L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Machhiwara Farm Coop Society
Manager, 6 booked in Rs 5-cr fraud case 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
The Khanna police has booked the branch manager of the Machhiwara Cooperative Agricultural Society and six other employees for allegedly scripting a Rs 5-crore misappropriation of funds through fake entries made in the name of over 500 existing and non-existing persons.

Those booked for fraud, cheating and forgery at the Machhiwara police station include branch manager Manmohan Singh and other employees Devinder Singh, Gurmail Singh, Gurbachan Singh, Sewa Singh, Rajinder Singh and Balwinder Singh. They have been booked under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC.

The registration of the case upheld the department investigation into the case, which had sought registration of fraud and cheating cases against the seven accused. However, the Khanna police had earlier opted to book two other employees of the society after conducting its own inquiry into the matter.

A Tribune news report dated April 3 had exposed how the police was not taking action on the recommendations of the FIR made by PCS-level officials of the cooperative department.

After the report, Gautam Cheema, SSP, himself conducted an inquiry and ordered the registration of a case.

Besides the departmental inquiry, an independent investigation by the ADGP-Internal Vigilance Cell had also found allegations against the employees substantial for registering a case.

The accused had allegedly made fake entries in the name of non-existing persons or their relatives to pocket the money meant for farmers. They also allegedly fudged records and did over-writing on the registers. They also did not furnish identity cards of the loanees as well as the revenue records (farad-Jamabandi) of their land, which is mandatory as per the rules.

The loan amount was even shown as returned, but it was not deposited in the bank. Interestingly, one of the accused had also given in writing that he owed money and would return it. The alleged fraud pertained to the 2005-06 period. The accused had, in their defence, blamed a salesman Surjit Singh for the fraud. They had claimed that he had made wrong entries. The police inquiry, however, found that as a salesman he had no power to disburse the loan.

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Acid Attack Case
Victim girls want eye for eye
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
More than the pain of the burns, it is the strong desire to avenge the wrong-doing by the accused in the infamous acid attack case that does not allow the victim girls to rest.

As the two minor girls, who became victim of acid attack on April 1, writhe in pain and burning sensation lying on hospital beds, they want to get back to life and give a similar treatment to the youth(s), "who matched a beast in punishing them".

"Now I believe in eye-for-an-eye law of justice. If this country wants to give me justice, it should allow me to throw acid on the youth(s) in full public view, at the same place and same time," said extremely bitter Sandeep Kaur, a 14-year-old, who suffered worse than she could have even dreamt in her wildest nightmares.

"I feel the way I suffered has added years to my life. Instead of being a frail girl in her teens, I have emerged a strong woman ready to pay back the youth back in the same coin. What was my fault? Only that I declined his proposal?" said Sandeep, making an effort to match the intensity of her voice with her strong feelings despite being unable to speak loudly due to burns in her chest.

Her friend, Rajwant Kaur, too, had become a victim of acid along with her and she also agrees with her on the issue of revenge. "I, too, want to treat him the same way. Only then he would come to know what he did to us," she said, adding that she was worried whether she would ever be able to see the world again, as her eyesight did not return even after opening of bandages.

While the two girls are struggling to get over physical and mental agony, their poor parents are fighting a battle of arranging money for their treatment. The are worried whether the girls would get the same face back. The parents cling to the old pictures of the girls, hoping against all hopes that the youthful looks of the girls could be revived.

Balwinder Kaur, Rajwant's mother, looks at the old smiling pictures of her daughter and then glances at the bandage-wrapped face of the girl lying in the hospital bed, "Would she be like this again", she asks in a choked voice that can melt even the strongest of hearts.

Though many good Samaritans are donating money to the hospital for their plastic surgery, the two couples are somehow arranging money from different sources only to buy medicines everyday.

"My husband earns around Rs 200 everyday after putting in a day's labour. 

Now we have to spend at least Rs 1500 on a daily basis to ensure medicines for them. Seeing our daughter in pain is a different story. It is like we got burnt in our hearts, " said Balwinder Kaur, adding that doctors were telling them that they would get new faces after plastic surgery but if only more people helped them. Her neighbour and Sandeep's mother, too, said that they were debt-ridden. "I rue the day

I sent my daughter to work. I was not able to arrange two square meals for five children. But what happened with her has really broken us. It is more than suffering from poverty," said Parkash Kaur struggling hard to contain her tears.

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PSWC to victim girls’ rescue
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
The much-needed financial help to the acid attack victim girls is on its way, with the Punjab State Women Commission (PSWC) directing the deputy commissioner Ludhiana to provide as many funds as possible from the Red Cross.

Commission's chairperson Parminder Kaur has also urged the National Commission for Women to help in providing financial aid to the victims, whose future remains bleak in the absence of any help so far. Though good Samaritans have also chipped in, surprisingly no city industrialist or major social work organisation, who can easily donate lakhs of rupees for the medical treatment, have come forward.

The commission has taken a hard stance on the issue and also urged the NCW chairperson Girija Vyas to seek capital punishment for the accused in such cases from the government.

Parminder Kaur stated that throwing acid on a girl who refuses to bow to any pressure of love or lust must be viewed akin to rape and murder and calls for the stringent punishment.

She said the use of acid was quite serious, as it completely destroys the life of the girls, "The are just like a live corpse."

She has informed the NCW that such cases were not isolated. More and more boys were adopting this path after the fail to tolerate the independence of a girl in accepting or rejecting a love or marriage offer.

The PSWC has also sent an order to the SSP Ludhiana R.K.Jaiswal for investigation into the role of an alleged accomplice of the main accused Balkar Singh in the case. She informed Ludhiana Tribune that the orders were delayed due to certain administrative matter and holidays.

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City GRP cops on mission to Balia 
To clamp down on press minting fake currency
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
A team of the Government Railways Police (GRP) embarked on a mission to Balia on the Uttar Pradesh-Bihar border last evening to stop the functioning of an alleged illegal printing press which has been dishing out fake currency notes for circulation in Punjab, especially Ludhiana, for the past two years.

The GRP had nabbed three members of the fake currency gang two days ago along with Rs 1.3 lakh of counterfeit notes. They were bringing the money to the city for distribution to the local carriers of the gang. The carriers circulated the money among gullible migrant labourers, who couldn't make out the difference between the real and fake notes.

Gurnam Singh, SHO, said a five-member team led by ASI Ashok Kumar has gone to Balia with the three accused, taken on transit remand, for closing down the press with the help of the UP police. The three accused nabbed with the fake currency were identified as Swaran Kumar, Babban Paswan and Rajesh Kumar.

He said the team would also lay its hands on the gang leader and other members. The gang used to supply the fake currency to local carriers at half the price of the counterfeit notes initially. However, the local carriers demanded more share in the booty after which the gang had to sell the notes at one-third of the price.

The police revealed that the gang targeted migrant labourers only. They used to print the replica of both sides of the real currency on two separate papers. These were then affixed with a strong glue.

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Harassed for dowry, woman burns herself
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
A woman separated from her husband allegedly immolated herself due to dowry harassment at the hands of her husband and other relatives.

Harpreet Kaur, daughter of Mr Sukhwinder Singh, cycle parts manufacturer of the city, succumbed to burn injuries in DMC Hospital.

Before breathing her last, she made a dying declaration to a city Judge accusing her husband Amarpreet, his sister Sonia and uncle Harbhajan Singh for forcing her to this fate.

Dugri police officials said on the basis of her statement a case of abetment to suicide would be registered against the accused.

They said Harpreet had got married to Amarpreet, both residents of Dugri, over a year ago.

In November last year, she returned to her parent's house alleging immense dowry harassment and torture. She said her parents-in-law were nice with her but her husband and sister-in-law were harassing her.

Her parents have informed the police that she was under huge stress these days due to threats made to her and the parents’ life by the accused.

This morning, she locked herself in the bathroom, doused kerosene and set herself on fire.

It was with great difficulty that she was taken out and rushed to the hospital.

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Big power cut today

Power supply to Rahon Road, Bajra Road, Seerah Road, Jagirpur, Meharban and Arihant Spiining Mill will be suspended from 8 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

Power supply to Oswal Alloy, Kanganwal, Thapson, A S Alloy, Gobind Rubber, Metro etc will be suspended from 8 am to 2 pm on Sunday. Power supply to Sherpur and Oswal Feeder will be suspended at 9 am to 5 pm on Sunday.

Power supply to Gold Star Harman Petrol Pump, Sodhi Cycle, Supreme Yarn, Winayak Textile, M K Prosessar, will be suspended from 9 am to 12 noon. Heera Nagar, Tajpur Road, Bab deep Singh Nagar, Shingar , Samrala Road, Guru Arjan Dev Nagar will have a power cut from 9 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

Central, Fatehganj, Prem Nagar, Mehar Singh Nagar, CMC and Dookh Niwaran, will have a power cut from 9 am to 2 pm on Sunday.

Power supply to Aman Park, Sunder Nagar, Avtar Nagar, Ranjit Nagar, Mahavir Nagar, new Aggar Nagar, Panch Sheel, Green Avenue , Malkiat Avenue and Mes Baddowal, Dairy Complex New Kitchlu Nagar, Partap Singh Wala, Panj Peer Road and Krishna Nagar, Jassian, Naveen nagar, Luxmi Nagar, Sant Vihar, New Partap Nagar, Surinder Park will be suspended at 9 to 3.30 pm on Monday.

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Workers for better treatment
 Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Labour unions in the city yesterday said despite tall promises, the Akali government had not chalked out any concrete plan for the labour class, particularly industrial labourers. The situation of migrant labour was worse as they were unlikely to get the benefit of flour and pulses at subsidised rates.

"Lakhs of migrant labourers from other state s have been working for a long time in the state. However, neither are their names including in voters' lists nor do they have ration cards due to which they are not able to avail themselves of any benefits that are given to this segment," said Vijay Narayan of the Moulder and Steel Workers Union.

Workers said their lifestyle had not improved over the years and they were still struggling hard to make two ends meet as none of the governments had framed policies that made life better for the labour class.

They demanded that labour laws be implemented properly and all workers be ensured at least minimum wages. "Efforts in the direction to eradicate poverty are needed and the divide between haves and have nots curbed. To attain it labour friendly policies are required," said Narayan.

The labourers also demanded that contractual system be put to an end and pending cases in labour courts be cleared within a month.

"Besides, compulsory layoffs should be stopped and all labourers should get factory cards and ration cards. Even the labourers who get minimum wages should be provided flour and pulses at subsidised rates."

The workers also demanded a 40 per cent dearness allowance and promotions. They said the government should ensure that ESI, provident fund, bonus etc were given to all factory workers. Workers stressed that measures to stop child labour too needed to be taken.

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Heaven and hell, thanks to CM’s visit
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
It was heaven and hell today on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's route in the city, when commuters had a rough ride for some hours and everything returned to congestion soon after he left.

Thanks to Badal's visit to Daresi at a function to pay tributes to Dr B.R. Ambedkar, the otherwise encroachment-ridden road from old courts complex to old GT road through Damoria bridge looked outlandish and the commuters could zap through without applying brakes even once today.

No vehicles were parked on the road, which was considered a major bottleneck in the city and was always marred by traffic chaos. To ensure that not an inch is encroached so as to enable the CM's convoy to cross the road, police cops were on their toes armed with batons and sticks.

The road was stark clean and the berms were painted afresh overnight. The central verge grills were also painted anew. Heaps of garbage seen usually on the road sides were removed overnight and the shopkeepers encroaching the already narrow road were restrained from their daily practice.

Beggars and drug addicts seen under the bridge were missing and vehicles were passing by smoothly.

It was a bad day for a stray bull too, which is usually found in the middle of a road near Damoria bridge. It was nowhere in sight today and a cop on duty said he had had to repeatedly drive it inside the old city as it was staging a comeback everytime.

Starting from the Old Courts Complex, the road looked like leading to a model city. The beggars and kiosks were conspicuous by their absence. Neither was there any traffic jam nor the road was dotted with litter. On the other hand it was lined with lime powder.

While the commuters complimented the civic body for maintaining this kind of discipline for at least some hours, the knick-knack sellers and beggars were complaining. ‘‘The ‘policewalla’ beat me up today as I was selling cut fruits on a roadside. He did not want money also and only wanted me to stay away. It was a bad business day,’’ said Jugal Kishore, a vendor.

Even shopkeepers were complaining that they had been asked to keep their vehicles away from the road.

Much to the relief of vendors and dismay of commuters, all this was short-lived. As soon as the CM went back, encroachers returned with even greater resilience, beggars started pestering commuters and even the bull made himself comfortable in the middle of the road near Deepak cinema.

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150 years of Kuka Movement

The central government has announced the observance of following events during 2007:

The 150th anniversary of the 1857 revolt by the Bengal sepoys of the East India Company on May 10, acclaiming it as India’s First War of Independence; the birth anniversary of martyr Bhagat Singh on September 27; and the diamond jubilee of Independence on August 15.

Such celebrations ought to be objectively assessed for imparting their precise impact at the national level. The terming of 1857 revolt (regarded as mutiny by the British) as India’s First War of Independence leads to the implied recognition that the earlier invasions from the north- west were not acts of foreign aggression but had been a chain of homecoming by the natives despite their being marauders.

If this were accepted as a historical fact then the heroic deeds of Indian patriots and reformers prior to the advent of the East India Company would appear as acts of treason. Any resentment against the demolition of religious places would not only be misplaced but amount to sheer vandalism.

If the invasions from the north-west had been continual aggression then the acclaiming of 1857 revolt by a few detachments of Bengal sepoys as India’s First War of Independence is questionable. In fact our approach to historical events had been casual, if not distorted.

The re-demarcation of Bengal into two provinces in 1905 was resented as partition, whereas the separation of Burma from India in 1937 was accepted as a prerogative of the British. It would be worthwhile to note that Lokmanya Bal Ganga Dhar Tilak (1856-1920), who spearheaded a sustained campaign for swadesi and sawraj, did not accept the 1857 revolt as an uprising of the masses, because beyond Mogulserai in the east and Bhopal in the south-west, not a single voice of protest was heard.

The Punjab government has taken a corrective step by deciding to observe the 150th anniversary of the Namdhari (Kuka) Movement at a state-level function at Bhaini Sahib on April 15 this year. Ram Singh, founder of the Namdhari sect, adored as Satguru (preceptor of truth) had been a soldier of the Khalsa army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

After the demise of the Maharaja in 1839, he felt fed-up by the intrigues of his survivors and gradual departure from lofty ideals of Khalsa Raj. In disgust, he left the army service in 1845 and returned to his native place, Bhaini, near Ludhiana.

But after the annexation of Punjab by the East India Company in 1849, the provocative activities of patronised missionaries and the demoralisation of the disarmed Khalsa army awakened his national pride. He resolved to restore the glorious values of sovereign secular Khalsa rule. It was on the Baisakhi of 1857, about four weeks earlier than the revolt of Bengal sepoys on May 10, that Satguru Ram Singh founded the Sant Khalsa.

It enjoined a strict code of simple pious living attuned to Nam (name of god). The new sect began to be called Namdharis accordingly. As in their ecstasy they often indulged into loud shrieks (called kuks in Punjabi) the epithet Kuka also got added to Namdhari.

Because wearing of kirpans was restricted by the East India Company regime, the Kukas began to carry sticks (lathis). Mass physical drills formed a part and parcel of their congregations. The Namdharis were the first to start a parallel self-rule by introducing their own postal system for maintaining secrecy about their activities.

They settled all mutual disputes through sabhas (panchyats) instead of petitioning to courts. Child marriage, infanticide, sati and all such practices derogatory to the dignity of women were forbidden. Education through mother tongue was encouraged so that the taught got acquainted with their cultural heritage.

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Land worth Rs 4 lakh donated for tubewell
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
In the city, where prices of land have skyrocketed, two brothers donated a land of 80 square yards for installing a tubewell to supply potable water to the residents at Dr Ambedkar Nagar, here, today.

The duo, Balwinder Singh and Harjinder Singh, are residents of Gyaspura village.

Councillor of ward no. 21 Hakam Singh Gyaspura, who inaugurated the tubewell today, said the land was worth Rs 4 lakh.

He added that their father, late Ranjit Singh, had promised to give the land in order to provide water to the residents of the area. But he could not fulfill his promise and passed away. His sons however kept the promise and donated the land.

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5 robbery cases solved
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 14
The Payal police has claimed to have solved five cases of robbery and snatching by arresting 13 members of different gangs. Valuables recovered from the accused included a scooter.

Some of the suspects were arrested after receiving production warrants from respective courts.

Investigations by a police team revealed that three different gangs of robbers had been active this during past months.

The gang led by Charanjit Singh Channi, son of Dhanna Singh of Chamaur (Rajpura), had been active in robbing petrol pumps. The gang had allegedly looted Rs 55,000 from Aulakh Filling Station near Dugri Canal on March 9 this year.

Deepak Kumar, son of Jagjit Singh, Baljinder Singh Ballu, son of Gurdial Singh of Jaggi Colony Rajpura, Jagbir Singh, alias Babu of Rajpura, Dinesh, son of Ram Pal of Neerpur Rapura, were also arrested in connection with the same case.

Another group of migrant labouers used to snatch valuables and goods of domestic use with the help of a tempo brought from UP.

Silarudeen, son of Samira Deen, Deen Mohammad, son of Peena, Amrudeen, son of Noor Mohammad of Aliganj, Noor Mohmad, alias Tida, of Aliganj UP were arrested in connection with this case. 

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Anti-graft panel member appointed
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 14
Vinod Gupta, social worker from Doraha, was appointed executive committee member of the Anti-Corruption and SW Organisation of Punjab, today.

His appointment was finalised by R.K. Garg, vice-chairman of the organisation.

Garg said since Gupta had been working zealously for the social cause in and around Doraha for the past many years, he would prove to be the right person for the post.

“Corruption had spread like wild fire and it was a herculean task to curb it from its roots and members like Gupta could play an instrumental role towards this positive endeavour of ours,” he added.

He also congratulated Gupta and asked the support of the general public to remove corruption and exploitation and to nip in the bud any other rising corruption.

“Only then can our organisation become truly strong and provide definite support to the few sincere officials and workers whose integrity is being stiffled under corrupt practices,” Garg added.

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Swarankar Sangh members elected
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 14
At the yearly ‘General Ijlas Meeting’ of the All-India Swarankar Sangh of the Khanna unit, Naresh Kajla was elected president, Anil Verma general secretary, Rakesh Verma senior vice-president, Harmesh Verma vice-president, Anil Kajla cashier, Sonu Verma storekeeper, Sanjeev Lovely joint secretary Jagdish Verma patron and Padam Dass chief patron.

In unanimous resolutions, it was decided to observe full day holiday on the eve of Vishkarma Day, to close the shops till the Antam Sanskar ceremonies if any Swarankar dies, to elect the office-bearers after the completion of three years.

Naresh Kajla thanked the participants and said that he had decided to form a club "Jeeo or Jeene Do", which will help in the marriages of poor and needy girls and hold blood camps also.

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Tributes paid to Ambedkar

Ludhiana, April 14
Dr AVM Public Senior Secondary School celebrated the 116th birth anniversary of Bharat Ratan Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar here today.

The chief guest on the occasion was Parminder Mehta of the Congress. He said that by following the path shown to us by Dr Ambedkar, we can understand our rights as well as duties as written in the Constitution.

Dr Ambedkar Employees Federation Punjab (regd) also celebrated the 116th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar. Hundreds of employees assembled at Ambedkar Chowk bypass and garlanded the bust of Dr Ambedkar. Ramesh Lal Sidhu, general secretary, and Paramjit Chommbar said that we should take inspiration from the life of such a great man and follow the path shown by him. — OC

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Baisakhi celebrated
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 14
Baisakhi was celebrated with great pomp and show in the gurdwaras here today.

The newly elected MLA, Jagjeewan Singh Kheernian, and tehsildar of Samrala, Savita, appealed to the people to follow the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh.

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Youth rapes friend's wife
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
The police has booked a youth for allegedly raping his cousin brother’s wife by fraudulently administering her a drug-laced cold drink. The accused also allegedly made a video recording of the woman.

Arvind Puri said the accused Rohit had been arrested and sent to Central Jail under judicial custody.

The FIR stated that Rohit used to frequent the couple's house and finding her alone, raped her on April 11.

Later, the woman informed her husband about the incident. The accused threatened to circulate her video recording, if they reported the matter to the police.

But the couple went ahead and got the matter reported.

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Three booked for dowry
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 14
Jagdip Singh, his mother Manjit Kaur and sister Tejinder Kaur of Manke village have allegedly harassed Balvir Kaur of Sudhar village for dowry.

Since the time she got married to Jagdip, they have been demanding more dowry from her.

The Sudhar police has registered a case under Sections 406, 498-A of the IPC. No arrests have been made so far.

House Burgled

Amna, Avtar Singh, alias Tari, of Mohalla Maijina, Jagraon, and Kirra of Kabir Nagar, Jagraon, allegedly burgled the house of Harnek Singh situated in Mohalla Maijina.

They broke open the lock of the house, stole Rs 7,000 and damaged the TV.

The local police has registered a case under Sections 379 and 427 of the IPC.

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Electroplating industry gears up to meet plant deadline
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
The electroplating industry, which is facing threat of closure in case of failure to put the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) into operation by May 31, is hopeful of finalising the contract for transportation of effluent to the treatment plant within a week.

The Special Purpose Vehicle, named the Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society, has received applications and will meet next week to finalise the contract, after which the CETP would be put into operation.

However, the sore point in meeting the deadline is that so far only 80 out of the estimated 500 electroplating units have become members of the society. Considering that only units that are members would be able to get water treated through the CETP, the units which do not become members will have to suffer closure in case they failed to do so before the deadline.

Joginder Kumar, CEO of the Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society, said the society was banking on the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to issue and appeal to industrial units to become its members.

The P. Ram Committee had earlier ordered closure of electroplating units if they failed to get the CETP operational by March 31, 2007. However, the date was extended at a meeting by another two months on account of pleas given by secretary cum director, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, Sanjay Kumar. To become a member, an industrial unit has to pay Rs 3,000.

As the P. Ram Committee has already clarified that "no further extension would be allowed at any cost" the final outcome would depend on industry's own initiative in the direction.

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Metal price rise troubles industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
At a joint meeting of the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India (FOTSII) and its affiliated associations industrialists said the increase in the prices of HR coils, MS rods and nickel had crippled micro enterprises.

“The increase has been quite high and crippled micro enterprises, which would lead to massive unemployment in coming days,” said Joginder Kumar, president of the federation.

Industrialists alleged that only when stocks began piling up with private producers they started cutting rate.

“The government needs to conduct raids on hoarders of non-ferrous metals who have increased rates of these metals, particularly nickel, which has touched an all-time high of Rs 2,550 per kg from Rs 600 per kg within a very short time,” he added.

Urging the Prime Minister to take concrete measures in the direction, the members of the federations said the export of iron ore of prime grade, which is the basic raw material for iron and steel, should be stopped so that producers can use indigenous production.

They also demanded that custom and CVD on scrap be abolished and central excise duty be brought down from 16 per cent to 8 per cent. Custom and CVD on nickel should be abolished and import be allowed at zero per cent since nickel is 100 per cent imported raw material, said the member.

Among other demands put forward were restoration of freight equalisation.

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HDFC moves to new office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
HDFC Standard Life Insurance today moved to its new regional office in Ludhiana. Paresh Parasnis, general manager (operations), HDFC Standard Life, inaugurated the premises.

Now, HDFC has 22 sales units at 14 cities in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

Company officials said the idea to have an office here was to be close to the end customer. “We felt the need to increase our spread in Punjab because of it's growing potential, and hence opening up of a bigger office in the industrial hub of the state was an obvious choice,” they said.

Parasnis said till December 2006, the company covered over Rs 22.5 lakh individuals and achieved a total sum assured of over Rs 1,25,700 crore.

Nationally, the company continues to have one of the widest reaches among private life insurance companies with 438 offices doing business in more than 692 cities and towns in India.

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