Thursday, October 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Racket in sale of women unearthed
From Ruchika Mohindra and Iqbal Singh

KHANNA/ PAYAL, Oct 25 — The arrest of a couple from Jarkhar village, near Khanna, has unearthed a thriving racket in the sale of women from West Bengal to middle-aged men in this region.

The couple, Rajwinder Singh, alias Kamaljit Singh, and his Bengali wife, Manju, had been involved in this racket for the past four months. They had allegedly sold one 'bride' and were arranging the sale of another when they were arrested.

The couple was arrested by a police party led by ASI Gurbachan Singh of the Payal police station from their house in Jarkhar village on October 23. A young Bengal girl, Aruti, who had been sold by the couple to a farmer of Nusrale village was also recovered by the police. She has now been sent to Nari Niketan in Jalandhar.

The SSP, Khanna, Mr Rajendra Dhoke, said TNS that the case came to light when one of the customers, Maggar Singh, sent back his bride to them after two months. "Desperate at getting back the girl from her 'husband' and with Maggar Singh demanding return of his money, they were looking for another 'husband' for Aruti," he said.

It is learnt that the accused, Rajwinder Singh, a 32-year-old marginal farmer, had himself bought his bride for Rs 10,000 from West Bengal. Speaking to TNS after his arrest at the Payal police station here today, he said his family owned a small piece of land and, therefore, his brothers and their wives tried to stall his marriage. "In the absence of a good matrimonial alliance here, I arranged a Bengali bride for Rs 10,000," he confessed.

He said one of his nieces, Kamlo of Seelon village, introduced him to a Bengali woman, Beeja, who was working in a brick-kiln there. Beeja, reportedly a victim of this racket, allegedly asked him to pay Rs 10,000 and the expenses for bringing a bride for him from West Bengal.

"She said her sister in her village in West Bengal was young and would be willing to marry me, if I could arrange the money. I agreed to the proposal and Beeja left for her along with her husband and brought Manju, alias Ashtmi, and we got married in January this year," he says.

In July the accused were approached by Maggar Singh of Nusrale and he asked them to arrange for a bride for him. A deal was struck for Rs 15,000 and the couple went to West Bengal and brought Manju's cousin, Aruti, on August 2. She was married to Maggar Singh on August 13. It is learnt that the couple made Rs 6,000 on the deal.

The other accused, Manju, told TNS that they were not involved in the racket, but were only taking money from the families of the girls for the expenses incurred in bringing them here and for arranging their marriages.

It is alleged that Manju wrote to her relatives in West Bengal and asked them to get their daughters married here, a more prosperous state. The police has also recovered a letter received by Manju from a relative in Bengal in which the parents had agreed to send their daughter here.

It is also learnt that this girl was to he sold as a 'bride' to a resident of Dive Khuse village. This person had been introduced to the couple by Nachittar Singh of Jarkhar and a deal had been struck for Rs 10,000. The customer had paid Rs 1,000 as advance money and the remaining sum was to be paid after the bride was selected and finalised by the customer.

The police has registered a case under Sections 368 and 470 of the IPC. The accused couple is currently in police remand till October 26. 


Family “beaten up, robbed by police”
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Oct 25 — Mr Manmohan Singh, a resident of Bassi Pathana, in a complaint to the SSP has alleged that last night at about 1.30 am seven to eight persons allegedly in police commando uniforms entered his house and beat up his wife and daughter and took away jewellery they were wearing. He alleged that the police had not yet written any FIR in this connection.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Manmohan Singh said last night they entered his farmhouse after climbing the boundary wall. They knocked at the door and said that they were commando of the Ropar police and two culprits had entered their house and they were chasing them. They also cautioned that the culprits might harm them. He said apprehending threat to life, his wife opened the door and they urged her to call him too.

He said he came out and they directed him to accompany them to identify the alleged culprit who was standing outside. He said he got suspicious and tried to run inside the room, but one of them gave him a blow with a lathi, he managed to climb on the roof and cried for help. In the meantime they fled the house. He said at that time there was power failure in the area. When he came down, he saw his wife and daughter were injured and the jewellery they were wearing was missing. He reported the matter to the police early in the morning, the SHO and the DSP Bassi Pathana also visited the site, but no FIR had yet been registered.

Inspite of the best efforts none of the police official was available for comments.


IMA House dispute ends
Tribune New Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — The long-drawn battle over the possession of the Indian Medical Association building has finally been resolved with the building having been handed over to the IMA on October 16. The building was so far being used as a marriage palace.

It will be for the first time that IMA will celebrate Divali in the IMA building. The building was handed over to the new president of IMA Ludhiana on October 16. The old life members of the IMA house which included Dr Romesh Gupta, expressed their happiness over the enthusiasm of the new team. He also thanked the old members like Dr R.P. Sharma and Dr O.P. Aggarwal, who were instrumental in getting the land acquired for the IMA.

Though the rent deed is up to the end of December 2001, but IMA will persuade the tent house people to vacate it at the earliest. 


Census officers hold meeting
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — A district-level conference- cum-training of Census Officers was held here, yesterday, in which Mr Inderjit Singh, Director Census Operations, Punjab, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, Mr S.R. Kaler, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Dalip Kumar, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, all SDMs, Tehsildars, BDOs, Naib-Tehsildars, master trainers, etc participated.

The Director, Census, elaborated upon the importance and preparatory steps involved in conducting census. He said, it would provide a historic benchmark data on the nation’s society demography and economy as we move into a new millennium. The two phases involved in census include, house listing operations, which was successfully completed in Punjab during May and the second phase, population enumeration would be completed during February 2001.

Emphasising the role of district Census Officers notified by the state government with the Deputy Commissioners of Municipal Corporations as Principal Census Officers, ADCs (as DCOs), ACs (CCOs), SDMs (SDCOs) and other Charge Census Officers, the Director Census laid special stress on the close monitoring of census work at all levels for the successful completion of this time-bound operations.

Speaking on the magnitude of the nature of work, the Director said, about 50,000 enumerators and supervisors would be visiting nearly 42 lakh households for covering an estimated population of 2.40 crore in the state. In Ludhiana district alone nearly 6500 ( including Ludhiana M. Corp.) enumerators and supervision had been deployed.


Divali sales touch a new peak
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — Culture, tradition and festivals have always been the hot favourites with the Ludhianvis. Notwithstanding the dark clouds looming large over the horizon due to paddy glut and economic recession that has led to a deep slump in the market, denizens of the megacity are preparing themselves to welcome the queen of all the festivals — Divali — with enthusiasm and jubilations, with the hope that it may brighten an otherwise dark phase.

The markets right from Sarabha Nagar, Ghumar Mandi, Dandi Swami to Chaura Bazaar and the interior Meena Bazaar are flooded with people all around. Now that Divali is just tomorrow, markets are swarmed by numberless people. A shopkeeper at Ghumar Mandi revealed, “ Since people have no money because of the bad condition of business, we were expecting little clientele this time. But Divali’s craze has brought back light in the lives of people. They are now rushing to us and buying things according to their pockets”.

Shopkeepers have decorated their shops and showrooms with flowers and lights giving cheer and excitement to the people. Gift shops are attracting most of the people. Shopkeepers have put up different colourful, attractive and aesthetically-laid stalls which present a wide range of things. On one side there are beautiful artificial flowers flavoured in red, yellow, green, pink and purple colour, the other side presents lamp shades, water falls, bright lights and wall clocks. The flowers range from Rs 150 to Rs 1800 depending on the quality, size and the accessories attached to them.

According to Mr Sanjay Sethi, who has a shop in Ghumar Mandi,? “The colourful hangings are very much in demand. I get almost new hangings every day and they are sold within hours”. A shopkeeper, who has a variety of gift items at the Dandi Swami Chowk informed.” The taste of Ludhianvis has changed. They prefer home decor instead of any other thing. People come and buy water falls, fibre lamps, multicoloured lights, which varies from Rs 800 to Rs 1800 and above. No doubt these are the costly gift items but people buy them”.

The fruit shops have been decorated “tastefully” with variety of fruits. A leading fruit seller Babu Ram pointed out, “See, there is no downfall in fruit business. Everyone who buys gifts, also takes fruits because every Indian festival is incomplete without fruits and sweets”. Every type of dryfruit is also available in the market. People seemed to be more interesting in buying kaju, kishmish, badam and khurmani. The shops with various calenders, idols and images of gods and goddesses are really crowd-pulling.

A number of supplier promotional schemes have been lined up in the city to build excitement in shopping. Because of the rat race in the gift items, a meagre shop in the interior city to an exclusive unique showroom at The Mall Road offers discount in many ways. A leading departmental store at The Mall Road has been offering gold to their customers. With a purchase of Rs 500, the customer gets a lucky coupon on which the winner would get100 grams of gold on Divali eve. The winners will also get 10 grams of gold every week. Announcements are made through loudspeakers which offer free walkmans for purchasing trendy scooties, lucky draw of imported cars for purchasing televisions and refrigerators.

It is a festive look in the markets as there are things for every budget and every pocket. There have been affordable gift packs of utility items put together in a special package, which include confectioneries, stationary, candles etc. Exclusive range of corporate gifts are also available at the shops including extensive crystal ware, designer and scented candles, figurine glass ware, gold jewellery, exotic perfumes, wrought iron artifacts, candle stands and divinity figures. There has been a thorough traditional look with the display of hatris, diyas and dolas. 


‘Ek Prayas’ inmates celebrate Divali
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — Mr S.K.Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, today visited ‘Ek Prayas’ — the school for mentally challenged students to celebrate Divali. Mrs Samira Bector, president of the school informed that Mr Sandhu along with his wife Mrs Bubbly Sandhu visited the new rented accommodation of ‘Ek Prayas’ at the Ferozepore Road and distributed sweets among the children. Mr Sandhu also burnt a few crackers with the children to mark Divali on the occasion.


Divali brightens their hopes
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — Divali may bring brightness to millions others but for Sandeep and so many others like him who are visually challenged, the everlasting spell of darkness does not end. Yet he awaits the festival with unbound enthusiasm and keen interest.

‘‘I can feel the light around as there seems no darkness anywhere on Divali night’’, he remarks cheerfully as he prepares himself to celebrate the long awaited festival.

Like Sandeep, Raju, Poonam and many others may not be able to see the world yet they do feel the brightness the Divali brings. While Raju 10 and Poonam 8 were born visually challenged, Sandeep 19, lost his eye sight when he was studying in sixth standard.

Sandeep is studying in plus two in a local Vocation Rehabilitation Centre (VRC) run by a non-governmental organisation with some aid from the Government of India. While Sandeep celebrates Divali and recalls when he could see everything with his own eyes, Raju and Poonam have a different idea of Divali. Raju says he will burn crackers, and have too much of sweets. Sandeep, Raju and Poonam are among 50 other visually challenged children studying at the VRC.They may not be able to see the world yet they can feel everything around. And so do they feel the light and the darkness. “Divali means a night when light is everywhere and crackers keep on bursting,” says Raju, who has never seen the light of the day.

The visually and physically challenged children have been awaiting the Divali with as much impatience as the normal kids. They have chalked out their programme in advance.

Since a number of children stay in the hostel they are not able to go home, they celebrate Divali together. Raju has prepared some song for the night which he will sing with his family members. In fact he practices singing daily as he wants to become a ‘sangeetkar’. He may not be able to see thing but he can explain whether the lights are on or not, whether it is sunshine or shade. In fact, he recognises his friends, parents and relatives by a mere touch.

Asha, Raju’s mother had come from Churpur village, about 20 km from the city to take her son to home. She said, “Raju is having four holidays and we will reach our home by evening. Everybody at home - his father, his brother and sister are eagerly waiting for him to join the Divali celebrations.”

Mrs Daljit Kaur, in charge of the primary section of the centre informed that Raju had an innate talent. He sings very well and is always an attraction at every festival and every occasion. Raju’s mother disclosed that her son’s senses are very strong. If he watches some movie on the television and anyone comes in between, he will immediately ask him to get aside as he feels disturbed.

Poonam belongs to Jagraon and stays at the hostel. Very shy by nature, she hastily said, “I will go to my family to celebrate Divali. I can not see anything except feeling day or night. I enjoy Divali because everyone at home enjoys the festival. I have only one desire and that is to see the festival of lights with my own eyes.” Poonam wants to become a teacher. Back



Divali in different shades
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — Divali means different things to different people. Children are happy and full of excitement. In contrast are the battered souls, for whom Divali is like any other day, full of sweat and toil. Gursimran, a Class IX student, loves Divali because she gets lots of chocolates. She says she enjoys going to parties arranged by her friends and loves the new dresses she gets from her parents. She also visits the gurdwara in the morning to pray for the well-being of the family “I do not like crackers,” she says.

Ankur says Divali should light up the lives of everyone. The festival teaches us to share our bounties with the poor, he says. “I enjoy bursting crackers and eating sweets,” he adds. Chandani, a student of Class VIII, expresses similar views. She loves Divali because she gets a chance to meet all her relatives. “I love exchanging gifts and greeting cards,” she says.

Puneet, another student, says he does not like crackers. “Last year my sister burnt her hands while bursting crackers. The health of workers in fireworks factories also gets badly affected,” he says. Bhoomika Gulati, a student of Class V, prefers Holi to Divali, though Divali is also fun, she says. I get new dresses and the whole family gets together. My cousins and I paint ‘diyas’ and put them up for sale and make some pocket money,” she adds.

Whereas children are bursting with excitement, the daily wage earners like the rickshaw-pullers and others are resigned to their fate. Many of them have not purchased anything for Divali for they have no money.

Shankar, a rickshaw-puller, says, “I have no money to spend. If I am able to earn some extra money, I will buy some crackers and candles for my family”. Gulzar Singh, a daily wage earner, commutes 50 km from Ludhiana to Mullanpur. He earns Rs 60 a day. “ I have white-washed the house myself for Divali. If I am able to earn more today, I will buy some sweets and a few candles. Otherwise, we will eat sweet rice and light a solitary ‘diya’ as a token.”

Fifty year-old Inder Dev Singh, a painter by profession, says he will work for half a day and if he gets some money, he will buy a box of sweets. “Last year, I could save some money. But this year due to the high prices, I have not been able to save anything. Divali has no meaning for us. It is just like any other day,” he said sadly.

Balkar and Balwinder sell manure for a living. Both of them said; “The only thing we do on Divali is to visit a gurdwara and a temple in the hope of getting some ‘parsad’. A watchman, Parsuram, said: “I am going to spend Divali very happily this year as I have been blessed with a son. I will distribute sweets among my friends.”


Dairy menace makes life hell for residents
By Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — In what could turn out to be an unprecedented move and a landmark in judicial history, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHSRC) has taken cognizance of the dairies menace in some of the residential colonies in the city and the resultant collapse of civic amenities, making the lives of residents miserable.

The residents of several localities around the Samrala bypass chowk like Guru Arjun Dev Nagar and Ravidass Pura, Moti Nagar and Issa Nagar have been forced to live in worst kind of insanitary conditions, created by the existence of unauthorised dairy units, for the past more than 15 years and all their attempts for shifting of dairies outside the residential colonies have remained unfruitful, with apathetic and unresponsive administration refusing to come to their rescue.

During a visit to some of these colonies, Ludhiana Tribune came across the pathetic conditions, people were living in. Heaps of fodder all around the streets, sewers choked with solid waste of the cattle, garbage and stench all around, is what greets the visitors. A few residents, whom this reporter spoke to, rued that they were experiencing living in hell. “Although we are residents of this city and paying all sorts of taxes. But we are being treated worse than the third class citizens.” A senior citizen, Mr Raghvir Singh, alleged that failure of the municipal corporation to take timely action to shift the dairies elsewhere, had resulted in his wife becoming chronically sick.

Having exhausted all other channels, which in the normal course should have yielded some positive results, the residents of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar moved PHSRC through Mr Raghvir Singh, a retired executive engineer of PWD, irrigation branch in October last year. In the petition, it was maintained that between 1985 and 1993, the civic body, the Pollution Control Board and the district grievances committee had, at different occasions, passed orders for the shifting of dairies from these localities, which were never implemented.

In addition, the residents submitted an exhaustive list of senior government and civic officials, to whom representatives were sent from time to time seeking shifting of dairies from these colonies in view of miserable living conditions, prevailing in these areas.

When the case was taken up by PSHRC in the presence of Mr Justice V.K. Khanna, chairperson, Mr Justice J.S. Sekhon, Mr M.S. Chahal and Mr T.S. Cheema, members on July 3, 2000, the municipal corporation pleaded that a public notice under Section 345 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, had already been issued for shifting of dairies from many city localities and objections had been invited through newspaper advertisements, which was a mandatory requirement under the act.

The MC Additional Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, who represented the civic body before the human rights commission along with Mr Ashok Bajaj, Legal Adviser, and Dr P.S. Brar, Health Officer, sought time of around three months, when the MC would be in a position to submit full status report, having dealt with the objections filed in response to the public notice.

Mr Sharma told Ludhiana Tribune that the public notice issued by the MC against maintaining dairy units in the residential areas covered the localities of Kailash Nagar, Subhash Nagar, Salem Tabri, Issa Nagar, Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, Moti Nagar, New Moti Nagar, Jagdish Pura, Vishwakarma Colony, Chander Nagar, New Chander Nagar and Asha Puri. He informed that the process of dealing with the objections had already been taken up and a decision was expected to be taken in about two weeks time, but in any case before November 2, when the case was to be taken up for disposal by PSHRC.

Whether or not the relentless battle of the residents of these colonies, who merely want to live like other ordinary human beings, succeeds or not, only the time will tell, but seeing their determination for putting an end to their miseries, one certainly gets the feeling that they would carry on to take the matter to its logical conclusion.


Cut production costs, farmers told
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — A district-level farmers’ training camp was organised by Department of Agriculture at Pal Auditorium in Punjab Agricultural University here today to educate the farmers about coming rabi crops and to prepare them to face the challenges ahead, posed by GATT agreement. Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, Dr Kundal Lal Choudhry, Joint Director, Agriculture, Punjab and Dr Gurcharan Singh Rajajung, Chief Agriculture Officer, besides other senior officers of the Agriculture Department and the PAU experts, attended the camp.

Inaugurating the training camp, Mr Sandhu observed that such training camps would prove land marks in the development of agriculture in the district. He advised the farmers to adopt new agricultural technologies so that they could compete in the global markets. The farmers ought to keep in mind the future requirements and diversify accordingly in order to prepare themselves from emerging challenges of WTO.

Mr Choudhry, stated that the department had launched a mission called ‘second push to agriculture’ to make it competitive in the international market. The plant doctors and the farmers have to work together to promote sustainable development of agriculture. In his welcome speech, Dr Rajajung exhorted the farmers to bring down their cost of production and to improve the quality of their farm produce. In the changing scenario, the quality of the crops would be more important than the quantity. The Department of Agriculture, he added, would make available good quality inputs. The development of globally competitive and innovative eco-friendly agro technologies was required for the sustainable development of agriculture and more stress had to be laid on the implementation of modern agricultural techniques in the fields of farming. He stressed the urgent need to divert more and more farmers from the wheat paddy rotation of crops to cash crops like vegetables, floriculture, poultry, dairy farming, bee keeping and mushroom cultivation.

Dr Partap Singh advised the farmers on bee-keeping while Dr Daler Singh explained in detail the inter-cropping of Mentha in wheat cultivation. Dr Rajinder Pal Singh, Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr A.S. Dhaliwal, Dr G.S. Brar, Dr S.P. Mehra, Dr Balbir Singh, Dr L.S. Brar, Dr G.S. Deol, Dr S.S. Ahuja Er. S.S. Bhattal and Dr A.S. Gill also interacted with the farmers.


Appoint SAD dist chief: Akali Jatha
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — A meeting of the district Akali Jatha held at Gurdwara Shahid Darshan Singh Pheruman here under the presidentship of Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice president and member SGPC, called upon the party high command to appoint a president of district unit of SAD.

Giving details of the proceedings, the party general secretary, Mr Jatinder Pal Singh Saluja, said the party activists had been pursuing the matter of appointment of a district jathedar for quite some time now. The meeting also issued warning to self-styled ‘acting president’ of the district Akali Jatha, while asserting that the party leadership had not appointed any ‘acting president’.

The meeting put on record the gratitude towards the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, whose untiring efforts had brought a Rs 350-crore package for the paddy growers of Punjab. Through another resolution, the district Akali Jatha expressed its strong resentment over a mud slinging campaign against the SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur. “It is most deplorable that some unscrupulous elements are out to draw political mileage from the personal tragedy of their political opponent,” the meeting observed.

Prominent among those present were Mr Pritpal Singh President, Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran, Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, Mr Kashmir Singh Seera, Mrs Manjit Kaur Gogi, Mr Arjan Singh Cheema, Mrs Harpreet Kaur, Mrs Sukhwinder Kaur, Mr Hakam Singh Giaspura, Dr Parshottam Lal — councillors, Mr Kishan Singh Lyallpuri, Mr Hardeep Singh Sachdeva, Mr Charanjit Singh Pannu and Mr Surjit Singh, president, Danga Peerit Society.


Greeting cards available in post offices now
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — The hopes of the Postal Department, here, to earn quick revenue through the sale of greeting cards supplied by the Department of Postal Service, New Delhi, has failed to materialise due to the delay in arrival of the cards.

With cards displayed only yesterday, just two days before the festival, the sale has not been as expected. Now the department is pinning hopes on the coming festivals of Christmas and New Year’s eve.

According to sources, the department had for the first time introduced the concept of selling greeting cards for all occasions from its post offices. The scheme which was announced in September got delayed and the cards were finally received this week only. Sources said the late delivery affected the sales.

The scheme, however, appears promising. The sender has to buy a card from the post office and just to fill the address and his name. The department would deliver it on its own.

Mr M.K. Khan, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, here when contacted said that the cards were meant for all festivals and the sales would pick up.He said the cards were put on sale only yesterday and he was satisfied with the response.


Online astrology
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — If you have any problems and want to consult an astrologer, you need not take any appointment and then move to his place. Astrological help is now just a click away. All you need do is to log on to, a site launched by a local astrologer just a few days ago.

Mr Jayant Kapur, an astrologer and the owner of the website, will solve queries of the users on the basis of numerology, vaastu shastra, fengu shui, dream analysis and gem recommendations. One can also buy rudraksha with one to fourteen faces, Tanjore paintings and precious as well as semi-precious gems. Besides, one can also get a wealth of general information on astrology.

Every page of the site has a form with it in which the required information can be typed and sent. For every question, Mr Kapur will charge Rs 600 and the money can be sent in the form of cash or cheque. On receiving the payment, the astrologer will look into the problem and find a suitable solution. ‘‘To hasten the process of payment, soon I will make a provision in the site by way of which all my clients on the Net shall be able to make payment by way of international credit cards,” he said.

“Besides, getting overseas clientele, I shall also be able to popularise astrology. I shall be easily approachable to several politicians who need to consult me regularly. The users of the site will get free dream analysis from me. is all-in-one site as information on all possible types of future-telling ways can be had from it. Tanjore paintings which I shall be selling on my site will be those made by the temple artists at Tanjore,’’ he said while telling about some of the major benefits.

On the limitations of online consultancy Mr Kapur said; ‘‘I will not be able to work well on graphology on the Net. Only those people who have a scanner will be able to send their hand written copy to me.”

About some features which will be added to the site, Mr Kapur Informed; “I am planning to start free property consultation for all those who ask for vaastu help. In addition, there will be a separate column on matrimonials.”

Explaining the reason of using the name of Lord Ganesha in his site address, Mr Kapur said; “I am His staunch believer and I feel that people should try to get the answers to all their problems directly from God.”


Book on accounting
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 25 — Wings Infonet Limited, manufacturers of accounts softwares, has released a book on ‘Accounting Made Easy for Doctors’. The book teaches how to make entries for opening balances, entering and editing transactions. The book also gives instructions regarding report writing. Besides, it also helps the user to learn tactics of keeping all accounts safe and secure.


Steel re-rolling industry faces bleak future
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

GOBINDGARH, Oct 25 — The steel re-rolling industry of the this town is passing through a critical phase due to the recent changes in the national and international scenario of the industry. The sixty-year-old industry seems to be fighting a losing battle against the onslaught of the new manufacturing units that have come up in the other states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, where the demand conditions are quite favourable and supply of raw material is abundant.

Industry sources disclosed that the local industry has developed against the economic laws of the trade. Mr Vinod Vashisht, president, Small Scale Steel Re-Rollers Association, said, ‘‘ We do not have any significant advantage in the cost of raw material, labour costs or the market of the manufactured goods. Since we were the pioneers in this area so the industry developed by leaps and bounds in the initial stages. However, we are now losing that advantage very rapidly. More and more units have come up with the experienced labour that had been attracted by those units.’’

It may be mentioned here that there are about 350 units in Khanna and here engaged in making iron rods of different varieties. "We are surviving because of our specialisation in some specific types of rods like flats, bars, squares, angles and channels. We usually get small orders from all over the country in these products which have not been manufactured so far by other units,’’ said Mr Hem Raj Sharma, a liaison officer of Luxmi Steel Rolling Mills at Khanna. We supply even small orders of one or two tonnes to the far-flung states like Kerala or Tamil Nadu, he added.

However, the double taxation policies of the government and lack of upgradation in the skills of labour or the investment in machinery have severely affected the industry. Though nearly 50,000 persons are directly or indirectly dependent on this industry, it has failed to develop in any significant manner. It is considered as one of the most polluted and low-skilled industry by the industry experts. The government departments seem to be interested in the maximisation of revenues, and not in the overall progress of the industry.

Industrialists criticise the role of the National Institute of Secondary Steel Technology that was set up here about 15 years ago to modernise the industry and develop new products, but it has failed to strengthen the industry in any appreciable manner.

Consequently, the industry even today uses scrap as raw material collected from broken ships and waste material that are supplied by scrap dealers. About 25 per cent of the prepared material is sold in Punjab itself but on the exports to other states the industry has to pay CST duty of 4 per cent which increases the cost of production.

Mr Vinod Vashist agrees that the industry has failed to modernise itself due to a number of reasons. ‘‘Our energy is wasted in making rounds of different departments which are interested in harassing us and do not understand our problems. No one has cared to guide or educate us about what can be done to save the industry,’’ he said. Unless the government undertakes some concrete steps like lowering of taxes or prepare the strategies in consultation with the industry representatives to solve the problems, the future is certainly bleak, said another industrialist.

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