Tuesday, June 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


June 10 passes; tax takes no toll on highway
...but it soon will, as the rate lists indicate
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, June 10
The toll-collection scheme to be launched at Doraha, Shambhu and Karnal has failed to take off by the specified date — June 10.

The Nagpur party, Shakti Kumar M. Sancheti Ltd, that has been given the collection contract, says that, even though the notification for the launch has been received here, there has been no green signal, so far, from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in New Delhi. The company that has the contract for a year, says that, probably, the work at Shambhu is still incomplete and will be finished within three days.

Mr Khade, accountant of the company, said: “The pending work at Shambhu may be one of the reasons for the delay, but we are not aware of any other limitation. We have to follow the instructions of the NHAI and cannot question its decision.”

The scheme was to collect toll tax at every 80 km from Panipat to Jalandhar (at Doraha, Shambhu and Karnal), where the contractor concerned would be just an operator. The everyday collection will go into the account of the NHAI. It is, thus, a routine road-maintenance contract.

However, sources say that, as the toll-tax-collection contract at the Sutlej is to end on June 30, the collection cannot begin at the three designated places before July 1. Mr I.K. Verma, Project Director National Highway Authority at Jalandhar, had, earlier, said the toll-collection at the Sutlej would end on the day the toll-tax operators began their work at these places. The operator at the Sutlej has not been served any prior notice.

Moreover, the scheme should have been advertised in at least 10 leading newspapers, 15 days before the launch.

While the date of implementation is unknown, people of the area and commuters on the national highway are not happy with the toll-tax rates that have been displayed on the road near the toll-plaza. The rates are on the high side for every category of vehicle, by any standard, according to the rate list given by Mr Khade, accountant of the Nagpur party. The rates are for one trip and no time limit has been given for each trip.

Mr Khade said, “There are passes for everyday commuters on the highway, which allow them to make 30 trips at the price of one.” However, such commuters are not many and the rest of the travellers will have to pay every time they cross the toll-plaza. Mr Khade said drivers of two-wheelers and three-wheelers would be exempted from paying the tax and so would be defence personnel, the VIPs, policemen, firefighters, ambulance service staff, funeral-van staff, men of the Department of Posts and government officials.

Commuters don’t know why are they being charged such exorbitant rates. The delay in the implementation of the scheme has given them some relief, but they’ll have to bear it some day.

The heads of various bodies like the truck union, the tempo union, the Kariyana Merchants’ Association, the Durga Sewa Dal, Dashmesh Charitable Dispensary, the Readymade Garments Association and the taxi union have also resented the move. They say that the exorbitant rates will discourage commuters from travelling on this route, as the fuel prices have also been increased.

Some sources also said the scheme was illegal and could not be launched at this time. They said the toll-plazas would have to be computerised for the launch, which would take another 10 months. The scheme was a temporary move and could continue, if no one objected to it. However, the criticism has begun even before the launch.



Councillors administered oath
Denied entry, SAD supporters protest 
Our Correspondent

Denied entry to the meeting hall
Denied entry to the meeting hall, where newly elected councillors were to take oath, supporters of the Akali Dal councillors resort to slogan shouting at the MC headquarters in Ludhiana on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, June 10
The new general house of the Municipal Corporation was formally constituted with the newly elected councillors, representing 70 wards in the city, taking oath of office at the MC meeting hall here today. The Commissioner of Patiala Division, Mr C.S. Srivastava, administered oath to all the councillors in one stretch.

Besides the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, the Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, and all the four Congress legislators from the city — Mr Harnam Das Johar, Mr Surinder Dawar, Mr Malkiat Singh Beermi and Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, were present at the meeting. The Divisional Commissioner read out the statutory oath in Punjabi and the elected councillors repeated after him.

Earlier, the councillors, accompanied by their supporters in large numbers arrived at the MC office to take part in the first meeting. However, the entry to the meeting hall being restricted, the supporters, including several close relatives of the councillors, had to stand out in corridors. Having been denied entry to the meeting hall, the activists resorted to shouting slogans for some time and had to be pacified by MC officials.

Even though the MC Secretary, Mr V.K. Sharda, who was conducting the proceedings, repeatedly announced on the public address system that those, other than councillors and media persons, should leave the meeting hall but no one heeded to his pleas. At one time, there was quite a commotion when a councillor of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) objected to the presence of the president of the District Congress Committee, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, in the meeting hall while several senior leaders of other political parties were not permitted inside. As the proceeding of the meeting were in progress, the district president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, and general secretary, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, along with some of the Akali Dal functionaries made their appearance.

The presence of a large number of cameramen, representing print and electronic media, also disrupted the proceedings for some time and the MC Commissioner had to firmly but politely tell them to clear the well of the house so that the Divisional Commissioner and the councillors were in eye contact.



Cashing in on soccer mania their goal
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 10
The FIFA World Cup is on. Craze for football has reached a feverish pitch in the European and Latin American countries. It is creating a furore in many countries, but since Ludhianvis are basically cricket and hockey fans, many eateries have come out with novel schemes to beckon the city people to get interested in the matches.

Food is very important to Ludhianvis. So what better way to tempt them than offering them discounts? One local bar in a reputed hotel has created an authentic atmosphere of a football field. The entrance of the bar is made to look like a goalpost. As one steps inside, one feels one is inside a football field. The coloured flags of all participating nations further heightened the illusion of the football field. The cutouts of the famous football players and footballs and nets hanging from the ceiling completes the ambience of a football field.

Not only is the decor of a football field cocktails and mocktails in the bar are also very ‘footballish’. Mardona’s header, Ronaldo’s strike, yellow card are some of the popular names of cocktails that go well with the clients. The mocktails that sound irresistible are Carlo’s reverse swing, Pele’s kick-off and foul play. There are many more with interesting names. “All the clients are given a questionnaire regarding the World Cup. The person who scores the highest points gets a hamper of ‘Teacher’s Whiskey’. Every time any one orders a drink, he gets a coupon. On June 30, the last day of the World Cup, a lucky draw would decide the winner who would get a Bajaj Pulser. A big screen is telecasting the matches from Channel 10 while the football watchers sip their drinks. “We are getting good response from the people”, says Sidhu handling Champs.

A coffee shop has specially installed a big TV on the wall. “For the first time television with plasma technology has been used and the matches come through a satellite. The coffee shop has put up big banners offering 10% discount to the clients when any goal is scored. “The clients who watched the match between Germany and Saudia Arabia got 80% discount as Germany scored 8 goals. Similarly in the match between Portugal and USA ,5 goals were scored , hence a few clients got 50% discount,” said Mr. Yograj of Coffee Shop. A pizza joint offers a free pizza with the topping of the person’s choice if she /he happens to be the first caller after the goal has been scored.

Another hotel in the old city is offering 20 per cent discount on all types of cuisine. The mini theatre in the hotel is jampacked in the evenings when the matches are being telecast on a large screen. It also has exciting competition between two sets of viewers. They choose their sides. The people whose choice team has won the match are served free mocktails and cocktails. They also plan to start ‘buffet lunch’ at reduced rates till the World Cup is on. Mr Brij Verghese, manager operations, informed that if the client bought a cocktail, he was served a free mocktail.

The efforts are paying. Moreover, major upsets like a dark horse Senegal defeating the defending champions France has created a stir. Similarly, South Korea’s win has excited the football fans.



Action against civic bodies ordered
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 10
Taking a serious note of violation of building bylaws in urban areas, the secretary, local Government, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, has directed the Deputy Directors, Local Government, to initiate action against those municipal councils and erring presidents who have not adopted the Building Bylaws, 1997.

He also directed drafting of charge sheets against those executive official, of MCs who were responsible for suppressing facts or passing on wrong information to the Deputy Directors during inspections. There are 17 MCs, including 11 in Amritsar, four in Patiala and two in Ludhiana region, that have not adopted the building bylaws.

A letter regarding these directions was received by the Khanna Municipal Council from the Deputy Director, Local Government, Mr S.R. Kaler, on June 7. The executive officer was directed to ensure compliance of the directions and to report within 7 days.

According to the letter, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Secretary, Local Government for reviewing enforcement of building regulations in the light of the proceedings before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

All four corporation Commissioners and Deputy Directors were directed to write to the Council of Architects for initiating action against the architects for professional misconduct who had supervised the constructions where non-compoundable violations had taken place. He also directed the commissioners to sign themselves all the commercial building plans, and to detect one unauthorised construction every month.

Following the complaint by the Deputy Director, Jalandhar, about non-cooperation by the field staff during inspection, the secretary directed to prepare charge sheets against the officials concerned.



Big haul of poppy husk 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The Salem Tabri police today achieved a major breakthrough when it nabbed two smugglers and seized 14.4 quintal of poppy husk from them.

The contraband was being smuggled into the city by Delhi-based smugglers who, according to police records, have smuggled over 100 such trucks in the region in the recent past. The market value of the poppy husk seized has been estimated at over Rs 4 lakh. It was being transported in 36 sacks.

DSP Manjit Singh Dhesi and SHO Salem Tabri Warryam Singh told reporters at a press conference here today afternoon that on a tip-off the police laid a naka near Qadian village. The truck was intercepted at the check post.

The two alleged smugglers caught with the narcotics have been identified as Sukhdev Singh alias Chabra and Jaswant Singh alias Kesri. They reportedly told the police that they used to smuggle such a quantity every fortnight.



Leadership vacuum in city
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 10
Is it not an irony that Ludhiana — the richest town of Punjab is poorer in not having a leader of substance. There is no leader in whom Ludhiana can repose confidence. As a matter of fact, there is a leadership vacuum in the ‘financial capital’ of Punjab. No political party can boast of having an outstanding leader.

Ludhiana has produced great freedom fighters and leaders like Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha and Shaheed Sukhdev, associate of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. After the Partition, Ludhiana produced the Congress leaders like Sardari Lal Kapoor, Sat Paul Mittal and Joginder Paul Pandey. The Janasangh also produced leaders like Khushi Ram Sharma and Krishan Lal Maini and Akalis gave Mr Surjan Singh Thekddar, who has now grown too old to give a lead to the Sikhs.

After these leaders, there has been a void in the leadership of these parties. Present day leaders of these parties are more involved in internal bickerings and it seems that they have no love for the town.

The rift between leaders of the Congress came to the fore during the elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. There were allegations of corruption in allotment of ticket. Some of the leaders allegedly worked against the party candidate. Similar allegations were levelled in the BJP, but the same were in a low tone. Similarly, the Shironani Akali Dal also witnessed infighting.

The Congress has got majority of seats in the 70-member Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and the tussle for the post of the Mayor has been on for the past few weeks. The party has not been able to decide about its candidate for the posts.

Unfortunately, the elected councillors of the Congress do not instill confidence among Ludhianvis that they will be able to do anything for this industrially advanced, but the most polluted town of Punjab.

The past two mayors — one belonging to the BJP and the other to the Akali Dal who served full two terms — were non-controversial and could win the confidence of the residents.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation now has an annual budget of more than Rs 200 crore and needs men of integrity who can provide good leadership.

The Congress is badly divided and there is no consensus on a single candidate for the post of the Mayor. Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, who is a close confidant of the Chief Minister and in charge of Ludhiana unit, met the councillors, but could not generate a consensus among them.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is a den of corruption and a strong man with his credentials aboveboard is needed to eradicate corruption and do something for the welfare of the town.

The new band of leaders of the Congress are only interested in publication of their pictures and spicy stories in newspapers. They lack the zeal to serve the residents.


Village mourns loss of INA hero
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
The villagers of Sehora are inconsolable, as their hero, a veteran of the Indian National Army, has passed away. Havildar Santa Singh Ji Sehora had sacrificed a lot to win freedom for the country. Born on December 2, 1916, in Sehora village of this district, he was inspired by his father, Chet Singh, who had joined the freedom struggle under the banner of Lala Lajpat Rai after retiring from the Indian Army. It was, thus, natural for Santa Singh to join the freedom struggle.

Santa Singh lost his mother in his childhood, when his father remained preoccupied with the freedom struggle, so, he mostly had to fend for himself. In 1932, he got a chance to join the Frontier Force Rifles, within a few years of which, he was asked to take part in World War II. He joined the INA after he had heard Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose give a speech. From 1942 to 1945, he remained in the captivity of the Japanese in Malaysia, which wrecked him physically and mentally. At the Independence in 1947, he was liberated of his misery.

Since he had joined the INA, the British dismissed him from their army, which proved to be a blessing in disguise for him, as the Indian Army recruited him. He retired from the Army in 1957 and received 'Tamar Patras' of honour on two occasions — On August 24, 1972, from Indira Gandhi and on August 15, 1988, from Rajiv Gandhi. Mr Sadhu Singh Kundhaini, MP, presented him with an award in 1999.

After retirement, he used to manage the finances of the Government Kheti Badi Sabha and a gurdwara.

He passed away on June 1, leaving Sehora grief stricken. Mr Amarjit Singh, a former sarpanch of the village, said, "The village has been orphaned."



Need for protecting environment stressed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
As part of the environment awareness campaign, a public function organised by the Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha (BJGVJ) in coordination with Punjab Pollution Control Board, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Bahadarke Dyeing Association, Paryavaran Vahini and Municipal Corporation was held at Mini Rose Garden here yesterday. The participating organisations strongly felt that there was a need for launching a movement to promote healthy environment with the cooperation of people and administration.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Arun Mitra, general secretary of the BJGVJ, said deterioration in environment had occurred due to unplanned and unchecked growth. There was a threat to the impact on quality of air due to industry and vehicles and increase in level of suspended particles and gases like nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Water at several places was not fit for drinking. Serious problems had cropped up due to increase in use of plastic. There was a rise in infectious diseases and development of new type of disease pattern. Dr Mitra said: “We are now faced with the threat of nuclear radiations, which could annihilate huge population”.

Numerous suggestions put forth, included provision of dustbins in the city, collection of waste by the corporation and its proper management. To control the air pollution, regular check of vehicles and industries was needed.

Safe drinking water and sewerage facilities be supplied and old decayed water pipes be replaced. Incinerators should also be installed for management of hazardous waste.

Mr D.K. Dua, member secretary Punjab Pollution Control Board, stressed the need to strengthen the movement for awareness on environmental issues. He said the PPCB was taking effective measures to control pollution generated by industries. Incinerators were being set up in several cities for the biomedical waste.

Dr Sanjiv Uppal, speaking on behalf of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, spelled the danger of nuclear weapons.

A cultural programme was also presented by the Indian People’s Theatre Association in which poems on environment were recited by the students of Government Senior Secondary School, PAU.



Ajmer Aulakh receives Manchan award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The Dr Phul Memorial Manchan award was presented to famous Punjabi playwright Ajmer Singh Aulakh by Surjit Patar, president, Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, here.

The award carries Rs 10,000 memento and a citation. Another feature of this award is that an anthology of critical essays by eminent writers and critics is also produced and released on the occasion.

Titled “Ajmer Aulakh Di Naat-Bhoomi” has entries by eminent literary personalities like Dr Kesar Singh Kesar, Dr Sutinder Singh Noor, Dr T.R. Vinod, Gursharan Singh, etc. Edited by Dr Sukhdev Singh of Panjab University, the book was rated to be one of the best publications on Punjabi drama by Dr Satish Verma who also spoke on the contents of the book.

Prof Gurbhajan Gill and Dr Sukhdev Singh spoke about the creativity of the award-winner playwright and that of Dr Gurdial Singh Phul in whose memory this is given to an eminent theatre person every two years. Dr Atamjit read out the citation of Prof Aulakh. He also made a brief mention of Prof Aulakh as a distinguished dramatist and a person. Prof Ravinder Bhathal, General Secretary Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, also spoke about the humble but determined attitude of Prof Aulakh towards life.

The others who graced the function included Mr Nirmal Jaura, Mr Janmeja Singh Johl, Dr S.N. Sewak, Prof Kulwant Jagraon, Pr. Prem Singh Bajaj, Dr Sarbjit Singh (Chandigarh), Dr Guriqbal Singh, Mr Tarlochan Lochi, Mr Darshan Gill (Canada), Mr Jagdish Sachdeva (Amritsar), Dr Amarjit Singh Gorky, Mrs Sukhwinder Amrit, Mr Mohinderdeep Grewal, Mrs Surinderjit Kaur, Mrs Amarjit Kaur Naaz, Mr Bhupinder Harsh, Mr Gursharan Singh Narula, Dr Sarup Singh Alag, Dr Gurcharan Singh Muhay, Mr Tirath Gill, Mr Gurdial Shaonki, Mr Sarod Sudeep and Mr Budh Singh Neelon.



Veterinary officers hold protest rally
Our Correspondent

Samrala, June 10
Veterinary Officers of Samrala, Khanna and Payal held a protest rally in front of the Civil Veterinary Hospital here today under the presidentship of Dr Ashok Kumar Sharma, president of the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association.

Dr Sharma while addressing the Veterinary Officers said the post of Veterinary Officer is a technical post and at the time of selection a technical expert is also a member of the selection panel in addition to PPSC members and experts are also called from different universities to reduce the chances of bungling”.

Dr Sharma also said most of the doctors were post graduates and some doctors who had been selected by the Rajasthan Public Service Commission had been selected by PPSC, also and most of the doctors had also cleared departmental examinations. Dr Sharma further stated that 750 doctors were working in the department and if 300 out of them were removed for being selected during Ravi Sidhu’s tenure then the services of Animal Husbandry Department would be paralised.

Dr Sharma also demanded the implementation of non-practising allowance at the earliest.



Pensioners resent hike in petrol prices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
The state executive of the Punjab State Pensioners Confederation at a meeting here deplored the recent hike in the petrol and diesel prices and condemned the action of the Government of India with all the force at their command.

In a press note the pensioners said the hike had severely hit them the most as this would raise the prices of essential commodities and services of daily use. Passenger fare and goods freight would add to the big drain on the already squeezed resources of the pensioners with fixed income and middle class people because of lowering down the rate of interest on their provident fund, deposits and investments under small saving schemes.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, president of the PSPC, urged the government to review its decision on the hike in process of petrol and diesel items.



Anti-corruption steps hailed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
The Legal Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has hailed the campaign launched by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, against corruption.

At a meeting here called by the cell president, Mr Dharamjit Singh Khera, members of the cell said the war against corruption had sent a right signal to the corrupt, as a result of which, the administration had changed a lot.



Conductor dies in freak accident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
A bus conductor with a private transport was killed while a driver of the same transport escaped miraculously in a freak accident at the Inter-State Bus Stand here this afternoon. The conductor, Pawandeep Singh (22), was sandwitched between a PRTC and Punjab Roadways bus.

The accident took place when the PRTC bus moved backwards and crushed the deceased conductor who was caught between the moving and the stationary buses.



One booked for dereliction of duty
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 10
On the complaint of Mr Bhagwant Singh of Salana Jiwan Singh Wala village, a panchayat Samiti candidate from zone No 9, Salana Zone, the police has registered an FIR against Mr M.L. Garg, supervisor on duty at Salana village, on Sunday. According to the complainant, Mr Garg, Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Amloh, himself polled some votes in favour of the SAD and BSP-SAD combine for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti poll, respectively.

A case has been registered under Sections 122/132 and 134 of the Representation Act against Mr Garg. Mr Garg was not available for comments. When contacted, officials in his office said the police has raided the office but he was not available.

Mr Pakher Singh Salana, a Zila Parishad candidate of the Congress, said Mr Garg was detected by some voters marking the ballot papers in favour of SAD candidates and the matter was brought to the notice of Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi, Returning Officer, Amloh. He replaced Mr Garg immediately as supervisor.



Of ‘machines’ and ‘maalkhors’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
Mr Shiv Kumar, SP (D), said in a press note here last evening that a gang of seven pickpockets held in a raid near the grain market on the GT Road a couple of days ago was trying to graduate to higher crime and planning to commit dacoities in the outer colonies of the city. During investigations, the gang members had made interesting revelations regarding their modus operandi.

These gang members would go to various marriage functions and lighten people of their purses. The boy picking the pocket was code-named as ‘machine’ and he was surrounded by his cronies who would take away the nicked purse immediately while the ‘machine’ took some time to slip away in order not to arouse suspicion. Other favourite haunts of the gang were religious fairs and they had devised a code language by which they could communicate easily among each other in the presence of strangers. Apart from heavy purses, mobile phones were also being nicked by the ‘machines’

The men, who run the ‘machines’ are called “maalkhors’ in the underworld parlance and they take away the bulk of the nicked money. These ‘maalkhors’ never bother the ‘machines’ of other ‘maalkhors’. These machines dared not operate on their own. In case they do so, they are beaten mercilessly by the ‘maalkhors’ controlling them.

The SP further said that among the arrested gang members, 14-year-old Deepak, 21-year-old Atul Sharma and Gagandeep Singh were the ‘machines’ while Satpal, Amarjit Singh and Manmohan Singh were their helpers. And Rajesh Kumar alias Raja was the ‘maalkhor’.

The gang members, if spotted in marriage palaces, would concoct a convincing story that would let them off the hook.

The SP further said that while the city police was trying to eliminate such gangs from the city, arrest of more such gangs was likely in the near future. He said the police would also crack down heavily on fences who bought stolen ‘mobiles’ from these gangs.

Woman elopes with lover: A woman living in Nanaksar mohalla falling under the Shimla Puri police station allegedly eloped with her lover a couple of days ago. Mother of three children, the woman was having illicit relations with him. Fearing that her husband would come to know about the relationship, she made a dash with her lover and fled. Her husband has lodged a report at the Daba police post falling under the Shimla Puri police station.



City to witness Goa festival in August
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
An executive body meeting of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, which was presided over by Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the association, was held on June 7 in Ludhiana.

At the meeting it was resolved to organise Goa Food and Cultural Festival in city in August, which will be sponsored by the Department of Tourism, Goa. Apart from the food delicacies, artistes will entertain the audiences with the thrilling items from Goa. Mr V.K. Duggal, Director General Tourism, will be the chief guest and Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Tourism Minister, Punjab, will be the guest of honour on that day.

Mr B.K. Gupta, president, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), will be honoured with “M.S. Oberoi Gold Medal Award” on that day for his meritorious services towards the FHRAI and HRANI.

By another resolution, the members condemned the move of the PSEB of proposed hike in power tariff from 26 to 47 per cent on different categories of consumers. The hotel industry is already incurring huge losses, as in spite of this industry been declared as a full fledged industry by the state government, vide notification dated 20-3-1996. Commercial tariff instead of industrial tariff is still being charged and as such this industry has suffered a big loss to the tune of crores of rupees in the past six years.

The state government was requested to focus on religious and cultural tourism in view of the rich cultural heritage of the state. A comprehension plan should be made to promote Patiala as a centre of cultural tourism and Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib as religious centre to attract national and international tourists. A ropeway between Naina Devi and Anandpur Sahib should be built by both Himachal and Punjab government or by private sector on BOT( Build, Operate and Transfer) basis.

Since the hotel and tourism industry has been under great crisis due to prevailing tense situation at Indo-Pak Border and particularly, when the USA and the UK have called back their citizens, most of the reservations have been cancelled and occupancy rate has come down to 30 per cent. The govt should consider various relaxation in taxes and grant some financial packages, so that this industry should survive, they demanded.

While celebrating 2002 as an International Year of Eco-Tourism, declared by the United Nations and giving importance of World Environment Day, Mr Nanda solicited the support of all the wings of community in the conservation of the environment and promotion of eco-tourism. In view of increasing population, rise in number of vehicles, congestion and pollution, we should concentrate to keep the identity of our all cities intact. 


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