Thursday, March 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Samrala chowk to have multi-tier flyover
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 5
With the preliminary traffic study and surveys for the proposed flyover at one of the busiest traffic junction in the city — the Samrala chowk — having been completed, the short-listed firms have come out with proposals for a multi-tier flyover at the spot. The comparative study of the proposals has gone in favour of one of the designs which is perhaps the most suited to the purpose. It provides for a flyover on the national highway for the Jalandhar - Delhi section and an underpass (motorable subway) for connecting the link road to the Chandigarh Road.

According to the Commissioner, municipal corporation, study of the traffic pattern and the volume of vehicular movement on the roads at the Samrala chowk, has led to the conclusion that a multi-tier flyover was the only solution. Moreover, with the kind of growth in the vehicle population in the industrial hub, long-term measures need to be adopted for better traffic management in the future.

For quite some time now the Samrala chowk where the national highway (G.T. Road), Ludhiana - Chandigarh road and Shingar Cinema road intersect, has been a major bottleneck for vehicular traffic and various ad hoc measures to bring some order have failed to yield the desired result. Even with the installation of traffic lights and deployment of traffic police personnel the existing set up is not able to cope with the amount of traffic on all these roads.

While the design and a scale model prepared by one of the surface transport consultancy firms, if selected, will be finalised after a feasibility study the tentative proposal provides for an eight-lane divided carriageway flyover on the G.T. Road (national highway). The flyover, a little more than a kilometre in length, will allow signal-free through movement on both sides for the Jalandhar - Delhi traffic. For the heavy volume of vehicular traffic on the Ludhiana - Chandigarh section a motorable underpass will connect the Chandigarh road with the Link road. The local and slow moving traffic on all roads, intersecting at the point, will be channelised through two rotaries on ground level, providing access to all these roads.

The Commissioner said the intersection being a junction of the national highway (Jalandhar-Ambala G.T. Road) and a state highway (Ludhiana-Chandigarh road), the MC would explore the possibility of getting funds from the Union Ministry of Surface Transport and the state government for sharing the cost of the major infrastructure development project with a tentative cost in excess of Rs 30 crore.

The MC, besides taking up the redevelopment of several intersections in different parts of the city had initiated a study of some more road junctions where the flow of traffic needed to be improved. Besides, 19 additional sites were identified for development as parking places to meet the increasing demand for parking sites in the mega city, the Commissioner added.


Campaigning for civic poll hots up
Tribune Reporters

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 5
Election campaigning in 18 of the 19 wards of the Mandi Gobindgarh Municipal Council is hotting up, with 93 candidates addressing meetings in their respective wards. Forty thousand voters will decide the fate of candidates on March 9 in 38 polling booths of the town. Six seats have been reserved for women (general), one in the backward caste category and two for Scheduled Caste women.

The Congress has fielded candidates in all 19 wards while rebel Congress candidate Narinder Singh Shekhon has withdrawn in favour of Mr Jagmeet Singh Bawa, member, PPCC.

The BJP has fielded nine candidates while Ms Mandhir Kaur of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) will contest on the party symbol. The SAD has failed this time to put up its candidates, whereas during the previous term of the council, the SAD-BJP combine dominated it through an understanding reached between the partners through the efforts of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister.

For the first half of the term, the council chief was Mr Balmukand Aggarwal of the BJP and during the second half it was to be a SAD candidate. But this arrangement did not last long and a no-confidence motion was brought in the first year of the term and Mr Aggarwal had to relinquish the chair of the council chief.

Thereafter, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Bhambri of the SAD was elected president and Mr Dhrampal of the BJP, vice-president.

Though the SAD and the SHSAD have put up their nominees as Independent candidates, supporters of the parties, as in the block samiti poll, will support each other.

Mr Bhambri organised a “Khula Darbar” and invited his critics to come on the stage and point out the allegations against him. He refuted the “propaganda” of the local MLA that he had approached him to seek his blessings in the council poll.

Several Akali leaders, including Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary, SAD, former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Iman Singh Mann, son of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Ravinder Singh Khalsa, district president, are expected to address the meetings of their respective candidates.

The Congress has kicked off its election campaign through a public meeting, which was addressed by Mr Brij Lal Goyal, state vice-president, PPCC, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot , MLA, Amloh, Mr Balwant Singh Bhambri and Mr Jagmeet Singh Bawa (elected unopposed).

Mr Amarjeet Singh Shahi, SDM-cum-returning officer said 45 polling parties, including the presiding officers-cum-assistant returning officers, had been provided training. He said counting would take place at respective polling booths on March 9. The use of loudspeakers will be allowed till 4 p.m. on March 7. In view of the examinations of students, instructions have been issued to use loudspeakers at low volume and sparingly.

LUDHIANA: Mr Gurmit Singh, SDM-cum-returning officer, Jagraon, has apprised candidates of 17 wards of the code of conduct and the instructions issued by the State Election Commission. The candidates have been banned from sticking pamphlets or hand bills on government buildings. The public address system is not to be used for campaigning without the prior permission.

Fatehgarh Sahib: Chaudhry Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Bodies, said here on Wednesday that the elections to the Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib Municipal Council would be held in April. He was here to address an election rally at Bassi Pathana town in support of Congress candidates.

Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forests, introduced his candidates to the public. Mr O.P.Tangri, the projected candidate for the post of council president, along with other leaders, also addressed the gathering.

Later, presiding over a public function at Sirhind town, organised by the Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib council, Chaudhry Jagjit Singh announced a grant of Rs 34 lakh for the disposal of sullage water and Rs 10 lakh for the streetlights. He also laid the foundation stone of a water disposal work to be completed at a cost of Rs 1.42 crore.

Interestingly, Congress councillors stayed away from the function, whereas opposition councillors attended it.


Dist YC leaders resign en masse
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5
In a virtual revolt against the decision of the party high command to replace the district president of the Youth Congress, Mr Parminder Mehta, with Mr Komal Khanna, party functionaries, including all office bearers and block presidents, have submitted their resignations to All-India Congress Committee general secretary Mukul Vasnik, who is also the in charge of Youth Congress affairs.

The party high command had recently removed Mr Mehta from the post and Mr Khanna was named new president of the district unit. The change was seen as a crucial move in view of the rivalry between the camps of the Chief Minister and former Chief Minister and the Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Mr Mehta, a staunch supporter of Ms Bhattal, is said to have earned the wrath of Capt Amarinder Singh after he, along with a large number of party activists, had accorded a rousing welcome to Ms Bhattal at Circuit House here a few days ago.

In a letter to Mr Wasnik, signed by all block presidents and district unit of the party, the YC activists have alleged that under the influence of certain vested interests, loyal workers of the party were being marginalised. They claimed that in the face of various odds and attempts to run parallel power centres here, the district Youth Congress, under the leadership of Mr Mehta, had an impressive track record.

The YC activists observed that the party high command was fully aware of the working of Mr Mehta during his two stints as the district YC chief here but still senior leaders of the Indian YC had buckled under pressure from opportunist elements.


Punjab to issue disability certificates
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5
Persons with disability should not be addressed as such but as mentally or physically challenged persons as every little job is a challenge for them. The Punjab Government has decided to give a disability certificate to every physically challenged person in the state so that they can avail themselves of all facilities under the Disability Act.

All Civil Surgeons have been directed to comply with these directions and to hold meetings of medical boards every Thursday exclusively for physically challenged persons. This was disclosed by Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj, Principal Secretary, Health, while addressing a workshop for health administrators organised by the Rehabilitation Council of India (North Zone) and the Health Department at the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind and Disabled here today.

Ms Bajaj said the Health Department had directed the Civil Surgeons to arrange special medical teams to check those persons who were unable to reach the Civil Surgeon’s office or the Civil Hospital to get his disability certificate. She said they had also been instructed to put in all field staff and utilise the services of NGOs to create awareness among the people.

She claimed that with the sustained efforts of health institutions in the state, comprising 220 hospitals, 117 community health centres, 484 primary health centres and 1,464 dispensaries, the state had succeeded in bringing down the disability rate to 1 per cent of the total population against the national rate of 4.5 per hundred. She said the special programme launched to prevent the main diseases causing disability like polio, leprosy and blindness had been implemented effectively. She said no polio case was reported in Punjab last year and two cases had been reported this year so far.

Giving details, she said as per the survey conducted in 1999-2000, 2.48 lakh disabled persons had been identified, out of which 23,543 were mentally challenged, 55,110 visually impaired, 24,581 hearing and speech impaired and 1,45,076 had locomotor disability. She exhorted Civil Surgeons and doctors to concentrate on providing quality health facilities.

The Principal Secretary said the purpose of organising workshops for Civil Surgeons and health administrators was to train them about latest techniques and facilities and to train them as resource persons to educate the paramedical staff and others concerned. Appreciating the contribution of Dr E.M. Johnson, chairperson of the RCI North Zone for Rehablitation of Disabled Persons, she said he had set up an excellent example of service to the suffering humanity.

Mr D.S. Guru, Secretary, Health Services, and Managing Director, Punjab Health System Corporation, said the Health Department had an important role to play. He said the Health Department had done excellent work through a strong infrastructure. He said Civil Surgeons had been instructed to conduct special medical check-ups in all schools and to cover those children who were not studying in schools. He said under the Disability Act, physically and mentally challenged persons had been given special rights and facilities and the government had taken effective steps to provide ramps and special toilets in government buildings and had directed architects to incorporate these facilities in the plans of new complexes.

Mr Anurag Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, said the administration had decided to provide artificial limbs, hearing aids and tricycles to the disabled free of cost through the District Red Cross Society. Mr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health Services, asked doctors and other members of the medical staff to accord priority to the disabled whenever they visited hospital for treatment.


IT firms take to diversification
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, March 5
Do not be amazed if you find computer education institutes being converted to English-speaking training centres, immigration agencies or distance education centres for a university in India or abroad. This is just an outcome of a slowdown in software industry, low demand of IT professionals overseas, mushrooming of universities offering IT courses and a recent threat following the recent proposal to ban outsourcing of IT work to India by the USA.

With a few franchises of major private computer education companies taking to such type of avenues, diversification seems to be the need of hour for those working in the IT industry. While the business of medical transcription centres had come to a halt late last year, a major slowdown for software companies, call centres and their training centres had also begun by that time.

Now realising that the process may not be cyclical and revival was unlikely, IT companies who were unable to sustain any longer, have started switching over to some related business. In Ludhiana, the STG centre located on the Mall Road has become a franchisee for Direct Way Global Education offering MBA in international business in unison with the Western International University of the USA.

The Asset International centre at Feroze Gandhi Market has become a nodal point for PTU study centres in the region and the Aptech education centres have tied up with Manipal University for degree and diploma courses through distance education programmes such as B.Sc (IT), M.Sc (IT) and PGDCA. Mr Navsher, in charge, Aptech centres, said that the tie up would help the students get a degree course using the latest technologies with enough handson experience.

Besides, several other software and web designing companies are also slowly diversifying their businesses. The Futura Internet Services, famous was developing softwares and websites for various industrial units of Punjab and around, has now also opened up a centre for imparting training in nursing, besides preparing students for various competitions. A centre that was recently set up in the city for training students for call centres has also received a dismal response despite its efforts in conducting various seminars to attract more and more students.

Commenting on such changes, Mr N.S. Dhami, an executive committee member of Association of Computer Entrepreneurs, said that the computer education centres and other IT companies had been facing such a crisis for quite some time.

Slowly they realised that they could not expand their business any more, therefore, venturing into some related business became a necessity for them, he said.

Some experts also opined that introduction of a Bill in New Jersey Senate for blocking off-shoring of government work to India sounded alarm bells to several IT companies. Since four more states including Missouri, Maryland, Wisconsin and Connecticut are also likely to follow on the same lines, several companies that were undertaking huge volumes of work from the USA would have to face the pinch, they said.


Cops unable to find missing boy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5
Inderpreet Singh (13) has been missing from the city since February 6,2003. Parents of the victim suspect no foul play in his disappearance. Though, an FIR has been lodged with the Haibowal Police Station but the police has not been able to trace the missing boy even after one month of his disappearance.

Joginder Singh, father of Inderpreet Singh, who’s working as superintendent in an insurance company, said that he had scolded his son a day before he left the house. “I scolded him because he came late as he was playing with his friends. I could never imagine that he would take it so seriously and will leave the house”, added Joginder Singh.

A resident of Kitchlu Nagar, Inderpreet Singh, was studying in seventh standard at the Central School, Baddowal. Gurmeet Kaur, boy’s mother, said that they used to give him monthly pocket money. “He had the habit to save that money. We could not think that he would leave us all. He was an obedient child. We have one elder daughter to whom Inderpreet was very attached but he did not tell anything to her also,” said Gurmeet Kaur.

According to one of the officials at the Haibowal Police Station, “A case has already been registered but we have not been able to find his whereabouts”.


‘Roll back’ prices of diesel, fertilisers 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5
Calling upon the Union Government to roll back in the prices of diesel and fertilisers, the District Congress Committee (DCC) has asked the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who also heads the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) to impress upon upon the NDA government to save the farm economy from disaster.

The DCC (U) president, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, said in a statement here today that either Mr Badal should get the prices of diesel and fertiliser restored at the previous level or should quit the NDA and call back the lone SAD member in the Union Cabinet, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. “Rather than shedding crocodile tears in sympathy with the crisis ridden farmers, the SAD leadership should get some concessions for the agriculture sector from its ally at the Centre.”

Referring to the claim of Mr Sukhbir Badal that the Congress government in Punjab would be short lived, Mr Bawa said both the senior and junior Badals were good at making castles in the air and were living in their own world, oblivious of the ground realities. “Mr Badal must realise that the Congress government has been elected in a democratic manner for a term of five years and it will not only complete it full term but is all set to stay in power for a long time.”


Faulty traffic lights major cause of accidents

It is now amply clear that Ludhiana is a traffic nightmare. To tackle it, the authorities have installed traffic lights, but lack of maintenance has taken its toll and and it is a common sight to see the lights out of order, especially, on the Ferozepore-Pakhowal road, which creates chaos during peak hours. Due to this, the commuters cannot judge whether the traffic light has changed from red to green and this often results in traffic jams and often in serious and fatal accidents. To stop such incidents, the concerned departments, the police or the MC, must give full attention to maintenance and upkeep in larger public interest.


Ensure sound education policy

The future of education has always remained a subject of concern, and keeping in mind its utmost importance, the government has made necessary changes in its education policies from time to time. Such changes earn praise and severe criticism in equal measures from the people.

Recently, buckling under the pressure of the Centre, the Punjab government has decided to shift plus one and two classes from colleges to the school level. What would be the effect of such changes on the future of college-level institutions and future of students? I think the government has not thought out this move seriously.

At present there are 170 colleges in Punjab, out of which 140 are being run with the fiscal aid from the government. But such aid has already been reduced from 95 per cent to 60 percent and in case the government implements the said decision, it is sure that 90 per cent of the colleges will be be shut down. A sad development.

With the implementation of this policy, drastic results would come out. First of all the campuses, which have been developed for plus one and two classes, would become reduntant and the teachers who taught such classes would become surplus and would definitely be an unwelcome burden on the finances of the colleges. The college managing committees would be unable to shunt out the idle teachers from the institutions for obvious reasons and yet it would be hard for them to be paid by the committee for no work.

Not only this, the laboratories made for such classes would become useless. A majority of the parents and educationists are of the opinion that the standard of education at school level is lower vis-a-vis the colleges because of the fact that the infrastructure in schools is not as developed as colleges.

Some heads of the institutions blame that the government, by doing so, is fleecing a big amount on the pretext of upgrading schools. But one thing is sure that by following such a move, the government would be playing with the future of the students which would be detrimental to the interests of the country.

Therefore, a large section of the parents, teachers and educationists are of the view that with the transfer of these classes, there would be a drastic fall in the education standard. Besides, the teaching staff in colleges is highly qualified and experienced as compared to schools.

I think, before implementing this harmful decision, the government must keep in mind its adverse outcome. For the sake of the future of the students, as well as the country, it should not take such a decision since no one has the right to play with the future of the students.


Dead phones: Are the authorities asleep?

It is surprising that till 4 p.m. nobody attended to telephone complaints on February 28 inspite of repeated reminders at telephone no. 198. I tried getting in touch with the S.D.O. and J.T.O. concerned at telephone nos. 2539333, 2538666/ 2532777 but to no avail.

It is astonishing that the telephones of public dealing officers like the J.T.O. and S.D.O. are unattended to by the officials concerned for hours on end. This is contrary to claims that service is prompt.

Day before yesterday, I rang your (SDO’s) telephone and wished to have a talk with you in this respect but the man attending the telephone did not permit me to have a talk though he jotted down my compliant and assured to get my phone (2535029) rectified but, alas, the phone is dead as a doornail till date.

May I request your goodself to kindly look into this matter? The authorities should affix responsibility and make it mandatory that the concerned officers or their staff must attend to all calls during office hours.

I hope that the authorities wake up from their slumber and redress the problem.


A neglected hero

Martyrs are forever. Forgetting martyrs is tantamount to criminal neglect to the sacrifices and contributions made for the country and its forefathers.

Chattar Singh Park was named after Master Chattar Singh, who laid down his life while doing voluntary service as an NCC cadet. He was buried alive after a side of a distributory he was digging adjacent to the present-day park caved in. His parents did not ask for compensation but urged the authorities to raise a memorial for their beloved one.

For decades, the statue of Chattar Singh — made of marble — remained intact at a prominent place of the park at the intersection leading to Model Town and Link Road.

Some time back, forgetting the importance of the event, a hutment was raised at the site of the statue which was shifted to a remote corner of the park, in neglect and away from the view of the public.

The park was once an attraction for its lush green lawns, different varieties of roses in well laid beds and many types of exotic plants. But now, all that remains are the old grown-up trees and bushes!

The park in the present state does attract some people who are outnumbered by pigs and stray animals. All the boundary wall grills have since disappeared. Except for a few senior citizens of nearby houses, many do not visit the park for fear of being bitten by stray dogs and pigs.

The young hero’s abode is not only crying for maintenance but also striving for the attention of the Municipal Corporation authorities for restoring its past glory.


Traffic chaos and cops’ behaviour

Due to construction of flyover on the G.T. Road, traffic lights were made non-operational on this route resulting in congestion on the crossings on this part of the road. Autorickshaws, most of them unlicensed, as reported many a times in the media, are flouting all norms besides causing a great problem for the general public.

The crossings on this stretch remain unmanned for most part of the day and the traffic used to flow normally except during the peak hours when, too, congestion occurred some time. Following a new rationalisation by the traffic police (i.e. effective from 25th of this month), a major congestion is witnessed near the Domoria bridge (old sabzi mandi road and Deepak Cinema road).

Since in the morning the flow of traffic is towards the city from the Civil Lines area, on the old Sabzi Mandi chowk there is chaos inspite of the fact that no traffic is allowed from Sabzi Mandi area onto the Arya School road. The cops manning these crossings behave in a rude manner without caring for the person they are addressing. Even senior citizens are not spared and are addressed as ‘Oye, tainu dikhda nahin’.

This was personally experienced by me yesterday by a cop with a trimmed beard on the old Sabzi Mandi chowk in the evening about 6.45 pm. Will the senior officers take some reformative measures to direct the cops to behave in a more civilised way ?



Dr B.C. Roy Awards
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5
Dr J.D. Wig, Professor of Surgery at the PGI, Chandigarh, has been given the Dr B.C. Roy Award as the eminent medical teacher award for the year by the Medical Council of India. The selection of the eminent medical personalities for the awards of Dr B.C. Roy National Awards was made by the MCI last week. The MCI selected such personalities for 2001 and 2002. According to information available here today, Dr S.B. Siwachi, former Director PGI, Rohtak, has been given the Dr B.C. Roy Award as eminent medical teacher for 2002.

Dr Radha Rani Mittal, Head of the Skin and VD Department, Government Medical College, Patiala, has been bestowed the Dr B.C. Roy Award as the eminent medical teacher for 2002.

The MCI has also given research awards to a team of doctors of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital comprising Dr S.C. Chopra, Dr Gagandeep Singh and Dr Sarvesh. The research awards has been given to the Pharmacology Department of the DMC and Hospital.

The eminent medical man-cum-statesman award has been given to Dr Surinder Soma, Director, Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi and Dr Gauti Devi, former director, National Institute of Mental Health, Bangalore, has been selected for the Dr B.C. Roy Eminent Medical Man Award for 2001.


Probes biased, says dera chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
The president of the International Sant Samaj, Shamsher Singh Jagera of Gurdwara Mastuana Sahib, has written to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission about the allegedly biased investigations into the cases before the commission by the police.

According to a statement here today, Sant Jagera said that the commission had directed the ADGP, IVC, who in turn deputed Mr S S Atwal SP, to investigate two cases in which some persons attacked him but were yet to be arrested by the police.

He alleged that the officer visited his dera but instead of coming inside the gurdwara premises, he preferred to talk to the shopkeepers and those who were named in the attack. Since many senior police officers and influential politicians were behind the attacks, the officer offered them moral support and assure them that no harm would come to them. He was also said to have told them that he would initiate proceedings under Section 182 against him, Sant Jagera alleged.

He also pointed out that a similar inquiry into the Gurdwara Dhakki Sahib episode was held by the ADGP A.P. Bhatnagar who had recommended a CBI enquiry. The investigations by the CBI are still on. He has also appealed to the commission to depute a senior officer, preferably of the rank of the ADGP, to inquire into the matter and submit his report in a time bound period, he added.


Kamgar Sena men take out rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
Activists of the Bhartiya Kamgar Sena took out a rally in protest against the alleged re-allotment of single-room tenements, constructed in the city for people living below the poverty line, by the PUDA authorities in connivance with the land mafia.

Mr O. P. Saini, president of the city unit, said some members of the mafia were allegedly in league with the authorities and making a fast buck by procuring new allotment letters for the tenements already allotted to yellow-card holders. he said those who opposed the move were threatened with dire consequences and their belongings thrown out. The protesters demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter.


Safety week concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
The week-long safety awareness programme that started at Vardhman spinning and General Mills Ltd. on February 26 concluded with celebrations on the National Safety Day yesterday.

According to a press note, the objective of the week was to ensure safety and health and to renew the commitment of employees at workplace.

The week-long proceedings were a step towards achieving zero accident rate in the unit. During the week, various competitions like safety slogan, safety posters, safety speech, safety best suggestion, exhibitions etc. were organized.

Workers were also shown films on safety. A talk was conducted on electrical safety and road safety by experts for the benefit of employees.

Mr S.C. Awasthi, Joint Director of Factories (Punjab), Mr B.K. Aggarwal, Deputy Director of Factories (Punjab), were also present. Mr V.K. Goyal, Chief Executive, in his address to the staff and workers emphasised the need to create a safety culture in the organisation.

The day also saw Vardhman being adjudged for second safety award for reducing rate of accidents in the textile industry by the Punjab Safety Council. The award was presented by Dr Barjindra Singh, Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment, Punjab Government.


Kalash’ hoisted
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 5
The “kalash hoisting ceremony” was performed at Shiv Mandir, Otalan, 2 km from here, on Wednesday, according to Mr Behari Lal Saddi, spokesman of Saddi Sabha Otalan. Mr Devi Dayal Shastri performed the Havan. Kirtan mandlis of women sang bhajans at the function assisted by the members of Saddi Sabha. Sweets were distributed amongst the ‘sangat’ gathered at the function. 


Man, son hurt in accident
Tribune Reporters

Khanna, March 5
A father and son were injured in a road accident near court complex here today. According to information, Harnek Singh (60) and his son Harvinder Singh (35) were going on a scooter when an unknown vehicle hit the scooter near Civil Court Complex. Both received injuries and were taken to the Civil Hospital by the police.

Poppy husk seized: Mr Teja Singh, ASI, Dehlon police station, has arrested Joginder Singh of Narangwal Kalan village and seized 35 kg of poppy husk from his possession. The police has registered a case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.


Small sector rejects industrial policy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
The local small-scale sector industry has rejected the industrial policy announced by the government recently, alleging that it has been framed after taking into confidence the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry only, while the small- scale sector has totally been ignored.

Addressing a press conference here today, representatives of the small-scale sector industry, led by the president of the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association, Mr Joginder Kumar, said there were over two lakh small-scale units registered in Punjab against only a few hundred large-scale units. The government seems to have taken only this small segment into confidence while ignoring the interests of the small-scale sector, the representatives said.

They pointed out the huge amount of capital subsidy and incentives duly sanctioned since June, 1996, were awaiting disbursement due to non-availability of funds. No budgetary provision has been made in the industrial policy whereas a Rs 25-crore provision has been made for technology upgradation which will only benefit the large-scale sector, they said.

They also suggested that the tradable bonds being issued by the government in lieu of the subsidy to the industrial units should be given to those units which were to be paid over Rs 10 lakh subsidy. For less than Rs 10 lakh, the government should sanction it through drafts only.

They suggested that octroi should not be abolished and instead the government could provide relief to the common people by abolishing the house tax and water tax. They said the abolition of octroi was going to help a few people only, while the abolition of house and water tax could help the public.

They also opposed the introduction of the Value Added Tax as announced by the Finance Minister, who said VAT would come into effect in Punjab from April 1. They claimed that VAT would not be practicable in the country, since most of industry was in the unorganised sector and the government would not be able to generate any revenue. 


Hosiery units in tizzy over excise duty
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
The hosiery manufacturing units have been brought under the compulsory excise payment system in place of optional or voluntary excise payment. The hosiery manufacturers have already taken up the issue with the government and have sought an appointment with the Union Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, to apprise him of the harm it would cause to the hosiery and knitting industry.

Addressing a press conference here today, the representatives of the Federation of Knitwear, Textile and Allied Industries Association (FEKTAA) said the excise levy would have an adverse impact on the growth of the industry. Those present at the press conference included the association president, Mr Vinod Thapar, Mr S.K. Miglani, Mr Charanjit Singh and Mr Ajit Lakra.

Giving details, Mr Lakra said so far the knitting (hosiery) sector enjoyed optional excise exemption, due to which the small unorganised and decentralised units fell outside the excise net. The organised sector opted for payment of excise duty to seek various facilities.

He pointed out that with the withdrawal of optional excise exemption, all units would have to come under the purview of central excise. Arguing against the decision, he claimed that the small units were not being able to understand the complexity of excise mechanism and would not be able to avail of the CENVAT chain.

The representatives claimed that the national textile export target of $ 50 billion might not be achieved within the stipulated period (by the year 2010) after the imposition of central excise duty on knits. They have pleaded with the government to continue with the optional exemption in the line of suggestions in the the Kelkar Committee recommendations. 

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