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Traders defy government orders
Closure of offices at 2 pm inconveniences public
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
It looked as if officials working in various departments of the government were waiting for the orders seeking closure of their offices at 2 p.m. sharp. The scene was to be witnessed to be believed at the mini- secretariat, where offices wore a deserted look, with most of the officials having either left or preparing to leave for the day at 2.15 p.m. Hundreds of people were taken unawares as they came to the mini secretariat in a routine manner in the post lunch session, but learnt to their disappointment that the offices had already been closed.

While most officials reported for duty at 8 a.m, a number of them had forgotten that they were to leave at 2 p.m. One of the officials said he realised it only when the generator was switched off at exact 2 p.m. Since the power remains off between 11.30 a.m to 2.30 a.m, most offices get light from generators only. But the generator was switched off to make the officials realise that they had to pack off for the day.

A senior official in the district administration admitted that many people had to return disappointed, as the orders were not publicised much. But he assured that with due course of time, everybody would come to know about it and everyone will get used to the new office timings. He said the district administration had ensured that all officials were seated at their desk by 8 a.m to ensure that no time of the public was wasted.

Most of the air-conditioners had also been switched off today. Officials were managing it with the fans only. Moreover, after the power went off at 11.30 a.m, they had to depend on the generator supply only, which could not bear the load of the ACs. However, several officials to whom Ludhiana Tribune talked, claimed that they had directed their staff not to switch on the ACs till the power crisis was resolved.

On the other hand, traders and shopkeepers appeared to defy the government order, asking them to close down their establishments by 6 p.m. A round in the markets revealed that the traders were in no mood to comply with the official orders. There was a common feeling that it was not possible for them to close shops at 6 p.m when the peak hours of business start.

A shopkeeper in Ghumar Mandi said, “Let the government switch off the lights and we will make our own arrangements, but do not force us to give up our business...otherwise how can we make both ends meet”. The traders have been resenting the order, saying that the government should ask them instead to arrange their own power instead of asking them to close down so early in the day. Such orders were not even issued during the peak days of terrorism in Punjab, the shopkeeper pointed out, adding,’ “I wonder how much electricity the government will be able to save with such orders”.

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70 sarpanches to submit resignation to Chief Minister
Resent graft case against BDPO
Tribune News Service

Sarpanches of various villages hold a demonstration against the arrest of a BDPO by the Vigilance Department
Sarpanches of various villages hold a demonstration against the arrest of a BDPO by the Vigilance Department in Ludhiana on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, July 26
To protest against the registration of a corruption case against the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, (BDPO) Sidhwan Bet, 70 sarpanches of various villages in Sidhwan Bet block today staged a demonstration at the mini-secretariat here.

The sarpanches were joined by several political leaders and panchayat members.

The sarpaches blocked traffic on the busy Ferozepore road for a few minutes and then left for Chandigarh to submit their resignation to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. They said they would not work as long as the case was not withdrawn.

Taking out a rally, the sarpaches, led by Mr Major Singh Bhaini, Chairman, Panchayat Samiti, Sidhwan Bet, raised slogans against the Vigilance officials and claimed that the accused BDPO, Harminder Singh, had to pay the price for being an upright man.

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Member Parliament, Ludhiana, also joined the leaders in the demonstration. Stating that the BDPO was an honest man, Mr Dhillon said he would take up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police to order an inquiry into the matter.

Addressing the gathering outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office, Mr Dhillon said he knew the BDPO personally and would make all efforts to get him justice. He added that he was being implicated in the case, as he had got the panchayat land auctioned at a much higher price and was going to auction another piece of land by antagonising the complainant in the case.

Mr Bhaini said the BDPO had recently got 100 acres of agricultural land belonging to panchayat auctioned at a price of Rs 8 lakh compared to last year’s price of Rs 1 lakh.

He claimed that he was going to get another 50 acres auctioned by taking the possession from the complainant in the corruption case.

The possession of land in his possession was stayed in his favour by the High Court till the maturity of crop and it was going to be vacated by next month.

He further alleged that the complainant had tried to bribe the BDPO but he refused to accept it. So they decided to implicate him in a false case. He claimed that the BDPO had left for lunch on the day he was arrested. When he returned, he saw a wad of notes on his table, and when he picked these with a surprise, he was nabbed by the Vigilance sleuths. He further claimed that he had not accepted any bribe but was caught after a concocted story.

Meanwhile, a representative of sarpaches, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune over phone from Chandigarh, claimed that the Director Vigilance had ordered an inquiry into the case after listening to them.

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22 fresh cases of gastroenteritis
Doctors claim situation under control
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Even as 22 more patients of gastroenteritis from Mauji Colony and adjoining areas had reported to the Civil Hospital here during the past 24 hours, doctors at the hospital claimed the situation was under control. Most of the patients, admitted during the past three days had either fully recovered and discharged or were in a stable condition, said the doctors.

Residents of affected colonies claimed that a sizeable number of gastroenteritis patients were under treatment at private clinics, nursing homes. Many more had undergone medical check-up at makeshift medical camp set up on Daba Road. Health officials claimed that going by the number of patients being treated at the Civil Hospital and their condition, there was no cause for concern.

Officials at the hospital said shortage of beds notwithstanding, the patients were being given satisfactory medical care and condition of most of the patients was improving. The number of fresh cases was also dwindling as cases of mild nature were being attended to in the affected colonies by teams of doctors. The staff of Health Department and the MC, in a door- to- door campaign in affected colonies, distributed chlorine tablets and apprise residents of ways to the disease.

Water samples were taken from affected to check chlorination level at the spot and chemical analysis thereafter, according to MC officials. The chlorination level was found up to the mark while the result of the chemical analysis would only be known after a couple of days.

Meanwhile, the local MP, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, today visited the hospital and other private hospitals to inquire about patients. Mr Dhillon regretted that precious lives had been lost due to the government negligence. He expressed his reservations about the arrangements at the hospital.

Mr Dhillon demanded that various departments, including the Health Department, the Municipal Corporation and also the local administration needed to look into the matter and made sure that such epidemic didn’t break out again.

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How to prevent gastroenteritis

In the wake of seven deaths due to gastroenteritis and reports of a number of fresh cases from several localities that fall in the limits of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, residents of the city should take extra care in maintaining hygiene. The following are some steps to prevent the disease:

lCleanliness is the most important and preventive factor. Wash your hands and your children’s hands. If your children are older, teach them to wash their hands, especially after using bathroom. It is best to use warm water and soap and to rub hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget to pay extra attention to cuticles and creases of the hands. Then rinse thoroughly.

  • Living and dietary habits must be clean and hygienic.
  • Use separate towels in the bathroom.
  • Accumulation of water around your house should not be allowed and special attention should be given for cleaning toilets and bathrooms.
  • Use appropriate chemicals to avoid flies and mosquitoes.
  • Cut your children’s and your nails regularly.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has virus, if possible.
  • Wash your hands and utensils before preparing food.
  • Keep all food items and potable water well covered.
  • Water should always be boiled before drinking.
  • Avoid sharing eating utensils, glasses and plates.
  • Avoid undercooked fish and meat. Stop taking alcohol.
  • Avoid eating out, spicy food, unripe fruits and dairy products for few days.
  • When you are travelling you can become sick from contaminated food or water. 
  • To help reduce your risk drink only well-sealed and carbonated water.
  • Bedrest is recommended. Drink herbal (tulsi-pudina) tea during illness. For gastroenteritis patients, food should be highly caloric and rich in proteins and vitamins. Consult your physician immediately in emergency.

— Dr Anil Dheer

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Law college students hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Students of the local Law College of Regional Centre, Panjab University, protested in support of their demands outside the Extension Library here today.
Stating that the university had started the course two years ago, the students said the college building was still not ready and they had to attend classes in the Extension Library. They claimed that they were paying Rs 35,000 as fee every year, while their counterparts in Chandigarh college were paying only Rs 7,000 per year.

They said it was surprising that the university was charging a huge amount from them and was still not providing them with basic amenities. They claimed that they were forced to look for empty rooms in the library before attending a class.

Mr Upkar Singh, a student leader, said former Member, Rajya Sabha, Lala Lajpat Rai, had given a grant of Rs 1 crore for setting up the college two years ago but no building had been constructed.

He said 130 students, including girls, were living their life on ad-hoc basis. He demanded a new college building, new library, reading rooms and a full-time Director for the college. He claimed that the officiating director travelled from Chandigarh everyday and was going to Muktsar to look after another regional centre.

Mr J.K. Chauhan, officiating director, said the university had given the contract for the construction of the building but the contractor had left the work due to some reasons.

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Factory worker killed
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 26
A factory worker, Deepak Kumar, was badly injured when a car coming from Ludhiana hit him near Jhabewal village on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road early this morning.
Deepak was admitted to the Christian Medical Hospital at Ludhiana, where he succumbed to his injuries.

According to the father of Deepak, Mr Sagar Dhasi, his son was standing outside the factory near Jhabewal when he was hit by an Indica car. The car driver fled towards Chandigarh after the mishap. The deceased belonged to Bihar and was presently residing at Nichi Mangali village. A case under Sections 279, 304 and 427 of the IPC has been registered. 

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MC to regularise ‘undeclared’ colonies
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 26
The Municipal Corporation would undertake the initiative to regularise ‘undeclared’ colonies in the city and its periphery if the state government failed to come out with a policy in this respect by August 31. A proposal to this effect by the group leader of the BJP, Mr Parveen Bansal, during zero hour at the general House meeting of the civic body was unanimously carried with thumping of desks by the opposition and ruling party councillors alike here today.

While the proceedings of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, which took place after a gap of more than five months, were relatively smooth, an attempt by the ruling Congress and Mayor Nahar Singh Gill to restrict zero hour to 40 minutes further extending it to a maximum of one hour with the consent of group leaders of the Opposition councillors, backfired as several councillors from the Shiromani Akali Dal defied the direction of their party leader, Mr Harbhajan Singh Dang.

At one stage, Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhola and Mr Bhairaj Singh, both of the SAD walked out of the House in protest against denial of permission to speak. They criticised their party leaders, whom they charged with not taking their colleagues into confidence on the issue.

An Independent councillor, Mr Ram Chand Yadav, representing Ward No 13, caused a commotion when he announced that he would sit on the floor even at future meetings of the House, against the “discrimination” in allocation of funds and execution of development projects in his ward. He resumed his seat when the Mayor assured him that a survey of all development works in his ward would be conducted.

Similarly, meetings would be convened at sub-zone levels in the presence of councillors concerned to review the position of stores, machinery, men and material and supervisory officers be given powers of spot purchase.

Expressing his agreement with the suggestion that ex-gratia relief announced for the victims of gastroenteritis in some city localities should be immediately disbursed, Mr Sharma said necessary approval from the state government would be sought and the promised grant of Rs 50,000 released to the next of kin of each victim.

Taking up the agenda items later, the House resolved to set up separate sub- committees of councillors to go into matters related to a property in Vishnupuri Colony, owned by Congress councillor Sat Pal Puri and a piece of 14 square yards land adjoining a temple at Bhagga Lalari Chowk in the old city.

Other items approved were the building plan of Devki Devi Jain College for Women in Kidwai Nagar, renaming the road between Guru Nanak Dev Market and Campa Cola Chowk as Jathedar Harnam Singh Makkar Marg, auction of the cycle stands in New Sabzi Mandi and Zone B, rescheduling payment of Hudco loan, widening of the railway level crossing in Harnam Nagar, sterilisation of stray dogs in collaboration with People for Animals and taking over the area of Phase VIII at Focal Point from the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation for maintenance.

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Councillors for action against illegal water connections
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 26
Claiming that most of the instances of sewerage water getting mixed with drinking water in different city localities and subsequent contamination of water were the direct result of illegal and faulty water connections at the users’ end, several city councillors demanded that legal provisions for imposing fine and prosecution of the defaulters be invoked to curb this menace.

The BJP councillor, Mr Gurdeep Singh Neetu, produced a number of photographs in the general house meeting showing rusty and leaking water pipes, leaking joints of water pipes passing through open drains and waste water pits in front of several houses in Amarpura and Hargobind Nagar colonies where a couple of gastroenteritis cases were reported last month.

Cutting across party lines, the councillors called for immediate disconnection of such irregular and illegal water connections, which were exposing the public to serious health hazard, besides the greater risk of contamination of the entire water supply. They also wanted scrupulous enforcement of regulations on carrying out the work of installation of new water connections only by approved sanitary contractors.

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Cops shielding imposters?
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 26
While more complaints of a gang involved in duping residents by selling their Reliance Mobile connections to others have been pouring in, the local police is being accused of shielding the gangsters.
Despite repeated requests by the victims, Infocom Company too has been sending them bills for the services they did not avail.

Sources revealed that residents had complained that two youths of a nearby village had duped them by posing as authorised agents of Reliance Infocom Services.Though Senior Superintendent of Police at Sangrur had directed the local officers to do the needful after investigating the cases, they had tried to shield the accused by returning the complaints after recording the statements of the accused and some of their supporters.

Mr Madan Lal Verma, one of the victims, said he had applied for a mobile connection at an authorised showroom of Reliance Infocom Services at the local Railway Road last year. Though Mr Gagan Deep Singh and Mr Harnam Singh of nearby Nathumajra had assured him that he would receive the connection immediately, no connection was issued to him and he was forced to get the same cancelled.

The show room was later closed and like many others MrVerma had to forgo his money he had deposited at the time of booking.

Mr Verma approached local police in December 2003 after he received a bill for Rs 4508 for mobile phone No 3117664. The SHO rounded up the accused who were released on the written recommendation of the sarpanch of the village.

the accused agreed to foot the bill and refund the booking amount to some of the other local residents. They disclosed that some cops of Duddal village had used the phone.

The matter was brought to the notice of the SSP of Sangrur when the accused went back on their word.

Accusing the investigating officer of non-action, the complainant has approached the SSP again.

Despite repeated requests to the company ,the victims have been receiving bills with constantly swellings amounts.

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BKU says Centre is anti-Punjab
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 26
The Bharti Kisan Union today charged the Congress-led government at the Centre with initiating “anti-Punjab” moves by trying to get the termination of water agreements nullified through the Supreme Court. In a strongly worded statement issued to the press here today, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Mr Manjit Singh Qadian, president and general secretary of the union respectively, said that half of the water from the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi was still flowing into Haryana and Rajasthan.

But the Central Government was bent upon destroying agriculture in Punjab by giving a major pact of the remaining waters to other states.

The union leaders said even the Mughals and British had not committed such atrocities on Punjab during their rule.

The leaders further stated that the Congress-led Centre was bent upon destroying industry and trade in the state.

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PSEB to educate kids on power conservation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Catch them young seems to be the catchword with the PSEB authorities who are targeting schoolchildren to drive home the message of conserving power in the larger interests of the society.

A brainchild of the Power Conservation Cell of the board, the move is an attempt to educate children on the need to save the power. An official said children need to be taught from the beginning that power was not an inexhaustible commodity and that it needs to be saved to meet the growing electricity demands of the future.

The essay writing competitions are being organised in various schools of the state at the zonal level wherein the best entries will be ranked by the board officials. A function will also be organised to honour the students. Two functions have already been organised at Jalandhar and Patiala zones.

For the Ludhiana zone, Springdew Public School, Jagraon, has been selected for the competition. As many as 500 students of Classes VII to X from various schools of the zone are expected to participate in the function. The three top winners will be honoured on the occasion. The Chief Engineer Mr Hari Om Garg, will be the chief guest. 

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Yoga camp for policemen
Our correspondent

Jagraon, July 26
A yoga camp was organised in the Jagraon police line today. High ranking police officers, in charge of police stations and posts and other policemen took part in the camp. They were advised against drinking liquor and eating meat. During the camp Vinod Kumar and Rakesh Kumar, yoga experts, made them aware of different types and steps of "pranayam".

Addressing the participants, Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, said the people criticise police for its rough and rude behaviour but our duty was tough and less hours of rest leads to mounting of tension. Yoga would help in improving the health of the police personnel and making their mind tension free.

The SP, Mr Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal, the DSPs, Mr Randhir Singh, Mr Gurmukh Singh, Mr Gurmel Singh, Mr H.S. Brar, the SHOs, Ms Mohinder Kaur Ghai, Mr Gurinder Singh Bal, Mr Dharampal were also present on the occasion.

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Readers Write
A great and good gesture

On July 7 former Olympians took on the Indian women's hockey team in a charity match to raise funds for Vivek Singh, a former Olympian suffering from cancer. There was a goalless draw and the match gave die-hard fans who had come to see the stars quite a few moments to cherish.

It was obvious after the first half that the men had run out of steam as they spent the rest of the time defending. The women had innumerable tries at the goal but Ashish Ballal, who looked agile and fit as ever, denied Sanggai Chanu, Mamta Kharab, Sita Gossain, Suraj Lata Devi and Pritam Siwach a chance to score time and again.

Sports Minister Sunil Dutt took time out to watch the match organised by the Hockey Journalists Association (HJA) and announced Rs 2 lakh for the ailing player. Mr Dutt also announced that Vivek would get free treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. The match helped the HJA raise about Rs 5 lakh for Vivek and his family. All this augurs well.Hopes have been raised that now no important player will suffer neglect.

In the past, old or ailing players used to be ignored.But not now. This gesture will go a long way in assuring would-be players that their future is safe. Some special funds should be raised for the welfare of important players and their families.

Vijay Sheel Jain, Ludhiana

Raise medical allowance

Resentment prevails among more than seven lakh Punjab Government employees, including those working in various boards corporations, over the failure of the government to raise the medical allowance, as promised in the the Congress election manifesto before the assembly elections in February,2002. They want the government to honour its commitment.

They point out that the fixed medical allowance of Rs 250 per month being paid to them since January 1, 1998, is inadequate in view of the ever-increasing cost of medicare.During the past six and a half years the medicare cost has registered a rise of 48 per cent.

Yash Paul Ghai, Ludhiana

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Bar association to launch website
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 26
The District Bar Association will launch a website containing information about the legal fraternity at a function to be held in the conference hall, New Judicial Complex, on July 28. The directory of the association will also be released on this occasion.

The Financial Commissioner Revenue, Punjab, Ms Gurbinder Chahal, will be the chief guest. She will release the directory and launch the website, informed the association president, Mr Balwinder Goel, and the secretary, Mr S.S.Cheema, here today.

Mr Goel claimed that the website would contain the history of the association from the 18th century onwards.

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Cyclist killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 26
The Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279,427 and 304-A of the IPC against a driver of a Contessa car, who hit a cyclist near Green Land school on the Jallandhar Road on Saturday night and sped away. The complaint was lodged by Mr Buta Ram of Manjit Vihar in Aman Nagar. The cyclist, identified as Sukhwinder Pal Singh, died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.

Motor-cycle recovered: Following a tip-off, the Shimla Puri police yesterday laid a naka near the Bhagwan chowk and arrested Sardar Ali of Sarod village near Malerkotla. A stolen motor-cycle was recovered from his possession. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC had been registered against him.

Assaulted: The Salem Tabri police has registered a case under Sections 457,323,148 and 147 of the IPC, on the statement of Mr Jag Ram of Gurbax Colony, against Mukesh Kumar, Ajay Kumar and Sandeep Kumar, who live in Kutbewal village.

The complainant had stated that the accused forced their way into his house on Sunday afternoon, beat him up because of a minor dispute. The accused were arrested by the police today.

Car damaged: The Shimla Puri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279 and 427 of the IPC, on the statement of Mr Gurpal Singh, who lives in street No. 35 of Kot Mangal Singh mohalla, against Kuldeep Singh, who lives in a village near Dhilwan in Kapurthala district.

The complainant had stated that the accused, who was driving a tempo had hit his car near the grain market level crossing on the Gill Road on Friday and sped away as a result of which his car was damaged. No arrest has been made so far.

Gamblers held: Acting on a tip-off, the division No. 3 police yesterday arrested Pritpal Singh and Harjinder Singh, both residents of street No. 3 of Dhoka mohalla and booked them under various Sections of the Gambling Act.

The police said the accused were gambling in the gurdwara street of the locality. A sum of Rs 400 and a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession.

Hooch seized: The Salem Tabri police yesterday arrested Baljit Singh, alias Baru, of New Ashok Nagar, recovered 4,500 ml of hooch from his possession and registered a case against him under the Excise Act. The accused was nabbed from near a petrol station in the area, said the police.

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