L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City’s oldest police station sans basic facilities
While Thana Sadar cops get privileges, those at Kotwali sleep in the open
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service
A file photo of the model Sadar police station; and (right) police personnel are forced to sleep outside the newly constructed Kotwali police station in Ludhiana in the absence of facilities
A file photo of the model Sadar police station; and (right) police personnel are forced to sleep outside the newly constructed Kotwali police station in Ludhiana in the absence of facilities
POLES APART A file photo of the model Sadar police station; and (below) police personnel are forced to sleep outside the newly constructed Kotwali police station in Ludhiana in the absence of facilities. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, May 29
While the city’s has been declared as one of the best police stations in Asia and the station house officer and cops there have got accolades, those posted at the City Kotwali, also known as the division no 1 police station and which is the oldest in the city, spend sleepless nights in the absence of proper rooms, beds and mattresses. The policemen on duty here sleep on the rooftop and keep their belongings in the open at the rear of the building where stolen vehicles that have been recovered are dumped.

One of the cops at the ‘kotwali’ said on condition of anonymity: “For the past two months about a dozen policemen stationed here have been spending sleepless nights at the premises. We’ve not been given any room. Until yesterday we kept our trunks under the stairs but these were removed and we were asked to keep them at the back of the police station. There was a room upstairs where we could rest but that also has been vacated”.

Said another cop on duty: "At the Thana Sadar policemen get all the facilities. They’ve been provided a decent resting room, beds, mattresses and other things. But we’ve to sleep in the open and throughout the night mosquitoes don't let us sleep. We’ve to work long hours sometimes stretching to 16 hours. We need proper sleep so that we can do justice to our jobs, but instead we feel irritated and lethargic much of the time. We had requested senior officials to do something about it but to no avail”.

When contacted additional deputy police commissioner (I) Harsh Bansal said the police station had been recently shifted to its present premises. “As such there have been teething troubles. For us, providing all the required facilities to our men on duty is of utmost importance. Since the ‘kotwali’ has been shifted to a new place, there are certain problems. I can assure that within one week, they will be given each facility", he added.


Gold worth Rs 60 lakh seized, four arrested
‘Auto drivers’ would sedate, rob passengers
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
With the arrest of four persons, the police has claimed to have made a breakthrough in busting a gang of auto-drivers involved in looting passengers.

The police said the accused would pick up passengers, sedate them, beat them up and take away their belongings. Later, they would dump them at an isolated place.

Those arrested have been identified as Shamsher Ali, Ankur and Kamruddin, residents of Meharbaan village, and Maninder Singh Money of Model Colony.

The gang was involved in several incidents of looting and snatching.

Yurinder Singh Hayer, Deputy Commissioner Police, said on May 6, Sham Lal, a worker at a jewellery store, took an auto, which was already carrying three persons, from Fountain Chowk. As soon as he sat, he was sedated, beaten up and robbed before being thrown out of the auto near Giaspura.

Sham Lal was carrying 1.76 kg of gold in the form of biscuits and jewellery, two mobile phones and Rs 11,000.

Gold items worth Rs 50-60 lakh have been recovered from the possession of the accused. The items will be returned to the owners with the permission of the court, the police said.

Giving details about the modus operandi of the criminals, the police said Shamsher Ali was the kingpin while Maninder Singh, posing as an auto-rickshaw driver, used to pick passengers.

The other accused would pose as co-passengers. The accused have been remanded in police custody.

3 of the accused 20-yr-olds

Shamsher Ali, Ankur and Maninder Singh are 20 years old and wanted to lead a luxurious life after getting inspired by Bollywood films. Kamruddin is the father of kingpin Shamsher Ali and was arrested along with the other accused.

Taking risks

The incident has raised the question why huge amounts of gold should be carried to other places like this and why are valuables handed over to workers/employees without proper security.



Info committee fines MC Rs 6,000
Delay in information sought under RTI
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The State Information Commission (SIC) has fined the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation Rs 6,000 for delaying information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The SIC has ordered the MC to pay a compensation of Rs 6,000 by way of a crossed treasury cheque to the appellant, Sewa Singh, of Indra Colony.

Sewa Singh had sought information related to no-objection certificates (NOCs) for power connections being issued by the MC in the Zone-B area. The information was to be given by Harpreet Singh Ghai, public information officer.

But there was delay in providing the information, after which Sewa Singh approached the SIC.

On April 27, the court of Ramesh Inder Singh, Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab, stated: “The appellant confirms that he has received information to his satisfaction, which has now been furnished in Punjabi. His plea, however, is that he had to approach the State Information Commission to get the information, resulting in wastage of time and money. “The respondent said they were busy with an anti-encroachment drive in compliance with the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Census operation. It was further submitted that the application of the information-seeker originally did not bear his signatures. But the fact remains that the MC has caused inconvenience to an appellant who had to travel to Chandigarh for the proceedings before the commission on a number of dates.”


The complainant Sewa Singh had sought information related to no-objection certificates (NOCs) for power connections being issued by the Municipal Corporation in the Zone-B area. The information was to be provided by Harpreet Singh Ghai, public information officer of the zone.



Civil Hospital burns unit in the doldrums
Contractor leaves midway n Over a year, but no building yet
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The long-awaited burn unit at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital is still a distant dream. The construction of the burn unit, which started over a year ago, is yet to be completed as the contractor has left midway. The health authorities have now called for fresh tenders and have no idea when the unit will be functional.

Sources said: “It is a mega project of Rs 2.5 crore for 30 beds and was kicked off in 2009. About six months ago, the contractor left due to some personal reasons and since then, the project has been hanging fire.”

Dr US Sooch, Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the hospital, said: “Fresh tenders had been invited for completing the remaining work. I have been told that the work has been assigned to a new contractor. I hope the work will be completed soon.”

Meanwhile, patients with burn injuries are being treated in other wards along with patients suffering from other diseases.

“Since we have no separate burn unit, we have to allot them beds along with other patients,” he said.

On May 27, Ajay Kumar from Kakowal village was admitted to the hospital with burns on his upper body. He said: “I sustained burns after a pumping stove burst. The staff takes too much time for the dressing.”



Dread of ‘ghosts’ scares away labourers
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Scary ‘ghost’ stories that children love to read and enjoy the goosebumps they give, appear to have become horrifying tales for construction workers at the city’s Mahavira Civil Hospital. About 15 labourers hired to build a burns unit at the hospital about two and a half years ago abruptly left work midway saying they had seen “ghostly figures” in the hospital premises.

Talking to The Tribune, a hospital employee recounted: “About 15 labourers were deployed by a contractor for construction of the burns unit. But after a few days they became very fearful and began complaining they had seen some ‘ghostly figures’ wearing white clothes and ‘moving here and there’ near the mortuary. One after the other every one of them quit suddenly”.

“These labourers used to avoid working in the afternoon and after dusk. After a few days the contractor hired new labourers, some of which also complained of seeing ‘ghosts’. But the contractor and hospital staff counselled them and they continued to work there but avoided night shifts”, said sources.

Requesting anonymity, another hospital employee said: “Actually the burn units under construction is very close to the mortuary. And throughout the day the labourers kept watching dead bodies being kept there. Someone told them the bodies were kept there for a postmortem examination, in which the corpses are dissected, so their ‘spirits don’t rest in peace’. While another story is that many years ago someone kept a female's body in the mortuary and when its door was opened the next morning her ‘ghost’ was seen there. Such tales horrified the labourers and they quit abruptly”.

Dismissing such accounts, Dr US Sooch, the hospital’s senior medical superintendent, said: “Actually the mortuary is close to the hospital’s burns unit so the labourers got frightened. However there’s no truth in all these stories. Our staff members also work here at night”.

Asked to comment on the present situation at the hospital’s burns unit, an employee said: “Now when newly hired labourers have begun working there I fail to understand which ‘ghost’ stopped the construction of the burns unit”.

Rubbish, says SMO

Actually, the mortuary is close to the hospital’s burns unit so the labourers got frightened. However, there’s no truth in all these stories. Our staff members also work here at night.

Dr US Sooch, Senior Medical Officer



Goods worth lakhs destroyed in fire
Took 3 hrs to extinguish flames n Need felt for fire brigade station
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, May 29
Goods worth more than Rs 10 lakh were gutted in a fire at a car accessories shop here today.

The fire, which broke out at around 1.15 pm, destroyed the goods lying in the shop. The owner of the shop had left for his house only half an hour before the fire broke out.

Jatinder Mithu, an eyewitness, said the damage would have been much more if workers from nearby shops had not acted promptly. “As soon as the fire broke out, workers from other shops and nearby residents started dousing the fire. There was a service station near the shop and water sprayed with the pressure motor helped in bringing the fire under control.”

However, it took about three hours to extinguish the fire and until then, everything in the shop was reduced to ashes.

The loss has been estimated at Rs 10-12 lakh. Jaspreet Singh Honey, owner of the shop, said a shopkeeper called him and informed him about the incident. “I immediately rushed back to my shop. When I reached there, I found everything had been destroyed,” he said.

Though the exact reason of the fire is not clear yet, a short-circuit in a machine installed in the shop for printing numbers is believed to be the reason.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers pointed towards the apathetic attitude of the administration. They claimed that though they made several calls at the police control room, they got no response. “Neither any official from the civil administration nor from the police department reached the spot before three hours,” a shopkeeper said.

Also, the need for a fire brigade station at Jagraon was felt once again as no fire brigade team arrived at the spot.



Goods worth lakhs gutted in hosiery unit
It took five fire engines more than four hours to control the fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Goods worth lakhs were gutted in a fire incident, which took place at a triple storey hosiery unit in Gandhi Nagar area this morning. The factory owners were out of station at the time of the incident.

Parveen Kumar, owner of RK Gupta Hosiery, informed that he, along with his family, was out of station when around 8.30 am he received a call from his neighbour about the incident. “He informed about me about the fire incident and we immediately rushed back to Ludhiana,” he said.

Kumar reached at the spot around 1.30 pm, but by that time the fire fighters had already doused the flames.

Fire department officials said it took five fire tenders and more than four hours to control the fire. “We suspect that the fire broke out due to short-circuit,” a fire official informed.



Falling yarn prices lead to hoarding
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Though the synthetic yarn prices are falling, it has failed to change the situation as fabric buyers and garment manufacturers have already cancelled their previous orders. As a result, many textile mills are left with huge stocks. Some small and big textile mills in the city were depending on the export market, and are now facing difficult times. Overseas buyers have turned their backs and mills are left with huge stocks of unsold product.

Synthetic yarn prices have come down by 20 per cent in the past over a month while the price of the benchmark 80 denier roto price have fallen to Rs 105 per kg from Rs 131, showing a decline of 22 per cent.

According to mill owners, fabric buyers and garment manufacturers had placed orders when the yarn prices were high. “Now that the prices have come down, the buyers are demanding a scale down in the prices of both natural and synthetic yarn,” said an employee at a spinning mill. Last week, mill owners across the country observed a one-day strike, but it failed to resolve any issue.

“Buyers are cancelling their previous orders and we cannot give them yarn at the current price because we have produced it at the earlier prices. Small and medium mills are passing through a severe financial crunch,” said an industry source.

Another employee at a leading textile mill said: “Demand has been affected to a great extent because buyers are waiting for the yarn prices to fall further and have held up their orders.”

“Traders, who usually stock for up to two to four weeks, are not stocking any more due to the volatility in prices. They have sold previous stocks at whatever prices they could get. Textile mill industry is hoping prices of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), the raw material used in the production of polyester fabric, do not fall further,” said T Aggarwal, president of the Ludhiana Yarn Merchants Association



72 physically challenged get artificial limbs
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
An NGO today organised a mega artificial limbs donation project under which 72 physically challenged people were provided with artificial limbs. Major CD Soi, project coordinator, “We spent Rs 1.5 lakh on these artificial limbs prepared by Bharat Vikas Parishad Charitable Trust -- an NGO. We started distributing artificial limbs about a year ago and by now have already distributed these to about 50 needy people. And today we arranged for 100 persons, out of which only 72 turned up.”

This NGO also does other charitable works like sponsoring education of needy kids and distributing medicines to the needy, for which it has opened a “medicine bank” on every Sunday from 10 am to 12 pm.

“Look forward and stand up on your feet imagining that you are absolutely fine and none can stop you from marching forward,” these were the words of Baldev Kumar, a Moga-based physically challenged resident, to Neelam Bhalla, a physically challenged resident of Phagwara, who was trying to settle down in her pair of artificial limbs at Lodge Vishwakarma No 173 -- premises of an NGO.

Most people were reminded of the story of “Asli Insaan” -- a true story of a Russian pilot whose legs were chopped while fighting in his fighter plane, but he again flew the fighter plane with artificial legs.

Talking to The Tribune, Baldev Kumar, in his mid-fifties, who runs a flour mill at Moga, said: “I lost one of my lower limbs about 30 years ago in an accident. I work on my own with an artificial limb and have changed the artificial limb twice. This is the third time that I am going to change my artificial limb.”

While Arjun Singh (75), who came all the way from Mander village, near Kot Isse Khan in Moga district said, “I lost my lower limbs due to diabetes about 17 years ago. I tried to contact many people for getting artificial limbs. A few days ago someone from Moga told me about this camp and hence I came here.”

Trying to stand up on his own through artificial lower limbs, this old man was wearing pair of silver-coloured Punjab jutti and said, “I am an agriculturist, but do not work much as my son and grandsons take care of the work. But I visit my fields daily with the help of crutches.”

However, 30-year-old Harjeet Singh, who came from Tajpur road in Ludhiana, was very thankful to his friend who guided him for the free artificial limbs. Harjeet suffered some problem in his right lower limb in an accident about four years ago. He said, “Now, I will also start working, however, earlier I had to close down my shop due to my accident.”



Controversy among senior functionaries deepens
Suspension of PAU Employees’ Union vice-president
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
With the “suspension” of Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu, senior vice-president, PAU Employees Union, for making “anti-union” statements, the controversy among senior functionaries of the union seems to have deepened.

Terming president Mundi’s move to go on a hunger strike a mere “eye-wash”, Sandhu said “assurance” given by the VC’s personal secretary had no value. If these were the orders issued by the authorities, it should have been carried on a letter-head of the university and not on a paper, which had no importance. And the particular letter had been signed by the PA to VC and not by the latter himself, said Sandhu.

Talking to The Tribune, Lakhwinder said he was thrown out of the union because he dared to speak the truth. “I asked them to show the letter to employees of the union and they would judge whether the letter had any importance or not, but they had refused to listen. I have been punished. They did not issue me any warning letter or notice, they just issued the suspension orders. But the president and general secretary have no power to suspend me like that, let the general house take the final call,” rued Sandhu.

LV Yadav, propaganda secretary, PAU Employees Union, told The Tribune that executive of the union did not know anything about the suspension of Sandhu. In the last meeting, executive was told about the Sandhu’s "anti-union" activities by the president and general secretary of the union, but the executive said Sandhu should be given a letter or notice and he might be allowed to reply within a week. “After his reply, we will take action. We had signed on this statement and not on the orders which stated that Sandhu had been suspended. Both president and general secretary had taken a hasty decision. The executive should have been taken into confidence before jumping to a conclusion,” said Yadav.

Harbans Singh Mundi, president of union, said Sandhu was suspended because of his "anti-union" activities. “Sandhu had started issuing statements against the union, which could never be tolerated.

We all fought for employees of the university and the step of hunger strike was taken after consulting all executive members. No letter can be issued by the personal secretary. As per letter, the assurance has been given by acting VC NS Kang,” said Mundi.

General secretary of the union Avinash Sharma said though the letter was not issued on any letter-head, orders issued by the VC were conveyed to employees/faculty. “The letter has relevance according to which employees will be getting timely salaries by the PAU authorities. Executive has the power to suspend Sandhu, which can be rectified by the general house. As Sandhu was going against the union, we decided to suspend him,” said Sharma.



Reporters’ Diary
Traffic chaos in city, who is to blame?

A mother-daughter duo is all smiles while participating in a programme organised by Lakshmi Ladies Club in Ludhiana
BONDING A mother-daughter duo is all smiles while participating in a programme organised by Lakshmi Ladies Club in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

The chaotic condition of vehicular traffic on city roads has to be seen to be believed. It is true that regulation of traffic and enforcement of laws by the police leaves much to be desired, but at the same time it will also be unfair to blame the traffic cops for the mess that the city residents find themselves in while moving on the roads.

Most of us tend to follow the traffic signals and even the basic rules of driving only when a traffic policeman is standing around. Jumping red lights, haphazardly crossing intersections, flouting speed limit or not stopping for vehicles that have the right of way, or for that matter changing lanes with utter disregard to other vehicles -- all has become a habit for almost every motorist or two-wheeler driver.

At times, those stopping at red light become the subject of ridicule or scorn for the impatient drivers following them. So next time you come across a traffic jam or a road accident, do not blame the traffic police for the same because we -- the city residents -- are also equally, if not more, to be blamed for bad traffic on city roads.

Hogging the limelight

Kids, especially the younger ones in the family, want to hog all the limelight and their parents’ attention all the time. There is one such kid in our family who always wants to be the centre of attraction.

One day the mother of the child was listening to lessons from her elder daughter. The child’s sister was telling their mom about the different types of tissues in the body like epithelial tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue and so on. The little kid was hearing all this.

She wanted to take over the situation and jumped in front of her elder sister and said, “Mom should I tell you about the different tissues?” And the little girl went like this, “There are hand tissue, wet tissue, face tissue and toilet tissues.” The little girl was right in her own sense and her mom hugged her little angel.

Coded message

There are many ways to communicate with the known. But writing message on the backside of an auto-rickshaw/car/ truck etc is another way of conversing with the masses. Standing amidst the traffic jam near a traffic light, an auto-rickshaw, which earlier tried to jump the red light, was ordered by a traffic policeman to stop. But as the police personnel approached the auto, he could not help laughing when he read the message on the back of the auto which read, “22 10 13 9 ki a” (Bai das tera naa ki a). After decoding the message the cop said, “Asking names of others. First you tell me what is your name?” and set the auto driver free after a warning.

Social networking

The cops seem to be bitten by the Facebook mania with most of them uploading the news of their achievements on the social networking website. Recently, when a senior cop cracked a case, he called me to say that the news should be written in such a manner that when he uploaded it on his profile on Facebook, his friends could get impressed.

During the phone call, he seemed more excited about telling me about Facebook than about the case. Even in the past, he made a special mention of telling a photojournalist to use the photograph in which he was present so that it could also be scanned and uploaded on Facebook.

Contributed by: Kuldip Bhatia, Manav Mander, Anupam Bhagria and Puneet Pal Singh Gill



Victim’s family accuses doctors of negligence
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 29
A family of Pakhowal village has accused the authorities at the Civil Hospital, Pakhowal, of causing death of their expectant daughter due to negligence.

Delay in handling the case and subsequent shifting to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, had allegedly claimed two lives, including the woman and her unborn child, alleged the family. Denying allegations, SMO Dr Kamaljit Singh claimed that the staff on duty had immediately attended to the patient and shifted her to higher medical centre without further delay.

Referring to information received from the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, Dr Kamaljit said the patient had died due to some cardiac problem.

Sumeer of Lehna Patti of Pakhowal village alleged her sister Banita (23) had died due to alleged unconcern and negligence of the staff at the village hospital today. Banita was receiving treatment at the hospital since May 23. None of the doctors was available when her condition became critical at 3.30 am today.

It was only after the intervention of the SMO that Banita was shifted to the Civil Hospital at Ludhiana after 3 hours. Doctors at Ludhiana had also allegedly wasted a lot of time in getting the file work done though the patient was referred from a government hospital.

It was after a senior doctor examined Banita that the family was asked to shift the patient to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. While the family was thinking of making arrangements, doctors attending to her declared that she had died.



Doraha residents demand re-shifting of dispensary
Threaten to sit on indefinite hunger strike
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, May 29
The members of Doraha Welfare Society have threatened to sit on an indefinite hunger strike from June 13 if their demand of re-shifting the civil dispensary of Doraha remained unheeded by the government.

In a memorandum submitted to Health Minister Satpal Gosain, the members of the welfare society, including Bant Singh Daburjee, Ram Saroop Bhanot, Ram Kamal, Sarabjit Singh Mangat, Surinder Pal Sood, Lal Chand Lali, Rajinder Gahir, Ram Murathi, RP Sharma, Balram Sharma and others, stated that since their repeated pleas to the health department and the Chief Minister have failed to bear fruit, they shall sit on indefinite strike from the given date.

“We have given two weeks time to the administration, which if fails to ponder over our demand, shall be responsible for the extreme step to be taken by us,” said a member.

Narinder Pal Angrish, president of the society, said: “With the shift of the civil dispensary of Doraha, a population of approximately 20,000 to 25,000 has been left utterly at the mercy of fate. At present there is a serious lack of medical facilities in the town. As the civil dispensary was in a shambles at Doraha, it had been shifted to Araichan village, nine months back. The middle class community and the labour class dread visiting private doctors and paying their exorbitant fees. There is ample of government land around Doraha and more so in Doraha village. The dispensary could be easily re-shifted here.”

“How unwise and absurd seems to be the decision of the health department to shift the dispensary to a village which is not less than two km from Doraha. How can a poor man, facing any sort of health ailment, whether in routine or in emergency, reach the place without putting himself to inconvenience?” rued Bant Singh Daburjee, director, Budhewal Sugar Mills.

In the wake of paucity of space for sewer disposal, the accumulation of sewer water in the town and the resultant spread of various water-borne diseases is never far to seek. The recent outbreak of jaundice has already alarmed the townsters, who are under constant threat of their falling a prey to any ailment.

A factory worker rued, “Last month my wife got sick but I was in no position to go to a private doctor. I had to take her to the civil dispensary at Araichan where the travel expenses alone cost me Rs 100. The likes of me are too poor to afford such costly treatments. The dispensary should be brought back to the town in any case.”

The Health Minister’s comments could not be gathered due to his “other pre-occupations”.



Ludhiana Scan
‘Diarrhoeal diseases lead to child mortality’

A comprehensive diarrhoea management programme was organised by Ludhiana Academy of Pediatrics (LAP) here today. Dr TS Gambhir, president of LAP said diarrhoeal diseases led to child mortality and morbidity. Around one billion people lack access to improved water and 2.5 billion have no access to basic sanitation. The faculty for the workshop included Dr AP Dubey and Dr Anand Vasudev from Delhi and Dr Rajinder Gulati from Ludhiana. Dr Gulati said diarrhoea was a major cause of malnutrition. The most severe threat posed by diarrhoea is dehydration. During a diarrhoeal episode, water and electrolytes (sodium chloride, potassium and bicarbonate) are lost through liquid stools, vomit, sweat, urine and breathing. Dehydration occurs when these losses are not replaced. Key measure to treat diarrhoea include zinc supplementation and re-hydration, with intravenous fluids in case of severe dehydration or shock and oral re-hydration salt (ORS) solution. Dr Gulati added that ORS (oral re-hydration salts) was a special combination of dry salts that was mixed with safe water.

More than 50 pediatricians from the city attended the workshop. Dr Dubey spoke on diarrhoeal prevention.


The Ludhiana District Chemists Association held a meeting with Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain at Karma Hospital. The issues discussed included grant of new drug licenses and other problems faced by chemists. GS Chawla, general secretary of the association, said on June 12, the health minister had called Punjab chemists to meet him and to discuss their problems.


Bibi Manmohan Kaur Memorial Welfare Society and Dr JL Bassi Hospital jointly held a medical check-up camp at Chaman Lal Dholkiya Dharamshala. It was inaugurate by Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain. Gosain appreciated the work being done by the society and appealed to other NGOs to come forward for the cause. He said helpline numbers would be made available at the head office.

Noble gesture

Voice of Handicapped Association helped a differently abled person, Rakesh Kumar, in getting a tricycle from the District Red Cross Society, Ludhiana. Raj Kumar, senior vice-president of the NGO, said Manpreet Singh Chhatwal, SDM(East), handed over the tricycle to Rakesh. — TNS



Mango festival gets off to a juicy start
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Addicted to mangoes, then go ahead and throng “Mango Fest” at Keys Hotel. It’s going to be one helluva affair, where one will have the chance to fill his or her platter with irresistible varieties of magolicious delicacies.

There will be lip smacking cocktails and mocktails. The mango mania will have mango chicken cream soup, mango and iceberg salad, mango ivory mousse. While summer coolers like Moscow mule, Florida and orange blossom et al on the menu.

“Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, there will be more than enough to tickle your taste buds. Our chefs have taken great pains to conjure up best of the delicacies, from

lip-smacking starters to luscious mango desserts, to delight our guests,” said Shafiul Alam, general manager of the hotel.

Chefs have prepared dishes and drinks using alphonso, ratnagiri, kesar, tota-pari to many more flavours. “The mango fest will last for 10 days and if the demand persists we can extend the duration,” added Alam.

“The drinks prepared from the summer king fruit mango were delicious. It seems that chefs have made great efforts in giving a special taste to the drinks,” said one of the visitors.



Tewari flays govt for going back on its word
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 29
Ludhiana MP and Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari today criticised the Punjab government for not replacing high tension electricity cables at the Ludhiana airport with underground cables to clear the way for the extension of the runway.

In a meeting with officials of the airport and Airport Authority of India (AAI) here, Tewari disclosed that taking an about turn from its earlier commitment, the state government had, instead, asked the AAI to deposit Rs 62 lakh with the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for laying underground cables. He said the PSPCL had sent a demand note to the AAI for depositing the money for the purpose.

The Congress MP said this was breach of commitment on part of the Punjab government which had promised to facilitate the process. He said it was important that these cables be laid underground so that DVOR facility could be installed at the airport to facilitate round the clock landing there. This would also help the flights to operate during poor visibility, he added.

Tewari said the Punjab government’s demand for money from the AAI for a simple thing like laying the underground cables exposed its hypocrisy. “Otherwise the government by now should already have laid down the wires underground if it was really serious about making the airport successful,” he maintained.

Among others present included AAI deputy general manager TK Kakkar, Sahnewal airport in charge VP Jain, DCC president Pawan Dewan and Raman Subramaniam.



Cong chief for clean water supply
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
District Congress Committee (DCC) president Pawan Dewan today asked the authorities to supply clean drinking water to the city residents. He was here to attend a function at Durgapuri in Haibowal. After inaugurating a tubewell, he said the authorities should take steps to supply clean drinking water to residents. He pointed out that there were a number of localities in the city which did not have access to potable water.



Health insurance cards distributed among needy
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 29
Satish Chandra, special secretary, health department, said private nursing homes, which were not competent to perform operations, would not be allowed to play with the lives of patients in the state.

Teams of officials of the health department would be instructed to identify such private hospitals and action would be taken against them, he added.

He distributed health insurance cards among poor patients at Civil Hospital, Machiwara. He said about 50 per cent of people had received these cards. He assured patients that all medicines would be made available in government hospitals and the department was making all arrangements to provide necessary equipment to these hospitals. He appealed to patients to go to government hospitals for better treatment and urged them to bring to the notice of the department if they found any irregularity in the working of these hospitals. SMO Machiwara and other officials of the department were also present.



Hepatitis panic continues in Kanganwal village
30 residents test positive for virus
Health department yet to wake up
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 29
Even after three years of an epidemic having engulfed Kanganwal village, residents here continue to live in constant fear of contracting dreaded virus of Hepatitis B and C.

With the state and Union governments’ health departments yet to wake up from slumber, at least 30 out of 109 persons tested positive for the virus during a free screening camp which was organised by the Medical Practitioners Association on Saturday. A number of villagers are already undergoing treatment for the disease.

Suspecting a large number of asymptomatic cases, a team of doctors led by Nirmaljeet Singh Mahli, a senior gastroenterologist from SPS Apollo Hospital, Ludhiana, stipulated that all residents should be screened for latent infection of the dreaded disease.

“Ignored patients, who are serving as reservoir of pathogens, should be treated systematically,” urged the doctors.

Long incubation period and ignorance of asymptomatic patients towards their health were cited as major factors for the gravity of situation.

Appreciating that most of the medical practitioners had started taking precautions to check the spread of pathogens, Mahli reminded that negligence on part of unqualified practitioners had resulted in transformation of the disease into an epidemic.

“That is why the virus is showing manifestations only in elderly people. The youngsters are infected only in those families wherein some old reservoir is spreading the disease asymptomatically,” argued Mahli.

The Medical Practitioners Association led by Dr Shiraj Khan had organised the camp for patients and suspected carriers of Hepatitis B and C at Kanganwal village on Saturday. Though more than 400 persons received consultation and treatment, only 109 came forward to get themselves tested for the virus. While results in connection with some samples were yet to arrive, at least 30 of them tested positive for Hepatitis B and C.

Though the administration had initiated a process to screen all villagers two years ago, when at least 20 persons, including men, women and teenagers had died in a month, nothing concrete was done to eradicate the menace.

Villagers had then contributed funds to save some youths from the clutches of dreaded diseases. There were some cases where families of patients sold their assets for treatment, but they could not be saved as the disease was detected at an advanced stage.

Responding to stories published in these columns, some NRIs of Jandali Kalan village of Sangrur district had offered help to check the spread of Hepatitis C virus in their locality. But the alleged cold response from the administration disappointed the philanthropists too.

According to a survey conducted by paramedical staff of the government health department then, as many as 17 families were found to have a history of Hepatitis virus.



Rat population in city going up rising by leaps and bounds
Experts warn of health problems
Suggest proper sanitation, rat-proofing, rat-killing
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service
Getting ready for rodents A trap for rats being placed at a chemist shop in Ludhiana
Getting ready for rodents A trap for rats being placed at a chemist shop in Ludhiana

Ludhiana, May 29
Is the city waiting for another Surat to happen? With the population of rats in the city increasing manifold, the municipal corporation (MC) seems to be totally unaware of the ill-effects associated with rodents.

Though MC officials had mulled the idea of hiring a private company to curb this menace, the talks had failed. Since then, the authorities were just waiting for a company to contact them and suggest a solution.

There are various health-related problems associated with rats, plague being the biggest. Rats not only consume foodgrain, but also contaminate it with their urine, faeces and fur, besides damaging it in various ways. Rats are also responsible for transmitting a variety of diseases to humans as well as animals. Dr Gursharan Singh Gill, Medical Superintendent, Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital, said rats were carriers of various diseases and infections.

Dr Gursharan Singh Gill
Dr Gursharan Singh Gill

“If their population is not checked in time, these can cause plague. If a rat bites a person, he or she can catch rabies. It becomes the foremost responsibility of the authorities concerned to keep a check on this problem,” he said.

Dr MS Sidhu of the department of economics at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) said rats damaged a lot of foodgrain and other crops, both before and after harvest. PAU scientists were developing research-based technologies on rodent control under an ICAR-sponsored all-India network project.

Experts said proper sanitation, rat-proofing and rat-killing were the three most effective measures for controlling rodents.

Dustbins and garbage cans in houses should be emptied before going to bed at night so that rodents could not step up their activities at night. In the city, rats were thriving on garbage dumps, especially at night, and took shelter in manholes and pipes.

Rats had been reaching houses through sewers. A number of residents complained that they had seen big rats in their houses at night. Residents stated that keeping in view the way rats were multiplying in the city, the authorities concerned needed to take some steps to curb the menace.



MC scouting for Pied Piper
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
With the city plagued by rats, the municipal corporation is searching for a rodent exterminator to curb the increasing menace.

The tonnes of uncollected and often rotting garbage and other waste has become a major food source for the pests. Civic officials have been concerned over the damage being caused by rats to urban infrastructure, including holes burrowed in streets, leading to cave-ins, and sewers and gnawed electricity cables inside tubewells. Streets sometimes cave in due to the holes. Some MC officials had recently rued that rodents had chewed wires of timers installed in tubewells, due to which they had to be fixed again.

A few months ago, the civic body had mulled the idea of hiring a private pest control firm. Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal said the MC had contacted two companies.

“The talks could not get through because those were charging too much, which we thought was not financially viable. We are open to talks and if any company is interested, it can contact the MC any time,” he stated.

MC officials said besides roads, the rodents caused substantial damage to the city’s sewerage system.

Some civic officials blamed the absence of regular garbage disposal for the problem.



MC can take heart; Railways in same boat
Rats have dug deep burrows under railway tracks, entered godowns
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Rats are not only a problem for the municipal corporation (MC), but even for the Railways, the health department and others. Armies of rats of the size of a mongoose are a common sight at tracks at the railway station here.

At the railway station, rats have not only infiltrated godowns, but have also made burrows under tracks, which can make railway lines unsafe for trains.

A stall owner at the railway station has rued that the authorities concerned have done nothing to control the menace over the past many years.

The problem is getting serious, with rats digging deep burrows under tracks, he adds. He says it is unsafe to leave food without proper packing on the platform.

A railway official, not wishing to be named, has said railway tracks are a breeding ground for rats on account of food items thrown on platforms, with grains from goods trains providing more food.

Sometime back, a woman admitted to the trauma ward of the local Civil Hospital had alleged that she was bitten by a rat, resulting in a wound on her foot.

A few months back, the hospital authorities had installed glue traps at various areas inside the hospital, but this did not bring respite from the rodents.



Door-to-door lifting of garbage in limbo
Proposal was mooted in July last, was due to start by January
MC Commissioner says project will finally begin in October
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Concerned Voices

Ludhiana, May 29
Even as garbage littered in the city, the major factor contributing to the rate menace, continues unchecked, the municipal corporation (MC) has yet to go ahead with the proposal of a door-to-door garbage-lifting project, mooted in July last.

Consequently, rats are growing in size and multiplying at a fast pace, leaving health experts and residents worried. The MC had chalked out the proposal in July and tabled in the subsequent General House. The plan was to start the project by January this year.

Even after five months, it has yet to see the light of the day. MC Commissioner AK Sinha said the project would finally take off in October this year.

As per the MC’s proposal, residents would have to shell out a nominal amount, between Rs 10 and Rs 50 per month, depending on the area of the housing or commercial complex from where the waste would have to be lifted. Garbage tax would be levied by all municipal councils and corporations in the state. The contract of lifting garbage would be given to a private company through tender.

For the time being, residents have to depend on private garbage-lifters, who collect it from their doorstep every morning. They dump it in MC containers placed at different locations in the city.



Car looted at gunpoint
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Two unidentified youths in a Scorpio SUV looted an occupant of a Maruti Swift car on gunpoint at Model Town extension here late last night. An FIR against the unidentified persons has been registered at the police station number 5.

According to information, Sajan Bajaj had gone to Mr Bean last night along with his friend once his parents left for a “jagran”. Sajan was driving the Swift car. After leaving his friend at his place, Sajan was returning home around 1 am when he was intercepted by the Scorpio.

Two persons, with their faces covered, told Sajan on gunpoint to come out of the car and hand over the car key to them.

Fearing threat to his life, Sajan handed over the key to the armed youth. While one of them drove away the Swift, another fled in the Scorpio.

The police had registered a case and investigations were on.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |