Wednesday, June 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Parking contractors ‘law unto themselves’
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 10
With the parking space coming at a premium in the industrial hub of Punjab, a number of parking contractors, operating in the city, come out with more and more ways to harass people not only through overcharging but at times, with misbehaviour and assault. There have also been instances when the motorists have been stopped, forcibly or otherwise from parking their vehicles at designated free parking places along the main roads in order to generate more income from the paid parking sites.

In the wake of heavy traffic congestion and haphazard parking of vehicles on both sides of the upmarket shopping centre of the Mall Road, the Municipal Corporation had recently painted a yellow line on both sides of the road for systematic parking within the yellow line. Further, one side of the road, marked with encroachments and unauthorised extensions by way of fenced lawns or construction of cemented platforms by the residents, was also cleared to create another 10 to 15 feet of road width for parking purposes.

However, a parking contractor, operating on a private piece of land, earlier known as ‘Kabir House’ has virtually undone the good work carried out by the MC, to promote his own business. According to employees of some of the showrooms in the market, the civic body has not let out the parking space on both sides of the road to any contractor so far. But the operator of the private parking lot has put up temporary fencing or created other obstacles at many places within the yellow line in such a manner that vehicles can not be parked there and the motorists were forced to park their vehicles inside the paid parking at an exorbitant parking fee of Rs 10 even for a few minutes.

Similarly, quite a few other private parking lots are operating at different places in the city and incredibly, some of them are using the government land to carry out their business of fleecing the public. To name a few a parking contractor at a cinema house in a plush locality in the city is providing parking facility at a site outside the cinema which belongs to the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, another parking lot near Dholewal Chowk, operating on a government land is doing roaring business while the authorities are looking the other way. Not to be left behind, a few educational institutions in the city are charging money from students for parking facility while using a part of public streets or roads for this purpose.

Sources in the MC told Ludhiana Tribune that a scheme to provide paid parking facility on the Mall Road and many other commercial centres was being formulated and the auction for the parking lots would take place soon. “Once the contract for parking facility is given by the MC to a contractor, who will have to pay a lumpsum to the civic body, he (the MC contractor) himself will deal with the private operators,” remarked a senior MC official.



85 fires reported in 30 days
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
After the inferno on May 10 in a hosiery unit in Khud Mohalla, which cost 16 lives, the city’s firefighters have had their hands full. In the past 30 days, they have extinguished 85 fires, big and small, in the city and surrounding areas.

The city was still in a state of shock after the Khud Mohalla fire when five days later, three sleeper coaches of the Frontier Mail were gutted minutes after the train had left Ludhiana for Amritsar. The toll was officially put at 38.

A couple and their 10-year-old daughter were charred when their house at Madho Puri was set on fire by a relative to take revenge on May 24. Though no further loss of life was reported, property and goods worth crores were gutted in several fires which broke out in hosiery units and other factories all over the city and wheat fields in nearly villages.

However, compared to 55 fires in wheat fields last year, only seven such fires were reported this time. The decline was attributed to the tough stance taken by the district administration on insurance claims by farmers.

A lot of hue and cry was raised in the wake of the Khud Mohalla fire and the then Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, had ordered a survey of fire-prone buildings and other locations in the city. Just when the survey team was going ahead with its work, the Deputy Commissioner was transferred. Reliable sources told this correspondent that all survey work came to a standstill soon after the change.

Officially, it was declared that the Fire Safety Act, which had not been promulgated so far, would soon be put into force, enabling the municipal corporation to take action against violators of fire safety norms in various highrise buildings. It was mainly because of the non-promulgation of the Act that the district administration and the municipal corporations had decided not to pursue the matter of fire safety in the city. 



Protesters seek job for MC employee’s widow
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
The simmering discontent among the employees of the municipal corporation over the denial of the facility of recruitment on compassionate grounds to an eligible member of the family of the employees, who died during service came to the fore when hundreds of workers carrying the body of a colleague, staged a dharna in front of the headquarters of the civic body here today.

The protesters were demanding that appointment orders for the widow of beldar Ashok Kumar be obtained on fax from the Directorate of Local Government at Chandigarh and only thereafter the body would be shifted for cremation. Ashok Kumar (35) died of electric shock when sitting inside a bus shelter near Salem Tabri this afternoon. The deceased is survived by his wife and five children.

Functionaries of the Sangharsh Samiti of Nagar Nigam, comprising activists of all major political parties, who led the dharna, flayed the government for taking an adamant stand on the issue. They said immediately after taking over the reins, the Congress government in Punjab had removed the ban on recruitment on compassionate grounds in local bodies, but even before the corporation could process long-pending cases, the ban was reimposed.

Mr Vijay Danav, chief organiser of the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj and activist of the Nagar Nigam Karamachari Dal, said the government had been dilly-dallying over the issue. He maintained that the workers were fighting for a just cause and the government would have to relent to ensure the financial security to the families and dependants of deceased employees.

While senior officers of the corporation were involved in the discussion with the union leaders, the protesters stood their ground and refused to take away the body till the appointment orders were issued in the name of an eligible family member of the deceased beldar. 



Pay, get your homework done
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, June 10
Science models, charts, paintings, essays, letters, mathematical problems and cursive writing — students have been overburdened with a lot of homework. Do not worry as all you have to do is to shell out some money and your homework will be done in a week.

Several shopkeepers in the books’ market have advertised it through hoardings. While some deal in working models, others prepare charts and non-working models. Still others concentrate on handwritten work such as numericals, English compositions, question-answers in social studies as well as Punjabi and Hindi writings.

Many models such as those on solar cooker and automatic fire alarm are readily available with them, but these are also prepared on demand. All you need to is to specify the theme and size. The staff in the workshops in the basements of these shops will design suitable models as per your needs. Some shopkeepers may put before you a list of hundreds of models from the project books available with them to help you select the theme of your choice.

Charging Rs 400 for a working model, Rs 200 for a non-working model, Rs 50 for a chart, Rs 25 for a painting and Rs 3 per page for a written work, shopkeepers are having a boom time. Scores of students, especially from board classes, can be seen placing their orders. A few Class XI boys say they have been attending two or three coaching classes a day, besides going for sports and other activities. They do not feel like spending time on repairing projects and one prepared to pay for the work.

A bookshop owner says though he has been getting 10 orders for science models per day and there have been a few orders for written assignments. He adds that the business will be in full swing at the end of this month when the schools are about to reopen. He says commonly demanded science models can be prepared in two hours while others are delivered in just a day or two. He has hired two men on part-time basis for this summer break.

Mr R.S. Patial, Principal of DAV Public School, says if students and their parents indulge in such activities the purpose of assigning them holiday homework to engage them it the learning process gets defeated. He says it is shocking that parents, who should guide their children in creative pursuits, tell them to go and get readymade projects from the market.



PAU ex-Professor booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Just four days after the state Vigilance Bureau exonerated Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor K.S. Aulakh of charges of corruption levelled by a former PAU Professor Dr Balwant Singh, the police yesterday registered a case against the latter under the Prevention of Atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, 1989, on the complaint of a senior PAU officer.

He has been booked under the Act on the complaint of PAU-Comptroller Gopal Dass. According to the FIR registered at Sarabha Nagar police station last night, Dr Balwant Singh misbehaved with him recently and used devogatory language against him.

Dr Balwant Singh, denied the allegations and said he was being falsely implicated for daring to call a spade a spade.

Dr Balwant Singh had levelled several charges against Dr Aulakh and other PAU officials and teachers.

Close on the heels of this development, a complaint has been filed in Nabha police station falling under the Patiala police district regarding some irregularities in sale of paddy in PAU farms at Nabha.

Police officials from Patiala had a telephonic conversation with a senior PAU official. The PAU official argued that the allegations had been provide false in a police inquiry and such complaints were being made to just harass the officials. 




THE mobile phones have become a necessity to the extent that when a mobile does not work for some reason, the owner begins to feel as if something is missing. Some readers have pointed out to Sentinel that they are unable to access the Punjab Police control room from their mobiles, especially if they subscribe to the Spice service. It is the number that one wants to call in case of any emergency, but is unable to do so.


Punjab Police personnel have another side that people rarely see. One such occasion where the police personnel from the Phillaur Punjab Police academy showed their other side was the 54th Junior National Basketball Championship where a team of policemen presented a dare devil show. The group performed several fetes like gymnastics and dancing on the motor cycle.

No caller ID

Telecom industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Telephone subscribers are provided with scores of add on facilities everyday. BSNL too has announced a number of free add on facilities to provide better service to its customers. But in Ludhiana, the Bharat Nagar exchange has been unable to provide its subscribers with a basic service like the caller identification, much to the dismay of the subscribers. What is surprising is that the exchange has the latest NEC exchange that supports most function, and the department officials have even visited Japan for training, but are yet unable to programme the exchange.

Social change

The Talhan incident has highlighted an important change in our social fabric. It is not only the Dalits of Talhan but also those of almost every other place in the state that are now more empowered with education, awareness and financial status. They now want social equality with others, something higher castes find hard to digest. Though the incident is by any logic condemnable, but sociologists see it as a step towards a classless society.

A welcome change

Ludhiana has seen a change in the top civil and police administrative setup. The city has a brand new Deputy Commissioner in Mr Anurag Verma and a new Senior Superintendent of Police in Mr Narinder Pal Singh. While there are some who have supported the outgoing incumbents, the number of those who have welcomed the change is far greater. People of the city now only hope that the district administration becomes accessible to the common man.

Talented students

Summer camps are being held everywhere. The students who are learning from well-known teachers are picking up fast — be it Kathak dance, calligraphy, pottery, tie and dye, theatre or creative writing. The teachers are also surprised at the rapid progress of the students. This only indicates that the whole education system has to be revamped. The courses must include such vocational subjects as mentioned above. These courses not only interest the students hugely but can also assist them in starting an enterprise based on the expertise and knowledge gained in schools and colleges.

Ogling... popular hobby

The girls’ basketball teams are staying in Government College for Women girls’ hostel. They can be seen in their sports gear .1.e shorts and T. shirts. Sentinel was baffled to see a large number of boys of all ages and sizes lined up opposite the college just ogling at the girls who were entering and leaving the college. They were really staring hard at the girls. But girls were not paying any attention. May be they are so used to being ogled at. But this ogling business is definitely not in good taste and certainly deplorable.

Punjabis and tandoori

Punjabis always like to eat tandoori chicken, seekhs — both mutton and chicken — tikkas, paneer, naans and rotis... so much that the pizzas have also been cooked in tandoors and are being called ‘tandoori pizzas’. These pizzas are only for Punjab. Seeing Punjabis’ long association with food cooked in tandoor, the hoteliers are predicting that soon some of the Thai, Mexican, Italian and even Chinese dishes will be cooked in tandoor to suit the Punjabi tastebuds.

Note without numbers

What would you say if you got a new bundle of Rs 100 notes and one of the currency notes did not have any numbers on the lower side? On the other side of note, there were only four digit numbers instead of the usual six. The receiver of the bundle was foxed as he did not know whether it is fake currency or an anomaly Govt Press. Anyway, he heaved a sigh of relief when the bank took the note back.

Monsoon at any cost

Even as the weather in city is the most unsuited for asthma patients, yet most city residents have welcomed the dusty weather, sans the sun. The dust is bearable but not the heat, say most. With reports of the monsoon having arrived in Kerela, the expectation of the city residents of seeing rain in the near future have increased. Even though rains only submerge the city with slush and sewage water, people just want rain at any cost. Sentinel



Punjab will not give a drop of water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The Kisan Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee today declared that it would not allow a drop of water to be taken out of Punjab as the state was already facing severe shortage of water. Addressing a function here today, the chairman of the cell, Mr Kripal Singh Grewal, warned that not a drop of water would be allowed out of Punjab.

Referring to the issue of Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal, Mr Grewal maintained that the Punjab Government was handling the situation properly. He assured that the government would not allow any injustice to be done to the farmers in the state. “When we do not have any water for us, how can we spare it for others?”, Mr Grewal asked.

The kisan cell leaders also demanded the abrogation of the laws which empowered the government to arrest the farmers defaulting in loans. He pointed out, the farmers were passing through a critical phase and they should be provided concessions. Mr Grewal expressed his gratitude to the farmers for cooperating with the government. He also demanded that all block and district units be constituted before June 29, when the panchayat elections were scheduled to be held.



Stress on saving environment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
Think globally and act locally was the call given by various speakers at a seminar organised as part of the National Environment Awareness Campaign at Nehru Rose Garden yesterday. The function was organised by Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha (BJGVJ), Punjab Pollution Control Board, Bhadarke Dyeing Association, Municipal Corporation and Paryavran Vahini.Mr Sumedh Singh, ADC, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Dr Arun Mitra, general secretary of BJGVJ, said the problem of environment had both global and local dimensions. “We must be aware of the fact that it is the developed countries who are responsible for the ecological disturbances in the world leading to green-house effect and global warming”, he said. Nearly 40 per cent of environmental degradation was due to Military related activities, he said.

He listed various problems related to air, water and noise pollution. He called upon the people to rise to the occasion, as it was only through people’s participation that further deterioration of environment could be prevented. Dr Mitra discussed about the activities needed to be undertaken in the year 2003-04 to control pollution.

Mr Sumedh Singh while appreciating the efforts of the organisation assured all cooperation by the administration. He said the Sutlej action plan would be completed soon. He said he would look into the matter regarding the reviving of paryavaran Vahini so that people’s participation and coordination with the administration could be increased.

Major Sher Singh Aulakh said the organisation had been actively working for the promotion of healthy environment through lectures, demonstrations, audiovisual projections, formation of eco clubs in schools, writings and interviews in the media etc.

Dr Daljeet Pal Singh, representing PSCST, said the pollution level in the city was among the highest in the country.Dr J.S.Bilga stressed on the need to plant large number of trees.

Dr Rajinder Pal Singh Aulakh said the receding water level, excessive use of chemicals in the agriculture and burning of straw was a serious problem in agriculture.



Dreamland — a place to make merry
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, June 10
Dreamland, the sole amusement park near this village, offers recreation and merriment to its residents and those of surrounding villages.
It is the brainchild of Col J.S. Sandhu, who recalls the days when children of these villages sat at home and felt bored during their vacations.

“I was inspired to construct an amusement park by the disparity between rich and poor children. While the rich could afford such luxuries at Ludhiana, the poor were deprived of it. I have provided to these children a similar atmosphere at their doorstep,” he says.

Dreamland is a dream come true not only for the Colonel but also for the children who almost regularly visit the park to sing, dance and make merry. At a nominal fee, people enjoy the sylvan surroundings, the spacious lawns and the exciting rides and dives.

“Sheer profit has never been my aim. The people wanted a place where they could have fun and enjoy themselves. I really enjoy the moments when sitting in my office, I see people making merry,” says Colonel Sandhu.

A conference-cum-activity hall has been recently constructed, especially for schoolchildren, where competitions, shows and summer camps can be organised. Two rides — a pendulum and a “bouncy” — have been added to the existing ones like Ferris wheel, frog ride, baby train and dreamland express.

Aqua Park, the water slide introduced last year, offers great fun to the people. The Colonel is now thinking of adding two rides and colliding cars shortly.

“With the active support of Mr Rajiv Chawla and Mr Yash Chabra, the joint directors, there has been no looking back. We are catering to needs of residents of Ludhiana, Ahmedgarh, Malerkotla, Mandi Gobindgarh, Khanna, Sangrur, Machhiwara, Nawanshahr and above all, the residents of Sahnewal and surrounding villages, ” he adds.

An NRI found the park very impressive. “Seeing such a park, which is like those in the USA, and that too in a small place like Sahnewal, is simply amazing. I have seen people spending hours together here. Life seems to be an endless game here,” he exclaims.

Ashish, a student of a local school, says, “Our school arranges picnic to the place once a month. And now when an activity hall is ready, we wil have more fun participating in various functions and shows.” Ashish stays at Sahnewal and comes regularly to the park during vacations.

Two sisters, Sandeep and Jasmine, do not insist on going to Ludhiana anymore. “We have the same fun and amusement here. The rides and the Aqua Park is tremendously enjoyable during summers,” they say.

Parents of children now have no problem tackling their young ones on summer evenings. Rohit’s father admits, “My son, being the only child, used to be so aggressive sitting in his room. He had no source of entertainment at all. Regular visits to the park have really opened him a lot. He has made a couple of friends and is no more troublesome.”



They pose as scribes for personal gain
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
With Ludhiana becoming an important media centre, the number of persons impersonating as journalists has increased. Several complaints are being received by newspaper offices in the city that people are exploiting the names of reputed media organisations by posing as their representatives.

Since there is no regulatory mechanism, it is not possible to verify whether the identity cards or press stickers are genuine or not. Several defunct organisations are even charging money to issue press identification cards to people of dubious reputation.

It has also been brought to notice of newspaper offices that some businessmen are using vehicles marked “Press” for evasion of sales tax and other taxes.

A senior journalist was recently given a visiting card of one such impersonator.

Some people use bogus identification cards to exhort money from gullible people. At important press conferences, there are persons who claim they are NRIs writing for the Punjabi print media in the USA or Canada. Since no one can verify their credentials, they are able to pass off as genuine journalists.

Much to the annoyance of mediapersons, some persons get Press stickers pasted on their vehicles to gain access to places reserved for the Press.

They even flaunt their identification cards when accosted by traffic policemen. Many taxi drivers also use Press stickers to facilitate their passage through different states on a long route. 



DCC (U) former chief remembered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
Tributes were paid to Om Parkash Gupta, former president of the District Congress Committee, Urban, DCC (U) and three-time party legislator from Ludhiana (East) constituency, on his fourth death anniversary at a function organised at the Congress Bhavan here today.

The DCC (U) president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, garlanded the portrait of the veteran party leader, describing him as a determined and committed politician, who worked for the welfare of neglected and weaker sections.

Prominent among others present at the function were Senior Deputy Mayor Prem Mittal, Deputy Mayor Sushil Gupta, Mr Balraj Bhasin, Mr Sushil Parashar, Mr Om Parkash Malhotra and Mr Parminder Mehta.

At another function held at the SDP College for Women, Congress workers and close associates of Gupta remembered him.

Among those who paid floral tributes to the Congress leader were Ms Usha Bhasin, Ms Sushil Gupta, Deputy Mayor S. Verma, Principal of the college Ved Parkash Gupta, Mr H.K. Chugh, Mr Lekh Raj Arora, Mr Mangal Sein Grover, Mr Parminder Mehta and Mr Baldev Raj. His widow Chander Kanta Gupta and his three sons were also present.



PFC workers resent officer’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The Punjab Financial Corporation Employees Welfare Association today condemned the arrest of Mr Ravinder Tikoo, deputy general manager, by the State Vigilance Bureau. Dubbing the charges of corruption against Mr Tikoo as false, the association said the claim of the Vigilance Bureau that the arrest had been made due to irregularities in the sanctioning of a loan was false.

The association said the loan to a Ludhiana based company, Harshil Wires, was sanctioned by the corporation on June 4, 2001, after completing all formalities and procedures. As per the policies and procedure of the corporation, the promoters are first screened by the screening committee, comprising directors and senior officers, and subsequently a detailed appraisal report covering the profitability or projections prepared by the appraisal officer is placed before the sanctioning committee. Following this, the loan is sanctioned to the borrower(s) by the competent authority.

The association claimed that the Vigilance Bureau was not professionally equipped to investigate such issues. The officer who has been arrested was innocent and not involved in any wrong doing, it added. The corporation conducted an inquiry into this case in April, 2001, after the receipt of a complaint. The loan was subsequently recalled and the unit taken over. The departmental inquiry conducted held the promoter responsible for cheating the corporation and a case had been filed. The corporation had filed an FIR against the promoter, but the Vigilance Bureau, instead of proceeding against the promoter, had started finding fault with the working of the corporation. Mr B.S. Baidwan, general secretary of the association, said employees of the corporation would march to the office of the Vigilance Bureau in Chandigarh to register this protest. The organising secretary of the association, Mr K.S. Chatha, said the employees were demanding a fresh inquiry by a competent authority.



Talhan incident unfortunate: ex-minister
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, June 10
The Talhan incident has vitiated the atmosphere in the state which is unfortunate, said Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, former Akali Minister, to mediapersons here today. It was the duty of the state government to nip the evil in the bud, he said.

It had divided the people of the village near Jalandhar on communal basis. Caste riots had not taken place here even during the peak of terrorism in the state. It was for the first time in the history of the state that the government had to impose curfew in a village, said the former minister. 



Fire averted

Ludhiana, June 10
A major fire was averted by the timely intervention of the Fire Department at Maj Phagwal village, near here, today. Some bushes in the village had apparently caught fire, which came to the notice of some passersby.

The area has a thick concentration of bushes. The timely intervention of the fire brigade personnel prevented the fire from spreading to adjoining areas. The bushes were adjacent to a tiger safari on Jalandhar Road.

Official sources said no major loss had been reported. TNS



4 hurt in clash over land dispute
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 10
Four persons, including a woman, were injured in a clash over a land dispute at Faizgarh village this morning. The injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Gurdial Singh and his wife, Amar Jit Kaur, alleged that they were beaten up by Charn Singh and his son, Shupinder Singh, who came to their house with 20 other persons.

However, Charn Singh alleged that his son was beaten up by the couple. He said when he went to Gurdial Singh’s house, he was also beaten up by them. Charn Singh and Shupinder Singh were also admitted to the Civil Hospital. 



Woman missing

Ludhiana, June 10
Jaswant Kaur, wife of Iqbal Singh, a resident of the College Road locality here, is missing since Sunday. Her son, Amritpal Singh, said she had gone to attend a bhog ceremony at a village near Neelon on the Chandigarh road.

Amritpal said she had last been seen on the Neelon bridge, where she purchased a soft drink. He said she was also wearing jewellery and carrying cash. A case has been registered by the police. TNS



2 prisoners escape from jail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
The police has registered a case under Section 224 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Inder Preet Kaur, Superintendent, Observation Home, Borstal Jail, Shimla Puri, against Sarvan and Subash. The complainant had stated that the accused, who were inmates of the jail, ran way after scaling the wall of the prison on Monday. The police has launched a hunt for the prisoners.

Auto-driver duped: Certain persons gave drug-laced tea to an auto-driver living in Gobind Colony in Jamalpur and escaped with his vehicle on Monday.

The Salem Tabri police has registered a case under Sections 382, 329, 323 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Om Parkash, a migrant from UP, now living in Jamalpur against two unknown persons. The complainant had stated that his brother , Mohinder Guru, had picked up two passengers who hired his three-wheeler exclusively on Monday. But on the way, they gave some drug-laced tea to his brother as a result of which he became unconscious and the passengers sped away with the vehicle.

Beaten up: The police has registered a case under Sections 323, 341 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Jhamoli, wife of Mr Roshan Lal , a resident of Mohalla Fatehgarh, against Sonu and Sadhu Singh, residents of the same locality. The woman had alleged that the accused intercepted her on the road, beat her up and also threatened her on Monday.

The Sahnewal police on Monday registered a case under Sections 341, 323 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Man Kaur, a resident of Hadewal village falling under the Halwara police station against Swaran Singh, a resident of Ramgarh village. The woman had alleged that the accused, who was the husband of her daughter, Rani, beat her up and his wife in Ramgarh village on Saturday. No arrest has been made so far.

Stolen: The Civil Lines police has registered a case of theft under Section 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sahoti, a resident of Model Gram, against Gauri Bahadur, a native of Nepal. The complainant had stated that the accused, who was a servant in his house, stole Rs 7700, gold ornaments, a mobile phone and clothes before running away on the intervening night of June 7 and 8. No arrest has been made.

The Haibowal police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kewal Krishan, a resident of Shastri Nagar, Model Town, against unknown persons who stole hosiery machines after breaking open the lock of his factory at Haibowal Khurd on the intervening night of June 7 and 8.

The Focal Point police has registered a case under Sections 457, 380, 511 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jagpal Singh, a resident of Gurdev Nagar against an unknown person. The complainant, who is a manager of a steel unit at Dhandari Kalan, had stated that that the unknown accused had tried to steal some goods from the factory premises on Monday.

Case registered: The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under Section 3 of the Scheduled Caste And Prevention Act, 1989, on the statement of Mr Gopal Dass, PAU, Ludhiana, against Balwant Singh, a resident of the Industrial Area. The complainant had alleged that the accused cast aspersions on his caste and also abused him.



‘Steel cartel’ holding industry to ransom
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Steel prices have registered a massive increase of around 60 per cent during the past one year. Contrary to this, the prices of steel have come down in the international market. The rise hike in the domestic steel market is attributed to a “cartel” formed by five steel manufacturing giants — Jindal Steel, Ispat, ESSAR, TISCO and SAIL.

According to sources in the industry the prices of hot rolled (HR) coils were around Rs 13,000 per ton last year while this year, the prices have already crossed Rs 19,000 per ton. HR coils form the basic raw material for most of the industry including, bicycle, bicycle parts, motor parts and other engineering industry.

Against this the steel prices at the international market have come down by around $100 per ton. Steel prices in the international market a year ago remained at around $300 per ton, while these have come down to $210. Since the Government of India has imposed a heavy anti-dumping duty on the import of steel, the local industry has to purchase steel from local giants only.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, maintains that the “steel cartel” has held the industry in the country to ransom. These industrial houses have been provided huge benefits by the government as these were running into massive losses till recent past. Only during the past one year these houses have registered huge increase in profits going up to even over 300 per cent.

Along with the HR coils, even the mild steel (MS) used commonly has also registered a sharp increase in the prices by around 35 to 40 per cent. The MS round, which is commonly used in Punjab, is manufactured locally. It is mainly manufactured from the scrap and sponge iron, a by product of the iron ore.

After TISCO started manufacturing steel from sponge iron compounded with the shortage of iron scrap, the production of MS round also came down. Besides, there has been shortage of scrap in the international market also, which has also contributed to the downfall in the production leading increase in prices. The industry has been maintaining that the steel prices needed to be monitored and regulated properly as some people were trying to retain their monopoly in a liberal economy. If steel prices are not checked, the entire industry will suffer which would also have an adverse impact on the overall economy. 


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