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Protest against doctor’s ‘negligence’
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Relatives of a three and a half year old cancer patient today staged a protest demonstration at the Mohan Dai Cancer Hospital alleging “criminal negligence” by a team of doctors which has threatened her life. The management of the hospital has ordered an inquiry and placed under suspension one of the accused doctors who is said to have administered the injection to the patient through a wrong route.

According to Mr Prashant Sareen, his daughter Arshia Sareen has been suffering from blood cancer since January 2004. She was taking treatment in the hospital under a team of doctors. She had taken four complete cycles of chemotherapy and only two last injections were to be administered on July 5, 2004.

Mr Sareen disclosed that one of the injections was to be administered through the veins, while another was to be injected through the spinal cord. However, he alleged, due to the sheer negligence of the doctor the injection which was to be administered intravenous was given through spinal cord, despite the written warning on the injection that it had to be given through the intravenous route only. He said, the said injection was toxic in nature and on being administered in the spinal cord, it damaged the entire nervous system of the patient ultimately causing death.

Mr Sareen disclosed that since then she was being treated for side effects of the injections. Surprisingly the doctors who allegedly administered the injection wrongfully kept them in the dark saying that it hardly mattered as through which route the injection was given.

Arshia is now struggling for life in the hospital. Irate relatives of Arshia today staged a massive demonstration in the hospital premises against the “negligent doctors”. They were demanding registration of criminal case against them.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Focal Point, Mr R.K. Bakshi, who was present at the spot, said they had received a complaint. He disclosed that a committee had been constituted headed by Dr Satish Nauria, vice president of the Indian Medical Association, Ludhiana, and comprising some family members of the victim and some doctors of the hospital. The committee has been asked to complete its inquiry within 48 hours. Mr Bakshi disclosed that follow-up action would be taken in accordance with the findings of the inquiry committee.

The Director of the hospital, Dr S.K. Jain, said following the complaint and protest by the relatives of the patient, the accused doctor had been placed under suspension. He said, further action would be taken after the completion of the inquiry.

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Chandumajra set to revive SAD (Longowal)
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The SAD (Longowal) will give due honour and representation to all Akali leaders and workers who made tremendous sacrifices for the party but have been sidelined by the Badals, said Prem Singh Chandumajra, a former MP, who has taken it upon himself to revive the once defunct unit.

He was in the city to meet senior Akali leaders who had called him to discuss the organisational set-up of the party which will be announced on July 26. A large number of disgruntled members of the SAD (B) met him and assured him that they would work round-the-clock in order to challenge the way Akali affairs were being managed.

Mr Chandumajra said it was a matter of shame that a party which had a rich history of struggles for the Panth has been converted into a private enterprise where the sole criterion was sycophancy. Moneybags were buying their way to the top while the workers at the grassroot-level were being ignored, he alleged.

Corruption had reached an all-time high during the tenure of Mr Badal and nepotism was the order of the day. All jobs were auctioned to the highest bidder and any post was available for the right price. A thriving transfer industry and the unresponsive administration led to the rout of the Akalis in the Assembly poll, he pointed out.

He said in the new scheme of things only those individuals would be accommodated who had made sacrifices for the welfare of the people. The party would function democratically and all decisions would be taken after consultations with everyone. It would not be an autocratic setup like the Badal group, he asserted.

On the Panthic Morcha, he said, the 33 per cent votes garnered by them were an indication of the undercurrent of resentment among the masses and all their SGPC members would work to ensure more transparency in the functioning of the Mini-Parliament of the Sikhs.

Appreciating the state Act on abrogation of river water accords, he said Capt Amarinder Singh had taken a historic step by annulling all water accords. The awards and pacts were forced on the people of the state by pliable CMs in the past and in view of the ground realities today, such a drastic step was necessary.

Criticising the BJP, he said they were indulging in rhetoric and inciting the people by making provocative statements and indulging in arson which did not augur well for a region.

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Delay in monsoon worries CII
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is seriously concerned about the poor monsoon in the country as it might hit the agriculture growth.
The CII President, Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, said here today that the agriculture growth was directly related to the economic progress of the country and in case anything went wrong it could have an adverse impact on the overall economy.

Mr Munjal, during his first visit to his hometown after taking over as the CII chief, said so far only 24 districts in the country had received normal monsoon. He feared that in case the situation continued like this for another week it might lead to a number of problems.

Spelling out his priorities, Mr Munjal said the CII would launch a massive proactive skill upgradation and training initiative to cover one million persons across the country over the next two years, while adding this would be the largest initiative of its kind in the world. He stressed that employment and youth would be the underlying theme of CII’s agenda for the year ahead. The fact that India would be the world’s youngest nation within the next decade, with 54 per cent of its population below 25 years of age presented a good opportunity for India to provide skills, products and services to the world, he said.

He said the CII target was to look beyond projections to target 8 per cent plus growth consistently over the next 10 years. This would increase the size of the economy to $ 2 trillion and double the per capita income of every Indian citizen. He said this was the greatest challenge for a country where 250 million persons live below the poverty line.

Mr Munjal observed that the UPA government’s economic agenda in several key areas broadly echoed CII’s call, articulated months earlier, to focus on key issues such as building the rural economy, developing infrastructure and restoring the focus on manufacturing. The CII had already formulated its broad work plan for the year focusing on the rural economy, people and youth.

Answering questions relating to Punjab, Mr Munjal said the CII was at present engaged in dialogue with the Union Government regarding initiatives to revive industry.

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Good Samaritan or suspect? 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Is a local resident paying the price of being a good Samaritan because of a goof-up by the police? The answer seems positive if an accident case near Punjabi Bhavan involving a peon of Punjab Sahitya Akademi who was allegedly hit by a car and taken to some undisclosed destination is any indication.

The man who is learnt to have helped the victim has come under police probe. Investigations into the case, however, suggest that the man took the victim to the DMC Hospital.

The man, who did not want his name to appear in the Press, said today that on Saturday he saw the injured peon, Jai Mann, lying on the road. “I was coming from the Arti chowk side and saw a huge gathering on the road. Seeing that nobody was helping him, I put him in my car with the help of two scooter-borne youths and took him to the hospital”, he said.

He said he got him admitted to the hospital and paid the admission fee. The youths asked him to go and he left the hospital at around 2 pm. But someone gave his car number to the police as the number of the vehicle that hit the peon. So he is now facing charges of injuring and kidnapping the peon.

Two days after the incident, the police took the man to a police station. He remained there for the entire day and cursed himself for helping the peon. “If a good Samaritan is treated like this, nobody would ever help the accident victims in future,” he said.

The Samaritan-turned-victim is now in the search of the youths who accompanied him to the hospital and knew, he said, that he was innocent.

Questions are being raised about the role of the police as hospital staff had informed the police about the injured man brought there by three persons. Yet the police could not inform the relatives of the peon about his hospitalisation.

The police, however, did not seem to have taken quick action leading to confusion among relatives of the peon about his whereabouts.

Members of the family reported to the police that peon Jai Mann was hit by a vehicle in which some youths were traveling. The youths bundled him into a car and took him away.

The injured was not found in any hospital, they claimed. The police also corroborated their statement saying they had not found any such injured person in a hospital. However, when the incident was reported in this newspaper, the police swung into action. They traced the man and kept him detained at the Division No. 5 police station yesterday. The man was later released pending a statement by the peon, said the DSP, Mr R.S. Brar.

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Two held for car theft, robbery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The district police today claimed to have busted an interstate gang of robbers who had committed various crimes, including car theft.
Two persons, Sandeep Kumar, alias Shamma, and Amritpal, both residents of Khanna, were arrested by the local police last evening. They were travelling in a silver Maruti car when they were intercepted at a naka in Model Town Extension.

The two have admitted to several crimes. A stolen car, two country-made .315 bore pistols, six cartridges and an engine of a stolen car were recovered from them.

A case under Section 379 and 411 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act has been registered against them. The police claimed that they confessed to stealing a car from Chandigarh and selling it in Khanna. They allegedly stole another car from Khanna but were not able to sell it and dumped it near a canal at Bhattian village.

On June 5, they had allegedly struck at the house of Ms Neelam Sharma in Khanna, but had to flee as she raised the alarm. They had fired a few shots in the air at the spot. They were booked in connection with this by the Khanna police.

They also allegedly broke into a shop of a Khanna-based jeweller and stole gold ornaments. Last year, the duo had snatched four gold chains in Mandi Gobindgarh, according to the police.

During interrogation, the suspects revealed that while they found it easy to steal cars, it was difficult for them to prepare fake documents for those. So they stopped stealing cars and started snatching at gunpoint.

They had bought a pistol from one Krishan Vir Chaudhry, a resident of Budh Parkash Dera in Bhattian village. The two had performed a reconnaissance of Ludhiana, Mandi Gobindgarh, Samrala and Khanna and identified potential victims who frequently carried cash. They were planning to rob these people, the police claimed.

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CA surrenders Rs 13.5 crore black money
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 20
A local chartered accountant has surrendered concealed income totalling Rs 13.5 crore to the Income Tax Department. The Income Tax Department had raided his premises and the search operations continued for three days and the department seized incriminating documents which are being scrutinised.

According to a senior official of the Income Tax Department, the said chartered accountant was allegedly engaged in the business of converting black money into white money by giving entries and adjusting losses. He was also allegedly helping in making capital gains by converting black money and charged heavy commission for the same.

The official said the department was examining the records and legal action would follow. The department would also enquire about those who get their black money converted into white.

The Income Tax Department also raided the premises of another chartered accountant dealing in stocks. The matter is under investigation.

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Ludhiana Calling

Something seems to have gone wrong with Ludhiana. Thanks to the unplanned growth, it has turned amorphous. The city also does not seem to get good planners. Otherwise, how does one explain the undue delay in the completion of the elevated-road project between Jagraon Bridge and Chand cinema. A concerned citizen is learnt to have filed a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard. Ironically, the authorities are preparing to defend the delay instead of taking measures to complete the project in time. Meanwhile, it is the common man who faces traffic jams. To add to the woes of the public, mounds of earth remain piled up outside the old courts, resulting in partial closure of the road.

Meat: to eat or not to eat

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been running a sustained campaign against cruelty to the animals. It has been creating awareness among the general public in the city about the ill effects of non-vegetarian food. It has roped in several Bollywood stars and other prominent people to give a thrust to the campaign. It seems to be generating keen interest in the city. Hundreds of people in the city have turned vegetarian. Some even claim to have started “loving” animals more. However, parallel to this, the NEC has started a campaign to convey the advantages of meat eating, particularly chicken.

Shady spots

Photo by Sayeed AhmedAs rain eludes the region, people on roads are desperate for any bit of shade they can find. With nearly no vegetation in the city, any tree that can provide a bit of relief from the sun is always much sought after. Groups of people can be seen huddled under trees for a breather. Roadside vendors also look for shady spots to ply their trade. A large number of such vendors can be seen along the GT Road and the Ferozepore road.

Rainless Sawan

Though the month of Sawan, known for rains, started on Friday, but there is no sign of rain. Though clouds have been hovering over the city and surrounding areas for the past three weeks, there has only been light rain thrice.

Residents are wondering if it is going to be a repeat of 2001, when people in the countryside resorted to medieval rituals of burning rag dolls to appease the rain gods. A havan was performed on Tuesday at a temple in Haibowal to attract rain. Would it not be more helpful if, instead of relying on rituals, each of us planted a tree in our neighbourhood?

Fast life

The case of a teenaged son of an affluent industrialist, who along with three friends allegedly snatched Rs 3 lakh from a city resident to buy gizmos, should act as an eye-opener for the rich. Indulgent parents give all comforts to their children much ahead of their age, resulting in such cases. Class VIII and IX students can be seen zipping past in swanky cars, which they also take to schools. These youngsters also carry latest mobile sets and other luxury items and like to boast about them. As they grow, their demands tend to increase. One can only hope the city does not experience more such unhappy incidents.

Road or parking lot?

Ghumar Mandi is called the Karol Bagh of Ludhiana. The similarity is probably in reference to the two markets being crowded. The roads are narrow and the traffic heavy. Yet, shoppers in Ghumar Mandi park their cars right in front of the shop they visit, causing inconvenience to others. At one time, wrongly parked cars used to be towed away, and people were more careful then. A yellow line was drawn and cars were supposed to be parked outside the line. This line has now faded and so has the parking system. Traffic jams are a regular feature and no policeman can seen issuing challans for parking or directing the traffic.

Air-conditioning menace

Frequent power cuts have made people realise that air-conditioned offices may not be the most comfortable. These offices have no ventilation as all windows are sealed. During power cuts, these become very hot as one cannot open the windows. One sweats even when the generator is switched on, as there is no cross-ventilation. A case of technology failure?

— Sentinel

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Snake-like creature in drinking water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
A 12-year-old boy spotted a small snake-like creature in a glassful of water taken from a Municipal Corporation tap here today. Following the incident, residents of the area staged a dharna and raised slogans against the MC.

Mr Ravi Dutt Sharma, father of the boy and a resident of street No 5, Partap Nagar, said had the boy drank that water, he would have been in a serious trouble.

The area residents said it was a common feature to spot small worms and insects in the drinking water and most of them had installed filters at their houses. They said stink emanated even from the filtered water.

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Charity helps child recover
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Misery had become synonymous with life for the five year-old Mohammad Ashraf who suffered from acute abdominal pain since he was three. Since he is the son of a daily-wage earner, his father could not afford the cost of surgery for the treatment of his only son. But today, thanks to a public appeal by Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) for financial support, Ashraf is a healthy child.

Among the contributors towards the cost of surgery were Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, who gave Rs 21,000 on behalf of the local Rotary Club.

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