Sunday, August 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Woman stabs daughters, attempts suicide
Poverty, sickness cited reasons
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Lalton Kalan (Ludhiana), August 23
Forced by poverty and sickness, a woman stabbed and wounded her two minor daughters and later tried in vain to commit suicide by partially slitting her throat open early this morning in this village about 12 km from here.

The middle-aged woman, Archna, and her two daughters Mansi (3), and Ridhi (7) were admitted to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital here in serious condition. Timely medical help saved their life and by the afternoon, the victims were better, hospital sources revealed. The girls received injuries in the neck and arms. They received stitches.

The woes of the woman were manifold. She was suffering from severe joint pains. Her husband, Santosh Kumar, is bed-ridden for the last six months and the family has no money to pay for his medical bills as well as provide education of fulfil daily needs of the two girls.

“I could not tolerate it anymore” she said, while talking to The Tribune at the hospital. “My husband was not getting well. I was suffering from bodyaches and the pain was becoming unbearable day by day. So, in utter disgust, I decided to end my life”

“They demanded food, clothes, sweat-dishes and money for books. So. I hit them also’’ she replied when asked why she tried to kill her children.

Originally belonging to Rurki town in Haryana, she lived in this village with her bed-ridden husband, Santosh Kumar, who is suffering from lungs infection and jaundice. The incident has sent shock waves in the village and residents flocked the house in large numbers since morning. Some were criticising the woman for trying to kill her own children while others sympathised with her impoverished condition.

As per the statement of her relatives, the incident took place in between 5 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. today. Ravi, a brother-in-law of the woman, who lived near her house said he heard shrieks from the house of his brother early in the morning.

When he rushed in, he was shocked to see the woman lying in a pool of blood along with the children. He raised an alarm at which his parents and the family members of his two other brothers came and took them to the hospital.

Tarsem Lal, father of Santosh Kumar and a retired school teacher, said he and his three sons lived separately in neighbouring houses in the village. He said earlier they used to live together but due to some family disputes, they started living separately.

He said nearly Rs 1000 were being spent on the medical expenses of his son daily. Santosh Kumar had reportedly taken medicines from some quack due to which he developed some infection and his condition worsened.

He claimed that though they were living separately, he and the in-laws of his son were helping him financially. “We were bearing all the expenses.” he said. His other son Ravi said the families were not meeting regularly due to differences. He, however, said it was his duty to help them in this hour of need.

The woman was scheduled to visit the hospital today for her treatment but no one knew she would come here in such a condition. Her husband was also under treatment of the doctors in Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital.

No case was registered with the Sadar police station here. Tarsem Lal said the family already had so much of trouble and they didn’t want a new one. He said the woman was emotionally disturbed because of her problems and took the step in a weak moment. He said otherwise, she was handling the family and catering to the needs of her husband.



The ‘mobile problems’ of the city
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 23
In the wake of traffic on city roads being in a state of utter disorder, coupled with slack enforcement and regulation of traffic rules, the street vendors, including the rehri and farriwalas, are virtually holding the people to ransom.

While the permanent encroachments, which abound in the city, tend to become source of problem, either to movement of traffic on roads or to other residents of the area at one particular place, thousands of rehris, farris and other vendors in the mega city, moving and parking themselves in thickly populated congested localities and busy commercial centres with impunity, with scant regard for inconvenience to others, can be aptly described as ‘mobile problems’.

The rehhriwalas and other vendors, who squat on the pavements or roadsides all over the city to sell every conceivable item of daily use, fruits and vegetables, eatables, plastic ware, obviously carry on their business in busy localities to attract more and more customers but in the process, they impede the smooth flow of traffic, create chaos on the roads and streets and in the case of vends of fast food and other eatables, also cause insanitary conditions by indiscriminately throwing away leftovers, disposable plates and spilling dirty water.

The adverse impact of vendors, both stationary and mobile, on movement of traffic on the busy roads, has to be seen to be believed. In places like Old G.T. Road, Chaura Bazar, Clock Tower Chowk, Ghas Mandi, Gill Road, Ghumar Mandi, Urban Estate, Aarti Chowk, Model Town, Dandi Swami Chowk, Kailsah Cinema, Brown Road, Field Ganj and many other areas where traffic already moves at a snail’s pace, the rehri and farriwalas further add to the woes of other road users. They park themselves at strategic places, with eyes on good business with absolutely no concern for the traffic or other shopkeepers and residents of those localities.

A number of shopkeepers of congested markets in the interior of the old city, while narrating their bitter experience at the hands of rehriwalas and squatters, said that the vendors not only lacked civic sense and adversely affected their business by parking themselves in front of the shops, but at times, behaved in an arrogant and aggressive manner when asked to be considerate.

Some of the shopkeepers alleged that the enforcement staff, entrusted with the task of regulating the movement of rehri and farriwalas, are in collusion with the offenders and in addition to nominal amount of ‘parchi’ being paid to the civic body, the vendors keep the enforcement staff in good humour. Certain rehriwalas in Ghumar Mandi and Urban Estate locality claimed that funds are collected from vendors through their union or ‘pardhan’ for making payment to the MC employees on regular business, which in turn, ensures that they can carry on with their business without any fear or disturbance.

Functionaries of one of the associations of shopkeepers in old city area said the right to earn their livelihood can not be denied to the vendors but at the same time such a right can not be absolute and the vendors have to be alive to convenience of others, including road users, shopkeepers and residents. 



PU begins probe into fake stamp issue
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Four teams of officials of Panjab University, Chandigarh, today visited all its affiliated colleges in the city to investigate the alleged misuse of duplicate stamps bearing signatures of Controller of Examinations of the University. The teams verified the documents relating to the examinations and admissions and reportedly took some for detailed anaylsis by experts.

The action comes in the wake of a Tribune report stating that the stamps carrying the signatures of Mr Sodhi Ram, Controller of Examinations of the university were available in the city openly and being used by the students to prepare fake certificates. Ludhiana Tribune carried the news report on Wednesday. The illegal practice has, reportedly, stunned PU authorities.

While the officials were tight-lipped about the motive of the verification, highly placed sources in the university told the TNS that an inquiry was ordered into the selling of stamps and preparation of fake certificates.

The four teams led by Mr Sodhi Ram himself, Mr S.K. Sharma, Deputy Registrar (Examinations), Mr Ashok Raj Bhandari, Joint Controller of Examinations, and Mr K.C. Sharma, Deputy Registrar, Colleges, respectively visited six colleges in the city today and took in possession some documents also.

Mr Sodhi Ram, who led a team to Satish Chander Dhawan Government College, verified the documents himself. He, however, refused to comment on any queries of the media persons.

The teams visited Arya College, Ramgarhia College for Women, Government College for Women, Guru Nanak Girls College and Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women. Sources said that the team would stay in the district for two more days and visit all the colleges to verify the documents.

Sources further said that the university was trying to determine the illegal use of the stamp and the guilty and then take action against them. They said this was a tedious job to verify lakhs of admission forms and copies of certificates enclosed on the basis of which the admission was sought by the student. They could not summon all the documents at Chandigarh so were visiting the colleges personally.

Ludhiana Tribune had carried a report on the availability of stamps carrying Mr Sodhi Ram’s signatures in these columns on Wednesday. Tribune investigations had revealed that the stamp was being prepared by the local students by forging the documents. The seriousness of the matter can be gauged from the fact that the stamps were being used in impersonating as well as preparing the Detail Marks Card (DMC) of various examinations. Some students had even prepared the fake degrees using the stamp.

The stamp was being used for impersonation as a fresh admit card was prepared affixing the picture of an impersonator. It was being used mostly in supplementary exams.

The students had told TNS on the condition of anonymity that the impersonation was done in language papers mostly as the impersonator is not supposed to study much before the exam. He said that the stamp was used the most by the students of a particular college and it was a well-known secret among the students also.

Close on the heels of the duplicate stamp controversy, a senior BJP leader has alleged that a son of a sitting Congress MLA has taken admission in a local college on the basis of a fake certificate.

Mr Satpal Gosain, former Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, in a letter written to the Vice Chancellor and Controller of Examinations, Panjab University, Chandigarh, has alleged that Manik Dawer, son of Mr Surinder Dawer had taken admission in B.Com-II in the college this year despite the fact that he failed in B.Com -I examination conducted by the university this year.

Giving details about the case Mr Gosain alleged that Manik had appeared in B.Com-I examination with roll no. 5183 and as per a copy of the gazette he failed in the examination. Surprisingly he managed to take admission in B.Com-II in Subhash Chander Dhawan Government College.

Stating that an organised racket was operating in the city which is issuing fake result cards under the name and seal of the university, Mr Gosain has urged upon the PU authorities to take action against such persons.

The PU officials who were in the city, however, refused to comment on the issue. Mr Surinder Dawer, when contacted, outrightly denied the allegations. He said that his son had passed the examination and had taken admission in B.Com-II. Mr Dawer further said that the allegation was a political gimmick to malign his image. 



Four booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Three directors and a general managers of Vikas House Building Company, which is developing South City colony here, have been booked by the city police for cheating and defrauding a former director of the Department of Industries.

The accused allegedly sold the complainant a plot in South City on a fake Power of Attorney of the original owner, who was a farmer. The accused, in order to placate the farmer, then conspired with him and sold the same plot to some other person. The value of the plot is estimated at Rs 70 lakh.

According to a copy of the FIR lodged on the complaint of Mr J.S. Kular, the accused were Yashpal Singh Bhalla, managing director, Ayush Bhalla, alias Mintu, director, Rosy Bhalla, Director, and Buta Singh Bhalla.

Mr Kular alleged that he had bought a 9000 sq yd plot from the accused and made the whole payment. However, registry of only 6000 sq yds was done in his name. He later learnt that the owner of the plot was a farmer.

Later, the farmer sold the land to another person who started construction on the plot. 



Probe ordered into custodial death case 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Taking an action in the alleged custodial death case of a snake-charmer during interrogation by the CIA staff in connection with a robbery case, the district police has opened an inquiry and directed a DSP of the CIA to file a reply to the charges within three days.

Sources said the directions were given after a delegation of snake-charmers and members of Nath Dera, Dhuri and Sirhind, submitted a formal complaint to the local SSP, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, here today.

The DGP, Punjab, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, has also sought a detailed report from the local police regarding the charges. Sources said the DGP gave the directions on the basis of a news item published in these columns a couple of days ago. The missing person belonged to Dhuri.

The delegation gave account of eyewitnesses in front of whom the missing person, Bhalwinder Nath, was picked up and allegedly beaten causing his death. Not only the alleged victim, but also five other members of the dera were kept in illegal confinement for about 10 days.

The delegation repeated the allegations that the man was killed and the police had disposed of his body. Eleven persons, all hailing from different parts of the state, but living in a dera of snake-charmers at Sirhind, were picked up by the Ludhiana police from Sirhind on August 4. While four persons were booked and six released, the whereabouts of the 11th person, Bhalwinder Nath, remained unknown.

One of them, Tegar Nath, said the police picked them up on August 4 from Sirhind, while they were taking part in the marriage of a dera-inmate’s daughter. They were kept in the CIA custody till August 12 and were beaten up several times. He said the police was forcing them to admit that they were involved in robbery cases.

“We were shifted to various police stations and were told that Bhalwinder Nath, along with others, had fled. This was impossible as the victim could barely walk because of police beating,” he claimed.

Other released persons, Chinder Nath, Bhagel Nath, Akbar Nath, Josna Nath and Gona Nath, who were present at the dera this afternoon corroborated his statement. The dera, which is also called ‘Nathan da dera’, had called a meeting of inmates today.



Over 60 pc food items have pesticide residues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
More than 60 per cent of different food commodities are contaminated with pesticide residues, out of which 14 per cent contain residues above the maximum residue limits (MRL), says a study conducted by the All-India Coordinated Research Project on Pesticide Residues.

In a recent communication to the Department of Entomology, PAU, it has been said that in India, MRLs have been prescribed for only 71 pesticides out of 185 registered for use in the country by the Central Committee for Food Standards under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

Commodities containing pesticide residues above permitted levels may be rejected by the importing countries, thereby causing economic losses to exporters.

The experts have suggested that insecticides should be used as per recommendations of PAU and the State Agriculture Department. Integrated pest management approach, strict adoption of precautions while applying pesticides and checking the flow of industrial effluents into water bodies can go a long way in reducing the level of pesticide residues in commodities.

They have suggested that fruits and vegetables should be washed in running water to reduce pesticide contents. Peeling of vegetables and fruits and removing outer leaves of cabbage can also lower the level of pesticide residues. Pressure cooking can also mitigate the problem to a great extent.

According to experts, after pesticide use, the crop should be harvested only after the recommended waiting period or else the ripe fruits and vegetables should be plucked before pesticide application.



Hydrabadi cuisines for gourmets delight
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 23
Nawabs were not only famous for their wealth, but also for extreme fondness for good food. Authentic Hydrabadi cuisines have come to the city in the form of a food festival at Lodi Ruwayat in Hotel Majestic Plaza.

The hustle and bustle around Charminar, the landmark of Hydrabad, has been recreated at Lodi Ruwayat for Hydrabadi food festival that started yesterday and will continue till August 31. Staff wearing “dupali topis”, white kurta-pyjamas, presence of the “hookah”, the “purdah”, the “dastarkhwan” and other artifacts have brought alive the essence of Hydrabad. Two chefs — Shammi and Nabi — have been flown in from Hydrabad who have brought with them special condiments used in Hydrabadi cuisine. Their specialities Paneer Gol Konda, Pathar ke ghost, tender boneless lamb grilled and served on stone are gastronome’s delight.

For vegetarians, paneer banjara, mirchi ka salan and baghera baigan have been specially prepared using special condiments. For non-vegetarians the choice is far wider. Dalcha ghost, lamb cooked with gram dal and tampered with tamarind and cumin seeds are on the menu.

Vehari, another popular dish having delicately cooked lamb with herbs and spices in la Nizam style, is also a hit. Methi “roomal roti”, Gil-E-Firdaus and “khzoor ka halwa” are some of the rarer dishes. For gourmets, the festival offers most delectable vegetarian and non-vegetarian biryanis.



Plan to observe Beant’s death anniversary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
A meeting to assign duties for mobilising people and carrying out arrangements to observe the 8th death anniversary of former Chief Minister Beant Singh at Payal on August 31 was held here today. A large number of Congress workers attended the meeting.

Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, presided over the meeting. Prominent among others who addressed the meeting included Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Mr Harmohinder Singh, president, DCC (R), Mr Jagmohan Sharma, President, DCC(U), Mr Gurdeep Singh Bhaini, Dr Harbans Kaur, member of the Punjab Service Selection Board, Mr Gurmeet Singh, political secretary to late Beant Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, senior vice-president, Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Manjit Singh Hambran, president, District Youth Congress Committee, Mr Ashwani Kumar, general secretary, District Congress Committee, and Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura.

Mr Dakha said Beant Singh was a patriot and farsighted leader, who dared terrorists when the terror of these killers of innocent people was at its peak. He said people from all parts of the states would participate in the function in large numbers to pay tributes to him. Mr Nahar Singh Gill said all councillors belonging to the Congress would participate in the function.



Tributes paid to Giani Bhagat Singh
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
As a tribute to Giani Bhagat Singh, former president of Ramgarhia Educational Council, an “Akhand Path” was held at Ramgarhia Educational Complex this morning on behalf of various educational institutions being run by the council.

The bhog ceremony was performed in Baba Gurmukh Singh Hall of Ramgarhia Girls College. A “kirtan” was performed by students of Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School (Boys), Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School (Girls) and Ramgarhia Girls College. Throwing light on his life and achievements, Dr Inderpal Singh, former Pro Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, said Gianiji was thoroughly devoted to the cause of education. From Hemkunt Sahib to Hazur Sahib, Gianiji served various gurdwaras, including Ramgarhia Bunga at Sri Durbar Sahib, Amritsar, he said.

The NSS and CSA units of Ramgarhia Girls College organised a free medical check-up camp dedicated to his memory. The camp was inaugurated by Dr B.S. Shah, pathologist, and Dr N.S. Khera, nephrologist at the DMC. In the first phase of the camp, students of BA-I were examined.

Family members of GS Autos (International), executive members of Ramgarhia Educational Council, heads and staff of various institutions being run by the council, students along with eminent persons, including Principal Prem Singh Bajaj, Prof Mohinder Singh Cheema, Prof Niranjan Tasneem, Prof Satish Sharma, Mr Daljeet Singh Jassal, and others paid their homage to Gianiji. A “langar” was also served at the end of the function.



Sacked workers seek justice
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
Sacked workers of a local plywood factory, led by Moulder and Steel Workers Union, held a demonstration in front of the Labour Office here yesterday, seeking justice and action to check the alleged highhandedness of factory owners.

The workers alleged that their services had been terminated in an arbitrary manner and their wages for the past three months had also been withheld. According to Mr Vijay Narain, president of the union, the sacked workers had been on agitation for the past two weeks but the labour officials had turn a blind eye to their plight.

Trade union activists, while addressing the workers, demanded legal action against factory owners for unlawful termination of workers and violation of other labour laws.



Valmiki youth vow to fight social evils
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
The Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS) took out a scooter and motor cycle rally in the city localities here today to further its campaign against social evils and spread the message of brotherhood and amity, as preached by Rishi Valmiki.

The rally comprising hundreds of two wheelers, with riders carrying placards and mottos against drug addiction, dowry, female foeticide and illiteracy, started from Bhagwan Valmiki Brahmalaya in Chhawni Mohalla and passed through Kila Mohalla, Basti Jodhewal, Ghati Mohalla, Chowk Division No. 3, Khud Mohalla, Islam Ganj, Ghora Colony, Basti Abdullapur, Jawahar Nagar Camp and Ghumar Mandi, before culminating at Shahi Mohalla. 



President to address LMA meeting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
The President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will address members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) during his maiden visit to the city on September 4.

This was stated by the president of the association, Mr Manjit Singh, and the general secretary, Mr V.K. Goyal, here today. They said it would be for the first time in the history of the LMA that the President of the country would be addressing its members.

They said, the distinguished presence of the President would indeed be a rare honour and a matter of great privilege for every member of the association.

Mr Goyal said the association had also extended invitation to the Governor, Mr Justice O.P. Verma, and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to attended the function. Over 800 entrepreneurs, management professionals, academicians, senior state and district administration officials and student members of the association would also be present.



Migrant held under NDPS Act
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
A Bihari migrant, Mullan, who lived in Mohalla Shakti Nagar here, was arrested yesterday by the Jodhewal police and booked under Sections 20,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.
The police has seized 2.5 kg of cannabis from his possession.

Four arrested: On a tip-off, the Haibowal police on Friday arrested Amarjit Singh, a resident of Ayali Khurd village, Amandeep Singh, a resident of Mohalla Guru Angad Dev Colony, Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, and Harvinderpal Singh, a resident of Aggar Nagar, and booked them under Sections 411 and 414 of the IPC and Sections 25,54 and 59 of the Arms Act. The police said the accused, who were carrying arms, were intercepted near octroi post on the Humbran road and arrested. Some arms and Rs 5.62 lakh which they had stolen sometime ago were recovered from their possession

Money snatched: The Haibowal police has registered a case under Sections 382, 506, 341 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Faqir Chand, a resident of Mehatpur village in Jalandhar district, against Rajesh Kumar, Palwinder Singh and Kuldeep Kumar, all residents of Salem Tabri. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him in Hargobind Nagar on Friday night, threatened him and snatched Rs 6,000 from his pocket.

Case registered: The Division No 6 police registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC on the statement of Rajnish, a resident of the Link road in Industrial Area “A”, against Surinder Singh Bedi, a resident of the same locality. The complainant alleged that the accused, who was his landlord, had stolen an electricity meter and wire from the shop.

Fraud cases: On the directions of the SSP, the Salem Tabri police registered a case under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120 of the IPC on Friday on the statement of Neelam, a resident of Kartar Colony, against Ashok Kumar, a resident of New Kartar Nagar in Salem Tabri. The complainant alleged that she had bought a plot from the accused and gave him Rs 5 lakh, but the accused did not transfer ownership right in her name and committed a fraud on her.

The Division No 2 police has registered a case under Sections 406, 420 and 182 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Alok Sood, a resident of Kalsian Street in Sewak Pura, against Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Roshan market, and Satinder Pal Singh Ghulati. The complainant alleged that the accused took Vikas Patras valued at Rs 2 lakh from him and did not return to him.

Two booked: On the directions of the SSP, the Sahnewal police registered a case under Sections 447 and 506 of the IPC of Friday on the statement of Mr Sukhwant Singh, a resident of Jandiali village, against Rashpal Singh and Ajmer Singh, both residents of Bharowal village. The complainant alleged that the accused had forcibly destroyed his crop on July 7 and also taken illegal possession of his land.

Held for gambling: The Haibowal police on Friday arrested Raman Kumar, Vicky Kumar and Rakesh Kumar, all residents of Haibowal Kalan, on charges of gambling in the main bazar of the locality. The police recovered Rs 12,110 and cards from their possession.



Scooterist killed

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 23
Gian Chand, a resident of Himachal Pardesh, was killed on the spot, while Nitan Kumar of Sultanpur Lodhi was seriously injured when the scooter (PB 48A-1276) they were riding collided with a truck (HR 38-E-2501) on the GT Road near Ajnali, one km from here, on Friday evening.

The driver of the truck managed to escape. A case has been registered. A post-mortem examination of the body was conducted in the local Civil Hospital here on Saturday. OC



PM assures delegation on rising steel prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has assured a delegation of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) that he will look into the issue of the rising steel prices in the country. He is learnt to have expressed concern over the rising prices and said he would take immediate remedial measures to provide protection and relief to the industry.

Giving this assurance to the delegation, which met him yesterday in New Delhi, under the leadership of the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Prime Minister said he would talk to the Finance Minister and the Steel Minister to find a solution. Besides Mr Badal, other members in the delegation included the CICU president, Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan; the Chairman of the Engineering Export Promotion Council, Mr Satish Dhanda; Mr K.K. Seth, Mr M.S. Bhogal, Mr Ajit Singh Kular, Mr Joginder Kumar, Mr Inderjeet Singh Arora and Mr Avtar Singh.

Stating this here today, the members said they were hopeful that the steel prices would not only be checked but would also be reduced. They said Mr Vajpayee had told them that he would arrange their meeting with the Finance Minister.

The delegation members said it was brought to the notice of Mr Vajpayee that while the total inflation in the country was about 4 per cent to 5 per cent, the prices of steel had inflated by about 50 per cent. They argued that this was unprecedented in the history of steel. They alleged that five major producers of iron and steel in the country — the Steel Authority of India Ltd, Tata Iron and Steel Company, Essar Steel, Jindal Steel and Ispat Group — had formed a cartel and were manipulating the prices.

It was brought to the notice of Mr Vajpayee that China was procuring steel from India from the five major producers at cheaper rates than the rates charged in India. They pointed out that the steel manufacturers were exporting iron to China at the rate of Rs 13,800 per metric tonne, while the same manufacturers sold the same steel in India for Rs 21,500 per metric tonne.

The delegation urged Mr Vajpayee that in order to enhance competitiveness both domestically and globally, the basic raw materials for the engineering industry should be made available at the viable rates. The delegation members stressed the need for removing the provisions of the Bureau of Indian Standards for the import of steel in the country. They alleged that the provision was introduced by the Directorate of Foreign Trade with vested interests.

The delegation urged the Prime Minister that 50 per cent of the total production of steel products, including the raw material, in the country might be ordered to be supplied to the domestic industry at the same rates at which it was exported to China. They also demanded that the custom duty on the imported scrap should be reduced to 5 per cent from 25 per cent for the manufacturers and the traders. Similarly, the import duty on HR coils should also be reduced from 40 per cent to 25 per cent.

The delegation also met the Union Steel Minister, Mr Brij Kishore Tripathi, and the Secretary (Steel), Mr V.K. Duggal, and apprised them of the whole situation. Mr Tripathi will visit Ludhiana on August 29 to participate at the annual meeting of the National Steel Consumers Forum.



SBI branches in Punjab computerised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
The State Bank of India has achieved a milestone by fully computerising all its branches in Punjab.
This was declared by Mr Yogesh Agarwal, Chief General Manager of the Chandigarh circle of the bank, while inaugurating a fully computerised branch in Punjab at Mundian Kalan.

He thanked the customers for patronising the bank. He said the bank had taken several initiatives on the information technology front such as fully computerising all branches in India and networking these to march towards shared data-base, networking all ATMs, increasing coverage under CMP, STEPS, tele-banking and Internet banking so as to strive towards “anywhere, anytime banking”.

Mr Anup Banerji, General Manager, said the bank had adopted a strategic marketing approach to face emerging challenges in the banking sector.

Mr Samir Saran, Deputy General Manager, Zonal Office, Ludhiana, dwelt on the new initiatives taken up by the bank to boost customer services.

One such ATM connected to the national network was inaugurated by Mr Yogesh Agarwal at Dugri Road Branch here today. The bank also organised a loan mela.


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