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Action against 12 recommended
Death of six due to electrocution
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
The Deputy Commissioner has recommended strict action against 12 officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board, the Irrigation Department, the Local Government and the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, for causing death of six persons by electrocution in the Sidhwan canal in June last.

Mr Anurag Verma, DC, has, in letters written to the Chairman of the PSEB and the Principal Secretary of the Irrigation Department, sought stringent action against the officials indicted in a magisterial inquiry conducted by Mr M.S. Jaggi, SDM (West).

He has also written to the SSP, Ludhiana, to take action against three Junior Engineers (JEs), who have been indicted for criminal negligence of duty in the inquiry.

After the sordid incident, the DC had ordered a probe by the SDM (West). In his inquiry report, the SDM (West) had held in charge Junior Engineer, PSEB, responsible for committing criminal negligence of duty for not shifting the electricity pole even after getting approval for the same.

Mr Jaggi established that the incident happened due to the falling of the electricity pole over the street light pole of the Municipal Corporation, which was touching the water flowing in the canal because of soil erosion.

The SDM also indicted the XEN and the SDO of the PSEB for not performing their responsibilities of routine supervision, during which the negligence of the Junior Engineer could have been corrected and the incident avoided. Mr Jaggi indicted another JE of the PSEB, who had installed the pole on the canal embankment, for negligence in duty.

As regards the role of the Irrigation Department, the SDM (West) indicted in charge Junior Engineer of the department for criminal negligence of duty. He allegedly had never brought to notice of the higher authorities the installation of electricity pole in the canal and had not taken any step to get it removed.

He had also not taken steps to repair the eroding banks of the canal. He also held the SDO and the XEN of the Irrigation Department guilty of not performing their responsibilities of supervision of the canal banks and recommended departmental action against them.

As regards the negligence on the part of the staff of the Municipal Corporation, he has indicted JE of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, for criminal negligence of duty, as he had not taken any preventive measure, when the earth around the street light pole was getting eroded.

Mr Jaggi indicted the SDO and the XEN of the Municipal Corporation for not carrying out routine supervision. He also gave suggestions for the prevention of such incidents in future.

He has suggested that the electricity poles installed on the banks of the canal be shifted and no pole be allowed to be installed there without permission of the Irrigation Department.



Private teachers go on mass casual leave
Tribune Reporters

Teachers of aided schools hold a protest near Arya Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana
Teachers of aided schools hold a protest near Arya Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 10
Private-aided schools in this area remained closed today as the staff of these schools went on mass casual leave in protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the government towards the long-pending demands of private teachers.

Activists of the Private-Aided Schools Teachers Union marched to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, to participate in statewide agitation launched by the union.

Mr Amrit Pal, district president of the union, claimed that all private-aided schools in Sangrur district remained closed today as all teachers proceeded on mass casual leave.

The union asked the government to consider the genuine demands of the teachers. It demanded of the pension scheme and parity with the government teachers.

The staff of local schools, including M.G.M.N. Senior Secondary School, J.M. Shri Kundan Kanya Mahavidyalaya and Guru Nanak Kanya Mahavidyalaya joined the procession that left for Sangrur today.

LUDHIANA: Teachers of aided schools and other employees abstained from teaching work in schools here on Wednesday and held a protest in Arya Senior Secondary School here. Mr Ranjit Singh, district president of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and other Employees Union told the protesting teachers said the government had been harsh towards them.

SAMRALA: Following a call given by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, teachers of Malwa College, Bondli-Samrala, wore black badges on Wednesday and expressed solidarity with the teachers of privately-managed schools agitating against the government proposal to abolish grants to these schools.

This was stated here by the union president, Professor Baldeep Singh, and the secretary Professor Jagdeep Singh.



Finger pointed at medical fraternity
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 10
Even as the apex court has ruled that doctors cannot be held liable for criminal action and charged with negligence unless allegations of “gross negligence” are prima facie established against them, the people in general feel that the court should also have taken note of crass commercialism and unethical practices prevailing among the vast majority of medical professionals.

Prominent citizens from all walks of life felt that regulatory bodies, professional associations of medical fraternity and the authorities should initiate necessary steps to evolve an effective mechanism against financial exploitation of patients at the hands of medical institutions, private nursing homes and private medical practitioners.

“It is an established fact that in order to earn hefty commission from pathological laboratories and hi-tech diagnostic centres proliferating in every nook and corner of the mega city, doctors ask their patients to get tests done at a particular laboratory or diagnostic centre,” remarked Mr K.S. Kohli, a retired academic.

“One of the major reasons for the medical and surgical treatment going out of reach of the average middle-class person is the greed of doctors, who take a commission right from laboratory tests, diagnostic procedures, referral and medicines onwards, which is not only unethical but inhuman as well since the avoidable financial burden adds further to the sufferings of the poor and even not-so-poor patients,” added Mr Kohli.

Enquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that almost without exception, every private medical practitioner had his own favourite laboratory to which the patients were sent for tests, and most of the time unnecessary ones, thereby making a hole in the pocket of the patient. In the process, the physician or the surgeon, earned a huge commission, in addition to his consultation fee. In a similar manner, all major medical institutions had their own laboratories and doctors had a tendency to order indiscriminate tests in an attempt to keep their lab personnel busy while at the same time adding to the coffers of the institution.

On condition of anonymity, a senior medical consultant said anything between 50 and 70 per cent of the charges for laboratory tests and other expensive diagnostic procedures went to the referring medical professionals as their commission.

It was not only the financial exploitation of patients through unnecessary tests and procedures that were creating a sense of mistrust between doctors and patients but there have been such instances as well when the intensity of a particular disease was deliberately exaggerated by doctors to make the patient go for crucial and life-threatening surgeries just to make some fast money. And the menace was not only confined to local institutions but some of the renowned medical centres in Chandigarh and Delhi as well.

Ms Sunita, a middle-aged housewife and mother of two sons, was visibly upset over all this hullabaloo over the Supreme Court ruling about doctors. “I had some cardiac problem and after angiography, was advised immediate bypass surgery at a prominent cardiac institute in New Delhi. However, a second opinion, obtained from another renowned cardiac surgeon, ruled out the need for surgical intervention.”

She pleaded that professional bodies like the Indian Medical Association and the Medical Council of India should take it upon themselves to motivate medical professionals for a thorough introspection and further take necessary steps to curb the exploitation and unethical practices by doctors so that patients could repose trust in the doctors treating them.



It was murder, says police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
The mysterious death of a youth, who was found dead in a house in Ashok Nagar, Salem Tabri, in May this year, has turned out to be an alleged murder due to illicit relationship. This has come to light in the chemical analysis of the viscera of the deceased.

According to an FIR registered at the Salem Tabri police station against unidentified accused, the deceased, Balbir Singh, was allegedly given poison and strangulated to death when he began crying loudly due to the unbearable pain caused by the spread of poison in his body, the police said.

The FIR further states that though the accused were yet to be identified, the motive of the murder was the deceased’s illicit relationship with a woman, Sita. The woman was in her late 40s, while the youth was only 24 years of age. He was married and his wife was objecting to the relationship with a woman twice her age. He was eventually found dead in a house in Ashok Nagar allegedly owned by Sita on May 24 last.

On that night, Mr Mohinder Singh, father of the deceased and resident of Manoj Colony, Netaji Nagar, received a phone call from some unidentified person who said he was hearing cries of their son from Sita’s house and that his motor cycle was parked outside her house.

When Mohinder Singh reached there with other family members, he found the doors locked from outside. On breaking the doors, they found his body.



Student leader, others booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
The Division No. 5 police has booked a newly-appointed students union president, affiliated to the Congress, and his supporters regarding yesterday’s clash between two groups of students at Government College for Boys here.

An FIR lodged on the statement of Mr D S Gill, Principal of the college, also mentions that a similar case of attempt to murder and rioting had been registered against the unknown members of the rival group , allegedly including, students belonging to an Akali party.

The accused youth leader was Rajwinder Singh, alias Ravi Grewal, who was yesterday appointed president of the students union of the college by Mr Gurkirat Singh, senior youth leader and grandson of late Chief Minister of Punjab, Beant Singh.

Police sources said other accused were being identified.



Woman, paramour commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
A middle-aged woman and her alleged young paramour committed suicide by jumping before a train on the Ludhiana-New Delhi rail line near Vijay Nagar today early morning.

Jasbir Kaur, 48, mother of four children, including three daughters, and her alleged paramour Bittu, 30, a resident of Dugri, were found dead on the tracks.

Railway Police sources said that the duo allegedly had an illicit relationship for the last several years. Bittu was married. The police was unable to find any immediate provocation of their suicide. Investigations suggested that the woman’s children were grown up and were objecting to the relationship.

Police sources said the three daughters of the woman were married while the 17 year-old son was unmarried.



Passing Thru

N. Balasubramanian
Mr N. Balasubramanian, Chairman and Managing Director, SIDBI

What is SIDBI doing to increase credit flow to small and medium enterprises?

Apart from providing easy financing under various schemes like the Growth Fund for SMEs, we are focussing on financing clusters. SIDBI is also coming out with credit rating for SMEs, which would help them in getting finance easily.

Please elaborate on the plan regarding financing of clusters.

We have had a tie-up with a World Bank led consortium, under which, SIDBI would develop 10 clusters, which include Ludhiana and Gurgaon. A Rs 1,000 crore project, for which the Ministry of Finance is the nodal agency, would facilitate development of SMEs by enhancing credit flow to enterprises apart from improving their efficiency and profitability by assisting them in various fields.

How would credit rating for SMEs help them?

Small and medium enterprises fail due to lack of access to easy and quick credit. A good rating would enhance a company’s acceptability in the market apart from giving it access to credit quicker and cheaper. Besides, rating would also infuse a sense of confidence among buyers while making decisions regarding sourcing of material from small scale units. Several factors like financial performance etc would be considered before assigning any rating.

— Shveta Pathak



Ludhiana East to be made model area: Dawar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 10
Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Housing, Urban Development and Power today laid the foundation stone of a Rs 17-lakh project for laying pavements in streets in Mohar Singh Nagar (Ward No 51) that falls in the Assembly segment of Ludhiana East represented by him.

Addressing the gathering, he said several development projects for the segment to make it a ‘model area’ were in the pipeline. An open drain from Field Ganj to Gau Ghat cremation ground would be covered at a cost of Rs 14 crore. Residents of Ward No. 51, he remarked, would be the biggest beneficiaries of the project since one side of the drain formed a major portion of the ward. He claimed that after the Congress came to power in Punjab’s development works worth Rs 40 crores had been taken up in Ludhiana East segment.

The area councillor Mr Sanjay Talwar, who is also one of the trustees of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, said work for setting up a storm water drainage, laying in pavements streets and repair of roads in Ambedkar Nagar at a cost of Rs 15 lakh would commence next week. The project for laying pavements in Issa Nagri streets would kick off in a few days.

Prominent among others present at the function were Mr Rakesh Parashar, councillor, Mr Harbans Lal Talwar, Mr Subhash Luthra, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Parminder Kittu, Mr Paramjit Pamma, Mr Darshan Chopra, Mr Bal Krishan, Mr Kulwinder Gulati, Mr Jatinder Chhabra, Mr Naresh Khurana and Mr Kanwaljit Singh Bobby.



Admn gears up for commemoration function
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
The administration has directed the district heads of all departments concerned to finalise the arrangements relating to their department in connection with a state-level function being organised to commemorate the 56th Martyrdom Day of Shaheed Master Karnail Singh, who laid down his life for Goa liberation at Issru village on August 15. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh would be the chief guest and Mr Shamsher Singh Dulo, President, PPCC, would preside over the function.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, gave these directions at a special meeting of the officers held under his chairmanship at the venue of the function today. He directed the Executive Engineer, PWD, to execute the minor repairs, wherever required, on roads leading to the village and asked the BDPO to ensure proper cleanliness in the village.

The District Mandi Officer has been told to make arrangements for the availability of potable water to the people attending the function.

He said a pandal was being erected for the function having separate blocks for VIPs, women, sarpanches and mediapersons. Places had been earmarked to hold political parties and conferences, he added.

The venue of the function would be the main ground of the Grain Market in the village. Before addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister and other dignitaries would garland the statue of Shaheed Karnail Singh Issru, situated at the main road.

Mr Naunihal Singh, SSP, Khanna, said the police was making elaborate security arrangements and had earmarked sufficient parking lots on all roads loading to Isru outside the village. No vehicle without the authorised sticker would be allowed to enter the fair site, he added.

Others who attended the meeting included Mr. Jaspal Mittal, SDM, Khanna, Mr Vipan Kapoor, DMO, Mr Sanjiv Garg, DDPO, Mr Dilbag Singh, SP (HQ), Khanna and Mr Bhalinder Singh, Vice-Chairman, Zila Parishad.



Signature campaign by Sarabha Nagar residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
Fed up with the long wait for the laying of metalled roads, residents of Sarabha Nagar , especially of Block-I here have launched a signature campaign to wake up the local Municipal Corporation authorities from their slumber.

The residents are having a harrowing time due to the deluge caused by the monsoon. Most of the roads in Block-I were flooded in spite of the storm-water drains laid out with a lot of fanfare last year.

The miseries of the residents were further compounded due to the backflow of the sewage water, which flooded some houses. The residents are sore that the sewage lines have not been cleaned despite several requests made to the authorities.

Mr S.S. Channa spokesperson of the residents said a representation having signatures of residents, would be handed over to the MC officials, Chief Minister Punjab, the Local Bodies Minister and Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president PPCC.

The residents are equally agitated over the pitiable conditions of the roads which were dug up in August last year to lay the “infamous” storm - water lines. Delegations had called upon Mr Ashok Kumar, SE, and the local councillor several times to apprise them of the wretched condition in which they are living, but nothing has been done except hollow promises given to them at during the meetings.

‘‘The callous attitude of self - seeking officials has rendered this posh colony into a slum, while MC officials were busy building up their own image by giving a skewed picture of their achievements. The residents continue to suffer immensely due to bad roads, supply of contaminated water, inadequate water supply, blocked sewage lines, deplorable parks, chaotic traffic, encroachments, violation of building bylaws etc’’, Mr Channa said.

He said the tax - payers had the right to know as to why the corporation had failed to discharge its responsibilities. They demanded immediate action to rectify the roads and the sewage lines in Sarabha Nagar.



NRI filmmaker honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
A function was organised by the Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood here on Monday. It was presided over by its president, Mr N.S. Nanda. Mr Amaijit Singh Chawla, Member, Punjab Public Service Commission, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Mr Nanda welcomed the chief guest and Ms Manjit Kaur Sidhu, an NRI from the UK, who has made a documentary film “Manvata de Guru Gobind Singh”, depicting some facts about the life of Guru Gobind Singh. The film is being screened by the International Sikh Dharam Prachar Manch in schools, colleges and on the premises of some social organisations. He appreciated the efforts and dedication of Manjit Kaur for making this religious film.

Mr Chawla lauded Mr Nanda and other members of the Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood Punjab for the promotion of Punjabi culture and heritage and honouring the deserving persons for their services towards art, literature and social works.

Speaking on the occasion, Manjit Kaur informed that she completed the film in 18 months. Ninety six shows have already been organised in leading cities of Punjab. She had also been honoured by Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, SGPC, and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Akali Dal, and many social organisations.

Mr Nanda congratulated her on launching the film “Sri Harmandir Sahib”, the shooting of which would begin next month at Amritsar. She was honoured with a gold medal and a model of Golden Temple. Other persons who were present on the occasion included Pritam Singh Bharowal, Manjit Singh Sun, Kulwant Singh Jaggi, Pritpal Singh ViJ, Jagdev Singh Chadha, Devinderbir Singh Nanda, Daljit Singh Parwana, Sushil Sharda and G.S. Bindra.



Bank employees hold demonstration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
Protesting against the State Bank of India (SBI) management’s decision to merge associate banks with the SBI, bank employees observed an “All-India Demands Day” and held a protest demonstration outside the State Bank of Patiala regional office in Miller Ganj here today.

The decision to hold protest demonstration was taken at a special meeting of unions and associations of workmen and officers in associate banks and the SBI held at Chennai.

Addressing the protesting employees, Mr Naresh Gaur, joint secretary, State Bank of Patiala Employees Union, said that in 1959 when the Subsidiary Act was enacted, a proposal was mooted to merge these associate banks with the SBI on the grounds that these banks were very small banks and would not be in a position to survive. However, the proposal could not get a go-ahead.

Now in the past 45 years, when these banks had crossed all hurdles and played a significant role in economic development of the country, the proposal to merge them is absolutely unjustified, he said.

Providing details of the performance of associate banks, Mr Gaur said at the end of March 31, 2005, these banks recorded total deposits to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore, advances worth Rs 82,000 crore and a total net profit of Rs 1,200 crore. Merging these banks would have an adverse impact on economies of the states where they are located.

Mergers would also affect employees, who would be forced to go in for the VRS and even their job security would be in danger.

Demanding that they should be allowed to continue as independent banks, the protesting employees threatened to intensify their struggle in case their demand was not met. They would also submit mass memoranda to the SBI Chairman.



Club members visit senior citizens’ home
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 10
The president of the Inner-Wheel Club, Mrs Ruby Fernandez, secretary, Ms Madhu Qamra, along with other members, visited the Senior Citizens Home here yesterday. The members had lunch with senior citizens and celebrated Friendship Day with them. “We shared some quality time with them with love, care and affection,” said Ms Fernandes.

“We wish other NGOs will come forward and spend time with these lonely people. A little gesture on our part would bring happiness on their faces,” said another inner-wheel member.



Police ‘repression’ flayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
The Khalsa Panchayat has condemned the alleged “reign of terror” let loose by the Punjab Police in the state. It alleged that in the aftermath of the arrest of the Babbar Khalsa International supremo, Jagtar Singh Hawara, the Punjab Police had resorted to indiscriminate arrest of innocent youths. It warned this would prove counter-productive.



4 held for murder of youth
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 10
Sukhdip Singh, Ajaib Singh, Randip Singh of Chhajjawal and Jarnail Singh of Hans Kalan, who were arrested by the Jagraon police in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Gurmit Singh, alias Jassi, of Chhajiwal were remanded to police custody till August 13 by the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate Jagraon today.

The sadar police station Jagraon, on interrogation of Sukhdip Singh, found that the accused had murdered Gurmit Singh and thrown away the body in bushes near bridge canal Bardeke.

It was recovered by the local police at Sukhdip’s instance. The police has taken into custody four out of six persons, whereas Pritpal Singh and Sadiq Mohd, alias Kala, are absconding.



Post-Gurgaon, trade unions get active
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
Post-Gurgaon incident, workers unions here are getting increasingly active in spreading awareness among workers. Trade unionists say the Honda Motorcycles incident would not have occurred at all if the company had a registered trade union. Besides, unions are also raising issues like proper implementation of labour laws in the state.

“It has become important to unite workers and make them aware of their rights which is why we have launched a nationwide campaign under which district and state-level rallies, dharnas would be conducted,” said Mr Jagdish Chand, joint secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

Over 70 per cent of the workers in factories do not even mark their attendance, which means they are nowhere on records. Workers do not get even minimum wages as per the act, there are no medical facilities and no job security, they add.

“The International Labour Organisation says the minimum monthly wage should be Rs 6,700. We want it to be Rs 5,000. But sadly, the government is not even able to ensure the minium wage as per the law, which is Rs 2,315. When they don’t even register names of workers in their records, it shows their intentions are clear. We only want workers to get their due,” Mr Chand said.

Another issue that has been raised on a national-level is the registration of trade unions, on which the government has maintained a silence. Unions here are demanding the registration of three trade unions — Lal Jhanda Hero Cycle Mazdoor Union, Ludhiana, Lal Jhanda Rockman Cycle Mazdoor union, Ludhiana and Lal Jhanda (Mangli Division) Hero Cycles Workers Union, Ludhiana, failing which they have even threatened an agitation.

The increased activity has also alarmed industrialists. “The past few months have witnessed increased incidents of labour incidents. The administration needs to continue with its strictness so that such incidents of violence do not occur,” said Mr B.D.Arora, a legal advisor to several companies in the city.

Industrialists also say the union activities are politically motivated and the formation of unions would only spoil working environment in industry here.


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