Saturday, November 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Jewellery worth 35 lakh looted from shop
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — Gold and silver jewellery worth around Rs 35 lakh was stolen from a jeweller’s shop on the Metro Tyres Road in the Focal Point area here at around 12:30 pm today. The Station House Officer of the Focal Point police station, Mr B.S. Sekhon, has been removed and sent to the Police Lines.

The jewellery shop, Neelmani Jewellers, is located on the main road in HIG Flats in Jamalpur. Mr Sukhminder Singh, the owner of the shop, was away to Jalandhar at the time of the incident. His wife, Ms Amanpreet Kaur, and mother, Ms Manjit Kaur, were alone in the shop when the miscreants struck.

The shop is located in the front portion of the house and there are two entrances to the shop. A clean-shaven man came to the shop and posed as a customer wishing to buy jewellery for his wife. He reportedly asked his unsuspecting victims to show him a few sets of gold jewellery. After seeing the goods, he asked the women to keep three sets aside and said his wife would join him in a little while.

The man also said his wife knew the way to the shop from the other entrance, that was through their house. He received a call on his mobile phone and reportedly said a few monosyllables, when the doorbell on the other side rang. Ms Manjit Kaur went to open the door, thinking that it was that man’s wife.

When she opened the door, she found another clean-shaven man standing with a pistol in hand. He reportedly threatened Ms Manjit Kaur and locked her up in one of the bathrooms before proceeding inside the shop, where Ms Amanpreet Kaur was standing with the other person. The two threatened her with dire consequences and removed all jewellery in the shop, which they put it in two bags.

Later, when Arsh, Ms Amanpreet Kaur’s four-and-a-half year old daughter, returned home and no one answered the doorbell, she approached her neighbours for help. One of the neighbours, Ms Rimpi, then pushed her way in and freed Ms Amanpreet Kaur and Ms Manjit Kaur, who had been locked in.

The police was later summoned and several senior police officers rushed to the spot.


Nagar kirtan organised on Gurpurb eve
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — Virtually the whole town was turned into blue and ‘kesriya’ by the banners, arches, bunting and other decorative material to welcome an impressive ‘nagar kirtan’ taken out in the city today on the eve of birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Besides massive participation of people belonging to all communities, a large number of band parties, school children, gatka parties, shabdi and kirtani jathas, prabhat pheri groups, istri satsang sabhas, Sri Sukhmani Seva Societies, Bir Khalsa Dal volunteers, Shahidi Dal, Naamdhari Darbar and distinguished religious, political and social personalities took part in the nagar kirtan.

Organised by Gurdwara Sri Kalgidhar Singh Sabha, the nagar kirtan commenced from Gurdwara Kalgidhar at noon, with ‘panj piaras’ in traditional attire leading it. Passing through Jail Road, Ball Bearing Market, G.T. Road, Clock Tower Chowk, Chaura Bazar, Chauri Sarak, Chowk Div. No. 3, Samrala Road, Baba Than Singh Road, Gurdwara Chewin Patshahi, CMC Chowk, Khud Mohalla Chowk, Old Civil Hospital and Brown Road, the nagar kirtan reached Gurdwara Kalgidhar late in the evening, where president of Gurdwara Kalgidhar Singh Sabha, Mr Gurcharan Singh, presented siropas to the participating religious and social organisations.

All along the route, the residents welfare societies, traders and shopkeepers associations had organised langar, chhabils, bhandaras to serve tea, sweets, fruit and other eatbles as ‘prasad’ to the participants in the nagar kirtan. At Clock Tower chowk, the Nigam Karamchari Union activists, led by its president Mr Tarlochan Singh Lochi and Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran management through its president Mr Pritpal Singh Pali accorded a rousing reception to the nagar kirtan, which was a vast sea of humanity amidst trucks and trailers, carrying groups of devout jathas reciting shabads and Gurbani.

Prominent among the participants were Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice president of SAD(B), Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, member working committee SAD(B), Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Bikramjit Singh — all legislators, Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, Mr Kashmir Singh Sheera, Mr Arjan Singh Cheema, councillors and Mrs Kuldip Kaur, president of women wing of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal.


BBA, BCA syllabi to be reviewed: Pathak
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — In his first official visit to the city, the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Dr K.N. Pathak, was literally flooded with problems being faced by the students and the staff of the local affiliated colleges.

The VC, who was here to attend an advisory committee meeting of the university at the PU extension library today, had a hard time in offering solutions to the problems.

Several local college Principals, lecturers, syndicate members and Senators presented the problems to the VC. While some talked about inadequate nominations from city colleges, others enquired about the fee hike. The VC was also told about the problems of unavailability of examination forms, syllabus and result gazette at the proper time. He was also asked to ensure early declaration of the results for the current session.

The VC was also requested to set up one regional information centre in the city. In addition, he was told to review the syllabi of BBA and BCA courses, besides introducing new information technology courses. The library authorities asked him to get it renovated and computerised.

Dr Pathak also attended a meeting of the staff of Master Tara Singh College. When the teachers asked him about the extension approval given to Ms Kuldip Kaur, he said the university had not approved of it and the approval was given by the Punjab Government.

He said though the PU Senate had passed a resolution over extension of two years after the age of 60 years for all members of staff, the case was pending with the government of India. On the proposal of extension to Ms Gursharan Kaur, lecturer of the college, whose extension was due on November 30, he said all the teachers who were in the transition phase had to suffer. The teachers also complained that uncovered staff was not being paid arrears.

About the inadequate nominations from the city to the PU Senate, Dr Pathak said the city had good representation in the Senate as several city Principals and lecturers had got elected from their respective constituencies. He said many more would be added up as results for graduates’ constituency were yet to be declared.

The Principals and lecturers also pointed out the need to open up a regional information centre in the city since it had nearly 30 affiliated colleges. They said with the opening up of such a centre, the problem of getting examination forms, syllabus and result gazette would be solved. To this, Dr Pathak said this issue might be considered.

The Principals also said despite paying heavy charges for the result gazette, the colleges were given it late and in the mean time, students obtained it from the market after paying huge sums. They also complained of shortage of examination forms, which were available in black in the market.

Dr Pathak assured them that the results would be declared on time for the current session. He pointed out that the reevaluation results of the supplementary examination of the previous year were declared much earlier. As a result, several students could take admission to other courses on time, he added.

He said in view of poor response to pure sciences, some information technology related courses might be introduced in the next session, as per the demand of the students. He also assured them that the syllabi of BBA and BCA courses would be reviewed in the next session.

On the issue of variation of fee of various affiliated colleges in the city from Rs 3000 to Rs 7000, Dr Pathak said this might be because some colleges wanted to develop their infrastructure.

Later, Dr Pathak took a round of the extension library and shocked to see that new books purchased were all on medical issues only.

He said some general books for common readers should have been bought. He was also stunned to hear that the membership of the library had gone down drastically over the past few years. He said the library had ample space and much more development was possible.Back


Faulty cards: DoT send's SOS to Japan
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — After the breaking down of a Japanese Telephone Exchange yesterday which partially affected the working of over 10,000 telephone lines in the Bharat Nagar exchange, the local telecom authorities has sent an SOS to the Japanese company through the BSNL head office in New Delhi for immediate supply of about 10 cards for ready replacement.

The affected lines were restored last night, when the Meerut telecom authorities provided relief to the telecom officials here by sending a card to replace a faulty main card in the telephone exchange here. The fault had seriously affected over 10,000 lines of 42 and 43 series in Civil lines, Model Town, Ghumar Mandi and Kundan Puri, besides others in the city.

According to sources, the development of the fault has once again raised the question of the quality of the exchange bought from Japan in 1997 by the department. It has been alleged that the exchange could never fulfil certain requirements of the department and the public and had been developing faults now and then. The exchange could also not provide STD details facility to the subscribers. It was not even equipped to trace the calls. And above all it did not have the ISD facility.

The exchange has two main cards. Incidentally, it was functioning on one card only for the past several months and the fault was neither repaired nor replaced. When the second card too developed some snag yesterday the officials ran up all possible places in the country for arranging a card to replace the faulty ones. At this the head office got arranged a card from Meerut.

While the exchange started working today, the problem seems far from over as the department needs about 10 such cards for proper functioning of the exchanges. As the exchange had been brought from Japan, only the company concerned can supply spare cards or arrange for their repair, if possible.

General Manager Local Telecom Circle V. S. Srivastva confirmed the SOS message to Japan. He said they had written to the BSNL authorities for writing to the Japanese company for immediate replacement of the faulty cards. He said that he was hopeful that the problem would be over soon.

The GM explained that the exchange has two kinds of cards — one is subscribers' cards and other the main cards. He said a number of subscribers' cards were also faulty but the department had got its spare parts and they were being exchanged. However, if the main card develops snag as happened yesterday, the exchange really runs into rough weather.Back


Police denies Nepalese body's allegation
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — Denying the allegation made by the All-India Nepalese Unity Society about the police playing a partisan role in the case of a gang rape of a Nepalese woman, the police has said that it had acted rather quickly in arresting the accused.

In a statement issued to the press, Superintendent of Police (City II) Parmod Ban has said that all three accused — Raju, Ram Jatan and Bindeshwari have been arrested by the police. He denied the allegation that the police had kept the accused_-in illegal custody or that the police was under any kind of pressure to favour the accused.

"The police has spared no efforts to nab the three accused and the case is progressing as per the provisions of the law," he said.



Prabhat Pheris have been taken out throughout the city for days now in memory of Guru Nanak Dev, whose Parkash Divas falls on November 11. Processions have been taken out from different localities. Fruits, sweets and chana kulchas were offered to the people participating in the procession.

A little shower has brought the temperature down. The Kashmiri shawlwalas have come from the valley with their shawls. Some have permanent customers whom have been supplying with shawls for years.

People have not taken out woollens yet. Sweat shirts in wool and acrylic popular. Sandals are giving way to sports shoes. Pastel shades are giving way to sharper colours. Black is all-time favourite for night wear.

These days, summer fruits like melons are available along with seasonal fruits like guavas. The price of onions is shooting up.

The film Mohabbatein has brought Shah Rukh Khan back in the limelight. He has been pitted against Amitabh Bachchan. The movie Mission Kashmir has been splashed in all the papers for its treatment of Kashmiriyat. People are flocking to see these movies.

The marriage season is in full swing and marriage palaces are decked up. Traffic jams outside marriage palaces have to be seen to be believed.
— Asha Ahuja



In the sphere of the Muse

The stretch spanning Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Punjab Mata (Bhagat Singh’s mother) Nagar, two minute’s drive from the one point to the other, is a small stretch of poetry to me. In Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar live Punjabi poets Gurbhajan Gill and Ravinder Bhathal.

Gurbhajan Gill has published six collections of poems and ghazals. He uses folk motifs and is conscious of fast-changing patterns of human existence. In his early poetry, he wrote about the past glory of the land of five rivers. With the passage of time, he has assimilated new concepts in his poems. He has also steered clear of certain misconceptions and has identified disruptive forces. In his latest collections of poems, Agan Katha, he pleads for peace and tranquility, but not at the cost of self-respect.

Ravinder Bhathal’s poems are intense in thought and natural in expression. He never makes any attempt to mince words. The flow of his poetic diction follows the course of his heightened sensibilities. He has carved a niche for himself.

On the other side of Pakhowal Road, Kulwant Jagraon and Chaman Lala Sukhi live in Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar. Kulwant Jagraon is sincere, both as a person and a poet. He has lived through a period of strict poetic discipline. In his poems and ghazals, he depicts the varying moods of love. The lyrical element in his poetic creations sets him apart from his comtemporaries. His voice and expressions combine to make the audience spellbound.

Bilingual poet Chaman Lal Sakhi is creating ripples in Punjabi and Urdu poetic literature. He has been nurtured in the classical tradition of pre-partition days. He started composing ghazals in Punjabi in Lahore and later shifted to Shimla. He settled in Ludhiana after retiring from the Punjabi Education Department. He is a man of few words, but in his ghazals he is forthright in the expression of his thoughts and feelings.

In Punjab Mata Nagar live Sardar Panchhi and Mohinderdeep Grewal. Migrating from Rae Bareli during the holocaust of 1984, Sardar Panchhi settled down in Ludhiana more for the charm of literary ambience than for the prospects of any material gain. He is tight monetarily, but has taken big strides in the field of Urdu ghazal. The image of a poet that emerges from his poetry is that of a person caught in the labyrinths of longing. He is still at the crossroads of life.

The banner of poetry is held aloft on this stretch of Pakhowal Road by Mohinderdeep Grewal. He has few peers in this city in the field of Punjabi ghazal. He is very conscious in the choice of words and phrases. This obsession does not hinder the flight of his imagination. The subtlety of thoughts and the spontaneity of expression are hallmarks of his poetry. He has taken recourse to Khuli Kavita lately. The memories of his childhood haunt him and he recounts them romantically, artistically and nostalgically.

The list of poets living in his stretch of land will be incomplete without the names of Harbhajan Singh Dharna and Paramjit Singh Sohal. My house is in the centre of this stretch, but I am not a poet.


Forum: PSEB can’t club connections
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — In a significant judgement, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum today ruled that the PSEB cannot compel a complainant to get his electricity connection clubbed with another connection which is in the disputed premises.

It gave this ruling while deciding a plea of a consumer Parvesh Kumar, a resident of Khud Mohalla here, demanding quashing of an alleged illegal bill of Rs 12,947 claimed by the PSEB.

The PSEB had claimed the amount in February this year on the ground that the glasses of the meter was tampered with and the complainant was committing the theft. It also gave a notice to the complainant to get the connection clubbed with the connection of his brother since both the meters were in the same premises.

The complainant challenged the PSEB move in the forum. He said that he was living in on the ground floor of a two-storey building of his father while his brother was living on the first floor. The property was disputed. He is having a power connection in his father’s name and is a beneficiary of the connection.

He said he was paying his ills regularly but on February 4, 2000 the PSEB demanded a amount of Rs 12,947 as fine for theft of energy as the glass of his meter was found tampered with. He did not deposit the amount as the PSEB could not impose any such fine without proper testing in the laboratory. The electricity connection to his house was subsequently cut. The aggrieved consumer then approached the forum for redressal of his grievances and demanded quashing of the fine amount along with compensation for suffering mental torture.

He also pleaded that the PSEB could not demand clubbing of the electricity connection without the consent of the consumer.

The PSEB in its reply stated that the consumer had concealed the material facts. An Inspector of the department checked the meter on February 3, 2000 and reported that the meter glass was tampered with and was found re-affixed by the consumer in order to steal energy. Scratches on the digit of the meter were also found at the time of checking.

The PSEB then calculated the load and found the claimed amount recoverable from the consumer. The Inspector also noted that there was another connection in the name of Om Parkash in the same connection and under the PSEB rules, the two connections should be clubbed.

The forum after hearing both the parties and the perusal of the documents furnished in support of their respective claims found that the report of the Inspector was not signed by the complainant.

The PSEB also could not provide evidence of calling the consumer in the M.E. laboratory for the mandatory checking of the meter in his presence.

The forum ruled that since the PSEB could not furnish report of checking the meter in the M.E. laboratory it could not be held that the complainant was committing the alleged theft. Thus the fine amount was fit to be quashed.

The forum also did not uphold the order of the PSEB to club the two connections. It said that the two meters were not in the same name. According to an earlier case of the PSEB versus Satish Kumar the PSEB has to see whether the premises are separate while giving the connection but later on it cannot compel the complainant to club the connections.

Quashing the amount, the forum said that the complainant should deposit any amount outstanding against him regarding the disputed connection except the amount of Rs 12,947 quashed by the forum. It also directed the PSEB to restore the connection within three days of the deposit of any outstanding amount.


Multi-cropping system stressed
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — Mr Mohinder Singh Dhaliwal, Joint Secretary, Agriculture, Punjab, was shown round the fields of Dr Daler Singh and a progressive farmer Mr Manjit Singh, at Ladhowal here today to apprise him of the diverse farming, adaptive innovations and multi-cropping systems, being promoted by technocrats of the Department of Agriculture.

The Chief Agricultural Officer, Dr Gurcharan Singh Rajajung, who accompanied Mr Dhaliwal, explained that wheat sown on beds by bed planter had resulted in saving of water, nitrogenous fertilizer dose by almost 30 per cent and optimum use of natural resources like sun light and air. The practice would give 10 per cent more yield apart from inter-cropping with mint, which was a bonus crop when wheat was sown with bed planter.

Mr Dhaliwal was also shown the fields with conservation tillage on wheat sown by zero till drill. This tillage method, not only promoted planting of wheat earlier, but also saved energy that was needed for tillage. The farmers could not only increase the yield by adopting these techniques, but also reduce the cost of cultivation, increase soil health and make farming a sustainable enterprise, according to Dr Rajajung.

Mr Dhaliwal, while appreciating the efforts of the department in motivating the farmers to adopt new farm technology, emphasised the need to bring atleast 20 per cent of the area under traditional rice-wheat rotation to diversified cropping pattern in order to meet the challenges of changing agricultural scenario.Back


Most clubs beyond common man’s reach
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — Ludhianvis do know how to live it up in style and are doing better than others anywhere else in the country. They need a place of their own to socialise and relax for a while, after the busy and hectic schedule. But for an average middle class man, going to these clubs with his family is not easy. Almost all the clubs including family as well as ladies clubs have raised the membership fee so much that for an average middle class family the membership of these clubs has become only a dream.

The Sutlej Club is one of the oldest and prestigious clubs in the north. The facilities, luxuries, entertainment and enjoyment this family club provides can't be availed by a common man. The club has over 2000 members and the membership fee has gone up to Rs 1,42,000 (for the general category) which is undoubtedly not everyone's cup of tea. There have been some other categories also which are reserved for professionals, public sector class I officers and PCS and IAS officers. The membership fee for these groups varies between Rs 23,000 to Rs 75,000. Most of the people have given up the thought of trying their luck in the club because of the steep hike in its membership fee.

According to Mr Ajit Singh Chawla, secretary, the club had made an amendment in 1996 that every year there would be a 10 per cent increase in the membership fee and no one will have the power to change the decision, except for the president. Within two-three years, the president's power had also been withdrawn. Mr Chawla added if it was not done, the club would be flooded with members. Since it was an officers club and the management had to maintain the status and dignity of the club.

Not only the Sutlej Club but the membership fee of other renowned clubs like the Lodhi Club and the Ludhiana Club have also shot up like anything in the last few years. The life membership for the Lodhi Club is Rs 75,000 for the general category. Like the Sutlej club, the membership fee for the service class and professionals varies from Rs 15,000 to Rs 40,000 depending on the status of the service.

Mr Anil Kumar, secretary, Lodhi Club, clarified, "Ours is a registered society. We do not get any aid or grant from any organisation. To be at a par and to create good rapport in the city, we are bound to take such a step". Mr Kumar added that members want to avail all the facilities under one roof, be it a swimming pool, billiards room, bar or anything. They would get the revenue from the club members only.

The permanent membership for the Ludhiana Club is Rs 35,000 for general public. The club is about 90 years old and was basically meant for business class. The authorities informed that all facilities like the cards room, billiards room, bar, tennis court, gyms and games for children were there in the club. There has been a casual membership for service class and high officials also which is Rs 300.

The secretary of the club, Mr Hans Raj Wadhva, said “that whatever amount the club takes as the membership fee, goes in the building fund and in developing various projects for the convenience of the club members”. He admitted that since it was an entertainment club, anything for the 'social cause' was not active in the club.

The rising membership fee was not only with family clubs, the reputed ladies clubs in the city have also increased their registration fee. The life membership fee at the Lakshmi Ladies club is about Rs 25,000. It has been continuously rising for the past few years. The membership has also gone up to 2400.

Mrs Pawan Sabharwal, secretary of the Lakshmi Ladies Club, admitted that membership needed to be restricted. She stated that club had been organising talks and demonstrations to create awareness among the members. The club also celebrates festivals.

Mrs Sabharwal claimed that every year a fixed amount is donated for education of two poor medical students. She revealed that the club continuously contributed some amount for the well being of society. She added, " We belong to good decent families. If something is given for the charity purpose, no body should raise objections for that matter. Whatever we charge from the new members, ultimately go to them only".


25 LIC officers honoured
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — With the opening of insurance sector to the private sector the monopoly of LIC was coming to an end. The management of LIC has already launched different programmes to meet the challenge. The innovative policy packages, training of the field staff and modernisation of the selected branches are some of these steps.

Mr M.S. Sidhu, Senior Divisional Manager of the Ludhiana division expressed these views while addressing the annual convention of top development officers today. The convention was organised to honour the top officer for their performance.

Mr Sidhu disclosed IRDA had already given licences to three players and the staff would have to make more efforts to remain in the field. While lauding the efforts of the development officers he informed them the cost of private insurance agencies world over was just 4 per cent of their turnover as compared to 22 per cent of the LIC. To compete with them the corporation would have to drastically cut down expenses.

There were more than 4.5 lakh agents of the LIC. But according to Mr Sidhu 80 per cent of them were doing just 20 per cent business. On the other hand 20 per cent of the agents were doing 80 per cent business. There was a need to motivate the low performing agents.

Mr Mahinder Kumar, Marketing Manager informed them about the changes being made at the corporate level to deal with the changing scenario. The LIC is launching a month-long customer contact campaign to meet the 11.5 crore customers and resolve their problems and meeting with the agents.

In the coming year 41 centres all over the country would be interlinked via Internet so that the customers could deposit their premium any where. Special counters were also planned for the high premium customers, he disclosed

Later out of the 130 development officers in the Ludhiana division 75 were selected on the basis of their performance to participate in that meet. Twentyfive of them were honoured by Mr P.K. Behl, Regional Manager (Marketing). 

Traffic disrupted
From Our Correspondent

KHAMANO, Nov 10 — The traffic at the Ludhiana-Chandigarh highway was disrupted by workers of a rice mill. They were protesting against the alleged unfair action of the mill owner. The ADC rushed to the spot to get a compromise worked out between the workers and the mill owner.Back



Cash, artefacts stolen from temple
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — Some unknown persons are alleged to have stolen gold and silver artifacts and cash from Mata Shakti Guddi Mandir on Jassian Road.

According to information available, the theft occurred between November 3 and 9, when the caretaker of the temple, Ms Surjit Sikka, was away to Vaishno Devi. The house of the caretaker, where the theft took place, is located on the premises of the temple.

One killed
An unknown person was crushed to death by a Tata 407 vehicle (PB-07D-1751). The accident occurred at Shakti Nagar near Basti Jodhewal around 7 pm last night. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-B of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Narinder Singh.

Car stolen
A Maruti car (PB-10V-8813) was reportedly stolen from opposite Dhawan Palace here on the night of November 6. The police has registered a case under Section 279 of the IPC on the complaint of owner of the car, Mr Sunil Kumar.

Gamblers held
Three persons — Mangal Ram, Kartar Chand and Raju Bahadur — have been arrested while they were gambling in Transport Nagar. A case under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered. A sum of Rs 1215 has been recovered from them.Back


Poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — The Dehlon police has succeeded in arresting a resident of Kulahar village and recovered 35 bags of poppy husk from his house.

In a press release, the SSP, Jagraon, Mr Jaskaran Singh, has informed that SI Nirabhjeet Singh, Station House Officer of Dehlon police station had received secret information that Ranjodh Singh of Kulahar village in Payal was illegally selling poppy husk and, he along with a police party raided the house of the accused and recovered 35 bags of poppy husk. The police has registered a case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.


Man kills daughter
From Our Correspondent

KHAMANO, Nov 10 — A man murdered his eleven -year -old daughter, Ms Maninderjit Kaur, and seriously injured his two other children, Master Jaswant Singh (8) and Lovepreet (6). He attacked his children with an iron rod after a fight with his wife. A case has been registered.


WTO: machine tool makers seek govt help
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — The Government is opening the domestic market of machine tools industry like other industries to the foreign competitors. However, it has not cared to provide the level playing field or any assistance to the small-scale industry that is making a considerable contribution to the economy. The industry has to suffer at the hands of age-old labour laws, indifferent bureaucracy, corrupt political system, insufficient credit and high interest rates by the Indian banks.

Mr Kirpal Singh, general secretary of the Ludhiana Machine Tools Makers’ Association (LMTA) expressed these views in an interview with the Ludhiana Tribune.

‘‘We are not against the WTO or the global competition, but we should have been sufficiently prepared before opening the market. It is pathetic though it was the mother industry, preparing machines and tools for other industries, but it’s capacity utilisation was less than forty per cent,’’ he said.

There are about 400 units manufacturing machine tools in the city. The small-scale industry is providing direct employment to about 12,000 persons and indirect employment to another 40,000 persons. But at present the industry is facing lack of demand due to low quality of the products and the high cost.

A number of industrialists are trying to beat the slump through their own means but without much success so far. Mr Kirpal Singh opined,‘‘ In the last few years, though we have successfully reduced the cost of production by our own crude innovations, but the government’s R&D institutes have not provided any significant help.’’

Mr Manjeet Singh Matharoo, proprietor of Matharoo and Matharoo industries, criticised the government’s policies for the present crises. “ In the beginning no political party ever tried to talk about WTO. But now the government is implementing the provisions even before the stipulated time. The anti-dumping duty should be immediately imposed to save the domestic industry.’’

He further said the Naik committee had recommended the banks should provide credit up to 20 per cent of the turnover. The majority of banks were openly floating them. Like money lenders the Indian banks were charging high interest rates if we compare them with the international finance. Were they providing any assistance to the industry or fleecing us? he asked.

The manufacturers lamented the government’s industrial technical institutes were not involving them in the training programmes, especially the small scale representatives. In result they had to face the scarcity of skilled labour.

They said the competition from Gujarat and other states had forced them to slash their profit margins, even as low as 2-3 per cent. Mr Sukhdev Singh, an employee of LMTA criticised the strict labour laws and the corrupt excise department for their woos.

Mr Matharoo urged the government to increase the investment limit up to Rs 3 crore and to provide the necessary help to compete with the foreign manufacturers. Instead of implementing the WTO provisions in advance the government should support the industry to upgrade its operations and management practices. 


‘Packaging not up to mark’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — International industry spends about 2 per cent of the cost on packaging but most of the Indian industries, especially the small-scale engineering units are not ready to spend even 0.5 per cent on the packaging. Consequently, despite good quality of the products, in number of cases, the orders are cancelled by the foreign buyers. The importers find the products in very bad shape when the goods land in their country.

Mr N.C. Saha, Joint Director, Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), New Delhi, expressed these views while talking to Ludhiana Tribune. He had come to the city to participate in a seminar organised here on Packaging of light engineering and allied products.

Mr Saha is an engineering graduate from CFTRI, Mysore, and has done specialised training courses on packaging. Presently, he is heading the IIP, one of the four autonomous institutes of packaging in the country under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

After the implementation of WTO, the industries will have to give special attention to packaging of the products. Referring to the changes in the packaging industry, he said: ‘‘Earlier the folding cartons were used to be made of paper board of 2 layers but today it is commonly made out of 3 layers and at times up to 4 layers. Unit cartons can be, in fact, termed as ‘silent salesman.’’

Explaining the activities of the IIP he said: ‘‘We are providing all types of testing of packaging material and certifying the material. Secondly, the regular training programmes are conducted on packaging technology, including a two-year postgraduate course and three month short-time courses. Consultancy services are also provided to the industry.’’

About the future plans of the institute. Mr Saha said: ‘‘We are going to conduct awareness seminars on packaging and related issues in different industrial centres of the country. Correspondence courses have also been started for the small scale units and the other needy one.

Earlier speaking at the seminar, Mr D.K. Goel, Deputy Chairman, EEPC, said, ‘‘Light engineering goods and its allied products being very precious and fragile in nature require special attention during handling, storage and transportation to ensure quick, economic, and safe movement of the raw material to the factory from the ports. This has to be ensured when shipping to the foreign markets. In order to achieve this, packaging required special attention.’’

About 75 industrialists from Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Chandigarh participated in the seminar.

Mr M.K. Banerji, Senior Manager, Indian Petro Chemical Limited, stressed the need for stretch/cling wrapping as it required low energy and was less expensive.Back



Jewellery exhibition inaugurated
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 10 — The second Swaran Sambandh mega jewellery exhibition being jointly organised by Sercon India and the World Gold Council here opened at Hotel Park Plaza this morning.

The exhibition was inaugurated by the wife of the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Ms Bubbly Sandhu.

Col Jayant Vij said that as many as 31 exhibitors from various parts of the country were participating in the event.

Jewellers from Delhi, Mumbai, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jaipur as well as a few local jewellers are participating in the four-day exhibition. This exhibition showcases a wide range of jewellery- be it the traditional thewa jewellery, gold and white gold studded diamond jewellery, jadaau jewellery, kundan, electrofoamed (jewellery plated with 22 karat gold) etc.

Regular forms of jewellery, ornaments made from the ‘forest of the sea’ coral reef, combined with diamonds and other precious stones have also been introduced in the exhibition.

Mr Vijay Singh, Managing Director of Sercon, said that during this exhibition experts would also host free seminars about the benefits of buying hall-marked jewellery (tested for quality by the Bureau of Indian Standards) and the factors to be kept in mind while buying diamond and other gem-studded jewellery.

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