HAFIZABAD - Growers and power looms’ workers protested against the recent increase in electricity tariff and petroleum products’ prices, saying that the price hikes would cause closure of their looms, rendering numerous workers jobless.

Kissan Board District President Amanullah said that the increases would add to the miseries of the poor consumers particularly small growers, adding that prices of edibles were rising day by day. He demanded withdrawal of 39 percent rise in the power tariff otherwise growers would be constrained to take out rallies in every town of the country. Power looms Union President Zaman Ansari said that small power looms had already been closed due to rising prices of cotton yarn and prolonged loadshedding and further rise in the power rate would destroy the small industry.

32 fined for overcharging: As many as 32 shopkeepers in the district were challaned and imposed fines worth Rs19,900 by a special magistrates for overcharging during the last week.

The DCO said that crackdowns on profiteers would continue and advised the shopkeepers to stop fleecing consumers and ensure availability of essential commodities at fixed rates.

Passengers deprived of valuables: As many as 40 passengers of Gujranwala-bound bus were deprived of their cash, gold ornaments and cell phones worth million of rupees by three armed bandits late Thursday night near Madhrianwala on Sukheke Road.

According to victim passengers, Sher Zaman, Saifullah, Bashir and others, they were travelling from Sargodha for Gujranwala on a bus in which three armed bandits were also travelling under the guise of passengers. When the bus reached Sukheke Road near Madhianwala, they forced the driver to drive towards a deserted place, where the dacoits snatched away the valuables from all the passengers and managed to escape.

Rickshaw drivers protest against traffic cop: Rickshaw drivers Friday blocked the road near railway gate for half an hour to protest against the irresponsible alleged attitude of traffic cop Ziaullah.

However, DSP traffic Waseem negotiated with the rickshaw drivers and assured them of address their grievance. The drivers were demanding transfer of the said cop.

Section 144 imposed on exam centres: DCO Friday imposed Section 144 on the entry of unconcerned persons within the 100-yard limits of Matriculation Examination Centres in the district which commence from March 3 (today) to April 3.The order has been issued to prevent unfair means and booty mafia in the area. This order shall remain in force till April 3.

DCO for planting saplings: With a view to eliminate the pollution and to make the atmosphere pleasant, each of us should plant at least one sapling, declared DCO Muhammad Asif. While inaugurating to spring tree plantation here the other day, the DCO said, “Trees play vital role in the progress and prosperity of a nation. Hence, it is imperative for all of us ensure maximum plantation.” He also stressed the need for plantation of ornamental plants to make the atmosphere beautiful. District Officer Forest Aftab Ahmad Rauf told the DCO that 150,000 saplings would be planted in the district. He said that saplings can be had from forest department’s nurseries at Sukheke and Hafizabad.

Youth tortured: A youth, Muhammad Imran, was allegedly abducted and tortured by four persons her the other day.

According to brother of Muhammad Imran of Ali Town, four persons including Shabbir Hussain allegedly kidnapped his brother and took him to deserted place where they mercilessly tortured him. The motive of the offence would not be ascertained. Later, Imran was found lying in nearby field unconsciously.