Monday, February 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Roadways unions seek review of km scheme
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — The Punjab Roadways is suffering loss of Rs 20-25 lakh per day due to the ill-conceived kilometer scheme and the illegal operation of private buses and taxies in the state. These were operating in connivance allegedly with the ministers and bureaucrates. The Action Committee of different roadways unions will hold a massive protest rally on February 27 at Kapurthala, to protest against the kilometer scheme and massive corruption in the roadways.

They have also demanded that the government should immediately provide for 300 more buses which had been promised by the government in an agreement with the transport unions. About 150 buses were provided to the Punjab Roadways under the kilometer scheme. Most of the long routes which were earlier also running in profit, were reserved for the scheme.

Mr Harcharan Singh Grewal, general secretary, Punjab Roadways Karamchari Dal, in an interview with the TNS said,‘‘ The kilometer scheme has virtually proved a death knell for the roadways as most of the profitable routes have been given to the private operators running their buses under the scheme. The government was paying Rs 7.89 per km to the bus owners. The average earnings from these buses are about Rs 11.18 per km. However, the roadways has to pay the salary of conductors, passenger tax and other expenses which results in massive loss to the government. In fact, if the earnings from these buses are Rs 13 per km, only then would these be in no profit, no loss situation.’’

He alleged that the government was determined to privatise the roadways which is reported to be running in losses because of the government’s faulty polices. The management was involved in corruption in the purchasing of spare parts and even transfers of employees.

Mr Rajinder Singh Lalton, joint secretary, Punjab Roadways Conductors’ Union, disclosed that out of a total of 2,407 buses, more than 60 per cent had already been declared unfit for passengers. Consequently, in Ludhiana alone about 4,000 km routes have been closed down resulting massive losses to the department.

He said, ‘‘The illegal operation of private buses and taxies in connivance with higher officials was affecting the earnings of the Punjab Roadways and PRTC to the tune of Rs 25-30 lakh daily. Our protests have failed to yield any result till now.’’

Interesting, no recruitment of drivers or other staff has been done over the past many years. According to an estimate about 1,500 posts were lying vacant in the roadways which was badly affecting its operations. The unions have alleged that despite increase in the prices of diesel and spare parts, the fares have not been revised. Rather due to the increasing competition the roadways has been forced to slash the fares like on Ludhiana-Chandigarh route.

The action committee of about six unions has warned the government to undertake corrective steps and ban the kilometer scheme at the earliest. At least 300 buses should be immediately added to the roadways’ fleet otherwise they would be forced to launch a ‘decisive’ struggle.


Maa retire hoti hai, but not Jaya Bachchan
By Asha Ahuja

Feb 25 — Maa retire hoti hai was staged yesterday at Guru Nanak Bhawan due to the efforts of Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam.

The play in two acts, shows the mother (Jaya Bachchan) as caring, conscientious wife of a chauvinist husband and a loving grandmother. She is concerned about her sons, daughters-in-law and the husband. She gives hankies to her sons when they leave for offoce. She washes, cooks and takes care of the grandson. She does all chores, but the daughters-in-law resent their husbands’ devotion to their mother. On the sly, the elder son and his wife plan to buy a building of an old age home which was started by the mother. In the course of the play, the audience discovers that she was a writer and had been physically abused by her husband.

The younger son goes to a movie with his wife without telling her. The mother in her is very hurt and Jaya says, “One only needs to tell lies when one does not have faith in others. I have always thought that I gave you good values but somehow I have failed. Ever since I was five years I have worked for my parents, then as a wife, mother and grandmother. All my life I have served and borne pain, but in vain so hence forth I am going to retire from all my duties and responsibilities. From this moment, I give one month’s notice before I quit home but this one month should be treated as my holiday.”

Her announcement stuns the family and they think that she is just upset and will soon come round but she sticks to her word which upsets the routine of the house.

Jaya Bachchan’s performance transcends the narrowness of specific home to seek wider role for the mother. She makes women discover the mother that we may have lost in the rat race of narrow worldly gains.

The play certainly deserved the standing ovation which the cast got at the curtain call.


Face-to-face with Ramesh Talwar
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — “In all the world, the government of every country encourages theatre. In Russia, we saw beautiful theatre and the government patronising and promoting theatre. Only in India theatre is neglected. Movies get advertised in newspapers at much cheaper rates than the advertisements for a play. Since the theatre people are not rich, it is very difficult for them to advertise,” said Mr Ramesh Talwar, Director of the ‘Maa Retire Hoti Hai’ .

He further said that it took 50 years for Prithvi Theatre to establish and still runs short of money and needs sponsors. “Moreover, we find shortage of auditoriums to rehearse and put up our plays. Naturally the theatre is suffering due to lack of cooperation from the people, from the government, and a fierce competition from electronic media”. Talking about his play ‘Maa Retire Hoti Hai’, he said, “When we find any actor or actress inclined towards theatre, we rope them in. We asked Jaya to play the role of mother. The character is a frustrated person whom the family dumps. The impact of the play is immense as the theme is always with a message.”

The director, Ramesh Talwar, has provided a meaningful counterfoil to the central character of the mother, and plays the role of her husband. In this play, he wants to convey the importance of mothers and he seeks to find a wider role for mother in the world i.e. like an ocean full of human Islands.

At the press conference were Geeta Tyagi, Neha Romal, Ruma Rajni, Amar Babaria and Shailendra Ghai, who would be enacting small but individualistic roles.

Of course, the main protagonist will be Jaya Bachchan, but according to the producer of the play, Sanjay Goradia, after viewing the play the audience will realise the importance of all the characters. Their next production will star Shatrughan Sinha and it would be a comedy. Shabana Azmi and Farukh Sheikh would also be acting in Ramesh Talwar’s plays. He inducts popular and famous film personalities in order to draw large audience towards theatre. Theatre is an instrument of change and should be encouraged by people and media both said Mr Ramesh Talwar. — AABack



600 telephones out of order
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — The meeting of the Sarpanch Union, Koom Kalan, was held here under the presidentship of Mr Rajinder Singh, sarpanch of the village. Members of the union criticised the telecom officials and administrative officials for giving a deaf ear to their problem of disrupted telephone lines.

According to a press note, Mr Rajinder Singh said 600 telephones of Chaunta and Baliewal villages were out of order for the past 10 days. The villagers were facing problems and their normal routine was also disrupted. The sarpanch added that they had sent a complaint to the Union of Communication Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, and urged him to look into the matter. Back


9 landlords booked
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — The local police has launched a drive against the landlords who have not been informing it about their tenants. Nine cases were registered under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code against landlords.

The drive follows the notification by the district administration to ensure that all the activities of people who come and reside here are properly monitored. This was prompted by the recent spurt in crime in the city, which is mostly being attributed to the migrant labourers.

With this total number of cases registered under this section have increased to 10.

Most of the cases have been registered in the posh localities of Sarabha Nagar and Model Town. The case has been registered against Sadhu Singh, Surinderpal Singh, Maninder Pal Singh, Mohmad Islam, Jaspal Singh, all resident of Sarabha Nagar, Shamsher Singh, Kashmiri Lal, Ajay Kumar and Jagir Singh, all residents of Model Town.

One killed
Munna, a resident of Dana Mandi, was killed on the spot in an accident. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code on the statement of constable Jasbir Singh.

Liquor seized
The police has seized 10 bottles of liquor from Vinod Bhiari and registered a case under Sections 61, 1, and 14 of the Exicse Act against him.

Women beat up man
Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Kheri, was allegedly beaten up by three women namely Harkesh Kaur, Surinder Kaur and Amandeep Kaur. The complainant alleged that the accused had removed his watch while beating him. The police has registered the case under Sections 323, 324 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. In another incident, Sikender Singh, a resident of Himanyupur, was reportedly beaten up by Amarpal Singh. A case has been registered. In third incident, Jagjit Singh, Harpreet Singh, Sarabjit Singh, Billu and Deepa reportedly entered the house of Lal Singh, a resident of Mehmood Pura, and beaten up him and his family members. A case has been registered under Sections 452, 323, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code.

Cheating case
Jaswant Singh, a resident of Avtar Nagar, reported that he had given Rs 22,000 to Rajinder Kumar, Tarshotam and Manjit Rai, all residents of Sangrur, for the change of registration number of a vehicle (DBL-2871). It is learnt that the accused gave a fake registration number (PB-13-E-3939) to the complainant. The police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, and 471 of the Indian Penal Code.



Foundation aims for global patents
From our correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 25—The DAV Ayurvedic Research Foundation aims to safeguard the interests of the country by undertaking international standard research in ayurveda, getting global patents and providing better health care to the people at large. Disclosing this here today Dr P.K.Jain, Principal and Director, DAV Ayurvedic Research Foundation at the national seminar on ‘Ayurveda-Native Wisdom in Health and Wisdom’ organised by the foundation that there was great scope of modernised research which could lead to new milestones in health care.

Dr J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, inaugurated the seminar in which about 200 ayurvedic doctors took part.

Dr Akhilesh Sharma, Honorary Speaker to University of Miami, USA was the first speaker who spoke on the globalisation of ayurveda. He said that Indians could have benefited from Ayurveda more like other developing countries. Dr R.K.Mishra, professor, Kaya Chkitsa, Government Ayurvedic College, Lucknow, talked about the ayurvedic approach to various diseases.

Dr Sanjiv Sood, MD, Ayurvedic Medicine, Head of Panchkarma department, Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar, said Panchkarma was a unique ayurvedic therapy and could easily cure various diseases. The speakers also answered various queries of the people present there.

Dr R.Vatsayan, a health columnist said that research foundation had come a long way in the recent years. Dr Raman Chawla, DM cardiology, stressed the importance of yoga and meditation in the prevention of heart diseases.

Dr Raj Kumar, head of the department of Basic Principals DAV, Jalandhar, said rasayan and rejuvenation played an important role in ayurveda.

Mrs Geetika Kalha, chief patron of the DAV Ayurvedic Research Foundation and commissioner, Jalandhar division, presided.

The distinguished guests on the occasion included Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Dr C Prakash, Mr Prem Nath Gupta, Dr T Jesu Padam and Dr Pradeep Nagrath.


Inventor’s tale of woe
By Naveen S. Garewal

LUDHIANA, Feb 24 — Procedural delays and red tape have frustrated the efforts of a Ludhiana inventor of getting his work patented. Running from one office to another, Rashpal Singh Gill has now almost given up hope of his work seeing the light of the day. The much-needed amendments in the Indian Patent Act notwithstanding, the procedure being followed by the department concerned exposes the work submitted for securing a patent to thefts by unscrupulous elements.

Having spent most of his life in Nairobi, teaching physics and experimenting with mechanics, Mr Gill claims to have developed a new design of a crankshaft that would substantially reduce energy loss and conserve fuel. This is not all; his half-a-dozen odd innovations include a rotary type engine that does not require a crankshaft as the gas is used to rotate the engine.

If he is such a bright person then what is his problem? Well as he himself puts it, he is very skeptical of the procedure involved in getting a product patented. “The clerk in the office said leave your invention on my table and, we will send you a receipt-cum-acknowledgement after a month”, says Gill. “How can I trust the clerk with my work that I don’t even trust my kin with, lest it is stolen and I find someone else enjoying the patent on my innovations”, he questions.

Mr Gill wrote to the Prime Minister highlighting the inadequacies in the Indian Patent Act of 1911, 1930 and 1970 through former Finance Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh. Mr Gill also highlighted the need for amending the patent office rules regarding the acceptance of provisional specification of inventions. But the only response he received was that he should write to Secretary, Science and Industrial Research. Mr Manmoan Singh was courteous enough to write back, but said, “discuss your problems with the Secretary, Dr. R.A Mashelkar, so that he can appreciate your concerns”.

Today, Gill moves about with sketches of a helicopter rotor fan in his pocket, which if adopted by the aviation experts, he claims, would increase the lift power of helicopters manifold. This new design of the helicopter rotor fan makes it possible for the rotor to suck in air from the side as well as the top, as compared to the top only in the existing models. He says that the outward force is neutralized in this design, resulting in increased efficiency and power conservation. Besides increasing the lift power, a loop type fan will reduce wobbling too.

Though, the Patent Act prohibits anyone living in India to get his discoveries or inventions patented outside the country, the patent rules require an Indian inventor to leave the description and working of an invention which is technically called a specification at the patent office (which belong to the Central Government) without any receipt or acknowledgement from the patent office or send the specification by a letter by post which means the same thing.

Mr Gill says: “It is noteworthy that instead of the words filing of the application for grant of a patent, the word ‘leave’ has been used which is the same thing when a person after purchasing goods from a shop forgets to carry them home and leaves them at the shop, which he may or may not recover, it all depends on the honesty of the shopkeeper. It is obvious without any receipt to acknowledgement, how can an inventor prove that he communicated an invention to the patent office. The patent office can thus credit any other person, even their own relative, son or wife, to be inventor of that invention left by an inventor without any receipt from the patent office, and thus the inventor himself is made to arrange for his foolproof cheating by the patent office”.

After the application has been left at the patent office, the officials concerned will not only allot the serial number, but also date the application, which can be much later than the date on which the application was left at that office. Thus the inventor cannot even prove when he left that application at that patent office, he says.

Mr Gill produced a letter written to him by the patent office, Okhla Industrial Estate, and dated March 1, 1977, that shows that patenting of one of his inventions has been delayed from over 20 years due to unrealistic rules. This may have enormous financial loss because those inventions can result in making engines which consume much less fuel than that of the present generation of engines. Mr Mashelkar wrote back to Gill saying that only Indian Parliament can change these rules.

In fact this requirement to issue back a signed copy of specification on a receipt does not need the approval of Parliament. Even the Prime Minister can do that. But the staff of the Prime Minister’s office have not been able to understand the importance of these inventions and, therefore, they have not brought the matter to the notice of the Prime Minister, Gill says.

The inventions of a new type of crankshaft may turn out to be the greatest invention of the last 100 years, because it effects 90 per cent of all engines run by steam, petrol and diesel, the inventor claims.


The man who founded PAU

WHAT Partap Singh Kairon was to Punjab and Dewan Anand Kumar to Panjab University, P.N. Thapar is to urban Punjab. P.N. Thapar helped in the development of small-scale industries and establishment of Punjab Agricultural University here, linking agriculture with industry. Without the PAU, Green Revolution might not have been possible.

P.N. Thapar was a gifted man, one of the finest Civil Servants of his time. He had graduated from St John’s College at Oxford.

He had a distinguished career as Settlement Officer (Jhelum), Commissioner of Lahore and Jalandhar divisions. As Financial Commissioner (refugees-rehabilitation) and Administrator of Chandigarh, he did a remarkable job. In 1951, he led a team of top officials to visit Europe to find architects for Chandigarh. Le Corbusier, Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, and Pierre Jeanneret, later, laid the foundations of the first organised school of architecture in India under the supervision of P.N. Thapar. He was good judge of people.

His presence used to inspire thinking people. Mangat Rai once said P.N. Thapar was a man of character and attitude. These qualities made him a hard taskmaster.

As head of the PAU, his first and final post-retirement assignment, He selected right persons for right jobs, besides raising funds, buildings, laboratories and farms on the campus. He looked for potential and not qualification in a person. He never accepted second-rate work from anyone.

From his office in Chandigarh, he controlled things in the PAU, when agricultural universities were also coming up at Hisar and Palampur, under his supevision only.

He used to be a good team leader who hated delays and wastage. He shared his knowledge with the faculty openly and sincerely to give the nation an excellent agricultural university. Though the government did not give due recognition to his work and paralysis slowed him down, Ohio University awarded him a doctorate. A high-level delegation came from Ohio to the PAU to award him the degree in a special convocation.

P.N. Thapar is truly unforgettable.


Encroachments cause problems
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 24 — Apart from imparting an ugly look to the city in general, telephone and electric poles, particularly those supporting transformers, are also contributing to traffic congestion as the space rendered useless by these poles is occupied by roadside businessmen.

Visit any old city area — the Civil Lines, Focal Point or any locality on the town’s outer periphery — to witness the extent to which encroachments have been made taking advantage of such installations on the road. While the influential city residents manipulate things to encroach upon public land with some rental value, the lesser individuals, aided by the Municipal Corporation staff, manage to set up little business outlets by the roadside.

Towards the Lakkar Bazar end of the Brown Road is a small triangular shopping complex which is as old as the city itself. At its tail end are a couple of telephone and electricity poles which render nearly 7 feet of space useless on a road which is one of the most accident-prone roads of the city. The space between these poles is useless for pedestrians as well as vehicle drivers. But not so for the rehriwallahs who take their turns at the place. There are different hawkers at different times of the day at the same place. In the evening rush hours, the man selling potato tikkies at the place and his customers who occupy public road while satiating their appetite for spicy fast food might be held responsible for obstructing traffic. If the poles are shifted to some other suitable place, the men doing business because of these would also have to seek some other place.

There is a big power transformer opposite the municipal parking near Mata Rani chowk in the heart of the city. Vacant space created by the transformer comes handy for roadside sellers of lottery tickets etc.

In Rakh Bagh, a similar setting in front of a nursing home comes to the aid of a roadside cycle repairman. So is the case with the footpath on the GT road in front of the railway station which has been encroached upon by a roadside cycle repair outfit stationed close to an electricity transformer. On the road in front of the CMC Hospital too , there stands a power transformer which provides ample space to a roadside seller of cigarettes etc. This road is one of the 12 roads within the old city limits which have been jointly earmarked for removal of encroachments by the Municipal Corporation and the traffic police.


Accused allege victimisation
Clash in Chander Nagar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — The main accused in the Chander Nagar clash, which left two persons injured, today said they were being victimised because of public pressure.

One of the accused told TNS that in fact they themselves were the victims. He claimed that on the afternoon of February 22, when he and his son were sitting in the factory a mob of about 40 persons descended on the factory located in the area. Some people in the mob allegedly used foul language and threatened that they would ensure that the factory was closed down. This resulted in heated arguments between the factory owners and the mob.

Meanwhile, some of the people from the mob started attacking the three. As the workers saw it they rushed to defend them. In the ensuing brawl two persons were injured. He regretted that the police had succumbed to public pressure and amended the FIR by incorporating Section 307 of the IPC in the case by making it an attempt to murder. While earlier the police had registered an FIR under Sections 294, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC, it was subsequently amended with Section 307 due to public pressure.

He said, “where was the motive of murder when we were assaulted in our factory premises and so much furniture and other machinery had been damaged by the mob”. He said, if anyone was injured in the scuffle it was not deliberate but only in self defence. He disclosed that most of the people who had attacked the factory were not the residents of the area and had been hired for the purpose.

Meanwhile, inquiries made by the TNS revealed that Thursday’s brawl was the culmination of a long- drawn confrontation between the local residents and the factory owners. The residents want the factory to be shifted. Moreover, they have allegedly been objecting to the presence of employees who are said to belong to a different community. Their activities are reportedly being objected to by the local residents and who wanted an opportunity to settle score with them.

The workers reportedly used to play cricket during the night in the area which was objected to by the local people. The factory owners maintained that so many others also used to play cricket and only the factory workers were being singled out.

However, the SHO Haibowal, Mr Waryam Singh, defended the amendment in the FIR and said, one of the victims was struggling for life in a hospital. He also questioned the claims of the accused that they were attacked by the mob.


Tohra against Sikhs in J&K task force

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Feb 25 — Veteran Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra today expressed his reservations over recruitment of the Kashmiri Sikh youth in the valley’s task force as, he said, this would “create hatred against the Sikhs in the minds of Kashmiri militants”.

“Any move regarding the recruitment of the Sikh youth in the Kashmir task force will result in another large scale migration from the valley,” Mr Tohra told reporters here.

He, however, welcomed the three-month extension of the ceasefire in Kashmir by the Union government.

The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President assailed the RSS for issuing a statement that Guru Gobind Singh had sent the Sikh army to Ayodhya for the demolition of Babri masjid. He termed the statement as mischievous and misleading. 


Patwari suspended
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 —Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, has announced that Varinder Kumar, patwari, has been suspended in a corruption case. He said this to a delegation of the Anti Corruption Federation of India which met him recently.

It may be recalled that Varinder Kumar had been caught red-handed by the Vigilance Department while accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000 from Mr Sukhwinder Singh, a trader and member of the association. The bribe was allegedly being taken for providing the property documents. Mr Sarup Singh, DSP, had arrested him. However, he was not suspended immediately by the department despite being kept in the jail for more than 48 hours.Back



Relief trucks flagged off to Gujarat
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — The Speaker of Punjab Legislative Assembly, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, today flagged off a relief convoy of eight trucks for the Gujarat quake victims. The trucks are carrying relief material worth Rs 20 lakh.

Disclosing this here today, the Deputy Commissioner Mr S.K. Sandhu, said, the material includes 6,600 blankets worth Rs 10 lakh, 1500 T-shirts worth Rs 2.5 lakh, pulses, tea and ration worth Rs 4.5 lakh and 2680 sweaters worth Rs 3 lakh.

The Deputy Commissioner said, so far goods worth Rs 90 lakh and Rs 70 lakh cash had been dispatched to Gujarat. This include Rs 10 lakhs by the Hero Cycles Group which is one day’s salary of their employees. A cheque was presented by Mr Brij Mohan Munjal, Mr O.P. Munjal and Mr Sunil Kant Munjal to the DC today. Mr Kirpal Singh Hans of the Freedom Fighters body presented a cheque of Rs 25,000 to the DC.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Atwal expressed his gratitude to the people who had been contributing generously for the relief of the quake victims of Gujarat.


Businessman missing
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — Gurvinder Singh a middle-aged businessman of Subzi Mandi has been reported missing since February 22.

According to the family members, Gurvinder Singh had left for Delhi with a sum of Rs 1.7 lakh for making certain payment. Gurvinder Singh runs a wholesale business in the vegetable market here.

He reportedly left for Delhi in a car. The driver of the car returned after dropping him at Mandi Gobindgarh. He reportedly got down at Shahbad Markanda where he had to collect some money from a person. He called up his wife at around 4.30 p.m. and told her that he was leaving for Delhi. He had not met the person from whom he had to collect money till then.

Since then nothing is known about Gurvinder Singh. His family members got worried when they received a call from the person whom he had to make the payment that Gurvinder had not reached Delhi. An FIR has been registered at Division No 3 police station. 


Two held, cash seized
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Feb 25 —During nakabandi the Sadar Khanna police has seized a sum of Rs 6,80,000 from Rajesh Singh Yadav resident of New Delhi and Sucha Singh District Nawan Shahr. They both had hired a Maruti van from Banga for Khanna. During checking they could not reveal the source of money. 

Two cheques worth Rs 8 lakh were also recovered from them. As per the statement of Sucha Singh the cheques and cash belonged to one Baldev Raj of Beas. The information about this recovery has been given to the Enforcement Directorate, Jalandhar, and the Income Tax Department Ludhiana.Back



‘Protect cycle, hosiery makers’
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — What has the coming Budget in store for the hosiery and cycle manufacturers here? This question is hotly debated here.

“We don’t have lobby at the national level to make Mr Yashwant Sinha incorporate benefits for the hosiery and cycle industry”, say the local manufacturers.

The hosiery and cycle industry, which is facing a big challenge from Taiwan, South Korea and China, wants “protection” from the Union Government at the moment. “While enforcing the various aspects of World Trade Organisation (WTO) no one took us into confidence and neither any information was passed on to us by the Union Government. And now when cheap goods have started flooding the country, panic buttons have been pressed by all.”

Manufacturers here say that before implementing the WTO regime, the Union Government should have provided enough funds for the upgradation of machinery and cut duties on the raw material to compete with the productions coming from abroad. But this has not been done and consequently the entire industry is facing a big threat.

Mr Vinod Thapar, President of the Knitwear Club, said that the club members wanted that the Government should bring down the Customs duty to zero on the machinery import like Bangladesh, which has started establishing its foothold in the international garments market. The 20 per cent income tax on the revenue from exports should also be abolished, he said.

Mr Jiwan Dhavan, Chairman of the Modinagar Hosiery Manufacturers Association here said the excise duty should only be levied on production base and not on “chamber” base. He said that though many chambers in factories remain closed for a long period in a year but their owners have to pay duty in lakhs of rupees.

The Budget should give financial support to the modernisation of the manufacturing units. Various duties on raw material should be cut. While in India, polyester yarn to manufacturers was available at Rs 105 per kg, in foreign countries the same yarn was available for Rs 60 a kg , he said. The textiles is a labour intensive industry and it has the lowest profit base.

Mr D.S.Chawala, President of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, said that because of unavailability of quality raw material like plastic and alloy, the local cycle manufacturers are unable to produce fancy bicycles for younger generation. It produces bicycles for kids from the same material which is used to manufacture common bicycle.

Quoting from the WTO agreement, Mr Chawla said that the country having less than $1,000 per capita income and less than 3 per cent share of trade in the international market can impose restrictions on the dumping of cheap goods. As India fulfilled both conditions, the Union Government should take advantage of such provisions.

He said that the lending rates should be cut. Banks abroad lend money at 5 or 6 per cent interest whereas here the rate was over 12 per cent. Moreover, there should be strict earmarking of allocation made for lending for small scale industry. Big industrialists take greater share of the money meant for lending by the banks, he asserted.

There should be subsidy on the importing of tools and the government should help in the transfer of new technology in the bicycle manufacturing sector. 


Liquor contractor, excise officials trade charges
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 25 — Rakesh Bansal, son and one of the partners of the detained liquor contractor Roop Lal today alleged that there were some more liquor firms against whom there were pending arrears worth crores of rupees and the Excise and Taxation Department was letting them off. He alleged that a senior officer of the department was helping one of the groups and had managed a loan to the tune of Rs 50 lakh for the group.

Mr Bansal claimed that Samrala Chowk Group owed about Rs 2 crore to the department while, the New Market Group owed more than Rs 1 crore. He pointed out that no action had been taken against these two groups, while his father was sent to revenue lock up.

Meanwhile the contractor’s detention was extended by another month as he allegedly refused to pay the arrears. He was reportedly asked to either pay the cash, offer bank guarantee or pledge his property which he refused.

Arguing his case, Rakesh Bansal today questioned the stand of the Excise and Taxation Department to effect recovery from one single partner. He claimed that they (he and his father besides the third partner) were ready to provide guarantee or pledge property but only for the 60 per cent. He said they had the control and the liability of only 60 per cent as two other partners had already pledged their property.

He pointed out when two of the partners had already pledged their property with the department what was the logic in detaining one contractor and claiming the entire amount of arrears from him. He reiterated his charge that they were being singled out since they had refused to pay bribe to some of officials of the department.

The Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr L.A. Khan, admitted that the arrears were pending against the Samrala Group and the New Market Group. However, he added that both the groups were regularly paying the arrears and had also pledged their property against the pending arrears.

Countering the arguments of Mr Bansal, he said, the department wanted him to give bank guarantee or pledge his property for the 60 per cent only which is due from the group of Mr Roop Lal Bansal. He clarified that Mr Bansal would be released immediately if he provides the guarantee right now. He denied the charges that the department had selectively targeted him. 

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