister said agriculture in Punjab had reached the saturation point and could not develop further. Therefore, Punjab would have to opt for increased industrialisation. In this connection,he wanted the bureaucracy in the state to change its mindset and exhibit a sense of commitment.

Earlier, the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said that in view of the new WTO regime, the industry would have to gear up to face competition. A free market economy would require a change in the attitude of the bureaucracy. The Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, the Minister of State for Industries, Prof Jagir Singh, the Chairman of the Vardhman group of industries, Mr S.P. Oswal, and several other industrialists also attended the function.


Hotel raided; 18 held for gambling
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — CIA staff raided the premises of a hotel owned by a prominent political leader last night and arrested 18 persons for gambling.

According to the information available, the said hotel near the general bus stand is alleged to be a major gambling and prostitution den. It is learnt that the police had received reliable information about the goings-on in the hotel and so a raid was conducted around 12 at midnight.

Those arrested by the police are Sanjiv Kumar, Sushil, Sanjeev, Jagjit Singh, Rajinder Kumar, Vinod Verma, Sukhdev Singh, Om Prakash, Surinder Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Sanjiv Chaddha, Rajesh Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Mahesh Kumar, Rajinder Kumar, Rakesh Sharma, Shyam Lal and Hiralal. All the arrested persons have been booked under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act. A sum of Rs 2,02,300 was also recovered from the gamblers.

It is also learnt from reliable sources that around three prostitutes and a few others were also rounded up by the police from the hotel, but were later let off.


Habib Tanvir and his chor in city
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — “TV is a terrible medium at the moment. TV is ruining our culture, when it should instead be used to harness our culture,” said Habib Tanvir, a well-known theatre personality of the country, who is in the city these days to stage the play ‘Charandas Chor’ under Virasat Punjab-2000 being organised by Spicmacay.

Talking exclusively to Ludhiana Tribune, he said, “The policies of our government, on globalisation, on liberalisation are increasing the chasm between the rich and the poor. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Culture can only prosper if there is economic stability.”

“What’s to be done? Isn’t it very difficult to change the system?”

“No,” he said, “I know some young, thinking people who are coming into politics. These people will bring different kinds of developments. I hope they will turn the balance in favour of the minority, who want true culture and balance in life.”

Smoking a cigar, looking an artist to the very tip, Habib Tanvir was trying to rehearse with an understudy as the main actor had taken ill due to food poisoning. Last minute directions were being given.

Sitting and watching the whole proceedings was Monika Misra Tanvir, his wife of 40 years who has stood by him though thick and thin. Their inter-religion marriage did create a furore, but finally everything settled down.

Monika, herself, has done MA in theatre from the USA. She did not find any outlet in Delhi, so she moved to Mumbai to work under Ibhrahim Alkazi. She returned to Delhi and started her own theatre. She met Habib in Delhi and they started a theatre school together.

Govindram and Mohanlal were the original two artists from Chattisgarh, the most culturally rich district of Madhya Pradesh. Govindram is playing the role of the ‘chor’ in the play whereas Mohan Lal has retired from theatre.

“Mr Tanvir, and his drama group,” the wife said proudly, “is the only group where the artists have lived with the director whether in a barsati, or in a flat of member of Parliament. Tanvir was elected an MP and this helped us a lot because the artists were always there. It was difficult to train the illiterate rustic people. We did it.”

His other famous play, ‘Jine Lahore Na Wekheya Jamiya Nahi’ in Punjabi, is in great demand. But they will bring it next time to Punjab.

Habib Tanvir was also the one to introduce the now internationally famous folk singer, Teejan Bai, hailing from a village in Chattisgarh, to the Delhi audience.

Charandas Chor, the play to be staged, today was awarded the first prize in a ‘drama competition’ organised in London. Monika was seen stitching buttons on the shirt of an artist and was helping in other aspects of play too.

Habib Tanvir said, “I staged 30 shows of a play based on leprosy. Finally, we showed it on TV. I have directed five to six plays for the children. I think now it is time to take our bow.”

Nagina, their only daughter, sings beautifully but is not prepared to don her parents’ mantle.


Shiv Sainiks burn Pak flag
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Workers of the Shiv Sena, led by national president of the party Jagdish Tangri took out a protest march from Gur Mandi to various commercial centres of the old city to protest against overt and covert support to the militant groups by Pakistan, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Sena activists, carrying placards and raising slogans against the military ruler of Pakistan, passed through Saban Bazar, Rupa Mistry Street, Jain Sthanak, Shivala Road, Chowk Division No. 3, Chauri Sarak and the march concluded outside Gur Mandi, where a rally was held and the protesters burnt the Pakistan’s flag.

Mr Tangri said the NDA government led by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, was pursuing a soft police towards terrorism. As a result, the anti-national and disruptionist elements were having a field day. He pleaded for firm handling of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to curb the activities of the militants.


STD lines remain cut off
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Several local and out-station telephone lines in the city remained faulty for the second day today causing inconvenience and harassment to the public.

One had to try hard before getting through to other cities, especially Chandigarh and most of the times the lines could not be connected. At the local level telephone numbers starting from 44, 45 and 74, 75 numbers were the most erratic.

The exact cause of faulty lines could not be ascertained .A number of PCO owners commenting on the problem said the fault was prevalent since yesterday morning . They said their business has been severely hit by the damaged lines as the lines were not getting connected.

They said the number was not being properly dialed and was cut mid-way.


Punjab has 18 kg fodder per animal
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Inaugurating the feed fodder officers workshop at Punjab Agricultural University here yesterday Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, said that India had a total livestock population of 46 crore whereas the country could afford to support only 5 crore keeping in view the availability of fodder and other resources. Thus primary attention needed to be given by the government and policy planners to the serious problem of unproductive animals. Elaborating his point Dr. Aulakh said Punjab with a mere 2 per cent livestock population of the country is producing 10 per cent milk.

Dr. Aulakh called for more emphasis to the development of animal husbandry as it has been constantly contributing 8 to 9 per cent to the national gross domestic product whereas the share of agriculture has come down from 50 to 29 per cent. Dr Aulakh said animals were useful not only for milk and meat but are a great source of plant nutrients. Besides the proper use of animal dung could also help in checking soil and air pollution. “The animals in Punjab are producing 90,000 tonnes of dung every day which can produce four lakh cubic meters of bio-gas. The technology of biogas plants has already been standardised by the PAU,” said Dr Aulakh.

Dr Balwant Singh Chatha, Joint Director Fodder, Department of Animal Husbandry, Punjab, said at present only 18 kg of fodder per animal was available in Punjab. For getting the optimum milk production this needed to be increased 30 to 35 kg. He further said that this was possible through wide spread adoption of available technologies like silage making, urea treatment of fodders, cultivation of multi cut fodders and production of good quality seeds of fodders.

Dr M.S. Tiwana, Additional Director, Research, PAU, presented the salient research high lights of PAU in production and preservation of fodders. He said the PAU was likely to bring out a new berseem variety BL-42 which would not only be high yielding but would also solve the problem of seed production of this crop. Dr Tiwana also suggested the cutting of fodders like maize, sorghum and bajra at optimum stages through staggered growing, otherwise their quality will decrease due to loss in dry matter.

Dr J.S.Kolar, Director of Extension Education, proposed a vote of thanks and suggested the setting up of seed production villages where university specialists and field workers of the department will help the farmers to produce good quality fodder seed under their technical guidance. Suitable arrangements should be made for the marketing of such seeds by the government.


Cops save woman from drowning
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2— The alertness and timely intervention by five policemen posted at the canal near Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar saved the life of a woman last evening.

The four policemen headed by Head Constable Ashok Kumar posted at the Raghunath police post, were on duty when they saw an old woman falling into the canal. All four immediately jumped into the canal and saved the woman from drowning.

They gave her first aid and later, after finding out about her address, took her home. It may be noted that this is for the second time that Head Constable Ashok Kumar has shown such bravery. Earlier in 1994, he had saved three persons who had fallen in the canal after their car had been hit by another vehicle. 


SAD (A) gears up for bypoll
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — The SAD (Amritsar) has convened a meeting of the party in Sunam on September 3 to discuss the poll strategy for the coming byelection for the Sunam Assembly constituency.

According to the party vice-president, Mr Dhian Singh Mand, a former MP, all office- bearers, members of the working committee, advisory committee, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, district jathedars and party candidates in the last Assembly and SGPC elections, youth wing office-bearers and party members would attend the meeting.

Mr Mand said in a statement here today that the party machinery would be geared up to mobilise public opinion against the anti-people and anti-Punjab policies of the Congress and the SAD(B)-BJP governments. The party workers would also be directed to expose the misdeeds, injustice and acts of repression committed by the government against the masses. He said the party would finalise its election programme in consultation with electorate of the area.

The national president of the party youth wing, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, has hailed the decision of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD(A) for nominating Prof Sukhjinder Singh as party candidate for the byelection. He said the youth wing would strive hard to ensure the success of the party nominee.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has decided to contest the byelection on its own party symbol and has announced Dr R.K.Lomesh of Bhawanigarh as probable party candidate. A meeting of the state executive of the party held under the presidentship of Mr Swarn Singh urged the party high command to utilise the byelection for consolidating the organisational base in Punjab. Among others, the meeting was attended by the state vice-president, Mr Rajinder Singh Sahota, the general secretary, Mr Swarn Sandhir, the youth wing president, Mr Karam Singh, and district level office-bearers.


Telecom officials hold rally
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Officials of the Telecom Department staged a dharna and organised a rally in front of the DoT headquarters here in support of their demands. The call for protest had been given by the Telecom Engineering Officers Association.

At the rally, The All-India Vice-President of the association, Mr Inderjit Singh, and the District Secretary of the body, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, said the government should not privatise the telecom sector without accepting the conditions proposed by the association.

The officials are demanding that the proposed corporation should be made financially viable, besides allowing officials to retain the present status and pay scale till retirement or resignation. They also want payment of their pensions from the consolidated fund of the government as per the rules of the Central Government. 


Minister denies move on free power
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — The Finance Minister of Punjab, Kanwaljit Singh today launched a frontal attack on the state Congress leadership accusing it of resorting to false propaganda against Badal government on order to cover up its own internal differences and lack of any cohesive policy and programme.

Talking to mediapersons here, the minister, who is also secretary-general of the Shiromani Akali Dal (B), referred to the oft-repeated claim of Punjab PCC chief Amarinder Singh that mid-term poll in Punjab was round the corner because the Badal government has given a commitment to the World Bank to withdraw the free power and water supply to the farm sector before the presentation of the next budget in March.

“This is absolutely wrong and baseless”, he said. “We have given no such commitment to the World Bank. Nor is there any proposal”.

The minister also denied that there was any pressure from the BJP to withdraw the free power supply to the farm sector.

As regards Punjab’s financial situation, he said it was improving steadily.

The sales tax collection, which was Rs 1400 crore two years ago, rose to Rs 2100 crore last year and was expected to cross Rs 3000 crore this year.

He said the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD would meet at Chandigarh on September 4 to decide about the party candidate for the Sunam byelection.


Body speaks for those who understand 
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Everyday, we convey a lot of things without uttering a word. When we fold our hands, it conveys greetings. When a sportsman wins, he jumps to show his joy. When beauty queens are crowned, their eyes open wide with wonder. Actors can bare their soul before the audience through mime. We often realise that, at times, language is redundant. Body language can express a lot.

Ritu entered the office and one look at her boss told her that he was in a bad mood. She told the others about it. Everyone talked in whispers and were tense. Suddenly, they heard sound of laughter from the room of the boss and everyone became cheerful again.

During interviews, a mere glance at the candidate is enough to tell the panelists what kind of a person he or she is. If a person is wiping his face continuously, it shows that he or she is nervous. Some candidates sit with their arms folded tightly, which shows that they are not open to any suggestion. Such persons are aggressive.

Even small children can understand body language. They understand that their mother is angry when she gives them a stern look. An officer, known for his ferocious temper, may get frightened if his wife raises her eyebrow.

Sign language is of great use, especially when guests are around. Ms Kusum Tuli, a housewife, says, “Whenever I have guests, I tell my children through sign language what is to be served. If the guest is a person of no importance, I show my hand to the children.

It means that only cold water should be served. If I raise my little finger, it tells them that only half a glass of the drink is to be served. My index finger would indicate that the guest would like to have a full bottle of the soft drink.”

Eye contact also conveys a lot. If during a speech, the speaker sees the audience looking elsewhere and not at him, he understands that they are not interested in the talk.

“If the smile is broad, it cheers up the other person. If the smile does not reach the eyes and is limited to the lips, it means the person is not sincere in his appreciation. A reluctant smile lacks warmth,” says Mr A. S. Paliwal.

“I can judge persons by their gestures. I can make out by the way they carry themselves whether they are confident, successful or failures. If one observes, one can know a lot about a person at a glance,” says Ms S. Dhaliwal, who has been teaching psychology in a college for many years now.

Be careful about how you carry yourself because your body language is being observed.


‘Initiate dialogue on noise pollution policy’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the Punjab Government to initiate a a wider dialogue with all sections of society before evolving a definite policy to deal with the increasing problem of noise pollution.

In a statement issued here yesterday, Mr P.D. Sharma, President of the chamber and a former senior general manager of the District Industries Centre, noted that the industry was being increasingly blamed for noise pollution despite the industry being cautious on this issue. In this connection, he noted that the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, recently issued a notification to check noise pollution from various sources. Different standards of noise had been specified in industrial, commercial and residential areas and silence zones.

He said noise standards were essential to regulate and control noise producing sources. The air quality standards in respect of noise had been fixed in industrial area, 75 db (A), commercial area,65db (A), residential area 55 db (A) and silence zone 50 db (A) during daytime. During the night, these were 70, 55, 45 and 40 db (A), respectively. Loudspeakers could not be used without the permission of the authorities, according to the guidelines.

Any person, according to the notification, can file a complaint with the competent authority if the noise level exceeds the prescribed norms by 10db (A) or more. In Ludhiana and other big towns of Punjab, noise pollution was rising so sharply that many persons were facing serious health hazards. Trucks and buses used pressure horns of high intensity in crowded areas with impunity. Religious places generally used loudspeakers at a very high pitch . Many heart patients had suffered at their hands. Youngsters played music at public places to deafening levels.

According to Mr Sharma, no specific authority had been designated for checking pollution. The Pollution Control Board could not undertake this extensive exercise.He urged the Punjab Government to have wider dialogue with all sections of society about the methodology to check noise pollution, before implementing the guidelines of this notification.


Badal to inaugurate kisan mela on Sept 21
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, will inaugurate the kisan mela being held at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana on September 21 and 22.

Dr J.S. Kolar, Director, Extension Education, said Mr C.L. Bains, Financial Commissioner, Development, will inaugurate the Ballowal Saunkhri kisan mela on September 8.

Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, will inaugurate the kisan mela at Rauni (Patiala) on September 14. The kisan mela at Bathinda and Gurdaspur will be held on September 26 and September 29, 2000, respectively.

Dr M.S. Bajwa, Director, Research, said special emphasis will be laid on demonstrating the new technologies which require precision in their use so as to enable the farmers to maximise their profits by decreasing cost of production and improving the quality of their farm produce.


SBI dedicates month to Hindi
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — The State Bank of India is celebrating Rajbhasha Maas in September to promote the use of Hindi. On September 14, 1949, the Government of India had decided to adopt Hindi as the official language of the state. While the day is celebrated throughout the country as Hindi Divas, the SBI has decided to dedicate the entire month to the cause.

A function was organised in the Zonal Office of the bank here yesterday to announce this. Mr D.S. Bengali, Deputy General Manager of the bank, urged all staff members to give due importance to the progressive use of Hindi in official work.


YC leader booked on extortion charge
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — The police has registered a case of extortion against a former Youth Congress leader today on the comlpaint of Suresh Jeriwal. Jeriwal was one of the persons who were accused of kidnapping the leader, a case regarding which had been registered at the Focal Point police station on August 30.

According to the information available, the case against the YC leader, Rahul Dua, has been registered under Sections 452, 392, 367 and 368 of the IPC. Suresh Jeriwal alleged that he had taken a loan of Rs 1 lakh from the accused, who he said was a moneylender. He alleged that the accused charged exorbitant rates of interest and he had been made to pay about Rs 8 lakh as interest on the loan. He said the accused had also taken away his brother-in-law’s Indica car as part of the installment of the interest.

The complainant also alleged that on August 25, the accused had forcibly entered his house. He said the accused had also taken away his wife’s jewellery at gun point, besides making them sign blank stamp papers.


Man abducted, beaten up
From Our Correspondent

MACHHIWARA, Sept 2 — Charanjit Singh son of Teja Singh, of Billo Patti village, is alleged to have been abducted at 12 noon, August 30, when he left his place for a registry at the Samrala Courts.

According to the SHO, of Machhiwara, Mr Rajesh Hasteer, the five abductors were in a white jeep.

They forcibly threw Charanjit into the jeep and took him to Barma village where, after tying his arms, he was severely beaten with sticks. Hearing the cries of Charanjit, Jagir Singh, of Kakrala, called some other people of the village and they all rushed to the spot to rescue Charanjit.

The Machhiwara police has registered a case under sections 364,342,506,323,148, 149, IPC. One person has been arrested while the others are still at large. The police is investigating the case. 


Police clueless about blast in court
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Three weeks after a bomb blast rocked the District Sessions Court Complex in the city, the police is still groping in the dark about the persons or the agency behind the blast.

The blast had occurred in the chamber of the District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.S. Arora, in the night intervening August 12 and 13. Since the blast took place in the night, there was no casualty, but the court complex was considerably damaged.

As no militant outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the blast, the police has been working on various leads, but without success. According to one line of investigation, may have been intended to the blast intimidate Mr Arora as a terrorist’s case was pending in his court.

With Mr Arora denying that he had received any threat, the police has also now almost closed this line of investigation.

According to the police and intelligence sources, it is likely that the blast was the handiwork of some sympathisers of the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly because it coincided with the Hizbul Mujahideen’s offer of ceasefire. These sympathisers may have wanted to make their presence felt in the state.

These sources say the blast could have been easily triggered during working hours causing considerable loss of human lives.

Another possibility being considered is that it may be the handiwork of militants. The police says the Khalistan Zindabad Force, said to be active in the Gurdaspur belt, may be behind the blast, but no clinching evidence in this regard has come to light so far.

The DGP, Punjab, Mr Sarabjit Singh, has admitted that no headway has been made in the case. He said nothing could be said with certainty at this juncture.


4 held for police drivers’ murder
From Our Correspondent

KHAMANO, Sept 2 — The Khamano police has arrested four persons responsible for the murder of three truck drivers namely, Satpal Singh of tanker No. CH-01Y-8311, Swaran Singh and Balvir Singh both drivers of Truck No. PB-12 A-2497. They had been hacked to death at different places and their vehicles taken away by the alleged killers. The Khamano police on a tip off arrested four persons Charna Ram, Darshan Lal, Nikka Ram and Chhinder Ram, responsible for the killings who confessed their involvement in the crime. Cases of muder under Section 302/341/34 IPC were registered against the accused and they were sent to Central Jail at Patiala.


Imported timber replaces domestic product
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Next time you go for purchasing timber for your house, be prepared that you will only get imported one and not that from Assam or Madhya Pradesh as claimed by your trader. While extraction of timber from Assam forest was banned by the Supreme Court about two years ago, the traders here have reportedly been claiming to supply Assam teak only and charging for the same, despite the fact that they only supply the imported one, which is less costly.

Sources in the timber trade revealed that immediately after the SC order, the govenrment of India decided to import timber from African countries, besides Malaysia and Indonesia. Only teak is being imported from these countries. Several timber traders revealed that there was no guarantee of the wood, which made the customers in the beginning reluctant to use it. Since they had no option, ultimately they had to purchase it. Cashing in on the customers ignorance, some of the traders have been selling the imported timber in the name of Assam timber.

The Assam timber used to eel around Rs 1,000 per square foot. However, the imported timber was available at a lesser cost. It would sell between Rs 500 to Rs 700 per square foot.

According to Mr Ashok Gupta, spokesman of the Timber Dealers Association in the city, there are about 20 traders here and the annual turnout touches around Rs 100 crore. However, the trade had been hit badly due to non availability of Assam timber, he revealed.

He said millions of square feet timber was lying in godowns and railway stations in Assam, Delhi and also at Rajpura due to the wrong policy of the government. After the SC imposed a ban on extraction from forests, transportation was banned. Even the timber on the way was impounded and it had been wasted as it got damaged during three years after lying in open.

The timber traders have been cautioning against indiscriminate import of timber from foreign countries. They pointed out,besides having no guarantee about the quality and durability, it also leads to considerable loss of foreign exchange. They suggested that instead of imposing a blanket ban on timber extraction the government should have launched a massive campaign for afforestation. Besides, there should be no objection to cutting the dried out trees. Such trees were reportedly getting wasted as they too have a fixed lifespan.

Despite the introduction of plastic and iron furniture, the craze for wood still remains. However, the people have no guarantee of the quality and durability.


Higher taxes on furnace oil criticised 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 2 — Mr PD Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, has criticised the Punjab Government for imposing 22 per cent sales tax on furnace oil, the basic fuel for industry.

In an interview, Mr Sharma said the Central Government had banned the inter-state movement of furnace oil some three months back. Consequently, the industry was forced to pay sales tax as applicable in the state against the earlier rate of 4 per cent as central sales tax.

The Chief Minister had failed to fulfil his promise of reviewing the tax, despite a number of reminders by the industry representatives, said Mr Sharma.

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