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Two dead as trucks carrying devotees collide 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
The death toll in the last night's truck accident near Chak Sarwannath village on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road has gone up to two with another person succumbing to his injuries this morning. The condition of all the injured barring one was improving.

The Sahnewal police has, meanwhile, booked the driver of the ill-fated truck, Kalia, under Section 304 of the IPC for reckless driving apart from overloading the vehicle.

Gurcharan Singh of Bhattian village died today while Dalip Singh of Islam Gunj died last night. The condition of Puran Singh, also of Islam Gunj, who was admitted to the CMC hospital, was still serious.

The persons were returning on a truck from Kiratpur Sahib after immersing the ashes of a resident of Islam Gunj there. The accident took place when their truck collided with another truck as the drivers of both vehicles lost control and the vehicles sideswiped. The truck carrying devotees hit a tree, uprooted it and came to a halt after ramming into another in a ditch.

Residents of Chak Sarwan Nath village were the first to reach the accident site and rescue the injured. Many persons, including the driver, were trapped in the mangled truck. Mr Sukhkanwar Singh Rai of the village told The Tribune that the villagers were the first to provide the first aid to the injured and rescue several persons trapped in the vehicle.

Senior officials of the district administration headed by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma reached the civil hospital and supervised the rescue operations.

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Residents seek legal redress against Improvement Trust 
Our Correspondent

A portion of the road which was dug up by the authorities to block access to some residential properties during encroachment clearance drive in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on Pakhowal
A portion of the road which was dug up by the authorities to block access to some residential properties during encroachment clearance drive in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on Pakhowal road in Ludhiana.

Ludhiana, August 8
Alleging that the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) authorities, reportedly under immense pressure from trustees, were out to (mis)use a part of the 300 feet wide main road in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar colony for commercial exploitation against the relevant laws, many residents have decided to seek legal redress.

Moreover, the move, claimed to be in violation of standing stay orders of the lower court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, would also attract contempt of court proceedings at the appropriate level.

Maintaining this at a news conference here last evening, Mr Darshan Singh Jawanda, president, Ludhiana Welfare Council, and other functionaries of the council further charged LIT with ulterior motives in blocking properties abutting on the main road in the course of a so-called encroachment clearance drive carried out on August 5.

He said that the resolution on curtailing the width of 300 feet road to 200 feet and utilising the additional land thus spared for the construction of shop-cum-offices, even though approved by the state government, had been stayed by the High Court. Ironically, LIT had failed to file a reply to the petition before the court even after and a half year had passed when the court orders were issued.

Mr Jawanda said that as per the site plan and model of the 475-acre scheme (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) as finalised in 1990, LIT was legally bound to maintain the status of roads, vacant sites, green belts, commercial area and land earmarked for community services like schools and hospitals. "However the residents are feeling cheated, as not only the width of the main road is proposed to be slashed and another area of 8.33 acre is to be diverted for commercial use, sites earmarked for schools and parks in the colony have also been disposed of by showing these pieces of land as residential area."

Functionaries of the council, citing relevant sections of the Punjab Town Improvement Act and rules framed thereunder, asserted that as against the use of 4 percent of the net saleable area for commercial purpose, which worked out to a mere 10.10 acre, LIT had already diverted as much as 31.29 acres towards commercial use and another 8.33 acres was now being sought to be taken out of the 300 feet wide road for yet another commercial project.

Mr Jawanda and other office-bearers of the council also questioned the presence of the trustees of the Improvement Trust at the site where alleged encroachments were cleared on August 5. They said the trustees were nominated by the government to attend only to the policy matters in the trust meetings and they had no business to participate in the administrative or enforcement activity and pressurise the administration to perform illegal acts.

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No plan to acquire land around city, says Garcha
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 8
Scotching all rumours to the effect that the Ludhiana Improvement Trust intended to acquire more land in some villages around the city, the LIT chairman, Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, has asserted that there were no such plans for acquisition of land.

In a statement here today, he said it had been brought to his notice that some mischievous elements were creating panic among the villagers by claiming that the Improvement Trust had plans to acquire land around villages like Jaspal Bangar and Lohara. He maintained that as at present there was no plan of trust to acquire any land in these villages or for that matter anywhere else. The rumours could have been the handiwork of some vested interests who were indulging in this false propaganda.

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Malaria spreads in city colonies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Exposing the inadequate arrangements of the district health administration to prevent diseases, malaria has spread its tentacles in Ambedkar Nagar and Vishawakarma Colony in Giaspura area.

As many as 500 persons of the two areas are down with fever. The health department organised 10 free medical camps and took samples of 400 patients and started fogging operations in the area today. While the residents claimed that two persons had died, the health authorities denied the same, stating that unless a person was clinically tested , the cause of death could not be known.

Dr A.S. Chawla, an epidemiologist ,said the tests of the samples would be received later and he would be able to identify the disease only after that. He, however, said that going by the symptoms, the fever appeared as malaria and the doctors had already started treating the patients with anti-malarial drugs.

Dr Chawla said that the said colonies were unauthorised so fogging operations were not carried out in the area.

Meanwhile, Dr B.S. Shaw, Professor, Department of Pathology, l DMC Hospital, has said that as many as 13 slide samples of blood collected from patients showed positive for plasmodium vivax, the pathogen responsible for causing the malaria.

He said that the samples of as many as 13 patients, admitted to Grewal Nursing Home and at Gill Road had symptoms of malaria but in these cases the platelet count of patients was going drastically down. Earlier, these patients were suspected to be suffering from dengue due to the fall in platelets but the slide tests showed the presence of pathogen plasmodium.

Dr Shaw said that they would be treated for malaria and there was no need to transfuse platelets to these patients as the count would come to normal when the disease was treated. He added that the platelet count was seen receding in very few cases of malaria. It was possible that it was a different strain of pathogen that was causing the platelet count to go down.

Dr Sanjeet Singh Grewal of Grewal Nursing Home said he was receiving patients from Gill village, Isher Nagar, Lohara village, Shimlapuri, Laxman Nagar and Janta Colony and out of these two were found having malaria.

A visit to Ambedkar Nagar revealed that the residents were living in very unhygienic conditions. The Health Department had put up 10 medical camps, where anti-malarial drugs were being provided free of cost to the patients. 

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20,000 posts of teacher to be filled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
The state government has decided to fill the 20,000 vacant posts of teacher in government schools in Punjab in order to improve the standard of teaching in government schools in the state. This was stated today by Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, Punjab.

Addressing a gathering in Model Town at a grievances redressal programme, last night, Mr Johar asserted that the education system in the state would be completely rejuvenated and punctuality would be strictly ensured. Further elaborating the recruitment in the schools, the Education Minister said the directions have been issued to ensure that all schools without teachers in the villages would be provided with at least one teacher within a period of one week on contract basis and in those schools where only one teacher is posted, another teacher would be provided.

He said out of the total 20,000 vacant posts of teacher, 8,000 posts are lying vacant in primary schools and 10,000 posts in High/Senior Secondary Schools and to improve the standard of education in the schools the recruitment to these vacant posts was of utmost importance.

He added that the number of teachers recruited every year would be enhanced from 1800 to 3600 to meet the shortage of teachers and if need be, B.Ed. teachers, who opt for the posts of elementary teachers would be recruited after providing the required short training to them. Mr Johar said there was no rationale for the agitation by the un-employed teachers, but in order to listen to their problems he has called a meeting of their representatives on August 9 at the Secretariat.

The minister informed that after taking over the charge of Education Department he had accorded top priority to the pending issues of the different sections in the department, including teachers and separate meetings had been organised with the representatives of different associations. Mr Johar asserted that the presence of the teachers in the Primary and Senior Secondary Schools would be strictly ensured and he has directed the senior officers of the department to frequently check and ensure the 100 per cent presence of the teachers. He warned that strict action would be taken against the absentees. Mr Johar said the schools would be provided with necessary infrastructure, cleanliness, drinking water and toilets.

The minister said under the Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan all funds released for the schools would be spent through the Village Development Committees already constituted in each village and no teacher would be involved in the purchase of ration etc. under midday meal programme for the students. The local committees would also execute this work.

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Shopkeepers seek early completion of project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
The tardy progress in the ongoing work on elevated road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema on Old GT Road has turned into a major source of harassment to residents, traders and businessmen in and around busy commercial area of Clock Tower here.

Blaming the construction firm for the deliberate delay in the completion of the project for extraneous reasons, the Clock Tower Association has urged the Municipal Corporation authorities to take necessary steps to 'discipline' the construction company and ensure the completion of the project within the stipulated period, which has now been extended by another 15 months.

President of the association Gurinder Sood has lamented that the entire stretch of Old GT Road from Jagraon Bridge to New Sabzi Mandi was in a pathetic state with big potholes filled with stagnating rainwater making the matter worse for road-users. With utter disregard to the vehicular traffic and pedestrians on the busy section of this road, the construction firm had stacked building material along the roadside, thereby causing grave inconvenience to the members of public.

"The chaotic traffic conditions frequently lead to jams and accidents, particularly in the area from Mata Rani Chowk to Railway Station. At times, the disruption in traffic and haphazard parking of mini buses and three-wheelers on both sides of the road obstruct the passengers proceeding to Railway Stations, who miss their trains," Mr Sood pointed out.

The shopkeepers demanded immediate remedial steps, including proper repair of the road, removal of building material from roadside and ensuring a free flow of traffic on this section.

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Trust adopts 74 senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 8
Shree Guru Ravi Dass Charitable Dispensary at Rurka Khurd has adopted 74 senior citizens, who have no dependents or financial resources. The adopted persons, belonging to the weaker section, would be provided with free medical treatment and clothes for the rest of their life, said Mr Gurnam Singh, president of the Sukhdham Sewa Trust.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Harish Khullar, vice-president of the district Congress, lauded the humanitarian service by the trust. He made an appeal to the people for lending a helping hand to strengthen the financial health of such societies and trusts so that they could extend their help to more and more needy persons.

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Atwal releases anthology of Albela
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, has exhorted writers to portray the problems and the actual condition of the general public through their writings so that society could understand the plight of poor people in the right perspective and a solution could emerge.

Mr Atwal was addressing a well-attended function of Punjabi writers organised to release a poetry book "Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh" of Surjit Singh Albela, a renowned Punjabi writer, after releasing the book at the Punjabi Bhavan here last evening .

The Deputy Speaker said that the Punjabi writers had been making appreciable efforts for the preservation of our cultural heritage and they deserved the proper attention of the government and society in terms of financial help and recognition, which would further encourage them to perform their duty towards society. He opined that in the present commercial era the writers were facing lot of hardships. As the financial condition of most of the writers was critical they could not do justice with their duty towards society.

Mr Atwal, remembering the legendary Punjabi writers who were considered to be the mirror of society of their times, said that society was indebted to them, but regretted that it had not reciprocated. Even the government had done little precious to ensure a better living for their families. He said that the martyrs of the country, while fighting to liberate the country during the freedom movement, had dreamt of a financial and political freedom for the people and regretted that both dreams were still unfulfilled.

Appreciating the new creation of Albela, the Deputy Speaker said that he had presented the real picture of the heroic deeds of the great warriors of Punjab and he was now sketching the life of Shaheed Bhagat Singh through his poetry.He asked Albela and other Punjabi writers to continue their struggle in further enriching the Punjabi literature, so that the coming generation could seek inspiration from their contribution. He assured that he would accord liberal time for the discussion of the problems of the writers at the highest forum of the country i.e. Parliament.

Among others who addressed the function included Gurbhajjan Gill, vice-president, Punjabi Sahit Academy, Mohinderjit Singh Grewal, Kulwant Singh Jagraon, Surjit Singh Albela, Ravinder Bhattal, secretary, Punjabi Sahit Academy.

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Migrant labourer booked 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 8
The Dehlon police has booked a migrant labourer under the Arms act and seized a revolver and a live cartridge. The accused had been living at a religious place situated at Maherna Kalan, near here ,and is reported to have had close proximity to some hardcore extremists during the period of terrorism. The police is yet to establish his links with any of the extremists.

Source at the Dehlon police station revealed that a police party led by Mr Rajinder Singh, in charge, Latala police station, had intercepted a youth at Majara Chowk near Latala in Kila Raipur constituency segment. He was overpowered by the police when he tried to run. The police recovered a 32 bore revolver and a live cartridge from his possession. The youth was later identified as Arun Singh ,alias Bengali, a permanent resident of Kanchi Pura in Kishanganj ,Bihar.

Sources revealed his accomplices had been running a tea shop at the local Chhapar road. Mr Sham Sunder and Mr Jatinder Bhola, both Municipal Councillors ,have urged the authorities to coordinate with the Jagraon police and investigate whether the accused had played any role in incidents of snatching and looting that took place recently.

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