L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Admn slaps ban on intoxicating drugs
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 23
In an attempt to curb the menace of drug abuse which has assumed alarming proportions in the district, Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta has issued prohibitory orders under Section 144, CrPC, to ban the sale of a variety of intoxicating drugs and medicines without the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.

The orders, which took effect immediately, will be for two months. The orders would also impose restrictions on the storage of these medicines without valid licences.

The drugs on the restricted list include cough syrups, tablets and capsules of lomotil, lomofen, sudhinel, proxyvon, proxytab, dexavone, parvon, carbutyl, mandrex and carsoma compound, all formulations containing pentazocine or dextroproxiphone, injections of norphine, morphine, pethidine, fortwin, petaven, pentawin and calmpose.

Sources in the Health Department said provisions under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act did impose restrictions on the sale of drugs included in the Schedules H and L which could be sold only against prescription of a registered medical practitioner.

In the same manner, storage of these medicines was also governed by wholesale and retail licences granted under the said Act but slack enforcement, as also shortage of manpower with the state Drug Controller, had led to a situation where violation of the provisions of the Act had become a routine.

The sources pointed out that even in the wake of massive drug abuse and unrestricted sale of intoxicating medicines by unscrupulous elements, the police could not intervene on its own without taking the drug enforcement staff along to search premises, seize stocks and book offenders.

“However, the situation has changed with the prohibitory orders. With these orders in force, the police is empowered to take cognizance of unauthorised storage and sale of intoxicating drugs and book the culprits under Section 188 of the CrPC,” the sources added.



Unemployed teachers lathicharged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 23
The police resorted to a mild cane charge to disperse as many as 300 agitating unemployed teachers here today.
The protesters, who were demanding recruitment to hundreds of vacant posts in various schools in the state were marching towards Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar's residence in Model Town when they were stopped by a posse of police.

A scuffle ensued when the efforts of the cops failed to disperse the agitators. Following this, the agitators, a large number of who were women, were taken in custody and taken to various police stations in the city. The protesters comprised unemployed B. Ed, B. P Ed, Art and Craft and others technically qualified teachers.

Earlier, addressing those present, leaders of various unions said it was indeed shameful for the government to deny them jobs. As per government figures, more than 60,000 assorted vacancies are lying vacant in various schools of the state but no efforts were being to fill these posts.

Despite several assurances by the Chief Minister, the Education Minister and senior civil servants, nothing had been done to redress their basic grievance, they pointed out.

The leaders said what was the use of running scores of educational institutions churning out hundreds of qualified teachers every year in the state when there were no employment avenues. Thousands of youth were running from pillar to post to seek jobs but to no avail.

They said an indefinite relay fast by them on the issue in 2002 was called off after six months following an assurance from the then Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl.

The agitators were of the view that in view of the delay in recruitment, the age bar for them should be raised to 42 years. Preference should be given to those who have been waiting for jobs for a longer period. They also added that all the technical institutes should be closed till all the previous passouts have secured jobs. 



35-year-old man found dead in Qualis
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 23
Mystery shrouds the death of a 35-year-old taxi stand owner-cum- farmer of Jagirpur village, who was found dead in his Qualis on the outskirts of the village early this morning.

There were no injury marks on Harjinder Singh, though his body had turned blue. He was found lying on the front seat of the vehicle.

He is survived by his wife, four-year-old son and his father.

He had returned from Nigeria six years ago. He wanted to go abroad again and had given Rs 8 lakh to a travel agent. He had a conflict with the agent and was also under pressure from some persons who he owed money.

The police would question any suspect after the cause of death was known. He had left his office at about 10 pm after drinking liquor. He was in his senses at that time, his driver Chhinda and friend Ashok said.

ASI Satwinder Singh, in charge Meharbaan Chowki, said the police had conducted proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC. He said it seemed to be a case of poisoning or overdose of liquor.

The medico-legal report of the deceased has been unable to suggest the exact cause of death. The viscera and the heart of the victim has been sent for chemical examination to a laboratory in Patiala.

The councillor, Mr Chanchal Singh, said the travel agent had taken money two years ago but had neither sent the victim abroad nor returned the money.

The councillor said the panchayat had taken up the issue with the travel agent. The agent had promised to give the money on June 20 but had not kept his word.

Harjinder's father Ram Dass said he was advising his son against going abroad.



Industry urges 8 hours of uninterrupted power supply
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 23
Sceptical about any improvement in the ongoing power crisis, the industry today said it feared that its two weekly day offs could be increased to three. Peeved by the situation, the industry has requested the PSEB to ensure at least eight hours of uninterrupted power supply.

The two day offs by the PSEB have caused resentment among industrial consumers. "Despite weekly offs, the industry is subjected to unscheduled cuts. Even as sowing is an annual feature, power situation over the years has not improved. We fear that a 3-day weekly off is on the anvil. If that happens, it would act as a blow on production and also hamper exports," said Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries.

The industry's fears are not unfounded and two weekly offs could be increased, indicated an official from the electricity board. "It is difficult to increase the duration of cuts for residential consumers. If increased, it would be the industry that would have to face it," said a PSEB official.

While furnace units are already having a tough time due to three compulsory weekly offs, the situation is no better for hosiery industry. Owing to its seasonal nature, this industry has to complete its orders for domestic foreign markets within a stipulated period.

"Any supply after the stipulated time is not accepted by customers in domestic or foreign markets due to our industry's seasonal nature. If the crisis continues, the industry could turn sick," rued Vinod K. Thapar, president, Knitwear Club.

The club also sent a memorandum to PSEB Chairman Y.S. Ratra urging him to be considerate towards hosiery units and keep them out of the purview of two-day compulsory weekly offs.

"These units are not heavy power consuming units. Keeping them out of the purview of compulsory offs due to their seasonal nature would prevent them from heavy financial losses, the brunt of which they would have to bear throughout the year in case it is not done."

Holding the government responsible for the poor power situation, the BJP general secretary, Punjab unit, Mr Rajendra Bhandari, said:"The government does not hesitate spending crores of rupees towards its own advertising. However, it does not seem to be bothered about ensuring an uninterrupted power supply so that people do not suffer," he said. Power situation in the city failed to improve and even today city residents suffered cuts of even as long as eight hours in several areas. 



Transporters to intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 23
Transporters from across the state, at a meeting here today protested against petrol and diesel price hike, stating they would intensify their stir if the government did not withdraw the increase.

Condemning the hike, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, chairman, Punjab State Goods Transporters Association, and Punjab Truck Operators Union and Mr J.S.Grewal, president, Mini Bus Operators Association, said it had hit transporters and also common man hard.

They said they had managed to rope in a large number of associations in their support, and the government should not take the issue lightly.



CPI dharna against poor civic amenities 
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, June 23
Activists of the CPI today staged a dharna outside the Municipal Corporation office in protest against poor civic amenities.
In a memorandum submitted to the civic administration, the party decried the failure of the MC to provide clean drinking water, proper sewerage disposal, roads, functional traffic lights and street lights in the city.

Various party functionaries remarked that even though the city happened to be the biggest center of education, industry and trade in Punjab, generating huge income by way of local taxes, but still the state of affairs of basic amenities like supply of clean drinking water, sewerage and other infrastructure for its hard working enterprising residents were lacking. Many of the city localities areas, till now, do not have water supply from the corporation. Not only this, a large number of water samples tested so far from different colonies had failed. In many areas, the residents had to drink contaminated water while in several other localities, drinking water got polluted with industrial effluents.

Mr Ram Rattan, city secretary, Mr Kartar Singh, district secretary amd Dr Arun Mitra, assistant secretary of the CPI maintained that every year, the city residents were made to face the threat from outbreak of cholera and other water borne diseases, but no effective long-term steps had been taken in this regard so far.

‘‘Similar is the story of sewerage facility, which is not provided to all parts of the city. The sewers are choked and overflowing at different places, causing dirty water to stagnate on the roads and streets. Condition of roads is very bad and even the newly carpeted roads break down very soon due to use of substandard material for the construction or repair of these roads."

Focusing on the chaotic traffic conditions prevailing in the mega city, the CPI leaders said traffic lights and traffic management were in a shambles. Most of the traffic lights were non-functional and there was no enforcement worth the name with the result that city roads were no linger safe for vehicle drivers pr padestrians.

They alleged that in an attempt to cover up its administrative and planning failure the MC authorities had handed over most of the services to outsiders on contract, thereby putting the blame on contractors or executing agencies. This had not only further worsened the situation, but also led to loss of wages for workers, particularly the low paid class four employees.

The party called for immediate effective measures to improve the situation. The system of contractual labour should be done away with, and instead, regular employment with accountability be given.

‘‘Those engaged in sewer and ditch cleaning, should be given necessary masks and other equipment for their safety.’’ Prominent among other speakers at the dharna were Mr O.P. Meha, Mr Guizar Gorea, Mr Sarabjit Lal, Mr Kuldip Singh Binder, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr N K Chhiber, President, District Bar Association, Ms Avtar Kaur, Advocate, Ms Jit Kumari, Mr Gurnarn Singh Sidhu and Mr Ismail.



Educating kids about drugs

Ludhiana, June 23
Today is International Drug Against Abuse and Illicit Trafficking Day.
The issue of drugs can be confusing to young children. If drugs are dangerous, why is the family medicine cabinet full of them? And why do TV, movies, music and advertising often make drug and alcohol use look cool?

We need to help them distinguish fact from fiction. The statistics are staggering. The average age of first alcohol use is 12 and that of drug abuse is 13.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 93 per cent of all teenagers have some experience with alcohol by the end of their senior year of high school and 6 per cent drink daily.

The use of drugs like cocaine is very dangerous, not only for its toxic effects on the body, but also for the unknown composition and purity of the cocaine bought on the streets. It becomes dangerous when used in excess. Almost all current local anesthetics are derivatives of cocaine.

Purity levels range from bag to bag and so the user does not know how much pure cocaine is actually ingested. This implies that two lines of the same size may contain different amounts of cocaine. One line might be a lethal dose, while the other may not induce any effect. Therefore, it is not safe for a user to deduce his/her tolerance level.

— Dr Anil Dheer



Flood-control measures discussed
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 23
A subdivisional level meeting held here today in which officials concerned discussed flood-control arrangements under the chairmanship of the SDM.
According to the information, 46 villages fall under flood danger zone and 11 places have been identified for the villagers as a safe shelter. A flood-control room has been established from July 1 to September 30.

BDPOs, Sidhwanbet, and naib tehsildar have been directed to check boats to be used in case of floods.



Biz Clips

Workshop: Top Careers and You (TCY) will hold a three-day workshop “The CAT Essence” from Saturday. According to a press note, the workshop aims to impart essentials of cracking the CAT verbal section. The workshop would include reading comprehension, English usage, breaking the words, word games, puzzles etc. A mock test would also be conducted. — TNS

Ebony: Ebony Retail Holdings on Friday announced a 100 per cent refund offer under which customers would get shopping vouchers of an equal amount if they shop for more than Rs 3,000. A press note issued here today said the offer would be on during the weekend. — TNS



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