Sunday, February 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Income tax raids at 15 places in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Close on the heels of CBI raids at various places here yesterday, income tax sleuths swooped on 15 places, including the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, offices and houses of some yarn traders, jewellers and stock brokers, in the city today.

A jeweller into old city whose premises were being raided developed a cardiac problem at the very sight of a team of income tax officials. He was later hospitalised in a city hospital.

Terming these as search raids, a top income tax official told Ludhiana Tribune that 150 income tax sleuths conducted simultaneous raids all over the city and relevant documents concerned with income tax evasion. Declining to give more details, the official said the raids were carried out in Mansa and Bathinda also but the main raids were here and the places or persons connected with the targets here were raided in those districts. He said the main thrust was on the Ludhiana Stock Exchange.

According to information available, the raids were conducted on the office and house premises of some yarn dealers, jewellers and brokers in Sunder Nagar, Chaura Bazar, New Madhopuri, Purana bazar, Civil Lines, BRS Nagar and Ferozepur road.

The officials confiscated documents and sealed around 24 bank lockers of the targets. Huge cash and jewellery was also reportedly seized. The teams started the raids at around 8 am in the morning and continued till the afternoon. In the LSE to prevent any wrong entries during the raids.

Since morning, many rumours were doing rounds in the city that the raids were being conducted in connection with the CBI raids at Customs Office and the residence of Deputy Commissioner of Customs but a spokesperson of the IT Department cleared that the search operation had nothing to do with the CBI.

Panic was created in the city as many areas were virtually taken over by the sleuths who were deputed for the job from other parts of the state, including Ludhiana, Bathinda, Jalandhar and Amritsar. Newspapers offices were also receiving countless telephone calls by unidentified callers who were informing about the raids on some persons’ premises. But most of the calls were found to be fake. 


Tight security as counting begins today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Tight security arrangements have been made in the district comprising Ludhiana, Khanna and Jagraon police districts for counting of votes which is going to begin tomorrow. Special directions have been given to the candidates to take prior permission from the district administration and the police for taking out victory processions after the announcement of the results.

The police has detailed about 30 persons in the district at various places and has also confiscated arms and ammunition from the licencees as a precautionary measure. Special patrolling staff under the supervision of a Superintendent of Police has been formed and reserve forces have been put on alert in case of an emergency.

A strong security cardon has been made at the counting centres with the Punjab Police, Central Reserve Police Force and the Special Security Bureau forces. The police has banned carrying of mobiles or any kind of inflammable substance in or near the counting centres. The movement of vehicles has also been restricted near these places.

The SSPs of the three police districts were seen personally inspecting the counting centres to ensure the proper implementation of security plan. Security drills were also conducted at several places. The police has also cautioned the candidates and their workers to avoid acting on rumours and have been advised to check anything with the police or the Returning officer in case of need.

Ludhiana SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu said elaborate security arrangements have been made at each centre under the charge of a DSP and three SPs have been made the supervising officers of the arrangements. He said the police has also chalked out plans for providing immediate security for the winning or the losing candidates. The police has also made security arrangements for the victory processions, he added.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, Khanna, informed that the police had erected special nakas and metal detectors have been installed at or near the counting centres for smooth and peaceful counting of votes. He said the police has arrested several persons to avoid any untoward incident.

Jagraon SSP Balkar Singh Sandhu said police personnel have been deployed outside the counting centres while the middle and inner cordon would be guarded by the CRPF and the SSB forces, respectively. According to available figures, over 6000 police personnel have been deployed for security arrangements.

According to a press release of the district administration, the counting of votes of Jagraon constituency would be held in Lala Lajpat Rai DAV College, Jagraon, for Raikot segment in Swami Ganga Giri Senior Secondary School, Raikot, for Dakha in BCM Arya Model School, Shastri Nagar, Ludhiana, for Kila Raipur in Rotary Club, Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana, for Ludhiana North in the SCD Government College for Boys, Ludhiana, for Ludhiana West in the Khalsa College for Women, Rani Jhansi Road, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, for Ludhiana East in the Arya College for Boys, Ludhiana, for Ludhiana Rural in Shastri Hall, Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, for Payal in Government Senior Secondary School, Payal, for Koom Kalan in the Government College for Women, Ludhiana, for Samrala in ITI, Samrala, and for Khanna in Hindi Putri Pathshala Senior Secondary School, Khanna.

To provide latest information to mediapersons, a fully equipped media centre has been set up in the office of Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) at Mini Secretariat here, where the information from all the counting centres would be collected and passed on to the media without any delay.

The counting of votes would begin at 8 am and most of results are expected by 11 am.


Who will bite ‘laddoos’ of success?
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, February 23
Whatever the happy occasion, the only sweet which is favourite and widely acceptable to almost all age groups in the region is “laddoo”. This sweet in yellow and saffron colour is easily available. Generally, it is the festival time when the sweet-sellers increase the production of “laddoos”. Keeping in view that the election results are to be declared on Sunday, there is no dearth of “laddoos” in the city sweet-shops.

Irrespective of who would distribute and eat “laddoos” after the declaration of results of the state assembly elections, the “halwais” in the city are working overtime to meet the demand as they know that “laddoos” would sell like hot cakes on this occasion.

Their main objective at this point of time is to get ready as much stock as they can. They know the simple fact that there are 12 assembly seats in the district and they would have no dearth of orders.

Some prominent politicians have already placed orders while others have already stocked “laddoos” who are sure about their victory. One such politician, a former Chief Minister of Punjab and a Congress candidate, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has placed order of 5,000 packs of “laddoos” to a city sweet-seller. Interestingly, the packets of “laddoos” bear the name of Ms Bhattal. The sweet-seller, while talking to this correspondent, said “Ms Bhattal has assured him that if the result is satisfactory, she would definitely place order to him only for more laddoos. “However, some Akali and BJP leaders are also in the list who have ordered “laddoos” to celebrate their victory.

There are also some leaders and their supporters who are quiet doubtful about the results. They have acted very smartly by placing conditional order for the sweet.

They have told the sweet-sellers that if they or their candidate win, sweets must reach their house within 15 minutes, otherwise he should not bother them. Interestingly, now these sweet-sellers have to keep track of the election results and to know as to where they have to deliver the orders.

“Laddoo” is the only sweet which is available from Rs 35 to 60 per kg in the market, and when resources are less and demand is more, this widely-accepted sweet in the only saving grace of politicians.

A sweet-seller Narinderpal Singh said, “Generally we keep about 1,500 kg “laddoos” for sale at a time, but because of election results we have stocked 4,500 kg of “laddoos” to meet the demand.”

He further said, “I am confident that this stock would be cleared within two or three hours after the declaration of results. After that we have made full arrangements to get more stock ready on special orders.”



Work commences for flyover in place of ‘Lakkar Pul’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 23
The project for the replacement of the “Lakkar pul” (foot overbridge), connecting old city localities with Civil Lines and other areas, lying west of the Ludhiana-Delhi railway line, which was hanging fire for almost seven years, has at last commenced, as the preliminary work has been started towards the Old Courts side of the existing bridge by the Public Works Department. The project is being executed at an estimated cost of Rs 9.35 crore.

The portion of the railway bridge over the Ludhiana-Delhi tracks would be constructed by the railways, for which the Municipal Corporation has already deposited Rs 4 crore with the Northern Railway. In addition, the MC has also paid a sum of Rs 2.36 crore with the railways towards the cost of the railway land to be utilised for the proposed flyover.

According to Mr R. L. Kalsia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, the work for the construction of a motorable bridge in place of Lakkar Pul was delayed because the amended alignment of the flyover, necessitated by the need to link it with the proposed ‘Elevated Road’ over existing Old GT Road from the Jagraon bridge to Chand Cinema, did not meet the approval of the railway authorities as they were not prepared to make available additional railway land, needed for the revised design.

In a series of joint meetings of the Railway authorities, officials of MC, PWD and the consultants M/s RITES over past several months, it was decided that the flyover would have a two-way road width for linking down to Old GT Road near the Bank of India building in Clock Tower Chowk through railway land and would be further integrated with elevated road by one-way road through Bhadaur House at Mata Rani Chowk.

Mr Kalsia said that in the wake of reluctance on part of senior railway officials to part with more railway land for approach road from Raikhy Cinema Chowk side for the flyover project, a total road width of only 15 metre was available which was considered insufficient for dual carriageway. Therefore, the central verge on the two-way road, proposed in the earlier designs, was done away with.

The flyover, after crossing the railway tracks, will have a rotary near existing Society Cinema, from where an integrating link to Elevated Road would be provided through Bhadaur House area at Mata Rani Chowk by a 7.5-metre wide road.

Since the MC has already deposited almost half of the total estimated cost of the flyover with the PWD and the Railways, the project was not expected to be further delayed at least for want of funds, added the MC Commissioner. The simultaneous completion of the elevated road and the flyover in place of Lakkar Pul would provide relief to traffic movement within the city, particularly across the old city and Civil Lines, as well as through traffic, which often led to frequent traffic jams in the city.



Probe into flesh trade allegation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The Jagraon police ordered a probe today into the allegation of flesh trade and trafficking of women against a Mullanpur-Dakha-based woman levelled by some of her ‘victims’ at a press conference at Jagraon yesterday.

The Senior Superintendent of Police here, Mr Balkar Singh Sandhu, said he had directed the DSP, Mr Paramjit Singh Goraya, to hold an inquiry the finding of which would determine further action. He said the police had not received any complaint in this regard, but learnt of the allegations from news reports only. He said the police could not take action against anyone on the basis of news reports and would have to find things on its own.

The police had to find out whether the two women who claim to be the victims were sold by the Mullanpur woman or were all of them part of a wider network. The police, however, says that some disturbing activity may indeed be going on in the region.

According to the two “victims” — Sukhwinder Kaur and Parminder Kaur — the Dakha woman lured widows and destitute women into the trade on the pretext of finding each of them a good match. One of the ‘victim’ women, had allegedly been sold at Rs 1.70 lakh.

Sukhwinder Kaur said the she had been married to a man of Raiwal village whom she had, later, left after some dispute. The accused woman, then, promised her a second marriage to a Moga-based man. After some days of marriage, she wanted to visit her parents, but her husband refused to let her go, saying that he had bought her, so, he could not let her be free.

The second ‘victim’ Parminder Kaur, said she escaped before she, too, could be sold in this manner. However, the “husband” of Sukhwinder Kaur had also reached the press conference “to take her away”, at which, Sukhwinder Kaur had created a scene.



Blockade after clash on GT Road
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Many persons, mostly tonga men, besides some horses, were injured in a clash with supporters of an industrialist who were allegedly trying to open a gate facing a tonga stand. The tonga men, later, used their horse-carts to block traffic on the GT Road.

The Division Number 2 police had to use force to clear the blockade. The police sources said a case had been registered against supporters of the industrialist for injuring many of the cart men.

According to eyewitnesses, at about 6 pm, when some persons began opening a gate on the industralist’s property, the cart men objected to it. In the clash that followed, besides a number of cart men, some passers-by were also injured when the two parties hurled bricks at each other. Two horses were also injured. The clash and the blockade caused a heavy traffic jam on road. It took over an hour for the traffic to become normal.


Exploited sickle-making kids
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, February 23
Shaukat Ali is a poor child who works for long hours... not in a school, but in a sickle-manufacturing unit here.

His face reflects his misery. As his poor family settled in Dehleej Kalan village, 2 km from here, could not afford to educate him any further than IVth standard in the village school, he was sent here to work in one of the several sickle-making units here.

Every morning Shaukat walks to the factory and returns home at dusk after beating sickle iron all day. At the end of the month-long grind, his employer pays him only Rs 500.

Tired of constant exploitation, he has just quit his job. His last employer, Mr Abdul Sattar ‘Pilpili’, paid him Rs 400 for that month when he quit and promised to pay the balance later, which broke the child’s heart. Shaukat has three elder brothers.

Yakub Ali, a 12-year-old child of Shaukat’s village is the eldest son of a poor potter and has not studied beyond Vth standard in the village ‘madarsa’ where he only learnt to recite Koranic verses. The undernourished child speaks in a low tone.

Yakub walks from the village to the town to work in a sickle-making unit for 10 hours a day. At the end of the month, he is supposed to get a Rs 650 salary. He reminds you of Father Time, a child character in ‘Jude the Obscure’ by Thomas Hardy, breadwinner of the family.

Hundreds of children like Shaukat and Yakub who live in nearby villages are being exploited for years by the sickle manufacturers. All such children are poorly paid and remain jobless for four months every year when there is no harvest season. Every such boy hardly earns Rs 4,000 a year.

While there are about a dozen big units that make agricultural tools here, there are also hundreds of small units that produce only sickles.

As the wheat-harvest season approaches, work in these units is at its peak in round-the-clock shifts. The town meets about 90 per cent of the country’s demand for sickles.

When, Mr Mohammad Tufail, now a middle-aged general merchant, was a young man, he was tricked into a partnership in a sickle-making unit by a financier who, later, said there was no profit to share. He vowed never to join this business again.

Mr Tufail says that poor rural folk, who could not afford to educate their children, had no choice but to push their children into labour. No candidate in recent elections had assured these boys that their condition would improve. “This is because these children are not old enough to vote,” he said.


Id celebrated with fervour
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 23
The festival of Namaze-Id-ul-Zuha (Bakr-Id) was celebrated with religious fervour by the devotees at Jama Masjid here today. Over 1 lakh devotees from all over Punjab took part in the celebrations.

Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Sani Ludhianvi (Shahi Imam) along with other devotees offered prayers on this occasion.

Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman said the festival brings the message of love, peace and brotherhood. He alleged that Western media was defaming Islam without any reason whereas Muslims had sacrificed their lives for the country and Islam.

Among those who attended the prayers were Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Charanjit Atwal, Mr Atiqur-Rehman, president of the state unit of the Indian Muslim Council, Mr Surinder Dawar, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda and Dr D. I. Khosla.


Plea to arrest culprits
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, February 23
Leaders of various local social organisations have urged the Ludhiana police to arrest the culprits involved in the death of Geeta Rani, daughter of Babu Lal, a local social worker.

According to Mr Babu Lal, his daughter was married to Vinod Kumar of Bangroo Mohalla in Ludhiana. Although he gave dowry to his daughter on the occasion of her marriage, her husband and in-laws started harassing her for bringing Rs 1 lakh so that Vinod may start some fresh business after leaving his business of scrap. He alleged that the in-laws burnt her daughter after strangulating her. The police has registered a case against Vinod Kumar (husband), Raj Rani (mother-in-law) and Shikha (sister-in-law). The accused are absconding.

Mr Kishori Lal Badhan (president MC), Jitender Bhola (councillor), Ms Manu Thapar (councillor), Ms Amarjit Kaur Mander (general secretary State Congress), Vijay Kumar (president Malwa Menace Sewa Society), Munir Mohammad (president Muslim Youth Front) have urged the Ludhiana police to arrest the culprits.


Woman drugged, robbed of gold rings
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 23
Ms Jaswinder Kaur, a resident of New Model Town, was robbed of a pair of gold rings worth Rs 20,000 by a person who had made contact with her, saying that her husband had won a lucky draw.

According to the information, the woman received a telephone call on Thursday evening about her husband winning the draw, soon after which, this person came to her house. When asked about the money, he said he would deliver the money to her husband, but he still had to pay a Rs 2,860 instalment. He said, if she paid the amount, he would deliver the prize money to her. In the meantime, he got enough opportunity to make her smell something that made her unconscious. When she recovered, she found the stranger gone with her gold rings.

5 hurt in brawl

Two rival groups came to swords at a fair in Phoolewal village on Thursday, as a result of which, five men got injured and had to be admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

Tension had been brewing between these parties since the beginning of campaigning for the election in Punjab. Out of the injured persons, Shinderpal Singh, Gurmit Singh, Jasbir Singh and Joginder Singh belong to one party and Shri Ram to the other.

The condition of Shinderpal Singh is said to be serious. Shri Ram alleged that he had been standing with his friends, Dilbagh Singh and Happy, when Shinderpal and his men had attacked them with swords.

A case has been registered at the Sadar police station and investigations are on.

Cash-bag snatched

The Division Number 6 police has registered a case against Billa, who lives near Baba Balak Nath Mandir, and eight others on the charge of attacking a general merchant of Upkar Nagar on Thursday and robbing him of a cash bag.

Mr Sonu, who lives in New Upkar Nagar, reported to the police that the accused had forced their way into his shop. However, no arrest has been made so far.

One dies in accident

The Sadar police registered a case on Thursday against the driver of a Maruti car who had crushed a cyclist to death.

According to an FIR lodged by Mr Balwinder Singh of More Karima village, a man called Teja Singh of the same village and he were returning to the village from Ludhiana when the driver hit their bicycle. He survived the accident, but Teja Singh died on the spot.


The Division Number 2 police has registered a case of assault and intimidation on the statement of Mr Malkit Singh of the Industrial Area-A against three persons — Harpreet Singh ‘Bunty’, Deesha and Channa.

The Basti Jodhewal police has also registered such a case on a statement of Mr Surjit Singh of Janta Colony against five persons — Hardial Singh, Neeta, Raju, Wilson and Harjeet Singh.

Surjit has been admitted to Civil Hospital and accuses the five of beating him up in front of his shop.

Dowry cases

The Division Number 3 police has registered a case of harassment for dowry on a statement of Ms Samita Jain of Sham Nagar against her husband Lalit Jain and some of her in-laws.

She said, ever since her marriage, her in-laws had been harassing her mentally and physically for dowry and had even turned her out of the house.

The Salem Tabri police has also registered such a case on a statement of Ms Satwinder Kaur of New Ashok Nagar against her husband Charanjit Singh and her in-laws who live in Jalandhar.

She has accused her in-laws of harassing her for dowry. However, no arrest has been made in any of these cases.

Liquor seized

The Haibowal police arrested a man called Sonu of Prem Nagar on Thursday and seized 10 bottles of liquor from his possession.

The Koom Kalan police arrested Darbara Singh and Balwinder Singh ‘Nikku’ of Sahnewal and seized seven and six bottles of hooch, respectively, from them.



‘Betrayal’ leads to suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
A youth of Rishi Nagar here, allegedly, committed suicide yesterday by consuming some poisonous substance in his house after finding himself entrapped with a woman head of a dancing group.

Allegedly, the 23-year-old youth, Gurpreet Singh ‘Gorkha’ had been living with a 37-year-old dancer, Lata, for the past two months but the woman had recently developed "illicit relations" with several men, including a "policeman". According to the Haibowal police, the youth committed suicide after finding the truth.

The Haibowal police has registered a case against Lata under Section 306 of the IPC for "creating circumstances and abetting the act of suicide". Reportedly, she has been arrested but the police is silent on this. Gurpreet's neighbours say that he was handsome and friendly with them. They had cautioned the youth to stay away from the woman, but he did not listen. Last night, they heard the cries of his parents and rushed to their house where he lay dead. Mr Harbhajan Singh and Ms Prempal Kaur, parents of the youth, later, lodged a complaint with the police, at which, the case was registered against the woman.


Gang of thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The Focal Point police today claimed to have busted a notorious gang who had allegedly committed a number of thefts besides stealing several vehicles from different parts of the city. Six members of the gang, including local residents and migrant labourers have been arrested. Many two-wheelers, colour televisions and some weapons have been recovered from their possession.

According to a police release Inspector Mukhwinder Singh, SHO, Focal Point, and ASI Dalip Singh, in charge, Moti Nagar police post, raided a house in the area on a tip-off and arrested all the six accused.

They have been identified as Rajesh Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Bhupinder Singh, Jatinder Kumar alias Rinku, Amrik Singh alias Chinda and Jatinder Jain alias Sonu. The police claims to have recovered three motor cycles, one scooter, three colour TV’s, one revolver and some live cartridges from their possession. The police said it suspects the involvement of the gang in several other theft incidents also.


Steps for recovery of textile industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 23
If the textile industry can be made globally competitive, India can also capitalise on opportunities available in the export market . A competitive industry has the potential of achieving export earnings of $ 34 billion by 2010”. This assertion has been made in a comprehensive note presented to the Steering Group on Textile Industry set up by the Prime Minister and the group is headed by Mr N.K. Singh. The note was presented by Mr S.P. Oswal, Chairman, National Textile Committee of the CII. Mr Oswal is also a member of the steering group.

Textile industry plays a significant role in the Indian economy. It constitutes 20 per cent of industrial production 9 per cent of excise collections, 30 per cent of export revenue, 18 per cent of employment in industrial sector. On a relative basis, industry is globally more competitive than other industries in the country. In addition, the industry has a high potential to grow as it is labour intensive where India has a natural advantage, maintains Mr Oswal.

However, the performance of the textile industry has been sub-optimal in comparison to other countries despite these advantages. India’s share in relocation of world trade has been extremely low in comparison to countries like China and even Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In addition, domestic per capita consumption of textile products at 2.5 kg (USA - 30 kgs, world average at 7.5 kgs) is among the lowest in the world. Key reason for suboptimal performance is that the industry not being globally competitive. Mr Oswal points out that as the domestic fibre consumption is low, there is potential for increasing domestic consumption in tandem with the projected GDP growth of 6-8 per cent. If the structural rigidities can be removed, the domestic textile market can grow at abut 6-7 per cent per annum in the coming 10 years. High growth in textiles industry also provides significant opportunity to create additional employment as capital employment ratio in textile industry is most favourable as compared to any other industry. Accordingly, if the industry can realise its growth potential, it is estimated that over four million direct jobs can be created in the organised sector by 2010.

As a result of the growth potential in the domestic and export market, the fibre consumption in the country will grow from its present level of 4.5 million tonnes to above 8 million tones, which will expand upstream industries. However, the current window of opportunity is limited as the current wave of a revolution of world trade is expected to taper off by 2010. Accordingly, if the industry continues the current competitiveness level, net exports are expected to stagnate at $ 10 billion with limited to no impact on other economic indices.

To achieve the true potential of the industry, incremental investments have been estimated at Rs 1,70,000 crore over a period of next 10 years. However, these investments may not be forthcoming immediately as the current investment environment is extremely unattractive, profitability of various sectors has been continuously deteriorating. According to a RBI study, textile industry’s profitability is lowest in India as compared to other countries. This is leading to growing incidence of industrial sickness in the country.

Mr Oswal further points out that distortions in fiscal regime is resulting in competition being based on ‘evasions and exemptions’. Distortion in the system make domestic market unattractive for companies operating in factory mode, there by limiting access to these markets. In the current fiscal regime, it is estimated that at yarn stage, here is incidence of evasion of about Rs 500 crore and at fabric stage, incidence of evasion exemption is estimated at Rs 2500-3000 crore. This distorts the economics of operation in factory mode.

The key reasons for high degree of evasions are complex regime of exemptions, differential rate of duty for products in the same stage of value chain-based on set up (SSI), size (investment limits), technology, stage of value chain and raw material used, frequent break in MODVAT chain which incentivises non-declaration of production and high rate of duty which provides economics for evasion.

The industry’s profitability in the last three years has been the lowest among all major industry groups in the country. However, though the share of value additions by the textile industry is the country’s GDP is about 4 per cent, it contributes almost 9 per cent of total excise collections. Suggesting the interim fiscal measures to address implementation issues, Mr Oswal said to overcome these constraints, the government could implement the ideal scenario in a phased manner over the next 2-3 years after providing for a fixed time frame for implementing for ideal scenario. The government immediately rationalise duty on spinning yarn at the rate of 8 per cent without exemption and Duty collected on hank yarn can be refunded to actual users through nominated agencies. Remove exemptions on doubling, twisting, dyeing of cotton yarn and processing of cotton, blended and synthetic yarn. All process houses, processing fabric with the aid of power to be taxed at the rate of 8 per cent excise duty with no exemption. The present rate of duty is 8 per cent BED plus 8 per cent AED. The AED may be abolished and integrated with the state taxes. All garments including knitted and woven may be uniformally taxed at the rate of 8 per cent. The government may, in the interim period grant, graded relief to SSI units to let them prepare eventually to be converted under full MODVAT. This could be done by way of reducing turnover limit for tax purpose from present Rs 100 lakhs to Rs 50 lakh in first year and then to Rs 25 lakh. Subsequently no exemption should be granted to SSIs.

With the bold policy initiative, there will be emergence of modern, competitive and well integrated textile industry, introduction of high technology and technological upgradation of existing capital stock, investment worth Rs 1,70,000 crore by 2010, domestic per capita consumption will increase to about 4 kg from the present 2.5 kg, rapid growth of garment sector, which will help unify textile value chain. The proposals outlined are not only revenue neutral but also would lead to revenue buoyancy. Revenue will increase from present level of Rs 3200 crore to Rs 7000 crore by 2010.



Alternative site sought for scooter market
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 23
The Scooter Seller Association here has decried the “highhandedness” by the police and tehbazari wing of the Municipal Corporation towards the scooter sellers on Gill Road in the city.

In an emergent meeting of the association, presided over by Mr Paramjit Singh Chawla, the scooter sellers lamented that the State Government and the administration were sitting over their demand for providing alternative site to the scooter market for the past over two decades.

Members present at the meeting criticised the harassment by the police and threats by the MC Tehbazari staff on the pretext that scooters, meant to be sold, were parked on the roadside. “When no alternative site has been provided to us, we have no choice but to carry out our business from the existing place,” the scooter sellers maintained.

Reiterating their demand for providing a suitable alternative site for scooter market, the association urged the police and the civic administration to look at the problem from a humanitarian angle and to put an end to unnecessary harassment to enable the scooter sellers to carry on their business unhindered.

Among others Mr Om Parkash Wig, founder patron, Mr Jagdish Arora, chairman, Mr Harbhagwant Singh Kainth, general secretary, Mr Satinderpal Singh, vice-president, and Mr Jatinder Pal Singh Channi, advisor, attended the meeting.

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