Thursday, February 15, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cement prices not to be slashed
Cartel firm despite fall in demand
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — The cartel of cement manufacturers in the national market has succeeded in pushing up the prices of cement in the North Indian market. Though the demand for cement is believed to have fallen by 25 to 30 per cent in the past month, the manufacturers have decided against slashing prices.

This move of the cartel has been widely criticised. The expectation of customers, dealers and builders about fall in cement prices has been belied. The Cement Manufacturers Association of India (CMA) has claimed that fair cement prices should range between Rs 200 and Rs 240 per 50-kg-bag as the cost of inputs has gone up by 100 to 220 per cent. It has warned of further hike in cement prices if steps are not taken by the Finance Minister in the Budget to reduce the cost of production.

The price of cement, which was between Rs 125 and Rs 140 per bag in 1995-96, increased to between Rs 150 and 160 per bag by December, 2000. The prices further increased to between Rs 170 and 175 per bag by the end of December, 2000. The cement industry has claimed that in view of the prevailing rate of inflation, which is more than 8 per cent, the increase in prices is less than what is required to adjust the inflationary trends.

The fall in demand and the expectations that prices may fall in the coming days have affected the profits of dealers. Says Mr Ganesh, a local cement dealer, “The demand has fallen by 25 to 30 per cent in the past one month. We have been forced to slash our profit margin. The companies have preferred to decrease the supply rather than to decrease the prices.” According to local traders, 15 lakh bags of cement, on an average, were sold in Ludhiana every month before the increase in prices. Mr Ganesh said supply of cement in the city was stopped for a week in the first week of February.

The estimates of various construction companies and builders had to be revised because of the increase in prices. The builders have claimed that their costs have increased by 10 to 15 per cent, directly hitting their profits. The customers and the government departments are not ready to revise the contracts with them, rue some builders. The prices of various brands of cement range between Rs 166 and Rs 177 per bag. The dealers are of the view that the companies seem determined to maintain the current prices.

The CMA, in a recent booklet, has pointed out that being an energy-intensive industry, the increase in power tariff in the past one decade has increased the cost of production. Freight and transport costs have increased and input costs have gone up by more than Rs 100 per bag, but the cement prices in real terms have fallen in the past five years. It points out the increase in cost of production has forced various companies to close down or to approach the BIFR. It has sought reduction in import duty on non-cooking coal and review of the recent hike in royalty on limestone from Rs 32 to Rs 40 per tonne, besides facilities to promote export.


Farooq enjoys visit to city
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah seemed to enjoy the short break from his busy schedule when he came here to attend the marriage of a leading industrialist, Mr Jangi Lal Oswal.

The Chief Minister arrived here at around four in the afternoon. Deviating from his earlier schedule, instead of going to the Circuit House he straightway went to the residence of one of his friends where he stayed for a few hours. He avoided the media for quite some time. He seemed quite relaxed while listening to Hindi songs.

Only a handful of persons were seen sitting with him. They included, the Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljeet Singh, the Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, and Mr O.P. Munjal of the Hero Cycles. The Chief Minister seemed to prefer solitude. He remarked, "Tomorrow I will have to return to business as in the morning I am supposed to attend the assembly session in Jammu. So each moment is a blessing."

He was accompanied by his ministerial colleague Ajatshatru Singh, son of the former ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Karan Singh. Besides Dr Farooq, noted poet Nidah Fazili and renowned singer Jagjit Singh were also present at the marriage. There was one thing in common for all of them. They all shunned the celebrity status and mixed up with the people. The NSG commandos, who surround Dr Farooq round the clock, also got a relaxing break for a few hours.


Puritans fail to dampen V-Day spirit
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — Barring a few sporadic incidents against the Valentine’s Day sponsored mainly to mark their presence by some organisations, it was the day of celebrations and festivities in Ludhiana. College and school students and also the young couples exchanged red roses and other gifts as an expression of love towards each other. The celebrations continued throughout the day and the educational institutions registered low attendance with a number of students missing the classes.

On other hand a handful of activists of the Ekta Sangh made a bonfire of Valentine’s Day greeting cards and some specially arranged gift items, to discourage the youth from embracing the alien culture. They also demanded that the district administration should ban organising any functions on such days as it “subverted Indian culture”. They said, such type of celebrations encouraged promiscuity and deviated the youth from the moral course.

Apprehending trouble from some organisations particularly, in view of an appeal issued by the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackrey against Valentine’s Day celebrations, adequate police personnel were deployed at some sensitive spots like outside the colleges, the PAU and some markets.

However, the appeals and threats from Sena and other organisations did not deter the Valentine’s Day revelers from their course who shared the gifts and celebrated the occasion with enthusiasm. There was a rush of boys and girls moving together in restaurants and parks. It was a colourful scene in the Rose Garden where scores of couples had gathered. A partially overcast sky added to the romantic ambience.

Satluj Club here organised a gala celebration with hundreds of couples attending the function. The club had set a dress code for the celebrations. All couples were asked to be dressed in red and black only. The club managers had done well to create an ambience suited best to the occasion with theme animation depicting lovers marking the walls of the club. It was supplemented by the red coloured heart shaped balloons all around. A large red colour heart shaped gate was erected right on the entrance of the venue.

While the gift shops did a brisk business, it appeared to be a day for the flower and balloon sellers. The markets were flooded with red-coloured heart-shaped balloons, while flower vendors were present at every step with specially grafted red rose buds which sold between Rs 15 to Rs 30 each. However, there was no reluctance on part of the buyers. For prices do not matter when love is at stake.


Police informers or victims?
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — Next time you come across a news item informing about the arrest of a person for committing a petty crime, spare a thought for the lesser known class of police informers. In all probability, the case will be a framed one as part of the age-old policy of the police to build a team of touts.

Several lives are destroyed in the zeal of the police officials to have complete information of the locality concerned through the informers. It also raises the question of the human rights of the individuals who, if truly caught for committing a crime, should have been reformed.

There was a recent outcry against the Punjab police’s policy of breeding police cats during the days of terrorism. Analysts point out that the police policy of forcibly preparing informers is not good and can backfire.

The Ludhiana Tribune team interviewed a number of police informers. Some enjoy the ‘power by proxy’ vested in them by the police officers. Others are not doing it of their own will. Gripped with the fear of the police, most of these informers had made up their mind to leave the profession. Only a few succeeded while the remaining were ‘caught’ indulging in one crime or the other. This category is now back.

In almost 99 per cent of the cases, the person was nabbed by the police for some petty crime, for being close to some persons arrested or for being drug addicts. The police lured them into the job by offering to acquit them of all charges, threatening to implicate them in bigger cases or giving them money or drugs.

Sunny (name changed), a pickpocket, was caught by the police. According to him, he was first beaten up by constables. A senior official talked politely to him and offered him the ‘job’. The boy, lured by the idea that he would be attached with the police and would not be caught, accepted the offer.

He tried thrice to stop all his activities, but each time the police caught him and registered a case against him. Facing punishment with the fear of implication in a larger case, the boy said he had no hope but to continue helping the police.

The case of Beenu is different. He had fallen prey to drugs at a tender age and was caught in a raid by the police. He wanted drugs in jail, which were supplied to him on the condition that he informed the police about the possible places active in drug trafficking. He too said that whenever he tried to leave, the police caught him again, forcing to continue the old job.

According to another informer, they are harassed not only when they try to leave the job, but also when a new SHO joins at a police station. Some fortunate ones manage to stick to their stand. They happily go to the jail and after serving the term, are now running their own business. 


Contributions continue to pour in
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — People from all walks of life in the city are still coming forward to make more and more contributions towards relief and rehabilitation of earthquake victims of Gujarat.

Inspired by the gram panchayat, residents of Kila Raipur village, 35 km from here, have collected Rs 51,000, in a door-to-door campaign. The sarpanch, Mr Kuldip Singh, members of panchayat, Capt Karnail Singh, Mr Nachhattar Singh, and Mr Hardip Singh, and residents of the village enthusiastically participated in the fund-raising drive. The draft was handed over by the village sarpanch to The Tribune office here for submission to the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Staff and students of Bharatiya Vidya Mandir have collected Rs 4.50 lakh for the quake victims, which has been sent as a bank draft to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. In a prayer meeting organised on the school premises, students and members of the staff condoled the loss of human lives in the natural calamity and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

The Connaught Place Market Association, Ghumar Mandi, has contributed Rs 51,000. Mr Daljit Singh Jassal, chairman of the association, presented the draft to Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner. Other members of the association were also present on the occasion.

The Northern Railway Pensioners Welfare Association has donated Rs 5,000. According to Mr Sher Singh, president of the association, an executive committee meeting observed two minutes silence in the memory of those killed and wished speedy recovery to the injured persons.

Students and staff of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Public High School, Millerganj, donated relief material, including clothes and eatables. The material was handed over to the Nishkam Sewa Ashram. The school has also donated Rs 25,000 to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, according to Mr Sushil Malhotra, president of the school management.

A draft for Rs 21,000 was presented to Mr Sandhu by Mr S.P. Singh Shahpuri, chairman, Mr Mehar Singh, president, and other member of the Small-Scale Industries Association of Daba Road.


Society to develop slum area
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — National Environment Protection Society, Hari Bhari, a voluntary organisation engaged in the improvement of environment, has decided to adopt a polluted and dirty colony in Ludhiana city for developing it as a model locality.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the society held here last evening under the chairmanship of Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and a patron of the society.

The Deputy Commissioner asked all members of the society to fully dedicate themselves to bring about a qualitative change in the environment of the adopted colony by involving the local residents of the locality. He said that the society would also seek cooperation and involvement of all the concerned departments, including Pollution Control Board, Health , Education etc to bring about all-round improvement in the environment of the locality . All the streets and drains in the area would be cleaned properly and disposal of water would be ensured, a large number of trees would be planted to bring about greenery and parks would be properly developed for the children.

The Deputy Commissioner, expressing his serious concern over callous attitude of the citizens towards the fast growing water, air and noise pollution in the city, said the present generation must perform its duty to provide healthy environment to the coming generation.

He asked all the voluntary and social organisations engaged in environmental improvement to make concerted efforts at their levels by involving the people to completely eradicate pollution from the city. He said the district administration would provide required number of plants for plantation in the city and ensure after-care to maximise the survival rate of the plants.

Giving more details, Dr Waheguru Pal Singh, vice-president of the society informed that medical and education communities would be associated to undertake a medical check-up of all the schoolchildren and people in the area to ascertain the dangerous affects of air and water pollution on their health.

He said that the charitable and voluntary organisations would be mobilised to create awareness regarding environment improvement and cleanliness and to provide free medicines to the pollution-affected children of the locality.

Dr Waheguru Pal Singh further informed that the society would also organise seminars and symposia in the city to create awareness and to seek the suggestions of experts and other volunteers working for the eradication of pollution. The owners of small industrial units in the area would also be persuaded to install pollution control equipment to minimise the level of pollution as per fixed specifications by their units.

In the meeting Mr Bhart Bir Singh Sobti, president of the society, presented his book on environment protection laws to the Deputy Commissioner.

Among others who attended the meeting included Mr Ripan Jain, treasurer, Mr Darshan Singh, joint treasurer, Lt Col (Dr) Kang, Mr Manjit Singh Lamba, Mr Charanjeev Singh, Mr Parveen Kumar (all executive members) and Mr Amardeep Singh, secretary of the society.


Indiatech to be held in Caracas
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) will hold the next Indiatech exposition in Caracas, Venezuela, in July. This would provide an opportunity to the participants to popularise their products’ brand image and technology as well as to explore the emerging market potential of Latin American markets, said Mr Satish Dhanda, Vice-Chairman, EEPC, at a meeting held here on Monday. The meeting was called by the EEPC of the exporters to review the export performance.

While addressing the participants in the seminar on “Export prospects of engineering sector in the overseas market”, Mr Satish Dhanda disclosed that the export of bicycles, bicycle components and accessories during April to September 2000 had increased to Rs 315 crore from Rs 230 crore during the corresponding period in 1999. He said, “ew model bicycle parts are planned to be made with the help of German technology. The manufacturers should try to utilise the SIDBI funds to modernise the industry.”

Mr S.C. Ralhan, Chairman, EEPC (NR), asked the Indian Trade Promotion Organisiation (ITPO) to decrease the fees of participation in the trade fairs for the small engineering units. He said, “There was lot of scope for the engineering exports in the Latin American countries. The engineering exports are growing at more than 28 per cent.”

Mr Dhanda also revealed that the EEPC was considering to make a representation to the Tariff Commission for launching complaints against the countries which were dumping their goods in the country. Mr Onkar Singh Pahawa, Mr Jagdish Singhal also participated in the seminar. 


Mystery shrouds youth’s death
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — Mystery shrouds the death of a youth who had gone to meet his beloved at the residence of his friend in Jamalpur area near here today.

According to police sources, Amrik Singh, aged about 20 years, had gone to meet his beloved at the residence of his friend Tarsem Lal in Sector 32 of the Jamalpur area. While Amrik Singh and his beloved stayed back, Tarsem Lal reportedly went to get some food for the two.

Quoting Tarsem Lal, police sources said when he returned from the market after about an hour, he found Amrik Singh lying on the floor, while the girl had fled. There were no injury marks on the body of Amrik Singh.

The body has been sent for postmortem examination. 



THE Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, is known for creating controversies in a courteous way. Whether he does it by design or default is difficult to say, but he does it regularly and frequently. Last month he dropped up a bombshell by announcing that the SGPC had decided to refer the issue of the definition of a Sikh to the Minority Commission of India, only to retract it the very next day. He was at it once again. He met the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, in New Delhi recently. The meeting was scheduled in context of sending Sikh jathas to Pakistan. However, Mr Talwandi, as is his wont, went a step further by reiterating the off-repeated demand of the Punjabis in general and the Akalis in particular, of the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and resolving the issue of river-water sharing. This was much to the chagrin and embarrassment of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal as his cordial relationship with his Haryana counterpart is known to one and all. Just to ensure that Mr Chautala is not annoyed, he reportedly advised Mr Talwandi to excercise restrain. The political grapevine has it that Mr Talwandi was recalled instantly from Delhi on the pretext of flying to Srinagar to have an assessment of the situation following the massacre of six Sikhs in J&K. But when Mr Talwandi returned to Chandigarh, he was curtly told that the helicopter in which he was supposed to fly to Srinagar had developed a technical snag, hence the visit had been cancelled. This was reportedly done to prevent his meeting with the RSS chief, Mr K. Sudershan, lest he may stir another hornets nest for Mr Badal. But Mr Talwandi has been maintaining that whatever he said, he said with due concurrence from Mr Badal!

Crying wolf

There is a popular Kashmiri saying which literally translates into, “while the widows have all reasons to mourn their plight, it is the women whose husbands are very much alive who cry wolf”. Industrialists in Ludhiana stand a typical example of this. Despite their outrageously luxurious lifestyle is reflected by swank cars, palatial houses and lavish parties most of them will always keep on complaining about their presumed sorry plight. While the entire nation accepted with grace and dignity 2 per cent surcharge on income tax in view of the earthquake in Gujarat, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has opposed the move. When the entire nation generously came out in aid of the earthquake victims the leaders of the CICU rushed to the Press opposing the surcharge on the tax, while arguing that industry was already in a bad shape, probably unaware that the surcharge was imposed on all the tax payees and not only Ludhiana’s industrialists. As if this was not enough other industrial organisation United Cycle Parts Manufacturer’s Association called a press conference to protest against the raids by the income tax officials as industry was passing through a critical stage. One of the office-bearers went to the extent arguing that they had contributed about Rs 1 crore (of this there is no proof) for the aid of quake victims and yet they were being harassed by the Income Tax officials.


One is always surprised to find that the road one is travelling on is always being dug for one reason or the other. If about a month back the road had been dug to lay telephone lines causing a lot of inconvenience, now it is being dug up again for some other work. Imagine the sheer waste of time and energy. It is believed that one contractor does the job of digging and another of filling the earth. Obviously digging is done well and all the loose earth is piled up on berms, and the repair teams do a haphazard job. The road becomes uneven . No tar is used. The repaired uneven road causes traffic hazards and accidents. Will some one see to it that roads are dug once for all the purposes and then metalled later on?

Crime language

Crime news seldom brings cheer on one’s face. It always arouses a feeling of grief, horror and amazement. But if you come across a copy of the Daily Crime Report sent to the state headquarters by the district police, you cannot help but be amused at the English used by the police to explain the incident. It must be mentioned here that the prime interest of the operators at the police control room is not to report in correct language but to be as brief as possible. Yet the expressions used by them are quite hilarious and can be talked about in a lighter vein if not criticised strongly by the puritan advocates of the Queen’s English. Read this. Mr A injured in accident with his brother scooter and admitted in CMC hospital. When at the death of CMC, truck driver ran away. Murder news have a common expression. Mr. B intered the room saw Mrs C. lay down in died condition. Then there was this -Accused purchased kerocene, sold it after mixing camical on the shop. Yet another one read — Accused kerosene oil blue color by purchased less rate and mix chemical and make it white colour sole on high rates. Theft and robbery news are reported like this — Four persons were come in my house. They broken at doors, mirrors and threatened.

Hotch-potch juice

Ludhiana is a city of health conscious people if the demand of juices at various juice outlets in the city is any indication. The innovative juice-sellers cash in on the demand have come up with a new product—vegetable juices. These contain bitter gourd, radish, ginger, garlic and tomatoes etc. “Mostly diabetic come and ask for “karela’’ juice. I started it this year only and this was a big hit,” says a juice vendor at Haibowal road. Priced at Rs 10 or so people suffering from diseases like arthritis and diabetes etc ask for these juices. The concoctions include various ingredients like carrots, garlic, bittergourd and radish.

Off the record

Some of the industrial leaders have mastered the art of organising press conferences, and of conveying the desired messages to the authorities concerned: either behave according to their wishes or they would expose their involvement in a particular scandal. Interestingly, these leaders would ask the journalists not to publish their names, as it could affect their dealings with the same officials or politicians. Recently, a press conference was organised by a body of coal merchants. Leaders of the association wanted to expose the nexus of a particular transporter and some politicians and police officials supporting him. They alleged that the transporter was trying to create a terror by charging ‘goonda tax’ from the transporters at the Dhandari Kalan railway station. They told some journalists in private that the goonda tax was being charged with the support of ‘some’ politicians and police officials. The next day when their names were published besides their allegation, they were furious and denied having made such statements at all. On phone they said they had made these allegations in good faith. They did not want their names to be quoted as it was an “of the record statement.”


A lot has been written about the encroachment mafia that we have in the city. In the wake of the crusade launched by Ludhiana Tribune against encroachments in market places of the city a couple of months ago, the footpath vendors in Chaura Bazar, who had been occupying a convenient place with utter disregard to the traffic chaos created by them, were pushed back by traffic police. Some of cynical observers, who have been watching the scene for the past many years, remarked at that time that the order would not last long. But they have been proved wrong. Perhaps the footpath vendors have realised their responsibility. However, roadside vendors, who have created a mess around Ghantaghar near Guru Tegh Bahadur Market, seem to be an incorrigible lot . After vanishing from the site following police action they chose to remain out of sight for some days before returning to their respective places.

Predictions come true

Mr Vinod Kumar Gupta, an executive engineer in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and a practising astrologer today claimed that his prediction about the former union minister and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Mr Sukhbir Badal that he will get a rise in the career before February 12 has come true. After Mr Sukhbir Badal’s defeat in parliamentary elections, Mr Gupta had predicted that the Junior Badal may get a break before February 12, which Mr Gupta claims has come in the shape of his nomination to the Rajya Sabha. The prediction had appeared in various newspapers at that time. The astrologer claims that there were bright chances of his being inducted into the union council of ministers. Mr Vinod Kumar Gupta had shot into fame after predicting the victory of Mr George W Bush in the American presidential elections much before the elections were held. He also predicts trouble for Mr Badal from a woman politician, religious leader and organisations in the near future. The astrologer also predicts bright future for the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.


Valentine’s Day falls on February 14. Children’s Day on November 14. A coincidence only!

— Sentinel


Banker’s mission to France
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — She is soft-spoken, graceful and loves her job in the Foreign exchange Division of the Bank of Punjab.

Harpreet Soin did her MA in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics in 1988. After that she sat for 11 competitive examinations and, as she learnt it later, cleared eight of them. But Punjab National Bank was the first to declare the result and it offered her posting in Ludhiana. And that settled matters, since her husband was a doctor in CMC. As a direct management trainee she was posted as manager.

Soon she discovered that the atmosphere in the public sector bank did not give her job satisfaction and when this private sector bank opened a branch in Ludhiana, she joined it as manager in 1995. Two years ago she was made Assistant Vice-President of the bank. She finds her job in the Foreign Exchange Division full of challenges, very exacting and also exciting.

She has been selected to visit France as part of the Rotary Club's exchange programme for young professionals. She was selected after a round of interviews and group discussions. In France she will try to remove the outdated notions that the Westerners have about India. She will also be an ambassador of Indian culture. And she is well-equipped for this role too. In her school in Ooty she learnt Bharatnatyam from Leela Samson and even gave some performances there. In Ludhiana she is an active member of the Ludhiana Sanskritic Samagam.

She is quite appreciative of the cooperation she receives from her husband, Dr Sarabjit Soin. She is confident that in her absence, he will take care of the children.


Hurriyat’s support to Sikhs hailed
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has appreciated the decision taken by the Kashmiri Sikhs not to migrate from the Kashmir valley, and the support to that effect lent by the Hurriyat Conference which would definitely frustrate the evil designs of the fascist and fundamental forces working to disrupt the Muslim-Sikh brotherhood and would pave the way for peaceful resolution of the long pending political conflict of the Jammu and Kashmir state.

The human rights group has also hailed the induction of a Sikh leader as cabinet minister in the Farooq Abdullah ministry that would lessen the alienation of the Sikh community from the Muslim majority in the state, the IHRO chairperson, Mr D.S. Gill, said here in a statement.

According to IHRO General Secretary Mohinder Singh Grewal, the Governing Council meeting which was also attended by BKU leader Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Punjab Sikh Lawyers Council Presidium Member Gurdish Singh Grewal and World Sikh Council official Tejwant Singh Narangwal as special invitees, urged the Central government not to give recruitment to Kashmiri Sikhs in the security force deployed in the state to combat insurgency as that will worsen the situation and create hatred against Sikhs.

At the Governing Council meet, the IHRO activists Mohinder Singh Jawanda, founder of kisan movement, Justice of Peace (Magistrate) and European Co-ordinator Manjit Singh Buttar and North America Co-ordinator Gurdev Singh Gill were honoured with citations felicitating their role in promoting and internationalising human rights cause of the Sikhs during the last decade.


Gaushala lacks medical facilities

THE gaushala here, which is about 200-year-old, has about 1,000 cows and 300 bulls, but it lacks proper medical facilities for the animals.

The fact came to light after Dr H.S. Gill, Deputy Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry, and members of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) visited the gaushala.

A visit to the gaushala showed that green fodder and balls of mixed fodder were being sold to devotees at a number of shops outside the gaushala. The business is rather brisk on every Saturday and Tuesday. Inside the gaushala, a number of women were feeding cows. A woman said it was a ritual she would like to perform everyday.

When contacted on telephone, Dr Gill said he had advised the management body of the gaushala to ensure that cut fodder fed to the cows was kept in the open. Shopkeepers stored cut fodder in bundles and this fodder caused gastroenteritis in animals. Balls of dry fodder, that were rich in moisture content, also caused gastrointestinal problems in cows.

Dr Gill has also advised the management body that a separate shelter should be made for cows that are sick. It has also been decided to depute a regular government veterinary pharmacist at the gaushala. The gaushala would also receive free medicines for animals.

Dr Gill said he would soon depute a senior official who would visit the gaushala regularly and report to him.

When asked if the dry fodder balls had been tested by the department, Dr Gill samples of these could be obtained for analysis.

Mr Sham Lal Sapra, general secretary of the Gaurakshini Sabha, that looks after the gaushala, said a man had been deployed at the gate of the gaushala to inspect the fodder that devotees brought for animals. However, this correspondent saw that people were entering the gaushala with shop servants who carried huge trays of fodder balls, without any check.

There is no way of knowing how much an animal has already eaten. Dry fodder balls are mostly prepared using substandard inputs, including even sawdust. This explains why the price a ball is as low as 1 rupee. — FOC


Robbery in Haibowal
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — Taking advantage of the absence of owners, robbers in Haibowal Kallan broke into a house and allegedly decamped with some cash and jewellery.

According to Ms Kamlesh Devi, owner of the house, the total loss amounted to about Rs 50,000.

She said that she had gone to attend the marriage of her grand daughter at Tajpur on February 10. When they returned yesterday, they found the house burgled. Besides a cash amount of Rs 25,000, she claimed, the robbers decamped with jewellery and other household goods worth Rs 25,000.

She said, "though a complaint has been lodged with the police, no FIR has been registered so far."


Cut land prices at Ladhowal: CICU
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation’s (PSIEC) decision to cut the price of industrial plots at Ladhowal from Rs 1,250 per square yard to Rs 650 has failed to enthuse the industry. They are finding excuses for not shifting to the proposed industrial complex. The engineering units, especially electroplating units, had said in clear terms that they would not shift to the area because the water table in that area was very high and it would badly affect their machines as well as the manufactured material.

The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has demanded that the land rates should be decreased to Rs 300 per square yard. Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan raised this demand recently when he met Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, regarding the pre-Budget proposals.

Mr Pardhan urged the Finance Minister to withdraw the social security cess imposed even on the units which were exempted from paying sales tax. The sales tax on cycle, cycle parts, rickshaw and tricycle has been reduced from 6.6 per cent to 4.4 per cent but the notification has not been issued so far. He asked that the furnishing of ‘C’ form should be abolished on cycle and cycle parts industry as had been done by the Maharashtra Government.

The levy of the Ist stage sales tax on auto, tractor and combine parts, paints and chemicals sold by manufacturer to manufacturer should be abolished. The cycle and hosiery are the two major industries of the state and it was necessary for their development that minimum rate of tax is imposed on these industries, he added.

He said the sales tax on hosiery yarn should be reduced from 4.4 per cent to 2.2 per cent. The chamber urged that the loss of revenue may be recovered by charging sales tax on imported duty free yarn from Nepal. The minister assured Mr Pardhan to consider these views while preparing the Budget.


Small-scale units demand separate legislation
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — A separate legislation is needed for the development and growth of small-scale industries. In view of the WTO regime and globalisation, the SSI units cannot be governed by the outdated and obsolete Acts, such as the Factory Act, the PF Act and the ESIC Act. These units have to maintain more than 165 forms and registers. The government cannot expect these units to face MNCs without amending these laws.

These views were expressed by a delegation of the Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association at a meeting organised here on Monday to discuss the impact of the WTO regime on the small-scale industry. Mr Vijay Kumar Kaul and Mr Surinder Kumar had specially come from Delhi University to interact with representatives of the industry. They are studying the impact of the WTO regime on the small-scale industry.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Charan Singh Kohli, general secretary, Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association, said, ‘‘The SSI is contributing about 40 per cent of the total national industrial production to the Indian economy, and 35 per cent of total exports. However, it is being afflicted by various problems, such as lack of adequate and timely availability of credit, raw material, power, marketing and rigmarole of rules and regulations.’’

He said the SSI sector should be protected from the unfair competition with MNCs through anti-dumping provisions. There was a lot of difference in the rates of raw material in China and India. The government should try to remove the price differences through subsidies or higher tariffs on imports. To increase the marketing inputs to the sector, there was a need to set up consortia and to promote brand markets.

Speaking about the impact of the WTO regime on the knitwear industry, Mr Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, said, ‘‘The share of the knitwear industry, which is at present 15 per cent of the total fabric production, could be increased to 45 per cent, provided the international-level facilities are provided to the industry. The rate of interest should be cut. In the international market, the interest rate is about 5 per cent, whereas it is 15 per cent in the country.’’

He further asked for interest subsidy on the reconditioned machinery imports which would save foreign exchange, besides facilitating the modernisation process. Mr Harbans Singh, general manager, District Industrial Centre, asked the industrialists to modernise their units at the earliest to face the challenges of the WTO regime.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Electroplating Association, Mr Ajit Kular and Mr P.S. Bhogal also participated in the meeting.


GCTA deputation meets DPI
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — A deputation of the Government College Teachers’ Association (GCTA), Punjab, has met the DPI (Colleges), who conceded most of their demands.

Giving this information in a press note, Prof Jaipal Singh, President, GCTA, said the DPI told them that the teachers completing the required number of refresher/ orientation courses shall be placed in senior/ selection scales from the due date. The teachers who had already been placed in such scales later than their due dates shall be asked to get them changed, the DPI told them.

Professor Jaipal Singh also informed that the DPI told them that all teachers recruited after January 1, 1996 shall get two and four advance increments for M.Phil and Ph.D, respectively. Also those teachers who were awarded Ph.D degrees while in service on or after January, 1996, shall get two advance increments from the date of award of such degrees.

He further said the GCTA had also asked the DPI to consider their demands regarding the counting of past service, feeder grade service and relaxation in RCs upto December 31, 2002. He said the issue pertaining to promotions to the posts of Principal shall be decided in the next meeting with the DPI scheduled to be held on February 27. 


Joshi elected to ISAE
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — Dr A.S. Joshi, Professor of Economics and Sociology, Punjab Agriculture University, has been unanimously elected as the executive member of the Indian Society of Agriculture Economics (ISAE), Mumbai, for a term of two years. This decision was taken at the annual conference of the society held at the University of Kalyani, Kolkata, West Bengal, from January 22 to 24. The society is a premier professional body of the agricultural economists.

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