L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Lifting of foodgrains 
Dispute between contractors, truck union
Jupinderjit Singh/ Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

Raikot/Kila Raipur, June 18
The Raikot and Kila Raipur townships wore a cantonment-like look since last night, with over 300 cops, including police force from Ludhiana, deployed on key routes near the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns and the railway station for maintaining law and order owing to a dispute involving wheat/paddy lifting contractors, the FCI and the local truck union.

The multi-crore lifting trade has been severely hit for nearly four months because of the dispute fed by politicians working behind the scenes. Sources said most of the contractors were considered close to the previous Congress government and the local Akali leaders were allegedly helping the opposite party.

The massive police bandobast has been made in the wake of a Punjab and Haryana High Court order. The order made on a writ petition filed by the contractors directed the Ludhiana-Rural police (Jagraon) and deputy commissioner Ludhiana to provide security to them for lifting the grains.

The police force has been especially deployed on the Kila Raipur-Raikot road from where the trucks pass. One SP, three DSPs , two tehsildars and two naib tehsildars have also been posted to supervise the law and order situation.

The contractors, led by Ved Parkash, alleged that the local truck union was not letting them lift the produce and the FCI officials were helping them. They said their contract period would end after four-five months and the rival party wanted them to leave the contract now for their gain.

They said they were given lifting orders, but the produce was handed over to the rival trucks in a clandestine manner.

However, despite the security arrangement, no contractor went to Raikot to lift the produce today also. The contractors claimed that the FCI officials told them at the last minute to lift the produce at 9 am today, after which four to five hours are required for making the arrangements and the railways give nine hours to unload the stock.

The multi-crore lifting trade has been severely hit for nearly four months because of the dispute fed by politicians working behind the scenes. Sources said most of the contractors were considered close to the previous Congress government and the local Akali leaders were allegedly helping the opposite party.

The matter was even in the knowledge of CM Parkash Singh Badal and MP Sukhbir Singh Badal but the dispute remained unsolved.

SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said adequate security arrangements had been made at the Kila Raipur railway station and all the routes connecting the railway yard with various depots from where foodgrains were to be loaded in special train.

"As we have been directed to provide security to the labour and personnel of the contractor, we will ensure that nobody interferes in the process of loading of the special train."

Gurjit Singh, president, Truck Operators Union, Raikot, denied charges that the organisation had not sent vehicles on the demand of the contractor. On the contrary, he alleged that the contractor had delayed payment to the operators unusually during the tenure of previous committee. "In fact we had to seek the help of the police to get our operators their payment for the goods transported during the tenure of previous committee," said Gurjit Singh. He said the union will honour the decision taken by the administration.

DSP Narinder Singh Ruby claimed that the police had deputed more than 325 cops for the security of staff of the contractor of the FCI Ved Parkash, but he did not started loading of foodgrains from any of the depots located at Raikot.

"Though we had informed Ved Parkash about arrangements made by us and invited him to brief us about any further action required on part of our force, he did not turn up at any of the police stations or offices in our circle," he said.

According to Joginder Singh, secretary, Food and Allied Workers Union, the loading of foodgrains from area falling under the Raikot segment has remained suspended due to the ongoing dispute. "Even today we have been waiting for the arrival of trucks since morning," said Joginder Singh.

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Do not ignore sudden onset of severe headache: experts
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, June 18
The Department of Neurosurgery and Neurology at SPS Apollo Hospitals here organised a CME on epilepsy and cerebral aneurysm to mark the successful completion of two years of the establishment.

Prof A.K. Bennerjee, professor emeritus of Neurosurgery at the All- India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, while delivering a lecture on "Intracranial Aneurysm" strongly advised people not to neglect sudden onset of severe headache, which could be caused due to intracranial aneurysm. This condition, if not treated on time, could be fatal, he cautioned.

Dr V.P. Singh, senior consultant, Neurosurgery at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, while focusing on epilepsy surgery, remarked that a few patients of epilepsy, who had seizures despite taking drugs, benefited from surgery. Most of such patients, treated surgically, had good seizure control, and their anti-epileptic drugs could be reduced or stopped.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Deepinder Singh, consultant Neurosurgeon at Apollo, highlighted the achievements of the Department of Neurosurgery. He said till date, more than 200 patients had been operated upon for brain and spine surgeries, with good results.

"All kinds of brain tumor surgery, aneurysms and spinal cord tumors, as well as lumbar and cervical disc surgeries were routinely carried out by the department during this period. He also dwelt upon the fact that during two years of working, there was not even a single case of post operative meniningitis and the wound infection rate was also less than one per cent.

Dr R.S. Bhatia, consultant neurologist, spoke on diagnosis and treatment of patients with epilepsy. He stressed on the fact that 90 per cent of epilepsy patients were well-controlled on anti-epileptic drugs and only a few patients, who had uncontrolled seizures, needed detailed investigations. He emphasised the need for good quality EEG and video EEG, done by a qualified neurologist in treatment and diagnosis of epilepsy.

Dr Lovneesh Garg, senior consultant in radiology, spoke on the role of MRI in diagnosing treatment of seizures. He said that latest generation MRI, available at Apollo, helped in diagnosing the cause of seizures and also in surgical planning. Dr Tushar Arora, senior consultant in neurosurgery, observed that Apollo Hospital had started a programme for epilepsy surgery.

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Puddles add to mosquito pool
MC seems to have no plan for fogging
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The city has already experienced rains and puddles have also formed by the roadside.

This makes for fertile ground for the mosquitoes to breed but the Municipal Corporation does not seem to have a plan for fogging that will help in stopping this.

Every year, the MC wakes up after some cases of malaria and dengue are reported in the city. Before that rains keep lashing and the mosquitoes breed but nobody cares.

Last year also around 300 cases of dengue were reported in the city casting a shadow of doubt on the civic body’s ability to check the spread of the disease.

Many deaths also took place but it seems that lessons have still not been learnt from the past. ‘‘There are pools of water all around us now. Within a few days we would start getting mosquito bites but the MC authorities seem to be unaware. Ideally, if they are serious to check spread of diseases, they should start the fogging operations after the first rain of the season. But unfortunately, the seriousness is lacking,’’ said S.S. Chana, a resident.

He added that in the present system, the authorities were just undertaking stop gap arrangements and no attention was being paid to effectively check the spread of diseases.

The position in the so-called posh localities might not be bad but in other areas puddles and garbage heaps are quite common.

Just a few sunny days and stench would start emanating from the collected water. A visit to areas like Baba Jeevan Singh Nagar, Geeta Nagar, Kishore Nagar, Bihari Colony, Puneet Nagar and EWS Colony is enough for anyone to gauge the gravity of situation.

Residents claim that neither the MC nor Health Department send teams for inspection there.

‘‘Nobody has come to educate us about what to do to prevent the disease. Although most of the cases of malaria would occur areas like ours but nobody cares.’’ said a resident.

‘‘Though the authorities should concentrate on under-developed areas where water stagnates throughout the year to prevent the spread of a diseases like dengue but these are the most ignored areas,’’ said another resident who took the Tribune team around to show a number of places where mosquitoes were thriving.

He added that he was himself pouring kerosene on water near his house everyday. ‘‘But I cannot help if I get a mosquito bite while going to a shop in the neighbourhood and contract a dengue,’’ he said adding that a number of requests to area councillor had also fallen on deaf ears.

He said he was passing through near the EWS colony everyday and was shocked to see the state of affairs there. ‘‘If a commoner can see stagnating water with mosquitoes breeding in it, why can’t the authorities come and do something. They lack the will and this notion is strengthened with every outbreak of a the disease.’’ 

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PAU V-C nominated to planning board
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Vice-chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Dr. M.S. Kang, has been nominated as member of State Planning Board by Punjab government. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is the chairman of the board.

It may be noted that the board plays an important role in the overall planning for the state. Nomination of Dr. Kang would help in the arena of agricultural and rural development works of the board. In addition to Dr. Kang, the former V-C of PAU and Chairman of Punjab State Farmers' Commission, Dr. G.S.Kalkat, has also been nominated as a board member.

Dr. Kang took over as the ninth V-C of PAU on April 30. An internationally acclaimed scientist, he was serving as Professor of Quantitative Genetics at Louisiana State University, USA. He is a fellow of American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. He has also been a Fulbright senior scholar to Malaysia in 1999. Besides, he is the president of two bodies - Association of Agricultural Scientists of Indian Origin (AASIO) and Louisiana State Conference of American Association of University Professors.

Dr. Kang is an old alumnus of PAU where he earned his B.Sc. (Hons) in 1968. Thereafter, he went to USA where he did his Master’s in plant genetics from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, in 1971, and MA in botany from the same university’s Carbondale Campus in 1977. He obtained his Ph.D in crop science in 1977 from University of Missouri, Columbia.

Besides being an ace scientist, Dr. Kang has great aptitude for writing. He has authored nine books and contributed 27 book chapters, monographs and proceedings in genetics and plant breeding. He has also published more than 90 research papers in international journals.

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Drive to test water samples
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
To check the spread of waterborne diseases, the Municipal Corporation today launched a special drive to test potable water
samples. Claiming this in a communique here today, the municipal joint commissioner, said as many as 15 samples collected from different areas were being tested by the SDO concerned to ensure that water was being chlorinated. Besides, the superintending engineer concerned was also checking whether water was being chlorinated.

The release said all tube wells supplying water were interconnected and if some doser was not able to mix chlorine with water, the chlorinators of other tube wells were potent enough to clean water in the other tube wells.

The MC has also appealed to the people to get their overhead water tanks cleaned so that the danger of contamination was overcome. 

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Is Pratibha Patil the right choice?
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
With the nomination of Pratibha Patil as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate for the election to the office of the President, the country, in all probability, is going to have first woman as the head of the state. Once she is elected, as is most likely with the UPA and Left having a comfortable electoral majority, India would be ahead of even the USA.

This makes it obvious that Pratibha Patil was picked up for the contest not because she was a woman, but nobody was opposed to her and she was a staunch Gandhi-Nehru family loyalist

Not many people, however, particularly women, are that optimistic and enthusiastic about Pratibha's election as President. A number of women, representing a cross-section of society, observed that although it was a welcome move for the Indian democracy, but given the way she was picked up for the contest by the UPA does not in anyway indicate that it was really for her being a woman that made her eligible for the contest.

Principal of D.D.Jain College here Vandana Maini pointed out that Pratibha Patil was never the first choice of the UPA. In fact, she was the compulsion, as the UPA allies, particularly Left, did not agree with the earlier Congress nominees Shivraj Patil and Karan Singh. Even the Left that claims to represent a progressive political outlook was insisting on Pranab Mukherjee only. "This makes it obvious that Pratibha Patil was picked up for the contest not because she was a woman, but nobody was opposed to her and she was a staunch Gandhi-Nehru family loyalist," she pointed out.

Radhika Jaitwani, a leading social activist, said whatever the circumstances might have been that led the UPA to nominate Pratibha Patil for the presidential election, the fact remains that she would be the first woman President of the Republic. "Even if by default, we are proud to have a woman as the head of the state," she asserted, adding that Partibha Patil deserved the post, given her experience in politics and an unblemished image. Besides, she has done a lot of work in encouraging education in her area.

A.K.Bhandari, a keen observer of national politics, regretted that even for "the august office of the President we have to go by political expediency". He observed that Pratibha Patil may have had an unblemished political career but is that enough to head the country of over a billion people. He said in Indian democracy the President might be a notional head (of the state) only, but at times he has to make crucial decisions, particularly when constitutional questions arise.

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MC completes five-year term 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana completed its five-year term and the tenure of city mayor came to an end today with the state government already issuing a notification in this regard a few days ago.

The House was sworn in on June 18 five years ago. With the dissolution of the House all the powers to run the MC rest with the commissioner, who has been appointed administrator.

The next house would take oath after the people elect representatives during the next MC elections. With the completion of the tenure of city mayor, all the committees represented by councillors and mayor have been disbanded.

To mark the completion, the councillors, members of various committees, mayor and officials of the civic body had already organised a party a few days ago and posed for a picture.

On the final day of the house, mayor Nahar Singh Gill said that during his tenure, he gave his best to the city and tried for all round development. He said that rising above political agenda, he concentrated on the development of the city.

While thanking the councillors of all political parties, the mayor said that he was touched by the cooperation extended to him by the councillors, residents, social and political organisations, industrialists and especially the senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.

He also thanked the former officials of the MC for having extending him all the help besides thanking the staff and employees of the corporation.

The leader of opposition, Parvin Bansal, also said that the House worked for the betterment of the city and there was total cooperation from all quarters as the House worked as a complete democratic set up. He added that though their tenure had come to an end, they would keep on taking up the issues of the public as usual. 

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Recruitment of teachers, doctors soon: SAD spokesman
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 18
The pre-poll promises by the SAD-BJP government will be fulfilled step by step during its five-year term, said Harsukhinder Singh (Babby Badal), chief spokesman of SAD.

He was talking to mediapersons here yesterday at the residence of Dr Sawanjeet Singh Sethi, press secretary, of the All-India Dalit Sudhar Morcha. Priority has been given to education, health, roads and unemployment. The process of recruitment of teachers and doctors will begin soon, he said.

Addressing the gathering, Badal said Punjab is going ahead towards another green revolution. He congratulated Inder Singh Namsot for inducting men belonging to different castes into the Dalit Sudhar Morcha. He said the Chief Minister is aware of the problems of unemployed youth and would solve this problem on a war footing.

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Budget to focus on basic amenities: Dhindsa
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 18
Terming education, civic amenities and health services to be poor in the state, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the SAD and an MP, claimed that the Budget session commencing on Tuesday would discuss methods to make these facilities to all residents of the state. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had proposed to involve NRIs and big industrial houses in restructuring the required infrastructure for providing adequate facilities, claimed Dhindsa here yesterday.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune after laying the foundation stone in the memory of Mohinder Singh, the founder of the town, Dhindsa rued that despite the fact that the Indians had figured in the list of billionaires of the world, successive governments had failed to provide basic amenities to the members of the lower strata of society. 

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Dead freedom fighter was beholden to Ludhiana Tribune
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 18
Dr Niranjan Singh Brahampur ( 82), who took part in Quit India Movement when he was just 18, and died here two days ago, had to take the help of the columns of Ludhiana Tribune to receive the reimbursement of his medical bills. Before dying he had expressed gratitude to the esteemed paper as he could repay all his loans he had availed of from his friends and relatives for his treatment more than four years ago.

Before dying he had expressed gratitude to the esteemed paper as he could repay all his loans he had availed of from his friends and relatives for his treatment more than four years ago

Disappointed over the attitude of the authorities, Dr Brahampur had threatened to stage a dharna outside the residence of the Chief Minister in case appropriate action was not taken on his application, which he had sent for the fourth time. Ludhiana Tribune had carried a story on his woes that enabled him get payment.

Dr Brahampur (82) was just 18-year-old when he left home at Brahampur village in Ludhiana Tribune for joining the Quit India Movement in 1942. He was sentenced to 18-month jail for various activities and having relations with Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, Mr Inder Mohan and Mr Baldev Singh, all student leaders. He spent the term of his sentence at Bostal Jail and Multan Jail and had to stay in one cell without food and water for 21 days.

Even after Independence, Dr Niranjan continued his revolutionary life under the banner of various labour and kisan organisations and worked as general secretary of the freedom fighters’ association at Hisar. Though he was honoured with a Tamar Patra and was allotted a piece of land near Hisar as recognition of his service to the nation, he had to face humiliation for getting the reimbursement of the medical expenses he had made two years earlier after borrowing from his friends and relatives.

Dr Brahampur had been suffering from many complications for more than 15 years. Besides getting a pace maker fitted, he had to undergo amputation of his right leg.

“As I was made to understand that the state government would reimburse the expenses incurred on my treatment, I borrowed money from my friends and relatives and got my treatment done at the CMC Hospital and the Sigma Hospital situated in Ludhiana. But despite my best efforts, the department did not make the payment as I refused to adopt the ‘routine’ method of getting the payment,” Dr Brahampur had explained to Ludhiana Tribune.

Taking note of the report published in these columns secretary general of  The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front Yogesh Dewan had observed that the officials concerned had not bothered to expedite the process of reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by Dr Brahampur. Dr Brahampur had borrowed money from his relatives and friends.

He had taken up the matter with then Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the process was expedited to enable the freedom fighter get his dues.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, an associate of freedom fighter, told Ludhiana Tribune that he (Dr Brahampur) had expressed gratitude to the esteemed news paper for publishing story of his plights. “It was only after the story was published that the authorities cleared my files and I could repay loans I had availed for my treatment,” Brahampur had said to Sidhu two days prior to his death.

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IT dept to hold refund fortnight
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 18
The department of income tax will hold a refund fortnight from June 18 for the convenience of tax payers within the entire jurisdiction of the chief commissioner of income tax, Ludhiana. During this period, the expeditious issue of all pending refunds will be arranged.

Stating this in a press note here today, joint commissioner of income tax S.S. Rana said all income tax offices within the Ludhiana commissionerate had been directed to take special care to clear the backlog of refunds on a fast-track basis. Along with issuing refunds, all related grievances of the assessees would be sorted out through specially activated mechanism.

The department had made an appeal to the members of the income tax bar, as well as the tax payers to make use of this opportunity for claiming pending refunds and all other issues related to refunds settled.

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Credit this cashier with honesty
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Principal of Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, Inderjit Kaur, here was returned the Rs 11,000 which she had paid extra by mistake while making payment of her insurance premium.

The honest and unselfish act of returning the money was done by Sanjeev Kumar, who is the senior cashier at the LIC’s branch in Gurdev Nagar.

Expressing her gratitude towards the officer, she said honesty prevailed even in this materialistic world. She said, “I had gone to pay my insurance premium today. The amount was Rs 7,500 but by mistake I gave him 37 notes of Rs 500. The gentleman called me when I left his office and returned 22 notes of Rs 500 to me saying I had paid extra. I was surprised to see his honesty. I wish such honesty prevailed everywhere in the country.”

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Narula’s death condoled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Dr M.S. Kang, vice-chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, today condoled the death of eminent writer S.S. Narula. Dr Kang said Prof Narula’s writings were imbued in real life experiences. During the last 40 years, he made an unforgettable contribution to the creativity of the university staff. While his writings would always serve as a lighthouse for generations to come, his able leadership would be missed by Punjabi literature, Dr Kang added.

Dr N.S. Malhi, director of extension education, also expressed sorrow on Narula’s death.

Describing him as a progressive novelist, Dr Malhi said Prof Narula led a principled life to achieve higher goals, which were akin to the lives of Prof Mohan Singh, Sant Singh Sekhon and Kulwant Singh Virk. He also guided the people of Punjab towards the development of the state and nation like them, Dr Malhi recalled. 

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Oswal to set up project in Maharashtra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Oswal Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government today to establish a yarn-dyed shirting project near Kohlapur estimated to cost around Rs 295 crore. This is the group's first manufacturing facility outside Punjab.

The MoU was signed by chairman and managing director of Oswal F.M. Hammerle Textiles Ashok Oswal and principal secretary Industries Government of Maharashtra V.K. Jairath at Mumbai.

Ashok Oswal said, "In our effort to have more items in the value chain we had decided to enter into weaving and were looking for an appropriate location. The project would cost about Rs 295 crore and is likely to generate employment 
for 650 persons in addition to indirect employment."

The project is being set up as a joint venture with F.M. Hammerle Group of Austria. The company informed that civil work at the site is already over and important machinery and equipment have also been sent to the site. The plant would have a capacity of making 12 million metres of high-end shirting fabric that would be exported to Europe and other Asian countries.

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SBI Life announces bonus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
SBI Life Insurance Company has announced a total of 9 per cent bonus, comprising simple annual bonus of 5 per cent and guaranteed return of 4 per cent on all its life-long pension policies for the period 2006-07, the company stated in a press note issued here today.

U.S.Roy,MD and CEO, SBI Life Insurance, said: “SBI Life has declared special one-time reversionary bonus of 1.25 per cent on Sudarshan Plan A and 1 per cent on Sudarshan Plan B, in addition to regular simple reversionary bonus of 1 per cent and 0.5 per cent, taking the total 2.25 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively. The company has also declared a bonus of 2.5 per cent , an increase of 66 per cent over the last year’s bonus on its child plan - Scholar II."

The company added that all bonuses declared were a percentage of the effective Sum Assured, and not linked to the premium component.

Giving details of the company's financial performance, Roy said in 2006-07 the net profit recorded an increase by 88 per cent to Rs 3.83 crore, while the new business premium grew by 210 per cent to Rs 2, 566.08 crore. The company built up a portfolio of over 64.9 lakh insured lives and was ranked third amongst private players in terms of new business premium income, he said.

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Textile, knitwear firms for new industrial policy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The textile and knitwear industry has urged the government to formulate a new industrial policy so that Punjab could again be included among the prosperous states in the country.

In a letter to Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, the Knitwear Club has drawn his attention towards the need to tackle certain problems which are a deterrent to the growth of the industry.

Vinod Thapar, president of the club, said the industry here is competing with its contemporaries in other states with its back to the wall. This is because of anomalous and lopsided nature of packages/amenities granted to other states. Whereas Punjab has so far been deprived of any package, states like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttranchal etc have been favoured with attractive benefits by the previous government. Thus, most of the energies of the people of Punjab get frittered away in inventing ways and means to offset the effects of inequality of opportunities, he pointed out.

Being a border state, we suffered at the hands of enemy-sponsored terrorism for over 10 years. The perils associated with the border state calls for a generous package to the industry in the state, he added.

The small-scale industry is facing yet another onslaught in terms of higher rate of interest they have to pay on loans/advances as compared to the corporate sector. The SSI units are paying interest as high as 12.5 per cent, whereas the corporate sector pays an interest between 6 - 8 per cent.

Although we do not want reversal of this policy, we request that SSI units may not be burdened with exorbitant interest. Otherwise also it gives the impression as if banks are guided only by profit motive where small units are sacrificed at the altar of affluent ones. This anomaly should be removed by allowing interest subsidy to textile sector, he added.

The Cluster Development Programme devised by the Centre deserves financial assistance from the state government for delivering optimum results, he said.

The government should explore the possibility of establishing at least 10 textile parks commensurate with the potentially growing textile industry to attract foreign and domestic clientele.

Freight subsidies lying pending/ unpaid for a long time should be expedited so that the capital could be used to expand the businesses, he said.

Thapar also appealed to the CM that the textile /knitwear is a pollution-free industry established in small clusters in lanes and bylanes of Purana Bazar, Shiv Puri, Bajwa Nagar, Madho Puri, Sunder Nagar, etc, of the town. Such units face the danger of eviction every now and then. They should be exempted from eviction and allowed to continue at their existing place of work.

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