Wednesday, April 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Chairman allays fears about Central excise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
To dispel the doubts and apprehensions of trade and industry about the special thrust that has been given in the Union Budget 2003 for the rationalisation of excise duties, the Ludhiana Management Association, (LMA) today organised an interaction of representatives from various trade and industrial associations with Mr M.K. Zutshi, Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs.

Mr Kailash Sethi, Chief Commissioner, Central Excise, Chandigarh Zone, and Mr H.K. Mittal, Commissioner, Central Excise, Ludhiana were among other senior officials from the Central Excise and Customs Department from Jalandhar, Chandigarh and Amritsar who attended the interaction.

Mr Zutshi said, “The government was aware that these changes might initially create minor difficulties of compliance for large numbers of power looms, processors, knitting units and garment units who have been hitherto exempted from excise duty mainly on account of an inadequate understanding of law and certain misgivings about the law being complex. It was, therefore, proposed that these changes will come into effect from April 1, 2003, and a simplified system of procedures would be worked about for the units liable to pay excise duty for the first time.”

He said the Commissioners of Central Excise had been asked to issue trade notices and explain the procedures to be followed in detail. They have also been asked to give the contact numbers and addresses where the assessee can contact the Commissioner or other Central Excise Officers, who would extend all help and cooperation in this regard, Mr Zutshi added.

He maintained that the procedure for registration (for those who would be paying duty) had been simplified. There was no need for the assessee to visit the Central Excise Office for this purpose. The help of the office-bearers of the trade associations was solicited in this regard. An individual assessee could collect the form from the associations, fill the same and hand it over to the office-bearers. The office-bearers could approach the jurisdictional commissioner for instant registration of the units. A special cell for this purpose had been opened in all commissionerates. “Normally no verification of premises by the officers would be conducted. Assessees not having income tax PAN would also be granted registration”, Mr Zutshi added.

Mr Sethi said the government had prescribed a simple procedure for the new assessee taking into account the textile trade practices and the socio-economic and educational levels of the manufacturers.

The purpose of these new rules and procedures was to allow the textile sector to carry on the work as they had been doing all along, and not to disturb the existing trade practices.

Mr V.K. Goyal, general secretary, LMA, thanked Mr Zutshi for discussing various proposals of central excise aimed at harmonisation and rationalisation of indirect taxes. He thanked the senior officers of Excise and Customs for taking proactive action to implement the changes smoothly and effectively and various representatives from the trade and industry for taking time to attend the meeting. Various issues, which involve lowering of excise duty rates, completion of CENVAT credit chain and replacement of credit on deemed basis by actual, were discussed during the interaction. Representatives from trade associations and senior people from the industry made various suggestions to the Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs, and pleaded for further rationalisation of the structure of duties and simplification of procedures.



Near total bandh against VAT
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 1
The bandh call given by various trade and industrial associations against the introduction of the value added tax (VAT) and the central excise duty evoked a good response on the second day today.

The bandh was near total here as well as in Doraha. Various organisations and associations, including Arhtiya Association, Kiryana Retailers Federation, Readymade Garments Association, Electronics Association, Industries Association, Medical Association and others, observed the bandh.

All business activity came to a standstill. Members of various associations criticised the government for its proposed implementation of VAT in the country. Responding to the protest call, they said if the government did not accede to their demands, they would be forced to continue the struggle. They also decided to participate in a dharna to be staged in front of the Parliament House on April 8 against the implementation of VAT.

Among those who participated in rally were Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, Mr Tarlok Singh Jaggi, Mr Jandeep Kaushal, Mr Krishan Lal Gupta, Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, Mr Jeevan Kumar Kapila, Mr Om Parkash Goyal, Mr BakshiLal Aneja, Mr Vinod Gupta, Mr Pritam Singh Jaggi, Mr Bhupinder Singh Oberoi, Mr Kulwant Singh, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bulara, Mr Harjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Teluram Kohara, and Mr Manjit Singh Dhillon.

jagraon: All commercial establishments here remained closed for the second consecutive day today in protest against the imposition of VAT.

The traders said the move to implement the new system was anti-trader.



Central excise chief gheraoed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
It was rowdyism at its worst with at least a hundred traders trying to gherao the vehicle of the Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Mr M.K. Zutshi, who was on a visit to the city. As Mr Zutshi got down from the morning Shatabadi and tried to step into the vehicle waiting outside, the traders rushed towards his car shouting slogans against VAT and central excise.

They tried to stop the car while some tried to break the windowpanes. As it was all spontaneous and unexpected, there was not much of a security arrangement at the railway station. However, it was the alert driver and equally alert local officials of the Central Excise Department who managed to take away the car and prevent any untoward incident.

Not surprisingly, traders started shouting slogans against Mr Zutshi. Although he tried to explain something to the traders, they were not prepared to listen to anything. Nothing could be heard amidst the din and uproar as the traders continued shouting slogans against the government and the Central Excise officials.

As it was the second day of the bandh, most traders who were sitting in groups at different places, reached the railway station within no time as the word spread that the Chairman of the Central Excise was about to arrive. For a while there was total chaos and confusion at the railway station as nobody could understand what had happened. Even railways officials were taken aback. Hearing the uproar inside the railway station, several passers-by also came in there only to add to the confusion.

Later on the local police deployed adequate police outside the hotel Mr Zitshi was staying in. Since Mr Zutshi was to preside over an interactive programme with the trade and industry representatives at a local hotel, a number of police officials were deployed there. The visitors were thoroughly questioned and identified before they were allowed inside to prevent further trouble in case the traders converged on the hotel to stage a demonstration against Mr Zutshi.

Meanwhile, the second day of the nationwide bandh passed off peacefully with no untoward incident reported from anywhere. While yesterday the bandh was complete, today a number of shops were open. The president of the Pradesh Beopar Mandal and the vice-president of the All-India Beopar Maha Mandal, Mr Tulsi Dass Jaitwani, thanked the trader community for participating in the bandh. Mr Jaitwani had conducted a week-long tour across the state for mobilising support for the bandh, which, he said, yielded handsome dividends.



MC President takes charge
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 1
The results of civic elections in the state show the trend of urban voters being in favour of the Congress. Besides, the voters have rejected the “communal card” of the BJP, said Mr Brij Lal Goyal, state Vice- President of the PPCC. Mr Goyal was talking to mediapersons on the occasion of the council chief, Mr Joginder Pal Gupta’s charge-taking ceremony here today. The BJP has failed to win any seat in the elections to the 19 wards of the town.

Mr Gupta and Mr Jagmeet Singh Bawa were elected President and Vice-President of the council, respectively, on March 26 and the gazette notification of the Local Government Department, Punjab, was issued on March 27. Mr Gupta was elected on the Congress symbol from Ward No. 10. He secured 1125 votes defeating his nearest rival with a margin of 474 votes. His name was proposed by Mr Rajiv Sood, an Independent candidate from Ward No. 4, and seconded by Mr Suresh Kumar Babli (Congress ) from Ward No. 3.

In the municipal elections held on March 9, the Congress won 10 seats, out of 19. Mr Bawa was declared elected unopposed from Ward No. 9. Nine seats were captured by Independents. The council President and Vice-President’s election was fixed for March 24. Some ministers, who were camping in the municipal complex, could not agree on a consensus candidate and the election meeting was postponed for lack of quorum by Mr Amarjeet Singh Shahi, SDM-cum-Returning Officer, Amloh.

Mr Gupta is a son of Congress leader Nand Kumar Gupta who has headed the council for about 25 years.

Mr Gupta assumed the charge as President of the municipal council in the presence of municipal councillors and important figures of the town. He assured the gathering that he would complete the pending development works in the town without any discrimination. Mr Joginder Singh Maini, state Congress leader, thanked the people for reposing confidence in the Congress.



Man found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
A resident of local Hari Kartar Colony, Sherpur, was allegedly murdered by some unidentified persons here today.

Dinesh Kumar (40), a munshi with a transport company in Transport Nagar, was found seriously wounded outside a dairy in the Bhagat Singh Nagar area by some persons who later informed the police.

When the police reached the spot, Dinesh had already died. He had suffered a severe head injury. A case has been registered.

The victim used to leave for work everyday at 9 am and return at 10 pm. But last night he did not return home.



Admn gives helping hand to physically challenged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
A special campaign to provide artificial limbs, tricycles, wheelchairs and hearing aids to physically-challenged persons in the district was launched today at a block-level special camp jointly organised by the district administration and the Indian Red Cross Society, Ludhiana, at BDPO Office Pakhowal, near here.

In this first camp out of total of 250 physically-challenged persons, 100 were fitted with artificial limbs (arms, hands, legs and feet), 100 were fitted with hearing aids and 50 were presented with tricycles or wheelchairs.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, said that to help the physically challenged by providing them with artificial limbs and other aids was the noblest of the services, as these under-privileged brethren were facing a lot of hardships in carrying out their routine activities. Appreciating the efforts of district administration for according top priority to this humanitarian course, Mr Ghalib asked them to organise such camps in other blocks also, so that the whole district was covered.

Referring to the developmental projects and welfare schemes of the Congress government in the state, Mr Ghalib said that the government had succeeded in over coming the worst-ever fiscal crisis by taking strict financial measurers. All prominent financial institutions of the international and national level had also offered to release sufficient funds for the development works and welfare in the state. He said that the current financial year would be observed as development year and the developmental projects would be carried out on a war footing in all parts of the state. He assured that every eligible person would be covered under different pension schemes of the Welfare Department and the backlog would be also cleared soon.

Mr Anurag Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, said that the district administration had carried out a comprehensive survey in all villages and towns of the district and had identified the physically-challenged persons requiring different kinds of artificial limbs and aids. He said that under this program, a grant of Rs 14.5 lakh had been received from Government of India and the remaining funds would be arranged by the local branch of the Indian Red Cross Society.

He said that the administration had given special care to provide artificial limbs and hearing aids of excellent quality, so that physically-challenged persons would feel comfortable while using these aids . He disclosed that the work to supply the artificial limbs had been assigned to a reputed company, ALIMCO of Government of India, which prepare light-weight limbs of excellent quality. He claimed that physically-challenged women fitted with an artificial hand/arm could work with needle, besides other daily routine domestic works.

He said that earlier, the administration had received a large number of complaints about these limbs for causing different kind of injuries to the physically-challenged persons and the durability of limbs was also not of sufficient duration. He said that the hearing aids which were fitted in these camps had also been purchased from a reputed manufacturing company of Switzerland.

Mr Agarwal further informed that such block-level camps in other blocks of the district would be completed within a period of one and half months, where all eligible physically-challenged persons would be fitted with the artificial aids.

Mr Sumer Singh Gurjar, ADC(D), who was the overall in charge for the execution of this project in the district, said that all departments concerned were giving priority to the project in identifying cases and fitting of the limbs. Mr Avtar Singh Latala, chairman, Panchayat Samiti, Pakhowal, also addressed the function.




THE Punjab Government recently completed hundred days of Capt Amarinder Singh’s rule in the state. An overzealous Public Relations Department of the Punjab Government published several booklets and souvenirs on the occasion lauding the role and achievements of the state government. These booklets and souvenirs contain several laudatory articles by journalists, former and serving bureaucrats, including the Director, Public Relations himself. One of the souvenirs also contains a message by the Chief Minister declaring 2003 as the “year of development”. But the most amusing lines are published on the content page itself that read: “Neither the editorial staff nor the Punjab Government are responsible for the views of the contributors”. They have, of course, left no stone unturned to eulogise the state government.

Chaotic traffic

About Ludhiana Traffic, it is said that anyone who can drive in Ludhiana can drive anywhere in the world. But the state administration has no role in making people expert drivers; it’s the “behaviour” of the people on roads that has inculcated the survival instinct among the city residents. The only role the administration plays is that it tests the wits of the city drivers by doing precious little to fix the out of order traffic lights or even repair the road dividers making it a free for all. Consequently, the plastic road dividers on the Do Moria bridge road and Ferozepore road no longer exist, but their bases jut out of the road providing a great opportunity to test the motoring skills of Ludhianvis. It is a different matter that some unfortunate people have skidded and broken their bones while trying to manoeuvre between these divider stubs.

Without fear

A big car crossing the traffic lights at the local Bhai Wala Chowk had it number missing. Instead the number had ‘‘My own government, no fear’’ painted on it. Surprisingly the car went through many traffic chowks in the city but no policeman stopped it for violating the rules.

Summer gloves

Even as the sizzling summer is still away, the local girls have already started covering their faces and wearing gloves to avoid tanning the exposed parts. But one thing most of them do not know is that white gloves which are available for Rs 20 or so at the stores are actually made of nylon and those who wear these in the burning sun would suffer negative effects. Anybody can tell you that the nylon fabric is not suitable for the Punjab summer which is very harsh. So, when you decide to shop for these gloves insist on buying the cotton ones.

Traffic laws

The city police does not spare anyone violating a traffic law. But when it comes to obeying the rules themselves, the men in khakki are found wanting. One can spot police officials driving a two-wheeler without a helmet or a car without a seat belt. The traffic police is posted round the clock at the Fountain chowk. They keep on challaning commoners but turn a blind eye to their own men. Sentinel was a witness to one such episode. A policeman cop was driving a scooter without a number and a helmet. The scooter was without a pollution free sticker also. Another one had a number plate, but it only had a picture of a fierce bull instead of the number. SSP Ludhiana Harpreet Singh Sidhu had recently challaned a press photographer and a police Inspector for violating a traffic rule. It seems the message has not gone down the ranks.

Tipplers’ day

Bacchus lovers have never had a reason to rejoice like they had on March 31. As it was the last financial day of the year, liquor shops were offering liquor at dirt cheap prices to clear the old stocks. The vends had put big banners announcing the big sale of liquor. They were selling a crate for Rs 400 and three bottles for Rs 100. Heavy rush was wintnessed at the vends as the owners had even employed ‘dholis’ to attract the attention of the people. Happy at the huge discounts, a man was seen pushing a bottle inside his trousers wearing a smile on his face.


The bandh call by the business community against VAT in the city was an eye-opener about the level of encroachments. Markets in the city were completely closed. The roads which are narrow appeared quite wide. It is a usual practice for the shopkeepers here to put goods on three or four feet space outside their shops. As a result, the roads shrink to such an extent that wide bazars appear narrow. Because of the bandh, one can make out the level of encroachments. May be the municipal corporation could use the opportunity to identify the encroachments. If they have failed to do so now, they will have to wait for the next bandh.

Giftless b’day !

Guess who were the people affected most by the bandh observed in the country against the imposition of value-added tax (VAT). These were the people who were born on April 1 as they could not receive gifts because of a total bandh in the city on March 31 and April 1. Unfortunately, the penultimate day of March 31 was a Sunday. So the markets remained closed for three consecutive days and those born on the fool’s day had to make do without gifts. Poor guys! Better luck next time.

VAT and cricket

The past two months saw the people going crazy as the World Cup cricket was on. Just after the feats wilk the bat, it was the hullabaloo for VAT (value-added tax). As everybody was heard discussing about cricket during the past many weeks, the focus shifted to VAT with traders of all kinds going all out to oppose it. Interestingly while a rally was on in the city with thousands of people participating in it to ensure the closure of all shops in response to a Bharat badh call, some of them did not even know the meaning of VAT.

Marketing strategy!

A well-known company making exercising gadgets like cycles and joggers took these gadgets to a lot of people by placing them on the roadside at Apni Mandi held on Sundays at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. The strategy proved good as a number of people used them and a lot of inquiries were made. The mandi draws a lot of rush from morning till late night. These gadgets which remain confined to few shops, got a good mileage by being displayed at the mandi venue.

Cut fruit

The sale of cut fruit and salads in the open is a potential cause of stomach disorders in the summers. In every locality, one sees cut fruit temptingly served on slabs of ice. People eat these to refresh themselves little knowing that these fruits and vegetables are covered with fine particles of soot and are loaded with harmful bacteria. The district administration should take timely steps to ban the sale of open fruit and salads in public interest.


Spotted written behind a truck (in Punjabi): Advantage of being a bachelor — If u get married u can become a husband and a father but if u don’t u can become the Prime Minister (Atal Behari Vajpayee) or the President of our country (APJ Abdul Kalam)!



Rural education panel holds meeting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The Punjab Rural Education Promotion Council held its general body meeting here at the council office yesterday to commemorate its 22nd foundation day. The meeting was chaired by Dr Inder Pal Singh, Pro-VC (retd), Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Other dignitaries who were present at the occasion were Dr G.S.Nanda, Director Research PAU, Dr S.S.Gill, Additional Director, Communication Centre, PAU, Mr M.Dewan, Mr M.S.Khatra and Mr Maghar Singh.

Dr S.S.Pawar, general secretary of the council, took stock of the achievements by the council since 1982 and placed before the participants a 12-point agenda which included the effective launching of Indian Education Promotion Council programmes in the country, identifying trustees of Indian Rural Education Trust and vision 2020. He emphasised the need for improving the standard of education. Ethics and morality had a better role to play in the educational field rather than the materialistic considerations, he said.

Dr Inderpal Singh said that this was the age of revolution which was taking place at a fast speed. Education was no exception to it. New generation were the guards.There was a shortage of resources, both human and financial. A devoted teacher was the only hope in this bleak scenario.

Mr Nanda appreciated the work done by the council and promised all help to the organisation. Students of Rasulpur school gave a recitation and won an award. Mr Pritam Singh Azad recited a poem on role of education and teacher.



AIFFSO to observe Martyrs Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The All-India Freedom Fighters Successors’ Organisation will observe Jallianwala Bagh Martyrs Day at Guru Nanak Auditorium, Amritsar, on April 13.

Dr Narottam Dewan, general secretary of the organisation, while talking to mediapersons here today said it was in 1919 that General Dayer ordered his forces to open fire on innocent civilians during a gathering at Jallianwala Bagh. Whole of Punjab was put under martial law and atrocities were committed on innocent children and women. “The function has been organised to remember the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the motherland, thereby laying the foundation of the freedom struggle,” said Dr Dewan.

Dr Dewan said the benefit of Independence should be distributed equally among all Indians. He stressed that it was a time for sharing of thoughts and retrospection.

Capt Amarinder Singh will be the chief guest, while Mr Ranbir Singh, president AIFFSO, will preside over the function. Mr Khushal Behal, Minister of Education, will be the guest of honour.



Streamline licence fee process: LJP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
In a bid to end the problems of the general public over the intricate structure of the licence fee being charged by the Municipal Corporation for various businesses and trades in the city, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has called for effective remedial measures.

In a memorandum submitted to the MC Commissioner, the district president of the party, Mr Jagdish Anand, said the rates of the licence fee, which had to be paid every year by the shopkeepers and business houses to the civic body, were not being displayed at the MC Headquarters or the zonal offices. As a result, people had to go through various channels to ascertain the exact amount of the annual licence fee to be deposited by them. At times, the licencees were exploited by MC employees and made to pay a higher sum than the actual fee.

Mr Anand further observed that in addition to causing annoyance to people, the ambiguity was also bringing a bad name to the MC. He suggested that the civic body should make immediate arrangements to prominently display the rates of the annual licence fee for different trades at the payment counters, both at the headquarters and in all four zonal offices where payments of the licence fee were accepted. The detailed information should also be passed on to the members of the public through wide publicity.



Poppy husk worth 1 lakh seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The local police, while on patrol, arrested a person and seized 10 bags of poppy husk from his possession today. According to information, the police saw Dharam Vir Singh alias Dharmi, hailing from Kurali and residing near Jagraon railway station, sitting on some gunny bags near the Bardeke canal bridge. On seeing the police, he tried to flee on a motor cycle but was apprehended. The police seized 10 bags of poppy husk, valuing Rs 1 lakh, from his possession.

The police has registered a case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.



Woman crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 1
A married woman of Chak Sarwan Nath village was crushed to death by a speedy truck at the village bus stop today. Gurmit Kaur, wife of Jagir Singh, was run down by the truck (HB-69-7651) when she was about to board a bus. She was killed on the spot.

A case under Section 304 A of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the truck. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.



Couple dies under mysterious circumstances
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, April 1
A young couple died under mysterious circumstances on the Jandali Bauhrai road near here today.

Sources said the couple was found in an unconscious state early in the morning. The girl, who was wearing a Punjabi suit, died before the police reached the spot. The boy was brought to the local Civil Hospital where he died after some time.

The police found two bottles, one of which was partly filled with a white solution, from the scene. The bodies have been sent for a post-mortem examination.

A case has been registered under Section 174 of the IPC.


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