20112018-LT-01.qxd 11/20/2018 12:35 AM Page 1 c m y b TUESDAY | 20 NOVEMBER 2018 | LUDHIANA LUDHIANA TRIBUNE Infra, faculty shortage Sport Honoured for courage Students of government primary schools denied facility of learning P2 art and music. Ludhiana overpower Amritsar to emerge champions in U-19 boys P4 handball championship. ASI Gurdeep Singh conferred with the DGP Commendation Disc for saving 11 precious lives. P3 FORECAST MAINLY CLEAR SKY | MAX 28.0°C MIN 12.0°C | SUNSET TUESDAY 5.26 PM | SUNRISE WEDNESDAY 6.58 AM PLASTIC FACTORY COLLAPSE IN INDUSTRIAL AREA NEAR SUFFIAN CHOWK Year on, inquiry report yet to be made public Firefighters’ kin still waiting for jobs Harshraj Singh Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Ludhiana, November 19 Even one year after the plastic manufacturing factory collapse killed 16 persons, including nine fire fighters, its inquiry report has not been made public. Now, father of one of the fire fighters, who lost his life in the incident, has sought that the inquiry report be read at the collapsed factory site so that everybody could know the truth behind the mishap. A major fire broke out at the plastic-manufacturing factory, near Suffian Chowk, Ludhiana, in the morning on November 20, 2017. As a huge quantity of chemical was stored in the multi-storey factory, fire spread into the entire building that collapsed around 12 pm. The bodies of three fire fighters, including leading fireman Manohar Lal, two firemen Sukhdev Singh and Manpreet Singh, were not recovered even after completion of the rescue operation. Then, the administration had officially declared them dead. Following the incident, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had marked an inquiry. The then Divisional Commissioner of Patiala, VK Meena, had initiated inquiry and visited Ludhiana multiple times. Now, even local administration officials claim to have no information about the report. “We have no information about the inquiry report. If the inquiry has not been conducted, the authorities concerned should complete it. The report Ludhiana, November 19 The state government had promised to provide a job to kin of the nine firefighters, who lost their lives in the plastic manufacturing factory collapse incident, last year. But, the victims’ families are running from pillar to post to get job as the government is yet to fulfil its promise. The firefighters, including sub-fire officers Rajinder Sharma, Shamaun Gill and Raj Kumar, leading fireman Manohar Lal and firemen Vishal, Rajan, Pooran Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Manpreet Singh, had lost their lives in the incident. The members of the victims’ families said they had received the compensation amount, but jobs were yet to be provided to a kin of each deceased. They appealed to the government to arrange jobs at the earliest. “We have made several rounds of various offices, including that of the Local Bodies minister too, but I have not got any job. The government has provided compensation and other funds of my father. I appeal to the CM to provide job at the earliest. We will visit the Ludhiana Fire Services office on Tuesday as path of Sri Sukhmani Sahib will be organised on Tuesday,” said Tushar Sharma, son of Rajinder Sharma, who was killed in the incident. “My daughter has applied for job, but the process is being delayed. Even, the compensa- (Clockwise from top) Rescue operation in progress after a major fire broke out at Amarson Polymers in the industrial area, near Suffian Chowk, last year; present view of the collapsed factory site; kin of firefighter Manpreet Singh, who lost his life in the factory collapse, at Seera village. HIMANSHU MAHAJAN, INDERJEET VERMA should be read in front of all at the collapsed factory site where 16 persons, including my son had lost their life,” said Malkit Singh, father of fire fighter Manpreet Singh. “The government should tell facts about the incident. I might even consider forgiving the accused if truth is brought before us,” he added. As height of the factory building was increased illegally, no responsibility of any official of the civic body had been fixed till date. Besides, no action was taken against any erring official, who allegedly avoided action against illegal construction at the factory. Following the incident, the civic body authorities had announced to check fire safety arrangements at factories and other buildings, but nothing was done on the ground level. There is information about the report even with Fire Services Department in Ludhiana. “We don’t know whether the inquiry has been complet- no ❝We haveabout the information inquiry report. If the inquiry has not been conducted, the authorities concerned should complete it. The report should be read in front of all at the collapsed factory site where 16 persons, including my son were killed. ❞ MALKIT SINGH, father of firefighter Manpreet Singh ed or not,” said a staff member. “I will comment only after checking the relevant documents,” said Deepinder Singh, who is current Divisional Commissioner, Patiala. themselves from blaze. The government had promised to provide fire safety suits and required equipment to firefighters, but failed to fulfil its promise till date. Despite promise, no safety suits provided to firemen Firefighters still working in tough conditions When the incident took place last year, firefighters had covered their bodies with wet sacks to protect “Our nine companions had lost their life on the line of duty. We remember how much efforts they had made to douse flames in the multi-storey plastic manufacturing factory. We still work in same tough conditions without any safety gears,” said a firefighter. Is factory owner ‘planning’ for reconstruction? A boundary wall has been constructed while soil has been dug up at some places on the factory site. Meanwhile, the area residents claimed that the factory owner was planning to start construction at the site. They said the government should not allow any construction of chemical factory there as they had already faced huge losses due to incident. “We have not received any application for the approval of building plan at the collapsed factory site,” said Pradeep Sehgal, Assistant Town Planner. Will give appointment letters today: Minister Talking to The Tribune, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “Appointment letters will be handed over to the kin of firefighters in Chandigarh on Tuesday. The information has been sent to the staff concerned.” Assistant divisional fire officer Bhupinder Singh said, “We received information in the evening.” Another official said, “The kin of sub-fire officers Rajinder Sharma, Shamaun Gill, Raj Kumar and firemen Puran Singh and Rajan, will be given appointment letters by the Local Bodies Minister.” Notably, Raj Kumar’s son has been working on contractual basis. His job will be regularised while the process for giving employment to the kin of remaining four firefighters is underway. tion amount was released after a long wait. The administration never informed us when job will be provided,” said Malkit Singh, father of victim firefighter Manpreet. “The first barsi of my son will be observed on November 21. A sports club will organise tournament in memory of my son at our Seera village,” he added. A kin of another firefighter, who lost his life in the incident, said the government should fulfil its promise at the earliest. “It is difficult to run house without job,” he added. “No family member of Sukhdev has been given any job. The process should not be delayed any more,” said a cousin brother of Sukhdev Singh. Migrant labourer Endless wait for compensation of damaged houses, factories ❝Our house was badly stabbed to death by damaged in the incident. We paid from our own bike-borne snatchers pocket to get our house repaired. We visited the Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Ludhiana, November 19 A 22-year-old labourer was stabbed to death by two bike-borne snatchers in the city late in the night yesterday. The suspects also snatched mobile phone of the victim. The incident took place on Bahadur Ke Road at around 10:30 pm past last night. The deceased was identified as Keshav, who worked at a factory in the city. The incident took place when the victim was returning home after finishing his work in the factory. According to sources, as soon as Keshav reached Bahadur Ke Road, two armed youths riding a bike arrived there and snatched his mobile phone after cornering him. After the suspects snatched his mobile phone, the victim chased them and entered into scuffle with them. Following this, the snatchers reportedly stopped their bike and stabbed him to death before fleeing form the spot. Keshav suffered serious injuries on his stomach and chest and died on the spot. The police have registered a case against unidentified persons in this regard at the Basti Jodhewal police station and further investigation is on. The suspects are yet to be arrested. The police have begun search for them. Incidents of mobile snatching have become common in the city during past some time. Migrant labourers often become soft target of snatchers. Ludhiana, November 19 When the plastic-manufacturing factory Amarson Polymers, near Suffian Chowk in the Mustaq Ganj area, collapsed after a major fire broke out on its premises, some buildings adjoining the ill-fated unit were badly damaged. A rickshaw factory totally collapsed when heavy debris of the plastic manufacturing factory fell on it. Owners of some houses and factories, which were damaged due to ill-fated plastic factory, are still waiting for compensation. Some affected residents said they made several requests to the administration to provide compensation but to no avail. However, estimates of damaged properties were being prepared by the department concerned, said residents. “I along with my sons was dousing flames at the plastic factory on the morning of November 20, 2017. Our rickshaw factory was located just next to the plastic factory. At around 12 pm, when the plastic factory collapsed, our unit also caved in,” said Surinder Kumar owner of rickshaw factory. His son, Rohit was trapped under the debris and received severe injuries on his legs. “My son is still taking physiotherapy and plastic surgery treatment from a private hospital. He can walk with help of a stick. The government had then paid compensation for his treatment at a hospital. However, no payment was made for our collapsed rickshaw factory. I borrowed money from my relatives to start a fabric work. I appeal to the government to provide monetary relief,” he added. “Our house was badly damaged in the incident. We stayed out of our home for many days. We paid from our own pocket to get our house repaired. We visited the department concerned multiple times, but into service to clear debris on the factory site. Soon, the NDRF SDRF and , local teams started rescue operation that had lasted for six days (around 140 hours). department concerned 16 lives lost many times, but no A total of 16 persons, includcompensation was given. ing nine firefighters were trapped when the factory Huge quantity of building collapsed. The chemicals, that was stored deceased were identified as in the factory, led to major sub-fire officers Rajinder Sharma, Shamaun Gill and fire in the factory . ❞ Nachhatar Singh recalls plastic manufacturing factory collapse. His house was badly damaged in the incident. PHOTO: INDERJIT VERMA NACHHATAR SINGH, area resident no compensation was paid. The government should provide relief. Huge amount of chemicals, that was stored in the factory, led to this major incident,” said Nachhatar Singh, an area resident. “I have suffered due to poisonous smoke that filled in the air after a major fire broke out at the factory. I remained ill for a longtime after the incident. My house was damaged but nobody came to help us,” 11 pm, but they had come out before the factory collapsed,” said a resident. A blast sound was heard when the building collapsed at around 12 pm and clouds of black smoke enveloped the area, he added. “Everything was looking black. Nothing was visible for a few minutes,” he said. Senior officials of the district administration, MC and police reached the spot while several JCB machines were pressed said a woman residing in the vicinity of the factory. What happened on November 20, 2017 Recalling the incident, residents say they had came to know about fire at the factory in the morning. Soon, the fire spread on all floors of the multi-storey factory building. “We started vacating our houses as the fire went out of control. I remember some persons standing on my house roof till Raj Kumar, leading fireman Manohar Lal and firemen Vishal, Rajan, Pooran Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Manpreet Singh. Besides, an MC official Lachman Dravid, computer designers Sandeep Kumar, Ghanaiya and Amarjot, taxi union president Inderpal Singh, factory manager Baldev Raj and worker Dhan Bahadur were also killed in the fire. Only 13 bodies could be extracted while firefighters Sukhdev Singh, Manpreet Singh and Manohar Lal remained untraced. Security beefed up in Ludhiana district Three booked for duping youth of ~3 lakh Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Ludhiana, November 19 A day after the grenade attack on Nirankari followers in Adliwala village, near Amritsar, security was beefed up in Ludhiana district. Check points have been set up at all the entry and exit points of the city. Police personnel in civvies have been deployed out- side satsang bhawans of the Nirankari sect. In Jagraon, heavy police force has been deployed at various locations. DSP (I), Jagraon, Amandeep Singh Brar, said, “Security has been strengthened outside Nirankari bhawan located on the Raikot road.” << Police officials check vehicles on the Pakhowal road in Ludhiana. TRIBUNE PHOTO c m y b The complaint Ludhiana, November 19 The city police have booked three persons for allegedly duping a youth of Rs 3 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad. The suspects have been identified as Rakesh Rekhi, Sandeep Singh and Ranvir Gill, all residents of Mohali. The case was registered on the basis of complaint lodged by Gurmit Singh, a resident of The suspects promised to send the victim to Canada and demanded ~3 lakh for arranging a work permit for him. The victim handed over the amount to the suspects around six months ago, but they failed to send him abroad. They also did not return money to the victim. Shimlapuri, Ludhiana. In his complaint to the police, Gurmit stated that Rakesh Rekhi, Sandeep Singh and Ranvir Gill were running a travel agency in Mohali. The victim said he came into their contact after seeing an advertisement. “The suspects promised to send me to Canada and demanded Rs 3 lakh for arranging a work permit. I handed over Rs 3 lakh to them around six months ago, but they failed to send me abroad. When I asked them to return money, they failed do so,” said the complainant. The police have registered a case against the suspects under Section 420 of the IPC and the Immigration Act. None of the suspects has been arrested so far. Investigating Officer, Sub-Inspector Jatinder Singh, said the suspects were absconding and the police had launched a search for them.
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