Thursday, June 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Probe into bridge collapse
Company puts blame on workers
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Khurshidpur (Jagraon), June 12
“A thorough enquiry will be held to ascertain the causes behind the collapse of five beams of the high level 810-meter bridge being constructed over Satluj on the Nakodar-Mehatpur-Sangowal-Sidhwan Bet-Jagraon road. The responsibility for the incident would be fixed,” says Mr G.S. Sodhi, Technical Adviser, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board.

The foundation stone of the Rs 40-crore project was laid by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in August, 2001, at an impressive ceremony presided over by a former minister Sucha Singh Langah. The bridge on completion is expected to reduce the travelling distance between Jagroan and Nakodar (Jalandhar) by nearly 40 km. People now have to take a circuitous route through Ludhiana to reach Mehatpur which otherwise is just 10 km away across the Sutlej.

Mr Sodhi was at the site here this noon to assess the damage and have a first-hand account of the possible causes leading to the incident. He had rushed from Chandigarh on learning about the incident. Accompanying him were Mr Kuldeep Singh, Chief Engineer, in charge of the project, besides officials of the state PWD (B & R) wing. He also posed queries to the project in charge of Gammon India Ltd, the company constructing the bridge.

Fortunately, no labourer was working on or near the bridge at the time of the incident.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Sodhi said he could not immediately comment on the possible causes since he was yet to go into all the details minutely before arriving at a conclusion. “Since the incident has happened means that something is not right,” he opined.

He said the board, which undertakes major infrastructure development works in the state, was concerned that the prestigious project be completed on time. Despite numerous checks this incident had happened. We will investigate the matter and fix responsibility”, he asserted.

Mr Sodhi also said the material used in the construction was subjected to quality control checks both by the PWD and the construction company, Gammon India Ltd. "I will go though the records and determine whether the poor quality of construction material was to blame or the fault lay with the way the beams had been launched. But nothing concrete can be said at the moment,” he pointed out.

The Technical Adviser, however, added that the government would suffer no losses as the project was entirely insured and the board would settle the builders dues only after satisfying itself that the finished product was up to the mark.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, Chief Engineer, said the project had been awarded to Gammon since it is an ISO-9002 company with a rich experience in bridge making in the country. “Such incidents sometimes happen and we are looking into every aspect of it.” 



Unaware medical men still displaying Red Cross
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 12
In spite of the directions of the Union Health Ministry that the use of the Red Cross emblem by doctors is banned, the rule is being flouted openly. The International Red Cross Society has authorised only personnel of the Red Cross Movement, the Army Medical Corps, the Red Crescent Socities and a few other bodies to use its emblem.

The directive was issued on May 8 — World Red Cross Day. The theme of the day was: “Stop Misuse of the Red Cross Emblem”. A Red Cross Society directive under the Geneva Convention of 1960 also restricts the use of the emblem. However, doctors, paramedics and chemists have been blatantly displaying it.

Violators are not aware of the ban and these include even government hospitals and various ambulance services. Hardly anybody has used the new emblem designed by the Red Cross to bring parity worldwide.

The president of the Ludhiana unit of the Red Cross Society and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said, “Red Cross is a huge organisation. For the past five decades, people have been associating doctors, hospitals and clinics with the Red Cross emblem, but we are trying to educate the masses. We have been receiving stickers of the correct emblem from Chandigarh and distributing these among the persons concerned here.”

When asked whether the Red Cross was going to impose a Rs 500 fine on each violator and seize his or her goods, Mr Aggarwal said the fine would not solve the problem, but education could. He said the change would come gradually.

The Indian Red Cross had issued a circular to all the DCs and presidents of the District Red Cross Societies, telling them to check the misuse of the emblem. The International Red Cross Society has released a new professional symbol for doctors, ambulances, pharmacies and hospitals on international lines, but one does not see it enough.

The Red Cross symbol was introduced during war for rescue workers who needed safe passage, but, with time, doctors, health workers and even chemists started using it. Now, it is just a status symbol for many.

The Health Ministry has asked the Indian Medical Association, the PCMS Association and various bodies of chemists to discontinue using the emblem. Dr Dharamvir Kapoor, president of the All-India Medicos Society, has urged all chemists to use the Green Cross designed for them.

Mr S.P. Malik, Secretary of the Red Cross Society, said the body was publicising the new symbols for various organisations.



Burning waste compounds pollution problem
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
The sanitation staff of the Municipal Corporation here has found a novel way of getting rid of the waste matter, filth and garbage, collected in the garbage containers, placed at different places in the city. Rather than following the norms, which require shifting of the garbage from containers to the two dumping sites on the city outskirts, the safai workers, more often than not, set the garbage on fire. As a result, the residents, in addition to undergoing the agony of bearing foul smell, emitted by the accumulated filth, were made to inhale dense smoke.

The problem had assumed alarming proportions in the area of Bhadaur House, an upmarket commercial complex, where a large number of hotels and restaurants were located, which generated quite a huge amount of waste and garbage, which also included leftovers of food.

According to one of the hotel owners, the garbage container, placed along side the rear wall of the hotel, itself was a big nuisance as the foul smell emitted by putrefying filth literally served as a big deterrent to the visitors to the hotel. The problem was further compounded when the safai workers, put it to fire. The stinking thick smoke and the burning particles of filth, flying all around, made the life of the people in the entire area miserable.

The shopkeepers and the hotel owners said they had taken up the matter several times with the civic authorities without any positive response so far. “A simple personal visit by any of the senior MC officials to the area will apprise them of the enormity of the problem, which is not at all difficult to solve.”

But the question is - will some MC functionary respond and try to come to the rescue of scores of visitors to the market, besides a large number of shopkeepers and hotel guests.



Put iron bangles around right wrists: DIG
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
Mr Rohit Chaudhery, Deputy Inspector General of Ludhiana Range, in a press note issued here today, said he had directed the Senior Superintendent of Police here and the other officials to get cases of economic offences investigated by competent persons before making any arrest.

He has issued these instructions after a disclosure that some policemen — ASI Paramjit Singh, ASI Surjit Singh, Sneh Deep Sharma of the Punjab Police Service and the DSP at the Industrial Area — had favoured owners of a local spinning mill in registering a false case against an NRI and arresting him. The DIG said a probe had, later, shown the facts of the case to be contrary to what the policemen had projected.

The DIG had directed the SSP to proceed against the two ASIs and also written to Police Headquarters in Chandigarh to initiate action against the DSP concerned. He said he had sought the files of about 60 cases of economic offences and asked the SSP to remove the irregularities in investigations.

Mr Chaudhery said Mr Arvind Singh Bhogal, Managing Director of Josoca India Ltd at Chanalon in Ropar district, had started manufacturing socks there in 1987 and exporting these. In 1997, he started purchasing thread from a Ludhiana-based spinning mill that supplied him with substandard material, due to which, he received no payment from abroad.

Later, he approached a consumer court in Chandigarh against the spinning mill and the case was, later, referred to the National Consumer Forum in New Delhi, where the verdict went in his favour. The legal executive of the mill, had used his influence to get a false case registered against the NRI.



CBI probe demanded in land deals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana , June 12
Dyeing and electroplating units in the city are up in arms against what is being termed as "usurping of land by a few big industrial houses in connivance with politicians and bureaucrats" that was meant for the rehabilitation of small units. The said case pertains to about 796 acres of land acquired by the state government in Dhandari Kalan village and other nearby villages. Small units have now written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation that the alleged sale of land below the market rate by the Small Industries and Export
Corporation (PSIEC) can be investigated. In a signed letter to Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Jagjit Singh Dua, Managing Director of Dua Alloys, on behalf of the Electroplating and Dyeing Associations has alleged that the management of the PSIEC, in connivance with some government officials, has sold 110 acres of industrial land to a person of Mundia Kalan village, near here, at a rate of Rs 1 lakh plus simple rate of interest on the amount for the past 16 years.

He also alleged that this was done at the same time when another 400 acres of the adjoining land was sold to six industrial units at a rate of Rs 6.26 lakh per acre in 1994 by the corporation after the officials had entered into an under hand dealing of Rs 3 crore to execute this illegal deal.

The letter to the Chief Minister states that 349 acres of land out of the total land acquired was allotted to the PSIEC out of which it reserved 110 acres for the polluting industry that comprised electroplating and dyeing units. The electroplaters claimed that these 110 acres of land was made available to the PSIEC in 2000-2001 out of which 70 acres of land was de-notified by the PSIEC in 2001 and sold to an influential person at a rate of Rs 1 lakh per acre, without collecting administrative and other charges with simple interest, whereas 400 acres of undeveloped land was sold to six big industrial houses at a rate of Rs 6.30 lakh per acre. They have demanded a probe by the CBI into the sale of land below the market price.



CMC ‘restricts’ entry to public street
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
The management of Christian Medical College and Hospital has allegedly encroached upon public streets near the hospital and raised several structures on the land, much to the annoyance of general public. A big iron gate has been put up on a street and securitymen have been deployed at the site.

Mr Joseph Mathew, a man of Mission Compound who has been affected by the alleged encroachment, says that a public street from Brown Road to the hospital has been closed to general public by raising a gate there. The other side of the street has been closed with a wall.

Mr Mathew, in a written complaint to the authorities concerned, has charged the hospital management with raising a hostel mess, a shed and a toilet block on the public street. A drainage system was also being constructed there and the street was also being used as a bicycle parking lot, which was illegal.

To prove that the hospital management has encroached upon a public street, the complainant has obtained an official site plan of Mission Compound area, that shows the disputed site to be a public street.

Mr Mathew, 81, has also urged the District Magistrate to take action under Section 133 of the CrPC to get the encroachment removed. Mr Kuldip Singh, SDM (East), who has to take action on the petition, visited the site today with the complainant and some representatives of the hospital management. He said he had sought some documents from the two parties for further action.



Cong threatens stir over toll collection move
Our Correspondent

Doraha, June 12
Congress leaders today threatened to boycott the toll collection scheme being launched at Doraha.

In a press conference organised at PWD Rest House here, the Congress leaders decided to strongly oppose the toll tax collection being initiated near Doraha flyover.

Terming it as anti-public, Mr Gurmit Singh, former Political Secretary to late Chief Minister Beant Singh, said that it would prove highly undemocratic for the people.

Mr Gurkirat Singh Kotali, Secretary, PPCC and grandson of late Chief Minister Beant Singh said, “if any sort of a move is initiated, we would boycott it and stage a dharna near the toll plaza, and shall not pay any sort of tax. He also said that they would organise a district-level meeting shortly in which they would invite criticism from every organisation, association and sections of society, against the implementation of this unwanted scheme.

Mr Sudarshan Kumar Sharma, President, Municipal Council, said that with such high rates, no one could be happy over the move. He said the resentment in this concern had been widespread. Already the various social and welfare organisations were up in arms against the toll tax scheme.



Parliamentarians visit museum
Our Correspondent

Khamano, June 12
A team of Parliamentary Standing Committee on urban and rural development visited the Archaeological Museum, Sanghol, near Khamano today. The 10-member team of MPs led by Chandresh Patel convener and MP from Gujarat was welcomed at the museum by the Forest and Civil Supply Minister, Dr Harbans Lal, MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon, the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Vikas Partap and SSP Fatehgarh Sahib B. Chandersekhar.

While talking to TNS Mr Patel said the committee provided funds for various welfare schemes to the state governments. He said Rozgar Yojna, Swarn Jayanti Gram Dairy Yojna , Duckweed Plan and Indira Avas Yojna and some other schemes were very beneficial for poor people. The team also made an on-the-spot study of Duckweed Plan at pond at Sanghol village and expressed satisfaction over the results of welfare schemes.

The team comprised Ms A.K. Premayam, M.P, Mr P.D.T. Achri Additional Secretary, Mr Nikhlanda Sar, M.P, Ravi Parkash Verma, MP, K. Chakarvarti , Deputy Secretary, Mr Gutha Sukender Reddy, MP, Ms Prema Kriappa, MP, Mr Ramadhar Kashyap MP, H K Jaware Gowda, MP, Mr Nabma Rebia MP.

Mr Chandresh Patel also gave information that more than 500 villages of different states had been given assistance under the welfare schemes and development works in these villages were going on. Later, the team members left for Haryana and Himachal Pardesh to make an on the spot study of these schemes there.



Vocational training centres for girls
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana , June 12
With a view to providing vocational training in different crafts to the rural poor girls, six centres have been set up in six villages of Doraha Block under Bharatiya Gramin Mahila Samiti, where the girls were being imparted training in different household venture, including cutting and tailoring , painting, handicrafts, preparation of pickles etc. to the trainees by the trained staff. Mrs. Sunil Agarwal, Chairperson, Bharatiya Gramin Mahila Samiti and District Red Cross Society, Ludhiana, today visited three of the training centres situated in Rampur, Boani and Maksudra and enquired about the progress of each centre.

Deeply impressed from the quality of the training, Mrs. Agarwal exhorted the trainees to acquire excellence in these household vocations during the training, so that they could improve the quality of life in the future and earn their livelihood, if need be. Explaining the idea behind the scheme, Mrs. Agarwal said that the centre had adopted one block in each district under this programme to give training to the less qualified and illiterate rural girls. She said that the training to a girl ensured the improvement in the living standard of the whole family. Mrs Agarwal stressed upon the girls to boldly fight against the social evils like dowry, illiteracy and use of intoxicants so that the financial condition of the rural families could improve. She also directed the concerned officials to organise exhibitions of products and craft articles to enhance the marketing prospects. She said the samiti would also arrange the visits of experts to these centres so that the girls could gain more courage and confidence in their skills through interaction with them. Mrs Agarwal also visited an aganwari centre being run at village Doraha.

Mr Mohinder Singh, secretary, zila parishad and secretary Bharatiya Gramin Mahila Samiti who accompanied the Chairperson highlighted the achievements of the different centers and informed that the prepared articles by the trainees would be exhibited in different exhibitions to encourage the girls, and the samiti would also help in the marketing of the craft and food items prepared in these centers.

He said that 150 rural girls are getting training in these six centers. Apart from this two Balwari centers are also being run in the Doraha Block under this scheme. The duration of the training is of six months. 



Woman alleges murder bid
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case of attempted murder under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Rajinder Kaur, a resident of Kapil Park, Haibowal Khurd, against Dharam Pal Singh, son of Nirmal Singh, Karam Jit Kaur, wife of Dharam Pal Singh, Charanjit Kaur, and Preety, sister of Charanjit Kaur. The complainant, who has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, had alleged that the accused, due to a dispute over an electricity wire, tried to kill her by throwing her over a burning stove on June 10 at around 4.30 pm. No arrest has been made so far.

Carjacking: The Sudhar police, on the complaint of Mr Hari Om, a resident of Jawahar Nagar Camp, Ludhiana, registered a case under Sections 307,382 and 327 of the IPC, yesterday against Bharpur Singh, a resident of Gill village near Ludhiana. The complainant had alleged that owing to a lottery dispute between him and the accused, the latter threw chilly powder in his eyes near Ariwal village on Tuesday and took away his Maruti car ( PB-10K-1168), a mobile phone ( Samsung), a pager (Motrola) and Rs 10,000. No arrest has been made so far.

Cases of beating: The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case of alleged beating and intimidation under Sections 341,323,506,148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Hardeep Singh Brar, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, against Gurpartap Singh, Gurdial Singh, and Gautam, all residents of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, and about seven of their other unknown cronies. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him last evening near Verka booth in Sarabha Nagar and beat him up. The accused also threatened him of dire consequences, he added. No arrest has been made so far.

The Division No 6 police yesterday registered a case on the statement of Mr Pinder Dev Pande, a tenant of shopkeeper Nand Singh of Bharat Nagar, under Sections 341,323,427,506 and 34 of the IPC against Sonu, Love Preet and Lata Rani, residents of the same locality. The complainant had stated to the police that the accused beat him up on June 9 at about 8 pm and also broken a window pane of his shop. The accused also threatened him before going away, he added. No arrest has been made so far.

On the statement of Ms Jeeto, a resident of Dhandari Kalan, the Division No 5 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Malkit Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Ram Singh. The woman had alleged that the accused intercepted her at the Fountain Chowk in the Civil Lines and beat her up. The accused also abused her and issued threats to her , she added. No arrest has been made so far.

The Shimla Puri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr. Harpreet Singh, a resident of Bulara village, against Darshan Singh and Bhupinder Singh, residents of the same village. The complainant had alleged that the accused came to his house in the evening on June 10 and beat him up. The accused also threatened him before running away from the spot, he added. No arrest has been made so far.


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