Thursday, November 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tension in Garcha village over 36 acres of land
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

The armed men of Tirath Singh’s party had an argument with some mediapersons also who were trying the click their pictures carrying arms. Even as Mr Sukhdev Singh claimed that he had the license of the arms and could use them for their defence, the gun-wielding men pointed the guns towards some press photographers who were walking towards them. One of the persons threatened that if they walked one more step they would be shot. The situation was about to turn volatile when Mr Sukhdev Singh intervened and apologised to mediapersons. 

Sukhdev Singh, an allottee of the land, talks to mediapersons in Garcha village
Sukhdev Singh, an allottee of the land, talks to mediapersons in Garcha village on Wednesday. — Photo Inderjit Verma

Lathi-weilding men of Tirath Singh standing in the fields
Lathi-wielding men of Tirath Singh standing in the fields.

Garcha (Ludhiana), November 20
Tension has gripped Garcha village, near Bhaini Sahib, for the last three days over the possession of 36 acres of Panchayat land by some residents of Bhaini Sahib, who have got the land allotted to them allegedly in contravention of Panchayat Act. The controversy has political overtones as Congress and Akali leaders are said to be supporting the rival parties

The agricultural land, which was a source of livelihood for more than 40 landless and economically poor families of this village, had been in their possession for the last 40 years. But in a recent auction the land was allotted to four persons belonging to various places but recently residing in Bhaini Sahib. It had been decided by the then panchayat that the land would be allowed to be used by these families on payment of a nominal raise every year at the auctions held by the Rural Development Department.

The other party was given the possession of the land by the local police and officials of the Panchayat and Rural Development Department on last Monday and the four occupants forcibly ploughed the land with the standing crop of barseem and wheat.

When a Tribune team visited the spot in the morning today, tension could be felt in the air of the village. The land in question was being ploughed by the four persons led by Mr Tirath Singh and remains of green fodder could be seen in the fields. Several people armed with the rifles and guns were seen guarding the limits of the fields.

The villagers alleged that they were literally living their life amidst fear as the persons led by Mr Tirath Singh had restricted their movement. They alleged that the gun-weilding men roamed about in the entire village and threatened them which was forcing the womenfolk and children to remain indoors. They alleged that their cattle were starving because of the non-availability of fodder and their families were starving because their women had not burnt the house fire after losing the possession of the land.

Talking to TNS, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, MLA, Koom Kalan, and Mr Shukar Singh, sarpanch of Garcha village, said that the families had been allowed to use the land since they had no livelihood. “It has been a convention that no villager would bid at the auction. This was rigidly followed over the years till one of the villagers, Tirath Singh, started living at Bhaini village,” they revealed.

“At the auctions held a few months ago, Tirath along with three supporters - Sukhdev Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Satnam Singh — bid at the auctions but the villagers managed to set the situation right. Since then they made the possession a prestige issue and the Tirath Singh kept complaining against the sarpanch at one instance or the other.

Soon after the complaint the officials of the Block Development and Panchayat Office auctioned the land — in the presence of just above-mentioned four persons — for Rs 42, 000. The sarpanch said that the auction was completed without following the laid-down procedure, which calls for a public notice by way of drum-beating in the village and the consent of the sarpanch. Moreover, the land was auctioned in BDPO office in Ludhiana itself.

The MLA said he had to seek the help of the police earlier too when Tirath Singh and his supporters, mainly from Bhaini village, tried to forcibly occupy the land. “That time the cops took a sympathetic view of the issue and did not allow them to possess the land. But this time things are different since and even senior officers have expressed their inability to do anything on the issue citing pressure from the top,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the other party, Mr Sukhdev Singh, denied all the allegations and said that the panchayat was giving the land on lease for Rs 300 per acre but they had taken it for Rs 2,000 per acre. He said that with this the state exchequer was earning much more money than the earlier. He also said that the auction was done in the Ludhiana office because the villagers were not allowing the auction to be done there and were planning to stall the efforts.

He also alleged that there was an inquiry pending against the sarpanch of the village, so the DDPO had taken this action of cancelling the earlier auction in the villagers’ names. 



Land grab by police: MC helpless
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 20
It sounds incredible but is true that the city police is illegally occupying land owned by the Municipal Corporation (MC) at several places in the city for well over two decades and despite a vigorous followup by the civic body, no rent or lease money has been paid by the police so far.

The police had set up 10 police posts in different localities of the city many years ago, some of which had since been upgraded to full-fledged police stations, on either vacant land or the buildings of the MC without obtaining any allotment or rent deeds. The police posts or police stations located on the MC land are at Gill Road in Zone C Building, Sukhdev Market, Atam Park, Sherpur Chowk, Near Pahwa Hospital, Jagraon Bridge, Model Town, Kochar Market in new Model Town, Dholewal Chowk and the Haibowal Dairy Complex Part A.

According to sources in the MC, these sites, where the police posts were functioning had never been allotted to the police department for this purpose. The civic body had, way back in the mid eighties, assessed the monthly rent of the police posts in Model Town and Kochar Market at Rs 6,839 and Rs 1,779 respectively but no payment had been made by the police till date. The MC had sent almost two dozen written reminders to the police administration between 1990 and 2002 but without any positive response.

It is learnt that the SSP, Ludhiana, has now asked the MC to submit the necessary documents of allotment or rental agreement so that a case for the payment of the outstanding rent could be moved with the state government. However, in a report submitted to the civic administration in this regard, the MC Joint Commissioner had observed that the matter pertained to the illegal occupation of land and buildings by the police over the past many years and that there was no policy or terms and conditions on record to regularise such cases.

In its meeting held last week, the Finance and Contracts Committee of the MC discussed the matter and concurred with the recommendations of the Joint Commissioner.



Kidnappings stage-managed by kids?
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
The about three-week-old mysterious disappearance case of Honey (9), son of a trader in New Friends Colony near Sherpur Chowk, has taken a new turn with a son of a neighbouring shopkeeper also reported missing since October 28.

Police sources said this development was not scary but “positive” for them as it had, in fact, led credence to their theory that the child was never kidnapped and could have gone on his own.

The second missing child was 15-year-old Surinder Singh, nicknamed Sunder, who lived in Basti Jodhewal. His father has a shop in Fauji Colony adjoining the sanitary and karyana shop of Mr Umesh Kumar, whose son, Honey, is reported missing since October 28 .

Several ransom calls have been received by Honey’s parents but no deal could be struck. The kidnappers, incidentally, were readily lowering the ransom amount, giving an indication to the police that they were not “actual” kidnappers. They were making telephone calls sometime from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Ludhiana itself.

Investigation by the Focal Point police has found that Sunder and Honey had gone missing the same day. An FIR had also been registered regarding the disappearance of Sunder at Basti Jodhewal about a week ago. But the contents of the FIR is what the Focal Point police was interested in.

The FIR lodged on the statement of Sunder’s parents does not mention that the youth had disappeared. Registered under section 384 of the IPC, the FIR states that the youth was demanding extortion money from the parents. The parents, in their statement, said their son was a habitual mischief-monger and has been running away from home since he was 10 years old. They have accused him of harassing them.

Sources close to the parents revealed to TNS that Sunder was in bad company. A few days after he went missing, the parents received a call that their son, Sunder, had been kidnapped and would be released by paying Rs 25 lakh. When the parents refused, the alleged kidnappers lowered the amount to Rs 10 lakh. Later the parents said that they did not have even much money with them.

At this, the alleged kidnappers gave a warning that they would not accept any amount less than Rs 2 lakh, only to later lower it to Rs 1 lakh. However, when the parents of Sunder expressed their inability to arrange even this much amount, the kidnappers came down to Rs 10,000. By this time, the parents were convinced that the kidnappers were fake. They refused to pay any amount and the kidnappers then pleaded to give at least Rs 5000, which they had allegedly spent on food and shelter of the alleged kidnapped youth.

Family sources said the parents were convinced that Sunder was the one making the calls himself. Meanwhile, the Focal Point police and the Basti Jodhewal police investigating the cases separately shared notes. They have almost come to the conclusion that both missing children could be together.

Police sources said they expect them to come home soon, but at the same time were making efforts to trace the two. Interestingly, Sunder was seen riding a motor cycle with two other children in his colony last evening. The Jodhewal police has got statements of some persons who recognised Sunder.

Admitting that the case had become quite a headache for the district police, police sources said it was not uncommon to come across cases where children, influenced by films and television serials, stage-manage their own kidnapping in order to take money from parents.



Buyers still to get possession of plots
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Forty odd people, who had purchased plots from the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, are awaiting possession of the plots for the past three months. The buyers said they were being told that the issue was to be approved and endorsed by the General House of the MC.

Some of the buyers told The Tribune that they had applied for the plots, the advertisement of which had appeared on August 20 last.

They bought the plots when the auction was held on August 28. They said, all of them had deposited 25 per cent of the total cost with the corporation.

They pointed out that three months have already passed and the corporation is yet to give them the possession of their plots.

The corporation had already collected about Rs 4 crore from them and has been sitting over their money.

The buyers claimed that they had been continuously reminding the corporation officials about giving them the possession of the plots, but nothing has been done so far.

The buyers have urged the Commissioner to expedite the process. They pointed out that their money had been lying blocked and that there was no certainty as to when they would get the possession.

On the other hand, a corporation official maintained that any plot sold in the open auction is to be approved by the General House which has not met for quite some time.



Congress rally was sabotaged: leaders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
While some of the leaders are happy over the failure of the Congress convention which was organised here on Monday, organisers of the party yesterday alleged that it was sabotage by certain vested interests to defame the local leaders and also harm the party.

A number of Congress leaders regretted that the Congress had to beat a retreat over the poor show that, too, in a city with all four Congress legislators. The leaders observed that it was not only the two district presidents of the rural and urban units who should be held responsible for the poor show, but also all legislators and councillors of the area who could not mobilise enough people.

A senior party leader pointed out that it might pave the way for the exit of the incumbent office-bearers, but ultimately it has hit the image of the party. He said the party high command should take serious note of the issue. “It is not a single person who should be blamed for the failure, but all legislators also who could not mobilise the workers”, he said.

Commenting on the situation, the general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Gurinder Grewal, observed that this was bound to happen and the party leadership got a lesson. He observed that the leaders had no mass base and it was proved yesterday as they could not mobilise even a couple of thousand activists for the rally. He said these were the same leaders who were responsible for the defeat of some party candidates in the last Assembly elections.

Several other leaders who preferred anonymity also shared similar concern for the party. They said the need of the hour was that the party leaders should close the ranks and ensure that the situation did not get complicated.



Need to curb begging stressed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 20
City residents have expressed their gratitude to the authorities for reacting positively in combating the menace of begging in Ludhiana. People feel that there is a need for public awareness and residents should desist from the practice of giving alms.

Mr Hitendra Jain, general secretary, Resurgence India, said that begging was a big nuisance to the public at large. It created traffic bottlenecks due to encroachment, contributed to crime graph by way of pick-pocketing, drug boot-legging and child abuse etc.

Suggesting some steps for the removal of begging, Mr Jain said that there was an immediate need for the effective implementation of the Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971.

Deterrent action on the perpetrators of the heinous crime of forcing children into beggary and maiming should be initiated under the available legislations. Concerted efforts with the participation of police, administration, health department and the railway authorities were required in this regard.

“The municipal authorities are responsible for the encroachment of roads and other public places by beggars. The railway authorities and the railway police are to be blamed for the encroachment of railway station, trains, railway bridges and other railway property by the beggars.

The Health Department may be asked to undertake an extensive exercise to get the beggars medically examined and book those found under the influence of liquor or drugs”, said Mr Jain.

A priest at a local temple suggested that the administration should make efforts for the economic and social rehabilitation of the genuinely destitute beggars like orphans, elderly and physically challenged etc.

Mr Jain, on behalf of his organisation, said that the administration should persuade the managing committees of the religious places to shun the practice of providing food and other things to the beggars. “We have already taken up the matter with some of the temples. However, motivation by the administration might help.” The administration should solicit participation of various clubs, trade associations, NSS, NCC, schools, colleges, NGOs and other voluntary organisations for public awareness campaign in order to make this a mass movement”, said Mr Jain.



Jathedar Iqbal Singh deserts Talwandi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Anticipating action in the wake of the SGPC elections against SAD Disciplinary Chairman Jagdev Singh Talwandi, the circle president of Raikot, Jathedar Iqbal Singh, today “claimed that his loyalty was with the party and not the former.” He was the strongest confidant of the senior leader and his “desertion” comes at a crucial time for Mr Talwandi.

At a meeting of workers at his residence at Raikot this noon, he alleged that Mr Talwandi had “betrayed” the panth by siding with the anti-panthic forces in the SGPC elections led by Mr G.S. Tohra and Mr M.S. Ghuman. He also said that Mr Badal had rewarded the senior members by accommodating the loyalists as Chairpersons of various boards and corporations. Jathedar Talwandi was made the SGPC chief even though he did not have any committee members, he alleged.

He reiterated that he along with his supporters and party workers would participate in the jail bharo agitation on November 27.



Dharna by six kisan unions
Our Correspondent

Doraha, November 20
A dharna was staged by six kisan unions in front of the electricity board’s office in protest against the ‘anti-farmer policies’ of the state government, today.

Six farmer’s organisations including the Kul Hind Kirti Kisan Sabha , the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, the Punjab Kisan Sabha, the Kirti Kisan Union, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (United) and the Agricultural Farmer Development Front showed their resentment against the Congress government by raising their collective voice as regards the “mental torture the farmers are forced to undergo in the present critical state.”

Members of the unions resented the increase in electricity rates, payments of electricity bills by the farmers, mismanagement of electricity, non-declaration of bonus on paddy, lack of drought compensation and non-fixation of MSP for sugarcane. Various members who showed active involvement in the dharna were Mr Azad Singh Khatra, Comrade Kartar Singh Buani, comrade Lakhwinder Singh Buani, master Darshan Singh Doraha, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Raghvir Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh Cielo and Mr Jandeep Kaushal.

The speakers asked the members to make a good show at the Chandigarh rally on December 20, so that the government was forced to relent before their ‘genuine demands and pathetic state of the farming community.’



‘Fulfil election promises’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 20
The Punjab State Pensioners’ Confederation (PSPC) has urged the state government to give effect to recommendations of Fourth Pay Commission, as contained in Part III of the report, which was submitted to the government in February 1998.

Giving a veiled threat to launch a state-wide agitation if the ruling Congress government failed to implement the promises it made in its election manifesto during the Assembly poll last year, the pensioners’ body expressed the confidence that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh would take action without further delay in the wake of widespread resentment among the pensioners.

The state executive of the PSPC, which met here under the presidentship of Mr B.R. Kaushal further demanded that the instalment of dearness relief at 3 per cent, which had fallen due on July 1, 2002, should be released. Through separate resolutions, adopted at the meeting, the confederation called for the constitution of pensioners’ state advisory committee in accordance with the government notification dated January 7, 2000 so as to provide an appropriate forum to the pensioners for the redress of their grievances.

The PSPC, stressing the need for the early formation of the District Grievances Removal Committees, demanded due representation for Pensioners Welfare Associations of the districts concerned. It also wanted the government to take necessary steps for observing 17th December as ‘pensioners day’ every year and holding functions at government expense for the purpose. The confederation lent support to agitating pensioners of Himachal Pradesh and pressed for the acceptance of their demand for benefits on the Punjab pattern.



Why blame migrants for every crime in the city?

IT is quite unfortunate that migrants are charged with spread of crime and its rising graph in the city by not only senior police officials but even people in general are prejudiced against them, attributing every ill in the city to these hapless people. Earlier, the city only specialised in hosiery industry but now migrants from every state have been thronging the city for the last more than 30 years, ever since the increased pace of development and start of manufacturing units in engineering, be it bicycle, handtools manufacturing or numerous other allied activities. Migrant workers have also brought with them the specialised skills of masonry, pipefitting, road building and lot may other activities. Our own houseladies too are dependent upon maidservants, which are mostly from migratory work force.

The affluence and prosperity that is generally visible in Ludhiana is the direct outcome of hardwork of such a workforce. But the question arises is do we also really care about their interests? We often brush them aside by calling them bhaiyas or purviaas and it is only due to that mentality of ours that those who resort to crimes may be offended or exploited by the very masters whom they have served most. We have to change our mindset for a better society where a human gets respected irrespective of the nativity. Let us think of the possibility when natives of other countries start hating Indians like we dislike migratory labour in the state.

In view of this, it will be only appropriate, if the authorities provide a common cultural community center for such a migratory work force where they can also sit and sing together. It will only enrich our city further. Meanwhile, it is desirable that the Police Department must publish the facts and figures documented or recorded crime in the city so that people know the statistics as to how much crime is attributed to the migratory labour.

B.B.Goyal, New Tagore Nagar

Biomedical engineering

It is really discouraging that while millions are being spent in India by big medical houses and institutions on the imported costly medical equipment, no thought has ever been given as to the optimum utilisation of such machines for the greater benefit of the masses. Costly medical equipment can be seen rusting or unused in most of governmental hospitals and dispensaries. The reasons are not far to find. Our government as well as universities have perhaps failed to develop the field of biomedical engineering as a subject both at undergraduate as well as postgraduate-level, what to speak of further research in the field. An aspirant to the graduate course in biomedical engineering has to look to the foreign universities, particularly in USA, where study is very costly. Undergraduate course in biomedical engineering has been started by none of the universities. Further, such a person educated abroad in the specialised field is left with no alternative but to seek a job there only. It is because of this that there is almost a negligible number of biomedical engineers or technical personnel equipped with the knowledge of such imported machines and they may have to shuttle long distances to correct the faults in the machine while a serious surgical operation may be on in the medical theatre. Most of the patients and relatives perhaps have to dole out heavy equipment usage charges unmindful of the fact that equipment attached to cure the patient has been mishandled or not used at all.

India is already too late to develop this interdisciplinary field of biomedical engineering, whereas in the West universities are running graduate course for more than 50 years. Costly medical equipment will continue to be imported at exorbitant costs irrespective of its optimum utilisation or not till then.

Aman Ish Goyal

Punjab pensioners

The Punjab Government Pensioners are highly indebted to The Tribune for voicing their outstanding concerns and pleading their case through its esteemed columns. As a result, a number of key recommendations of the Fourth Punjab Pay Panel have been implemented benefiting nearly 1.5 lakh pensioners.

Kudos to the paper for helping pensioners getting their due. The paper has, indeed, emerged as their ‘advocate’. The pensioners wish the paper and its worthy staffers a greener tomorrow.

Yash Pal Ghai, Punjab Govt. Pensioners Association

Returning the barat

FROM Kumara Palace the barat has been sent back by Mr Tarlochan Singh, a bold father of Jasleen, who showed the door because the groom and his father were demanding dowry (Rs eight lakhs in cash and Ford Icon Car).

My long time dream has come true, I have been preaching people as member of the “Anti-Dowry Act 1961” not to give their daughter to any dowry seeker. Though it would be very difficult for Miss Jasleen to cope up with the situation for the time being, it will certainly be a temporary shock compared to the whole life of sufferings. She has set a courageous example for the other young girls to do the same if treated this way. I personally feel that the girls are doing very well topping in educational, commercial as well as corporate management sector. They should always remember one slogan,”My degree is my dowry.”

Mrs Pappo Abnash Singh



Indian middle-class pays highest tax in world

Ludhiana, November 20
The Indian middle-class is said to be paying the highest income tax in the world. Compared to various developed and developing countries in the world, the income tax on the middle-class in India is the highest. It is even higher than that in Pakistan, Indonesia, Japan or the USA.

Mr Ashok Juneja, vice-president of the Chamber of Industries and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) and president of the Taxation Bar Association at a meeting, argued that the tax rate in India should not be higher that 20 per cent in any case, and it would definitely increase the number of tax payers and also the revenue. He pointed out that whenever the rates have become reasonable, there have been more collections in terms of income tax returns. This, he said, has helped in improving the economy.

Giving details he said, in Japan the tax rate was only 20 per cent, in Pakistan 20 per cent, New Zealand 19 per cent, Bangladesh 18 per cent, Hong Kong 17 per cent, Indonesia 15 per cent, USA 15 per cent, Argentina 14 per cent, Taiwan 13 per cent, Thailand 10 per cent and Singapore 9 per cent.

He said that while the number of tax payers in the country in 1997-98 was Rs 1.16 crores this year it has already crossed 3 crore limit. Also the tax collections have increased from Rs 38000 crore in 1997-98 to Rs 90,000 crore this year.

He supported the idea of taxing the agriculture income over Rs 1 lakh per year. There should be more relief to all sections so that the revenue increases. TNS



Boy receives burn injuries
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 20
A 10-year-old boy was injured while playing with crackers yesterday.

According to information some boys of Jagat Colony, Khanna, were displaying fireworks to mark the 533rd birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev. Suddenly one cracker fell on a boy who suffered burn injuries. The boy identified as Jaanu. Jaanu was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Khanna. 



Man cheated of Rs 52,000
Tribune Reporters

Khanna, November 20
A farmer was cheated of Rs 52,000 by an unidentified person at the branch of the Bank of India, situated on the GT Road, here this morning.

According to information, Mr Amar Singh of Dhillwan village visited the bank to deposit an instalment of a loan. While he was standing in queue, a clean-shaven man approached him and asked him whether he had filled some details in the form. The farmer reportedly told him that he had not filled the details. The man asked him to get a pen from a person standing nearby. He got the cash from the farmer and counted it to fill the details. He asked the farmer to return the pen, but when the farmer came back he found the man missing.

Subsequently, the police was informed and a case under Section 380 of the IPC registered.

Man beaten up:
Four persons of Ghudani Kalan village armed with sticks attacked a person of the same village on Tuesday evening.

A case has been registered under Sections 542, 324, 323, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC at the Payal police station on the statement of the victim, Malkit Singh. He alleged that he was beaten up by Jaswinder Singh, Harcharan Singh, Najar Singh and Rajbir Singh. Some personal dispute is said to be the reason behind the attack.

Fraud alleged:
Mr Sukhpal Singh Sidhu of Raqba village, who is a Punjabi film producer, has been allegedly duped by his friend Charanjit Singh Chahal of Habbowal of Rs 2.50 lakh as the latter promised to send him to Canada. The local police has registered a case under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC.

According to the complainant, the accused promised to send him to Canada and the deal was struck at Rs 14 lakh, out of which the complainant paid Rs 2.50 lakh.

Similarly, Mr Harinder Singh of the same village and Mr Ranvir Singh of Amritsar were duped of Rs 2.90 lakh and Rs 1.60 lakh, respectively.

The accused managed Malaysian visas for them, but they were deported to India from Malaysia.



SHO’s house burgled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
A cop suffered the ignominy of having his house burgled here last night. Some burglars broke into the house of a police Sub-Inspector, Balbir Singh, at Barrewal near MC octroi post last night. He is presently posted SHO, Mullanpour Dakha police station, falling under the Jagraon police district.

According to an FIR registered at Sarabha Nagar police station today, the house was furnished but not occupied. Though no cash was found in the house, the burglars decamped with a TV set, VCR, clothes and even sanitary goods, including even taps.



Industry irked over govt apathy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Irked over the indifference of the state government in taking them into confidence before finalising the industrial policy in the state, various organisations representing the small-scale industry had alleged that the government seemed to be concerned only with the big industrial houses as it only consulted only the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Punjab Haryana Delhi Chamber of Commerce (PHDCC).

Mr Joginder Kumar and Mr Manmohan Singh Ubhi, president and general secretary of the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association pointed that the government was not serious about soliciting the views of the small-scale industry.

They further said the government appeared to be playing into the big hands of the organised sector without caring about the small and tiny industrial sector, which forms the base of the economy.

Mr Kumar, listed several other points which, were not in the interest of the small-scale sector. He criticised the decision of the government to issue tradable bonds for Rs 100 crore per year to clear the backlog of Rs 600 crore towards the investment incentives and interest subsidy to be given to various industrial units in accordance with the previous industrial policy.

He said the government should provide cash subsidy to the small-scale sector while it can always issue tradable bonds for the organised sector.

The association leaders also opposed the creation of a marketing wing in the PSIEC terming it to be a white elephant. The government should instead improve the infrastructure for the small-scale industries.

Mr Kumar and Mr Ubhi, however, welcomed the thrust of the policy on agro-based high value addition industry, biotechnology, knowledge-based industry, service industry and others. They demanded that quality power should be made available at reasonable rates, while pointing out that Punjab had locational disadvantage which made power over here costlier than other places.



Hussain assures traders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Union Civil Aviation Minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain has given an assurance that he will take up the demand of Ludhiana industrialists with the Centre for setting up an international airport on the outskirts of the city. He was here yesterday for a few hours on the invitation of the Ludhiana Spinners Association.

Led by its president, Mr M.M. Viyas, the association took up the issue of building the airport in or around the city. Mr Hussain assured the association that he would take up the issue with the Central Government.

He said the government was aware of the importance of the city as an important industrial hub, contributing to national economy.

Later, the minister paid a visit to Gurdwara Nanaksar on the occasion Gurpurb.


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