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72 suspected gastro cases in Phagwara
Chlorine tablets, ORS packets distributed in Ratanpura Mohalla

Phagwara, February 8
In the wake of reports of the outbreak of “gastroenteritis” in Ratanpura Mohalla here, the Health Department has distributed 3,000 tablets of chlorine and 80 packets of ORS (oral rehydration solution) to the residents of the locality to prevent the spread of the disease.

‘Human error could be responsible for ammonia gas leak’
Phagwara, February 8
The yet-to-be-completed magisterial probe into the Sunday night’s ammonia gas leak from Messers Jalota Ice Factory on the Phagwara-Banga Road here has indicated that human error and inadequate safety measures could have played a part in the incident.


EARLIER STORIES

 
The enforcement wing of PUDA demolishing unauthorised structures in the Civil Lines area near the Milap Chowk in Jalandhar on Wednesday.
The enforcement wing of PUDA demolishing unauthorised structures in the Civil Lines area near the Milap Chowk in Jalandhar on Wednesday. — Photo by S.S.Chopra. 

RCF unions to sit on dharna from today
Kapurthala, February 8
The leaders of the Rail Coach Factory unions have decided to sit on dharna along with their families in front of the factory gate from tomorrow. Mr Brij Mohan, joint secretary of the Staff Council, announced this here today.

Jalandhar to have 24-member District Planning Committee
Jalandhar, February 8
Jalandhar will soon have a 24-member District Planning Committee to replace its existing 15-member District Planning Board.

Tension at Sri Baba Sidh Yodhanath Dera
Kapurthala, February 8
A piquant situation arose at Sri Baba Sidh Yodhanath Dera when Sant Somnath from Peer Chand Nath Dham, Rohtak, declared Baba Balbir Singh as the head of the dera here yesterday. Mr Samir Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, had already nominated Mahant Kailash Nath as the manager of the dera last week.

Polio mop-up operation
Phagwara, February 8
In the next phase of polio mop-up drive, polio drops would be administered to 0-5 age group children on February 26. Dr Jagjit Singh Sidana, Civil Surgeon, Kapurthala, today disclosed that the month of February was being observed as the “Special Vaccination Month” on the directions of the Punjab Health Department. Special camps were being organised for vaccination against six dreaded diseases, he added. — OC

1killed in mishap
Phagwara, February 8
Gopal Ram, a member of Bhabiana village Panchayat, was killed when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a tempo on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur Road yesterday night. He died on the spot. — OC

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72 suspected gastro cases in Phagwara
Chlorine tablets, ORS packets distributed in Ratanpura Mohalla
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 8
In the wake of reports of the outbreak of “gastroenteritis” in Ratanpura Mohalla here, the Health Department has distributed 3,000 tablets of chlorine and 80 packets of ORS (oral rehydration solution) to the residents of the locality to prevent the spread of the disease.

This was disclosed to this correspondent here today by Dr Yash Mitra, SMO, Civil Hospital, Phagwara.

He claimed that teams of doctors were visiting the locality to distribute the material door to door.

The residents were also being advised to keep their surroundings hygienic and to drink boiled water, he said.

He, however, denied that there was an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the area. He claimed that the patients were suffering from diarrhoea.

He said that as many as 70 patients suffering from diarrhoea were examined and treated by a team of doctors, while two more patients were admitted in a private hospital today.

He claimed that the situation was under control and there was no need to panic.

Two water samples were taken from the affected areas and sent to a Jalandhar laboratory for testing.

Meanwhile, the Phagwara Nagar Council has also launched the cleanliness drive in the locality. The Council ME Satish Sharma was seen overseeing the cleanliness drive.

So far, 72 cases of gastroenteritis have been reported from the Ratanpura locality, it has been learnt.

The disease, which has erupted after six months, also claimed the life of a seven-month-old male infant, Himanshu, on Monday night in gali number 16, it has been learnt. 

Six months back, a female infant had died of gastroenteritis in this locality.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena Hindustan leader, Mr Ajay Mehta, today demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the bereaved family of Himanshu, whose father Subodh is a mill worker.

Ajay Mehta also supported former senior vice-president of Nagar Council Gurbachan Singh Walia, who had declared to step up the stir against the Council.

Mr Walia, a former Congress leader, had yesterday threatened that he would immolate himself in front of the office of Nagar Council in case the problem of contaminated water was not solved.

The enraged residents of the Ratanpura had yesterday blocked the rail traffic by detaining a DMU for one hour on the Phagwara-Nawanshahr rail section near the JCT Mill railway level crossing in protest against the supply of contaminated water and accumulation of stinking water in the locality.

The “gastro-affected” residents alleged that sewage was mixing with the drinking water, resulting in the spread of the disease.

They further alleged that the waste water overflowing from tubewells of the JCT Mill was the root cause of the problem.

However, Mr J.C. Sodhi, General Manager (L&IR), JCT Limited, denied it. “The JCT has no link with the overflowing water, as the overflow has its roots in Shivpuri locality and it is due to the negligence of Nagar Council only,” he said. “We spent Rs 1 lakh to engage a private contractor for helping the Council clear its choked sewerage points,” he claimed.

When contacted today, the local MLA, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, assured that the problem would be solved at the earliest. “I had taken up the matter of Rs 9 crore grant for sewerage with the authorities concerned, including the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh,” he claimed.

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‘Human error could be responsible
for ammonia gas leak’

Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 8
The yet-to-be-completed magisterial probe into the Sunday night’s ammonia gas leak from Messers Jalota Ice Factory on the Phagwara-Banga Road here has indicated that human error and inadequate safety measures could have played a part in the incident.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Kapurthala, Ms Bhavna Garg, revealed this while talking to media persons this afternoon.

The ADC went to the premises of the factory and met shopkeepers in its adjoining area.

When asked if she had found any evidence of human error in the case, she said that if a screw was left loose, it was a human error.

She said that tomorrow she would call the officials responsible for ensuring the implementation of the provisions of the Factory Act.

“After meeting these officials, I would submit my report to Kapurthala DC Sameer Kumar in a day or two,” she added.

She disclosed that she had asked the factory owner to keep sufficient masks in the factory as a safety measure.

Since the shops in the neighbourhood of the factory were closed on Sunday when the gas had leaked, some shopkeepers reportedly feigned ignorance about the leakage.

However, the owner of the factory was reluctant to talk to the media persons and evaded their queries.

It may be mentioned here that the Kapurthala DC, Mr Sameer Kumar, had ordered a magisterial probe into the incident that had created panic among the area residents on Sunday night. 

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RCF unions to sit on dharna from today
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, February 8
The leaders of the Rail Coach Factory unions have decided to sit on dharna along with their families in front of the factory gate from tomorrow. Mr Brij Mohan, joint secretary of the Staff Council, announced this here today.

The RCF employees have been agitating since January 11 when the members of the elected Staff Council submitted their resignations against the alleged dictatorial attitude of the management.

The employees have been demanding the recruitment of workers in Group C and D, abolition of contract system, promotion on the basis of the sanctioned strength of 8,340 and that the period of six days’ agitation from June 27 to July 2 last year be considered on duty instead of leave due.

While addressing the employees in a gate meeting yesterday evening, Mr Hira Lal Dhir district president, Bharatiya Janta Party, Kapurthala, and Mr Sudesh Sharma, chairman, Intellectual Cell of the Kapurthala unit of Congress party, announced their full support to the agitation. Mr Dhir assured them that the question on their demands and the audit report in which wastage of crore of rupees on the purchase of machinery in the RCF would be taken up in the Parliament by the party’s state president and member of parliament, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna.

Meanwhile, two employees were injured in the factory when they were on duty. Ramesh, helper-I working in sidewall section of fabrication shop, got his both the legs fractured and referred to a Jalandhar hospital, while Shymal Kumar, a painter-I working in bogie paint shop, sustained injuries when the chain of hydraulic lifting platform broke down.

The union leaders alleged that the accidents were caused due to the inferior quality of machinery installed in the factory.

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Jalandhar to have 24-member
District Planning Committee

Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 8
Jalandhar will soon have a 24-member District Planning Committee to replace its existing 15-member District Planning Board.

With such a change, meetings currently being chaired by Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, Health Minister, Punjab, for drafting district development plans will then most likely be chaired by an MLA from the district. Since nomination of the chairman, as per the Act, is to be made by the state government, the MLA will certainly be from the ruling party.

As five of the MLAs from the district are also ministers, sources in the party revealed that the situation was most favourable for Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, MLA, Jalandhar Central.

Since the Act in this regard was passed about three months back, the administration and board members are anxiously awaiting a notification from the state government. Mr Ajoy Sharma, ADC (development), said a notification was expected soon and it was most likely to come before the next meeting of the board.

Interestingly, Mr Dogra is also the chairman of the District Grievances Committee and the two meetings were often being held one after the other on the same day owing to convenience and busy schedule of the minister. Since the Grievances Committee meeting has now been fixed for 7th of every month, the meeting of Planning Board will also be held on the same day till a Planning Committee is constituted.

Since Jalandhar district has almost 19 lakh population, which is less than 20 lakh and more than 10 lakh, the committee will have 24 members in all as per the Act. Same will be the case in Hoshiarpur. The Kapurthala and the Nawanshahr districts, that have population less than 10 lakh, will have 15 members while Amritsar, with population over 20 lakh, will have 40 members in its committee.

As per the calculations made in accordance with the Act, Jalandhar will have 10 members from Zila Parishad and nine from urban local bodies. Five other members would be MLAs and the other persons nominated by the state government. Besides, the Deputy Commissioner will be the ex-officio secretary of the committee and the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) will be the ex-officio additional secretary of the committee. The Deputy Economics and Statistical Adviser of the district will be the ex-officio joint secretary of the committee.

The Act also states that the elected members of the committee shall end with the term of the panchayat at the district level or a municipality of which he is a member. Functions of the committee shall include preparing a developmental plan in view of common interest between the urban and rural population, including spatial planning, sharing of water and other physical and natural resources.

Other functions will include preparing priority-wise list of schemes and programmes to be undertaken, implementation of the projects, monitoring the progress of projects, to encourage panchayats and municipalities to take up projects, to generate additional resources with the cooperation of various agencies. 

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Tension at Sri Baba Sidh Yodhanath Dera
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, February 8
A piquant situation arose at Sri Baba Sidh Yodhanath Dera when Sant Somnath from Peer Chand Nath Dham, Rohtak, declared Baba Balbir Singh as the head of the dera here yesterday. Mr Samir Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, had already nominated Mahant Kailash Nath as the manager of the dera last week.

In view of the prevailing tension, the police force has been deployed outside the dera to prevent any untoward incident.

According to information, Mahant Kailash Nath was claiming the right to be the chief of the dera on the basis of a will executed by Mahant Brahaspati Nath, the former head of the dera.

On the other side, Baba Balbir Nath was claiming that Mahant Brahaspati Nath had nominated him as the mahant of the dera at the time of his demise on November 3 last year.

During the “kirya” ceremony of Mahant Brahaspati Nath on November 16, 2005, heated exchanges were witnessed between the two mahants and their followers.

At that time, the situation was controlled only after the prominent people of the town interfered in the matter.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner nominated Mahant Kailash Nath as the manager of the dera on February 2 last, putting forth some conditions to be fulfilled by the Mahant.

Baba Balbir Nath has accused the administration of not following the proper procedure in nominating the manager of the dera.

The administration had neither published any proclamation in this regard nor called the aggrieved party for hearing, he alleged.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, Ms Bhavna Garg, was scheduled to visit the spot today, but she could not visit the spot as she had to go to Phagwara in connection with the probe into the ammonia gas leakage case.

The Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

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Polio mop-up operation

Phagwara, February 8
In the next phase of polio mop-up drive, polio drops would be administered to 0-5 age group children on February 26. Dr Jagjit Singh Sidana, Civil Surgeon, Kapurthala, today disclosed that the month of February was being observed as the “Special Vaccination Month” on the directions of the Punjab Health Department. Special camps were being organised for vaccination against six dreaded diseases, he added. — OC

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1killed in mishap

Phagwara, February 8
Gopal Ram, a member of Bhabiana village Panchayat, was killed when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a tempo on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur Road yesterday night. He died on the spot. — OC

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