L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


VVIPs law unto themselves in posh localities
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
The adage ‘when law enforcers become law breakers’ holds true in the Rakh Bagh and other posh localities of the city, where “law-abiding” government officials have openly flouted rules by constructing structures outside their houses.

(Left)Temporary structures put up by police officials block a part of the road behind the State Bank of India office at Rakh Bagh; (Right)Sheds set up illegally to station official vehicles outside a police officer’s house in the Rakh Bagh area.

While the building branch of the Ludhiana municipal corporation has been boasting of taking “strict” action against encroachers in all parts of the city, when comes to Rakh Bagh and other posh localities, it seems they have literally turned a blind eye to the blatant encroachments carried out by VVIPs.

In the Rakh Bagh area, government officials, including a PPS officer, an SSP, an AIG, an SP, DSPs, and other officials have encroached upon portions of roads by setting up shelters for their security personnel outside their houses in clear violation of the norms. Also, some officials have constructed sheds for parking their official vehicles outside their houses.
A structure and fencing put up outside a senior police officer’s house near Iqbal Nursing Home at Rakh Bagh.
A structure and fencing put up outside a senior police officer’s house near Iqbal Nursing Home at Rakh Bagh.

Ironically, MC Commissioner AK Sinha’s camp office is located in the same area and he, too, has failed to notice the violation.

Sources in the civic body say in the Rakh Bagh area, the MC has never conducted any survey to check encroachments.

“Maybe the MC officials are too busy minting money by checking encroachments in private buildings. However, when it comes to conducting surveys in the Rakh Bagh area, I wonder why no official takes the call because even if a random survey is conducted, encroachments can be seen clearly,” said the official.

An SSP, who is currently posted in Patiala and owns a house near the main gate of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology at Ghumar Mandi, has installed a wooden structure for his security personnel, besides pitching a tent right in the middle of the road.

As a result, more than half of the road remains blocked, leaving little space for vehicles to pass.

MC Commissioner AK Sinha said he would look into the matter.


Not aware’
I am not aware of any such encroachments outside government officials’ houses. If there are any, I will get these removed at the earliest~

Hemant Batra, Municipal Town Planner (MTP)

‘Will act on complaint’
If we receive any complaint in this regard, we will initiate action~

SS Bindra, Assistant Town Planner (ATP), Zone D

Who’ll bell the cat?
We know that encroachments exist. If there is a will to remove these, senior officials can issue orders and see the impact in a single day. But who will bell the cat?

MC building branch officials

Double play
When the same officials are posted in Chandigarh, they don’t encroach on any portion of the road. I wonder what happens to them when they are posted in Punjab

A resident


Teachers lay siege to Bharat Nagar Chowk
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 10
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhymik Abhiya (RMSA) teachers laid siege to the Bharat Nagar Chowk here today, demanding regularisation of their jobs. Long traffic jams were witnessed on the Ferozepur Road due to the blockade.

The union activists lifted their three-hour siege after receiving an assurance from cabinet minister Hira Singh Gabria, who fixed a meeting of the teachers with the Chief Minister on December 17.

Meanwhile, residents and people from across the country, who were in the city to attend the Rath Yatra, were put to inconvenience due to the blockade.

“We have met with officials of the Punjab government several times but nothing has come out of the meetings. Gabria has now fixed our meeting with the Chief Minister for December 17. If the government fails to take a decision at the meeting, we will hold a state-level rally on December 18,” said Didar Singh Mudki, president, SSA/RAMSA Teachers Union.

Ram Bhajan, general secretary, said: “We were appointed under the Centre-sponsored SSA and RMSA schemes. Our main demand is to get our jobs regularised. We have been facing problems in the absence of medical leave and earned leave. Even women teachers do not have maternity leave. Also, there is no promotion channel for us.”

speaking  out
A source of harassment

Long traffic jams have occurred due to the blockade of Bharat Nagar chowk by SSA and RMSA teachers. Commuters from various parts of the city were put to inconvenience due to the two hour-long traffic jam.

Due to the blockade on Pakhowal Road I will miss the last rites of my son-in-law at Raikot. All relatives are waiting for me at Raikot village but I have no hope of reaching on time for the cremation~

Gurpal Kaur, Phillaur

Earlier, I was a doctor in zilla parishad at Ludhiana. We used to block roads to get our demands fulfilled. But now I realize it is very hard to sit in a car for hours on a special day like this as it is my first marriage anniversary~

Dr. Pooja, resident, Delhi

I am here to attend the rath yatra but I am struck in a traffic jam. I came from Virndavan and stayed here in a hotel. But Luckily, the rath yatra venue is not very far from this place~

Liva, foreign tourist

I was going to attend a party with my family. I don’t know what is happening in Punjab, protests are going on every where. Farmers, teachers, doctors, engineers, bus operators etc are taking to the streets all over the state~

Gurdeep Singh, resident, amritsar 


MP stranded too!

Local Member of Parliament Munish Tewari also got stuck in the snarl-up at the Bharat Nagar Chowk. Tewari was approaching the Rath Yatra when he got stranded in the traffic jam. Tewari had to wait for the blockade to clear. The politician also had to face the wrath of some teachers after they raised slogans against him.



Rath Yatra adds to the chaos
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Vehicles stranded in a massive traffic jam following a protest by SSA and RMSA teachers on a road leading to the Bharat Nagar Chowk in Ludhiana on Sunday.
Vehicles stranded in a massive traffic jam following a protest by SSA and RMSA teachers on a road leading to the Bharat Nagar Chowk in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, December 11
Best efforts by the police notwithstanding, traffic went for a toss during the Jagannath Rath Yatra, which was taken out in various parts of the city, here today.

The foolproof plan of the police department went haywire after agitated activists of a teachers’ union laid siege to the Bharat Nagar Chowk and chocked traffic completely.

Exasperated by the chaos, several motorists were seen indulging in heated arguments with the police to remove the barricades.

The residents of Civil Lines were at the receiving end, as all major roads were closed due to the yatra.

The commuters arriving from other cities were caught unawares and got stuck in serpentine queues.

Long queues of vehicles were witnessed on the entire stretch, beginning from the Jagraon Bridge.

The delay in the start of the yatra also aggravated the situation. Some motorists violated the traffic diversions and entered the route of the yatra, which led to more chaos.

The police held the motorists responsible for the mess. An official on duty at the Fountain Chowk said traffic diversions were widely publicised, but the motorists refused to comply with the rules. On the other hand, motorists complained that the teachers’ protest at the Bharat Nagar Chowk had left them with no choice. Seeing the chaos on the Ferozepur Road, most were forced to enter the route of the yatra, they added.

The problem was further aggravated when a large number of women parked their cars in the middle of the road to take part in the yatra.

Also, tents pitched on the road to distribute eatables among devotees added to the snarl-up. Loudspeakers installed at pandals led to noise pollution.

Left with no choice

Motorists complained that the teachers’ protest at the Bharat Nagar Chowk left them with no choice. Seeing the chaos on the Ferozepur Road, most were forced to enter the route of the yatra



Education dept remained mum in similar case
Another teacher let off the hook despite tainted past
Mohit Khanna/ Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
With scams running into crores of rupees tumbling out of the audit reports of the state finance department, the role of the education department authorities, who remained “deliberately” ignorant to the massive corruption in the department, has come under the scanner.

Investigation by The Tribune revealed that the education department authorities “intentionally” did not take action against a teacher who was booked for committing a fraud and subsequently sent to jail.

Sukhwinder Singh, a teacher at Government School, Ghaor village, had usurped Rs 28.95 lakh by creating fake general provident fund bills.

He was arrested and sent to jail on September 14, 2011. But no action has been taken by the District Education Officer so far.

Sukhwinder Singh had withdrawing the GPF by forging the signature of the then school principal. After receiving the funds, he allegedly transferred the GPF amount to his personal account.

Sources in the state finance department said the issue of fraud in the GPF and subsequent charges of corruption against Sukhwinder Singh was brought to the notice of the education department authorities, but no departmental action was taken against the tainted teacher for reasons best known to the authorities. It was not the first time that he had faced such allegations. Sukhwinder Singh is already facing a case of embezzlement of Rs 11 lakh. It is alleged that he usurped the GPF amount while he was working at Government School, Sidhwan Bet. “He had also procured a fake BEd degree from a collage in Jammu,” said the audit department officials.

A day after The Tribune highlighted how a headmaster usurped Rs 82 lakh of the education department, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari has decided to tighten the noose on rampant corruption in the education department. Sources said the DC has written to Baldeo Purushartha, Director General School Education, asking him to look into the cases of embezzlement and reasons for not taking departmental action against teachers facing criminal charges. Though, the DC refused to divulge details about the development, he maintained that a high-level probe had already been ordered and strict action would be taken against the culprits. The District Education Officer (DEO), Sudesh Bajaj, said: “I am busy and will not be able to talk on the subject right now.”

DC seeks answers

The DC has written to Baldeo Purushartha, Director General School Education, asking him to look into cases of embezzlement and give reasons for not taking departmental action against teachers facing criminal charges

Fraud went undetected for years

Baljeet Singh, headmaster of Government High School, Abbuwal village, who fled to Canada after embezzling Rs 82 lakh had committed the fraud between 2005 and 2009. It went undetected all these years with the finger of suspicion pointed at higher officials in the education department



Goods worth lakhs gutted
Tribune News Service

The building where a major fire broke out in the Midha Chowk area of Ludhiana.
The building where a major fire broke out in the Midha Chowk area of Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, December 11
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were gutted in a fire that broke out at a shop in the Midha Chowk area here late last night. Short-circuit is learnt to be the reason behind this fire.

The shop owner, MS Arora, said he came to know about the incident from area residents. He made frantic calls to the fire brigade (101), but these went unanswered.

“Later, I sent a friend to the fire brigade office near the Jagraon Bridge. He informed the only official present there about the incident. After 35 minutes, the fire brigade arrived at the scene. However, by then most of the goods had turned to ashes,” said Arora, who also owns a Montessori school in the city.

Around 11.30 pm, some area residents noticed flames coming out of the building owned by Arora.

Arora, who is also into realty business, owns an office on the first floor of the building, while a handloom shop was located on the ground floor.

“I reached the scene and tried calling up 101, but all calls went unanswered. Later, we called up the police control room after which some police officials reached the scene,” he claimed, adding that he had suffered a loss of around Rs 14 lakh, while the handloom shop owner had suffered a loss of around Rs 15 lakh in the fire.

Assistant divisional fire officer (ADFO) Kartar Singh claimed that the fire brigade officials reached the scene immediately after they were informed about the fire.

“The building owner had made no firefighting arrangements in the building. There was not even a bucket that could have been used to contain the fire.”

On allegations of not responding to calls, Kartar Singh said people could have perhaps dialed 101 from their mobile phones.

“If a 101 call is made from a mobile phone, it is not necessary that it will be connected to our local office. Only BSNL and Airtel have the facility of making direct calls at 101. For subscribers of other companies, the call should be made by affixing the area code 0161 before 101,” claimed Kartar Singh.

Calls to 101 go ‘unanswered’

The owner of the shop where the fire broke out made frantic calls to the fire brigade (101) but these went unanswered. He then sent a friend to the fire brigade office near the Jagraon Bridge to inform them about the fire. The fire brigade arrived on the scene 35 minutes later.



Gold sizzles, singes small traders
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
With the prices of gold reaching an all-time high of Rs 29,300 per 10 gram for 24 carats, those in the business for several decades believe the yellow metal will cross the Rs-30,000 mark (per 10 gram) by December 31.

While the ever-rising prices of gold may have affected the business of marginal goldsmiths in the absence of regular buyers, these have had little impact on the sales of leading traders.

Owner of a leading jewellery house in the city says they cater to the elite class, for whom collecting unique jewellery pieces or investing in the yellow metal is a passion.

“Our clientele has not dropped. The only difference is that people prefer to buy one item instead of two at times. Women have a passion for jewellery but now they are also purchasing gold coins, biscuits and bricks as investment since the prices of yellow metal are continuously rising and they are getting good returns,” he says.

He also admits that survival for small or marginal goldsmiths is difficult in these times as they have fewer buyers.

“It is not that only small jewellers have had to shut down their businesses due to the rising prices of gold. Even some reputed names have been forced to close their shops in the absence of steady buyers,” says the jeweller. Anand Sekri, president, Ludhiana Jewellers Association, says the prices of gold are expected to rise further to Rs 30,000 per 10 gram by December 31.

“People expect the prices to come down but we believe in the next one year, gold will cross the Rs 35,000 mark. This has been the toughest period in the business, as there are no buyers in the market. Many jewellers have already switched over to other businesses. Even during the recent wedding season, the gold market remained dull. The sale of jewellery is almost nil with many local jewellers,” rued Sekri.



No one to listen to residents’ problems in Ward No. 75
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, December 11
Ward number 75 of the municipal corporation of Ludhiana is in a state of neglect.
The only pond in Jugiana village has outlived its capacity to absorb water anymore. Resultantly, water gets accumulated on roads making it tough for residents to commute on these.

Rajinder Kaur Bulara, a resident of the village, said, “If one has to have a look at hell, come to Jugiana. During rainy season, water enters houses and water-logged roads aggravate our woes.”

Pawanpreet Singh, another resident, said, “The village seems to be heading towards its ultimate doom as the authorities seem to be uninterested in improving the situation. The problem has been plaguing the

village for years. What is most disturbing for the villagers is that the over brimming pond does not have an outlet.”

“Stagnant water can cause malaria, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and jaundice,”he added.

Dharampal Singh, who runs a flour mill in the village, lamented, “There is not even a drop of clean and safe drinking water in the village. Some three to

four years ago, a pump was brought to the village by the authorities but was taken back after three days without taking pains to pump even a drop of water. The situation presently is that villagers do not have drinking water at their places. They have to borrow the same from the higher-ups who have installed submersible pumps at their places. Poor people have been drinking dirty water here.”

“The government that has been extracting lakhs of rupees in the form of taxes for the past 12 years, has given us nothing but filth, sewer and dirty water in return?” he said. “If timely installation of the sewerage system is not done, we shall be destroyed. The government has to intervene to save us. The government may be making tall claims of providing basic amenities and proper sanitation, but the residents of Jugiana have got nothing. If the sewerage system is not installed at the earliest, the villagers will have to plan a permanent exodus, at least to save their little ones from the diseases

they are contracting every now and then due to deplorable conditions,” said the residents.

Sher Singh Garcha, area councillor, said, “The sewerage system for ward number 75 has already been approved and the C& C company has been outsourced the work. The work could not be started as the Mayor has deployed the entire work force in his ward and we are left with no worker. I have

conveyed this to the Commissioner several times, but to no avail.”

MS Jaggi, Additional Commissioner, MC, Ludhiana, when contacted, said he would look into the matter. He assured residents of doing the needful.



Mixed response to cluster system in schools
Bhushan Sood

Amloh, December 11
To speed up the implementation of education policies in the state, the education department has introduced the cluster system. The system has helped reduce the burden of officials in the district and state offices who had to send information by post and had to wait for weeks together to get back the required data and in some cases letters failed to reach the respective destinations, especially in rural areas.

The cluster system claims to have saved time and money of the department.

But the system has not gone down well with schools authorities, as they said it had added to their burden. “We are already reeling under staff crunch. This is an additional responsibility,” said a teacher.

“No one knows how to bear the expenses of the system,” he added.

“The office has not sanctioned any extra funds or given manpower or transport facility. No clerk has been provided to cluster schools; the whole official work has to be performed by teachers. On account of vacant posts of teachers, two classrooms of 60 students are taken care of by one teacher which is unfair,” said another teacher.

In Fatehgarh Sahib, 36 government senior secondary schools, 39 high schools and 66 middle schools have been attached to 16 cluster schools. As per information given by Government Teachers Union district chief Balbir Singh Ghuman, 15 schools, including Government Boys Secondary School, Amloh, Government Girls Secondary School, Amloh, Government High School, Waraich, Government High School, Salani, Government High School, Khanian, Government High School, Noorpura, Government Middle School, Haripur, Government Middle School, Bhadal Thuha, Government Middle School, Bhambri, Government Middle School, Sounti, Government Middle School, Kumbh, Government Middle School, Majri Kishne Wali, Government Middle School, Dhangeri, Government Middle School, Tooran and Government Middle School Lakha Singh Wala had been attached to Amloh cluster.

Schools attached to Salana cluster included Government Senior Secondary School, Shamashpur, Government High School, Faizullapur, Government High School, Bharpoorgarh, Government Middle School, Ramgarh, Government Middle School, Ghutind, Government Middle School, Lallon Khurd, and Government Middle School, Lakha Singh Wala. 



Official’s visit gets things going at Jagraon
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, December 11
The visit of Babita Kaler, deputy director of local bodies, to Jagraon two days ago proved fruitful for the people as some of the long-pending works, which had not been carried out by the local municipal council for the past many years despite repeated pleas, were finally started
following the official’s instructions.

One of such works included the repair of the near collapsing building of the main entrance gate to the local grain market.

However, the repair of the entrance gate was started today following the instructions of the deputy director. The impact of the official’s visit could be well judged from the fact that the repair work of the said building was started this morning by the MC, despite it being a
Sunday today.

The deputy director paid a visit to Jagraon two days ago to inspect various development works being carried out in different parts of the town by the local municipal council.

When the deputy director was inspecting the work of fixing interlocking tiles near the old grain market, some of the local residents came to her and apprised her of long-pending demands of the local residents, which were not being met despite repeated requests.

Initially, some of the MC officials tried to stop the residents from meeting the deputy director, but she asked the officials to let the residents meet her.

The residents also accompanied the deputy director to different areas, including old grain market, Gandhi Mohalla and Ajit Nagar.

While showing her the pitiable condition of the entrance gate, the residents said the building might collapse any time if not repaired at the earliest. The residents also complained that the municipal council had not undertaken the repair work of the said building for a long time despite their repeated requests.

After examining these areas, the deputy director instructed Pardeep Kumar, Executive Officer of the civic body, to submit a complete report regarding the status of various development works to her within one week.

The deputy director also issued instructions to the local municipal council officials to start the repair work of the building of the entrance gate to the grain market at the earliest.

It was after the instructions of the deputy director that the repair work of the said building was started today. With this, the local

residents are now hoping that the work at other localities, will also be started soon. The residents of Jagraon have also expressed gratitude to the deputy director.

There was a primary school which was being run on the roof of the near collapsing building of main entrance gate to the old grain market. However, the school was shifted to

the building of the second entrance gate after various NGOs and residents had requested the authorities to shift the school. The condition of the building of the

second entrance gate was also pitiable. Residents have urged the MC officials to repair the second building as well.



Ludhiana calling
Reality shows gaining popularity

With a large number of dance reality shows on air at various TV channels, it seems as if these reality shows have taken the local schools by wind. A large number of local schools are celebrating their cultural functions these days. When we were in school, during our annual functions, there used to be western dances, giddha, bhangra, South Indian classical dances. But over the years, children are actively seen taking part in dances such as Kashmiri, salsa and others. Schoolchildren said colourful dresses excited them the most and which was why, they took part in dance events. “I love dancing and now that it is school annual function, I want to showcase my talent in front of the entire school,” said a student of Guru Nanak Public School.

Not for you!

Newspaper offices get a plenty of press releases everyday. And the persons who come to deliver the press-statements, at times, behave in such a manner that you feel helpless. A senior colleague of mine got a press release the other day. The person who came to hand over the press release spoke to the colleague in detail and told her about the problems being faced by their union. When the colleague assured him that it will be published, he asked, "In which Punjabi Tribune?". The colleague said, "I will do it for the English pullout, but we will ask the Punjabi reporter to do it for their publication as well.” The person got up, asked the colleague to give back the press release. When she asked the reason, he asked, "I don't know English and same is with my colleagues. You must not waste your space as we just read your Punjabi publication. No English, please, and poor colleague kept on looking at him in helpless manner!

Honesty still exists

Honesty still exists in the world. A few days ago, while waiting for the green signal at Kailwash chowk, an elderly person who was also standing there in a queue called up a passerby and said, “Do you recognise me, I am Sharma typist. If I am not mistaken you were a student at the PAU earlier.” The other person said, “Yes, I was studying there in 90s. “Listening to this the old man immediately searched for his purse and handed over him rs 50, saying, “I owe you Rs 40. Once you gave me Rs 300 for getting your thesis typed. But you were to give me only Rs 260. Please accept your pending amount.” Handing over the pending amount, the old man drove away.

Chaos on city roads

With all major roads in Civil Lines, right from Durga Mata Mandir to Fountain Chowk, then on to Aarti Chowk and Ferozepur road (a national highway) remaining out of bounds to the city residents, on Sunday due to Lord Jagan Nath “rath yatra” passing through that route, utter chaos prevailed in most parts of the city. One of the busiest intersections, the Fountain Chowk, a converging point for six major roads to different parts of Civil Lines, remained closed for most part of the day. People were stuck in extended traffic jams at Domoria Bridge, Old Sabzi Mandi Chowk, Mata Rani Chowk and Clock Tower, all through the day, as traffic restrictions were imposed on the Jagraon bridge due to the rath yatra. Such rath yatras, shobha yatras, nagar kirtans and political processions being taken out on roads at regular intervals, besides causing immense inconvenience to the public, also expose the fragility of traffic planning, with residents bearing the brunt. There ought to be a debate by the so called "civilised society" for taking all such events that cause obstruction to the movement of traffic, off the roads.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Anupam Bhagria and Puneet Pal Singh Gill



Railway authorities fail to rein in unauthorised vendors
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 11
Despite the tall claims of the railway authorities of undertaking regular drives against unauthorised vendors, the latter continue to operate at the railway station.

And not being answerable or accountable to anyone, more often than not, they tend to fleece passengers.

While the travelling public can lodge complaints against the licenced vendors, they have no such option when it comes to unlicenced vendors, both at the railway platforms and in moving trains since these vendors are hard to identify.

On the one hand, contractors of various stalls put up at the railway station complained that the unlicensed vendors caused huge losses to them by selling books, magazines, snacks, eatables and beverages without making any payment to the railway authorities, thereby earning extra profit, the senior railway officials put some part of the blame on the licenced vendors for the menace.

“There are some 100 odd licenced vendors at the railway station, and as many if not more, must be operating in an unauthorised manner. Admittedly, most of the vendors travel on board from other places like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Phagwara, Doraha, Khanna and even Ambala, but quite a few of them operate at the behest of licenced vendors, who are also out to boost their sales by adopting irregular methods,” said a senior railway official.

Often passengers dealing with unlicenced vendors fail to realise that they are dealing with an unauthorised person. It is only when they complain of overcharging or poor quality of items purchased by them, that they come face to face with the truth.

Puneet Sethi, a bank official said, while travelling to Jammu on Malwa Express the other day, he had purchased bread "pakoras" (fried snacks) from a vendor on the moving train. “When I found that the the stuffing in the pakora was stale, I tried to lodge a complaint with the railway catering staff. However, to my dismay, I was told that the railway catering staff was not selling those particular snacks, and that I must have made the purchase from an unlicenced vendor. On this excuse, my complaint was not entertained,” he added.

Officials of the RPF asserted that they were always on a lookout for unlicenced vendors, more so because some of them also indulged in criminal acts. “During a drive on Friday last, we had apprehended some 30 unlicenced vendors on the railway platforms and on board trains. All of them were produced before the Railway Magistrate and proceeded against as per the law,” an RPF official informed.



50-bed hospital to cater to population of 40 villages!
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, December 11
Inadequate staff and infrastructure to handle heavy rush of patients at the Civil Hospital, Jagraon, has been hampering the working of the hospital. There has been a staff crunch due to which there is a heavy workload on doctors, including specialists.

Apart from this, the hospital also lacks a number of facilities that are crucial for any hospital. During a visit to the hospital, it was found that the toilets of the hospital were in highly unhygienic condition in the absence of adequate cleaning staff. The wash basins and the taps in the toilets were found broken.

Sources said the main reason behind the lack of cleanliness was a tussle between contractor and cleaning staff.

Besides, wild growth has covered a major portion of the hospital premises. But nobody has paid any attention towards this problem.

The local civil hospital provides medical facilities to thousands of residents of more than 40 villages surrounding Jagraon, but the staff crunch at the hospital has been badly affecting the services being offered to thousands of patients.

As per the information, at present the Jagraon Civil Hospital has only 11 doctors, including specialists, against the required strength of at least 15 doctors for this 50-bedded hospital that caters to thousands of people in the area. Besides, there are no emergency medical officers deployed at the hospital as a result of which the workload increases manifold.

The sources said there were no emergency medical officers, the specialists had to attend to the general patients also due to which the services in the speciality departments were being adversely affected. As a result, the patients coming from far-off places had to bear the brunt under these circumstances.

“We receive around 500 patients at the OPDs everyday. We also have to attend to patients at our speciality departments, which results in extra pressure,” said a senior doctor of the hospital.

Moreover, due to the staff crunch and heavy rush of patients, the doctors cannot attend to all patients visiting them.

“There has been a marginal increase in the population of Jagraon and surrounding areas, but there are only 50 beds available in the hospital which is not enough seeing the heavy rush of patients”, said another senior doctor. In the name of infrastructure, the hospital has only a X-ray machine, which, too, remains out of work and a generator set. The people have demanded an increase in the bed capacity of the hospital.

“The hospital needs at least 100 beds, some more facilities, improved infrastructure and at least 20 doctors to deal with the huge volume of patients,” said a patient waiting for his turn.

When contacted, Rupinder Kaur Kakkar, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), said, “We have already appealed to the health department and written to the state government to increase the bed capacity of the hospital. We have also demanded a trauma centre, some more doctors and upgraded infrastructure.”



Quacks dupe patients, authorities unfazed
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
The duping of uneducated, poor patients continues unabated as "self-styled" doctors continue to do "brisk business" by playing with several innocent lives in the city as the authorities concerned prefer to look the other way. Despite being brought to the notice of authorities concerned several times, the quackery continues to flourish in the industrial capital.

Violating all norms of the noble profession (medical), quacks continue to befool the patients at every nook and corner of the city. Some of them claim to provide "healing-touch" to patients while others "treat" them with magic cures.

As the regulatory body (health department) has miserably failed to take action against this unethical practice, the quacks continue to "boast" of their claims in various sections of the media and by distributing pamphlets to the masses.

Dr Paramjit Kaur (name changed) with D.A.T.M.D. degree, practicing at the Kot Mangal Singh area near Lal Chakki claims to have treatment for every disease. Starting from mild cold and cough, she claims to treat patients suffering from fatal diseases like AIDS, cancer, blindness, Parkinson disease etc and that too without giving any medicine. For this, she charges Rs 1,000 per patient.

When Ludhiana Tribune contacted her on her telephone and asked her to explain the spellings of diseases, including varicose veins, psoriasis, thalassemia since her pamphlet was published in Punjabi, she could not utter a word.

When she was asked to explain her degree, she said, "See, I am busy right now, contact me later". Despite repeated attempts, she did not respond to the calls.

This is certainly not an isolated case. Violating all rules and playing with the lives of hundreds of poor and uneducated, such quacks have been having a field day as nobody is bothered to keep a check on them. 

SMO ‘encouraging’ quacks

A senior physician, who is also a member of Indian Medical Association, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that about 500-1,000 quacks were carrying out their unethical practices under one SMO. Besides, he said, the failure of IMA members, who were authorised to report about such quacks to the nearest police station, was adding to the problem.



Knitwear industry seeks space for exhibitions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
The knitwear industry in the city has expressed dissatisfaction over the way the industry is being treated in Punjab.

In a recent letter to the Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, the president of the Knitwear Club, Vinod Thapar, said the hosiery industry held over 10 events like national-level buyer-seller meet, textile machinery exhibition and display of products, etc. every year.

“However, there is no exhibition hall where the industry can hold their events. In the absence of a stable and spacious place, Ludhiana industrialists have to make temporary arrangements to organise the events and exhibitions, which consume both time and money. We should be provided with a space where we can organise the events,” said Thapar.

The president further added that the knitwear industry in the state held a prominent position in shaping the economy and trade of the country.

The Knitwear Club represented over 12,000 small and medium knitwear/textile units and Ludhiana cluster played a key role in catering to the needs of the hosiery industry.

“Besides, the non-inclusion of areas in mixed land use covered under the Master Plan of Ludhiana was creating problems for the industry. As the areas lie in the industrial area and because of non-inclusion, a number of problems are being faced by the industrialists. There is a need to restructure the master plan once again because the non-inclusion of these areas in the mixed land use category has incapacitated the unit owners to deal with certain government departments like the Pollution Control Board, the electricity department and the District Industry Centre, etc. for getting various documents or certificates,” said Thapar.

Also, the knitwear industry was scattered in different areas of the city. Still, the industry was existing in non-designated areas. There was a need to bring together the industry to ensure easy access.

The industry needs designated areas so that these can shift and work in a cluster, stressed Thapar.



‘Gen-X’s hunger for junk food growing due to urbanisation’
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
The fast-food Industry in India has already crossed Rs 4,700 crores (annual) mark. While the medical professionals have been giving warnings about the ill-effects of junk food, especially on the younger generation, due to the increased incomes and urbanisation, the fast-food industry is expected to cross Rs 14,600 crores mark in the coming five years.

Dr MS Sidhu, professor and head, department of economics and sociology, Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), while talking to The Tribune said that these were the published figures of (August 2011) based on public sources. "The craze for junk food has increased manifolds due to increased urbanisation. In 2010, the urban population in the country was about 36 crores but by 2015, it will cross 40 crores. The eating habits of the people have changed drastically in the last one decade. The more urban population, the more liking for the junk-food, which is readily available everywhere", said Sidhu.

Sidhu further added though medical professionals have been cautioning the younger generation to avoid junk-food but the craving for the same has increased drastically by persons below 35 years of age. "The eating habits of the younger generation are not going to change, instead their liking for fast food is growing day by day", rued Sidhu.

Dr Sandeep Puri, medical superintendent, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), here said that fast food had become a part of the busy lifestyle of the urban population. "We all know that fast food is unhealthy but being more affordable and convenient, we make it a part of our diet. But there are many negative effects of consuming fast food that people should be aware of. Fast food has high-calorie content and is often deep fried. Consuming too much trans and saturated fat can cause heart disease and high cholesterol. Besides, extra salt is added to fast food to preserve it and add taste. It lacks nutritional value, as it is rarely made of fresh fruits, vegetables or whole grains", said Puri.



‘Election activities will hit studies of students on campus’
Government College for Women told to provide accommodation for Assembly poll process
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
Every voter of Punjab might be excited about the upcoming elections. However, the authorities of the Government College for Women are considering the whole practice of conducting Assembly election a hurdle in studies.

The district electoral officer has demanded a huge accommodation from the college authorities for counting of votes on the college campus. Not only election staff, security will also be deployed on the campus to protect the election paraphernalia.

All this practice is sure to hit the studies of students at the Government College.

College principal has received a letter from the district electoral officer to provide an accommodation so that they can convert it into counting hall, strong room and EVM store for the counting of votes from the Ludhiana south constituency.

Meanwhile, staff concerned and SDMs from Samrala, Khana and Payal constituencies have approached the college authorities for the same accommodation.

Employees from various constituencies are busy measuring the rooms and drafting the layout on the college campus.

The college has fallen short of accommodation. The election staff requires an auditorium, a mini hall and a common room and more than 10 rooms.

The college authorities are also worried about the accommodation for security personels.

"The whole process will start with the practice session of the election staff and will end with the results. It is very hard for students to continue with their studies in such an atmosphere. Male members of the police in women colleges are also a problem" said a professor of GCW.

Gurminder Kaur, principal, Government College for Women, said, "We are writing to the deputy commissioner to give instructions about the accommodation because the officials who visited the campus from Samrala, Khana and Payal constituencies did not have any written orders. They told us 
verbally and chose the rooms for counting of votes".

"I don't know how we
will mange the studies of students in those days. Studies will suffer but these are the orders from higher authorities. So we have to follow them", she further said.

Accommodation sought

The college principal has received a letter from the district electoral officer to provide an accommodation for a counting hall, strong room and EVM store for the counting of votes from the Ludhiana south constituency.



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