Thursday, February 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Hosiery units fear excise duty
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 27
While the country is eagerly awaiting the Union Budget to be presented by Mr Yashwant Sinha tomorrow, over 5,000 knitting, dyeing and other related units here are in a state of panic, fearing an imposition of excise duty. Till now the small-scale units have been exempted from excise duty. But, if the economic survey, say industrialists, and ongoing pressure of large units are any indication, Mr Sinha may introduce excise duty on these units. Small units may get some exemption.

Interestingly, the Indian Cotton Mills Association, a body of large corporate units, has launched an advertising blitz demanding imposition of excise duty on textiles at all stages under the Cenvat scheme. It was opposed by the Federation of Knitting and Allied Industries Association, a body of small units. It claims the support of associations of Tirpur, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and other small textile centres in the country.

Mr Prem Sagar Jain, a former president of the Readymade Hosiery Manufacturers Association, who is among those who are spearheading the agitation, says: “It is not only excise duty that we are worried about but also the red-tapism, complicated procedures and corrupt attitude of a section of employees as well. Moreover, the government must understand that in the chain of garment manufacturing, small units are involved at various stages, including dyeing, finishing and printing.” He further adds that the functioning of all these units would become difficult after the multi-stage excise duty, as the costs would increase. The government can collect excise duty at one stage to safeguard the interests of lakhs of workers in the textile sector.

Large units here have, however, argued that with the breaking of excise chain, not only the government losses heavy amount in tax evasion, but it also affects the viability of big players as well.

Mr V.K. Goyal, CEO, Vardhman Spinning and General Mills, claims: “We are simply asking for 8 per cent excise duty at all stages under the Cenvat scheme, implying that all units in the chain would have to pay excise duty only for their value addition and get back the excise paid on their raw material. It would provide a level playing field to all players. The government may introduce excise on small units in phases”.

He points out the industry is already paying 8 per cent excise duty on cotton yarn and 16 per cent on blended, synthetic yarn. In India, the annual consumption of cotton yarn is around 190 to 192 million kg and of other yarn around 60 to 70 million kg. The government would also earn a substantial amount by introducing 8 per cent duty at multi-stage. The SSI units would have to realise that sooner or later they would have to come in the excise net, he adds.



From Chaura Bazar to College Road
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 27
There is an exclusiveness to Ludhiana bazars. They are modern and old at the same time. This is because Ludhiana is among those cities in the country which has grown at a phenomenal pace in the post-Partition era. With a population of less than one lakh at the time of Partition, the city has already crossed 30 lakhs.

The number of bazars in Ludhiana seems to have grown in appropriate proportion to its population. There is a long list of markets starting from the old and ancient Purana Bazar to the modern Sarabha Nagar market and the Mall. Count anything and there would be a bazar in its name. There is Dal Bazar (pulses market), Sabun Bazar (soap market), Oon Bazar (wool market), Cycle Market, Gur Mandi, Sarafa Bazar, Truck Bazar, Lakkar Bazar, Car Bazar, Ghas Mandi and so on.

However, Chaura Bazar still remains the centre of attraction for all. The reason being obvious. If Ludhiana is the commercial capital of Punjab, Chaura Bazar is the commercial capital of Ludhiana with daily business transactions running in hundreds of crores. Whether it is the local people or the visitors from outside, Chaura Bazar remains everybody’s preference. Even the athletes from the North-East, who had come here to participate in the National Games, had learnt about it and they would ask for its location. There is a general impression that what is sold for Rs 100 at the Mall is available for Rs 50 in Chaura Bazar.

Chaura Bazar, believed to be over 100 years old, no longer stands by its definition. With encroachments on both the sides having narrowed it down to pass through it difficult during the day time. And still people throng it. And on Sundays, when the shops are closed, there is a heavy rush for Sunday Bazar here. It also remains the favourite haunt of the people from the countryside. There are some famous business outlets like Hind Silk House, Lyal Book Depot and Khushi Ram’s Sweet Shop. There is Pindi Street, one of the largest drug markets in Punjab. There is a saying in Ludhiana that if a thing is not available anywhere it can be had from Chaura Bazar only.

The old Ludhiana city was confined to Chaura Bazar, Daresi, Purana Bazar and Ghas Mandi. According to Lala Kanwar Lal Gupta, the proprietor of Hind Silk House, who is also known as father of silk trade in Punjab, people used to sell grass from Ghas Mandi. Today it may slightly look out of place, but the grass was an important commodity at that time since most of the transportation was done through horse driven carts and the horses were fed with grass only. Lala Ji, whose business is spread all over the North, observes that Ludhiana’s growth is reflective of the enterprising spirit of its people. “Otherwise there was nothing special to Ludhiana. It was like any other town at the time of independence, with just about 70,000 people, over half of whom left for Pakistan,” he pointed out.

Although people have now started moving out to new markets like the Mall, Ghumar Mandi, College Road, Cemetery Road, Pakhowal Road, Model Town and Sarabha Nagar, but they have retained their original outlets in Chaura Bazar. Chaura Bazar offers part nostalgia and to any trader in business here. Its approaches have been clogged by heavy traffic.

This is also one of the reasons that most of the businessmen are setting up extension counters on the other side of the line along the Ferozepur Road. If Chaura Bazar and surrounding localities represent the ancient glory of Ludhiana, Ferozepur Road reflects its modern pace.

After Chaura Bazar, the Mall and Pakhowal Road are fast emerging as important business centres. This has also contributed to a phenomenal increase in the cost of properties at these places. There are several departmental stores on these two roads. However, the clientele remains confined among the affluent and upper middle classes only. And Ludhiana has no dearth of such people, who would like to shop at these places just for the heck of it. While most of the people who come to shop at Chaura Bazar come on scooters, those who shop along the Mall and Pakhowal Road come in four-wheelers.

And Ghumar Mandi offers a middle course where customers of all hues come and shop. They may come on scooters, in cars and even in cycle-rickshaws. Originally a locality of porters, as the name itself conveys, Ghumar Mandi is fast emerging as one of the important marketplaces in Ludhiana. There are several departmental stores offering a wide range of products on a wide price range. College Road and Cemetery Road are two fast growing market places.

Among other things Ludhiana is also famous for the sale and purchase of second hand cars. It may be only next to Delhi. In fact people from different parts of the region right from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir up to Shimla and Chandigarh come here to sell and purchase their cars. Ludhiana itself has great potential in the second hand car market as there are thousands of people who keep on changing their cars every year. There may be at least one thousand business outlets where second hand cars are sold and purchased. And most of these outlets are in Feroze Gandhi Market and Rarewal Market near Bus Stand. All types of cars are always available here.

Besides these there are two important markets Ludhiana is known for worldwide. The Cycle Market along Gill Road and Hosiery Market in Purana Bazar in the old city. The wholesale cycle market is an important business centre from where bicycles and cycle parts are supplied to different parts of the country and also abroad.

Similarly there is the hosiery market in Purana Bazar, where transactions are carried daily worth crores. In fact the trading in Cycle Market and Hosiery Market has a direct impact on the overall business in Ludhiana as hundreds and thousands of people are involved with these two trades.

Last but not least is the upcoming Sarabha Nagar Market. However, it does not offer much to the shoppers. People come here just to while away their time. With some good restaurants and food joints it serves as a good place to eat out. Moreover, it is a favourite haunt for the college and university youngsters. Precisely a dating mart. And the youngsters have coined their own term for a round to the market. They call it gheri. And hundreds of youngsters would love to make a gheri of the market at least once in a day.



Spare us, say not-so-rich
Our Correspondent

Kanav Khosla, Vikram Kanwar, Sukhvir Grewal, Preeti Kansal and Vivek Saggar
From left to right: Kanav Khosla, Vikram Kanwar, Sukhvir Grewal, Preeti Kansal and Vivek Saggar

Ludhiana, February 27
With the Central Government ready to announce its Budget tomorrow, residents of this city are having varied expectations from it. People here want a Budget favourable for the middle class, without any hike in prices of commodities for daily use.

The residents said that hike in prices of luxury goods was justified but electronics, computers and softwares should be spared so that they remain affordable for the common man. Industrialists here also hope that the prices of petrol or diesel may not be increased or else their increased cost of transportation would force them to raise the cost of their products.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Vikram Kanwar, a businessman, said that he was apprehending increase in excise duties and cost of fuel. He said that any such increase would directly affect the cost of product. He said that the current excise duty on yarn was 9.75 per cent and several spinning mills were finding it difficult to meet the cost. He said that any further elevation in the duty would force the mill owners to shut down their business.

Mr Kanav Khosla, an architect, said that the Finance Minister, MR Yashwant Sinha, should make such a provision in the budget that the advanced technology becomes cheaper. He said that computers, specialised softwares and latest hardwares should be made affordable to an ordinary man. With such a change, efficiency and competence would increase among the industrialists as well as professionals, he said.

Dr Vivek Saggar, a dentist, said that the Budget should be aimed at overall development of the country. Pointing out to the need of improving condition of general hospitals, he said that more amount should be allocated to the health sector. He said that such hospitals where people from lower or lower middle class take treatment lack basic infrastructure. He said that advanced medical equipment and specialised doctors should be made available in such hospitals.

Mr Sukhvir Grewal, former international hockey player, said that sports were always ignored in the Budget. He said that funds should be raised for introducing new schemes for encouraging sports in schools and colleges. He said that currently the government was providing funds just for national and international sports events, but there was a growing need to improve infrastructural facilities at school and college level.

Ms Preeti Kansal, a human rights activist, said that the Budget should be more suitable for the middle class. She said that commodities of daily use should be spared. She said that prices of luxury items like cars, mobile phones, TV and other electrical goods may be increased marginally.



Industrialists threaten to close units
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 27
Members of the Mandi Gobindgarh Induction Furnace Association has threatened to close their units till the Central Government amends the Cenvat policy and the Excise Department is not stopped from unnecessarily ‘harassing’ industrialist. They urged the PPCC, Capt Amarinder Singh, to take up the matter with the Central Government in this regard.

Addressing mediapersons at Gymkhana Club, Mandi Gobindgarh, today, Mr Mohinder Gupta, Mr Raj Bansal, Mr Kuldeep Goel and Mr Hukam Chand Bansal, all office-bearers of the association, said the induction furnace industry in Punjab was passing through a great recession. Instead of providing any remedial measures and assistance to save the industry, the policies of the government were adding fuel to the fire. They alleged that on one hand the Excise Department was demanding payment of increased duty under PLA as compared to the last year, in spite of the fact that huge balances were lying credit under the Cenvat and on the other hand they were conducting raids on flimsy grounds.

They said since the introduction of the Cenvat policy the furnace units were facing various procedural problems. They said these units were quite comfortable during the compounded levy scheme. 



Cell to deal with crime against women and kids

The Ludhiana police has set up a counselling cell to deal with crime against women and children.

The counselling cell, during a short period of six months, has done a good job by uniting estranged couples.

The cell, a brain child of the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, is headed by Mr Arunpal Singh, SP (Traffic), another young IPS officer.

The cell consists of eight police personnel, including a DSP and one woman inspector and 20 civilians, including three women. The civilian members are drawn from among academicians, businessmen and retired police officers. The cell became operational on September 10 last year on the police lines’ premises. The cell provides scientific and professional counselling to the estranged couples and children under stress and helps them in their rehabilitation. There are three rooms in the police lines where the cell has its office and the members of the cell attend to six parties in a day in two sessions of morning and evening.

Explaining the concept and working of the cell, Mr Sidhu said that while dealing with estranged couples, when an FIR was lodged, the cell’s effort was to bring harmony among the couples and the families were also involved. As the families approached the cell, they were asked to fill a form. When the families came to cell, tempers were generally high. But the situation improved with the first meeting with the members of the cell, he claimed.

Mr Sidhu said that under the law police action could be taken only in cases related to dowry. But through counselling, there was interaction between the conflicting parties, helping in solving the problem.

He said the cell did not impose any verdict while making settlements. Rather options were given to the parties concerned and the settlements were mutual without any pressure.

Mr Arunpal Singh said a follow-up action was also done after the settlement. The parties were called for follow up after every 15 days and two months were sufficient to ensure their reunion. ‘‘We also conduct surprise visit to the houses of the couples also to see how they are living,’’ said Mr Arunpal Singh.

Separate counselling sessions were organised for parents who quarrelled among themselves and these quarrels led to stress on their children. Such quarrels affected the general behaviour of the children and their growth. According to Mr Arunpal Singh basically the complaints pertained to matrimonial disputes.

Mr Arunpal said that since the inception of the cell 274 complaints were received and 214 were dealt with. Out of these in 97 cases couples were reunited. In 28 cases couples got a divorce and in 17 cases FIRs were registered. As many as 72 complaints were found to be false but no cognisance offence was made out. All these complaints were received from September till January-end. Out of these 2 per cent complaints were by husbands where they apprehended arrest or threats from the in-laws.

The cell of Ludhiana police will organise a seminar here on February 27 to share some experiences with the people and the authorities concerned. The Chairman, Punjab Human Rights Commission, Justice V.K. Khanna and Mrs S.K. Grewal, Chairperson, Punjab Women Commission, will also participate in the seminar. Besides, senior officers of the Punjab Police will also take part.

The SSP claimed that the cell had proved beneficial to the police as well as the general public since when a dispute took place the complaint came to the police and when a case was registered, there was pressure on the police to take action. But in case of counselling, the police intervention had became positive. Moreover, this was very cost effective and anyone could approach the cell.

With the introduction of police ‘beat’ system in the city, policemen would be further trained in the counselling. ‘‘We propose to target high-risk groups like youths taking to drugs and who then committed petty thefts to meet their demands for drugs. Juvenile groups would also the dealt with by the cell,’’ said Mr Sidhu.



Shobha yatra taken out
Our Correspondent

A view of the shobha yatra taken out in Ludhiana on Tuesday eveing in connection with Guru Ravidass jayanti.
A view of the shobha yatra taken out in Ludhiana on Tuesday evening in connection with Guru Ravidass jayanti. —Photo D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, February 27
A shobha yatra was taken out through old city areas by the Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission here last evening.

The yatra started from the Ravidass temple at Ghaati Mohalla. At the head of the yatra was Guru Granth Sahib, which was followed by large vehicular contingents of various organisations participating in the yatra. Large temple cutouts adorned a number of tractor-trailers, while garlanded portraits of the great Guru had been placed atop other vehicles.

The entire route of the yatra — Basti Jodhewal, Chowk Division No. 3, Subhani Building, Chaura Bazaar, Ghanta Ghar Chowk and Mata Rani Chowk — was well-decorated with welcome gates at several places and buntings and flags almost everywhere. Horses and elephants, which participated in the yatra, were attired in an attractive manner. Various bands were playing religious hymns and compositions. The same were followed by various ‘kirtani jathas’, ‘raagi jathas’ and hymn-singing groups. A number of ‘gatka’ parties also displayed their skills. A large number of social, religious and commercial associations had arranged ‘langar’ at several points along the route of the yatra, which culminated late in the evening at the starting point.

At Chowk Ghanta Ghar, the yatra was given a rousing welcome by the Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj.

Among other prominent citizens who were present on the occasion were Mr Jaswant Kattaria and Mr Shiv Ram Saroye, chairman and president, respectively, of the Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission, Mr Chaman Lal Ahuja, Mr Surinder Sood, Mr Darshan Lal Bagga, Mr Satpal Behl, Mr Bhupinder Pal, Mr Manjit Singh Raju, Mr Gulshan Goga, Mr Hari Ram, Mr Balbir Kumar and Mr Joginder Rai.

A function was also held here on Wednesday. After ‘bhog’ of Akhand Path and ‘kirtan’, a ‘langar’ was served to all.

Similar functions were held at Baghaur, Ghulal, Bhagwanpura, Ladhran-Chehalan and Balion villages.

The local SDM, Mr S.S. Brar, and the MLA, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, were present.

Fatehgarh Sahib
The 625th birth anniversary of Guru Ravidass was celebrated with enthusiasm at Sirhind today. Representatives of all political parties and social and religious organisations participated in the function. The bhog of Sehaj Path was also organised.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, urged the people to follow the path shown by our Gurus.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (A), Vaid Hari Krishan, a senior Congress leader, and Kishan Singh Pal also addressed the gathering.



He strives for new records
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, February 27
He is always striving to make new and unique records. Pawan Kumar Kailey, a resident of Goraya, who has already got his name in Limca Book of World Records for his tailoring skills, is set to create another record this time, this time by passing dozens of threads through a single sewing needle.

Pawan has demonstrated putting 84 threads in the eye of a sewing needle.”It took me 10 days to finish this task. I worked for three to four hours daily to accomplish the feat. For this I have used a simple needle and one thread. This activity required hardwork and concentration, but I am happy that I am successful”, claimed Pawan Kailey.

Pawan has had the distinction of performing unique deeds for which he has not only been recognised by the people of Goraya but he has been interviewed by TV channels like Alpha Punjabi, Zee TV and Asian Channel.

Pawan, while speaking on his achievements, said: “My name will appear in the next edition of Limca Book of World Records for two achievements. One, making a 35-piece jacket-set, which can be worn for 9800 days and all the time with different colours and patterns. The other creation being 10 little kites which can be passed through the hole of a needle”.

His other creations include a pyjama, which can be worn for six times as jacket, shirt and half-pant. A tailoring expert, he has made a two inches nightsuit and half-inch jacket, besides other things.

“The Guiness Book of World Records people have also recognised my work and they will be coming to see my creation soon”, claimed Pawan, while showing a letter from the company.

Pawan said that he has been a tailor since the last 14 years. And he has been achieving such records for the last seven years. “Ours is a business family. But I am keen to do these kinds of experiments. And I am lucky enough that my wife, family members, children and friends have appreciated my work. They are always pushing and encouraging”, maintained Pawan.

“I have only one regret that the state government has not appreciated my work. I have spent a lot of money while making such unique things but the least I expect from the government is some recognition for my work”, Pawan complained.



Car sickness in dogs

There may be occasions when you may have to take your dog on a long drive. It may be a picnic or a visit to the vet. Dogs commonly feel nauseated or may even throw up. This is disconcerting both for the owner and for the dog. The dogs that become sick, either genuinely suffer from car sickness or have some negative psychological association with travelling.

The psychological reason might be the fear of cars due to a prior displeasing experience in the car or the end of the journey. The dog may also be emotionally confused as it cannot control its circumstances. It is necessary to reassure your dog that these fears are groundless (which might be hard depending on how you drive).

The dogs, which become car sick only when taken to a particular destination like the vet (or your in-laws), may be deceived by taking alternate routes or first driving in the opposite direction of the destination and then towards it. This gives the dog a sense of security that he is heading home. You need to get your dog used to the car by taking excursions that are short enough that your dog does not exhibit the typical signs of car sickness — drooling, vomiting, etc. It may be necessary to start by just sitting in the car together and giving your dog a treat after a few minutes. Then take it to very short rides followed by a treat. Gradually increase the length of the trips until your dog enjoys the car rides.

The genuine car-sick dogs may show the signs of sickness if the horizon is constantly changing. These dogs may not respond to behaviour therapy but may find respite if they are not allowed to stick there head out of the window and sit where they can’t see the horizon. This may involve tying up the pet near the floor of the car. If this seems a little inhumane, you may stop the car every mile or so and let the dog walk for a few minutes.

Another option is the use of preventive medication. Your vet will have one that works well for your dog. If you don’t want your dog in the car, but find it necessary on an occasion, you can use tranquilisers to control the nervousness which succeeds in most dogs.

Jaspreet Singh



Roshni Mela concludes
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 27
Circus, magic shows, swings were the main attraction of the historic Roshni Mela, which concluded on Tuesday. The mela was celebrated here for three days. It concluded with songs by Punj Darya Sabhyacharak Kendra.

Baba Mohkamdin Allah came to Sirhind from Noni Sahib Mankala Mohalla, Lohia tehsil in Valtoha district. He became a disciple of Hazarat Khawaja Abbas Sahib. He meditated for 12 years at Ratti Khera, near Faridkot. Finally, he settled at Agwar Gujjran here.

Mughal Emperor Jehangir too sought his blessings for a son. He named his son Shahjahan at the behest of Baba Mohkamdin.

This mela is held on 13th of Phalgun. Devotees from far of places visit the dargah and also of Mai Zeena situated about 500 metres from the dargah.

Mai Zeena was one of the wives of Baba Mohkamdin. She served as watchman of Baba Mohkamdin during his period of meditation.

Mai Zeena used to answer questions of devotees.



Murder accused held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 27
Savita, an accused in a murder case, was arrested yesterday by the Division No. 6 police station.

According to information, Neeru, wife of Brij Mohan, was allegedly murdered by their neighbours, Savita and her husband, Vijay Kumar. The couple doused her in kerosene and burnt her on December 8 at Parbhat Nagar. Vijay had been in police custody since the murder.

Dowry case: Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, a daughter of Mr Hardyal Singh, a resident of Haibowal, has alleged that she was married to Bhupinder Pal Singh, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar, on February 21, 1999. A baby girl was also born to the couple subsequently. But soon after that her in-laws started harassing her for not bringing a Maruti Esteem car in her dowry. And on the morning of February 14, when her in-laws were beating her some neighbours telephoned her parents and informed them about the excesses being committed on her.

She further stated that when her father and brother Jaspreet Singh came to her rescue, they were also allegedly attacked with sharp-edged weapons by her in-laws.

The police has registered a case under Sections 406, 498-A, 307, 506, 323 and 324 of the IPC against some members of her in-laws. The dowry harassment victim further alleged that since her father-in-law was an influential government officer posted here the police was not proceeding with the case to shield him.

Shop burgled: A barber shop was burgled on Monday night in Basti Jodhewal. Raj Kishore Thakur, the shop owner, discovered the burglary when he came to open the shop on Tuesday morning. A report has been lodged at the Sunder Nagar police post.



New BSNL schemes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 27
With a view to generate a demand of new telephone connections in areas where telephone connections are available on demand in the area under the Ludhiana exchange, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has taken certain steps.

The General Manager, Telecom, in a press note, said here today that no registration fee would be charged from the applicant for booking of new telephone connection in these areas. Installation charges of Rs 840 per connection would have to be paid at the time of booking. The annual advance rent would be charged in first bill.

No security deposit would be required for registration of second and subsequent telephone. Security deposit would be required only in case the subscriber opts for STD or ISD facility on the second or subsequent telephone. The scheme is open till March 31.


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