L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Industry, banks welcome Budget
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Analysts might have termed the Budget 2005-06 as ‘insipid’, but the industry here is happy with it and said it was growth oriented. However, the imposition of 0.01 per cent of tax on cash withdrawals of Rs 10,000 or more per day from banks, in the industry as well as common man was termed as irrational and illogical step.

Welcoming the budget Mr Narinder K. Miglani, secretary, Knitwear Club, said it would help textile industry compete well in the post-quota regime.

“Initiatives taken to help the industry meet global competition are welcome. The introduction of the 10 per cent capital subsidy scheme would go a long way in helping this industry. Reduction of Customs duty from 20 per cent to 10 per cent on textile machinery would help modernisation,” he said.

While he also welcomed the new bill for the Small Scale Industries (SSI) sector, he was sceptical on dereservation of 108 items announced by the Finance Minister. “He stated that the 108 items that are being dereserved include 30 items from textiles. It remains to be seen which items have been included and whether the affect us or not.”

Mr Miglani also pointed out reduction of Customs duty on yarn and said it could be detrimental to the interest of local industry for which global competition would increase.

Mr H.S. Sidhu, executive director, Ludhiana Stock Exchange Association, said the would give a fillip to inflows towards the Indian capital market, which is among the top in the world in terms of business generated.

“Measures like establishing a national institute for educating investors and amendment of definition of securities to include bonds for trading are positive,” he said, adding, “a major positive impact would come as Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) can now give collateral on derivates. This would encourage derivatives trading.”

He also said that a higher increase in securities transactional tax was expected. But FM’s decision to increase ST marginally from 0.15 per cent to 0.20 per cent has come has a relief.

Talking about other sectors Mr Sidhu said the FM had taken care of small scale industry, capital goods , rural development as well as agriculture, which would boost economic growth.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, however, was not upbeat on the FM’s proposals. “Engineering industry has been ignored. We had been waiting for reliefs and initiatives but the Budget has come as a disappointment.”

Mr Virender Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and parts Manufacturers Association, said the decision to dereserve a couple of items used in cycle industry would act as a severe blow to this segment of the industry. “It would harm the small-scale sector,’ he said. However, he welcomed the proposal to increase the limit for import of machinery.

Bringing a couple of more services under the service tax net has evoked some criticism whereas raising the limit of annual turnover to Rs 4 lakh for service providers has been welcomed.

“This inclusion would affect construction which could, in turn, have an impact on housing finance,” said Mr K.B. Kohli, LIC Housing Finance Limited. But as exemption on interest on housing loan remains, there would be no adverse impact.

Mr Kavitansh Khanna, Secretary, Ludhiana Chapter pf the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India said it is a growth oriented Budget. “The FM has launched a number of proposals to sustain economic growth by increasing planned expenditure on education, health and infrastructure while maintaining a fine balance of having a prudent fiscal and revenue deficit,” he said.

For industry in the region, it is certainly a positive Budget with reliefs and initiatives having come for the SSI segment and textile industry despite thee fact that the minister touched only textiles and sugar industry when it came to such major initiatives. He said the overhauling of income tax structure would mean that the assesses with income up to Rs 2.5 lakh would benefit. However, FDI in mining and pensions is to be viewed with caution, he said.

The decision to impose tax on withdrawals of Rs 10,000 per day on cash withdrawals evoked massive criticism. “It is a highly irrational decision. While details are yet to be seen, a transaction of Rs 10,000, for a businessman is a routine and if the tax is on all segments business would be adversely affected,” said Mr Miglani.



Confusion prevails in Births and Deaths’ offices
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Confusion prevails among residents over the preparation of birth and death certificates in the district as two offices of Registrars, Birth and Death, are working in the city in violation of the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969.

While one office is working near Clock Tower and the other near Midha Chowk. Most of the times the residents are confused about which office they should approach to get the birth or death certificate.

Even the state government has sought an explanation a number of times from the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation as to why there are two parallel offices in the district.

Section 7/1 of the Registration of Birth and Death Act, notified by the state government in 1970, provides for a single Registrar office to ensure its smooth functioning.

However, both Registrars, Mr Sudarshan Sharma and Dr K.J.S. Kakkar, were not available for comments. Mr Sharma was appointed Registrar by the government and Dr Kakkar is the Medical Officer of municipal dispensary in the Midha Chowk area.

A resident said first he visited the Midha Chowk office where he was directed to visit the Clock Tower office. “There has to be some system. Then I inquired and came to know that there are two offices which is violation of the Act,” he said.

It is learnt that the Director of Census Operations, Punjab, Mr Inderjit Singh, had asked the Municipal Commissioner in 2003 to streamline the working of the office of Registrar.

Sources in the corporation said there was a problem with the compilation of data of births and deaths as an employee from the Clock Tower office was transferred to the Midha Chowk office. Now the record of deaths from 1997 onwards is lying in the Midha Chowk office and the record of births after 2003 is lying in the Clock Tower office.

A senior official said on condition of anonymity that there was no confusion over the preparation of certificates as the work in both offices was divided on zonal basis. He was silent on the issue of parallel offices.

The post of Registrar, Birth and Death, has always been mired in a controversy. Mr Sudarshan Sharma, who operates from the Clock Tower office, was appointed Registrar by the state government in 1977. His appointment was, however, challenged in the high court by Mr Bal Krishan Sharma, the then Additional Local Registrar. The court had given the judgement in Mr Sudarshan Sharma’s favour in 1999.

Even then Mr Bal Krishan Sharma continued to act as Registrar. His functioning was again challenged by Mr Sudarshan Sharma in the high court. The former was repatriated to his parent state health department. After him, Dr G.S. Grewal, the then Medical Officer, was appointed Registrar. He functioned as Registrar till 2003. After him Dr Kakkar was appointed Registrar.



Punjab to generate 2,000 MW additional power
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 28
In a bid to put the state on the fast track of development and prosperity, the government has chalked out a plan to execute a number of power projects at an estimated cost of Rs 10,000 crore during the next two years. This will enhance the power generation capacity by around 2,000 MW.

This was stated by Mr Lal Singh, Minister for Irrigation and Power, Development and Panchayats, while addressing a function to mark the completion of three years in power of the Congress government, after inaugurating a 220-KV power grid at Kohara, 15 km from here, yesterday.

Unfolding the plans for additional power generation, he said the major power projects included a 1,000-MW gas-based power plant at Doraha at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore; at Shahpur Kandi at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore; and two new units of 250 MW each in thermal plant at Lehra Mohabat. The MOUs had been signed for the Shahpur Kandi project with National Hydro Power Corporation and with the Gas Authority of India for gas-based power plant at Doraha.

Referring to the power scenario in the state, Mr Lal Singh said total daily power production in the state was 5,960 MW, which fell short by 30 per cent of the total requirement. He said during the last year the state had passed through worst power shortage due to poor rains.

The minister claimed that the government was prepared to meet the expenditure of Rs 3,500 crore on the purchase of 15,000 million units of power during the next year. He claimed that 40,000 new tubewell connections were released in 2004-05 and another 40,000 connections would be released in the next year. Under the VDS scheme for the agriculture sector, nearly 2.50 lakh farmers had opted for additional load, bringing in Rs 79 crore revenue for the PSEB.

He announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh for the projects in villages of the Koom Kalan constituency.

Mr Surinder Dawer, Parliamentary Secretary, Power and Urban Development, Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chairman, PSEB, and Mr Isher Singh, a former minister, addressed the function, among others.



Residents’ mixed response to Budget
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Increase in Income tax exemption limit for individuals, women and senior citizens and reduction in prices of commodities like LPG and tea have been welcomed by city residents. “Increase in exemption limit is a relief for individuals. It would also ensure compliance,” said an Income Tax and sales tax consultant.

He said the FM’s proposal to eliminate mobile phones from one by six category and including electricity bills (above Rs 50,000 per annum) as the criterion is a rational move.

Dr Neena Chawla, associate professor, Bio Technology, PAU also felt that common man would be relieved if LPG prices and prices of other commodities came down.

Though the exemption limit for pensioners also has been raised to Rs 1.50 lakh, senior citizens appeared disappointed by the budget. “Certain important issues like increase in medical allowance, restoration of commuted pension after 12 years and constitution of sixth central pay commission, have been ignored,” said Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary, Government Pensioners’ Association, adding, “it is a very hopeless budget.” “Common man has benefited as not only have income tax exemption limits been raised, prices of edible oil, vanaspati and tea would come down which is a highly welcome step,’ said Mr Vishal Garg, treasurer, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He said even small service providers would stand to gain as the limit for service tax has been raised to Rs 4 lakh, he said.

However, imposition of tax on cash withdrawals of Rs 10,000 or more a day from bank drew flak. “It is a highly illogical step to impose tax on the money that belongs to people,” said Mr S.K. Moudgil, a resident of Tagore Nagar.



Rs 3.12 lakh looted from finance company
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Four robbers looted Rs 3.12 lakh from a Finance company in the Feroze Gandhi market here in daylight today. It caused panic among traders and commercial establishments owners.

The company office, The Muthoot group, which gave loans after pawning gold jewellery was situated in an area better known as the banks enclave having the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, zonal offices and the Improvement Trust building besides over 15 banks. It is undoubtedly one of the busiest area in the city.

Hinting that some insider was involved, SSP Narinderpal Singh said the robbers were well versed with the office design and knew exactly the location of cash and valuables. He also claimed that the robbers were in their 20s and had used Chinese made toy pistols. The police was also upset that the finance company had no security guard of its own.



Stress breeds negativity, says Art of Living guru
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
It was an evening of harmony and peace with the ‘Guru of Joy’, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Harmonious notes were struck during a lecture organised in the sprawling campus of the Government College for Women, here yesterday. The founder of the Art of Living Foundation remains mild and unassuming, making everybody feel comfortable. He spelt out the mission of life for everyone. While emphasising the need for taking note of the positive aspects of the personality, he said, one should always try to ignore and overlook the negative tendencies in people.

He said the individual was the master of himself. Comparing the faith and agnosticism, he pointed out, even an atheist and an agnostic is a firm believer.

An agnostic, he said, believes in himself. And he who believes in himself, believes in God as well, as He resides in everybody. “The agnosticism does not exist at all”, he asserted.

Sri Ravi Shankar maintained that one should always admit his ignorance. “Once you do that, your urge for knowledge remains uninhibited”, he said, while adding that there is a continuous urge for search (for truth) among the human beings.

Questioning the belief that the spiritualism and materialism go contrary to each other, he said, these are “complimentary to each other”. He pointed out, in the modern world, spiritualism cannot survive without materialism and the materialism cannot survive without spiritualism. Only a harmony needs to be created between the two, which is quite possible and practicable.

The Guru regretted that there was a crisis of faith among people as they have started thinking less of themselves. This is the reason for the increasing alienation, unrest and the consequent crime. People need to have faith in themselves and everything would be possible then.

Earlier Sri Ravi Shankar conducted a session of the ‘sudarshan kriya’. He said, it helps in relieving oneself from the stress of the day to day life.

Besides leading to contentment, it also leads to a healthy life. He pointed out, that the stress can always lead towards negative tendencies which have harmful repercussions.

He claimed that the ‘sudarshan kriya’ had been medically proved to have healing powers in cases of severe stress. It is mainly a breathing process where the rhythms are repeated in a cyclic fashion. He said, there existed a close link between the thoughts, emotions and the pattern of breathing and the ‘sudarshan kriya’ harmonizes the three. He pointed out, the short breath reflects emotions like anger, excitement and fear, while the long and deep breath is reflective of a calm and peaceful mind. It simply happens to be a variation of the traditional pranayama practised in India for ages . 



Canadian Deputy High Commissioner
inaugurates project
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 28
The Deputy High Commissioner of the Canadian Embassy, Mr Brian Decson has called upon the social organisations of the state to join hands with the NRIs living in Canada who, according to him, were interested to lift the standard of living of the areas they originated from.

Mr Decson was talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after inaugurating a development project at Brahampur village. Referring to the interest shown by Mr Anant Singh and Mr Gurdev Singh Gill, both NRIs of Punjabi origin, he claimed that the development work, completed at a cost of Rs 1 crore, had drastically changed the lifestyle of the villagers.

“Now when they have been provided with all basic amenities of life, including drinking water and a most hygienic environment, the villagers can think of competing with the residents of the towns and cities,” hoped Mr Decson.

He exclaimed that the association of the Canadian NRIs with their roots was wonderful and showed excellent results. Mr Decson appreciated the excellence of the womenfolk in handicraft after watching an exhibition of the crafts arranged by the village panchayat on the occasion. He was presented some artifacts, which he said would be exhibited in the embassy.



Power sub-station lies incomplete
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, February 28
The development works started by the previous SAD-BJP government in the Koomkalan segment have come to a halt. The 66 KVA grid sub-station of Hedon Bet whose foundation stone was laid by the then Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, is lying incomplete. The building of this Rs 4 crore project is ready for the past four years.

People of the Bet area have to suffer long power cuts and low voltage due to a heavy load. With the completion of this grid, the present drop in voltage would decrease by 6 or 7 per cent.

The grid’s building gives a deserted look. Bushes and grass have totally covered the building. It seems as if no one is taking this project seriously. Local officials of the PSEB did not have any information about the grid. The people of the area have appealed to the PSEB and the state government to complete the grid at the earliest.

Commenting on today’s inaugural ceremony of the 100-MW grid sub-station at Kohara, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal MLA, Koomkalan, lamented the state government’s apathy towards completing the Hedon Bet Grid.



Calendar released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Annual calendar of Municipal Sanitary Inspectors Association, Punjab was released by Commissioner of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, S.K. Sharma for a function by the association here today.

Lists activities and achievements of the association pictorially, is an annual feature of the association. Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor was also present on the occasion besides Assistant Commissioner, B.K. Gupta and Joint Commissioners, Dr Jaswant Singh and Ms Babita Kler.



Amritsar-Hisar train from today
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, February 28
The Northern Railway has announced to introduce a train between Amritsar and Hisar from tomorrow. Railway sources said here this evening that the 1ALH train would leave Hisar on March 1 at 10.30 pm and reach Ludhiana at 4.50 next morning and would proceed for Amritsar at 6.05 a.m. to reach Amritsar at 9.30 a.m.

The sources said that the 2 ALH train would leave Amritsar on March 1 at 5.20 p.m. and reach Ludhiana at 9.20 p.m. The train would leave Ludhiana at 10 p.m. and reach Hisar at 4.45 next morning. 



Murder on train: police rules out dacoity angle
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, February 28
The Government Railway Police Punjab, shockingly, does not view the looting of eight passengers and the killing of one of them on board the Jalandhar-New Delhi Super Fast train near Jaspalon village on Saturday as a dacoity or even at least a robbery incident.

The police has, however, erected a temporary police post near the site of the crime which fell between Doraha and Jaspalon railway station. A police team headed by SSP, Khanna, Pramod Ban, has also been directed to conduct investigations into the case.

It has, surprisingly, presented it as a case of murder due to a quarrel between the deceased passenger Swaran Singh and the accused group of migrant labourers. This despite the fact that the three injured persons in the incident and other passengers had clearly stated to the police and mediapersons on Saturday that the accused had robbed all of them.

The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 337 and 148 and 149 and did not include the sections of dacoity or robbery. As per the provisions of the IPC, a crime committed by a gang of five or more armed persons should be registered as a dacoity or at least robbery if no gun was used in the crime.

In this case, the accused had two countrymade pistols besides knives, going by the statement of the victims, yet the police did not term it as a robbery or a dacoity case.

The police has also not found any clue about the accused so far. The role of the GRP has already come under the fire as three of its personnel travelling as security guards in the train did not try to follow the accused.

The gang had pulled the chain of the train and fled in the fields after looting the passengers. They could not have gone very far if the armed cop had followed them. Instead the policemen preferred to board the train and come to Khanna railway station.

DSP Government Railway Police, Pritam Singh, when asked why a case under the robbery sections had not been registered, said the FIR could be amended any time.

However, SP Surinderpal Singh said the murder had been committed following a clash between the accused and the victim, Swaran Singh. He said the GRP and the district police had started a joint operation to solve the case and raids were being conducted at various places. He said the police may be able to solve the case soon.

Police sources said the police had succeeded in tracing the that mobile was working till Saturday night and the signal was traced in Dholewal area. According to sources, the police is working on the theory that the accused were hiding in Ludhiana after robbing the passengers.



Three booked for beating up servant
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
The Sarabha Nagar police today booked three persons allegedly for beating up a maidservant. She was suspected to stealing some valuable from a household in Parkash Colony, Raghunath Enclave here.

Maid servant Rajjo was allegedly beaten up. She had to be hospitalised. She was under treatment at Gurdev Hospital here. On her statement, the police has booked her employer, Amit Gupta, a former maidservant of the house Sunita and her husband Anil.

A large number of migrant labourers gathered outside the Sarabha Nagar police station to protest against the incident.

SHO Sarabha Nagar, Pawanjit Singh, said Sunita used to work as maid in the house of Amit Gupta. She had sent Rajjo to fill in for her as she was indisposed. Some valuables from the house went missing and the employers suspected Rajjo.

Sunita, her husband and the employer then beat her up while questioning about the theft. Rajjo however pleaded not guilty.



Hosiery traders robbed of Rs 4 lakhs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Robbers struck at the house of a hosiery trader in Gandhi Nagar here yesterday late evening and looted Rs 4 lakhs at gun point. They tied the trader’s son with ropes and decamped with cash and jewellery worth over Rs 4 lakh.

Sonu, 26-year-old son of RP Nagpal, owner of a hosiery was alone at house when two robbers posing as customers came to the hosiery to buy goods. They called their accomplices over the mobile phone after finding the youth alone in the house. Other family members had gone to a party.

Two more robbers with pistols came there. They tied Sonu with a rope and demanded cash and jewellery. Sonu raised an alarm when robber fled. He was freed by area residents



3 arrested for theft
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 28
The police, here, has claimed to have arrested three persons for stealing a gun, cash and gold two years ago from Rohno village. The Court of Mr K.K. Goel has sent all the accused to judicial custody.

The SHO, Sadar Police Station, Khanna, said in February 2003 an FIR was registered on the complaint of Hari Singh a resident of Rohno village in which it was alleged that some unidentified persons had stolen a gun , some gold, and Rs 10,000 in cash from his house. But the police could make no headway in the case.

He said a month back, a complaint was lodged with the SSP, Khanna, by the victim in which it was alleged that some residents of his village were involved in the theft case.



Cyclist killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 28
Mr Hari Lal of Lucknow, while going on a cycle on the GT Road near Bhanor was hit by an unidentified vehicle and killed on the spot. The Dakha police has registered a case under Section 304A of the IPC on the statement of Kewal Kumar of Grain market Mullanpur. Driver fled the scene.

Engine stolen: Surjit Singh and Nachhattar Singh of Saleempura allegedly stolen two pump set engines from the fields of Dalip Singh of their village. Sidhwanbet police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

March against cop: Members of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha today organised march in the town against the conduct of subinspector Sat Pal Singh of Sidhwanbet police station for protecting accused who committed atrocities on the Dalits and the said inspector allegedly threatened the victims to withdraw the complaint.


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