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Santosh Chaudhary comes down on Punjab govt
Says safai karamcharis being exploited in state
Jalandhar, June 5
The Punjab government missed a grant of Rs 33.5 crore earmarked for safai karamcharis, even as it had kept complaining of fund paucity for their welfare, Chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, Ms Santosh Chaudhary, claimed today. Talking to mediapersons here, Ms Chaudhary, the former Phillaur MP, said she would meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, tomorrow and highlight the cases of exploitation of the safai karamcharis and recommend suggestions for improving their working and living conditions.
Chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis talks to mediapersons in Jalandhar Chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis talks to mediapersons in Jalandhar on Monday. A Tribnue photograph





 

Rural labourers demand revision in BPL list
Jalandhar, June 5
The Pendu Mazdoor Union, during a protest march in the city today, demanded the revision of the 2002 survey on the number of people living below the poverty line (BPL) to include all the labourers along with the unconditional waiver of electricity bills for all Dalits.

Members of the Pendu Mazdoor Union take part in a protest march in Jalandhar on Monday. Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Members of the Pendu Mazdoor Union take part in a protest march in Jalandhar

Deaths in Sherpur Dona not due to cancer: report
Kapurthala, June 5
The government agencies have not been able to discover the cause behind the mysterious deaths of 35 people in the last 15 years in Sherpur Dona village, a small hamlet near Sultanpur Lodhi.

3 killed in road mishaps
Jalandhar/Phagwara, June 5
An unidentified woman in her forties, who was trying to cross a road, was killed after being hit by a car and another four-wheeler in succession in the Focal Point area here today.

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Santosh Chaudhary comes down on Punjab govt
Says safai karamcharis being exploited in state
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 5
The Punjab government missed a grant of Rs 33.5 crore earmarked for safai karamcharis, even as it had kept complaining of fund paucity for their welfare, Chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, Ms Santosh Chaudhary, claimed today.

Talking to mediapersons here, Ms Chaudhary, the former Phillaur MP, said she would meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, tomorrow and highlight the cases of exploitation of the safai karamcharis and recommend suggestions for improving their working and living conditions.

She added that not only Punjab, but also other states had either not asked for the Central grant or had left it unspent.

Uttar Pradesh, which got 33 per cent of the share, had still not spent Rs 21 crore out of it, Ms Chaudhary said. “Even Gujarat has left Rs 17 crore unspent,” she added.

The Commission’s Chairperson visited Noormahal yesterday and was in the city today to listen to the grievances of the safai karamcharis. She pulled up officials of the Municipal Corporation and the district administration for not checking exploitation being meted out to the safai karamcharis.

Ms Chaudhary said she was “surprised to know that the employees are getting salaries in cash instead of cheques”.

After several employees alleged that they were not being given full payments, she asked the Municipal Commissioner, Mr S.S. Johl, to get the system rectified and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, to monitor the system next month onwards.

The safai karamcharis had also alleged that they were not getting the necessary inputs such as gloves, rehris and brooms. Ms Chaudhary asked the officials to provide them these items.

The Commission’s Chairperson said she was perturbed that the Mohalla Sudhar Committees, set up by the government, had given birth to the contractual system.

She said only 15 per cent of the safai karamcharis were working on a regular basis and the rest 85 per cent were either employed part time or as daily wagers.

Ms Chaudhary claimed the employees were getting Rs 1,200 a month. “It’s half the amount as per the Minimum Wages Act, 1936,” she added.

Ms Chaudhary, though, said that the state government was about to introduce a new legislature for the benefit of employees working in the unorganised sector, including agricultural labourers.

She said she wanted the safai karamcharis to be included under the legislature so that they too could draw the benefits of medical facilities and insurance. 

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Rural labourers demand revision in BPL list
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 5
The Pendu Mazdoor Union, during a protest march in the city today, demanded the revision of the 2002 survey on the number of people living below the poverty line (BPL) to include all the labourers along with the unconditional waiver of electricity bills for all Dalits, landless labourers and weaker sections.

Addressing the protesters at the Desh Bhagat Yadagar Hall, the union’s State President, Mr Tarsem Peter, said the Union Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar’s decision to reduce the supply of wheat through the Public Distribution System was “against those living below the poverty line and the union would oppose it”.

Mr Peter alleged that the Punjab government had already decreased the supply of wheat through the PDS since April. Union members Mr B.S. Bhullar and Mr Hans Raj claimed that keeping the labourers out of the BPL list was equal to depriving rural labourers of promised benefits.

They also attacked the Punjab State Electricity Board’s move to seek from the Dalits fresh SC/ST certificates for giving nod to free power when they had already provided these. They said it was a form of “harassment”. 

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Deaths in Sherpur Dona not due to cancer: report
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, June 5
The government agencies have not been able to discover the cause behind the mysterious deaths of 35 people in the last 15 years in Sherpur Dona village, a small hamlet near Sultanpur Lodhi.

Last December, the villagers had claimed that the deaths were due to cancer.

Today, during a meeting of the District Planning and Development Board, Kapurthala’s Chief Medical Officer, Mr Maninderjit Singh, said that out of the 10 drinking water samples taken from the pumps in the village, two samples had failed the test and the contaminated pumps had been made non-operational with immediate effect.

But the medical officer claimed that no proof was found which could relate these deaths to the contaminated water supply.

The district Health Department, as such, deputed a doctor from the Civil Hospital in Sultanpur Lodhi to investigate the claims of the villagers.

On another report of six deaths in a single family of Mansurwal village allegedly due to AIDS, Mr Maninderjit Singh said a seven-members team comprising sex disease specialists and skin specialists had investigated the matter but could not relate the deaths to AIDS.

A special team comprising the Director, Health, also investigated the situation, he added.

In the first week of December last year, a section of press reported that eight residents of the village had died of AIDS in the last two years.

The meeting was presided over by the local MP, Rana Gurjit Singh and the Social Welfare Minister, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur.

During the meeting, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur said Rs 1139.40 lakh had been received for undertaking developmental projects during 2006-07, out of which Rs 929.25 lakh would be spent on urban development under the Punjab Nirman Scheme in the district.

Under the scheme for providing balanced diet to children and pregnant women, Rs 210.15 lakh had been released, she added.

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3 killed in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar/Phagwara, June 5
An unidentified woman in her forties, who was trying to cross a road, was killed after being hit by a car and another four-wheeler in succession in the Focal Point area here today.

In Phagwara, Suman Sharda, a medical representative from Ludhiana, died after coming under a truck near the Civil Hospital this morning.

Police sources said that as the woman came out of the hospital after finishing her work, a truck hit her from behind. She died on the spot.

The driver of the truck, Amrik Singh, has been arrested and the truck impounded.

In another fatal accident, a cyclist died on the spot after being hit by an unidentified vehicle on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur Road on Sunday night. The deceased, Ram Murti was a resident of Rawalpindi, Phagwara.

As per information, he was going from Sahni village towards his house when the vehicle rammed into him.

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