L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Astrologer predicts obstacles for Vajpayee
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
A city-based astrologer, Mr Vinod Kumar Gupta, who has in the past successfully made several predictions, including that about the future of former US President Bill Clinton, says that he disagrees with soothsayers like Ma Prem Usha, who have predicated a smooth sailing for Prime Minister Vajpayee.

Mr Gupta says that his studies have shown that the position of planet Mercury is in the eighth house, as is in the case of Mr Vajpayee, during the period from December 2003, to December 2004. This indicates problems to or from sisters, daughters, ladies, female politicians, religious matters, computer-related issues and the media.

The outcome of this situation causes a setback in government functioning or can cause health problems, especially related to bones and veins. Both the situations can cause hurdles in his re-election as the Prime Minister.

Stressing his point, Mr Gupta says that during this period, the grandson of Mr Vajpayee’s sister was thrown out of the train and he died. Death of 21 ladies in Lucknow stampede, plane crash of film star Soundarya are a result of the planets’ particular position in the Prime Minister’s horoscope.

He adds that the period from October 13, 2003, to October 13, 2004, Ketu is in the eighth house of Mr Vajpayee’s horoscope and Moon in the eleventh house; both indicate political problems, problems from colleagues and allies. Besides, these are also indicative of problems in the leg or back, bad travelling and health problems. The Sun in the seventh house causes a setback to the government and to the person’s health.

Further in the annual horoscope of the BJP during the period up to April 2005, Jupiter in the tenth house and Moon in the eighth house cause a set back to popularity, prestige and honour of the party but Sun in the fifth house and Ketu in the eleventh house indicate formation of government with support from allies.

However, Mr Gupta says that the annual horoscope of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani for the period up to November, 2004, that has Ketu in the eleventh house indicates elevation in position. But Rahu in the eighth house causes problems like religious clashes, etc.



Badal promises commercial hub status for city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal said that he, in tandem with the local leaders, would strive hard to make Ludhiana an industrial, commercial and electronic hub of India.

Mr Badal, who was in the city yesterday to release the party manifesto, campaigned for Akali-BJP candidate Sharanjit Singh Dhillon late into the night. He said the city will be also provided with International airport and the facilities of dry port here will be upgraded.

Mr Badal addressed five main election rallies at Chaura Bazar, Ghah Mandi, Kochhar Market, Lalumal Street, Baba Than Singh Chowk, Baba Jiwan Singh Part, Abdullapur basti and in Sanjay colony near railway workshop.

He added that the problems faced by the city people, such as re-imposition of house tax and octroi would be rolled back. The menace of state government inspectors and harassment by traffic police will be immediately solved and national level re-generation project for the development of the city will be started soon. He also said that the perpetual problem of shortage of electricity for the local industry will also be solved. He declared that sales tax rates in Punjab will be made at par with neighbouring states.

The woollen industry will be given special status to enable it compete with international competitors. The problem of raw materials availability and its price structure will be so tailored to make it industry friendly.

He also declared that relations with Pakistan will be further improved so that the city can benefit from it.

He appealed to the voters to vote for the Akalis so that the anti-people and corrupt Congress regime could be defeated in these elections. Others who addressed the gatherings included Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, SAD general secretary, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, and Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, both MLAs, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa and Hira Singh Gabria, former MLAs and Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar.

Dr Subhash Verma, president, BJP Ludhiana. Mr Sanjay Kapoor, president, Yuva Morcha, Satpal Gosain, a former MLA, also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier in the day, Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar, chief patron SAD, and Lala Lajpat Rai, a former MP, blessed Mr Dhillon and claimed that they will win Ludhiana seat with a thumping majority.



Posters on buildings: 15 cases registered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
As many as 15 cases were registered at various police stations of the city yesterday against unknown persons for pasting posters of various political parties outside a number of government buildings.

While 14 cases were registered under the Prevention of Property Defacement Act of 1997, one case was registered under Sections 353 and 186 of the IPC at the Civil Lines police station on the complaint of an officer of Improvement Trust. The complainant had stated that some unknown persons tried to paste posters of some Lok Sabha candidates on the Improvement Trust building, When they were challenged by some employees of the Improvement Trust, the accused scuffled with them and managed to run away.

Of the 14 cases registered under the Prevention of Property Defacement Act, one case each was registered at division number 1, 2 and 3 police stations against unknown persons for pasting posters of Lok Bhalai Party on the gate of Telegraph Office near Bhadaur House, on the outer wall of Civil Hospital and the outer wall of Government Middle School in Khud Mohalla, respectively.

One case was registered at the division number 4 and two cases were registered at the division number 5 police station without specifying any particular political party.

One case was registered at the Haibowal police station while two cases were registered at the Sarabha Nagar police station.

One case each was registered at the Model Town, division number 7 and Jodhewal police stations while two cases were registered at the Salem Tabri police station. No arrest has been made in any of the cases so far.



When Amarinder had to wait for Tiwari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
The Congress candidate from the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, Mr Manish Tiwari, could not have expected a better show with the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr H.S. Hanspal and Punjab ministers Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Rakesh Pandey, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi and others waiting for him at the office of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer to file his papers yesterday. Mr Tiwari was stuck in a traffic jam.

Even the former MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, who had so far maintained a distance from the campaigning amid reports that he was quitting the party, was present on the occasion.

Although Mr Tiwari was scheduled to file his papers around 11.30 a.m., he was a little late. With a large number of cars accompanying him, the traffic moved at a snail’s pace. He was also waiting for the Chief Minister to arrive. The Chief Minister, however, directly reached while Mr Tiwari remained stuck in the traffic. With the result, the Chief Minister and others had to wait for him for about half an hour. The Chief Minister said given the response and enthusiasm among the people, it was certain that Mr Tiwari would win. He claimed that all members of the Congress were united and their aim was to ensure that the Congress forms government at the Centre under the leadership of Ms Sonia Gandhi. Regarding Mr Galib’s absence from the campaigning, Capt Amarinder said he could not join the campaign due to a death in his family.

The others present on the occasion included the Dakha MLA, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, the Congress rural and urban district unit presidents, Mr Harmohinder Singh Pardhan and Mr Jagmohan Sharma, senior vice-presidents of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal and Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, and the PCC secretary, Mr Balwinder Singh Namdhari.



Poll Roundup
Election meetings in every nook and corner of city
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 22
With the filing of nomination papers by Mr Manish Tiwari and Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon of the Congress and SAD-BJP candidates from Ludhiana, the election scene in the city and the rural areas of the constituency is hotting up. As the two candidates held a series of meetings seeking a nod from the electorate, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president of Lok Bhalai party, who is also in the fray, received support from a sizeable section of the teachers community.

In an election meeting organised by Congress councillor Palvinder Singh Taggar at Kwality Chowk in Simlapuri locality, Mr Manish Tiwari was weighed against coins. Addressing the meeting, the Congress nominee assured the city population to effectively deal with all problems of the mega city. He called upon the voters to reject the SAD-BJP, charging the alliance with being neck-deep in corruption.

Besides the City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and Congress legislator Malkiat Singh Dakha, others present at the meeting included DCC chief Jagmohan Sharma, Mr Rajinder Singh Bajwa, councillor, former president of DCC (Rural) Gurdev Singh Lapran and Mr Satish Sharma. Mr Tiwari was later accorded a rousing welcome in village Gill in Dakha assembly segment. Election meetings to canvass support for the party candidate were also organised by Ms Neerja Singla, general secretary of DCC at Urban Estate and elsewhere by Ms Veena Sobti, member of PPCC.

The SAD-B supremo and former Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while speaking at a meeting convened by Lalu Mal Street Shopkeepers Association here late last evening sought the mandate of the electorate in favour of SAD-BJP candidates on all the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. He announced that if the members of trade and industry stood by the alliance, the NDA government would strive to solve all their problems. He further remarked that excesses of the present Congress Government in Punjab against all sections of the people, and its political opponents in particular, were there for every one to see and the ruling party would have to pay a very heavy price for its ‘misdeeds’.

Prominent among others present at the occasion were the party candidate from Ludhiana, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, former minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Mr Jatinder Singh Gilhotra, Mr Manjit Singh Chhabra, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Baba Ajit Singh, Mr Sunil Mehra, Mr Mohinder Aggarwal and Mr Harinder Pal Singh.

In another related development, Rev Clarence Bansi Lal, moderator, United Church of Northern India, Punjab Synod, has quit the Congress party to join SAD-B. Announcing this in the presence of Mr Badal, Mr Bansi Lal claimed that at least 70 of his close supporters, including Rev Karnail Masih and Rev Afzal Choudhry had come into the SAD-B fold at the persuasion of senior Akali leader and former councillor, Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia.

The election campaign of LBP president Ramoowalia received a shot in the arm with Mr K.B.S. Sodhi, former president of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union and Mr Teja Singh, former president of Government Aided School Teachers Association, calling upon the teachers and the students communities to vote in his favour. In a joint statement here today, the duo said both the SAD-B and the Congress had made the education lop-sided, retrograde and unaffordable during their respective regimes. They further alleged that retired teachers of private aided schools were denied pension, posts in educational institutions were frozen and the students were also given a raw deal.

Addressing an LBP election rally at Sunet village, the Chief Co-ordinator of the party, Dr Mewa Singh Sonar, observed that if Ms Sonia Gandhi managed to assume power in the centre with help from other parties, the development would prove fatal for Punjab. He said by nominating persons like Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr Sajjan Kumar, Mr Ajay Makan and Mr R.K. Anand, who were responsible for 1984 riots or defending the culprits, as party candidates in Lok Sabha poll, Ms Gandhi had sprinkled salt on the wounds of the Sikh community. The Congress president had also acted in a dictatorial manner by nominating former Chief Election Commissioner Manohar Singh Gill as member of Rajya Sabha despite stiff opposition from her party functionaries, he added.

In an appeal to the business community, Mr Tulsi Das Jaitwani, president of Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, has exhorted them to exercise their franchise and do it judiciously, only on the merits of the candidates, who could represent the trade and industry properly in the parliament. “We do not need mighty politicians, we need learned and educated persons, who can speak, argue, convince and rally the powers that be.”



DSP shifted on EC order
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
The DSP (Industrial Area) Mr R.K. Bakshi, has been transferred out of the district on the directions of the State Election Commission. The DSP (Sarabha Nagar) Mr Gurcharan Singh, has been given the additional charge of DSP (Industrial Area). 



DC’s directions to printing press owners
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
District Magistrate-cum-Returning Officer Anurag Verma has directed all printing press owners to print the names and addresses of the printer and the publisher on all pamphlets and posters, as this is required under Section 127 A of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

The printing presses have been asked to send four copies of the printed material, along with the declaration obtained from the publisher, to the office of the District Magistrate within three days of printing of the material.

The printers will also be required to furnish information regarding the number of copies of documents printed and the price charged for the job. Mr Verma said any person who contravenes the provisions of Section 127A would be punishable or fine or both.

Mr Verma said these restrictions on the printing of election pamphlets and posters etc had been imposed under the law with a view to establishing the identity of publishers and printers of such documents. He said the measure was required so that if any such document contained any matter or material which was illegal, offending or objectionable, necessary action could be taken against the persons concerned.

These restrictions also subserve the purpose of placing a check on the incurring of unauthorised election expenditure by political parties, candidates and their supporters.

Mr Verma today met the members of the Offset Printers Association in this connection. Mr Ravinder Aggarwal, the president of the association, assured the District Magistrate that they would ask all members of the association to comply with the provisions of the law.

Mr Verma told the association that after three days, random checking of the posters would be carried out to check whether the printing press owners were complying with the order or not.



Mentally challenged child develops 
exceptional mathematical ability
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 22
One out of thousand children in the mild category of retardation can show exceptional skill in some sort of mental faculty that may be dormant but can become overactive with proper care given by the parents. This was stated by Dr B.P. Mishra, Associate Professor (Clinical Psychology), Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, while addressing parents of mentally challenged children at an awareness programme organised at the Ek Prayas, an Institution for children with special needs being run by the Social Action Group (SAG), here today.

Puneet, a mentally challenged boy with IQ of 70 from Patiala, has developed a rare mathematical ability. Dr Mishra said earlier Puneet had found great problems in solving general mathematical problems, but now he had developed an ability to calculate and tell the day of any date instantly.

The SAG had invited Puneet to demonstrate his ability before the parents of the mentally challenged children of the Ek Prayas so as to motivate the parents to take better care of their children.

Puneet was honoured along with his maternal aunt who is working on him. After the death of Puneet’s father, her mother had found it difficult to bring him up . It was his maternal aunt who came to her rescue and showered love and affection that helped the boy develop a rare mathematical ability

Dr Mishra has been treating the boy for the past three years . The boy is suffering from epilepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity. Moreover, he has traits of autism too. Dr Mishra is of the opinion that a case of a child with mental retardation possessing mathematical ability has been highlighted in Punjab for the first time, though such cases have been reported in national dailies from other states from time to time.

Everyone was surprised when Puneet could tell the day when given a month, date and year. He could tell the days till 2012. But surprisingly, he could not calculate days before 2002. He did it very effortlessly.

Dr Mishra advised the parents to pay more attention to their mentally challenged children as such children could show progress and were not to be given up as hopeless cases.

“How to use this mental ability in daily life and make Puneet self-dependent is the question to be answered. Dr Mishra says at present they were concentrating on how to turn Puneet’s ability in a constructive manner in daily life. Ms Samira Bector and Ms Radhika Jetwani of the SAG also attended the programme.



Parshuram Jayanti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
The Bhagwan Parshuram Brahman Sabha today organised a function at Sita Nagar here to celebrate the birthday of Lord Parshuram.
The function started with the holding of a havan-yajna. The flag-hoisting ceremony was performed by Pandit Naresh Dutt Sharma, president, Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasabha. Among the various speakers who dwelt on the life and times of Lord Parshuram were Pandit Vasdev Keshav, Dr B.K. Dutt and Mr Om Parkash Bhardwaj.

Sankirtan was performed by a group of women including Ms Prem Verma, Ms Manorama Sharma, Ms Savittari Devi and Ms Amita Rani.

Among those present on the occasion were Mr Manmohan Sharma, Mr Satish Sharma, Mr Laxmi Narayan Sharma, Mr Sham Lal Kalia, Dr Davinder Sharma, Mr Kewal Gupta, Mr Kirpal Singh Sandhu, Mr Uma Dutt Sharma, Mr Baljinder Singh, Mr Hardip Singh, Mr Ashok Goyal, Mr Sukhwinder Pal Singh Garcha, Ms Manjula Kashyap, Ms Raksha Sharma, Ms Kanta Sharma, Mr Vikrant Joshi, Mr Naresh Kumar Bansal, Mr Balbir Bansal, Ms Anjana Sharma and Ms Madhu Sharma.



Patar to focus on promoting Punjabi
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 22
After being elected the president of the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, Dr Surjit Patar, has chalked out elaborate programmes to “promote Punjabi and Punjabiyat.”
Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Dr Patar said during 2004, the golden jubilee of the akademi would be celebrated.

He said since 2005 would mark the 100th birth anniversary of Prof Mohan Singh, doyen of Punjabi poetry, the year will be dedicated to him. A poetry festival at national level will be held in this regard. The young poets will get special attention.

“We will invite Pakistani Punjabi writers as we want to share their literature, their thoughts and know their style of writing. In a seminar, Punjabi poets of our country will interact with Punjabi poets of Pakistan,” said Dr Patar.

When asked whether the akademi would do anything to curb the growing vulgarity in Punjabi pop songs beamed on different television channels, Dr Patar said they had organised Punjabi Chetna Lehar last year in this connection. This year, too, Chetna Lehar will give parallel music to the listeners by encouraging the singers to sing literary compositions of high standards. He said the akademi would encourage young poets and writers. Negotiations to get the books of new writers published were going on, he added.



Readers Write
Musharraf at Kashmir again

Old habits die hard. After remaining quiet for quit sometime, Musharraf, the architect of Kargil conflict, has against started taking up Kashmir issue . Terming terrorism in Kashmir as freedom struggle, he intends to give fillip to killing of innocent persons in J&K. This is all in the name Aspirations of the people. Is he the president of his country according to wishes of the people? The duly elected Prime Minister is languishing in exile. Interestingly, the role of US is beyond comprehension. The so called champions of democracy in the world are fully backing a dictator. Pakistanis to be granted MNNA (Mape Non Nato Ally) statue. Pakistan is a major ally of US in fight against terrorism but a major promoter of terrorism in J&K. India should be very cautious in dealing with Pakistan which is indulging in nuclear blaming, a nefarious activity, which perhaps no country in the world propagates. Even USA whose hands are smeared with Iraqi blood does not seem to be sincere in the fight against terrorism in J&K. We have to fight this menace on our own strength and cooperation of the people of J&K.

Anil Sharma


Poll issues of Ludhiana

I think every voter of Ludhiana must ask the vote seeking politicians and their parties about their stand and the work done by them in respect of the following issues which are common to everybody? How to stop ever increasing auto-pollution in the city? Who will bell the auto-cat which spreads the pollution most in the city? How to ensure that encroachers do not have their way due to inefficient and indifferent attitude of the local administration to the problems which we face on this account while travelling on city roads and streets? Who and how to ensure the public loot by ever increasing fees of local English medium public schools who indulge in corrupt practice of donations? How to ensure that the city chemists and druggists do not sell spurious medicines? How to ensure that nursing homes and diagnostic labs of Ludhiana do not fleece patients by their irrational charges?

B.B. Goyal


DA merger

Although two months have elapsed since the Punjab Cabinet decided to merge DA/DR of its employees/pensioners with their pay/pension on the Central pattern, the state government is dilly-dallying in issuing the notification. The delay has caused widespread resentment among Punjab staff and pensioners as well.

The Central Government has already issued the necessary notification and the Punjab Cadre IAS officers have been allowed the benefit of DA merger as they are governed by the Central Civil Service Rules.

Ms Sonia Gandhi, AICC, President, is requested to direct the Punjab Congress Government to issue the DA/DR merger notification without further delay, otherwise it may hit the Congress prospects in the Lok Sabha polls.

Yash Paul Ghai


Obscene posters

Recently some protests were made by Shiv Sena about exhibiting of obscene posters on important public places, causing great set-back to our culture. Mr Anurag Verma District Magistrate ordered removal of such posters near cinema houses. His second warning came on April 13 asking cinema owners to strictly maintain cultural heritage. At certain places even now some obscene film posters are seen. Unless some sterner measures are adopted, these posters would continue. I am of the opinion that film producers/ distributors must be made aware of the resultant effect on the youth of the country, only then this menace can be eradicated. Publicity incharge of the films who send such posters at the time of release of film to the cinema owners for the success of their film have to exhibit such obscene posters. It is not known whether these posters come under the purview of the film censor board, who is the main controlling authority on the subject. Recently released films like ‘Masti’, ‘Hawas’ and ‘Murder’ contain obscene pictures only to attract the younger generation to such films and success of the film depends upon such ads. Mr Anupam Kher who is now chairman of the censor Board while taking over charge of his assignment had stated that every effort would be made to maintain cultural heritage of the country. But it is really sad that nudity is being shown in the films. success of the films these days depend on such like scenes. In TV serials too nudity is shown much to the harassment of the family watching TV serials jointly in the family. In the serial on Star Plus “Kehta hai Dil” every Tuesday in a scene to wean away Nikhil from wife Krishna, his aunt tries to rope in a character making friendship with Krishna and shown in a bathroom of Nikhil taking a bath without bolting the door of the bathroom. Nikhil, not knowing this fact, enters the bathroom and finds the semi-nude lady. This scene is very well depicted on the small screen. Once in interview on Zee TV, heroine Mamta Kulkarne is asked as to why she has to expose her body in films, to which she states this is the way to have success in films. When she was reminded about heroines of the 60 who never exposed their bodies, she retorted that during those days the people liked them in their traditional dresses. Now the time is changed and the younger generation gets attracted to nude scenes and body exposures. Only the Censor Board can do this job but the Board is under the influence of film makers and directors.

K.L. Chitkara



A clarification

In the story ‘Daily review system for civic complaints’ carried on page 1 of the Ludhiana Tribune issue dated April 21, the telephone number of Zone D was mentioned as 2452977 due to a typing mistake. The correct telephone number is 2452907. The error is regretted. 



Bihari migrant booked for abducting girl
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
The Model Town police yesterday registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against Tera Shah, who hails from Purnia district of Bihar, on the complaint of a woman. The woman stated to the police that the accused had kidnapped her 17-year-old daughter on April 16 and taken her to an undisclosed place. No arrest has been made so far.

Fraud: The police on Wednesday registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jasbir Singh, a resident of Koom Kalan, against Puran Singh, a resident of the same village.

The complainant stated that he had bought a plot from the accused on full payment. But later he came to know that the accused had already obtained a loan of Rs 2 lakh on the same plot from a bank. The complainant further stated that the accused did not transfer the plot in his name in spite of repeated reminders and thus had committed a fraud on him.

Assault cases: The Division Number 4 police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 324, 323, 341, 427 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ram Darshan, a resident of Qilla Mohalla, against Ninder, a resident of Gandhi Nagar mohalla.

The complainant alleged that the accused had intercepted him on the road and beaten him up on Wednesday evening. The Civil Lines police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 509 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Rachna Ahuja, a resident of Model Gram, against Baldev Raj, who lives in the same locality.

The complainant had alleged that the accused came to his house, beat him up and threatened him on Wednesday.

The Division Number 4 police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506, 509 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Bhajan Kaur, who lives in Tripuri locality at Patiala, against Nand Kishore, who lives in Lakkar Bazaar, and two others.

The woman had stated that the accused intercepted her on the road, beat her up and threatened her on Wednesday.

Two arrested: The Focal Point police on Wednesday arrested two persons and booked them separately under the Arms Act.

Those arrested have been identified as Manmohandeep, a resident of Doraha, from whose possession a .315 bore pistol was recovered along with one cartridge and Manoj Kumar, a migrant from UP, who was arrested following recovery of a pistol and two cartridges. A Hero Honda motor cycle was also recovered from the possession of the accused, added the police.

Liquor seized: The Sadar police arrested Malik Singh, a resident of Bonker Dogran village, and recovered nine bottles of hooch from his possession. He was booked under the Excise Act.

The Focal Point police on Wednesday arrested Harjit Singh, a resident of Chicha village in Amritsar district, Prabhjot Singh, who lives in Model Town at Amritsar, and Amarjit Singh, a resident of Mangha village falling under the jurisdiction of Harike police station, and seized 6,66,000 ml of hooch from their possession.



Industry sees politics behind rising steel prices
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 22
The prices of steel rounds and other related material are rising despite all favourable economic factors and cheaper means of production. Even in the global market, the steel prices have come down by over $ 30 or 40 per tonne and the prices of steel scrap have also fallen from $ 320 to 250.

Stating this, Mr P. D. Sharma, President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry alleged that the way prices were being jacked up by the secondary producers, a political hand in the rising prices could not be ruled out. He said the Central Government did take effective steps in February and the prices of flat products like HR coils became stable. However, for material like steel rounds, which were produced by induction furnaces and mini-steel plants, the process of fixing price was so defective that any kind of mischief could be played by vested interests. The price fixation of steel rounds was arbitrary and was followed by all secondary producers without any relevance to the market demand or change in the cost of inputs.

He further observed that there seemed to be a large-scale hoarding of steel in the country amidst the rumours that prices would flare up after elections and many people, not even remotely connected with steel industry or trade, were said to be hoarding huge stocks.

Mr Sharma said the process to check the hoarding could only be started by state governments but unfortunately they were rather exploiting the issue politically. “The onus of bringing steel prices under control lies upon the state government and the Essential Commodity Act, if needed, has to be enforced by state governments,” he added Punjab was a state which heavily depended upon the production of secondary producers. Keeping this in view, the government was requested by steel producers and consumers to reduce the night power tariff for steel producers. But the government did not respond to the plea.

Charging that there was a well-thought out conspiracy behind the rising prices of steel, the chamber president maintained that there were reports that more than 2,200 Punjab-bound containers of imported steel scrap were dumped at the Mumbai port with no movement in sight.

The Apex Chamber, Mr Sharma added, was in constant touch with the Union Government to make sure more supply of steel to Punjab and the ministry had intimated that five or six rakes of steel rounds and billets were in the process of moving to Punjab shortly. More material was going to eastern part of the country, allegedly at the behest of Union Steel Minister, who belonged to Orissa.

He made a fervent plea to the Punjab Government to take effective steps to save the steel consuming industry.



Company offers friends for lonely persons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
A tempting ‘offer of friendship with opposite sex’ flashed by a Delhi-based company on the mobile networks left many of flummoxed in the city today.
The offer made through SMS included the phone number of the company, TIMES — a Public Ltd Company since 1997. Curious persons called up at the number and were told by a man that they could name any area in Ludhiana from where they wanted a ‘friend’ of either sex.

They were also told that they would be given phone number of a woman or a man matching their requirement. “There are many women and men living alone and want to enjoy the company of each other. Among them are lonely husbands or wives also” said the man over the phone.

After tempting the callers enough, they were asked to submit Rs 5,000 as membership fee at their Delhi office to avail themselves of the offer and the list of prospective friends. 



Call to business community

Ludhiana, April 22
Mr Tulsidas Jaitwani, president, Punjab Beopar Mandal, today called upon the business community to make judicious and discreet use of their vote.
Mr Jaitwani said the business community had suffered at the hands of the politicians who did not come to their rescue when they were ill-treated by their government employees and bureaucrats. In case of the imposition of VAT, abolition of octroi and the rationalisation of sales tax, no government supported or even favourably considered the demands of the trade and industry.

The business community was not involved at all in the decisions that affected the business by and large.

He called upon the business community to exercise their franchise and do it judiciously, only on the basis of merits of candidates. OC


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