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‘Bandh’ paralyses health services
Solve imbroglio, docs urge Kalam, PM
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
Medical services in the city came to a complete halt as members of the medical fraternity observed a total ''medical bandh'' today in response to the appeal of the Joint Medicos Front, comprising students from Dayanand Medical College, Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Lord Mahavir Homoeopathic Medical College and members of the Indian Medical Association, the DMC Teachers Association, the Indian Dental Association and the National Integrated Medical Association.

The protest was organised to express solidarity with the agitating medical students and doctors against the new reservation policy of the government with respect to professional colleges.

OPD services in all major hospitals, including DMC Hospital, Hero DMC Heart Institute, SPS Apollo Hospitals, Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital, Civil Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, Raghunath Hospital, Deepak Hospital, Krishna Charitable Hospital, Dr B.L. Kapur Memorial Hospital and Satluj Hospital remained suspended. Only the emergency and indoor services, kept out of the purview of the agitation, were maintained in the interest of patients.

Hundreds of medical students from different institutions, medical teachers, junior doctors, interns and members of professional bodies took out a protest march from the DMCH to Mini Secretariat, passing through Fountain Chowk and Bharat Nagar Chowk. The protesters, carrying anti-reservation banners and placards, kept raising slogans against the government and its ''ill-conceived'' reservation policy all along.

A delegation of the Joint Medicos Front later submitted a memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner. Among others, Dr B.S. Shah, president, Dr Sanjeev Uppal, secretary, Dr Harpal Singh, Press secretary of the DMC Teachers Association, Dr Kapil Dua, Dr Bhagwant Singh, former president, Indian Dental Association, Dr Nauhria of the IMA, Dr Gulati of the ENT Association, Dr Rajinder Mittal and Dr R.K. Sharma of the DMC Old Students Association, along with activists of students body were present on this occasion.

In the memorandum, they urged the President of India and the Prime Minister to intervene and solve the reservation imbroglio amicably. They stressed that the reservation must be scrapped at all levels and instead the government should focus on cutting down the dropout rate of children belonging to the OBC, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from primary and secondary levels by giving them social and financial aid.

In particular, the President was asked to raise his voice against the illogical decision of the government at the cost of meritorious students in professional courses .

Meanwhile, in an emergency meeting held here today, the Punjab State branch of Indian Academy of Paediatrics expressed deep concern over the proposed reservation for OBCs and the callous attitude of the government towards the widespread agitation against these policies.

Dr B.K.Jain, president, Dr Rajinder Gulati, secretary, Dr Deepak Bhat, treasurer, Dr Anil Handa and Dr Harinder Singh, members of executive committee, came out in support of the ongoing anti-reservation agitation. They called for a speedy and unbiased solution to the whole issue so that medical services and academic atmosphere in the medical colleges got restored at the earliest.

In a move, aimed at expressing solidarity with anti-reservation agitation, the National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) has announced to hold a demonstration at Mini Secretariat here on May 19. According to NIMA district secretary Dr Surendra Gupta, NIMA doctors, wearing black badges, will raise a voice of protest against reservation and unprovoked use of force against agitating doctors in Mumbai and Delhi.

Dr Rajesh Thapar, president of the association, said NIMA would also launch a signature and e-mail drive to pressure the government against pursuing reservation in professional courses. He said the prevailing reservation policy had made a mockery of the great visionaries who wanted upliftment of the economically weaker sections.

The Bhagwan Parshuram Sabha, Punjab, has expressed solidarity with the nationwide protests of doctors against the reservation policy of the Government.

Dr B.K. Dutt, Chairman, and Sanjay Moudgil, general secretary, of the sabha, have condemned the indifferent attitude of the government towards the agitating doctors. 

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City enjoys thrill of war drill
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
A mock war drill was jointly organised by the Army and the Air Force in around 20 sq km area along the Sutlej here. Nobody could make out what was happening out in the open sky for a long time. They heaved a sigh of relief when they came to know that it was just a mock drill.

It happened around 9.30 pm. Several planes were flying very low. Most people got scared.

Mr Ujinder Singh Ahuja, IVF laboratory supervisor at Iqbal Hospital, Civil Lines, said when he noticed a plane without any lights on, he thought something was wrong with the plane and it might crash anytime.

That was not the only plane that flew in the sky. People sitting in the Satluj Club lawns also saw a number of fighter planes flying together. “The planes were flying very low and everybody got scared,” recalled Ms Radha who was having dinner with her family in the club lawns. She said everybody got scared as nobody knew as what was going on. It was only in the morning that she came to know that it was a mock drill jointly organised by the Army and the Air Force.

The scene in the rural areas was more thrilling and exciting. In Mandiani, Mor Karima, Dhatt, Shekhupura, Boparai and others villages, the drill appeared more like a real war. The residents in these villages saw not only the fighter planes flying too low in the sky, but also the battle tanks on the ground.

People in these villages told the Tribune that there was an advance announcement that there would be a power shutdown for the next 24 hours because of the military exercise. Although they were prepared for it, but the atmosphere created during the dead of the night was too thrilling.

“At one point of time, we thought as if real war was going on as there was pitch darkness all around and tanks were moving in the fields and planes flying over our rooftops,” recalled Yadvinder Singh, a student of Mandiani village.

The villagers said similar exercises were carried about a decade ago also.

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Two nabbed for Khassi Kalan murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The local police today announced the arrest of two drug addicts in connection with the murder of an aged man, whose body was found in Khassi Kalan village on May 10.

Two other addicts were absconding. A police press note issued here today said the accused, Sukhwinder Singh alias Avtar of Rai Bareilli (UP) and Balraj Singh alias Raju of Koomkalan village, had allegedly murdered the aged man, Raghvir Singh for pocketing Rs 1 lakh he had received after selling a plot.

The release said the accused were addicted to smack and the deceased also used to consume the drug.

The accused came to know about the plot sale and murdered him on the night of May 9. They dumped the body at an isolated place in Khassi Kalan village.

One of the absconders was identified as Rajinder Kumar Gupta. 

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Pucca houses replace huts in slum
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Demolition drives of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust notwithstanding, a full-fledged colony of slum dwellers has come up on the government land in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, this time comprising pucca structures.

Failure of the trust to remove slums have embolden their dwellers so much that they have raised concrete structures in place of juggis on the encroached land.

A month ago, the trust had removed around 1,000 structures in a massive demolition drive. On that day only most of the makeshift structures were back by evening only. Sensing that the trust was not able to remove them from the spot, the slum dwellers had started converting their structures into concrete ones.

A visit to the area revealed that hundreds of hutments made of bricks had come up on the place. Illegal kundi connections were also back. Every household was now installing a bigger bulb.

‘‘This means they have no desire to leave the place now. They have emerged so strong after the demolition that they threaten the residents, who had complained against them for encroaching upon government land, with dire consequences’’, said a resident praying anonymity.

Things have come to such a pass that none of the residents of the locality are willing to speak on the issue. They say they would not comment as the slum dwellers were being patronised by senior political leaders.

A number of residents said they were planning to shift from the locality. ‘‘We have lost all hope. After so many years of fighting, the trust had finally taken action against the slum dwellers, but their political bosses spoiled the show. We have no choice but to sell out our houses and live in peace elsewhere’’, said another resident.

With the mushrooming of concrete structures, hopes of hundreds of allottees of plots under 475 acres development scheme to be set up in the nagar have dashed to the ground. A number of persons, who had been waiting to get the possession of their plots on the land occupied by the slum dwellers, have once again been rendered helpless.

Mr Vijay Kumar Ajmani, an allottee of 40 square yards under the scheme, in a letter to Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, who had supported the slum dwellers over the issue, has stated that he had spent his life saving for constructing a house in the area. ‘‘They are sitting here illegally. We are the legal allottees of this land. Where should we go? Why is anybody not taking up our matter? That means we should have also occupied a piece of land illegally instead of buying one here’’, said Mr Ajmani. 

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CM’s assurance to poultry farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The poultry industry in the state is finally looking forward to better days ahead as the state government has assured to take concrete measures like including eggs in mid-day meals in schools and getting the ban on import of poultry products from Punjab by Jammu and Kashmir to be lifted within two days.

After the news of bird flu in February, the industry suffered a decline of more than 70 per cent in demand. The losses got aggravated when Jammu and Kashmir imposed a ban on the import of poultry products from Punjab. As per estimates, the industry was suffering a daily loss of Rs 2 crore even after the demand for poultry products improved.

“The CM has assured us that he would take up the issue of ban with the Jammu and Kashmir government and would get it lifted in 24 to 48 hours. He also assured us that poultry farming would be treated as an agricultural activity and would be provided all benefits applicable to agriculture,” said Mr P.P.S. Gill, general secretary of the Punjab Poultry Farmers Association.

Those in the industry have been facing problems not only on account of decline in demand and the ban, but also on account of issues like difficulty in getting credit as their profits had declined.

Poultry farmers had been demanding the lifting of the ban, easy credit terms and compensation. However, no concrete measures were taken by the government even after various protests by them. Perturbed over the state government’s attitude, they recently stopped supplying feed for birds to Jammu and Kashmir.

The poultry farmers, who got an opportunity to meet the CM for the first time ever since the industry hit a crisis, said they had been assured that cash relief would also be given to them subject to budgetary constraints. “He also assured us that eggs would be included in mid-day meals provided in schools, at least twice a week,” said Mr Gill.

The poultry farmers said even after implementation of the steps assured by the CM, the industry would be able to return to normalcy only after exports begin to the South as well.

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Controversy over power grid

Khamano, May 18
A power grid at Hariana village, near here, which is to be inaugurated by Cabinet minister Lal Singh on May 20, has been embroiled in a controversy.
Former sarpanch of Kheri Naudh Singh village Harbhajan Singh today alleged that the power grid had initially been proposed to be set up at his village in 2002, but the project site had been shifted to Hariana village because of political considerations as their panchayat supported the Akali Dal.

At present, his wife Jatinder Kaur was the Sarpanch of Kheri Naudh Singh village and two members of panchayat were with them. He alleged that the project site had been shifted at the behest of PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo. They had also filed a civil court petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.

He, accompanied by Mr Balwinder Singh and others, alleged that they had moved a special application in the court on in 2006. The court had summoned the parties concerned, but the electricity board was bent upon laying the foundation stone for the project at the changed site, allegedly at the behest of Mr Dullo.

They said their panchayat had given a piece of land for the proposed grid to the board in 2002 and the then Executive Engineer, Patiala, had visited the site at the village and had given his consent to set up the grid there. — OC

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Politician booked for rape
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 18
The Malerkotla police has registered an FIR under Sections 376, 506, 34 and 120 B of the IPC against a promoter of two schools and leader of a national political party for allegedly raping a minor girl and intimidating her to conceal the crime. The woman, who facilitated the crime has also been booked.

Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP, Malerkotla, said Tehal Singh, a resident of Matoi village in Sangrur district, had been booked for allegedly raping 13-year-old Anwari (fake name) of the same village and intimidating her. Khursheedan, a woman living in the neighbourhood of the victim, who had facilitated the crime by allowing the accused perform the sinful act in her home, was also booked.

“Finding a prima facie case in the allegations levelled by Hamid Mohamad, father of the minor girl, we registered an FIR against Tehal Singh and Khursheedan. The culprits would be arrested soon”, said Mr Hara.

“We have initiated process for establishing charges of rape and sequence of events causing harassment to the victim family”, he said.

The Civil Hospital, Malerkotla, had been asked to conduct a medical examination on the victim.

The victim had earlier accused the police of compelling his family for a compromise with the suspect.

It was on Tuesday that Anwari had stated in the court of Ms Mandeep Pannu, a judge at Malerkotla, that she had been allegedly raped by Tehal Singh of the same village about five months ago.

He repeatedly raped her, intimidating her on the one pretext or the other.

She said friends and relatives of Tehal Singh had prevailed upon her family to reach a compromise with him. Although the victim’s family had decided to forgive the accused, social leaders and relatives of the girl raised the issue in the court. 

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Factory owner stabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Two youths, who came on a motor cycle, stabbed a factory owner on the Tajpur road and snatched a bag containing Rs 1.50 lakh from him this morning.
The victim, Naresh Kumar, was on his way to a bank from his factory on his scooter when the youths waylaid him. Later, he was taken to the Civil Hospital by some passers-by. He had suffered injuries on his hand.

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4 booked
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 18
Balwinder Singh of Sohian and three unknown persons allegedly assaulted Ranjit Kumar of Sidhwan Kalan with a kirpan and lathis in Agwar Gujjran on Tuesday.
The local police has registered a case under Section 323, 324, 506,34 IPC. The injured has been admitted to the civil hospital. No arrest has been made so far.

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8 kg poppy husk seized

Khanna, May 18
The local CIA Staff has arrested a person with Army uniform, fake documents and eight kg poppy husk. He has been booked.
SI Balvinder Singh of the CIA stopped a motor cyclist for verification. The person gave his name as Sudarshan Rao and said he was from Andhra Pradesh. On search, eight kg poppy husk was found in his bag. He was also carrying some other articles with him. — OC

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