Tuesday, June 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Admn prevents protest from turning violent
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
A protest by members of the Guru Ravi Dass Mission and other Dalit organisations was prevented from taking an ugly turn today by officials of the district administration. These people were protesting against the firing at Boota Mandi in Jalandhar, in which one person was killed, and the Talhan incident.

The administration deputed two officers, Mr Pritam Singh, SP (City-II), and Mr Harjinder Singh, SDM, who went to Basti Jodhewal, where the Dalits had gathered and received their memorandum on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner. This prevented the group from moving out of the area.

The officers asked the protesters to air their grievances before them. Since they listened to the Dalit leaders patiently, the latter decided to end the procession after a symbolic march.

The memorandum alleged that laxity on the part of the government had led to the death of a Dalit youth and the Talhan incident, which had vitiated the atmosphere in the state. They demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident, besides a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for next of kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh for each of the injured.

They also demanded that the “false” cases registered against the Dalits should be withdrawn. The meeting was addressed by Mr Jaswant Kataria, chairman, and Mr Shiv Ram Saroya, president of the mission.


Water level up in reservoirs
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 9
Water level in various hydel projects is rising by two feet daily, thanks to the severe heat wave that has helped in melting the snow. The water level in Bhakra reservoir is higher by 20 ft compared with the level of last year and water level in the Chamera Dam has also reached the maximum level.

According to official information available today, water level in Bhakra Reservoir (Gobind Sagar) is rising by two feet daily as inflow of water has increased. On June 5, the inflow of water in Gobind Sagar was to the tune of 53,100 cusecs, June 6 — 52,800 cusecs, June 7 — 54,200 cusecs and June 8 — 56,300 cusecs, respectively. Similarly, water level rose to 1,560 ft on June 5, June 6 — 1,562.07 ft, June 7 — 1,564.32 ft and June 8 — 1,566.07 ft, respectively. The water level in the Bhakra complex on June 8 last year was 1545.65 ft.

The water level in Chamera Dam has touched 759.68 meters whereas the maximum level is 760 meters. The level in Chamera Dam is also rising by more than one foot daily. Now the authorities of Chamera Dam have decided to open the spillways and surplus water will go to Ranjit Sagar Dam reservoir.

The authorities at Ranjit Sagar Dam are trying to make the maximum use of available water and three units of Ranjit Sagar Dam are producing 370 to 380 mw of power daily. The maximum generation capacity of Ranjit Sagar Dam is 600 mw but the authorities are helpless since they will have to release more water to get full capacity generation. With heavy releases from Ranjit Sagar Dam, surplus water will go to Pakistan, which is being avoided at present. However, the authorities are meeting the 100 per cent requirements of the UBDC canal from Madhopur head works and same parts of the surplus water is being diverted to the Beas.

The maximum water level in the Ranjit Sagar reservoir is fixed at 527 meters but the authorities are retaining it at 525 meters. It was reported at 508.57 meters on June 8. The inflow in Ranjit Sagar Dam is 16,000 to 17,000 cusecs whereas the release is in the range of 13,000 to 14,000 cusecs daily. Bhakra power complex is generating 231 lakh units of power daily and Punjab gets 98 lakh units out of it. Dehar power house is running to the full capacity and is generating 148 lakh units of power daily and Punjab is getting 70 lakh units of power. The Anandpur Sahib Hydel Project is also running to the full capacity at 31 lakh units, while the Mukerian Hydel Project is generating 34 lakh units daily. To meet the rural demand, Punjab is buying more than 300 lakh units of power daily from other sources, including central power projects.

According to a spokesman of the PSEB, eight-hour power supply was being maintained to the tube-wells in the state, which was the top priority of the PSEB. The PSEB is trying to avoid cut on the high revenue sector of power consumers, he said.


Panchayat poll: political activity picks up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
Even as a formal notification about the schedule for the panchayat elections to be held on June 29, is yet to be announced by the state government, aspirants for the posts of sarpanches and panches across the state have started testing political waters.

Political parties are busy shortlisting candidates and the atmosphere is bound to hot up in the coming days. Although the elections are not contested on party symbols, the ruling party is attaching a lot of importance to these since these will be a referendum on the performance of the government during its first year in power.

According to information collected from various villages across the district, those interested in contesting the elections and their supporters have fanned out in their respective villages to know their chances at the hustings. “One has to know who is contesting, his or her strengths and the number of votes that will he or she is likely to poll. There are caste equations and the spending power of a particular candidate is to be considered,” says one such aspirant from a nearby village.

“The winning candidate in this village will have to win over the Dalit voters in this village since they can tilt the balance in a close fight. We are making all-out efforts to woo them so that they vote for us and have promised them better amenities in their neighbourhood if elected,” he says. He offers no comment on whether liquor and intoxicants are being distributed by him or other candidates.

Many prospective candidates are in a fix as the administration is yet to announce the list of villages reserved and where the seats have been reserved for women. “In the absence of an announcement in this context, many find it impractical to launch their campaign at this stage, only to know that their village has been reserved later on,” reveals another aspiring candidate. In big villages, the expenses for winning can run into lakhs, given the intense groupism in the countryside.

Others reveal they have taken the plunge and have done the groundwork. “Teams have been constituted and supporters have been asked to concentrate on certain villagers who enjoy a mass base and can influence the voters in their favour, even for a consideration,” remarkes a sarpanch who is contesting again.

Efforts are also afoot in many villages to ensure that the candidates are elected unanimously. This is being done following the announcement of a “gift” of Rs 2 lakh for such villages by the government.

The pitch has been queered in many villages following reservation of seats for women. “The sitting sarpanches of many villages do not want their wives to contest, but are being pressurised by their supporters to do so. There are instances where a consensus is being evolved on their supporters’ wives, which they do not want since a large part of the expenses will still have to be borne by them,” says a sarpanch.

Ruling party politicians are not happy with the methodology followed on reservation. The returning officer will give a receipt that the documents filed by the candidate are complete at the time of submission. This way, the practice of declaring a candidature invalid during scrutiny cannot be resorted to, they point out.


Going to be tough for Cong
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
It is do or die for the Congress in the forthcoming panchayat polls. The party cadres are learnt to have been told to ensure that the party candidates win by good margins. It has been made clear to party workers and grassroots leaders that the performance of the party in these elections would be a direct reflection of the performance of the government in the state.

Party leaders admitted that the going was not going to be smooth for the party this time. Only a year ago, the Congress had swept the Municipal Corporation elections across the state. However, those elections were held only a few months after the Assembly elections, which the Congress had won. Moreover, in the urban areas, where these elections were held, the Congress has a good mass base.

The panchayat elections will be held in rural areas only, which have never been a Congress stronghold. Rural voters across the state have mostly been supporting Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The SAD has an added advantage of having already united with the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

These factors are likely to make things difficult for the Congress. Besides, the previous SAD government had been providing free electricity to farmers. The Congress government started charging the farmers, which will again prove detrimental to the party’s prospects in the panchayat elections.

Moreover, there has not been any significant development in any sector during the past one and a half years of the Congress rule. Except for a few exposes of corruption, the Congress government has not done anything significant that could help the party in the panchayat elections.

Party sources agreed that the Congress did not have anything to its advantage except for the official support, which alone could not ensure victory in the elections. Compared to the urban voters, people in rural areas are more sensitive to political issues and they usually do not take official interference lying down.

Congress workers and leaders realise how important the panchayat elections are for the party’s image in general and the Chief Minister’s image in particular. The outcome of the panchayat elections is likely to set the tone for the Parliament elections, scheduled to be held next year.


Homoeopathic teachers sore over ‘meagre’ pay scale
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, June 9
Resentment prevails among the teaching staff of the two homoeopathic colleges in the district, over what they term as the ‘poor pay package’ offered by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS). A delegation of teaching doctors from these colleges recently met university authorities to highlight their grievances, but the university failed to give any satisfactory assurance, causing them further anguish.

The members of the Association of Teaching Staff of both the colleges complained to the university that the pay scale offered in these homoeopathic medical colleges of the state in general and in the district, in particular, was ‘unbelievably meagre’ in comparison to the scale recommended by the Central Council of Homoeopathy and Government of Punjab. The teachers alleged that they were getting a salary which was less than what was being given to a watchman or sweeper in the government sector on basis of the Fourth Pay Commission. The Assistant Professors were drawing total salary equivalent to storekeepers and clerks, while the salary given to the senior Professors and Head of the Departments was less than salaries of Superintendents. The salary did not contain any dearness allowance (DA) or other emolument and was given as consolidated.

One of the teaching doctors said that for the cause of saving this science and dignity of teaching faculty, the authorities should intervene and help in formulating the recommended pay scales (CCH) that preserves prestige and glory of the esteemed university and members of teaching faculty.

The issue of the pay scale of homoeopathic doctors was discussed, but dropped at the Academic Council Meeting held at BFU on May 28 this year. The Academic Council had asked the private colleges to come up with their views regarding the pay scale of these college teachers.

Dr Tejinder Pal Singh, Dean BFUHS (Homoeopathic Faculty) and the member of the Academic Council when contacted, blamed the doctors for spreading misinformation. He said,‘‘Such suggestions were not in the preview of university’s guidelines. These are the unaided colleges which means they are not provided any grant. The Punjab Government has made a policy for homoeopathic doctors according to which there will be no pay scales. In their appointment letters, it is mentioned that they would be getting consolidated amount’’.


Theft of transformers on the rise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
Even as the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is struggling to curb power theft, the theft of power supply transformers is becoming a major headache for the authorities. At least one transformer is stolen in the district every week, causing inconvenience to consumers and financial loss to the PSEB.

With 53 transformers stolen from various parts of the district in the past financial year alone, Ludhiana has witnessed the highest incidence of this crime in the state, followed by Sangrur district with 40 cases and Patiala with 36.

Inquiries reveal that the PSEB is still following an archaic method of preventing such incidents by welding transformers to poles on which these are installed. The measure has proven quite ineffective, as reflected by the increasing number of thefts. The PSEB officials also admit the failure of this method.

Mr J.N.Sachdeva, Chief Engineer, PSEB (Ludhiana), said the PSEB could not provide security for the thousands of the transformers installed all over the district. He said the only method was to weld the equipment to the poles, though miscreants were still stealing them easily. The PSEB loses Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 per transformer stolen. The police has also not paid much attention to this kind of crime and very few thieves have been arrested.

The Jagraon police had arrested four members of such a gang but this was only because of the alertness of five youths of Issewal village. These youths had kept a vigil on the transformers during night hours for two months and finally caught two thieves. The police had then caught other members of the gang.

The transformers are stolen mainly for selling the copper wires and oil used in it. The remaining parts have scrap value. The price of these materials is more than Rs 5,000.


2 buffaloes die of poisoning
Tribune News Service

Kheri Jhameri (Ludhiana), June 9
Two buffaloes of a Gujjar family here died and around 25 were taken ill seriously after consuming chemical-laced fodder this afternoon. Medical aid could reach the village only in the evening.

The owner of the buffaloes, Mr Abdullah Gujjar, took them to Billa village for grazing in the morning. When he came back in the afternoon, he found that they were collapsing. Two died immediately and seven fell unconscious. The others were shivering and having seizures.

This led to resentment among the villagers as no veterinarian was present at the Dhandra dispensary around 12 noon and the dispensary was found locked. The villagers said there were no medicines at the Jassowal dispensary though veterinarians from there accompanied the villagers to Mr Gujjar’s house. They had to leave soon after as they could not administer any medicine. After trying out for treatment at various dispensaries, the villagers called up the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Punjab Agricultural University. Experts reached the village around 4 p.m. and put the buffaloes on a life-support system. They said the rest of the animals were out of danger.

The experts said the buffaloes had consumed pods of paddy that were sprayed with a chemical some 10 days ago. They took the samples of pods from the fields for further investigations.

According to Mr Varinder Sharma, president of the Youth Club at Hizampura, the farmers of Billa village had asked Mr Gujjar to graze his cattle in the fields as tender saplings had been almost consumed by termites and they wanted to clear their fields. They had warned Mr Gujjar of the chemical spray, but he had thought it would not affect the animals.

Mr Sharma said they had a difficult time in arranging for medical help. ‘‘It took us more than four hours when help reached us. Two buffaloes could have been saved had the doctors reached in time”, he said.


Narinder Pal Singh new Ludhiana SSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
Mr Narinder Pal Singh (IPS) will be the new Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, in place of Mr H.S. Sidhu, who has been transferred to Jalandhar. Orders to this effect were issued by the government late this evening.

Mr Narinder Pal Singh was SSP, Amritsar, prior to the present assignment. He is a recipient of President’s Police Medal and has served at several important positions in the Police Department in various districts during the days of terrorism in Punjab.

The reshuffle in the police has resulted from the Talhan incident in Jalandhar for which the state government has transferred several officers from Jalandhar. With the Ludhiana SSP being posted at Jalandhar, the Ludhiana post has been filled by Mr Narinder Pal Singh, who has served as police chief in many districts.


Auction of kiosks was cancelled: SDO

Ludhiana, June 9
The controversy regarding the allotment of kiosks along side Sidhwan Canal has taken a new turn with the Irrigation Department officials claiming that the auction was cancelled by them as none of the party had deposited the final bid money with the department at the time of auction.

Rubbishing the claims of Ms Amarjit Kaur, a Congress leader, who had charged the officials with favouritism and bypassing the rules, Mr S.S. Khaira, Sub-Divisional Officer, Irrigation Department, said the kiosks had not been allotted to anybody as yet.

Stating that the auction was cancelled as none of the two parties were having the required money to deposit on April 24, the day of auction, the SDO said the department had now decided to bid the kiosks once again. TNS


Satta operators’ remand extended

Ludhiana, June 9
The Duty Magistrate, Mr D.P. Singla, today extended the police remand of Subash Chander, alias Katty, and Jagjit Singh Chawla till tomorrow. They are facing charges of indulging in operating satta and selling bogus lottery tickets.

The judge declined an application moved by Jagjit Singh Chawla seeking permission to record statement before the court, as he observed that it was not the proper time to record the statement of an accused, who is in police custody.

The two were produced before the court in the afternoon. The Assistant Public Prosecutor sought police remand on the pretext that much was required to be investigated. He claimed that the police had recoverd more fake lottery tickets from the accused. OC


Power cuts, water shortage hit life
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 9
With the region in the grip of a heatwave, acute shortage of water and disruption in electricity supply have caused inconvenience to the residents of the city.

Scores of localities have been facing erratic water supply for days together, forcing the residents, especially women and children, to fetch water in pails from other colonies. In many areas, low water pressure has been adding to the misery of the residents.

The depleting ground water level, leading to mechanical failure, coupled with frequent electrical faults or tripping in the transmission system in the city, has forced the harassed residents to come out on the streets in many areas, demanding immediate remedial measures to restore the water supply. To make matters worses, a few projects on new tubewells to augment the water supply or to replace non-functional tubewells in many localities, have failed to take off much to annoyance of the residents and councillors. The municipal corporation has taken the delay on the part of the contractors seriously and departmental action has been initiated in a number of cases.

During the last few days, complaints of inadequate or no water supply have poured in from thickly populated areas like Mandi Bagh Bute Shah, Subhani Building, Mochpura, Islamganj, New Dharampura, Dholewal, Vishwakarma Colony, Prabhat Nagar, Ram Nagar, Haibowal, Sherpur, Basti Jodhewal, Janta Nagar, Kot Mangal Singh, Kehar Singh Nagar and Durgapuri. According to the residents of some of these colonies, water has eluded then for days together and at times, the promised water supply through tankers has failed to materialise.

Angry protests and demonstrations, by the affected residents in Islamganj and Mochpura during the last two days are proof of the water situation in some colonies. Although senior officials of the municipal corporation and the councillors of the area concerned have claimed that vested interests and politically motivated persons have been blowing the issue out of proportion to give the government and the civic administration a bad name, there is no denying the fact that the civic body has failed to forsee and cope with the situation.

Scheduled and unscheduled power cuts, tripping due to overloading and shutdowns for maintenance and rectification of electrical faults in almost in every locality have made matters worse. The water supply network is dependent on power supply and there are no arrangements. for separate feeders to run tubewells and submersible pumps. Even in the face of the claim by the Chief Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board, (PSEB), Mr J.N. Sachdeva, that no power cut has been imposed on urban feeders, the power situation in the city is as grim as the water situation.

Power cuts in the morning or in the evening, when demand for water is at its peak, have created havoc. People have been forced to go without water. On Saturday and Sunday last, power supply remained disrupted in more than 20 city localities for between two and six hours. Sources in the PSEB have attributed the frequent tripping and power failure to a quantum jump in power consumption in the peak of summer and outdated and obsolete system which has failed to withstand the load.

Declining to comment on individual complaints, a municipal corporation official says that every effort is being made to maintain water supply. The situation may take some time to improve in the areas where new tubewells are being sunk, but a system has been evolved to attend to mechanical and electrical faults in the tubewells on a priority basis. Water tankers are being made available in adequate number to meet the demand for water in localities where the supply has temporarily failed.

Meanwhile, residents of the Maujpura area have been suffering from acute water shortage for the poast 12 days. They blame the civic administration and claim that they have been carrying buckets of water from other localities. Irate residents of Maujpura and Subhani Building, protesting over the issue, have asked for the immediate restoration of water supply.

Lashing out at the civic administration for failing to provide them with water and to clean sewerage, housewives residing in the locality say the people affected are willing to go to any extent to highlight the failure of the authorities to provide essential services in the area. They complain that the whole day is spent fetching water from other localities, which is very tiresome.

The residents say sewerage has been blocked and sewage water enters their houses. Representatives of the mohalla committee have appealed to the district administration to intervene, failing which the residents will launch an agitation.


PSEB decision ill-advised’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
The Punjab State Electricity Board’s (PSEB) decision asking induction furnaces to deposit 15 days consumption charges in advance seems to have hit the steel industry hard. The industry feels that under current circumstances, when it is reeling under severe recession, this decision of the PSEB seems to be ill-advised.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the PSEB had evolved a very hard scheme for induction furnaces. Every induction furnaces owner has to pay 15 days consumption charges in advance on the basis of average charges during the proceeding year.

Arguing that the decision was likely to hit the industry, Mr Sharma maintained that the consumption charges worked out on the basis of monthly reading should continue to be built as per existing billing procedure after the adjustment of the average fortnightly charges deposited by the consumer. There should be no grace period for the fortnightly charges. In case the consumer did not deposit the fortnightly charges his advance consumption charges deposit should be updated by recovering the ACD at the revised rates of Rs 1,500 per kw.

Mr Sharma said the induction furnaces were in a critical stage and the PSEB itself had recognised it while making new provisions for the furnaces. He pointed out that induction furnaces were the backbone of Punjab industry. The network created by the furnaces was otherwise very helpful to steel using industry.

He regretted that the board was not ready to listen to the furnace owners on the new provisions. He said the furnace owners were told that the new provision had been evolved to help them. He pointed out that the cash strapped industry could not afford to deposit 15-day consumption charges in advance.

He pointed out that while the board was asking for advance from induction furnaces, the same board was overlooking the fact about pilferage and electricity thefts.


Development to be ‘top on govt agenda’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 9
'The Congress government in Punjab, headed by Capt Amarinder Singh is committed to speedily carrying out the development works both in villages and towns. To give effect to the government policy, the civic body in the industrial hub of Punjab is also observing the current year as year of development.'

This was announced by Congress MP Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib while laying the foundation stone of the main sewer line in New Shivaji Nagar, to be completed at a cost of Rs 12 lakh. He focussed on several major ongoing development works in the city, which, he claimed, would add to existing infrastructural facilities.

He appreciated the efforts made by the area councillor, Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha, for making his civic constituency as one of the best developed areas. "The entire ward has 100 per cent street lights, all the major roads have been repaired or resurfaced and adequate water supply is available."

The councillor, Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha, dwelt upon various other projects for the area which were in the pipe line. He said with the completion of the sewerage project, the disposal problem of many colonies in the ward would be solved.

Prominent among others who addressed the function were Mr Jagmohan Sharma, President, District Congress Committee (Urban), Mr Prem Mittal, Senior Deputy Mayor, Ms Sushil Gupta, Deputy Mayor, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, Member, Finance and Contracts Committee, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Ms Malkiat Kaur and Ms Asha Garg, all councillors.


Tributes paid to Banda Bahadur
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
Rich tributes were paid to Baba Banda Bahadur on his martyrdom day at a state-level function organised by the Bairagi Maha Mandal, Punjab, at Guru Nanak Bhavan today. Followers of Banda Bahadur from all parts of the state thronged the function, which was presided over by Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, Punjab.

Paying tributes to Banda Bahadur, the minister said he was a great warrior and a farsighted ruler, who following the directions of 10th Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, had fought a decisive war against the Mughals and established the lost honour of the Sikh community. He said the state government would ensure that correct information about the life and deeds of the great warrior, who during his short tenure of rule had strived hard to establish the rule of justice and equality for all citizens, was provided. He said if Banda Bahadur had not emerged on the centre stage, the entire history of the country and Punjab would have been different. He assured that he would take up the case of setting up of a Banda Singh Chair in one of the universities of the state with the government so that comprehensive study could be carried out by scholars and historians to compile information regarding him.

Appreciating the efforts of the government to bring about fast development in Punjab, the Minister said the state was all set to witness fast integrated development and a sum of Rs 1,500 crore was being spent through infrastructure development board to undertake various development projects, including construction of link roads, railways overbridges, strengthening of major roads and construction of hospitals and schools buildings etc., in various parts of the state.

Addressing the function, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president Bairagi Maha Mandal, Punjab, paid rich tributes to the great warrior and demanded the declaration of a state holiday on October 16, the birth anniversary of Banda Bahadur. He also demanded to give sufficient representation on a par with Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes to Bairagi community in all elected bodies, including municipal councils and gram panchayats.

Addressing the function, Prof Bawa Singh, former vice-chairman, Minority Commission, Government of India, said sincere efforts should be made by scholars and historians to record factual information about his life and rule.

Ten resolutions were passed at the function that included demand for security of land of “deras”, campaign against drugs and intoxicants and female foeticide, reservation for Bairagis, setting up of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Marg, declaration of holiday on October 16 each year, land for suitable memorial, setting up of a Chair in his name.

Among others who attended the function were Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, Mr Nikahar Singh Gill, Mayor MC, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, Mr Ashok Makkar, Mr Pawan Diwan and Ms Shanti Bawa.


Martyr status to Bhindranwale resented
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 9
The vice-president of the local unit of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) Mr Neeraj Verma, has, in a press note issued here, condemned the conferring of martyr’s status on Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

He said the declaration by the President of the SGPC Mr K.S. Badungar, at Akal Takht that Bhindranwale has a martyr, had shocked members of the Shiv Sena.

This was an insult to the martyrs who had laid down their lives for the sake of nation, he said.

He said Bhindranwale did not respect the sanctity of any religious place during his life time, but he had been granted a status of a martyr.

Mr Verma also asked Mr Simranjit Singh Mann to let peace prevail in Punjab. He asked him not to flare up communal matters.

He asked how could Mr Mann take an oath to protect the Constitution before entering the Lok Sabha and later give the status of martyr to Bhindranwale.

He said this would not be tolerated by the Shiv Sena and if things were not corrected it would start a protest.


‘Defer income tax recovery on steel scrap’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 9
The Steel Re-rolling Mills Association of India and All India Induction Furnace Association have urged the Union Finance Minister to postpone the recovery of income tax on steel scrap for three months and hold discussions with the industry, traders and others concerned to sort out the outstanding issues. Mr R.P. Bhatia, senior vice-president, All India Induction Furnace Association and zonal chairman, Steel Re-rolling Mills Association of India, yesterday said there was confusion among traders concerning the amendment to the Finance Act, 2003, making it obligatory for sellers of scrap to collect tax at source under the Income Tax Act at the rate of 10 per cent. Clarifications were being sought from the Direct Taxes Board and Ministry of Finance and the final position was not yet clear.

Mr Bhatia pointed out that it was not yet clear if the tax would be applicable to the first buyers of scrap only and if the industrial consumers could submit certificate No. 27-C issued by the Income Tax Department to each seller for getting tax exemption.

He further said it was also not clear if exemption certificates would be issued by the income tax authority accepting normal annual returns of income tax and TDS returns. Mr Bhatia felt that in order to streamline the application of the amendment to the Income Tax Act, it was highly desirable that like the “C” form blank 27C certificate be issued by the assesses concerned who would maintain the necessary records against the use of such certificates in regard to the address of seller, his permanent account number and date of consignment and quantum of scrap. If it was not done, it would be difficult to submit all relevant information in advance, which would cause hindrance to the smooth business transactions.


Morcha vows to end workers’ abuse
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 9
The Bharatiya Navjanjagran Morcha has announced a mass mobilisation drive against the exploitation of working classes by employers and to educate workers about their constitutional rights and statutory working conditions.

Addressing a meeting of the morcha in Sherpur, Fauji Colony here, its president Sitamber Singh said the body was committed to work for the elimination of child labour and bonded labour, to put an end to contractual system and exploitation of workers by the contractors, to seek minimum wages and better working conditions for factory workers within the ambit of existing labour laws and to mobilise the workers to fight against repression and denial of facilities like ESI, provident fund, voting right and subsidised ration.

Earlier, the following were nominated office-bearers of the morcha: chairman — Mr Vijay Danav; deputy chairman — Mr Prem Sagar Aggarwal; senior vice-president — Mr Ganga Deen; vice-president — Mr Harinder Verma, Mr Jagat Lal and Mr Ram Swarup Tyagi; general secretaries — Mr Mani Raj Chauhan, Mr Vijay Singh, Mr Awdhesh Thekedar and Mr Baij Nath Yadav; secretaries — Mr G.D. Singh, Mr Suresh Sharma, Mr Vijay Kumar Yadav and Mr Ram Kuber Sahni; organising secretaries — Mr Subodh Singh, Mr Baij Nath Rai, Mr Arvind Mishra and Mr Virinder Kumar; propaganda secretaries — Mr Awdhesh Kumar, Mr Sukhwinder Singh and Mr Manoj Kumar Yadav; treasurer — Mr Phool Chand Jha; district president — Mr Chittranajan Kumar; and president, women wing, Ms Raj Kumari.


Panchayat secys stage protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
Panchayat secretaries, 909 of whom were sacked by the present government, staged a protest at the local Rakh Bagh here this noon. Protesters from various parts of the state took part in the protest and raised slogans against the government.

Addressing the protesters, the state president of the Farag Panchayat Secretaries Union, Mr Gurjewan Singh, said they were willing to fight it out and would not rest till they were taken back into service. He said the government had failed to initiate proceedings to reinstate them and they were passing through a lot of hardship in making both ends meet.

He said they had chalked out a plan to ‘ghereo’ senior Congress leaders. People would be apprised of the anti-people decisions taken by the Congress. They would also picket the houses of senior Congress functionaries in Delhi, he added.

The protesters felt that they should adopt the path of direct confrontation since voicing their grievances had failed to have any effect.


Shift recycling factory: residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
Sick of the pollution caused by a tin-recycling factory, residents of the local Hira Nagar today submitted a memorandum to the SDM (East) and demanded the shifting of the unit.

The factory, located on the Kakowal road, produces noise and air pollution. Sound of hammering and pungent smell of chemicals has been a source of nuisance for the residents who had also approached the authorities in this regard, but to no avail.

The residents of the area apprised the SDM of the situation and urged him to take a strict action against the owners of the factory. According to them, the unit recycles old tin boxes used for storing vegetable ghee and oil by hammering and then clean these by using chemicals. The residents further said during exams their children find it hard to study owing to the constant hammering sound.

The residents further claimed that this was also affecting their mental and physical health.


Telegram covers 150 yards in 3 days
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 9
A distance of 150 yards was covered in three days by the telegraphic authorities to deliver a telegram.

According to information, a telegram was sent by Mr I.J.S. Grewal at a local address which was at a distance of 150 yards from the telegraph office on June 4 but to his astonishment, it was not delivered even in three days. When the sender inquired from the office, he was informed that there was no messenger available to deliver it. Ultimately, it reached its destination in more than 72 hrs.


Man selling poppy husk held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 9
On a tip-off that a man was selling poppy husk near the main bus stand, the police laid a trap on Sunday and arrested Surinder Singh, a resident of Mundian Kalan village.

The police said that the man had brought in a consignment of poppy husk in a bus from Jodhpur to the city. He has been booked under sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Beaten up

On the complaint of Mr Amarjit Singh, a resident of mohalla Ramesh Nagar, the police on Sunday registered a case under Sections 323,341,506 and 34 of the IPC against Kanti, a resident of Jeewan Nagar on the Tajpur Road. The complainant had alleged that the accused beat up his niece , Jyoti, and also threatened her on Sunday. No arrest however, been made.

Fraud alleged

The police on Sunday registered a case of alleged fraud under Sections 406,420 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Harbans Singh, a resident of Dhurkot village, against a Ludhiana-based travel agent operating from an office in Mata Nagar. The complainant had alleged that he had paid Rs 5.5 lakh to the accused on an assurance that he would sent him abroad. But the accused neither sent him abroad nor returned his money. When he asked for his money, the accused threatened him with dire consequences, added the complainant.

Money stolen

The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under Sections 328 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Joga Singh, who runs a marriage palace in Vishal Nagar, against his nephews Raghuvir Singh alias Veera, and Balwinder Singh, both residents of Goindwal village falling under the Raikot police station in Jagraon police district. The complainant had alleged that the accused gave him some drug-laced tea on May 28 as a result of which he fell unconscious. Later, the accused took away Rs 11,000 from his person so far.

Dowry case

On the statement of Ms Aarti Rani, a resident of the Military Camp, the police on Sunday registered a case under Sections 406, 498A, 313, 314, 419 and 506 of the IPC, against her husband Ram Dyal, Santosh Rani, Krishan Gopal, Renu Rani and Meena Rani. The woman had alleged that since her marriage with Ram Dyal on May 1,2002, the accused had been harassing her mentally and physically. The accused also got her pregnancy forcibly terminated on March 9,2003, and also threatened her.

Con men held

The Salem Tabri police has arrested and booked under Sections 419 and 420 of the IPC Vijay Kumar, Amit Kumar and Seetu Kumar, all Bihari migrants, now living in Shanti Nagar, Dhandari Kalan. The police had received complaints that the accused were defrauding people on the pretext of polishing their gold ornaments with a special chemical powder which in fact took a considerable amount of the metal off the ornaments. The accused were arrested from Jassian Road on Sunday night.

Liquor seized

The police on Sunday arrested Shambu Kumar, alias Mastan, a Bihari migrant from near the Lakkar Pul on Sunday and recovered 20 bottles of illicit liquor. The police also arrested Brahm Dev and Raj Kumar Yadav, migrants from UP on Sunday from near the Cheema Chowk and recovered eight bottles of country liquor. The accused have been booked under the Excise Act.


Better locking system for cars
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
According to Mr Zafar Alam, chairman-cum-managing director of Link Locks, light motor vehicles, including the cars, could be fitted with sophisticated locking systems, but for the reluctance of manufacturers.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Alam said this would require an additional expenditure of only Rs 500 per car. He said their company had started manufacturing pin cylinder locks. “The main feature of the pin cylinder locks is that one can just replace the cylinder if the key of the lock is lost and rest of the hardware of the lock is saved. Master keying is not possible,” he said.


Relief for wire drawing units
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 9
Following the apex court judgement that wire drawing units do not come under the purview of central excise as the process involved does not amount to manufacturing activity, the Central Excise Department has issued a circular dated May 29, exempting wire drawing units from central excise. The circular will supersede the earlier circular.

In a press note, Mr Ved Parkash Chopra, president, of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations, has observed that it is a matter of relief that the wire drawing units had been exempted from central excise. The judgement has relieved the industry from all formalities and procedures of registration under central excise and payment of duty, he has side.

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