Wednesday, March 21, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC approves Rs 5 crore for development works
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
The Municipal Corporation has approved development plans of Rs 5 crore for the city, under which, water supply and sewerage facilities will be expanded. From this money, new tubewells will be installed, roads will be paved and streetlights will be provided.

The Finance and Contracts Committee (F and CC) of the MC, at its meeting here yesterday approved the proposals for commissioning two tubewells in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and Hargobind Nagar at an estimated cost of Rs 20 lakh. It also approved the construction of a 1 lakh-gallon-capacity overhead service reservoir at a cost of Rs 25 lakh in D Block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and installation of several pumps in many localities to augment the water supply. The sewerage and water supply projects will be of Rs 1.20 Crore.

The development of a Road overbridge junction on Model Town Road will be undertaken at a cost of Rs 31.53 lakh and Kota stone will be laid on footpaths in Chaura Bazar at a cost of Rs 12.11 lakh. The MC has also decided to provide a filteration plant and three heaters in the Rakh Bagh swimming pool here, which will cost Rs 24.17 lakh. A new parking lot, at an estimated cost of Rs 6.71 lakh, will be built in the shopping centre of Dairy Complex at Haibowal.

The F and CC also approved projects for the pavement of roads and brick flooring of lanes at a cost of Rs 11.78 crore. The revised estimate for the ongoing work of widening and carpeting of Pakhowal Road from Bhai Bala Chowk to Malhar Cinema Crossing was also sanctioned. The total revised cost of the work will be Rs 70.79 lakh compared to Rs 56.68 lakh earlier.

The committee decided to provide and upgrade streetlights in a number of areas by spending Rs 35.72 lakh. Work orders of another Rs 20.13 lakh were also approved for this purpose. The estimates for several development works in the city, of Rs 97.68 lakh, were unanimously approved.

The MC, pursuing its policy of privatisation of civic facilities, will give the job of maintenance of water supply and sewerage facilities in Phases I and II of Urban Estate on experimental basis to a private contractor, for which, a Rs 21.73 lakh estimate has been sanctioned. The disposal work in Sunder Nagar will also be handed over to private contractors in the same manner, for which, a Rs 2.26 lakh estimate has been approved.

The committee meeting was attended by the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, the MC Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu, the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Jagdish Prasad Loomba, and Mr Jai Parkash, a councillor.


Qualitative change must in farm system: Paroda
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
The agricultural system of the country was changing rapidly and it necessitated a qualitative change in our agricultural education system, said Dr R.S. Paroda, Director-General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, while delivering the convocational address at Punjab Agricultural University here today.

He held that the present education system should be revised in view of the future challenges and the concepts should be changed from theoretical to that of practical nature in order to solve the present problems of the farming sector. He said that the emphasis of the education should now be on producing graduates who are not job providers and not seekers.

Emphasising the need of education with practical orientation, Dr Paroda called upon the agricultural universities to set up “agricultural technology parks” which should impart the students complete orientation and training in starting and running an enterprise like soil testing laboratories, crop clinics, agro service centres, agro processing plants, warehousing, dairying etc. He said that these agricultural parks should be so designed to provide the students confidence and practical knowledge along with appropriate skills and experience to start a new venture.

He informed that ICAR had taken initiatives to review and reform the whole agricultural education system in the light of experiences of the past. Dr Paroda said that programmes were under way to train the existing human resource available in agricultural education for a new mind set and make them fully competent in modern teaching, research and extension approaches.

Dr Paroda also emphasised the need for developing specialised courses in agri business , quality control, export marketing and agro industry. He remarked that as the agro industry in India was on the rise, so there was a need to introduce special courses in agri business management, international marketing and agri export business. Keeping in view the requirements of WTO regime, the aspects of agri business management needed to be thoroughly incorporated in all agricultural related curriculum with special emphasis on entrepreneur development.

The Chancellor of PAU, Lt. Gen. J. F. R. Jacob, Governor of Punjab, awarded a Doctor of Science (Honoris causa) degree to Dr Rattan Lal, Professor, School of Natural Resources, Ohio State University, USA.

In his convocation report the Vice-Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat, called upon the passing graduates to continuously strive for proper understanding of the social and psychological fabric community and to have sympathy and empathy towards farmers in order to serve them better. Praising the farmers of the state the VC said that they had done remarkably well in the past. He called upon the farmers to diversify and harness the potentials in vegetable, fruits, fishery, farm forestry, dairy, other oil seed crops.

As many as 325 postgraduates were awarded master’s degrees and 64 Ph.D. degrees were awarded at the convocation. Besides, 18 students were also awarded gold medals for outstanding achievements in their respective fields.

Dr Rattan Lal, Professor at School of Natural resources, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA, in presently the Director of Management and Sequestration Programme and Director of the South Asia initiative of the Ohio State University. Dr Rattan Lal has developed a comprehensive research programme encompassing the application of soil physics for addressing problems of soil compaction, soil erosion and conservation tillage.

Special emphasis of his research is on soil processes in relation of green house effect, soil wetness and anaerobiosis, sustainable management of soil and water resources with particular reference to tropical rain forest ecosystem, restoration and rehabilitation of degraded lands and mine lands, water quality, land drainage and agroforestry.

During an illustrious professional career spanning 35 years, Dr Lal has published more than 320 referred journal articles. He has authored five books and edited/co-edited 36 books. He has organised 25 international conferences and is on the editorial boards of 15 international journals. Dr Lal has received numerous awards, honours and professional recognitions and his member of several professional societies.

The expertise of Dr Rattan Lal as a consultant has been used by several international organisations including FAO, UNDP, World bank, GTZ, ISAID, CIAT, UNEP and Asian Development Bank. He has held several offices in professional scientific societies with distinction. He is a member of the U.S. National Committee on Soil Science of the National Academy of Sciences.

He has played an important role in reviving the historic ties between the Ohio State University and Punjab agricultural University for addressing second generation green revolution problems in Punjab.

Dr Jagtar Singh Bal, Associate Professor of Horticulture, has been honoured with Shri Hans Raj Pahwa award in annual convocation.

His findings on weed management in Kinnow, grapes, pear and ber are also well adopted by fruit growers of Punjab.

Ms Harvinder Kaur was awarded Dr Avtar Singh Atwal Gold medal for having been adjudged the all round best student in master’s programme while Mr Ranjit Singh was awarded P.N. Thapar gold medal for having been adjudged the best graduate of PAU.

M.S. Randhawa gold medal for best essay on “Evaluation of Life” was awarded to Mr Sandeep Singh, while the same award for 1999 was given away to Lacchman Dass. Atlas of Buffalo Anatomy, a book authored by Dr H. Singh and D Kripa Shamkar Roy brought the duo M.S. Randhawa best book award for year 1997.



Society must rise to the occasion
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
Three women with a common dream. Two of them, wives of rich business tycoons, the third deeply concerned about the education of her mentally challenged daughter, got together to start a school for mentally challenged. Their conscience urged them do some useful work for society. Their neighbour Abha Ranjan motivated them by her dedicated work for the mentally challenged. So Maninder, Radhika Jaitwani and Sameera Bector wanted to do their best for the children of the lesser God. Today, their efforts have given the city Ek Prayas — an institute for children with special needs.

“Run by Social Action Group (regd.), we started in two rooms with one student and one teacher in August, 1998. After a month the teacher found another job and left us. Most of the people of the city thought that we were running the school for the sake of publicity and we will fold up within a month,” says Sameer.

But the three musketeers stood firm and are running the school proficiently with the help of three specially trained teachers and five workers. The strength of the school has grown to 40. There are 100 students on the waiting list, 15 children are given home management which means the parents come once a week for direction and revisit every week to get their wards’ progress checked. The school had to shift premises as they needed more space and finally the school has been established in a rented house on main Ferozepore Road near octroi post. Since, it is far away, three-wheelers are employed for the children who come from as far as Dugri.

The goals of the schools are: (a) counselling; (b) education and school environment; (c) vocation training; (d) relief centre; (e) home management programme. Relief centre means that the parents of these children get relief when they send their children to school. While some of the parents accept the fact that their child is mentally challenged, some cannot bear the fact. They often tell us to start a boarding school so that they do not have to see their children. Obviously the parents who take care of the children do well.

The three women have applied for land to build the school. They want a big piece of land so that the children can play in the playground to develop their motor coordination. The school runs on donations.

Maninder said, “Society is cruel to these children. Sometimes, when we send these children to the schools of normal children, the children make fun of them and call them mad and tease them relentlessly. Even when I take my daughter for a movie, the audience is extremely insensitive and use very derogatory words for her.”

“Normally, we charge a nominal fee of Rs 300 but there are some persons who cannot afford to pay the fees for their spastic children. So they help us in the school. One child was operated in DMC, and after the operation he can walk. The DMC hospital is very helpful as it takes only 50 per cent from us and provides us with free check-ups. Our students go regularly to DMC for physiotherapy. The Christian Dental Hospital also sends a team of dentists for dental check-ups.”

Radhika said: “We try to give them a very normal life. Some children have down syndrome, and some have an I.Q. as low as 20, and a few of them had a I.Q. of 60 to 80. Each child needs special attention according to his needs and requirements. Generally, the children with low I.Q. get very violent. So our special teachers have training to tackle them.”

Mr Brijesh, who has received a degree from the National Institute for the handicapped from Hyderabad, says: “Behaviour of each child differs due to their I.Q. level and the children who are violent are generally kept busy. We give them specially devised frames with cloth. In these are fitted zips, buttons, laces so that they can learn how to operate them. Later, they can tie their own laces and become independent.”

Mr Gulshan Arora and his wife Renu have both got training from Arpan Institute for Mentally Handicapped, Rohtak. They said: “Sometimes, the children are taught simple things. Corner sitting is provided to study the neck. The children are taught functional academics like painting, colouring, drawing etc. Toilet training for these children require a lot of patience and time. A study programme has to be chalked out and the parents have to cooperate.”

Pankaj, with an I.Q. of 46, was asking the teachers when they would get a computer. He wants to go to Australia to find a job. Samira said that they organised picnics for them and held annual functions. They have been promised Rs 51,000 by the Finance Minister, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, and Rs 2 lakh by the Lala Lajpat Rai, an ex-MP. Some members of the society do invite these children to their homes which is very good as they learn to interact with different people.

All the three women felt that there were certain things which society must do for these children. All the shopping malls that are coming up must have a ramp so that the mentally handicapped can go for shopping in their wheelchairs. Similarly, theatres, railway stations, bus-stops must have provision for handicapped people. Society should come out to help. If they cannot come to the school, they can take care of some handicapped children in their own localities. The children feel encouraged to interact with new people. The government should provide a shop in some market areas, where students can sell products like candles, greeting cards, envelopes, embroidered wall hangings etc. The society should help them in rehabilitation by giving them jobs and the rest of the workers should accept them.

Mrs Dheer of Alpine School has accepted two students with border line I.Q. Similarly, other schools and organisations should accept these children. “We are very happy with the progress of our students. Even when they make little improvement, it means a lot to us. We want the members of the society to cooperate by giving scholarships and their time. We definitely need a lot of volunteers. Even if they give one hour a day, it is more than enough.”


Pensioners criticise Punjab Budget
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister of Punjab, in his fifth consecutive Budget presented in the Assembly yesterday, has made no provisions for the implementation of the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission for pensioners.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, President of the Punjab State Pensioners Confederation, said, “Despite repeated representations to the government by several pensioners’ associations and the announcement by the Punjab Chief Minister at Samrala, no provision has been made in the state Budget for the implementation of the recommendations.”

Mr Kaushal said the Centre had hurt the masses by lowering the rate of interest on investments in small-saving schemes, increasing the maturity period of Kisan Vikas Patras and National Saving Certificates and suspending the grant of leave travel concession.

Mr Kaushal said, “The recommendations include old-age allowance at a rate of 5 per cent and 10 per cent on attaining the age of 65 and 75, respectively. There also include merger of 97 per cent DA into the basic pay for determining gratuity benefits against more than 33 years of service, grant of at least 50 per cent pension according to new grades to those who had retired on old grades, reservation of 2 per cent plots and dwelling units in PUDA colonies and a Rs 500 fixed monthly medical allowances.”

Mr Kaushal said, the Finance Minister, in his Budget speech, had claimed a healthy growth in revenue receipts and compression of non-plan and non productive expenditure and that the state had the highest per capita income, but pensioners had still been ignored.

Mr Kaushal said a meeting of the state executive of the PSPC had been called on March 26, here to finalise the action plan to force the Punjab Government to accept the demands of pensioners.

The Punjab Government pensioners are more than 1.5 lakh in number. More than three years have lapsed since the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission Report was submitted to the state government. 


Bhangra keeps Janak in upbeat mood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Janak Raj has been training the ‘bhangra’ teams of Punjab Agricultural University for the past 30 years. This team have won awards not only in India, but also in USA, Canada, England, Holland, and Malaysia.

Janak Raj belongs to a traditional family of drummers. He picked up this art at young age from his father and since then, he has been continued with the tradition of his family.

“I was born in 1947 when ‘bhangra’ was in vogue, so there is nothing unusual in my picking up this art,” he says.

His students have performed in various national and international events. On several occasions, the ‘bhangra’ troupes that he trained participated in the Republic Day functions and also won awards. He also led a team of drummers at the opening ceremony of the Asiad in New Delhi in 1982.

Janak Raj is selective in picking his team. Though he is a popular drummer, he does not like to perform at the marriage functions, no matter how much he is offered. “I perform only at the marriages of my students”, because money is not my motive he says. His students have not only been good ‘bhangra’ performers but also great scientists and teachers. Some of them have settled abroad and regularly write to him.

The master drummer is a contented person. He has two sons, Yoginder and Kimti Lal. While Yoginder has taken up another job, Kimti Lal has adopted his ancestral occupation and accompanies his father. Janak Raj believes that Kimti Lal will keep the family tradition alive.

Janak Raj works only for four months and relaxes for the rest of the years. “The earnings of these four months are sufficient to feed me for the full year, so I need not get greedy”, he said. He also said he would carry on the family tradition as long as he could.


Class XII physics paper not from syllabus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Mr R.K. Sharma, President of the association of Ludhiana schools affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board, in a press note issued here, has alleged that questions in the Class XII physics examination of the board held yesterday were out of syllabus. He said the, numericals set in the question paper were too difficult for students.

He said the questions given in the text books had not been included in the question paper. Consequently, most students in the examination centres were shocked to see such a question paper. There was an anomaly in question 10 of Set B of the Class XII accounts paper. Instead of Rs 50,000, the figure in the question paper was Rs 5,000, which confused students.

Mr Sharma urged the board to grant at least 20 per cent grace marks to students in the physics test.



CHIEF Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s son Sukhbir Badal may not be holding any constitutional position, except for being the Rajya Sabha member, yet he commands the awe and the authority that goes beyond the constitutional limits. And this authority is strictly obeyed by the people in the administration and obviously the party workers and leaders. No wonder that junior Badal maintains an aura as imposing as the senior one, if not more than that. Recently, the junior Badal was in the town to attend a civic reception organised in his honour by the youth Akali leader and the Director, Markfed, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon. It was a long queue of leaders and officers in the district administration who had converged on the venue to receive the younger Badal, rather to mark their attendance before him. Not just that. The party managers had done enough homework to ensure maximum participation of people and to give a jampacked look to the conference hall, which it did.

Photo by Rajesh Bhambi

 Moreover, the authorities had also arranged it properly with a handful of pilot and escort gypsies that ensured that he was not just a defacto Chief Minister, but also that he looked like one and he was treated like me so.

Misplaced impressions

The celebrity writer Shobha De was in the town to inaugurate the Wordsworth Bookshop at the Ebony Retail Store. Although the books were sold at Ebony earlier also, now they opened a separate and spacious outlet for the books and there would definitely have been no better person than De. A couple of hundred people waited for De to arrive and cut the ceremonial ribbon. Looking around to the apparently good rush of people, who De thought had come to attend the inauguration of the bookshop really impressed her. She remarked that she felt happy that people in Ludhiana had so much interest in books, especially when it was diminishing elsewhere in the country. However, there was misplaced optimism about the interest of Ludhianvis in books. Most of the people who swarmed around De were there by chance and they gathered around her to have a look of the celebrity writer, since she happened to be too near. It was really flattering for Ludhiana to get a great compliment from as great a writer as De, especially when you can look around to a great vacuum where there is no good bookshop which could offer good books, despite the phenomenal affluence of the town.

Newspapers everywhere

Recently, the new General Manager of the Majestic Park Plaza, Mr Hareshwar Dayal, hosted the customary dinner for media persons. Besides, the choicest delicacies that were served to the guests, there was a remarkable feature that came out of the ingenuity of the organisers. Mr Dayal had ensured that the entire hall, Kohinoor, was flooded with newspapers. All English and Hindi dailies were delicately arranged around creating an ambience that it was a world of newsprint inside the hall. To add to the ambience a newspaper hawker made rounds in the hall on a bicycle selling newspapers and shouting “aaj ki taza khabbar, aaj ki taza khabbar”. It was really a different experience for the scribes. It had taken three days of homework for the hotel staff to arrange the newspapers so beautifully that nothing looked out of place.

Forgotten heroes

March 23 is only a couple of days ago. It is the martyrdom day of the great martyrs Bhagat Singh, rightly called the Shaheed-e-Azam, Sukhdev and Raj Guru. While Ludhiana had the pride of having given birth to Sukhdev, it unfortunately enjoys the dubious distinction of forgetting its heroes. Last year in the month of May on the birthday of Sukhdev, the district administration and some leaders, besides film star Raj Babbar, had made a promise to set up a memorial at the place of his birth. The house in which Sukhdev was born is inhabited by a woman who is ready to move out if she were provided alternate accommodation. Not many people would be aware of the fact that the house is situated in the heart of the city in Chaura Bazar area called Nau Garah (Nine Houses). In fact the Thapars of Ludhiana who are quite well off had owned Sukhdev since he also happened to be a Thappar. The Thappars will not call Sukhdev as he is popularly known across the country and in the history, they would insist that Thappar is attached to his name. But the sense of belonging seems to have been lost with only creating a relationship with him and nothing more than that. Not a single stone had turned since then and the house remains there, without any memorial. In fact Raj Babbar also appears to have forgotten his promise he made less than a year ago.

Seminar ... for whom?

Have you visited a seminar where the number of listeners is less than the media persons who are there to cover the event? The Apparel Exporters Association of Ludhiana (APPEAL) had organised such a seminar recently in a famous city hotel near Clock Tower, for textile manufacturers. The purpose was to create awareness among them about the modernisation of their units in the changing scenario. Prof J. Govardhan, a technology management expert of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) was there with his laptop and projector to make a technical presentation at the right time. It was amazing to see that virtually no industrialist worth his name had turned up except two or three persons of the organising team. However, the journalists, press photographers and camera men of the local TV network were there in good number to cover the events. When asked why the industrialists had not come in this important seminar, one of the organisers had a readymade answer: The industrialists are not so much worried about WTO or global competition, as they are about day-to-day profits. Though everyone knows there is little scope for the small-scale units to survive without modernising in the coming years, they will not find time for such a function. The other fellow added if you had organised the programme in the evening with cocktails and proper dinner, they would have definitely turned up in good number.

Good intentions, dubious ways

The special drive to make landlords in the city submit a list of their tenants to the police stations of their respective area may not prove to be as fruitful as desired by the district administration and the police. Granted that details regarding the occupation and background of all tenants in the city are submitted to the police, the question that arises is , how will the police go ahead with the process of verification of the submitted data. Is the police fully equipped to undertake the project more meaningfully? Or will the heaps of forms collected in various police stations would land at a kabari’s godown, sooner or later?

While the intentions of the police in checking crime in the city are not to be doubted, the ways it adopts to achieve the objective certainly call for a closer scrutiny.

Thank you, dotcom

The city of Ludhiana is full of leaders of lesser known national political parties. How actively involved are they with their parties can be gauged from the fact that some of the state-level office-bearers of these parties do not even know which national leader they owe or should owe their allegiance to.

But all of them are always waiting in the wings to spring up onto the streets whenever they come across a chance to shout slogans against something or somebody . Many even do not hold any demonstration because they are unable to muster enough people for the same. But nevertheless, they make it a point to write down a press note of condemnation, copies of which are duly sent to various newspaper offices. Their sole purpose is to hog some limelight in the newspapers and also to impress the various government officials they have to deal with everyday.

Till recently it was the desecration and dismantling of centuries-old Buddha statues by the Talibans in Afghanistan which attracted everyone of the lot. Now they must be thankful to Tehelka dot com for providing them with another opportunity to shout and shout.

Unique parlour

Recently, I came across a beauty parlour at Model Town where most of the trainees were deaf and dumb girls. The girls were doing their job perfectly. Mrs Indira Ahluwalia, who runs the parlour, said it was difficult for her to train such students in the beginning but now they knew their job very well. Over eight such girls are happily doing the work and are handsomely paid. They do threading, bleaching, henna, highlighting and even perming. They understand the language and requirements of their boss through actions. Mrs Ahluwalia treats them as her daughters said that the girls were more innovative and creative. She said that parents of some of these girls come and complain that they did not want to get married because they were so happy there. (eom)

No more hellos

Some times advertisements are so infectious that terminology used therein easily spells over to common life ... Recently the word “ Hi/Hello” used as greetings has been replaced by several youngesters of the city with the word “AIWA” , taken from the advt. of an electronics company of same name.

Whether it is PAU or a local degree college or perhaps even the road or Chaura Bazar, the term AIWA has found an easy replacement for Hi/Hello, Namaste, and their like. The youth just raise their hands and put their head little and say Aiwa, ... No hello, no hi, no handshakes just say AIWA ... so next time you met someone across the road no need to across the road just try this ... AIWA.

Kisan mela losing steam

The much celebrated Kisan mela organised every six month by the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) is losing its charm as it has virtually become a seed purchasing mela for most of the visiting farmers. Last time even the sale of seeds was marred by a controversy that rotten seeds were sold to the farmers. Consequently, no VIP politician was ready to visit the mela this time. University experts were dumfounded to answer queries of the farmers how can they diversify in the absence of market support. Teachers had to be forced to attend the mela by issuing circulars to the department concerned by the Vice Chancellor. During the mela, a farmer was heard saying,‘‘ Where should we go to take advice in this crisis period? The kisan mela has just become a seed selling mela!’’


A friend was accosted by a beggar. This beggar was different from the usual run of mill beggars. He was stately, well built and stood six foot in his forties. The friend after looking him up and down was non-plussed to find such a fine specimen of humanity stooping so low as to begging. Out of curiosity, he asked him why he begged and whether he could not do any job as he was an able-bodied man. The man looked up and said, “Of course, I work and I get a salary of Rs 1800. Have you noticed the swelling on my feet? I spend my entire salary on my treatment. So after work, I beg everyday as part-time job to supplement my income to meet the expenses of the family”.



Mixed response to Punjab Budget
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
The tax free Budget presented by Mr Kanwaljeet Singh, Finance Minister of Punjab, yesterday has evoked a mixed response from the industry and the other sections of the public.

The proposals for the social security, energy, VRS and general services have been welcomed by the public but lack of any bold initiative to boost the industrialisation to provide any relief to the farming sector have been criticised.

Mr Vinod Thapar, President, Knitwear Club, has branded the Budget as an election Budget. He said,‘‘ It has failed to provide any relief to textile industry which had been overburdened by the multi-point taxation on yarn, and garments. We will have to pay for the free electricity supplied to the agriculture sector though number of industries have already become sick.’’

While welcoming the decision of the FM to announce Rs 2.5 lakh compensation to the farmers who had committed suicide and fund for marketing support to the agriculture sector, Dr B.S. Dhillon, Head of the Department of Economics and Sociology, Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), says, “The Finance Minister should have imposed some user charge to save the watertable of the state that was continuously falling due to over-exploitation of the water resources. The farmers are more interested in continuous supply instead of free supply.’’

Another economist said,‘‘ Today the farmers have no interest in saving electricity supply that has resulted in about 66 lakh acres of land under rice cultivation though ideally the state should not have more than 20 lakh acre under rice cultivation.’’

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, President, Chamber of Industry and Commercial Undertakings, however, applauded the basic concept of tax free budget and termed it as over all growth oriented. While welcoming the tax relaxation to cycle and cycle parts industry and the provision of Rs 625 crore for the power sector, he said, ‘‘This would further accelerate the pace of industrial development and help generating large number of employment opportunities in the state.’’

Mr D.S. Chawla, President, United Cycles and Parts Association, said, ‘‘The provision of Rs 2235 crore for infrastructural development should be appreciated as it would directly encourage the new industry in the state.’’ Mr Chawla further said that the provision of Rs 50 crore for setting up of an IT institution and an IT park was most encouraging part of the Budget, which would help in raising required IT trained industrial force in the state.

Mr N.S. Nanda, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Punjab, appreciated the stringent measures of the state government to bring about substantial decrease in non-plan expenditure which had helped in enhancing the annual plan to an all time high at Rs 3357 crore and saved the people from bearing the burden of new taxes. He appealed the government to make necessary provisions of funds for the promotion of Tourism industry in Punjab.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu and Mr Darshan Singh both Ex-Presidents of the Punjab Kisan Club, PAU, Ludhiana, welcomed the earmarking funds amounting to Rs 191 crore for strengthening marketing system for the cash crops, to give boost to the agriculture research and to promote the agro-based industrial units in the state. 



‘Industries need efficient management of waste’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
The industries in Punjab need efficient management of waste minimisation and input resources to provide environment friendly production of quality products. The non-judicious and inefficient use of electricity and other fuels in the industry not only increase the cost of production but in some cases affect the quality of end products also. In addition it contributes to the wastage of natural resources. In the manufacturing process, the wastage of raw material also goes unnoticed which further adds to the cost of production said Mr J.S. Kullar, Director, Small Industries and Service Institute (SISI), Ludhiana, while addressing the industrialists in a workshop on “Energy conservation waste minimisation and cleaner production” organised here yesterday.

Mr Gorakh Prasad, Deputy Director, SISI, appealed to the industry to form waste minimisation circles for regular interaction to find ways in achieving the objective of cost reduction and cleaner production.

Mr A.S. Balhotra, Regional Director, National Productivity Council, asked the industrialists to make efficient use of energy by using furnances. He informed that the NPC Regional Office, Chandigarh, has a full-fledged energy management cell to advise industry the ways and means of saving electrical, solid and liquid resources of energy. The Punjab Government had placed the NPC on its approved panel for mandatory electrical energy audit of units consuming more than 500KW electric power.

The implementation of the proposals made by the NPC results into an average saving of 10 per cent of cost of energy. More than 50 units in this region were availing NPC services every year, he said.

Mr Kullar disclosed that the institute was engaged in energy conservation and cleaner production activities quite actively for the past five years in industries like foundries, re-rolling mills, leather tanneries, dyeing and electroplating.

He expressed that such inputs had improved the working environment, quality of products, image of the unit and compliance with government directives. It had opened new market opportunities for them, he added.

Mr Sukhdial Singh, President, Ludhiana Machine Tool Makers Association, appreciated the efforts made by the SISI, Ludhiana. He assured that the industry would work in right earnest and implement suggested measures to make it more competitive. 


Booked for murder
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
The Sahnewal police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against Dharam Dass for murdering a fellow labourer, Ram Parshad, yesterday.

According to the FIR number 32 lodged by Sudhir Kumar, a migrant now working in Sahnewal, both the killer and the killed had been working at a factory near Kanej village for the past one year. It was around 4.30 p.m. on Monday that Dharam Dass picked an axe and hit the victim on the neck, killing Parshad on the spot. The accused has been absconding after the murder.


‘Knitwear industry ready to take on non-quota regime’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
The fears of the WTO were unfounded as far as the exports of knitwear industry from Ludhiana was concerned as the knitwear exports from the city have already crossed Rs 800 crore during the past year.

Growing at a rate of more than 25 per cent per annum, there was still a larger scope for growth in knitwear exports, according to Mr Rakesh Sharma, Additional Director, Apparel Export Promotional Council ( AEPC), New Delhi.

He was in the city to inaugurate a workshop on “Fashion forecast for spring and summer 2002 collections.” The workshop was organised by the AEPC to create an awareness among the garment exporters about the probable trends in the European and American markets in the coming spring and summer season.

While talking to the mediapersons, Mr Sharma disclosed,‘‘ In the past year the T-shirt exporters of Ludhiana were able to get $ 4.5 per unit as compared to $ 4 on an average by other exporters in the country. They have invested more than Rs 100 crore for the technological upgradation during the past year. The countries like China, Bangladesh and Pakistan are undoubtedly making efforts to increase their market share in the post-quota regime that would come up in 2005, our knitwear industry is also preparing itself to take on them.’’

Number of exporters, who were sending fabric to Nepal and other countries to avail their quota, would be able to directly export garments to the concerned markets. However, we will have to pay attention to cut the manufacturing costs and the quality of finished products. The knitwear units should diversify into cotton woven garments to increase their share in the garment market. They will have to concentrate on brand building and other related aspects also, he added.

Mr R.K. Singh, in charge of the local branch of AEPC, disclosed that they were going to organise buyer-seller meet in the USA and Canada in May and the interested exporters may contact them.

Earlier, Ms Danielle de Diesbach, Director-General, Creation, and Mr Zdravko Zunec, Project Manager, Promostyle, Paris made presentations on the fashion influences. Ms Asha Savita Sharma, Director, National Resource Centre, NIFT, New Delhi, shared her views on the Silhoutte and styling. About 50 exporters attended the workshop. 


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