L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Gastroenteritis claims four more lives
57 fresh cases reported
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 1
There seems to be no respite from the break out of gastroenteritis in six colonies in the Giaspura area, most of them inhabited by migrants, with the disease claiming seven lives till now.

Hundreds of others are still suffering from the water-borne infection. Even though there was no official confirmation of the deaths, it was learnt that Saloni (3), Sonam (7) and Anjali (2), all residents of Shantinagar, and Nannu (7) of Giaspura died due to gastroenteritis during the past 24 hours, taking the toll up to seven.

The threat of gastroenteritis still loomed large over the heads of residents, especially in residential colonies around Giaspura, was evident from the fact that 30 fresh cases have been reported to private nursing homes and 27 to the medical camp organised by the health department in Makkar Colony. Three patients, who were in a critical condition, have been referred to the civil hospital.

Civil surgeon Sat Pal Sharma, who visited affected colonies along with officials of the department, told Ludhiana Tribune that 450 persons had been examined at the medical camp and 27 of them with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting were being treated.

He said the teams were conducting a door-to-door survey of the colonies under attack from gastroenteritis to create awareness and educate the people about the preventive steps. The field staff was also distributing chlorine tablets and ORS packets that could strengthen the prevention and management of the disease.

In the wake of brief spells of showers and waterlogging in some areas, anti-larva wing of the department had been pressed into service and sprays were done at several places in the Giaspura area. The teams had taken five water samples from different localities, which were sent for analysis, the civil surgeon added.

He also contested the reports on loss of human lives due to gastroenteritis, saying none of the reported deaths could be conclusively attributed to gastroenteritis.

“There are several other diseases which have symptoms of vomiting but there seems to be a tendency to attribute each and every death at a private clinic or nursing home to outbreak of gastroenteritis which is unfair.”

Meanwhile, additional commissioner of the municipal corporation Mohinder Singh Kainth, along with joint commissioner B.K. Gupta, conducted a tour of affected areas to oversee the sanitation arrangements and sewerage disposal work.

Health officer of the corporation K.J.S. Kakkar said till now 22,000 chlorine tablets were distributed for water purification. As a part of preventive measures, residents were cautioned not to consume uncovered eatables, cut-fruit and raw or over-ripe vegetables to avoid infection.



MC to plant 1 lakh trees
City all set to go greener, cleaner
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
Ludhiana is all set to go green and garbage will be lifted on Sundays also if the claims of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) are to be believed.

Announcing this here, commissioner Vikas Partap told some representatives of NGOs at a meeting that the civic body would plant 50,000 to 1 lakh trees on roadsides and parks within the next month. He directed the employees concerned to lift garbage on Sundays also so that residents did not have to suffer. The commissioner said all clubs in the city which wanted to plant these trees were invited to take the saplings free of cost.

The commissioner had called a meeting of the NGOs to get an idea of problems faced by the city. Almost all representatives present on the occasion expressed concern about the degeneration of the environment. The MC would also start utilising rainwater.

The decision was taken after the NGOs made the authorities abreast of waterlogging in different areas on a rainy day.

The residents said there were some areas like Manju Cinema Road, Miller Ganj Road, Sabun Bazar, Chaura Bazar, Focal Point where water got collected everytime it rained. The commissioner agreed to get pits constructed on these roads to recharge the water.

‘‘We told the authorities that waterlogging was a perennial problem of Focal Point and at times many industrialists faced damage to their stored products due to it. Officials agreed that they would get the recharging pits dug,’’ said Pawan Sood, a member of the Federation of Park Management Committees.

He took up the matter of electric poles installed in the middle of roads. He said the MC was developing a road divider on Sangeet Cinema to Pahwa Hospital Road but electric poles posed a threat to the commuters. They could hit them at night and posed threat to their lives.

The problem of debris deposited on the roadsides of Gill Road was also taken up. The residents complained them that some people were dumping construction waste on the road and action should be taken against them. Another problem of a park occupied by Sabzi Mandi traders to store vegetables was also raised at the meeting.



Khangura disputes Badal's claims over
roping in Mittal

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
Congress MLA from Kila Raipur has disputed the claims of Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal that it was he who managed to rope in Laxmi Niwas Mittal to take over the Bathinda refinery.

He said, it was unfortunate that Badal was trying to get political mileage out of the project that had materialised with collective efforts of previous three successive governments in the state, including his (Badal's) third term.

In a letter addressed to Badal, Khangura said, "I fully commend my fellow NRI, Mr. L.N. Mittal, for his momentous decision to invest the colossal amount of Rs. 3506 crores in this project, in the process of making its implementation much more likely". However, he added, "it is unfortunate that Badal chose this opportunity for political posturing"

Giving the background of the project, he said, the project was sanctioned by the government of the late Narashima Rao, with the Union Government's letter of intent dated April 3, 1996. The land for the project was allotted by the Punjab Government led by H.S. Brar.

However, the uncertainty about its viability led to HPCL to be unwilling to take up this venture on its own. He said, numerous potential global partners failed to materialize, largely on account of government control on product pricing.

The Congress leader claimed, "had it not been for the resurgent Indian economy under the direction of the UPA administration resulting in a much higher demands for petroleum and petrochemicals, this refinery may well still be languishing without a partner". He expressed surprise as how Badal could blame the previous administration for the lapse.

Khangura said in his letter to Badal, "the fact is that Mr. Mittal's involvement has absolutely nothing to do with this Akali administration. I do not recall either you or any member of your family personally lobbying Mr. Mittal".



Timely medical help key to saving
stroke victims: expert

Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 1
"Stroke, a life-threatening condition, injures the brain, and the victim may not realise that he or she is having a stroke.

Immediate medical assistance in such cases is the decisive factor which will make the difference between restoration of health or a lifelong disability, or even death of the patient."

These observations were made by Dr M.V. Padma, professor of neurology at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences while delivering a lecture on "Stroke, and its management" at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital last evening. The lecture was organised by the health education cell of the DMCH.

Elaborating the condition, she said a stroke occurred when the blood supply to part of the brain was suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain burst, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells.

As a result, the brain cells died when these no longer received oxygen and nutrients from the blood or there was sudden bleeding into or around the brain.

According to Dr Padma, the symptoms of a stroke included sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache with no known cause.

"There are two forms of stroke - ischemic (blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain), and hemorrhagic (bleeding into or around the brain). The people around the stroke victim might not know of the condition. The family members, friends, or neighbours may think that the affected person is confused. The victim himself or herself, also may not be able to call for emergency assistance or medical help."

This made it imperative, added Dr Padma, that everyone should know the signs of stroke, and also know to act fast. She cautioned the people not to wait for the symptoms to improve or worsen.

"If you believe you are having a stroke, or someone you know is having a stroke, call emergency assistance without wasting any time since a stroke can damage the brain, and consequently affect the entire body - resulting in mild to severe disabilities. These include paralysis, problems with thinking, problems with speaking, and emotional problems."



Ludhiana Calling

People of the city are known to flaunt their wealth. Those who own it and those who “hire” it. Everybody is in a mad race here to outdo others to assert as who is the most rich. No wonder there appears to be an unending competition among the Ludhianvis to flaunt Mercedes. Ludhiana has always topped the list of the cities with maximum number of Mercedes calls.

Till recent past it was put at around 300. Now the latest figures released by Daimler-Chrysler, the manufacturers of the Mercedes cars, make startling revelations. There are 700 plus Mercedes cars in the city. Certainly a phenomenal jump. Other luxury cars like Honda Accord, Camry and others are in equal abundance. And still industrial and trade associations will cry hoarse that “industry is facing slump and recession”!

Roles reversed

With the change in the government in the state and the SAD-BJP combine firmly in the saddle, there has been a reversal of role for the political functionaries even though the tenure of the Congress-led municipal corporation is already over and the new civic elections are yet to be announced.

Earlier, it were the SAD or BJP activists who held protests, dharnas and demonstrations against the civic administration on different issues or even non-issues. This role has now been assumed by the Congress workers who have held protests against poor drainage network, inflated water and sewerage bills and non-cleaning of nullahs and drains in the city.

Security at temple

Security has been beefed-up at Durga Mata Temple following an anonymous threatening letter. The management has hired the services of a security agency with seven guards, including two women, to manage the temple round the clock. The management has said such letters have been received earlier too.

Self-styled docs

Despite directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the government to initiate action against unqualified and unregistered medical practitioners, the quacks are having a field day in the city. Self-styled medical practitioners continue to offer medical treatment in ayurvedic, unani, homoeopathic and even allopathic systems. Roadside dentists claim magical treatment of every ailment (see photo). However, the health department refuses to come out of its slumber and regulate medical practice in towns and villages.

‘Free’ medical camps

There is nothing free about the “free” medical camps organised these days by various doctors. Some doctors in the city have made it their exclusive USP (unique selling proposition). And one doctor in particular, who claims himself to be serving a social cause, happens to be quite (in)famous about it.

Under the garb of “free” medical camps, these doctors rope in patients. They may be offering “free” consultation, but for the rest like the investigations and the follow up and the medicines the patient, who come up with the expectations of a “free camp”, are made to pay through their nose. The Punjab Medical Council is learnt to have taken serious note of it.

Taken for a ride

Nearly 100 passengers travelling in a bus (50 seated, about 30 standing inside and about 20 on rooftop of the bus) from Ludhiana to Moga were taken for a ride by the conductor and the driver after the two fled without refunding the fare to the passengers. The incident happened on the outskirts of the city, when the bus hit a jeep. By that time the conductor had collected the fare from everybody.

As the bus stopped and passengers started to find out what had happened, the driver and the conductor made a quiet exit from the scene leaving the passengers high and dry.

— Sentinel


Kabir envisioned a casteless society
Majitha pays tributes to saint on his
birth anniversary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
Bikram Singh Majithia, information and public relations minister has given a call for creating a casteless society as envisioned by Bhagat Kabir.

He paid rich tributes to the saint and social reformer at a state level function organised to celebrate his 609th birth anniversary here yesterday.

He said, our Gurus had accorded the greatest respect to the bhagat by including his verses in the Guru Granth Sahib and the whole humanity is seeking inspiration from them. The philosophy of Kabir was still relevant and imbibed the solution of all social evils.

Treading the path shown by the great philosopher, the minister said the government had drawn up several schemes for the upliftment of the weaker sections and funds amounting to Rs 1,330 crore have been earmarked in the current year's plan for the welfare of SC and ST, which constitute 26 per cent of the total plan.

He said the government has also waived off pending loans of Rs 14 crore against 26,000 dalits and economically weaker families. The state would also bear half of the fee of SC students of nursing in the state.

He further added the government had also established a dedicated social security fund of Rs 482.46 crore to release regular pensions under various schemes of social security departments.

The grant for the construction of houses for houseless SC families has been enhanced from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 per unit.

Identification process for the atta-dal scheme had already been completed and funds amounting to Rs 600 crore were being spent during this year to provide subsidised atta-dal to weaker sections from August 15.

The state was laying special stress to strengthen the infrastructure facilities in state and funds amounting to Rs 7,000 crores were being spent on infrastructure projects.

Majithia also said the pace of heavy investments had also been accelerated and till date big investments of more than 44,000 crores, including Rs 18,919 crore Bathinda Oil Refinery had been brought to the state during a period of less than four months of coming in power.

He also announced the demands put forward by Sat Guru Kabir Sewa Sangh and Bhagat Kabir Sabha would be fulfilled. Also, announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh each for the upgradation of Government Senior Secondary School for boys, Jawahar Nagar, and Shaheed Sukhdev Memorial Girls Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar.

Majithia, on behalf of the government, honoured Bhagat Chunni Lal, MLA, representing the Bhagat Kabir community and released a souvenir.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Hira Singh Gabria, Minister for Jails, Cultural Affairs and Tourism.



Bhagat Kabir remembered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
As a part of the state level celebrations of the 609th birth anniversary of Bhagat Kabir a special seminar on his philosophy and poetry was organised at Jawahar Nagar here yesterday. Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary, presided over the seminar.

Addressing the seminar, Dhanda said the saint was a great poet who during his life had raised his voice against social inequality, injustice and evils prevailing in the society.

Stating that his bani is still relevant in the present context of life, Dhanda pointed out the saint had struggled against the atrocities of the cruel rulers of the time and underwent a lot of hardships.

Nevertheless, Kabir continued his crusade against the social evils and injustice through his writings.

Disclosing the decision of SAD-BJP government he said they had decided to celebrate the days relating to all the great personalities and martyrs of the country by organising state level functions so that the coming generations could seek inspiration from their preaching.

He said government had also decided to spend 26 per cent of the total plan of Rs 5,100 crore of budget for year 2007-08 for the welfare of weaker sections so that their standard of living could be improved.

Various scholars while delivering their lectures on the philosophy and poetry of the saint had described him as a revolutionary and a social crusader who was an institution in himself.

Prominent scholars who spoke on the occasion included Dr Sukhdev Singh Sarsa, Dr Jagdvir Singh Delhi, Dr S. Tarsem, Dr Jaswant Singh Jaffar, Dr Shakuntala Srivastav, Pramjit Singh Aujla and Dr Swaranjit Kaur.



Farm women taught squash making
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
The cooperation department, Punjab, and Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Patiala, have jointly launched a scheme under which farm women are being imparted training in squash making at Krishi Vigyan Kendra.

The squash in bulk prepared by these farm women is procured by the department of cooperation and marketed under the brand name “Verka Squash” at milk plants.

Disclosing this here, deputy director (training), K.V.K, Patiala, Dr P.K.Sharma said women from 11 villages, namely, Musalmana, Nirwana, Ghularan, Banera Khurd, Kamaspur, Ranbirpura, Alhaur Kalan, Rasulpur Saidan, Aasse Majra, Ramgarh farm and Belu Majra had already been imparted training this month. Four more villages were to be covered under this programme.



Water cooler installed
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 1
Keeping in view the shortage of drinking water at the Khanna-Gobindgarh chowk here,the Bharat Vikas Parishad installed a water cooler.

It was inaugurated by Munish Kumar, SDM, Amloh. Parishad chief Dharamveer Goyal welcomed the guests. Parishad secretary Ashwani Abrol spoke on the achievements of the organisation that included installation of three water coolers at different places, besides an ambulance which is parked at the chowk and available for 24 hours.

The ambulance has saved around 350 lives in two years by providing timely aid to accident victims.

Among others two former council chiefs, Baldev Sedha and Baldev Singh Aulakh, manager, Centurian Bank of Punjab, Mandi Gobindgarh, D.R. Puri, manager, State Bank of Patiala, Suresh Aggarwal, BJP district vice-president Raj Pal Garg, chairman of the Manav Bhalai Manch, Somnath Lotawa, Prof Kedar Nath were present.



At The Crossroads 
Welcoming the music of autumn

Time is like a stream and the stream goes on forever. It is not possible to check its flow, nor is it possible to stand like a rock while it meanders away. The slow process of ageing is inevitable, whether one accepts it or not.

Realisation comes all of a sudden in the case of those who try to ignore the ravages of time. It is better to move along with the time but one should pause for a while during the twilight years before merging into the darkening shadows.

Some years ago, I met a lady lecturer in the college where I had been invited to preside over a function. She was sitting next to me on the stage in the capacity of the head of the department. After sometime, I realised that I had been her colleague 30 years ago in a college.

I was proved right when I entered into conversation with her on this topic. Inadvertently, I said, by way of compliment, that she used to be very beautiful at that time. She said nothing in reply, nor her body language conveyed to me anything. Her face I could not see as she was sitting by my side.

During the tea break the Principal, who had a rapport with me, came towards me with a cup of tea in her hand. She whispered, quite tactfully, in my ear "You told her that she used to be very beautiful". "Yes -- by way of compliment". "But she is feeling hurt". "Rather she should rejoice".

"In other words, you conveyed to her that she was no more beautiful".

"It was not my intention but, as you see, she is no more .........."

The Principal went away with a faint smile on her lips but the glint in her eyes made me aware of my faux pas. Hastily, I went over to that lady lecturer who stepped aside a little on my approach. I took a hurried sip out of my tea cup and said

"Mrs Usha Kiran, you still retain in ample measure the charm about which I referred to earlier".

"Thanks, Sir, but you are still the same except your greying beard".

This return compliment, so to say, paid to me seemingly more in retaliation than otherwise, haunted me for a long time after that skirmish with the self-conscious lady. I was reminded of Tithonus, a mere mortal, on whom the Greek goddess Eos, the dawn, had a crush.

She asked Zeus to grant him immortality. Zeus obliged her. In her anxiety, Eos had forgotten to request eternal youth as well. So, Tithonus was fated to live forever and grow increasingly older. Alfred Tennyson has depicted his plight in the poem entitled 'Tithonus'

Of happy men that have the power to die,

And grassy barrows of the happier dead.

Helplessness of Tithonus is of a different kind, whereas the mortal frames continue to be envious of the immortals. The process of growing older is painful as one is left mainly with the memories that refuse to fade away.

It can be said that old age is transitory as it carries one steadily towards the destination, whereas the period of youth is rooted in the mind forever. It augurs well if one avoids falling into the trap of self-pity and accepts the law of nature without any reservation. John Keats has a kind word for the autumn season

Where are the songs of Spring ?

Aye, where are they ?

Think not of them, —

thou hast thy music too.

The process of change is, no doubt, eternal but the element of renewal is inherent in it. Recalling the good old days helps one in boosting the morale, whereas identification with the aspirations of the younger generation is always rewarding. When one feels cosy in a stuffy room, oblivious of its gloom and odours, wafting of fresh air into the room dispels lethargy and self-satisfaction.

The motto, 'making it new,' holds good in every age. Eagerness for discovering the unknown and the determination to reach the distant shores help in evolving new resolves. Like Dagh Dehlavi one should be always up and doing --

Sharar-o-barq nahin, shola-o-seemaab nahin

Kis liye phir yeh thaherta, dil-e-betaab nahin

(Neither it is spark or lightning nor is it flame or mercury. How is it, then, that my heart is so restless).



Shift ATM, demand customers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
Account holders of Allahabad Bank have rued about the poor location of the ATM counter at Kitchlu Nagar.

They claimed to have been harassed as the ATM card holders have to go out of their way to use the Allahabad Bank ATM.

While talking to The Tribune, consumers like Rajiv Kumar, Ashoo Jain and others have demanded the ATM counter to be shifted to Bhadaur House or Clock Tower.

The consumers further requested that most of the account holders of the bank live or work around Mall Road, Bhadaur House or Pakhowal Road so ATMs should be opened in these areas.



Central Bank to give Rs 100 cr loan
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 1
Pardeep Kumar, regional manager, Central Bank of India, Ludhiana, said here yesterday that the bank would deliver Rs 100 crore fresh advances under different schemes of loans.

Pardeep Kumar disclosed that they were organising 12 multi-credit camps in the region at different branches.

In the first two credit camps which were organised in the branch office Ottalan, 3 km from here a few days ago, and at Rajpura, more than Rs 26 crore fresh loans had been distributed by the bank under different segments in agriculture, small-scale industries and other priority sectors.

He further said other camps would be organised at Sangrur, Jagraon, Muktsar, Bhucho Mandi, Moga and Ludhiana in the next few months.



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