L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Open manholes pose risk to life
Tribune News Service

The sight of an open manhole sends shivers down the spine of Rakesh Talwar (50), a resident of Chotti Haibowal, who had become paralysed after falling into a gutter in July 1998.

After remaining in a coma for a year, he could not move from his bed for a year. When he regained consciousness, he found that the right side of his body could not move.

Now he is able to walk, but he cannot control his limbs fully. He is now fighting battle against the corporation in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

Ludhiana, March 27
Even as open manholes in the city pose threat to residents, the Municipal Corporation does not care.
A manhole in Sarabha Nagar in front of gate number 2 of PAU is without cover for the past many days. Similarly, in Bhaura Colony another manhole is without cover.

Residents say they had made several representations to the authorities concerned in this regard but nobody paid any heed to these.

Two gutters near GMT School on the Jalandhar bypass are without cover, posing threat to children.

“Nobody is listening. Is the civic body waiting for some tragedy to happen?” asks Mr Gurpal Singh, a resident.

A few days ago some residents used logs to cover a manhole. The residents say open manholes are posing threat to commuters, especially during night. A number of times many people have fallen in the manholes.

Another manhole has been without cover for the past many days near Rose Enclave. The manhole is located on a blind turn. The residents say several times two-wheeler drivers have met with an accident at this point.

“Some days ago we had placed some tree branches warning the commuters against the open manholes. But the branches were removed after sometime,” he said, adding they urged the civic authorities a number of times to prevent any untoward incident.

“Leaving a manhole open is a serious lapse for which action should be initiated against corporation officials. This shows the casual approach of the corporation,” says Mr S.S. Chana, another resident.



Residents for reconstruction of Gill Bridge
Blame game goes on
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Despite various representations and protests by residents of colonies on Gill Road, the bridge over the Sidhwan Canal, that had collapsed a year ago, is yet to be reconstructed. This had caused traffic problems and threat to the canal upstream.

Though the Municipal Corporation was claiming to provide new overbridges and roads besides other infrastructures, it had failed to do anything about the collapsed bridge. Many residents, who had organised protests in favour of its reconstruction threatened that they would intensify their agitation if the bridge was not reconstructed.

Though the residents claimed that following the collapse of the old bridge, the new bridge was forced to carry the burden of traffic. They claimed that before the monsoons it should be reconstructed otherwise the slab of the earlier bridge which had fallen on the bed of the canal would flood the adjacent colonies.

Though the residents cry foul, the bridge remains embroiled in a controversy with the Municipal Corporation authorities claiming that it is the PWD and the latter pointing finger towards the former for shouldering the responsibility of reconstruction. At the same time both reiterate that there was already a new bridge existing just adjacent to the old bridge and there was no problem for the commuters.

The PWD officials said it was the MC who had not maintained and repaired the bridge properly. The bridge had been closed for traffic in October two years ago when media reports pointed to some cracks in its surface and pillars. However, after that, no repair work was undertaken.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the Municipal Corporation had washed its hands off the matter saying that the Sidhwan Canal was maintained by the Irrigation department and hence the bridges should also be maintained by this department or by the PWD Bridges and Roads Department.

The Irrigation Department Officials however, point towards the PWD and the MC for the work. They argued that the PWD constructed it and the MC maintained it. The PWD officials say that it is not their job and the MC or the Irrigation Department should be asked about the delay in the repair work.



SSP to probe petition against committee members
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
While disposing of a writ petition against the office bearers of Shri Ram Lila Committee Daresi Ground, Ludhiana, Mr Justice Nirmal Yadav of Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the SSP Ludhiana to ''look into the matter and take appropriate action in accordance with law''.

The order was pronounced by the High Court while deciding the writ petition filed by Avinash Sareen of Brahmpuri and Vijay Kumar of Shivpurt. They had demanded the court to direct the state of Punjab, SSP Ludhiana and SHO Division No: 4 Police Station to register a case against the president of Shri Ram Lila Committee Daresi, Mr Sat Pal Bawa; chairman, Mr Prem Prashar; vice president-Mr Kewal Krishan Marwaha and three other persons — Mr Yashpal Prasher, Mr Sanjiv Kundra and Mr Kishan Lal Bajaj.

It was alleged that the office bearers of the Ram Lila Committee misappropriated the funds of the committee.

It was further alleged that the matter was reported to the local police but not action was initiated.

Though the HighCourt did not accept the demand of the petitioners to give directions to register the case but asked SSP Ludhiana to look into the matter. 



PSEB employees to hold rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Privatisation of the power sector would result in an increase of at least 48 per cent in power tariffs. In places where privatisation has been done — Orrissa and Delhi — consumers have been suffering due to high tariffs and poor services. This was stated by Mr Sadaruddin Rana, vice-president, All India Federation of Electricity Employees, while talking to newspersons at the conclusion of the 13th conference of the federation here today.

Mr Rana said employees of electricity boards across the country would hold a rallies in all district and circle offices on May 24 in support of the demand against the implementation of Electricity Act, 2003. “The employees would fight against dismantling and privatisation of power industry.

The Electricity Act, 2003, which was brought by the NDA government and is being pursued by the UPA government, contemplates and advocates the removal of subsidies to agriculture and other sectors, unbundling of electricity boards and privatising them eventually,” alleged Mr Rana.

He said the conference,

which involved the participation of employees from all states across the country, had demanded that the already dismantled electricity boards be restored and no other boards be privatised or dismantled.



Workers protest outside labour office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Workers of Oswal Woollen Mills, led by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), held a protest dharna outside the labour office here today. “It has become a routine with the representatives of companies not to appear for hearings. Even today workers have come for the hearing whereas the management has not, which is why we are protesting,” alleged Mr Jagdish Chand, joint secretary, CITU, Punjab. CITU, meanwhile, will observe an “anti-unemployment day” here tomorrow.



Jain chief of Punjab branch of IAP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
Dr B. J. Jain, Professor and Head of Paediatrics Department at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here, took over as president of the Punjab state branch of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) in the annual conference of IAP held at Amritsar yesterday.

Among other state body office bearers were Dr Rajinder Gulati, pediatrician at ESI Model Hospital, Ludhiana, who was elected as secretary, Dr Deepak Bhat from DMCH, Ludhiana, its treasurer, Dr Anil Sud from Jalandhar as president-elect, and Dr Vijay Ahuja from Sangrur as vice-president. The executive members of the team included Dr Arun Handa and Dr Harinder Singh, both from Ludhiana, Dr Lalit Tandon from Jalandhar, Dr Abha Sharma from Kapurthala and Dr Ashok Kumar from Hoshiarpur.

In an interview here today, Dr Jain and Dr Gulati remarked that the IAP, Punjab state, was committed to the betterment of the child and their healthcare. For attaining this objective, the executive body will soon meet the Punjab Health Minister as well as senior officials of health and family welfare officials.

"IAP members will help the government in carrying out the ongoing health projects under the implementation of Revised Child Health II scheme. The association is full of resource persons as far as strengthening of routine immunization, infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and integrated management of neonatal and childhood illness (IMNCI) is concerned."

The IAP functionaries further added that there was a need to develop primary, secondary and tertiary level care of health facility that was available to each child. Linkages and transport between different levels of health services to provide benefits of health care to all levels of society had also to be developed.

Dr Jain and Dr Gulati maintained that the IAP central body was in the forefront to spearhead a national movement for achieving significant improvements in child survival and development. It had joined hands with the Union Government, UNICEF, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other agencies working in related fields to accomplish this mission.



SGPC chief’s decision hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
The Shiromani Khalsa Dal has hailed the decision of SGPC President Avtar Singh to expel a senior Akali leader from the management committee of Nankana Sahib Senior Secondary School.

Mr Major Singh Khalsa, a spokesperson of the outfit, said it was a welcome step and would go a long way in the interests of the institution and students. This development was long overdue but the said member was staying on his post due to his alleged proximity with the Akali leadership.

The expelled leader’s unnecessary interference in the day to day working of the institution had adversely affected the academic atmosphere of the school. The teaching staff had to fight for their right with the management.

He further said this was not an isolated case, but the management of almost all institutions run by the SGPC were in shambles due to unnecessary interference in their day to day functioning. He alleged that some persons were on various management boards due to political considerations.



Expert talks on Indo-Pak relations
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
The attitude and mindset of Pakistanis, who are more prejudiced against Indians, has long been tailored in an institutionalised manner by intelligentsia and specialised groups working at the instance of certain forces, opined Dr Mohamad Irfan Farooki, principal investigator in a UGC research organisation on Indo-Pak relations.

Dr Farooki, a psychologist, presently working on “Psychological social dimensions of Indo-Pak relations: a psychological analysis” expressed these views on the basis of findings after interviewing 600 Indians and an equal number of Pakistanis. Students, academicians, journalists and lawyers were among special groups of his subjects being studied under a project, sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources Department.

“Pakistanis have started treating Muslims from India as deviating from Islam,” claimed Dr Farooki. He said Pakistanis were more uncompromising about the concept of secularism, as they had been living in a virtual isolation from people of other religions.

Referring to the outcome of his interaction with various sections of Pakistani society, Dr Farooki said that a majority of the Pakistanis were not ready to accept the two-nation theory. “Though Jinnah had himself admitted that he had committed a mistake by propounding the idea of two-nation theory, the Pakis nationals did not let me propagate this view on their land,” claimed the psychologist.

He said special groups in Pakistan, including mediapersons, intelligentsia and academicians were spreading venom of hatred against Indians among masses. Indians were being portrayed as fraudulent, coward and anti Muslim-entities, he said.



Pensioners plan rallies
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 27
The Punjab Government Pensioners Joint Front has criticised the government for its failure to implement the demands of pensioners. An action committee of the front, which met here today under the leadership of Mr Avtar Singh Affat, decided to intensify its agitation in case the government failed to accept the demands.

Mr Affat, Mr Prem Sagar Sharma, Mr Hardev Singh, Mr B.R. Kaushal, Mr Ranbir Dhillon, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Harbans Singh Sodhi and Mr Kushhal Singh Naga said in a joint statement that rallies would be held in the state from April 18 to 26.

In the next phase, regional rallies would be held at Ferozepore on May 12, Fatehgarh Sahib on May 19, Ludhiana on May 26, Amritsar on June 2 and Bathinda on June 9.

The state-level dharna would be staged in front of the Chief Minister’s residence in Patiala on April 29.


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