L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Quack’s medicine claims another life
Death toll goes up to four
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
The case involving alleged quacks operating from a charitable dispensary in Prem Nagar consumed another life today. A three-year-old boy, who had consumed medicines from the dispensary 17 days ago, breathed his last at the CMC Hospital this afternoon after struggling for life for over two weeks.

With this, the death toll has gone up to four. Interestingly, the actual effect of the medicines causing the deaths has remained a mystery.

The police was still awaiting the viscera examination of the three children, which had been sent to the State Chemical Examiner’s Laboratory in Patiala a fortnight ago.

The victim, Dinesh Kumar, son of Raj Kumar who runs a shoe manufacturing business, was admitted to the CMC on September 20.

He and four other minor children had allegedly taken medicines from a “matriculate” nurse and a former truck driver employed as a compounder in the Mata Prem Kaur Charitable Dispensary here on September 20.

Three of those died immediately after taking the medicines, while the fourth regained health after remaining in a hospital for some days.

Dinesh remained in a critical state though doctors at the CMC tried their best to save his life.

Hospital sources said the boy never gained proper consciousness. His condition deteriorated last night leading to his death at 12.30 pm today.

SHO, Division No. 2 police station, Gurpreet Singh said the three accused in the case would now be charged with causing four deaths due to negligence.

The police had arrested the alleged quack, Suman, and the compounder, Devinder Singh, who had administered the medicines on the fateful day.

The third accused, Jasbir Singh, chairman of the management committee of the charitable dispensary, was arrested a week ago.

The state government had provided a compensation of Rs 25,000 each to the three aggrieved families.

A pall of gloom descended on the Prem Nagar colony in the afternoon after the news of the death broke. All four families belonged to a Rajasthani community settled here and were inter-related.



Paddy glut at centres has farmers worried
Mahesh Sharma

Standing paddy crop at Pakhowal village in Ludhiana district
Standing paddy crop at Pakhowal village in Ludhiana district. —  Photo by writer

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 6
Grain markets and purchase centres in the area are glutted with paddy. Procurement agencies are likely to have a tough time after a couple of days when a majority of the farmers will begin harvesting.

Even now, the grain markets are packed to capacity though only a fraction of the total paddy crop has been harvested.

A visit to the area revealed that a majority of the farmers are yet to start harvesting fearing slow speed of procurement by state agencies.

Mohinder Singh Seelon and Baldev Singh Latala, president and general secretary of the Mhuri Kisan Union, respectively, alleged that the state government had proved to be a complete failure as it could not make the agencies procure the precious produce of the farmers.

“If this is the condition when only a fraction of the produce has arrived in the market, one can imagine what the situation will be like once the entire crop is harvested,” say farmer leaders.

At Pakhowal, Latala, Chhapar, Barundi, Kailey, Halwara, Nangal Kalan, Aittiana, Dhulkot and Jartoli villages, a majority of the farmers are yet to start harvesting. Some of them fear that their produce will get stuck in the market while others are waiting for their crop to ripe.

“Thank God, we transplanted paddy late in June and it is yet to ripe. Otherwise we would have had a tough time selling our produce,” said Safaljit Singh and Hardeep Singh of Nangal Khurd. They are worried about the situation after a fortnight when it could even be worse.

Inder Singh and Pal Singh of Latala, who have been waiting for the sale of their produce lying at the grain market, Latala, have decided to stop further harvesting till agencies adopt a sympathetic attitude towards the farmers. 



Gold prices set to spiral up
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
The effect of navratras is yet to show on gold prices in the domestic market. Experts say one should invest in gold within the next few days. While international gold prices are at an all-time high, Indian markets are yet to feel the heat as the marriage season is round the corner.

“Since there are no weddings till the beginning of November, people have not really started buying gold jewellery. The rates are set to increase by at least Rs 300-400 per 10 gm in the next few weeks,” said Mr Anand Prakash Sikri, president, Ludhiana Jewellers Association.

The prevailing rate of gold is Rs 6,750 (24 K) and Rs 6,350 (22K) per 10 gm.

Traders say following a spurt in international demand and a consequent rise in international gold prices, the rates have increased by around Rs 400 per 10 gm in the past two weeks.

According to investment experts, prices being in a correction mode, the coming two to three days will witness a further decline, which is when people should do the buying and reap profits once the prices pick up.

“We are waiting for the demand to pick up. It would only be then that prices would start moving upward,” said Mr Vipin Dhanda of Prem Jewellers, who is the organising and press secretary of the Ludhiana Jewellers Association.

The trend in prices makes gold an attractive investment. “Consider returns and gold is the best option currently, which would give an annualised return of over 10-12 per cent within a very short period,” said an investment adviser with a leading private bank.

Not only gold, but mutual funds (commodity funds), which have a major investment in gold, will also be a good investment option. “For instance, if gold gives a return of 10-12 per cent during this period, mutual funds would give almost double the return as funds outperform other investment options, since a fund manager invests in various areas,” he said.

Mr Raman Malhotra, an investment adviser, said: “Being in correction mode, prices are likely to come down. People should buy then if they are planning an investment in gold. 



Yarn broker held for fraud, bailed out
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
A yarn broker has allegedly duped a number of city traders of crores of rupees by allegedly withholding the payments on one pretext or the other. The Division No. 3 police arrested the alleged broker, Shailinder Malhotra, late last evening. He was arrested on the orders of Judicial Magistrate Sangeet Pal Singh.

The accused was released on bail this afternoon after he furnished security bonds.

The accused entered into an altercation with mediapersons at the District Court complex today when they tried to take his photographs.

He abused and threatened the photographers with dire consequences, until a team of local police intervened and restored order.

One of the complainants, Municipal Councillor and senior BJP leader Parveen Bansal, alleged that the accused had duped a large number of city traders and was being allegedly sheltered by a former youth Congress leader. He said the city police should register cases against him and his accomplices and arrest them as crores of rupees were involved.

The accused has, however, denied the allegations.



Passing Thru

Ashutosh Vinayak
Ashutosh Vinayak, a former president of the BJP Yuva Morcha, Punjab, and councillor, ward No.10, Ahmedgarh

You had earlier contested the Assembly poll on the BJP ticket. What prompted you to contest the municipal elections?

I had to contest the municipal elections as it was the need of the hour in the wake of the murder of Sham Sunder, councillor from the same ward, who was tipped to be the next president of the municipal council. Since the ruling party MLA, Ms Razia Sultana, her husband Mohammad Mustaffa and some councillors were suspects in the murder case, nobody was daring to contest the election against the candidate put up by the Mustaffa camp. I was persuaded by the family of the late Sham Sunder to contest.

Now that you have been elected, what are your priorities?

First and foremost, I will pursue Sham Sunder’s murder case to its logical conclusion. The guilty must be punished at all costs. Secondly, I will try my best to put an end to the practice of horse-trading in the municipal council and ensuring proper utilisation of funds for the development of the town. I will also endeavour to get water and sewerage charges slashed, which are higher as compared to other towns in Punjab. I will try to ensure that the public is not harassed by municipal officers.

— D.B.Chopra



Dullo worried at brain drain among nurses
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 6
Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Shamsher Singh Dullo has expressed concern over acute shortage of nurses, particularly in government hospitals, and increasing tendency of trained nurses to migrate to foreign countries in search of lucrative careers.

Inaugurating the 21st Biennial National Conference of Trained Nurses Association of India (TNAI) at Dumra Auditorium at the DMCH here today, he said it was heartening to note that during the past few years the quality of nursing care in India had undergone a remarkable change.

Commenting on acute shortage of nurses and disproportionate patient-nurses ratio, particularly in government hospitals, Mr Dullo said it was a common sight to see a single nurse take care of 70 to 80 patients, which affected the quality of patient care.

“The government ought to take remedial steps and improve the nurse-patient ratio in the country.”

He assured of taking up demands put forth by the Punjab state branch of the TNAI at an appropriate level for their acceptance and implementation.

Nursing adviser to Government of India T. Dileep Kumar focused on measures being initiated by the government as well as recommendations made to state governments to redress the problems being faced by trained nurses.

Unfolding the theme of conference — “Human rights and nurses role” — he said everyone had the right to move freely, eat, sleep and have good health.

He said the 2002 National Health Policy document had emphasised on the profession. “The code of professional conduct and code of ethic in the country are based on the human rights to safeguard patients and professionals.”

He added that the Centre had sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the welfare of nurses in country. At the same time, funds were being made available for upgrade of existing schools of nursing to colleges.

In her presidential address, national president of the TNAI Satish Chawla highlighted the achievements of the body, which included purchase of land in Noida for setting up a central institute of nursing, increase in the TNAI membership, raising scholarships funds, launch of the TNAI website and establishment of new TNAI branches in Pondicherry, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, and Lakshadweep.

President, Punjab state branch of TNAI, Dr Kanwaljit Gill delivered the welcome address and DMC principal Dr Daljit Singh introduced the chief guest.

General secretary of the TNAI Sheila Seda read out the annual report.

Principal, College of Nursing, DMCH, Dr Jasbir Kaur proposed a vote of thanks.



Trustee wants probe into ‘Rs 150-cr LIT scam’ expedited
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
A trustee of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has urged the Chief Minister to conduct a time-bound inquiry into the alleged bungling of Rs 150 crore by the trust.

Alleging that the LIT sold 2.19 lakh sq yards worth Rs 150 crore to the Kabir Co-operative Housing Society by bending rules, she said the inquiry into the matter, that was assured to be completed within 15 days in May last year, was still not complete.

Ms Malkiat Kaur has written to the LIT chairman to call an urgent general house meeting within a week so that “the record of the scandal could be presented in the House and officers asked to explain why the inquiry was being delayed”.

According to the trustee, the government had notified to the LIT in November 1981 to allot 45 per cent to 55 per cent of acquired property of the Kabir Cooperative Housing Society, on the condition that each member be given one plot which he would not sell for a period of 10 years.

The trust, she said , urged the government to give 65 per cent of property plus an additional 15 per cent property on reserve rate to the society. However, the demand was declined by the government.

Despite being unlawful to give the additional 15 per cent property, the trust allotted more than what was permitted, alleged Ms Malkiat Kaur.

She said the engineering wing of the LIT, in its report, had found that the trust allotted 69 per cent property to the society.

She alleged that despite an inquiry having been ordered, there had been no progress. She demanded that the land should be taken from the society and allotted to those people who were making rounds of various courts to get the plots, which in many cases existed only on papers. This would not only spare innocent people of harassment but would also earn revenue for the trust.

The trustee alleged that the trust was conducting the inquiry half-heartedly as it wanted to shield many officials who were involved in the scam.

Sources in the LIT said in 1992, trust officials, along with society members, had passed a resolution and amended the laws of allotment and had given up to 70 per cent land. An agreement was also signed by both parties. However, the trust officials have no record of the remaining 30 per cent land. 



Aastha holds annual function
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 6
The Aastha Ladies Club organised its annual function at a hotel here today. The venue was tastefully decorated to suit the occasion. New team of the club took over the charge.

Ms Rama Shori, outgoing president of the club, welcomed the new president, Ms Mona Sood, and the vice-president, Ms Nidhi Gupta.

A modelling show was organised by the members in which the participants draped bright coloured sarees in different manners. Various games, including one-minute game and tambola, were also organised.



At the Crossroads
Remembering Sant Singh Sekhon

During the '30s and '40s of the past century some stalwarts in the field of English literature, like Teja Singh, Sant Singh Sekhon and Guarbachan Singh Talib, decided to devote their creative and critical faculties to the enrichment of Punjabi literature. Post-graduation in Punjabi literature was introduced in Amritsar and Patiala by Panjab University in 1949.

At that time Professor Sekhon had been teaching MA English classes at Khalsa College, Amritsar, for more than a decade. Without a second thought, he switched over to the Punjabi Department and that too with a missionary zeal.

He also persuaded, besides Prof Dewan Singh and Prof Gulwant Singh, Dr Roshan Lal Ahuja to teach Greek and English drama (in Punjabi version) to MA Punjabi students.

Since then Professor Sekhon had been acknowledged as the Aristotle of Punjabi literary criticism. Luckily his Airstotelian role did not deter him from treading on the path of creative writing. He had started writing short stories during the '30s and short plays during the '40s. He continued doing creative writing in these two forms of literature but, just before the advent of the '50s, he contributed a novel,"Lahu Mitti," which proved to be a trend-setter in Punjabi fiction. For a long time this novel as well as Prof S.S. Narula's novel, "Peo Puttar", had been quoted as the best examples of realistic novel in Punjabi. It appears as if Professor Sekhon had donned the cloak of a critic by design, whereas he had been the creative artist by nature. He received the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 1971 for his play, "Mitter Piara".

It is difficult to say whether he was an avant-garde short story writer or a trend-setter in Punjabi drama or an innovator in the field of novel as he excelled equally in all these genres. Still my heart goes to his novel "Lahu Mitti" wherein he has narrated the story of a peasant family of Dakha that abandons home in search of pastures new. It suffers from distress due to displacement, but settles down ultimately in West Punjab during the period of canal colonisation. In the words of Prof Harbans Singh: "Lahu Mitti" deals with life at the grassroots and gives a vigorous portrayal of a peasant's struggle for survival". In his second novel, "Baba Aasman", Professor Sekhon has narrated once again how a peasant family has to struggle hard to come out of the clutches of the village money lender. This story of a poor village lad, maturing into manhood and then into old age, synchronises with the political upheavals in India and abroad during the last decade of the 19th century to the mid-'50s of the 20th century.

Professor Sekhon was born in 1908 and he breathed his last at Dakha (Ludhiana) on October 7, 1997. In this way he had literally spanned the 20th century by linking the first decade to the last one. This colossus of Punjabi literature was honoured by his admirers on November 3, 1991, at Punjabi Bhavan, Ludhiana, in a befitting manner. On this occasion he was presented with a purse of Rs 1 lakh , a robe of honour and a citation. The Abhinandan Granth, compiled by Prof Pritam Singh and published by Navyug Press, New Delhi, was also released on that day. Later, he received the Dahliwal Award, Sarv-Saresht Sahitkar, under the banner of Punjabi Sahit Academy, Ludhiana. In fact, the organisations that had honoured him during the last decades of his life, felt honoured as he was regarded as the pioneer of Marxist appraisal of Punjabi literature for long. As a literary critic he stands apart due to his unprejudiced views of Punjabi literary works, both classical and modern.

— N.S. Tasneem



Liquor seized, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 6
The local police held two persons and seized illicit liqour from them.
Head Constable Jarnail Singh arrested Baljit Singh of Sidhwan Kalan from Swaddi Kalan and seized 50 litres of illicit liqour from him. Similarly, ASI Jagjit Singh arrested Swarn Singh of Khurshaidpur from Agwar Gujjran and seized 16 litres of illicit liquor from him. Cases have been registered.

16 booked: Kimti Lal, RajinderPal, Paramjit Singh, Lakhvir Singh, Sukhvir Singh, Gagandip Singh. Mandip Singh, Nahar Singh, Kishan Singh, Kala Singh of Gobindgarh alongwith six other persons have been booked by the Raikot police under Sections 323, 324, 148, 149, 379, 279, IPC, on the statement of Kaur Singh, sarpanch of Jaladdiwal.

According to information, the abovesaid hit the complainant and injured her while driving a Balero at Dana Mandi, Jaladdiwal.


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