Thursday, July 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Four DMCH managing panel members quit
Shivani Bhakoo


  • 4 DMCH Managing Society members resign

  • No dialogue between employees and union today
  • Munjal holds talks
  • Early functioning at hospital top priority, says president
  • Lawyers extend cooperation to faculty
  • Doctors visit employees in jail, show concern

Ludhiana, July 17
Amidst reports of resignation by four members of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) Managing Society, the crisis in the institution due to the employees’ unrest refused to die down even as the noted industrialist and the president of the society, Mr Brij Mohan Munjal, met the faculty members here today and had several rounds of meetings with the society members also.

It was learnt that four members of the society, including its vice-president, Mr Balraj Kumar, the secretary, Mr Prem Nath Gupta, the joint secretary, Mr Satish Chandra Sanwalka, and the treasurer, Mr Amrit Nagpal, resigned today from their posts. This seems to have further complicated the matters. There was no dialogue between the managing committee and the employees’ union even today.

Meanwhile, a number of faculty members of the DMC met the employees who were in lock-up to get a firsthand feel of their condition. The doctors were sore over the condition of the employees whose clothes were torn and blood soaked since July 13, when the violence occurred at the hospital.

Though Mr Munjal addressed the faculty members here today at old DMC and expressed his concern over the early functioning of hospital, nothing fruitful has come up. The doctors have asked Mr Munjal to let the teaching practice continue at the hospital so that the studies of medical students are not interrupted.

And now a section of lawyers in the city have extended their cooperation to the doctors to form a panel for resolving the issue.

The doctors were shocked to see the marks of lathis, bruises on the faces and bodies of the employees. A member of the Joint Action Committee of DMCH said a staff nurse had come to the chemist to purchase medicines. She was caught by the policemen who beat her with heavy sticks and lodged her in the jail under Section 307.

Another safai sevak, who was employed only seven days ago by the DMCH authorities under contract and had nothing to do with strike, was in judicial custody under Section 307. A woman employee who was hiding in the Maintenance Department when the police entered the department, rounded up those inside, beat them and put them in lock-up under Section 307. The faculty members said another woman employee was picked up from her home. She admitted that she had picked up a brick but that was only after three policemen tried to strangulate her. There were several other employees, including chowkidars and canteen employees, who were not present at the scene, met the same fate, including police brutality and Section 307 (which potentially means life term), added the doctors.

One senior faculty member said: "It is estimated that most of those in the lock-up are incidental casualties. If one or more persons allegedly manhandled a police DSP, does that mean that the police go on the rampage and mercilessly beat up and even kill innocent bystanders? This speaks about the level of maturity of the police".



‘Management, union, admn to blame’
Fall of DMCH from grace
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The general public in Ludhiana has been feeling angry and outraged over the registration of a case of criminal conspiracy against 78-year-old secretary of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital Managing Committee, Mr Prem Nath Gupta. Besides, the police has booked about 40 other employees for attempt to murder. A cross-section of people Ludhiana Tribune talked to observed that the district administration and the police by registering a case against Mr Gupta and the employees was trying to wash away its own sins of omission and commission which led the situation to take a violent turn.

The people feel that although Mr Gupta and the union members may have a lot to explain for the unrest in the DMC, that does not mean they should be falsely implicated in such criminal cases. The people even ridiculed the claims of the administration and the police that they were misled and misguided by the DMC management. "It is surprising that the police and administration have been trying to lay the blame on the management for its own misdoing", remarked Mr Mukul Sharma, a shopkeeper of Tagore Nagar, near DMC. He said the police action was totally uncalled for as it could have used minimum force to evacuate the striking employees.

Dr G.S. Grewal, a leading physician of the city, was critical of the district administration and the police, which he observed, should have acted in more responsible manner. He pointed out the police and the administration was committing one mistake after another. He said, first it remained indifferent to the situation which was threatening to turn volatile. Then it acted in quite an inhuman manner by resorting to ruthless lathicharge on employees and doctors. "It was caught between inaction and over reaction", he regretted, while adding that ultimately it seemed to settle for Mr Prem Nath Gupta by implicating him in a case of criminal conspiracy.

Dr Anshu Vatsyayan was more forthright, saying the main culprit in the matter seems to be the district administration which, until now, dealt with the situation in a casual manner and allowed the situation to go out of control. She suggested that the DMC management should also go for one time settlement of all disputes with the employees’ union to ensure that the strikes do not occur as frequently as they are taking place in the DMC. She regretted the registration of criminal case against Mr Gupta, which she said is "ridiculous and outrageous".

Mr Sanjay Jain, a businessman, voiced the concern of the common man. He pointed out, ultimately it is the people who would suffer in this situation. "While everybody would rush to DMC in case of any emergency, now people are confused as where to go for treatment", he said, while pointing out that the DMC had become synonymous with the medical aid in the city. He said all the concerned, particularly the doctors and the employees, should understand that they have a moral responsibility towards the people and the patients and they should not shy away from it.

Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, an educationist and industrialist, feels pained over the fall of such a leading institution that had come up so well and was providing health care to the people. He regretted that nobody, including the management, the union and the administration, performed a constructive role and allowed the situation to take a worse turn.

Regretting the sad state of affairs, Mr Satpal Puri, Congress councillor, observed that the situation could have been saved from taking this ugly turn had anyone taken serious note of it.

He demanded an independent inquiry into all the incidents that left a number of employees injured in the police lathicharge.

Dr K.P. Singh, a former head of the Department of Surgery in the DMC, expressed his dismay over the situation.

He felt sad that an institution like DMC which provided round-the-clock service to the people of the city was closed today. He said: “Lets stop the blame game and find out a way to defuse the crisis”.



Disputes can harm DMCH image: Oswal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The Chairman of Vardhman group of industries, Mr S.P. Oswal, said the issue of human resource management should be handled through professionals only as it had assumed several dimensions in today’s context.

Mr Oswal said the problem in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) was failure on human resource management front.

Reacting to his reported remarks about the ongoing strike in the DMCH and talking from his own experience of 1982 when he was faced with workers’ problem, Mr Oswal said: “It is vital that the human relationships in today’s context have assumed several dimensions”.

While emphasising the professional approach to all such problems, but without naming the DMCH directly, he maintained: “It is appropriate and helpful if this function is handled through professionals who are better qualified and experienced to tackle the complex situation. It is general belief that it is not part-time activity but a whole time function”.

The signed statement emphasised ‘employees of DMCH should understand that they belong to a service institution and should have acted with greater sense of responsibility’, while adding that frequent agitation or disputes do cause incalculable harm to the image and goodwill of the institution. Besides, he argued, no one can be given, in the civilised society, the right to take the law in his own hands.

Urging the general public and the citizens to come forward for diffusing the crisis, he observed: “It should be the earnest effort of all citizens to extend support and cooperation to the institution and managing committee to deal with the crisis”.

Expressing his sympathies to those injured and wounded, he observed: “At the same time we may not lose sight of the suffering of the thousands of patients whose voice is mute. Employees, therefore, must rise above their narrow interest and understand their duties”.



School vehicle problem irks parents
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, July 17
A recent order passed by the District Magistrate prohibiting overloading of vehicles, meant for plying schoolchildren, is proving to be a headache for both parents and the school authorities here.

Initially, the order was much appreciated by the parents but now it has become more of an inconvenience than a safety measure to them, as some private vehicle owners have gone on strike, while others have hiked the transportation charges. In both cases, the parents are a harassed lot as they have to either bear the additional burden of dropping and picking their children from schools or shell out double amount for the purpose.

Since most of the private vehicle owners are now being forced to take two rounds of the same area, the kids in the first round have to be ready at least half an hour earlier than the previous schedule, and those in the second round usually turn up late.

The private vehicle owners of BCM Arya School on the, Chandigarh road have been on strike since the school reopened. Since the parents were not aware of the strike, they kept waiting for the vehicles yesterday, but when they did not turn up, they had to themselves drop their children to school.

Narrating his problem, Mr Manish Kumar, a parent, said he had his two sons studying in the same school. While the younger is in KG, he has to be picked up at 11:30 am and the elder one, who is in Class IV, has to be picked at 1:30 pm. He said till mid-day he could do nothing but take rounds of the school. He said all parents were planning to get together and hold a meeting with the Principal in this regard.

Ms Bindiya Chhabra, also a parent, said she had two kids studying in Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar. She said both of them were going by van and since the new orders from the DM had been passed, the van owner had told that he would now charge Rs 500 per child instead of Rs 300 being levied previously as he was taking two rounds to the area now. Besides, she wakes up her kids half an hour earlier as they were going in the first round.

Even the school authorities, who have otherwise appreciated the move, have been affected by the new orders. Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal, BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, said since the vehicle owners were now taking two rounds, they were bringing children late daily by 5 to 10 minutes, but she was forced to bear the problem. She said she had given them 15 days to make suitable arrangements so that the orders were implemented well and even children did not get late.

Similarly, Mr R.S. Patial, Principal of DAV Public School, said he would soon issue a circular to the parents making them aware of the new orders. He said he would also try to tell them about the problem of the vehicle owners and convince them to shell out extra transportation charges or make some new arrangements on their own.



Student’s death: hearing on July 19
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
The anticipatory bail application of Jinderpal Kaur, the teacher accused of beating Jagroop Singh (15), a Class X student of Government Senior Secondary School, Pakhowal, which resulted in his death, will come up for hearing before the court of Mr S.M.S. Mahal, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, on July 19.

The teacher has contended in her bail application that no stick blows were inflicted on Jagroop and allegations made against her were false. He was suffering from some disease and died due to it, added the teacher.

Though as per the version of Jagroop’s parents, their son was subjected to severe corporal punishment by the teacher since he had failed to bring a Punjabi notebook in the class on July 8. Thereafter, he became unconscious and was admitted to Arora Neuro Centre, The Mall, for the treatment.

The doctor, however, had said that the student had suffered a brain haemorrhage and paralysis on the right side of the body, which had lead to his death.

An FIR was registered against the teacher under Sections 337 and 338 of the IPC. Later, Section 304 of the IPC was added after the death of the student.

The court had directed the police to present relevant record pertaining to the case on the next date of hearing.




CHIEF Minister Amarinder Singh today failed to keep his date with Ludhiana. He was supposed to attend a couple of functions. While at Verka Milk plant he was scheduled to distribute bonus cheques among people, at the district Police Lines he was supposed to flag off the Police Control Room motorcycles. Thousands of people had gathered at the milk plant on Ferozepore Road as it was crammed to capacity. And interestingly the organisers did not announce that the Chief Minister was not coming. It was only through whispers that people conveyed to one another about the cancellation of the visit. However, the organisers of the show, probably having an advance inkling of the possible cancellation of the visit, had flooded the tent with the photographs of the Chief Minister. As one looked up in the sky, it was the Chief Minister all around. The photographs were hanging in hundreds inside the tent and making the presence of the Chief Minister felt even in his absence. (see picture)

DMC on hold

The continuous strike by the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) Employees Union and its violent fallout continues to hog the limelight in Ludhiana. The DMCH is not just one of the reputed medical institutions of the state, but the entire north where people from different parts of the region come for medical aid. Obviously the happenings in the DMCH lead to concern among all the people in Ludhiana. Even the media remained more than alert with day-to-day reporting of the events taking place there. What started off as a simple strike by a handful of employees ultimately turned into a major problem threatening the very existence of the institution. While everybody has been holding the union leaders responsible for stretching a non-issue to such a degree, the role of the members of the managing committee of the DMCH has also come under sever criticism. So much so, even the faculty of the DMCH decided to side with the striking employees. The situation has reached such a stage that a big hospital which used to have hundreds of patients visiting daily, now presents a desperate and deserted look. The most unfortunate part is that about 40 employees have been booked for attempt to murder, while the secretary of the managing committee has been booked for criminal conspiracy.

Elusive rain

Last year, it rained and rained on the first day of sawan sending cheers across the city and the countryside. But not so this time. As the month started yesterday, came the guesswork of the weathermen that the delayed monsoon may not be very far after all. Because of the sweltering heat coupled with frequent power cuts, both farmers and non-farmers have been equally praying for an early rain but without any result. People in the countryside have been organising "yajnas' to please Indra, the god of rain. Women have been burning dolls made of rags in various villages to attract the clouds which have been eluding them so far.

But it seems that people have no choice but to bear somehow the oppressive heat that makes one's head dizzy at times. Even if rain comes as expected in the next couple of days, there would be little respite from the heat and the added humidity .

Vanishing CDs

These days it is pretty difficult to find a video CD in Ludhiana. Not that it was always so. Audio and video CDs were found in abundance in Ludhiana and that too at throw away prices. However, after the raids on the controversial Shiv Sena leader Jagdish Tangri's holdings in Gur Mandi, which led to the seizure of a large number of pirated and duplicate CDs, there was an immediate shortage. It was a known fact that the Gur Mandi is the main supplier of such pirated and smuggled goods. But after the police raids, everything seems to have vanished. People have been finding it difficult to get a single CD whether of an old or a new movie.

Long live Gian Chand

During the police lathi charge on the striking employees of the DMCH, one employee was shown hanging from the top floor of the hospital building. The employee was identified as Gian Chand. Nobody knew what happened to Gian Chand later. While Sentinel wishes him a long life, some people, including some newspapers, announced his death. So much so the reporters were informed on the second day of the lathi charge that his body was being taken out for cremation to the Civil Lines crematorium. Obviously everyone rushed there. But not a single body was there for the cremation. Different people spread different stories about his fate. Even some police officials started admitting in private that he had died probably due to the fall, while some union members tried to attribute his death to the police lathi charge. While five days have passed since the incident took place, there is no clue about the whereabouts of Gian Chand. Sentinel again wishes him a long life.

Their conscience is alive

The death of Jagroop Singh after he received a beating from his teacher has stirred the conscience of scores of Ludhiana residents who have flooded this newspaper office with phone calls and letters, expressing their condolence to the family of the diseased. At the same time they have questioned corporal punishment. Most readers feel that the children must be encouraged to report incidents of beating at school and among peer groups. Parents, too, must gather guts to take on teachers who beat kids to draw some sadistic pleasure. Are you listening parents?


With rain gods seemingly indifferent towards Punjab and no clouds seen anywhere in the horizon, the people in the countryside, who desperately await clouds for rain, have been remarking: "It seems as if Mr Badal has taken away all the badals (clouds) with him.”




VRTC staff want sacked employee reinstated
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
Termination of a blind employee of the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre (VRTC) is heading towards a major conflict between the management and the employees of this prestigious institute that has trained thousands of handicapped personnel to earn a livelihood. Employees of the institute have launched a dharna outside the campus to protest the sacking of an employee, Mr Dharampal Singh, who was found guilty of misconduct by an inquiry.

According to the agitating employees, Mr Dharampal Singh is a handicapped employee whose family and aged parents are dependent upon him, while the institute’s Director, Dr E.M. Jonson, has said that Mr Dharampal Singh was neither handicapped nor behaved as per the norms of the institution, which has led to his sacking on the recommendation of an enquiry conducted by a retired District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.K. Garg.

Agitating employees led by Mr Man Bhagchand, vice-president of the Handicapped Institution Employees Federation, told Ludhiana Tribune that they would continue the agitation till the sacked employee was reinstated.

Dr Jonson, explaining the reasons for the decision of sacking Mr Dharampal Singh, said: “Since the past two years, two employees of this institution, who are not handicapped, have been indulging in serious misconduct, are involved in misappropriation of funds and have been frequently absent from duty. They are Mr Dharampal Singh and Mr Himanshu Ranjan. Mr Dharampal Singh has been issued memos many times and charge sheeted for serious misconduct, and after seeing no change in his conduct, the management on the advise of our Legal Adviser appointed Mr S.K. Garg, District and Sessions Judge (retd), as one-man enquiry commission. On the recommendations of the commission Mr Dharampal Singh was dismissed from service from July 11, 2002”

The report of the commission says: “The respondent was chargesheeted by the management observing that he was in the habit of wilfully neglecting his duties. He failed to submit required reports regarding the rehabilitation of needy persons. It has been alleged that respondent is in the habit of staying away from the institution without obtaining prior permission and without getting the leave sanctioned. He was asked by the management a number of times to be careful in future and not to indulge in uncalled for behaviour. The respondent, in spite of tendering unqualified apologies, did not change himself. It has been alleged in the chargesheet that in 1998 the respondent proceeded on leave on 28 occasions without prior permission and getting the leave sanctioned.”

The five-page commission report concludes by saying that the charges levied by the management against Mr Dharampal Singh stand proved. The agitating employees on the other hand have termed the commission report as biased and in favour of the management, and refused to accept it, saying that they will continue their agitation till the sacked employee is reinstated.



Revenue officers withdraw strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The Punjab Revenue Officers Association has withdrawn strike and has urged the state government to cancel the cases registered against its members by the vigilance department within a fortnight.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here this afternoon after the general body meeting, Mr A.S. Tiwana, president of the association, said they were conscious of the huge losses suffered by the government but they had been forced to go on a strike because of the high-handedness of the Vigilance Department with some of their members.

He said a delegation had been assured by the CM that the needful would be done and henceforth only those officers would be targeted against whom the department had concrete evidence or had been trapped while accepting bribes. However, the association was appreciative of the anti-graft drive of the government, he added.



Sawan Sankranti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
Sawan Sankranti, which heralds the rainy season, was celebrated with religious fervour and zeal at various temples and gurdwaras in and around the city here yesterday.

Since worship of Lord Shiva is considered auspicious when the sun enters Cancer, people made a beeline for various Shivalas and Shiva temples from early morning to offer milk, holy Ganga water, “bel-patras” and flowers at the Shivalinga. A special puja was performed at the ancient Sanglanwala Shivala under the supervision of Mahant Narayan Dass Puri.

A special puja of Lord Shiva was performed at the Prachin Shiv Mandir Gaughat on the Gaushala Road. Among other temples of the city where special religious functions were held were Shri Mahavaishnavi Shri Shakti Peeth in Beant Pura, Shiv Mandir in Daresi grounds and the Shiva Temple adjacent to the Shri Durga Mata Mandir on the Club Road.

The biggest function was held at Siddh Peeth Dandi Swami. After a session of kirtan and pujan, Rishi Onkar ji uttered the name of the month to the delight of the gathering on the occasion. Swami Nigambodh Tirathji explained the importance of the month of Sawan.

A recitation of Sunder-Kand took place at the Manas Mandir in Madho Puri under the supervision of Swami Brahmjyotiji, after which he relayed the holy word from Brahmleen Brahmrishi Vishwatma Bawaraji Maharaj to the gathering of the devout and distributed ‘parsad’ among them. Kirtan darbars were held at several gurdwaras in and around the city and langars held by gurdwara managements and a large number of social service groups and private business establishments. A kirtan darbar and katha session, which began early morning at Gurdwara Kaligidhar Singh Sabha, concluded well past 9 am.



1.5 quintals of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 17
The Payal police claims to have seized 1.5 quintals of poppy husk from a person belonging to Ghudani Kalan village on Tuesday.

According to SHO Rachpal Singh, Darshan Singh was arrested along with 1.5 quintals of poppy husk from Buani village. It was stuffed in five sacks. The wife of Darshan Singh had earlier been arrested in a similar case and was in police custody. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused.

Scooterist hurt: A man was injured when the scooter that he was riding was hit by a truck on Monday evening.

Kuka Ram sustained injuries at Bhaini Sahib village when the scooter was hit by the truck (PB10E-9994). The driver, however, fled the scene, while Kuka Ram was taken to the hospital. A case under Sections 279, 237, 338 and 27 of the IPC has been registered.

Case of fraud: A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered against Amanpreet Singh alias Tinu, a resident of Patel Nagar, New Delhi, on Tuesday.

The complainant, Harnek Singh of Lapran village, has accused Amanpreet Singh of defrauding him of Rs 6.8 lakh. He said the accused lured him into sending him to a foreign country but did not fulfil his promise. Rather, he said, the man refused to having received any money from the complainant.


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