Sunday, March 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Congress lobbying for MC poll ‘successful’
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Hectic lobbying by the Congress to ensure unanimity for president and vice-president of the Municipal Councils of Malerkotla and Mandi Ahmedgarh proved successful with the proposed candidates being declared elected today.

All eyes were on the Malerkotla poll since the simmering row between two factions of the city councillors had come into the open on a few months ago with the then acting president, Mr Kewal Krishan Jindal becoming the target of an allegedly murderous assault. He had claimed that the sitting MLA and her IPS husband were behind the attack. He was rushed to the local Christian Medical College here in a serious condition after he was reportedly pulled out of the council complex and left for the dead by some armed assailants in broad daylight.

It is pertinent to mention that he had aired similar views earlier too when the MLA had reportedly voted her confidant for the post of president in the presence of the local authorities. Subsequently, the election was challenged by him in the Punjab and Haryana High court.

The SAD-BJP alliance, too, had taken a strong notice of the attack and the state units of both the parties had organised a rally and bandh in Malerkotla on September 1.

Taking a cue from the earlier incident, the police had made elaborate arrangements to prevent any untoward incident at the council office. But this time around, the warring factions were called to the Ludhiana residence of the MLA and parleys went on till late yesterday night where a consensus was reportedly “ensured.” The candidates for the posts were decided in the meeting, besides who was to propose and second the names.

Ms Bholi Ismail and Mr Balwinder Batta were unanimously elected as the president and vice-president of the council from among 27 councillors.

In Mandi Ahmedgarh, the two top posts were distributed among the leaders of the two feuding factions of councillors. Mr Rajneesh Sharma alias Guddu, a former OSD to Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and comrade Jatinder Bhola, were unanimously declared as the president and vice president of the council. There are only 15 councillors.

The MLA, Ms Razia Sultan, was present at both the venues while the poll process was supervised by SDM Pardeep Kumar Sabharwal.



Trade, industry oppose VAT, entry tax
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 22
The trade and industry here is up in arms against the proposed introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) by the state government from April 1 and the entry tax in place of octroi from July 1. Apprehending adverse impact on sales, coupled with the stagnating economy, the trading community is gearing up for a decisive battle over crucial issues.

The Engineering Exporters Association of India (EEAI) was of the firm view that introduction of VAT would further deepen the crisis of exports since as per the draft rules, the exporters would have to pay tax at the time of purchase and later claim refund from the government on submission of proof of export and realisation of proceeds.

A meeting of the association, attended by leading exporters, Mr Onkar Singh Pahwa of Avon Cycles, Mr Satish Dhanda, chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council, besides Mr Rajinder Jindal, president of EEAI, felt that the exporters would have to bear additional financial burden of paying the tax once the VAT regime was in place, whereas in the prevailing system of taxation, the exporters were required to give a declaration to the suppliers that the goods were meant for export.

The participants at the meeting wanted that a provision should be made in the Act under which the exporters could procure the goods against a declaration instead of paying tax because in the prevailing scenario and stiff competition in the global market, it took any thing from 8 to 9 months from procurement of raw material to realisation of proceeds, including the shipment and transit period. If the funds of the exporters remained blocked with the department for that much period, the working capital requirement and resultant cost of production of the export industry would go up which seemed a difficult preposition.

Mr Jindal asked the government to review the decision in the larger interest of the exporting units. He, however, opined that in case the government wished to go ahead with the proposed tax, it should provide for refund of the tax on submission of proof of export as was done in the case of duty draw back and excise duty rather than insisting on realisation of proceeds, which was a time consuming process. “Moreover, the government, in all fairness, should give interest on funds blocked with the department because the exporters, without exception, operated on money borrowed from banks and had to pay interest on day to day basis.”

In a memorandum submitted to the state government, the Oil Mill Machinery Manufacturers Association has urged that the proposed VAT bill should be modified to provide relief to small and tiny manufacturers, which were already in the grip of severe crisis due to steep hike in the prices of basic raw material like iron and steel, coal and other inputs.

According to Mr Sudarshan Singla, president of the association, the introduction of VAT would not only throttle the small scale sector, it would also breed more corruption, which the government professed to be fighting against. “Empowered by vast powers of imposing heavy penalty on flimsy grounds, the official machinery will let go no opportunity to harass the trade and industry with the direct result that level of corruption will go up.”

Focussing on the peculiar position of Punjab, he observed that the state was just a production centre where the entire raw material like iron, steel, coal and petroleum products were imported from other states and finished goods were once again marketed outside the state, involving central sales tax on both the transactions. Levy of VAT was bound to further add to the cost, which might render the small and tiny units uncompetitive and force them out of business.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Auto Dealers Association (PADA) has deplored the proposed entry tax in the state to replace octroi, saying the move would deal a fatal blow to the auto trade in Punjab. In a memorandum submitted to the Finance Minister Mr Lal Singh, the association had pointed out that imposition of entry tax would benefit the neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh at the peril of auto dealers in Punjab.

Mr Suraj Dada, president of PADA said that the proposed entry tax, in addition to adversely affecting the trade, would in fact cut down significantly the revenue already accruing to the state due to imminent reduction in sales of two-wheelers, three-wheelers, cars and heavy transport vehicles estimated to the tune of Rs 3000 crore every year. “With entry tax at the rate of 2 per cent and same amount of existing registration charges, the prices of vehicles will go up by 4 per cent in comparison to other neighbouring states with the result that customers will prefer to make purchases at places like Chandigarh, Ambala and Simla which are not very far off.”

Elaborating further, he remarked that a difference of 4 per cent in prices of vehicles would lead to shifting of auto trade to other states with a direct effect on sales tax revenue and the registration charges. Even at present, majority of the buyers of commercial vehicles in Punjab preferred to get their vehicles registered in Haryana to save the 2 per cent fee. With an additional impact of 2 per cent entry tax, the sale of vehicles and registration would drastically diminish, causing a huge loss of revenue to the government.



Prosperity all around, courtesy cricketers
Manoj Kumar

Tribune News Service

When the Indian cricket team will be clashing with the Australian team to win the World Cup 2003 final, the official sponsors LG, Pepsi and Hero Honda would also be watching the game with keen interest, apart from Indian fans. India’s entry into the world cup has cheered them, as they are witnessing an increase in the sale figures during the past few days’ besides ‘extra goodwill for the brands.’

Mr Neeraj Sethi, DGM, Samsung India, admits that though the company is not an official sponsor of the World Cup, it is also benefitting financially due to its association with the Indian team. He said the World Cup matches have helped us reach each house hold in the country. The sale of colour TVs has registered an increase of over 50 per cent during the past two months against the corresponding period last year.

He said with the progress of the Indian team, the company has also got mileage of goodwill among the public. Further, he said, the company was releasing advertisements in the print media to strengthen the brand. In the Punjab region alone, he said, the company has spent about Rs 12-14 lakh on print media advertising campaign. Further, it is launching ‘‘Samsung Rang De Kismat Offer’’ consumer promotion campaign from March 22 to May 31, 2003 to enable the customers to win lucky gifts worth Rs 4 crore, on the purchase of any Samsung frost free refrigerator.

Mr Kamal Karamchandani, regional manager, Hero Honda Ltd., said:‘‘Like any other Indian we are also delighted that the Indian team has reached the finals. We are hopeful that it would win the World Cup after a period of 20 years. Being an official sponsor, our brand has definitely benefited from the World Cup.’’ Regarding the impact on sales, he said: ‘‘It is very difficult to measure the immediate impact of advertising on sales. But the name of Hero Honda in cricket grounds, award ceremonies have improved our loyalty among buyers. We are trying to send a message even to an eight-year-old child, that like the Indian company, Hero Honda is a world standard team. In Punjab region alone, the company has sold 14,850 bikes during January-February period this year, as compared to 10,750 bike during the corresponding period last year. The company is also running a parallel media campaign.

Mr Ashok Arora, head, sales and marketing division, Dhillon Cold Drinks and Beverages, a franchisee of the Pepsi, the official sponsor of the World Cup, points out the company has witnessed a sharp rise in the sale of Blue Pepsi, by associating with the colour of the Indian cricket team. He said,‘‘ The companies have spent hundreds of crores on the advertising and sponsorship. We are lucky that the Indian team has reached final and sales have picked up even surpassing our expectations.’’

The officials of the LG also disclosed that unlike general perception among the public about slump in sale of electronic goods, the company was witnessing substantial increase in sales of CTVs and other products. The company has reportedly spend over Rs 200 crore for the World Cup sponsorship apart from substantial amount on print media.



City witnesses five convocations
Our Correspondents

Students of Government College for Women listen to the address of Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister Punjab
Students of Government College for Women listen to the address of Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister Punjab, at the college convocation held in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Tribune photograph 

Ludhiana, March 22
The city witnessed five convocations in various colleges of the city today.
Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister Punjab, was the chief guest at the annual convocation of Government College for Women. As many as 425 degrees, including 50 postgraduate, 255 BA, 60 BSc. and 60 BCom, were presented to the students. The minister announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the college.

While addressing the students, Mr Tej Parkash Singh exhorted them acquire excellence in their respective fields of education. He asked them to equip themselves to meet the challenges.

Referring to the importance of women education, he said educated women played a vital role in improving social and educational standard. Women education was of utmost importance as it helped check declining female ratio as compared to the males.

Appreciating the achievements of the college, the minister said the institution was one of the pioneer institutions engaged in women education and had produced a large number of eminent women personalities.

The minister distributed prizes to the students for their outstanding achievements in academic, cultural, sports and extracurricular activities. Students who were awarded Roll of Honour were: Gagandeep Kaur, Madhu (academics), Amandeep Kaur Dua, Jaskanwal Kaur Sohi, Supreet Kaur (culture), Rajwinder Kaur, Sukhwinder Kaur, Seema Rani, Avtar Kaur, Manpreet Kaur, Jyoti, Kanwaljit Kaur, Manpreet Kaur, Shakti Thapar and Shweta Arora (sports).

Ms Inderjit Gill Vashist, Principal of the college, highlighted the achievements of the students in various fields at national level.

Master Tara Singh Memorial College: Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, was the chief guest at a convocation held at Master Tara Singh Memorial College here.

While addressing the gathering, he emphasised on higher technical education for women. Mr Swaran Singh, president, management committee, welcomed Mr Dhindsa and his wife Ms Harjit Kaur Dhindsa.

Inderjit Kaur (a participant of Republic Day Parade-2003) and Kanwaljit Kaur (a participant of National Air Pistol and Rifle Shooting Meet) were honoured.

Postgraduate and graduate degrees were conferred on 592 students (MA-56, BA-350, BA (Hons)-73, BCom-73, PGDCA-13, BBA-20, BCA-17) during the convocation.

The college Principal, Dr Madanjit Kaur Sahota, presented the annual report.

Malwa Central College of Education: The 46th annual convocation and prize distribution function of the Malwa Central College of Education was presided over by Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh. The Principal, Dr Ravinder Kaur, conferred degrees on 244 B.Ed students and 24 M.Ed students.

Gurpreet Nanda and Aarti Gupta were awarded Roll of Honour. Navjot Khosla, Nidhi Sharma, Maninder Mahi and Radha Rani were awarded medals for securing sixth, eighth and ninth position, respectively, in Punjab University M.Ed examinations. Eleven students were given medals and 63 got prizes for excellence in PU examination.

Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women: Graduates and postgraduate students of Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujjakhan Campus, Model Town, were awarded degrees at the annual convocation-cum-prize distribution function held here today. These included 48 students of B.Com, 175 of BA, 31 of MA (English) and 14 of BA (Hons) English and Punjabi.

Dr K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, was the chief guest.

Dr Anup Kaur Bansal, Principal of the college, welcomed the chief guest and read out the annual report of the college. Twenty students were awarded Roll of Honour and college colour and prizes were given away to the toppers in academics. Harbir Kaur and Guari were honoured for their contribution in the fields of music and fine arts, respectively.

Dr Pathak delivered the convocation address. He laid stress on education, respect and empowerment of women. He shared his views on multipurpose role of education for the uplift of women.

Dr Rattan Singh Jaggi, an eminent educationist, was honoured for his achievements in the field of Punjabi literature as a researcher and critical analyst.

Prof Gurbir Singh Sarna, general secretary of the college’s governing body, thanked the chief guest and dignitaries.

Christian Medical College and Hospital: The annual convocation-cum-prize distribution ceremony of Nursing was held at Christian Medical College and Hospital here today. Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, Minister of Health, Family Welfare, Medical Education and Research, Government of Punjab, was the chief guest, while Dr David Troughton, renowned gastroenterologist and former Professor of Medicine, CMCH, was the guest of honour.

The Principal CMC, Dr Mohan Verghese, conferred degrees on 44 medical and 64 nursing graduates. In his convocation address, Mr Dogra spoke on the contribution of the CMC in providing services to the people and in producing medical professionals of international fame.

Reports pertaining to the medical college, nursing college and student activities were presented by Dr Mohan Verghese, Ms Pennamma Ranadive and Dr Rajneesh Calton, respectively.

As many as 56 merit awards and medals were given for special achievements in various fields. Dr V. Smita received gold medal for the best student, while Pfizer Award was bagged by Dr Ashish Jaison. Dr Vineet Sethi, Manmeet Jhawar, Dr Harkamal Kaur and Banku Bhagat were also awarded for their achievements in various fields. Lifetime Service Award for the year was presented to Dr M. Verghese for his services.

Awards from the College of Nursing were bestowed upon Bini Thomas (all-round best student and first in aggregate and intern), Sweety Saini (best community health nurse) and Manju Mathew and Jyoti Das (best bedside nurse). The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr Tejinder Singh.



Three new prizes for farmers instituted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
Punjab Agricultural University will get a corpus fund of Rs 20 lakh from the Chief Minister for giving out prizes to three progressive farmers from the next year. One prize each will be given to an outstanding dairy farmer, fruit grower and a farmer following diversified pattern of agriculture.

Declaring this at the inauguration of the two-day Kisan Mela at PAU, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, said the prizes will be given out from the funds generated from the corpus fund. On the occasion, he released seeds of new varieties developed by PAU such as PR-118 and super basmati of paddy, and SML-668 of moong for being distributed among the farmers. He also released booklets on improved packages of kharif crops, vegetables and fruits published by the Centre of Communication, Languages and Culture.

The Chief Minister honoured two farmers, Mr Avtar Singh Ratual of Sangrur and Mr Kuldip Singh of Kapurthala, with the Dalip Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Award for their innovative techniques in farming. The award carried a memento, citation and cash prize.

Various agro-industrial companies manufacturing tractors, farm tools and machinery, pesticides, fertilisers and improved seed varieties put up their stalls on the campus. Various departments falling under the five colleges of the university also displayed posters, gave demonstrations of new techniques and distributed leaflets to the visitors.

In the College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, the Department of Zoology and Fisheries focused on the use of agro-industrial waste, byproducts of poultry and hatchery, kitchen garbage and animal waste for use as fish food. Besides, it gave a demonstration on value addition by selling boneless products such as fish patties, fish fingers and fish pickle.

Information on rust-free varieties of wheat such as LR-48 and LR-49 was being provided to the farmers by the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology. They were also being told about tissue culture technique for multiplication and producing a better variety of sugarcane, strawberry, chrysanthemum, carnations, eucalyptus and menthus. The Department of Biochemistry emphasised on minimising use of insecticides on cotton crop.

In the College of Home Science, the Department of Food and Nutrition displayed modified diet charts to the visitors, besides educating them on the use of sprouted legumes. The Department of Family Resource Management gave a demonstration of time and labour-saving tools in the kitchen. Various cheap and novel ways of decorating homes were also exhibited. Charts educating the farmers and their families on consumer rights, quality and standard marks and common fraudulent practices prevalent in the market were put on display boards.

Dr K.S. Aulakh said research priorities of the university had been re-oriented to improve the quality of farm produce, conserve natural resources and minimise cost of production. He said instead of importing pulses and oil seeds from other countries, the government should ensure procurement of these crops.

Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, Director Extension Education, called upon farmers to make the best use of university extension services, including training programmes, farm literature, plant clinic and advisory services. In face-to-face interaction with farmers, university scientists answered their questions relating to crop production, dairy farming, poultry farming, farm machinery, home science and other allied areas.

On the occasion, the PAU Students’ Association and the Researchers’ Association gave memoranda to the CM. They demanded filling of posts of agriculture officers, horticultural officers and soil conservation officers. It was also demanded that in organisations such as Punjab Warehousing Corporation, Punsup and Punjab Agro, unemployed agriculture professionals should be accommodated. They also demanded filling of vacant posts of teachers of agriculture in government schools of the state.



Vietnam invites agriculture scientist
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam, has invited Dr Malwinder Singh Malhi of Syngenta India to discuss the rice drum seeder and leaf colour chart in the Mekong Delta with emphasis on integrated crop management.

He has been selected on the basis of his direct seed experiment on paddy, which was successfully conducted at Jathedar Baldev Singh’s farm in Narike village, near Malerkotla. In the experiment, the farmer got benefit of labour/diesel and other savings and also increased the yield and quality. This year, the same farmer is ready to grow paddy direct seed on 10 acres.

The leaf colour chart experiments are going on with PAU and IRRI collaboration. It is a simple, easy-to-use, and inexpensive (Rs 30) tool that can help farmers determine the right time of N application to rice crop by measuring leaf colour intensity, which is related to leaf N status. It is also an ideal tool to optimise N use at reasonably high-yield levels, irrespective of source of N applied, whether it is organic, biological or chemical fertilisers.

Last year, Dr Malhi was invited by IRRI to the Beijing Rice Congress in China on the basis of his work on “Sahyog” project, whose results proved that green manuring experiment yielded good results.



Demand for free water, sewerage facility raised again
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
With the induction of local Congress legislator Harnam Das Johar in the state Cabinet, the demand for free water supply and sewerage facility to the city population, has once again gained momentum. It was of the poll promises of the ruling party at the time of civic elections in the mega city. The demand was also raised by Mr Johar at one of the general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation here in March 2002, which he had attended as a city legislator.

Activists of district Youth Congress, including former president, Mr Parminder Mehta and his erstwhile deputy Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty had asked Mr Johar to use his good offices and press the government for implementation of the promise, which would provide a massive relief to the urban population.

In a letter to the minister, Mr Mehta said that the demand for free water supply and sewerage for domestic use in the city, put before the MC house by him, had been unanimously adopted and sent to the government for final approval almost a year ago. However, far from providing any relief to the people, the civic administration had slapped hefty bills for these civic services which included past arrears and penal interest. In quite a few cases, bills, already paid by the people were, added to the arrears and many others, not having received any bills in the past two years for no fault of theirs, were being forced to pay the entire amount in a lump sum and that too with interest.

He further pointed out that the MC house had also taken up the issue of interest on arrears of civic services more than once and had recommended that the residents should be given a one time opportunity to make payment of arrears without interest. However, the government, despite assurance by the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Jagjit Singh, had not so far done anything to give effect to the proposal.

The YC functionaries urged Mr Johar to put detailed information on the amount of arrears of civic services and accrued interest before the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in a convincing manner so that a positive decision could be taken soon for remission of interest portion.

Further, the government should also initiate necessary steps to give shape to its promise of providing free water supply and sewerage to the people in towns and cities.



Bush, Blair effigies burnt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The local unit of the Inquilabi Kendra and the Lok Morcha today staged a demonstration against America’s unilateral attack on Iraq.
The agitators, including a large number of women, held a dharna in front of the Mini Secretariat and raised slogans against the policy of spilling blood for oil and carrying on with the war in the absence of UN sanction and widespread protests across the world.

Various speakers alleged that the war was being waged with the sole objective of having a greater control over oil and installation of a puppet regime in Iraq.

The protesters later on burnt effigies of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair at the venue.

JAGRAON: Hundred of the workers of various organisations, including Kirti Kisan Union, Punjab Roadways Employees Union, Inqalabi Kender Punjab and of PSEB took out a protest rally in the town denouncing the US attack on Iraq and demanded an immediate stop to it.

The leaders who spoke on the occasion, included Mr Gurdip Singh Moti, Mr Kanwaljit Khanna and Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu.

They blamed the USA for the war against Iraq as it was only for the diversion of oil to America and for the purpose the USA was killing innocent persons.



War memorial in state of neglect
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Aliwal, March 22
More than 150 years ago, the British erected a monument near this village to salute the bravery of their soldiers as well as to remember the scores of Sikh soldiers who had displayed exemplary courage before losing to a much stronger British army. But today, when governance is in our own hands, the monument stands neglected.

The monument, “Flame of Memory”, built by the British in remembrance of the last Anglo-Sikh war, the Battle of Aliwal, is going to rack and ruin on the outskirts of Gora Hoor village near Aliwal, some 30 km from here.

Despite being declared a protected monument in 1964 under the Punjab Ancient ,Historical Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, the memorial is dying a slow death for want of proper care by the state Department of Archaeology and Conservation.

It has been reliably learnt that the state government had recently cleared a grant of Rs 80,000 for conserving the place. However, as far as conservation of the monument is concerned, the result is yet to be seen.

Even though the monument stands as a reminiscence of the high standards of chivalry of the Sikhs, which was recognised in a way by the British through this memorial, the monument could not attract a similar care and protection from the Department of Conservation and residents of villages located near it.

In an example of official apathy, the department transferred the lone chowkidar posted in the village for the care of the monument about one year ago. His replacement has not yet been found. When the chowkidar was there, proper cleaning of a barricaded yard around it was done. Even small courts of different varieties of flowers were being maintained to beautify the place but now it wears a deserted look.

Only a notice board of the Department of Conservation at the entry gate of the monument hints at the historical significance of the place. The board, however, only says that the monument is protected and anyone defacing or damaging it is liable to be punished with imprisonment or fine. Residents of Gora Hoor village only remember that the monument was constructed by the British. They do not know when or why was it built.

The Ludhiana Gazetteer has a small reference to the history of the monument. It says that after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839, the Sikh forces were divided. The British, sensing a golden chance, began marching towards the erstwhile Punjab to wrest the territory and complete their dominance of the whole of India.

They were, however, not aware of the might of the Sikh forces who under the spirited guidance of several Generals held the territory as long as they could. One such General was Ranjodh Singh Majithia, who led his forces at Baddowal to defeat the British comprehensively in January, 1846.

Later, in the same month, Ranjodh Singh moved to Bhundri near the Sutlej . He raised the strength of his army to 15,000. While he was gaining strength here, the British, under the command of General Harry Smith, who was smarting from the defeat at the hands of the Sikhs at Baddowal, were also reinforcing.

On January 28, the British moved to capture Aliwal. The Sikh guns were well-served but Aliwal was held by inferior troops who could not put up a spirited fight. But near Bhundri village, the Khalsa troops made a most determined stand. The most gallant action was the charge by the 16th lancers of the Sikh Infantry. Three times the Sikhs were ridden over, but they reformed on each occasion. It was not till the whole strength of the British army was brought to fight that the Sikhs were defeated. The Sikhs were either driven across the river or dispersed over the uplands.

The British loss was also very heavy, amounting to more than 400 men killed or wounded. As the battle marked the annexation of a major territory of Punjab by the British, a memorial in the form of the monument was erected. It was especially dedicated to the soldiers killed.

However, the memorial erected by the British was a very tall one. According to Gulzar Singh, an old villager, the original monument, which had weakened considerably due to non-conservation, was destroyed in the 1980s during flash floods in the Sutlej. After that the department got constructed a much smaller monument. Sadly, this is also suffering due to ill-maintenance. It can fall prey to nature’s fury anytime.



Development works get under way in city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
The projects for resurfacing of roads in ward no 70 and laying a 16-inch sewer line in Industrial Area-A in ward no 56 were taken in hand with area councillors Sushil Kumar, Raju Thapar and Malkiat Kaur, respectively, performing the land cutting ceremonies in well-attended functions.

Addressing the function to mark the commencement of resurfacing of Champa street, Mr Thapar announced that the work, along with relaying of Neem Wali Gali and Gandhi Street would be complete within one month. Other development projects in the pipeline for the area were providing sodium lights in various localities at an estimated cost of Rs 8.47 lakh while the parks in the area would be equipped with sun shades and benches for the visitors at a cost of Rs 6.50 lakh.

Prominent among those present were Mr Parshottam Sharma, chairman, PPCC (legal cell), Mr Lal Chand Chopra, president, Mohalla Welfare Society, Mr Vijay Gupta, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, Mr Kala Sareen, Mr Sardari Lal Rai, Mr Ashok Bhalla, Mr Charanjit Gill, Mr Ramesh Kalia, Mr Naresh Sharma, Mr Naveen Sharma and Mr Sudesh Kumar.

The councillor from ward no 56 Ms Malkiat Kaur, while addressing the function near PSEB office on R.K. road in the Industrial Area-A, claimed that with the completion of work for laying 16-inch sewer line in the area, the perennial problem of waterlogging and choked sewer lines in many localities would be permanently solved. The new sewer lines would be linked with the disposal at Transport Nagar.

Among others, Mr Pritpal Singh Ghayal, former councillor, Dr J.R. Sachdeva, Mr Aleemuddin Shafi, Mr Ramesh Romi, Mr Nirmal Virk, Dr Ajit Singh, Mr M.S. Matharoo and Mr M.L. Sabharwal also attended the function.



Council chief’s election tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 22
The election of president of the local Nagar Council will be held on March 24 on the premises of the committee office. This was stated by Mr Vinod Mehta, Executive Officer of the committee, here today.

Addressing mediapersons, Mr Mehta said the oath-taking ceremony would be performed by the SDM, Mr Jaspal Singh Jassi. Other councillors, along with the vice-president, will also take oath, he added.

The council elections were held on March 9. Ten councillors are from the Congress. Four councillors are close relatives of the local MLA, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon. The nephew of the MLA, Mr Jasvir Singh Jassi, is likely to become the president. The post of senior vice-president is also likely to be created.



New attraction in tiger safari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The local Tiger Safari on Ludhiana-Jalandhar highway would have two naughty attractions for the visitors soon. Two tiger cubs, that were born in this zoo in August last month, would soon be released in the safari for the visitors.

Six-month-old-Paras and Mani, the two cubs, were kept in an enclosure all these months and were not released as the safari authorities wanted them to grow up a little before they could take care of themselves in the open environs of the safari.

The safari authorities said that both the cubs, who have grown up considerably, would be released within some days only. For the last few days they were being released in the safari for two hours everyday to accustom them to the new environment. They were also being kept with other adult tigers so that they could accept them in their habitat.

The cubs were born to a Royal Bengal Tiger couple Rita and Pinto six months ago. As soon as their birth was announced, visitors from Ludhiana, Phillaur as well as Jalandhar had started pouring in to have a glimpse of the cubs.

With the new release, the number of tigers would go up to 12 in the safari. According to Mr Raj Kumar Joshi, in charge, Ludhiana Zoo, the cubs had grown smarter and liked the environment of safari as they had vegetation and trees to climb up and peacocks to chase there.

He added that initially they were hesitant of moving around in the open environment but soon started liking the place so much that it was difficult to get them back. He said that the staff had to keep an eye on the cubs when they were released in the safari as they tend to escape from the place through various holes made to drain water.



DTO ‘seeks’ money for vehicle’s release
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 22
Mr Jaspaul Singh, a resident of Kalaudi village, in a complaint to the Punjab Chief Minister has alleged that Rs 4,000 were demanded from him for getting the possession of a Maruti van impounded by the DTO, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr Jaspaul Singh runs a parking lot of the bus stand, which he had taken on lease from the Municipal Council for a period of one year i.e. till October 30, 2003.

On March 11, the DTO impounded the Maruti van (PB 11A-2745) parked in the lot on the charge of plying private van as taxi. No challan chit was issued to the contractor. Instead he was directed to get the vehicle released from the DTO office after a payment of Rs 4,000 as fine.

The DTO was, however, not available in the office for comments today.



Retreat for elderly
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
At the Day Care Centre for Senior Citizens, run by the Ludhiana Social Welfare and Charitable Society, 65 elderly persons met a year ago. Now they are like members of a family.

A brain child of Capt K.S. Walia, the centre will soon shift from the nursing home of Dr I.S. Mangat on the Pakhowal road to a nearby place.

“Earlier everything was free, but now I am thinking of charging a fee of Rs 100 or Rs 200 from each member,” says Capt Walia. The centre gets help from Help Age India and a few institutions and individuals.



Woman injured
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, March 22
Gurpreet Kaur, wife of Harjinder Singh of Bilga village near here, has complained to the Sahnewal police that when she and her child were about to board a bus, a scooter driver coming from Sahnewal, hit her and as a result of her leg broke and she was admitted to Sidhu Hospital at Doraha.

A case was registered on Saturday against the scooterist who has absconded.

FISH STOLEN: A man of Upplan village has complained to the Sahnewal police that some persons stole fish from his pond on Friday night. He said the loss was around Rs 40,000 and submitted a report about it to the SSP for verification. 



Flesh trade racket busted

Ludhiana, March 22
The police claims to have busted a flesh trade racket in the city following the arrest of five persons, including three women, from a house in Chander Nagar locality near Salem Tabri here.

Mr Harpreet Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, stated that a police party headed by Mr Gurpreet Singh, SP (D), had raided the house, which was allegedly being run as a brothel. The accused, identified as Satwant Kaur, Asha Rani, Surinder Kaur, Baldev Singh and Nirmal Singh, were taken into custody. The police has registered a case under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act and the accused have been remanded in judicial custody. OC



Appeal to bring PSEB out of the red
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The Cycle Trade Union has condemned the review of power tariff in the state and has appealed to the PSEB to enhance its image in the minds of consumers by taking inhouse measures to bring the board out of the red.

Mr Brij Mohan Sarin and Mr Jaswant Singh Birdi, president and general secretary of the union, said the board was providing wrong figures to the PSERC to buttress their case for enhancing the tariff.

Citing instances, they said under the head of employee’s cost, schedule -9, annual statement of accounts, the total account for 2000-2001 in the previous ARR by the board was shown as Rs 1144.53 crore, whereas in the current ARR it is Rs 1238.87 crore.

Similarly, for the year 2001-2002, it is Rs 1255.25 crore whereas in the current ARR it is shown Rs 1318-54 crore. This clearly shows that the PSEB is providing wrong figures to the PSERC and the consumers to revise their tariffs.

The delivered costs too are on the high side. A perusal of the various energy costs reveal that the power is purchased at a lower cost but supplied at a higher rate to the consumers. Moreover, the projected demand too is on the high side. This is unjustified, they pointed out.

At the same time, the board has entered into an agreement to sell power at a lesser rate. The state will sell power to other states at a rate of Rs 2.36 p/per unit. However, the PSEB is charging rates varying between Rs 3.82 to Rs 4.12 paise per unit for various categories of consumers. “We suggest that such loss based agreements should be avoided,” they added.

The board has now submitted an increase in the monthly minimum charges (MMC)of all categories of the consumers. The MMC should be abolished permanently and only the metered billing should be continued, irrespective of the quantum of consumption.

They also pointed out that the delay in the release of PSEB circular, hiking the tariffs will affect them dearly and such mistakes should be avoided in greater public interest. The circular was issued on 18-10-2002 for payments to be collected the retrospective effect from 1-8-2002, they added.



Small-scale sector may be exempted from excise duty 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Union Textile Minister Kashiram Rana has not ruled out exemption of the small-scale industrial sector from central excise duty. Talking to reporters here today, the Union Minister said central excise had been imposed only after the recommendations of the Kelkar Committee and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

He claimed that the Kelkar Committee recommendations had been made after his visits to various industrial units. He pointed out that the CII had also been taken into confidence in this regard, which had also not forwarded any objections to these units being brought under the excise net.

However, Mr Rana maintained that the issue could be reconsidered and the small-scale industry may be exempted. He said the government was committed to providing an industry-friendly atmosphere in the country and the small-scale industry would not be made to suffer.

Earlier, Mr Rana addressed a seminar organised by the Wool and Woollens Export Promotion Council, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, on e-trade in export promotion. He revealed that the government had set up a Rs 16,000-crore fund for technological upgradation. He said so far 1,700 applications had been received and loans worth Rs 6,000 crore sanctioned. He said Rs 5,000 crore had already been paid to the applicants.

On the issue of setting up of an Apparel Promotion Park in Ludhiana, the Union Minister said it was for the Punjab Government to take the initiative and provide land for the purpose. When the state government provides land, the government will provide funds for setting up the park, he said.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were senior BJP leader and MP, Lala Lajpat Rai, chairman of the council, Mr Ashok Jaidka, Secretary, Textiles, Mr S.B. Mohapatra, the state BJP president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, the district president, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi and representatives of various trade and industrial associations.



Indian capital market competitive: SEBI chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The Chairman of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Mr G.N. Bajpai, today said that the Indian capital market was very competitive and it had all the ingredients of a vibrant and safe market. He was speaking at the Ludhiana Stock Exchange at the seminar on ‘empowering investors through education’.

He said the Indian capital market had a good infrastructure base. Moreover, these were operating in a most transparent manner and were technologically on a par with the best in the world. He said, these were as good as in the west. He pointed out there was an edge as the cost involved was only one fifth of what these were in the West. He pointed out the role of the SEBI was only that of a regulator which had laid down the rules. He said, the SEBI had already brought out a list of certain illegal stock exchanges in the country and it was the responsibility of the investors to ensure that the stock exchanges were legal. SEBI, he said had no control on these exchanges as these could be dealt under various sections of the Indian Penal Code only.

Earlier, Mr Bajpai launched the statewide securities market awareness campaign of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange. Hundreds of people, including brokers, stock holders, professionals and investors were present at the launch. They included Mr CB Bhave, Managing Director, National Securities Depository Limited, Mr Tejbir Singh, Executive Director, Bank of Punjab Limited, Mr ML Soneji, vice president of the National Stock Exchange, Mr Dina Nath Shamra, chairman, Ludhiana Stock Exchange, Mr Manjit Singh, executive director, LSE and Mr Jaspal Singh also the executive director of the LSE.



Seminar on bank audit, trust taxation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
The city branch of Institute of Chartered Accountants organised a seminar on taxation of charitable trusts, Union Budget and bank audit at a local club here.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Girish Ahuja, an eminent tax consultant from Delhi, highlighted the registration formalities and income provisions of charitable trusts. Referring to anomalies in recent amendments to the Act, he remarked that the method of computing the total income of the trusts was not specifically defined.

Similarly, Section 11 stated that income of the trust would be exempt if it was applied for charitable or religious purposes but nothing had been mentioned about how the total income would be completed.

Welcoming the Budget provisions Mr Ahuja observed that it was an intelligent piece of work by the Finance Minister. However, the companies would have to pay double dividend tax — first in the previous year on receipt of dividend and again during this year at the rate of 12 per cent, in addition to surcharge as Section 80 (m) has been abolished from April 2003. The government had very cleverly mentioned that capital gain on US-64 would be exempt. In fact the intention of the new provision was to deny the setting off of capital losses on the units, which everybody was going to incur when these units were to be redeemed in May 2003.

Mr Amarjit Chopra, member, Central Council of CAs, focused on latest provisions and techniques of bank audit. He emphasised upon the local chartered accountants the need to give true and fair audit report with due attention to actual facts.

He also stressed on proper interest provisioning for rescheduled NPA accounts. “The CAs must carefully consider the events occurring after preparation of balance sheet data during audit.” Mr Chopra also dwelt on latest techniques being adopted by banks for window dressing of their balance sheets.

The seminar was attended by more than 270 CAs. The rank holder students in the November 2002 examination were awarded for their remarkable achievement.


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