Saturday, May 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Brijesh is Ludhiana district topper
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
Brijesh Takkar, a student from the medical stream of Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar, has topped Ludhiana district with 94.6 per cent marks in the Class XII examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), results of which were declared today.

Neha Aggarwal, a commerce student from Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, has stood second with 92.6 per cent. Shilpa, also a commerce student from Tagore Public School, has obtained the third rank in the city with 92.4 per cent. Following her with marginal difference, Manish Aggarwal of Kundan Vidya Mandir has stood fourth with 92.2 per cent.

Sharing the fifth rank are Aakshi Sareen, commerce student from Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School and Sheenam Sharma, medical student from Tagore Public School, both getting 91.6 per cent. The sixth position has been shared by Swati Bedi, commerce student from Guru Nanak Public School, and Suvir Singh, medical student from St Thomas Senior Secondary School, both scoring 91.2 per cent. Seventh position too has been shared by two students - Nivedita Sharma, commerce student from DAV Public School and Sahil Goel, non-medical student from Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, both with 90.8 per cent.

Two students from Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School have together attained eighth rank by scoring 90.8 per cent. These are Jeevanjot Singh Randhawa from medical stream and Aarti Sharma from commerce stream. On the next position are Ridhima Mangal, a non-medical student from Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, and Mayank Kukreja, also a non-medial student from BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, both with 90.2 per cent. Anshul Joshi, a non-medial student from Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, and Vikas Gupta, a medical student from DAV Public School, both with 90 per cent.

Brijesh has scored 98 marks in physics, 97 in chemistry, 96 in biology, 95 in physical education and 87 in English. Talking over phone from New Delhi, where he had gone to appear for an entrance test to Christian Medical College, Vellore, he said he wanted to become a cardiologist. He said his real inspiration was his father who is running a nursing home in Ludhiana and his two elder sisters who are pursuing their medical degrees.

Brijesh said he was also likely to get Danforth scholarship under which he could get admission to Washington University, St Louis. He has also been selected by the National Talent Search Education (NTSE) under which he would attend a camp at Mumbai from June 4 to 10.

For Neha it had been a sleepless night as she was much anxious to know her result. In the morning, her brother after checking her result online called her up at 8:30 am to inform that she had scored 92.2 per cent. Since then, she said she herself kept trying to open the website but all her attempts failed until this afternoon. Surprisingly, she said she was able to get the results of all her friends instantaneously but every time that she tried to open her own result, it failed.

Aiming to become a lawyer, Manish Aggarwal said he had already appeared for entrance tests to various colleges, the results of which were awaited from June 1. He has scored 99 marks in mathematics, 98 in economics and 97 in accountancy. Aakshi Sareen wants to become a chartered accountant like her father. Side by side, she said that she would also prepare for IAS examination.

Hailing from Barewal, Swati Bedi said she wanted to become a software developer like her father. For now, she said she would take up BCom at the Government College for Women here. Nivedita, who is currently doing commerce stream, said she was planning to shift now to arts stream. Jeevanjot Singh said he would take up MBBS in a reputed college, Aarti Sharma wants to take up revenue services, Ridhima wants to do engineering from the IIT, Mayank and Anshul want to become electrical engineers and Vikas Gupta aspires to be a cardiologist.

Brijesh Narang, a student from DAV Public School, has outshined by getting 100 per cent marks in mathematics. Megha Khanna from Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School has topped in English among the Ludhiana students. Sister Helima, Principal, honoured her in the school for breaking an all-time record of the CBSE by attaining 98 marks in the subject.



Flesh trade racket busted
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
Poverty, broken-homes, sour relationships and cheating boyfriends were the factors which initiated four women into prostitution who fell into the net of the local police here yesterday evening.

Trapped through a decoy customer, set up by the police, the four women, including an ‘auntie’ who ran the flesh trade, in an exclusive interview to The Tribune at the district courts complex here today narrated the tale of their initiation into the immoral business.

Lack of any skill to earn bread and butter and lure of easy money made these women to take up the profession they would not have thought of ever. Forced by their circumstances and with nobody to fend for them, these desolate women chose to submit themselves for a mere Rs 200. So strong was the need of one of them that she was eight-month-pregnant and yet was found with a customer at their den in New Lajpat Nagar here last night.

The raid was planned by DSP R K Bakshi and his team, including Division No. 5 SHO Anil Joshi and ASI Jatinder Pal Singh. Police investigations revealed that they were frequented by bigwigs of the city. An owner of a high-profile beauty salon in the city was also said to be close to these women.

Asha Rani, a middle-aged woman, known as ‘aunty’ and mother of three adults, ran the business in her rented apartment in New Lajpat Nagar. Separated from her husband, she said that she started the business after a close friend suggested her to do so. He even promised her to introduce ‘‘willing’’ girls to run the business.

Reluctantly confessing her deeds and with little remorse, she said that she had an example of many such women who went scot-free and were still running their business. Police officials said that she had even offered them bribe to spare her. ‘‘I have to marry off my youngest daughter. I needed money. I started this business two months ago. Girls used to come themselves to me. I never forced them. They were just using my house. But now I will stop it.’’ she said.

Cheena, a 22-year-old, claimed to be eight months pregnant said that she was into the business for money as she had her mother as her responsibility. She had married a boy of her choice last year. Just after four months they fell apart. ‘‘He was a mama’s boy. I don’t like such males. How can I spend my life with him? Then I came back to my mother’s house. I fell in love with another boy, who made me pregnant. Learning this he left for another country. He had only introduced me to auntie. Since then I am into this business. I need money to bring up my child. But auntie hasn’t paid my dues since long,’’ said Cheena, who was visited by her mother in police station, Division Number-5, last night.

Similar was the story of 25-year-old Pooja, who runs a small beauty parlour in Sarabha Nagar. She was into fashion modelling also and claimed that she modelled in some cassettes of famous Punjabi singer also. ‘‘I had married a boy of my choice. But I could not conceive as I have a tumour in uterus. My husband, instead of getting treatment for me, left me forever. I came back to my father at Dhandhra Road. He is a small time farmer. My mother died long ago. I came in contact with auntie through her friend and she convinced me that it was a very good business. As my salon was not bringing me much money I started coming here.’’

‘‘If my husband would know about it, he will set me ablaze.’’ These were the words of 34-year-old Usha, a mother of four teenager daughters, who was also nabbed by the police alongwith three others last night. ‘‘I am a salesgirl as profession. I used to visit auntie as she used to buy my products. She owed me money so I started visiting her frequently. I never knew this would be the end of my story.’’ Intriguingly, she was the only woman among four who was visibly upset at the latest development. She was seemingly regretting her decision to fall in aunty’s trap unlike the others.



Tyre market virtual death-trap
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
The shopkeepers in the local tyre market do not mind seeking pleasure in black humour even if it concerns them only. They share a common joke that nobody will need to douse a fire in the tyre market, if it ever takes place as it will douse off, of its own within no time, but not without turning everything to ashes.

Despite being aware of the dangers they live with, the shopkeepers in the tyre market situated opposite Ludhiana railway station feel that they can do little about the fire safety. “We know the danger we are living with and are also well aware that anything can happen anytime, but what can we do about it?”, asks Ashok Kumar.

The tyre market is too congested even to allow the pedestrian movement. While the roads used to be 30 feet wide, these have shrunk to a few feet only, with long rows of tyres remaining stocked on both the sides of the road outside the shops. What started with a few shops only has turned into a big market now.

There are more than a 100 shops in the market storing huge stocks of highly inflammable material. Moreover, the location of the market remains strategic. It continues and extends to other markets. And if anything untoward happens, it may not take too long to spread to a large area since the houses and shops are located too closely with each other.

Most of the traders in the market are running small time business with not much income. They consider adopting any fire-fighting measure a luxury for which they cannot spare money. A shopkeeper claimed that it was difficult even to continue with the business under the present market trends and there was little scope for taking safety measures.

The presence of dhabas and small rehris selling snacks and food compounds the problem. All the dhabas in the market have their owens outside their shops on the roads. Even the rehris selling food and snacks also use the LPG or kerosene for cooking purpose, thus posing a perpetual danger of fire.

Some hotel owners and the residents of the area had reportedly made representations to the authorities for shifting the tyre market out of the city as it posed a great risk of fire. 



Lobbying intensifies for PYC chief’s post
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
Lobbying has intensified for the post of the Pradesh Youth Congress president after the PCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, reportedly submitted the list of four probable candidates to the party high command. Initially, Mr Hanspal had reportedly submitted the name of only one candidate which was obviously rejected by the high command.

The PCC president is learnt to have submitted the names of Mr Kuldeep Bhullar, son of Director-General of Police M.S. Bhullar, Mr Gurkirat Singh, grandson of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, Mr Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, son of Irrigation Minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar, and Mr Pawan Dewan, senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress.

The party high command is learnt to be insisting on appointing a president who is dynamic and connected to the grass roots. Mr Hanspal was reportedly snubbed for the same reason and asked as whether there was no one else than Mr Kuldeep Bhullar who could be appointed the president of the PYC.

Mr Bhullar’s detractors have been alleging that he was being projected only because of his father as he has not much political activity to his credit.

However, he contested the last Assembly elections unsuccessfully. Moreover, he was also accused to having been involved in a land-grab case, but was acquitted of the charges later on.

Mr Gurkirat Singh, besides being the grandson of the late Beant Singh, happens to be the son of the Transport Minister, Mr Tej Prakash. Although he maintained quite a low profile after the assassination of his grandfather, of late he has again been active. Earlier, he served as the vice-president of the PYC.

His detractors have already started digging out his past trying to find some weak points which could weaken his case. Moreover, it is also being argued that since his father is already a Cabinet minister in state Government, the party should provide chance to some other active party worker.

Similarly, Mr Sukhpal Singh Bhullar is also placed in a similar situation as his father happens to be the Cabinet minister in the current government.

Like Mr Gurkirat Singh, his father being a minister might go against him. He is currently the general secretary of the PYC.

On the other hand, Mr Pawan Dewan happens to be the only candidate who has no political pedigree.

Mr Dewan has risen from the ranks. He has earlier served as the Ludhiana district president of the PYC for two terms. Currently, he is the senior vice-president of the PYC. He is reportedly being supported by the incumbent president, Mr Devinder Singh Babbu, also. 



Fire in Vishwakarma Colony — a day after
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, May 23
Hundreds of migrants were thronging the relief distribution centre put up at Vishwakarma Colony by the RSS workers when this reporter visited the site of devastating fire in which several jhuggies had been gutted on Wednesday night.

The fire victims, who lost most of their belongings in the fire, were being given steel plates , steel glasses and old clothes. A spokesman of the RSS said in all 500 plates, 500 glasses and as many dresses for men and women were being distributed.

Shankar Lal (50), a migrant from UP, who works in a cycle manufacturing unit at Mundian Kalan village , was sitting under a plastic canopy along with his wife and four children to escape from the scorching afternoon sun.

Nagendra Kumar Singh, another migrant from Bihar, whose jhuggi escaped the inferno, had taken leave from his employers to help his neighbours in distress.

Kamla Devi, whose husband plies a rehra, said she had been living in the colony for the past 10 years. With three children in tow, she was just moving around not knowing what to do. She said she had lost everything in the fire and lamented that the relief being distributed was not adequate. In the morning, tea and bread toasts were distributed but after that no food had come her way and she and her children were hungry.

Asked about the cause of fire, another woman said that it was not the spark from the kundi connection as there was no power at that time. The fire spread because of a smouldering saw-dust fire that had been lighted in the morning by a woman to cook some food near the small temple in the colony. After cooking the food, the woman had ‘buried’ the fire under a small heap of saw-dust, which kept smouldering for hours before a strong east wind scattered it to the nearby jhuggies. The fire spread to the cluster of jhuggies because of the strong wind as most of the jhuggies had plastic covers over and around them.

Though the number of jhuggies gutted in the fire were far less than the official figures of 181, residents of the colony explained that it was because all those living on rent in these jhuggies had got themselves enlisted as owning a jhuggi of their own in the hope of getting some compensation from the government.

A resident of the colony, however, said the amount of burnt and half-burnt currency notes salvaged from the affected jhuggies showed that all residents were not as poor as they pretended to be.



Akhand path in memory of train fire victims
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
Residents of Manj Phaguwal and 20 odd other surrounding villages, today started an Akhand Path in memory of the victims of the ‘burning train’ near the village on May 15. The bhog of the Akhand Path would be performed on May 25.

Hundreds of residents from these villages had volunteered for the exemplary rescue and relief work when three bogies of the Golden Temple Mail, bound for Amritsar had caught fire and 39 passengers had perished, besides a large number of others had sustained injuries. The villagers were not only actively associated with the work of extricating bodies and trapped passengers from the burning bogies even before the authorities and fire staff arrived at the scene of the tragedy early in the morning but had also offered eatables and other relief material to the stranded passengers, the injured and the surviving family members of the victims.

According to Ms Santosh Kumari, sarpanch of Manj Phaguwal village, the Akhand Path was being performed at the same site where the bodies of the victims laid before being shifted to the Civil Hospital in Ludhiana. The prayer meeting for eternal peace to the unfortunate passengers, who perished in the train fire away from their homes and dear ones, was a gesture from fellow citizens, who were witness to the devastating fire tragedy.

Prominent among those who paid homage to the victims of the train fire were Ms Santosh Kumari, sarpanch, Manj Phaguwal, Mr Amarjit Singh, sarpanch, Barewal Dogran, Mr Rachpal Singh Cheema, sarpanch, Kadian, Ms Rajwinder Kaur, sarpanch. Ladhowal, Mr Sita Ram, sarpanch, Kutbewal, Mr Inderjeet Singh, sarpanch, Kasabad, Mr Hans Raj, sarpanch, Bhattian, Mr Jaimal Singh, sarpanch, Baunkar Dogran, Mr Palwinder Singh, sarpanch, Ladian Kalan, Mr Gurdeep Singh, sarpanch, Kadian Khurd, Granthi Vijay Singh, Giani Gurdev Singh Mahnpur, Mr Hardev Singh, Member, Block Samiti Ludhiana II and Mr Shivtar Singh Bajwa, President, Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Deep Nagar.

Meanwhile, Mr Kuldip Sharma, Head Constable of the police, who had sustained severe burn injuries while rescuing several persons trapped in the Khud Mohalla fire in the city, succumbed to burns in the hospital last evening. He was cremated with full honours at Phillaur, about 15 kms from here today. A contingent of police paid tributes to the deceased by reversing arms and the police band played the last post.

Mr Harish Kumar, SP, Mr Sandeep Goyal, DSP, Mr Wazir Singh, SHO, Division No 3, Mr Virinder Kumar, SHO, Phillaur, Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, Mukh Sewadar, Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Khud Mohalla, among others laid wreaths at the body and paid tributes to the deceased police man, who had laid down his life while diligently performing his duty.



Govt pensioners demand allowances
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
The Government Pensioners Association (GPA) has urged the Union Government to bring the Central Government pensioners residing in the non-Central Government health scheme areas under the Central Services (Medical Attendance) Rules and grant them other allowances at par with the state government pensioners.

In a memorandum to the Union Minister for Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare, Mr L.K. Advani, the president of the association, Mr R.N. Sehgal, said the Central Government pensioners not covered by the Central Government health schemes were getting a medical allowance of Rs 100 per month each against Rs 250 being paid by the Punjab Government to its employees and pensioners for outdoor treatment. In view of the fact that the Central Government employees got full reimbursement both for indoor and outdoor treatment, the monthly medical allowance should be enhanced to Rs 250, he said.

Mr Sehgal stressed the need for giving old-age allowance to Central Government pensioners on the pattern of Punjab. Pensioners require more money to purchase nutritious and easily digestible food and engage domestic help. Like the Punjab Government, the Central Government should also enhance the pension by 5-10 per cent on pensioners achieving the age of 65 and 75 respectively,” he said.

The GPA president made a strong case for the grant of travel allowance to pensioners of the Central Government as was being paid to government pensioners in Punjab. He demanded that an amount equal to the monthly pension be paid once in two years to the Central Government pensioners to help them go for pilgrimage or travel outside for social commitments.

Meanwhile, Mr G.S. Sodhi, vice-president of the Punjab Pensioners Welfare Association, said in a statement here today that pensioners welcomed the decision of the Punjab Government to adopt the formula laid down by the Union Government for the revision of pension that had come into effect on January 1, 1996. Subsequently, after the implementation of a recommendation of the 5th Pay Commission by the Centre for the upward revision of pension, the Punjab Government had followed suit in the case of pensioners of IAS, IPS and superior judicial services of Punjab cadre, while those from other state services were being denied the benefit.

Mr Sodhi appealed for putting an end to discrimination against the state service pensioners who retired before 1996. Mr Sodhi also urged the state government to take a sympathetic view on the issue, so that, a few thousand pensioners, mostly in the age group of 70 plus, were benefitted.



‘Resist Akali unity moves’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
The Khalsa Panchayat has urged the Sikh masses to resist Akali unity moves since they basically aim at forging an alliance between two individuals who have done the most harm to the Panth.

According to Mr Bhupinder Singh Nimana, panch of the outfit, it is ironical that SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and SHSAD president Gurcharan Singh Tohra were talking about unity among the Akalis when they had been spitting venom against each other and had done their best to damage Sikh institutions in the past.

Mr Nimana alleged that a few intellectuals and sycophants with vested interests were leaving no stone unturned in labelling the duo as the greatest saviours of the Panth, whereas the reality was that they had done the utmost harm to the community than all previous detractors put together. He said the need of the hour was for all like-minded persons to come together.



Traffic chaos at Lajpat Rai Road

The market on the Lajpat Rai Road is the oldest market of Jagraon and is largely visited by villages because it also houses the grain market. Due to the procurement season, farmers bring their trolleys and other vehicles leading to traffic chaos. The encroachments all along the road also adds to the mess. Parking is haphazard and the people stuck blare the horns of their vehicles causing immense noise pollution. It takes more than an hour to get the cops to clear the traffic.

Although traffic police has declared the one side of the road for four-wheelers and barriers have been installed near Khangal chowk, but people make a U turn from wider street like Nehru markets, adding to the chaos since no traffic cop has been stationed here. Due to this, the road gets overcrowded and people have to waste their precious time to reach their destination.

On clearing encroachments and proper implementation of one way traffic, overcrowding can be avoided, about which local shopkeepers had requested the traffic police many times, but in vain.

Is someone listening ? Gurinderjit Kaur, Jagraon

Fix responsibility

Only a week ago, we witnessed a tragedy which claimed 36 lives. As usual, an inquiry has been ordered and it will take a month or so to be completed. But what comes out of these inquiries is obvious. Can we even retrieve one single life by virtue of the recommendations of such inquiries ?

Through these columns, I want to voice the concern of the common people that every time we loose so many lives, we have to make do with such enquiries. I would like to ask: “has anyone ever been held responsible for such tragedies”? I fail to understand why we have become so thick-skinned that even such a tremendous loss does not pinch us. The human life is too precious to be wasted like that.

The railways should at least set a precedent by finding the cause of the accident and fix responsibility for it so that no one affords to be casual and careless about public safety.

D.V. Saharan

Take preventive measures

I am writing this letter in public interest so that immediate steps can be taken by Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to avoid any untoward and unfortunate incidents, like the recent fire mishaps in Khud Mohalla and the fire in three wagons of the Frontier Mail.

The electric poles standing in the middle of roads, precariously hanging transformers, sparking cables, abandoned wires, criss-crossing the roads, loosely handing H.T./11KV cables, which pose a grave danger to precious human lives and property, can be seen in almost all localities of Ludhiana.

The local management/engineers have become insensitive to all public hue and cry. Genuine grievances of consumers are not promptly redressed. There is no transparency in administration and accountability is virtually nil. When the government can order transfers of college lecturers, police officers, medical officers etc who have spent an aggregate 3 to 4 years of toto/service in and around Ludhiana, the same policy may be made applicable to PSEB engineers to increase their efficiency, accountability and eliminate their bias.

The number of disputes and litigation, the PSEB is indulging in, is increasing day by day. To provide justice and reduce litigation, the disputes settlement committees and DSA of PSEB should be headed by a judicial officer and must have representatives of trade and industry. PSEB should also consider offering ‘one time settlement’ scheme to settle existing disputes/court cases which would substantially reduce expenditure on litigation and save human/technical resources whose services can be utilised to reduce transmission and distribution losses.

There must be strict quality checks on all purchases and existing stocks worth crores lying unutilised in stores/abandoned lines should be optimally used in public interest and to upgrade the system. Proper attention must be paid to periodic maintenance to reduce and frequent breakdowns and falls.

N.K. Jain

Promising the moon

If sloganeering and issuing statements in the press could make a difference, then Ludhiana would have been a beautiful city long long back. This is in context to the statement of Ludhiana Mayor Nahar Singh Gill’s statement in the columns of the newspaper on April, 28, 2003. Likewise, the Municipal Commissioner too has been making statements before the press on the same lines.

I, being one of the over two million citizens, are waiting for these gifts. The only gift the residents of the city, particularly those living in Dugri, Urban Estate I and II, got are broken and potholed roads which are an apt pointer of the state of civic affairs in the city. Green belts have been encroached or are poorly maintained and garbage lifting leave much to be desired. This is the result of all those statements by the Commissioner promising the moon to the public. Now the Mayor has joined issue with the Commissioner.

However, the public has no option but to wait till the promises are fulfilled. But I can assure the Mayor and other politicians that public has also learnt to wait for 5 years only as has been proved earlier many a times when they defeated the non-performing governments be it of the Congress or the Opposition.

Major S.S. Khosla

Serving people

I read Ludhiana Tribune wherein the news about ‘Labourers freed from bondage’ was published for creating awareness among the general masses about the atrocities being committed on SC/ST and poor people by some landlords.

First of all our organisation thanks you for collecting all information relating to three different families. We think you are performing your duties in real sense being a leading daily of the northern region. It is a real service to the common cause of people. We usually watch various newspapers where the reports are printed under undue influences.

We once again praise your organisation for such stories and expect the same in future also.

Joginder Pal Rai & Karamjit Singh Kainth



Woman, youth die in accident

Ludhiana, May 23
Two persons, including a woman and a youth, were killed when a Tata Sumo they were travelling in overturned near Dholewal Chowk this morning. Two other persons travelling in the vehicle escaped with minor injuries.

The deceased have been identified as Asha Rani(45) and a youth, Nashdeep Singh (16). They were travelling in the vehicle. The accident took place when the driver lost control over the vehicle after it skidded on the road owing to overnight rain. The vehicle hit the central verge and overturned. The deceased belonged to Sherpur Khurd village.



Bangiya Samsad to celebrate Tagore’s anniversary

Ludhiana, May 23
The Bangiya Samsad, Ludhiana will celebrate the 142nd and 104th birth anniversaries of Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam, respectively, on May 25 at Samsad Bhawan. OC



SDO held on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau today claimed to have arrested an SDO of the panchayat wing of the Zila Parishad here on charges of taking a bribe of Rs 3 lakh from a sarpanch regarding the utilisation papers of a grant already approved for the village.

Mr Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, said here today the SDO, Mr R.P. Bansal, was caught red-handed by DSP Darshan Singh and Inspector Ranbir Singh in the presence of civil officers when he was accepting the bribe money from the complainant, Harnek Singh, sarpanch, Pakhowal, in his office.

Mr Sandhu said the SDO had demanded Rs 5000 for completing the utilisation certificate of a grant of about Rs 3 lakh paid earlier to the village. The deal was struck for Rs 3000. The sarpanch had already briefed the Vigilance Department and the trap was laid . The SDO was caught red-handed.



2 held for assaulting photographer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
The Sadar police has arrested two persons after they allegedly attacked and threatened a photographer at his rented shop in Ayali Chowk on the Ferozepore road. The main suspect in the case, Gurmit Singh Ballowalia, and two of his accomplices are absconding.

The arrested duo has been identified as Man Pawan Preet Singh, son of Gurmit Singh, and Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Punjab Mata Nagar.

According to the FIR lodged by Mr Raj Kumar, the photographer, he had been running his business in the shop owned by Gurmit Singh for the past 10 years. On Wednesday, while he had gone away to cover some function at Jhande village, the suspects ransacked his shop and threw his cameras and other things out of the shop. When he returned at about 6 pm, he was beaten up and threatened by the suspects. The police has registered a case.



2 women snatch chain, held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
Two women snatched a gold chain from a woman near Tajpur Chowk near Jagraon.
The victim, Ms Gurmel Kaur of Khazapura (Haryana), and her husband were at Tajpur Chowk when the women later identified as Malkito of Dehdhan and Amarjit Kaur of Sadar Nabha, snatched the chain from the former.

A prompt action by her husband and others got the chain-snatchers caught. They were handed over to the police and the chain was recovered. The police has registered a case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC against both.



Cop arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
The Ludhiana Vigilance Department today arrested a traffic police official, ASI Ranjit Singh, on the charge of bribery.
According to Mr Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, SSP Vigilance, the president of the Auto Association, Mr Balwinder Singh, approached the police and alleged that the accused was demanding money for not challaning auto-rickshaw drivers. Today, a vigilance team laid a trap and arrested Ranjit Singh while he was accepting Rs 500 from the complainant.



Induction furnace units cry foul
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
Induction furnace units in the city are up in arms against the PSEB over the modified billing system for this segment of industry, which, they alleged, was discriminatory and loaded against the industry.

According to the revised billing system, specified in the notification issued in this regard, the induction furnace owners will have to deposit 15-day consumption charges on the basis of average consumption of the past 12 months. This amount will be adjusted in the monthly energy bills of the furnaces. However, the units will not be entitled to any grace period for the payment of average fortnightly charges. In case, the average fortnightly charges were not deposited, the defaulting consumer’s advance consumption charges (ACD) will be updated by recovering the ACD at a revised rate of Rs 1,500 per kw, applicable to power-intensive units.

The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Mr P.D. Sharma, pointed out that while modifying the billing system for induction furnaces, the PSEB had attributed the revision to the fact that the induction furnaces were facing acute difficulties for procuring raw material and, therefore, were permitted to deposit energy bills every fortnight. However, the move was bound to prove counter-productive since the induction furnace units were already finding it difficult to pay their regular bills in time as the board had raised the rates of power.

“The fact is that the electricity board is very harsh on induction furnaces. Earlier, the PSEB had introduced a scheme for compulsory switching over to 66 kv, which was later withdrawn due to stiff opposition from the industry. The PSEB has also been attempting to levy surcharge on furnaces. If the PSEB management feels that the induction furnace industry is in crisis, then what is the justification of putting more burden on it ?”

Mr Sharma further observed that due to heavy incentives being offered by the Himachal Pradesh and Uttranchal Pradesh governments, the steel furnaces were already preparing to shift to those states. The rate of power in Himachal Pradesh was Rs 2.37 per unit as compared to around Rs 4 in Punjab. In addition, the central excise was also exempted in Himachal Pradesh. “Punjab Government, on the one hand, is critical of the Union Government over the liberal package of incentives for Himachal Pradesh. But in effect, the state government, itself, is creating conditions to push induction furnace units away from Punjab.”

It is a fact that steel user industry was largely dependent on local steel producers, without which the engineering industry could not flourish in Punjab. The network of steel users and producers had been built up over a period of time and if this network was broken due to such arbitrary and unjust decisions by the PSEB, there would be total chaos in the Punjab industry.



Yarn industry resents tax regime 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
The Federation of Yarn Trade and Industry has resented the tax regime of the government alleging that it was discriminatory towards the industry.
The federation has said the government has not done its homework properly before introducing the new tax regime in the shape of VAT and CENVAT as it will only spell doom for the industry.

The federation alleged that there was already a feeling in the industry circles that they were being meted out a step-motherly treatment by the government vis-a-vis the agriculture sector. It pointed out that the agriculture sector was given so many sops in terms of various facilities and subsidies and at he same time the agriculture sector was given total exemption from income tax.

Moreover, it pointed out that the agriculture produce was always given a minimum support price (MSP) that was the guarantee of a minmum price which the farmers would always get no matter what the status of the market remained. Moreover, the agriculturists were provided inputs such as seeds, fertilisers at subsidised rates by the government and other agencies and research was also being carried by the government only. The federation observed that all this was done at the cost of the industry.

On the other hand, it pointed out that no minimum prices were guaranteed for the raw material used by the industry, no percentage of minimum profit was assured and the industry was left to face competition both from within and outside. Besides there was no provision to ensure regular supply of raw material to the industry. And most of all the industry was required to pay huge taxes in various shapes.

The federation observed that the government was trying to adopt the western model of taxation without realising the ground realities. It observed “each and every concept is being indiscriminately imported and copied without judging its merits and impact on the Indian conditions and people”. It urged the government to think properly before adopting, accepting and implementing such policies which have wide ranging repercussions for the Indian industry.



Market committee income falls
Our Correspondent

Khanna, May 23
The income of the Khanna Market Committee has decreased by Rs 74 lakh as compared to that of last year. The secretary of the committee said the main source of the committee’s income was fee collection on the arrivals of agriculture produce in the grain market.

He said the reason behind the decrease in income was less arrival of wheat in the current season. He said last year the arrival of wheat was more than 12,38,000 quintals while this time the arrival of wheat was only 9,92,000 quintals.

Last year, the income of the committee was Rs 1,38,14,336 from the market fee while this year it was only Rs 1,11,73,034. The collection from the rural development fund was also reduced to Rs 37 lakh, he said.

The market committees impose 2 per cent market fee and 2 per cent rural development fund on goods sold at markets.

Commission agents of the Khanna mandi said the less arrival of wheat this year not only caused the fall in income of the committee but also upset their business.

Mr Ranbir Sood, press secretary of the Punjab Arhtiya Association, said due to less yield of wheat this year every farmer and commission agent suffered losses. He said even some commission agents failed to recover their advances given to farmers due to the low yield of wheat.



Delay hitting industry’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
Delay in implementation of government policies is hitting the industry in Punjab badly, said Mr Rajinder Jindal, president, Engineering Exporters Association of India. In the industrial policy, the government has provided that tradable bonds will be issued to the industrial units against the subsidy which was pending for many years. These bonds can be used for payment of any government dues like sales tax, electricity duty or any defaulted loans.

However, he observed that the procedure chalked out by the government for issuing of bonds was so cumbersome that it would remain as a “dream only”. The government has provided that every unit would be visited by a team comprising officials from five government departments, like PSEB, sales tax, DIC, SDM etc. and on the basis of their report, the bonds would be issued to eligible units.

He pointed out that a lot of time has lapsed and had many units not been visited so far because of the non-availability of officials from many departments at the appointed time. Instead, the government should consider the report of the industry officials only. The industrial units, he said, have already suffered a lot due to non-disbursal of subsidy. 



Educational games flood market
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
With the mercury rising and the ongoing vacations for schoolchildren, the best way to keep the kids indoors is to buy them board games. Innumerable games have flooded the market. Chandan, a toy shop owner in Gur Mandi, says: “Our sales pick up in May and June when the vacations begin. Different types of board games are available, where even parents can play with the children. There are games to suit all age groups and these are not very expensive”.

Remote cars are an all-time favourite with boys. “Push back” cars and motor rally games are also available and teach road safety rules.

Anit, a shopkeeper in Chaura Bazar says, “The fastest moving board game is ‘2 games in 1’. The games are Chinese checkers, bike race, chess, snakes and ladders, Tom & Jerry, ludo, football and brainteasers. These are reasonably priced at Rs 90 only”.

For the kids of three years and above, there is a nursery kit containing blocks, drawing copy, colours, crayons, chalks and a black-board. A “talking parrot” repeats whatever the speaker says. “Magnetic Fishing Game” is the game of skill in which children have to bait a fish with magnets. “Alpha Numero Board” has a blackboard and the children can fix letters with magnets on the board. “Peg Mosaic” is another interesting game.

The children can make figures of animals and write their names. Musical games like “Press the Letter” teach phonetics.



Beech wood furniture is here
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
A new kind of furniture has made an entry in the market here. Mr Nitin Bhayana, vice-president of an interiors company, talking to Ludhiana Tribune, said the company offered a comprehensive range of furniture and was a venture between Mondragon Corporation of Spain and the Bhayana Group of India. The furniture was made of beech and veneer wood.

He said,"People generally hesitate to explore unusual colours in furnishings and don't experiment with shapes of furniture. Moreover, furniture is a western concept and people first build houses and then buy furniture. Hence, they lose out on proportions and furniture is all about proportions. Our company helps people choose right products for the right place.''

The company had designers from all over the world designing furniture for offices, bedrooms , dining rooms and children's room, besides bars. The company had introduced a revolutionary 3-D software, Decadon, to help customers visualise and edit the design of the entire room. 


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