SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Drivers flout rules blatantly, risk lives
Bathinda, December 20
A two-wheeler rider without a helmet and talking merrily on the phone while riding is a common sight in Bathinda. Equally common is the sight of a car driver driving without wearing a seat belt.

(Left) In this file photo, a man is seen speaking on the mobile phone while driving a two-wheeler whereas youngsters (right) vroom across a road without helmets
(Left) In this file photo, a man is seen speaking on the mobile phone while driving a two-wheeler whereas youngsters (right) vroom across a road without helmets. Oblivious of the fact that traffic rules are meant for their own safety, people in the city show a penchant for violating them, forgetting that it could endanger their lives. Tribune photos: Pawan Sharma

Man charred to death in house fire
Bathinda, December 20
A man was charred to death after a fire broke out in the house in which he lived near the Mehna Chowk area today in the wee hours. The deceased has been identified as Gopal Singh.
Policemen inspect the spot where the fire tragedy took place and the deceased Gopal Singh (inset) Policemen inspect the spot where the fire tragedy took place and the deceased Gopal Singh (inset). Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma


EARLIER STORIES



Tractor-trolleys with cotton stalk adding to chaos on roads
Bathinda, December 20
Plying of overloaded tractor-trolleys with cotton stalk goes unchecked on city roads. A large number of such tractor-trolleys, overloaded with the cotton stalk could be seen plying on the roads in the city during the day. Farmers from adjoining villages have been transporting the cotton stalk from the fields to the buyers in the nearby mandis.

CM badal lays stone
Short stay home for cancer patients to cost Rs 3.15 cr
Bathinda, December 20
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today laid the foundation stone of a short stay home for the cancer patients and their attendants in the premises of the Red Cross working women's hostel here. The home will be built at a cost of Rs 3.15 crore.

Showcasing culture

Students of Government Secondary School perform during a function in Bathinda on Tuesday
Students of Government Secondary School perform during a function in Bathinda on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Hi-tech Driving licence preparation delayed
Bathinda, December 20
Hundreds of persons have been awaiting issuance of smart card driving licences since December 12. The preparation of cards has been held up due to technical reasons.

pharmacists on mass leave
Stir to hamper immunisation work at health centres in dist
Bathinda, December 20
Immunisation work at the local Civil Hospital as well as health centres in other parts of the district will be affected on Wednesday as pharmacists are on warpath against the state government for not accepting their demands even as they are on mass leave for eight consecutive days since December 12.

all india Inter-university meet
Malwa College athletes rewrite record book
Bathinda, December 20
Athletes of Malwa College, Bathinda, have created new records. In the ongoing All India Inter-University Athletics Championship, Bathinda boy Suresh Kumar re-wrote the record book by surpassing the past recrord in 5,000-m race. He completed the run in 14.19 seconds bettering the previous record by Surinder Kumar of Gokharpur University.

Three hurt as trucks collide
Bathinda, December 20
Three persons were injured, one of them seriously, in an accident that took place near Lehra Dhurkot village in the wee hours today. Eyewitnesses said a truck bearing the registration number of Rajasthan, loaded with cattle feed, was going towards Bathinda from Rampura when it collided head-on with another truck.
The ill-fated trucks at the accident site.
A Tribune photograph
The ill-fated trucks at the accident site

Four booked for cheating
Bathinda, December 20
The Bathinda police has booked four persons, including three women, for cheating a resident of Udham Singh Nagar. The accused have been identified as Guddi Kaur, Rani Kaur, Jag Singh and Sunita. They have been booked under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Canal Colony police station.





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Drivers flout rules blatantly, risk lives
Drivers across the city turn a blind eye to traffic rules; talk on mobiles, donít wear helmets or seat belts
Nikhila Pant Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
A two-wheeler rider without a helmet and talking merrily on the phone while riding is a common sight in Bathinda. Equally common is the sight of a car driver driving without wearing a seat belt. All this, despite the fact that under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989, it has been made clear that the use of cell phones and absence of protective headgear while driving are punishable offences.

Speaking to Bathinda Tribune, Sukhraj Singh, in-charge at the education department of Bathinda Traffic Police, said, "The motor vehicles rules are applicable in Punjab as well, like in all other states of the country. But unlike in other cities, residents of Bathinda have a careless attitude toward these rules. We have started imposing fines on them."

Add to this an increasing number of underage riders on two-wheelers. "Youngsters drive as if they are always racing. Even if you are in your lane and driving safely, there is a chance that some youngster will vroom past you and throw you off-balance," says Manoj Verma, a shopkeeper at the 100-ft road.

While flouting the rules seems to be the rule here, the number of fines levied is negligible when compared to the number of traffic rule violators that one sees on the city roads every day.

In the period between November 1 and December 19, the city's traffic police had registered 69 challans for driving/riding while talking on the phone, 60 for riding without a helmet and only 28 for drivers not using seat belts.

"The general perception in the city is that if a person is following all traffic rules, s/he is either new to the city or is from the cantonment area. Everyone blatantly jumps red lights as well. New drivers learn from the old ones and traffic rules is something that is not taught," said Narendra Dhamija, a resident of Model Town.

There is no dearth of rules to rein in the three traffic nuisances. While Rule 21(6) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, states that if the 'driver, while driving a transport vehicle, engages himself in activity which is likely to disturb his concentration, he would be guilty of the commission of an act that 'shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public', Rule 21(25) states that the act of 'using mobile phone while driving a vehicle' shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public.

On the mandatory use of protective headgear, Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 states that every person, driving or riding as well as pillion riding otherwise than in a side car, on a motor cycle of any class or description, shall, while in a public place, wear protective headgear conforming to the standards of the Bureau of Indian Standards. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a person who is a Sikh, if he is, while driving or riding on the motorcycle, in a public place, wearing a turban.

Equally stringent rules have not only been laid for the compulsory usage of seat belt. As per the provisions of sub-rule (3) of Rule 138 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 'in a motor vehicle, in which seat belts have been provided under sub-rule (1) or sub-rule (1A) of rule 125 or rule 125A, as the case may be, it shall be ensured that the driver, and the person seated in the front seat or the persons occupying front facing rear seats, as the case may be, wear the seat belts while the vehicle is in motion.

And Rule 125 (1) requires the manufacturer of every motor vehicle other than motor cycles and three-wheelers of engine capacity not exceeding 500 cc, shall equip every such vehicle with a seat belt for the driver and for the person occupying the front seat.

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Man charred to death in house fire
An elderly Gopal Singh had been using crutches
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
A man was charred to death after a fire broke out in the house in which he lived near the Mehna Chowk area today in the wee hours. The deceased has been identified as Gopal Singh. Residents of the area noticed smoke emanating from the house and informed the fire brigade at around 6.15 am.

President of the NGO, Sahara Jan Sewa, Vijay Goel said that volunteers of his NGO and the local firemen reached the spot and helped in dousing the flames.

They tried to enter the house but failed due to the raging flames. The firemen, however, managed to douse the flames within an hour and recovered the badly charred body of the elderly man.

The volunteers said the man was unable to walk and had been using crutches for sometime. The relatives of the deceased said he had been using crutches after he suffered a hip fracture. He was a tailor by profession but had not been working after he met with an accident.

Relatives of the deceased said that the sons had been residing on the first floor while the elderly used to sleep on the ground floor.

Police officials concerned said that inquest proceedings would be initiated in this regard after recording the statements of the victims' families and the eyewitnesses. 

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Tractor-trolleys with cotton stalk adding to chaos on roads
These vehicles do not allow others to pass, block view
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
Plying of overloaded tractor-trolleys with cotton stalk goes unchecked on city roads. A large number of such tractor-trolleys, overloaded with the cotton stalk could be seen plying on the roads in the city during the day. Farmers from adjoining villages have been transporting the cotton stalk from the fields to the buyers in the nearby mandis.

The plying of such tractor-trolleys on the busy roads including the bus stand area, Power House road, Hanuman chowk, Barnala road and Ajit road slows down the entire traffic.

Despite claims of the traffic policemen that these trolleys do not ply during the daytime, these were seen plying on busy routes leading to more chaos on the roads.

"One fails to cross these trolleys as these are overloaded and do not allow any other vehicle to pass through. I witnessed a tractor-trolley yesterday on the Power House road, which choked the entire stretch," said Harvinder Singh Bunty, a resident of the area.

He pointed out that the illegal plying of such vehicles goes unchecked right under the nose of the traffic policemen who always turn a blind eye towards the problem.

Bathinda traffic police in-charge Bharpur Singh denied the plying of such vehicles on the city roads during the daytime. He pointed out that there is a ban imposed in this regard. He, however, added that the traffic police did not issue tickets (challan) to such vehicles and only warned them.

"We have impounded some other illegal vehicles, including the peter rehras. I have impounded three or four peter rehras which ply on the city roads without having any document or valid papers," Bharpur Singh said.

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CM badal lays stone
Short stay home for cancer patients to cost Rs 3.15 cr
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today laid the foundation stone of a short stay home for the cancer patients and their attendants in the premises of the Red Cross working women's hostel here. The home will be built at a cost of Rs 3.15 crore.

Besides, Badal inaugurated Farad Kendra and the Tehsil office in the new extension block of the Mini-secretariat here. An amount of Rs 1.30 crore has been spent on the furnishing of the Tehsil office and Farad Kendra. He also inaugurated the government quarters' complex at the Civil Station here that has been constructed at a cost of Rs 8.5 crore.

Badal also inaugurated the building of the Bathinda Central Cooperative Bank Limited, situated near main post office here. The building has been constructed at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore. District manager of the bank, JS Sidhu, said the bank would be shifted in a day or two to the new building from its present location at Bhagu road.

Besides, the Chief Minister also inaugurated the Shaheed Bhai Fateh Singh Yadgari Park at Chak Fateh Singh Wala village.

After inaugurating the bank building, addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister said all these development projects had been completed for the convenience of the people.

He said he had not left any stone unturned for providing facilities to the people of the state. He said when he had inaugurated the cancer hospital (Max Hospital) here recently, then he had felt that there should be a short stay home for the cancer patients and their attendants. So in view of this, he had laid the foundation of the home, he added.

Badal also mentioned various other development projects, started during his government's regime, especially the thermal plants that would generate 6,200 MW of power. He said after their completion, Punjab would become power surplus state in the country.

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Hi-tech Driving licence preparation delayed
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
Hundreds of persons have been awaiting issuance of smart card driving licences since December 12. The preparation of cards has been held up due to technical reasons.

According to the details available, the local Suwidha Centre had given the issuing date of the driving licences to those who had applied on December 2, as December 12, but no smart card driving licence could be issued so far.

It is learnt that those who have been given dates by the Suwidha Centre to collect their smart card driving licences (permanent deriving licence, duplicate driving licence and renewed driving licence) till December 20, could not receive the same till this evening from the Suwidha Centre.

People have been making rounds of the Suwidha Centre since December 12 to collect their driving licences, but to no avail so far. In these circumstances, the Suwidha Centre is extending the dates for collecting the licences.

The smart cards are to be prepared by the smart card printing laboratory situated at the office of the District Transport Officer (DTO) here. The smart card contains a chip which will contain the complete details of the applicant (name, address, type of driving licence etc) and the validity date of the licence.

However, though the printing on hundreds of smart cards has been done by the laboratory, it is unable to transfer the data to the chip as it has not received the KMS recharge cards meant to activate the smart cards, from its Mohali office.

When contacted over the phone today, the in-charge of the Bathinda team of the Smart Chip Limited Company, Mohali, Vicky Kumar said the KMS cards had been recharged by the company and the same had been sent through courier to Bathinda.

He claimed that these cards would be received by them today and from tomorrow they would start activation of the smart card driving licences.

The work for the preparation of smart card driving licences had begun on December 1 last with the staff at the Suwidha Centre started getting signatures of the new applicants on a signature pad along with clicking their photographs for getting the same printed on the smart card from the smart card printing laboratory.

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pharmacists on mass leave
Stir to hamper immunisation work at health centres in dist
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
Immunisation work at the local Civil Hospital as well as health centres in other parts of the district will be affected on Wednesday as pharmacists are on warpath against the state government for not accepting their demands even as they are on mass leave for eight consecutive days since December 12.

As part of their agitation, they held a district-level dharna under the leadership of district president of the Punjab State Pharmacists Association Ravinder Goyal, on the premises of the Civil Hospital here today. Pharmacists, including women, from different parts of the district took part in the protest.

Goyal said due to their mass leave agitation, the health services in the emergency wards of the hospitals had also been affected as pharmacists also performed duties with the staff nurses there. Besides, the medicines in the dispensaries of the hospitals and health centres were also not being distributed among patients these days. Due to this, the poor patients were suffering adversely, he added.

He said due to closure of vaccine stores, the immunisation work would also be hampered on Wednesday as the vaccines of different types had not been issued to the hospitals and health centres. He said on every Wednesday, various types of injections like Tetanus Toxoid (TT) and Hepatitis-B were administered to the children. Besides, anti-polio drops were also administered on Wednesday, he added.

Goyal said they would burn an effigy of Punjab Health Minister on December 21 while on December 22, they would disrupt traffic. On December 24, a state level rally would be held at Gidderbaha, he added.

The main demands of the pharmacists include pay-scale of Rs 10,300 - Rs 34,800 with Rs 4,800 as grade pay for pharmacist, Rs 15,600 - Rs 39,100 with Rs 5,400 as grade pay for chief pharmacist grade II, Rs 15,600 Ė Rs 39,100 with Rs 6,600 as grade pay for chief pharmacist grade I, renaming the pharmacists as pharmacy officers, creation of a post of Deputy Director (Pharmacy) at state level and creation of new posts of pharmacist at hospitals and health centres.

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all india Inter-university meet
Malwa College athletes rewrite record book
Tribune News Service

Suresh KumarBathinda, December 20
Athletes of Malwa College, Bathinda, have created new records. In the ongoing All India Inter-University Athletics Championship, Bathinda boy Suresh Kumar re-wrote the record book by surpassing the past recrord in 5,000-m race.

He completed the run in 14.19 seconds bettering the previous record by Surinder Kumar of Gokharpur University.

ManishaManisha created a new record by throwing discus to the distance of 43.91 m.

President of the District Athletics Association KPS Brar congratulated the sportspersons on their brilliant performance.

 

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Three hurt as trucks collide
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
Three persons were injured, one of them seriously, in an accident that took place near Lehra Dhurkot village in the wee hours today. Eyewitnesses said a truck bearing the registration number of Rajasthan, loaded with cattle feed, was going towards Bathinda from Rampura when it collided head-on with another truck.

Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Lehra Dhurkot village, who reached the spot immediately after the accident, said there was hardly any traffic on the road when the accident took place.

He added that the truck, which was empty, appeared to be overtaking another vehicle when it met with the accident.

Another resident Pardeep Singh said the cattle feed spilled on to the road and was removed on the request of the commuters passing through the road.

The man who was seriously injured in the accident was a cleaner from Rajasthan while the drivers of both the trucks received injuries. They were rushed to a nearby hospital.

Police officials were informed and statements of the eyewitnesses and victims were being recorded.

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Four booked for cheating
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
The Bathinda police has booked four persons, including three women, for cheating a resident of Udham Singh Nagar. The accused have been identified as Guddi Kaur, Rani Kaur, Jag Singh and Sunita. They have been booked under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Canal Colony police station.

In his complaint to the police, Manveer Singh stated that the accused women pocketed Rs 70,000 over the pretext of arranging his marriage. Neither the women arranged the marriage nor did they return his money.

No arrests have been made in this regard so far.

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