L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


 

Gastroenteritis claims four lives in city
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 24
The Municipal Corporation, as well as the district authorities and health administration swung into action as gastroenteritis struck Mauji Colony and New Aman Nagar localities on Daba Road in Ward No 27 in the city during past 24 hours. Besides, four victims of severe diarrhoea and vomiting in these areas, identified as Ms Dulari Rani (25), Mr Jeet Singh (50), Mr Parshottam Lal (55) and Kuljinder (26), several other patients were under treatment at a number of hospitals and private clinics. The number of patients, though unconfirmed officially, was being put between 50 and 100.

The MC, besides announcing an ex-gratia grant of Rs 50,000 to the next of kin of the deceased, has also ordered a departmental inquiry into the breakout of the disease. According to MC Commissioner S.K. Sharma, the Joint Commissioner, Mr Harjinder Singh, would hold a probe and submit his report within one week. In a similar move, the district administration has ordered SDM (West) Mr M.S. Jaggi, to conduct an inquiry into the incident, which claimed four human lives and affected many others.

After a visit to the affected areas, accompanied by the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, the MC Commissioner told Ludhiana Tribune that water samples taken from several localities in the said ward during past three days, some of them in the presence of the area councillor, Mr Swarn Singh Maholi, (Shiromani Akali Dal) were found fit for human consumption. “Even otherwise, the break out of gastroenteritis cannot be attributed to supply of contaminated water and no complaint of poor quality of water supply has been received from any of the affected colonies.”

Giving details of the preventive measures taken by the civic body to bring the situation under control, Mr Sharma informed that in addition to keeping a close watch on the quality of water supply, four water tankers were pressed into service to maintain the supply of potable water. Depending on the actual demand, more tankers would be deployed.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, who also visited the area along with several other district and health officials, said a health camp had been set up in the locality during last night itself and the Civil Surgeon had been directed to ensure proper treatment to each and every patient. Thereafter, staff of the Health Department and the MC would launch a door-to-door campaign to check the victims of gastroenteritis and to educate the public about preventive measures against the disease. Mr Verma informed that about 45 patients were admitted in the local Civil Hospital.

During the visit to the area, some of the residents complained that chlorine tablets, being supplied by the Health Department were of substandard quality and labels on the bottles, containing the tablets appeared to have been changed. The Deputy Commissioner directed the SDM to immediately seize the samples of these tablets and to inquire into the matter. He also asked the MC to immediately purchase a minimum 20,000 chlorine tablets of the best quality and supply the same to affected localities.

Mr Verma later went round the site of the tubewell in the area. On the complaint of residents that some pipes were leaking there, remedial steps were ordered and the MC authorities were asked to fix responsibility in this regard. Mr Verma also directed the Civil Surgeon to take water samples in the area for chemical analysis.

The Deputy Commissioner also visited the Civil Hospital where he was informed that there was shortage of beds, but still, some additional beds had been arranged and all the 45 patients, brought there, were being given proper treatment free of cost. Mr Verma checked the quality of medicines being provided to the patients in hospital. He told the health administration to purchase medicines and arrange for more doctors from surrounding areas, if needed to ensure proper medical care of the gastro patients.

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CBI arrests industrialist in LPG cylinder scam
Two ex-Army officers absconding
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

A CBI official argues with relatives of arrested industrialist Rakesh Kumar Aggarwal in front of the Basti Jodhewal police station in Ludhiana
A CBI official argues with relatives of arrested industrialist Rakesh Kumar Aggarwal in front of the Basti Jodhewal police station in Ludhiana on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, July 24
CBI sleuths from New Delhi today arrested a city industrialist in an over three-decade-old LPG cylinder sale-purchase scandal, in which the Union Government is alleged to have suffered a loss of over Rs 1.10 crore.

However, the CBI failed to arrest two former Army Captains listed as co-accused in the scandal despite conducting raids at a number of places in the city. Former officers, Capt R S Virk and Capt Amarjit Singh Garewal are absconding in the case. A CBI team raided Garewal’s house in South City here but could not find him. Garewal owns a tractor parts manufacturing unit in Mandi Ahmedgarh also.

The scandal has resurfaced after a gap of over a decade and had almost been forgotten. The CBI team headed by Inspector S K Rawat arrested Rakesh Kumar Aggarwal, owner of a machine tools manufacturing unit, R K Industries, at Basti Jodhewal this morning.

The suspects jointly owned an LPG agency in the city in early 1980s. An LPG cylinder having a market value of over Rs 1,500 was provided to the agency owners at highly subsidised price of Rs 350. They were supposed to sell the cylinder at the same price to popularise the use of liquefied petroleum gas.

However, the three suspects sold off about 10,000 gas cylinders at the market price and pocketed over Rs 1,100 per cylinder. The Union Government got wind of the scandal and the case was handed over to the CBI. Aggarwal was arrested today under case number 1(a) 81 AC 4 CBI registered in 1981. Aggarwal and others were declared proclaimed offenders in the case about a decade ago.

The CBI team had conducted the operation secretly and it was quite upset when a Ludhiana Tribune team reached Basti Jodhewal police station and enquired about the case. The CBI sleuths had a bitter argument with the team and physically stopped it from taking pictures of the suspects. The CBI team tried its best to keep the operation under the wraps.

Later, Mr Rawat only agreed to confirm that the industrialist was arrested in the multi-crore gas cylinder sale-purchase scam. He also said the amount of in the scandal amount had swelled to several crores in the three decades according to the recovery amount calculated by adding interest to it.

Mr Rawat also confirmed that the two Army Captains were wanted in the case and that the CBI had conducted raids to arrest them. Sources indicate that one of the suspects Virk, was already in the USA.

The sources said the CBI was under pressure to recover the amount in the case and arrest the suspects and hence was following the case with a renewed drive.

The CBI had raided the houses and industries of the suspects last week also, but could not find them the sources said. Aggarwal claimed before the CBI as well as the Ludhiana Tribune team that the retired Army Captains were the main suspects in the scandal.

He said he was unaware that he had been declared a proclaimed offender in the case.

The CBI officer, Mr Rawat, said they had arrested Aggarwal and conducted raids following orders issued by a special CBI court in New Delhi. 

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Councillor of Mohali arrested in Khanna
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 24
Mr Amrik Singh Councillor of Mohali, and retired Naib Tehsildar, was arrested by the Economic Offences wing Khanna on charges of committing a fraud in the revenue record here today. He was produced in a local court and was sent to judicial custody by the court.

According to Mr Harbans Singh Riar In charge, Economic Offences Wing Khanna, a piece of land measuring 7 kanals situated in Chhota Samrala village was attended with excise department in 1980-81. But in connivance with the owner of the land, Mr Jaswant Singh, the then Kanungo, Mr Amrik Singh, and the Patwari, Mr Ram Sarup, he fraudulently transferred the ownership of the land in the name of Mr Jaswant Singh in 1985-1986. Following a complaint lodged by the Revenue Department, the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, deputed the SDM Samrala to conduct an inquiry. Following the inquiry the Economic Offences wing registered a case under Sections 467, 468, 420 and 120-B at Khanna police station.

It is pertinent to mention here that the accused, Amrik Singh, reached the police station Khanna to inquire why the police was searching for him. When he disclosed his identity, the police arrested him immediately and produced him in the court.

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Man held for selling fake certificates
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 24
The Khanna police has arrested a man for selling fake certificates of Panjab University Chandigarh. The police had recovered a number of blank certificates from the possession of the accused.

According to the Economic Offence Wing, Khanna, the accused, Mohinder Singh Chawla, a resident of Doraha, was working as a form seller on the Panjab University premises. He lured the students who came to him to purchase re-evaluation form and promised them get them. The police said he was hand in glove with a superintendent of the university. The superintendent was involved to supply him blank copies of the certificates. The accused issued those certificates to the students for Rs 6,000. The matter came into the light when some students tried to get admission through these fake certificates. The Dean of the university complained about the matter and inquiry was conducted. After an inquiry a case under Sections 467, 468, 420 and 120-B was registered against the accused.

The accused was arrested today and was produced in the court. He has been remanded in police custody till July 26.

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Tarlochan never espoused cause of Sikh youth: Mann
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
Former MP and president of the SAD (A) Simranjit Singh Mann has hailed the decision of the Smithsonian Museum, USA, to open a section on Sikhs but has questioned the rationale behind invitation extended to Minorities Commission Chairman Tarlochan Singh to a function on its inauguration.

Mr Mann said the chairman had not only done a lot of harm to the struggle of the Sikh people but had also collaborated with certain right wing parties to crush their movement. He never espoused the cause of hundreds of Sikh youths languishing in jails for the past 20 years and had now justified the construction of the SYL canal which he know would render lakhs of hectares of land barren in the Malwa belt.

He said at the time of Operation Bluestar, Mr Singh was the Press secretary to the then President Giani Zail Singh and had allegedly endorsed Mrs Indira Gandhi’s decision to send in the Army to storm the Golden Temple complex. Even after so many years, Mr Tarlochan Singh had shown no remorse for his actions, he pointed out.

The museum management should ask Mr Tarlochan Singh as to what steps were taken by him till date to restore the stolen priceless artefacts seized during the operation by the Army to the temple authorities. It is pertinent to mention that destroying a people’s art works, history and culture is one of the top crimes listed by the UN.

As chairman of the commission, Mr Singh has presided over the alleged genocide and rape of Muslim women, asked people to vote for a Fascist party, ignored the plight of imprisoned Sikh youth, failed to get the death penalty abolished, kept quiet when wearing a turban was outlawed in French educational institutions and did not act when Sikhs were and are being targeted because of their distinct identity, he alleged.

Mr Mann said he had repeatedly written to the chairman on all these issues but to no avail, he said. He has appealed to the government to remove Mr Singh as Chairman of the Minorities Commission so that some of the international laws are ratified by the country so that India is taken off the list of repressive countries where “genocide is regularly practiced and human rights violated.”

He reiterated that he despite his best efforts, both inside and outside Parliament, India had neither signed nor ratified the treaties, conventions and protocols of the United Nations which deal with Human Rights laws and practices.

He pointed out that India was not signatory to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1951, Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 1954, Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, 1960, Declaration on granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, 1965, International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, 1966, Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1967, Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 1972, Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-ballistic Missile Systems, 1972, Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1984, Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or Punishment, 1984, Safeguard and guaranteeing Protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, 1995, Treaty on the non- proliferation of nuclear weapons, 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), 1997, Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and their destruction (Ottawa Convention on the abolition of landmines).

He also added that we did not recognise the 2001 Rome Statute, by virtue of which the International Criminal Court had been set up at The Hague.

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BSNL shielding guilty, rues father
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
The struggle of a local resident to get justice for his son, who had committed suicide a year ago, seems to be leading to nowhere, if a response to his case in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) by the authorities of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, (BSNL), is any indication.

Mr N.M. Hansi, a local resident, is fighting this case for the past one year. With the taking up of his case by commission, he had hoped that he would be able to bring the guilty to book who forced his son to commit suicide. But his hope is withering away with this latest development.

The BSNL authorities have submitted a letter to the PSHRC, which claims that the mobile number, through which incriminating SMS were sent to his son Ashish Hansi, belonged to customer care centre of the BSNL. They claimed that it was not the number of any subscriber and no SMS could be sent from this mobile.

Disappointed at the reply, Mr Hansi has urged upon the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take up his case. In his letter to the CBI Director, Mr U.S. Mishra, the aggrieved father has stated that he feared that the mobile number in question (9417099995) belonged to a bureaucrat’s ward, who had forced his son to commit suicide. He alleged that the BSNL authorities wanted to shield him.

He alleged that his information had revealed that the SIM card of this mobile was sold in the last week of October, 2002, at Ludhiana and a history file was prepared in March, 2003. His son had committed suicide in February, 2003. He said the identity of the mobile holder was deleted in the records which can be checked from the hard disk of the server computer of the BSNL. He claimed that as per the records, it was a roaming number.

Urging upon the CBI to come to his aid, Mr Hansi has claimed that he was an unfortunate father of a brilliant boy who was preparing for civil services examination. But suddenly something happened one day and he committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan. He added that if the CBI would hold an inquiry he would make public the content of SMS that he saw on Ashish’s mobile after his death.

Mr Hansi said even if they wanted to withhold the information about the owner of the phone due to some reasons, they should have told the identity of the owner in this case. ‘‘This is clear that they are shielding somebody who is definitely a higher official as most of Ashish’s friends were wards of bureaucrats,” he said.

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Dawer assures uninterrupted power supply
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
Parliamentary Secretary, Surinder Dawer today assured that the power situation will soon improve. Speaking at the meet-the-press programme for the first time after having been appointed parliamentary secretary, Mr Dawer said the state government was working overtime to ensure that power supply remained maximum. He pointed out that the state was purchasing lot of power from other states as well.

Defending the Act enacted by the Punjab Assembly on the waters issue, Mr Dawer said the state was left with no other option. Expressing his unflinching support to the Chief Minister, Mr Dawer said each and every Punjabi stood by him since he had taken the “brave and bold measure” in the interest of Punjab. He observed that the state was already facing severe water scarcity and it could hardly afford any spare water for Haryana. He also condemned the vilifying campaign against the Chief Minister by some sections in the media.

Mr Dawer and Mr Gill also honoured Mr Mandeep Singh, who had played an important role in helping the police to recover a kidnapped child safely.

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Seminar on Finance Bill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
The Taxation Bar Association organised a seminar on Finance Bill, 2004 here yesterday. Mr P.C. Jain, Senior Advocate, Chandigarh was the main speaker, while Mr Ajay Chaudhry, president Taxation Bar Association, presided over the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Chaudhary, stated that this year the Finance Bill proposed 36 new sections in the Income Tax Act and equal number of sections had been partially amended.

Mr Jain, while explaining the various amendments in the provisions of the Income Tax Act observed that repeated changes in provisions inevitably led to different interpretation, finding and difficulty in compliance of procedures, which is against the internationally accepted norm of simple and transparent tax system.

He observed, while the new provision provided for prosecution for falsification of books of accounts or documents to its inducers as abetment, unfortunately there were no provisions for accountability of tax administration for further wrong doing willfully.

Members were informed that in order to widen tax base section 285 BA of the Income Tax Act had been amended for furnishing of Annual Information Return, which will cover almost all government agencies and other authorities apart from Income Tax assessees. The proposal is intended to cover all financial transaction above Rs 50,000. The proposed bill also intended to bring gifts above Rs 25,000 received from unrelated persons after September 2004 into the tax net by including the same in income.

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Kapoor criticises Majithia Committee
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former pro-vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and president, Master Tara Singh Institute of Studies in Contemporary Sikh Politics, today took strong objection to the denial of the minority status to the SGPC - run medical and dental colleges in Amritsar.

Prof Kapoor, in a statement, said here that the Sikhs were a national minority like the Christians whose total number in India was more than that of the Sikhs. The Christians were also a majority in one of the states of India. This did not dilute the status of the community as a national minority, he added.

Moreover, the G R Majithia Committee's terms of reference did not give any power to deliberate on the status of these institutes as minority institutes, he said. 

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CM’s move lauded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
Cutting across party lines, more than 200 lawyers today hailed the decision of the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh for annulling all the river water agreements through the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004.

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VHP flays quota
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has reacted strongly to the 5 per cent reservation for Muslims announced recently by the Andhra Pradesh Government.

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Two arrested for smuggling charas
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
The Sarabha Nagar police today succeeded in busting an inter-state gang of drug peddlers with the arrest of two alleged smugglers who targeted labourers . The police has recovered 2.20 kg of charas from their possession.

The accused, Kuldip Singh Billa and Ram Kumar Daman, have been arrested by a team headed by SI Pawanjit Singh. DSP Ravcharan Singh Brar told mediapersons that a number of relatives of the accused were earlier also arrested for narcotic smuggling.

DSP Brar told mediapersons that the accused used to buy charas sticks at about Rs 10,000 per kg and used to sell it at Rs 15,000 to 16,000 per kg. 

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Youth booked on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
The police booked Tinku Kumar from Bihar yesterday on the charge of raping a seven-year-old girl. According to Ms Meena Devi from Uttar Pradesh, living in Satpal da Vehra at Dhandari Kalan here, the accused raped her daughter around 12 noon last Sunday when she went to the terrace of the house to spread clothes.

Dowry case: The police booked Surinder Pal Singh of Gias Pura, his mother Harbans Kaur, his sister Parminder Kaur, Kulwinder Singh and Darshan Singh on Friday in a dowry case. The complainant, Ms Jaswinder Kaur, Surinder’s wife, had stated that the accused used to beat her up and harass her for bringing insufficient dowry.

Girl teased: The police booked Tinku, Bunty, Vicky and Happy of Sanjay Gandhi Colony here on Friday for teasing and threatening a schoolgirl. The girl had stated that she was on way to school along with other girls on Wednesday when the incident occurred.

Road mishaps: The police registered a case on Friday in connection with a road accident at Aggar Nagar here on Wednesday. Mr Sarabjit Singh of Sher-e-Punjab Colony at Barewal village, had reported that an unidentified motorcyclist hit his motor cycle, as a result of which he was injured.

The police registered a case on Friday in connection with a road accident at Basti Jodhewal Chowk here on Wednesday. Ms Nirmala of Vishwakarma Colony here had reported that a tractor hit her and sped away, as a result of which she was injured.

Three arrested: The police arrested Rajiv Kumar, Pawan Kumar and Guddu Kumar of Gias Pura here on Friday and booked them under the Gambling Act. An amount of Rs 250 and a deck of cards were seized form their possession.

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Youth held on charge of bid to rape
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 24
A youth was arrested on the charge of attempt to rape a minor girl in Galwadi village, 2 km from here, this morning
It is learnt that the youth who was a relative of the four-year-old girl, took the girl to a house under construction near the village at about 11.30 am.

The suspect, 15, allegedly tried to rape the girl in the house but was noticed by a labourer. The labourer informed the villagers who caught the youth and beat him up. Later the suspect was handed over to the police and a case was registered against him. The girl was taken to the local Civil Hospital for a medical examination.

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Stock Exchange responds positively 
to finance proposals
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 24
There was positive response to the new proposals of the finance minister by brokers and investors in the Ludhiana Stock Exchange today as the LSE Securities Ltd, a wholly subsidiary of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, recorded a business of Rs 130 crores yesterday.

Mr H. S. Sidhu, Executive Director, Ludhiana Stock Exchange, said the stock markets would further pick up in the coming days. The LSE Securities Ltd of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange had been recording a huge business of Rs 200 crores to Rs 250 crores during the boom period.

Mr Jaspal Singh, President, LSE Securities Ltd, was of the view that the new proposals given by the Finance Minister P. Chidambram were very encouraging for the brokers and the investors. He disclosed that the stock exchanges in the country recorded a business of Rs 11,000 crores yesterday. He said that the only negative factor was the failure of the monsoon so far.

Mr R. C. Singhal former president, Ludhiana Stock Exchange, also welcomed the partial rollback by the finance minister and felt that volume of business on bourses was expected to increase substantially. The LSE Securities Ltd was expected to see a jump in volume, he added.

However, some market watchers were fearing that reduction of transaction tax on daily traders would lead to more speculation on bourses and the investors interested in delivery-based transactions would be further driven away from the markets as the TT (transaction tax ) in all likelihood would be passed on to them by the brokers as the brokerage charges were already very low.

It was the general view that markets would soon take a definite and positive direction for better, the only hiccup being the FDI hike in telecom, civil aviation and insurance sectors.

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Steel consumers to stage dharna on July 28 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
In order to show their resentment against the rising prices of steel, various steel consumers, particularly in the small-scale sector, have decided to stage a dharna on July 28.

The protest is being supported by various industrial associations, including the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, and the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber, said here yesterday that due to the increase in prices, the steel-consuming industry of Punjab was on the verge of closure. It had become a routine for the prices to rise by about Rs 1,000 a ton in a day. The prices of steel ingots had crossed Rs 25,000 per ton and rounds had touched Rs 28,000 a ton.

He said the only way to control the prices was to scrap the customs duty on steel. To protect the steel producers, the government was not allowing seconds or defective steel into the country by keeping a custom duty of 40 per cent. Defective steel was much better than the average quality of steel in the country, he added. Most of it was defective not due to its composition but due to dimensional discrepancies.

The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Punjab) has already written detailed letters to over 200 members of Parliament belonging to various parties.

Mr K. K. Seth, general secretary, Ludhiana Engineering Association, Mr Rajnish Ahuja, president of the Focal Point Sheds Association, Mr S. C. Ralhon, president of the Hand Tools Association, Mr Mohindroo, president of the Forging Industry, and Mr Bhamra, president of the Fasteners Association, have also urged the government to come to the rescue of the steel consumers.

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‘Decision on shop timings to hit business hard’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, while lambasting the government’s decision on new timings for shops and commercial establishments in the wake of a severe power crisis, has observed that closure of shops at 6 pm would hit trade and commerce hard, which were already passing through a tough time due to recessionary trends and other factors.

A meeting of the mandal, held here today with Mr Som Nath Grover in the chair, made a scathing attack on the state government for its “unimaginative” stand on closing of shops early in the evening. Mr Grover said in the hot and humid weather conditions, the buyers mostly visited the markets late in the evening and in case the government remained adamant on its stand, there would be a massive loss of business to shopkeepers and traders all over the state.

The meeting called for a review of the decision and urged the government to deal with the unprecedented power crisis prevailing in the state on a war footing to save the trade and industry from ruination.

Prominent among others present at the meeting were Mr Neeraj Verma, Mr Amarjit Happy, Mr Daljit Singh Tuli, Mr Raju Grover, Mr Ravinder Pal Toni, Mr Sanjiv Kumar, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Darshan Dawar, Mr Gurwinder Singh Batra, Mr Sanjay Mohindroo, Mr Tejinder Singh and Mr Sham Lal Sapra.

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Plywood prices will go up, say producers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
The Punjab Plywood Manufacturers Association has said prices of plywood and board will have to be jacked up as no relief has been announced in the Budget. This has led to a 20 per cent increase in the prices of the raw material and input costs.

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