L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cycle industry up in arms against ‘labour mafia’
Constitutes ‘hathi brigade’ to check vested interests
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
Annoyed at the growing incidents of labour strikes, which have even led to violence, the cycle industry owners have decided to constitute a ‘hathi brigade’ to check “unscrupulous elements and vested interests” who in the name of trade unionism were allegedly trying to intimidate them and holding the industry, to ransom.

After labour unrest at Hero Cycles, Bhogal Sons and Nova Cycles (a sister concern of Avon Cycles) a few days back, the cycle industry apprehends that some vested interests are trying to bully it. It has decided to take counter measures of its own.

Stating this here today, Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, told Chandigarh Tribune that during the past four months they had noticed a pattern in labour strikes. “Each strike targeted the leading manufacturing unit in a set pattern”, he alleged, while adding that the association would soon expose people responsible for it.

Mr Kapoor said although they were getting due cooperation from the police, the administration and political parties were quite indifferent to their concern. He said the association apprehended that some politicians belonging to the ruling party were behind the strike and were abetting workers against management.

He said the government did not appear to be sincere and serious about their problem. He pointed out that despite the fact the issue had been brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who had asked the district administration to ensure that the issue was resolved within 48 hours, no action had been taken.

Mr Kapoor said the industry was already reeling under severe pressure due to increase in steel prices and now the labour problem was further complicating the matter. He said all units were paying wages and other incentives strictly according to law. In certain cases the workers were even getting more than what was legally specified, he added.

The association alleged that a trade union leader was instigating workers by giving them false allurements. Those who were not willing to go on strike were being intimidated, Mr Kapoor said, adding that some of the workers had even been asked to surrender their identity cards. “This is clear bullying which cannot be allowed”, he warned, while making it clear that they would not allow anyone to hold the industry to ransom.

Meanwhile, Mr Badish K Jindal, general secretary of the Wire Drawing Federation of Punjab, observed the latest spurt in strikes in the cycle industry showed that “labour mafia is ready to hit the industry in Punjab”. He demanded that adequate steps needed to be taken to nip this evil in the bud. 



Heavy rain lashes Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
Heavy rains lashed Ludhiana today. While the mild showers started around noon, these increased during the day. The heavy downpour continued till the evening. This also brought down the temperature below the normal, forcing people to stay indoors.

On the other hand, weather experts maintained that the weather would remain cloudy with a mild drizzle to heavy downpour during the next 24 hours. The temperature is likely to remain below normal with cold winds continuing to blow in the region.

The severe cold has affected the normal life in the city. There was no rush on the roads. Even the offices, schools and banks witnessed low attendance. There was not even 25 per cent of the normal rush of customers in the banks.

The cold weather has brought fresh hopes for the hosiery and woollen dealers. The weather experts said that intermittent rain is likely to continue for the next 24 hours.



Jail guards stage dharna
Level corruption charges against officials
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
The Jail Guards Association of Central Jail launched an agitation here today against the jail authorities for transferring a senior leader of the association to Ferozepore Jail. Though the strike began on this issue only, the agitation took form of a major controversy as the association levelled charges of corruption and mismanagement against the jail authorities.

The jail guards began the agitation with a two-hour-long dharna on the jail premises this afternoon. Mr Surjit Singh Penta, president of the State Jail Guards Association, said the daily dharnas would continue till the authorities revoked the transfer order of Mr Jagdish Singh Sareen, circle president and press secretary of the State Jail Guards Association.

He claimed that Mr Sareen was transferred because a Deputy Superintendent of the Jail, Mr Sardul Singh, had some personal enmity with him. He claimed that the association leader had demanded a day's leave which was denied causing an argument between the two.

Mr Sardul Singh, however, said the transfer order was made purely on administrative grounds. He said the order was issued by the ADGP (Prisons), Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, and the local authorities had no right to revoke it.

The guards' association said it had not stopped the official from discharging his duties as it did not want the jail work to suffer but, at the same time, stressed that the dharnas would continue till the transfer order was cancelled. Mr Penta said only those guards having off-work hours were sitting on dharna as the guards understand their responsibilities also.

A three-page signed statement by the association suggested that the acrimony between the guards and the jail officials had been brewing for the past several months, including alleged corruption by the officials. The association alleged that the jail officials were renting out rooms meant for the jail guards to influential inmates on a premium, besides helping some in getting admission in Civil Hospital as patients. They had also charged the officials with negligence of sick patients causing some deaths. When asked why the association was silent on these charges till now, Mr Penta said the guards' association had complained to senior officials regarding this matter.

Mr Swaran Singh, Jail Superintendent, had denied the charges, terming them rubbish and a figment of imagination. He said judges of the High Court and the District Court visited the jail periodically and if there was any problem, the jail inmates would have brought it to their notice.



Imbroglio over cable charges continues 
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, January 21
With local cable operators refusing to give effect to any further hike in monthly subscription and the district administration putting its foot down to maintain the monthly charges at the rates prevailing before December 26, 2003, as directed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), a meeting convened today by the SDM, Mr Kuldip Singh, with the cable operators, cable network companies and distributors of pay channels remained inconclusive.

While asking the local cable networks and operators to maintain status quo for the time being, the SDM asked all parties concerned and in addition the representatives of satellite networks beaming pay channels to be present in the next meeting to be held here on January 28 to discuss the issue of hike in the rates of pay channels and accordingly fix the monthly subscription of cable connections at a reasonable level.

Talking to this correspondent after the meeting, Mr Sarbjit Singh, president of the Ludhiana Cable Operators Association, expressed confidence that with intervention by TRAI and the district authorities, the local cable operators would get justice and high-handedness of satellite channels and cable network companies would be put to an end.

He said there was widespread resentment among the cable operators over the contents of a number of serials being telecast and the movement to rise against attempts to make mockery of the Indian culture and traditions, was gaining momentum.

The cable operators, he said, had sought the intervention of the administration since cable network companies were allegedly forcing them to pay the increased rates for pay channels and effect a proportionate hike in the monthly charges for cable connections.

“The local cable operators have taken a collective policy decision not to increase the monthly charges any further and we will stick to our stand.”



NRI helpline to be set up in Jagraon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
The Jagraon police has decided to set up a special NRI helpline service for the non-resident Indians visiting Jagraon police district. The helpline would be inaugurated tomorrow by Mr S.S. Chattopadhaya, DIG. Ludhiana Range. Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, SSP, Jagraon, said the helpline service would go a long way in providing all kind of assistance to the NRIs who frequent their homes in this region from January to March. An Inspector rank officer would be the in charge of the helpline.



Another opportunity to get voter I-cards
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
The local administration has given yet another opportunity to city residents to get their voter photo identity cards made. For this purpose, photo identity cards would be made between January 28 and April 4 in Vidhan Sabha constituencies of the district.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, said photography would be carried out at designated polling stations in villages and urban areas.

Referring to the detailed scheduled programme for all 12 Vidhan Sabha constituencies in the district, Mr Verma said photography in Vidhan Sabha constituency 53-Jagroan would be held from January 28 to February 1.

On January 28, photography will be carried out at polling stations 1 to 20 numbers, on January 29 at 21 to 46 polling stations, on January 30 from 47 to 87, on January 31at 88 to 125 and on February 1at 126 to 135 polling stations.

He further said in 56-Kila Raipur Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be carried out on February 1 at 1 to 26 polling stations, on February 2 at 27 to 51 polling stations, on February 3 at 52 to 75 polling stations, on February 4 at 76 to 97 polling stations, on February 5 at 98 to 122 polling stations and on February 6 at 123 to 128 polling stations.

In 61-Payal Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be held on February 6 at 1 to 24 polling stations, on February 7 at 25 to 46 polling stations, on February 8 at 47 to 70 polling stations, on February 9 at 71 to 90 polling stations, on February 10 at 91 to 111 and on February 11 at 112 to 119 polling stations.

In 62-Koom Kalan Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be carried out on February 11of 1 to 11 polling stations, on February 12 at 12 to 31, on February 13 at 32 to 52 polling stations, on February 14 at 53 to 68, on February 15 at 69 to 89, on February 16 at 90 to 109, on February 17 at 110 to 132 and on February 18 at 133 to 147 polling stations.

In 59-Ludhiana East Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be carried out on February 19, 12 to 32 polling stations, on February 20 at 33 to 66 and on February 21 at 67 to 99 polling stations.

In 55-Dakha Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be carried out on February 22 at 1 to 20 polling stations, on February 23 at 21 to 44, on February 24 at 45 to 79, on February 25 at 80 to 103, on February 26 at 104 to 139, on February 27 at 140 to 173, on February 28 at 174 to 198, on February 29 at 199 to 218 and on March 1 at 219 to 241 polling stations.

In 60-Ludhiana Rural Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be carried out on March 1 at 1 to 4 polling stations, on March 2, 5 to 29, on March 3 at 30 to 64 and 71, on March 4 at 65 to 106 (except 71), on March 5 at 107 to 148, 150, 151, on March 8 at 149 to 189 (except 150 and 151 ) on March 9 at 190 to 233 and 238 on March 10 at 234 to 275(except 238), on March 11 at 276 to 300 and on March 12 at 301 to 307 polling stations.

In 57-Ludhiana East photography would be held out on March 12 at 1 to 23 , on March 13 at 24 to 49 and 52 polling stations, on March 14 at 50, 51 and 53 to 85 , on March 15 at 86 to 118 and on March 16 at 119 to 131 polling stations.

In 58-Ludhiana West Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be held out on March 16 at 1 to 26, on March 17 at 27 to 64, 105 and 109, on March 18 at 65 to 102 (except 105 and 109 polling stations) and on March 19 at 103 to 139, 106 and 108 polling stations.

In 54-Raikot Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be carried out on March 19 at 1 to 19 polling stations, on March 20 at 20 to 48, on March 21 at 49 to 75 on March 22 at 76 to 108 and on March 23 at 109 to 117 polling stations.

In 64-Khanna Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photography would be carried out on March 23 at 1 to 13 polling stations, on March 24 at 14 to 33, on March 25 at 34 to 73, on March 26 at 74 to 103, on March 27 at 104 to 121, on March 28 at 122 to 140 and on March 29 at 141 to 150 polling stations.

In 63-Samrala Vidhan Sabha Constituency, photograpy would be held on March 29 at 1 to 7 polling stations, on March 30 at 8 to 32, on March 31 at 33 to 53, on April 1, 54 to 74, on April 2, 75 to 91, on April 3 at 92 to 111 and on April 4 at 112 to 123 polling stations.

Mr Verma further said in case of any problem or information regarding photography programme, the Election Registration Officer or District Election Office concerned could be contacted. 



Encroachments: public street remains blocked 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 21
It sounds incredible but it is true that a public street in New Maya Nagar near Taj factory in Haibowal area, has remained barred to the residents for more than two years now. After a building in the street, being constructed in violation of the building bylaws, was demolished by the Municipal Corporation in 2001, the debris, including bricks and other material, was not removed and most of the street continues to be blocked, forcing the residents to take a longer route to reach the main road.

According to Dr K.K. Sharma, president, New Maya Nagar Sanitation Committee, the unlawful construction in the lane was pulled down by the building branch of the MC almost two years back. However, the MC staff did not remove the debris at that time, but had said that the site would be cleared later.

Residents told Ludhiana Tribune that the owner of the building had moved the civil court, challenging the action of the MC in demolition of the unlawful structure and seeking relief. But the court, while rejecting his plea, had ruled that the applicant (encroacher in this case) was not at a liberty to make any encroachment in the street and if any such encroachment was being done, the respondent (MC) would be at liberty to proceed further in accordance with the law.

The residents, added Mr Sharma, had repeatedly taken up the matter with the MC authorities for the removal of the debris and clearing the street for use by the residents without achieving any positive response so far.

Sources in the MC maintained that once an unlawful construction was demolished, removing the debris and clearing the site was the responsibility of the defaulting person. In the event of the builder failing to do so, the MC could proceed to clear the site at the cost of the builder under Section 246 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act.

While the MC officials asserted that no representation had been received from the residents to this effect and the necessary action to restore movement in the street would be taken once the civic body was asked to intervene, the residents challenged the claim. Dr Sharma said that the residents had taken up the matter with the civic officials a number of times with the last representation having been submitted on December 1, 2003. “Keeping in view the difficulty being faced by them, the area residents had even made an offer to bear the expenses of removing debris in one of their representations, without evoking any response from the authorities.”

Dr Sharma and other affected residents of the locality were of the view that inaction on the part of the civic administration might be due to the influence exerted by the defaulting builder. Calling for immediate necessary action to provide justice to the residents, they observed that such callous attitude was tantamount to encouraging encroachments and unlawful occupants at the cost of law abiding citizens.



Accident victim’s father sore at negligence, apathy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 21
Relatives of Sarabjit Singh Thind, a student in Melbourne, Australia, who lost his right leg after he met with an accident at Kharar, Morinda, on December 29, have alleged that neither the police nor any other government official came to their aid in Chandigarh. Mr D.P. Singh, father of the victim, has charged the authorities of a premier medical institute in Chandigarh with ‘medical ignorance’, due to which his son had lost his leg.

Mr D.P. Singh said his son was a victim of medical negligence and ignorance. “According to reports published in various sections of the media, the accident took place at 8 am near Kharar when two buses had a head-on collision,” he said. After reaching the hospital, he was shocked to see the condition of his son. Five hours after the incident, Sarabjit was lying on a stretcher and was bleeding profusely. Other accident victims were in a similar situation.

“He had received serious head injuries, but was given stitches at midnight because of the rush. Nobody bothered to see the leg of my son, which had been badly damaged. After I called upon one of my family doctors from Ludhiana the next day, doctors at the institute realised that he had developed gas gangrene and immediate surgery was required. The officials and bureaucrats who had given us assurances never bothered to turn up again,” he complained.

After persuasion, members of his family got him discharged and he was brought to Sutlej Hospital here, where his right leg was amputated. Dr Sarvesh Mathur, the doctor concerned, said he was not in a position to comment.

Mr S.P. Singh Chadha, president of the Ludhiana Welfare Council, demanded an independent inquiry regarding the functioning of the hospital in Chandigarh. He said Sarabjit’s right leg would have been saved if timely and proper treatment had been provided to him.



Development works in five wards reviewed

Ludhiana, January 21
Mayor Nahar Singh Gill has started a campaign to go round all wards to assess the need for area-specific development projects and review the progress of ongoing development works. He visited wards 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 yesterday and held discussions with the area councillors concerned and residents of different localities.

The Mayor assured the residents of ward 4 that the problems being faced by them would be sorted out on a priority basis. He issued strict instructions to the civic officials present to be responsive towards the grievances of the residents and show regard to elected representatives.

There were complaints regarding slow pace of development works and inadequate financial allocation in ward 5. Assuring the residents of more allocation of funds for need-based development, Mr Gill said several projects for construction of roads and streets, provision of streetlights and installation of a submersible pump for augmentation of water supply in the locality had been finalised.

In other wards, councillors concerned raised issues relating to water supply, repair of roads, sewerage and streetlights. He reiterated the commitment of the civic body to provide residents with better civic amenities and improve services to bring about a qualitative change in the life of the residents.

He assured the councillors and the residents that officials of the civic body would be made responsive and accountable. A mechanism was being evolved to take up area-specific development projects on a priority basis and to solve the problems of the residents in a time-bound manner. He dwelt upon several development projects in these wards. A comprehensive plan on roads and streetlights was under way to cover the city in a short span of time.



First book bank set up in Begowal village
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 21
The first book bank in Punjab has been established at Begowal village with the joint collaboration of the Punjab State Rights Commission and British Council.
Mr Gursharanjit Singh, general secretary of the Punjab State Apex Body of NGOs, said Rs 45,000 had been provided by the British Council for this project in the form of books and furniture.

The sarpanch of the village, Mr Rajwinder Singh Mangat, donated a two-room building for the book bank.

Books pertaining to the syllabi of 1st standard up to 10+2 classes, along with English and Punjabi dictionaries, have been placed in this book bank for the usage and ready reference of the poor and needy students of Begowal and surrounding villages.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission had adopted Satnam Nagar of Begowal village. At that time the DGP of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Mr S.K.Verma had promised a book bank, and a computer centre with the help of the British Council.

The book bank in the village will enable students to give their old books to the bank and in turn take the books relevant to their class and syllabus.

The commission has already provided books free of cost to 241 students. The book bank will be able to provide books pertaining to the syllabus to the villagers.



Kashmiris observe Holocaust Day
Triune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
Members of the Kashmiri Pandit community yesterday observed Holocaust Day in memory of the “forced” exodus from their homeland in Kashmir, which started on January 19, 1990. There are about 200 Kashmiri Pandit families living in Ludhiana. Most of them have come here in the aftermath of terrorism in Kashmir.

According to Dr M.K. Mam, a senior leader and spokesman of the community, a meeting was held by the Kashmiri Pandit Sabha, Ludhiana, to mark the occasion. The meeting observed a two-minutes silence also in memory of all those members of the community who were killed by terrorists during all these years.

Dr Mam said special prayers were performed for peace in the valley so that the displaced Pandits could move back to their homeland. The meeting resolved that the community would continue to fight the alien forces by all means, be it ideological or moral.



NHRC member to address meeting

Ludhiana, January 21
Mr R.S. Kalha, member, National Human Rights Commission and former Indian Ambassador to Iraq and Indonesia, will address a meeting of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) at Hotel Majestic Park Plaza here on Saturday. This was disclosed by Mr Manjit Singh, president, and Mr V. K. Goyal, general secretary of the association, in a joint press note issued today. Mr Kalha, a former secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, will be sharing his views on the subject 'Iraq after war and opportunities for Indian Business.'

Speaking on the subject, Mr Goyal said after entertaining delusion of securing billions of dollars worth of reconstruction contracts, Indian businessmen seemed to be less sanguine on the issue. There were reasons for the swift change in the mood. "Perhaps a hard realisation has dawned on the Indian businessman that the task of rebuilding Iraq is an all American affair, which is being administered through the United State Agency for International Development.” OC



Man dies as room catches fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
A 50-year-old man was allegedly burnt to death in his house on the Barrota road in Shimla Puri here this morning after a fire broke out mysteriously in his room.
Mahipal, an employee of the Municipal Corporation, died after the quilt caught fire suspectedly due to a burning cigarette. The police was, however, keeping its finger crossed and conducting investigation under Section 174 of the CrPc.

The deceased had been ill for the past few months and was last seen by his daughter, Sapna, at about 11.

About half an hour later, she saw smoke coming out of the room and raised the alarm. When neighbours broke into the room they saw the room engulfed in flames and Mahipal was found dead.



Industry has ‘great expectations’ from CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is learnt to have assured the industry that he will ensure smooth, prosperous and progressive growth and create a business friendly atmosphere in the state. Capt Amarinder, who was here on Monday, met a delegation of the industry at the residence of the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill.

Leading industrialists, including Mr Om Prakash Munjal, Mr Kamal Oswal, Mr Kishen Chand Gupta, Mr Rajnish Oswal, Mr Gopal Bhushan Gupta and others met the Chief Minister and apprised him of various problems being faced by the industry. The industrialists also raised the issue of frequent strikes allegedly engineered by certain vested interests with the CM, who assured that nobody will be allowed to hold anyone to ransom.

On the continuously rising steel prices, Mr Gill said that the Chief Minister told the industrialists that he was likely to bring the issue to the notice of the Prime Minister. The Chief Minister has sought an appointment with the Prime Minister specifically for taking up the issue of rising steel prices in the country which has adversely hit the industry in the state.

The industry reportedly expressed its gratitude to the Chief Minister for his recent sops. They hoped that the government will continue with industry friendly measures in the state. The industrialists, according to Mr Gill, said that they had great expectations from the Chief Minister and hoped that he will come true to their expectations.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the industry has gone to Delhi to meet the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on steel to apprise them of various problems creeping up because of the rising prices of steel. 



Cellone dealers regret BSNL apathy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
The BSNL Cellone (Post Paid) Dealers Association today alleged indifference on the part of the nigam towards their problems. A meeting of the association held here regretted that they were not getting their due. They said they were dissatisfied with the "non-cooperative" attitude of the BSNL staff at the local and circle levels. They alleged, "The dealers are treated as competitors rather than family members by the BSNL staff."

They said the dealers had to sit at public window and to listen to public grievances such as faulty billing, poor network problem, billing payments, sim card malfunctioning, etc, but had no power to solve these problems as they were holding no status in the BSNL. Dealers, they said, were unable to clarify the customers on excess billing, faulty billing, overdues, etc. as they had not been provided with any such infrastructure.

The basic commission payable to most of the dealers on sales had not been paid from March, 2003, to October, 2003, they disclosed. The payment of retention bonus, marketing bonus, etc. was also pending. The bonus was payable to dealers as per tender norms, the BSNL staff was turning deaf ears to dealers' request for payment. Even the circle office was not responding to their requests.

They said the BSNL dealers were promised five demo connections, landline phone, internet connection and online terminal for activation of sim cards but had not been provided with any such facility so far.

They claimed that they were running in huge losses by owing this business and had lost a lot of money.



Imported fruits latest craze among locals
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 21
Red and yellow capsicum, broccoli, baby corns and salad leaves, you go to any good hotel, restaurant or party, you would be served with imported vegetables, latest craze among the people of the city. These imported vegetables and fruits are being brought to the city regularly from Delhi because of its increasing demand.

Mr Amarvir, general secretary, Fruit and Vegetable Association, Punjab, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said demand of these vegetables had increased in the recent years with the opening of several big hotels and restaurants in the city. "The vegetables like yellow and red capsicum, parsley, baby corns etc come from Australia and New Zealand. But we, the wholesale dealers, get these from Delhi on demand basis. We can not afford to get them regularly because their rates are very fluctuating. The capsicum which was sold for Rs 120 per kg, a few months ago was now available for Rs 80 or so (wholesale price). Brocolli was expensive initially but is now available at Rs 20 per kg. The big hotels and restaurants are the main customers. There are just two shops of imported vegetables in the city. One is on the Shahpur Road and the other at Dandi Swami", said Mr Amarvir.

Mr Lovely, a retail dealer of the imported vegetables and fruits, said many people from upper strata of the society buy these vegetables. "These vegetables are bit expensive too. Red and yellow capsicum is sold for Rs 100 per kg while the salad leaves are for Rs 30 per kg. Lettuce is for Rs 40to 50 per kg and the red cabbage is for Rs 40 per kg. The fruits are more expensive. Kiwi fruit is for Rs 20 per piece, melon for Rs 50 per kg and litchi for Rs 200 per kg", said Mr Lovely.

"We go to Delhi thrice a week to buy these vegetables. About 40 per cent of the local people buy this stuff. The people who are unaware, take these because they seem different and more attractive to them", he said.

Ms Renuka Kapoor, a buyer said that the these vegetables were not only attractive but their taste was also different. "I come specially all the way from Model Town to buy these vegetables. Colourful capsicum looks very nice in macaroni, noodles and vegetable biryani", said Ms Kapoor.



Traders' stir against furnace lobby
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 21
A decision to boycott a furnace mill of Mandi Gobindgarh and to stop loading for an indefinite period was taken at a joint meeting of brokers, iron scrap traders and the Beopar Mandal here on Monday. The dispute arose when two days ago, a furnace owner allegedly misbehaved with a scrap dealer, which took a serious turn today.

The meeting was addressed by Mr Om Parkash, president, Punjab Beopar Mandal, Mr Jeewan Kumar and Mr Hemant Batta, president and vice-president, respectively, of the Scrap Traders Association, and Mr Subhash Singla, general secretary of the Beopar Mandal. They all criticised the behaviour of the furnace lobby, which, instead of solving the problems raised by two scrap traders, allegedly misbehaved with them and directed the furnace lobby to stop purchases from them. It was resolved not to supply the scrap to the furnace concerned for an indefinite period. There shall be no loading by traders from Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Delhi and other stations for an indefinite period.

If such a condition is allowed to continue for long, it will create a problem of unemployment as the families of thousands of workers will face starvation. A five-member committee headed by Mr Hemant Batta was constituted to sort out the problem with the furnace lobby.

On the other hand, Mr Kuldeep Goyal, general secretary of the Furnace Association pointed out that the purchase was refused as it was substandard. In case the scrap traders boycott the supply, they will directly import the raw material from outstations.


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