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No Tobacco Day Today
Smoking Act goes up in smoke
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
Three years after the implementation of the Anti-Smoking Act, the law continues to remain on paper as it is being violated with impunity.

People continue to release toxic fumes as the Act goes up in smoke at all public places in the city, including the bus stand, railway station, cinemas, markets and various offices. The enforcement agencies prefer to keep mum.

In the absence of the enforcement of the Act, the kiosks selling cigarettes, pan masala, gutka and other tobacco products, continue to do business in close proximity of schools and other educational institutes.

Although the kiosks have put up the boards ‘Non-Smoking Area’ or ‘No sale of cigarettes for minors here’, made mandatory under the Act, the directive is not followed in letter and spirit.

Ironically at some places, children run such shops and continue selling the products to children. It has become a common site to see the minors buying the stuff from kiosks.

Under the new Act, smoking is banned in public places but one can see people making rings of smoke on roads, railway station, bus stand, parks and markets. The law requires that no shop or kiosk selling cigarettes, gutka or any other drugs should be allowed to operate within a distance of 100 metres from the school and colleges.

But a survey of the city by Dr Deepinder Singh, associate professor, Lord Mahavira College, revealed that there were more than 100 places in Ludhiana city, where tobacco shops were opened within 100 yards of educational institutions. Illegally encroached shops could be seen all along the fence of the PAU. Shops could also be seen in front of Multipurpose School, Singh Sabha School, Model Town, in front of LMH Medical College, Baba Ishar Singh Public School and almost all other places.

Blatant violation was witnessed near schools and colleges in Miller Gunj, Shahpur Road, Jawahar Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Hambran Road, Civil Lines, Ghumar Mandi and Rajguru Nagar. Many kiosks, which existed near Ramgarhia College of Education, Millergunj, continue to function from the same place. A school in Jawahar Nagar, another on Naulakha Road have a kiosk each near the buildings.

Various school authorities have yet to take up the issue with the district administration. These educational institutional were the main targets of the new Act as several studies showed that children had their first experience of such harmful indulgence at these places only.

Startling Facts About Tobacco

  • It is responsible for 5 million deaths worldwide due to tobacco-related illness.
  • Tobacco is the second major cause of death in world.
  • Every eight seconds someone dies of tobacco use.
  • Tobacco kills 1 million Indians in a year. This figure represents more deaths than from AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs and fire combined.
  • Around 2,700 Indians die daily due to tobacco use.
  • Passive or second-hand smoking is the third leading cause of death in the USA after active smoking and alcohol abuse.
  • It takes more than 3 hours to remove 95% of the smoke from one cigarette from a room once smoking has ended.
  • 70% of teenagers who smoke regret they started, 64% have tried to quit.
  • One ingredient in cigarette is carbon monoxide, as in car exhaust. Other chemicals in cigarette includes ammonia, used to clean toilets and floors and arsenic, rat poison.
  • Everyday 3000 Indian teenagers become smokers.

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Tobacco menace
It caused 9 lakh deaths in India last year
Can lead to mouth, throat cancer
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 30
Terming tobacco and allied products as the major cause of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, Dr K.C. Goel, district health officer, Sangrur, called upon the leaders of various social and educational organisations to launch a crusade against the menace and create awareness among masses about the adverse affects of the addiction.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Dr Goel urged the office-bearers of various social and educational organisations of the area to come forward in eradicating the evil.

Referring to information received from various government sources, Dr Goel said 30 lakh persons, including 9 lakh Indians, had died due to tobacco generated diseases last year. “Even after knowing these figures 65 crore persons in the world, including 18.4 crore Indians, were consuming tobacco products now,” Dr Goel said, exclaiming that 3.4 crore women also consumed this hazardous material. He further disclosed that 11.2 crore Indians, including 1.05 crore women, were smokers.

On the consequences of tobacco consumption, the DHO said the cancer of mouth, throat, liver and lungs were caused mainly due to this bad habit. “Besides causing these fatal diseases, the hazardous chemicals present in tobacco result in the weakening of uterus wall in women and subsequent frequent abortions. Frequent premature deliveries result in underweight children also,” maintained Dr Goel, adding that eyes, nose and skin were also affected by tobacco use.

The campaign against tobacco largely owes its origin to the first official report of the US Surgeon-General in 1964, who described smoking as a health hazard of sufficient importance and identified many causal relationships and smoking-disease associations.

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Educational institutes violate directions
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 30
Even three years after the implementation of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, most of the educational institutions in the area have failed to execute the explicit orders by the district administration asking them to comply with the provisions of the Act.

What to talk of sensitising students against smoking and consumption of tobacco products, these institutes have not bothered to display notices warning traders against display and sale of these products.

The Deputy Commissioners of respective districts had directed the heads of all educational institutes falling under their jurisdiction to ensure that cigarettes and other tobacco products were not displayed or sold within the 100 yard- radius of their respective institutes.

Though they had asked them to display notice boards in their institutes regarding the ban on the sale of these products by a stipulated date, no such board was seen displayed in any institute in this area.

According to the Act, an owner or manager or any person in charge of the affairs of educational institutions should display and exhibit a board at a conspicuous place outside the premises prominently stating that the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products within 100 yards of the institute was strictly prohibited and that it was an offence punishable with a fine of up to Rs 200.

A visit to the area revealed that most of the educational institutes had at least one sale point where cigarettes or other tobacco products were being sold openly and that too to teenagers.

There were some institutes that had a cigarette-vendor’s shop adjoining the boundary wall of the institute but no school or college was found displaying the required board.

Besides flouting the civil rules, these organisations also ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organisation which urged the member states to take effective measures to protect their citizens with special attention to risk groups such as pregnant women and children from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.

Inquiries from the vendors and shopkeepers, selling tobacco products and cigarettes, revealed that most of them were not aware of the provisions of the Act.

They considered a fine of Rs 200 to be a minor punishment. It was reported that teachers of some institutes usually asked their students to bring cigarettes for them from nearby shops thus violating the rules themselves. Sources disclosed that none of the institutes had confirmed having complied with the instructions of the Deputy Commissioner issued two years ago.

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IMA cautions against smoking
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 30
The Ludhiana branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has cautioned the people against smoking which carries serious health hazards, and can lead to life-threatening diseases like cancer in addition to other diseases of cardio-vascular system and respiratory tract.

Says Dr Kulwant Singh, a noted cardiologist and vice president of IMA, "Approximately 4400 adolescents try their first cigarette everyday in the United States, and many times more in India. Trying a few cigarettes or use of tobacco on a regular basis as an adolescent, significantly increases the risk of smoking in adulthood."

He warned that smoke delivered from cigarettes, which was inhaled either directly by individual smoking or passively by those in close contact with the smokers, could lead to a broad spectrum of adverse health consequences, affecting respiratory tract, cardio-vascular and central nervous system besides affecting digestive system and systematic metabolic and immunological functions of the human body.

Dr Singh pointed out that the relationship between smoking and depression, an important lifestyle change, was bidirectional.

Recent research had focused on neurobiological impact of nicotine on the basis as it related to depression. Genetic factors were also important and accounted for up to 67 per cent of smoking initiation, maintenance and dependence.

He made a fervent plea for smoking cessation activities and support for its implementation, to be integrated into the health care system while maintaining that the outcome of smoking cessation had improved with the availability of proper behaviour approaches and medications.

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Scientists, please note
Farmer sows paddy directly
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 30
If claims made by Gurinder Singh, a young farmer of Kalarh village in Ludhiana district, regarding successful cultivation of paddy by direct sowing method are true, then, many problems like waning water table, animal diseases, increased pest pressure and water logging will come to an end.

However, the progressive farmer is disappointed as hundreds of farmers across the state were coming to receive tips on the innovative technique but officials of the State Agricultural Department and those of the only Agricultural University did not even bother to respond to his queries.

“We tried the technique initially in our own field. Only a number of farmers in Sihar, Pohir, Momnabad, Nathumajra, Maherna, Kalarh and Jhordan villages have adopted it in fields spread over more than 100 acres of land,” claimed Gurinder.

Contrary to common practise of first preparing seedlings of paddy and then getting them transplanting in standing water by migrants labourers, Gurinder tried and succeeded in growing paddy crop by directly sowing soaked rice seeds in reasonably wet soil.

He claimed that the yield and quality were equally good if not better than those obtained by the traditional method of raising paddy crop.

“Besides saving a lot of time and money usually spent on puddling( kaddoo) band transplantation, the direct sowing methods minimises pest pressure due to decreased amount of humidity,” claimed Gurinder Singh.

He told that about 12 to 15 kg of seeds were sown per acre to get optimum level of crop. Firstly, watering was required after a fortnight of sowing the seeds and 5 to 6 irrigations were ideally needed to get the best results.

On the issue of most economical variety of rice, Gurinder maintained that the traditional varieties had proved most suitable. The direct sowing had its merits also. The direct sowing can be undertaken by the Punjabi labourer, so dependency on migrant labourers will diminish too. “Hence problems related with migrant labourers like carrying of infectious diseases, law and order problem and unexplainable exhaustion of sources by them will also come to an end,” said Gurinder.

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Cops smell rat in assault tale
IRB constable says ex-MLA’s son beat him up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
The case of the alleged assault on an IRB constable by a son of former Congress MLA Malkiat Singh Birmi today took a new turn with the police on pre-liminary investigation claiming that the constable may have cooked up the assault tale. Constable Santokh Singh is posted as security guard at the residence of Birmi.

On the basis of this investigation, the police has refrained from registering an FIR into the alleged assault even though the complainant is a police employee. The SSP, R.K. Jaiswal, has directed SHO Sarabha Nagar, inspector Navreet Singh to conduct an inquiry on the basis of which the FIR would be registered.

Police sources said the preliminary investigation found that Birmi's son had complained to Sarabha Nagar police before the alleged assault incident took place that he was irregular in duty. He also alleged that the constable usually came on duty in a drunken state and misbehaved with the family members.

Sources said a police official went to Birmi's house to inquire into the complaint. The alleged constable disappeared when the police official reached there. Sources said the investigation suspected him of levelling the assault allegation as an afterthought in retaliation. He may have run away to avoid medical examination.

Sources said on the other hand, a co-security guard posted at Birmi's residence had given a statement corroborating the assault allegation. A senior official said as there were witnesses of both the parties making counterclaims, the SSP ordered an investigation prior to the registration of the FIR.

Hardeep had alleged yesterday that Birmi's son Hardeep Singh had beaten him on May 28 when he had refused to fetch his daughter from the Sutlej Club. He claimed he refused on the grounds that the work did not come in his duty.

"After that Hardeep slapped and abused me. He dragged me into the house and beat me up. My uniform was also torn."

Hardeep belongs to to the 3rd Indian Reserve Battalion. He had informed his senior officials also about the alleged assault on him.

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Murder
Lawyers go on strike
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, May 30
City lawyers today went on strike for two days in protest against the murder of a litigant and serious injuries to another in the district court complex yesterday even as the city police sought to ensure them security by opening a police post in the complex today.

A makeshift arrangement for the post has bene made by erecting two tents.

Showing resentment over the incident which claimed the life of a youngster, Ravinder Pal Singh of Phagla village, late last night, city lawyers stopped all work.

They will remain on strike till tomorrow evening. This decision was taken at the general house meeting of the District Bar Association (DBA) held here today under the supervision of Hemant Kalia, president. It also stressed for arresting the person booked by city police in attempt to murder case of lawyer Aman Sharma.

Meanwhile, the district police today set up a police post which would be headed by ASI Dashrath Rai. Around 18 police personnel have been deployed.

SP City (I) Sukhchain Singh said within a week the post would be regularised and known as ‘police post court complex’. It will fall under the jurisdiction of Division No: 5 police station. Two metal detecter gates have been installed at the entry points of the judicial complex, he added.

At the general house meeting, lawyers expressed their views for making security arrangements. They also apprehended that the temporary police post set up today may be withdrawn.

They pointed out that there were too many exit points in the complex, which helped culprits to escape.

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Beware! Branded ACs might be Chinese made
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
The next time you want to buy a branded airconditioner, ensure that it is not made in China. Top branded airconditioners are learnt to be smuggled into the country from China. They allegedly come packaged and labelled with particular brands from China itself. Only thing the brand owners do here is the billing. This is obviously done for the low input costs in China that helps the brand owners to make maximum benefits.

During a seizure made by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, it was revealed that aircondtioners were being imported through a local manufacturer. Surprisingly, these were found to be marked with particular brand labels although the brand labelling is done only after thorough quality control checks.

While 70 containers were seized in Ludhiana, three were seized from Mumbai. The consignment was reportedly meant for a Baddi-based airconditioner manufacturing unit that apparently does job work for the top leading brands of the country.

Since the top brand owners are not able to meet the huge demand of their own, they outsource the manufacturing of their products. However, they ensure the quality control according to their own standards. That is what gives them an edge over the Chinese manufactured goods.

However, it has not been established so far whether the brand owners for whom the importer was doing job work had kept the brand owners informed or not.

On a tipoff, the DRI sleuths had seized about 25,000 ACs from 73 containers from the dry port in Ludhiana and the Mumbai port. The importer had evaded the import duty as he had shown these to be only the spare parts, although these were complete ACs and on the close check were found to be in full working condition.

It is learnt that some importers in order to evade the import duty (on the complete product) import these in parts on which there is no duty. However, the particular importer had imported the finished product and shown it in parts only. The DRI had estimated the duty evasion at about Rs 8 crore. The consignment was released recently after the importer deposited most of the duty along with penalty besides giving bank guarantee for the pending amount.

The DRI officials maintain that there is a possibility of the importer having flouted the Environmental Protection Act under the Montreal Treaty on global warming also. Under the treaty, the AC manufacturers of the signatory countries have to procure a licence from their government. Even if they import the ACs they must possess the due licence for it. The particular importer has flouted this law also.

The DRI officials believe that the importer has probably been billing the imported items from Baddi to avail various other tax concessions being provided there (in Himachal Pradesh). Otherwise, the entire trading and even fabrication is done in Ludhiana only.

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More dera followers return to Sikh fold
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 30
More families of Dera Sacha Sauda followers in the area have come into the fold of Sikhism after the sect took a defensive stand. Families from Mullanpur and Baddowal today officially gave up the dera way of life.

Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra, an SGPC member and Jagdish Singh Garcha, former SAD minister, said about 30 families, represented by their heads, had entered the Sikhism mainstream after abandoning their faith with Dera Sacha Sauda in villages falling under the Kilaraipur Assembly segment.

While the deserters vowed to abandon the photographs of the dera and other religious items, the Sikh leaders presented siropas to them at a brief function held at various villages. Though they claimed that they had come on their own, sources said their decision was based on fears of social reprisal or attacks. Some of the followers said they were quite disillusioned with the dera head for his attempt to compare himself with the 10th Sikh Guru.

Bhag Singh, Gian Singh, Darbara Singh, Ranjit Singh, Balbir Singh, Desa Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Malkit Singh, Raju Singh, Kamikar Singh, Amarjit Kaur and Kessar Kaur were among other who rejoined Sikh fold alongwith their families at Gurdwara Singh Sabha at Jagera villages today.

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DC for mutual settlement of disputes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
Sumer Singh Gurjar, deputy commissioner, has directed officers of different departments to make sincere efforts in settling the disputes mentioned in the complaints of the people presented in the sangat darshan programme (SDP) by bringing about mutual understandings, in case, the dispute pertains between two parties, which would help in removing tension among the contestant parties.

These directions were given in the weekly SDP by the Deputy Commissioner held under his chairmanship at Bachat Bhawan here yesterday. In the sangat darshan (SD), out of the total pending 91 complaints presented in the previous sangat darshan programmes, 67 were settled. As many as 38 new complaints were also presented.

The deputy commissioner told the officers to accord top priority to redress the complaints received and to give maximum time to meet the public in their offices. He also directed the officers to enhance the punctuality so that efficient justice could be provided to the people.

Reacting to complaint of Puran Singh, resident of Bounkar Gujran, regarding the harvesting of crop, the DSP concerned told the deputy commissioner that an agreement had been brought about between both parties, whereas the complainant contested that no such agreement had been reached. The deputy commissioner told the police to immediately sort out the matter.

On a complaint of Charanjit Singh, panch of Khatra village regarding the illegal encroachment on panchayati land by an influential person of the village, the district development and panchayat officer informed that after inquiry, he had written to the SSP of Khanna for registering an FIR.

Discussing another pending complaint of Paramjit Singh of Katana Sahib village regarding the cutting of trees and selling these along with alogs of wood in Dharamshala village, the deputy commissioner directed the BDPO concerned to look into the matter and take action as per law.

On some complaints regarding delay in the disbursement of shaguns and pensions, Gurjar directed the social security officer to present the record concerned with him in his office.

He also asked the BDPO of Sidhwan Bet to dispose of a complaint of some people of Galib Ransingh village regarding the dumping place of dead animals (hadanrori).

Among others who were present on this occasion included Pryank Bharti ADC (D), Rupinder Singh SP (Traffic), S R Kaler, ACA PUDA, Sukhminder Singh Gill, SDM Khanna, Sukhdev Singh Mann, SDM Samrala, Neeru Katyal assistant commissioner grievances, Kanwar Narinder Singh Tehsildar (East) and Joginder Singh Naib Tehsildar (West).

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PAU ex-scientist takes to serving the poor
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 30
Scores of physically challenged, or else extremely poor and sick people lying on footpaths and crying for help in the industrial capital of Punjab is not an uncommon sight. In a city with sizeable migrant population, thousands of people continue to live in slums, that too in completely unhygienic conditions with no body to listen to their woes. The conditions that these poor people are forced to live in, more often than not, lead to severe malnutrition, disability, infectious diseases with the victims not being able to afford treatment even for life-threatening diseases.

It is for scores of such people that Guru Amar Das Apahaj Ashram Trust, founded by a former scientist of the Punjab Agricultural University, Dr Naurang Singh Mangat, tries to lend a helping hand in its own small way. The case of 5-year-old Luxmi, who is a patient of tuberculosis due to persistent exposure to unhealthy environment coupled with prolonged malnutrition, is an example of a dedicated and determined person trying to provide succour to such deprived and underprivileged people.

A resident of a labour colony on the Pakhowal road here, Luxmi was struggling for life for the last few months. Afflicted with tuberculosis for quite some time now, she had been reduced to a mere skeleton and was also suffering from many other physical disorders. Her condition so deteriorated that she lost control over her nervous system as well. She could neither sit, nor stand and just kept lying on the ground.

The hapless girl was spotted by Dr Mangat during his routine tour of the slums and labour colonies, spread across the city, on his bicycle to identify the persons in need of help. On seeing the pathetic condition of the child, Dr Mangat got him examined by a doctor, who suggested shifting Luxmi to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). The thorough examination of the child at the hospital confirmed that she was suffering from tuberculosis for a long time. Luxmi is at present being treated as an outdoor patient and the expenses are being borne by Dr Mangat’s trust.

Focusing on the activities of the trust, which he was running single-handedly for the time being, Dr Mangat told Ludhiana Tribune that earlier he had been personally sponsoring education of many orphans and extremely poor kids.

“In a bid to extend the scope of this work, I along with few other like-minded persons got the trust registered as a charitable institute. We have very little resources and not much financial or other help is pouring in. Even in the prevailing scorching heat, I move around on a bicycle in the slums and surrounding villages with the sole purpose of extending help to the destitute, leprosy patients, physically challenged, blind, deaf and dumb, and other poor sick persons, who have no body else to support them”.

Clad in a simple kurta-paijama with a bag slung on his shoulders, one would not easily believe that the man riding a bicycle in labour colonies all through the day is not only a former scientist of the PAU, but has also worked as a scientist in the University of Windsor, Canada, and Morrison Scientific Research Company, Calgary (Canada). Dr Mangat is also a former fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, London, and is a co-author of very expensive and internationally used text book “Elements of Survey Sampling”, which was published by Kluwer Academic Publishers based in Dordretch, Netherlands, London, UK, and Boston, USA.

For more detail of the trust, those interested can log on to http://www.destitutecentre.cjb.net . Dr Mangat can also be reached at 099152-88035, nsmangat14@hotmail.com , destitutecentre@yahoo.com

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Job Couch Scandal
Chandigarh cops search accused’s computer files
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
A team of the Chandigarh police today searched the personal computer and files of Narinder Singh, a director of the Frontier Cycles Limited at Jugiana village, in connection with the alleged job couch scandal involving him and the alleged Ropar-based victim girl.

Sources revealed that the Chandigarh police came here in the morning along with the accused industrialist and went straight to his factory situated at Jugiana village.

The police wanted to ascertain whether the alleged recommendation letter given to the girl by the accused was prepared in his computer. While the police was mum, the sources said there was no record of the letter in the computer.

The sources revealed that the police also aimed to find out if more such letters were written or this was an isolated case involving the accused. They said more letters would have made the job couch scandal a bigger racket. The scrutiny of the computer files did not yield anything worthwhile.

The incident has sent shock waves among the industrialists’ community, especially the cycles and cycle parts manufacturers. Just last week, a cycle parts manufacturer and his wife committed suicide accusing his sons and grandsons, all well-known cycle parts industrialists, of creating circumstances forcing them to take the extreme step.

Moreover, the accused is the paternal uncle of Vikramjit Singh, who was murdered by a group of gangsters last year.

The Chandigarh police had two days ago arrested 58-year-old Narinder Singh for allegedly raping a 24-year-old Ropar resident on the pretext of getting her a job.

While the girl alleged that he called her to his residence in Chandigarh and raped her, the accused said he was trapped and whatever happened was with her consent only.

The victim alleged one of her friends had introduced the accused to her saying he was a very helpful man. She said he forced himself on her when she went to his residence for the recommendation letter.

Meanwhile, all efforts to contact Narinder’s wife and two sons here failed as the family was unaccessible and maintaining silence.

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Intoxicating drugs seized in raids
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 30
In the course of the stepped-up drive against the sale of intoxicating drugs and substandard or spurious medicines, health staff conducted a series of raids at chemist shops on Tajpur Road, Tibba Road and Pindi Street during the past two days.

According to the civil surgeon, Dr Sat Pal Sharma, a team of officials comprising district drugs inspector Sanjeev Garg and Dr Puneet Sidhu carried out spot inspection at more than half a dozen chemist shops in different localities and took seven samples of medicine, suspected to be spurious or substandard. The samples were sent to the government laboratory and suitable action would be taken on the basis of the report.

The raids led to the seizure of a large quantity of medicines, which were purportedly being sold as intoxicants.

These included 1600 tablets and 1100 capsules of different formulations, 102 bottles of cough syrup and 63 injections.

The health officials had sought custody of seized medicines from a local court and action had been initiated against defaulting chemists.

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Computer shop burgled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
Burglars broke into a well-known computer shop at Pakhowal road sometime last night and decamped with laptops and computer accessories worth more than Rs 15 lakh.

Sukhpal Singh, owner Fast Track Computers, has in a complaint lodged with the division no. 5 police said he noticed the broken shutter of the shop and the missing products when he went to open the shop at 9 am today.

Police sources said the burglars seem to be two or more persons as breaking the shutter was not an easy thing. The police had taken some finger prints from the shop and in the process of matching those with the available records of thieves and burglars. The police was questioning the night watchman on duty.

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2 booked for kidnapping
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 30
Jaspreet Singh, alias, Sonu and Rachpal Singh of Sherpur Kalan, allegedly abducted Harpreet Kaur, alias, Ladi of the same village. The local police has registered a case under Sections 363A and 366 of the IPC. So far, no arrest has been made.

Assault case

Zora Singh and Bawa of Lohat Baddi allegedly assaulted and threatened Naik Pargat Singh of their village with hockey and baseball. The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 323,325,506,427 and 34 of the IPC. The injured has been admitted in military hospital, Jalandhar. No arrest has been made.

Car snatched

Kulwinder Singh, alias, Soni, Ladi and Banti of Chak Kalan and P.S. Banga allegedly snatched Scorpio car from Barmi village from Rakesh Kumar of Mehal Gehla. The police has registered a case under Sections 323 and 382 of the IPC.

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Shoppers pocket good deals, courtesy retail slump
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
City residents seem to be spending lesser this time on shopping. Thanks to reduced liquidity, retailers are having a tough time selling their products. Not only have discount sales begun much earlier this time in comparison to previous years, wholesalers are complaining of delays in payments and stocks are also piling up.

"Earlier discounts sales normally started around the end of season. I was quite surprised to note that this time a large number of outlets have already started offering attractive schemes on purchases. Discounts are also on the higher side and I am quite happy with it," said Shikha Gupta, a city resident.

While regular shoppers are happier as they are getting good bargains, for the retailers the scenario is not so good. "Wholesalers are quite irritated as in most cases when they ask retailers to make payment for the stuff that they bought, the retailers ask them to wait. The prime reason is relatively poorer sales. By now sale should have been at its peak but the situation appears quite dismal," said Vinod K Thapar, president, Knitwear Club.

Retailers said usually by this time, particularly after wheat harvesting, they managed good business but not this year. A number of factors have contributed to the slump in business this time, they said.

"Rise in interest rates has affected liquidity. Despite rise in income levels, increased interest rates have affected common man by way of increased outflow of money towards instalments for loans etc. The overall impact would be visible in a couple of days," said Ahswani Sharma, a financial adviser.

Apart from tight liquidity, the Sacha Sauda issue too has dampened the market. The coming few days could worsen the situation if stocks are not cleared on time, said wholesale suppliers. Not only are the buyers shying away, problems are being faced by manufacturers too.

Wholesalers, who have already procured stuff in bulk, fear their stocks could pile up further. "If stocks pile up, it could also have a bearing on their performance in the next season."

"The effect has definitely been adverse. However, it would only be around the end of the season that business owners would be able to calculate the real impact. Their panic is quite visible from the efforts that they are making to jack up sale right at the beginning of the season," remarked Thapar.

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Unit-linked insurance plan launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
Max New York Life (MNYL) today launched Life Maker Premium, a unit-linked endowment plan.

The product offers an investment choice of 100 per cent in equity funds, thereby enabling customers to maximise the growth prospects according to their needs and risk profile.

According to the company, the plan offers customers death benefit of level insurance cover, where the nominee will receive higher value of the sum assured or fund value.

In addition, during the tenor of the plan, depending on his life events and lifestage needs, the customer has the flexibility to increase his insurance cover.

Those availing the insurance get a choice of investing their premium in five investment funds offered by the company.

Gary Bennett, managing director and CEO, said, "The product wold provide a balance between protection, investment and liquidity needs based on the life stages of their customers."

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City trader in SME board

Ludhiana, May 30
Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries (FOTSI), has been included as member in the National Board for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises by the Ministry of Small Scale Industries.

"Representation on the national board would help us present problems of our industry," said Kumar. Among the issues that would be taken up at a meeting of the board to be held next month is credit for this sector. — TNS

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