L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Heavy police deployment at Sihaar village
Clash victim’s bhog ceremony today
Jupinderjit Singh and Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

Sihaar, November 3
This village wore a cantonment-like look today on the eve of the bhog ceremony of Jeet Singh, who died on October 25 because of injuries suffered in a clash between rival groups and the police on October 11 here over the issue of control of the Meehan Singh Dera (also known as Nanaksar Dera).

While the residents of the village, who were supporting the sons of late sant Meehan Singh and opposed the reigning Sant Harnek Singh group, have appealed to the sangat of the area to attend bhog and antim ardas of Jeet Singh in large numbers, the Khanna police has deployed hundreds of policemen to avoid any untoward incident.

The police fears that the mourners may become unruly on the emotional occasion of the bhog ceremony. The deceased has been given the status of a martyr by the villagers. They have even announced setting up of a memorial in the village.

The police was busy in making security plans. Besides cops from Payal, already deployed at ashram, hundreds of policemen arrived in five buses and some vans from various parts of the district here. Senior police officers, including SP S.K. Agnihotri and DSP Amrik Singh Minhas, were camping in the village supervising security arrangements.

The police was setting up barricades on all entry points to the city to prevent the gathering of the people. Police officers held talks with some local leaders to take them into confidence for keeping the ceremony peaceful. They have appealed to the prospective speakers at the ceremony to refrain from making provocative remarks. The police has, however, not promulgated Section 144 in the village so far.

The villagers were striving to help the deceased’s family financially. Mukhtiar Singh, former panch, said all arrangements were made by the village residents. He said, “Jeet Singh laid down his life for a common cause, so it becomes our duty to save the aggrieved family from the financial burden.”

Accusing the district police of favouring culprits, Bhupinder Singh said, “Instead of arresting the killers, the police has arrested around 35 innocent devotees, including children and old persons.” He called upon the sangat to recognise Jeet Singh as a religious martyr.

Meanwhile, leaders of various political parties have mourned the death of Jeet Singh. Mr Charan Singh Lohara, General Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, Amritsar, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, SAD MLA, and Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, a senior Congress leader, called up the aggrieved family to mourn the death.

The violence occurred on October 11, between the two warring groups, fighting for the hold of control of trust running around 24 ‘thath’s all over the world, and Sihaar ‘thath’ working as mother temples. Nine persons, including three cops were injured, one of whom died yesterday.



Fire Dept at PCS officer’s beck and call
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Even as the local Fire Department claims to suffer from shortage of staff and infrastructure, it has ironically put some of the employees on special duty of supplying water to the house of a PCS officer in South Model Gram colony with the help of fire engines.

The fire engines are doing the “exemplary” service on a special request of the PCS officer. The water pump in his house was reportedly not working and thus the Fire Department was called in to fill up the tanks.

The PCS officer explained that the water was required for religious function in the colony. He claimed that the fire engines had come for a day only, whereas, according to residents they have been supplying water for the past one week.

When the fire office was called up, a fire officer, who did not identify himself, told Ludhiana Tribune that a fire engine was sent for two days to the house of the officer as a faulty water pump had filled the water tank with sand in the house of the officer. The fire engines were used to clear the tanks and the pipes, with air pressure.

However, the Assistant Fire Divisional Fire Officer, Mr R.K. Sharma, had something else to say. He initially completely denied that the water was supplied by the Fire Department. He repeatedly kept saying that no fire engine was sent from the office.

When he was confronted with the fact that Ludhiana Tribune team had the pictures of a fire engine parked outside his house, he said, ‘‘May be my staff had gone their without permission.’’ When asked whether he would take any action against his subordinates or whether the PCS officer would be charged for the service, he hung up the phone.

No such service is available for city residents, many of whom do not get potable water.

The members of the official’s family said they had taken the religious function was organised in front of their house by a committee. It had been organising it for the past 27 years and water was needed for the function. ‘‘As it was a religious matter the official could not say no to organisers. We also did not have any water at home as the water pump had developed a snag,’’ they added.

It was by sheer chance that the Ludhiana Tribune team came across the fire engine parked outside the official’s house. After seeing the fire engine, the team inquired whether there was any fire incident and learnt from the firemen, some cops and residents of the area that the water pump in the official’s house was non-functional. So the fire engines were employed to fill up his water tank. 



28-year-old awaits renal transplant, money
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 3
Tears roll down her face when 25-year-old Poonam, a resident of Aligarh, narrates the sufferings of her 28-year-old husband David R. Lal, who has been ill for some years. His condition has deteriorated in the past four months. Frequent spells of fever and prolonged weakness are now accompanied with vomiting and severe stomach aches.

Poonam took her husband to AMU Medical College, Aligarh, in June in this connection. The consulting doctor informed her that both his kidneys were not functioning properly and he should go to Delhi for treatment. Poonam then took him to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, where he underwent regular dialysis for over a month. The doctors suggested an immediate kidney transplant. David was then taken to the CMCH, Ludhiana.

“My husband has been ill for quite some time and has lost his job in a private firm. Being the only bread-earner in the family I have too look after my old mother-in-law, two children and my ailing husband with Rs 2,000 per month which I earn by teaching in a private school at Aligarh. But for the past four months. I have not been able to go to work. My father helped me with whatever money he had. I also sold my house for Rs 50,000 and came to Delhi and now to Ludhiana to get my husband treated. Since there is nobody to look after my two children and mother-in-law, I have to travel along with my family. I have already spent whatever resources I had. And now doctors say more money is required for the operation”, said Poonam. She added, “There is nobody else to support me. I do not know where to ask for help.”

Dr Basant Pawar, who is treating his husband, said, “David needs a renal transplant, which would enable him to regain health. He requires dialysis thrice a week and with their financial condition his family will not be able to support it for a longer period. His elder sister Delcina Hames is willing to give one of her kidneys to save his life and this is being looked into. Money is a big problem. CMC hospital is offering concessional treatment”.

Those who wish to help David can contact Medical Superintendent’s office or Department of Nephrology, CMCH, Ludhiana. All payments should be made in favour of CMCH with “Treatment of David R. Lal” written on it.



City knitwear exports down by 11 pc
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
“Though the Indian knitwear exports have increased by 15 per cent, as far as Ludhiana is concerned the export levels are down by 11 per cent,” said Mr R.N. Sharma, Senior Director, Apparel Export Promotion Council, addressing mediapersons here today.

The council in collaboration with the National Institute of Fashion Designing, organised a seminar-cum-workshop today. He said the council had 13 regional offices in the country. Earlier, it got all data as all the exporters sent their items through Export Council but due to liberalisation, non- restrained items did not need certification from the Export Council any more.

Mr Sharma said the knitwear items were divided into restrained and non-restrained categories. Non-restrained items could be sent directly. From January to October the export figures of 2003 stood at Rs 515 crore whereas for 2002 for the same period, the figures were 11 per cent more. The figures for 2001 were even higher. The export figures at macro level stood at Rs 17, 138 crore and had registered a gain of 15 per cent, he added.

Asked the reason for downward slide , he said according to his presumptions there was recession in USA. Though China was giving Indians a run for money, Indians were doing well. He said many large units had shifted from Ludhiana to Delhi as they felt they could make better contacts with buyers from there. Hence Ludhiana could be registering lesser exports.

“Seminars-cum-workshops on fashion forecasts are organised twice in a year in summers and winters by the council. This seminar on fashion forecast for autumn/winter 2004 is organised specially for merchandises, coordinators, fashion designers of knitwear and woollen industry of the city so that they know what the latest trends are in Europe and the USA next autumn”, said Mr Sharma,

He said they had tied up with Trend Expert of Peclars, a renowned fashion forecasting agency in Paris along with the Expert of National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, to give the local exporters an idea which fabric, cut and design to be made for the next fall for the USA, Canada and 15 countries of the European Union.

Sabine Lo Chatlier, Fashion Designer, Belgi Tarakcioglu, Retail Designer of Peclars, Paris, along with Prof Asha Baxi, a senior professor at the National Institute of Fashion Technology showed slides of new trends, cuts, fabrics for European men and women. As far as colours were concerned, they predicted more plain, more dense colours with intense pigments and dyes.

Ms Sabine advised the exporters to apply nightlife codes to daytime clothes and to adopt a mysterious chic allure in deep sombre tones. She also told them to emphasise the look of luxury and favour satiny finishes with ultra-matt fabrics.

Sophisticate the autumn palette by blurring colours to create an impression of prolific nature, she advised the designers. To shift and redesign timeless tradition in a relaxed and new vein “use conventional yet spectacular, fabrics, exhibit striking creativity,” she concluded.



Residents up in arms against encroachers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Residents of Rishi Nagar area here are up in arms against encroachers who have usurped a piece of public park to store shuttering material.
They claimed that certain persons were virtually running their shops from the park and were storing material like logs of wood, girders and bricks, etc there.

The residents said the material obstructed public entry into the park. Moreover, the presence of the workers inside the park guarding the material was proving to be a deterrent for women and girls of the area.

A resident said some persons were even keeping their construction material like bricks and sand on the roadsides and selling these to the residents directly.

He added that they had complained to the authorities about the same, but in vain.

‘‘There is no maintenance of the park. Moreover, the encroachers are having a field day. Why would they spend money if they are using public land without any check?" the residents added.



Cong leaders, legislators complain against minister
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Some local Congress leaders, including the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill and legislators, Mr Surinder Dawer and Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, supported by the Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, have opened a front against the Minister for Higher Education, Mr Harnam Dass Johar.

They have reportedly complained to the AICC General Secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, alleging that Mr Johar was defaming the government by openly criticising its policies at a crucial time when the party was preparing for the general elections, scheduled to be held next year.

Ms Kidwai, along with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and several ministers in the Punjab Government were in Phagwara to attend the wedding ceremony of a daughter of the Phillaur MP, Ms Santosh Chaudhary. Several Congress leaders from Ludhiana had also there to attend the ceremony. They reportedly first approached the Chief Minister and then Ms Kidwai, who is learnt to have assured them that the party will take a serious note of the issue and if needed, an explanation will be sought from Mr Johar.

The immediate provocation for the complaint against Mr Johar appears to be his recent outbursts against the functioning of some local departments, including the Municipal Corporation (MC), Ludhiana. While the MC has been claiming that it was providing drinking water to the entire population living within the MC limits, Mr Johar has been disputing the claim, saying there were many localities and colonies which still did not get drinking water.

Mr Johar has been maintaining, much to the chagrin of the local bureaucracy, that the things are not moving at the right pace. He has even gone public in his adverse observations against the functioning of some government departments, including the MC. Since the local Congress is already marred by factionalism, some leaders opposed to Mr Johar are using his public utterances against him before the high command.

However, Mr Johar strongly denied these charges, alleging that this was a part of a deliberate campaign against him to malign his image. He said the government was doing “pretty well” and had won the hearts of people. “But at the same time,” he warned, “We have to take a note of the public expectations as well”. He observed that constructive criticism was a part of the democratic set up and the Congress was a democratic organisation where all voices were heard. He said besides being ministers or legislators, they were also representatives of the public and responsible to the people who had elected them. He said pointing out shortcomings do not amount to criticism or condemnation of the government.

He asserted that officers cannot be let to feel complacent and made to feel that everything had been done and accomplished. While the government had done a commendable job, there was still a long way to go and this had also been admitted by the Chief Minister himself, he added.



More efforts needed to check stubble burning
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 3
Punjab Agricultural University, the Punjab Agriculture Department, the Punjab State Pollution Control Board (PSPCB) and the district administration regularly organise seminars in the urban and rural areas to spread awareness about the disastrous consequences of air-pollution. The agencies involved in controlling the air-pollution caused through the burning of stubbles in the fields by farmers, have not succeeded in their efforts. A thick layer of smoke rising from the burning stubbles on both sides of the roads has become a traffic hazard. The poisonous smoke forms a thick layer in the atmosphere which is also harmful for the birds.

Mr Balbir Singh Jaria, a farmer, has pointed out that farmers burn paddy stubbles to prepare fields for wheat sowing, ignorant of the fact that the urea preserved by the soil is also destroyed. It also affects the fertility of the land. The gram panchayats should be entrusted with the responsibility to create awareness among the farmers in their respective villages. Panchayats should be rewarded for completely containing stubble burning.

Mr Rachhpal Singh,Agriculture Development Officer (Field and Fodder), Animal Husbandry Department, said the paddy straw could be used as a fodder for the animals with urea treatment.

Besides other farmers in the villages Mr Charan Singh, Sarpanch of Rurkee village, and Mr Pritam Singh, advocate of Buddgujran village, have adopted this method.

Mr Arjan Singh Block Agriculture Development Officer, said Punjab Agricultural University had developed “Zero till drill” which cost Rs 14,000. The Punjab Government provided 25 per cent subsidy on it. It was used for sowing wheat in the fields without removing paddy, stubbles.

Doctor Mahesh Jindal says, “Owing to air pollution, naso-bronchial allergies get precipitated in the paddy season. The cause of allergy is burning of husk after harvesting the crop which releases lot of smoke and pollens in the air which pollute the air. The pollutants generally interfere with the normal muco-ciliary action of nose-bronchial region which is necessary for clearing the mucus from the body. Skin infections are very common in this season. Patient complains of itching all over the body which usually disappears few days after the season or if the patient migrates to a pollution-free area.”

“Burning of paddy and wheat stubbles, smoke emission from rolling mills, factories, brick-kilns and vehicles are major causes of air-pollution. Polluted air causes respiratory diseases like bronchial asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer etc. Patients having such problems generally get infected with tuberculosis”, said doctor Raghubir Shukla.



Distorted history product of Aryans: Viyogi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
Prominent historian and scholar Dr Naval Viyogi, who is working on a research project entitled ‘History of the Indigenous People of India’, is being conferred with Dr Ambedkar International Literary Award, 2002, for his book ‘Nagas — the Ancient Rules of India, their Origin and History’. This award has been given by Dr Ambedkar International Mission, Canada.

A public function is being held at Mumbai on December 20 wherein scholars, authors and historians from different countries of the world will participate. Dr Viyogi will be given this prestigious honour. According to a letter received from Canada, this award includes a cash of Rs 2,500, a memento and a certificate.

It is worth mentioning that Dr Viyogi is the first historian who has written history of those neglected people who have been ignored by historians so far. In fact, Dr Viyogi has conducted a research on the history of those native people of India who suffered at the hands of invaders from the north-west and the ruling elite. The Nagas moved from one place to another and their generation reached as far as the South and Assam and are still existing in Jharkhand and Orissa.

In an interview with Ludhiana Tribune, Dr Viyogi said: “Modern historians are distorting History and writing history according to Brahmanical thoughts. No one has bothered to pay attention to the marvellous history of native people . Had we followed the footsteps of our natives, we would not have steeped into poverty. Roots of poverty were laid thousand years ago,” says Dr Naval Viyogi

Dr Viyogi says that he was originally a novelist and a short-story writer. Viyogi has written 10 novels and about 120 short stories and articles. He says,” Though one of my short stories was made into a film titled ‘Waris’, yet I was not happy with the literary work that I was doing. Somehow I was not satisfied with my work. I was greatly troubled by the exsisting poverty. The poverty of my country bothered me endlessly. I wanted to know the root-cause of India’s poverty. So I decided to go deep into history of ancient India to find out the causes.”

Dr Viyogi is not satisfied with the work done by historians. He says, “Although the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is exploring ancient cities and has explored the Indus Valley Civilisation still we need to explore the minds of the people to know their ancient tradition so that historians can write history in the right direction.”

He says that the native people, the Nagas, were great producers of varied products like pottery, weaving, tools and ornaments. Each individual was an adept artisan.The Aryans who came later were non-productive. He says the distorted history is a product of the Aryans who were invaders and ‘barbarians in general’. The Nagas, Dr Viyogi, through a meaningful research have proved that native naga people were highly civilised.

The Nagas, Dr Viyogi says, had highly developed social, religious, economic and political systems. Thus the Nagas were warriors and ideal citizens. Thus they founded the Indus Valley Civilisation, one of the oldest civilisations.

He says that during the Aryan invasion, the Native Nagas were pushed towards the North-East. Their glorious rule of 2500 years ended. Dr Viyogi says that after Aryans the Indians became non-productive. The people developed an attitude of no respect for work. No dignity of labour. Since then this ideology has been followed which is responsible for the poverty. The invaders that came later just exploited us.



Bank union protest against privatisation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
The Punjab Bank Employees Federation (PBEF), Ludhiana unit, held a massive rally in front of the State Bank of Patiala, Millar Ganj, here today. The rally was addressed by Mr Naresh Gaur, secretary, Mr Ashok Awasthi, president, and Mr V.K. Sood, vice-president of the federation.

Addressing the rally, leaders of the PBEF said the banking industry in the country commanded a major portion of people’s savings. Total deposits in bank’s were more than Rs 14 lakh crore. These resources should be utilised for national economic development. Public sector banks were playing a significant role in this regard, however, the government was proposing to privatise these banks, they said. Private banks would only be interested in profit and not people’s welfare, they said, adding that privatisation was not advisable.

They said the real problem in a banking industry was an alarmingly increasing in bad loans, called the non-performing assets (NPAs). It was reported that NPAs in the banks and financial institutions had crossed Rs 1,30,000 crore. Out of this, as of last year, Rs 95,000 crore were constituted by big corporate borrowers of Rs 1 crore and above in just 13,500 accounts. Taking stern action against these defaulters for recovering the loans, the government had launched a scheme called “Buy back of high yielding government securities at market rate”, they added.

The present Securitisation Act had not helped in recovering the bad loans in the banks. Till March 31, 2003, out of total of 28,886 notices served on borrowers of Rs 10,171 crores worth defaults, only Rs 440 crore could be recovered. The Act must further strengthen to cover attachment of personal properties of the defaulters. While the bad loans in the banks were increasing, the figures were camouflaged by reducing the NPAs through debt restructuring and re-scheduling. For the year ending on March 31, 2003, Rs 8,938 crore had been written off, Rs 8984 transferred from the profits of banks towards provisions for bad loans and Rs 11,916 crore of NPAs rescheduled and restructured.

The interest on savings and other deposits had been reduced over the years from 13 per cent to just 6 per cent now. Sixtynine per cent of the total bank deposits come from domestic and household sector and these sections have been adversely affected by a reduction in the rate of interest. This was a serious threat to savings and consequent capital formation besides hitting the common people and middle class sections, which depend upon interest income for their livelihood. The interest on deposits should be increased, they demanded.

The leaders said while the interest rate on loans to corporate and retail sector had been drastically reduced, the interest rate on loans to agriculture and rural sector continued to be high.The interest rates on these loans should also be reduced.

Mr Gaur said the banks were nation building institutions and must remain so. “Banks deal with common people’s money. They must remain under the governments’ control.

The banks were development agencies and privatisation will harm the developmental role of banks, he said. Leaders of the federation expressed firm resolve to fight back against these “offensives” of the government and the government-management combine with other bank unions, central trade unions, and independent trade federations. They announced that the Ludhiana unit of the federation would hold a dharna on November 27.



Employees’ front to hold rally on November 5
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
Protesting against “the anti-employee policies” of the Punjab government, the Democratic Employees Front, Punjab, will hold a rally in front of the Mini Secretariat on November 5.

Stating this in a press note, Mr Jasdev Singh Lalton, convener of the front, said the employees of the Education and Health Departments, Punjab Roadways, Food and Supply Department, Punjab Mandi Board and other government offices would take part in the rally. He further said the members would protest against the decision of the government to hand over the control of education, health and 27 other government departments, boards and corporations to panchayat councils and corporations.

Mr Lalton said the members had also been demanding that the decision on privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), Punjab Roadways, PRTC and other government and semi-government departments be rolled back. The steps on curtailing medical and dearness allowances, reducing leave encashment from 300 to 120 days be reverted, they added.

The employees have also been protesting against the non-fulfilment of their demands such as raising of promotion scale to 4-9-14 and bonus for six years as was mentioned in the election manifesto of the ruling government.



Sabhyachar Akademi to hold seminar on Wanjara Bedic
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
The annual meeting of the Punjabi Sabhyachar Akademi was held at Punjabi Bhavan yesterday under the chairmanship of Dr S.N. Sewak. The annual report was presented by Dr Gulzar Pandher, general secretary, and the financial report by Mr Gursharan Singh Narula, finance secretary. Members said the akademi should function more effectively and organise seminars and cultural programmes frequently.

It was decided that a seminar on the contributions of eminent Punjabi writer and researcher Wanjara Bedi should be held in the Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Model Town, in the second week of November. Ms Gursharan Kaur and Ms Prabhjot Kaur were made joint conveners for organising the seminar. A painting workshop will also be organised by the akademi this year. Mr Karamjit Singh Aujla will make arrangements for the workshop.

It was also decided to involve young college students in activities of the akademi. The members said programmes on TV channels, under the garb folk music were not being conceived properly. There was too much vulgarity in most of these programmes, they said, adding that necessary steps were required to educate people against such programmes and restore the glory of the Punjabi culture by organising parallel events of folk music and dances. Mr Jasmer Singh Dhat and Ms Randeep Kandola were assigned the responsibility of organising such programmes.

The following were elected office-bearers for the next session at this meeting: president — Dr S.N. Sewak, senior vice-president — Mr Daljit Singh Jassal, vice-president — Mr Jasmer Singh Dhat; general secretary — Mr Gurdeep Pandher; joint secretary — Mr Pavittar Singh Sandhu; finance secretary — Mr Gursharan Singh Narula and publicity secretary — Dr Ravinder Pal Singh Kang. Dr Gulzar Pandher was elected secretary (drama) — Ms Gursharan Kaur, secretary (arts), Mr Karamjit Singh Aujla secretary (music) — Ms Harminder Kaur, secretary (folklore) and Ms Randeep Chahal Kandola.

It was also unanimously agreed that Dr S.S. Johal would continue to be the chief adviser and Principal Prem Singh will act as coordinator for the academic and cultural activities.



Club donates school uniforms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
The Pranayam and Laughing Club distributed uniforms to 61 students of government-aided schools at a function held at the mini Rose Garden here yesterday.

Stating this in a press note, Mr G.L. Brara, chairman, announced that the club had also decided to continue paying scholarships to six orphans studying in government schools here. On the occasion he gave them Rs 600 as scholarships. Besides, copies and sweets were distributed among students.

Mr Brara thanked all donors who had been helping them raise funds for social causes. He said in the past one year the club had raised Rs 1 lakh for helping students overcome financial constraints and continue with their studies.

Mr Satpal Gosain, former Deputy Speaker, was the chief guest.



Girl abducted from bus stand
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
Sakshi, an one-year-old girl in Ayali Kalan village, near here, was abducted from the general bus stand here yesterday morning by some unidentified women when her parents were waiting for a bus.

The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 365 of the IPC on a statement of Ms Seema, mother of the girl. The police said today that it was clueless about the crime.

Two killed: The division number 6 police has registered a case under Sections 279,337 and 304-A of the IPC on a statement of Mr Harbans Singh, a resident of Sangrur district, against Bahadur Singh, a resident of Dhaipai village, falling under the Sudhar police station. The complainant alleged that the accused, who was driving a truck, had hit his tractor, being driven by Chand Singh. As a result, Chand Singh fell down and died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.

The Focal Point police also registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on a statement of Mr Jagdish Kumar Sharma, a resident of the New Dana mandi, Salem Tabri, against Baljit Singh, a resident of Model Town. The complainant had alleged that the accused, who was driving a motorcycle, had hit an unknown person who died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.

Assaulted: The division number 4 police has registered a case under Sections 324, 323, 354, 297, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Vinay Kumar, a resident of Kalyan Nagar, against Neeraj Kumar, a resident of the same locality, and three other unknown persons accompanying him. The complainant had alleged that the accused had beaten him up and injured him. The accused also threatened him, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

Money snatched: The Haibowal police has registered a case under Section 356 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Gobind Keshav, a resident of Basant Vihar on the Noorwala road, against an unknown person who snatched a mobile phone and Rs 1,200 from him on Saturday night while he was going on the Chuharpur Road. No arrest has been made so far.

Stolen: The Sahnewal police has registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Narinder Singh, a resident of Guru Nanak Nagar, Patiala, against an unknown person who stole two briefcases and two hand bags from his car on Sunday. No arrest has been made so far.

Forgery: The division number 7 police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 465, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on a statement of Mr Bharat Bhushan, a resident of Baba Nand Singh Colony , Mundian Kalan, against Ashok Kumar, a resident of Harinder Nagar near the Samrala chowk. The complainant had alleged that the accused had taken possession of his plot on the basis of forged documents. No arrest has been made so far.

Fraud alleged: The Sahnewal police has registered a case under Sections 408,468 and 471 of the IPC on a statement of the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, against Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Sahnewal, an octroi clerk. The complainant had stated that the accused had embezzled a sum of Rs 40,700 by manipulating octroi records. No arrest has been made so far.



Chamber flays steel price hike
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, today flayed the steep hike in steel prices and lashed out at the government for its failure on this front despite strong protests from industrialists.

Mr P.D. Sharma, President, of the chamber, said the industrialists had been raising a hue and cry over the hike in steel prices and seeking ban on export of steel to China but the government could not do anything. The delegations of the industrialists even met the Prime Minister and the Steel Minister also visited Punjab. Mr Sharma alleged that the government had given financial package to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore to three steel producers whereas some of the defaulting units deserved prosecution rather than any financial help.

Criticising the export of steel, Mr Sharma said the government had failed to stop the export of steel despite the fact that this was the major cause for the steep hike in the steel prices. The steel producers were exporting steel at cheaper rates. These steel exporters were also being given a benefit of Rs 3,000 a tonne from the state exchequer.

He revealed that the India's export of steel to China was just 10,000 tonne a year ago which had now risen to 1.5 million tonne now.

The USA, he said had warned the Indian steel producers against export of steel to China. Mr Sharma cautioned that the steel producers were again trying to raise the steel prices although international prices had gone down. The steel producers were taking untenable logic to justify the hikes.

He disclosed that the ‘Ispat’ industry which suffered a loss of Rs 423.36 crore in 2002 had earned a profit of Rs 153.96 crore in June 2003. During the same period, SAIL earned a profit of Rs 259.24 crore. On the other hand the profit of Tata steel had gone up from Rs 248.58 crore to 1215.17 crore in the same period. Similarly the general index of the BSE also rose from 100 to about 140 between January and October. The steel index went up from 100 to about 300 during the same period.

The chamber President pointed out that mere removal of certain restrictions on steel would not serve any purpose with high protection being provided to steel producers. Moreover the import of steel would not be viable with 31 per cent import duty on it. Centre had entered into free trade agreement with Thailand. The users had also taken up this matter with the government that the Indian automobile manufacturers would be wiped out as Thailand manufacturers would get cheaper steel imports where duty was 10 per cent and in some cases it was duty-free.

Mr Sharma said secondary steel producers of steel were also maintaining high prices of steel as ordinary steel rounds were sold between Rs 18,500 to 19,000 per tonne. The secondary steel producers were getting sponge iron at very exorbitant prices. The sponge iron producers should be disciplined, he pleaded.



Stress laid on service industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
Mr Harpal Singh, Managing Director of Fortis Healthcare, gave a talk on “Opportunities in service industry and how different it was from product-based industry and trade” to the members of Rotary Midtown in Park Plaza at a meeting of Rotarians held yesterday.

Addressing the members, he laid emphasis on the growing importance of the service industry in India and other countries. He strongly felt that India had a significant edge over other countries for having highly trained and qualified manpower.

He said, “Already the entire world was taking a serious note of the growing significance of Indian professionals in software, education, health and management, and contribution of these services was adding fast to the overall prosperity and economy of the nations”. There were plans to tie up with National Health Services of the UK and treat British patients in selected corporate hospitals in India, he added.

He motivated city businessmen to shift their focus from product-based industry to the service sector which had a great future, where human talent ,not the machine was the most significant investment.


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