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Meningitis scare in city
No case in Ludhiana district; admn on alert
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 11
After claiming over one dozen lives in the Capital and affecting several persons in the Chandigarh region, the deadly disease of meningococcemia meningitis or brain fever has created panic in the city also.

Even though the health authorities claimed that no case had so far been reported from the district, they have initiated several preventive measures to tackle the situation.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the district epidemiologist, Dr Ajit Singh Chawla, said a control room (0161-244193 and 9814034501) had been set up in the Civil Surgeon’s office here which would function round the clock. All hospitals and nursing homes in the city had been directed to immediately intimate the health administration as and when any case of meningitis was reported. He said the Civil Hospital had also been asked to set up a special ward and earmark some beds for the patients of meningococcemia.

Inquiries made from medicine trade circles in the city revealed that the demand for the vaccine was picking up but sufficient quantity of the medicine was available with local distributors of the companies.

Dr Gurmeet Singh, a pharmaceutical distributor, said the trade was in a position to make available additional quantity of the vaccine at a short notice.

Giving more information about the disease, Dr Yash Pal Singh, Professor and Head, Department of Neurology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, said the disease was a severe acute infection of bloodstream and caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides.

The causative organism frequently lived in the upper respiratory tract with no evidence of illness. Some unknown event was supposed to trigger the onset of aggressive behaviour of the organism and sporadic cases of meningococcemia and meningococcal meningitis appeared. The disease was transmitted from person-to-person by respiratory droplets.

He said the bacteria spread from an infected carrier to another person through close, direct physical contact and through coughing, sneezing or kissing. It could also saliva when sharing items such as food or drinks, cups, utensils and straws. The persons who lived in the same house, shared the bed with or kissed the infected person, were more exposed to the risk of infection.

Similarly, children in the same school or nursery or those who shared drinks, cigarettes, food, water, glasses, cups, lipstick, musical instruments played with mouth or anything else that has been in the mouth of the infected person could also contact the disease.

Even though there is no need to panic in the wake of cases of meningococcemia being reported from the region, it is, however, recommended that all people, who have had contacts with the infected persons, should take certain antibiotics under qualified medical supervision.

The symptoms of the disease include fever, a hemorrhagic rash that do not disappear when a glass is pressed on to it (glass test) is a characteristic feature, irritability and anxious appearance.

Later, symptoms and signs can include acutely ill appearance, changing level of consciousness, shock, large areas of hemorrhage and/or thrombosis under the skin.

What causes meningococcal meningitis:

It is caused by the Neisseria meningitis bacteria serotype A and spreads through droplet infection and close contact. The menincoccal meningitis epidemic generally occurs in periodic cycles, e.g. after every 10 or 20 years.


  • High fever
  • Sore throat and coughing
  • Body ache/ headache
  • Rashes on the body
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Stiffness in neck and pain
  • Seizures
  • Altered senses or impaired senses
  • Cold and dry skin with a weak pulse.


The disease is fully curable by a course of the antibiotics. Chances of morbidity range from 5-15 per cent cases but the chances of cure enhance if the disease is diagnosed at an early stage.


  • Consult a qualified doctor immediately in case of the symptoms.
  • Persons in close contact need to be given preventive treatment of two days to kill the bacteria, which can cause infection.
  • Use handkerchief while coughing and sneezing
  • Avoid overcrowding and gathering
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, cigarettes, clothing, utensils and beddings



Punjab to spend Rs 1,000 cr on repair of roads
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 11
Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, Punjab, has asserted that the Punjab Government had prepared a programme for strengthening and widening 1,100 km of roads in the state at a cost of more than Rs 1,000 crore with the funding from the World Bank. First phase of this project for the strengthening of 400 km roads had already been approved by the World Bank and the remaining 700 kms of roads would be taken up in the second phase.

Mr Bajwa was addressing public meeting after inaugurating the work for strengthening and widening of 17.20 kms Pohir- Ahmedgarh- Rachhine- Lohat Baddi road costing to Rs 278.06 lakh at village Rachhine, 30 kms from here today. He also unveiled the statue of Shaheed Jagjit Singh Fauji, who laid down his life in Sri Lanka Peace Operation and inaugurated newly constructed Shaheed Jagjit Singh Memorial Bus Stand.

Mr Bajwa informed that the state government had also got cleared NABARD financed 11 projects at n a recent meeting between the chairperson of NABARD and the Chief Minister Punjab under which, funds amounting to Rs 500 crores were released for the strengthening of 3500 kms roads in the state. Elaborating on main projects to be taken by the World Bank Funding, Mr Bajwa informed that at the first phase six road projects i.e. Ludhiana – Malerkotla- Sangrur, Mullanpur- Raikot- Barnala, Moga- Baghapurana- Kotkapura, Ferozepure- Fazilka, Phagwara-Hoshiapur would be made four laning at a cost of Rs 100 crores. He informed that under NABARAD -10 projects, funds amounting to Rs 325 crores have already been released to the government, besides Rs 50 crores each from Prime Minister Roads Scheme and Central roads Funds have also been received by the state government. Mr Bajwa informed that the state government has urged the Ministry of Surface and Road Government of India to enhance the state’s share from Rs 50 crore to Rs 250 crore.

Mr Bajwa disclosed that the state government had also planned to improve the plan roads network in the state to the international standards and decided to collaborate with Malaysian Government, which is considered technically best in the whole world as road construction was concerned.

Giving details of major projects to be taken by the Malaysian government, Mr Bajwa informed that at first stage two corridor roads i.e. four laning of Southern Bye Pass in Ludhiana district and three Kms long prestigious elevated Highway from GT road to Golden Temple in Amritsar along with parking places costing to Rs 100 crores and four ROBs in Jalandhar would be taken up. Referring to a crash program of the Punjab government launched for the strengthening and repair of link roads, the Minister said that government had already repaired 5990 Kms long link roads, out of the total 42,000 km and 12,220 km long link roads were being repaired during the current financial year.

Mr Bajwa announced that as a mark of respect to great freedom fighter from village Mr Man Singh, the Pohir, Ahmedgarh- Rachhine- Lohat Baddi road would be named as Man Singh Marg and assured that sufficient funds would be released for the development in the village. He also announced to set up a library in the memory of Shaheed Jagjit Singh in the village.

On this occasion, the minister distributed cheques for grants worth Rs 1.2 lakh each among the Panchayats of seven villages.

Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha speaking on the occasion said that the roads were always repaired in the tenures of Congress governments in Punjab, where as the SAD-BJP government had never paid attention to the condition of roads. 



Three teenagers held for snatching
chains, mobile phones

Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 11
Lure of luxurious life and desire to give expensive gifts to their girlfriends allegedly led three teenagers to commit a number of crimes like chain snatching, mobile lifting and vehicle thefts in the city. Two of those were studying in class XI while the third had taken matriculation examination. One of the accused was the son of a Punjab Police Head Constable serving in the city only

The three minor boys Mandeep Singh, son of a head constable, Rohit Pandey and Balbir have been arrested by a team led by DSP Ravcharan Singh Brar and SHO Sarabha Nagar, SI Pawanjit. Two of those Mandeep and Rohit were studying in the local GRD Academy while Balbir was awaiting result of matriculate exams.

DSP Brar told mediapersons that the accused were involved in at least 11 case s of snatching and theft. He claimed that the teenagers lived a high life and aimed at having all material comforts at their disposal. The accused also told the police that they had lifted some mobile phones to gift their girlfriends.

The police have recovered a stolen motorcycle and 4 mobile phones from their possession. The police was trying to recover more stolen items from them by tracing the buyers. The accused were sent to Juvenile Home, Shimla Puri here by a local court.

The accused targeted women or young girls and operated in Gurdev Nagar, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Sarabha Nagar and Mall Road.

However, only four cases of snatching chains and purses have been registered against them so far. The police said only four women wanted the FIRs to be lodged while others had just informed the police.

SI Pawanjit said Mandeep and Balbir were expert in snatching purses or chains while Rohit used to be their expert driver.

DSP Brar has given a clarion call to the city residents for keeping a watch on the activities of their children.

He said police had earlier arrested a number of youths on the charges of committing crime to buy drugs. But the present case was a rare one where sheer motive was to enjoy material things and present gifts to their girlfriends.



Postal employee misbehaves with customer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 11
Booking of a speed post article at the post office, located on the railway station, here turned out to be a nightmare for a local businessman, who was not only made to pay more than the stipulated charges but had to face the ignominy of being abused and threatened.

In a complaint lodged with the senior officials of the Department of Post, Mr K.S. Monga, a resident of the Green Field locality, stated that he had gone to the speed post counter at the railway station on May 6 at around 9 pm for booking of a package to be sent to Gurgaon in Haryana.

He alleged that the person on duty, who appeared to be in an inebriated condition, first told him to get the package weighed from outside so that the charges could be determined. When Mr Monga pointed out that it was the duty of the postal staff to weigh the article at their own and refused to get the packet weighed from outside, the clerk got the packet weighed and demanded Rs 75 as speed post charges.

The complainant, who had been sending speed post articles in routine, confronted the postal employee, maintaining that as per the weight of the packet, the charges should be Rs 45. At this, the postal clerk on duty lost his temper and started abusing Mr Monga. He also refused to book the packet till the demanded amount of Rs 75 was paid to him.

“The postal clerk had the cheek to tell me in public that the receipt will be issued only for Rs 45 and he will keep the rest of the money for himself,” he said.

However, when Mr Monga threatened that he would lodge a complaint with the postal authorities about overcharging and misbehaviour by the clerk, some other employees and persons, who witnessed the confrontation, intervened and the excess amount returned to the complainant.

Ms Manisha Bansal, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, when asked about the complaint, told Ludhiana Tribune that she had not received the same till now. “It is indeed unfortunate if what the complainant says is true. Once I receive the complaint, the matter shall be thoroughly investigated into and strict disciplinary action will be taken against the erring employees.”



Industrial production paralysed
State government comes under attack
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May11
Industrial production has been paralysed in this industrial capital of small-scale industries, thanks to the policies of the government.

The introduction of VAT, a hike in steel prices by the steel producers and withdrawal of duty draw back on export of bicycle and bicycle parts are the latest additions to the woes of the light engineering industries in particular.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, maintain that the production of the industries has been hit badly because of the wrong policies of the state and the Central governments.

The state government has implemented VAT from April 1. But there are certain obstacles in the implementation of VAT which the state government has failed to remove despite its claims of simplifying and withdrawing VAT on certain items.

Mr Avtar Singh explained that the government was not clear about the refund to be paid to the manufacturers under VAT. He said the state government had introduced an H form under which an exporter would pay VAT only after the export of goods had taken place. The manufacturer, he explained, would pay VAT to the state government. But he could not charge VAT from the exporter unless the goods were exported. The delay in receiving the refund could run into three or four months.

Similarly, the Central Government has withdrawn the duty draw back incentive which had been raised to 16 per cent. Now they would get the same at the rate of 8 per cent. This has come into effect from May 5. The exporters had their commitments and the Central Government should have given time to the exporters before withdrawing the duty draw back benefits.

The chamber has written to the Director-General, Foreign Trade, protesting against the withdrawal of duty draw back incentives and sought their restoration.

The industry has also been hit hard due to the hike in the steel prices. The Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has raised the steel prices by Rs 3,500 per tonne, including the central excise duty and VAT. The CR sheets were being sold for Rs 42,500 per tonne, said Mr Avtar Singh. The other main steel producers had also raised the steel prices.

The prices of MS steel rounds fell by about Rs 1,500 per tonne for three days and had again risen to Rs 2,500 per tonne. The fall in the price of MS rounds was attributed to the reports that iron scrap would be available in adequate quantity from Vishakhapatnam. But this had proved wrong and again the prices had shot up.

The latest blow to the industrial production has come from labour trouble in some of the engineering industrial units and particularly the bicycle and cycle parts manufacturing units. Ludhiana was known for its peaceful industrial climate. But for the past two years, the industrial activity has been hampered because of labour problem. The production of the major bicycle manufacturers has been badly hit due to strikes. The manager of a reputed industrial unit was allegedly beaten up by workers three days ago when he was serving show-cause notices on some of the workers. The industrialists are sore that labour trouble started during the tenure of the Congress government in Punjab and now the support of the UPA government is also causing anxiety to them. The Left parties are allegedly sponsoring labour trouble, they alleged. The state government has come under attack from the industry for its lukewarm attitude towards the industry.



Insurance employees hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 11
Protesting against “management’s inaction” over their long-pending demands, employees of all four public sector general insurance companies - Oriental Insurance, New India Assurance, National Insurance and United India Insurance-held a dharna outside the regional office of United India Insurance at the Ferozpore road here today.

The dharna was a part of the nationwide strike by the general insurance employees. “The management and the General Insurance Public Sector Association (GIPSA) have adopted an anti-employee attitude. We are extremely disappointed as they have not paid any heed to our demands,” said Mr Arun Kalia, member CWC, General Insurance Officers’ All-India Association.

Pending pay revision and promotion of employees are the key demands raised by the protesting employees. They had earlier sent their demands to the Finance Minister and had even observed a nationwide strike on March 23 and 24 in this regard.

“However, no concrete measures have been taken,” the employees said.

Mr Kalia said the wage revision had been pending since 2002 but has not been implemented till date which de-motivated the employees.

He also said after around 20 per cent of the employees opted for the Special Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) last year, there were no fresh recruitments nor other employees were not promoted. “This has led to excessive burden on existing staff,” he said, adding, “Promotions too have been due. In the existing scenario of stiff competition government needs to ensure that employees are motivated and are able to give their best so as to meet competition effectively.”

The association also condemned outsourcing of services like Mediclaim settlement. The association said while on one hand employees were being given the VRS, on the other third parties were being involved in outsourcing which was a contradictory policy. The members also demanded greater autonomy for general insurance companies. 



Four women become Jain Sadhavis
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 11
Thousand of followers of Jainism thronged the MGMN Senior Secondary School at local town where four women of the north India were baptized by the gurus of the Jains at a function organised by the local Jain Sabha.

Shri Shiv Muni ji Maharaj and other Jain saints baptised Ms Priya Bhakku, Ms Isha Jain, Ms Dipity and Ms Pratibha today. Before their renunciation, the sadhavis expressed views on the norms of the Jainism and need of adopting the sect for the welfare of masses.

“We have taken up this course in our lives with an aim to preach the teachings of Lord Mahavira, which one can not afford doing while living in a normal family,” echoed the four sadhavi when asked.

Mr Prem Chand Jain, an office-bearer of local Jain Sabha performed the ceremony of opening Annual day fast of 400 devotees who had fasted on every alternate day for one day.

Mr Kamal Choudhary former MP, Mr Anil Jain, Mr Satish Jain, and Mr Mangat Ram Jain spoke on Jainism. 



Function in memory of martyrs on May 14
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 11
A meeting of activists of the Comrade Gurmel Singh and Comrade Joginder Singh Memorial Committee was held at Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School here on Monday. Mr Kartar Singh Buani Secretary, District Council, CPM Ludhiana presided over the meeting that was held to review the preparation of 16th martyrdom anniversary of the Gurmel Singh and his associate Joginder Singh who had laid their lives for the cause of solidarity and peace of the state on May 14, 1989.

Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola, councillor and former vice-president of local Municipal Council informed that state leaders of all democratic and secular parties would attend the function scheduled to take place on May 14.



Japanese food catches the fancy of city youth
Shivani Bhakoo

Food has already turned into a billion dollar industry, rivalling in turnover even the IT and the biotechnology. And Ludhiana is no exception with reputed food joints already having registered their presence here. With this, has also come the variety. It is no longer just the traditional dal makhni or butter nan or tandoori chicken or mutton seekh kebab that tickle the taste buds of the city residents. They are experimenting with Continental, South Indian, Italian and Chinese, to name only a few.

The latest craze, however, appears to be the Japanese “sushi”, comprising a lot of sea food, which is generally half cooked and is served cold. To beat the heat and to avoid spicy food, the food lovers have preferred this cuisine, said Ms Veenu Rai Dhanda, who has been teaching cookery to students for the past many years. The trend is also towards Thai and Teppanyakke-the vegetables cooked in sauces.

With the availability of exotic vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli and other herbs and a variety of ingredients, the people have developed a palate to many a new mouth watering cuisines.

Ms Dhanda said cooking classes were picking up in the city as people wanted to acquire the metropolitan taste. “Chinese cuisine is no longer that preferred these days. Young girls are both fashion and calorie conscious and this light food (Japanese) has attracted them the most”, she added.

Ms Sheel Nanda, who is taking cooking classes for the past 35 years, said the young generation had developed the taste for light dishes like Mexican, baked and less spicy vegetables, which are easy and quick to cook. “In Ludhiana, people claim to be calorie conscious but they are not. They add the Indian flavours to make even the light dishes more sumptuous”, said Ms Nanda. She said the majority of young and slim girls wanted to learn cakes and puddings with less cream.

Ms Manjit Sandhu, another cookery expert, said the taste for Chinese cuisine was on the decline and people were shifting towards nutritious and healthy food. They preferred a variety in cooking. “At present I am training chefs. At times, boys outnumber girls, which is really good. The food industry has really picked up here. The younger generation want hygienic, easy and light food these days. And we are getting an overwhelming response for my cookery classes”, said Ms Sandhu. 



Cong leader bereaved

Ludhiana, May 11
Mrs Leela Wanti grandmother (nanni) of Mr Parminder Mehta, Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, died last night. She was 90.

Her funeral was largely attended today. The uthala ceremony would take place on Friday. OC



Third accused of robbery arrested
Our Correspondent

Khanna, May 11
The Khanna police has arrested the third accused involved in the robbery took place on April 27th in which the robbers had robbed rupees twenty thousand and a car from a automobile dealer at G T road Khanna.

On April 27th two accused called Rajiv Sabharwal owner of D R Sabharwal Automobiles near Markfed Vanaspati Mill to purchase some spare parts at about 9 pm. When Rajiv reached at the shop to deliver spare parts the both accused attacked upon him with iron rods. Rajiv tried to resist them and received injuries in the scuffle. The accused succeed to rob rupees twenty thousand, a Car. Taking immediate action police nabbed one of the accused from a hospital. The accused confessed the crime and another accused, a mechanic working at the shop of Rajiv, was also arrested.

Yesterday S H O Sadar Police station Dalbagh Singh had arrested the third accused from Mandi Gobindgarh following secret information. The accused was identified as Lakhvir Singh alias Lakhi.



Village girl untraced
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 11
A girl of Dhamot Khurd village, who was allegedly taken away by two youths from her house, is still untraced.

Hardeep Kaur, the mother of the victim, has complained that her daughter, Mandeep Kaur, who appeared in matriculation exams and is a student of SM Public school, Dhamot Khurd, has been lead astray by two youth—Kuldip Singh of Khoje Majra village in Fatehgarh Sahib and Narinder Singh of Katahari in Payal.He alleged that they forcibly took her away from her house on Monday night.

She said that her daughter had slept in her room but on Tuesday morning she was nowhere to be found.The two youths allegedly used to call her on the telephone.

An FIR to this effect has been registered at Payal police stations. According to Mr Paramjit Singh, SHO, Payal police station,” The investigations have been initiated and the accused will be nabbed”.



2 youths booked for abducting minor
Our Correspondent

Khanna, May 11
The police has registered a case of abduction against two youths for allegedly kidnapping minor girl at the Payal police station. The girl, a student of Class X of SM Public School, Dhamot Khurad, is missing since May 6.

Hardip Kaur, mother of the girl, said in the complaint that her husband was living in Italy. She had one son and four daughters. Three of the daughters had been married.

Two youths started talking to the girl on the mobile phone used in the house. She said she disconnected the mobile phone and her brother-in-law asked the youths not to harass his niece. On the night of May 5, they slept on the roof of their house and found Mandip missing in the morning. They started searching for her but failed to find her.

Later they came to know that two youths, Narinder Singh, son of Karam Singh, a resident of Katari village, and Kuldeep Singh, son of Gurcharan Singh a resident of Khojewal in Fatehgarh district, had lured the girl on the pretext of marriage and taken her with them.

Following the complaint, the police has registered a case against both youths. No arrest has been made in this connection.



Youth attacked
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 11
A brother receivedi injuries while saving his sister from four miscreants. According to the information a married woman at Dehra Dun came to Aligarh to attend the marriage of her aunt’s son. Her brother and some other relatives have also came to attend the marriage.

Kala, Jatinder, Sonu and Kirna had also came from Detwal in the marriage in the evening hours when she went to fetch water from the nearby plot. The four including Kala, Jatinder, Sonu and Kirna started passing indecent remarks and she raised voice against their action on which her brother Mukesh when came to her rescue, the four pelted stones at him injuring her brother who has been admitted in local Civil Hospital for treatment. The police is alleged to have not come to record the statement of the injured.



Chinese toys flood markets

NOW that summer holidays are about to commence, children are taking their parents to toy shops. As parents survey the toys displayed in the shops, they find that Chinese electronic toys outnumber the Indian made toys. In the past two years, Chinese toys have overtaken Indian made toys in colour, design, and even prices which are lower than that of Indian made toys. The jeeps, guns, cars, aeroplanes and rockets operated on batteries made in China are of far better quality than Indian toys. These toys are 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than Indian- made toys too.

Mr Gogia, a parent, said: “I was surprised to see that 90 per cent toys in every shop whether in Ghumar Mandi or Model Town or Gur Mandi, are Chinese toys and their dominance is very obvious. There are 40 big toy shops in the city and mainly they are loccated in Ghumar Mandi. Since the last one year, the Chinese toys are holding sway and they have brought in a lot of changes”.

“The Indian manufacturers are in a fix as they are finding the competition tough and many are forced to close their units. Now they are just importing the toys. Nearly 50 to 60 per cent of the toy market has been captured by Chinese toys,” said Mr Lokesh, a toy shop owner.

According to the sources, the toy business in India amounts to Rs 1500 crore and out of it 1000 crore is in the unorganised sector and only 500 crore in the organised sector. It is said that 60 per cent toy factories are set up in Delhi and only 30 per cent toy units are in Mumbai, while 10 per cent toy units are set up in Saharanpur, Moradabad, Mysore and Jammu and Kashmir. President of Toys Association of India had security stated that the Chinese toys had gripped the Indian toy market 50 per cent manufacturers had to shut their business. Hence the Small Scale Industries department started a programme called National Programme of Development of Toy Industries at a cost of Rs 10 crore. The chief aim is to improve the design and quality of battery operated toys which are the craze with children.”

Mr Gulshan, a toy shop owner of the city says: “The toy scene has become so dismal that only 15 to 20 per cent toys of Indian origin are visible in the shops. He said Chinese toys had a lot of variety and were very attractive. In order to provide impetus to the Indian toy industry, the Government will have to help out the toy manufacturers.”

Mr Bulbul, a toy seller, said, Chinese toys were made of ‘processed plastic’ and from the health point of view, these were not good at all, but the toys are presented in such an attractive manner that children rush to buy them.

But in the manufacture of board games and wooden games Indians are doing better. — OC



Founder’s day celebrated

Ludhiana, May 11
Max New York Life Insurance Company today celebrated its fifth founder's day. Employees ad agents of the company visited blind school and also donated two water purifiers to the school.

A blood donation camp was also organised at the SAS Grewal Memorial Multi Speciality Hospital here. TNS


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