Friday, September 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Patient loses sleep over blood reports
Shivani Bhakoo

Facsimiles of three blood test reports of Ms Ravinder Kaur show difference in haemoglobin level.

Ludhiana, September 11
If the blood test reports of a single patient from different clinical laboratories in the city are of any indication, then there has been bungling in the blood testing procedure by the Pathology Department of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

Mr Pushpinder Singh, a local resident, has complained that they had to go through mental agony for the whole day because of the “wrong” blood test report by the DMCH clinical laboratory.

According to Mr Pushpinder Singh, his wife Ms Ravinder Kaur was not keeping well for the past few days. She had some gastric trouble. The couple approached a leading gastroenterologist for consultation, who suggested that since the patient looked slightly pale, her haemoglobin should be checked. He referred the patient to DMCH Clinical laboratory for the blood tests. On September 9, 2003, the couple went to DMCH for blood test. They were told to collect the report on the same day in the evening.

“I was shocked to see the haemoglobin of my wife, it was only 6.7 gms. We were in tension and we consulted one of my friends, who’s a doctor. He said since the blood was only 6.7 gms, the patient should be given at least a bottle of blood as iron tablets or capsules could not increase the blood level faster. But he also said they should get it checked once again from another laboratory to clear the doubts since the patient did not look much pale to the him”, said Mr Pushpinder Singh.

The couple went to another hospital in Model Town for the blood examination report and that report showed the haemoglobin count to be 11 gms. The couple got panicky and approached the doctor once again, who said they should get it checked from one more laboratory to see which report was correct. Mr Pushpinder took his wife to another Endocrinology and Clinical lab in Tagore Nagar, the same evening. The report showed HB count at 11.9 gms.

“You can understand, how we felt. My wife was so upset that she refused to eat anything. We were really helpless but at the same time, we never wanted to take any risk. It is such a prestigious institute, and such an error is really unfortunate”, said Mr Pushpinder Singh.

The DMCH doctor who was treating the patient, when contacted said such a lapse should not occur. He assured that he would look into the matter personally. One of the interns in the Pathology Department, when contacted, said such a large variation should not be there. “We take blood samples of more than 400 patients every day, such an error has never been reported so far. It must be a human error. There are chances that the blood reports of two patients with same name were exchanged. But, we assure that such a mistake will not be repeated again”, said the doctor.



Dowry victim dies, husband arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 11
The evil of dowry finally consumed 22-year-old Ritu, a Haryanvi girl married to a man in Sangrur, who was allegedly poisoned by her in-laws. Ritu died at the local Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here last evening. Her body was sent to her parents’ house at Narwana after a post-mortem examination. Her last rites would be performed at Narwana.

The Sangrur police has arrested her husband, Dinesh Bansal and her father-in-law, Kailash Bansal. Her mother-in-law, another accused in the case, has absconded.

One of the girl’s uncles had a stroke after the news of her death was reported to him. He was taken to the PGI in Chandigarh. His condition is stated to be stable.

Ritu was allegedly poisoned by her in-laws last week. She was taken to a hospital in Sangrur by her in-laws. The doctors referred her to the local DMC. According to Mr Mohan Lal Mittal, father of the girl, her in-laws disappeared from the hospital when he reached there.

Her father said the doctors had told him that she would not survive as the strong chemical fed to her had damaged her system. She was on life support system for the past many days and was unconscious.

“Greed has killed my daughter, She had been telling me all these years that she was being harassed by her in-laws and would kill her one day. We paid them Rs 2 lakh some time ago but they were demanding Rs 8 lakh. But I never knew they would end a valuable life for the sake of money.” said her mother.

Ritu was married to Dinesh Bansal in 1999. The family had gifted a car to the groom at the time of the marriage, besides spending a lot of money on the ceremony. Her in-laws started harassing her soon after her marriage. She was fed an insecticide on September 3 and her parents were informed that she had consumed poison.

‘‘My daughter could never do such a thing. I was suspecting the hand of her in-laws. After they vanished from the hospital, my suspicion grew stronger. I inquired from her neighbours, who told me that on the night of September 2, she was beaten up. They had heard her cries ,’’ said Mr Mittal.



Improvement Trust to float tenders for flats again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 11
The Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has resumed work. The LIT authorities have decided to take up the construction of residential flats in Model Town Extension and Maharishi Balmiki Nagar. Following the decision tenders have been issued again for the construction work.

This was stated today by Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, Chairman of LIT, who had joined the trust recently and had launched a vigorous drive to curb corruption prevalent in the department. The LIT authorities had cancelled the earlier tenders following allegations that these were inflated thereby causing unjustified financial burden on flat allottees.

Mr Garcha said with the new tenders, the prices of the flats would be reduced giving financial relief to the flat owners of this self-financing scheme. He said he would encourage the entry of some contractors who had been discouraged in the past to participate in LIT construction works.

He added that with the move at least six top builders in Ludhiana would bid for these works. This will break the monopoly of the cartel and introduce healthy competition. The competing contractors will be firmly told that there will be no compromise on the quality of construction.

The chairman said the authorities would try to screen out builders and contractors who were in a position to offer a lower price. He said the focus of the LIT in the past had been on horizontal development of the city through residential and commercial schemes. He added that the entire new city-including areas from the Jagraon Bridge onwards were the result of the development activities of the LIT.

Mr Garcha said the construction wing of the LIT was also afflicted by the same malaise that had afflicted the rest of the Trust in the past. Construction work of the LIT in the recent past had been monopolised by a cartel of essentially two builders who had, by market information, indulged in unchecked profiteering.

“As Chairman LIT, I have not interfered so far in any of the tenders or practices of the past. I have been clearing all construction bills related to past tenders’ scrutiny,” he added.



Shopkeepers resist demolition squad
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 11
The alleged violators of rules, who had constructed shops within 350 square feet area along the GT Road did not allow the demolition squad of the Municipal Corporation Ludhiana to demolish the illegal structures here late last evening. The squad had to come back without completing the assigned task.

The owner of shops, supported by some Congress leaders gathered on the site and protested against the demolition bid and forced the party to leave without completing the work. Some persons even sat in front of the JCB machines and did not let these move.

Quite a scene was created at the demolition site when the Assistant Town Planner, Mr Pawan Kumar Garg and his team had an argument with the owner of the shop, Mr Devinder Singh Sarna. Following the arguments, Mr Ashok Bagga, husband of the area councillor, Ms Anju Bagga, reached the spot and asked the team to go back. He even scolded the members of MC police, who were in mufti and asked them to leave the place immediately.

Mr Sarna claimed that the other shops in the area had also been constructed in violation of the rules. He also said if he was facing demolition why were the other violators being spared. He asked the squad to demolish other structures first and then touch his shop.

Interestingly, the demolition squad left the spot after the intervention of the political leaders, who were claiming that they had spoken to MC authorities over the issue and the matter was resolved. 



Kalam asks for students’ paintings
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 11
The 24 paintings that had formed the backdrop of the stage of Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan during students’ interaction with the President on September 4 will now adorn the art gallery of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The 24 paintings, including the six which the President had signed, were taken back from the students today and sent to the district administration’s office on the orders of the Deputy Commissioner. The DC had received a call from Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam yesterday, asking him to send those paintings to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Of the paintings, five had been made by students of DAV Public School, four have come from Sacred Heart School, Jamalpur, three each have been painted by students of RS Model Senior Sec School and Govt Girls’ Senior Sec School, Bharat Nagar, two each from BCM Arya Model Senior Sec School, Guru Nanak Public School and Greenland Public Senior Sec School and one painting each had been sent by Sacred Heart Senior Sec School, BRS Nagar, and Sacred Heart Convent Senior Sec School, Sarabha Nagar.

On the demand of students as well as the school authorities, the administration is trying to retain the paintings signed by Dr Kalam. The President had also written “great” on two paintings, made by Harmeet of Govt Girls’ Senior Secondary School and Nitin Gogna from Sacred Heart School, Jamalpur.



Migrant labourers beat up ASI, 8 booked
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, September 11
Migrant labourers of Bali Baig Colony, near Gurdwara Charan Kanwal Sahib here attacked ASI Harbans Lal of Machhiwara police station in the morning today. He had gone there to settle a dispute. The ASI has received internal injuries. The local police has booked eight migrant labourers including Nankoo, Vijay Kumar, Magli Sain, Ramesh Kumar, Shambu, Babu Lal, Jai Kishore and Mangal under Sections 307, 353, 332, 186, 341,148 and 149 of the IPC, but the suspects are at large.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune DSP Samrala Jasbir Singh said former Sarpanch Bikkar Singh of Herian village had gone to the colony to ask Nankoo to arrange labourers for his fields. But Nankoo and his colleagues took possession of his Jeep, saying that they would hand-over the Jeep only if their previous accounts were squared. Bikkar Singh sought police help. A police party headed by ASI Harbans Lal reached the spot and asked the labourers to submit an application pertaining to their dispute with Bikkar Singh. Nankoo attacked the ASI. 



Workers’ fights ‘injure’ DMCH patients
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 11
The Dayanand Medical College and Hospital Union alleges that the institute was suffering because of mismanagement.
DMCH union, one of the strongest unions in Punjab, has over 3000 members. Recently, Ms Rajwant Randhawa, having the support of a few hundred employees, alleged that the present president of the union, Mr Chander Mohan Kalia, was indulging in “wrong practices” and being the joint secretary of the union, it was her duty to tell the truth to public. “He has started bullying the union members. Recently, he cooked up a story saying some unidentified persons had attacked him. If someone had tried to attack him, he should have brought this to the notice of the police. He did not want anything except for public sympathy”, alleged Ms Rajwant Kaur.

She also threatened that if Mr Kalia did not mend his ways then they would leave no stone unturned to replace him from the presidentship. “The person, who represents the union, should be very transparent”, she said.

Mr Kalia, president of the DMCH Employees Union, on the other hand levelled allegations against Ms Rajwant Kaur

Another member of the union, working in Hero DMC Heart Institute said the union members were interfering in the smooth functioning of the heart centre also. “We do not want to indulge in dirty politics but the union members force us to be with them. The hospital has already suffered so much, the patients have lost faith and there has been a financial loss also.”



Consumers baffled by inflated phone bills
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 11
The consumers here seem to be baffled by the heavy amount of telephone bill that they are supposed to pay for the month of June and July, having received their bills recently.

The consumers are blaming the Telephone Department whom they hold responsible for sending such a high amount of bill, the payment of which is to be made by them within a stipulated period of time.

Earlier they were blaming themselves or the members of their household for making excess use of the telephone, but when every consumer in the town was found “complaining for the heavy bill,” they raised a hue and cry.

Prof R.S. Pali, who works at Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, said that he had three mobile connections along with the landline “I have received an amount of bill that cannot be justified in any way,” he said showing his bill.

Similarly, Prof J.S. Grewal who received a bill of Rs 3,218 seemed to be resentful over the fact that he had never over-used his telephone and that the bill had been unjustifiably high. Not only these two cases, but almost the entire town seems to be confused as they alleged that the Telephone Department is justifying the heavy amount of bills in their own manner and “we are in no position to pay such a heavy amount”.

Many of them have already decided to get their telephone connections snapped while others are in a fix.

On the other hand, telephone officials when contacted said that the people were already informed about the increased rates much earlier. They said: “Nobody cared for the increased rates and continued to use the land phone as before. As mobiles have become popular, one call from a landline phone to a mobile means charging 6 times more than what the existing amount was. Moreover, the pulse is of 30 seconds here and the bills sent to the consumer are in no way unjustified.”

They also said that “we have a total of 15 exchanges around us and from this time onward we have changed the version of the exchange, and hence from July 20, we have started the opening of the metre reading from zero and adjusted the calls made before this particular date in the debit calls. We have also changed the version of Payal, Rara Sahib, Dhamot and Siora on June 5. Similarly we have changed the version of the exchanges of Monpur, Jaspalon, Bija, Jag, Rauni, Isru and Rajewal in the seventh month. This we have done in order to provide more technical facilities to our consumers,” they added.

The change of version is also causing confusion among the consumers but we are trying to satisfy each and every consumer by justifying the reason of the increased bills and the change of version that has taken place this time.

The consumers on the other hand alleged that they were never informed that the pulse is of 30 seconds.



Phone tariff policy may be reviewed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, Sept 11
The government is likely to review policy regarding telephone tariff for landline connections.
Mr Ashok Pardhan, Minister for Telecommunication and Information Technology, while talking to mediapersons said the tariff had been enhanced to meet the expenses incurred on installing ultra modern infrastructure to enable telephone companies provide services to a larger network.

Commenting on the issue of inflated bills received by BSNL landline subscribers Mr Parhdan said, “I have inquired from the officers concerned and they told me that subscribers had been making calls to mobile phones, presuming the tariff to be the same for landline to landline and landline to mobile”.



Without salary for 9 months
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 11
More than 150 health workers of the district Health Department have been working without salaries for the past more than nine months. Despite submitting memorandums to higher officials concerned and briefing the CM’s aides about their demand, the employees have not got salaries.

Mr Didar Singh Ahluwalia, general secretary of the district unit of the Punjab Health Employees Association, alleged that both Central and the state government were to be blamed for the indifferent attitude towards them. "We had requested the authorities, organised peaceful rallies, staged demonstrations and dharnas, but to no avail.

We all are worried because the authorities concerned, including the Director, Health Services and Health Minister, are tight-lipped on the issue,” stressed Mr Didar Singh.

Mr Harjinder Singh, treasurer of the association, complained that the affected persons had become frustrated. "Some of us are the only bread winners in the family. But the officials, bureaucrats and political leaders have refused to give a patient hearing to us. We have become helpless and lost all hope to get our salaries. We can just pray to God,” said Mr Harjinder Singh.

It may be mentioned here that the non-salaried staff of the Health Department work under the the Central-sponsored schemes, including the Post-Partum Unit, Direction and Administration Unit, Urban Family Project and Revamping Scheme. The budget for the post-partum unit is Rs 1.5 lakh per month. Six non-gazetted workers and two gazetted officers have not been paid salaries since January.

The total budget for the Direction and Administration Unit is Rs 2,10,000. Twentythree health workers are working under the scheme.

The budget for the Urban Family Welfare Scheme is Rs 10 lakh per month. 43 workers under the scheme have not been paid for the past several months.

More than 86 workers are working under the Revamping Scheme and the total monthly budget of the programme is Rs 15 lakh. The government has failed to release the salaries of these workers also.

The non-paid staff had approached the state government, requesting them to take over the charge of Central-sponsored schemes so that such unnecessary harassment could be avoided, but in vain.

Moreover, various departments related with the release of salaries seem to be passing the buck on each other.



A no through road
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 11
A street in New Maya Nagar, near Taj Factory, in Haibowal area has virtually been a no through road for the past almost two years now. The reason? A building being constructed in violation of building bylaws was demolished by the Municipal Corporation in 2001 but the debris was not removed. Most of the street remains blocked, forcing residents to take a detour to reach the main road.

Mr Rattan Chand Sharma, president, New Maya Nagar Sanitation Committee, said the building, which was being built by Mr Sat Ram (since deceased) was pulled down by the building branch of the MC almost two years ago. However, the MC staff did not remove the debris at that time, saying that the site would be cleared later. As a result, the street, having been blocked by the debris, remains out of bounds for the people.

He said the residents had taken up the matter with the MC authorities a number of times but to no avail.

On the other hand, sources in the MC maintain that once an unlawful construction was demolished, removing the debris and clearing the site was the sole responsibility of the owner of the building. In the event of the builder failing to do so and the material continuing to be dumped at a public place or a public street, the MC could proceed to clear the site at the cost of the builder under Section 246 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act.

In the case of the street in New Maya Nagar, MC officials said they had not received any representation from the area residents and necessary action would be taken once the MC was asked to intervene. 



Workers’ protest at Hero Cycles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 11
A few hundred labourers working with the contractors hired by the Hero Cycles for various jobs, today staged a demonstration in front of the main gate of the factory on the GT Road on the city outskirts. Since most of the workers did not participate in the strike, the work was not affected. The workers lifted the dharna only after the Chairman of the Hero Cycles, Mr OP Munjal, assured them that their demands would be sympathetically considered.

The demonstration started when workers started gathering outside the main gate in the morning. They raised slogans against the management. They also alleged, while they were being made to work for more time, they were paid less. They alleged, they were not paid for the work on Sundays.

The workers tried to block the entry into the factory. They were removed from the gate by the police. However, they continued to raise slogans.

Workers Ashwani Yadav and Subash said that they were not being paid on a par with other workers and they got around Rs 2500 a month. But in most of the cases nobody was paid more than Rs 2000 a month. He alleged that instead of the normal eight hours, they were made to put in 10 to 12 hours daily without any additional compensation. They claimed that they were not even provided other benefits.

The workers continued their protest till they were called inside by the company chairman and his brother Mr Satyanand Munjal. Mr Munjal listened to their demands. He assured them that the management would sympathetically consider their demands. The workers also seemed to feel assured and decided to lift the dharna.

A senior company official told The Tribune that it was not the employees of the Hero Cycles who had struck work. He clarified that those who struck work were the employees of the contractors hired by the company for various jobs. He said, since Hero Cycle happened to be the primary employer, the Chairman of the company listened to their problems.



Quack, doc fail to save snake-bite victim
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 11
A snake bitten patient died while shuttling between a quack and civil hospital doctors here. Ranjit Singh of Bhathal village was bitten by a poisonous snake near the Jagera bridge on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, on Tuesday evening. Cops on duty declined his request for an ambulance. He pedalled off to the local Civil Hospital where he was given a shot of venom antidote. Despite the treatment Ranjit felt uneasy. He reportedly insisted to see a quack at Gopalpur village. He was sent to Gopalpur in the hospital ambulance and followed by doctors on duty. When the condition of the patient did not improve even at Gopalpur he was brought to the hospital in the same ambulance where he died after sometime.

Dr Krishan Pilani, SMO and in charge of the hospital, confirmed that the patient had been admitted to the hospital. However he showed ignorance about his ‘reference’ to the said quack before dying. The Dehlon police said the body of Ranjit Singh has been handed over to his kin after postmortem.



Keralites’ get-together on Onam eve
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 11
Kerala Kalavedi an organisation of thousands of Keralites here is celebrating Onam, on Sunday, at Veer Palace, Chandigarh Jamalpur Road, in Ludhiana. The Keralites and other South Indian families will assemble at these places on the eve of Onam. Mr Tej Prakash Singh, Minister for Transport, will be the chief guest.

The other dignatories that have confirmed their presence at the functions’ are: Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Minister for Urban Development & Jails, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Mr. SK Sharma, Municipal Commissioner, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Dr TM Jaison, acting president Christian Medical College & Hospital.



Ex-serviceman shot at
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 11
Four miscreants fired at an ex-serviceman and tried to snatch his bag containing Rs 20,000, this afternoon.
Gurdev Singh, son of Gurdial Singh of Ajnaud village, was returning home on his cycle after withdrawing Rs 20,000 from a bank at Doraha when he was attacked by two scooterists and two motor cyclists on the Rajgarh-Ajnaud road.

Gurdev Singh resisted the attack and raised the alarm. The miscreants left the bag but fired two shots at the man from a pistol, which hit him on the neck and in the back. The injured was taken to Sidhu hospital. A police party led by the SHO, Payal, Mr Harbans Singh Riar, reached the spot and initiated an investigation.

Man murdered: Saudagar Singh, a resident of Ghudani Kalan village, was found murdered in a field of the village last night. Jagdeep Singh, son of the deceased, said his father had been missing for the past two days.

Last night, when he was searching for him, he found his father’s body in a field. He said the body bore marks on the head and the neck. The marks on the neck indicated that the deceased was first tortured and then strangled to death. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. A case has been registered at the Payal police station.

9 booked:
On the statement of Mr Nachhattar Singh, a resident of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on Dhandra Road, the Sadar police yesterday registered a case of attempted murder under Sections 307, 148 and 149 of the IPC, against Beant Singh, a resident of Bela village, Shiv Raj Singh, a resident of Kila Raipur village and as many as seven other unidentified persons who were accompanying them. The complainant had alleged that the accused, who were armed with swords and other sharp-edged weapons, came in white cars to the Nanak Wal bus stand on Wednesday morning and attacked his son Jatinder Singh with the intention of killing him. His son was seriously injured in the attack and was admitted to a hospital, added the complainant. The accused are absconding.



Man crushed by tempo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 11
A 50-year-old man of New Abdullapur Basti here was run over and killed by a tempo in a street of the area this morning. Sukhdev Kumar was coming from a gurdwara when he was run over by the tempo, whose driver was in an inebriated condition. He was caught by the residents, including the area councillor, Mr Rajinder Singh Bhatia.

Mr Bhatia said Sukhdev was survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.

He said the accused had been handed over to the Atam Park police. 



Cash, jewellery stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 11
Cash and jewellery worth Rs 50,000 was stolen from a car parked on the Mall Road here today.
Poonam Sehgal had gone for shopping after parking her car outside a showroom on the Mall Road. She remained in the showroom with her family for 10 minutes. When she came back, she found that her car had been unlocked with the help of a ruler and her jewellery and cash were missing. The police has registered a case.


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