L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Dengue tightens grip, 69 more hospitalised
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 17
The widespread attack of dengue in the mega city does not show any signs of receding as 69 new patients were admitted to local hospitals during the past 24 hours.

The mosquito-borne viral infection has already taken a toll of eight human lives while the total number of dengue cases since September onwards has crossed 500. The Health Department has, however, put the number of fresh cases of dengue during this period at 29.

According to information collected from different hospitals, Christian Medical College and Hospital received the maximum number of dengue patients since Sunday with new admission of 26 cases, followed by SPS Apollo Hospitals (14), Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (13), Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital (11) and Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital (5).

Meanwhile, Dr Vandana Rajput, a consultant physician at The Apollo Clinic here, has stressed that in the absence of a specific treatment or vaccine against dengue, prevention was the only safeguard. She advised people not to let fresh water accumulate since the aedes mosquito bred in it. Further, people should wear full-sleeve shirts and full- length trousers, use mosquito repellents, keep doors and windows closed and use anti-mosquito sprays, besides pouring kerosene over stagnant water, if any.

Dr Rajput pointed out that dengue presented itself in three ways — dengue fever, in which the patient had high-grade fever and body aches, dengue haemorrhagic fever, when the platelet count of a person decreased and the dengue shock syndrome, caused due to a drop in the blood pressure after bleeding from gums and bowels and drastic fall in the platelet count. The dengue shock syndrome could lead to multi-organ failure as a result of decreased blood circulation to various parts of the body.

“Dengue fever can be suspected when the platelet count of a patient decreases, and the bleeding time and the clotting time increases. The serology test with a dengue kit helps to confirm dengue fever. The treatment of dengue fever is supportive. Antipyretics like paracetamol are given to bring down the fever. Platelet transfusion is done after plasma-pheresies in a platelet separator machine,” she added.



Clock Tower turns 100 today
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Ludhiana’s Clock Tower, popularly known as Ghanta Ghar, will turn 100 tomorrow. It was on October 18, 1906, that the Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, Ludhiana, was inaugurated by the then Lt- Governor of Punjab and its dependencies, Sir Charles Montgomery.

The Clock Tower, the prime landmark of the city, has also come up as the representative emblem of Ludhiana. The tower had been erected as a memorial to the silver jubilee year of Queen Victoria’s regime. Although Giani Zail Singh, during his tenure as the Chief Minister of the state, had rechristened it as Bhagwan Mahavir Clock Tower, obviously with political motives, nobody knows it with any other name than Ghanta Ghar.

However, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which is supposed to maintain the tower, appears to have forgotten it. Municipal officials said there was no plan to mark the 100th anniversary of the tower.

In 1906, the tower was erected with the contribution of leading people of the city. At that time, it had been erected in the heart of the city, with Chaura Bazar, the courts and the tehsil office in the vicinity. Even today, the Clock Tower area is considered to be the epicentre of the city that has spread out far and wide over the last century.

Over the years, the Clock Tower had become an epicentre of various activities in the city. Besides commercial activities, because of Chaura Bazar being nearby, a lot of political activity would take place there. All political parties, even now, stage dharnas and demonstrations around the tower so that the message is conveyed to maximum people who remain around.

Old timers recall that earlier the tower could be seen from a few miles. However, with the pollution increasing in the city and high-rise buildings coming up, the visibility has become low.

Regrettably, due to the poor maintenance, the tower has started showing signs of dilapidation with cracks having appeared from inside. It needs immediate attention, lest an important relic of the Raj disappears.



Encroachers add chaos to traffic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Residents of Gill Road are up in arms against the authorities as encroachments, garbage and lack of cleanliness continue to give them a tough time despite repeated complaints in this regard.

Encroachers are having a field day on both sides of the road while the authorities continue to look the other way. Residents say they are sick of knocking at the doors of the authorities. Now, they have decided to move court.

Gill Road, also known as the Ludhiana-Malerkotla highway, is in fact, the worst road in the city. Most part of it is encroached upon and piles of garbage greet the commuters on the road.

The problem is compounded by small-scale industrial units, which exhibit their goods on the roadside, narrowing it further. Encroachers like vegetable vendors, meat sellers and scrap dealers add to the chaos.

The Environmental and Welfare Association of the area had sent a legal notice to the civic body under the MC Act, demanding that the road should be cleared. The notice, however, did not yield anything.

“Heaps of sand are lying on both sides of the road. Vegetable vendors and shopkeepers display their goods on the sides and create a traffic bottleneck. There is no footpath on either of the sides and half the portion of the road is kutcha. It is occupied by shopkeepers who have extended their shops right up to the middle of the road by using shamianas and tarpaulin,” said Mr Sher Singh, a resident.

Some commuters had made crossings in the divider at a number of places.

Gates of small units also opened on the road where heavy machinery was downloaded, leading to traffic problems.

Around 60 kiosks put up on the road near Arora Cinema have eaten into the road. “The MC had removed these some time ago, but these are back again. We have come to know that their cases are in court and nothing can be done as of now,” added Mr Sher Singh. 



Flood threat to Halwara Air Force Station
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Halwara (Ludhiana), October 17
The Halwara Air Force Station authorities are having sleepless nights over the threat of floods being caused by the widening cracks in the banks of the Abohar Feeder Canal that passes dangerously close to the boundary of the station.

An old crack in the banks of the canal just near the main road has developed into a major gap with the gushing water of the canal eating into the banks towards the station. Despite several communications to the Canal Department, the cracks were not repaired and have thus developed into huge cracks.

Officials sources feared that the wide gap was threatening to develop into a breach that can inundate the low-lying residential areas besides the key installations.

At least three breaches, one near Ahmedgarh, had occurred in the canal last year. Air Force officials have been writing letters to the Irrigation Department for immediate repair work on the banks and to strengthen them. But not much has been done.

The main fears were that the water would flood the low-lying area in the station. A visit to the site revealed that there were considerable weak points along the canal and there was a threat to residential areas in Gurusar Sudhar also. Sandbags were seen places along the banks that were cracking or had already cracked up.

The canal passes along the boundary of the air force station and any seepage can cause trouble. Interestingly, last year also the banks were strengthened only after media reports highlighted the threat perception.

The Canal Department officials, however, claimed that they have been doing repairs off and on. They said the major repairs would be undertaken now when the paddy season is over and there would be less pressure of water supply on the canals.

The officials said the canals have to be closed for the repairs and this was not possible in the paddy season when the demand of water was quite high.



City resident irked with power board
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Much to the irritation of a city resident, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) enthusiastically installing electricity meters outside houses has installed a neighbour’s electricity meter on his wall.

Mr Narinder Singh, a resident of Ram Nagar, said though he had met the PSEB Chief Engineer and written to him several times, the electricity meter of his neighbour remained installed on his wall. “I have brought this to the notice of electricity board officials, but my repeated efforts have failed to bear fruit. Though it is not affecting my billing, why should they put someone else’s electricity meter on my wall?” he rued.

He said,“It is an error which won’t take them more than a few minutes to rectify. I am surprised they have taken no action in this regard.”



MLA’s nephew cremated

Samrala, October 17
Kumari Selja, Union Minister of State of Housing and Urban, attended the cremation of Advocate Nirmal Singh Dhillon, a nephew of local MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon, here this evening.

The body was brought here today afternoon from the PGI, Chandigarh. The deceased had died in J & K on Sunday after he fell into a khud.

Among those who attended the funeral included Mr Harmohinder Singh Gill, MLA, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary, Mr Jagjeewan Singh Kheernian, general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal (Badal). — OC



Pensioners list demands

Ludhiana, October 16
The Government Pensioners’ Association has sought the fulfilment of their following demands.
The payment of travel concession to pre-April, 2004, retirees after merging 50 per cent DA with their basic pension, as has been done in the case of post-April, 2004, retirees; and old-age allowance at the age of 80 on a par with MLA pensioners in Punjab; hike in fixed medical allowance as Rs 250 per month being paid to the pensioners for the past almost nine years is woefully inadequate to meet the ever-increasing medicare cost; and inclusion of issues related to pensioners in terms of reference of the 5th Punjab Pay Commission, which is likely to be set up shortly. OC



Man held for rape of minor 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 17
Sukhwinder Singh, alias Sukha, of Madarpura, under the Sidhwan Bet police station, allegedly raped a 10-year-old girl yesterday when she was alone in her house. Sukha threatened the minor girl with dire consequences if she disclosed the matter to anybody.

A case under Sections 376, 452 and 506 of the IPC has been registered. Sources said Sukha was arrested today and would be produced before the Illaqa Magistrate tomorrow.

Cheater booked: The Dakha police has booked Gurmail of Dalla on the charges of cheating and theft. The suspect attended the marriage of Kamaljit Kaur’s daughter at Palam Plaza, Mullanpur, and offered his blessings with a fake note of Rs 1,000 denomination and stolen five notes of Rs 100 denomination. A case has been registered under Sections 379 and 420 of the IPC on a complaint of Sukhwinder Singh of Mohi. In another case, the mobile phone (Nokia 3315) belonging to Chotu Ram of Gita Colony, Jagraon, was stolen from the Agwar Gujjran, Jagraon, on Monday. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

One held for gambling: The police arrested Pawan Kumar of Mohalla Balochan from the New Grain Market area on the charge of gambling and allegedly recovered Rs 215, a cardboard and a pen. A case has been registered under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act. 



HSBC launches Helping Hands Mela
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The HSBC has launched its Helping Hands Mela in collaboration with NGOs Ashirwad and Ek Prayas. The HSBC is displaying its products and also art and craft items at the mela.

The company, in a press note issued here today, said the proceeds of the sale would go towards supporting a charitable cause in communities where these NGOs have their presence.

The annual event by the HSBC would continue till October 20. This is the sixth year of the mela and over 100 NGOs across the country were participating with community work profiles ranging from child welfare, tribal development, welfare of the physically and mentally challenged, rural development and art and craft development, the company said.

As many as 41 HSBC branches across 25 cities of Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Indore, Nagpur, Kolkata, Patna, Raipur, Delhi, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Noida, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bangalore, Mysore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam, HSBC Group companies, HSBC Software Development (India) Private Limited in Pune and HSBC Operations and Processing Enterprise (India) Private Limited in Mumbai and Chennai were participating in the mela.



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