L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Civil hospital ‘sick’
Mr B.C. Rajput, member, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, visits the Civil Hospital, Central Jail
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
A member of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) visited the Civil Hospital on a “reality-check” mission today to gauge the standard of medical treatment facilities for the patients but to his utter shock, he found that the hospital itself ‘‘was sick and needed urgent treatment.’’

‘‘Dirty toilets, improper water supply, unhygienic wards, compounds and premises, inhuman conditions of treatment, two or more patients on the same bed and several others lying on the floor waiting for treatment or operations. Is this what you call a hospital?’’ remarked a visibly angry Mr B.C. Rajput, member, PSHRC, several times while taking a round in the presence of SDM Amrit Kaur Gill, hospital staff and a large number of mediapersons.

Later, briefing mediapersons, Mr Rajput said this was the fourth hospital he had visited in different districts of the state and none of these needed as much improvement as the Civil Hospital here. His personal secretary, Mr B.S. Uppal, accompanied him.

Mr Rajput said the commission had decided to earmark four districts to each member of the PSHRC. The members were visiting the districts to inspect the condition of hospitals, schools, jails and some other public service departments.

He said he would be making a detailed report of his observations and would recommend necessary changes and requirements to the state government for early implementation.

Though the Civil Hospital authorities knew about the visit, yet Mr Rajput termed it as a surprise visit as he had not given enough time to the authorities for a cosmetic treatment of the hospital.

He said he had informed the district administration last evening and shared the opinion expressed by mediapersons and some social workers that he would have found a lot more discrepancies if the visit was a complete surprise.

Dr Manjit Kaur, Senior Medical Officer, who accompanied Mr Rajput defended each discrepancy pointed out by him. She said she had written to the local municipal corporation and other departments about the water supply, repairs and cleanliness but to no avail.

Mr Rajput expressed shock several times during his visit. He was visibly upset when he saw a woman down with high fever sitting on the floor of the incubator room. Apart from neglecting her treatment, the hospital staff were exposing the newly born also to the infection carried by her.

He was also shocked at a large number of patients lying on beds in a corridor of the hospital. A young girl who was breathing heavily and was in acute pain because of some illness was lying unattended.

His most shocking experience was at the bathrooms and the toilet where he found that there was no water supply and taps and pipes were missing at several places. The toilets were stinking and no one seemed to bother about cleanliness and hygiene. There was no alternative arrangement for power supply in the hospital.

An aged patient, Surinder Singh was also found sitting in an adjoining room of the operation theatre in deep pain. He claimed that he was waiting to get operated on for the past four days but no one was taking up his case on priority.

The commission member also found that the hospital had no set units for patients. He found patients of orthopaedic problems in the burns unit and several women lying in the gynecological ward even as they had some other problems.

He also took to task some cops who had taken several hours to take the statement of a patient and registration of a case on her complaint. He also expressed displeasure at the wild weeds and bushes found in abundance on the hospital premises.

Mr Shiv Ram Saroay, spokesperson for the Patient Welfare Samiti, said the organisation also submitted a list of problems at the Civil Hospital to Mr Rajput. He said the government should give more funds, allocate more staff and the hospital should be upgraded to 200-bedded facility for its improvement.

Rajput suggests

Mr Rajput has recommended that steel utensils should not be used in the Central Jail as they were being used as weapons by inmates.

During his visit to the Jail, Mr Rajput learnt that steel glasses and other utensils were used freely in yesterday’s clash.

He also found that the visiting rooms were overcrowded, water supply was inadequate and the inmates were having access to tools. Screw drivers which were used in yesterday’s clash leading to the death of one and injuries to another.

Mr Rajput, who visited the jail in the evening observed inmates visitors should meet them in two shifts.

He told two women arrested for harbouring Hawara case to send him written complaints about the violation of their human rights.



Suspect surrenders after 2-hr resistance
Tribune News Reporter

Ludhiana, August 20
A police posse surrounded a lawyer’s cabin here today to arrest a youth suspected of involvement in a snatching case.

The accused, Rajinder Singh, alias Lovely, and his lawyer G.S. Bal resisted for about two hours. Mr Bal pleaded that the suspects anticipatory bail was under consideration. Moreover it was unlawful to arrest a person from a lawyer’s chamber, he added.

A heated exchange followed between the police and some lawyers. In order to save the situation from taking an ugly turn the police sought reinforcement. Eventually the suspect surrendered in a court which has sent him in judicial custody till August 22.

Following a tip-off that the accused was seen in the court, a team of the Kotwali police led by SHO Harjinder Singh reached there.



Man acquitted in narcotics case
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr B.S. Sodhi, has acquitted Randhir Singh of Basti Abdullapur from the charges of possessing narcotics, as the prosecution failed to prove the charges levelled against him.

The accused was booked under Section 18 of the NDPS Act at Division No 5 police station on January 9, 2001. The prosecution had claimed that the accused was found in possession of one kilogram opium in the Sham Nagar area, near military ground, Ludhiana.

Claiming false implication, the accused had submitted that he had been booked due to the enmity of his father with the police.

He had pleaded that his father had filed a writ petition in the High Court three days prior to the alleged occurrence of this case. On the directions of High Court, an enquiry was conducted by the Judicial Magistrate, Ludhiana, and thereafter a case was registered against Inspector Chain Singh.

The court observed that the police had violated the provisions of Section 50 of the Act and the case of prosecution does not inspire confidence on this score. Apart from this the investigating officer did not send any report to the higher authorities and this fact was admitted by police officials — Tehal Singh and Mr Manjit Singh Dhesi(DSP). There was a delay of 14 days in sending the case property to the chemical examiner and the prosecution failed to explain the delay satisfactorily.



Jail clash: probe ordered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
he District Magistrate here has ordered a probe into the last night’s clash between inmates of the Central Jail here in which an undertrial was murdered and one other was injured.

DM Anurag Verma told Ludhiana Tribune that he had directed SDM, Raikot, Mr Prem Chand, to probe the incident.

ASI Joginder Singh, in charge, Tajpur police post, said Nizammudin has been booked under Section 302 of the IPC.

Undertrial Dharminder, belonging to Nawanshahr was killed in the clash that took place in the dining hall of the Central Jail. Three others were injured out of which only Nizammudin was hospitalised.

The post-mortem examination of the deceased was conducted late in the evening. He had suffered injuries on the lower abdomen and chest.



Parking woes galore, MC gives a damn
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, August 20
The Post Office Road, which connects Deepak Cinema Road with the old GT Road at Mata Rani chowk, has turned into an open free-for-all parking, narrowing down the otherwise wide and spacious road.

This over largely to the overcrowded parking of the adjoining Bhadaur House market and the reluctance of shoppers, at the nearby air-conditioned Calibre Plaza, to park their vehicles in the parking provided at the top of the market given the time-consuming exercise of using an elevator.

Parking blues at Bhadaur House have not subsided in spite of several reminders to the municipal corporation by the shopkeepers’ association.

Although parking in the three blocks of the Bhadaur House is monitored by parking attendants employed by the market association, some outsiders manage to park their vehicles in any of the three parking lots.

Those who do not find an entry into any block of Bhadaur House do not avail the services of the multi-floored municipal parking, which is just across the Mata Rani chowk, instead they park their vehicles on any side of the Post Office Road.

Pressure on the road has been further increased with the removal of an underground parking for cycles and scooters in the Calibre Plaza.

Even as men from the tehbazari wing of the municipal corporation have been regularly lifting away scooters and motorcycles parked haphazardly outside the Calibre Plaza and charging heavy fines for a long time now, the over-all parking scene has not improved much.

Cars and scooters, parked at awkward angles, continue to dot the road thus seriously impeding a smooth flow of vehicular traffic.

A shopkeeper, who does not want to be named for obvious reasons, said just as the tehbazari men were lifting away scooters and motorcycles from the road, the traffic police should also declare the road as a tow-away zone to discourage car parking along the road.



Passing Thru

Sanjana, a Delhi-based model 

How is it being a model?

It is a glamorous world where one gets to travel a lot and interact with a lot of people. At the same time, the schedules are so hectic and so much of time is lost in travelling long distances that you cannot spend enough time with your family.

How do you feel modelling for young designers?

All dress designers are doing a fabulous job. Successfully promoting their creations gives me satisfaction. The hard work put in by the designers gets rewarded only when the dresses are properly projected by models.

Are all models snooty and snobbish?

This is a total misconception. ‘We are also human beings and have our likes and dislikes. At times, we tend to maintain some distance from public like other professionals, which is absolutely normal.

Shivani Bhakoo



Pensioners turn to Dullo, rue govt apathy
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Dismayed with the lackadaisical attitude of the Capt Amarinder Singh Government, pensioners are now pinning their hopes on Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, for fulfilment of their long-pending demands.

Pensioners here have alleged that the state government, in its 42-months of power and having presented four budgets, has failed to fulfil even a single promise made by the Congress party in its poll manifesto in February 2002.

Disappointed with this approach, the Government Pensioners’ Association has now written to Mr Dullo to fulfil the promises made by the Congress.

“More than five lakh pensioners and government employees are suffering due to the anti-employee policies of the state government. In the last 42 months, this government has utterly failed to fulfil even a single promise it made,” alleged Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general-secretary of the association.

He rued that the government made several promises before elections and in the four Budgets it has presented so far, none of the promises were fulfilled.

In their memorandum, the association has reminded the PPCC president of the promise regarding increase in medical allowance and grant of house-rent allowance to pensioners.

“The fixed monthly allowance of Rs 250 is inadequate to meet the stupendously rising cost of medical care. The government must consider the fact that in the last seven years, a 48 per cent increase in medicare has been recorded as per the consumer price index and medicare cost data,” the association said.

Pensioners also complained that the benefit of old-age allowance was not being extended to them when they attain 80-years of age despite the Third Pay Commission’s recommendation to the effect made 17 years ago.

“It involves negligible financial implications as less than five per cent pensioners survive after 80-years,” Mr Ghai said.

The association also said that while in service, they got benefits like house-rent allowance, rural area allowance etc but after retiring, they were deprived of all these allowances. The Congress manifesto, released in February 2002, promised house-rent to pensioners. But nothing had been done so far,” the association said.

The pensioners have demanded setting up of the Fifth Pay Commission, which, they said, was due from January 2006 as the pay panel had recommended pay revision after 10 years and the last pay revision took place in January 1996.

They also said that the old pension commutation formula should be restored as the new formula amounts to reduction in commuted pension.



Village pays tributes to Flying Officer Johal
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
About 35 years ago a Flying Officer of the Indian Air Force had chosen to sacrifice his life instead of ejecting from a crashing plane in order to save villagers of Saharanmajra village in Mandi Ahmedgarh. Since then, the grateful villagers unfailingly pay a three-day-long tribute to their “hero”.

Keeping alive the tradition of remembering their saviour, the villagers will organise an akhand path in the village along with a function to pay tributes to late Fg Offr Kuldeep Singh Johal, tomorrow.

Flying Officer Johal had laid down his life while protecting the residents of this village on August 21, 1970. The relatives and friends of the martyr, who hailed from Johal village in Jalandhar district participate in the function every year.

Narrating his act of bravery, Dr Jaswinder Singh, a villager of Saharanmajra village, said Johal had sacrificed his life on August 21, rakhi day, 35 years ago. “After getting a rakhi tied from his sister, he had left his house for a routine sortie from Halwara Air Base. When he took off, his plane developed a technical snag when it was flying over the Saharanmajra village.”

He added that even though the officer had an opportunity to bale out he had chosen to sacrifice his life as he saw that he was flying over a residential area. He wanted to save the village and manoeuvred the plane away from the area. A huge blast took place in his plane and he could not survive the crash.

“The villagers decided that they would not let his sacrifice go waste and teach their children about the spirit of saving lives of others without caring for their own lives.

“Every villager wants to send at least one member of his family to the defence services. We narrate the stories of his sacrifice to our children and encourage them to set an example also.” said Dr Jaswinder Singh.

Johal was born on July 15, 1948, and belonged to Johal village falling in Jalandhar district.



’84 riots victim waits for relief
Our Correspondent

Khamano, August 20
Harjit Kaur of nearby Hargana village, who was affected by 1984 anti-Sikh riots, is waiting for government assistance for the last 21 years.

Harjit Kaur, while talking to mediapersons, said she was the only child of her father Kesar Singh who was killed in riots in Palam Colony, Delhi, in 1984, where he had gone to meet his relatives on November 2.

She said despite repeated announcements of jobs or plots for the affected , she is still struggling to get any assistance.

According to Harjit Kaur, applications were taken upto August 24, 2001 to give government jobs to the affected but she could not avail of this opportunity because she was not aware of it. Later, more applications were invited upto October 6, 2003, but when she applied she was refused by Deputy Commissioner Office, Fatehgarh Sahib, on the ground that she was not eligible as she had got married.

In tears, she said that should she not have married for whole life waiting government assistance?

She termed this refusal as high-handedness of officers.

She has demanded that she had to wait for 21 years but now she is fed up.



Tributes paid to Rajiv Gandhi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Glowing tributes were paid to late Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India, on his 61st birth anniversary here today. A function was organised at the local Congress Bhavan, which was presided over by the District Congress Committee (DCC) urban president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma.

The speakers recalled the outstanding contribution of Rajiv Gandhi towards building a modern India. Mr Sharma said it was Rajiv Gandhi who had laid the foundations for modernising the country in terms of technology. He said it was the great vision of Rajiv Gandhi which led to the country adopting computerisation in all spheres of life. Besides, he was the architect of the economic reforms in the country.

Mr Sharma and other speakers recalled the great sacrifice of the late leader. He said like his mother Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi had also laid down his life for the unity and integrity of the country. He said it was time to recall his philosophy of secularism.

Others present on the occasion included Mr K.K. Bawa and some local senior party leaders.



Firm up ties, says Birmi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
A special function was organised at Giaspura village today to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Jails and Defence, presided over the function.

Mr Birmi, said Rajiv Gandhi was the architect of modern India, who had introduced computerisation and information technology at all levels in the country. He said he was a farsighted leader, who planned to bring India among the group of developed countries of the world with the involvement of trained youth in a big way.

Mr Birmi said the real tribute to the late leader would be to follow in his footsteps to further strengthen the unity and integrity of the country, for which, he had sacrificed his life.

He claimed that the state government was committed to the welfare of all sections of society and government had ensured the purchase of the crops of the farmers in a fair manner and had provided eight hours of regular power supply for sowing of paddy even by purchasing power worth Rs 1,600 crore from other states.

He claimed that a new unit had been added to Lehra Mohabat Thermal Plant at a cost of Rs 1,750 crore and 40,000 tubewell connections had also been released. He said 1,500 new villages had been selected to be developed as model villages at a cost of Rs 750 crore.

Funds amounting to Rs 1816.37 crore were being spent to provide drinking water in the villages under World Bank Project.

Mr Birmi said in order to strengthen infrastructure facilities, different road projects were being strengthened at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore and 18 new corridors roads were being completed at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore. He further said 1,700 long link roads had been repaired at a cost of Rs 700 crore and 1,869 km long new link roads were being constructed in the state.

He also added that, as promised, the government had created a corpus fund of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular disbursement of pensions to as many as 10 lakh persons in the state.

Earlier, Mr Birmi and other dignitaries paid floral tributes to Rajiv Gandhi.

Others who addressed the function included Mr Hardeep Singh Kadian, Chairman Market Committee, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, Chairman, Market Committee, Sahnewal, Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, President, Municipal Council, Sahnewal.

Meanwhile, in another function, the local unit of the Congress Seva Dal organised a chetna rally to mark the occasion. Workers took out a rally from Clock Tower to Jagraon Bridge. A function was organised near the statues of the martyrs.

Mr Surinder Dawer, Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, President DCC (urban), Mr Harmohinder Singh, President DCC, Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, Ms Sushil Prashar, Coordinator, Seva Dal, Mr Ramesh Joshi, Secretary, PPCC, Mr Ashok Prashar, Secretary, PPCC, and Mr Parminder Mehta, paid tributes to the great leader.



Suicide or not
Our Correspondent

Payal, August 20
Mystery shrouds the incident in which a local resident reportedly had consumed a poisonous substance and was admitted to a private hospital in an unconscious state by some persons with the help of Payal police. He had reportedly tried to commit suicide. The Payal police denied the reports that the man had attempted to commit suicide on the police station premises.

Sources revealed that Sarabjit Singh, a resident of ward number 7, had been called to the local police station in connection with a theft case, yesterday. He was taken to the Civil Hospital in an unconscious state and was later shifted to a private hospital in Doraha, where his condition was stated to be stable.

The Payal police, however, denied the reports of a suicide bid and maintained that Sarabjit had consumed some poisonous substance by mistake at his home. His life was saved by the police who shifted him to a private hospital on the request of the family of the victim.

The SHO, Mr Paramjit Singh, said Sarabjit had been called to the police station in connection with a theft case but was allowed to go home later. “We came to know later that he had taken some poisonous substance, mixed in water by mistake, after reaching home,” explained the SHO. He claimed that the police had helped the family of the victim in shifting him to a private hospital. The SHO said further action could be taken only after receiving a written complaint from his family. 



Gang of robbers busted, five held
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 20
The Payal police claims to have busted a gang of robbers, active for the past sometime.

The Payal police, on a tip-off, has arrested Mohan Lal, son of Amrik Parshad of Awapana Chauraha of Sejiabad in Uttar Pardesh, at present residing in Jeewan Nagar, Mundian Kalan, Ludhiana, Vinod Chaudhary, a resident of Garha Kota in Madhya Pradesh, Ajay Kumar, son of Shiv Nath of Rampur in Katani, Uttar Pardesh, Bablu, son of Rajesh of Rajiv Gandhi colony, Focal Point, Ludhiana, and Rajal Kumar, son of Sunder Kumar of Jeewan Nagar, Mundian Kalan, Ludhiana. It has recovered five motorcycles, two scooters, one pistol, a .12 bore rifle, two knives, one rod, a rickshaw and a cycle.

The miscreants have been booked under Sections 379, 399 and 402 of the IPC and the Arms Act at police stations in Ludhiana as well as Payal.

“The arrests were made at the Gurthali bridge of Doraha and the police is hopeful of many more recoveries during further interrogation, according to Mr Paramjit Singh, SHO, Payal.



Kidnap bid foiled

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 20
Balwinder Singh, alias Budhu, son of Major Singh, a resident of Kutba Gate, Raikot, and owner of a marriage bureau situated at Jodhan village, was kidnapped by a group of miscreants from Halwara village. He was rescued by the Sudhar police within half an hour.

Balwinder was intercepted by two motor-cycle-borne youth. He entered the house of Kulwinder Singh of Halwara. The duo barged into the house and dragged him out. He was beaten up and later thrown into a Zen car (number PB 10 BE 4013) and taken towards Toosa village.

The Raikot circle police sealed link roads leading to Halwara. The kidnappers succumbed to pressure of two separate teams, one led by Mr Gurmit Singh, SHO Raikot. OC



Three gurdwara employees suspended
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
Three regular employees in the Gurdwara Manji Sahib Kottan, 15 km from here, have been suspended by the SGPC, Amritsar, according to Darshan Singh Cashier in Gurdawara Manji Sahib Kottan. Cashier Darshan Singh said the suspension orders of these three employees, including some temporary sewadars, were suspended due to serious irregularities in an yearly function in the gurdwara, five days ago.



Youth booked for rape
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
The Basti Jodhewal police today booked a youth for the alleged rape of a student of BA-II yesterday. The accused Amrik Singh , a resident of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar. He allegedly raped the girl near Tibba Road. The girl was examined at the civil hospital today.



Poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 20
Gurdev Singh Deka of Bhodi was arrested by Dehlon police from Qila Raipur and the police seized 35 kg of poppy husk. A case under Section 15.61.85 of NDPS Act has been registered.

Meanwhile, in another accident Balraj Singh of Kotha Khazooran and Avtar Singh of Agwar Lopo, Jagraon, were injured when a blue line bus driven by Raju hit their Hero Honda Motorcycle in the area of Sidhwan Kalan on August 14. The police has registered a case under Section 279/337 IPC against Raju. 


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