L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Karnal company booked for selling spurious seeds
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
A Karnal-based seed manufacturing company and its local distributor on Rahon road here have been booked by the city police for selling spurious seeds to farmers and in the process playing havoc with the yield.

The case was registered under sections 420(cheating) and 120-B(criminal conspiracy) of the IPC against Kadian Seeds Corporation at Lallaali village in Karnal district of Haryana and Lovely Pesti Seeds on Rahon Road here.

The latter's licence was already suspended by the Deputy Commissioner.

The case has been registered on a complaint of the district Agriculture department and the recommendation of Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma.

The Deputy Commissioner had directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) to register cases against firms running the racket. A large number of farmers of Dhollanwal, Miani and Jhugian villages had complained to the DC that they had purchased PUSA-44 seeds from Lovely Pesticides but about 20 per cent of their crop had ripened before time because of poor quality of the seeds.

The Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) here inquired into the matter. it was found that about 20 per cent of the plants had ripened before time. This showed that the seeds were not of PUSA- 44 quality.

The inquiry noted that as per the General Seed Certification Standards, genetic purity of seeds should be above 98 per cent, but here it was found to be only 80 per cent.The farmers concerned had to face substantial losses.

In his recommendation report to the police, the DC informed that Lovely Pesticides had claimed that they had purchased seeds from Kisan Seeds Store.

The firm said it had purchased the seeds from Qadian Seeds Corporation in Karnal. The record of the Karnal firm was also sought through the Haryana Government. The Director, Seeds Certification Agency, Haryana, informed that only 118.8 quintals of PUSA-44 seeds of Kadian Seeds Corporation had been certified during 2003-04. But surprisingly, Kisan Seeds Store alone had shown a purchase of 165.7 quintals of PUSA-44 certified seeds from this firm.

The report said that inquiries were made regarding the seeds sold by Kisan Seeds Store. Some villages like Raiya, Harnampura, Leela, Lalton Kalan, Raipur, Samrala etc were also covered and it was found that at some places genetic purity was found to be less than 50 per cent.

It was also found that Lovely Pesticides had not given proper bills to the farmers to whom it had sold the seeds. In some cases bills were not given at all .The licence of Lovely Pesticides has been suspended. 



Who pockets rickshaw pullers’ money at railway station?
Vimal Sumbly

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
Rickshaw pullers at the Ludhiana railway station are made to pay about Rs 18 lakh every year to the “Railways”. While the rickshaw pullers maintain that they are told that the money goes to the Railways, they are not provided any receipt for the same.

Every rickshaw puller is made to pay Rs 5 daily to park his rickshaw outside the railway station. According to rough estimates, there are about 1,000 rickshaws that operate from the railway station.

Detailed investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that every rickshaw puller is made to pay Rs 5 every day. Otherwise, none of them can park his ‘vehicle’ outside the station. No receipt is issued to them.

Besides, about a 100 rickshaw pullers are fined about Rs 50 every month for ‘various offences’ on an average. They do not get any receipt for the fine they pay. It is not only the rickshaw pullers, but also the rehriwallas who have to make this ‘mandatory’ payment to the “Railways” everyday.

The rickshaw pullers said they did not mind paying Rs 5 daily as it allows them hassle-free parking outside the railway station.

As about 100 passenger trains stop at the railway station daily. A considerable number of people use rickshaws as a means of transportation from the railway station. Rickshaw pullers operating from the railway station are said to have higher earnings compared with those who ply rickshaws elsewhere in the city.

The daily payment of Rs 5 by the rickshaw pullers to the “Railways” ensures them monopoly at the railway station. Each of these rickshaw pullers reportedly earns Rs 100 or more daily. But if they operate from any other place in the city, it is very difficult to make this much of money.

There are thousands of rickshaw pullers in the city so everybody prefers to remain “attached” to the Ludhiana railway station by paying Rs 5 everyday to the “Railways”.

The Station Superintendent could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. An official who picked up the phone said he was away for lunch. However, nobody picked up the phone till 5 pm.



Revision of poll rolls from Sept 15
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma today said all people who could not vote during the recently held parliamentary elections could now get their names enrolled in the voters list. He said as per the directions of the Election Commission, a special summary revision of electoral rolls would be undertaken from September 15. The DC elaborated that as per the election law, it was entry in the electoral rolls which entitled a person to vote. In some cases, people have been issued voter identity cards, but subsequently their names had been deleted from the electoral roll due to one reason or the other.

Some such cases came to the fore during the recently held elections. He said this was an opportunity for such persons whose names did not figure in the electoral rolls to get their names registered.

Mr Verma said this summary revision would be done with reference to January 1, 2005, as the qualifying date i.e. any citizen, who was over 18 years of age on 01.01.2005 would be entitled to be enrolled as voter.

He said the existing electoral rolls would be available with the offices of the Electoral Registration Officers from September 15 to October 15 on all working days. The general public could visit these offices and check whether their names appeared in the voters list.

In case their name was missing, they could make an application for inclusion of their names in Form No.6. In case someone wanted to object to any entry in the electoral rolls, he could file objection in Form No.7. Copies of these forms would be available in the Electoral Registration Offices.

In addition to, the relevant portion of the electoral rolls and forms would be made available at the respective polling stations on September 18 (Saturday), September 19 (Sunday), and October 9 (Saturday) and October 10 (Sunday).

He said special staff would be posted at the polling stations on these dates, who would make the relevant parts of the electoral rolls available for the public for inspection.

Mr Verma said this time the EC had directed that the Postal Department also be involved in this exercise. The services of post offices would be used for display of electoral rolls and receiving of applications.

The Electoral Registration Officers would decide on various claims and objections by October 25 and the final electoral rolls would be published on January 3, 2005, he added.

Mr Verma directed all EROs to hold joint meetings of their staff with the staff of post offices to ensure proper coordination.



Homeless to get 5-marla plots, says minister
Our Correspondent

Khamano, September 9
A special survey is being conducted in the state to identify homeless poor families. There is a plan to allot 5-marla plots to the persons so identified. New villages, consisting of 300 to 400 homeless people, will be established in shamlat land of different villages and all modern facilities will be made available to them.

This was stated by the Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Mr Lal Singh, while addressing people after inaugurating a Panchayat Samiti building at Khamano. The building has been built at a cost of Rs 32 lakh.

In the beginning, two to four villages would be established in each block of all districts, he said. The state government was committed to saving the economy of Punjab by safeguarding the interests of farmers.

He said although water level of the Bhakra Dam had decreased by 100 feet, the state government was spending 14 crore daily to ensure eight-hour power supply to farmers. He announced a grant of Rs 9 lakh for the construction of Panchayat Samiti building and Rs 20 lakh for the rural development of Khamano Block.

The function was also addressed by former MP Shamsher Singh Dullo, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Dr Harbans Lal, Fatehgarh Sahib DC S.K. Ahluwalia and Block Samiti president Harbans Singh Pandher.



Register No. 13 — a rare police document
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 9
The guide map of the Chandigarh does not show Sector 13 as the figure has long been considered unlucky. But a century-old register No. 13 maintained at police station, Dehlon, has figured as a rare document of the Police Department. It exhibits the critical evaluations of the performance of the police station during the past 100 years and remarks given by then Gazetted officers who visited the place.

Though a period of 100 years is too long to preserve such papers, which have now turned yellow, the remarks have been written in cursive writing. Most of the front pages being written with pens known as ‘dunks’ give an exclusive look .There are others which are typed or written in the usual way. Some pages written in Urdu could not be deciphered by most of the present staff posted at the police station.

Perusal of the register shows that most of the pre-Independence gazetted officers had been analysing the working of the whole staff critically. They used to recognise the outstanding performance of the staff and the social leaders who assisted the police in maintaining law and order in their respective areas.

Comments given by a Superintendent of Police on September 27, 1905, acknowledged the outstanding performance of the then SHO here. The officer had commented that “the Sub-Inspector was the only one in the district then who knew how to write. At the same time he had also noted down that the general knowledge of the constables was nil. He had noted even the cracks which had appeared in the walls of the lock ups.”

On August 21, 1905 another officer, W.W. Waivel took notice of starving buffaloes and a donkey. He had ordered the stoppage of the allowance being paid to the caretaker.

To encourage the social leaders helping the organised force in curbing crime anther officer T.B. Clauple had asked the then Deputy Commissioner to recognise the services of a lambardar who, according to him, had played an active role in arresting an accused at that time. He had recommended giving him a “lungi”, besides some cash prize.

Accepting the importance of the register, Mr Rajiv Ahir, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, said the same could serve as a tool to educate police personnel. “I have myself learnt a lot from these detailed reports”. “Every effort would be made to preserve the register for generations to come, he maintained.



People’s Forum for easy visa regime
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
An Indian delegation of the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, New Delhi, came back from Pakistan after attending the 10th annual convention held in Lahore.

Giving details here today, Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, who was one of the delegates, said around 260 delegates participated in the conference.

He said the resolutions passed on that occasion called upon both governments to take concrete steps towards normalisation of relations and allowing the people of both countries to meet freely.

The forum demanded that the visa regime be made easy in order to meet the growing demands of the people. The resolutions suggested that visa should be issued for the entire country rather than for specific cities and both governments should institute a system of issuing visas on the arrival of visitors.

Mr Nanda said a function was organised in the honour of the delegates at the Gymkhana Club, Lahore. Mian Muhammed Aslam Iqbal, Tourism Minister, West Punjab, was the chief guest.

The minister highlighted the activities of the Tourism Department and said a tourist resort having facilities like banquet hall, conference room, hotel and restaurant, coffee bar etc would be constructed shortly at Wagah Border. He said the highway from Wagah to Lahore would also be constructed for the convenience of tourists.

On behalf of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, Mr Nanda spoke on the occasion. He said since Indo-Pak relations were moving in the right direction, it was time to exploit huge potential of tourist traffic between both Punjabs. He said joint meetings and seminars should be organised in both Punjabs for the development of tourism.

Mr Nanda also presented a copy of Punjab Tourist Guide to Mian Mohd Aslam Iqbal on that occasion.



Giving rural Punjabi touch to Bridal Asia
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 9
To Gunjan Virk, the only designer selected from Punjab to showcase her designs at Bridal Asia, creativity knows no limits. Her designs based on Punjabi phulkari and sitara and gota work, derives inspiration from nature and things she comes across daily.

“I don’t browse the Internet or the glossy pages of fashion magazines to get ideas. Anything and everything could be one’s inspiration,” revealed the young fashion expert who is in her mid-twenties has worked under the famous Italian design director Neil Barret of Milan.

She was here to showcase her designs that would be exhibited at Bridal Asia, an event showcasing bridal trousseau, to be held in Delhi and Pakistan from September 21 to 27.. Gunjan, who graduated from NIFT, Gandhi Nagar, in 1999 had entered the profession much before that. “For designing all what needs is passion,” the young designer emphasises. That she follows her line of thought is clear from the fact that while studying in Milan her designs were sent to fashion houses like Gucci. She also got the best award for collection of most innovative textiles while she was pursuing her studies there.

In Bridal Asia Gunjan will exhibit over 80 of her designs that will be a combination of phulkari, sitara and have a dash of tie and dye too. The stitch phulkari that has originated from rural Punjab will go global as it is used by her in contemporary context.

Events like Bridal Asia, she feels, are a good platform for they provide young designers to work with already established designers and hence allow them to learn a lot. Her collection to be displayed at Bridal Asia draws on elements from her travels in Europe and the rich Indian heritage. Merging it together, she has come up with a collection called Potpurri.

On how she made it to Bridal Asia from among so many other fresh entrants, she reveals that she got in touch with the organisers of the show through e-mail. She was selected for her designs, “Being different helps,” she adds. She is employing residents of villages of Dera Bassi . She uses all kinds of fabrics like linen, silk and cotton. 



Marriot Hotel owners booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 9
Sachin Kumar and his father Vijay Kumar, owner of Marriot Hotel, have been booked along with eight persons, for attacking a party of sales tax inspectors which was checking various records of the hotel to detect any possible tax evasion.

The Model Town police registered a case under various sections of the IPC on the statement of Mr Naresh Kumar, who lives in Sector 11 in Panchkula.

The complainant had stated to the police that he along with Ms Rajinder Kaur and Ms Pavitter Kaur, sales tax inspectors, Mr D.N. Malik and other employees of the Sales Tax Department went to the Hotel on the Dugri road. He alleged that the hotel staff entered into a scuffle with him and his companions and abused them. They also beat up Kuldeep Singh, driver of the complainant.

Assault case: The Civil Lines police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 506, 427 and 34 of the IPC against Sukhdev Chand of Pattra village, Jalandhar district, Amrit Nath and another person on the complaint of Onkar Singh of Haripur village.

The complainant had stated that the accused came to his shop-cum-office at Nanka Complex and beat him up and threatened him. The suspects also damaged goods in his shop, he added.

Car stolen: The Sarabha Nagar police on Wednesday registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Gursharan Singh of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against certain person(s) who stole his Maruti car from the main market of Sarabha Nagar on September 5.

Copyright violation: The Kotwali police on Wednesday registered a case under various sections of the Copyright Act, 1957, on the statement of Mr Tarsem Lal of Maksooda village, Jalandhar district, against Rajesh Kumar of Basti Jodhewal, Raj Kumar of Laxmi Nagar, Haibowal, and Chhotu Kumar of Arya Mohalla.

The complainant had stated that the accused had been assembling duplicate tape recorders and selling the same in the market on the GT Road opposite the railway station. The police said on Thursday that the accused were arrested and 1,676 tape recorders seized.

Injured: The Salem Tabri police registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mohammad Sharief, who lives near the Sirhindi Gate at Malerkotla, against a truck driver who hit his tractor-trailer on the Kali road at Salem Tabri on Wednesday. He was injured in the accident and his tractor-trailer damaged, added the complainant.

On the statement of Mr Satish Kumar, who lives in Captain Colony on the Rahon road at Meharban village, the focal point police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 279 and 427 of the IPC against Jaswinder Singh of Mundian Kalan village.

The complainant had stated to the police that Jaswinder, who was driving a mini bus, had hit his Indica car on the Metro road on August 28, damaging the car.

Knife seized: The Division No. 4 police on Wednesday arrested Amran of Ghatti Mohalla, and seized a flick knife from him. A case has been registered under the Arms Act. He was nabbed near a culvert at Bajwa Nagar, the police added.



Man crushed
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 9
A man was crushed under a train near Harbanspura village on Wednesday night. His body was spotted by some railway employees today morning.

The deceased was later identified as Randhir Singh, a resident of Harbanspura village. The body was handed over to the members of his family after a post-mortem examination.



600 kg poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 9
The Raikot police has claimed to have recovered 600kg of poppy husk from a truck.
According to sources, Mr Shawinder Singh, SHO, stopped a truck (PB10H9776) in Seeloani village. It was found to be carrying 600 kg of poppy husk among bags. The truck has been impounded and Ajaib Singh and Surinder Singh, both of Sidhwan Kalan arrested. A case under Sections 15, 29, 60 and 61 of the NDPS Act has been registered.



Banks working towards boosting agri credit
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
With the Prime Minister prioritising the agricultural sector, banks are working on a grand scale to boost agri credit.
Apart from introducing several new schemes to benefit the farmers, kisan goshthis (meetings) are being conducted regularly. Several banks have recruited specialised agriculture officers for their commercial branches.

"We have started recruiting specialised agriculture officers on a contract basis for various branches in the country. This would help the bank understand the problems of farmers in a better way , resulting in an increased credit flow and benefit to both the agricultural and banking sector," said Mr Shamsher Bahadur Sharma, assistant general manager,(Ludhiana and Ferozepore), State Bank of India.

In its move to generate awareness about its new schemes , the Punjab National Bank is focusing on conducting kisan goshthis.

The bank has already conducted 200 such goshthis in Punjab and plans to cover all villages in the state shortly. "We plan to cover all villages in the state before the end of this month," disclosed Mr L.C. Saravagi, senior manager in charge, SLBC, PNB.

Kisan goshthis help banks make the farmers aware of the policies that are being offered,apart from solving the problems being faced by them.

"This becomes important in view of the fact that even today farmers are caught in the trap of moneylenders who extend credit at much higher rates. It is a vicious circle a farmer enters into and we intend to make them aware so as not to get entrapped," a bank official said.

The SBI has already conducted 200 kisan goshthis this financial year compared to total 66 goshthis in the region last year.

Mr D.L. Rawal, general manager, PNB, who was here recently, informed that as a part of this exercise to boost agri credit, the bank had made it mandatory for its officers to consult the next higher official in case a farmer's application for loan was to be rejected.

"This is being done so as to provide the maximum benefit to the farmers," he said.

At a recently held kisan goshthi conducted by the bank at Chaunta village, he disclosed that a proposal to give loans to farmers on the basis of the value of their land was under consideration.

The banks are also focusing on issuing more credit cards.The PNB, for instance, plans to give a credit card to every farmer, said Mr Saravagi.The SBI had increased the limit for credit cards from Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000. Similar schemes were being introduced by other banks as well.

In order to grant credit to a farmer, a bank takes a decision based on the farmer's credit repayment record. While the bank normally rejects cases where credit repayment is not found to be satisfactory, banks are now working on rephasing the loan that has been unpaid.

This would mean that the bank re-schedule the loan instalments (of the unpaid amount) and gives a chance to the farmer to repay within a certain period.

"This would give him an opportunity to improve his credit repayment record, thereby helping him avail of loans being offered by banks," Mr Sharma said.



Ban steel export, says industry chamber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has stressed on banning steel export in view of shortage of steel.

The chamber has also sent memorandum to the Prime Minister regarding the issue. Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, stated in a press note today that the government was shelling out Rs 2,000 per metric tonne on export of steel by giving export incentives.

He said reduction of prices in steel would not contribute towards reducing inflation.

“Steel manufacturers might have announced reduction in prices, but they are exporting steel instead of supplying it to domestic consumers nullifying the impact”, the chamber said.

According to the chamber, steel makers are fallaciously mentioning high international price of steel whereas the international commodity price index had revealed only a 22 per cent increase in case of steel during the past 12 months.

The chamber said inflation in the country was due to cost push and not due to demand pull.



Brick-kiln owners submit memo to DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
Development projects and all construction activity across the state will come to a halt this month if the government does not step in to redress the grievances of about 5,000 brick-kiln owners of the state, who have been on strike since July 28.

Maintaining this, Mr Jagdeep Singh Sukhija, senior vice-president, Ludhiana Brick-kiln Owners Association, said a delegation of the state office-bearers had met Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh a couple of months ago, but nothing came out of it. Following it, a decision was taken to resort to indefinite closure.

Talking to TNS after handing over a memorandum to the DC here this noon, he said highhandedness of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) officials, erratic marketing policies of Coal India Limited and repressive laws imposed by the Departments of Industry and Civil Supplies had created a situation in which brick-kiln owners were finding it increasingly difficult to continue working.

He said around 30 per cent of brick-kilns had already succumbed to the crisis-like situation and another 30 per cent were forced to slash their production due to black marketing in coal etc. He said the matter had been taken up with the ministers concerned and senior officials but there was no positive response. The district authorities here did take some steps to regulate prices of coal and to check profiteering but without much success.

Brick-kiln owners said they were being forced by the PPCB to make use of ash from the thermal power plants in making bricks but it was not feasible for the simple reason that no technology was available or had been standardised for the purpose.

Labourers employed at kilns had refused to work with ash as it led to serious health problems. The machines needed to mix ash and clay were priced around Rs 70 lakh and most of kiln owners could not afford these. Moreover, the customers do not like the quality of bricks so made and also find these a costly proposition.

They said the situation had been further aggravated by the faulty marketing policy of Coal India, which had led to exploitation of kiln owners by middlemen and financiers, who were indulging in black marketing of coal and selling the same at a premium of about Rs 1,200 per tonne.

In addition, the Industry Department and the Food and Civil Supplies Department had invoked redundant and primitive regulations to reimpose ‘inspector raj’ which had resulted in rampant corruption and harassment of kiln owners without contributing anything to the government exchequer.

Brick-kiln owners said the prices were rising and the present stocks of bricks would be exhausted by this month. “The prices have already gone up to Rs 1,900 per thousand from the prevalent rate of Rs 1,500. The rates will further rise and will touch Rs 2,500 before the stocks are finished. In case the government takes a decision today, it will take at least a month to bring back the prices to the old rate,” they added.

The strike is complete in Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Rajasthan.


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