Sunday, June 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


ESIC hospital awaits commissioning
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 10 The much-awaited commissioning of the Employees State Insurance Corporation Hospital here is likely to get delayed due to some shortcomings. It may take at least three more months before the hospital is commissioned.

It has been a long journey for the completion of this hospital. The foundation stone of the hospital was laid in 1991. It was completed in 1996 at a cost of about Rs 14 crore. However, due to a few shortcomings, the hospital has not been commissioned till now.

Recently a meeting of the ESIC and representatives was held here to discuss the commissioning of the hospital. According to Mr V.P. Chopra, President of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations, who has been associated with the project, various lacunae in the hospital were pointed out. These may be removed in a month or so.

The hospital is first of its kind in Punjab. The hospital will be having a capacity of 200 beds. Specialists from all fields will be available in the hospital.

Major shortcomings, according to Mr Chopra, were regarding operation theatres, blood bank and the placement of gas chambers. He said following the suggestion of most of the specialists, it was decided that all operation theatres will have complete marble lay-out, including floor, walls and the roof. The use of marble is said to prevent infection.

Some changes have also been suggested in the blood bank. Seven rooms have been earmarked for the blood bank. Three blocks of two rooms each will be designed for the blood bank. Some changes have been recommended for the gynaecological wards also.

One major change to be made is regarding the placement of gas cylinders. These will now be placed outside the theatres and separate chambers will be made for it. This will be done after due consultation with the gas dealers.

The fire-fighting system was found to be satisfactory and no further change or improvement was recommended for the same.

Mr Chopra said these changes will in no way delay the commissioning of the hospital.


PSEB gets tough with corrupt officials
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 10 The Punjab State Electricity Board appears to have decided to get tough with the corrupt officials and has already suspended 127 of its employees, including several officers on graft charges.

Stating this here today, PSEB Chairman S.S. Sohal said these officials had been chargesheeted and investigations had already begun. He said the PSEB was determined to root out corruption, as the board was facing huge losses partly due to thefts.

Mr Sohal sought the cooperation of the general public for curbing power thefts. He said it was the responsibility of every citizen to curb thefts.

The Chairman said that the board had incurred a loss of Rs 970 crore during the previous financial year. The loss from all accounts is too big for any institution to bear. He said the survival of the board depends on the consumers only.

He sought to clarify the general impression that the losses were on account of free power supplied to the agriculture sector. He said only 15 to 20 per cent expenditure was incurred on that account.

He justified free power to the agriculture sector, saying the agriculture was the mainstay of the Punjab economy. Moreover, he pointed out that even domestic consumers were getting power on heavy subsidy. The power to agriculture sector was supplied during the night hours when it was not needed elsewhere.

He said that since 1986 no new tubewell connections had been provided and three lakh applications were pending with the PSEB for fresh tubewell connections. He said the PSEB had provided only 1200 new tubewell connections. These were provided on tatkal scheme, in which a farmer has to deposit Rs 50,000 before getting a connection.

Mr Sohal confirmed the proposal to hike power tariff in the state. He said for the past two years, the government had not increased the tariff, however it was not possible to run the PSEB with existing rates. The formal decision in this regard is likely to be taken next week by the state cabinet.

Reacting to the stiff resistance posed by the industry to the hike proposal, Mr Sohal pointed out, the PSEB's survival was essential for the industry as well. He revealed that the input costs during the past two years had increased, while the power was still being supplied at the same rates. He said it is not the farmers alone, even the domestic consumers were provided power on heavy subsidy.

The PSEB Chairman said there were no scheduled power cuts in the state. He said adequate power was available with the state for daily consumption. Power cuts may be there due to machinery breakdown because of overload. He pointed out that on an average 11 lakh units of power were consumed daily in Punjab.

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