02052023-LT-01.qxd 5/2/2023 12:32 AM Page 1 c m y b Ludhiana tribune PILGRIMS COMPLAIN OF REDUCED COACHES IN TRAIN THE MORNING SHOW RENEWED FOR SEASON FOUR AT APPLE TV+ ARYAN TO MAKE DIRECTORIAL DEBUT WITH SHOW STARDOM Sachkhand Express links Akal Takht in Amritsar with Hazur Sahib in Nanded, Maharashtra. P2 Apple is in talks with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon to extend their contracts with the series. P3 The six-episode series is produced by Aryan Khan’s home production Red Chillies Entertainment. P4 » » FORECAST GENERALLY CLOUDY MAX 27°C | MIN 19°C YESTERDAY MAX 26°C | MIN 20°C SUNSET TUESDAY 7.06 PM SUNRISE WEDNESDAY 5.41 AM » TUESDAY | 2 MAY 2023 | LUDHIANA DEATH OF ELEVEN PERSONS AFTER INHALING TOXIC GAS IN GIASPURA PPCB collects sewer samples Ludhiana, May 1 After the Giaspura gas tragedy, officials from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), in the presence of MC officials, collected samples of sewer water near the site of the incident. An MC official confirmed that the samples were taken by the PPCB. The official said the exact cause of the tragedy was still not known and they could only comment after the arrival of the sample reports. Employees of the civic body were seen replacing damaged sewer manholes with new ones. According to area residents, a few manholes were in a dilapidated state. According to Sandeep Bahl, Chief Environmental Engineer of the PPCB in Ludhiana, strict action would be taken in case of any violation. Board be held responsible for mishap: MP Congress MP Ravneet Bittu said the PPCB should be held responsible for deaths caused due to the gas tragedy. Had the PPCB taken steps to check the flow of toxic chemical into sewer lines, the tragedy would have been averted, he said. “If the PPCB fails to stop the practice of dumping of industrial waste into sewer lines and identify industrial units responsible for the mishap, he will launch an agitation against it,” Bittu said. With no major clue, officials continue to visit tragedy site Nikhil Bhardwaj Tribune News Service Ludhiana, May 1 With no major clue in hands, officials of various departments continued to throng the gas tragedy site at Giaspura here on Monday. Besides officials from the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), district administration and police administration, some experts from private universities and even scientists have also been called for technical help. Though the preliminary investigation suggested that deaths might have been caused due to the presence of hydrogen sulphide in the manhole which spread in the air, there is no clarity about the chemical, if any, allegedly released into the sewer by the industrial units. Authorities on toes to establish claims Since the police have registered a case against unidentified owners of industrial units for allegedly disposing of the toxic chemical into the sewer lines, which caused deaths, now the authorities MC officials conduct a probe at the incident site in Giaspura on Monday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: HIMANSHU MAHAJAN EXPERTS FROM VARSITIES, SCIENTISTS CALLED Besides officials from the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), district administration and police administration, some experts from private universities and even scientists have also been called for technical help. are on their toes to establish the claims. Today, officials of the Municipal Corporation (MC) and the PPCB started taking samples from industrial units located around Giaspura and the same will be matched with samples of manholes around the site. If the samples match, erring industrial units might face strict action. Even door-to-door mapping has also started around the incident site as there are reports that some unregistered small industries have come up in houses and they have not set up effluent treatment plant. Hence, they have been disposing of industrial waste into the sewer line. Meanwhile, life has returned to normal in the area and the authorities have even lifted maximum restrictions regarding the movement of people. NDRF rescued 7 of family who locked themselves in panic DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE Tribune News Service Ludhiana, May 1 A team of the 13th Battalion of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Ladhowal, led by Deputy Commandant Dev Raj, had rescued seven members of a family on Sunday. They had locked themselves inside the room near the gas leak spot in panic. The family was facing some minor health issues due to the gas leak. Talking to The Tribune on Monday, Deputy Commandant Dev Raj said after getting alert from the authorities, he and his team had reached Giaspura around 9.40 am. The NDRF team’s priority was to evacuate the people and rescue those who were stuck in their houses. While combing nearby houses and other establishments for precautionary purposes, they came across a room on the first floor of some shops, about 50m away from the place of incident. The NDRF team suspected the presence of some people inside the room. But despite knocking when nobody opened the door, they feared that some people might be ❝ We locked ourselves as we did not want to leave the place, though we all family members were sensing some nasty chemical smell in the air. The family members. ❞ SHOCKED TO SEE FRIGHTENED FAMILY ❝ Dev Raj, Deputy Commandant, NDRF, at the spot where the incident occurred. TRIBUNE PHOTO lying unconscious inside the room or they might breathed their last. “We, however, convinced them to open the door and were shocked to see a panicked husband and wife and their five daughters inside the room. They were not unconscious but were visibly looking sick. We shifted them to a safer place,” Dev Raj said. Had they not been shifted out of the room, they might have faced some serious health issues, said the Deputy Commandant. We convinced the family to open the door and were shocked to see a panicked couple and their five daughters inside the room. They were looking sick. ❞ — Dev Raj, DEPUTY COMMANDANT, NDRF On being asked why they (family) locked them inside the room, they said they were frightened from the development as several people died in their neighbourhood and officials were forcing people to leave their houses. “We locked ourselves as we did not want to leave the place, though we all family members were sensing some nasty chemical smell in the air,” the rescued family members told the National Disaster Response Force officials. Heart-wrenching scenes: 8-month-old Environmental activists seek fair audit of cremates his parents, grandmother sewer connections of industrial units Nikhil Bhardwaj Tribune News Service Ludhiana, May 1 Heart-wrenching scenes were witnessed at the cremation ground in Giaspura here on Monday when an 8-monthold infant, Yug, performed the last rites of his mother Preeti (31), father Sourav (35) and grandmother Kamlesh Goyal. Though the child lit the pyre of his parents with the help of his uncle, he was unaware about what tragedy had struck his family. The baby was held by his uncle (his father’s elder brother) while performing the last rites. The trio breathed their last in the gas leak tragedy reported on the Sua road, Giaspura. Sourav owned a grocery store Eight-month-old Yug with his paternal aunt. HIMANSHU MAHAJAN near the incident site. When the toxic gas spread from the manhole located outside their store, Sourav, his wife and mother become unconscious. In no time, they died on the spot. While Yug, Sourav’s son, also suffered some health problems, he had survived as he was shifted to a safer place by one of their neighbours. Even Sourav’s brother Gaurav (50) also became unconscious but he too survived. Area residents, who went to the cremation ground to attend the cremation, were also inconsolable. Yug’s aunt Kiran said now the child would be taken care of by his uncle Gaurav and his wife. Kiran assured that Yug’s uncle would try to look after the child who lost his parents at this age in the best possible way. Meanwhile, the kin of the deceased had lambasted the state government for announcing a meagre compensation of Rs 2 lakh. “The announced ex-gratia is like peanuts and it will not serve any purpose. The government should increase the compensation amount and should also sponsor his entire education,” they said. Say it be conducted by experts who are not affiliated with PPCB Harshraj Singh Tribune News Service Ludhiana, May 1 After the toxic gas tragedy that claimed the lives of 11 persons at Giaspura here, environmental activists and residents are demanding an audit of sewer connections of all industrial units, dairies, hospitals, laboratories, common effluent treatment plants, sewage treatment plants and drains across the city. They insisted that the audit be conducted by a team of experts who are not affiliated with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). A group of residents at Giaspura said several industrial units were located near the tragedy site. They alleged that untreated waste from such industries was often dumped in sewers. RK Yadav, a resident of Giaspura, said several electroplating, chemical and other industries were present in the area. “We had raised concerns with the government that untreated waste from factories is dumped into the MC’s domestic sewer lines but no action had been taken,” he said. “We want a team of experts from outside the city to investigate the matter,” Yadav said. Environmental activist Col CM Lakhanpal (retd) stated: “It’s unfortunate to see peo- ple dying due to such incidents. The Giaspura tragedy is an eye-opener but the administration is still turning a blind eye, struggling to find a way out. The incident is tragic, intolerable, unacceptable, and condemnable.” “An audit of sewer connections of all industrial units, dairies, hospitals, laboratories, CETPs and STPs must be conducted as soon as possible to check pollution causing peril. Therefore, we demand that such an audit be conducted soon by experts,” he added. Another environmental activist, Jaskirat Singh, demanded that a comprehensive audit of sewers and drains should be conducted by university experts without any involvement of the PPCB. Former councillor Jaspal Singh Giaspura said the tragedy occurred in the area that falls under Ward 30. “A few years ago, I had written to the then Chief Minister and relevant authorities regarding the unauthorised dumping of untreated chemical waste into the MC’s sewer lines but no department took action against violators. The untreated waste is usually dumped into the sewer lines on Saturdays and Sundays. On Sunday, a foul smell was emanating from the area where the incident occurred. The matter should be investigated fairly,” he said. Man dies of Covid, Road recarpeting leads to pollution, snarl-ups; residents fume 38 test +ve in dist Kuldip Bhatia FIGURES Tribune News Service Ludhiana, May 1 One person lost his life due to Covid in the district on Monday. The deceased was a 64year-old man from Katani. He was suffering from tuberculosis. He was admitted to Fortis Hospital and his vaccination status was not known. On Monday, 38 persons tested positive for Covid today. The positivity rate was 4.74 per cent and there were 142 active cases. Five patients suffering from Covid are admitted to district hospitals. Those who tested positive today include nine persons who were suffering from influenza-like illness, 17 diagnosed during the OPD visit, Samples Positive Deaths 41,09,417 1,14,407 3,026 two healthcare workers, two contacts of positive persons, one pre-operative case and an antenatal care patient. Six persons are still being traced by the Health Department. Civil Surgeon Hitinder Kaur said 1,14,407 persons have tested positive and 3,026 patients have lost their lives to the deadly virus so far in the district. On Monday, 801 samples were sent for testing which include 710 RTPCR, 88 antigen and three TrueNat samples. Ludhiana, May 1 Residents and shopkeepers on both sides of Pakhowal Road, from the B-7 resort to Lalton chowk, are up in arms over the ongoing recarpeting work on nearly 6 km stretch of the road located within city limits. They are an irked lot due to the scraping of the upper layer of the road, which has been lying thus for almost two months now. Affected people complain that due to the scraping of top surface of the road, with loose gravel and sand all around, not only vehicular traffic is frequently disrupted, but those residing and carrying on business on both sides of the road also have to face pollution of the flying dust particles, with a high A stretch of Pakhowal Road in a deplorable condition. TRIBUNE PHOTO NO SLACKNESS ON PART OF CONTRACTOR: OFFICIAL Executive Engineer of Construction Division No. 1, PWD/B&R, Pradeep Kumar, claimed that there was no slackness on the part of the contractor. “The work was allotted for the reconstruction of about 15 km of Pakhowal Road on February 23, with a target for completion in 11 months. The contractor has already completed almost 60 per cent work while the deadline is still eight months away,” said the official. risk of respiratory diseases. A few residents claimed that some road mishaps had also been reported due to the c m y b digging of the road, and twowheelers were especially prone to skidding and many riders had sustained injuries. “Due to scraping of the road, shops and commercial establishments are suffering loss of business because buyers are avoiding coming to the shops and showrooms located on the dug-up stretch of the road,” said Karnail Singh, a provision store owner on Pakhowal Road. Residents of multi-storey housing complexes, including Omaxe Residency and visitors to banquet halls, resorts and hotels in the affected area, are also feeling the pinch of the ongoing road-construction work which frequently leads to traffic jams caused by slowmoving traffic due to the existing deplorable condition of the road in the area. The residents have sought the early completion of the recarpeting work to avoid the daily inconvenience being caused to them by the pollution of dust particles and slow traffic movement in the area. Shopkeepers say their businesses are being adversely affected by the situation arising due to the ongoing work. Executive Engineer of Construction Division No. 1, PWD/B&R, Pradeep Kumar, however, claimed that as far as the pace of the work was concerned, there was no slackness on the part of the contractor. “The work was allotted for the reconstruction of about 15 km of Pakhowal Road on February 23, with a target for completion in 11 months. The contractor has already completed almost 60 per cent work while the deadline is eight months away,” said the official, also appealing to area residents to bear the inconvenience for some more time as the road reconstruction was part of the projects for infrastructure development in the area. Gill MLA Jiwan Singh Sangowal, in whose constituency the work is being carried out, told The Tribune that the he was monitoring the pace of ongoing road repair work, which was reasonably good and the material being used and workmanship were in conformity with specifications. “Issues raised by resident and shopkeepers with regard to pollution and traffic woes would be taken up with the construction agency and Public Welfare Department (PWD) officials for remedial action,” legislator Jiwan Singh Sangowal added.
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
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