L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Gastro Outbreak
9 out of 15 water samples fail purity test
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Putting a question mark on the claims of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, for supplying clean potable water, nine water samples out of 15 collected from Makkar Colony and Shanti Nagar, where a gastroenteritis outbreak claimed six lives in the recent past, have failed the purity test.

Dr Sanjeev Hans, Health Officer, told the Tribune that they had sent the samples to the Punjab Agricultural University's microbiology lab on June 27 and 29.The report which was received today revealed that it was due to contaminated water that so many lives were lost and many people had suffered diseases.

He said that all the four samples collected from Shanti Nagar on June 29 failed the test and were unfit for drinking. Four out of five samples from Makkar Colony on the same day were also unfit for human consumption. One sample failed the test out of five from Makkar Colony on June 27.

Dr Hans said they had written to the Deputy Commissioner, the Director, Health, and the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, and had forwarded the report to all departments for further action.

Dr Hans said the water was unfit for drinking in Shanti Nagar where many people were down with gastroenteritis. He added that they had directed the residents to boil the water before consuming it and had asked the MC to rectify the problem that was leading to contamination of water.

He added that 12-13 more patients of fresh diarrhoea reported to a medical camp organised by them in Gyaspura even today.

He said although they were educating the masses about the hygience, still patients were pouring in. Besides gastro, around 70 patients consulted doctors at the camp with diseases related to monsoon. Some of them had skin problems and others had fever and many other diseases. 

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Aanganwari workers’ appointments
Favouritism or fair play?
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
In an unprecedented move the previous government had authorised the councillors of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to screen the applications forms for appointing aanganwari workers and helpers. And by doing this they allegedly manipulated the process by forwarding only limited, rather certain chosen, application forms to the Social Welfare Department while ignoring a number of other deserving candidates.

Councillors’ role in shortlisting candidates under cloud

* No advertisements were issued by the department to inform the applicants. A simple letter was issued to the councillors

* Only 904 applications were forwarded to the department for 199 vacancies.

* No interviews were conducted for the recruitment. Appointments made on the basis of recommendations

According to Gurdeep Singh, who sought information from the Child Development Officer under the RTI Act, only 904 applications were forwarded to the department for 199 vacancies. There were glaring irregularities in the shortlisting procedure. The shortlisting was done by the councillors themselves apparently with the sole purpose of ensuring that only their ‘favourites’ got the job.

In one case in Ward Number three, the application of one applicant Ritu, who had done Masters in English was not forwarded to the department for consideration. Against this a number of other applications of candidates with far too less qualifications were forwarded and quite a number of them were selected. Surprisingly for 10 vacancies only 26 applications were forwarded to the department. In fact first the councillor had reportedly forwarded only 16 applications. When it was objected to by the department, he forwarded 10 more applications.

Some of the applicants whose applications were rejected at the screening stage only by the councillors told The Tribune that they were not issued any receipts when they submitted their applications. When they demanded a receipt they were bluntly told either to submit their applications or get lost.

Since it was the decision of the previous government to recruit the aanganwari workers and helpers through the councillors only, the department had little say in the matter. And the selection process was far from being transparent. No interviews were conducted for the recruitment and candidates were given appointment orders after the "merit list" was prepared on the basis of the applications forwarded by the councillors.

Surprisingly, no advertisements were issued by the department to inform the applicants. A simple letter was issued to the councillors privately so that they could inform their own people. As a result only limited number of applicants got to know about the recruitment and most of them were those who were close to the councillors.

A perusal of the selection list revealed that there were glaring discrepancies in the whole procedure. While applicants holding graduate or masters degrees were ignored, there were others who were selected even though they had only Class X or Plus Two qualification.

One of the ‘aggrieved’ candidates alleged that the selection lists were prepared much before the applications were accepted. She said the whole procedure of inviting application was just a farce meant to hoodwink people.

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Scrutiny of IT returns triggers panic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
While the income tax officers are getting ready to take a close look at the tax returns of income tax payers,it has resulted in causing worries to tax payers.

According to sources, cases of over 4,500 assesses, randomly picked up, would be scrutinised this time for returns filed in the financial year 2005-06.

There is an increase of 20 per cent in the number of cases from last year. Small assesses and firms feel that they might have to undergo undue hassles on account of scrutiny.

"The rise in the number of cases this year has led to panic among tax payers. Even as the cases are scrutinised every year assesses are worried about the details they would have to furnish to the concerned people," said Jatinder Khurana, president of Taxation Young Lawyers Association.

Asessees are selected randomly every year for the process of scrutiny that involves rendering details of movable and immovable assets, transactions, cash expenses to the department.

Small assesses should be avoided as there is a general fear in the mind of people when it comes to dealing with the Income Tax department, said the assesses.“We are scared that even a small discrepancy could land us in trouble. Moreover, furnishing complete details of transactions and even of tax details of family members is time consuming and cumbersome," said an assesse who has received a notice for scrutiny.

"Besides this many of us are not so particular in keeping details of each and every rupee spent which makes things difficult," he added.

Income tax officials have already received lists of assesses from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). "Despite the fact that all cases are picked up by the board itself, people are apprehensive of going through the process of scrutiny. Errors in returns are quite likely as most people file it themselves. Small assesses hence should be spared of scrutiny," opined Khurana.

Meanwhile, department officials said tax payers need not worry much and only focus on furnishing correct details of their income and expenses.

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5000 BSNL phones go dead after cable theft
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
About 5, 000 landline phones of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) went out of service after a massive theft of cables from the Mall Road here.

According to BSNL officials, the underground cable had been stolen from a high-security area of the Mall Road, near residences of senior police, district and judicial officers. This is the third incident of cable theft within a few weeks.

Senior BSNL officials disclosed that the thieves had used manholes at a distance of 200 metres to cut the cables. Since the cables are inside a duct it is not difficult to pull these once these have been cut from two sides. The incident apparently took place during Saturday night.

The BSNL officials said although this happened to be the third incident, no action had been taken. They said the police did not register even an FIR in this regard. In the recent theft, the thieves had stolen nine cables worth lakhs of rupees. Five cables were with 2000 pairs (one telephone operates on one pair), two cables with 1200 pairs and two with 800 pairs.

The officials maintained that it was not a small job to steal cable weighing several quintals. They said they had been regularly bringing the issue to the notice of the police officials, who have not been cooperative. They regretted that the police remained unmoved despite this being the third incident. "The thefts are taking place at regular intervals and nobody listens to us", said a senior BSNL official.

Earlier, the cable thefts were reported from the Sunder Nagar and Budha Nullah areas. They said, they had no system to guard these cables and were dependent on the police only.

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People have rejected politics of radicals: Cheema
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
The adviser to the Chief Minister, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, has said people of the state have rejected the radical and extremist politics of people like Simranjit Singh Mann. He pointed out that on the basis of the poor performance in the last assembly elections, the SAD(A) had lost the recognition of the Election Commission of India.

Talking to the Tribune here after being honoured by doctors at the Ludhiana Neuro and Trauma Centre for his outstanding contribution to the socio-political system of Punjab , Cheema said people of the state had recognised the statesmanship of Parkash Singh Badal to steer the state towards a new era of peace, progress and development.

He asserted the common man wanted peace at all costs and was not in favour of extremist forces sabotaging it. He claimed the Chief Minister was taking personal interest to ensure that all the funds of the centrally- sponsored schemes were properly utilised and not allowed to lapse as had happened during the previous regime for lack of follow-up.

Expressing his gratitude towards the doctors, he said "It’s a great honour that my colleagues have recognised my contribution". He said it was a hard decision to leave his medical practice and assume politics as a full-time profession.

Leading doctors of the city, including Dr G.S Wander, Dr Iqbal, Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina, Dr Anurag Goswami (member, Punjab Medical Council) and Dr John Pramod were present on the occasion.

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Lack of staff, facilities ail veterinary hospital
Bhushan Sood

Amloh, July 3
Healthcare of livestock in this town and in the neighbouring villages attached to veterinary hospital Amloh, has come to a standstill after the transfer of senior veterinary officer Ranvir Sharma on June 11.

The post of veterinary officer has been lying vacant since May 13, 2002 after the retirement of Dr Ramesh Chander Jaluria

The post of VO has been lying vacant since May 13, 2002 after the retirement of Dr Ramesh Chander Jaluria.

The only post of pharmacist has also been lying vacant. A laboratory assistant Daljeet Singh is the only official available to guide the people who come to this place with there cattle or pets. The department has deputed Dr Amrik Singh of Samspur dispensary, about 8 km from here, to attend the hospital for two hours daily, another hospital at Salana village is also under his charge which is also 8 km away. Besides this the doctor has to attend patients at the dispensary under his charge at Samspur.

The hospital timings are from 8 am to 2 pm. But most of the time is wasted in going from one place to another.

In this way the work in all the three hospitals suffers for want of doctors. Amloh veterinary hospital is one of the oldest in the region, it has been functioning since 1947.

The building is in a dilapidated condition, rainwater enters into the rooms, the boundary wall has suffered damage as bricks have been taken out from it over the years.

It is high time that the department concerned looked into the poor state of the hospital.

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Tributes paid to Maulana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Glowing tributes were paid to Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi on his 115th birth anniversary here today. Some of his close associates and friends, including Harbhajan Sohal, Kulwant Singh Dukhia and Devi Chand Verma, were among those who spoke at the function organised at the Habib Hall, Jama Masjid Field Ganj. His two grandsons Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Sani, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, and Atiq-ur-Rehman also attended the function.

Maulana was a staunch secularist. When the subcontinent was being pushed towards communal frenzy, people like Maulana stood for the secular traditions

Speaking on the occasion Harbhajan Sohal, a freedom fighter, recalled his close association with Maulana. He said, the Maulana was a staunch secularist. When the subcontinent was being pushed towards the communal frenzy, people like Maulana stood strong for the secular traditions.

Kulwant Singh Dukhia, a senior Akali leader, said his party would be putting up a demand to the government to set up a memorial in Ludhiana as a symbol of respect and tribute to the Maulana.

Devi Chand Verma, another close associate of the Maulana, said when not many people dared to rise against the British, the Maulana took the lead. He lauded his descendants like the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, who had continued his tradition of secular values.

Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Sani (Maulana’s grandson) said, although the people of the state and the city had showered immense love and respect on the Maulana, the successive governments had regretfully ignored his contribution. However, great men like the Maulana never work for any recognition or reward as they live and die by their ideals.

Atiq-ur-Rehman hoped that the government would wake up to the occasion and recognise the Maulana’s contribution.

Dr Ravinder Vatsyayan, a leading ayurvedacharya and a keen observer of history, said the contribution of the Nationalist Muslims toward the country’s freedom struggle was much more than others. He pointed out, “on the one hand the Nationalist Muslims had to fight against the British and on the other hand the radicals of their own community represented by the Muslim League”. But they had preferred to stay back in this country after rejecting the Islamic Pakistan. He said the role of the Nationalist Muslims in India was more important today in the context 
of rising Islamic extremism that gave bad name to Islam. 

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Master Tara Singh’s birth anniversary function on July 7
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Hira Singh Gabria, minister for jails, tourism and cultural affairs and printing and stationery, Punjab, today said the Punjab Government was celebrating the 123th birth anniversary of Master Tara Singh by organising a state- level function on July 7 at Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women .

Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, would be the chief guest.

To assign the duties to the officers of different departments,a preparatory meeting was held at Bhachat Bhawan under the chairmanship of Hira Singh Gabria here today. Pryank Bharti, officiating Deputy Commissioner, Jagwinderjit Singh, SDM, Ludhiana (East), Rajiv Gupta, Assistant Commissioner (G) and Vinod Sharda, Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, also attended the meeting.

Gabria asked the Joint Commissioner, MC, to ensure the patch work on the roads connecting to the venue and carry out the proper cleaning in the area and told the PSEB officers to ensure the uninterrupted power supply. Later, Gabria and Bharti along with other officers visited the venue and reviewed the arrangements on the spot.

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State function to mark Baba Maharaj's martyrdom day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
A state-level function will be organised to observe the martyrdom day of Shaheed Baba Maharaj Singh, the first martyr of freedom movement, at his native village Rabbon Uchhi on July 5.

Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab, will preside over the function and it will be addressed by a number of ministers, MLAs and senior leaders of SAD and BJP.

To finalise the arrangements, a meeting of officers concerned was held under the chairmanship of Pryank Bharti officiating Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana. Bharti directed all officers to make foolproof arrangements.

He nominated Ms Neeru Katyal, SDM, Payal, as the overall in charge of the function and told her to supervise and coordinate with the officers of other departments in making the arrangements. He asked the PWD officers to carry out minor repairs of roads leading to the venue and told the PSEB officers to ensure uninterrupted supply of power during the period of function. The district Mandi Officer has been deputed to ensure the availability of sufficient drinking water.

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