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Monsoon shower spreads cheer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
The first monsoon shower of the season last night brought cheer to farmers and city residents who had been reeling under extreme weather conditions and unrelenting heat wave for the past several days.

With the sharp fall in day as well as night temperatures following the rain, the residents finally got some respite in the face of long power cuts.

The rainfall has been recorded at 30 mm. Dr GS Bains, heads, agrometeorology department of the PAU, said the rain would be extremely beneficial for crops.

It would wash away the dirt and bacteria, making the climate healthier for plants and humans.

He added that there was a strong possibility of more rain in the next 24 hours.

Manpreet Singh, a paddy grower from Dholewal, said: “The heat wave that swept the region threatened to lead to a drought-like situation and we were worried about our crop. But the rain has brought us relief. Hopefully now the power and water situation would improve.”

Dr Bains said contrary to reports, the monsoon would be normal thid year. “The persistent heat wave for a long period, like witnessed this time, is a sign of a healthy monsoon,” he said.

The head of the agronomy department, Dr US Walia, said the rain was good for kharif crops and would facilitate in the timely sowing of maize, arhar, moong and mash.

The head of the horticulture department of the PAU, Dr JS Bal, said it would also facilitate weed control in orchards. Dr DS Cheema, head of the department of vegetables, said low temperature would induce flowering in most vegetables. 

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Inundated streets belie MC claims
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
Heavy rain in the city today brought respite from the sweltering heat, besides reducing pressure on underground water and electricity. Rainwater inundated roads and several low-lying areas, exposing the claims of the MC with regard to flood preparedness.

Many areas were under knee-deep water and commuters had a difficult time making their way through flooded streets.

A portion of the Chandigarh road caved in after the first showers. The MC said the sewerage had developed a leakage that caused the earth to sink in the area. The road would be repaired soon, a spokesperson of the MC said.

Residents complained that the state of affairs had left them disappointed as the first rain of the season had already left the city flooded. “If this is the condition, what would happen when we experience heavy rain,” Gurmeet Singh a resident, said, adding that the claims of the civic administration had fallen flat.

Even as the power supply was not restored in some areas till this morning, at least some colonies were free of power cut today.

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Robbery at Airtel office
Cash, accessories worth Rs 4 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
Two robbers took away cash and accessories worth Rs 4 lakh from the Airtel office situated near Shinghar Cinema last evening.

The incident took place at around 10.30 pm last night when the accused, masked and armed with an axe and a pistol, entered the office and took the employees, Parminder, Anikit, Hari and Gaurav, and the owner, Sunil Kumar, hostage.

The accused handcuffed them before locking them in a room. According to the police, the assailants then thrashed Sunil Kumar and snatched a bag containing cash, mobile accessories and a laptop worth Rs 5 lakh.

Later, Sunil was also handcuffed and locked in the room. It was at 11.30 pm that the employees managed to break open the door and inform the police abut the incident.

Accused nabbed at Chandigarh

The robbers who targeted the Airtel office last night have been nabbed by the police at Chandigarh. The accused have been identified as Jaipal Singh, Gursher Pawar (both from Ferozepur), Harinder Singh of Chandigarh and Harjot Singh of Ludhiana.

The police said Jaipal Singh was a close aide of dreaded criminal Rajiv Raja while Harinder Singh was the son of a cop deputed at Chandigarh.

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19 persons drugged; critical
Accused served them cold drinks laced with sedatives before ransacking their rooms and robbing them 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
As many as 19 persons fell unconscious after drinking cold drinks reportedly laced with sedatives last evening. The victims, including three children and a woman, were taken to the Civil Hospital this morning. The condition of all victims is stated to be critical.

The incident took place around 9.30 pm at Kuljinder da Wahera near Lal Singh Gurdwara on the Kakowal road, when a man, who had recently taken a room on rent, allegedly served cold drinks laced with sedatives to the victims on the pretext 
of celebrating his son’s birthday.

The victims fell unconscious after drinking the cold drinks and the accused stole the cash and other valuables from their rooms and fled.

The victims have been identified as Sandeep, Omparkash, Hariram, Anmol Kumar, Anmol Rattan, Parveen Kumar, Simran, Bachan, Subhash, Ram Neha, Satinder, Roshan, Bain Shah, Akhil, Digram, Divya Bharti and a six-year-old-girl.

According to Vikas, a resident who, along with other residents, heldped take the victims to hospital, said: “It was this morning that we found that the rooms had been ransacked and saw the victims lying on the floor. We immediately sensed that something was wrong.

“We rushed them to hospital where doctors told us that the victims had been poisoned,” he said.

All the victims are still unconscious.

DSP (rural) Parampal Singh said the victims hailed from Bihar and were not in a condition to record their statement. “We are investigating the matter and a search is on to nab the accused,” he said.

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Suspected case of swine flu
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
The rapid response team (RRT) for swine flu comprising ENT and medicine specialists today took a swab sample of a resident of Rajguru Nagar, who had recently returned from the US and complained of fever and congestion.

The report submitted by the medical experts states that the “suspected case” is a patient of acute sinusitis and tonsillitis, adding that persistent fever is the only symptom that makes it a suspected case.

The patient has been put on antibiotics and is being monitored regularly.

District health officer SS Dhir said the sample had been taken and sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi.

“The family has isolated him in a room and is adhering to the advise of the health authorities. The report would be available after 24 hours,” he added.

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PSEB staff strike work
Power supply disrupted for long hours
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 30
A sit-in protest sparked off by the suspension of a junior engineer at the Focal Point division of the PSEB yesterday led to the disruption of power supply to several localities.

Thousands of residents in several localities across the Chandigarh road, as also commercial establishments and industrial units under the Focal Point division, remained without power for long hours as no line staff was available to rectify the fault and restore supply on to the cut off feeders.

In some colonies, including Urban Estate, Phase II, on the Chandigarh road, the power was suspended at 9.30 pm when rain began and was restored only at 11.30 am today.

Meanwhile, the employees continued with their dharna after office hours, but did not allow senior officials to leave. The officials could come out from the office at around 8 pm following the intervention of the police and some mediapersons who had gone to cover the agitation.

Senior executive engineer HS Jogi said JE Sikander Singh was suspended on Friday after a written complaint by Jagroop Singh, PRO of the PSEB at Ludhiana, who claimed that the JE had abused and threatened him when he asked him about the status of a fault at Urban Estate that had disrupted power at the house of a TV journalist. The complaint stated that the JE was allegedly drunk when he misbehaved with the PRO on telephone.

An inquiry was conducted by a superintending engineer and the JE was suspended. When the office opened yesterday, the JE, along with his colleagues and some trade union leaders, started mounting pressure to get the suspension orders revoked.

Jogi said the line staff was not attending to routine faults in the distribution network since last afternoon and the situation worsened with the rain when the supply on several feeders was cut off due to a short circuit. “We have been working the whole night with the help of private electricians to restore the supply on disrupted feeders and of 29 feeders, 20 had been made functional till late this afternoon,” he said.

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Fewer takers for PMET in Punjab
Govt apathy annoys PCMS docs
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
About 25 per cent decline in the number of students appearing in Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET) in Punjab over the past three years followed by a number of resignations put up by the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) doctors, has failed to rousing the government to take counteractive measures.

Despite having undergone advanced trainings as per the recommendations of the Medical Council of India, the medical fraternity in Punjab has been meted as compared to other services. Surprisingly, the last cadre review for the PCMS was done in 1970.

Irked over the non-chalant attitude of the government, sources of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) said: “The PCMS is the only cadre with one per cent promotional posts as compared to 20 per cent in other services. There are only 40 posts of civil surgeons/deputy directors, joint directors and additional directors against the cadre of 30,000 doctors.”

Dr Hardeep Singh, association president, said: This was the only profession, where in doctors (gazetted officials) were working at a grassroot level, but were not entitled to having a vehicle before they were designated as senior medical officers.

Ironically, the bureaucrats at the helm of affairs despite having agreed to the “tree type management” had done a little to do away with the “broom type management,” which had failed the public health sector in Punjab, he added.

Apart from being the most laborious stream, it takes almost 10 years for a doctor to get established, which is almost double the time required to settle in other professions, a parent of an MBBS student said.

“Thereafter, improper infrastructure, missing medicines, diagnostic tools, equipment in government hospitals and health centres in addition to “less salaries” add to the reluctance of students to opt for this stream.

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Wrong policies hit small units hard: Traders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
Even as the industry is crying for regular supply of power, about 38 per cent of electricity is going to waste in the form of power theft, transmission losses and no billing by the PSEB.

The government, instead of going into the root of the problem, has started imposing long power cuts on domestic and industrial users. The situation is expected to worsen as 500 lakh extra units of electricity (both domestic and industrial) is being diverted to the agriculture sector on a daily basis in Punjab.

The president of the Small Scale Industries Association of Punjab, Harish Khanna, today said that due to the wrong economic policies of the government, the small sector was the worst affected.

“How can we generate production when there is 10-12 hour power cut on a regular basis? The non-tax paying sector (agriculture) is being supplied free power whereas we, who pay the highest taxes to the state exchequer, are being denied electricity,” he said.

Members of the association said they were being “cheated” by the Punjab government. They said when there was no electricity in the state, why was the PSEB providing NOCs for new connections. “They are minting money in the form of huge installation fee, etc.

It is better not to release new connections than add to the trouble of industrialists who invest heavily in infrastructure,” said Jagdish Rai Monga, general secretary of the association.

The small-scale traders also asked when there was a difference of about 18-20 per cent in the demand and supply of power in the state, why was the government imposing 50 per cent power cuts.

Khanna said the only viable solution to the problem was that a nuclear power thermal plant should be installed in the state.

Meanwhile, the traders have decided to hold a dharna against prolonged power cuts on July 6 at Vishkarma Chowk.

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Villagers vow to fight drug addiction
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 30
In many villages of Sangrur, Khanna and Ludhiana, the residents have started a movement to inspire drug addicts to shun the habit. On the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, hundreds of residents of 25 villages, falling in these districts, vowed that they would bring the addicts in their villages to the mainstream so that they could lead a healthy life.

Appreciating the role of certain social, educational and religious organisations of the area, the police hoped coordination from the public, and it would help the administration to achieving its target to uproot the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

“We will not relax untill addicts in our villages realise that a little effort on their part will metamorphose lives of their family members and relatives. We will involve maximum number of volunteers to achieve the target of getting our area freed from the menace of drug addiction,” said Mohinder Singh of Brahmpur village in Ludhiana district.

Manjit Singh, secretary of the Social Welfare Club, said a number of youths had volunteered to facilitate movements launched by the administration or NGOs of the area in this regard.

Members of Rotary Club, led by its president Avtar Krishan Sharma and secretary Pardeep Sharda, organised awareness camps in slums and localities suspected to be inhabited by drug addicts.

“Instead of putting the addicts in embarrassing position, we asked their families to implement pharmacological and psychological treatment prescribed by a team of doctors constituted by our organisation,” said Dr Ravi Sharma, president of the club.

SSP, Khanna, SS Mann and SSP, Ludhiana (rural), Gurpreet Singh Bhullar claimed that a number of drug addicts had started undergoing de-addiction treatment at camps organised at villages, including Karamsar, Rara Sahib, Narangwal, Maherna, Ghungrana, Sihar and Nanaksar.

Claiming that a fight against illicit trafficking was an inseparable component of their routine, Mann asserted that observance of annual days facilitated the spreading of awareness about deleterious effects of the menace on physio-socio-economic development of the area.

Referring to the outcome of drug de-addiction camp at Rara Sahib, under the supervision of DSP, Payal, Anil Joshi, the SSP claimed that at least 10 youths, who had fallen prey to the menace, vowed to shun addiction.

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Protest by railway employees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 30
Irked over the indifference of the railway authorities towards their demands, the Northern Railway Union (NRU) organised a protest rally here today.

Serving an ultimatum, leaders of the NRU threatened to launch a sustained agitation as per the decision of the All India Railwaymens Federation.

The divisional secretary of the NRU, Daljit Singh, said the demands included recruitment of eligible family members of employees on compassionate grounds, removal of anomalies in the pay panel report, disbursal of 6 per cent arrears, restricting daily duty to maximum eight hours and blanket ban on outsourcing and privatisation.

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Scarcity shoots up milk prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
Decline in the milk production is resulting in its scarcity, which has led to rise in the prices of milk and its products. As a result, city residents are not only being made to shell out extra bucks on their daily quota of milk, but are also being provided with adulterated milk.

Thus, in order to bridge the gap between the demand and supply, milk vendors are indulging in rampant and unabated adulteration.

Confirming this, experts at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) say every year from April to September, productivity of the cattle reduces that results in the shortage of milk.

Dilbagh Singh, deputy director, Dairy Development Board of Punjab, said,” Due to the low productivity, there is milk scarcity, but the board is working hard to keep the situation under control. There is no need to panic. However, he said, production of milk products was being affected.

According to Dairy Development Board sources, milk production has fallen by almost 40 per cent in the state over the past two months. This has affected the supply. They revealed that in the coming days, the state might have to face acute milk scarcity.

Local dairy farmer Sarabhjeet Singh confirmed that the production had fallen by 30 to 40 per cent.

Due to the low milk supply, cases of milk adulteration rise every year during summers. At special camps organised by the Dairy Development Board of Punjab in various parts of the city, almost 100 per cent milk samples were found to be adulterated. In numerous cases, about 70 to 80 per cent water was found present in the samples.

Recently, Verka’s general manager was transferred to Chandigarh following his alleged involvement in the milk pilferage case.

Dilbagh Singh said the board was taking milk samples for tests everyday to ensure quality and check adulteration by the local vendors. But, in most cases, only water was mixed with the milk. No trace of chemicals was found in the milk.

Ruing that in spite of the high prices, the quality of the milk and milk products supplied by the local vendors was poor, Sushma Sharma, a resident of Jeewanpreet Nagar, said: “Its time we shift to soya milk or good quality milk powder, because what we get from the milkman is milk in water, that too, at exorbitant prices.”

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Industry pins hopes on Budget
Abolition of fringe benefit tax (FBT) is one of the most important areas on which government needs to pay attention
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
With Central Budget to be announced in seven days, industrialists here expect it to be an industry-friendly budget, especially in the wake of global meltdown hit the industry hard.

They want undue taxes abolished to provide relief to the industry and stricter norms for conducting income tax surveys on income tax payers. Technicalities notwithstanding, there was virtually no distinction at present between surveys and raids, feel the industrialists.

Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry president PD Sharma says they have high hopes from the Budget.

Abolition of fringe benefit tax (FBT) is one of the most important areas on which government needs to pay attention, he adds.

He says: “The FBT is cumbersome for industrial units to comply with. It is, in fact, a tax on expenditure. In the ongoing economic meltdown, the income of industries is decreasing but the expenditures are not coming down proportionally.

Thus, instead of getting help from the government, industry gets handicapped. Moreover, the industry must be trying to reduce expenses on their employees to reduce the impact of the FBT. In view of all these factors, the FBT should be abolished in the Budget.”

The main tax rate in the highest slab be reduced from 30 per cent to 20 per cent, he adds. “In many neighbouring countries, the highest slab rate is lower than that of ours. Moreover, reduction of this will generate more revenue. Also, for past many years, compulsory income tax audit has been necessary for turnover of over Rs 40 lakh. This limit should be raised to at least Rs 1 crore for the benefit of the industry,” says Sharma.

Another industrialist VP Kapoor feels that the income tax exemption should be raised to Rs 3 lakh.

“Procedure for filing income tax returns is very complicated. A layman has to depend on others to prepare tax returns. There can be many pitfalls for the income tax payers.”

He also points out that small and medium firms supply manufactured goods to large industry. The government is now proposing TDS of 2 per cent on the order value while making payments to SMEs.

This is a harsh provision and should be abolished. All surcharges and cesses on income tax payers should be removed, adds Kapoor.

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Tehsildar Assault Case
Pamphlet campaign in support of Bains
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
Supporters of SAD councillor Simarjit Singh Bains, who is in police custody in connection with the tehsildar assault case, have started a pamphlet campaign to garner support for him.

Pamphlets stating that Bains was an honest leader and was suffering because of raising his voice against corrupt officials are being inserted in newspapers and handed over to people on traffic chowks and other public places.

The campaign has been undertaken to dispel the belief that Bains had assaulted tehsildar GS Benipal. The pamphlet says that when Bains tried to expose corrupt revenue officials, he was “done in” by those who did not want any public representative to raise his voice against malpractices.

It also states that Bains was not present at the spot when Major Benipal was stripped and assaulted but he was still implicated in the case at the behest of several police officials.

“We had to take some step. Bains is a popular leader. The common man does not know what exactly happened. So, we decided to start the campaign,” said a supporter of Bains who was presented before the duty magistrate today.

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Commission agents to go on strike from today
Our Correspondent

Samrala/ Khamano, June 30
The commission agents of Grain Market, Samrala, and Khamano, will go on strike from July 1 to 5 due to the call given by the State Associations of Commission Agents against the direct payment to farmers by procure agencies.

State Action Committee member Harpal Singh Dhillon of Samrala said the commission agents would not give payment to farmers and would not purchase any crop during the strike. The agents would also keep their shops closed, he added.

Harpal Singh said if the Punjab government failed to take back this anti- people bill by July 15, then the action committee would organise a meeting on July 16 to chalk out the next course of action with the help of farmers of Punjab.

The action would include gheraoing of the MPs, ministers and MLAs of Punjab, he added.

He alleged that 45,000 commission agents would suffer due to this decision. Meanwhile, Gurdev Singh, president, Commission Agents’ Association, Khamano, said they would observe a strike in Khamano as well as other grain markets falling under Khamano.

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Devindernath is Arya College mgmt chief
But embezzlement charge against him
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
The new management of Arya College, Ludhiana, has taken over and its first meeting was held here today.

Devindernath Sharma has been appointed as the new president of the management committee, who is the Registrar of Arya Vidya Parishad, a wing of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Punjab.

The other members of the management are Ashok Pruthi, senior advocate, Jalandhar,and secretary,Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Munish Sehgal, and Rajesh Sharma, vice-president of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, and SK Syaal, principal (Retd).

The college principal, Dr SM Sharma, said the new admission policy was on the top of the agenda.

Dr Sharma is allegedly involved in a controversy of the irregularities in the functioning of the college, due to which a complaint has been filed against him with the Vigilance Bureau.

The complainant said an FIR was not lodged in a case of the alleged embezzlement of Rs 60,000. He further alleged that 300 students, who were running short of lectures and were issued roll numbers at the time of the university examinations, were not fined.

Dr Sharma said a Vigilance Bureau team visited him for inquiry.

Devindernath Sharma said no complaint had been received hitherto. He said the complaint should have come to the management first, as the Vigilance Bureau could not intervene in the affairs of a private institution. 

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From PAU
Workshop on HR development
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
To propagate the importance of standards in the fields of agriculture, home science and engineering, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), New Delhi, organised a workshop on “Human Resource Development/ Capacity Building in Educational Institutions” at Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Three scientists from the Bureau of Indian Standards, NK Pal, SK Gupta and Neeta Sharma, conducted the workshop and dwelt upon the basic concepts of standardisation, development of national standards and the standardisation process in India.

The dean, Postgraduate Studies, Dr SK Mann, said knowledge of national and international standards as applicable to the field of agriculture, in particular the food sector, was the key to ensure good human health and exports.

Conducting such workshops in academic institutions would help the academicians to make the inbuilt arrangements through curriculum reforms for imparting the knowledge to students about national and international standardisation, she said.

Around 20 faculty members from constituent colleges of Punjab Agricultural University attended the workshop. 

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Primary health centre in a shambles 
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Machhiwara, June 30
The primary health centre, catering to nearly 100 villages of Machhiwara, is in a shambles for the past long time. Shortage of staff, lack of medicines and basic facilities has been upsetting the patients admitted in hospital.

A visit to the hospital reveals that it is not only the lack of staff and doctors, at times, the hospital does not have cotton and syringes and patients were told to arrange such things on their own.

The number of doctors and staff of the hospital has been reducing at the centre for the past few years. The patients admitted to the hospital, mostly from the poor strata of society, rued that due to lack of money they had to avail services of this hospital. However, it is not economical, as most medicines had to be arranged from outside.

There are seven sanctioned posts of doctors in the hospital, but at present, only three doctors are working here. The situation goes out of control when a doctor or two take a leave. The doctors are overworked and opt for ‘on call duty’ also, where in they could be contacted when the need arises.

Senior Medical Officer Dr Renu said they were facing problems due to shortage of staff and basic necessities in the hospital. She, however, said things were going smooth, as the doctors and staff could manage with the shortage of employees.

She said a doctor had recently resigned and another post of the doctor was lying vacant. “We are taking services of four doctors from other hospitals who are deployed here on request to look after the emergency services,” she said.

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Sale of mobiles sans ID number rampant
Most Chinese handsets that sell in the grey market in the city don’t come with the mandatory IEMI number used for tracking cell phones
Mohit Khanna/Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
Putting national security at risk, China-made mobile sets, without the mandatory IMEI number, are being openly sold in the city. While the government has banned the sale of mobile phones without the IMEI number, the same goes unchecked here.

These sets sell like hot cakes here for they come cheap and have features to match top brands.

However, most Chinese handsets that sell in the grey market here, don’t come with the mandatory IEMI number used for tracking cell phones.

On the contrary, mobile sets of most top brands, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, are “Made in China” and carry IMEI numbers.

Even the police apprehends the misuse of such phones by anti-social elements.

To make the matters worse, these phones come with features that can copy an authentic IEMI number and use it as its own.

The department of telecommunications has also directed all cellular mobile service providers to make the provision of authentication on mobile handsets with IMEI number for GSM networks and “electronic serial number” (ESN) for CDMA networks.

A senior official from the telecom department agrees that there are no technological standards as far as these imported mobiles are concerned.

“There is a huge influx of Chinese brands in the city. Though not all are illegal, they have to meet certain technological standards,” he says.

Chinese mobile phones provide more features at cheaper rates. Generally, quality is not an issue with customers and it is the features they look for.

“Other than regular features, many handsets have facility for dual SIM, TV at an affordable range from Rs 500 to Rs 15,000,” adds a dealer selling Chinese mobiles at Mata Rani Chowk.

SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said only the telecommunication department could effect the ban on sale of such sets. “We cannot confiscate these mobile sets by conducting raids,” he adds.

However, the police agrees to the fact that they face difficulties while tracking down criminals if they are using mobiles without the IEMI number. 

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Fruit, veggie prices skyrocket
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
Mango, which used to be the fruit of the common man earlier, has become unaffordable today. Not just the mangoes, prices of all other seasonal fruits like litchi, water-melon, melon, peach, plums, etc. and vegetables have increased.

Wholesalers and retailers said their supply had been hit due to extreme hot weather conditions.

Talking to The Tribune, Gurpinder Singh Dicky, a wholesale dealer of fruits and vegetables, said most of the varieties of mangoes, including Saharni, Dussehri and kuppi came from Saharanpur side. They were being sold in the wholesale market between Rs 22-25 per kg, but in market consumer purchased them at Rs 35-50. Litchi, favourite among kids, earlier came from Bihar, but now was coming from Pathankot side.

It was available for Rs 50 per kg in the wholesale market and Rs 70-80 in the retail market. The supply of grapes from Rampura Phul and Malout had almost stopped due to shortage of the crop.

The plums from Solan, Kullu, etc. were being sold for Rs 70-80 per kg in the market.

Harinderpal Singh Pappu, president of Ludhiana Arhtiya Association, said, “Due to hot weather and no rains, the production and supply of fruits and vegetables has hit in the region.

There might be shortage of tomatoes in the coming days. Peas were being sold at Rs 100 per kg in the market due to less supply.”

Monica Maini, a homemaker, said the budget of homemakers was 
disturbed due to increase in prices of basic commodities, including fruits and vegetables.

“It is better to cook non-veg and cheese dishes these days, instead of such expensive vegetables. But, green vegetables and fruits need to be added to the diet to remain healthy. Except for buying at exorbitant rates, we have no other option,” she added.

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Juneja is Improvement Trust chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 30
A senior BJP leader and a taxation lawyer in the city, Ashok Juneja, has been nominated as the chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) for a period of two years.

Juneja, who is on an overseas visit at present, will be back on Thursday and will be joining office later this week.

Talking to The Tribune on telephone from Hongkong, Juneja recalled his close association with the RSS for around four decades and with the BJP since its inception.

A gold medallist in Law from Panjab University, Juneja said with the cooperation of the staff and officials of the Trust and the public, he would strive to work in a transparent manner.

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7 booked for abducting minor
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 30
The Sidhwan bet police booked seven persons for kidnapping a minor girl. Chand Singh, father of the victim, said Lakhwinder Singh alias Sonu, a resident of Rajapur village, near Ladowal, had kidnapped his his 15 year-old-daughter, Mandeep Kaur (name changed), luring her into wedding.

Chand had stated in the complaint that six persons, including father of the accused, Resham Singh, mother of the accused, Nanko, Gurdeep Singh, residents of Rajapur village, Sarian Singh, Jaswinder Singh and Manjit Kaur, residents of Baghian village, had helped Lakhwinder Singh in kidnapping his daughter.

He added that he knew Resham Singh’s family for over 15 years. Though the accused kidnapped Mandeep on the intervening night of 17 and 18 July, the family searched her at the relatives’ house but failed to find her.

Thus, they complained to the police. The seven accused have been booked under the Sections 363, 366A, 120B of the IPC. 

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