Saturday, August 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tension over flesh trade ‘racket’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
The alleged sensational incident of forcibly cutting the hair of a woman in Shimla Puri yesterday evening took a complete reverse turn today with the residents of Sahibzada Fateh Singh Nagar, Shimla Puri, organising a dharna in the area here today to protest against an alleged flesh trade racket being run by her in their area.

The controversy over the woman is gaining momentum and causing tension in the area following the claims and the counter-claims of the both the parties. The woman has been claiming that she was being harassed by the residents on the behest of a woman of the area, against whom she was a witness in a case.

The residents began a sit-on outside the resident of the area and were still sitting there. They also gave their representation to the SHO of their area to hold an inquiry into the case and register a case against the woman.

The residents alleged that the woman was allegedly running a flesh trade racket from her residence in their neighbourhood for the last many years and was even threatening them of dire consequences if they raised their voice against her.

When a Ludhiana Tribune team visited the spot the residents, including women and children, were raising slogans against the alleged racket just outside her residence. Even the sharp showers of rain could not deter their protest. They said that they were so much harassed by the woman that while most of them were daily wagers they had not gone on their work today to register their protest.

Her neighbours alleged that the accused’s house was frequented by suspicious elements every evening. They said that they had stopped going on the terraces of their houses as they could witness her “illegal acts” from their roofs.

Mr D.R Sharma, a resident of the area, said that he had to send his son to a boarding in Shimla as he did not want him to stay in the colony. He was selling his house also from there. He said that many people were selling their houses for throw-away prices to get rid of the “sickening environment”.

Baba Nirmal Singh, granthi of the area gurdwara, said that just last night she had complained against him in Shimla Puri police Station alleging that he had cut her hair with his ‘gatra’ and the police had taken him with them to the police station. He said that it was after the intervention of the area residents that the police officials let him go.

He alleged that this had happened as the residents had picked up a woman and man from her premises when they had visited the woman’s house on the night of July 31. They then took both of them to the police station where the munshi facilitated a compromise between the two parties after they both gave a written apology. The Baba also said that they both confessed in front of the police of having paying Rs 300 to the woman for allowing them to use her premises.

They said that they had decided to meet the SSP in the matter today but the woman somehow had got wind of the plan. So before they could go to him she manipulated and got a complaint against them.

Meanwhile, the accused woman in an affidavit said that she was being falsely implicated by the residents who wanted to remove her from the area due to some political reasons. Interestingly, she had approached all the newspaper offices late last evening and had alleged that she was misbehaved with by certain persons of the area.

She also claimed that her hair were also cut by certain women of the area when she was going home last night. Showing her cropped hair she stated that the residents had ganged up against her and they were even telling her to sell off her house to them. She said that she was being harassed by them for the last many days.



MC mute witness to bylaw violations
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 2
The claims of the civic administration with regard to effective enforcement of building bylaws and dealing with violations with an iron hand notwithstanding, an unauthorised boundary wall, raised between house number 451-B and 456-B in a posh locality of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar in the city, defiantly stands and all attempts by the affected owner of the house no 456-B, Dr Gurkirpal Singh, to move the MC officials have been stonewalled for the last more than one year, thanks to certain political intervention and apathetic bureaucracy.

As a harassed Dr Singh is moving from pillar to post for the last several months demanding that the 'illegal' boundary wall be demolished, the MC has virtually washed its hands off the entire affair by passing the buck to the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT). In a communication from Assistant Town Planner, Zone D, of the civic body to Trust Engineer, LIT it has been stated that the building plan of the house in question (451-B) was approved by the LIT on Dec 19, 1990, when the building control was with the trust authorities. Later, when the scheme was transferred to the MC, a challan was issued for construction on the first floor of the house without an approved building plan and the construction was compounded and composition fee recovered on the basis of the opinion of the LIT officials that violation was compoundable.

The communication to the LIT further says that "it has now been decided that all complaints regarding building plans approved by your office will be dealt with at your level (LIT). Hence, the complaint by Dr Gurkirpal Singh is being sent in original for disposal and necessary action."

In response to repeated complaints by the affected house owner, the state government had recently asked for a detailed report from the MC through the Deputy Director, Local Government, here. While the details of the report submitted to the government were not known, in all probability the letter written by the Assistant Town Planner to the Trust Engineer, LIT, will form the basis of this report.

According to the complainant, owner of the adjoining property had raised the height of the boundary wall, earlier upto the roof level of ground floor and subsequently four feet above the first floor level. As a result, there was great diminution of light and air to the house lying next, which was direct encroachment upon the rights of the adjoining property owners.

To further add to the misery of his neighbour, the owner of the house had made an opening of 7 feet by 4.6 feet on the first floor level of the said wall, which was tantamount to direct trespass into the open yard of the adjoining house. "If the 'unlawful' boundary wall of the adjoining house is not demolished, it will take a staggering sum of Rs 15 lakh to remodel my house so as to restore the air and sun light which have been blocked for the time being," laments Dr Singh.

The issue of unauthorised construction of boundary wall, in blatant violation of building bylaws and without due consideration to immediate neighbours, was earlier raised in 'Sangat Darshan' programme, held here way back in July 2001, specifically for civic matters, without eliciting any worthwhile response from the MC administration, so far. Almost every official, concerned with the matter, was well aware of this particular case and conceded privately that the boundary wall was indeed a violation of the building bylaws and needed to be demolished. It was also learnt that learnt that the owner of the concerned property wielded some political clout and the then Minister for Local Bodies Mr Balramji Das Tandon had personally intervened and asked the MC officials not to go ahead with any action.

A determined and undeterred Dr Singh takes all that has happened (or rather not happened) in his stride. "I am fighting for my legitimate rights and I will see that the defaulters are brought to book and erring officials taken to task for their lapses."



SSF rejects probe panel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
The Sikh Students Federation has rejected the committee constituted by the government to look into the incidents that took place in Malout on July 31 resulting in injuries to several activists who were protesting against the activities of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Kender.

Addressing a press conference here today, the president of the SSF, Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal, described the constitution of the committee as an eyewash aimed at diverting the attention of the people from the main issue. He said, the main problem was not the incidents of July 31, but the activities of the sect which were vitiating the peaceful atmosphere in the state.

Mr Grewal claimed that they got themselves released through the court and the government had nothing to do with their release. He alleged that the government was patronising the sect and had once again revealed its hostility towards the Sikhs. He warned that such actions on part of the government will only alienate the Sikhs.

The SSF leader alleged that the police resorted to unprovoked firing and lathi-charge which led to injuries to so many activists. He also produced several activists with the injury marks on their body. The SSF has demanded action against the officials responsible for the excesses on the peaceful demonstrators.

Seeking a ban on the activities of the sect and all its publications, Mr Grewal demanded the immediate arrest of the sect head Baba Ashutosh, who, he alleged, was misguiding the youth and vitiating the peaceful atmosphere in the state. He warned that in case the sect continued with its activities it may not auger well for the state.



A father’s tale of woes
Dera chief accused of concealing facts
Mahesh Sharma

Ahmedgarh, August 2
While the CBI is in the process of investigating into the Dera Dhakki Sahib issue, the controversial case took a new turn when Mr Gurdev Singh, a Dalit panchayat member of Bhai Desa under the Joga police station, accused the head of Dhakki Sahib dera of allegedly concealing facts about his son, who disappeared around three years back from the dera.

Narrating the story of his woes, Mr Gurdev Singh (67) said his son, Gulab Singh, had been inspired by Sant Darshan Singh to join his sect in 1996. Being a follower of the Tarna Dal, Mr Gurdev Singh thought that his matriculate son would learn and preach the teaching of Gurbani under the patronage of the sant. Gulab Singh fared well at the dera and had reportedly become a confidential disciple of the sant within one year.

Subsequently, his visits to his native village became rare. When Gulab Singh did not turn up at his home for a long period, Mr Gurdev Singh along with other relatives and friends visited the dera in December, 1998, to inquire about him. They were told that Gulab Singh had been sent to Rajasthan along with two other disciples — Balkar Singh and Harvinder Singh.

Mr Gurdev Singh has met the SSP, Khanna, and apprehended that his son had been taken to some unknown place and murdered. Upon persistent inquiries, the family was told that Gulab Singh along with others were booked by the Sudhar police on January 6, 1999. Though all three had allegedly been sent by the sant on some ‘mission’ and caught with arms and ammunition, no mention of the dera was made in the police report.

Mr Gurdev Singh argues that how could three boys living as such distant places as Dhesa, Dera Bassi and Ghudani come together when the police arrested them. Himself being an illiterate, he does not know the fate of his appeal made two years earlier before the Human Rights Commission but fears that now the sant may conspire with the police to hush up the matter. 



Holiday in pvt schools following police checks
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, August 2
Following yesterday’s checks made by police officials in some private schools of the city that remained open despite the orders of the Punjab Government, a couple of such schools declared off tomorrow.

While the state government, on the request of Punjab State Electricity Board, had passed the orders on all schools to remain close till August 4, only government and aided schools of the city had been complying to these. A majority of the private schools were adamant on keeping the schools open as they said they did not receive any notice from the Deputy Commissioner or the District Education Officer. Only a few schools like Guru Nanak Public School at Sarabha Nagar had decided to remain close for the week.

However, when some beat constables made a round of some schools at Civil Lines, BRS Nagar and old city areas yesterday, the school authorities decided to close the school for tomorrow, the last day for validity of the orders. Ms Simmi Gupta, Principal, Gupta Model High School, said while earlier she had kept the school open, she today decided to abide by the orders and hence declared an off for tomorrow.

Similarly, another private school at Civil Lines was visited by the police officials yesterday and asked about reasons for not abiding by the government orders. To this, the Principal said she did not receive any circular from the district or state authorities. When further asked whether she did not read the orders in newspapers, the Principal replied, ‘‘Newspapers also claim that cops are corrupt people but I do not believe in that too.’’

Similarly, Bhartiya Vidya Mandir which is open on Saturdays has announced a half-day holiday tomorrow. Even Tagore Public School at Aggar Nagar is working till 12 noon for the past few days, even though such orders were passed by the administration only for primary schools. The RS Model Senior Secondary School authorities have also decided to keep the school shut.

However, principals of other schools are still adamant on keeping the school open include those from GGN Public School, Kundan Vidya Mandir and New Senior Secondary School. Mr R.S. Grewal, Principal of GGN Public School, said the Government had passed the orders to cut down on power consumption but since the main switch was kept off and generators were being used for the entire day in the school, the purpose was solved. He said he could not afford to keep the school closed for the complete week as half-yearly examination were scheduled after a fortnight and teachers were busy finishing the syllabus as well as revising the lessons.



Dubey took bribe: Garcha
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, a senior Akali leader and former Minister, today accused Ms Romilla Dubey, Principal Secretary Technical Education, and acting Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, of playing into the hands of vested interests and some multinational companies to order the cancellation of the distance education programme of the university. The orders have since been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Moreover, the Minister for Technical Education, Punjab, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, had also opposed the scrapping of the programme.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Garcha alleged that huge money was involved in the cancellation of the distance education programme since it had severely hit the business of multinational companies that were charging exorbitant fee from the students. And with the introduction of the programme the modern education, including computer training, became available at a very reasonable cost.

The former minister, during whose tenure the distance education programme was started, claimed that while the private companies like NIIT and Aptech charged on an average Rs 40,000 to 45,000 from a student per course, the PTU offered similar courses for Rs 15,000. Since their business were hit, the companies tried their best to get the courses scrapped. “And they took the services of Ms Dubey”, Mr Garcha alleged.

He also claimed that the principal secretary had no authority or jurisdiction to order the cancellation of the programme as it was the prerogative of the university and the government. He pointed out, “the bureaucrats are there only to implement the policies of the government not to frame them”. He regretted that she was being patronised by some select bureaucrats who had formed a vicious circle and were usurping the powers of the elected representatives.

Mr Garcha hailed the High Court orders but regretted that no action was being taken against Ms Dubey, despite the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, having expressed his displeasure at a Cabinet meeting over her action and ordered her removal from the post. Mr Garcha warned that such unaccountable actions on part of the bureaucrats were setting a wrong precedent.



Police lathi-charge protesting mob
Tribune News Service

A youth injured in the clash being taken away
A youth injured in the clash being taken away.

Ludhiana, August 2
A minor confrontation between some youths over the right to stroll in a park in Partap Nagar area late last night took an ugly turn when first two groups of youths clashed using rods and sharp-edged weapons and even fired gunshots in the air and then the Basant Park police had to lathi charge hundreds of protesting residents who supported one group and had gheraoed the police post.

A number of persons suffered minor injuries in the police lathi charge. However, at least two youths suffered fractures and deep wounds in the clash. Fortunately, the gunshots did not hit anyone. The entire locality remained tense throughout the night due to the incident and police had to rush extra force for the safety of the Basant Park police post staff.

The police had to lathi charge as the protesting persons indulged in stone-pelting at the cops and were about to break in after damaging the gate and the pillars considerably.

At least 40 persons have been booked for rioting by the police. The police said it had arrested several of these but was not willing to divulge the identity or the exact number. This is the latest case of police on the offensive in the city.

Eyewitnesses revealed that the trouble began when some residents of the colony were in the midst of an after-dinner stroll in the park when some youths belonging to a nearby Bazigar Colony came there. The residents objected to their behaviour and soon the youths in the two groups began abusing and hitting each other. The Bazigar youths were beaten first and then they returned with more boys and allegedly attacked the house of transporter Kirpal Singh. Some unidentified residents had to fire gunshots in the air to disperse the mob. However, Jarnail Singh, a member of the other group, said they were unnecessarily attacked by the transporter’s relative and other residents.

According to the police, Kirpal Singh and others ran away from their houses and sought shelter in the Basant Park police post. The other group increased in number and was following them. They did not stop outside the police post and surrounded it. The mob was accusing the police of sheltering the other group. Meanwhile, former Akali MLA, Hira Singh Gabrian, also reached the spot. He went in the police post. The mob even raised slogans against him saying he was sheltering the other party.

A large number of residents were injured in the lathi charge. Several were arrested on the spot. Police sources said they had to be on the offensive, otherwise the people would have barged into the police post and probably killed the cops or the other youths.

No untoward incident was reported from the colony today.



Colonisers seek simpler licensing process
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
Contrary to the claims of the Housing Minister of the state, Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, that the process of providing licences to the private colonisers would be made easier and less time consuming, the colonisers in the state have not been issued the licences for the past one year.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday the colonisers and builders, who had come from all parts of the state, said they were not being issued the licences despite the fact that they had sent various reminders to the Chief Administrator of PUDA. They said they had even submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, a fortnight ago but nothing had been done so far.

Mr Anil Chopra, the Chairman of Punjab Colonisers and Builders Association, said slums were growing in the state as many colonisers were not issued licences although they had completed all required formalities.

Demanding an amendment into the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995, the General Secretary of the Association, Mr H.S. Lamba said the act failed to promote regulated urban development as according to the act a licence can only be issued for 1000 acres that was too small an area to fulfill the requirement of lakhs of houses required in the urban areas of the state.

He also said the procedure for the application for licence and its processing was very difficult and lengthy. He said the colonisers were demanding a window system as had been promised countless number of times.

The colonisers said the Section 5(9) of the Act also required an amendment as the private promoters cannot provide reservation to the economically weaker sections of society. They said tthe Section 6(2) of the Act provided undue protection to the purchaser and the promoter was required to refund full amount with interest even if the agreement was cancelled due to a lapse on the part of the purchaser.

They also demanded that the PUDA should also fix a time frame within which the licence should be issued.

Those attended the meeting from all over the state were: Mr Gurtej Pal Singh from Kharar, Mr Baghel Singh from Ropar, Mr Amardip SIngh Hira from Chandigarh, Mr Rajinder Singh, Mr Kishan Singh, Mr Vijay Aggarwal, and Mr H.S. Chawla.



‘Police stations should have PROs’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
The Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy has recommended the state DGP and the government to appoint a public relations officer in each police station of the state in order to improve the police-public and police-media relations.

This was stated by Ms Pritpaul Kaur, in charge, Sociology faculty of the academy, while addressing participants on the concluding day of the two-day special course. She said it was felt that there was a big gap between the police and the public as well between the police and the media.

Due to this gap, the image of the police was not being projected properly by the media. She said if there was a PR officer in a police station, he could maintain a communication bridge between the police and the media.

Police officers and some mediapersons exchanged views on their day-to-day functioning and the problems they faced from each other. During the discussion, it was stated that most of the police officers were unaware of the functioning of the mediapersons. It was also felt that the police was generally hostile towards mediapersons and was not willing to divulge information.

Policemen attending the course on the other hand felt that some mediapersons browbeat them and hampered their investigations. Winding up the discussion, Ms Pritpaul Kaur said there was an urgent need for bridging up the gap between the two vital pillars of the society. She said it was unfortunate that the police and the media were mostly at loggerhead with each other. 



Rotary Club honours Johl
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
The Rotary Club of Ludhiana (north) yesterday honoured noted agriculture scientist and Agriculture Adviser to the Punjab Government, Dr S.S. Johl, who was recently accorded Cabinet status by the government. Speakers at the function lauded the outstanding contribution of Dr Johl to the field of agriculture.

Expressing his gratitude to the Rotarians for giving him the honour, he assured that he would try his best to come up to the expectations of the government and the Chief Minister. “I hope I will be able to do the job I am supposed to perform with your good wishes and cooperation”, he said.

Dr Johl also deliberated on the state of economy and other issues. Speaking from his experience he noted that the state was currently in the best hands and could overcome any crisis be it economic or agricultural. He said, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had great vision and he had already initiated measures to execute this vision.

Presiding over the function, the club president, Col Himat Singh, said it was a great honour for the people of Ludhiana that Dr Johl had been trusted with one of the most important jobs in the state as the Agriculture Adviser given the fact that agriculture forms the backbone of the state economy.



Hanspal’s appointment hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
The Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, has hailed the appointment of Mr H.S. Hanspal as president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC). In a statement here today, Mr Gill said the high command had duly taken note of the sentiments of the party workers of the state and appointed the best person as the PCC chief.

Mr Gill expressed confidence that under the dynamic leadership of Mr Hanspal and in cooperation with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the party would be able to further strengthen its position in the state and perform much better in the future.

Youth Congress leaders have also hailed the appointment of Mr Hanspal.

They observed that his appointment would help in strengthening the party and consolidating its hold in the state.

In a statement, the general secretary of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, also welcomed the appointment of Mr Hanspal. 



‘Maha satsang’ on Sept 8
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
“Sri Sri Ravishankar, the founder of Art of Living Foundation, will arrive in Ludhiana on September 6 and hold a “maha satsang” on September 8 in which thousands of disciples from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan are expected to take part”, said Mr Sudhir Mahajan, organiser of the foundation, Ludhiana chapter, at a press conference at Lodhi Club this morning.

The spokesperson, Mr Anil Kalra, said the foundation was the only voluntary organisation, running more than 4,000 centres in 148 countries without any government help. This is Sri Sri Ravishankar’s first visit to Punjab.

On September 7, he along with Jain Muni Acharya Shivmuni and members of Jain community will demonstrate “sudarshan kriya” at College Road. In the evening, Sri Sri Ravishankar would address the members of the corporate world associated with the Ludhiana Management Association. On September 8, “Maha Kriya” will be organised in the grounds of the Government College for Women. In the evening, a “maha satsang” would be organised in which lakhs of disciples from North India would participate.



Martyrdom Day of Tejpal tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
The Sathi Memorial and Charitable Trust is organising a function on August 4 at 9am to pay homage to the martyr Shaheed Tejpal at the local Arya Samaj, Maharishi Dayanand Bazaar. Aid will be distributed to the needy at the function, besides paying homage to martyr Tejpal who was killed by terrorists in front of Dayanand Hospital in 1988.

The function would be presided by a former MP, Mr Mohinder Singh Kalyan, and the Municipal Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma. Mr Raminder Singh, Administrator, Improvement Trust, Mr Surinder Dawar, MLA, former Mayor, Mr Satprakash, Deputy Mayor, Ms Sushil Gupta, Congress leader, Pappi Prashar, Bhupender Singh Birmi, Kulwinder Singh Virdhi will attend the function.



Trivaini Scheme launched
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 2
The Forest Minister, Punjab, Mr Harbans Lal, today launched the Trivaini Scheme under vanmahotsava at Dhakki Sahib in Payal.

Planting three types of trees — margosa, pipal and banyan — at one place the minister said trees would be planted in all towns and villages and big cities in order to make the surroundings green. The minister said, “We are passing through acute shortage of greenery and deforestation and it is our duty that we should all work in order to plant more and more trees.”

Among others who were present on the occasion, included the tehsildars of Payal, the DFO, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Gurmit Bhari, Congress leader, Rachpal Singh, Payal and other forest range officers.



Seva divas observed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
To mark the birth anniversary of Guru Harkrishan Sahib, the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle organised a seva divas here today.

Mr Surjit Singh, zonal secretary, said members from different units of the circle visited nearby hospitals and nursing homes and distributed fruits, biscuits and gurbani literature among them. Over 30 hospitals, including CMC, Civil Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, Kapoor Hospital, Pahwa Hospital, ESI Hospital, Raghunath Hospital, Satluj Hospital, Preet Hospital and Deep Hospital, were visited by the teams.



Power shutdown on Aug 4
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
According to a press note of Punjab State Electricity Board, the 11 KV metro feeder and 11 KV Sangeet feeder under 66 KV Basant Park substation will remain shut from 8 am to 2 pm on August 4 due to maintenance work.

As a result, power supply to Ram Nagar, Vishwakarma Colony Street Nos 12 to 20, Partap Nagar Street Nos 1 to 9, SAS Nagar, Overlock Road, Guru Nanak Dev Market, Gill Road and Industrial Area B plots area (Metro side) will be affected.



5 arrested in assault case
Our Correspondent

Amloh, August 2
Out of 17 persons booked under Sections 353, 186, 427 and 149, IPC, Mohinder Singh, Darshan Singh, Karma, Joginder Lal (Welder) and Bharpur Singh, residents of Amloh were arrested and later released on bail. The rest of the alleged accused will also be nabbed soon police sources said here on Friday.

The trouble arose, when during an anti-encroachment drive launched by Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi, SDM, Amloh, on July 13, employees of PWD and Municipal Council, Amloh, were attacked and PWD truck (No. PUP-2125) was damaged by the mob.

People formed an action committee and on its call all business establishments remained closed and a dharna was staged in front of the SDM office on July15. The kiosk owners were protesting against the damage caused to their kiosks and claimed that they had been paying rent (Teh-Bazari) to the Municipal Council for using the space, and that no legal notice was given to them.

On the other hand, district unit of the Class-IV Government Employees Union under the leadership of Mr Hari Chand boycotted the encroachment drive in the district and staged dharna to protest against the arrest of the persons involved in assaulting the employees on duty.

Another union of the Karamchari Dal under the leadership of Mr Hari Singh Tohra state president and Mr Karamjit Singh Bhagrana district president also organised protest march and dharna demanding the arrest of the persons named in FIR for their involvement in the assaulting case.



Small units in danger of closure: federation
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
Nearly 50 per cent of the tiny and small-scale industries in the state have either closed down or are on the verge of closure, according to the Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India. Post WTO, the scenario has worsened forcing the federation to take up the plight of the small industries with the Union Government.

A deputation of the federation has apprised the union government through memorandums and meeting with the Mr Suresh Chandra, Additional Secretary Government of India, in Delhi on Wednesday last. The federation representatives apprised the union government that manufacturing sector, which has been the worst hit and since this sector generates the maximum employment, immediate steps should be taken to revive this sector.

The federation representatives alleged that they apprehended that the Union Government was ignoring the small and tiny units, while favouring the medium sector at behest of Confederation if Indian Industry and CII, FICII which are being funded by foreign countries.

Mr Joginder Kumar also pointed out and emphasised upon Mr Chandra that the central duty of bicycle may be withdrawn and the clarification by government should be issued for the interim period w.e.f. 1.3.2002 to 26.4.2003 as the Central excise officials were harassing tiny and small industries seeking payments.

Mr Suresh Chandra, he said, assured the deputation of the federation that the issue of clarification for the interim period had already been taken up with the Ministry of Finance and shall be resolved shortly.

The deputation also raised the issue of unprecedented hike in the rate of H.R. Coil and C.R. Coil/sheets/strips w.e.f. April to July 2002 by making a cartel, which has put the tiny and SSI units at a very disadvantageous position. The concern of the flow of timely and adequate credit was also discussed. The deputation also demanded that no representation on SSI Board to be re-constituted should be given to CII, FICCII and ASSOCHEM

Meanwhile, Mr Joginder Kumar and Mr Manmohan Singh Ubhi, President and Secretary of the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association have also strongly decried the seven hour cut imposed by PSEB on the general category, weekly off day along with peak hour load restrictions and other un-scheduled power cut

They have also expressed serious concern over the inordinate delay in the issuance of energy bills by PSEB to the consumer well in advance.

The board is supposed to deliver the energy bill at least 10 days in advance and that to in a proper manner, whereas it has been brought to out notice that gross irregularity is notices in the delivery of bills and the bills are thrown in the factories on the last day or a day earlier without taking the signatures.

The instructions have also been issued that supplementary bills should be issued in case, no sundry amount is to be charges and the sundry be charges in the regular bills. But it is most unfortunate that the instructions are not adhered to strictly, thus causing undue harassment to the consumer.

The federation has also urged upon Mr Sudhir Mittal, Chairman, PSEB, to withdraw monthly minimum charges instantly and also ensure that the no surcharge on the bills raised, including regular bill along with sundry charges.

The board must also ensure that the bills are issued at least 10 days in advance and separate supplementary bills should be issued for any sundry charges to be charged, which are supposed to be a disputed amount.



Traders flay govt move on octroi collection
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, August 2
There has been a mixed response to the proposed re-introduction of the contractor system as far as collection of octroi revenue in the town is concerned.

While people in general have welcomed the move, the traders are critical of the scheme. People are happy that with the privatisation of octroi collection corruption by the octroi staff would come to an end which would ensure a fixed revenue for developmental works in the town. This time, the octroi collection bid is expected to be above Rs 2 crore.

But the apex body of the town’s traders, the Ahmedgarh Beopar Mandal, has criticised the Amarinder Singh government for not keeping its poll promises. Mr Ravinder Kumar, president of the mandal, says that once octroi-collection was privatised, traders would be put to great hardships and harassment at the hands of the men employed by contractors at the octroi posts. He says that even innocent town residents carrying household goods which are exempted from octroi would be harassed unnecessarily.


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