L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

60 fresh dengue cases reported
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 5
Negating the claims of the civic body and the health administration about the situation arising from the outbreak of dengue in the mega city being under control, nearly 60 fresh cases of mosquito-borne viral infection had been reported by the city hospitals during the last 48 hours. The number of dengue patients admitted to different hospitals here has crossed the figure of 200 even as the authorities still appeared to be groping in the dark as how to tackle the grim scenario.

Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital told Ludhiana Tribune that from September onwards, the hospital had received nearly 80 patients from different city localities and other towns in Punjab out of which 22 were still under treatment and the rest had been discharged. Two of the dengue victims had died in this hospital a couple of days ago.

According to Dr John Abraham, Medical Superintendent of Christian Medical College and Hospital, as many as 45 confirmed and 20 suspected patients of dengue were seeking treatment in the hospital with 23 of them reporting during the last 48 hours. The total number of dengue-afflicted patients till now had shot up to 98.

Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune indicated that besides major hospitals, hundreds of other patients afflicted with dengue were under treatment at nursing homes and private clinics in different parts of the city.

Meanwhile, the health authorities today claimed to have set up several medical teams which were visiting vulnerable areas for identifying the victims, providing medical care to the patients and creating awareness about preventive steps.

While the fumigation and other anti-mosquito operations were still nowhere to be seen in several city localities, residents of affected areas charged both the civic body and the health administration with criminal neglect which had led to the viral infection taking roots over the last one month or so.

“If the authorities had woken up and taken timely steps to check the mosquito breeding, the city population could have been saved from the threat posed by dengue,” said an agitated Dugri resident who had two members of his family down with suspected dengue.



When politics takes precedence over health
After 125 dengue cases, Mayor makes a ‘tamasha’ of fumigation drive 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Trying to reap “political benefit” from the spread of dengue, Mayor Nahar Singh Gill inaugurated fogging operations in the city with much fanfare last evening when already 125 cases of dengue had been reported.

To make sure that he got enough publicity, he himself called up mediapersons prior to the programme.

Residents were unable to understand why the mayor was indulging in a “publicity operation” to flag off fogging machines while it was the job of the Municipal Corporation to do it religiously every year. “Instead, he should have gone to inspect the wards to find out whether the fumigation was being done or not. Was he waiting for the disease to spread and then start the fogging operations?” asked a resident.

He added that it was a shame that they could not stop the breeding of the Aedes mosquito. “If a disease like dengue spreads, it is the failure of the MC. They should have taken these precautions in advance. Isn’t it too late?”

Another resident said that if a disease like this spreads in developed countries, the responsibility of officials is fixed and they are punished for their laxity. “Officials here are going to hog the limelight that they have inaugurated an operation that should have started a month ago.”

Addressing the gathering, the mayor said that all fogging machines with the MC have been put in operation to carry out repeated fogging in all areas of the city. The fogging staff has been asked to ensure that in each area, fogging should be done once in six days.

He said that the MC had geared itself up to fight the mosquito menace in the city. Zonal health officers have been asked to look for mosquito prone areas.

Highlighting the importance of the awareness drive to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and reporting such cases at the earliest for medical attention, the mayor said that the anti-larvae staff had also been pressed into service to spray DDT and other disinfectants in ponds and drains. Councillors of various areas have been alerted to take necessary steps to prevent dengue outbreak in the city.

“To ensure accountability, once the fogging is complete in an area, the fogging staff would have to obtain a verification letter from the area councillor and six to ten residents,” said the mayor.

He said the fogging staff has been asked to educate the people to open doors and windows of their houses at the time of fogging, so that the breeding of mosquitoes inside houses could be brought down.



MC flayed for delayed action against dengue
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The People’s Awareness Forum has expressed its concern over the unprecedented rise in dengue cases in Ludhiana and other parts of Punjab and has held the municipal and health authorities responsible for the same.

The president of the forum, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and president and Prof Gurcharan Singh, general secretary, today assailed the Ludhiana municipal corporation and health authorities for their failure to take timely preventive steps against malaria and other water-borne diseases like dengue.

Normally, the anti-malaria operations should have started in the second half of September, but no such steps were initiated and it looked as if the authorities were waiting for the worst to happen. This was really a sorry state of affairs and must be condemned by all, they said.

Prof Kapoor and Prof Gurcharan Singh also assailed the municipal authorities for their failure to lift garbage from various parts of the town. The Budha nullah continued to haunt the citizens of this industrial hub and was not cleaned properly.

The forum leaders questioned why fogging machines of the municipal corporation were not put into use before the spread of dengue. They also alleged that the health and municipal authorities were misleading the people and the state government regarding the number of dengue cases in the town and the state.

They called upon the Chief Minister to take personal interest in the matter and ensure speedy recovery of the dengue patients.



Primary students told to wear trousers

The dengue fever has pressed the panic buttons in schools. In certain schools, students of primary classes have been asked to wear trousers. Students of primary schools normally wear shorts in summers and trousers in winter. The summer shorts are in different colour from the winter trousers. Principals say they are taking this measure to safeguard the children from mosquito bites. Generally, people have been advised to cover themselves and wear full sleeve shirts and trousers.

“No doubt it is a good move by the Principals,” say parents, “but it is causing us a lot of financial stress as of now we have to purchase new set of trousers. The shops that sell readymade school uniforms also do not stock trousers for primary children and the schools have given just 24 hours to get the uniform ready. The time given is very short”. — TNS



Road on rivulet: flood threat looms large
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Tension gripped Karabara chowk area today in the afternoon when labourers allegedly filled up several acres of a seasonal rivulet in order to construct an approach road to a colony coming up nearby. The nullah land is owned by the Central Government.

A police post is also allegedly illegally coming up thereby raising doubts of police patronage to the move.

A flood threat looms large over the area as the seasonal rivulet was a natural drainage system. In case of it being filled or encroached, the natural drainage system would be affected causing floods in the area.

The filling of the nullah was being carried on despite letters issued to the police and district administration by an SDO of the Phillaur Bandhi division, who has been sending communications warning of such action for the past one year.

The colonisers said they were carrying out the filling of the nullah with the full knowledge of the city police.

SSP A.S. Rai said he had ordered stopping of the work after learning that a nullah was being filled up.

He assured that the parties involved in the work would be called and allowed to work only after they prove that the construction was legal.

However, despite the assurance of the SSP, the work at the nullah was on till the filing of this report.

Several JCB machines, tractor trolleys were working round the clock to fill up the nullah and construct the road as early as possible.

The SDO of the Phillaur Bandh division has written to the Tehsildar (West), SHO, Salem Tabri Police Station, and senior officials of the city police complaining that three colonisers were encroaching the rivulet (Khasra No 100/1) at Tarf Karabara village illegally. He said the nullah was the property of the Drainage Department.

Besides seeking action against the colonisers, the officer had also urged the district Revenue department to conduct a demarcation of the land so that the encroachment can be identified and removed.



Dowry Death Case
Man gets life term
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
Additional Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh has sentenced Vinod Kumar of Gulchaman Gali to undergo life imprisonment in a case of dowry death. A fine of Rs 10,000 has also been imposed on the accused.

Geeta Rani, wife of the accused, of Ahmedgarh had barely completed three months of her matrimonial life when she died from burns and strangulation. Besides, a poisonous substance — organophosphate — was found from the body of the deceased, as per a report submitted by the Chemical Examiner, Punjab.

“The crime in question is a social crime. So, Vinod Kumar is not entitled to leniency,” remarked the Judge while declining the plea of leniency raised by the accused.

However, the court acquitted Raj Rani, mother-in-law of the deceased, Shika, sister-in-law, and Ashu, brother-in-law, owing to lack of evidence against them in the crime.

Acquitting them, the court held that during investigation the three had been declared innocent by the police. There were no allegations of causing harassment to Geeta Rani against the three.

In the absence of evidence, they could not be held responsible for death of the woman on account of their relationship with the prime accused.

The complainant had submitted to the police that his daughter was married to the accused on November 26, 2001. After one month, Vinod asked the complainant to stand as a guarantor for him as he wanted to get a loan of Rs 1 lakh from a financier, but he declined.

Ten days later, a similar demand was raised by the accused.

On February 13, 2002, Babu Lal along with his wife went to see his daughter, as she had not been keeping well. There, Vinod again allegedly demanded money.

On February 18, they came to know from one of their relatives that their daughter had been killed by the prime accused along with other family members by setting her alight.



Slum children disappointed again
Construction of school building stopped
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
All hopes of slum children to have a school building on the Pakhowal road were once again dashed to the ground when the Ludhiana Improvement Trust stopped the construction of the building on the plea that the site was auctioned to a hotel and the matter was in the court.

The government school, opened under Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan, had been virtually running in open, making a mockery of government claims of all-around development. The students are now forced to sit on a mound of earth that was created after digging for laying the foundation.

The Education Department had started the construction of the building near the slum, but the improvement trust authorities stalled the plan stating that the land was under litigation.

The digging of foundation was started on Saturday and the construction material also reached the venue to start the construction of school building, a long pending demand of teachers and nearly 200 students, who had been braving vagaries of weather while studying.

But when the digging was going on, the improvement trust authorities reached the spot and stopped the work midway. The children are again forced to attend to classes while sitting in the sun.

Mr D.C. Garg, executive of the improvement trust, said the construction could not be allowed as there were status quo orders by the court. He said the Administrator of the improvement trust had himself ordered the stopping of construction.

“We knew that the children are inconvenienced while sitting in open but we are helpless,” he added.

Meanwhile, parents of the affected students said they would soon meet the improvement trust Administrator in this regard.

“We have been waiting for the building since December. The school was inaugurated by Mr Harnam Dass Johar, a former Education Minister, who promised us a good building. But it is nowhere in sight,” said a teacher.



Sambhu case: probe against munshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The city police has opened a departmental inquiry against a munshi of the Focal Point police station for the “wrong” recommendation made for issuing the arms licence to Sambhu Kumar Singh, an accused in several cases.

However, the police has not initiated any action against the SHO of the police station or the DSP or senior officers who had issued “no objection certificate” for the arms licence without checking the facts.

It seems improbable that the senior officers, especially the SHO, who fills the arms licence recommendation form himself, was unaware that the applicant had three FIRs registered against him.

The action comes in the wake of a news report published in these columns that the accused had managed to obtain a licence despite pending FIRs against him in the Focal Point police station in 2005. Ludhiana Tribune has a copy of a form filled by the then SHO of the police station.

The SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, said the departmental proceedings had been launched against the munshi only as he had reported to senior officers that there was no criminal record of the applicant.

He said the junior officers go through the criminal records and submit report to the senior officers. He said action would be taken for submitting a wrong report.

Sambhu Kumar Singh, a migrant from Bihar, had shot into the media attention with seven FIRs lodged against him for causing violence and using illegal means to take his money back on high interest rates.



Market body secy denies having issued certificate
Blames faux pas on supervisor
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 5
The secretary of the Market Committee, Kila Raipur, has denied having issued any certificate for the completion of arrangements for the handling of paddy and providing basic amenities for farmers bringing their paddy at many procurement centres on September 25, as claimed by the senior functionaries of the department.

The said certificate was forwarded through e-mail by one of the employees, who admitted to have done so on the instruction of a Deputy DMO.

Meanwhile, the district authorities maintained that as an executive officer the secretary was responsible for the acts of omission of her subordinates.

According to Ms Santokh Kaur, secretary, Market Committee, Kila Raipur, a supervisor in her office had furnished misleading information on her behalf to the district office through an e-mail. “Though I had directed my staff not to submit any completion report till centres were inspected by me, a supervisor in my office sent an e-mail on my behalf claiming that all arrangements had been completed on September 25,” said Ms Santokh Kaur.

Referring to the reply submitted by the supervisor in response to her notice, Ms Santokh Kaur said a senior officer at the district office had asked him to do so. The officer had allegedly impressed upon the supervisor to submit the report as it was to be sent to the Deputy Commissioner’s office the same day.

On delay in arrangements, Ms Santokh Kaur said staff shortage and the wilful absence of certain employees had hampered the progress of work at procurement centres. She claimed that she had been informing her seniors in this regards but no action was ever taken against the erring employees.

Mr Shakti Sharma, DMO, said he had received reports submitted by the secretary but was yet to verify facts. “We will insure that the junior employees were not made scapegoat by the secretary. Moreover, as an executive officer she is responsible for all acts of omission done on her behalf,” said Mr Sharma while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

Ludhiana Tribune had published a story regarding the secretary allegedly providing false information about the completion of arrangements for the handling of paddy and providing basic amenities for farmers bringing their paddy at many procurement centres. Though the work at the procurement centres was in progress on September 30, the district office had received the completion report on September 25, the last date fixed by the authorities.

Reacting to the story, Mr Shakti Sharma had inspected all centres and sought explanation from the office regarding the submission of the said report. He had also directed the secretary to get the arrangements completed.

On the issue of the alleged misappropriation of funds on the pretext of getting the yards cleaned, Ms Santokh Kaur claimed that all payments had been made after being approved by the committee headed by the Chairman. 



Urban Vihar residents demand regular water supply
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
A delegation of different organisations, including the Urban Vihar Citizens Council, Urban Estate Welfare Association, LIG Welfare Association, MIG Welfare Council and Ram Lila Dasehra Committee, yesterday met the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and demanded civic amenities in their areas.

They said the residents of Ward No. 40, particularly of Phase-I Urban Vihar, were facing problems due to the shortage of potable water. The roads in that area needed immediate recarpeting. The streetlights and proper sanitation were also a casualty. The rainwater drains were never cleaned and manholes were without covers.

Listening to their grievances, the Mayor immediately called all officers of different departments of the Zone-D. The delegation discussed the pitiable situation in the area with the officers. The Mayor ordered all officers to visit the areas concerned immediately along with the members of the delegation.

Mr Arun Sharma, SE, personally visited the areas to have on the spot survey of the roads, streetlights, water supply, drainage system and sanitation. He instructed XENs and SDOs to prepare a detailed assessment of the area. He assured the residents that the necessary repair work of the roads of Phase-I Urban Vihar would be undertaken very soon.

He also assured that the defaulter contractors would be booked immediately and blacklisted for irregularities in their work. The remaining tenders would soon be floated and the construction work be completed.

The repair of the canal road coming from Jawaddi would be undertaken soon. The digging work for the three tube wells sanctioned in Urban Vihar, Passi Nagar and CRPF Colony were undergoing and would be completed within this fortnight. This would be undertaken on a priority basis to minimise the grave water situation in Urban Vihar and its adjoining areas.

However, the authorities were suspicious of the long term success of the good initiative taken by this delegation because of lack of funds in the Municipal Corporation being created by the abolition of octroi.



ZP, service providers on collision course
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 5
The Zila Parishad (ZP) has asked a number of doctors, who were selected as service providers at various Subsidiary Health Centres in the area but failed to provide services for some reasons, to either deposit salary for three months or face legal action for not giving adequate notice before leaving job as prescribed in the contract.

Terming the decision of the ZP as arbitrary, the doctors accused the authorities of harassing them unnecessarily.

Representing a group of doctors, Dr Charu Gupta of Kitchlu Nagar, Ludhiana, alleged that she was appointed as a service provider at the Subsidiary Health Centre, Gehlewal, near Koom Kalan. After submitting the joining report for her assignment on June 1, she found that the centre was situated at a distance of 45 km from her residence and it was not feasible for her to provide quality service to the ailing people of that area. Having failed to get her station changed, Dr Charu submitted her resignation. Another service provider was appointed at the dispensary.

“Being an expectant woman it was not possible and desirable for me to travel by bus 90 km daily. Therefore, I surrendered my appointment and the department appointed another service provider. As the authorities had not asked me to continue providing service at the said centre and no loss was caused by my action, the present notice is uncalled for,” said Dr Charu alleging that the authorities at the ZP had maltreated her when she went there to submit her reply to the notice.

Others who received similar notices include Dr Amarinder Singh, Dr Parminder Singh , Dr Rinku Bala, Dr Nidhi Devi, Dr Anshu Gupta, Dr Yugam, Dr Jasbir Kaur and Dr Sonu Aggarwal.

The perusal of documents regarding the service contract revealed that the doctors were appointed as service providers at various health centres to provide curative and preventive services to the population of the respective areas. They were also supposed to implement all national programmes, including the National Rural Health Mission Programme.

The service provider was to be paid Rs 30,000 per month, out which he or she was to engage one qualified para-medical personal and was to take care of water and electricity charges along with sanitation and cleanliness of the centre.

The terms of contract mentioned that the service provider as well as the ZP could terminate the agreement by giving three months’ notice in writing. However, the ZP had a right to terminate the contract on a one-month notice unsatisfactory service. Some service providers had surrendered their services for obvious reasons of low profitably and the ZP issued notices for depositing three months’ salary so that the contract might be terminated.

Interestingly, the amount of ‘salary’ has not been mentioned in the said notice. 



Man accused of shooting groom’s kin succumbs to injuries
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 5
Intolerant and irate mood of Punjabi farmers engulfed peace and prosperity of at least six families of Andloo village, near here. While close relative of a groom, who was shot dead by a farmer for not getting passage from vehicles accompanying the marriage party, had died on the Dasehra day, the main accused, who was later beaten up by the victim’s family, succumbed to his injuries last night.

Dalbir Singh along with his son Gurbinder Singh had been booked by the Raikot police for allegedly murdering Amandeep Singh Ghuman, of Ghuman village on the Dasehra day. He was beaten up by the members of the victim’s family, and he died at a private hospital yesterday.

The condition of families of four brothers — Harinder Jit Singh, father of groom Navdeep Singh, Jatinder Singh, Surinder Singh and Tirlok Singh —is also pitiable as they had been booked under Section 304 for allegedly causing death of Dalbir Singh. Though marriage celebrations had faded on the day when the incident happened, the family atmosphere became graver after the death of Dalbir Singh.

The Ghuman family was the first to taste the adversity when Amandeep received one of two bullets fired by Dalbir Singh after he did not get passage from vehicles accompanying the marriage party of Navdeep Singh on the night preceding Dasehra.

Dalbir Singh of Andloo village, agitated over not getting passage from the vehicles accompanying the marriage party of Navdeep Singh of the same village, had opened fire from a pistol leaving Amandeep Ghuman dead two days ago. He was later admitted to a private hospital at Ludhiana after being beaten by the members of Amandeep’s family.

The Raikot police had registered an FIR under Section 302 of the IPC against Dalbir and his son Gurbinder Singh, alias Gogi. The names of four brothers of the victim’s family had now been included in the FIR for allegedly causing death of Dalbir. Gurpreet Singh, brother of the groom, had earlier alleged that Dalbir and Gurbinder Singh had an old enmity with his family. 



In-laws booked for dowry harassment
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 5
The local police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 498, IPC, against Parminder Singh, Harminder Singh and Gian Kaur of Talwandi Bhangrian, Moga district on the charge of demanding dowry from Rajwinder Kaur, who belonged to Malak, and for subjecting her to cruelty. No arrest has been made so far.

8 booked for assault: In two separate incidents, eight persons have been booked on the charge of assault. In the first incident, the Raikot police has booked Bhupinder Singh, Beant Singh, Bant Singh and Bhant Singh of Johlan on the charge of assaulting Gurjit Singh of their village with lathi and “gandasa”. Two of the suspects were also injured in the brawl. The injured has been admitted in the Civil Hospital Raikot. A case has been registered under Sections 324, 323, 148, 149, IPC. An old dispute relating to land is said to be the reason.

In the other incident, the Dehlon police has registered a case under Sections 325, 323 and 34, IPC, against Gindi of Mehma Singh Wala, Heli of Lohgarh and Billa of Narangwal Khurd on the charge of assaulting Kulwinder Singh, Parminder Singh and Davinder Singh of Mehma Singh Wala with Sticks. An old dispute is said to be reason. No arrest has been made so far in both the cases.

Shop burgled: Miscreants allegedly burgled a shop in Mullanpur and decamped with six brass bands, three drums and other musical instruments and a gas cylinder. The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380, IPC, on the complaint of Vijay Kumar, owner of the shop.

Drug peddler arrested: The Sidhwan Bet police has arrested Manjinder Singh of Tarn Taran from Galib Kalan and allegedly seized 30 grams of smack from his possession. A case has been registered under Sections 21, 25, 60, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

One killed in mishap: In an accident involving a truck (HR-47B-8525) and a motor cycle (PB-10BT-6525) Joginder Singh of Saharan Majra was killed and Manpreet Singh was injured. The Dehlon police has registered a case against Sukhdev Singh of Dhudhan district, Amirtsar, driver of the truck. The injured has been admitted to Hind Hospital, Ahmadgarh.

Bridegroom booked: All was set to receive the bridegroom along with marriage party from Maloud at Sarabha village at the residence of Baisakha Singh but the marriage party did not turn up.

The Sudhar police on the complaint of Baisakha Singh, father of the bride, Sarabjit Kaur, has registered a case. The engagement between Sarabjit Kaur and Kultar Singh took place in February 2006. According to Baisakha Singh, he has to suffer a loss of Rs 1 lakh which he had spent over the arrangements. No arrest has been made so far.

The police has booked Kultar Singh, his father, Karnail Singh, Laxman Singh and his wife Satwant Kaur of Maloud.



Bank of Maharashtra targets commoners
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The local branch of Bank of Maharashtra organised a function to mark the end of its customer mobilisation month recently. Highlighting the achievements of the branch during the month-long campaign, Mr P.S. Lamba, Branch Manager, said the branch targeted students and encouraged them to open saving bank accounts with the aim of inculcating saving habits among them and to help them learn all aspects of banking.

Students of Dashmesh Public School here opened their accounts with the bank and promised to take care of their money in future, he added.

A customers’ meet was also organised in the branch office. Customers were apprised of personal, consumer, vehicle, housing loans besides various business loans provided by the bank. They were also informed about various deposit schemes, long-term and short-term, of the bank and were encouraged to be benefited from them.

The bank forayed into insurance business this month in collaboration with the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and United India Insurance. Customers were handed over the insurance policies by Mr Lamba.

Mr Lamba, while addressing the gathering, said his aim was to make the public aware about the latest investment schemes. The branch, which was opened in 1974, had always strived for helping the commoners and of the small-scale industry of the city.



Industrial unit completes expansion of yarn facility 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Abhishek Industries Limited, a flagship company of the Trident group, yesterday said it had completed the expansion project of its yarn facility. According to a press note, the company had invested Rs 1,800 million towards the implementation of the project. Commercial production on over 46,000 spindles had also been commenced, it said.

With the new facility fully operational, the company is shifting volume-driven products to the new capacities so as to leverage the benefit of their high speed and consistency resulting in higher production, and utilising their resulting unoccupied capacity on the existing machines to manufacture value-added yarns, including 100 per cent PVA yarn, multi-count, multi-twist and melange yarns.

While the total capacity of its yarn facility has increased to 1.26 lakh spindles, the company is also implementing a captive power plant of 20 mega watt with an investment of Rs 700 million, expected to be operational by the third quarter of this financial year.

Abhishek Industries has also planned a further investment of Rs 9,000 million towards expanding all its core businesses, said the press note.



Electronic Expo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Electronic Expo 2k6 will start here tomorrow. The four day expo would showcase an array of branded electronic gadgets from leading market players like Sony, Samsung, Videocon, Godrej, Kent RO , Wipro and Tata, said a press note issued here today.



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