Sunday, March 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PCMSA, teachers condemn Budget
Our Correspondents

Ludhiana, March 2
The PCMS Association, Punjab ,while reacting to the proposed Budget by the Union Government has termed it as disappointing for salaried and poor class.

Dr Hardeep Singh, state president, in a statement today said although the income of salaried class was gradually increasing in figures but due to inflation and devaluation of money, the cost of livelihood was increasing, resulting in decline of purchasing power of common man.

He said a large section of society, the salaried class, was expecting relaxation in the income tax slab but the proposed Budget ignored this class totally and increased the burden of taxes on them by cut in the rebate on savings, by lowering interest in the savings, by introducing surcharge on the tax in the name of defense funds, increasing the price of LPG and introducing service tax on small services.

Meanwhile, Mr Charan Singh Sarabha, general secretary, Government School Teachers Union, Punjab, criticised the Budget proposals for Vajpayee government at the Centre and described them as anti-employee, anti-common man, anti-unemployed, youth and anti-farmers. By reducing depositors’ interest rates, the government had actually robbed the common man , employees and pensioners and gave benefits of crores of rupees to defaulter corporate houses.

Fatehgarh Sahib: The Gobindgarh Merchant Chamber, trade and industry associations and various steel traders have criticised the Union Budget terming it as anti-steel traders.

Mr Sohan Lal Gupta and Mr Anil Suraj, president and secretary of the merchant chamber, said that the Union Finance Minister failed to give any relief to the steel trade and industry, which was passing through a recession since the last three years. They said that they had high hopes from the budget and the traders were expecting that the present recession in the steel market would be covered in the new budget, but it had failed to give any concession for the survival of steel industry.

The traders said that the custom duty in the ship breaking scrap had been increased from 5 per cent to 15 per cent, which would make the imported scrap more costly. The excise duty structure had not been touched, exemption limit to small scale industry would remain unchanged as there was a demand to raise it from 1 crore to 2 crore. These traders said that in case the government failed to provide any relief the recession would continue and more and more industry units would close in near future.



A self-made artist
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
“Whenever I used to see posters being painted or advertisements being written on walls, I used to stop, fascinated and wonder-struck at the rich and beautiful hues of colour,” says Sukhpreet, a self-made artist who has exhibited his works the world over.

He took to painting in oil colours in 1985, much to the admonition of his parents. He had to starve for the next five years as there were no takers, but then NRIs started buying his works. “I generally painted portraits, rural scenes of Punjab and landscapes,” he says.

He held his first one-man show at Punjab Agricultural University, followed by a number of shows in colleges and schools. He went to the USA in 1996, but did not achieve success as the Americans did not want modern art paintings. After returning, he travelled extensively and painted landscapes.

In 1997, Berkely University organised a slide show of his paintings. He says, “Only when an artist is successful abroad does he get recognition at home. After I came back from the USA, my work has been in demand.” One of his favourite paintings is that of lined face of Mother Teresa. The other that he likes is of a Sikh, Gurdial Singh. He headed for Russia, but his bag of 19 paintings was lost in transit. Past year, his exhibition in Modena near Florence was a success.

He is heading for Siberia this summer. According to him, travelling opens new vistas of experience and fills one with new ideas. He does not want to become a member of any art association or club as these involve a lot of politics. He paints for four hours everyday. His message to budding artists is that the beginning may be tough, but with persistence and diligence, success will be tasted.



Doctors’ advice on plague
Our Correspondents

Ludhiana, March 2
In view of the reports of plague spreading its tentacles in some villages in the state too, the doctors at the CMC have advised the people not to panic and curb the spread of the deadly disease. Some of the precautionary steps suggested by Dr. S.C. Gupta are : Immediately contact the nearest health agency in case anyone develops sudden high fever, cough or has blood -stains in sputum, chest pain and breathing difficulty; isolate the person suffering from plague to the nearest hospital, if possible in a segregated portion of the house particularly in case of pneumonic plague; all those who come in contact with pneumonic plague patients should wear masks; all clothes or swabs or kerchieves with sputum of the patient should be destroyed or sterilised; any unusual death of rats should be brought to the notice of the local municipal health authorities; break the cycle of transmission of the disease (rodent-fleas-man) by the destruction of rat fleas through proper effective insecticides; at least a week prior to an anticipated plague out-break, immunisation with plague vaccine can be given; Chemoprophylaxis as a valuable preventive measure be offered to all plague contacts, medical, nursing and public health professionals.


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