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Tribune impact
DC orders probe into Sigma Hospital fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January10
Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma today ordered an inquiry into the fire incident at the local Sigma Hospital on December 8. He also directed the Municipal Corporation authorities to ensure that all public places followed the fire safety norms.

The Deputy Commissioner has asked SDM (East), Ms Amrit Kaur Gill, to conduct a thorough probe into the incident and look whether the fire system norms fixed as per rules were violated. He has asked her to submit a detailed report within 15 days.

Mr Verma has also written to the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, to check whether all city hospitals and other buildings frequently visited by the public satisfy fire safety norms.

He has also asked him to submit action taken report within 15 days.

The Deputy Commissioner initiated action following a newsreport carried in these columns that Sigma hospital flouted fire safety norms, as there was no emergency exit and the hospital was ill-equipped to tackle such exigencies.

Meanwhile, the MC today initiated a process to find out whether the hospital fulfilled building bylaws norms. Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, said he had asked his staff members to study the construction plan map of the hospital. He added that he would himself study it tomorrow.

A major fire had broken out in the MRI cell of the hospital on Saturday evening and many patients, doctors, nurses and para-medical staff members were stranded inside. It was a providential escape for all of them.

The firemen, who had left no stone unturned to control the fire, had registered their protests with the media, stating that the hospital was not prepared at all for any such eventuality. The owner of the hospital had, however, washed his hands of the allegations that his hospital was fully equipped for fighting any such situation. 



Paying for her parents’ defiance, she could not be born
Murdered couple cremated
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
She paid the price for the defiance of the parents even before she could come into this world. The seven-month-old baby girl, who was in the womb of her mother, Amandeep Kaur, a Jat girl, killed brutally allegedly for family’s honour, could not come into this would due to rigid casteism prevalent in society.

Amandeep and Harpreet were cremated at the Model Town Extension cremation ground here today.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed when the family members of the deceased youth, Harpreet Singh, consigned the bodies to flames simultaneously. Amandeep was seven-month pregnant when she was killed and the family could only know that it was a girl child after a postmortem examination was performed on her body at Civil Hospital here today.

The postmortem revealed that Harpreet Singh had received 10 blunt injuries and a slit with a sharp-edged weapon in his throat. Similarly, Amandeep had seven blunt injuries with slit throat. The young couple’s baby girl might have died soon after the couple’s death, the doctors said.

The condition of Harpreet’s parents was pathetic. They were unable to see the cremation of their son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter, who was yet to be born. Anger was writ large on the faces of those attending the cremation. The womenfolk were seen talking about the heights of casteism that had ended three blooming lives.

Meanwhile, the district police constituted two teams of police officials to investigate the matter and to look for the accused in the case. DIG Parag Jain also visited the murder site today. He said they had rounded up four persons related to Amandeep to find out vital clues about the barbaric murders.

Harpreet and Amandeep, a final year BDS student at Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College here, were found murdered at their apartment in Kiran Vihar here yesterday. The needle of suspicion was pointed towards the parents of the girl by the youth’s father, Mr Parkash Singh, a political leader.

A pall of gloom descended on BJS Dental College here today with students expressing shock at the deaths after reading newspapers today. Students of the college said that Amandeep was a very sweet and affable girl and they could never imagine that she would meet such an end.

‘‘She had been very happy after her marriage and had been telling us that she was blessed with a very loving husband. She had celebrated her marriage like anything. A very good human being, Amandeep was liked by all.’’ said a student.



Alert rail employee averts tragedy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Alacrity shown by a Keyman of the Northern Railway prevented a major tragedy when he stopped a train on the Dhuri line, which had developed a fracture in the morning today.

The Keyman, Mr Ram Bharose, stopped 4LJ-Jakhal-Ludhiana train after the line had developed a crack near Bhai Himmat Singh Nagar in the Dugri area. The train got delayed by more than 30 minutes.

Ram Bharose saw the cracks when he was checking the line as a routine exercise. He stopped the train at a point away from the affected area. He informed the Railways authorities and a team of technical experts arrived on the spot. They repaired the track with the help of a clump and let the stranded train pass.

Later the track was repaired by fixing fish bolts. Experts said the lines developed fracture due to contraction in the cold weather. They said had the keyman not seen the problem in the morning, a major tragedy could have taken place as a large number of passengers were travelling by in the train.

Residents said similar problem had arisen three years ago and alert residents had informed the authorities. At that time, the residents had reported that the girders of the line were giving way, as they were rusted. The Railways authorities had then replaced the entire line with new girders and joints. 



How 75-year-old woman survived tsunami
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, January 10
A 75-year-old woman, Gurdev Kaur of kanech village, 2 km from Sahnewal, along with her family survived the tsunami onslaught that killed more than 1.5 lakh people in India and several other countries.

Gurdev Kaur is still numbed by the devastation she and her family witnessed and survived. She has returned to her village with her eldest grandson. She says she is still struggling to come to terms with the reality of the catastrophe till this day. “I fail to understand what kept me alive.”

She proceeds, “It was at 5.45 am on January 26, when I got up I felt the earth shake and heard innumerable shouts ‘earthquake, earthquake’. Peeping out of the house, the scene I witnessed was really unbelievable as the tsunami in the sea had entered the coastline areas. People began to run for life.”

“Finding death on my doorsteps, I woke up my son Davinder Pal Singh (43), daughter-in-law Manjit Kaur (40) and two grandsons, Nirpal (18) and Harjot (14). I asked them to run out”.

She continues looking shocked “As sea water rushed onto our feet, I told my family members to climb the small hillock near our place at Campbell Bay. But my son insisted on carrying me along. I somehow managed to convince them to run. I clenched to a tree, holding my stick in another hand. The water rose on me; the waves passed over my head; water went inside my stomach; broken pieces of furniture, windows and doors stuck to my body. I lost my stick but I kept on holding the tree. Still worst, a snake coiled around my legs. But luckily a big broken door that flowed by took away the snake along with it giving me another hope of surviving the disaster. For half-an-hour I continued to struggle against rising water and managed to keep myself alive. Then my son picked me up as I fell unconscious due to shock and terror.”

She burst out in tears, “God saved me and my family but we lost our house, our belongings and everything.”

The family had been residing there for the past 35 years as the husband of Gurdev Kaur was an ex-serviceman and was allotted land at Campbell Bay in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by the Indian Government.

Gurdev Kaur further says that, “I have come to my husband’s house at Kanech village along with one of my grandsons Nirpal Singh. The other three members are residing in a tent on the hillock at Campbell Bay since my son and daughter-in-law are school teachers and they have to join their duties on February 3.”



Overcrowding in buses major cause of mishaps 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
The tragic accident near Polo Majra village, near Khamano, which claimed 14 lives on January 3, has exposed the tall claims of the Transport and Police Departments on the plying of safe and uncrowded vehicles on the roads and highways.

This is not the first time that a vehicle belonging to a private unit was involved in an accident. Four girls working in Shiva Mills had died when the mini bus they were travelling met with an accident in May 13 last year. Similarly accidents took place in the past.

Inquiries revealed that in this case, the ill-fated mini bus was only meant for ferrying 12 persons, but at the time of the accident 27 girls were travelling to work. Most of them were standing. Several others, who were waiting to board the mini bus at Sanghol, had a narrow escape.

Sources said many girls fell on top of one other and suffered fatal injuries due to the impact of the accident. The death toll too could have been less had it not been for the overcrowding factor besides the alleged negligence of both the drivers.

It is ironical that while truck drivers are harassed by both Transport and Police Department regularly for not possessing proper documents and also overloading, hardly any action has been taken against the influential owners of the private bus companies and the drivers or vehicles belonging to the industrial units. In the Polo Majra accident, the inaction on the part of both departments was for everyone to see.

Sources said at the time of the accident, the bus belonging to the Libra Bus Service was being plied without a permit on the Chandigarh - Mohali route. The permit of the bus was for valid for the Ludhiana - Bathinda route, and it would have ideally started from the Ludhiana bus stand and passed through Barnala and other towns en route before reaching Bathinda. What was the bus doing on this route, the sources pointed out.

While the Ludhiana - Chandigarh highway has been designated as the national highway, no dividers have been constructed along the entire length except for a few places.

This is also one of the major reasons for the head on collisions on this road.



Health Dept to take action against unauthorised
polio vaccination

Kuldip Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 10
In a case which could at best be described as misguided zeal, certain social bodies were said to have organised polio vaccination camps in Jamalpur and Sherpur localities in the city on Sunday without any authorisation from the health administration here. Some local nursing homes and physicians of these areas had participated in these camps in an apparent bid to gain cheap popularity and impress the area residents, who could become their prospective patients.

Upset over the development, health officials were learnt to be looking into the matter and initiate action against those responsible, including members of the medical fraternity. According to Dr Kuldip Kaur Sahni, district immunisation officer, she had received report of one such camp having been held at Jamalpur and the matter was being looked into. “No such camp can be held without the permission of the Civil Surgeon and nobody had sought any authorisation in this respect.”

The next phase of the pulse polio campaign in Punjab is due in the first week of April, when the Health Department would hold a comprehensive campaign to cover all eligible children, informed Dr Sahni.

Dr Gursharan Singh, president of the district unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) pointed out that the Health Department had authorised certain health institutions for vaccination of all kinds, which continued all through the year. However, vaccination camp exclusively for polio could not be organised in such a manner and that too when the pulse polio doses were not due.

He said the Health Department was well within its rights to take a strong note of polio vaccination camp having been held in an unauthorised manner and institute action against the guilty persons. He was of the view that members of medical profession should not associate themselves with such irregular activities.



Duplicate note in packet bearing bank’s stamp 
Tribune News Service

Tips to check if a note is duplicate:

  • A duplicate note is thick and coarse.
  • The silver wire in duplicate note is thick.
  • The silver wire in a genuine note will bear word ‘Bharat’
  • The genuine note will bear a water mark of Mahatma Gandhi’s picture on the blank portion
  • One can buy infra-red pencils from the market to check the authenticity of currency notes.

Ludhiana, January 10
If you thought getting a stapled wad of notes bearing a bank’s stamp meant you got genuine notes, you might be mistaken. A city resident, who received a bundle of Rs-500 notes as payment, realised he had one duplicate note in the packet only when the other bank where he went to deposit those notes rejected it!

Mr Satwinder Singh Gill, received a packet of Rs-500 notes as some payment. The bundle was duly stapled and bore the seal of Punjab and Sind Bank. However, it was only when he went to deposit the money in his account with the Bank of Punjab (BoP) that he realised the packet carried a duplicate Rs 500 note in it. The fact was pointed out by a BoP official.

Mr Gill was lucky not to have opened the bundle. If he had, he would bore the loss.

“The bank will certainly take the note back if the bundle is sealed,” said an official of Punjab and Sind Bank. However, he clarified that the bank would not take the note back if the staple was opened.

While most banks — private as well as nationalised — have kept machines or halogen lamps to detect if the notes are duplicate, the official said several branches of the bank, where transaction amount was less, did not have such machines. “It could be a human error,” he said.

“That leaves ones wondering about the authenticity of the notes one gets from a bank. How can they cheat people like that?” an irritated Gill questioned.

Though most banks claim that the bundles prepared by them did not have any chances of containing duplicate notes, they do add that customers must check the money they receive.

“It is not possible for a layman to check all notes, particularly when the payment is a big amount,” a resident said.



Villagers threaten to launch stir 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 10
Residents of Bhogiwal village have threatened to launch an agitation in protest against the trustees of a proposed polytechnic college, who allegedly had grabbed a piece of land.

They have put up a tent in the land and have kept a fleet of tractors ready to plough the land.

The trustees claimed that they had taken possession of the piece of land, measuring around 70 bighas, for which they had a title deed. They, however, accused the villagers of encroachment.

Meanwhile, the Ahmedgarh police has deputed a party to prevent any clash between the two groups.

The two groups claiming to be the legal owners of the land in question had been confronting in the revenue offices for a long time. But the tension was triggered after Guru Ram Dass Educational and Charitable Trust got the foundation stone for the polytechnic college laid by Baba Balwant Singh of Karamsar two days ago.

Jathedar Harjit Singh Bhogiwal, a former sarpanch of the village, and Sukhdev Singh, of Shere Punjab Sports Social Welfare Club of the village, alleged that the trust led by Mr Gurnam Singh Pandher had taken possession of the piece of land, measuring 120 bighas, which was a part of the common land that had been left as a common land (Mushtarka Malikan) by their ancestors for the purpose of grazing their cattle.

“As the land had been contributed by more than 200 families, they were the legal owners of their respective shares which could not be transferred to any person of the organisation without their consent. If somebody wanted to sell or donate his share to someone he should have first got his share earmarked, which had not been done till now,” said Mr Bhogiwal, adding that they had no objection if the trustees took possession of the pieces of land with the owner’s consent.

Mr Gurnam Singh Pandher, Chairman of the trust denied the charges and claimed that they had taken possession of 70 bighas of land and for that they had got the legal rights. He, however, accused the opponent group of encroaching a passage leading to the site for the college.

“We have been using a passage in Kup village on the rear side of the plot for which we had legal rights just to avoid a clash,” said the Chairman.

A group of villagers, led by Mr Tara Singh, Sarpanch, supported the claims of the trustee and maintained that they had transferred their right to the trust for the improvement of the village. 



Pathak chief of dist attorneys’ body
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 10
In the annual elections of the Punjab District Attorneys Services Association (PDASA), Mr Amar Ashok Pathak, District Attorney of Ludhiana, was unanimously elected president of the state unit for the second consecutive term.

The members of the association donated one-day salary for the welfare of the tsunami-hit. Members from all over Punjab participated in the elections held here today.

Mr Rajinder Singh Gill, District Attorney, Jalandhar, was elected vice-president, while Mr Shiv Dutt Sharma was elected general secretary, Mr G.S. Sandhu was elected joint secretary and Mr Ashwani Kumar Bedi became treasurer of the association.

The 10 elected executive members hailing from different districts includes: Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Rupinder Singh, Mr C.L. Narang, Mr Vimal Sachdeva, Mr Kamlesh Mittal, Mr Fateh Singh, Mr T.R. Sharma, Mr D.K. Garg, Mr Sohan Singh Bhullar and Mr K.V.S. Sekhon.

The association resolved to approach the government for recruitment of more Assistant District Attorneys, to clear the pending promotion cases of Law Officers and granting non-practising allowance to them.



Seminar on gender equality marks beginning
of Lohri Mela

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Participants at a seminar, organised by the Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch, on the inaugural day of the Lohri Mela gave a clarion call to the people of the state to ensure equality of male and female children.

They warned that in case the alarming trend of gender bias against female children was not arrested immediately, it was bound to have dangerous repercussions for the society.

The participants included students from various educational institutions. They underlined the emphasis on gender equality while quoting examples of how women had either excelled better than men in several fields or were at least at a par with them.

Presiding over the seminar, Padam Shree Dr S.S. Johal pointed out that women were making rapid progress in the field of education and predicted that they would dominate in all walks of life in the next two decades.

He suggested that both men and women should work together towards a progressive society. He also presented awards to the participants of the seminar.

Some leading Punjabi and Urdu poets, including Sukhwinder Amrit, Gurcharan Kaur Koshar, Kulua Jagraon, Sardar Panchi, Dr S N Sewak, Tirlochan Lochi and others recited their poems.

Speaking of the occasion the chairman of manch, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, declared that the manch would launch a massive campaign for creating awareness among the people about gender equality.

He regretted that despite being such a progressive state in terms of economy, finances, agriculture and industry, Punjab lagged behind in the sex ration. He urged the people to stop female foeticide.

President of the manch, Mr Pawan Dewan pointed out, the theme of the Lohri celebrations was chosen to be the gender equality since Lohri is traditionally celebrated in Punjab with much fervour after the birth of a male child. He pointed out these notions needed to be changed for creating a society which was not biased against women. 



Plea to simplify provisions of service tax
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 10
Members of the Taxation Bar (Direct Taxes) have criticised certain provisions of the Service Tax Act, saying the Union Government had not taken the industry and other taxpayers in confidence while framing the relevant law.

These observations were made in a seminar on service tax organised by the District Taxation Bar Association (DTBA) here.

Besides members of the taxation bar, representatives of various industrial chambers, associations of chartered accountants, company secretaries and members of business and industry attended the interactive seminar.

Mr J. K. Mittal, chartered accountant from New Delhi and the guest speaker, enlightened the gathering on the subject in a very informative and elaborate manner.

He was of the view that their was dire need to educate the service providers about different provisions of service tax and to further simplify the procedural formalities for registration and filing of returns.

Mr V.K.Garg,Commissioner of Central Excise, who was also present, dispelled the misgivings and apprehensions prevailing among both the members of taxation bar and the tax payers.

He further assured that officers of the department would continue to extend their full cooperation to the assessees.

Mr R. K. Mehta, president, Mr Raman Goyal, general secretary of DTBA, Mr Dheeraj Chatly, Mr N. D. Bansal, Mr Pankaj Bhakoo, Mr Sudhir Kumar, Mr Ravi Kant Gupta and Mr Jatinder Khurana, among others were also present on the occasion. 



Poster against drug addiction released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 10
Alarmed at the growing rate of addiction among youths of Punjab, a unique poster condemning drug addiction was released today by Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of Technical Education, at a function organised by the Shaheed Memorial International Sewa Society.

Mr Pandey congratulated Mr Vajinder Singh, president of the Society, for the sustained efforts of the society to make people aware of the drug menace among youths of the state.

The posters would be distributed in all schools and colleges. These would also be displayed at public offices to educate the masses. Among those present on the occasion were Mr Hira Singh Gabaria, ex-MLA, Dr G.S. Preet, ex-Director, Health Services, Punjab, Dr Kartar Singh Suri, novelist, and Swami Sumedha Nandji. Ms Suvarsha Kalra and former Ms World Punjaban Rati Brar also pledged to help in the fight against drug addiction.



A proud collector of rare coins
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, January 10
“My passion is to collect rarest of rare coins and exhibit them,” says 23-year-old Sanjeev Bagga. He started collecting rare coins at the age of 15 and today he has in his kitty a 3000-year-old Maurayan coin.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, he said, “While I was in school, I saw a collection of a boy. The period of coins made of copper, bronze in fascinating shapes attracted me. Then and there I decided to collect coins. These coins enrich one’s knowledge of different periods of history of several countries. Though presently I am working in a ‘sheet, metal tool room at Gagan Nagar, my passion for my hobby was not diminished. So far I have collected 1,400 coins of 102 countries.”

He said that he had to keep hunting for rare coins. “At stamps and coins exhibitions, I exchange coins with other numismatists. Rest of the times, I go to Sarafan Bazaar to look out for specific coins.”



65 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 10
The Dakha police has claimed to have recovered 65 kg of poppy husk and arrested two women in this connection. In the first incident, Ms Kama, wife of Sodha, of Prem Nagar Mandi Mullanpur, was allegedly arrested from the Raqba area and seized 35 kg of poppy husk.

While Ms Anita, wife of Nand Lal, of the same area was arrested from the Mullanpur area and recovered 30 kg of the contraband.

Shop burgled: A shop was burgled in Adda Raikot Agwar Ladhai. A case under Sections 457, 380 of the IPC was registered on the complaint of Chanchal Singh, owner of the shop.


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