L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Monday Special
Pvt blood banks overcharging patients
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
Blood banks at almost all private hospitals in the city are charging patients exorbitant rates for every unit of blood, justifying them by saying the blood has been subjected to “advanced” testing and is store in “quality” packaging.
The testing fee of blood is Rs 350 as is shown by a board outside Red Cross regional blood bank in Ludhiana.
The testing fee of blood is Rs 350 as is shown by a board outside Red Cross regional blood bank in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

The marked disparity in rates charged by private blood banks as compared to those at government hospitals is an additional burden on patients belonging to economically weaker sections. Relatives have no choice but to pay up to save the patient struggling for life.

Moreover, the cause of voluntary blood donation is defeated as these hospitals, instead of encouraging on the spot voluntary blood donation, are busy making money in the name of testing the procured blood.

Almost all hospitals operating in the private health sector have ignored the recommendations of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society working under National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) wherein Rs 850 has been fixed as the upper limit for whole blood followed by Rs 400 for other components including fresh frozen plasma and platelets. The exorbitant charges demanded by private blood banks are against the national campaign initiated to support HIV/AIDS patients.

Blood banks in government hospitals and those run by the Red Cross charge Rs 300 per unit of blood followed by Rs 30 for frozen plasma and Rs 60 for other components including platelets. On the other hand private hospitals are charging four to five times these rates.

Dayanand Medical College & Hospital (DMCH) is charging Rs 1,500 for whole blood and Rs 1,200 for blood components, platelets and plasma. Christian Medical College & Hospital (CMCH) has priced one unit of whole blood at Rs 1,675 followed by platelets and plasma at Rs 1,100.

The price of whole blood at SPS Apollo Hospital is Rs 1,800, whereas the cost of the components is Rs 1,200. Similarly, the Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment & Research Foundation is charging Rs 1,175 for a whole unit of blood.

Even hospitals run by charities in the city, including

Pahwa Charitable Hospital, Krishna Charitable Hospital, and Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, are charging between Rs 650 and Rs 1,500 per unit of blood.

The private hospitals, including tertiary care institutions, which are the last resort for “critical” patients are minting money in the name of conducting “advanced” testing for give safe blood to the patients. This was pointed out by Ludhiana civil surgeon Dr Maninderjit Singh at a recent meeting held under the banner of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society.

“Hepatitis B and C, HIV, malaria parasite, Rh factor, blood group testing and VDRL are the seven mandatory tests recommended by the health & family welfare ministry for transfusion of safe blood, and these are being done at the blood banks run by government hospitals also.”

Speaking to The Tribune, Maninderjit said: “I’ve taken up the matter with the higher health authorities and something will be done soon to curb the malpractice of overcharging in the name of safe blood.”

Dr GP Mangla, in charge of the Red Cross blood bank, further elaborated: “Hospitals recommend transfusion of platelets at the drop of the hat, whereas it is only required for some viral fevers, dengue and certain rare bleeding disorders where the platelet count of the person drops down to 20,000. However, it’s shocking some hospitals were even administering platelets to patients with a platelet count above 50,000 during the dengue outbreak during the last two years.”

Meanwhile, blood transfusion officers (BTOs) at hospitals that fall in the category of tertiary care centres maintained they had facilities for a nuclear antigen test (NAT) and a fourth generation Elisa test, saying other hospitals were "just minting money. They refrain from following the NACO recommendations on the pretext of being autonomous institutions”.

A majority of the BTOs at blood banks of private hospital said they had been given refrigerators and blood testing kits by NACO, which were not even being used by them.

A large number of blood banks ask patients to arrange for one unit of blood which, according to experts, is “uncalled for” as the human body makes one unit of blood in a maximum of two days. “It’s just a way to make quick money in the name of blood loss”, experts averred.

Testing charges fixed: Health secy

Punjab health secretary Satish Chandra specifically stated the central government had fixed testing charges at blood banks of private hospitals. “However, these hospitals are charging extra money for advanced tests for which I will get the ‘specific rates’ from the central government at the earliest”, he went on to add.

Dr NM Sharma, additional project director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society, admitting private blood banks were charging exorbitant rates, said, “We’ll immediately take up the matter with the State Drug Controller as the drug controller’s office, being the licensing authority of blood banks, can initiate action for the same. We are also soon going to convene an emergency meeting on the issue so as to issue fresh instructions to the officials concerned”.

Voluntary donation neglected

Sat Pal Bansal, who has donated blood 140 times and is a member of national and international organisations working for voluntary blood donation, said the governments in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh were charging anything for blood testing. “The blood is given free of cost to every patient in public health centers”, he observed.

Many hospitals in Punjab are ignoring voluntary blood donation, with the annual average in the state being 18 per cent as compared to 52 per cent at the national level. The Supreme Court, in its guidelines issued on January 1, 1998, had directed state governments to encourage voluntary blood donation.

Prices charged by private blood banks

Whole Blood Components

DMCH: Rs 1,500 Rs 1,200

CMCH: Rs 1,675 Rs 1,100

SPS Apollo Hospital: Rs 1,800 Rs 1,200

Mohan Dai Cancer Hospital: Rs 1,175

Red Cross Blood Bank and government hospitals: Rs 300, Rs 60 & Rs 30

BTOs speak

l Dr Amarjit Kaur, blood transfusion officer at DMCH: “The hospital is charging nominally for whole blood as well as components. A single kit used to preserve blood alone costs us over Rs 500. In order to ensure transfusion of safe blood we’re conducting all the tests, which cost us almost double the amount we charge patients”.

l Dr Rupinder Kaur, BTO at CMCH: “We’re giving quality blood to the people at cost to cost and do not compromise with safety standards. The hospital incurs overhead expenses in maintaining the blood bank’s standards, which are not included in the price which patients are charged”.

l Dr RP Singh, BTO at Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment & Research Foundation: “In government hospitals the blood testing kits are free of cost whereas we have just been provided with refrigerators by NACO. However, we have to purchase kits for testing on our own, which going by the safety standards, are very expensive.

l Dr Hitish Narang, BTO at SPS Apollo Hospital: “Conducting mandatory tests to ensure transfusion of safe blood is the most significant part of a blood bank, which cannot be ignored at any cost. The hospital in order to safeguard the interests of the economically weaker sections is providing blood and components free of cost to the people who can’t buy blood. Also, government employees are given 50 percent discount in the rates of blood and its components.


‘Regulate blood prices’

Manjit Saini, president of the Salam Zindagi Foundation, a city-based NGO working for the cause of voluntary blood donation, stated blood banks were charging high prices for blood which he said was the “lifeline” for a large number of patients and for accident cases.

“It’s ironic that though blood falls under the regulation of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act the government has failed to control its price. There are certain life saving drugs for which the government has appointed a panel under the ‘Drug Price Control’ and it’s necessary to set up a similar panel to control the price of blood. “The panel should fix an upper limit for the price of blood with which every private hospital should comply with,” Saini emphasised.


‘Baratis’ make a point by pedalling to bride’s home
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 28
It was a wedding party with a difference with the ‘baratis’ led by the groom cycling from their village, Rohira, to the bride’s place in Pohir village near here instead of travelling there in cars and buses.

After a simple ceremony the ‘baratis’ on bicycles were flagged off by Baljit Kaur, a social worker and folk singer, who is reported to have persuaded relatives and friends of the bride as well as the groom, Balwinder Singh, an artist and president of the Guga Jahir Peer Welfare Association, a “take the lead in shunning expensive ceremonies”.

Addressing the gathering in Rohira before the ‘barat’s’ departure, Baljit called upon young people to “come forward in the fight against social evils” including ostentatious displays of wealth and the dowry system.

“It’s high time we realise that the economic instability among middle class families was due to extravaganzas at social ceremonies and not because of daily expenses. Though the use of cars and buses cannot be dispensed with we can at least rationalise their use,” Baljit argued.

Among those who accompanied the ‘barat’ were Rohira sarpanch Harchand Singh, councillor Bimal Sharma, folk singer Renu Ghudani, Sania, an artist from Chandigarh, and Navneet Kaur.



Commissions for docs in pvt sector from drug companies
Setback to TB control programme
Anshu Seth
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, March 28
Doctors in the private health sector, in order to get commissions from pharmaceutical companies, are prescribing medicines which are not included under the directly observed therapy (DOT) regime, thereby giving a major setback to the revised national tuberculosis control programme (RNTCP).

Unable to overcome the social stigma attached to tuberculosis (TB), people in affluent families, suffering from the disease, refrain from getting themselves registered under the RNTCP and prefer taking medicines from private medical practitioners rather than going for directly observed therapy (DOT) at the DOT centres.

Doctors in the private health sector giving non-DOT medicines to the patients hide the facts of effectiveness of the DOTs regime, which has been made mandatory under the "Patients Charter for Tuberculosis Care" by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Also, doctors mislead patients about the "quality" of medicine on the pretext of substandard drug supply being given by the government for the TB patients.

The government is procuring the best quality medicines manufactured by leading international pharmaceuticals like Pfizer and Sanofi Torrent India Limited.

Most importantly, DOTS regime covers all aspects, including the economic disparity in the Indian social system.

It is rather unfortunate that the government has failed to garner the support of private health sector to achieve the aim of identifying maximum number of the TB cases with which the RNTCP was initiated in the state and India at large.

Dr Hardeep Singh, general secretary, IMA Ludhiana, said, "Against the given aim of identifying 80 percent of the TB patients, we have succeeded in identifying just 40 per cent which means the remaining 40 per cent are elemental in spreading the infection to larger groups coming in their contact."

Another senior doctor, pointing towards the misconception amongst people stated that a large number of patients, including young boys and girls who are tested positive for TB, are apprehensive that their names would be disclosed if they go to the DOT centre, but the government has given special instructions to the DOT centres and DOT providers not to disclose the identity of the patient.

Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr Maninderjit Singh said there were 648 DOT centres, 48 microscopy centres and seven TB units in Ludhiana district. As many as 34,287 TB patients had been registered under DOT. He also said the microscopy centres were doing sputum test for acid fast bacalli (AFB), chest X-Ray, fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and other tests free of cost. The medicines provided under DOT were also free of cost.



RK Road infested with thugs, snatchers
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
The road between Oswal Hospital and Cheema Chowk, popularly known as RK Road, is fast becoming a favourite haunt of snatchers and thieves. Though several robberies in broad daylight have been reported in the recent past the police has taken no measures to beef up security in the area.

In today's incident about 150 residents of Ghora colony vandalised a cloth manufacturing unit after a labourer working there was sacked on charges of stealing factory materials.

Recently a few armed assailants robbed a mobile collection centre located on the road of Rs 1.5 lakh at gunpoint.

Factory owners have complained the area has become a trouble spot as it is inhabited by people belonging to the two extremes of society. They said Ghora colony and the Janak Puri area accommodate migrants and those who are very poor. On the other hand some of the top industrialists of the city have their factories on RK Road.

Further, several banks, financial establishments and some of the finest restaurants are also situated on this road, which has become a hunting ground for snatchers and robbers.

Alex P Sunil, a resident of Dhollewal, had a miraculous escape after three armed men in a vehicle fired a shot at him and pelted bottle shells. The incident took pace in front of the PSEB office on RK Road last evening.

Sunil said the three motorists overtook his car and indicated at him to stop his vehicle. Sensing trouble, he reversed his vehicle and attempted to speed away from the spot, he added.

“The motorists even tried to shoot at my vehicle and pelted empty bottle shells at it. One of the bottles damaged the front windscreen of my vehicle. I lowered myself to the seat and saved myself from robbers," Sunil said, narrating the incident.

“However, the dismal condition of streetlights and practically no police surveillance this road has become dangerous for commuters”, he added.



Sutlej club election result
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
The hype that was created by elections to the premium club of the city, Sutlej Club, came to an end today, with the announcement of the results. The main fight was between Gurinderjit Singh Laddi, Sanjeev Dhanda and Nimesh Gupta for the post of general secretary, from which Sanjeev Dhanda emerged winner by gaining 728 votes.

Club’s present general secretary, Yogesh Bansal, got the post of vice-president by clinching 1,062 votes.

The post of joint secretary went to TS Thapar, with 1,051 votes polled in his favour, while Neeraj Malhotra got the post of Bar Secretary. Sanjeev Aggarwal got the post of Finance secretary by 638 polled in his favour.

Meanwhile, three contestants were declared winners unanimously. They are Sarabjit Singh for the post of mess secretary, Vineet Randev as sports secretary and Monika Mittal as an executive member. Yogesh Bansal after getting the position of the vice president of the club, said he would “work wonders” for the club.



Plywood prices to go up by 7 per cent
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
With 25 per cent increase in the rates of basic raw material and 15 per cent increase in the chemicals, the Punjab Plywood Manufacturers’ Association has decided to increase the plywood prices by 7 per cent. This decision was unanimously taken during the association’s meeting held under the presidentship of Inderjit Singh Sohal.

“Apart from the hike in prices of chemical and raw material, the shortage of power and labour shortage are the other big problems being faced by us,” said Sohal.

Secretary general Ashok K. Juneja said there had been a 25 per cent increase in the prices of basic raw material like eucalyptus and poplar wood in the last three months while they have witnessed 15 per cent increase in the rates of chemicals such as phenol and formaldehyde. We have been left with no other choice but to hike the prices,” he said.

At the meeting, it was also decided that a meeting of the government and industry should be fixed so that they can discuss in length the problems being faced by the industry and the government should also try to convince the farmers to grow eucalyptus and poplar trees.

Adding, Juneja further said in addition to this, power shortage was the major problem they were facing. “Long power cuts are only adding to our woes. The government should regulate the smooth power supply in the state otherwise the industry will be left with no other option but to shift their base from Punjab,” he added.



Violation of Building Bylaws
File on AC market to be submitted today
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
The file regarding violation of building bylaws by AC Market, Calibre Plaza, here, will be submitted in the local court tomorrow. With this, the shopkeepers in the market have heaved a sigh of relief and they hope that "illegal" expansion for commercial purposes will be stopped with the intervention of the court.

The Shopkeepers have been raising hue and cry over the "illegal" construction that had been going on in several areas in the market. According to them, the space meant for lift, was being misused for commercial use. Besides, 11 new shops were constructed in the basement of the market, for which market authorities had not sought permission from the Municipal Corporation, alleged shopkeepers.

Inderjit Singh (name changed), a shopkeeper, said that they were facing problem while parking their vehicles as the parking space on the top-floor was being "misused" for other purposes. "They are coming up with an RO plant on the top floor. The plant will occupy the parking space of vehicles. Despite repeated requests, the building owners have refused to listen to our pleas. We had to file a writ to get relief", said the shopkeeper.

In absence of proper parking space, the commuters on the road going towards Mata Rani Chowk are stuck in traffic jams and the rickshaws and auto-rickshaws start unloading and loading of stock on the road itself. Traffic chaos and road rage has become the order of the day but no attention is being paid either by authorities concerned or the building owners.

It may be mentioned here that court had recently asked Local Commissioner RK Sharma to visit the market and get the first hand information. The Local Commissioner surveyed the entire market, including shops in the basement, parking on the top floor and construction near the lift area. The file by him will be submitted in courts tomorrow.

Meanwhile, general manager of AC Market Kuldeep Singh said they had got all plans sanctioned by the Municipal Corporation and no building was being constructed illegally.



225 get degrees

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 28
Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari said the Union government had envisaged various projects to improve the enrolment rate and quality of higher education in all the states, including Punjab.

He acknowledged that private educational organisations had surpassed state-run institutes in promoting higher education in their respective areas.

Tewari said this at the annual convocation of Gobind National College, Narangwal, near here on Saturday. A total of 225 graduates and postgraduates received degrees from principal Hardiljit Singh at the convocation presided over by Jasbir Singh Khangura, MLA, Kilaraipur.

Re-christening the 21st century as era of education, Tewari maintained that only knowledge acquired through formal training could enable the youth and future generations to overcome social evils.

Appreciating role of private organisations in facilitating rural students receive quality education at nominal fee, Jasbir Singh Khangura, legislator from Kilaraipur urged residents of the area to admit their wards in institutes situated near their villages, instead of sending them to far off places. This besides saving hard earned money of the parent will also save students from unnecessary exertion falling prey to vices of cities. — OC



Central Jail inmate dead

Ludhiana, March 28
An inmate of the Central Jail facing murder charges died under mysterious circumstances here yesterday. Parminder Kumar (28) of Saroha in Nawanshahr, who had been in jail along with his brother for the last six years, collapsed on the floor suddenly this morning.

According to jail officials, the incident took place around 9 am while he was helping jail officials in counting prisoners who were to be taken to the court complex for hearing.

He was rushed to the Civil Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. Doctors would conduct an autopsy and his viscera would be sent for examination. They suspected that the prisoner died of cardiac arrest. His brother told jail officials that his brother had been in good health.

Prisoners were shocked as Parminder was healthy till last evening and had dinner with his brother before going to sleep. — TNS



Exhibition on farm technologies tomorrow

Ludhiana, March 28
The Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) is organising an exhibition to showcase agricultural technologies under the NAIP sub-project - Mobilising mass media support for sharing agro information - on March 30 on the CIPHET campus.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR’s) institutes and agricultural universities from the region would be displaying their technologies. While Dr MS Gill, director extension, Punjab Agricultural University, would be the chief guest, Dr AM Narulla, zonal projector, ICAR, would be the guest of honour. CIPHET director Dr RT Patil and Head ToT division Dr Deepak Raj Rai has urged farmers and media to visit the exhibition. The exhibition would be held from 10 am to 5 pm. — TNS



NRI donates solar equipment to school computer lab
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, March 28
In a move to improve the standard of education, an NRI of Malla village recently donated a solar-powered batteries system for the computer lab of the school in the village. Santokh Singh Sidhu, a British citizen now, has donated a solar battery system to the computer lab of government Senior Secondary School for girls of Malla village near here.

The system worth Rs 1 lakh will provide power two fans and four computers of the school enabling the students to complete their practical classes uninterrupted.

Not only he has donated the system, he has undertaken the responsibility of its maintenance also. His daughter Surinder Kaur donated a multi-functional printing machine to the school. As many as 245 students from class VI to XII will be benefiting from the system.

Kuldeep Kaur, the computer instructor, Jasminder Kaur, the principal of the school thanked Santokh Singh for his initiative. Village sarpanch Avtar Singh said the act of Singh would inspire other well to do families of the village and NRI brethrens to contribute for the social cause.



Pre-harvest troubles shatter dreams of bumper crop
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 28
Pre-harvesting period is proving thorny for farmers of this area. Infestation of wheat fields by philarus minu, or “guli danda” in local dialect, and long and inadequate irrigation arrangements have shattered their dreams of bumper crop. Apprehending losses due to sun drying, microbes and weeds, farmers have started putting in all efforts to minimise the loss.

Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that sun drying, microbes and weeds, which have been flourishing due to humidity and high temperature, had affected standing wheat crop in thousands of acres.

Farmers who were expecting a bumper crop a few weeks ago are now worried about maintaining normal quantity and quality of their crop.

While certain weeds have already shown their impact by competing for nutrients with wheat plants, frequent and long powers cuts have affected the availability of water for the crop.

Farmers are peeved as they have to shell out extra money for running diesel pump sets as water is required for wheat crop before harvesting. Large patches of affected crop were seen in Jandali Kalan, Chhapar, Latala, Barundi, Rangoowal, Jurahan, Jartoli, Seelon Kalan and Jartoli villages.

Hardial Singh Sekhon of Chhappar village said a major portion of the crop standing in his fields had started drying up. “It seems impossible to maintain quality and quantity of wheat grain unless we shell out extra money for irrigating fields before harvesting,” said Sekhon. He apprehended that the yield would fall at least by 20 per cent due to decrease in the grain size.

Referring to information received through farmers of the area, Baldev Singh Latala, general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, and Mohinder Singh Seelon, president of the Zamhoori Kissan Sabha, said: “Tela, a decease caused by a microbial organism and infestation of fields by philarus minu would decrease the yield to a great extent.”



Summers to be hard for industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
As per a petition filed by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Authority for the grant of authorisation of imposing power cuts and peak load hours for the year 2010-11, the PSEB has submitted that "there could be a shortage of up to 39 per cent of power in the coming season".

The PSEB filed that "39 per cent (in the range of 3,000 mw with a maximum of 3,547 mw) shortage will be there after taking into account the availability of power from all sources viz. own generation, share from Central sector power projects, purchase from various agencies, banking with other states and unscheduled overdrawals depending on system parameters etc".

The 39 percentage shortage of power will directly impact the economy of the state. "The power is a vital component of manufacturing, and scarcity of power will increase the cost of production, which could badly hit the industry of Punjab," said Badish K Jindal, chairman (Punjab Chapter), Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India.

"The paddy crop consumes maximum power and that, too, during the peak scarcity season." Looking at this fact, the government must request the farmers to adopt diversifying farming, and as Punjab contributes 60 per cent of food to the central pool foodstocks, the state government must approach the Central government to provide the equivalent free power to the state consumed during the cultivation on paddy, he added.

It is also submitted that due to severe financial constraint in the PSEB and synchronisation of Unit-III & IV of Lehra Mohabbat Stage-II, PSEB does not propose to buy any power through traders or bi-laterally for the winter season of 2010-11 and all shortages will be met by overdrawal from grid at high frequency or by imposing power cuts/additional regulatory measures, stated the PSEB.



Employee ends life

Ludhiana, March 28
A Rajasthan resident committed suicide after his employer allegedly refused to give him leave. The deceased has been identified as Navrattan (27), a migrant from Rajasthan. He was found hanging with a ceiling fan at his residence in Neemwala Chowk near the Civil Hospital today morning. He was employed with Chopra Cloth House in Harbans Nagar.

Despite repeated attempts. No suicide note was found from the spot. — TNS



‘Westernised TV serials eroding moral values’
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana, March 28
Accusing successive governments of discouraging telecast of TV serials depicting rich cultural heritage of India, Parveen Kumar Sobti, who played the character of Bhim in BR Chopra’s popular mythological TV serial Mahabharata, has urged the teaching community to launch a movement to warn younger generation against the deleterious effects of western serials and plays.

“Though everybody realizes that serials and plays being telecast in name of modernisation and westernisation are serving no purpose except degrading morality and social culture, no government or non-governmental organisation has bothered to curb hidden agenda of certain forces that want to misguide the youth,” he said, regretting that the administration had forced the producers of Mahabharta serial to make it compact. Somehow, they managed to stretch the serial to 90 episodes.

Winner of a number of medals in international athletics events, Arjuna awardee Parveen rued that the commercialisation of TV channels had resulted in situation wherein motivation and education were missing and youth were imbibing elements of western culture without any check.

“What to talk of highlighting the principle of pious family life and inculcating moral values, these serials do not present addicts and swindlers as unwanted for society. Instead they (addicts) are portrayed as heroes and youths are tempted to follow them,” he added.

Satisfied over slight improvement in gender ratio in the state, Parveen regretted that sex discrimination was still prevalent in the society. Even those who worship little girls as ‘kanjaks’ during Navratras do not hesitate in subjecting women to physical exploitation and even setting them on fire, he said.

Recollecting his role in Mahabharta, he called up Punjabis to fight against any type of injustice taking place in the society. “We must understand that the society is incomplete without any of its constituents. Be it women, elderly, poor and downtrodden, we should not allow anybody to do injustice with them,” said Parveen.



Tewari lauds role of Himachalis

Ludhiana, March 28
Local MP and national spokesperson of the Congress Manish Tewari today lauded the contribution of the people from Himachal in the progress and development of Punjab.

Addressing a function organised by the Himachal Provincial Organisation here today, Tewari appreciated the integrity and hard work of Himachalis. He said they had become a part of Punjab, particularly Ludhiana. Tewari also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh to Himachal Bhawan at Dholewal Chowk from his MPLAD fund.

He also welcomed Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Kaul Singh Thakur, who was the chief guest at the function.

Speaking on the occasion, Kaul Singh said he felt proud that the people from his state were being honoured and acknowledged for their hard work in Punjab. — TNS



Power supply to primary education office snapped
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, March 28
Taking a clear stand on recovery of electricity bill arrears, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) officials today disconnected the power connection of the block primary education office here. The office had not cleared bills for the past six months and had dues totalling about Rs 8,000.

A team of PSEB officials led by SDO Jagraon Jagdeep Singh raided the office premises and took away the electricity meter after disconnecting supply. “The department has increased its efforts to rein in defaulters”, Jagdeep added. However, block primary education officer Mohinder Singh Kamalpura, claimed PSEB officials had disconnected electricity supply to his office “due to personal enmity”.



Hatchback cars on a roll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
Hatchback car segment or small cars are here to stay. Growth in this segment in 2009 is a testimony to the fact that people now prefer small cars containing a passenger cabin with an integrated cargo space, accessed from behind by a large flip-up window.

Rajeev Kapoor, president and CEO, Fiat India Automobiles Ltd, who was in Ludhiana, recently, said the premium hatchback segment had seen a lot of activity and witnessed a strong growth in 2009.Fiat announced the launch of their two new Grande Punto variants; Fiat 1.2 Fire Dynamic and Fiat 1.2 Fire Emotion in the heart of the premium petrol hatchback segment.

The 1.2 Fire Grande Punto Dynamic is priced at Rs. 4.57 lakh and the 1.2 Fire Grande Punto Emotion is priced at Rs. 4.87 lakh.

The Grande Punto 1.2 Fire also had a fuel efficiency of 15.2 kmpl, he added.



Beggars, vendors rule the roost at traffic lights
They are a hassle for commuters
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana/Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 28
Unchecked activities of beggars and vendors on busy highways and intersections of roads connecting various parts of the cities and towns have compounded to traffic problem. Besides resulting in other law and order problems, these activities have been identified as major factors leading to snatchings and thefts from vehicles.

Though both activities have been declared illegal, the desired police action is conspicuous by absence. The fear of action by some human rights organisations was reported to be the reason behind leniency shown by cops deployed at respective points.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the beggars and vendors had been conducting their business without any check at almost all busy roads and intersections of the area. Drivers of vehicles are forced to stop for a long time at the lights due to persistent requests made by beggars and vendors selling various products of daily use. At times, occupants of the vehicles stop willingly for their own convenience.

“They thump so authoritatively on window panes of the vehicles that the occupants are forced to take notice of what they say. Children or elderly persons travelling in vehicles then insist that one should deal with them politely,” said Bhupinder Singh, a social activist, adding his mother never allowed him to shoo away beggars who sought alms at busy crossings. “Rather she insists on giving them some money or eatables,” said Singh. Persons carrying idols of ‘Shani devta’ were in demand on Saturdays.

Vendors selling household articles, like hand towels, paper napkins and kitchenware exploit the needs and nature of women travelling in cars. Toys sellers target vehicles occupied by families travelling with children.

Families of VIPs and higher officers were no exception when it came to purchasing petty items and giving alms to beggars at busy crossings.

Commuters are the worst sufferers during mornings and evening as their journey period is increased due to frequent bottlenecks at major crossings and busy roads. While occupants of some vehicles remain unaffected by traffic interruption by beggars and venders, some become impatient, as they have to reach their offices and workplaces before the scheduled time.

Tiffs and quarrels are noticed commonly at chowks, sometime leading to traffic jams.



‘Remove social evils from mindset of people’
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 28
A seminar on "Role of police in tackling the social evils" was organised by the Jagraon Press Club . In the key note address, Jagraon SSP Harinder Singh Chahal said that each one would have to play his role in the removal of the social evils. He said the need of time was to eradicate social evils not from the society only but from the mind set of the people also.

Putting the ball in the court of media, Chahal said the responsibility of media was much more than the police as it directly struck the mind of the public in general. He asked the scribes to come forward as a role model in the task of eradication of social evils.

Principal Ram Singh Kular, the chief administrator of the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, an organisation fighting social evils for the past more than a decade said the social evils were in fact the distorted thinking of the society itself and that was why before mending the evils, one should first mend the society and one should start from oneself. The society is fast loosing its patience and becoming the main cause of discontent, which further results in social evils. He advocated for good and healthy education as well as literature. 



Doc in dock after patient’s death
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
The controversy over the removal of Dr Kuldip Singh from the post of head, department of general surgery, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), has come into focus again after the death of Parvinder Kaur who, having been administered a painkiller, went into coma at Dr Singh’s private clinic on March 17.

Parvinder Kaur, a resident of BRS Nagar, was admitted to Dr Kuldip Singh’s private clinic in Model Town to be operated upon for a stone in gall bladder on March 17. But the patient collapsed soon after she was administered medicine before the operation.

The patient was immediately shifted to Hero DMC Heart Institute and was undergoing treatment under Dr Naved Aslam, who had termed her condition “critical”. Dr Naved had also said that the probability was the reaction of an analgesic, administered to control pain.

The husband of the deceased Daljit Singh said, “My wife’s death is an immense loss to the family and we will not forgive the doctor for the same. The DMC's has already taken an action against him.”

Daljit Singh also alleged that there was no doctor when the staff nurse at Dr Kuldip Singh’s clinic administered the painkiller to his wife. “Dr Kuldip Singh arrived after she had collapsed and her heart had stopped working. He tried to resuscitate her and then his son immediately took my wife to Hero DMC Heart Institute, where she died on. After remaining in coma for a week, she was declared dead on Wednesday, ”lamented Daljit Singh.

The management of the DMCH soon after going into the details of the case had issued a circular wherein Dr Kuldip Singh was removed from the post.

It was just an unfortunate incident that it was a simple case of drug reaction, which is quite normal in the medical profession.

I had instructed my staff nurse to administer a painkiller to the patient, as she was in immense pain and there was nothing wrong in doing so, and I did what any other doctor would have done under normal circumstances. I also tried to resuscitate the patient and immediately shifted her to the Hero DMC Heart Institute. The loss of life is as painful to a doctor as it is to the family of the patient and I stand with the family in its painful moment, but terming an ill-fated incident as laxity is uncalled for

Dr Kuldip Singh



2 booked for cheating
Tribune News Service

Khanna, March 28
The police booked two persons today following a complaint by a resident of Manupur village, near here. Simarjeet Singh reported that Rajdeep Singh and his brother Lakhvir Singh, residents of Hargana village in Fatehgarh Sahib, had promised to send him to Italy in 2003.

They had taken Rs 2.25 lakh from him, but neither sent him to Italy, nor returned his money. A case was registered after a detailed inquiry.

The police started investigations.



Beheadwd body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
Panic spread in the Ladhowal area after a beheaded body of a man was found from the agricultural land here today. According to the police, the body seemed to be of a middle-aged man and could not be identified.

The body was spotted by farmers this afternoon, who further informed the police about the incident. Meanwhile, the police has registered a murder case against unidentified persons and the probe is begun.



Dope test: 13 test positive
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, March 28
It’s official now. The use of performance-enhancing drugs is prevalent in kabaddi. A total of 13 out of 29 players whose samples were collected during the trials conducted here on March 20 to select the probables for the forthcoming World Kabaddi Cup were found positive for adverse analytical findings. The tournament is being organised at different venues across the state between April 3 and 12.

Dr Manmohan Singh, chairman, Medical and Anti Doping Committee for the World Cup Kabaddi Punjab 2010 said this at a press conference here today. All players found positive for adverse analytical findings have been served notices and declared provisionally suspended for taking part in any sport or event till the final adjudication, he said.

The affected players have been advised to appear before the Anti-Doping Tribunal under the chairmanship of Dr Manmohan Singh and members comprises of SS Maluka, President, Punjab Kabaddi Association, Pargat Singh, Director, Sports Punjab, Ravinder Nath Kaushal, senior advocate and Dr Munish Chander, convenor of Anti-Doping Committee. The adverse analytical findings will be processed in accordance with the WCK2010 Anti-Doping Standard in compliance to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), added Dr Singh.

The names of the players found positive were also announced which include Lakhwinder Singh Deol, Sandeep Kumar, Talwinder Singh, Bachhittar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Harjinder Singh, Kewal Singh, Sheelu, Vikram Singh, Anil Kumar, Atma Singh and Harpreet Singh.

Pargat Singh, director sports, Punjab, and Gurdeep Singh Malhi, general secretary, Punjab Kabaddi Association were also present.

Meanwhile, the committee conducted doping control tests yesterday on additional 17 players aspiring for the World Kabaddi Cup. The results of these tests will be out before the finalising of the Indian squad for the upcoming event, said Pargat Singh.



Cop wins silver in shooting
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, March 28
ASI Gurvir Singh has won a silver medal in the 53rd All-India Police Duty Shooting Meet, held in Bhopal, recently. Gurvir, currently posted here, finished runner-up in the 25m centre fire event. This was the maiden medal won by any competitor from the state at this event.

Gurvir scored 270 out of 300. An ITBP participant won the gold medal with a score of 274. At least 750 participants from the police and armed forces took part in the event.

Another participant from the Punjab Police, Gurdeep Singh, ASI, posted at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, near here, won a bronze medal in the 300m big bore rifle event.



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