Tuesday, October 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Villagers protest against illegal sand mining
Protesters stop trucks; Five persons arrested; Minister’s kin ‘involved’
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
Confrontation between panchayats of six villages and sand mining contractors over the issue of illegal sand mining in River Sutlej and using village roads for transportation, which was simmering for the past one month or so, took a serious turn this morning when the villagers forcibly stopped some trucks from travelling on the Qadian-Kutrewal road. A police party from the Salem Tabri police station, which rushed to the spot to defuse tension, returned after arresting a number of villagers.

Following the incident, a large number of agitated people, belonging to Kasabad, Qadian, Bahadar Ke, Bhattian, Jamalpur Lelli and Hazoori Bagh colony, staged a dharna outside the Salem Tabri police station in the afternoon. They were protesting against the alleged arbitrary action of the police in arresting five villagers and not taking any action against the illegal sand miners. The villagers raised slogans against the police alleging that the police was harbouring the sand miners.

While the villagers alleged that the Salem Tabri police picked up five villagers after allegedly beating them up, the police said the persons were just detained and not beaten up. The villagers showed copies of a report of an Executive Engineer, (PWD), which clearly mentioned that the said road was for the use of the villagers and not for commercial use.

The villagers alleged that a close relative of an Akali minister was backing the illegal sand miners. The activity was disturbing for them as due to the mining, the Dhussi Bandh had weakened at several places causing floods. A number of villages were inundated in 1988 because of the activity, the villagers claimed.

Secondly, the illegal sand miners were using the village link roads for transportation. The villagers said heavy trucks and tractor-trolleys were damaging the roads. There was a danger of accidents. Some minor accidents involving children had already happened. The villagers said the trucks spreaded dust all around, which settled on the fields along the roadside damaging the crops.

With today’s incident, the controversy over illegal sand mining had assumed serious proportions. Reportedly backed up by a close relative of an Akali minister, the illegal sand miners had continued their activity unabated and well under the nose of the civil and the police administration. The issue also assumed political colours when leaders of the Panthic Morcha came out in open support of the villagers.

According to Inderjit Singh, Sarpanch, Kasabad and Sohan Singh Dholainwalia, general secretary, All India Youth Akali Dal, the villagers stopped the trucks today morning as the trucks were damaging the roads. They said the roads had been constructed after a gap of more than eight years but the trucks had damaged them in two months only. They said the panchayats of six villages had passed a resolution that they would not allow the trucks to pass through the villages. They said the activity was illegal and the administration was well aware of it but no one was doing anything as an influential relative of an Akali Minister was supporting the illegal activity.

They said today morning at about 10 am the villagers stopped some trucks. However, later on a police party from Salem Tabri police station arrived at the site and started abusing and beating up the villagers, who had stopped the trucks.

They said the police party arrested a number of villagers. Agitated at the police action, the villagers staged a dharna before the police station.

A police official, however, denied the charge. He said the police had to detain the villagers as they were blocking a road. He said the road was a public road and no one could stop anyone from travelling on it.

Later, in the afternoon, MLA Hira Singh Gabria and Surjan Singh Thekedar, president, SHSAD, also reached the place and held a meeting with the police officials. Following the meeting the villagers lifted the dharna and the police also released the ‘detained’ villagers.

The matter has, however, not solved. The villagers have decided to meet the Deputy Commissioner S K Sandhu and SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu to demand an order restricting the transporters. 



Probe confirms illegal mining

The allegations of illegal sand mining and wrong use of the village link roads have been officially confirmed.

An inquiry into the allegations by Tehsildar (West) Taginder Singh established that illegal land mining from the Sutlej riverbed was on. It also said the link roads were not for commercial use as was being done by the transporters.

According to a copy of the report prepared on October 25 and submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, the Tehsildar inspected the spots listed by the villagers and found that illegal mining was actually going on. It said that tractor-trolleys and trucks loaded with sand picked up from government land were transporting sand.

The inquiry report also said that in another violation of the land mining Act, the sand after quarrying, was stored at one place where as the Act prohibited any such activity. The report cautioned that the activity could cause financial loss to the government.

Regarding the use of roads by the over-loaded trucks and tractor-trolleys, the inquiry reports clearly said that roads could not be used by heavy vehicles. Quoting a report of an Executive Engineer of the PWD, the inquiry report said the PWD had said that the road was a link road and its use by such heavy vehicles was banned.

The inquiry was ordered recently by the district administration after the villagers alleged damage to Dhussi Bandh, roads and their crops due to illegal sand mining. Further action on the inquiry report was awaited.



Why many villagers are drug addicts
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 29
Age is no bar for drug addicts of this part of the region. They begin as early as at the age of 10 or even less and end up taking their lives. Most of them believe that, if they stop taking drugs, they will die or become paralysed.

These things about drug addicts of Mahedna Khurd, Rashim, Brahmpura, Chappar, Latala and Mahedna Kalan villages were found by Brahmkumari Ishwariya Vishav-vidyalaya, an NGO working for drug de-addiction in these villages. The organisation is running a de-addiction camp that began on October 19 in Santpura gurdwara of Mahedna Khurd village. The camp, where over 120 addicts have been cured as claimed by the organisation, will conclude on November 1. “About 10 addicts of this region are receiving treatment in the Santpura gurdwara and hope to be drug-free,” said Prof Hardeep Singh Nagi of the Government College for Boys, a volunteer of the NGO.

No allopathic medicine is given to addicts at this camp. “A special homoeopathic medicine, with no side effects, for de-addiction has been prepared by Dr Yogesh of Global Hospital of Mount Abu. There are different medicines for opium, alcohol, ‘zarda’ and ‘gutkha’ addicts,” said Prof Nagi.

Mr Nagi said, “We were surprised to learn that, in order to get a better output from labourers, landlords and the agriculturists mix opium in their tea without their knowledge. Innocent labourers get hooked on to drugs slowly.”

Brahmkumari Raj said it was painful to see at the camp a 10-year-old boy who was a drug addict. “The boy had visited the camp without telling his parents about it. He said he knew drugs were harmful and he wanted to get rid from these,” said Brahmkumari Raj. Volunteers found that 90 per cent of rural persons were hooked on to some or the other drug.

Brahmkumari Shikha, another volunteer, said, the NGO had received an aid from the Punjab Government in the form of medicines and a van to visit these villages.

Dr Baldev, a volunteer, said de-addiction was possible only if the addict had a strong will-power and positive thinking. “Though withdrawal symptoms like body aches, headache and vomiting are not easy to cope with, those who are able to bear these are able to kick the habit,” he said.

Most villagers are hooked on to opium, alcohol, ‘gutkha’ and ‘zarda’ because these are easily available at inexpensive rates. “An addict generally spends between Rs 30 and Rs 50 on buying these drugs,” said Prof Nagi.

He said, “Due to the sowing season, not many addicts visit the camp, so, we go to these villages daily and set up camps at village gurdwaras. We try to convince addicts and their families that drug addiction can easily be overcome,” he said. After Divali, the NGO shall hold a similar camp to cover 10 villages of Ludhiana district.



Councillor-contractor nexus calls the shots in MC
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 29
The recent complaint of showing undue favour to a contractor by the Superintending Engineer (B&R) in the Municipal Corporation, still under investigation, is just the tip of the iceberg and hardly reveals anything worthwhile. Despite suffering small setbacks here and there, the unholy alliance between certain councillors, a group of contractors and a few obliging officials, still calls the shots as far as acceptance of tender bids for various development works in the city is concerned.

Even the complaint against the SE, Mr Lachman Das, by one of the councillors that he had awarded a contract to an ineligible contractor in blatant violation of rules was the fallout of a dispute between the said contractor and kin of the councillor, who had a partnership of sorts, revealed reliable sources in the MC. Incidently, the said SE was transferred and posted at Patiala over a month ago but the orders were not given effect till date due to intervention by a senior official of the Local Bodies Department.

The nexus between some of the councillors, their favourite contractors and certain MC officials was so strong that even the higher-ups, who were in the know of things, chose to look the other way and failed to stop the nefarious activities, which were obviously causing a big financial drain on the civic body.

Many councillors, cutting across party lines, as well some civic officials were having their kin as the enlisted contractors in utter disregard to norms and provisions of the Municipal Corporation Act. The same goes for the contractors, who were close relatives of officials and elected representatives. Although, the MC officials refuse to divulge the details, it was all very well known that tenders for development works in some particular city areas, were invariably awarded to the same contractor, who was either related to the area councillor or had some kind of benami arrangement of profit sharing, in addition to the routine percentage cut.

According to sources, to make the MC officials toe their line, the contractors-councillors combine, kept them in good humour and at times sharing a part of the booty was also not uncommon. For those officials, who were a part of the ongoing racket, the arrangement was reciprocal. “The officials and some of the councillors being in it together, it was natural that they should help each other,” remarked a middle-level MC official without elaborating further.

Another development among contractors, staying away from the tendering process in the MC for almost two months now with the apprehension that after the abolition of octroi, which could happen anytime the civic body would not be able to make payments to them, has also come in handy to some of the councillors. It was reliably learnt that taking advantage of the situation, the “interested” councillors had managed to get works in their wards awarded to contractors of their choice, that too on full rates. According to sources, dummy tenders were filed in some cases so as to show mandatory two bids for each work and as a result of inflated rates, accepted in these bids, the MC had suffered a financial loss of anything between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.

The matter was also raised at a recent meeting between newly appointed MC Commissioner R.L. Kalsia and the contractors. The contractors had reportedly demanded that the tenders accepted and awarded during the period of their “unofficial boycott” should be cancelled and re-invited. For several administrative reasons and statutory bindings, the MC might not be in a position to concede the demand but the simple fact that such a demand was made in the presence of the Commissioner, gives credence to all that was being said about the clout being wielded by the nexus.



Man injured after electrocution
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
Prem Dutt, a resident of a rented house on Noorwala road, here suffered serious burn injuries last evening when he was electrocuted by an overhead electric wire which was passing just over the roof of the house.

The man has been admitted to CMC hospital. Sanjeev Sharma, his son, in a complaint to the Ludhiana Tribune, said that he and several other residents of the area had urged the PSEB a number of times to increase the height of the wires as they were touching roof tops and could cause accidents.

The residents of the area have demanded immediate action against the erring officials.



PAU introduces plant clinic concept
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
The College of Agriculture, Punjab Agricultural University, has introduced courses on plant clinics in the curriculum of the BSc agriculture (hons) programme. With the introduction of the course, the PAU has become the pioneer institute in the region to start this course.

Dr M.S. Tiwana, Dean, College of Agriculture, disclosed that students' plant clinics had been established in six departments, including plant pathology, entomology, soils, agronomy, horticulture and vegetable crops.

These clinics work on "plant doctors concept." Students are given practical training in the identification of various plant diseases, insect pests, weeds, physiological disorder and nutritional imbalances of crops.

During the final year of their academic programme, students make use of this training in diagnosis of various crop and plant maladies on the spot in the central plant clinic which is located in the farmers service centre and recommend suitable measures to manage them.

Dr Tiwana said this innovative concept is being adopted by other agricultural universities and institutes in the country. A team of five professors from Gujarat Agricultural University, Anand, led by Dr J.R. Patel, Head, Department of Entomology, visited these plant clinics from October 22 to 25.

The team held a meeting with the Dean, College of Agriculture, and highly appreciated the setting up and working of plant clinics in each department. They will be using them as a blueprint in developing such clinics in Gujarat Agricultural University.



Photography for voters’ ID cards today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
The photography sessions for the electorate in Ludhiana Rural assembly constituency, who have not so far got the voter ID cards issued, will continue on October 30. Giving this information, the Deputy Commissioner Mr S.K. Sandhu, said that this would be the last opportunity for the voters to get their ID cards. The cards would be prepared and distributed among voters within a week.

Under the ongoing programme, on October 30, the photography session would be held for voters of polling station No.s 201 to 203 at Vishwakarma High School, Bhagwan Nagar, Ludhiana, for polling station No.s 204 to 206 at Public Model School, Vishwakarma Colony, Industrial Area B, Ludhiana, polling station No.s 207 and 208 at Government Middle School, Dholewal, Ludhiana, polling station No.s 211 to 223 at Tagore Public School, Aggar Nagar, Ludhiana, polling station No.s 224 to 226 at DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Block C, BRS Nagar, Ludhiana and polling station No.s 227 to 236 at Government High School, Jawaddi.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, those voters, who could not get themselves photographed on earlier occasions, could present get themselves photographed at room No 123 at DC’s office at Mini Secretariat. 



Tipsy constable misbehaves with SSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
A tipsy Punjab Police constable, posted as a gunman with an Akali leader and former minister, shocked a number of police and civil officials as well as influential city residents attending a marriage party in Sarabha Nagar on Saturday evening when he tried to pull the chair in which the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Harpreet Singh Sidhu was sitting.

The constable, Kuldip Singh, has been booked under Sections 353, 332, 186 of the IPC on the complaint of an ASI who was posted on security duty outside the marriages palace. The accused allegedly misbehaved with the ASI also. He has been accused of obstructing a public servant from discharging his official duty.

The SSP has, however, decided not to proceed against the constable. The constable was reportedly heavily drunk and did not know he was misbehaving with the SSP, who was in civilian dress. The constable, who was armed, continued his advances even though the SSP and some other officials pushed him away. The constable also used some foul language. A senior police official has confirmed the incident.

The official has ruled out any ‘wilful’ misbehaviors by the constable or any chance of a trying to harm the SSP. The official said the constable was a gunman of Akali leader Hira Singh Zira. The Akali leader, reportedly, met the SSP today urging him to withdraw the case. The SSP is understood to have told him that law will take its own course.

Sources said the constable after being thrown out of the palace picked up a fight with some cops.



Mystery shrouds man’s death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
Mystery shrouds the death of a middle-aged man Gurpal Singh, who was found hanging from a hook in his house in Gurpal Nagar Shimla Puri last evening. The police believes it to be a case of suicide but no suicide note has been recovered from the house so far.

The police said no clue about the actual reason behind the man’s death had been found so far. 



Improvement Trust nominations cause unrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
Vacancies in the Improvement Trust, Ludhiana, on account of the completion of the term of its three members seem to have caused many a heartburn in the ruling Akali-BJP alliance. This has also brought the intra-party factionalism within these ruling partners to the fore, as leaders of the respective factions are vying with each other to get their own candidates appointed to the trust.

These three members are Mr Shakti Kumar and Mr Veer Abhimanyu (both sponsored by the BJP) and Mr Darshan Singh Shivalik, who had been sponsored by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and bid had shifted his loyalties to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The ruling SAD has already nominated Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia to the trust. His nomination has been resented by the supporters of the acting district president of the party, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, since he belongs to the group led by the party vice-president and Mr Makkar’s arch rival Mr Amarjeet Singh Bhatia. Mr Makkar had sponsored the name of Mr Manjit Singh Mundi. In fact the Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon had reportedly approved and finalised the notification regarding his nomination. However, it was stopped reportedly at the instance of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had been approached and influenced by Mr Bhatia.

On the other hand, the district BJP has sponsored the names of Mr Suresh Verma and Mr Satpal Bhandari. While Mr Verma is the member of the state working committee of the party, Mr Bhandhari is the president of the Ludhiana West assembly segment. But Mr Tandon is learnt to be interested in giving another term to both Mr Shakti Kumar and Mr Veer Abhimanyu. The Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, Mr M.M. Vyas, is also learnt to be supporting the case of Mr Kumar and Mr Abhimanyu. Mr Vyas has reportedly been arguing that since it takes at least two years for a person to understand the complicated working of the trust, both the members should be given another term.

But Mr Tandon has his own limitations. He cannot act of his own and the names he approves need to be forwarded by the district unit of the party. Given the nature of relationship between the district president Mr Harbans Lal Sethi and Mr Tandon, which is certainly not so smooth, the former sponsored two different names much to the chagrin of Mr Tandon.

The minister has no other option but to delay the nomination. In fact he is reportedly trying to influence the state unit of the party to over rule the recommendations made by the district unit. However, it may not be easy for the state unit of the party to go against the precedent as all such appointments are to be made only at the recommendations of the district unit.

Given the interest and inclination of Mr Tandon to contest from Ludhiana West assembly segment in the forthcoming elections, he is reportedly taking a lot of interest in the local affairs of the party. However, this is not finding favour with the local leadership which includes senior and influential leaders like Lala Lapat Rai as well.



Bedi to preside over employees meet
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, convener of the Shromani Akali Dal Panthic Morcha, would preside over the 13th annual general house meeting of the Punjab Karamchari Dal Council at Gurdwara Akalgarh Sahib here on November 4, according to Mr Darshan Singh Rakba, general secretary of the council.

He said in a press release today that the council would chalk out its plan of action to press the government for an early acceptance of the common demands of all government employees. Among the major pending demands were to get the report of the anomaly committee implemented and ensure promotions for everyone. The council is also seeking release of bonus for the past four years and house rent allowance for employees serving in rural area on par with the urban areas.

In addition to these demands, the council would also press the government to create new posts in all departments in view of the increased workload and to ensure regular payment of salaries to all employees by removing the distinction between plan and non-plan posts.

The council would also ask the state government for income tax exemption for class III and IV employees and fix the minimum flat rate of medical allowance at Rs 500 per month, Mr Singh added.



Patwar Union boycotts election work
Our Correspondent

Amloh, October 29
As the closing date of November 2 for the enrolment of Kesdhari and Sehajdhari voters for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee elections approaches, voters of the rural belt become more confused than ever, as the Patwar Union has boycotted the enrolments. Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, a former minister, said this here today. Mr Pandhi criticised the administration for not making adequate alternative arrangements to publicise the drive.

When contacted, Mr Gurmail Singh, state head of the Revenue Patwar Union, said the government had failed to pay the remunerations for the SGPC elections work in 1996. The union had decided to work only after patwaris got their dues. Mr Rajesh Kumar Tripahti, Tehsildar of Amloh, told the Deputy Commissioner of Fatehgarh Sahib about the decision after this meeting with the patwaris.



Kirtan darbar from today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
Kirtan darbar will be organised at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Model Town Extension, on October 30 and 31 to mark the 400th anniversary of Parkash Purab of Guru Granth Sahib. Prominent ragi jathas of Gurmat Ragi Sabha and international ragi group will participate in the programme.

Among the religious personalities who would grace the occasion are Gyani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht , Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar , Shri Keshgarh Sahib, Gyani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Shri Damdama Sahib, Bhai Rajinder Singh, Bhai Nirmal Singh, Bhai Niranjan Singh, Bhai Manjeet Singh and Gyani Jagtar Singh. 


One booked in rape case
Our correspondent

Jagraon, October 29
The police has registered a case under Section 376, IPC, against Balbir Singh of Kaunke Khesa village on the complaint by a woman of the same village.

According to the complainant, a day before Balbir Singh came to the residence and inquired about her husband. She told him that her husband had gone to Gurdwara Mahalarhi Sahib. On the same night at about 11, Balbir Singh committed rape on the woman. She raised the alarm, but the accused fled.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Aman Kumar of Muna Beherhi village of Haryana from Ballowal village and seized from his possession 48 bottles of whiskey. The police has registered a case under Section 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

The Sidhwan Bet police also arrested Ranjit Singh of Sheikh Talwara and recovered from his possession illicit liquor and has registered a case against.

False complaint: The police booked Shri Kant of Bhujraba (Gorakhpur) and Surinder Lal Yadav of Dhuria (UP), both workers of a liquor shop of the GT Road, Gahaur, for lodging a false report with the police that three persons who came to the liquor shop first drank liquor and thereafter looted Rs 18,000.

When the owner of the liquor vend came to know about the incident, he became suspicious as they have collected the earnings at 6 pm and this incident was alleged to have happened at 6.30 pm. After the interrogation of the workers the police recovered Rs 650 in cash and two bottles of liquor from a bush where the workers had kept the same. They admitted that they had lodged a false complaint to cheat the owner of the liquor vend.

Seven hurt:
Seven persons were injured when a Tata-407 and a Swaraj Mazda mini bus collided on the Kaddon-Malipur road, near Kaddon, yesterday.

Among those who were injured were Rinku, Kishan Singh, Satnam Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Mohan Singh, Kashmira Singh and Naib Singh.

The Tata-407 (PB-10N-9786) was coming from Khanna and going towards Ludhiana, when a Swaraj Mazda (HR-26A-5177) going towards Araichan village collided with it, thus injuring driver Mohinder Singh of Amloh along with other occupants.

Teacher injured: Amandeep Kaur, a teacher of the GTB College was injured while she was going on a scooter (PB-43A-1679). She is a resident of New Janata Nagar, Ludhiana.

Liquor seized: Twelve bottles of illicit liquor were seized from Gurmit Singh of Jarg village. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of Excise Act has been registered.

According to the complaint of Malkit Singh, sarpanch of Nanakpur, Jugera, Harnek Singh was allegedly thrown into the Sirhind river by Avtar Singh, alias Tara of Dullo Kalan, Ludhiana, over some conflict of personal nature. A case under Sections 302 and 364 of the IPC has been registered against the alleged accused.



Woman charges police with inaction
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
A woman, Mrs Usha Rani, has charged the city police with inaction and complicity with a self-styled political activist, facing criminal charges under Sections 354/341/323/506 of IPC for allegedly threatening and intimidating her and causing injuries to her husband. The woman had alleged that Bharat Bhushan, who was impersonating as a mandal president of the BJP Yuva Morcha and also as councillor of Ward No 66, had been coercing her to enter flesh trade and had later resorted to issuing threats and attacking her husband, when she refused.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today, the complainant, Mrs Usha Rani, said that on the instructions of the SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu, the case was marked for investigation and follow up action to Salem Tabri police station but so far the police had made no head way, nor the accused had been arrested. On October 25, a police party had reportedly intercepted the accused in Shiv Puri area, who was later let off for unknown reasons.

According to the area residents, a head constable of police and the accused Bharat Bhushan were seen together in a jeweler’s shop, where a deal was said to have been struck.

The complainant said that on receiving the information, she had also reached the spot and accosted the police personnel to know the reason for their inaction. The head constable, she added, spoke to her in an arrogant manner and dared her to lodge a complaint against him to the senior police officers. The complainant, thereafter, went to the Salem Tabri police station and narrated the entire incident to the staff on duty.

She further claimed that emboldened over the police inaction so far, the accused was openly threatening her and her family members to withdraw the police complaint against him failing which ‘‘all of them will be taught a lesson’’.

Mrs Usha Rani appealed to the senior police officers to intervene in the matter and direct the police to immediately arrest the accused and to save her and her family members from harassment and apprehended threat to their lives.

Inspite of repeated attempts, the SHO, Salem Tabri police station, was not available for comments.



Industry seeks self-certification
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
The Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations (FOPSIA) has urged all government departments to honour the directions of the Union Government to consider self-certification by small-scale units a compliance of various labour laws.

In a statement issued here today, Mr V.P. Chopra, President of FOPSIA, said one of the major sources of harassment for owners of small-scale units was frequent inspections by various wings of the administration. The statement said such a situation made unit owners spend more time on satisfying inspectors than improving productivity. It also led to corruption.

The government has directed all states to adopt a system of self-certification for compliance of labour laws. However, it has been directed that inspections should be carried out in case of written complaints only and self-certified returns should be admitted.

Mr Chopra said the visits of inspectors of the Employees Provident Funds Organisation to units covered under the EPF Act had already been stopped, in a step towards self-certification.

He said the Union Ministry of Small-Scale Industries had urged the Reserve Bank of India to earmark 16 per cent of the funds, set aside for priority sector lending, for the small-scale sector. Moreover, financial institution were to provide the SSIs with loans upto Rs 25 lakh in each case without any security. The Credit Guarantee Corporation set up by the government shall provide financial institutions with guarantees for such loans.

The head of FOPSIA said such steps were in the right direction and in the interest of national economy.


Companies lure customers with gold schemes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
The yellow metal has held fascination since time immemorial. All over India parents start collecting gold as it plays an important role in dowry. With shares crashing , people have switched back to buying gold as security.

Playing on people’s attraction for gold and the love and security it offers, manufacturers of various products are tempting buyers by giving offers of gold coins, pendants etc.

People have inherent greed and the manufacturers play on this emotion by offering gold as it tempts people no end. The lure of gold is indescribable, just like king Midas who asked for a boon from Bacchus to turn everything he touched into gold. Such was his greed! Only when he realised that neither he could eat nor drink, for water and food were turned into gold, he realised his foolishness.

It is amazing that even a sachet of shampoo that costs merely Rs 2 offers a gold coin though smaller in size, and a car company gives a gold coin, of course heavier in weight on purchase of a car. Even fairness creams offer gold and diamond pendants. Soaps, too, offer a gold pendant and so do talcum powders.

Ms Rani Chand says,” Since I have to use a shampoo , soap and talcum powder daily, I naturally buy the brand that offer gold pendant and gold coins. Why should I not be optimist? I may be lucky one day!

Similiar views were expressed by Kondal family,”If a particular brand of tea offers 1 kg gold, why not buy it? May be luck smiles on us.”

“The lure of gold does enhance the sale of product whether a shampoo in a sachet or a brand of tea offering gold, we definitely find a steep climb in their sale,” says Ramlubhya of a grocery store in Ghumar Mandi.


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