15AT01A.qxd 9/15/2012 12:06 AM Page 1 AMRITSAR TRIBUNE Item after item SATURDay | september 15 | 2012 | AMRITSAR WEATHER PARTLY CLOUDY TOURISM: NO DELAY IN PROJECTS, ATHLETICS: NORTHERN REGION MEET SAYS PHILLAUR Þ PAGE 2 STARTS AT ST FRANCIS SCHOOL Þ 32° PAGE 2 MAXIMUM 24° MINIMUM NALANDA SCHOOL STUDENTS HOLD PROTEST ■ Oppose acquisition of school property under Durgiana beautification project Manmeet Singh Gill Tribune News Service Amritsar, September 14 Students and teachers of Nalanda Elementary School, Durgiana, today held a protest rally to oppose the acquisition of the school property under the Durgiana beautification project. The parents of the students also participated in the protest rally. The school has been running from the upper floor of shops in front of Durgiana Mandir’s Darshani Deori since 1959. It has been receiving aid from the state government since 1967. School manager Salig Ram Bhardwaj said, “Even as the land held by religious places is left untouched, is it not possible that a school is given exemption. Even if the school is given a place at some other place, the students who are mostly from nearby localities would be harmed.” However, he added that so far nothing about the allotment of Students and staff of Nalanda Elementary School take out a protest march in Amritsar on Friday. PHOTO: SAMEER SEHGAL land or building at some other place had been communicated to them. He said even as shopkeepers (tenants) had been assured of shops in a commercial building, the place was not appropriate for running a school. The school is being run from a rented building and the administration had earlier assured the owners as well as tenants of an alternative space. At present around 325 students from the nearby localities are studying in the school. The school has 12 teachers of various disciplines. The president of the Nalanda Educational Society, Hans Raj Vasisht, said in view of the loss of education to the students, the school should be allowed to operate. “Or else we should be given a place that is appropriate for constructing a school building. The place should not be too far from the existing place, otherwise it would be problematic for pupils,” added Bhardwaj. The Land Acquisition Department had acquired nearly eight shops, Geeta Bhawan and a dera of mahants, all situated on the periphery of Durgiana Temple to execute the proposed beautification project on September 12. A final design for the beautification of 3.03 acre around Durgiana Temple has already been approved and work has already begun. Owners keep shoe shops closed, hold protest ■ Government’s move of levying fresh taxes on footwear industry Neeraj Bagga Tribune News Service Amritsar, September 14 Shoe shops today remained closed as the owners register their protest against the government’s move of levying fresh taxes on the footwear industry, which they lament will hit them hard. Raising slogans, members of the Wholesale and Retail Shoe Merchants Association also took out a protest march. On the call of the All-Punjab Shoe Merchants Association, they held a strike and protest to seek rationalisation of the rate of tax on shoes and footwear. They Members of the Wholesale and Retail Shoe Merchants Association hold a protest; and (right) closed shops of footwear in Amritsar on Friday. PHOTO: SAMEER SEHGAL concluded their protest after handing over a memorandum at the Excise and Taxation office. Chairman of association Kumar said footwear shops the local Rupinder all the remained closed today in the city. Finance secretary of the association Rajesh Sachdeva stated that the shoe mer- Þ PAGE 3 chants were paying VAT at the rate of 5.5 per cent and 13.75 per cent as applicable on the sale of footwear. He said comparatively it was a very small trade and about 20,000 families in the city were involved in it. He added that there was no exemption from VAT to any sale price of a pair of shoes. The district unit president of the association, Girdhari Lal Pandhi, said as per the latest classification, VAT at 5.5 per cent plus 10 per cent surcharge (totaling 6.05 per cent) up to the sale price of Rs 250 and thereafter VAT of 13 per cent plus 10 per cent surcharge (totaling 14.30 per cent) was excessive and they would have to pass its burden on customers by raising their prices. Mayoral election postponed The Mayor’s chair will have to wait for another four days to get its new incumbent following the postponement of Mayoral polls in Amritsar. PHOTO: SAMEER SEHGAL Tribune News Service Amritsar, September 14 The Mayoral election for the holy city, which was supposed to take place tomorrow, has been postponed to September 19. Commissioner, MC, DP Gupta, confirmed the development. Though the MC office was being spruced up for the oath-taking ceremony of the new Mayor during the day, the news of its postponement broke out in the evening. Both the alliance partners have also appointed their respective party observers for the elections. While the BJP has appointed Cabinet Minister Chunni Lal Bhagat and Kamal Sharma as its observers, the SAD has appointed Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia and MP Rattan Singh Ajnala as the party observers for the Mayoral polls in the city. The SAD-BJP combine had swept the MC polls in Amritsar by winning 49 out of the 65 seats with the SAD capturing 25 seats, one more than its alliance partner BJP’s tally of 24. The opposition Congress had suffered a major jolt as it’s strength was reduced from 21 seats last time to a meagre four seats. The Independents fared better than the Congress by bagging 11 seats, while the CPI scored victory on a single seat. The term of the former Mayor, Shwait Malik, had expired on September 6. Intoxicants, cell phone seized from three undertrials in jail Manmeet Singh Gill Tribune News Service Amritsar, September 14 Staff of the central jail here has recovered intoxicants and a mobile phone along with a SIM card from three undertrials. Two separate cases in this regard have been registered at the Cantonment police station here against them. Investigation officer SI Prabhjot Singh said a case under Sections 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act and Section 42 of the Prisoners Act was registered against undertrials Sukhjinder Singh and Davinder Singh. Another case under Section 420 of the IPC and Section 42 of the Prisoners Act was registered against undertrial Sawinder Singh, from whom a mobile phone along with a SIM card was recovered. Hike in diesel prices elicits widespread criticism from residents Neeraj Bagga Tribune News Service Amritsar, September 14 Ahead of the festive season, the Union Government’s decision to hike the diesel price by Rs 5 per litre and confining the supply of subsidised cooking gas cylinder to six a year has jolted the common man and elicited widespread criticism from the residents of the holy city. In the local market diesel prices recorded a rise of Rs 5.47 per liter as its cost jacked up from Rs 40.49 to Rs 45.96. On the other hand, branded diesel was dearer by Rs 18 per litre as it is now available at Rs 63.97. This came as a second blow for the residents after the state government recently levied fresh taxes on various essential items. The city residents feel that it will add more burden to them as diesel is widely used by transport companies and farmers. Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association president JP Khanna lambasted the government’s defence of raising the price on account of mounting losses to the PSUs and added that people must look at their balance sheets to know the truth. “The government A boy shows a cartoon ridiculing the hike in LPG prices in Amritsar on Friday. PHOTO: SAMEER SEHGAL only wishes to pocket a fat cheque at the end of the financial year,” he said. He added that soon its impact would be seen on almost all essential items from textile and cosmetics. Amritsar Retail Karyana Association president Kuldeep Rai Gupta said the impact of diesel hike would be far reaching as it would cause the increase in prices of almost all items used in kitchen. He reasoned that the majority of these essential items came here from different parts of the state primarily using trucks run on diesel for transportation of these. He mentioned that cereals were procured from Delhi, spices from South routed through Madhya Pradesh and oil from Rajasthan. Fruit and vegetable merchant Harish Taneja said prices of vegetables and fruit were set to increase after the hike in diesel as all these crops came from various parts of the country. Transporters today increased the freight charge on a box containing 10 kg apple from Rs 13 to Rs 15. On an average a truck carried 500 boxes, which meant Rs 1,000 freight rise on a truck. Currently, apple was being procured from Chamba. He added that more clear picture would emerge within a couple of days as tomato was being procured from Maharashtra. Amritsar Milk Halwai Association president Charanjit Singh Pappu, also proprietor of Gian di Hatti, famous for lassi (butter milk), said nearly Rs 5.50 hike per litre of diesel was very high and it would cause prices of milk and its allied items to increase. He said its impact would be known only next week. Automobile dealer Rajat Kumar said the hike in the prices of diesel might have limited impact on the sale of cars. He said the consecutive increase in the prices of petrol had tilted the balance in favour of diesel cars and the sale of cars in the latter segment increased considerably. An employee, Kusum Malhotra, said over 14 per cent hike in the prices of diesel in the city might be aimed at shoring up a weak fiscal position, but it would increase people’s kitchen budget considerably. A housewife, Ruchika, said it was strange that the government offered coal mines to its ministers and favourite companies and burdened “aam adami” with inflation. “I receive a limited sum from my hus- band to run the chores of the house and family, including kitchen and school fees of students, and am unsure how to adjust the domestic budget, which is set to rise”, she rued. She demanded that at least 12 cylinders on subsidised rate must be ensured to each family. She added that a cylinder hardly lasted even a month and how could the government expected it to last for two months. A company secretary, Arvind Bajoria, said the country’s wholesale price index (WPI) rose 7.55 per cent, higher than expected in August from earlier year, mainly driven by higher food prices due to poor monsoon rains and in this light hike in the diesel prices would only add to the inflationary trend. He commented that the increase in diesel prices was anticipated to add 60 basis points to inflation. A woman entrepreneur, Mirudala Bhardwaj, flaying the unprecedented increase of over Rs 5 in the diesel prices and limiting the number of subsidised LPG cylinders to six said the Union Government must spare a thought for the middle and lower income group families. BJP criticises govt Members of the Sports Cell of the BJP burn effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to protest against the hike in prices of diesel and LPG in Amritsar on Friday. PHOTO: SAMEER SEHGAL Neeraj Bagga Tribune News Service Amritsar, September 14 State executive member of the BJP and Chairman of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina today condemned the hike in the prices of diesel by Rs 5 and limiting subsidy on LPG domestic cylinders on six cylinders in a year. He said the Congress-led UPA government was facing allegations of corruption and instead of clearing itself of these charges it further undertook an anti-poor, anti- people decision of hiking the prices of the commodities of basic daily needs. Chhina said in a press note issued here that the Union Government often attributes the hike in prices of petroleum products to the international price rise of crude oil. “Why it does not take measures to correct the domestic issues instead of banking upon the international markets?” asked Chhina. He said now the transport charges would go up due to rise in diesel prices, which would further lead to inflation of all the consumer goods.
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