L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


IMA Strike hits patients hard
Association members oppose human resource health Bill
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Patients were at the receiving end at both government and private hospitals here following a call for strike by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) against the proposed National Council for Human Resource in Health (NCHRH) Bill today. Private clinics of IMA members in the city were closed, inconveniencing patients.

At the Civil Hospital, doctors were on a pen-down strike from 9 am to 11 am. Except for emergency services, no patient was attended to by the doctors. Though regular slips were issued, no doctors were present in OPDs till around noon.

An attendant at the hospital said by that time, many patients had already left as it was unbearable to sit and wait in this hot, sultry weather.

"Patients had to suffer as there was uncertainty if doctors will come to the OPDs. Other regular services, including issuance of medical certificates to widows, pensioners and newly recruited policemen were also stalled due to the strike," an attendant said.

Sujan Singh, father of a 10-year-old son and resident of Model Town, said his son fell sick and was suffering from high fever, but he could not get medicine from his doctor. "I did not know about the strike. When I reached the clinic, we were informed that the clinic will not be opened today. I got worried as the condition of my son had worsened. A friend of mine took us to his cousin who is a doctor and we got the medicine. But in emergency cases, such strikes could prove fatal," he stated.

Dr Karamvir Goel, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, said the emergency services and the postmortem services in the hospital were on while OPDs were affected. "Even the attendance of patients was low. After 12 pm, many doctors provided services in emergency cases. As doctors, we understand the plight of patients, but at the same time, we are against such stringent conditions proposed by the government," he said.

Meanwhile, at the Khanna Civil Hospital, too, OPD patients had to suffer as doctors were not available. "I came to the hospital to get myself treated. But my visit proved futile. I kept waiting for doctors," said Naresh Kumar, a patient.

"It is unfortunate that patients have to suffer for no fault of theirs. If the medical fraternity has any issues, it should adopt some other method to vent out their grievances. Patients should not be harassed," he said.

Dr Harvinder Singh from the Khanna Civil Hospital said the OPD was closed in the hospital for some time and a memorandum was presented to the SDM against the clinical establishment Act. NK Singla, SMO, Civil Hospital, confirmed that the services at the OPDs were affected, though the emergency services functioned normally.

A majority of private hospitals and clinics in Payal kept their OPDs closed till afternoon. As the doctors had been asked to keep the OPDs closed, a majority of them remained away from their establishments. Some of them switched off their mobile phones as patients and their attendants kept requesting them for an examination.

At the Civil Hospitals of Khamano and Samrala, all health services functioned as per schedule. Healthcare services continued normally at the civil dispensary in Doraha. SMO Payal Dr Ashwini Sharma said the IMA strike had no affect at the Civil Hospital in Payal. Doctors at government hospitals and dispensaries in Payal, apart from attending emergency services, also attended the OPDs as usual.

At the Jagraon Civil Hospital, there was no sign of any kind of disruption in the health services and all the doctors on duty were seen treating patients as per routine. A majority of private clinics also functioned normally.

Not only emergency services, but also other services like OPD and routine medical examination functioned smoothly. A senior physician at the Civil Hospital, Dr Arun Gupta, said there was no impact of the strike at the hospital and all the services were provided to patients without any delay. Patients also confirmed that there was no interruption in health services at the hospital.

In Sahnewal, the OPDs at the Civil Hospital saw a huge rush of patients who had no option but to go to the hospital as OPDs at private clinics were closed. "I went to a private clinic, but when I saw the OPD closed, I decided to get myself treated at the Civil Hospital," said Birender Kaur, a patient from Sahnewal.

(Inputs from Mahesh Sharma, Jaswant Shetra, Gurminder Grewal and Lovleen Bains)


Drugs finding their way into most jails: DGP
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Despite strict measures by the jail department, "contrabands" are finding their way into jails. DGP (Prisons) Shashi Kant admitted during his recent visit to the Central Jail in the city that the menace of tossing drugs persists in almost every jail of the state.

He said mobile phones being used by inmates were adding to the problem. Besides, habit-forming drugs and pharmaceutical tablets and capsules, heroin, smack and opium were being used by jail inmates.

The DGP said drug addicts established contact with drugs peddlers through mobile phones and they tossed the contraband inside jail.

“In a majority of incidents, inmates get hold of drugs when they visit courts for hearing. Relatives of undertrials usually hand over the drugs to them,” he said.

A jail official said a majority of criminals lodged in jails were chronic drug addicts and in several cases, it had been found that they had committed crime as they were short of money to buy drugs.


How it works

According to the latest strategy, an inmate possessing a mobile phone calls his accomplice outside the jail and tells him to throw the contraband over the jail wall. The location is identified after the inmate tosses a vegetable over the wall as an indication. In a majority of cases, the accused fill the contraband in a soft drink bottle. Hot chicken curry is also a common method of sneaking mobile phones into jail. A mobile is dismantled and wrapped in a polythene and placed at the bottom of the tiffin box. Hot curry is then poured over it to dupe jail officials.

Concealing drugs in veggies

Everything from an onion to potato chips and fruits are being used to smuggle drugs inside the jail. The DGP (Prisons) said vegetables, fruits and soaps were commonly used to conceal drugs. People have been caught while using onions, cauliflower, cucumber, melons and capsicum, among others, as means to hide the drugs, both in tablet or powder form. Inmates have also improvised "ghee" tins and slings of bags to sneak in drugs, money and mobile phone inside the jail.

Disturbing trend

The sneaking in of drugs in jails raises many questions. Money is allegedly used to bribe jail officials for getting drugs or "extra" benefits. Officials deny this but the very fact that the jail inmates are taking huge amounts of money suggests they may be greasing some palms.



Councillor's son booked for manhandling traffic constable
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The city police today booked an SAD councillor's son for allegedly manhandling a traffic policeman in the Sabzi Mandi area here.
The incident took place this evening when the son of the councillor visited the Sabzi Mandi and parked his car in a tow-away zone. The careless parking led to a traffic jam in the area.

A traffic constable Om Parkash, who was patrolling in the area, received information and reached the spot. Just as he was about to tow away the vehicle, the councillor's son arrived at the spot.

The traffic constable claimed that the councillor's son manhandled him and sped away in the car. Om Parkash reported the matter to the Salem Tabri police. After recording his statement, the police booked the councillor's son. SHO Salem Tabri said: "He was an SAD councillor's son, but we are not aware about his name."



Former CRPF doctor found dead
Our Correspondent

Payal, June 25
A former doctor of the CRPF, who had left his job a few years ago, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his native house at Kotli village, near here, this morning.

Though the police has initiated a probe into the sequence of events leading to his death, investigation will be undertaken only after the postmortem report.

Forty-year-old Dr Surinder Singh Grewal, who was living with his family at Mumbai, had come to the village a few days ago. He was found dead in his room in the morning. He was last seen by his maid late in the evening on Sunday and his body was found by her when she came to work at about 9 am today.

Investigations revealed that the doctor along with his wife and son had come to stay in his native house a few weeks ago. While his wife, a school lecturer, and son returned to Mumbai three days ago, he delayed his return as he had to settle some property affair with some relatives. He had also sold some plots a few days ago. Since the doctor had left service on medical grounds, it is suspected that he might have suffered a cardiac attack and died in the absence of medical assistance. Lakhwinder Singh, Investigating Officer, said it was too early to declare the exact reason behind the death as there was no one to give the required information. Maintaining that no marks of injuries were seen on the body, the investigating team said "bluishness" of fingers might be due to some ailment. The police has yet to establish if anything was stolen.



Pursue degree in Punjabi, but submit thesis only in English
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Researchers who wish to pursue doctorate in social sciences in Hindi or Punjabi at Panjab University are in a soup as it is mandatory for students of all streams to submit their thesis only in English. Even during the entrance test for PhD, it is compulsory to attempt the paper only in English.

This is a matter of concern for those who have done their masters either in Hindi or Punjabi medium. Although the university allows the students to pursue their postgraduation degrees in history, political science, public administration and economics in vernacular languages, it restricts them from pursuing the doctorate degree in such languages.

Students, especially those coming from a rural background, are finding it difficult to adopt English. A research scholar, who is pursuing PhD from the PU, said research scholars who were earlier pursuing their studies in Punjabi or Hindi were finding it difficult to switch over to English.

Mehak, a student who wanted to pursue a PhD in political science, had to drop the idea midway as she was not confident of attempting the entrance test in English. "Now, I will be preparing for the entrance test from scratch since language is an obstacle and it will take time for me to get acquainted with English," she said.

"Left with no option, they are forced to get their thesis prepared by paying a hefty amount. PhD students are paying between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 to get their thesis prepared since they are not good with English," she said.

"Language should not become a hurdle for students and they should be allowed to submit their thesis in any language. It is the content of the research that matters and not the language in which they are writing," said Harmeet Kaur, a lecturer in Punjabi at a local college.

BS Ghuman, Dean, arts faculty, said it was a policy decision and would take time to change.



Students suffer inconvenience
No water, inadequate counters at PSEB centre on the last day of form submission
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Student jostle to submit their compartment forms at the regional centre of the PSEB in Ludhiana on Monday.
Student jostle to submit their compartment forms at the regional centre of the PSEB in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, June 25
Student and their parents witnessed sheer inconvenience on the last day of form submission for compartment examination of Class X and XII at the regional centre of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Punjabi Bhawan, today.

Thanks to the mismanagement of board authorities, thousands of students had to stand in long queues in the scorching heat. Moreover, there was not a single source for water for the students and parents.

The form submission for compartment examination, which will be held in September, has started fifteen days ago but today was the last day to for submission without late fee. Therefore, a huge number of students and parents gathered at the Punjabi Bhavan.

The students from all over the district started gathering at the Punjabi Bhavan from early morning. According to Board authorities, they have set 22 counters to facilitate the students.
Students stand in a long queue to submit forms at the Punjabi Bhawan in Ludhiana.
Students stand in a long queue to submit forms at the Punjabi Bhawan in Ludhiana.

However, the arrangements seemed to be insufficient as students stood in queues for long hours. Some of the students came at PSEB office on 6am but failed to submit their forms before 1pm.

District administration deputed police and commandos to control and line up the students but no one arranged drinkable water for the students. There are two water coolers and some ordinary water taps at the Punjabi Bhavan complex but all are dysfunctional.

The students had to buy water from canteen to quench their thirst. Some students also drank water from a tap at a construction site outside the Punjabi Bhavan.

Shopkeepers organised a ‘sahbeel’ for the students in afternoon. Pawandeep Kaur, a student from Sahbna village, fell unconscious while standing in queue for hours in scorching heat.

Moreover, there was no separate counter for disable students and parents.

Anil Sharma, manager at regional centre, said, "This process of submission of forms has been going on for last 15 days but delaying attitude of students make the situation worse. All our team members have been working since the morning without any break but queues seem endless."

Taking about the arrangements, "We installed a cooler recently but the students broke the pipe while drinking water. Now it is dysfunctional.” 



No major irregularities at training centre: DIET
Sources allege inspecting team of manipulating records
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The report on the inspection at In-service Teacher Training Centre by District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Jagraon, is still awaited.
An inspection was conducted by Harpal Kaur, Principal of DIET at the centre on Friday. However, the inspecting team did not disclose any report on its investigation.

The inspection was done by DIET on the orders of Director of State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT).

Sources at the training centre alleged that irregularities were hidden by staff of the training centre as some of the lecturers are seeking action against irregularities and absentees reported in the centre.

However, Harpal Kaur projected a different picture. Kaur was also on inspection duty and said she did not find any major irregularity at the training centre.

The sources said when Harpal Kaur reached at the centre two senior lecturers started arguing with each other. One of the lecturers alleged the inspecting team came at centre on the other’s complaint.

Sneh Lata, Officiating Principal at Inspection at centre, and Harpal Kaur also admitted that senior lecturers quarrelled when the reached the spot.

There are four senior lecturers and six lecturers working at centre but according to the education officials there is no work to do for last two months.

Some of the lecturers alleged that in-service teachers training officials and inspecting team manipulated the leave record.

Harpal Kaur said, "Some days ago State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) gave instruction to me to visit the In-service Teachers Training Centre. I reached there before 9 am. Officiating principal and some other lecturers came within five minutes. Officiating principal of training centre showed me a telephonic message about casual leave of a lecturer on 9.02 am. Another telephonic message of a lecturer came on 9.17 am. Except from a peon who had not reported back after election duty, no one from staff was absent.”

"It is true that two senior lecturers were arguing with each other in my presence. I will submit the reports to the director based on true facts," she added.

Sneh Lata said, "Not a single lecturer was absent on that day. Some of our lecturers are misleading media. One of the lecturers was on medical leave and another one was on an earned leave. Two were on casual leave whereas others were present."

"It is true that there are some internal matters at the centre. I have already complained to the higher authorities about it," she added. 



English book penned by city teacher, student in PSEB syllabus
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The unique relation between a teacher and student has been taken to a new level by this teacher and his student. They have co-authored a set of five books under the title, ‘Learn your English’ which have been published by Punjab School Education Board, Mohali.

The books have been co-authored by Dr D V Jindal, External Faculty Member of English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and Vandana Sehgal, a lecturer in English at Shaheed Gurvinder Singh Senior Secondary School Ladhewali, Jalandhar.

A gold medalist in English (MA), Vandana Sehgal, said, “Dr D V Jindal had been my teacher in English (MA) at SCD Government College, Ludhiana.”

The books are meant for students of Class I to V and have been prescribed by the Board as “Compulsory Text Books of English” for all the PSEB affiliated government or private and recognised schools of Punjab.

Talking about the books, Dr D V Jindal, who had retired as Senior English lecturer from SCD Government College, Ludhiana, said, "The books have been prepared on the instructions of the Board under the guidance of NCF-2005 (National Curriculum Framework) in accordance with the mental level of children. The books are colourful and bright matching to the taste of children. An attempt has been made to make these books understandable and easy to read.”

The books which have been vetted by Professor J Sethi, a professor of English and Foreign languages University, Hyderabad, and edited by Surabhi Jaikwal Subject Expert (English) PSEB, Mohali, cover a vast number of subjects, including adventure sports, moral values and secular thoughts, healthcare, road safety, environmental education and many more.

The content of the books has a fair sprinkling of grammatical items and correct pronunciation through training in spoken English. Some small poems have also been added to give the readers an idea of the flavour and fragrance of thoughts of language. To make the reading interesting, some short stories with illustration have also been included.

Vandana said, “The objective of the books is all-round development of the students. The exercises in the books are activity-based so that language learning could be a fun."



Slump worries industrialists
Orders cut down to 20 per cent; increase in input costs
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The overall recession in the domestic and export market has got the local industry worried. Due to the slow pace in business, industrialists have received a setback. They have been waiting for the Central Government to make some announcements which could provide some relief to the industry.

The president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association (FOPSIA), Badish Jindal, said there was a major slump in the market. Be it domestic market or export orders, the industry was worst affected due to regular power cuts, increase in the price of dollar, acute shortage of skilled labour and steep hike in the input cost.

“Due to an increase in the price of dollar, the cost of input has also increased. We are facing great threat from China, where there is no such affect. About 65 per cent industries are working and 35 per cent are stalled due to power cuts. In such a grim situation, how can we compete with countries like China?” he asked.

Industrialists also maintained that due to the turmoil, many industrialists had started investing in gold and other materials as they were not getting good returns from their regular businesses.

The president of the Ludhiana Hand Tool Association, SC Ralhan, said the overall orders had come down to 20 per cent. “There is a shortage of skilled labour due to which we are not able to execute the orders. The acute shortage of power is affecting production and the input cost of material has increased. There are multiple factors plaguing the industry,” he said. 



IMA terms new health Bill draconian
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 25
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) today said medical professionals were against the proposed National Council for Human Resource in Health (NCHRH) Bill, the Clinical Establishment Act and bureaucratic control over the Medical Council of India (MCI).

A rally was organised at the IMA House here in response to a call for a nationwide protest against the alleged "draconian and repressive legislations" and later a memorandum was submitted to the Punjab Chief Minister through the district authorities.

The IMA urged the state government not to pass the clinical establishment Bill in the state Assembly. It also asked the ruling coalition to direct its MPs to oppose the adoption of the NCHRH Bill and prevail on the Centre to restore the autonomy of the MCI.

President (elect) of IMA Punjab, Dr Manoj Sobti, said in the proposed draft of the NCHRH Bill, the government had adopted double standard. On the one hand, the government asserted its commitment to decentralise various departments for effective implementation of its policies and programmes, but on the other hand, it intended to set up a commission with sweeping powers over all medical councils.

"The Bill makes no provisions for representation from professional bodies like the IMA and health universities and will make state medical councils redundant, besides snatching the constitutional right of medical professionals to carry on any other business by treating it as professional misconduct," he said.

The government should look at other options like accreditation which would retain independence of this vital sector and also explore the proposal for exempting healthcare institutions run by doctors from this Act.

Taking exception to the dissolution of the MCI two years ago and replacing it with a nominated board of governors, which had since been given extension thrice by the government, the IMA functionaries called for effective steps without any further delay for the restoration of autonomy of the highest body of the medical professionals in the country.



Three successful kidney transplants at hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Performing its first kidney transplant surgery, the team of Apollo Transplant Institutes at SPS Apollo Hospitals has successfully operated on three cases.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr GL Awasthi, Director Medical Services, SPS Apollo Hospitals, said, "The success of these first three cases exhibits the high quality, safety, reliability, and affordability of our healthcare services."

The team which performed the three successful surgeries was led by Dr Vikas Kumar, consultant, Kidney Transplant Surgery and Urology, under the stewardship of Prof Sandeep Guleria, head of Kidney Transplant Surgery, Apollo Transplant Institutes. Dr Kumar was supported by Dr Rahul Kohli, senior consultant, Department of Nephrology, and Dr Bakshish Singh, consultant, Department of Nephrology.

Dr Rahul Kohli said, "SPS Apollo offers a 360-degree approach to managing all kidney ailments. Through this model we offer a one-stop solution to patients with kidney diseases."

Dr Kapil Chib, deputy director, Medical Services, said, "We have successfully performed our first three kidney transplants and now our patients will speak for our work."

Kidney transplant after first delivery

The first transplant recipient, 27-year-old Rita (name changed), who received the kidney from her mother, thanked the doctors for giving her a new lease of life. Rita was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease after the delivery of her first child and as a result had to undergo dialysis twice a week.

At a time when the family should have rejoiced and welcomed the new member to their family, this young couple faced one of the biggest mental traumas of their life. Complicating her case, Rita suffered a cardiac arrest while undergoing the dialysis. Due to the excellent medical response of the code blue team at SPS Apollo Hospitals, Rita was not only successfully revived; she was also discharged from the hospital.

Following her discharge, the hospital kept in touch with the patient and her husband. Keeping the young age of the patient in mind, it was decided that Rita could undergo kidney transplantation. Rita's mother agreed to donate her kidney to her ailing daughter.



Govt of Punjab discontinues SJY, merges it with other schemes
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The Department of Health and Family Welfare has discontinued 'Surakhit Janepa Yojna' under which pregnant women could undergo free delivery operations in any government or non-accredited private hospitals of the State.

State NGO Coordinator for Mission Director NRHM, Punjab, issued instructions to all the civil surgeons of the State: "It is to intimate that SJY has not been approved for the year 2012-2013 by the Government of India. Approval for the same is being requested from the GoI. It is, thus, requested that the scheme be stopped immediately till further orders."

Confirming this, SK Sharma, Managing Director of National Rural Health Mission, Punjab, said, "Under the scheme of SJY, beneficiaries used to undergo delivery in any non-accredited private hospital irrespective of their financial status. The government used to pay Rs 2,500 to these hospitals for each delivery. Although this scheme has been discontinued, beneficiaries will not suffer at any cost as there are two other schemes, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram and Janani Suraksha Yojna, to take care of pregnant women."

In Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram all the expenses of the mother and the child -- from pre-delivery to post-delivery -- are paid by the government along with the facilities of going to referral hospitals and going back home. In Janani Suraksha Yojna, however, more than 270 private hospitals, other than government hospitals of the State, have been accredited to provide free-of-cost delivery facilities to women.

In the year 2007-2008 there were only 10 per cent institutional deliveries in Punjab. With different schemes running under NRHM, this figure has gone up to 34 per cent.



Woman commits suicide
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, June 25
A Woman identified as Balwinder Kaur reportedly committed suicide by consuming 'celphos' tablets at her in-laws house in village Nawanpind Naincha near Goraya yesterday. SHO Goraya, Sarabjit Rai, told this correspondent that Balwinder was immediately brought to Mahal Hospital Goraya, where she breathed her last on Sunday night.

Baldev Raj, brother of the deceased, told the police that his sister was being physically and mentally tortured for more dowry since her marriage in 2000. SHO Rai said the police had registered a case under Section 306/34 IPC against her in-laws, but no arrest had been made so for. 



Check what your child is playing
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
With the fear of scorching heat affecting the health of their children, many parents prefer to make them stay at home and play indoor games. This emerging tendency among the city parents is having a serious repercussion on the personality of the children.

In the absence of outdoor activities and games to keep them busy, these children end-up spending most of their time playing computer games. The availability of a number of video game consoles, such as PlayStation, in the market, has made these children addicted to these games.

Sameer Gupta, father of a nine-year-old boy, said, "My wife and I are both working and we have two kids. These days it is too hot outside; so, I bought a PlayStation for the kids. Now they can play while sitting at home."

Parents, however, are slowly realising the effect of this growing trend. Parents of 14-year-old Sahil said, "Our son remains busy in his own world of games. He is least bothered as to who is visiting home and what is happening around him. When we ask him to switch off the computer, he replies back very rudely and sometimes gets badly irritated. His usual reply is, 'Let me finish this game.' After that, however, he starts playing another game."

Expressing concern over his child's changing behaviour, another parent Kamani Thakur said, "I am very concerned about my child's behaviour as he throws tantrums without any reason. Every time we ask him to have his meals, he says, 'I don't want to eat all the rubbish stuff you have cooked,' and gets violent, sometimes pushing the chair or sometimes even pushing me away. I feel very miserable about the whole situation."



They feel no shame
Habit-forming drugs have become a lifestyle for college-going students
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Drugs have become a status symbol for college goers. A huge number of students are taking drugs without any guilt.
Shockingly, after talking to several college students it appears that students consider consuming drugs as their right.

One of the students said, "Times are gone when a person had to care about society and follow the ethics and morals set by the elders. Now people are well aware about their own gains and losses.

Harvinder Singh (name changed) is a BSc 2nd year student at a renowned college of the city and hails from Lohatbadhi village in Ludhiana. He takes psychotropic drugs and starts his day by buying a "shishi" (cough syrup) from a chemist shop. Harvinder used to consume liquor occasionally till Class XII but he was not addicted to any habit-forming drug. He admits that college life provided him the liberty and money to buy drug. He feels no guilt while taking drugs. "Who is not consuming drugs in Punjab? Nowadays girls have also started consuming drugs. My father and grandfather used to consume liquor. I am doing same, so why should I feel guilty. It has become our tradition," said Gursimran a student of BBA in local college.

Rintu, another student, said, "I think one cannot be untouched from drugs in the company of youth. I never consumed liquor before joining the hostel. I started with beer as my friends considered it as social drink. Now I take everything which my friends offer. I think drugs have become a part of our lives".

Jaipal Singh, professor at SCD College, said, "Our youth have to think about the physiological and psychological effects of drugs. There is million-billion dollars investment in this network. They trap our youth to sway them from doing any worthwhile work". "In the initial stages drug thrills but after some years everything vanishes. I think our education system should be practical than theoretical, he added.



Schoolchildren take drugs to ‘socialise’
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Easy availability of alcohol coupled with no check on drinking in public place is encouraging even school children to indulge in drinking and smoking.
It is just the tipping point.

For some of them, drinking and taking drugs are ways to socialise and being "modern". For Aditya (name changed), it was his friend who introduced him to smoking. He knew his parents would never approve of smoking and he also used to be against it. But succumbing to persuasion of his friend and not wanting to be emotionally ostracised by them, he agreed to smoke. They would roll up some substances and sniff it in or smoke it, he said.

According to Param Saini, a psychotherapist, the problem of drug abuse is getting worse in Ludhiana due to multiple factors. These include high disposable incomes, exposure to media and status. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs are becoming way too common amongst school children. Narrating one such case, she said a teenager almost faced a cardiac arrest after taking drugs and alcohol together. He is recovering through psychotherapy.

Not only boys, even girls are getting affected by abusing intoxicants. According to Gurmeet Singh, Chief Administrator, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, they get about two cases of girls every month in de-addiction centre run by the circle. In fact, girls hostels seem to be the target of these suppliers, he said. Many of the children starting with gutka or hard drinks are getting hooked to other intoxicants, he said. 



Drugs killing sports in state
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Looking at increasingly dismal performance of the youth in sports, it seems that this generation is much weaker in strength than those of the past.
Thanks to drug abuse and unhealthy lifestyle, it is getting harder to produce good athletes, say sports coaches. They are complaining that it is becoming very difficult to get fit and healthy youngsters who can shine in sports.

JS Dhaliwal, secretary, Ludhiana District Roller Skating Association, said, “Youngsters are eating junk food, not playing enough and these affecting their health. They are not strong enough as compared to yesteryears. A proportion of youth is also deteriorating due to drug abuse.”

"Earlier, children used to play in the grounds in the evenings, and only the sick wouldn't come out to play," said Hardeep Singh, In-charge, Sports Authority of India, Ludhiana centre. "It is the other way round nowadays. Only those, whom doctors have recommended due to health reasons, come out for physical activity these days," he said. Only 10 per cent of people work out for fitness, as most of the people are out there to show themselves off as fitness buffs, he says, the culture of sports is waning here. "Although, people are progressing much, and gaining all kinds of knowledge, but so far as sports is concerned, they are almost illiterate," he said.



Police turns to theatre to spread awareness
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Realising the potential of theatre, the city police organised a play to spread awareness about drug abuse at SGPC ground in Shimlapuri, considered to be the "hotbed" of drug addicts, here this evening.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP-II) Bhupinder Singh said the play was organised to mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

"We planned the programme for the evening as it gets cooler and people return home from work. Our fight against drugs is not mere lip-service. From awareness to cracking down against drug peddlers, we are doing everything to root out the menace," he said.

Nearly 500 residents of Shimlapuri saw the play "Serhad Hor v Ne" performed by artistes of Sirjana Art Group, Raikot. The artistes said they readily agreed when the police came with the proposal of a play at Shimlapuri.

"The menace of drugs has affected the densely populated area of the city. We always wanted to perform here to spread the message. When the police came with a proposal, we did not give a second thought and agreed to perform," said an artiste.

Sources said organising the play was the brainchild of Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh.

Drug addiction is the root cause of the increasing crime incidents in the city. There has been a considerable decline in crime cases ever since the police tightened its noose around drug peddlers in the city.



Health minister receives 20 calls on sale of illegal drugs
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
In past two months, Health and Family Welfare Minister Madan Mohan Mittal received 20 calls from informers regarding sale of habit forming drugs in the state.

The minister revealed this here today while talking to the media persons.

Mittal said, "I received as many as 20 calls from informers regarding sale of habit forming drugs at different places in the state. Following these calls, we checked the facts and found that none of these were false. We have taken action against the sellers by keeping the informers’ name a secret."

It was on April 14 when Mittal, during a function at Ludhiana, appealed to the public to come forward and help the department by informing about sale of habit forming drugs. He also made his cell number public and assured that the identity of the callers will not be revealed and necessary action would be taken against the sellers.

Earlier, the Health Minister held a meeting with Wholesale Chemist Association, Ludhiana, and appealed the chemists to help the state government in curbing the menace of drugs by providing information on about the sell of habit forming drugs. He said, "There is a sixth river in Punjab and that is "river of drugs" which is destroying the youth of the state."

Talking about the renewal of old licences of chemists, he said, "The old licences will be renewed in stipulated time and corruption will not be tolerated in the procedure of renewal of licences."

President of Punjab Chemist Association, Surjeet Mehta, said, "It is an uphill task to get licences for opening a chemist shop by a degree holder pharmacist on the basis of new drug policy. He requested to make amendments in this policy so that licence could be obtained easily."



CPI pledges to meet economic challenges
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The 21st district conference of the Communist Party of India pledged to strengthen the organisational base of the party so as to meet the economic challenges faced by the country due to the neo-liberal policies of the Government.

It also vowed to launch a struggle against mafia groups and the attempts to spread fundamentalism in the State. Dr Arun Mitra, OP Meha, Amrik Singh, Gurnam Gill, and Jit Kumari presided over the deliberations. Kartar Singh Bowani was unanimously re-elected as the district secretary while Dr Arun Mitra and DP Maur were named the assistant secretaries. Dr Joginder Dayal, a member of Central Executive Committee, and Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, state secretary, participated as the observers. The district meet also elected a 63-member district council.



Two youths injured in attack
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, June 25
Two youths were seriously injured when they were allegedly attacked by more than 20 armed assailants near Agwar Lopon area on the outskirts of Jagraon last night.
The injured youths have been identified as Sujapur Ahata Navdeep Singh, an employee of the employment office, and his friend Amandeep Singh of Gandhi Mohalla.

Navdeep fractured one of his arms during the attack while his friend Amandeep also got a fractured leg apart from injuries on other parts of his body.

The incident took place at around 9:30 pm last night when Amandeep Singh and Navdeep Singh were on their way to meet another common friend. According to the victims, as soon as they reached near Agwar Lopon area, more than 20 persons attacked them with sharp-edged weapons.

After some time, Navdeep's younger brother Gurdeep Singh came to know about the incident and he along with some other youths rushed both the injured to Civil Hospital, Jagraon.

In his statement to the police, Navdeep stated that he could identify only two attackers who were from Lehndi Bhani Basti.

"The attackers kept beating us with baseball bats and other sharp-edged weapons for around 10 minutes and then fled from the spot. They also took away my motorcycle (PB 10 DL 7726), Amandeep's mobile phone and more than six-thousand rupees in cash," said Navdeep Singh while undergoing treatment at Civil Hospital, Jagraon.

Investigating officer Baldev Singh said that the police had recorded the statements of both the injured youths and a case had been registered against the two attackers from Lehndi Bhani Basti and other unidentified persons.

"We are conducting raids to nab the two identified attackers and they will be behind the bars very soon. Once they get arrested, we will also identify the other persons who were involved in this attack," said Baldev Singh.

None of the attackers was arrested till the filing of this report. 



Two held with intoxicants
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, June 25
Machhiwara police has arrested two persons and recovered a large quantity of intoxicants from their possession.
As per information available from SHO Machhiwara Harjinder Singh, a police part had laid a naka near Garhi bridge and signaled a Nano car to stop. The car occupants tried to escape but were overpowered. During the search, a large quantity of intoxicants in three bags were sezied.

These included 110 bottles of Rexcof, 20 bottles of Corex, 40,000 tablets of Momotil, 720 capsules of Proxi one, 8,640 capsules of Spasmo Proxi One, 100 Injections bottles of Avil, 1,200 capsules of Nitraj Pam and 1,000 capsules of Parvan Spas.

The arrested persons were identified as Dinesh Kumar and Husan Singh both residents of Himachal Pardesh. According to SHO, both the accused confessed that they were taking this consignment from Ludhiana to Naina Devi to sell these intoxicants there. A case under relevant sections of the NDPS Act was registered in this regard against the alleged accused. They will be presented in a court at Samrala tomorrow. 



Woman held with six bottles of illegal cough syrup
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, June 25
The Jagraon police has arrested a woman and recovered six bottles of cough syrup from her possession.
The accused woman has been identified as Sunita Rani, a resident of Bagh Kheta Ram locality situated near a college at Jagraon.

As per the information given by Jagraon Bus Stand police, the police had received a secret information that a woman living in Bagh Kheta Ram locality has been involved in banned drugs selling and she has been selling habit forming drugs to the local youths.

"Following which we conducted a surprise raid at Sunita's house in Bagh Kheta Ram locality. We recovered 6 bottles of banned cough syrup from her house after which we arrested Sunita Rani," informed Baldev Singh. According to Baldev Singh, during in initial investigation the accused woman has admitted that she has been involved in this illegal practice since her husband Jeevan Kumar was arrested by the Batala police about one and half years back in a theft case.

The police has registered a case against Sunita Rani under appropriate Sections of the NDPC Act and the investigation is on.

Later on the accused woman was produced before a local court from where she was sent to Nari Niketan till the next hearing of the case, added Baldev Singh. It is reminded here that The Tribune had published a report on June 24 highlighting the issue of unchecked sale of habit forming drugs in Bagh Kheta Ram locality and it was only after the publishing of this report that the local police conducted the raid. 



Two youths held with 5 gm of heroin in Jagraon
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, June 25
The Jagraon police has arrested two youths and seized around 5 grams of heroin from their possession.
The accused have been identified as Inderjit Singh of Sudhar and Hardeep Singh alias Happy of Jangpur village near Sudhar.

As per the information, both the accused youths were arrested when a police team from CIA Staff Jagraon had set up a Naka near GHG Khalsa College Sudhar situated on Mullanpur-Raikot Road past late evening during routine checking.

Giving the details of the incident, investigation officer and CIA Staff Jagraon in charge officer Raman Inderjit Singh revealed that the police team saw a black Mahindra Scorpio SUV coming from Mullanpur Dakha side.

"When the car reached near the police naka, the police officials signaled the car driver to stop the car. But in stead of stopping the car, the accused increased the speed of the car and tried to fled away from the scene", stated Raman Inderjit Singh.

This made police suspicious following which the police party chased down the accused and nabbed both of them. When the police officials searched them, they found around 5 grams of heroin from their possession. After this both of the accused were arrested by the police.

According to Raman Inderjit Singh, a case has been registered against both the accused under various Sections of the NDPS Act and the investigation is on. During the initial investigation, the accused have confessed that they use to buy the heroin from Khemkaran and Tarantaran areas for 800 rupees per gram and then sell this to their customers around 2000 rupees per gram, added Raman Inderjit Singh.

The arrested youths have also been addicted to heroin and other drugs which forced them to get involved in this illegal practice to earn extra bucks, it was learnt. Later on, both the accused were presented before a local court today which awarded two days police remand. 



Patiala district emerge overall champions
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, June 25
The swimmers from Patiala district proved to be too good for their opponents as they garnered 231 points to emerge as the overall champions in the two-day Punjab State Swimming Championship for Junior Boys and Girls that concluded at Patiala yesterday.

Swimmers from all over the state competed in two age groups in this meet. Those born in 1995, 1996 and 1997 competed in group I and those born in 1998 and 1999 competed in group II.

In the boy's group I, Sangrur district secured 81 points to come out as victorious while Amritsar lads scored 59 points to finish as runners up.

In the girls’ section, Ludhiana swimmers romp the competition and defeated host Patiala. Ludhiana eves collected 75 points while Patiala followed them closely with 73 points.

Similarly, in the girl's section of group II, hosts Patiala accumulated 92 points to finish well ahead of others and bagged top honours.

Sangrur district with 66 points had to content with the second position.

In the boys group II, Jalandhar district secured 66 points to emerge as the winners while Amritsar district pocketed 58 points to finish at the second place.

On the basis of their performance during this two-day championship, the Punjab junior squads will be selected for the Junior National Aquatic Championship scheduled to be held from July 10 to 15 at Chennai.



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