L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Poultry farmers stop feed supply to J&K
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
Irate over inaction by the Punjab Government on their demand to lift the ban on transporting of poultry products to Jammu and Kashmir by the Jammu and Kashmir Government, poultry farmers across the state have stopped the supply of feed and feed ingredients to Jammu and Kashmir.

The move is likely to hit poultry industry in that state as Punjab meets a major portion of demand for poultry feed to Jammu and Kashmir. The Punjab farmers are being supported by their counterparts in Uttaranchal, Haryana and Delhi.

“No feed is being supplied to Jammu and Kashmir. We were forced to take this decision as the state government did not even give a hearing to our problems that we have been facing on account of the ban post news pertaining to bird flu,” said secretary of the Punjab Poultry Farmers Association P.P.S. Gill.

The decision to stop supply has been taken by the North India Poultry Welfare Association after a meeting held here.

According to farmers, the Jammu and Kashmir Government imposed a ban on the transportation of eggs, chicks and broilers to Jammu and Kashmir in February. The ban was partially lifted and currently Punjab can send chicks and broilers but only during the daytime, which is practically infeasible due to rise in temperature.

As a consequence, industry here is badly suffering as the transportation of poultry products to Jammu and Kashmir has been reduced by more than 80 per cent.

“Prior to the ban, an average of 40 trucks were sent every day but the number has now reduced to four-five. Even after partial lifting of the ban, there has been no significant difference. Industry is suffering a daily loss of Rs 2 crore,” Mr Gill said.

Farmers say they have tried to approach the state government time and again on the issue but the government does not seem to be interested in even giving them a hearing.

They said though the Centre was attempting solutions like zoning, the Punjab Government was indifferent towards their problems. Peeved about this attitude of the government, the farmers here had stopped supplying feed to Jammu and Kasmir.

“Punjab meets a major portion of the requirement of feed for Jammu and Kashmir. Even Haryana, Uttaranchal and Delhi have decided to stop supply of feed. Besides, we are monitoring the movement of trucks on the Madhopur entry barrier to ensure that no supply goes from any of the states,” said Mr Gill, adding, “as the impact would be visible in five to six days, within which their existing stock would be exhausted, we are expecting an action in the direction by the government.”

The farmers said they would not reverse their decision till the pre-bird flu situation was restored.



Quackery claims another life
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 10
Yet another human life has been lost at the hands of quackery in the mega city as a migrant boy Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Makkar Colony, died here last evening allegedly after being administered a couple of injections by a PCO operator. The health authorities, as well as the police, as usual, were passing the buck and no tangible action has so far been taken in this regard.

The health administration had launched a campaign to curb the menace of quackery with much fanfare in September last year when three children had died due to wrong medication given by a quack in a charitable dispensary in Prem Nagar locality. But in the absence of will and determination of the enforcement machinery, coupled with the influence wielded by unqualified and unregistered practitioners, the drive simply went up in smoke and the quacks were back in business.

Even as the health authorities remain totally oblivious to the havoc that the unqualified medical practitioners are wreaking on the health of the poor, it is estimated that nearly 8,000 unqualified and unregistered persons are carrying out medical practice in this district, with a little more than 2,000 in the city localities alone.

Located in every nook and corner of the city, the clinics run by these quacks promised a 'magic cure' for every ailment under the sun and many of these 'unauthorised' practitioners are also learnt to be performing minor surgical procedures, radiological and laboratory tests, thereby taking the unsuspecting poor patients for a ride.

Not that the Health Department and the district authorities were not aware of the unlawful medical practice being carried out by thousands of quacks right under their nose but every time some action is contemplated to enforce the relevant law and bring the quacks to book, the affected persons worked up so much pressure from different quarters that the move had to be dropped.

The medical fraternity here felt that quackery in the largest populated city had almost become a necessary evil. "The unregistered practitioners take advantage of the lack of adequate health care facilities in the government sector.

Moreover, the medical treatment in the private sector being unaffordable for the poor people, they have no choice but to go to the quacks seeking cure for illness," commented a senior medical consultant.

Sources in the Health Department pointed out that even if the department desired to proceed against the quacks for carrying on medical practice in violation of relevant laws, a comprehensive mechanism, police force and required manpower were simply not there for this purpose. To drive home the point, the fate of the drive initiated last year was cited when the police did register some cases against the quacks but no follow up action was taken. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Dr S.P. Sharma, Civil Surgeon said as far as the death at the hands of a quack in Makkar Colony was concerned, a report had been sought from the SMO concerned. As of now, no case had been registered by the police, neither had any formal complaint been lodged by the aggrieved party.



Badals levelling baseless charges: Birmi
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
Chief Parliamentary Secretary Malkiat Singh Birmi has said that SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and his son are making baseless statements to create confusion among the people to reverse the fast flow of investments and speeded up development process in the state as they are desperate by the response of the people towards the polices of the Congress government led by Capt. Amarinder Singh.

He was addressing a workers' meeting organised to thank people for their contribution for the success of the Salem Tabri rally of the Chief Minister at Dugri late last night.

Mr. Birmi said the Badals were frustrated and were resorting to issuing threats to the real estate investors and other big projects in the state that they would cancel all projects it they came to power.

He said it was only due to the big investments that the rates of agriculture lands of the farmers had gone up many folds, which brought a substantial improvement in the social status of the farmers, besides it had given a big push to the state economy.

The CPS said such foolish statements and acts of these leaders in the past had kept the big investors away from the state and caused irreparable damage to the overall development of the state. He told the investors not to bother about these hollow threats, as the people of Punjab wanted the state to grow and would vote the Congress government to power again.

Criticising Mr. Badal for creating confusion regarding the prestigious investments in the agriculture-export sector by the biggest company of the country i.e. Reliance Group, he said with the efforts of Capt. Amarinder Singh, the investment by this group in agriculture export would change the agriculture scenario of the sate and the produce of the Punjab farmers would fetch many times higher prices in the international market to substantially increase their income.

Referring to the announcement of the bonus of Rs.50 per quintal on wheat, he said t it was indicative of the government’s firm commitment towards the welfare and prosperity of the peasantry.

He claimed 40000 new tube wells connections had also been released to the farmers in the past three years. He claimed that with the creation of congenial environment, investments in industrial sector amounting to more than Rs. 62,000 crore for 160 big projects had already been approved, besides many other projects less than 100 crore each with investments of more than Rs. 20000 crore had also come into the state with a potential of 10 lakh new job opportunities.

Others present on the occasion included Mr. Ramesh Pappu, President, Municipal Council, Sahnewal, Mr. Gurdeep Singh Kadian, Chairman, Market Committee, Ludhiana, Mr. Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, Chairman, Market Committee, Sahnewal, Mr. Darshan Singh Birmi and Mr. Sher Singh Sandhu, President, Truck Union, Sahnewal.



Road not recarpeted in two years
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
While the municipal corporation is in the midst of a controversy regarding the recarpeting of roads already in good condition in some areas, it has failed to do anything about Oswal Street near Vishwakarma Chowk, the development work on which was inaugurated two years ago.

Residents claim that an elected representative of the MC had even asked them to get the road recarpeted with their own resources. They claimed that Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawar had inaugurated the development work on the road on April 13, 2004. The sewer was laid in October 2004 but the road was never recarpeted.

A number of leaders came and went with a number of promises but the road could not see the light of the day. The residents said it was sad that none of them could take up the work seriously.

“It is a bumpy ride for us everyday to our house. Few showers of rain mean that we cannot venture out of our house on this street. Due to the missing bitumen layer, a slush is formed and the street gets slippery. Even two-wheelers meet with minor accidents almost everyday during the rains,” Mr Vijay Kaushal, a resident, said.

“This is the state of affairs in the cash-rich civic body. Residents are suffering for the past two years on account of no road but nobody cares. We have given representations to the Junior Engineer of the MC a number of times,” he added.

“When I spoke to some authorities, they told us to pool in resources and get the road recarpeted. They told me that once the tenders would be passed, money would be passed on to us. Why shall we do that? What is the MC doing if we have to put in our money for a public job?” he asked.

The residents added that they were shocked at the protest by certain people in a ward, who did not want the MC to waste its money on recarpeting roads that were already in good condition. “We fail to understand why the civic body was doing a work that was not required. It is a shameful thing and speaks volumes about the allotment of contracts. Otherwise who would recarpet a road which is good and does not need repairs?” they asked. 



Schools to close from today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 10
Due to scorching heat, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, has announced that all government and government-aided schools will start their summer vacation from May 11 and schools will remain closed till June 30.

DPRO, Darshan Singh said that earlier the Punjab Education Board had announced closure of schools from May 15 to June 30, but because of the intense heat, the holidays have been advanced.



55-year-old man found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
A 55-year-old man of Koomkalan village was found murdered on the outskirts of Khassi Kalan village this morning. He was living here separately from his Chandigarh-based wife and children.

Raghubir Singh was found strangled with injury marks on his face and head.

the SHO, Division No. 7 police station, Mr Balbir Singh, said the body was spotted by a farmer , Harbans Singh. The body was identified on the basis of a letter found from a pocket of the deceased’s shirt.

The SHO said the man was hit several times before being strangled with his turban.



Charges fly high over disputed land
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 10
Bhupinder Singh, founder of Baba Sri Chandji Gaushala and Gurdwara Sant Ashram, Khera Sahib, near here, has denied charges levelled against him and his father by Ranjit Singh, another resident of the village.

Charging certain local leaders with harassing him, the religious leader alleged that factionalism among Congress leaders had tarnished the image of the gaushala that had recently been established for the protection of cows.

Reacting to statements published in a section of the media, Bhupinder Singh claimed that he his family had been cultivating the land in dispute for more than 30 years and he was the legal owner of the land. “Gurmeet Singh, possessor of the land, has deputed me for all transactions in connection with the said piece of land for which a case is pending in a session court,” claimed Bhupinder Singh.

Accusing a Congress leader and former sarpanch of the village of instigating Ranjit Singh, Bhupinder Singh said, “Though we had invited him to the inaugural function, he instead of joining the celebrations tried to stop Mr Samsher Singh Dullo from attending the function. Feeling jealous over the success of the function, now he is raising unnecessary issues.”

“It is ridiculous that my opponents, in order to settle a score with me, have dragged my father into the issue unnecessarily. Though the police had registered some cases against my father, he has either been acquitted in those cases or has completed the sentence awarded. Now, he is living an independent and peaceful life, which political people are trying to disturb,” said Bhupinder Singh.

He claimed that the organisation had spent about Rs 1 lakh on the inaugural function and the grant announced by the PPCC president was an insignificant amount.

Ranjit Singh, a youth of Khera village, had accused Bhupinder Singh and his father of trying to grab a piece of land belonging to him by getting a foundation stone laid by the president of the PPCC on Sunday.

He had alleged that the duo had threatened to eliminate him in case he obstructed them from occupying a piece of land measuring about 2500 sq yards where they had erected a foundation stone for Sri Chand Memorial Gaushala. Mr Samsher Singh Dullo had inaugurated the gaushala and announced a grant worth Rs 1 lakh to the organisation.

Ranjit Singh claimed that he had become the legal owner of the land on the basis of a declaration made by the Sub-Judge, Ludhiana, on November 11, 1994.

Perusal of Xerox copies of the documents supplied by Bhupinder Singh revealed that the Verowal police had registered an FIR against Balwinder Singh under Section 4 (1) of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act but was acquitted on technical grounds.

“The investigation of the case is, therefore, highly defective and conducted in a slip manner. I, therefore, accordingly hold that the prosecution has failed to prove its case against the accused beyond scope of reasonable doubt,” read the orders pronounced by the Additional Judge, Sangrur.



Ramdev presented award
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 10
President Mr Raj Garg, general secretary Dr Shiv Gupta, press secretary, Sanjeev Malhotra, treasurer Rana Goyal and other members of the Urban Estate Ramlila-Dashara Committee Dugri, honoured Swami Ramdev at a yoga camp organised at Urban Estate, Dugri, by Mr Ashok Malhotra.

Dr Shiv Gupta and Sanjeev Malhotra said Swamiji’s efforts to popularise yoga among the masses is commendable. His teaching of pranayam to people and their following it sincerely would definitely lead to improved health of the people.

Swamiji also deserves appreciation for establishing Patanjli Yogpeeth University at Haridwar wherein a free charitable hospital had been established to provide medical education, research and free treatment to the public.

Swami Ramdev was presented a very beautiful picture of Bhagwan Shri Ram Darbar. Mr Ashok Malhotra, the organiser of the massive yoga camp was also honoured.



3-month-old dog gets new lease of life
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 10
A three-month old dog named, ‘shadow’, received a new lease of life when surgeons in the Department of Veterinary, Surgery and Radiology at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University here performed a cardio-thoracic surgery to save its life.

According to the vets, Shadow was having three weeks history of vomiting (regurgitation), which became more severe recently. Upon contrast radiography, the case was diagnosed as that of ‘persistent right aortic arch’ (PRAA). “It is a congenital vascular defect in the surrounding blood vessels of the heart which start compressing on the food pipe during early course of life of an affected animal.”

A team of doctors, comprising S.S. Singh, N.S. Saini, A.S. Toor, Ashwani Kumar and Amritveer Kaur carried out the cardio-thoracic surgery to relieve it of this vascular problem.

According to Dr Saini, PRAA was the common cardiac malformation in dogs. Pure-bred dogs were more prone to this problem than mix-breed ones. The condition was often asymptomatic but virtually in all cases it involved compression of esophagus, leading to vomiting he added.

The post-operative evaluation revealed satisfactory outcome of thoracic surgery in Shadow.



Escalating prices hit industry
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 10
The rise in the prices of basic raw material coupled with severe power cuts has severely affected the industry. The steel prices have witnessed an increase of Rs 6,000 per tonne in one month. The prices of copper, zinc and nickle have increased by more than 30 per cent. The price of furnace oil has also shot up.

According to Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, the future of the small industries seems to be bleak in Punjab as the state administration is not at all bothered about the same. The state administration is busy extending sops to the corporate sector while the small industry is being ruined.

The price of CR coil steel was quoted at Rs 39,500 per tonne while that of HR coil at Rs 29,000 per tonne. The price of ms rounds was Rs 26,000 against the earlier price of Rs 21,500 per tonne.

They further complain that the industries are being subjected to four to five hours power cut daily, besides observing compulsory weekly off.

The chamber leaders lament that the state government has not taken any steps for power generation to meet the demand. Power cut has been imposed in May while in the past these used to be levied in July and August when paddy transplantation starts.

Many industries are facing severe financial crunch. The banks, says Mr Avtar Singh, have stopped increasing the bank limits and the RBI has enhanced the interest rates.

The financial institutions are not at all helping the industry, he said.

The industry is also sore over the latest development of labour problem. Mr Avtar Singh says that some of the bicycle manufacturing units have cut the production by 40 to 50 per cent.

Moreover, the industrialists complain of poor infrastructure in the industrial areas, focal point and the industrial estate. The roads are in bad shape in focal point area and encroachments have taken place on both sides of the roads in the focal point area, they point out. Besides, there is water shortage in the focal point and other industrial areas.



“Do not bring bicycle industry under excise net”
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
Tiny and small industry here has urged the government not to impose the proposed excise duty on bicycle industry. Addressing a press conference, Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, said the bicycle industry is a price sensitive industry with majority users belonging to economically weaker sections.

“An excise duty on cycle and parts will increase the prices making this mode of conveyance beyond the reach of economically weaker,” said Mr Kumar. Stressing that this industry is a major industry in the state, is labour intensive, providing employment to a large number of people, he said a duty would have an averse impact on the already recession hit bicycle industry.

The federation also stated that units in this sector are engaged in manufacturing various parts and accessories of cycles and most of the entrepreneurs are self-employed. “As a result it will be difficult for them to maintain complex excise records and complying with cumbersome procedures and formalities.”

Besides, if the industry pays duty on raw material, fuel etc, it would not be able to claim Cenvat as the end product enjoys nil rate of duty.

Talking about competition the industry is facing from China, Mr Kumar said raw material in China was much cheaper in comparison to India. “It is not a level playing field and industry here is rendered uncompetitive due to high cost of raw material. A further duty would worsen this industry’s condition.”

The federation also contended that levy of an excise duty would run counter to the government’s intention of rural upliftment.

Mr Kumar said the government’s step to continue with the SSI exemption of Rs 1 crore was welcome but it should not implement the proposal to bring bicycle industry under excise net. Industrialists also urged the government to give them a hearing on the issue.


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