Saturday, May 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Their world came crashing down
Jalandhar MiG-21 crash victims in CMC; reception mismanaged
Naveen S. Garewal and Shivani Bhakoo

Persons who suffered burn injuries in the crash arrive in the hospital
Persons who suffered burn injuries in the crash arrive in the hospital on Friday. — Photo Pradeep Tewari

Ludhiana, May 3
Ms Saroj Kanojia was enjoying a quiet dinner with her husband, S.K. Kanojia, assistant manager in a branch of the Bank of Rajasthan, least expecting that she would see him next in hospital. S.K. Kanojia and several others received burn injuries when a MiG-21 hit the bank branch in Basti Adda of Jalandhar just before work was to begin today.

While seven persons died in the crash, many were injured, six of whom are struggling for life in Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here. “It was like sky had fallen on their heads,” said a relative of one of the persons who was brought here from Jalandhar.

The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), and the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh visited the CMCH to meet the affected families, but their visit could not pacify them. Fate of several of the injured admitted to the CMCH continues to be unsure.

According to eyewitnesses, the MiG-21 hit blocked the entrance to the bank, making it difficult for rescue workers to evacuate the trapped. Aviation fuel and the burning aircraft quickly spread the fire to neighbouring buildings.

“Since the bank had just opened at the time of the hit, only the staff was inside. Had the mishap occurred a little later, casualties would have been much more,” said a relative of one of the affected persons.

Ms Saroj said one of her neighbours had told her about the plane crash. “She came running to my house and said she had heard the news on television. We live near the bank, so, I rushed to the spot, but the police had sealed off the area and we were not allowed to go in the building,” she said.

The injured received first-aid in Civil Hospital of Jalandhar. Dr Chanjeev, plastic surgeon of the hospital, when contacted, said persons with serious burns had been referred to the CMCH. “We are referring two more persons — Narinder Kumar and Rakesh Kumar — to the CMCH. We have 10 others in our hospital and their condition is stable,” he said.

Dr Vijay Obed, Head of Plastic Surgery in the CMCH, said the branch manager, Mr Prem Singh, had received 75 per cent burns. Among the injured, Sham Lal had 85 per cent burns, S.K. Kanojia had 12 per cent burns and P.K. Mathur had symptoms of severe shock. Narinder Kumar has 30 per cent burns and Umesh Kumar has 35 per cent burns. The doctor said the injured had received multiple burns on the face, the hands and the legs.

Another eyewitness said, “When the plane crashed into the busy Basti Adda locality near the Central Jail, there was fire and thick smoke all around and those who lived in the area started running and screaming. Within a few minutes, the police and officials of the administration rushed to the spot.”

Mr Anup Kanojia, a relative of S.K. Kanojia, however, said persons accompanying the victims had to wait for over 10 minutes outside the Emergency Wards of the CMCH as there had been no attendant to take the injured inside. “In spite of having been informed beforehand of their arrival, the hospital authorities had no man there to take in the injured,” he said.

As soon as the hospital officials learnt that the CM and the Governor were visiting, attendants were called to the gates of the Emergency Wards and stretchers were brought immediately.



No alarm bells ring at 101 
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, May 3
The emergency services in the city are in a shambles. In case a fire incident happens in the city it is useless to dial 101. Because nobody will pick up the receiver as all telephone lines attached to it have been out of order for over a week now. Despite it being an emergency service the telephones (there are four lines) have not been repaired so far.

Due to the lack of this service a recent casualty was when the fire services could not be contacted after a fire broke out in Vijay Palace at the Ferozepore Road. The fire tenders reached at the spot 45 minutes late and by that time everything had been reduced to the ashes.

According to officials of the Fire Department, the department has been given a special facility by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The facility enables automatic shifting of the call to the available free number, in case the dialled number is engaged. This has been done to ensure speedy communication. But now this facility seems to have been reduced on the papers only as telephones are not ringing any more to inform the firemen to do their duty. The fire officials are sitting idle.

However, there are two direct numbers which are working. But these numbers, 750764 and 750765 are not known to many people. The complainants usually dial 101 and when they do not get connected to lodge their complaint, they blame the Fire Department for the negligence in services.

But a fireman on the condition of anonymity, said that they had lodged several verbal complaints with BSNL official during the past one week, but to no avail. He further said that the department had also lodged a complaint on April 30 regarding the problem, but nothing substantial had been done so far except mere assurance by BSNL officials.

Sources said that due to the faulty 101 service, the fire tender reached about 45 minutes late after the fire broke out at Vijay Palace at Ferozepore Road. The sources further said that after trying 101 for about half an hour, the complainants had to personally rush to lodge the complaint in person. But till reaching of fire tenders, property worth lakhs had already been gutted in the fire. The loss of property could have been averted if the 101 service would have been working.

The Fire Department has one Connect telephone connection (304244) also, but 101 service works only if any subscriber uses the company’s phone. But BSNL subscribers are 2,91,172 in Ludhiana district while the Connect company has about 20,000 subscribers here. In case of fire there are greater chances of using 101 service by a BSNL subscriber than a Connect subscriber.

The officer concerned in City-I Remote Line Unit said that the Fire Department had lodged complaint on April 30 regrading the telephone no 747619 which was in the name of the Executive Officer, ASS, Municipal Corporation Parking. 



Biomedical waste disposal facility within 3 months
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
With the procedural wrangles in the way of setting up biomedical waste disposal facility in the city having been cleared and formal agreement between the municipal corporation and M/s Medicare Incin Pvt Ltd signed, the project was expected to become functional within next three months.

The municipal corporation had awarded this project to a Hyderabad-based firm after appraisal of the technical and financial bids of more than half a dozen companies. Giving this information, MC Commissioner R.L. Kalsia told Ludhiana Tribune that the firm would set up a common facility for treatment and disposal of biomedical waste, generated in the city hospitals and nursing homes, as well as other major towns in the state according to the provisions laid down in the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998.

According to Mr M. Gautham Reddy, Director, Medicare Incin, who was in the city to sign the agreement with the MC, the possession of half an acre of land in Jamalpur had been handed over to them for setting up the plant against an annual lease money of Rs 1 lakh. The firm would charge Rs 2.70 per bed per day from hospitals and nursing homes out of which 10 paise per unit would be paid to the civic body.

According to Mr S.K. Sharma, Additional Commissioner, who has been handling the project since its inception, the city hospitals and nursing homes had an estimated strength of around 7,000 indoor beds, which would be covered under the project. In addition, the project would also deal with the biomedical waste, generated by other institutions like clinical laboratories, blood banks, veterinary hospitals, clinics and slaughter houses. For the purpose of calculation, 1 kg of waste would be taken as a unit equivalent to one bed.

While no transportation charges would be allowed to the firm for collection of biomedical waste from hospitals and nursing homes within the municipal limits and within a radius of 25 km from the site of project, transportation charges of 50 paise and Rs 1 per bed would be payable by the respective institutions for a distance of upto 100 km and beyond 100 km, respectively.

Mr Reddy informed that in accordance with the technical bid submitted by the firm, it was proposed to install an incinerator of 100 kg per hour capacity, an autoclave and shredder. The project, estimated to cost Rs 1 crore will have an installed capacity of 5 metric tonnes per day for treatment and disposal of biomedical waste.

He told that having sufficient experience of proper treatment and safe disposal of biomedical waste, the company had a running facility for biomedical waste disposal at Hyderabad, which was handling around 6,000 bed capacity, spread over 300 hospitals in the Southern megapolis and another at Bangalore.

Besides in Ludhiana, the firm was setting up similar projects Ahmedabad and Mumbai also. 



Punjabi’s crusader lives in penury
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 3
An old Punjabi poet, in service of the language since 1943, winner of honours like Punjab Rattan (given to him by the then President Giani Zail Singh) and Punjab Heera, is living in penury. Pritam Das, a self-taught man of 73, is a destitute, with no means to support his disease-wrecked frail constitution.

Cataract does not allow him to move out much, so, now, he cannot even visit schools where he used to entertain children with his 20 kinds of laughter and humorous poems and get money from the institutions and sale of small booklets.

He has six daughters all of whom are married except one who is mentally challenged, so, Pritam Das, lives a lonely life. Sometimes, two of his daughters, who are based here, come over and help him out. Kulwant Jagraon, a well-known Punjabi poet says: “There is no school in Punjab that Pritam has not visited to demonstrate his famous styles of laughter. Students had named him ‘Hansee Da Ghotna’ and he had inspired many of them to take to writing poetry. These students are, now, eminent writers. He has travelled widely in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and New Delhi, taking his humorous poetry to schoolchildren of these states. He has done more service to the language than many of us put together, for which, the Punjab Bhasha Vibhag should honour him with Bal Rattan Sahitya Award.”

Life has been his teacher, as he was too poor to go to school. Once, when his father sent him to beg when he was nine, a woman reproached him for it and told him to work for living. Humiliated, he took to cutting grass, which he sold in ‘ghas mandi’. Later, he came in contact with Prof K.C. Gupta, teacher of Punjabi in Arya College here, who encouraged him to study. He got inspired to write and authored several books without having any formal education. His books are ‘Nav Khand’, ‘Sankat Kal Vich Kavi Pukare’, ‘Navein Patan’ and ‘Navein Mallah’. His writings are full of satire directed against society’s wrong practices, its hypocrisy, rituals and political figures.

He mocks the man of today’s society in his poems. Taking the example of Guru Arjan Dev, he wrote: “Jhooth Mooth Di Bhakti Haan Aseen Karde, Aiv Apne Saare Lukayee Jande; Tu Tatti Tavi Te Baith Kar Hasda See, Aseen AC Vich Vee Royee Jaande.” Pritam has a beautiful voice. He used to present the songs of K.L. Sehgal rather well and had become so popular that he was invited to sing at Kisan Melas of Punjab Agricultural University. Besides this, he could also play flute.

The Bhasha Vibhag had granted him a pension, which he does not receive regularly. The government, the NGOs or some philanthropist should take care of this selfless crusader for Punjabi. So far, only Punjabi writer Surjit Kaur Noor has helped him. But for the house that she helped him build, he would have been homeless.



No site marked to dump industrial waste
Municipal Corporation, industry blame each other
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 3
The city has thousands of industrial units and which produces several tonnes of industrial waste each day, including hazardous chemicals. Surprisingly, it has no official dumping place. Due to this, disposal of more than 200 trucks of burnt rice husk is daily disposed at all possible open places in the industrial area, on roads, and the chemical wastes flow into the sewerage.

While the dump of industrial waste keeps on getting big, the industry and Municipal Corporation are passing the buck on each other for the past many years, without finding any viable solution.

A survey of the Focal Point and the industrial area by a Ludhiana Tribune team revealed that hundreds of units were using all open spaces, which were supposed to be developed as parks and green belts and other unsold plots, to dump the industrial waste. The dyeing units were the biggest culprit. Though, under the Punjab Pollution Control Act, no industrial unit could openly burn the rice husk, due to pollution created by it, but most of them were not only violating the law by burning the rice husk in open, but were also dumping the burnt rice husk in the industrial area and nearby places.

Mr Brahm Dutt Sharda, president, Dyeing Factories Association, said, ‘‘There are more than 300 dyeing units in the city, which produce more than 200 trucks of burnt rice husk every day. However, due to lack of proper dumping space, these units hire tractor-trolleys to dump the husk at different places. The government and industry should take appropriate measures to check the menace.’’

Mr Suraj Sharma, president, Association of Focal Point Industries, said that since the industry paid Rs 30,000 to Rs 1 lakh per annum per unit as house tax, the Municipal Corporation should provide some assistance to dispose off the industrial waste. He said that a meeting was held between the Municipal Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, and the industrial associations few months ago, in which it was agreed upon that the MC would provide containers to dump the waste, however, no container had been provided so far. He said, ‘‘As a result most of the units are throwing the waste in the neighbouring places, which includes hazardous matters as well. It has badly affected the roads and sewerage as well.’’

Mr R.L. Kalsia, when contacted in this regard, admitted that a meeting had been held recently. But he pointed out, ‘‘Under the act, it is the duty of the industrial units to dispose off the industrial waste after proper treatment, at the selected places. The Punjab Government has identified a place near Dera Bassi, where they are supposed to take away the material themselves. We have already given sufficient time to the industry, and will now take punitive action against the defaulters. The notices are being issued in the next few days,’’. Regarding the collection of house tax, he said, ‘‘We have spent more than Rs 2 crore to develop infrastructure in the industrial area though there are number of defaulters,’’.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Ludhiana Electroplaters Association, and a member of the newly appointed Committee for Management of Hazardous Material by the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, said, ‘‘The government, local administration and the MC have failed to provide adequate land for the dumping of hazardous matter over the years. The small units which are running from hand to mouth, should not be expected to spend too much on the disposal of industrial waste, especially when we are paying lakhs of rupees as house tax. The MC and the industry should share the expenses to solve the problem.



City needs specialised force to handle crime
K.S. Chawla

LUDHIANA: For effective handling of the crime situation and maintenance of the general law and order situation in this industrial and financial capital, of Punjab, introduction of a police commissionerate is a must.

As this 500-year-old city of Lodhis has witnessed rapid expansion, there is a steep rise in crime. With the arrival of lakhs of migrant labourers, a large number of slum colonies have developed on the periphery of the town which are serving as the breeding ground for criminals. Ludhiana town has a population of about 30 lakh with about eight lakh floating population. The colonies around the Ring Road areas, including Basti Jodhewal, Focal Point, Gill Road and Sherpur, have dense population of migrants. The majority of the migrants are from Bihar state followed by UP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

As a matter of fact, the town has witnessed demographic changes and about five lakh Muslims from UP, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and other states have also settled in this industrial hub of the country... thanks to the avenues of employment.

The density of population in Ludhiana is the highest in Punjab and this ranks among the first 30 towns of the country which have high density of population.

The rapid growth of the town has generated many problems like lack of civic amenities, and above all the problems of maintaining law and order are becoming acute day by day.

The town is also witnessing a change in the crime pattern. There is an overall increase in the murder cases, besides, rape and abduction, thefts and robberies.

The growth of population has not kept pace with the police needs of the town. Ludhiana is badly handicapped for want off adequate police force to deal with the daily crime.

The police authorities are trying their best to cope with the situation with the available police force.

The sanctioned strength of police personnel for Ludhiana town is more than 7500 policemen, whereas the availability of the same is around 4,500. Ludhiana a revenue district was trifurcated into three police districts in 1990 to deal with militancy and two new police districts — Jagraon and Khanna.

Many states in the country have introduced the police commissionerate system in cities with a population of more than 10 lakh to effectively deal with criminals and maintain law and order. The southern states like Tamil Nadu, Kernataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal in particular have introduced this system in big cities. It is only in the Hindi heart land or northern states that this system has not been introduced. Lately the Madhya Pradesh government has also decided to introduce the police commissionerate system in cities where the population is more than 10 lakh.In North India only Delhi has the commissionerate system where the police authorities claim it is very successful.

The effective handling of law and order problems in big cities requires quick decision and concerted action, which is possible only of a unity of command and control exists, explains Mr H.S. Sidhu, Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana.

Mr Sidhu maintains that the present system leads to delay and confusion because of prolonged consultations between the police and the magistrates before preventive prohibitory orders or controlling action could be taken.

Ludhiana has about 2 lakh arms licence holders and the police do not have records of the licence holders.

Ludhiana, being a business and industrial town, has nearly eight lakh vehicles and the town is faced with a severe problem of regulating the vehicular traffic. The surface area has not increased and remains the same. Ludhiana also witnessed big incidents of terrorism during militancy.



The harm that negative intelligence does

Biology provides the study of living organisms having two basic branches — Zoology and botany. Animals search for food. Plants draw it directly from nature. Evolutionists infer that search for food was a prelude to intelligence. The homoeosapiens searched for quality -food, intelligence grew qualitatively. Discovery of fire was one step too afar. Roasting and cooking were not far behind. Thus, animal-kingdom advanced, plant-kingdom stayed back. Intelligence is pre-lude to progress. Dictators, plunderers, war-mongers, besides, thieves, touts, criminals, etc. fill this bill. Intelligence is definitely like fire to be used. In wise hands, it becomes heat and light. In hands otherwise, it turns otherwise. Institutions are the product of great sustained input of human kind over centuries. From religious/spiritual institutions to the academic/ research institutes is a vast field. We get solace; we face challenge, also. Right now, we have less solace, we face worst of challenges. Thinking is on a long holiday. Indifference, it is worse. It is an hour of reckoning.

The current situation is alarming. It is a game of naming and blaming. Intelligence teaches us to discriminate between virtue and evil. It never taught to discriminate between humans on communal considerations. In a country where logic, Viveka, took roots, intelligence is threatened with its up-rooting. Gone astray? We have a rich heritage. The first set of human hands that set afire the rail-coach of Sabarmati Express did neither understand the holy Quran nor the value of a mosque. To settle scores, intelligence was misled. Killing of the innocent people no scripture can teach. No temple would justify.

To discover intelligence, one had higher intelligence oneself. From I.C. Puri to J.S. Maini, it is a chain of glory. U.P.S.C. carries our hallmark Trust despite attempts at its politicisation. The seat glorified by Mr Ramachandra was occupied by a son of the soil. See what has been done to the great institution! He should have been above suspicion. Saint Stephen’s College. Do you prize your alumnus? Panjab University.

How would you value your senator? We address seats of learning for they are our intelligence trusts.

Plants are not intelligent. They are useful. Count the virtues. Eat any vegetable. Taste any fruit. Humans are the crown of intelligence. Do the likes of Ravi Sidhus justify the jobs? Is man that hungry?

M.S. Cheema



Ex-servicemen support CM’s statement
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
The Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, has supported Capt Amarinder Singh’s statement that the Central Government should take positive steps to change the policy concerning Jammu and Kashmir.

Lieut-Col C.S. Dhillon, President of the league, in a press statement today said that for the past two decades J and K had been in turmoil of the worst order and devoured brave officers, JCOs and other ranks who laid down their lives in the operations which primarily were supposed to be executed by the BSF, paramilitary forces or the state police except in emergency cases that too for a limited period.

He said that the government must bring into play diplomatic skill as well as political will so that lives of brave soldiers like Major Tejinder Singh Sohal may be saved for the defence of the country .



Memorial to ex-serviceman
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, May 3
Rich tributes were paid to Mr Nasib Singh Uppal, an ex-serviceman and philanthropist of the area, who died recently at his native village, Pharwali.

Mr Imam Singh announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh on behalf of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann for the construction of a memorial to the deceased in the village. Mr Baldev Singh Uppal, principal, MGMN School, Ahmedgarh, donated Rs 51,000 to Gurdwara village for the library to be opened in his father’s memory. Mr Dev Raj Sofat, president, Khatri Sabha, Mr Sukhdev Raj Sharma, manager, Vidya Parcharak Sabha, Mr Satish Jain, secretary, Rotary Club, Mr Jagwant Singh Jaggie, president, SAD, and Mr Ravinder Puri, president, Journalists Association, were among those who paid tributes to the deceased.



New sabhyachar manch
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
Put Punjab De Sabhyachar Club has been formed by Mr Devinder Singh Devgan. The chairman of the club is Dr Trilochan Singh. They plan to promote cultural activities. One aim is to divert the energies of the younger generation to art and culture and free them from drug addictions.

The launch of the manch was organised last evening at Fine Dance Centre, Partap Nagar. The director, Mr Gurdeep Singh Matharoo, had arranged the meeting and was attended by members of the governing body.



Woman succumbs to burns
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
Saroj Rani, a woman of Jawahar Nagar here, who had doused herself with kerosene and set herself on fire on April 29, succumbed to her burns in Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital yesterday.

The police has registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC and handed over her body to her family after an autopsy.

Mother-in-law assaulted: Amarjit Kaur, an elderly woman of Paddi village under the Sadar police station, was allegedly beaten up by her estranged daughter-in-law and her family when she went to their house in Phullanwal village on Thursday to strike a compromise.

According to Mr Amrik Singh, Amarjit’s son and husband of the estranged woman, his wife had moved in with her parents about 10 days ago after some differences between them.

His mother, has, now, been admitted to Civil Hospital here and the Sadar police has registered a case in this regard.

Held on charge of killing: The Shimla Puri police has arrested a motor cyclist, Amarpreet Singh, who lives in Model Town Extension, on the charge of hitting a pedestrian, Ravi, with his vehicle on Thursday and causing his death.

Mr Tilak Raj, a man who lives in Kakowal village, had alleged that the accused had hit his servant Ravi near Dashmesh Nagar with his vehicle.

A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against the accused.

Held for jamming traffic: The Model Town police has arrested Vijay Kumar, a man who lives in Model Town, and registered a case under Section 283 of the IPC against him on the charge of parking his car in the middle of the road. This act of his had kept the traffic blocked for some time.

Arson alleged: On the statement of Mr Sher Singh, a man of Krar village, the Koom Kalan police has registered a case under Section 436 of the IPC against Satpal, a man who lives in Hassanpur village of Saharanpur district.

The complainant alleged that the accused had set his shed on fire on Wednesday, as a result of which, many of his household goods had been destroyed. The accused has absconded.

Theft alleged: The Salem Tabri police has registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Hardip Singh, a man who lives in Bahadarke village, against his servant Shankar.

Mr Singh alleged that his servant had taken Rs 49,000 from his office in Salem Tabri on Wednesday.

Frauds alleged: The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case of fraud on the statement of Mr Bhajan Singh, a man who lives in Prem Colony, against several persons — Jagdish Ram, Mohan Lal and others.

The complainant alleged that he had paid the accused Rs 5,000 for getting an LIC policy, but the accused had neither given him the policy nor returned the money.

The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case of fraud against Gurmit Singh, a man who lives in Charan Nagar, on the statement of Mr Sucha Singh, who lives in the Company Bagh area.

The complainant alleged that he had bought a plot from the accused at full payment, but the accused had, later, declined to get the plot registered in his name.



2 arrested on theft charge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
The Jagraon police claims to have arrested two persons allegedly for stealing Rs 30,000 from a scooter. A press note issued today by the Jagraon SSP said two brothers, Balbir Singh, alias Fauji and Jugraj Singh, residents of Sherpur Kalan village were returning on their scooter after withdrawing the money from the Punjab National Bank branch of Jagraon.

They reportedly halted at a rehri to drink water. Two persons, who were later identified as Ganesh and Partap of Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh), stole the money and were about to run away with the cash. Balbir Singh and Jugraj Singh, with the help of other people, overpowered Ganesh and Partap. In the meantime the police reached there and nabbed them. A case under Section 379 of the IPC was registered, the note said.


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