Seven passengers’ burning raises burning questions

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GUJRANWALA – An incident which took the lives of seven people, including all the four children of a couple, has raised the burning questions which require attention of the government and policy makers. An expatriate living in Dubai lost his 12-year-old Afshan, nine-year-old Shahzad, seven-year-old Kashif and three-year-old Abdullah while his wife was helplessly transferred to a Lahore hospital without any medication.
The incident sparked agitation at the time of the four funerals and agitators blocked Sialkot-Gujranwala Road to condemn lack of health facilities in the city.
The cylinders of Toyota Hiace vehicles fitted with compressed natural gas (CNG), used for gas filling, are placed under passengers’ seats, in the centre or on the top of the vehicles while all these places are dangerous in case of any road mishap. The authorities concerned should take a serious notice of this incident and direct the manufacturers of these vehicles to prepare CNG-fitted vehicles for the safety of passengers.
Another problem which took at least two lives after the incident was lack of medical treatment in the Gujranwala Divisional Headquarter Hospital which is, perhaps, the only hospital in Pakistan at the divisional level that does not have any burn unit.
The DHQ hospital, a 500-bed hospital, is running without any burn ward and all patients, having minor or severe burn injuries, are straightly referred to various hospitals in Lahore.
The Gujranwala health department is paying lip service instead of providing medical facilities to poor patients, mainly due to the myopic approach of local political leadership and the administration. At least 12 passengers with burn injuries were also transferred to Lahore after extending first aid. One of them succumbed to his injuries while the agony of the others cannot be explained in words.
DRAW HELD FOR 398 PLOTS IN JINNAH TOWN: A draw was held at the DCO office for 398 plots in Jinnah Town, being established for homeless families in the district. Speaking on the occasion, DCO Barrister Nabil Ahmad Awan said the city district government received 819 applications for this purpose and a transparent computerised draw was held.
He added the city district government received 168 applications for 50 plots in Kamoke tehsil, 485 applications for 112 plots in Wazirabad and 166 applications for 236 plots in Noshera Virkan tehsil. All lucky people would get plots of five marlas in Jinnah Town where at lest 30-foot-wide roads would be constructed, besides providing all other civic facilities like parks, schools and mosques, he added.
CDG ASKED TO RESOLVE LEASE ROW: Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Sheikh Sarwat Ikram has vowed to safeguard the rights of businessmen community at all costs and demanded the city district government resolve the row over lease agreements of the Trust Plaza.
He was talking to a delegation of the Trust Plaza Traders’ Association the other day. The delegation told the GCCI President that the district coordination officer (DCO) and Gujranwala Development Authority had been creating unnecessary hurdles in continuing the lease agreements of hundred of traders in the plaza. At least 25 percent increase after every three years had been made by the GDA for the last three decades and now the administration had threatened to vacate and re-auction all the leased shops that was neither applicable nor in accordance with the law. Sheikh Sarwat Ikram assured his unconditional support to the traders for solving this issue.