Tuesday, November 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

 

 

MC men at receiving end
Residents irked over demolition of wall 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
A group of residents in the Ambedkar Nagar locality, irked over the demolition of a boundary wall in a vacant plot adjoining a temple, pelted stones and roughed up the demolition squad of the Municipal Corporation, injuring two inspectors in the building branch. In the process, a bulldozer, deployed by the MC team for demolition work, was partly damaged. The miscreants are also reported to have snatched away some documents and a file from one of the MC officials, present at the spot.

On the basis of a complaint lodged by Mr S.S. Bhatia, Municipal Town Planner (MTP), the city police has registered a case under sections 186/353/332/423/323/342/148/149, IPC, against six persons. The persons accused in the complaint, have been identified as Baleshwar, Naresh Kumar, Om Parkash, Usha Rani, Kartar Chand and Mehak Chand. No arrests were made till the writing of this report.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the MTP, Mr Bhatia said that the MC had received a complaint that some residents of the locality had constructed a boundary wall along the vacant plot, which was next to a temple in the Ambedkar Nagar street no 9. The motive behind the act was to encroach upon the land, which was MC property. The unlawful occupants, he further told, were served with a notice to vacate the possession or submit documents, if any, to substantiate the proof of their ownership, within three days, which they failed to do.

In the afternoon, an MC demolition team, headed by Mrs Kamaljit Kaur, Assistant Town Planner, descended at the spot and undertook demolition of the boundary wall. Some of the area residents offered resistance and a few miscreants indulged in stone throwing at the MC men and machines. Two inspectors of the building branch — Mr Surinder Kumar and Mr Vikas Uppal — sustained injuries and were taken to Civil Hospital for medical examination and first aid. Glass windows of a bulldozer were also broken. Apprehending that the situation might take an ugly turn, the MC team retreated and reported the matter to senior officers, who sought intervention of the police.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that rivalry between two factions of the Valmiki community was the underlying cause and it was in fact a complaint lodged by one faction, on the basis of which, the MC had moved to clear the encroachment on the piece of land, adjoining the temple.

An impression was sought to be created by the accused persons and their supporters that the MC team had demolished the temple, which the civic body officials vehemently denied as being false and mischievous.

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Dice or cards, roads or clubs, gambling fever is back
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, November 5
The road connecting Mata Rani chowk with Deepak Cinema road is one of the busiest roads of the city. Opposite the General Post Office, on a pavement in front of the parking of Bhadaur House market, some men are huddled together in a little circle. Close to these men, two or three rickshaws are parked.

These men have a little glass tumbler and a white square cube with dots numbering from one to six etched in black on its sides. A chubby little fellow in his early thirties vigorously shakes the cube in the tumbler for a while and throws it close to a small heap of crumpled currency notes. Twelve men watch as the cube comes to a halt and the man makes a sweep of the money.

The loser makes a grunting sound and gets up. He is quickly forgotten. The man with the tumbler in hand again starts shaking the dice as another one ventures forth with a bet. The roadside show goes on. From dawn to dusk, there is no let-up. If it is not the dice, it is the card calling that decides fortunes of these roadside gamblers.

Go around the city on foot and you find little groups gambling by the roadside all over the city. Scenes of gambling in public parks, railway station and bus stand are aplenty these days. It seems that the city has been gripped by a gambling fever.

Gamblers belonging to the middle class do not place the money in open view. If they want to have a go, they choose a safe place. It  is just between friends and rarely does a loser call in the police. In such cases, the cops walk away with the cash and sometimes they also register a parcha.

Rich gamblers are out of the reach of the police. At the highest level, crores are changing hands everyday. The city’s clubs are teeming with gambling activity. The police does not aim at minimising the menace, but at registering sufficient number of parchas.
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Mystery shrouds boy’s disappearance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
Mystery shrouds the disappearance of a teenaged resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, reported missing since last morning. His family has lodged an FIR with the police, alleging that the youth has been kidnapped. Though the police is not ruling out the kidnap theory, it has claimed on the basis of its investigation that the boy may have gone on his own.

According to the FIR lodged by Mr Sharafat Hussain, a mason living in Block-I of BRS Nagar, his son Mohd Aflatoon, a student of class X, had gone to Ekta Public School near Sunet last morning, but he neither reached the school, nor returned home. After searching for him in vain, the family lodged a complaint with the police late last night.

The missing teenager’s school bag was found near Sunet village by some person. In the afternoon, the boy’s mother found his shirt near the place. The police met a person who told them that he had seen the boy in a market near the school in the afternoon and at that time the boy was wearing a shirt with stripes.

The police found a notebook in the boy’s bag with the name of some girl, who was a student of another school. The police learnt that the girl and the boy used to study together and later changed their schools. The girl could not be traced as she had again changed her school.

In the FIR, Mr Sharafat Hussain feared his boy could have been kidnapped by some person as his shirt was found near a road. He did not suspect anyone so far and has not received any ransom call so far.

Police sources said they suspected that as the family was not well off, kidnapping due to ransom was not possible. The boy could have been kidnapped due to some enmity, but no such evidence had come to light.

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SAD non-Sikh segment stakes claim to seat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
A function, jointly organised by over two dozen social, religious, cultural and educational institutions in Harpal Nagar here on Sunday, to felicitate Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, who has been nominated to the State Executive of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal as an advisor, virtually turned into a political rally, with speaker after speaker urging the party president and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to allot Ludhiana (West) Assembly seat in the next elections to non-Sikh segment and nominate Mr Aggarwal as a party candidate.

Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary, Akhil Bhartiya Aggarwal Pratinidhi Sabha, who presided over the function, while expressing gratitude on behalf of the Aggarwal community to Mr Badal and the Punjab Law Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, for the nomination of Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal to the party post, recalled that Mr Badal, who also headed the ruling SAD-B, had promised to give the Aggarwal community, its due share in allocation of Assembly seats in the coming elections.

Mr Gupta focussed on the significant contribution of Mr Aggarwal in the fields of education, trade, industry and various other welfare activities. “It is only in response to a call given by Mr Aggarwal that the entire community has openly come out in the support of ruling SAD-BJP combine.” He also made a mention of the fact that in two public functions, more than 1,500 prominent members of the community, including traders, businessmen, industrialists and professionals had formally joined the SAD-B in the presence of Mr Badal.

Mr Devinder Gupta, general secretary, Ludhiana Dharamshala Committee, Mr Surinder Kumar Gupta, president, Ludhiana Aggarwala Cooperative House Building Society, Prof P.P. Kansal, Mr Narendra Jain, Mr Rajesh Bansal and Mr D.J. Jain also spoke on the occasion.

Among the participants in the functions were representatives of the Ludhiana Dharamshala Committee, Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad, Bharat Ekta Council, Shakuntalam Kala Kendra, Ludhiana Aggarwala Cooperative House Building Society, Sri Raghu Nath Hospital, Aggar Nagar Shri Ram Lila Committee, Kitchlu Nagar Extension Welfare Society, Shiv Mandir Society, Model Town Extension Club, Ludhiana Oil Engines Dealers Association, Sarabha Nagar Cultural Society, Pracheen Shitla Mata Mandir Committee and Private Schools Welfare Association.

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City main transit point of heroin smuggling
Kanchan Vasdev

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
With heroin smuggling cut off from Afghanistan, the Pakistan-based drug smugglers, sensing rise in business, have stepped up smuggling through the Jammu and Kashmir and Ferozepore borders in Punjab. Ludhiana has emerged as a major transit point for the activity. The city is also emerging as a new market of heroin as it is needed by students of some educational institutions in the city. Earlier, only educational institutions in Amritsar were known to be the main market of the strong drug.

Smuggling has become a major challenge for customs officials as smugglers, according to intelligence reports, are in Ludhiana for at most 20 minutes during which the customs officials have to track them down and nab them.

According to Customs Department sources, earlier Ganganagar in Rajasthan was the main transit point for the smugllers. The Afghanistan-based smuggling gangs were using Ganganagar to transport drugs, especially smuggling to Delhi, from where it was mainly sent abroad and dispatched to a few select places in the country. However, with Afghanistan involved in a war with the USA, the smuggling has stopped and the Pakistan-based smugglers have stepped up their activity.

They are using the Ferozepore and Jammu and Kashmir borders, as from here they can easily smuggle drugs through armed infiltrators. Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune reveal that success is limited for the Customs Department as it relies on exact intelligence input about the drugs. Yet, the local Customs Department despite, the odds, succeeded in confiscating about Rs 17 kg of heroin from two smugglers who were taking the drug to Delhi in a car. While no other success was achieved after that, the confiscation assumed significance as it was the first to expose the emergence of Ludhiana as a transit point for the narcotics smuggling.

Mr Amrish Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Customs commenting on the smuggling said that as the city was a transit point mainly, and very less quantity was consumed here, the success of the department in curbing this activity depended on the right information received from sources. He said the department had 20 to 30 minutes time to act and exact information was necessary. He said success from routine checks was limited.

Disclosing the modus operandi of the smugglers, Mr Jain said the smugglers were using the Ferozepore road or the Jalandhar byepass road in ludhiana. They used big cars and stored packets in door panels, seat covers and engine covers. Most of the times a family travels in the car to escape suspicion.

According to Mr Jain, the consumption of drugs is less in the country in comparison to foreign countries, especially the USA. He informed that one kg of heroin cost Rs 1.5 lakh in Pakistan, Rs 5 lakh in India and about Rs 1 crore in New York. Due to the high profit, Pakistan and Afghanistan-based smugglers used India as a route to smuggle heroin and other drugs to the USA.

Mr Jain said that the encounters with smugglers were most of the times violent. The smugglers were equipped with state of the art arms and indulged in shootouts. He said the smugglers knew that once caught they would be behind bars for more than ten years as the laws regarding narcotics smuggling were very stringent. Due to this factor, the smugglers freely used arms to escape the police net.

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Faulty telephone bills a headache for postmen
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 5
Thousands of incomplete and faulty telephone bills issued by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) have created a nuisance for the postmen in the city. The postmen find the circulation of these bills not only difficult, but impossible, as some of the bills are without addresses, others are without subscribers’ names whereas some others are misprinted.

Some of the postmen on condition of anonymity while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said that these bills had become a headache for them. One of the postmen said, “I have hundreds of such bills in which addresses are incomplete and I am finding it very difficult to distribute them. These bills are to be circulated in Salem Tabri, Naya Mohalla, Chaura Bazaar, Lakkar Bazaar, Near Ghantaghar Chowk and the area near Jalandhar Bypass. Name of the subscriber is written but address is missing on the bills, I am unable to understand how can we deliver such bills”.

Hundreds of such bills were shown in The Tribune office in which only telephone numbers and subscribers names were mentioned. There was no house number or shop number mentioned on these bills.

Another postman who was very agitated over the carelessness of the Telecom Department said, “These people think we have no other work to do. I have visited these areas several times in for the circulation of bills but have been unsuccessful each time. These bills are to be distributed to the subscribers of Mali Ganj, Hindi Bazaar, Sarafan Bazaar, Chowk Mishran, Dal Bazaar and Mohalla Thapran.

For example there is ‘Mrs Satyawanti of Karimpura’ written on the bill. Do you think we will be able to locate the subscriber in the whole Karimpura area?”.

The postmen said that they had complained about it to the the Delivery Officer who also wrote about the incomplete bills to the Telecom Officials and was waiting for the reply. The postmen were also hoping that some of the subscribers might come to them for their telephone bills as the last date of depositing these bills was November 12,2001.

Ludhiana Tribune talked to the General Manager Telecom, Mr S.R.Srivastava to know the exact position, he said, “We are aware that some of the bills are incomplete or misprinted and it was some computer error in the Dot Soft system. The error has been rectified and we ensure that the subscribers will not be charged any surcharge and if needed, we will extend the date for depositing these bills”.

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Dhakki Sahib case adjourned till November 23
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
The Dhakki Sahib case in which Baba Darshan Singh, head of Dera Tapowan Dhakki Sahib, at Maksudra village, is the prime accused, has been adjourned for November 23 for recording the statements of prosecution witnesses.

Mr A.K. Mehta, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, adjourned the case, as one of accused was not present in the court and an application seeking personal exemption for today on a medical grounds was filed on his behalf by his counsel.

Though some witnesses were present in the court but as per law evidence could not be recorded against any accused in his absence. 
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Christian association goes secular
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
The All-India Christian Urdu Writers’ Association has passed a resolution to open its membership to writers and poets of all languages and religious identities, at a mushaira held on November 3 at Behal Dharamshala. The association felt that remaining isolated would serve no useful purpose and it was essential to interact with other poets and writers. The mushaira was held in two parts while the first one was organised on November 3 , the second was held on the next day.

During the Annual Urdu Mushaira, the secular nature of mushaira was quite evident. Padam Shri and Punjab Rattan Sardar Anjum, was an active participant in it and Punjabi lyricist Inderjeet Hasanpuri also participated actively. Bakshi Ram Kaushal and Sagar Syalkoti were other participants in the mushaira.

The couplet ‘Jaan dene ka maseeha se mera vaada hai, mujhe maro ki mera karz chukaya jaaye’ by Sardar Anjum won a wide applause.

The second part of mushaira was organised at Kalavary Church under guidance of the President of the association, Ghulam Qadian. Well-known Christian poets from other parts of the country who participated in the function included J.A. Rahi, Sauq Jalandhri, Benjamin Rehmat Delhi, Qurban Moradabadi, Paul Sansarpuri, Fiqr Meeruti, Paras Ferozepuri, Alfred Gopal Singh Sahil and Mohini Tamana Amritsari. The city based Urdu poet, John Akbar Rahi, was conferred the Bishop Ghulam Qadir Memorial Award, which carried a memento, a shawl and Rs 3,000. His couplets, especially written for President Pervez Musharraf make India’s position regarding Kashmir very clear. He said, hum bhali chate hai, har padosi veer ki, par sahengey maar na hum zulmon teer ki, gaur se sunle Musharraf, baat ek Rahi peer ki,inch bhar dhari na denge , vadiyan Kashmir ki.

The association has published 36 books on poetry, drama, and short stories by different Christian writers since its formation in 1979.

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Vigilance Awareness Week
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
Vigilance Awareness Week is being observed by United India Insurance Company Limited. The regional manager, Mr D.K. Soni, in a press note issued here today said the programme started on October 31 and would conclude tomorrow.

Mr Soni said all employees of the 13 divisional offices and subordinate branches took oath to provide corruption free services and absolute transparency in operations. A declamation contest on the topic “Probity in public service, vis-a-vis corruption free society” was also organised.

Meanwhile, in connection with the Vigilance Week being observed by Punjab National Bank (BNB) from October 31, a meeting of all members of staff and representatives from various branches was held here on Friday, which was presided over by Mr K.I. Singh, Senior Regional Manager, Ludhiana region.

He said there was a call from Mr N. Vittal, Central Vigilance Commissioner, to eradicate the root cause of corruption. He added that while undertaking this project, the role of the bank was to provide fair and dedicated service to the nation with a vigilant eye on the proper use of public funds.

Mr K.I. Singh read out messages from Mr L.K. Advani, Union Home Minister, and Mr N. Vittal that if the corruption level in the country was brought down by 15 per cent, GDP growth would improve 1.3 per cent and investment would go up by 2.9 per cent of the GDP.

Mr V.S. Mathur, Vigilance Commissioner, said the purpose behind observing this week was to make the general public aware that corruption could be eradicated if all citizens stood together to resist it and expose those who indulged in it.

Mr K.I. Singh read out the pledge of Mr S.S. Kohli, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, PNB, that the need of the hour was to uphold high values in every walk of life. All employees repeated the pledge and promised their best services to the nation.

Also, a seminar on vigilance awareness was organised here today by the Bank of India. According to a press note issued here today, Mr Suresh Arora, Deputy Inspector General of Police, presented the keynote address and advised the employees to bring transparency in their functioning. He said, ‘‘Honesty is a matter of individual perception and one can contribute a lot in making the system corruption free.’’ He said, ‘‘Although one can not change the entire system, but with determined efforts, he can bring some positive changes in the system.’’

Mr H.S. Bhatia, zonal manager of the bank, advised the staff members to remain vigilant so that frauds could be minimised in the banking sector.

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Mela with a difference
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
Sambhav, a voluntary organisation of 100 people, has undertaken the challenging task of making Ludhiana clean and green by the year 2010. For spreading the message of cleanliness, it organised a three-day mela at PUDA grounds, near Sacred Heart Boys School, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, which concluded here today.

The aim of the mela was to provide a platform to like-minded NGOs working for the benefit of the people. Various NGOs, like Ashirwad (that deals with cerebral palsy), the People for Animals and Viklang Sahayata, were allowed to put up stalls at the mela. Besides joyrides for children, about 40 stalls of eatables and consumer items were put up. But the mela differed from other melas in the matter of cleanliness. There was no litter of any sort.

Many students have become members of the Green Brigade, thanks to the sessions held by Sambhav in some schools. Volunteers of the brigade urged people to throw waste in dustbins and gave them stickers that read ‘No Dirt’ — Sambhav Hai’. In case, any visitor ignored the request, volunteers themselves picked up the waste material and put it in the dustbin. This gesture of the students had a sure impact on visitors and thus cleanliness was maintained.

Mr Jatinder Singh, one of the members of the organisation said, “Actually, we wanted the civic body to put up a stall at the mela so that people could know about MC’s latest schemes, but unfortunately this schemes did not take off.”

Similarly, their endeavour to bring traffic police personnel to the mela in order and the people to promote police-public interaction did not take off very well.

According to Mr Jatinder, “About 40 persons applied for the membership of this organisation and many more wanted to know what the organisation was doing.” Through this mela we wanted to show that cleanliness in ‘melas’ was possible, he said.

We were able to make people aware of their responsibility in keeping environment clean, he said. “We are concentrating on schoolchildren as they are more impressionable and it is easier to make them learn”, he said.

We did not get permission from the DC to put up games stalls, had we got the permission the response would have been much better, he said.

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BSNL warns erring PCO owners
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
Strict action will be taken against STD/PCO owners who have been running their business from their residence. The department will also take back the BSNL connection from the STD/PCO owners, who had both the Connect as well as BSNL connections. This was disclosed by the General Manager Telecom, Mr S.R.Srivastava at a press conference here today at GM Office.

Mr Srivastava also revealed that telephone bills worth Rs 30 lakh were pending with the Police Department as a result of which they have been provided with one- way facility only. The Telecom Department has also asked the police department to pay the bills as soon as possible.

Talking to mediapersons, he said that 3000 new connections would be provided under the Wireless in Local Loop (WiLL) service. Out of these 2000 connections will be given under Transport Nagar exchange which will start functioning next week. The remaining 1,000 connections will be came given under Mata Rani Exchange. These connections will become functional next month.

Mr Srivastava said that earlier, subscribers could pay their telephone bills in 25 branches but now 17 more branches of Bank of India were included for the convenience of public for depositing bills. These branches will be in Clock Tower, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Khanna, Jagraon, Machiwara, Kila Raipur, Malout, Payal, Raikot, Hambran, Bilaspur and Doraha.

The General Manager said that Kirti Nagar, Beant Pura, Samrala Road falling under Transport Nagar exchange which were non-feasible earlier were now made feasible. Similarly Farid Nagar, Kabir Nagar, Madhopuri Street Number 16 and 19, New Kirpal Kagar, New Prem Nagar and Jain Mahavir Colony falling under Sunder Nagar exchange had also become feasible. 

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Lok Morcha holds protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
Activists of the Punjab Lok Morcha, comprising several political parties, including the Akali Dal (Democratic), the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Janata Dal (Secular), the Samajwadi Party, the All-India Forward Block and the Republican Party of India, today staged a dharna at Mini Secretariat here in protest against incidents of ‘bir’ burning, promulgation of POTO, political repression, wide-spread corruption and other anti-people policies of the government.

Speaking at the dharna, functionaries of the constituent parties lambasted the government for its total inaction to curb the incidents of sacrilege. While asking the government to expose the deep-rooted conspiracy behind the political and police protection provided to Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

The promulgation of POTO also came in under sharp criticism, which Punjab Lok Morcha activists termed as a ‘black’ law. They also called upon the government to undertake a thorough review of the WTO policies, which had already caused an immense damage to agriculture and small-scale industries.

Among others who participated in the dharna were Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, national general secretary, MCPI, Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, president, Akali Dal (Democratic), Mr Swarn Singh and Dr Balwant Singh, both of the NCP, Mr Teja Singh Tiwana of the Samajwadi Party, Mr Harish Khanna of the Janata Dal (Secular), Mr Mukhtiar Singh Arshi of the RPI and Mr V.P. Saini of the AIFB.

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AISSF takes govt to task over POTO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
All-India Sikh Students’ Federation (Mehta) has criticised the promulgation of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance by the Union Government. The federation in its meeting held here today under the chairmanship of its president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal apprehended that the ordinance might be misused against the minorities.

Opposing the ordinance, Mr Grewal said the federation will oppose it at all the fora and organise mass movement against it. He said the federation would organise a protest rally against the ordinance on November 8 at Ludhiana.

Addressing the meeting the general secretary of the federation, Mr Sirchand Singh, alleged that this ordinance was being promulgated specifically by the government to target certain communities. He warned that it might have serious repercussions.

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DCC (Rural) office-bearers appointed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
The District Congress Committee (Rural) president, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, today issued the list of office-bearers for the post of vice-president, general secretary, joint secretary and the treasurer. Interestingly, there are 25 vice-presidents, 26 general secretaries, 44 secretaries, 32 executive members and 36 permanent invitees in the list of office-bearers.

Mr Lapran told The Tribune that the office-bearers had been appointed with due permission from the Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh, who had also signed the list himself.

Explaining the reasons for appointing so many persons to these posts, he said, all people had to be involved. In order to avoid any heartburn or resentment among the workers the party had tried to accommodate maximum number of people by giving them various responsibilities.

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Customers’ meet organised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
The State Bank of Patiala organised a customers’ meet here on Saturday. The meet was attended by customers of the bank with great enthusiasm. They shared their views with officials of the bank.

Mr P.K. Bansal, assistant general manager of the bank, apprised the customers of the prevailing scenario in banking sector. He also spoke about various new schemes of the bank like ‘Total Home Loan Scheme’, ‘Greh Kaya Kalap Yojna’, ‘Medi Home Flexi Finance’, ‘Salary Plus’, ‘SBP Ustav’ and loans against equitable mortgage of property etc.

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‘Set up chemical recovery plants’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana November 5
“The paper industry needed to set up chemical recovery plants, which are technically and commercially viable to effectively combat pollution, the perennial problems of pulp and paper industry”. This was emphasised by Mr Rajneesh Oswal, Vice-Chairman of Shreyansh Industries Ltd, while speaking at a three-day workshop on ‘Chemical recovery in agro-based paper plants’, which concluded here on Sunday.

The workshop, first of its kind in the state, was organised by the Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Association (IPPTA), Saharanpur, the apex technical association representing the pulp and paper industry in the country. Various papers and presentations were made by academician and technocrats of various paper mills and machinery manufacturers in the workshop, which was widely attended by representatives of the industry from all over India.

Giving the example of his own unit, Mr Oswal said: “We took a very bold decision to install the world’s first of its kind chemical recovery plant way back in 1995, which was a pioneering effort at that time”. He pointed out that the increasing need for technology upgradation in the context of global scenario.

He said: “In India the paper industry has grown at a healthy rate of 6 to 7 per cent per annum and the per capita consumption of paper is 5 kg per annum which is very low compared to the developed countries. So one can imagine the kind of potential the paper industry holds as the literacy levels in the country increase, industrialisation is on the rise, the general increase in standard of living and paper being used in new sectors of industry like packaging of food products for increased shelf life.

Other prominent speakers, including Mr Pradeep Dhabole, Vice-President, IPPTA and managing director of ITC, Bhadrachalam (Hyderabad) and Dr N.J. Rao, Honorary Secretary General, IPPTA, Mr Anil Kumar, Executive Director of M/s Shreyans Industries Ltd and Mr C.S. Dhawan, Joint Managing Director, Varinder Agro Chemicals Ltd, observed that the annual production of paper in India was 5 million tones, both in the organised and unorganised sector, out of which the agro-based paper mills account for 40 per cent in the country.

The workshop, they pointed out, assumed a lot of significance as the mills which were based on wood and bamboo had access to viable chemical recovery plants since a long time due to their sheer size of operations, but the small and medium mills which were mostly the agro-based paper mills using agricultural waste like rice straw, wheat straw, ‘sarkanda’ and other grasses could not previously install chemical recovery plants due to the economic viability of these due to the small and medium production capacities. However, this trend had changed now with availability of a viable chemical recovery technology, whereby these agro-based paper mills could recover costly chemicals by this process and simultaneously combat the problem of water pollution, making these recovery plants commercially viable. Participants from leading paper mills from all over India, including leading machinery suppliers, attended the workshop. Participants also visited units of M/s Shreyans Industries Ltd, Ahmedgarh, and M/s Varinder Agro Chemicals Ltd where they were able to see the working of chemical recovery plants.

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