L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Employers ignore blast victims
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 16
Punjabis might be known for being warm-hearted but this warmth seems to have eluded them, if the pain of victims of the Shingar cinema blast is anything to go by.

Ailing in hospitals, those injured are not just physically hurt. Most of them lament that owners of factories, they are working for, did not even once care to visit them.

"We have been here for more than 10 years now but factory owners never turned up. It is hurting and seems that we are no more than working machines for them whom they can easily dispense with," said Nazir Hussain, whose friend Mohammed Ujale from Darbhanga was injured in the blast.

Iqbal, Ujale's friend from Delhi, is even more anguished. "It took us only a couple of hours to reach Ludhiana. But we are shocked to see that none cares whether we exist or not." The condition of Imtiaz, who is left with an amputated arm, is no better as he, too, feels neglected. “None from the factory came.”

The industry, particularly hosiery, here relies heavily on migrant labour, who form almost 90 per cent of the total workers in factories. Shifting to Punjab is a decision most of them take as the industry here provides them livelihood. Having settled here for several years, their bonding does not remain restricted due to monetary reasons alone.

"We even informed the factory owners and being a part of this place for so long, a visit by them would have certainly cheered my ailing brother," said Phool Chand, whose brother Ram Bhav is admitted to Civil Hospital here.

This attitude might be related more to the fear that workers could seek help, feel their families. "We are not seeking monetary help from them because we know that they are not legally bound to do so. But a human gesture would have balmed our hearts," said Arun Sahni of Begusarai in Bihar, relative of another victim.

As most of them belong to the unorganised segment, they will not get benefits like ESI and Provident Fund.

Help did come, but it has been mostly from large industrialists. "Some big industrialists did come forward and have helped a few victims. The compensation announced so far is meagre ," said A.N. Mishra, president of the Purvanchal Vikas Parishad.



Hospitals’ disaster skills put to test
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 15
The bomb blast that claimed six lives and injured about 36 persons in Shingar Cinema has once again put to test the level of preparedness in city hospitals to handle such massive tragedies.

And barring the civil hospital, which took in just 10 injured persons, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), along with other private hospitals, was able to skillfully manage the disaster.

The CMCH, which is located close to the cinema hall, received 26 blast victims, including the two who were declared dead on arrival. One victim each was rushed to SPS Apollo Hospital and Oswal Hospital.

CMCH director said, “Our priority was to stabilize patients and provide required medical assistance without any delay. As soon as we came to know about the disaster, our emergency services were alerted and ready to receive the victims.”

According to Dr S.P. Singh, SPS Apollo Hospital’s chief operating office, their aim is to remain fully prepared to meet any eventuality. We are working towards networking all major hospitals in the city for providing coordinated critical care within the shortest possible time, he added.

The working of government-run civil hospital left much to be desired. 



Migrant supplying drugs held
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 16
The Payal police claims to have arrested a migrant labourer who had been supplying drugs and narcotics to local peddlers. Thirtyfive gm of smack was seized from him.

Mohan Singh, son of Amar Singh of Turmari village in Ludhiana district, now settled at Nawadhan village in Bareily, was arrested by a police team, led by Naveen Kumar, SHO, Payal, yesterday. Rattan Singh Brar, DSP, Payal, told the Ludhiana Tribune that the accused was arrested when he was going to supply the contraband to local drug peddlers. Preliminary investigations revealed that Mohan Singh had been residing at Turmari village since 1990 but later shifted to his home state.

Exploiting his links in the area, he started supplying drugs and narcotics to addicts of the area. To evade the police, he used to travel by train. He admitted that smack purchased at the rate of Rs 200 per gm was sold in retail for Rs 1,000 per packet of one gm.

Earlier the CIA wing of the Khanna police had claimed to have arrested Gurdeep Singh, a resident of Khasi Khurd, and Divesh Soni of Dabra in Madhya Pradesh with 200 gm of smack. 



He was unlucky in life as well as death
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 16
He was unlucky in life as well as in death. Thirteen- year-old Hari Pal, the youngest victim of Shingaar tragedy, died in the most barbaric way and when he was born, his mother had died.

He lay dead for around 20 hours when his family got to identify him following the suggestion of his employer that they should look for him in the hospitals as he had gone missing on Sunday evening.

Nobody in Hari Pal's house in street number 3 of Dharampura knew till yesterday that they would find him among the dead, his body mutilated to the extent that his right eye and a part of the face was missing. He was cremated at Gaushala crematorium this morning.

His father Keshav Prashad said, ‘‘His mother died when he was just a few minutes old. I somehow brought him up and his two siblings. And when after years of hard labour, I was expecting that my son would be my support in the twilight of my life, he left me shattered,’’ said his father.

‘‘He was in such a bad shape that I could not identify him. It was my daughter who said he was Hari. Seeing him was like watching a horror-movie character,” the father added.

Meanwhile, bodies of two other victims, Sonu Sharma and Bandhan Kumar, were sent to their village Khushi Nagar in Gorakhpur by several volunteers helped by the district administration. 



City Centre Scam
Verdict on Sandhu's bail on Oct 19
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 16
Additional sessions judge Gurbir Singh today reserved the orders on the regular bail application filed by Punjab’s former additional advocate-general Harpreet Sandhu, a co-accused in the multi-crore city centre scam, for October 19.

The Vigilance Bureau had accused Sandhu of allegedly accepting Rs 3 crore for striking a deal of allotment of the project between Today Homes Company and top politicians. He was arrested on September 28.

The counsel for Sandhu claimed during arguments that his client had worked as law officer with the bureau during the Congress government and persued the corruption case against Parkash Singh Badal, in his official capacity. All this annoyed the Badal, who is the Chief Minister of the state and his client was put behind bars.

It was further alleged that he had been made a scapegoat. He was neither named in the FIR. Moreover, no recovery was effected from him during the police remand. Due to political reasons, he was falsely implicated in the case. The conclusion of trial would take a long time and no useful purpose would be served by detaining him in the jail for such a long time, added the defence counsel.

On the other hand, additional public prosecutor M.L. Solanki strongly opposed the contentions of the defence counsel.

He argued that the granting of bail to the accused at this stage would hamper the ongoing investigation.



Jaggie is acting chief
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 16
President of the local civic body having proceeded on leave, Jagwant Singh Jaggie, vice-president and SAD leader, assumed charge of acting president of the council today.

Seeking cooperation from officer-bearers of various social, constitutional and religious organisations, he said more funds would be brought in by impressing upon senior SAD leaders in the state.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after assuming the charge, Jaggie said he would try to get the pending projects completed soon. He claimed that he would honour suggestions of senior leaders of the town. including former presidents and councillors.

Kishori Lal Badhan, councillor and former president , Mohinder Multani councillor, Mohamad Yaseen, councillor, Ramandeep Kaur councillor, Surinder Singh Sapra, Ramesh Ghaie, BJP president, and Sandeep Puri, Yuva Morcha leader, were present on the occasion.



Mohan Singh Mela on Oct 18

Ludhiana, October 16
The 29th International Prof Mohan Singh Yadgari Sabhiacharak Mela is being organised on October 18 at the Punjabi Virasat Bhawan, Palam Vihar, Pakhowal road. The mela is being organised by the Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, Ludhiana. Addressing a press conference here today, Jagdev Singh Jassowal said the mela focuses on Punjabi culture.

The mela is organised every year in memory of Prof Mohan Singh, an eminent Punjabi poet. — TNS



Journalist booked for stealing motor
Our Coorespondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 16
The Payal police has booked two persons, including a journalist of vernacular newspaper, under Section 457, 380, 411 and 506 of the IPC, for allegedly stealing a monoblock electric motor by entering a tubewell room of a farmer of Landa.

Lal Chand Lalli, a resident of Doraha and Jalandha-based journalist, along with his accomplice, was booked for allegedly stealing a monoblock electric motor from fields of Harjinder Singh of Landa village near here.

Harjinder Singh came to know about the theft when he went to his fields to water the crops but found the lock of the room broken and motor was missing.



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