L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tiwari woos rural voters, promises development
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
During a tour of Payal Assembly segment, Congress nominee for the Lok Sabha seat Manish Tiwari spared no efforts to convince rural electorate of introducing new and progressive policies to promote agricultural and industrial development, which would help to tide over the problem of mounting unemployment, if the party was voted to power.

Mr Tiwari, accompanied by Minister for Transport Tej Parkash Singh and a large number of other party functionaries, addressed election rallies in over 20 villages including Fatehpur, Isharpur, Tansha, Biwipur, Turmuri, Rauni, Malakpur, Bharta Randhawa, Mullanpur, Mohpur, Julamgarh and Jarkhari.

Attacking the previous SAD-BJP government, he alleged that corruption had been rampant at all levels and government jobs had been on sale during its tenure. Farmers had also suffered at the hands of an indifferent government and they had been forced to bribe officials of procurement agencies to sell their produce. “In total contrast, the Congress government has efficiently purchased four crops during its tenure without any complaint from farmers.” He said the Congress government had also fulfilled its promise of providing a clean governance and the corrupt had been brought to the book.

Tej Parkash Singh, while speaking at election meetings, maintained that the Congress would win the Ludhiana seat. He claimed that party workers were putting in best efforts to ensure their win.

Addressing an election meeting in the city, District Congress Committee (Urban) president Jagmohan Sharma took exception to remarks made by former legislator Bikramjit Singh Khalsa against Manish Tiwari. He said Mr Khalsa, a close supporter of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, had no mass base and was a novice in politics.

Meanwhile, BSP candidate Rabinder Singh Sohil launched his election campaign with a meeting at Shahnshah Palace in the city in the presence of national general secretary of the party Narinder Kashyap. The party functionary announced the formation of a five-member campaign committee comprising Gurmel Singh Pehalwan, Inderjit Singh, Ram Chand Talwandi, Hardev Singh Jarg and Parkash Singh Jandali.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sohil claimed that election offices had become functional in Kila Raipur, Payal, Ludhiana rural and Koom Kalan Assembly segments.

Activists of the Bharti Kisan Union, who accompanied SAD-BJP candidate Sharanjit Singh Dhillon at the time of filing nomination papers here today, claimed that Mr Dhillon, having launched his election campaign ahead of his opponents, had an upper hand with bright prospects of a victory. Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the union, said the BKU had extended its support to SAD-BJP nominees on all Lok Sabha seats in the state.



Sharanjit Dhillon to be an asset, says ex-Mayor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
“The SAD-BJP candidate from this parliamentary seat, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, will be a great asset for the city since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is poised to form the government again. He will secure more, development projects for Ludhiana.”

These views were expressed by former Mayor Apinder Singh Grewal while addressing an election meeting at Ghumar Mandi today. He said the city was a big industrial hub of North India. With a major stock exchange and a home to the Punjabi, Hindi and English print media, the city needed special care and huge funds. It should also have exhibition and expo-trade fair facilities of international standards. Its inner roads and civic facilities needed huge funds. These requirements could only be met with if its representative belonged to the same party, which came to power at the Centre, he pointed out.

Mr Grewal claimed that the SAD-BJP alliance would win all parliamentary seats from Punjab. He said other parties in the fray had no mass base and these would not be able to make any difference in the election scene.



MLA opens poll office
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 21
The feel-good factor of the NDA government has failed to win over the voters as 40 per cent people in the country are living below poverty line, said Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, at the inaugural function of an election office of the Congress candidate for the Ropar parliamentary constituency (reserved) at Amloh today.

The secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Dr Swatantra Kumar Karkara, lashed out at the NDA government for not providing employment to 10 crore youth in the country. Mr Pakhar Singh, Chairman, Zila Parishad, and Mr Shingara Singh Salana, Block Congress chief, praised the state government for its pro-farmer policies.



7 file papers

Ludhiana, April 21
The Deputy Commissioner said seven candidates today filed their nomination papers. They are Mr Munish Tiwari, Congress; Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, SAD; Mr Hardev Singh, BSP; Ms Pawan Deep Kaur, wife of Mr Dhillon; Mr Jasdev Singh; Mr Rachhpal Singh Gill; and Mr Manjit Singh, all Independents. TNS



A bad day for commuters
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
It was a bad day for commuters today. With the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, coming to the city to accompany their respective party candidates to file the nomination papers, the local administration had taken more than adequate measures to ensure that the VVIP movement remained smooth.

First it was, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was to arrive at around 10 am. Mr Tiwari was supposed to file his nomination papers at around 11.30 am. The police had sealed a patch of Ferozepore Road from the Verka Milk Plant in BRS Nagar to the Bharat Nagar crossing. No traffic was allowed in this area till the nominations were filed.

Both Mr Tiwari and the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP candidate, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, were scheduled to file their nominations today. While Mr Tiwari was supposed to file his nomination papers by 12 noon, Mr Dhillon was told to reach after 2 pm . This was done to avoid a possible showdown between the two rivals.

However, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, could not reach here on time. He was about a couple of hours behind the schedule. This prolonged the ordeal of the public. People coming from Jagraon, Moga, Ferozepore, Faridkot and other areas were taken by surprise when they were asked to take the alternate route along the canal.

Mr Maninderjit Brar, who had come from Moga, said he pleaded with the police officials that he had an urgent appointment at the Civil Secretariat. But he was told that nobody was being allowed. He took the long route almost taking a complete round of the city. But when he reached Bharat Nagar Chowk after about an hour-long drive, he was stopped again as the traffic restrictions were being enforced there also.

There were hundreds others like Mr Brar who had to face the ordeal of waiting to reach their destination. The traffic restrictions were relaxed late in the afternoon, only after the VVIPs were off the scene. The situations is likely to crop up again in coming days as more and more VVIPs are likely to come here for the campaigning.



Commercial complex flouts building norms
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 21
In blatant violation of building bylaws, a commercial complex is being constructed in a thickly populated residential area of Gandhi Colony, near Cheema Park, in the Model Gram locality. Residents, who have asked the civic administration to check the unlawful building activity, apprehend that if the complex is allowed to come up, traffic congestion in the colony will assume alarming proportions.

According to the residents, the builder had taken up the construction of 14 double-storeyed shops in a residential plot, and that too without getting any building plan approved from the Municipal Corporation (MC). The residents alleged that when they took up the matter with the owner of the building, pointing out that no provision for parking had been made, which could lead to worsening of traffic congestion in the residential colony, the builder threatened them, flaunting his connections with senior officers and leaders.

The residents observed that increased movement of people and vehicles in the proposed commercial complex would disturb the peace of the locality and visitors to adjoining parks, including senior citizens and children, would have to live under a constant threat of road accidents.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune with officials of the building branch of the MC revealed that no building plan had been approved for the commercial complex and the construction work was being carried out in violation of the building norms. The Municipal Town Planner, Mr P.K. Garg, claimed that shops already existed at the site and the building was being extended without seeking the mandatory approval. He said the builder had been asked to stop the work forthwith and any extension made in an unlawful manner, would be dealt with in accordance with the building bylaws.



Three FIRs registered for defacement
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Coming down heavily on the vehement defacement of property by supporters of different political parties, the district police today initiated action against the violators by registering three FIRs at Sadar police station. Interestingly, none of the FIRs involved defacement done by pasting of posters of Congress candidate Manish Tiwari in the district.

The FIRs lodged under the Section 3(1)PB of the Prevention of Property Defacement Act, 1997 state that unknown persons had been booked for defacing government and public property by pasting posters of Lok Bhalai Party President Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and SAD-BJP candidate Sharanjit Singh Dhillon at different villages and suburban areas falling under the Sadar police station.

Unknown persons have been booked in Thakarwal village for using electricity poles to hang banners of Mr Ramoowalia and pasting his posters on a school building in Laddowal village. A similar case has been filed against unknown persons for defacing government property near Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib chowk with banners and posters of Akali candidate Sharanjit Singh Dhillon. Meanwhile, the district machinery has launched a drive to remove posters and banners form government buildings.



Adoption of baby no child’s play
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 21
Shashi ( name changed) has spent Rs 2 lakh on getting a baby by the in-vitro fertilisation method, but failed to become a mother. Depressed, she wants to adopt a baby. Even her psychatrist has told her family that without a child, she may even try to take her life. The family is desperately wanting to adopt a baby, but from where and how is a million dollar question.

After making a few rounds of hospitals and nursing homes, which had a dubious record of selling abandoned babies, they came back disappointed as no baby was available for adoption. “Many infants abandoned by unwed mothers or destitute women are sold by some nursing homes, but their adoption is not legal. Generally, more than 70 per cent childless couples adopting these children have their own child after a couple of years. What then happens to the adopted child? The parents have more affinity for their own child. The situation worsens if the couple gets another child, “says Mr Sarwan Kumar Sharma, chairman of Nishkam Sewa Ashram, Ludhiana.

These days childless couples have begun to adopt children from orphanages and nursing homes, or their relative’s children. However, one must adopt a child from the institution that has the sanction of the government so that the child’s future is secure.

Incidentally, only four institutions in Punjab have been sanctioned to give babies for adoption by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Security, and , Women and Child Development. The only one authorised to give children for adoption in Ludhiana is Shishu Sadan, an orphanage , run by Nishkam Sewa Ashram. It got a notification to this effect on June 11, 2003 of the other three, two are in Jalandhar and one in Patiala.

Mr Sarwan Kumar said to make the financial aspect of the child secure, the parents wanting to adopt a child had to fill a form which asked for detailed information of the couple, their reason for adoption and their idea of security for the child. The couple had to give an affidavit that the child would complete his/her studies under their supervision. Not only this, the adopted child would inherit all movable and immovable property of the couple. No relative of the couple had any right to interfere in this regard. The child would be handed over through the court and the adoption would be legal.

Mr Sarwan Kumar says,”I have seen that children who have been adopted from relatives, or from the police, hospitals and nursing homes have no legal standing. A majority of them end up as hapless individuals without any qualifications or emotional security as these children are often deprived of all benefits once the couples get their own children. In certain cases, their plight is no better than that of an unpaid servant.

Mr Sharma asked nursing homes and the police to hand over abandoned babies to Nishkam Sewa Ashram.



Rally by daily paid workers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
Protesting against the retrenchment of eight employees by Punjab Agricultural University, members of the Daily Paid Labour Union organised a rally on the second day of their fast here today.

Addressing the rally, Mr Gurdip Chand, president of the union, condemned the harsh attitude of the police and the PAU management towards its members in the wake of the Chief Minister’s visit this morning. Mr Karamjit Beehla, convener of the Daily Wager and Work Charge Action Committee, alleged that members of the union who were on fast were harassed by police officials.

Mr Sandeep Kumar, general secretary, said the retrenched employees had been working in the university for the past over 10 years and their family members were now finding it difficult to make their both ends meet. He said the members had made several representations to the Labour Commissioner, but to no avail. He said they would continue their protest till their demands were fulfilled.



Reinstate workers, says union
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The Moulder and Steel Workers’ Union held a demonstration on Sunday in protest against the alleged high-handedness of certain companies towards the workers. The union is also planning massive demonstration during the May Day celebrations to press for their demand of reinstating their dismissed colleagues.

Listing the demands of the workers, a union spokesman said all workers whose services were terminated by various companies, including Hero Cycles, Avon Cycles, Ralson Group, Bhogal Sons and others be reinstated at the earliest. They have also demanded the withdrawal of the cases registered against the workers.

The union demanded that the workers should be granted leave and holiday according to the labour laws and the harassment of workers be stopped at the earliest. It alleged that the workers were forced to work for long hours against the stipulated eight hours. The union has also demanded that the lockout at Hero Cycles should be lifted and the workers be allowed to resume their duty.



Needy widows get free ration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
The Ludhiana City Boys, a club, distributed free rations among needy and destitute widows at a function organised at Hargobind Marg here yesterday. The boys provided rations to 70 hapless widows for the second time.

Presidents of the club Ajit Singh Bobby and Rajinder Singh Batra said they wanted to play their part in the welfare of the society and hence had decided to distribute free rations among needy widows on regular basis.

They also appealed like-minded people to help them in the cause through donations.

The City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, was the chief guest on the occasion. Mr Surinder Dawar, MLA, and Mr Rajinder Singh Basant were special invitees.

The other members of the club present were senior vice -president Jaswinder Singh Jasssu, vice-president Harjit Singh, and secretary Ashish Nanchat.



‘Beyond Waters’ released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
A book, “Beyond Waters”, a collection of poems edited by Dr Davinder Kaur and Varinder Parihar, was released at a literary programme organised by Samvad at Dayal Palace here on Monday. Prof N.S. Tasneem presided over the function, while Dr Surjit Patar released the book. The book contains poems of nine Punjabi poets settled in the UK.

The poems have been translated from Punjabi to English by Prof Bhupinder Parihar of the Postgraduate Department of English, Government College, Ludhiana. Dr S.N. Sewak, Dr Prithipal Singh Sohi, Dr J.S. Dhiman, Prof Kulwant Jagraon, Prof Ravinder Bhathal, Sarod Sudeep, Sukhwinder Amrit, Surinderjit Kaur, Satish Gulati, Swaranjit Savi, Ravi Batta, Vushal Khullar and others participated in the discussion that centered around the quality of translation.

Later, in meet-the-poet programme, Varinder Parihar related his literary odyssey and creative process to the audience. He said his third collection of poems, “Kudrat” (Nature), published by Chetna Parkashan, Ludhiana, had received rave reviews in the UK and Canada, besides India and Pakistan. In this collection of poems, he has dwelt on the various aspects of nature in its calm and serene moods. He aims at restoring ecological balance in the world that is in the grip of anarchic condition. Consequently, human beings are suffering from mental strains, social tensions and political conflicts.

Varinder Parihar, who is settled in the UK, is on a short visit to the city, his second home. He was born in Malsian in 1956 and brought up in Nakodar. He is a postgraduate in English literature. Poetry came to him as legacy. His late father, Aish Karnanvi, was a Punjabi poet and a noted scholar of Urdu language and literature. Varinder is the younger brother of Urdu poet Prof Bhupinder Parihar, who is also a translator of repute. He is the co-editor of “Beyond Waters”.

“Beyond Waters” is the first major attempt to cut across language and cultural barriers. In the world of globalisation and professional euphoria, poetry assumes extraordinary importance. The book is a major statement not only on the racist subculture in England, it reflects and at the same time subverts the ideas of love, loneliness, solipsism and confession. The volume is a post-modernist assertion of emotional and sincerity in both form and contest.

The poets included in the volume project a world view free from any ideological commitment. If the reader finds an overbearing of any ideological commitment, it is not an ingredient of any manifesto and declaration. It is an extension of the self that in a lyrical way challenges and romantic notions of life. The volume stands out for its variety, aesthetic impact, tragic rhythms of life in a alien environment and its subterranean layers. Poetry being culture-specific, creates new awareness and polishes our sensitivities. This is what the volume intends to bear out with its subversive range and richness.



Bid to rob petrol station, 1 hurt
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 21
Two armed miscreants, in a bid to rob a petrol pump near Mahipur village on the G. T. Road, Doraha, opened fire at an employee at the pump, thereby injuring him late last night.

The injured person, Jagroop Singh, has been admitted to the Civil Hospital. A case has been registered under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC, and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act on the statement of the injured person who alleged that two scooter-borne armed youths came to the petrol pump late last night.

They asked for water and entered the room of the cashier where they demanded cash at gun point, he added.

Jagroop Singh shouted for help at which the miscreants fired at him. The petrol pump belongs to Saroj Rani of Ludhiana. The Payal police, however, claims that the miscreants absconded without removing any cash from the place.

Perhaps, they were scared of being caught due to the hue and cry raised by the employee of the pump.



30 injured in road accident
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 21
Thirty persons were injured in a road accident between a bus and a truck near Jarg village on the Malerkotla road this morning.

The bus belonging to Puran Bus Service was coming from the Malerkotla side. As it reached near the Jarg bus stand, it rammed into the truck coming from the opposite side. The conductor of the bus, Satwinder Singh, who was also injured, said the bus collided with the truck because one of its tyres burst. Some passengers of the bus reported that the vehicle was travelling at a high speed when it hit the truck.

Eight injured, who were admitted to the Khanna Civil Hospital, were identified as truck driver Jatinder Singh of Ishan Pur village, Satwinder Singh of Majha village, Rashpal Kaur of Lasoi village, Gurmail Singh of Rama Majri village, Swarn Singh of Madhroi village, Jassi of Dhiro Majra village, Habib Khan of Malerkotla and Harnek Kaur of Goslan village.

The driver of the bus, Kulbir Singh, was admitted to a private nursing home at Khanna. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 has been registered against the bus driver.



26 cartons of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
A joint party of the police and the Excise and Taxation Department has arrested two persons and seized 312 bottles of liquor from their car.

According to Mr G.S. Bahia, ETO, a naka was set up at the Samrala chowk by Mr Maninder Singh, Inderjit and Mr Shiv Kumar, all excise Inspectors, and Mr Sarabjit Singh, SHO, Samrala. During a search of vehicles, a blue Esteem car without a number plate was stopped and seized 26 cartons of liquor from it.

Two occupants of the car, Amrit Pal and Sunil Kumar, were arrested, while another escaped.



Five booked for threatening ETO
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
The Kotwali police has registered a case under Sections 353, 186 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sukhpreet Singh Grewal, Excise and Taxation Officer (Mobile), against Davinder Singh, who lives on the Sikandar road, Jaswinder Singh, Ashwani Kumar, Lakhi and Gaggu.

The ETO had stated that while he was checking invoices for any possible evasion of sales tax at the Girja Ghar chowk along with his gunman on Sunday, he intercepted a rickshaw carrying some hosiery goods. But the accused threatened him and managed to evade the checking.

Murder case

The Model Town police has registered a case under Section 304-B of the IPC on the statement of Murti, a resident of Chandigarh, against Jageero and his daughter Maya, a local resident.

The woman had stated that her daughter Kiran was married to Om Pal, son of Jageero, last year. But the accused beat her up and demanded more dowry. On Saturday, the accused allegedly killed Kiran by hanging her in their house in Ambedkar Nagar.

Fraud case

On the statement of Mr Harinder Singh, a resident of Ayali village, the Sadar police on Monday registered a case under Sections 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against Kulwant Kaur, Pritpal Singh and Balwant Singh, all residents of the same village, and Ayush Bhalla.

The complainant stated that he had sold a part of his farm to the construction company but the accused tried to take illegal possession of his farm with the help of forged documents.

Eve-teasing case

The Shimla Puri police on Monday registered a case under Sections 294, 323, 341, 506, 509 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Paras Juneja, a resident of Daba village, against Sarabjit Singh, his father Pawitter Singh, his mother Darshana and his brother.

The complainant had stated that Sarabjit Singh had allegedly teased his sister. When he went to the house of the accused to seek an apology, the accused resorted to beating him and threatened him on Monday.

Assault cases

The Civil Lines police on Monday registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Tarun Kumar, a resident of Deep Nagar, against Pawan Kumar, Sishpal, Bansi Lal and six others.

The complainant had stated that the accused intercepted him on Monday outside the new courts complex, beat him up and threatened him.

The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 341, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Charanjit Singh, who lives in New Janta Nagar, against Nitin Kumar, Jogesh, Bittu and others.

The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on Saturday in New Janta Nagar and beaten him up as a result of which he was injured.


The Model Town police has registered a case under Sections 279, 338 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Baldev Singh, a resident of Phase II, Dugri, against Chander.

The complainant had stated that the accused, who was driving a car, hit his scooter in front of Hunjan Hospital in Himmat Nagar on Saturday as a result of which he was injured.

Scooter recovered

The Division No. 8 police on Monday arrested Vicky, who lives near the main bazaar of Chandan Nagar, and recovered a scooter from his possession. He was booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC .

Gambling cases

The Division No. 6 police on Monday arrested two “satta” bookies under the Gambling Act.

Those arrested have been identified as Sachtan Taneja, a resident of Dhokan mohalla, who was arrested from the Samrala chowk, and Sunil Kumar, a resident of Hargobind Nagar, who was arrested from the Tajpur chowk. Both the accused were later bailed out.

On a tip-off, the Jodhewal police arrested Raj, a resident of Sanjay Gandhi Colony on the Tajpur road, Sanjeev Kumar, a resident of Geeta Colony, and booked them under the Gambling Act.



Industry feels left out in poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
The industry of Ludhiana is concerned over the fact that the city has never got a representative who could take up its cause in the Lok Sabha. This industrial hub of Punjab has been facing many problems, but there is no one to raise a voice in this regard.

Mr P.D. Sharma, President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, said this industrial town had a very important place not only on the Indian map but the world map. He said the industry had been facing numerous problems for the past few years and politicians, instead of solving these, had been creating more problems. He regretted that all candidates in the fray for the Lok Sabha elections were light weight and had no footing in Ludhiana.

Mr Sharma said national parties had been instigating the labour against the industry to derive political mileage.

Mr Sharma said the relations between the industry and the labour had been cordial for decades and the industry would never wish these to be disturbed, despite motivation by politicians for petty gains.

Sounding a note of warning, Mr Sharma said political interference in the labour matters had shown its results in West Bengal, where the government had failed to attract industrial investment because of labour problem.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan and Mr Avtar Singh, president and general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking, said labour trouble in some major industrial units was still present and production had not come to normal. They appealed to the industry not to fund the election campaign of political parties.



Unchanged power tariff brings cheer to hoteliers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, congratulated and thanked Mr Y S Ratra, Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), for not enhancing the power tariff for the time being. The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has also agreed to give more time to the board to file its annual tariff petition in this regard.

Mr N.S. Nanda, president, and other members of the association also sought that the PSEB should make extensive arrangements to provide uninterrupted power supply to consumers, keeping in view the hot weather conditions. They suggested that the board should also give seven days’ notice or inform the consumers through the media before the imposition of any power cut, enabling them to make necessary arrangements.

Mr Nanda also hailed the government for celebrating World Heritage Day and urged it to constitute an autonomous committee of experts, which should identify heritage buildings in Punjab. He urged that all such heritage buildings should be restored, saved and preserved to protect art and culture depicted in them for the coming generation. He also demanded that special funds be provided for this purpose.

He requested the Punjab Government to open a tourist centre at Ludhiana. Keeping in view the hospitality and affection received by cricket fans of India in Pakistan, this tourist centre would help promote and develop tourism in both Punjabs, as the Indo-Pak relations were moving in a positive direction now. It was the right time to exploit huge tourism potential between the two countries, he said.

Mr Nanda demanded that the state government should make provision in PUDA rules to reserve certain portions of land for setting up new hotels in new commercial centres. He demanded tax holiday for five years to new hotels, restaurants and tourist resorts, besides exemption from the levy of sales tax.



Panel members for lowering tax rates
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
“The members of trade and industry, as well as other assessees should pay their taxes honestly. They should not fear harassment from the Income Tax Department. The city being a progressive industrial town of hardworking and talented persons with an appreciably high living standard, the number of assessees and tax revenue must increase if the returns are filed scrupulously on the basis of actual income”.

These observations were made by Ms Sudha Sharma, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax , while presiding over a meeting of the Regional Direct Tax Advisory Committee here on yesterday. Mr Sat Paul, Mr M.N.A. Chaudhary, Commissioners, Mr Sunil Saxena, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, besides members of the committee Mr Ashok Juneja, Mr L.C. Gupta, Mr Naresh Bassi, Mr Sudhir Gupta, and Mr Joginder Singh attended the meeting.

Ms Sharma said the advisory committee, comprising representatives of the trade, industry, Bar, government institutions, banks, financial institutions and senior officials from Income Tax Department, could make a significant contribution towards bridging the communication gap between the department and the taxpayers. “The suggestions, put forth in the meetings are given due weight and are also forwarded to the Central Board of Direct Taxes for consideration and implementation.”

According to Mr Ashok Juneja, the meeting placed on record the performance of the department in the wake of the commissionerate exceeding the targeted revenue collection by adopting the policy of persuasion and taxpayer-friendly approach.

As the tax collection had increased, the number of returns had also gone up by 20 per cent as compared to previous years.

Members of the committee, including Mr Juneja and Mr L.C. Gupta, demanded that tax rates in the country, which were abnormally high as compared to most of the progressive nations, should be lowered to a maximum of 20 per cent.

They further desired that an amnesty scheme should be introduced by the government.

The members pointed out that one of the main factors for stagnation in revenue collection was poor industrial growth in the region. “The industry, of late, has been shifting to other states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttranchal, Jammu and Kashmir due to special concessions and incentives being offered by these states.”

Dr Naresh Bassi desired that there should be no need to maintain accounts upto an income Rs 5 lakh and the department should not ask any questions if the assessees showed their income from other sources voluntarily in tax returns.

Mr Joginder Singh said there were many persons involved in hi-tech services, farm house operations, dairy business and service-oriented industry, who should be persuaded to file the returns.

Mr Sudhir Gupta said all banks must cooperate by accepting tax challans irrespective of the area where the assessee resided or carried on the business.



PNB exceeds target in farm lending
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has exceeded the national goal of lending 18 per cent of Net Bank Credit (NBC) to the agriculture sector. The bank has attained the unique distinction of consistently achieving the growth rate of 32 to 35 per cent in outstanding agriculture credit during past three years, with the agriculture credit shooting up from Rs 3,870 crore in March, 2001 to Rs 9,347 crore in March, 2004. With the rise, the share of agriculture credit in the NBC had gone up from 14.24 per cent to 18.44 per cent during this period.

A spokesperson for the bank said in a press note here today that the PNB had always been conscious of its responsibility toward small and marginal farmers. “Out of around 13 lakh agricultural borrowers, more than 60 per cent are small and marginal farmers.” During the current year, the bank planned to lay special emphasis on area-specific schemes and financing for cultivation of medicinal, aromatic and herbal crops. Such area-specific schemes like “Million Shallow Tube Wells Scheme” and “Micro Irrigation Scheme”, launched in Andhra Pradesh, had proved a roaring success.

The bank had been consistently exceeding the targets of fresh disbursements under the special agricultural credit plan (SACP) and the kisan credit cards (KCC) scheme for past five years in succession. The total disbursements during the last financial year were to the tune of Rs 4,500 crore. In terms of announcements made by the Union Government and as per the RBI guidelines, the PNB had covered all eligible farmers in its service area under the KCC scheme before the end of March, 2004. Against the national goal of 40 per cent, the share of priority sector credit in the NBC had improved from 45.04 in March, 2001 to 49.33 per cent as on March, 2004, it said.



Woollen export orders from West Asia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The Wool and Woolens Export Promotion Council has procured orders for woollen exports to the tune of $ 20 million from the West Asia. A seven-member study-cum-sales team of the council, an apex body under the Ministry of Textiles engaged in promotion of export of wool and wool-blended products, has returned after visiting Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The team, led by Mr Ashok Jaidka, chairman of the council, met various buyers, agents and buying houses. Buyer-seller meets were organised by the council with the help of the Indian Embassies in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Mr Jaidka said the team received good response from the overseas buyers and export orders were secured and a large number of inquiries were also generated. He said the Indian exporters were hopeful that as soon as the condition in Iraq stabilised, the export of Indian woollen and acrylic products to West Asia would get a further momentum.

He said the team also found that people in general in these countries liked Indian products as compared to Chinese and other developing countries because of their quality, range and designs. The people in these countries appreciated samples carried by the team. The embassies also suggested the council to send such delegation and also arrange buyer-seller meets in these countries on a regular basis so that the common man gets knowledge about quality and range of Indian products.

The council chairman said the team also met members of chambers for commerce and industry in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and discussed matter regarding quality and non-payment to Indian exporters. The chambers assured full cooperation in resolving such disputes and formed committees comprising members of Indian missions in the two countries.



‘Win 4 sure’ is here
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Grasim Suitings today launched its new scheme “Win 4 sure” here. Under the scheme, those who make purchases worth Rs 700 and above will be entitled to a coupon with a guaranteed prize. The prizes include a pen, a purse and a cotton T-shirt. Besides the guaranteed prizes, the customers can also win mega prizes.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Abhijit Ganguli, in charge brands, Grasim Suitings, said the company had always launched its new schemes from here as the response of customers here was good. He said the company was confident of getting good response from here.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |