L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Maintain peace or face action, police tells
warring groups
Two get judicial remand in dera case
Kanchan Vasdev and Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

Siahar, January 3
The Khanna police today warned the warring factions of the Nanaksar Ashram Trust here to maintain law and order or face strong action even as tension built up further in the village following reports that Baba Harnek Singh, head of the reigning group, would visit the place shortly.

Khanna SSP Parmod Ban today rebutted allegations that the police was working under political pressure in the case. He said Section 144, CrPC, would be implemented in the area to maintain peace. He said the police was increasing its presence in the area to maintain law and order.

Highly-placed police sources said two more companies of the police would be deployed at the village tomorrow. Even today the religious place wore a cantonment-like look with heavy police force around.

Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the control of ‘thath’ took a new turn with supporters of Baba Harnek Singh urging upon the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, to intervene in the matter.

Only recently the name of Mr Buta Singh, former Union Home Minister, was doing rounds as it was being alleged that he was favouring the Baba Mann Singh camp. The supporters of Baba Harnek Singh had been alleging that there was pressure on the police from the top and so it was harassing supporters of Baba Harnek Singh.

The trustee of Nanaksar Ashram Trust, Gobinder Singh, and sewadar, Harbhajan Singh, who were arrested yesterday, were remanded in judicial custody till January 16. The police had yesterday denied their arrest

Talking to the Tribune at the ashram here today, Mr Jagdev Singh Aandloo said they had decided to contact Mr Advani in this regard.

He added that they had decided to launch an agitation against the administration shortly. The course of next action would be disclosed to the media soon. He added that they would not budge from their stand and were still willing to give 2 acres to the supporters of Baba Mann Singh. He added that as per the court orders they could claim only this much of land and by asking for more they were guilty of contempt of court.

Supporters of Baba Mann Singh said the police had arrested only one of the three accused in the murder case.

The first clash had taken place on October 11 between the two warring groups fighting for the hold of control of trust. Nine persons, including three cops were injured, one of whom died on December 25. Thirtyfive persons having alliance with the Mann Singh faction were arrested and later released on bail. A case of attempt to murder was registered against 43 persons.

The villagers are demanding the control of the dera to be given to Baba Mann Singh. The other group headed by Baba Harnek Singh is opposing this as late Sant Meehan Singh had given his “gaddi” to him and not to his sons about a decade ago.

The control of the dera would provide the beneficiary hold over about 7,000 acres in Canada, besides thousands of acres in Punjab and elsewhere in India. At present Swami Kanwaljit (in charge of the Asian group), Mann Singh, Govinder Singh , Surjit Singh Jodhan are members of the trust headed by Baba Harnek Singh.

Both groups level allegations and counter-allegations against each other. While villagers accused Baba Harnek Singh of misconduct, including drinking, the three sons are being accused of trying to grab the property of the dera.


Students hold Pulse Polio rally
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 3
To motivate people for the Pulse Polio campaign, the district health administration, led by Dr S.N. Tiwari, organised a rally of students here today. Pulse Polio drops are to be administered to all children up to the age of five on January 4 and January 22 all over the country.

More than 200 students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Cemetery Road, commenced the march from the Civil Surgeon’s office. The march was flagged off by Dr Tiwari.

Schoolchildren, carrying placards with messages regarding elimination of polio and asking city residents to bring their children for administering polio drops to them at their nearest health centres on both days, passed through Court Road, Dandi Swami Chowk, Prince Hostel before concluding the march on the school premises.

Besides schoolteachers, officials of the Health Department and functionaries of the District Chemists Association, Dr Gursharan Singh, president, district unit of the Indian Medical Association, and Ms Surinder Kaur, Principal of the school, were present on the occasion.

Jagraon: Thirtythree booths are being set up along with three mobile booths for administering Pulse Polio drops to about 10,200 children in this town on January 4 from 8.30 am to 4.00 pm , said Dr Balbir Singh, SMO, Civil Hospital. The local Rotary Club will also render its services during the campaign.

Amloh: Nine camps and a mobile team have been set up in the town to administer polio drops on January 4 to children, said Dr Avtar Singh Bhullar, Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Amloh. Arrangements have been made to administer polio drops to 2,500 children in different wards of the town. Mr Mahesh Kumar Jindal, Medical Officer, has been appointed nodal officer for this campaign.

The Manav Bhalai Manch and the Sangmeshwar Sewa Dal have extended cooperation to the campaign. 


Cop suspended in spat with VIP wards reinstated
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 3
The state police has reinstated a former Sarabha Nagar SHO, Inspector Sandeep Wadehra, who was under suspension for more than the past three months following a bitter controversy between him and Congress minister Malkiat Singh Birmi over the alleged misbehaviour of the politician's son with the police official.

Mr Wadehra has been transferred to the Khanna police district.

Even though the magisterial probe into the incident being conducted by Mr Malwinder Singh Jaggi, GA to the Deputy Commissioner, is yet to be submitted, the orders came after the inspector got a reprieve following an internal probe conducted by the local SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, which gave him a clean chit.

Police sources revealed that the reinstatement order was issued by the Range DIG, Mr Sidharth Chattopadhaya, after the SSP submitted his report.

The report by the SSP said the cop was only doing is duty and had acted in order to maintain the dignity of the police uniform. Mr Birmi had knocked the doors of the Chief Minister's office for action against the cop.

Mr Chattopadhaya confirmed that the cop had been reinstated pending inquiry. He had completed three months under suspension and could be reinstated under the rules.

The alleged incident took place in early October when a son of a Congress municipal councillor had a tiff with the cop over the issue of checking the documents of a vehicle. The youth allegedly called the cop a "policia," at which the cop allegedly slapped him.

Later, Mr Birmi's son had an argument with the cop at Sarabha Nagar police station.

The issue had remained sensitive since then and the magisterial probe was also not completed all these months.

This week the case saw new developments. Mr Birmi, who was a prominent dissident leader, joined the Amarinder camp and now the inspector has been reinstated.

Ludhiana Tribune had carried a detailed report about the political pressure working in the case early this week.


CM has no control over admn: CPI-M
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 3
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has taken exception to the working of the police and bureaucracy in the state with regard to the recent development in the state which saw the shifting of Mr A.P. Pandey, Chief of Vigilance Bureau. The party was confident that the government, led by Capt Amarinder Singh, had no control over the administration.

Mr Kuldip Singh, state committee member of the party, said in a statement here today that it was surprising that the Chief Minister, who also headed the Home Affairs Department, had no knowledge of a case against his Cabinet colleague, Tej Parkash Singh, and that the complaint had been referred to the Chandigarh Police without any verification. “Mere shifting of Mr Pandey is not sufficient and the officer, if found guilty, should be dealt with according to the law.” If this is the state of affairs with a Cabinet Minister then what would happen to the common man, he wondered.

The party functionary further said the handling of the Daler Mehndi case reflected the inaptitude and vindictiveness of the police. Contradictory statements by former SSP and present district police chief smell of something fishy in the whole episode for which a thorough enquiry ought to be done. “Similarly, premature, compulsory retirement is no solution in case of tainted policemen like Shamsher Singh Guddu, who is said to have been granted further extension in service. Such police officers should be prosecuted and departmental action taken against them.”

The CPI-M expressed concern over the alleged involvement of Chief Minister’s son, Raninder Singh, in the foreign currency case while demanding an independent high-level inquiry. Mr Kuldip Singh said the government should not accord any preferential treatment to the Chief Minister’s son and he should be dealt with in the same manner as other accused persons. The Chief Minister should not adopt double standards if he considered himself to be honest, the statement added.


Support for Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 3
The Shiv Sena, Hindustan, has decided to play an active role in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The decision was taken at its Fatehgarh Sahib district meeting, chaired by its vice-president, Vaid Amarjeet Sharma, here yesterday. The meeting supported Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in his campaign against corruption. It appealed to the people to back him in his efforts.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr Baljit Singh Pesi, Mr Purshottam Giri, Mr Harpreet Lalli, Mr Kumar Gaurav, Mr Kamaljit Puri, Mr Inderjit Garg and Mr Prince Kumar.


Khalsa Panchayat condemns Badals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 3
The Khalsa Panchayat, Ludhiana, has flayed the attempts of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family members to call the action against them on corruption charges as an attack on the Panth.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Nimana, a panch of the outfit, today alleged it was common knowledge that no work had been done on merit and all posts were filled after taking hefty bribes. Transfers had also been carried out for "extraneous considerations" during the Akali regime, he said.

Mr Nimana alleged that the Badals' call to the masses to give a befitting reply to the Congress was to divert the attention of the people from their actions. He said the Badals' claim that the Panth was in danger was ridiculous as the Panth could not be under threat because of the alleged illegal acts of one family.


Industry upset over move to split PSEB
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 3
Industrial associations here have flayed the government move to convert the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) into separate companies for generation, transmission and distribution of power under the Electricity Act 2003.

In a joint statement the industry leaders observed that states like Haryana, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, which had already taken similar steps, had failed to have the desired results. Moreover, the government was being secretive about the whole thing.

The representatives of industry wanted that rather than being disbanded the PSEB management should be told to put its house in order with steps like pruning of surplus staff, making its functionaries accountable and bringing more efficiency in power generation, transmission and distribution. “It is high time that the PSEB management, engineers and other staff members rise to the occasion by putting in a better performance and blocking the government move to convert it into separate corporations, which in the long run will prove detrimental to the interests of both employees and consumers.”

They also called upon the government to make the plan public. Those who signed the statement included Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Federation and Tiny and Small Industries of India, Mr Harminder Singh, general secretary, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Vinod Dhall, general secretary, Focal Point Association, Mr Rajan Gupta, general secretary, Ludhiana Electroplaters Association, Mr Manmohan Singh Ubhi, vice-president, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, president, Focal Point, Phase IV-A Association, and Mr Jaswant Singh Birdi, general secretary, Cycle Trade Union.


Union flays PSEB privatisation move
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 3
The Workers Federation (INTUC) of the Panjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has flayed the move of the government to privatise the board. It has appealed to the authorities to discuss the matter with employees so that ways to pull the board out of the red could be worked out.

Mr Swarn Singh, president of the federation, said during the past few months the employees had worked with great zeal to reduce the losses of Rs 1,860 crore, which were a result of certain populist and financially unsound measures of the previous government. Now the deficit was around Rs 200 crore, he claimed, adding that this loss would be covered by March 31. He alleged that certain vested interests were bent upon destroying the board and bureaucracy was planning to convert the PSEB into different corporations.

The union leader added that the employees would not tolerate the policy of compulsory retirement to reduce the work force. The move, he said, would be opposed on every front.

The federation also expressed solidarity with farmers. He condemned the police for registering “false cases” against them and requested the government to initiate a dialogue and accept genuine demands of the farmers. Others who addressed the meeting included Mr B.K. Bhagi, Mr Pawan Singh Wadehra from Patiala, Mr Lal Chand from Mansa, Mr Balbir Singh Brar from Bathinda, Mr Shashi Paul Rana from Hoshiarpur, Mr Parminder Singh Chadha, Mr Kaur Chand and Mr Premraj Tiwari.


PSEB staff hold rally
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 3
Around 200 employees of the PSEB Employees Federation (AITUC) and the JE Council organised a protest rally in front of the sub-divisional office of the board here today.

Addressing the rally, union leaders Darshan Singh, Kesar Singh, Paramjit Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Jagdish Singh Rana, Jit Singh and Karamchand, were critical of the government, which plans to divide the board into corporations. They said it would harm the interests of both the employees as well as consumers.

They said the employees would face retrenchment whereas consumers would have to pay more for power. The poor would be the worst hit and farmers would have to pay higher rates for the units consumed by them for agricultural purposes, they contended.


Nagar kirtans mark Gurpurb
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 3
Students of Guru Gobind Singh Public School, Model Town Extension, participated in a nagar kirtan organised to mark the aagman purab of Guru Gobind Singh. The nagar kirtan started from Gurdwara Guru Singh Sabha, Model Town Extension. The students were dressed as Panj Piaras and nishanchees.

Small kids raised slogans in praise of Guru Gobind Singh. They recited shabads on the way. The chairman of the school, Mr Avtaar Singh Makkar, and Principal, Ms Manjit Kaur, told the students about the life and teachings of Guru Gobind Singh and asked them to imbibe in them the principles of the social, cultural, religious and moral ethics taught by all Gurus.

Keeping these views in mind and taking stock of the increasing number of students and to provide them with hi-tech modern facilities, the school will soon be shifted to its new and spacious building at Dad, Pakhowal Road, Ludhiana.

Nagar kirtan

Gurdwara Nanaksar, Basti Jodhewal, took out a nagar kirtan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. Students and residents of the area joined the kirtan and went around Sunder Nagar and adjoining areas. The devotees sang shabads.

Shoes distributed

Maa Bhagwati Club located on Dandi Swami Chowk distributed 50 pairs of shoes to the needy students of Government Elementary School, Alohwal, Government High School, Ladowal, and Government Primary Govt School, Sholay, said Mr Ashwani sikka, president of the club.

Gurpurb celebrated

Students of Gupta Model School celebrated the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh at their school. The path of Sukhmani Sahib was recited to celebrate the forthcoming birthday of Guru Gobind Singh.

The staff and teachers from other educational institutions participated in the path. Kirtan was performed and later a langar was served.


School celebrates Gurpurb
Our Correspondent

Schoolchildren meditate during Gurpurb celebrations at Sanatan Dharam Vidya Mandir SS School in Ludhiana on Saturday.
Schoolchildren meditate during Gurpurb celebrations at Sanatan Dharam Vidya Mandir SS School in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 3
Sanatan Dharam Vidya Mandir SS School celebrated the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh here today. Schoolchildren recited the shabad “Wao-Wao Gobind Singh, Aape Gur Chaila”.

The school Principal, Ms Sadhana Sharma, highlighted the teachings of the Guru. She said Guru Gobind Singh had sacrificed his family for humanity. She said the Guru also founded “Khalsa Panth” — the right path. She added that he was not only a saint but also a fearless and brave soldier.

The students meditated on the hymn, which was chanted by Anandmurti Guru Ma.

Mr C.L. Sachdeva, manager, and Mr P.C. Gupta, president of the school, gave parshad to the gathering.


Nagar kirtan taken out
Tribune News Service

Kids form part of a nagar kirtan taken out in connection with Gurpurb in Ludhiana on Saturday.
Kids form part of a nagar kirtan taken out in connection with Gurpurb in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Photo by IV

Ludhiana, January 3
A nagar kirtan was taken out from Gurdwara Kalgidhar in Field Ganj through the old city in connection with Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary here this evening. A large number of religious organisations, managing committees of gurdwaras, social service groups, shopkeepers’ associations and the traffic police contributed to make it a success.

The nagar kirtan, led by the Panj Piaras, started from Gurdwara Kalgidhar Singh Sabha in the afternoon and covered Jail Road, Field Ganj, the Jagraon bridge, Ghanta Ghar Chowk , Ghaas Mandi, Chauri Sarak, CMC Chowk, Old Civil Hospital and Brown Road before culminating at the starting point. The Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle sent a van carrying anti-drug and anti-tobacco messages.

Another kirtan started from Mai Nang Kaur Gurdwara in Ghumar Mandi.


Workshop on self-management today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 3
Swami Anand Vairagyayji, who has been giving guidelines on living life blissfully for the past more than three decades, will conduct a workshop on managing the self for good health and work efficiency at Vardhman Training and Development Centre here tomorrow.

This was stated here today in a press note by Mr D.K. Sindwani, Chief Executive, Vardhman Special Steels, who is coordinating this workshop. He said the workshop to be held from 10.45 am to 1.00 pm, would be attended among others by senior managers and executives of the Vardhman group.

Explaining the relevance of the subject, he said, “The only thing which is constant in our lives is change. With the rapid changes taking place in the economy, technology and work environment around us, it is becoming increasingly difficult for any individual, whether a professional manager or an entrepreneur, to keep track of and cope with such changes and deliver the desired results.”


Lok Bhalai Party launches poll campaign
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 3
Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president of Lok Bhalai Party, has launched a campaign in villages in view of the forthcoming elections.

Mr Ramoowalia along with Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Paramjit Singh Sidhwan , vice-president and, general secretary, of the party, and other party workers visited Jaipura, Araichan, Katana Sahib, Rampur , Begowal, Chankoian Khurd, Chankoian Kalan, Ghaloti , Doraha, Maksoodra and Ghudani villages and put forth the policies of his party in front of the villagers. He condemned the Akali and Congress for playing the game of “favouratism” and keeping personal motives above state interests.

Mr Ramoowalia said, “Both SAD and Congress governments have added to the woes of the people and have been busy in their private affairs”.

“Now when the people are aware of the performance of these political parties we want that you should give us a chance to prove our worth,” Mr Ramoowalia said. Meanwhile, the campaign was in full swing as he along with his supporters walked down the streets of different villages and Doraha town. Mr Ramoowalia was garlanded at different places in Doraha and nearly villages. 


Minibus scheme a non-starter
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 3
The dream of residents of Ludhiana to have a cleaner city might remain just that. The ambitious scheme of the district administration, to replace auto-rickshaws, has failed to take off. Even after issuing permits to transporters, no mini buses can be seen plying on roads.

The plan to cut down pollution levels in the city, caused mainly due to the auto-rickshaws, was mooted by the former Deputy Commissioner, who was also the Regional Transport Authority for Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Aggarwal.

The declaration came as a whiff of fresh air for the residents, who have seen the levels of pollution rise during the past years. Moreover, the scheme also looked promising to check the ever increasing traffic on the roads.

But the delay in launching the scheme is making the residents loose hope. They agree that the scheme has brought a new hope, but at the same time argue that many such plans mooted in the past have not been transformed into reality.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, had given a time limit to the transporters, which has now lapsed. “We cannot be strict with them. Some buses have started plying. But the transporters have not start new ones. Maybe they did not find the proposal viable. We cannot force them to start the buses as they have to spend lakhs of rupees and if it proves to be a non-profitable business we cannot do anything,” he added.

The district administration had issued permits to 69 persons for 20 routes during the first phase of the local transport system in the November end. The Deputy Commissioner had stated that the long awaited local bus service would start operating on all major roads in the city, positively in January 2003. But even a year after, the scheme has proved to be a non-starter.

He had argued that the city had witnessed phenomenal growth in the recent past but lacked a mass transport system. This resulted in increased air pollution, traffic congestion and endangered public safety.

It may be mentioned that there are about 20,000 auto-rickshaws plying within Ludhiana city, which are a major source of air pollution and traffic congestion. On an average, an auto-rickshaw carries not more than five people. 


Society donates uniforms to students
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 3
The Shubh Karman Manav Sewa Society gave uniforms and sweaters to needy students of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Thareeke. Mr Harchand Singh, Principal of Kirpa Nidhan Public School, distributed these among the students.

Mr Amrit Pal Singh and Dr H. S. Sethi, chairman and joint secretary of the society, respectively, said the society regularly organised medical camps in schools. Till now more than 100 such camps had been organised in various schools and villages, they added.

The society was also creating awareness about eyes and blood donation. Informative literature, regarding the process involved in eye donation, was also distributed among students. He said there were many misconceptions among people regarding the process. It adopted handicapped and orphan children for giving them education. It was also planning to construct an old-age home and an orphanage.


Three booked in rape case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 3
On a statement of Ms Neelam, a resident of New Sant Nagar, Haibowal Kalan, the Division No 2 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 376, 316, 323, 341, 342, 328 and 506 of the IPC against Sanjay Garg, Darshna Rani and Balraj Garg, residents of Murad Pura. The complainant had stated that she and Sanjay Garg worked together in a private firm and they developed illicit relations. When she got pregnant, Sanjay Garg persuaded her to undergo abortion. On December 12, he called her to his house, raped her, bet her up and locked her in a room. No arrest has been made so far.

Hosiery material recovered

The Division No 6 police yesterday registered a case under Section 411 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Lalit Beri, manager of an industrial unit located in the Industrial Area-A, against Vivek Gupta, alias Surinder Kumar Gupta, a resident of Ganesh Nagar on Gill Road. The police said today that the suspect was arrested and 17 knots of hosiery raw material, which had been stolen from the industrial unit, were recovered from his possession.

Theft case registered

The Sahnewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Sukwinder Singh of Tibba village, against unknown person(s) who broke the grill of his brother’s shop on Dehlon Road and stole five mobile phone sets, three tape recorders and Rs 1,000.

Gypsy driver booked

The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Hari Pathak, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against Gurcharan Singh, a resident of the same area. The complainant had stated that the suspect, who was driving a Gypsy, hit him near the locality’s gurdwara on the night of December 31 as a result of which his right leg was broken. No arrest has been made so far.

Two arrested with knives

The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday arrested Raj Kumar, alias Raju, a migrant from UP now living near the local railway station, seized a knife from his possession and booked him under the Arms Act.

The Sahnewal police arrested Joginder Parshad, a migrant from Bihar, from Jhabewal village yesterday, seized a knife from his possession and booked him under the Arms Act.

Liquor seized

The Sadar police yesterday arrested Kulbir Singh, a resident of Nawan Rajja Pur village, seized more than five bottles of illicit liquor from his possession.


Pirated VCDs seized, one held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 3
The local police has seized 382 pirated VCDs and arrested one person in this connection. According to information, Head Constable Baldev Singh got a tip-off that Vijay Kumar of Cheena Video Centre and Baljit Singh Jassal of Vijay Nagar had pirated VCDs in their possession.

Following this, ASI Raminderjit Singh, in charge, PP bus stand, registered a case under Sections 52, 52-A, 62, 68-A of the Copy Rights Act and raided their premises. As many as 382 VCDs, including 31 of latest film “LOC Kargil”, were seized from Baljit Singh. Vijay Kumar, however, managed to flee.


HDFC launches insurance, pension plans
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 3
HDFC Standard Life launched two new plans, HDFC Unit Linked Endowment Plan and HDFC Unit Linked Pension Plan, yesterday. The plans can be structured according to an individual's specific needs. The endowment plan will help an individual grow his savings in the long term, while providing ongoing risk cover, and the pension plan will help him accumulate a corpus for post-retirement life.

These plans are targeted at individuals who want to make their own investment choice while choosing insurance and pension plans. Moreover, the flexibility of increasing premium contributions in an existing account will be of particular help to the unorganised segment of the market in managing cash flows. Commenting on the new plans, Mr Maninder Sood, Branch Manager, said, “With this launch we have a complete range of solutions to offer to customers. The unit linked plans will offer a choice of investment options to customers.”

The company is confident of delivering good long-term investment returns to its policy holders. The company has a good track record in managing funds and declared three consecutive bonuses in the past three years on its “with profit” products.

The competitive charging structure for the newly launched unit linked plans is one of the lowest in the market and will help in delivering better long-term returns to policy holders. 


Steel consumers’ SOS to PM on prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 3
Panicked at the alarming rise in steel prices consumers, particularly those belonging to the small-scale sector, have sent an SOS to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, seeking his intervention to control the prices. They warned that the alarming rate at which steel prices were increasing would not only lead to the closure of the industrial units but also lead to unemployment.

The SOS to the PM from the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India stated that the steel cartel comprising five top steel manufacturers in the country had created an artificial shortage of steel. They pointed out that they were exporting steel to China when the domestic industry facing a shortage. And even if it was supplied to the domestic sector it was at a high rate.

It further stated that the iron and steel was being exported to China at an average rate of Rs 15,000 per tonne while the same was being supplied to the domestic consumers at Rs 22,000 per tonne. The federation observed that, “it appears that the government is looking after the interests of major steel producers by keeping the customs duty high and putting restrictions on the import of steel from countries where it is available at cheaper rates”.

The federation has sought that the customs duty on prime material should be brought down to 10 per cent as recommended by the Kelkar Committee and on defective materials be brought down to 5 per cent. They also sought a ban on export of iron and steel and iron ore withdrawal of incentives on export of iron and steel, reserving 50 to 60 per cent iron and steel for meeting the demand of tiny and small scale sector and withdrawal of tax at source for steel scrap.


Knit Vision evokes good response
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 3
Knit Vision 2004, an exhibition of knitting, sewing, embroidery, dyeing, finishing, cutting, machinery and other accessories, being organised by Mr Satish Sharma, is drawing good response from public.

The exhibition, inaugurated by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, here yesterday, will continue till January 5. Mr Sharma said various products related to the knitwear and hosiery industry had been displayed in the exhibition.

The exhibition has become a regular feature of the knitwear industry in which latest machinery and other accessories are showcased. Mr Sharma said the exhibition served the purpose of industrialists as they could fulfill their requirements at the doorstep. The participants are both from within the country and abroad. Since Ludhiana is the centre of hosiery and knitwear industry, the machinery used in the field is in good demand here. 

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