Tuesday, September 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


2 students suspended for not speaking in English
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, September 8
The Principal of DAV Public School has suspended two students of Class XII for 10 days for not speaking in English on the campus. They have also been debarred from attending their classes and taking their half-yearly examinations, scheduled to begin next Monday.

Last month, Mr R.S. Patial, Principal, had directed the students of the school from Class IV onwards to converse among themselves in English on the campus. Teachers and some students had been deputed to check if the order was being complied with.

When two students were found speaking in Hindi today by a teacher, the matter was reported to the Principal, who then confirmed the incident and ordered the suspension. A similar incident had occurred a few days ago, when the entire Class X, having more than 50 students, was suspended. No classes were held for them for almost four days. They were re-instated after they apologised to the Principal.

It is learnt that students of the school are often punished for not bringing their cutlery sets. The students have been told to get forks and knives along with their tiffin boxes and have their lunch using these. In case the students are found eating with their hands, the matter is reported to the Principal, who takes action against the guilty students.

The Principal admitted the occurrence of such incidents and confirmed that two students had been suspended today. Justifying his action, he said last month he had gone to each class instructing students to speak in English during school hours. The students had themselves stated that strict action should be taken against them if they were found speaking in any other language, he claimed.

When asked about the action that might be taken, the students had said that they should neither be fined nor subjected to any physical punishment, he said. The Principal said the students had suggested that offending pupils should be suspended for 10 to 15 days.

When asked if the two students would be allowed to take their tests, he said they would be allowed if they apologised.



Elephants lead Ganpati Shobha Yatra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
The eleventh shobha yatra of Lord Ganesh was organised here today by the Baba Ganapati Seva Sangh on the occasion of Ganesh Mahautsav. Devotees chanted “Ganpati Baba Moriya” as the yatra moved at a snail peace.

Residents had lined up the route to catch a glimpse of Lord Ganesha. The procession started from Janakpuri. Elephants draped in colourful silken clothes led the procession.

Idols of Hanumanji, Shivji, Durga, Ram and Sita on decorated chariots were pushed by devotees. It seemed the entire city had come to participate in the yatra.

Besides the four-armed-20ft statue of Lord Ganesha, there were 108 statues of Ganesha in different poses. The procession was led by Swami Shivi Giriji, Gaddi Neel Kanth and Gita Thakur.

At the start of yatra puja was performed.

The yatra included 200 tableaux prepared by temples of the city. Bhajan Mandlis, Gatka groups marched. Devotees chanted Lord Ganesha’s name as the yatra passed through Chaura Bazaar, Division No 3, Division No 6 and several other parts of the old city. Jangams, Shiv devotees, in their colourful atire were there in large numbers.

Many Swamis joined the procession. Lala Lajpat Rai, MP, Mr Inderpal Singh, Akali Dal, addressed the devotees. Shopkeepers’ associations put up stalls of eats and drinks enroute the yatra.

The bands of UP, Punjab and Rajasthan accompanied the yatra.



Residents protest as ashes go missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Irate residents of Santokh Nagar and New Vishnu Puri today staged a demonstration at Shanti Ghat, a cremation ground near Daresi, after an urn containing ashes of a city resident went missing from a room under mysterious circumstances.

This is the fourth incident of its kind in the past year in which ashes kept in a room of the cremation ground have gone missing. In the previous three cases, relatives had lodged FIRs with the police, alleging that an employee at the cremation ground was hand-in-glove with tantriks, who used the ashes for black magic.

Early today, Baldev Raj, a resident of Santokh Nagar, street No. 4, had gone to the cremation ground with his relatives to take the ashes of his father, Prem Chand, who had died on August 26 and was cremated the same day here.

The family had kept the ashes in an urn in the store of the cremation ground to take it later to Hardwar for immersion. The caretaker kept them waiting for over an hour on the plea that he was searching for the ashes. Then he told them that the ashes had been taken away by someone by mistake and offered them the ashes of another person.

The agitated family called other relatives and residents of the area and took the cremation ground officials to task. They were told that the ashes of some other person had gone missing and the officials had given those persons the ashes of Prem Chand. The family members decided to lodge a complaint against the officials to the police. A memorandum was submitted in the office of the city SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, by them.

Police sources said the name of a tantrik, allegedly active in the area, was mentioned in the complaint.

Meanwhile, Mr Satpal Puri, a councillor of the area, has demanded a high-level probe into the matter. He said the incident was not an isolated one and similar cases had occurred in the past. He said once the police had to lathi-charge a mob angry at the stealing of ashes from the cremation ground.



Literacy Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
Students of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, here committed themselves to education for better life on ‘International Literacy Day’.

The Department of Geography headed by Ms Rajrani, organised a map-making competition and held an exhibition. As many as 53 students participated. The judges were — Mrs Rajrani, Mrs Chahal and Mrs Shaveta Bali.

Meanwhile, the International Literacy Day was celebrated on Monday in the slum areas of the Tajpur road by the Rameshwar Welfare Trust. More than 55 volunteers, including National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers from SDP Senior Secondary School, visited these areas to educate the masses.



Patwari convicted in bribery case after 10 yrs
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
A patwari has been convicted in a corruption case and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, after 10 years of the registration of a case against him. A fine of Rs 1, 000 was also imposed on the accused.

The orders were pronounced by the Special Judge, Mr Inderjit Kaushik, in connection with the case of the accused, Kartar Singh, a resident of Janta Nagar. He was booked on February 2, 1993 by the Vigilance Bureau, under Sections 7, 13(i)(d)(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act on the statement of Sukhjit Singh, a student of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana.

The complainant had recorded his statement before Inspector Surjit Singh and had stated that his father, Harbans Singh was an old man, who owned 20 acres of land. He was looking after his agriculture work and the bank dealings.

He wanted to get a credit limit from the bank to purchase fertilizers and for that a copy of jamabandi of their land in Khasi Kalan village was needed. On February 1, 1993 he met the patwari and requested him to deliver a copy of jamabandi after obtaining the prescribed fee. But the accused demanded Rs 200 as illegal gratification, though the prescribed fee was less than Rs 5, added the complainant.

According to the prosecution, a deal was finally struck at Rs 100. The complainant made a false promise to pay the same the next day but he reported the matter to the Vigilance Bureau officials. The police officials along with the then Naib Tehsildar Mohan Lal conducted a raid and nabbed the accused when he accepted the bribe.

However, during trial the accused pleaded false implication and asserted that he had been implicated at the behest of one witness— Ajit Singh— who had come to him for getting the mutation of a sale deed. But the mutation entry was not made as the sale deed was a fictitious one and this fact was told to him. He got annoyed at this and implicated him in a corruption case in connivance with the complainant.

But the court rejected the plea of the accused finding no force in it. Convinced with the arguments of the Additional Public Prosecutor, Mr Mitter Sain Goel, and the cogent evidence adduced by the prosecution after examining eight witnesses, the court found the accused guilty and awarded the sentence.



Chhapar Mela sans jinda dance
Tribune News Service

Women scoop the earth from Gugga Marhi.
Women scoop the earth from Gugga Marhi.

Chhapar (Ludhiana), September 8
After more than a decade a large number of women thronged the historic Chhapar Mela here today with their heads held high as the embarrassing jinda dances and its posters were missing, thanks to the ban on them.

Observers said the number of women this year was high as it was for the first time that such a ban was imposed.

Traditionally, the first day of the mela is reserved for the women. But over the years vulgar dances had taken over the mela, forcing the women to stay away even on the day reserved for them.

“It is for the first time that we are attending the mela without any embarrassment. Earlier, we used to leave our daughters back home so that they do not see the scenario at the mela”, said Malkiat Kaur.

“After a long time the mela looks clean. Earlier it was a voyeur’s delight and womens’ nightmare. There used to be blaring loudspeakers, attracting men folk to see the dances. I had been seeing the situation going from bad to worse in the past 10 years. I am glad at the change”, said Surjeet Kaur, a middle-aged woman.

The venue of the fair, which was taken over by dance stalls in the past, was taken over by the eating stalls and swings and merry-go-rounds.

While many quarters are happy with the development, the organisers, who had been making fast buck at the mela on account of vulgar dances, have been fuming and fretting at the decision. Mr Tholu Ram, an organiser of such dances, said this time he had put up a cold drink stall.

Despite the ban, the present day Chhapar mela is a pale shadow of what it used to be in the past in terms of traditional culture and ethos of a vibrant Punjab. While the three-day historic mela began today, devotees have been flocking this hamlet for the past few days. Incidentally, the first day is reserved for women while the other days are an all-male affair.

Still a big draw with crowds flocking in thousands from all parts of the state and outside to pay their obeisance at the impressive Gugga Marhi, a shrine dedicated to the Nag devta, what one comes across today is the cacophony of hundreds of loudspeakers blaring from early morning to well past midnight with shopkeepers hawking dubious goods and miraculous cures to innocent rural folk.

For every visitor, the first thing is to pay respects at the shrine and it is mandatory to dig out sand from a scheduled place to ward away evil from their lives and seek blessings of the deity.

The motive of a majority of youngsters and the not-so-young is an eye opener of the times we live in. Gone are the days when the people came to buy and sell cattle and horses. Today, it is pure and simple enjoyment with most of the visitors not even going up to the temple. As a group of teenagers from Jagraon quipped, “Baiji, assi tan bas mauj karan aaye haan. Par is saal maza nahin auna kyunki police walian ne saare naach he bandh kartey. Hun aithe ki haiga.”

Hordes of youngsters can be seen going up and down the nearly 1-km stretch road in front of the temple looking for amusement. A group of women or a family are a fair game for them. Thankfully, the police does its job well and squads can be seen chasing such groups from the area near the temple.

A group of old timers, apparently put off by the crass commercialisation of the religious event, shaking their hands in disappointment said, “Those were the good days. There would be dadhi durbars where one learnt and heard about the Gurus and exploits of heroes of the quam. It was all a family event where the people from far off places would sometimes stay for many days and imbibe the atmosphere. Fortunately, politicians had not taken over then.”

He gestured to the crowds and added “ how can one imagine to visit this place where all one gets to see are merry-go-rounds, raucous music, food stalls and dust. It is a blessing that there will be no dancing girls this time. But quacks posing as desi doctors are carrying on their business unchecked,” he pointed out.

Though the people are coming in but the enthusiasm and the spirit seems to be lacking. Another old timer recalled, “It has become a thing of the past when the people used to throng the place dressed in traditional attire. They even entered the festival dancing and playing folk tunes on instruments. Then there used to be ‘akharas’ where bhangra and gidha dancers tried to out dance each other. Others tested their might in kabbadi and tug-of-war games. Nothing of this sort happens now.”

In sharp contrast, youngsters are now more concerned about their looks and appearance. “Many arrived with lots of enthusiasm in everyday clothes with just a ‘safa ’ tied carelessly around the head. Traditional dresses seemed to have passed into oblivion forever, The spontaneity is gone forever,” he remarked wistfully.

Nevertheless, the village folk formed the majority of the crowd. With the paddy ripening in the fields, they do not have much work on their hands and seemed to be having a good time in the festival.

Then it is time for fun and apart from the usual games like shooting, joy rides, train, boat, and even aeroplane rides, biggest attractions in the absence of the live dances, the dances, which ran round-the-clock, had a total male audience.

Talking to TNS, Mr M.S. Chhina, SSP, Jagraon, who was camping here to supervise the arrangements, said elaborate security was in place and no untoward incident had been reported till evening. The police had banned the entry of vehicles in the mela and visitors would now have to walk to the shrine, a step which has drawn kudos from the devotees.



Encroachments, poor maintenance mar G.T. Road
Our Correspondent

Shop verandahs in Kamla Nehru Market on the G.T. Road have been encroached upon by shopkeepers.
Shop verandahs in Kamla Nehru Market on the G.T. Road have been encroached upon by shopkeepers. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, September 8
The old G.T.Road (national highway No. 1) passing through the city from the Jagraon bridge to the Jalandhar bypass is in bad shape. As if the mess created by the ongoing construction work for the elevated road project on this section was not enough, the poor maintenance on the part of the civic authorities and rampant encroachment by the shopkeepers on both sides of the road have added to the misery of motorists and pedestrians.

The highway is not only a transit route for Delhi and Jalandhar-bound vehicles from the city, but it connects the entire old city localities with new colonies lying west of the Ludhiana-Delhi railway line. It also provides access to more than 12 major commercial centres and wholesale markets.

The condition of the road, particularly from the Mata Rani chowk to the Jagraon bridge, is to be seen to be believed. In the absence of maintenance work and repairs the top surface of the road has virtually disappeared and what remains is just a kutcha road full of potholes.

With one-third of the road having been cordoned off by the construction company engaged in the construction of the elevated road it is quiet adventurous to drive through this stretch of road. The encroachments, both temporary and permanent, on both sides of the road, especially from the railway station to the Clock Tower chowk further make the movement of the traffic difficult.

Shopkeepers in Kamla Nehru Market, near the railway station, have been using the verandahs for stocking their goods. Some have even extended their sales counter out of the shops.



Where pickpockets thrive
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
Mr Ravinder Kumar, an employee of The Tribune, was standing in the books’ market on Saturday evening when the Jagannath Rath Yatra entered the market . There was a sudden rush of people behind him and he was pushed forward. It was then that his purse containing about Rs 1,000 and his identity card was picked.

Various shobha yatras and nagar kirtans that are taken out in the city provide ideal grounds for gangs of pickpockets active in the city. It is another matter that such cases are not reported to the police because of the petty amounts involved. Nobody prefers to go to a police station to report a loss of a few hundred rupees and the pickpockets continue to thrive.

Crowds outside religious places on certain days are also being targeted by the pickpockets.

The more innovative and daring hang around places where marriages and other family functions are held. Recently, a woman who went to attend a bhog ceremony held in Krishna Nagar was relieved of her 20 gm gold chain. All that the victim could recall was that while she was sitting one of the women behind her placed her chin on her left shoulder for a while as she was talking with two other women sitting close to her.

Sources pointed out that at such functions the things which are picked are passed on quickly to their accomplice who slip away unnoticed.

Meanwhile, thieves struck for the second time in two months at Baba Balak Nath Mandir, Dholewal, on Saturday night and decamped with some brass idols, utensils, sound system and donation box after breaking open the main lock of the temple. The theft was noticed on Sunday morning by the temple priest.



How to cut worries

LIFE is full of ups and downs. Enjoy your life with routine worries. Excessive worry is an exhausting problem for millions of people, but not all worry is bad. Effective planning depends upon anticipating trouble. You need to plan. But excessive worry, toxic worry, is unnecessary and unproductive. Toxic worry is a disease of imagination. It diminishes your ability to enjoy with your family, friends, physical being and your achievements, you live in fear of what might go wrong. Here are some tips to avoid worries:

Change your routine. Life can begin to seem like a bit of a chore if we do the some thing day after day, week after week. We need to create interest in our lives, and to do new things.

Learn to say no. You don’t have to do it. Your life is already too busy. Give yourself some space to think and time to do something for yourself.

Controlled breathing can reduce worry. For example, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly can provide temporary relief. Taking a score of deep breaths can do it even better.

Eat dinner with your family. Read aloud to your children. Talk to your neighbours. Connectedness is the one remedy I would recommend above all others in combating worry.

Go for a walk. This gentle exercise will renew and invigorate you physically and mentally on your first outting . Take it up regularly and you will feel better every day.

Run a kilometre or play a game you like. Afterwards you will feel less worried. Exercise reduces tension, drains excess aggression and frustration, enhances a sense of well-being. Improves sleep and aids concentration.

Talk to God. Pray every day. Prayer and meditation help us keep things in perspective. They calm our minds.

Do something you like. It is almost impossible to worry destructively if you are engaged in a task you enjoy.

Don’t drink excessively. Alcohol and other drugs may render you much less capable of dealing with worry because they can make you depressed. And they can cause you to do things that will give you a lot to worry about later on.

Let in music. Music reduces tension and anxiety improves performance. Make your home a place of music. Sing. It’s hard to worry and sing at the same time.

Laugh as much as you can. Humour is one of the best ways of dealing with worry or stress in life.

Cut some fresh flowers from your garden and fill your home with loads of inexpensive flowers. Potted plants fill the house with life and vitality.

— Anil Dheer



Give up drugs, youth told
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
Brahmkumaris have launched a rural development and drug de-addiction awareness campaign, targeting the rural population of villages in Ludhiana district. Twelve teams, comprising 60 volunteers, visited 72 villages of the Dehlon block yesterday.

Members, divided into12 teams, visited many villages and talked to villagers about moral values and social evils in the society.

They urged the village youth to give up drugs. “Medicines can cure you of your drug addiction, but the real force has to come from within”, they told the youth.

Speaking to Ludhiana Tribune, Brahmkumari Raaj said they had request the administration to notify the sarpanches of villages about their campaign in advance to save time.

The campaign started in August and 14 teams were sent to 75 villages of Samrala on August 24. On August 31, second batch of 18 teams went to 124 villages of the Machhiwara block.

Brahmakumari Raaj said they do not distribute medicines in villages. Instead, villagers come to their centre in Ludhiana to take medicines, give a feed back. At times, youngsters do not want others to know of their drug addiction and prefer the anonymity of the centre to get medicines”, she said.

She said family tensions, peer pressure and easy availability of drugs are the reasons behind drug addition in villages.

The volunteers inspire villagers to get rid of their addiction through counselling, spiritual education and teaching meditation skills. They tell them that drugs create disturbance in family life, leads to brain damage, infects digestive system and causes many dangerous diseases.



This railway crossing remains closed for hours
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, September 8
The Kohara Road railway crossing here remains closed for hours together at times, leading to frequent traffic jams.

Dharmendra, a tailor in Dana Mandi, said the road, which was connected to the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway, was usually busy. “But most of the time, the railway crossing is closed, thus causing a lot of inconvenience to local residents as well as outsiders. There are traffic jams on both sides of the crossing,” he said.

Raja, who has a fruit and vegetable shop near the crossing, complained that vehicles were stranded for hours daily. “At times, there are even brawls between commuters,” he said.

Residents say that in case of emergency, they have no option but to wait for the crossing to open. Babbu Arora, who runs a general store, said, “Last week, a boy got injured in an accident. We were taking him to the Civil Hospital in a car but the crossing was closed. We came to know that one train had passed and two more were about to pass in the next few minutes. We requested the gateman to open the crossing so that the boy could get timely treatment but he was also helpless because we could also see the train coming. The authorities should make efforts to divert the traffic.”



Youngsters join Lok Bhalai Party
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, September 8
Many youngsters, under the leadership of Mr Jagdish Singh Honey, joined the Lok Bhalai Party of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, yesterday evening.

They said they were joining the party due to efforts of Mr Ramoowalia in rescuing young people from jails in foreign countries and providing them a safe passage home.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ramoowalia said 135 sarpanches and 990 panches, belonging to the party, had won the panchayat poll.

He said the party was making a front, called aggrieved daughters and women power, to tell their tale of woes and the efforts made by the Lok Bhalai Party.

The meeting was attended by Mr Ravinder Singh Turna, president of the Youth Wing, Punjab, Mr Lakhwant Singh Happy, president, Youth Wing, Ludhiana district, Mr Sarvjot Singh Sidhwan, general secretary, Mr Malkit Singh Boparai, Mr Gurpreet Karoin, Mr Sohan Singh, Mr Pooran Chand Bagga, Mr Avtar Singh and others.



Stone laid for NCW building
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, September 8
Swami Kedar Nath Puri Maharaj (Khannawale) laid the foundation stone for the new building of National College for Women(NCW), Machhiwara.

Members of the managing committee, including Principal Rekhja Wadhera, charter president Surinder Kundra, Mr Anil Sood and Amrik Singh Kahlon, president and secretary, Nagar Panchayat, respetively, and president, Arhtiya Association, Tehal Singh Aujla, were present on the occasion.

Swami Kedar Nath appealed to the residents of the area to rise to the occasion.

He donated Rs 51,000 to the college. The Durga Shakti Mandir Committee, Machhiwara, donated Rs 51,000, Mr Sohan Singh Guron Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.25 lakh were donated by the family of late Darshan Takyar.



Hit-and-run case registered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
The Kotwali police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Davinder Singh, a resident of Campa Cola Colony at Dhandari Kalan, against an unknown driver of car ( PB-10AR- 7266).

The complainant had alleged that the accused had hit his motorcycle near Deepak Cinema chowk on Saturday afternoon and had fled from the spot.

His motorcycle had been damaged and he had suffered injuries, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.



Two booked in Shimlapuri theft case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
The Shimlapuri police has registered a case under Sections 458, 384, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Swaranjit Kaur, a resident of Barota Road in Guru Gobind Singh Nagar, Shimlapuri, against Jagga and Sonu. She had alleged that the accused entered her house at midnight on September 4, threatened her with a dagger and decamped with gold ornaments and Rs 500.

Temple burgled

The division number 6 police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Tarraki Lal Thapar, a resident of Dholewal, against burglars, who broke open the lock of the Baba Balak Nath temple and decamped with the donationbox, silver utensils, three speakers and an amplifier on Saturday night.


The Model Town police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Shahi Mohalla in the Civil Lines, against Sangeet Kumar, Bir and Sonu, residents of Dr Ambedkar Nagar. The complainant had stated that he was building a house in the Model Town extension. The accused entered the building on the night of September 6 and decamped with two wooden doors, some electrical goods and other construction material. No arrest has been made so far.

Case registered

The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 279, 427 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Umesh Kumar, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against the driver of an unidentified vehicle. The complainant said the vehicle had hit his brother Sunil Kumar near the Bhai Wala chowk on Saturday night and sped away. Sunil Kumar died on the spot.

Dowry demand

The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on the statement of Ms Ritu, a resident of Sham Nagar, against Raj Kumar, a resident of Chandigarh, and Bala and Vishal Kumar, residents of Naya Gaon in Ropar district. Ms Ritu said that she got married to Koshal Kumar on October 22, 1999. After the marriage, the accused harassed her mentally and physically and demanded more dowry. No arrest has been made so far.

The Jodhewal police also registered a case under the same Section of the IPC on the statement of Ms Kiran Bala, a resident of Indra Colony on the Rahon road, against Vijay Kumar and Harminder Chand, residents of Satguru Nanak Nagar in Nawan Shehar, and her mother-in-law. Kiran Bala had alleged that after her marriage on February 13, 2002, the accused steeled harassing her, demanding more dowry.

Case of fraud

The division number 6 police has registered a case under Sections 420 of the IPC on the statement of the Chief Manager, Punjab National Bank, Industrial Area, against Ram Deep Singh, a resident of Baba Deep Singh Nagar on the Dhandra road, Dugri and Vinod Kumar Sharma, a resident of the Nirankari street in Miller Ganj. The complainant had alleged that the accused had deposited Rs 80,000 in the bank but managed to get the double of that amount withdrawn from the bank by fraud. No arrest has bee made so far.



Stolen goods recovered

Ludhiana, September 8
The Civil Lines police has arrested Mukesh Kumar, a migrant from UP now living in Doraha , and recovered a stolen TV and VCR from his possession. He has been booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.

The Salem Tabri police has registered a case against Dalbara Singh, a resident of Naushehra Majha village in Gurdaspur district and Surinder Singh and recovered a scooter from them. OC



China's decision steels local units
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
The hue and cry raised by Indian steel consumers has fetched a favourable response from China rather than from Delhi. China has slapped a ban on the import of Indian steel. In a letter sent to the Indian Government through the Indian Embassy, the Chinese Government has conveyed that any steel export above three per cent will attract safe-guard measures.

The Indian Embassy has forwarded the letter to the steel ministry asking the Indian steel companies to check exports.

China is importing a huge quantum of steel and against its steel import of 24.5 million tonnes last year, it has already imported 20 million tonnes of steel till now.

Mr P.D Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, today said the steel companies were still pressurising the government to convince China for more exports.

It is worth mentioning that the USA had already imposed anti-dumping duties on HR Coils on Indian companies. Ther had been a steep hike in the price of steel in the country due to exports which had created a scarcity in the country.

A deputation of Industry had also met the Prime Minister and the Steel Minister recently to check the steel prices by putting a ban on exports.

The requests, however, fell on deaf ears despite the fact that a lot of resentment was shown at the 17th Steel Consumers Council, held in Ludhiana. On the contrary, the steel companies raised the price of Hot Rolled Coil by Rs 500 per tonne. The Sponge Iron Companies had raised the price by Rs 900 per tonne.

Mr Sharma alleged that unjustified benefits were being given to many steel companies.‘‘Steel consumers shall be watching the reaction of the Indian Government on Chinese ban. Indications are that the government may plead to China in favour of steel companies. In view of these developments, it is likely that the prices of steel may stablise. International prices of steel are also stable and are to remain so for at least six months", said Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma also said in the Ludhiana Steel Consumers Council meeting, the Steel Minister had declared that public steel plants would not raise steel prices in the near future. ‘‘Contrary to this decision, the Vishakhapatnam Plant has raised the price of steel by Rs 1,000 per metric tonne with effect from September 1, which is really unfortunate’’, said Mr Sharma.



Four printers honoured at Gutenberg festival
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
The Offset Printers Association (OPA) remembered the father of modern printing technology, Johannes Gutenberg, and honoured four printers at a function to mark the Gutenberg festival here yesterday. Besides members of the association, as many as 400 printers from the northern region also participated in the function.

Mr Satish Gupta, a local printer, was presented with a citation for his services to the industry, while three others, Mr H.R. Dhiman, Mr Pritpal Singh and Keshav Anand (posthumously) were recognised as master craftsmen on the occasion.

Speaking at the function, the president of the association, Mr Romi Malhotra, said the festival was an annual feature to pay tributes to the inventor of printing technology. He said by inventing the printing press, Gutenberg had helped spread truth and knowledge. “It is due to the development and perfection of movable types and printing press that mass production of books, leaflets and newspapers has become a reality and the power of ideas unharnessed in the world.”

The general secretary, Mr Kamal Chopra, focussed on activities of association during the year. The association had organised a technical seminar in collaboration with Technova Imaging System and a north zone printers meet to apprise printers changes in the excise and income tax laws and on the invitation of the Embassy of Federal Republic of Germany. A delegation of the association had visited the embassy for the presentation of an award on behalf of Ms Mariko Takagi for producing the most beautiful book in the world and M/s Faber and Faber Publishers for the smallest book.

He said the association had also promoted interaction between printers consumers, printing material manufacturers and suppliers through several social and cultural gatherings during the year.

Others who took part in the deliberations included Mr Manoj Verma, vice-president, Mr Sanjay Gandhi, secretary and Dr S.B. Pandhi, treasurer of the association.



Harassment by excise staff alleged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Members of the textile consultative committee, formed by the Commissionerate of Central Excise, Ludhiana, held a meeting today to discuss various problems being faced by the hosiery industry at the hands of the field staff of the Central Excise and Customs Department.

Those present at the meeting included Mr M.M. Vyas, Mr Ajit Lakra, Mr Lalit Jain, Mr Miglani, Mr Rajat Sood, Mr Darshan Dawar, Mr Jagmohan Singh, Mr Bhushan Maini, Mrs Mridula Jain and Mr Pawan Sharma. Discussing various issues, they talked about the raids on the premises of Vallabh Knits Limited and its sister concern, Vallabh Fabrics. The members alleged that it was a case of harassment by the field staff of excise and customs. A team of officials led by Mr B.S. Khera and Mr Gulzar Singh raided the units without showing any search warrant to the owners on September 2.

The team took the plea of verification of 12-B challan form, which is meant for movement of goods for job work. The team entered the premises at 9 a.m. and started a search and seizure process. The team did not leave the premises till past midnight.

It was unanimously decided to take up the matter with the higher authorities during the next committee meeting so that such incidents were not repeated.

The members said at the time of imposition of excise duty on hosiery textile, the trade and industry was given full assurance by the Central Board of Excise and Customs and the local Commissionerate that no action would be taken for at least one year, unless there was a complaint or gross violation of rules or an attempt at duty evasion.

It was also assured that the field staff would not enter the premises of any industrial unit without permission from an officer not below the rank of an Additional Commissioner.

In the case of Vallabh Knits Limited, there was no evasion of duty or any violation of rules detected except the use of space of their own property and building in another premises for storing goods involving no attempt at evasion or any malpractices. Instead of helping the assessee, they took coercive steps and obtained a dictated statement of their choice and framed a false and unjustified case against the units, the members said.

They requested the department to deal with the industry as per guidelines given by the board, failing which the industry would be forced to take the path of agitation.

They said that two members of the consultative committee should be present at the time of any search or seizure of a unit by the field staff of the department concerned.


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