L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Threat of dengue epidemic looms large
125 patients with the disease hospitalised
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 3
As the number of dengue cases recorded an increase during the past couple of days, the industrial hub of the state is facing a grave threat from the mosquito-borne disease. And in the absence of adequate preventive measures the outbreak in an epidemic form simply appears to be a matter of time.

Although the official figures of confirmed cases admitted to the local hospitals, both from the city and other places in the state till now, is put at around 125, with four persons succumbing to illness, yet the ground reality is far too grave. Rough estimates put the number of victims at many times more than the official figures.

While officials disagreed on the mass prevalence of dengue in the city for obvious reasons, information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune from different sources indicated that hundreds of persons in areas like Janakpuri, Basti Jodhewal, Shivpuri, Tilak Nagar, Subhash Nagar, Chander Nagar, Simlapuri, Dugri, along with several other colonies on the periphery of the city were down with suspected attack of dengue.

From September till date, the two major hospitals in the city - Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and Christian Medical College and Hospital - had received 115 dengue cases with both institutions reporting two deaths each from the disease. Even at present, some 45 dengue patients were under treatment in the two hospitals, according to the hospital authorities.

Requesting not to be quoted, a medical specialist revealed that a leading biochemistry laboratory in the city, catering to some six private nursing homes and several general practitioners, had recorded around 500 persons with low platelet count during blood testing. The number of patients admitted to leading local hospitals did not truly reflect the grim scenario simply because a large number of patients with dengue like symptoms were said to be seeking treatment at nursing homes or private clinics in different parts of the city.

Even though the health department claimed to have carried out a programme for holding awareness camps in vulnerable areas to educate the people about dengue and other seasonal diseases, the facts revealed an altogether different story.

As things stand now, the awareness and education camps said to have been organised by the department in sensitive areas were still to yield the desired results. If at all such camps were held, these were nothing but an exercise in futility with field staff distributing pamphlets and explaining some preventive measures to small groups of unresponsive residents. The officials concerned, however, put the blame on the city residents saying the people themselves had the tendency of not taking even grave threats to public health too seriously.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Yash Pal Singla, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, however, maintained that there was no threat as such from the outbreak of dengue that had surfaced in some pockets. He said the department had taken quite a few preventive measures, as also run awareness campaigns. He further claimed that the majority of the dengue cases admitted to local hospitals had actually been referred from other towns in Punjab.

The fact remained that a precious little had been done by the health authorities and the civic body as effective prevention against dengue and other water-borne or mosquito-borne diseases, commonly prevalent during this season. The anti-mosquito operations like fogging and sprays were at best either erratic or selective if not completely absent.

As the departments concerned were being oblivious to the serious threat to public health, and dengue already having taken roots it were the city residents who would have to pay a very heavy price in the days to come.



Not to worry: MC
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
Dengue is spreading fast in the city but the Municipal Corporation authorities do not seem to agree, if their claims are to be believed.

The MC officials today told the Commissioner, MC, Mr Vikas Partap, in a meeting called to review the situation arising out of the outbreak that there were only two cases reported in city hospitals, that too came from other districts.

This despite the fact that the health authorities confirmed that there were around 125 cases of dengue from the city and other parts of the region. A statement signed by an MC official said that the DHO had stated that there were only two cases of fever from cities other than ludhiana.

A list of cases procured by The Tribune from the District Health Officer's office said that till the end of September as many as three cases were reported from Haibowal, two from Simla Puri, five from Dugri area, one from Karim Pura, three from Abdullapur Basti, five from Salim Tabri, six from Focal Point, eight from Jamalpur, two from Dholewal, five from Tibba Road, one from Sarabha Nagar, three from Samrala Chowk, five from Civil Lines, one Gill Road, one from Chaura Bazar, two from Moti Nagar, one from Amar Pura, three from Shiv Puri, three from CMC Road, one from Bahardurke Road, one from Maya Puri, one from Shivaji Nagar and one was reported from BRS Nagar. All these areas fall within MC limits.

In the meeting the officials also claimed that fogging operations were being carried in the city on every fifth day in every ward. Inquiries by The Tribune revealed that none of the residents in the city had seen fogging operations being carried out in their areas.

‘‘I have not seen any fogging machine in our area for the last many months. How come they are claiming that they are doing it? Where is the need to tell a lie? ’’ asked Mr Jasvir Singh, a resident of Karimpura area.

He added that being congested areas like Karimpura, fogging should have started many days ago. It is only now that the authorities are waking up, he added.

The Commissioner had called a meeting of Joint Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Sanitary Officer to take steps to prevent the disease from spreading.

Meanwhile, it was decided in the meeting that to get rid of the excessive garbage being generated in view of festival season, extra force would be deputed to clear it from the bins in the city. The officials also said that they would ensure that puddles of water in all parts would be sprayed with pesticides so that mosquitoes do not breed.

Addressing the meeting, the Commissioner said that the people should be educated to clear all the breeding spots of mosquitoes i.e. stagnated water in desert coolers, pots and pits etc in their houses and keep the surroundings clean.



MP Government invites Punjab industrialists
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
Industry in the state, which is largely dissatisfied with the Punjab Government for having failed to give it a boost, today received a welcome invitation from the Madhya Pradesh government to set up a base there.

Madhya Pradesh’s Commercial Tax, Commerce, Industry and Public Undertakings Minister Babu Lal Gaur invited Punjab’s industry to invest in his state.

The minister said Madhya Pradesh was not only offering quality infrastructure, roads, uninterrupted and cheap power supply, and sophisticated airports, it was also giving generous concessions with a view to giving a fillip to the industry there.

“We have received around Rs 5,000 crore of investment from Punjab in the past two years, including that from leading players like Vardhman and Oswal, and are expecting Rs 10,000 crore more in the next two to three years. We are very keen on generating investment from this state,” the minister said.

Giving details of the investment already received by the state, he said over Rs 1 lakh crore had been received, of which projects totalling Rs 44,000 crore had started.

The Bharat Petroleum Corporation’s Bina Refinery, he added, would come up with an investment of Rs 10,300 crore and be functional by year 2009.

“It would generate employment for 11,000 persons. Through the pipeline, oil products would be supplied throughout the state and to Uttar Pradesh.”

Emphasising on the textile segment, he said Vardhman’s project in Budhni district was rapidly progressing and projects by Nahar and Trident groups too would begin shortly.

Considering active activity in textile segment in the state, the government had approved an apparel export promotion park with an investment of Rs 29 crore in the SEZ in Indore.

The state is setting up three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Indore, Gwalior and Bhopal each, he added.



Dismissed patwari booked
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, October 3
The Machhiwara police has booked a dismissed patwari, Gurdev Singh of Ikolaha village, and his associate, Parshottam Singh of Jodhwal village, for illegally adding names in one of the land records.

A case has been registered in this regard. Gurdev Singh was working in the local sub-tehsil before he was dismissed by the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, on January 26 this year.

Lakhvir Singh of Jodhwal village had lodged a complaint against Gurdev Singh on July 20 with the Khanna police.

In his complaint, Lakhvir had alleged that Gurdev Singh had helped Parshottam Singh by changing the revenue record wherein he (patwari) in his report No. 43 on September 28, 2002 divided a piece of land, which belonged to Lakhvir Singh, Balvir Singh and Surjit Singh, into two parts. The accused included four more persons — Mohinder Singh, Kehar Singh, Nehar Singh and Prem Singh — in the record. Due to this, Lakhvir Singh had to face a lot of inconvenience. Both accused are at large.



One held with poppy husk, opium
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 3
The Sudhar police has arrested Gurjit Singh of Akalgarh and allegedly seized 35 kg of poppy husk and 270 gm of opium from his possession.

He was arrested from Halwara village. A case has been registered under Sections 15, 25, 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

13 booked for assault

Thirteen persons have been booked in two cases of assault.

The Raikot police booked Harwinder Singh, Jagga Singh, Kulwant Singh, Dala Singh and three others for allegedly assaulting Gurjit Singh of Shabazpura with kirpans and sticks. The injured was admitted to the DMCH, Ludhiana. The accused have not been arrested so far. A case has been registered under Sections 324 and 34, IPC.

In another incident, the Jagraon police registered a case under Sections 323, 324 and 34, IPC, against Inder Jit Singh, Doga, Gurpreet Singh, Gopi, Simran and Nikku on the charge of assaulting Balbir Singh of Agwar Lopon with sharp-edged weapons near Victoria Palace, Jagraon.

8 booked for trespass

The Raikot police has booked Gurmail Singh, Harbhans Singh, Balbir Singh, Jit Singh, Kuldeep Singh, all of Dhoorkot, Chotta Singh of Badhani Kalan and Sohan Singh of Rasulpur on the charge of trespassing on a piece of land belonging to Bikkar Singh of Dhoorkot and damaging his crop.

A case has been registered under Sections 447, 427, 148 and 149, IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

Bootlegging cases

The Sidhwan Bet police has arrested Shinder Pal Singh of Malsian Bajan from Sherpur Kalan village and allegedly seized around 7 litres of illicit liquor from his possession.

In a similar case, the police arrested Balwinder Singh of Salempura and seized around 35 litres of illicit liquor from his possession.



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