Saturday, November 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Admn loses sight of past
Eye camp against rules begins today
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
While the blinding of 44 persons in an eye camp at Jagraon is still fresh in public memory, another such camp begins at Bhaini Baringa tomorrow, allegedly, in violation of norms laid down by the Centre. The permission for holding medical camps is given by the district administration through the office of the Civil Surgeon.

The organisers of tomorrow’s camp, the Sant Ashram, claim to have valid permission for holding the camp. Documents, however, show that the permission was given only for holding an eye-check-up camp and not performing eye-operations. The organisers have, however, advertised in newspapers that operations by the team of Dr Dhanwant Singh would be conducted at the camp.

The administration is yet to take action in this regard, even though it is the same team of doctors that had performed operations at Jagraon, blinding 44. It shows that no lesson has been learnt from the incident.

While the office of the Civil Surgeon and the district administration find nothing wrong in giving permission for holding eye check-up camps, the organisers, in the absence of any physical inspection, misuse the permission to conduct surgeries as well at such camps.

The two-day camp that begins tomorrow is to be organised in Sant Ashram of Bhaini Baringa village, in alleged violation of the ban on such camps. The ban was imposed by the District Magistrate two months ago. The medical team for the camp is headed by Dr Dhanwant Singh, who is already in a mess over the Jagraon blindings. According to the orders based on guidelines from the Centre, eye-operation camps can be held only in government-approved institutions where all the prescribed facilities are available in operation theatres and post-operative-care wards.

The camp documents show that the organisers have tried to take the benefit of some loopholes in the language of the permission letter. The permission orders are in English, that most rural folk cannot understand.

When contacted, Sant Rawinder Singh Dhalianwale of the Sant Ashram said he had the permission of the district administration for holding the camp and Rs 25,000 had already been spent on the arrangements. He also said he had documents validating this, following which, he produced the permission papers.

However, the permission order given by the office of the Civil Surgeon says: “The organisers can hold the OPD eye-operation camps, that too, only in government-approved institutions.”

Sant Rawinder Singh said he was illiterate, but could tell that he had the necessary permission. A press note issued by the organisers said eye operations would also be organised at the camp, though the permission is only for holding an eye check-up camp.

It needs to be seen whether the district administration or the office of the Civil Surgeon conducts physical inspection at the camp sites or not; or it may just order a probe, like always, after another mishap.

The plan to hold the camp came to light early today when a press note advertising it was issued by the Sant Ashram based in the village beside the Raikot-Malerkotla road. The note said a free eye-check-up camp would be organised on November 30, followed by a free eye-operation camp the next day.

Each patient is required to bring with him or her only one relative and one set of bedding. “The patients should come after washing their hair properly,” says the note.

When contacted, Mr Rahul Bhandari, ADC (General), said there were guidelines from the state that no ashram or dera could organise such camps. Only hospitals with proper infrastructure like operation theatres could organise such camps. “I am surprised that the camp is being held and I’ll take up the matter with the Civil Surgeon,” he said.

While the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.N. Tewari, could not be contacted, a copy of the permission orders given to the Sant Ashram was given to this reporter. It specifically said the permission was only for holding an eye-check-up camp, that too, in a government-approved institution, something that the camp organisers are not doing.



Another case of corporal punishment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
While Punjab Education Minister Khushal Behl has recently announced stringent punishment for any school teacher found guilty of corporal punishment, this does not seem to have any deterrent effect as cases of child-beating in schools continue to come up.

The latest in the series is the case of an 11-year-old girl, Meenakshi, of Sarup Nagar, who was allegedly beaten up mercilessly by a woman teacher in a school at Salem Tabri yesterday. The teacher had allegedly hit her with a stick on her forehead. The girl got five stitches near her right eye and the doctors have cast doubts over her eyesight also. The swollen eye will take some days to open completely and only then her eyesight would be examined.

The alleged incident took place at Shanti Devi Public School yesterday afternoon. According to Meenakshi and her father, Sanjeev Kumar, she studies in sixth standard and was standing with her classmates when a teacher, Ms Poonam, came and started beating the children for making a noise.

The victim, who was speaking with difficulty, said she was a hardworking student and seldom gave trouble to her seniors. She said the teacher singled her out and hit her hard on the head with a stick. She bled profusely and collapsed there. She was taken to a private hospital by the school authorities. Doctors closed the wound with five stitches. The girl gained consciousness after several hours and was complaining of swoons. She feared loss of sight as her right eye has been partially closed since yesterday afternoon.

School Principal Nitish Chabra said he learnt about the alleged incident and arranged all medical care for the child. He said he would take strict action against the teacher if she was found guilty of beating up of the child. He said sometimes it happens that the teacher just intend to browbeat the child by showing the stick. He said he would ensure justice in the case.

The teacher concerned could not be contacted. Sources in the school close to her supported her. They said it was just an unfortunate incident and the teacher should not be held responsible for it. They said the teacher intended to hit the child mildly or on the back of the child to scold as well as to control them. But sometimes the students is injured when he takes evasive action.

The parents of the girl were quite worried over the girl’s future. Her father, a worker in a factory, said they only wish her eyesight is saved and no scar is left on the forehead. They have demanded strong punishment for the school teacher and have also complained to the police. Meenakshi is the youngest daughter in the family. Her elder sister and brother are also studying.



Principal booked for beating up student 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
In the second case of corporal punishment occurring in the city within 24 hours, a Class X student of a private school in New Subash Nagar, has lodged a complaint against the school principal with the Basti Jodhewal police of beating him mercilessly.

The police has booked the principal, N.K. Khanna, under Sections 323, 342, 506, 148 and 149, IPC. No arrests have been made so far. According to police sources, the principal slapped the students several times causing injuries and even threatened him with dire consequences.

Sources added the police was investigating the case to verify the contents of the complaint. Sources said the school authorities informed them that the complaint could be motivated also.



Cops ‘beat up’ youth for no reason
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
Tanvir Singh, a local youth, has alleged that he was beaten up by two policemen in Sarabha Nagar yesterday when he was going to buy some items from a milk booth. His father is a doctor who lives in Rajguru Nagar.

In his complaint, he has written that it was about 5.30 pm yesterday after he had parked his mobike near the milk booth when a police Gypsy (PB-10-R-0997) stopped near him. An Assistant Sub Inspector alighted from it and started slapping him without any reason.

Tanvir said: “There was no provocation whatsoever; still he rained slaps on me. When I sought the reason for it from him, the driver of the police vehicle also started beating me up.

The case was also reported to Mr Arun Pal Singh, Superintendent of Police (Traffic), who assured Tanvir that he would look into the matter. Tanvir said some passersby had also witnessed the incident.



‘Khooni phataks’ a cause for concern
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
The accident involving a train and a truck killing six and injuring many at the unmanned railway crossing, joining Thrike village with Rajguru Nagar, last night has once again brought to the fore the increasing number of accidents at the unmanned railway crossings.

While there seems to be no respite for the residents of these areas as there are a number of unmanned crossings at a distance of few meters only as the Railways cannot provide so many gates in the line, the residents still demand some solution for the problem.

According to the residents of the area, the accidents at the same site happened very commonly. Till date more than 30 such accidents have been reported and numerous lives have also been lost. The residents have off and on demanded that the crossing should be manned as it acted as a way for the residents of Thrike village. But nothing has been done so far. According to them, many school buses also cross the line during the day time besides other traffic. Even after many deaths occurring on this track, the authorities have been paying no heed to the residents’ requests.

One of the residents said that the area was better known as ‘boli dharti’ (deaf land) as due to some scientific reason the noise of approaching train could not be heard and the vehicles collided with the running train. The residents of the area have even names these crossings as ‘khooni phatak’ (killer tracks) as these took the lives of many innocent people.

Mr P.K. Goyal, Executive Officer, Improvement Trust, said that the former Deputy Commissioner had already mooted a proposal to set up a permanent manned railway crossing near Lodhi Club. He said that the matter was taken up with the railway authorities and the Improvement Trust was told to deposit an amount of Rs 1 lakh for the same which they did around three months ago.

Mr Rahul Bhandari, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), said that they would take up the matter again with the railway authorities for expediting the work at the Lodhi Club crossing.

When a Tribune team visited the area after the accident today, it was revealed that wild vegetation on the sides of the track blocked the view and the commuters could not see the approaching train. Moreover, old sign boards indicating the presence of an unmanned crossing were installed at the spots and it seemed that they were not painted for years despite the facts that an accident was reported many times during a year on the spot. As the area falls in the outskirts of the city fog and dust remained suspended in the air thereby making it impossible for the passersby to see the tracks or approaching train. Absence of any street lighting in the area also added to the problems.

The Railway officials said that it was very difficult for the department to constructed a manned gate at every crossing as due to the growth in population of the city and the area of the city expanding beyond limits the flow of traffic at these roads had also increased manyfold. But the Railways have agreed to construct a gate at Lodhi club crossing only.



MC mute witness to encroachments
Our Correspondent

Samrala, November 29
Civic sense seems to be missing in Samrala town. The problem of encroachments continues. Whether it is the question of the main bazaar starting from the main crossing chowk to the octroi posts from Ludhiana side to the Chandigarh side, or the question of lanes or bylanes at Samrala town towards Khanna, Machhiwara or Chawa road, one will find encroachments galore.

The encroachments on the National Highways pose a serious danger to the moving traffic. Besides, the danger also lurks for children of schools along the highways.

The municipal committee, Samrala, is virtually inductive. Many social workers of Samrala have tried to put forward the problems at the grievances committee meetings in the past years but their efforts bore no fruits.

Meanwhile, the famous social workers of Samrala, Mr Kuldeep Khullar, Mr B. S. Pannu, Mr Harpal Singh Dhillon, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, Mr Joginder Singh Seh, Mr Prem Nath Dana, Mr A. N. Tagra, Mr Behari Lal Saddi, Com. Rashpal Singh, Mr Braham Dev Anjan, Mr Mehar Singh Heera and Mr S. P. Kalra will shortly meet the SDM, Mr Jaspal Singh Jassi, in this connection. They are hopeful that better sense will prevail upon the law-breaking citizens to vacate the unauthorised encroachments immediately.



Probe doctor’s refusal: bureau
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 29
The Punjab Crime Prevention Bureau has demanded a probe into the denying of admission and first-aid by the authorities of a local nursing home to some foreigners who had met with an accident near Karnal.

Demanding stern action against the erring doctor, Mr Gurinder Singh and Mr Ravi Raj Soi, president and vice-president, respectively, of the bureau, alleged that basic humanitarian help had been refused to the injured who were bleeding profusely and were in a critical condition. Narrating the incident, Mr Shiv Soni, senior vice-president of the bureau, said on the night of November 21, a Tata Sumo carrying eight foreigners met with an accident near Karnal.

“We were travelling by the same road at the same time. On seeing the accident, we stopped our car and rescued the passengers. We took them to Jagdamba Nursing Home. We were shocked when the doctor refused to admit them,” alleged Mr Soni.

Mr Soni added that the victims were rushed to the Civil Hospital, seven km away, and during this period, Hosaneara Begum, a Bangladeshi student, succumbed to injuries. On reaching the hospital, they contacted the Karnal administration, but nobody visited the injured or made arrangements for the treatment of the injured, he said.

The injured were later taken to the PGI in Chandigarh and six of the eight accident victims were saved, while two were still critical. The students were on their maiden educational trip to India. The bureau also demanded an inquiry into the negligence by the Karnal administration and the Karnal Red Cross Society.



LJP district units to be reorganised by Dec 25
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 29
All the district units of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) would be reorganised by Dec 25 and thereafter the state unit of the party would be recast. This was stated by Mr Amar Singh Mehmi, state president, while addressing a party meeting here today.

He claimed that as many as 3 lakh new party members were enrolled during the recently concluded membership drive who would be suitably accommodated in the organisation at appropriate time. Various party wings, including those to work for labour, kisan, trade, minorities, women, youth, scheduled castes and tribes were also being reconstituted with due representation to all sections.

Prominent among those present at the meeting were Mr Kartar Singh Patna, secretary general, president of youth wing, Mr Manjot Singh Grewal, kisan cell chief Mr Baldev Singh Sanghera, labour cell president Mr Kali Kant Jha, Trade Cell President Mr Rakesh Garg, district (Urban) unit president Mr Jagdish Anand and district (urban) youth wing president Mr Raj Kumar.

According to Mr Patna, the party would launch an agitation to focus on the burning problems of the people after Feb 15 when the entire organisational set-up would be in place. The party would, in particular, raise the demand for a complete ban on contract system of labour and lottery while calling upon the government to provide housing facility to the houseless poor and free education.

Mr Patna indicated that the party leadership was inclined to support the anti-corruption drive launched by the Congress government, headed by Captain Amarinder Singh to cleanse the public offices and political system.



Indian ‘rule’ in UK

Historically, colonialism is the threshold of imperialism. Later, globalisation. British imperialism set record: sun did not set over it. The Union Jack flew over some parts of all the continents. The tide turned. Indians got a foot hold in the British Economy. Lord Swaraj Pal, Punjabi hailing from Jalandhar, transforms the NRI status. Son of Ludhiana-soil rose to be Mayor of Slough. So did a daughter of Ludhiana later.

The life story of Gurbachan Singh Thind reads as fiction. In space it encloses three continents. In time six decades plus. He is a combination of calculation and risk, consideration and adventure. Remembers past gainfully. Plans future imaginatively. He is like a well-oiled vehicle with excellent head-lights, perfect hind ones. Knows the utility of the accelerator and importance of brakes. No undue over-taking. No crash in channel-changing. He loves his life and values others. Looks back to re-charge, no regrets. He looks forwards to meet new challenges, no split-mind. He continues to be in tune with fast-changing times. He loves India. He loves UK. Knows its every county and borough as the lines of his hand. He owns ancestral lands and maintains home at his village. He has residence at Hira Singh Road, Civil Lines, Ludhiana.

Gurbachan Singh Thind was born in 1938 at Rachhin (Ludhiana) village close to the famous site of Chhappar Mela. His grand father, S. Randhir Singh, joined Singh Sabha movement under Mr Naunihal Singh father of Mr Partap Singh Kairon. His father, Mr Gian Singh, learnt Sanskrit besides music at Sangeet Vidyalaya, Tarn Taran. Became its hostel warden. Inspired by Sir Sunder Singh Majeethia, a chain of schools appeared in the countryside.

Gurbachan Singh graduated from G.H.G. Khalsa College, Sudhar. Took B.Ed. at State College of Education, Patiala. Served as principal Jr. Basic Trg. College for some time. Thind was aware of the plight of common man. Villages lacked education, communication, dispensaries and modern means of progress.

To serve the country side, he cherished political means. Justice Gurnam Singh as Chief Minister took him under his wings. Thind managed some benefits for villages of his area. In November 1967, the Gurnam Singh ministry fell. Gurbachan Singh re-set his time-clock and left for Tanzania (Africa). At Moshi city he became the second master of a government high school. Feelings inspired the next step. He left for United Kingdom in 1968. It was an entirely a new world. He recalled the lessons learnt in economics and politics, history and psychology. Tested his wings. Measured the odds. Worked in several fields. Learnt new things. Revised many others.

In 1970 Mr Gurnam Singh again headed the ministry in Punjab. Thind returned. Got built a link road. Rachhin was declared model village. Had a school, dispensary. Thind lost no time. Went back to UK in 1971. He made concerted efforts. In 1975, he joined the British Labour Party. Rose upwards. Worked as secretary at Foxborough, Langley, and Slough besides Berks (counties).

A Ludhiana farmer’s son made mark at UK. Mayor is the first-citizen. He heads teams that runs many departments. The first turbaned-Sikh made history. Daughter Monish Kaur Thind runs her company as its Managing Director. Son Rajesh Pal Singh Thind, did master’s in communication, Guild Hall University. Also well-settled. Gurbachan Singh Thind visits India often. Stays at Rachhin and Ludhiana.

M.S. Cheema



AIATF wants Hurriyat activist booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 29
Charging the Hurriat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq with sedition, the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) has called upon the government to book him and other activists of Hurriyat under the appropriate law.

In a statement here today, Mr Yogesh Diwan, state general secretary of the front, said the views expressed by Farooq in an interview with a news channel were tantamount to sedition and firm action was called for to curb the anti-national activities of the Hurriyat and their likes. He said the root cause of Kashmir problem were the people belonging to Hurriyat conglomerate, who acted on the behest of Pakistan.

Mr Diwan further observed that Hurriyat was a separatist organisation, whose leaders had amassed huge wealth from foreign countries as a reward for working against interests of Indian nation. Even in the interest of the country, media should also refrain from giving publicity to such anti-national elements, who were eating subsidised Indian food but singing the praises of Pakistan. The Indian Government should also not give significance to this group by engaging itself in talks with them.

The AIATF functionary condemned the recent moves of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to woo the terrorist outfits. He said after the PDP had taken over, the law and order situation in the state had worsened. The policy of state government had rejuvenated terrorist outfits, which can be assessed from the series of attacks that had taken place in the state. He called upon the Union Government to pull up the PDP government in J and K to restrain it from working against the interest of the state and the nation.



Toll rises
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 29
The number of the dead in yesterday’s train-truck collision near Thrike village has risen to seven. Hira Lal, one of the 12 seriously wounded, succumbed to his injuries in a city hospital.

Meanwhile, the bodies of all the dead have been transported to Anandpur Sahib, where the affected families live. The condition of the remaining 11 injured is said to be improving.



Teenagers, woman die in stove bursts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 29
Two teenaged girls and a woman lost their lives in stove bursts here yesterday. Neeta, a 14-year-old girl, caught fire when a kerosene stove burst when she was cooking food on the roof of her house. She succumbed to the burns on way to the hospital.

Neeta’s father, Mr Hari Chand, who is from Rajasthan and lives here in the EWS Colony on the Chandigarh road, was in Rajasthan and his wife in the house when the accident occurred. The Division Number Seven police has registered a case in this regard.

Shobha, 28-year-old daughter of a person named Mr Jagdish Kumar, was cooking food in her house in Giaspura (which comes under the jurisdiction of the Focal Point police) when the stove burst. She was rushed to Civil Hospital here with about 80 per cent burns, but could not survive.

Neelam, 17, daughter of Mr Swaran Singh, a man of Punit Nagar in Basti Jodhewal here, had been admitted to Civil Hospital with burn injuries on November 21. She succumbed to her injuries yesterday. The girl, who had epilepsy, had fallen on a burning stove in a fit while cooking.

Father of two elopes with girl: The Division Number 7 police has registered a case against a man called Ashwini Kumar, who lives in Guru Arjan Dev Nagar near Samrala Chowk, on the complaint of the girl’s father, who lives in the same locality.

The accused, father of two, works in the office of the Panjab State Electricity Board on the Kakowal road. Before eloping, Ashwini fraudulently withdrew Rs 70,000 from the bank account of his mother and also stole her gold ornaments.

According to his mother, who has also lodged a complaint against him, Ashwini had beaten up his wife and mother before leaving home on Wednesday night. He also locked the house from outside. Sources said the eloped girl was to get married on December 8.



Journal on textile industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 29
The first edition of a new quarterly journal relating to the textile industry, “Knit Tex”, published from the city was formally released by Mr Rahul Bhandari, Additional Deputy Commissioner, at a simple function here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bhandari said that such journals were of utmost importance to promote the activities of the industry in general and a specific industrial segment in particular. Ludhiana was a foremost centre in the country in the textile and hosiery sectors and a large number of small and medium units were operational, providing employment to lakhs of people. In addition, the hosiery and textile industry in the city was earning foreign exchange.

Mr Bhandari remarked that in the wake of globalisation and economic reforms, the industry had to face a fierce competition, both in the domestic and foreign markets and such specialised trade and industry magazines could play a vital role in bridging the communication gap. “The trade journals can make significant contribution by providing the latest information on new technologies, modern machinery and improved manufacturing processes and help the industry upgrade to meet the new challenges and compete in the international market.”


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