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TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Now, meals for new mothers
Bathinda, August 23
After promoting institutional deliveries by offering incentives, the Health Department is now planning to serve meals to the new mothers. Already reeling under severe staff crunch, the meal scheme is all set to give a tough time to the hospital employees, especially nurses, who are among the most understaffed section of the health workers.
The number of deliveries at government-run health institutes has risen because of the incentives The number of deliveries at government-run health institutes has risen because of the incentives. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Civil Hospital outsources radiology deptís work
Bathinda, August 23
The Civil Hospital here has been unable to find a permanent radiologist and has now opted to outsource the services. The problem has arisen because fearing medico-legal complications, most of the radiologists have preferred to stay away from the post.
After the outsourcing of radiologistís work, the mammography and ultrasound units will start functioning After the outsourcing of radiologistís work, the mammography and ultrasound units will start functioning.
A Tribune photograph


EARLIER STORIES



Lawyers, bankersí stir affects life
Bathinda, August 23
The second day of the strike by employees of the public sector banks as well as the lawyers affected people adversely in the city. All legal work and courts hearings came to a standstill today as lawyers shunned work.

Litigants wait at the district courts as lawyers went on strike on Thursday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Litigants wait at the district courts as lawyers went on strike on Thursday

Wife accuses author of domestic violence; Atarjit denies charge
Bathinda, August 23
A day after the "Khulla Durbar" held by the cops where cases pertaining to trivial family disputes were resolved with police intervention, the wife of a famous Punjabi writer of Bathinda, Atarjit Singh, today accused her husband of beating and harassing her.
Beant Kaur speaks to the media about her husband Atarjit Singh.

Beant Kaur speaks to the media about her husband Atarjit Singh

Odd hours, strenuous duties take their toll on copsí fitness
Bathinda, August 23
The cops at the bottom of the police hierarchy, are overstressed and fail to maintain their health due to the odd working hours. Nearly 30 to 35 per cent of the police force is suffering from high blood pressure and many of them have become alcoholics, a sure recipe for inviting health hazards.
While senior police officials manage to stay fit, the junior staff finds it difficult to stay healthy because of the nature of duty and the timings involved. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma
While senior police officials manage to stay fit, the junior staff finds it difficult to stay healthy because of the nature of duty and the timings involved

Adesh BDS students on warpath
Bathinda, August 23
Interns of the Adesh Dental College today said they would meet the Bathinda ADC in connection with their demands. As many as 32 BDS students of 2008 batch, out of a total 37, have levelled charges of cheating against the college authorities.
Protesting BDS students of Adesh Dental College show the reciepts issued by the college, during a press conference at the Teachersí Home in Bathinda on Thursday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Protesting BDS students of Adesh Dental College show the reciepts issued by the college, during a press conference at the Teachersí Home in Bathinda on Thursday

Tractors take to commercial route
Bathinda, August 23
As requirement of tractors for agricultural purposes has reached the saturation point, there is a growing demand of these vehicles for commercial purposes. Factors like economic viability, high power and comfort besides relaxed norms by the government to purchase tractors have led to the tractors being used for purposes other than farming.
A tractor-trailer transports construction material on a city road. Photo by writer

A tractor-trailer transports construction material on a city road

70-year-old done to death at Maur Kalan
Bathinda, August 23
A 70 years old man, Nahar Singh, was found murdered in a recently-built house in his agricultural fields at Maur Kalan village this morning. Maur SHO Jaswinderpal said a door of the room was burnt by the assailants after drawing out diesel from a tractor parked in the house. It seems that they failed to break open the lock of the door and decided to burn it.

Role reversal: An elderly couple walks down a street in Bathinda
Role reversal: An elderly couple walks down a street in Bathinda. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Seeking arrest of murder accused, Phul residents block Bathinda-Rampura road
Bathinda, August 23
Agitating villagers of Phul today blocked the Bathinda-Rampura road in protest against the delay in the arrest of a person accused of killing a village resident. Balkar Singh of Phul was found murdered on June 16 at his house. The villagers had been demanding the arrest of those behind the murder. They also took out a protest march recently.

Cooks flay outsourcing of mid-day meal preparation
Bathinda, August 23
The Democratic Mid-Day Meal Cook Front today condemned the government's move to hand over the preparation of mid-day meals in schools run by municipal corporations, to contractors.





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Now, meals for new mothers
Buoyed by the success of institutional deliveries, govt plans big despite staff crunch
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
After promoting institutional deliveries by offering incentives, the Health Department is now planning to serve meals to the new mothers. Already reeling under severe staff crunch, the meal scheme is all set to give a tough time to the hospital employees, especially nurses, who are among the most understaffed section of the health workers.

Civil Surgeon Dr Ajay Sahni said the department has received Rs 8 lakhs for a period of three months to implement the scheme. The department will soon invite bids and the most competitive bidder will be awarded the work. While the entire scheme would be run on contract basis in the hospitals located in the city, in the interior areas where there are ten patients in a month, separate arrangements will be made.

"We will start running the scheme in the next few days even before the contract is awarded. The contractor can take over the reins later," the Civil Surgeon said.

Under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the government started giving incentives to those women who opted for institutional deliveries. The 108 ambulance service brings the expecting mothers free of cost from their houses and drops them back home after the baby is delivered. Under the NRHM, which has now been christened as the National Health Mission, an incentive of Rs 1,000 was given to the new mothers and another Rs 700 was given to those who underwent tubectomy after the child's birth.

The incentive proved to be successful and the number of deliveries in the district's government-run health institutes rose from 6439 in 2010-11 to 9565 in 2011-12. However, despite having pumped in crores for deliveries and medicines, the government has done nothing to mitigate the woes of the severely understaffed nurses at the hospital.

Against the 33 posts, there are a mere 15 nurses working. These 15 nurses, who were earlier helping deliver 100 babies a month, are now working round-the-clock and delivering 300 to 350 babies a month. "The quantum of work and the hours have increased but mot even a single working hand has been provided to us," lamented one of the nurses.

The post of the matron has been lying vacant for a year because of which the head sister has to work as the matron while the nurses have taken over the work of the sister. Of the 15 nurses, five are deployed in the labour room, two in operation theatre, and one at the special centre for reproductive tract infection while the rest are looking after the new mothers and their children.

"The maternity ward has 28 beds, while the children's ward has 26 beds and all of them are occupied. Ours is a thankless job. The patients sometimes behave with us rudely or use foul language. We also have no time to sit or have food," said another nurse.

Sources said things were not so bleak earlier when Laxmi Kanta Chawla was the Health Minister. Around ten nurses were deployed and it had been directed that the post was non-transferable. "But as soon as the minister resigned, all of them got transferred to preferred destinations, leaving the department in a fix," pointed out a senior doctor.

Now with the introduction of the new meal scheme, at least two nurses would be engaged for the task, leaving a mere 13 to handle the routine work. With the number of deliveries increasing and the new meal scheme to take care of, the existing staff will have to grapple with numerous difficulties.

Civil Surgeon Dr Ajay Sahni, however, said the government was planning to recruit more nurses and the shortage would be overcome soon.

Fact file

  • Women delivering normally would be given meals for three days.
  • Women delivering through C-section would be given meal for seven days.
  • Diet plan includes nutritional food such as khichdi, daliya, seasonal fruit, cheese for vegetarian patients and egg for non-vegetarian patients, milk, curd etc
  • 290 children have been delivered from 1 Aug to 22 Aug.

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Civil Hospital outsources radiology deptís work
No takers for the post because of medico-legal complications
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
The Civil Hospital here has been unable to find a permanent radiologist and has now opted to outsource the services. The problem has arisen because fearing medico-legal complications, most of the radiologists have preferred to stay away from the post.

The radiologist appointed for the task has been absent for the last two years. In the absence of a radiologist, patients have to get the x-ray, ultrasound scan and other diagnostic test conducted at private hospitals. Most of the patients prefer Max Superspeciality Hospital that is located on the premises of the Civil Hospital.

"At times, the patients are unable to walk to Max Hospital, especially those referred from the Women and Children Hospital, who have to cover a long distance. At times, they have to be taken on vehicles. If the in-house facility is resumed, it would prove to be a boon for the poor patients," said a doctor.

In the absence of a radiologist, the medical officers at the hospital have been assigned the task of dealing with the medico-legal cases on the basis of rotation.

The post has been in the eye of a storm ever since the government lay down strict rules under Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act. A permanent radiologist is responsible for carrying out all diagnostic tests as well as the medico-legal work. The strict provisions of the PNDT Act have deterred the radiologists.

"It is not a rewarding job with a lot of stress. Most of the doctors are unable to handle such stress and hence, prefer to stay away from the post. In the last four years, two doctors were appointed but they did not continue for long," added another doctor.

The Health Department had advertised four times for outsourcing the work but it failed to evoke any response. The fifth time around, the post has found a taker. "A young radiologist has been chosen and the work will be outsourced soon," said the Civil Surgeon Dr Ajay Sahni. He said the mammography and ultrasound units, now lying idle, would also start functioning soon.

MCI plan

The shortage of radiologists is a general problem that civil hospitals face. Civil Surgeon Dr Ajay Sahni said the Medical Council of India (MCI) had plans to introduce a six-month course for MBBS candidates to make them trained radiologists to solve the problem.

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Lawyers, bankersí stir affects life
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
The second day of the strike by employees of the public sector banks as well as the lawyers affected people adversely in the city. All legal work and courts hearings came to a standstill today as lawyers shunned work.

A state-level meeting of the lawyers was convened at Moga today where it was decided to observe strike every Saturday as well as boycott work related to the evening courts. The lawyers also decided to hold a massive dharna outside the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh on August 31. Another meeting has been convened on September 8 and 9.

Bank customers were also at the received end as the banks remain closed for the second day today. People complained of ATM machines not functioning at various places in the city.

The two-day strike by the bank employees and officers had begun yesterday on the call of the United Forum of Bank Unions.

The strike was called in support of demands like stopping the deregulation of the banking sector.

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Wife accuses author of domestic violence; Atarjit denies charge
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Atarjit SinghBathinda, August 23
A day after the "Khulla Durbar" held by the cops where cases pertaining to trivial family disputes were resolved with police intervention, the wife of a famous Punjabi writer of Bathinda, Atarjit Singh, today accused her husband of beating and harassing her.

Married to Atarjit Singh in 1978, Beant Kaur accused her husband of turning her out of the house and not giving any monetary benefits.

Beant Kaur, a retired health department employee and the mother of four children, organised a press conference where she levelled the charges of violence and harassment against her husband. She claimed to have solemnized the marriage of a daughter after selling off a piece of land recently.

She also accused her writer husband of not allowing her to stay with him in a house at Guru Ki Nagri. "I was shown the door on the midnight of June 21. Since then, I am residing in a rented accommodation in Model Town with my son and daughter-in- law," Beant Kaur claimed.

She accused her husband of beating her after consuming liquor and highlighting family problems in his writings.

Atarjit Singh, the author of works like "Tutde Bande Rishte", "Adna Insaan", "Baal Sahitya", besides other works, however, refuted the allegations and said disputes arose in the family ever since his wife sold off a piece of plot without his consent. "I got the plot registered in the name of my wife in 1986. The 250-yard plot was worth nearly Rs 25 to Rs 30 lakhs and I am not aware where the entire money has gone," he said. The writer added that he is not interested in the money but it hurt when his trust is broken. About the allegation of highlighting family problems in his books, Atarjit said he only highlighted a social problem.

The author said his three daughters were supporting him while his only son, who is unemployed, lives with his mother. He accused his wife of applying pressure on him to register the house in her name. The writer said his wife and son wanted to malign his image in society.

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Odd hours, strenuous duties take their toll on copsí fitness
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
The cops at the bottom of the police hierarchy, are overstressed and fail to maintain their health due to the odd working hours. Nearly 30 to 35 per cent of the police force is suffering from high blood pressure and many of them have become alcoholics, a sure recipe for inviting health hazards.

Doctors deployed to keep a tab on the health of the police force said the women cops are faring better as compared to their male counterparts who suffer from various ailments like blood pressure, diabetes and obesity due to their odd working hours and strenuous duties.

In-charge of the clinic at the Police Lines, Dr Rajpal said the most common problem among the cops was high blood pressure followed by being overweight and diabetes due to the sedentary lifestyle. He said nearly 35 per cent of the policemen are suffering from high blood pressure.

"Lack of exercise due to odd working hours without much rest has lead to the problems. While the senior cops manage to work out everyday to keep fit, the lower rung staff fails to do so," said the doctor. He said it is in the interest of a person to keep himself fit.

There are many policemen who manage to exercise despite the pressure of work while many others fail to do so even without much work, he said. Dr Rajpal suggested rotation in duties, regular exercise and shunning liquor to prevent ailments.

The health officials said a former SSP of Bathinda had introduced bhangra competitions among the policemen, which proved quite helpful for the cops in reducing their weight. Similar steps are required again, they said.

According to the health officials, cops undergo annual health check-ups and their health is regularly monitored. The last health check-up was conducted in December last year and the next check-up is due soon.

The health authorities said unlike the serious diseases detected in 2010, no such ailments have been detected so far. There were seven cases of HIV detected two years ago after which it was controlled and no new HIV cases have been detected. As many as 23 cases of Hepatitis B and 48 cases of Hepatitis C were detected and it was brought down to 10 cases of Hepatitis B and 2 cases of Hepatitis C last year.

Dr Rajpal said regular counselling helps the cops in overcoming diseases. But still many cops resort to alcohol after strenuous work. "I have told them that liquor is no excuse for doing so much work. A similar amount of work is done by their female counterparts who do not resort to liquor," he said.

There are nearly 2100 policemen deployed at various police stations, Police Lines, headquarter and the other offices in the district.

The policemen said officials of the level of ASI, SI and inspector, who are given more responsibilities, are overworked and fail to stay fit. Those deployed in the offices manage to work out to stay healthy.

Police officials said they are not regular at the morning drill held at the Police Lines ground every Monday. Cops from various police stations in Bathinda also gather every morning at the Police Lines and hold training in the use of batons and guns besides a PT session. "But during VIP duties and dharnas, it fails to become a regular feature," the cops said.

Bathinda SSP Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill said he would soon hold a meeting in this regard to work out the modalities for starting regular exercise sessions for the cops. "We will start a yoga session and I will personally monitor it. We will also launch a cycle expedition and an athletic competition is also under consideration," he said.

The SSP said he keeps himself fit with morning and evening walks. ASP City-II Kuldeep Chahal said he encourages the police force to stay fit and he himself pumps iron in the gym whenever he gets the time.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bathinda Zone, Nirmal Singh Dhillon said the department recently held an athletics meet in which policemen from nearby districts participated. "We will soon organize another sports event once the weather clears," he said.

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Adesh BDS students on warpath
Students of the college accuse the authorities of cheating; plan to meet Bathinda ADC
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
Interns of the Adesh Dental College today said they would meet the Bathinda ADC in connection with their demands. As many as 32 BDS students of 2008 batch, out of a total 37, have levelled charges of cheating against the college authorities. They alleged that the college authorities were charging exorbitant hostel charges which were comparatively much higher than the other colleges in Punjab.

Karandeep Singh, a BDS student who is leading the protest against the college authorities, said the authorities were charging Rs 1,04,900 from each student as hostel fees whereas the prospectus mentioned Rs 15,000 as hostel charges. "The college is increasing the fees by Rs 10,000 every year," he said.

Intriguingly, the hostel charges have also been recovered from the students, who come from nearby villages. Notably, the receipts given to the students do not bear the name of the college.

Karandeep also accused the college authorities of not giving them stipend.

Earlier, the students had approached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) and met the Bathinda SSP in this regard.

The students said if the district administration and the college authorities failed to work out a solution to their problems, they would resort to a strong agitation for which the college authorities and the administration would be responsible.

Meanwhile, members of the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) in a press release announced to extend all possible help to the BDS students in meeting their long-pending demands.

College deputy medical superintendent (DMS) Dr Gurpreet Gill said the college authorities were trying all possible efforts to resolve the issues with students and would extend every possible help to sort out their problems.

He said a notice in this regard had been put on the notice board but the students instead of meeting him went off track and adopted a complaining attitude.

"I have promised the students of all possible help but until they meet me, nothing can be sorted out," he said.

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Tractors take to commercial route
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
As requirement of tractors for agricultural purposes has reached the saturation point, there is a growing demand of these vehicles for commercial purposes. Factors like economic viability, high power and comfort besides relaxed norms by the government to purchase tractors have led to the tractors being used for purposes other than farming.

Visits to the local tractor agencies in the city revealed that more than 90 per cent of the buyers explore the advantages of using tractors for commercial purposes. There are eight tractor selling units of various manufacturers in the city having more than 10 different variants of each manufacturer. A tractor comes for anything between Rs 3 lakh and over Rs 15 lakh.

The sellers allure customers by telling them about the benefits of buying a tractor. In case of other vehicles, a buyer has to pay 2 to 4 per cent of the total amount of the vehicle as Motor Vehicle Tax (MVT) to the government. But the registration charges for a tractor are just Rs 300. Those making cash payment to purchase tractors do not even bother to get their vehicles insured. However, those opting for bank loan have to complete all the formalities, which include insurance of the vehicle.

Punjab Farmers Commission's senior consultant PS Rangi, while talking to TNS over the phone, said at present, there were 4.25 lakh tractors in Punjab and it already reached its saturation point eight years ago as far as its usage in farm sector was concerned. Tractors were not viable for farmers having small landholdings (less than 10 acres).

"It is not viable for farmers who drive less than 1000 hours a year. Those using tractors less than 300 hours a year should get rid of their tractors," he said.

He pointed out that 62 per cent of farmers in Punjab were marginal ones who should not opt for purchasing a tractor. Taking advantage of its viability, people are now using tractors for commercial purposes. There are 1,200 cooperative societies in Punjab, which are equipped with at least one tractor, laser land leveller, rotavator and other equipment. Marginal farmers pay nominal fees to take these machines on rent so as to get their works done, he said.

District Transport Officer Bhupinder Singh said on an average, 500 tractors were registered at his office ever year and almost all the owners claim to use it only for agricultural purposes.

The buyers submit an affidavit wherein they testify that they would use the tractor purely for farming purposes but practically, most of them use it for commercial purposes.

"We have issued challans to numerous tractor-trolleys loading iron rods, bricks, cement etc but even then there is no let up in the use of tractors for commercial purposes. The trolleys could not be used for purpose other than carrying agricultural produce and tractors are supposed to be run only in the agricultural fields," he said. He added that his department officials sometimes face problems while impounding loaded trolleys due to space crunch at nearby police stations.

Fearing the theft of loaded material, the officials could not even force the tractor owners to park their vehicles on the roadside.

The traffic police officials said the accidents involving tractor trolleys are often occurred in the city and its periphery. They said overloaded trolleys, especially during the wheat and paddy harvesting seasons, create traffic chaos on the roads.

Fact file

  • A tractor comes for anything between `3 lakh and over `15 lakh.
  • In case of other vehicles, a buyer has to pay 2 to 4 per cent of the total amount of the vehicle as Motor Vehicle Tax (MVT) to the government. But the registration charges for a tractor are just `300.
  • Those making cash payment to purchase tractors do not even bother to get their vehicles insured. However, those opting for a bank loan have to complete all the formalities, which include insurance of the vehicle.

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70-year-old done to death at Maur Kalan
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
A 70 years old man, Nahar Singh, was found murdered in a recently-built house in his agricultural fields at Maur Kalan village this morning. Maur SHO Jaswinderpal said a door of the room was burnt by the assailants after drawing out diesel from a tractor parked in the house. It seems that they failed to break open the lock of the door and decided to burn it.

The accused took away three bags of wheat lying inside the room.

Nahar Singh slept alone in the house last night while his other family members were at their house in the village.

Preliminary reports suggest that some drug addicts might have entered the house to steal wheat bags, which were filled last night, and the man could have spotted the thieves. The footprints on the soil reveal that the elderly man had offered resistance to the assailants. The elderly received serious head injuries and was found lying in a pool of blood in the morning.

The police said a case under Section 460 of the IPC has been registered in this connection at the Maur police station.

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Seeking arrest of murder accused, Phul residents block Bathinda-Rampura road
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
Agitating villagers of Phul today blocked the Bathinda-Rampura road in protest against the delay in the arrest of a person accused of killing a village resident. Balkar Singh of Phul was found murdered on June 16 at his house. The villagers had been demanding the arrest of those behind the murder. They also took out a protest march recently.

The villagers today blocked the Bathinda-Barnala road for over two hours between 12 noon and 2 pm demanding immediate arrest of the accused. They said one of the accused was arrested after they raised protests but the other accused was still free.

The dharna was lifted after the police intervened and assured the protesters of arresting the accused soon. Meanwhile, the commuters on the Bathinda-Barnala road had a harrowing time as bus routes were diverted through the nearby villages.

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Cooks flay outsourcing of mid-day meal preparation

Bathinda, August 23
The Democratic Mid-Day Meal Cook Front today condemned the government's move to hand over the preparation of mid-day meals in schools run by municipal corporations, to contractors.

In a press statement issued here today, the Front's president, Shinder Kaur Sibia, stated that the government's move aimed at taking away work from the cooks appointed earlier. She said in June 2011, the government had issued tenders to outsource the mid-day meal works at Moga, Mohali, Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Amritsar and other cities.

When the Front opposed it, the tenders were withdrawn with a promise that no such tenders would be floated again. "Now, the government is backtracking and has again floated tenders for the job. We serve 20,000 children daily and our work is checked on daily basis," she said. She added that the Front would hold an agitation in case the government does not withdraw the tenders. ó TNS

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