L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

3.5 lakh children vaccinated against polio
Our Correspondents

Dr K.C. Goel, District Health Officer, Sangrur, administers polio vaccine to a child at Civil Hospital in Mandi Ahmedgarh
Dr K.C. Goel, District Health Officer, Sangrur, administers polio vaccine to a child at Civil Hospital in Mandi Ahmedgarh on Sunday. — Photo by Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana, January 7
Nearly 70 per cent of the children in the age group of 0-5 years were immunised against polio under the pulse polio drive undertaken in the district today.

Health officials said that 2100 booths, including 900 within the city limits, were set up to administer polio drops to a little more than 5.39 lakh eligible children in the district. In addition, mobile teams of volunteers and transit posts immunised children at railway stations, bus stands and highways.

According to health officials, the children, who were not covered in the polio vaccination campaign today, will be given polio drops by the teams of health workers and supporting staff in the door-to-door drive to be undertaken on January 8 and 9 in city localities and elsewhere in the district.

Rotary Club of Ludhiana North set up 22 polio booths in the area falling under Model Town Civil Dispensary and Abdullapur Civil Dispensary with the active assistance of members of Government College for Women Rotaract Club and GGN Khalsa College Rotaract Clubs to provide polio drops.

The NSS Unit of Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School organised a pulse polio camp under the supervision of Mr H.K. Mayer, principal, and Ms Navdeep Romana, Programme Officer, NSS. The volunteers went round several colonies and persuaded the parents to bring their children to polio booths. More than 200 children were given polio drops at this camp.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: District health authorities claimed to have administered anti-polio vaccine to more than 65 per cent of targeted children in Sangrur district. The rest of the children will be provided vaccine during the door-to-door campaign over the next two days.

According to Dr K.C. Goel, District Health Officer, district health authorities had arranged 827 booths to cover all areas in the town and the surrounding areas. The vaccine was provided to newborn children at their residence by volunteers of various social organisations.

Out of total population of 15,01,044, the authorities had identified 2,04577 children in the district and 25,000 in Fatehgarh Panj Garaian, out of which more than 65 per cent children were administered the vaccine today, claimed the DHO.

Machhiwara: Over 11,000 children of 115 villages in Machhiwara were administered additional polio drops today.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, MO Dr Sanjay Kapoor said that to achieve the target 76 booths had been set up where 258 volunteers administered the drops. Four transit and two mobile teams were also put into action, he added.

Samrala: According to a press note, as many as 14400 children were administered polio drops in 135 villages by 88 teams under the supervision of 19 supervisors.



Let us eradicate polio

In May 1988, the World Health Assembly, governing body of the World Health Organisation (WHO), at its annual meeting in Geneva, resolved to eradicate polio from the world. The global eradication of polio involves both halting the incidence of the disease and eradication of the virus that causes it. Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme was launched in India in 1995. Under this programme, every child under the age of five years is administered oral polio drops.

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus - Poliovirus - that invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis within hours. The virus enters the body through mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in neck and pain in limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Amongst the paralysed patients, 5-10 per cent die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.

What causes polio?

Agent: The causative agents are the polioviruses which have three serotypes 1,2 and 3. Most outbreaks of the paralytic polio are due to tpye-1 virus. Polio virus can survive for long periods in the external environment. In a cold environment, it can live in water for four months and in faeces for six months. It is, therefore, well-adapted for the faecal-oral route of transmission. However, the virus may be rapidly inactivated by pasteurisation, and a variety of physical and chemical agents.

Reservoir of infection: Man is the only known reservoir of infection. Most infections are subclinical. Mild and subclinical infections play a dominant role in spread of infection; they constitute the submerged portion of the iceberg. It is estimated that for every clinical case, there may be 1000 subclinical cases in children and 75 in adults. No animal source has yet been demonstrated.

Infectious material: The virus is found in the faeces and oropharyngeal secretions of an infected person.

Period of communicability: The cases are most infectious seven to 10 days before and after the onset of the symptoms.

Persons at risk: Polio mainly affects children under three years of age. In India, it is essentially a disease of infancy and childhood. About 50 per cent of the cases are reported in infancy. The most vulnerable age is between six months and three years.

Environmental factors: Polio is more likely to occur during the rainy reason. Approximately, 60 per cent of the cases in India were recorded during June-September. The environmental sources of infection are contaminated water, food and flies. Polio virus survives for a long time in a cold environment. Overcrowding and poor sanitation provide opportunities for exposure to infection.

Mode of transmission: Faecal-OraI route is the main route of spread of the virus in developing countries. The infection may spread directly through contaminated fingers, or indirectly through contaminated water, milk, foods, flies and articles of daily use.

Droplet infection: This may occur in the acute phase of the disease when the virus enters the throat. Close personal contact with an infected person facilitates droplet spread. This mode of transmission may be relatively more important in developed countries where faecal transmission is remote.

Advantages of oral polio vaccine (OPV): OPV does not have to be administered by a trained health worker and unlike most other vaccines, does not require sterile injection. The vaccine is relatively inexpensive. The short-term shedding of virus in the stools of recently immunised children means that in areas where hygiene and sanitation are poor, the incidence of polio is likely to be high, immunisation with OPV can result in the passive immunisation of persons in close contact. As discussed above, the unique ability of OPV to induce intestinal, lonal immunity is responsible for the extraordinary effect of OPV mass campaigns in interrupting wide poliovirus transmission. Due to these advantages, OPV remains the vaccine of choice for the eradication of polio, which would not be feasible with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV).

Which vaccines should my child get and when?

Most children should get four doses of polio vaccine at the ages of two months, four months, 12-18 months and 4-6 years.

You can choose to get any of these three acceptable schedules: two shots of IPV and two doses of OPV drops or four shots of IPV or four doses of OPV drops (the third dose can be given as early as six months of age). Polio drops are safe and of the highest quality.

— Dr Anil Dheer



Trees on road not axed yet
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Rara Sahib (Ludhiana), January 7
A lot of hullabaloo is being created by the district administration about the observance of the Road Safety Week, but a dozen odd eucalyptus trees that had caused a road mishap in this village, which claimed six lives five months ago, still stand tall exposing the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned.

Though the problem is compounded due to the fog that engulfs the countryside every night, the authorities keep on passing the buck. On August 8, six persons including four children had died after a truck they were travelling by fell in the canal due to narrowing of the road caused by the trees lining the canal.

Neither the Public Works Department nor the Canal Department seem concerned to expedite the matter as the trees still stand on the spot today. The fact that the bank of the canal was giving way gradually was ignored by the Public Works Department, responsible for maintaining roads alongside canals and the Canal department also, who did not take any cudgels to get the issue resolved.

The issue was highlighted by the Tribune in these columns a number of times but the authorities failed to move as if they were waiting for a disaster to wake them from their slumber.

The officials of Payal subdivision said that they had written to the officials of the forest department seeking permission to fell the trees. The permission, however, did not come.

They added that they had been waiting for the green signal all this while. Otherwise, the trees would have been axed by now.

The stretch of road could virtually be a death knell at night time as the trees are not anticipated. There were no reflectors in sight on the spot.

Divisional Forest Officer, Mr Tushar Kanti Vahera, was not accessible for comment. ‘‘It is surprising that trees are being felled like anything in the state and when it was a question of human lives, nobody was bothered to expedite the matter,” said a villager, who had rescued many people during the tragedy.



Cong minister attends RSS function
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
The Minister of State for Science and Technology and Industrial Training, Mr Rakesh Pandey today sprang a surprise when he attended a congregation of the RSS, the ideological fountainhead of the BJP.

The congregation named 'Vishal Samajik Ekta Sammelan' was organised by the local unit of the RSS to commemorate the birth centenary celebrations of Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, also known as Guru Ji among the Sangh Parivar.

Mr Pandey is a three time MLA from Ludhiana North Assembly segment. He is the son of late Joginder Pal Pandey, a veteran Congress leader, who fell to the terrorists' bullets during militancy in Punjab. Mr Pandey was accompanied by some of his close supporters, including Mr Ashwani Sharma of the Youth Congress.

Even Mr Pandey's critics would vouch that he has nothing to do with the RSS or its ideology. But, with elections round the corner, he could ill afford to ignore the RSS invitation. The RSS has strong pockets of influence in the Ludhiana North Assembly segment, represented by Mr Pandey and his father quite for a long time.

Mr Pandey told The Tribune that he was invited by the local unit of the RSS. He said, there was nothing wrong in it since the programme was being organised in his Assembly segment. Moreover, the programme was for the 'social unity', as it was named "Ekta Sammelan", he did not find anything wrong in it. He said, it was for the national and social unity and every nationalist would love to participate in it.

He clarified, he was a "staunch Congressman inheriting a strong Congress tradition" and he had nothing to do with the RSS ideology. "As the local representative of the people, I felt it my duty to respond positively to their invitation", he remarked, while adding, there was no other motive in his attending the programme.



Youth brigade against Johar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
A number of Congress applicants for the Ludhiana West Assembly segment are learnt to have formed a common front against the sitting MLA and senior party leader, Mr Harnam Dass Johar. They are believed to have told the party high command in New Delhi that they should better field a fresh face this time as Mr Johar was "too old to contest now".

According to Mr Ramesh Joshi, the state chairman of the Urban Development Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, no doubt Mr Johar has a lot of experience and is quite senior. But this is high time that he leaves the space for someone young, who could carry on the party tradition. Besides Mr Joshi, the young brigade includes, Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, his wife Ms Jaswinder Kaur, Mr Krishen Kumar Bawa and others.

Mr Joshi said, as sincere party workers with over two decades of service to the people they had every right to demand the party domination. However, he clarified, once the ticket is announced, even to Mr Johar, he and everybody would work for the party candidate only.

Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Tikka and Mr Bawa said that they had nothing personal against Mr Johar. They said, they were trying to impress upon the party high command to ensure that young leadership is not devoid of its rightful due. “Otherwise there would be too much of alienation and frustration among the youth”, Mr Bawa observed.

Mr Dewan pointed out, more than 60 per cent voters were below the age of 40 and they would always like to be represented by a younger leader who is active, agile and energetic. He said, senior leaders must take up the role of a guide and mentor to the younger leaders. “It was necessary to ensure that the youth is not weaned away from the party”, he remarked.

Mr Tikka said, “the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh have also assured that younger leadership would be given due representation in the ticket”. He hoped that they respect the sentiments of the youth while finalising the candidates.

On the other hand, Mr Johar’s supporters have been holding that he was “as active as anybody else, claiming himself to be young”. They maintained that Mr Johar was still working for 18 hours a day. It is because of his seniority and active involvement in the party affairs that enabled him to become the member of the selection panel of the candidates for the Assembly elections, they claimed, while asserting that only Mr Johar could win the Ludhiana West seat for the Congress with a landslide margin.



Rail engine hits coaches; 2 suspended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Two railway employees have been suspended following an accident involving the 7LF train at platform 7 here last evening.

Senior railway officials evaded queries about the safety of passengers.

Area traffic manager N.S. Mann avoided the media since the morning, claiming that he was busy.

Efforts to reach him over phone were futile as he disconnected the phone.

Sources said while an inquiry had been ordered, a driver and a guard had been suspended immediately.

The sources said senior officials were directly in the line of fire after the accident for not taking timely action.

The incident was being viewed seriously as the train’s engine had hit bogeys while being connected to coaches.

The manner in which officials tried to hush up the case raised eyebrows.

The mandatory siren was not sounded and the passengers injured were rushed off after first-aid.

Instead of coming clear to the media, senior officials went into cover.

Initially, they told reporters that no accident occurred, but when photographers showed them pictures of the accident and the injured, the officials claimed that only one person was hurt.

Today, the officials chose not to respond to the queries whereas they could have given a statement about the safety of boarding trains here.



Jat Sikhs in Ludhiana Rural play caste card
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
There appears to be a consensus among Jat Sikhs in both the Congress as well as the Shiromani Akali Dal on at least one issue.

They want that only a Jat Sikh be fielded from the Ludhiana Rural Assembly constituency as it is a predominantly Jat Sikh seat and not a Ramgarhia seat, as is being made out.

The SAD has already announced the candidature of Mr Hira Singh Gabria, who belongs to the strong and powerful Ramgarhia Sikh community.

But a section of the Jat Sikh community represented by a local councillor and the district Youth Akali Dal president, Mr Simarjit Singh Bains, and his brother and SGPC member, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, want that a Jat Sikh be fielded from here.

A meeting of various groups and industrialists was held here today, which urged the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to reconsider his decision and nominate Mr Balwinder Singh Bains from here.

The meeting supported the idea of fielding Mr Bains as an Independent from the constituency in case the SAD decided against changing Mr Gabria.

They gave one week’s time to the party leadership to replace Mr Gabria with Mr Bains, failing which he might be fielded as an Independent.

Almost along similar lines, some senior Jat Sikh leaders in the Congress, including, Mr Jaswinder Singh, chairman of the Market Committee, Sahnewal, Mr Harpal Singh Sangowal, chairman of the Sugar Mill, Budhewal, Mr Balwinder Singh, director, Central Cooperative Bank, and Mr Surjit Singh Hara urged the Congress high command to field a Jat Sikh candidate from here.

They claimed that although Ramgarhia Sikhs constituted a sizeable vote bank in the segment, it was Jat Sikhs who were in a majority and hence, a Jat Sikh be fielded from here.

The Jat Sikhs had been claiming that it would be injustice with the community to refuse them a seat where they were in a majority.

They pointed out that the Ramgarhia Sikhs had quite often represented this segment and now, some Jat Sikh must be given a chance.

Although they had no common platform, Jat Sikhs were floating the idea of fielding someone from their own community in case no party gave the ticket to their representative.



Ludhiana Calling

The chill has failed to throw cold water over city residents’ plans to continue with New Year celebrations. Those celebrating are publicity conscious, seeking media coverage of their parties. They include institutions and associations holding New Year parties now. When questioned about the delay, one such organiser was quick to reply: “The New Year eve has so many parties that coverage is not proper. It is better now.” A smart move indeed!

Scary scene

What happens when two long-horned, oversized bulls decide to engage in a fight (or play?) and that too, in the middle of a crowded area like Deepak Cinema Road? Nothing much, except that hapless traffic cops join scary onlookers and passersby. This is exactly what happened last week. Luckily there was no accident, but the apathy of the administration towards dealing with stray animals on roads was highly condemned. It is high time the matter is dealt with seriously.

Kite flying

Kite flying may be a very enjoyable sport, but not so when those engaged in the activity can be found at virtually all places, including roads and streets, posing a danger to other residents. As more people are flying kites these days, they are not exercising caution. Accidents in the past have been reported on account of carelessness in kite flying. Hope this time kite fliers observe caution and do not harm others (see picture).

Mobile menace

Mobile is a necessity for many, but a nuisance for some. One bureaucrat made no qualms about his hatred for the device by pasting a poster in front of his office, announcing the warning, “Mobile phones are strictly prohibited. If they are so indispensable, cancel the meeting or the appointment.” It was another matter that the officer was readily available on his mobile when he was not in his office.

Traffic week

The road safety week observed in the first seven days of this year provided residents a rare opportunity: to see traffic police officials, who otherwise remain in the comfort zone of their offices. Low-ranked traffic cops are often browbeaten by offenders, who have scant respect for the law. Buses do not halt at prescribed bus stops and those driving jump traffic lights, violate lane driving rules and park wherever they wish to.

Noon joggers

The winter has failed to dampen spirits of fitness freaks. The only difference is that morning joggers have taken to late-morning or near-noon jogging. Sarabha Nagar parks are full of people who have adjusted to the changing weather by coming out to jog at late hours. Gone are the days when people used to be shy to venture out for exercise after morning hours.

Subdued cops

The Election Commission has shifted many cops, keeping in view that most of them have been in the city for over three years. The transfer orders were met with subdued acceptance from the cops, who did not have the chance to make use of their pressure lobbies to get the orders cancelled. The cops shifted and started exploring channels to keep all political parties happy for their early return to the city.

Scribe rush

Organisers of press conferences or events have become wiser, owing to the ever-increasing number of journalists. While inviting them, organisers have started insisting as to how many reporters or photographers will come for the event. They have adopted this measure as many reporters from the same organisation reach the venue, putting pressure on event managers.

Cold wave

The cold wave has thrown life out of gear. Residents are looking for cover, with all work taking a back seat. The worst hit are stray animals and the homeless, who have to brave the cold in the absence of shelter. A child could not resist himself after seeing the condition of scores of such people sitting in front of a temple when he said with innocence: “Why cannot God allow these homeless inside?” It can be given a thought.

Greeting cards

A bureaucrat has an interesting experience to narrate. He had sent New Year cards to several people, but only one person called back to say thanks. The person gave the reason: he had to pay Rs 8 as postage for the card. The bureaucrat had affixed the stamps required, which were stolen.

Nuisance value

Apart from beggars, salespersons of different companies have been harassing commuters at traffic lights. They pester commuters by knocking continuously and do not budge till pamphlets, posters or handouts are taken from them. At times, they disrupt the flow of traffic while moving from one lane to another. Traffic cops remain mute spectators to their activities.

Contributed by Shveta Pathak, Jupinderjit Singh and Kanchan Vasdev



Efforts for third front prove futile
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 7
For quite sometime, there has been loud talk regarding the emergence of a third front which could stake claim to power in Punjab. Such ideas have proved nothing more than political kite-flying. Those who talked of a third front were the CPI, CPM, Lok Bhalai Party, dissident Panthic groups like Akali Dal (Amritsar), Akali Dal (Longowal) and Akali Dal 1920. Akali dissidents also talked of a third front besides organisations like the Dal Khalsa and Khalsa Panchayat, All-India Akali Dal and Akali Dal (International ).

Some of the dissident groups like the All-India Akali Dal and Akali Dal (International ) are mere paper tigers. The CPI and CPM have their ideological compulsions particularly when they find that in Punjab, the Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the BJP are in alliance which has lasted over a decade. Strange enough, both the political parties continue to have their separate political agenda. The other political parties which have tried to create some political space in Punjab are the BSP and Lok Janshakti. They thought that they could have bright chances because of a large population of Dalits in Punjab.

BSP leader Mayawati proved too overbearing for the local leaders of Dalits. A special feature of the Dalit population in Punjab is that they are affluent and demand political status equivalent to that of the Jats. Ms Mayawati did not understand the basic political dilemma of Punjabi Dalits. Hence she could not make any headway except in 1992 when the BSP won nine Vidhan Sabha seats when the Akali Dal had boycotted the elections.

Any talk of a third front in Punjab centres around Akali splinter groups. Among them are some who have suffered during the militancy period and claimed to have made sacrifices for the Khalsa Panth. Basically they want political space within the Sikh mainstream politics which is at present occupied by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann claims that he heads an Akali Dal which was formed at the behest of Akal Takht and he was nominated its president by the Jathedar of Akal Takht. Mr Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra deserted this Akali Dal. Despite this, Mr Mann continues to carry the banner of the real Akali Dal. He has his supporters and admirers among the community all over the world. Smaller Sikh groups who seek political space like Mr Mann are the Dal Khalsa and Khalsa Panchayat. They find Mr Mann too tall and carry on their own activities.

There are dissident Akali groups who broke away from the Akali Dal (Badal) at various times.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh is a shrewd, wealthy and dynamic leader and is related to Mr Badal. During his tenure as Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Badal found him to be too overbearing and was always scared lest he might stake his claim for the chief ministership. So Mr Badal started sidelining him. During the tenure of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala as Chief Minister, Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Captain Amarinder Singh came closer as Tohra baiters. Mr Ravi Inder Singh, who belongs to the late Baldev Singh’s family, did not like to shed his Akali moorings and at the same time he wanted to be looked upon as a nationalist. So the alliance with such groups could not be possible.

Another important dissident Akali leader, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, broke away from Mr Badal and Mr Tohra when he was denied the ticket. After Mr Tohra's death, he was always on the lookout to make up with Mr Badal. This is one reason why the anti-Badal groups always doubted his credentials. He was looked upon as a poor Sikh with no political or religious connections. His stint as a minister in the Barnala Government was also not above board. In his case only the inevitable has happened.

Another important dissident leader who could be instrumental in formation of the third front was Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who rose in Akali ranks from the position of a ‘kavisher’. He is a fine orator and a politician who can draw crowds. He came into the limelight during the Dharam Yudh Morcha when he hobnobbed with Central negotiators and Governors of Punjab. Among the Akalis, he was able to get the ticket from the Faridkot parliamentary constituency in 1977.

The problem with the leaders of the groups seeking a third front is that they have bloated personal egos. As things stand today, there is hardly any chance of an organised third front facing the two major political parties of the state. The only alternative that they can think of is that they can have seat adjustments in their pockets of influence and mar the chances of candidates put up by the two parties.



Atwal gears up for poll
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, January 7
SAD-BJP candidate Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal has geared up for elections in his constituency, Koom Kalan, whereas the Congress has yet to announce its candidate.

The SAD-BJP candidate has an edge over other parties’ candidates as this constituency has always been known for its loyalty to Akali candidates.

This early and pre-planned campaign will make Mr Atwal a bit stronger.

To take advantage of the delayed decision of the Congress, Mr Atwal has started going from door to door in every village where he getting applause from the people for being the first candidate to contact them.

Mr Atwal has organised some get-togethers in some colonies at Machhiwara.

Though it is too early to predict the name of the next winner, Mr Atwal has an advantage of not having any anti-incumbency wave against him.



PCC secy questions selection procedure of candidates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and a ticket aspirant from the Ludhiana East today questioned the selection procedure of the candidates. He said, even those who were aspiring for the ticket were nominated to the selection panel.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Mehta pointed out, the party leadership had announced during the parliamentary elections that all those candidates who had trailed in their constituencies by more than 5,000 votes or had reduced their lead substantially would not be given the ticket.

He said, last time the party gave a patient hearing to the applicants. But this time they had started screening the candidates. "That means even some deserving candidates might be dropped in the first phase only", he pointed out adding, this would be gross injustice with the grassroots- level workers.

Mr Mehta reminded the PCC president that he had announced that the grass roots-level workers would be taken into confidence before nominating a candidate. "But with this type of selection process not much is expected", he remarked.



Photo I-card must for voters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Deputy Commissioner- cum-District Electoral Office Ashok Kumar Gupta has said this time only those having the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) will be allowed to cast the votes and appealed the remaining voters to get their EPIC prepared till January 15.

He also directed the ROs to ensure the issue of EPICs to the remaining voters, including those included in the supplementary lists.

Mr. Gupta was addressing a joint meeting of the ROs and AROs held under his chairmanship to review the progress of the arrangements being made for holding the elections in the district the at Circuit House last evening.

The District Electoral Officer has asked all ROs to strictly implement the Model Code of Conduct during the campaigning and polling for the coming Vidhan Sabha elections in the district so that free, fair, peaceful, smooth and impartial elections could be conducted.

The DC told them to go through the hand book for the Returning Officers and other relevant Acts and provisions of Model Code of Conduct so that they have full clarity about their powers and duties to be performed during the elections. He informed that four flying squads comprising of a senior civil officer, a Magistrate and a DSP had been formed to keep a vigil in the district and strict action would be taken in case of any violation of Model Code of Conduct while pasting posters, putting up of hoardings/banners on the public properties without the prior permission of the departments concerned .

Mr. Gupta asked the ROs to form such flying squads at the constituency level also, so that they could take immediate remedial steps in case of the violation of the poll code.

He asked the Returning Officers to give final touches to the arrangements and take necessary steps for the upkeep of the polling booths and counting centres in their respective constituencies.

The Deputy Commissioner said the political parties and candidates shall ensure that their supporters do not create obstructions in or break up meeting and processions organised by other parties. Mr. Gupta informed that a party or candidate organising a procession shall give advance intimation to the local police authorities of the program so as to enable the latter to make necessary arrangements.

He said that if two or more political parties or candidates propose to hold processions over the same route or parts thereof at about the same time, the organisers shall establish contact well in advance and decide upon the measures to be taken to see that the processions do not clash or cause hindrances to traffic.

Mr. Gupta informed that in case of any violation of the poll code, a written complaint can be made to any of the three officers i.e. Election Observers, District Electoral Officer and concerned Returning Officers. He informed that all ROs would maintain complaint registers, in which, full details of the status of complaints till the disposal would be entered, as per the directions of Election Commissioner. He informed that the posting of polling and presiding staff was under proce4ss to manage all the 2056 polling booths in the district.



Residents cry for actual road safety
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, January 7
While the road safety week being observed aims to highlight safety measures to be adhered to on road, the non-operative traffic lights at Kaddon Chowk here, that too for months together, seem to belie all such efforts.

Till date, many road safety weeks have been observed here, but the lights at Kaddon Chowk failed to get any attention.

A number of fatal accidents taking place at the chowk made the authorities to install traffic lights here as a safety measure, which remained operative for sometime only and now the authorities seem to have forgotten them.

Generally, lessons are learnt from accidents and mishappenings, but in this case, even fatal accidents have failed to shake the conscience of the concerned authorities. The foggy weather these days has aggravated the situation. The traffic police, too, seems to be least bothered. No policeman is deployed at the place to direct the traffic. As no one is ready to take responsibility, lives of the commuters are at stake.

Also, the blinking lights near the cut of a petrol-pump and at a turn towards Neelo have stopped functioning. There is, now, no indication for the travellers on either side and a sudden turn by one can 'turn' the life of the other coming from the opposite direction.

At the bus stand of Doraha, the situation is no better. The passengers and daily commuters have to cross the busy NH-1 by putting their lives at stake as there is no zebra crossing to ensure their safety. Hundreds of commuters, including employees, school-college going students, have to cross GT Road everyday putting their lives at risk. Thanks to the human concern shown at times by the first-aid post employees near the bus stand, who extend a helping hand to the aged and children. A number of accidents have taken place here till date resulting in injuries and even deaths due to speedy traffic on the highway.

The residents rue,"Mere observance of the road safety weeks shall serve no purpose. Things have to be practically implemented and strictly imposed to ensure safety for one and all. Several reminders have been given to the authorities regarding implementation of road safety measures but to no avail. Mere organising of seminars, holding discussions and making public shows, is meaningless. We want actual safety that can be seen with eyes not forcibly made to hear only through the ears."



No compromise on national security: RSS
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
RSS leaders today warned against any compromise on the national security. They said, the Independence was hard earned and any laxity on the issue could cost the nation dearly.

Speaking at the birth centenary celebrations of Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the RSS leaders alleged that the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre was ignoring national interests for petty gains.

Former BJP MLA, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla and the state head of the RSS, Mr Kashmiri Lal said, "Guru Ji's teachings were most relevant today". They called upon the youth, who were present in quite a good number, to cultivate the nationalist culture. They asserted, once the nation was strong, individuals would prosper. "Otherwise we are doomed to destruction", they warned.

They said, the Guru Ji had the vision of a great and powerful India. "But unfortunately some vested interests in the government and the establishment were even prepared to trade the national interest", they regretted, while warning that such compromise would not be tolerated at any cost.



Hindu body seeks rail concession
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 7
Accusing the Union Government of appeasing a particular minority by ignoring interests of the Hindus, the Sanatan Dharam Mahavir Dal Organisation, comprising members from eight northern states and union territories, has sought the restoration of concession in rail fare for over 600 volunteers who are scheduled to take up duties at the ongoing Ardh Kumbh from January 11.

Mr Shiv Kumar Lomash, president of the region comprising Punjab, Haryana, HP, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Chandigarh and Delhi, alleged that the successive governments had been trying to appease certain minorities at the cost of Hindus.

Irritated over the alleged indifferece of the Railway Minister and his aides towards their demand to restore the concession, he alleged that the Union Railway Minister had ignored the recommendations of Mr Pawan Bansal, Union Minister of State for Finance.

“Despite recommendations by Mr Bansal, the Railway Ministry has not bothered to initiate any process to issue concession tickets to more than 600 volunteers from northern states who are scheduled to take up duties at Aradh Kumbh at Allahabad on January 11,” lamented Mr Shiv Lomash.

He alleged that the authorities, instead of starting more trains for the mega festival, had cancelled two trains usually running from Ambala and Sriganganagar to Allahabad.

“A large number of devotees who had got their seats reserved in these trains are now shuttling between various offices and stations to get fresh reservations,” he pointed out.



Goods worth lakhs gutted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 7
Goods worth lakhs were gutted in a fire at a shop in the Chaura Bazaar here last night.

The fire was checked from spreading to other establishments.

The district administration would felicitate the volunteers and fire-fighting teams.

Residents urged the authorities to establish a fire station at the civic body office.



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