Friday, June 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Patients at the receiving end
DMCH management-union tussle continues
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, June 27
The ongoing tussle between the union and management of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) has caused harassment and inconvenience to the sick patients and their attendants. The stalemate and the adamant stand by the two parties continuing for the past 20 days has badly affected the normal functioning of the hospital. The patients are being forced to go to other alternative institutions because of the deadlock between the union and management.

Mr Jaspal Singh, a patient suffering from some skin infection, said that he had come all the way from Nawanshehar as his problem was being deteriorated. “But I am really disappointed because the authorities are not making any card or slip and there is a huge queue of patients. No one is properly attending the patients”, he said.

Satwant Kaur, another patient complained that she had come in the morning to get her tests conducted at the hospital but due to the shortage of staff the tests will be conducted tomorrow.

An employee of the Emergency Ward on condition of anonymity disclosed that due to this ‘war of words’ between the two parties, there were less admissions in the emergency ward. “Patients are worried because they know that they will not be taken care of properly”, he said.

Due to the ongoing agitation of the employees, the working at various departments like billing, maintenance and telephone has also been affected. “Yesterday, the leaders forcibly took out the staff of the telephone exchange with an aim to paralyse the communication network inside and outside the hospital”, said one of the eyewitness.

The management has been claiming that with an aim to paralyse the smooth functioning of the hospital, the union leaders were forcibly taking out the loyal and conscientious workers from performing their duties.

One of the representatives of the management said that in spite of appeals from all quarters that the patient care was the primary responsibility, the union leaders resorted to an ‘unjustified, illegal and unreasonable agitation’. “Doubts and concern about the status of the employees of DMCH have been voiced in the past. To allay their apprehensions and misgivings, it has been reiterated time and again in writing by the management that the salary and service conditions and all other facilities enjoyed by the existing staff shall continue to be available in the new place. Even the heavily subsidised heart surgery facility in the Hero DMC Heart Institute will be available to them”, said the representative.

Meanwhile, the union is adamant on their stand not to let shifting of any ward from the DMCH to Hero DMC Heart Institute till the status of the two institutes was not cleared. The union leaders alleged that they had been misled by the management several times in the past and had lost trust in it. “We are on a peaceful agitation and the management is levelling baseless allegations that we are trying to harass the patients. If they really want to sort out things, they should initiate a dialogue because everytime we go there, they show their helplessness to resolve the issue. They should let us talk to the person who could resolve the issue”, maintained the union leaders.

Dr John Abraham, Deputy Medical Superintendent and incharge of the administration of Christian Medical College and Hospital, admitted that there was definitely an increase in the admissions at the hospital. “The emergency and other admissions have been increased these days at our hospital”, said Dr Abraham.

Dr Waheguru Pal Singh, Medical Superintendent, Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, also said that in the last two or three days, some serious patients from DMCH were shifted to GTB Hospital. “Two serious patients who are on ventilating machines, have been admitted recently and there is an increase in the number of patients in the emergency ward also”, he said.



Grievances Redressal Forum goes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The district administration has done away with the fortnightly Grievances Redressal Forum (earlier known as ‘sangat darshan’), following orders of the state government to form a special committee for redressing grievances effectively.

The programme where general public could get its grievances redressed would not be organised anymore. Instead, the specially formed committee will take over the job. The development follows recent directions to all district heads that the committee would be the authority for redressing public complaints. The orders, however, do not say anything about scrapping the fortnightly forum.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said he had decided to do away with the fortnightly forum as there could not be two panels for handling complaints. He also said he knew that all district heads had not done so.

The state government has told all district heads to have a minister on each committee, besides members of various political parties, NGOs and social welfare bodies. The district administration has directed the SDMs concerned to ask political parties to name their members for the job.

The DC said it would be a broad-spectrum committee for redressing grievances. He also said the closing of the ‘sangat darshan’ programme would not affect anyone as the district administration was already doing the job. The DC and the ADC are supposed to work in this direction and the city has a separate ADC for redressing public grievances.

The committee was being formed, said Mr Aggarwal, but denied that the state government had ordered that the programme initiated by the previous government be suspended. He said, in anticipation of the formation of the new committee, certain district heads had themselves decided to scrap ‘sangat darshan’.

‘Sangat darshan’ had been introduced to provide general public with a forum to get their grievances redressed. The DC office used to take down the complaints and direct officials concerned to attend the programme.



2 cops in police net under corruption Act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Two head constables of the local police, including one of the popular PCR mobile staff, preferred money over sense of duty by letting off the hook two narcotics smugglers and pocketing a price for it. Their game plan was, however, short-lived as senior officers got wind of the ‘corruption’ and have booked the two under Prevention of Corruption Act, besides arresting one of them.

Head Constable Baljinder Singh was arrested while the second one, Head Constable Jaspal Singh of PCR mobile squad, managed to escape a special trap laid by the CIA police to catch them red-handed in Gobind Nagar yesterday. The police has also booked the two accused narcotics smugglers identified as Gajjan Singh and Sewa Singh, who have also been arrested by the Basti Jodhewal police.

According to police sources, the shocking case came to light through an informer. Sources said the two alleged smugglers were caught near Sherpur Chowk by the two cops. They had caught the smugglers quite far from their area of operation as they belonged to the Div. No. 5 police station.

The cops recovered about 40 kg of poppy husk from the smugglers’ possession. However, instead of booking them under the NDPS Act or handing them over to the officials of the police station concerned, the cops struck a deal with the alleged smugglers. They demanded a sum of Rs 20,000 from the smugglers in lieu of letting them off.

Sources said the cops returned half the quantity of poppy husk to the smugglers and pocketed Rs 5,000. They kept the remaining quantity of the drug with them and told the smugglers to arrange for the remaining amount and take the quantity as well as save themselves from a criminal case.

The alleged smugglers shared their experience with some people while arranging for money. It was through one such informer that the information trickled to Mr Shiv Kumar, SP(D), who arranged with the smugglers to call the cops at a place.

Mr Shiv Kumar told Ludhiana Tribune that one of the accused cop, Baljinder Singh, was arrested from Gobind Nagar where he along with the other had come to collect the remaining amount from the alleged smugglers. The second cop managed to abscond. The police recovered some quantity of poppy husk besides Rs 2,500 from the arrested cop.

Mr Shiv Kumar said DSP P.S. Parmar along with a team of CIA police had laid the trap. He said the cops face immediate suspension besides strict departmental action against them.



Licence plates: no fine after July 1
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Some relief for those who fear being fined after July 1 for not converting to high-security registration plates (HSRPs) — the district police has decided not to fine any driver for this offence until the Centre gives clear instructions in this regard.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr H.S. Sidhu, and the SP (Traffic), Mr Gurdial Singh, said this when questioned about the widespread confusion over the issue. “We advise everyone not to switch over to any design recommended by painters until the Centre makes available the HSRPs in India,” the officials said.

Sources said the police and the District Transport Office was also in the dark regarding the actual position. Notifications in newspapers about a month ago had mentioned July 1 to be the deadline for complying with a Supreme Court order on switching over to the HSRPs.

However, in the absence of the required licence plates, that were supposed to have been manufactured by a government-approved firm, the police and public don’t know what to do once the deadline expires.

Mr Sidhu said the district police would adopt the stand followed nationwide on the issue, but public need not panic. He also advised everyone not to reverse the colours of licence plates as a lot of persons were doing. Once the HSRPs are introduced in the market, people will require to get the plates changed again.

Mr Sidhu said the HSRPs would go a long way in checking vehicle thefts. The issue has become sensitive ever since the Supreme Court order about a year ago that everyone must switch over to the HSRPs.

The new licence plates were not available anywhere and painters used the resultant confusion to their advantage by advising everyone to get the plate colours reversed. The Supreme Court had, initially, given everyone six months to make the switchover and, then, extended the deadline to six months after again.

Whenever the deadline draws near, there is widespread panic and a fresh paint-job rush.



Alone against polluting unit
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 27
After failing to move the civic body, the Pollution Control Board and several other enforcement agencies into action against a bakery, a person of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar on Samrala Road here has approached the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC). He wants the bakery unit closed for polluting environment and posing a health hazard, but the “influential” owners of the unit are “intimidating” protesters. In a representation to the PHRC, the complainant, Mr Faujdar Singh, has said that persons living in a colony street have to bear swarms of flies because of ingredients being used by the bakery. They inhale smoke and fly ash emanating from the chimney of the unit. The smoke and noise from the generator placed outside the factory on public way adds to their woes.

The complainant has also said that, irked by his persistent campaign against the polluting unit, a man called Sukhwinder Singh and his cronies attacked him and lodged a false complaint against him. “The police acted in a biased way and forced me to sign a compromise deal, threatening to arrest me for breach of peace, otherwise.”

According to Mr Faujdar Singh, the bakery owners say that they are close to senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal, besides senior officials of the police and the administration. Due to this, he says, the affected persons are afraid of raising their voice against the menace. He says that the bakery unit is being run illegally from a residential area.

He urged the PHRC to appoint a commission to visit the locality to see the miserable conditions for itself.



Bank men resent VRS
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 27
The Punjab Bank Employees Federation (PBEF) affiliated to the All-India Bank Employees Association held a massive rally in front of the Bank of India branch in Model Town here today to express resentment against the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and the other “anti-employee” policies.

At the rally, trade union activists, including Mr Naresh Gaur, secretary of the local unit of the PBEF; Mr Ashok Awasthy, its president; and Mr V.K. Sood, its senior vice-president; criticised the BOI management for reintroducing the VRS. “The scheme launched by all banks two years ago is anti-employee and infringes on the rights of workers,” they said.

They said the other banks would follow the BOI example to reintroduce the VRS which was nothing but a crude way of kicking employees out of jobs to weaken the trade-union movement. The protesters offered support to agitating employees of Allahabad Bank, who were on a day’s strike today.

The PBEF activists said the managements of the BOI and Allahabad Bank should scrap these policies. They also urged bank employees and the AIBEA to support their struggle.



Rain brings respite from heat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Providing much-needed respite from the blistering heat, the pre-monsoon showers that lashed the city this morning eased pressure on the electricity as well as water. The urbanites as well as ruralites had a sigh of relief as the mercury dipped to a considerable low after the rain. The weather remained pleasant throughout the day. For the past many days there was no relief from the hot and humid weather prevailing all over the state. The power cuts and erratic water supply had made the lives of people all the more miserable in some areas.

The residents had to switch over to their ACs as the air-coolers had been rendered ineffective by the humid weather. Moving out in the sun also proved very costly for some. Paddy farmers are also relieved.



Man immolates himself
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 27
The Division No 3 police, on Wednesday, registered a case under Section 309 of the IPC following self-immolation by an aged man Mahavir Parshad in front of Sanglan Wala Shivala.

According to information, the deceased was undergoing domestic tension because of his daughter-in-law’s insistence on an early division of family assets. The case was registered on the statement of the wife of the deceased, Ms Usha Rani, a resident of Iqbal Ganj.

Black-mailer booked: On the orders of the SSP, the Division No 1 police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 384 and 511 of the IPC against Tinku, a resident of Kalyan Nagar, for allegedly trying to blackmail a girl.

Mr Ashok Kumar, a resident of Karim Pura Bazar, had stated in his complaint that the accused demanded Rs two lakh from his daughter, Ms Monika who now lives in Delhi, threatening her that if he was not paid the money, he would get her photographs published in newspapers. No arrest has been made so far.

Booked for forgery: The Division No 8 police on Wednesday registered a case of alleged forgery under Sections 465, 467, 471, 468 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sanjay Agnihotri, Judicial Magistrate, Ludhiana, against Om Parkash, a resident of Vishwakarma Colony, Ravinder Kumar, a resident of Bhai Himmat Singh Nagar, Palwinder Singh, a resident of Janta Nagar, and Tarlochan Singh. The complainant had alleged that the accused had furnished forged bail bonds in his court on June 25. No arrest has been made so far.

Murder bid: The Focal Point police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 307, 452, 509 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Sarabjit Kaur, a resident of Giaspura, against Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Mohi village. According to the complainant, the accused had entered her house on Wednesday morning and attacked her sister, Paramjit Kaur, with a baton with the intention of killing her. Her sister was lucky to escape with an injury, she added. No arrest has been made so far.

Kidnapping alleged: The Salem Tabri police, on Wednesday, registered a case under Section 365 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ravinder, a resident of grain market on the Bhadurke road, against Suresh Sharma, a migrant from Bihar. The complainant had alleged that the accused kidnapped his daughter, Rekha, aged about five, on June 24 with an intention to commit a crime.

Fraud accused held: The Sadar police, on Wednesday, arrested four residents of Talwandi Kalan village and booked them under Section 419 of the IPC on the charge of collecting money from the people and giving them chits in return for the same. The accused are Balbir Singh, Jagmit Singh, Jagtar Singh and Gurdeep Singh.

Case of kidnapping: On the directions of the SSP, the Division No 2 police ,On Wednesday, registered a case under Sections 365, 341, 323, 294, 509, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Suman, a resident of Issa Nagar, against Sunny David, Laddy and Danny, residents of the same locality.

The complainant had alleged that the accused stopped her and her daughter in a playground on June 25 and teased them. They had also threatened them. Later, the accused kidnapped her young son and threw him into a canal. The boy was rescued by onlookers who gathered at the spot after which the accused fled from the scene. No arrest has been made so far.

Eight booked: Eight persons were booked by the police at different police stations of the city under Section 283 of the IPC for parking their vehicles on the road and jamming the road.

The Division No 3 police arrested three persons in this connection. They have been identified as Bikram Singh, who parked his Canter on the Gaushala Road, Ramesh, who parked his Canter near Khud mohalla chowk and Ajit Singh, who parked his three-wheeler and jammed the traffic near Nikka Mal chowk.

Four persons were booked by the Division No 4 police for the same offence. They have been identified as Kansi Ram, who parked his truck near Subhash Nagar, Lalit Tiwari, Hanuman and Rajpal, who had jammed the traffic by placing their stocks of vegetables on the road.

The Sarabha Nagar police has arrested Ram Badan, a resident of Kot Mangal Singh, for parking his Swaraj Mazda truck near the Sunet village roundabout and jamming traffic.

Illegal possession of plot:
Mr Niranjan Singh (80), a resident of Bhadewal village, has alleged in the complaints written to the SSP, Khanna, and the DC, Ludhiana, that four persons of his village had illegally and forcibly taken possession of his plot with the help of the local police. He said even a stay order had been issued in his favour by a court.

He has alleged in the complaints that he has a plot measuring 240 sq ft in Bhadewal village. It was in his possession till June 16, but on that day Achhara Singh, Bhag Singh, Mangal Singh, Chand Singh, Prem Singh and Baljit Kaur, along with some other unidentified persons, forcibly took possession of the plot and raised a wall there. They uprooted a tree standing on the plot and threw away some of the articles belonging to him. He has alleged that the local police also helped them under political pressure.

The police official were told that a court had issued a stay order in his favour, but all in vain. Now Achhara Singh is in illegal possession of the plot. The complainant has urged the authorities to take action against the accused.



Man murdered over blocking cooler air
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
A migrant labourer, Akhlesh (18), was allegedly murdered by a co-worker in a factory in Focal Point here today. The youth was murdered on a trivial issue of who will sit in front of a cooler.

Police sources said after completing his shift, the deceased came to a room and sat in front of a cooler. Another worker, Daljit Yadav, directed him to sit somewhere else and not block the air. The refusal of the deceased angered Daljit Yadav who beat him to death. The police has registered a case of murder.



Girl attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
An allegedly depressed girl created a ruckus on the Sarabha Nagar bank of the Sidhwan Canal here this afternoon when she tried to commit suicide by jumping into the canal. She was, however, rescued by some passersby and members of the PCR mobile squad. Police sources said the girl, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh, had a fight with her parents today and tried to commit suicide, but was rescued.



Man ends life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
A poverty-stricken man allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a fan at his residence in Rasila Nagar here today afternoon. He was allegedly unable to meet the hospital expenses of his pregnant wife. The police said Surjit Singh, a daily wager, was out of work for the past few months and was not able to arrange money for the hospital expenses of his pregnant wife. He was depressed and ended his life.



Kids' clothes cost a packet
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 27
Clothes are getting skimpier, dandier, more colourful with definite flair and cost a packet. Here one is not talking of clothes worn by models on the ramp, but the clothes worn by tiny tots. The stores are coming with ''designer wear'' for every season for both girls and boys much to the delight of both children and their parents.

A survey by Ludhiana Tribune of stores stocking children's clothes in posh localities revealed that the stores were bursting with fancy, expensive and natty clothes for children of all age groups. Bipin, a salesman at one of the leading stores, said, "We have parents coming at all hours. The daily sale runs into thousands of rupees. The range of casual clothes starts from Rs 100 and goes up to Rs 500. The party wear frocks can go up to Rs 2,000. The boys clothes are also expensive. A kurta-pajama set with a jacket is priced at Rs 800 and above. The children are seen dictating their choices to the parents.''

A mother carrying shopping bags from a store revealed that she had to shop every month for her two girls.

The girls are very clear in their mind what they want to buy. Sometimes they want hipsters which they saw some heroine wearing in some movie, next time it would be some shirt with some icon that is their favourite.

Another shopper said how she regretted spoiling her son when younger. "While dressing him up when he was two I would insist that he wears matching T-shirt with his shorts and matching socks and shoes. Now he has become finicky about matching and would discard dozen of dresses before condescending to wear one. With a small kid on hands I find it very difficult to cope with his 'matching mania.' The young ones' clothes, nappies, feeding bottle, shoes, bag to carry his knick-knacks, everything is so expensive."

The latest style jeans, parallels, sweat shirts carrying batman and spiderman baffle the parents. But the manufacturers never had it so good. It suits them that their designers are always coming up with new ideas to tempt the children and their parents. Gone are the days when the grandmother tailored simple ''jhablas'' or rompers for kids in summer and knitted sweaters in winter.


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