Cricket is this youngster’s passion
Petrol stations flouting rules with impunity
Traffic chaos common in Phagwara
Encroachments by shopkeepers and rehriwallas along roadsides have aggravated the traffic situation in Phagwara.
DAV Physiotherapy Institute
focuses on technical competence
Students practise physiotherapy
Penning verses on politicians
From the Schools
From the Colleges
The city is bursting at its seams. Green cover has dwindled over the years and the boundaries of the city are merging with those of satellite towns and villages. Buildings violating bylaws are conveniently coming into existence. And slums are choking the city. Has the city’s master plan gone haywire?
“Villages are being usurped by the concrete jungle that is coming up in the name of development. Just take the instance of Nagra village. Now it is very much within the city’s parameters. The green cover is being swallowed by directionless urbanisation, thanks to the skewed policies of those concerned,” says Mr Lakhbir Singh, president of Pahal, an NGO working on the ecological front.
Sample the number of colonies that have been carved out of villages. Mithapur village was fragmented into Friends Avenue, Dashmesh Avenue, Karol Bagh, Raja Garden, Ishar Colony, Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Nagar, Harwinder Nagar and White Avenue. Ladhewali village on Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road was developed into a host of colonies, including Malhotra Colony, Railway Vihar, Karol Bagh, Mann Singh Nagar, Beant Nagar, Professors Colony, Joginder Nagar and Panj Rattan Colony. And the loss of green cover and agricultural land in the process has been irreversible.
The chaotic development has had far-reaching ramifications on the city life. In many places, the city has become slum-speckled. Civic amenities are the first casualties here. Take the instance of Madrasi Mohalla near the railway station. The government land has been encroached upon by the people who have built concrete structures here. All rules and regulations have been given a short shrift.
Slums dominate New Sabzi Mandi, New Seetal Nagar, Basheerpura and Rama Mandi areas. These areas often become the hotbeds of seasonal diseases, including gastroenteritis and typhoid.
“Most of these colonies were carved out of agricultural land and are illegal. As per the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, we cannot spend tax payers’ money on developing unauthorised colonies. Residents of these colonies should deposit developmental charges with the civic body to ensure development,” says Mr V.K. Talwar, Senior Town Planner, Municipal Corporation Jalandhar (MCJ). He adds that developmental projects have been carried out in these colonies under the MP Local Area Development Scheme.
But the idea of depositing developmental charges loses its relevance when most slum dwellers manage their access to water and power supply with the alleged connivance of the authorities concerned. “We eke out our living by selling vegetables. How can we pay for developmental charges if we are barely able to meet our daily needs?” says Ram Singh, a resident of a slum near Rama Mandi. He adds that he and his neighbours don’t mind making “small contributions” to “big people” to “get water and electricity supply”.
If slums are the city’s sore spots, so are the illegal constructions of multi-storey buildings, including hotels and shopping plazas. With almost non-existent parking spaces, these buildings stick out as ugly reminders of law-defiance. “Slums often become ‘whipping spots’ for many. But buildings that are constructed in gross violation of laws are glossed over because influential people manage to circumvent laws to suit their ends. Very few are ready to take on these people who have no respect for law,” says a city resident, pleading anonymity.
In such a scenario, the city’s basic master plan envisaged in the year 1976 has been lost in the maze of files. Interestingly, sources in the MCJ reveal that the 1976 master plan could not come into force as a number of people went to courts challenging the master plan itself.
The city’s latest master plan (2000 to 2021) came into existence following the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions. According to the master plan, the city has been divided into as many as hundred sectors to ensure its planned development. The planners have also envisaged a ring road proposed to be 50-km long and nearly 200-foot wide.
Sources say the authorities concerned are in the process of getting the master plan the status of a statutory document under the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995.
The Commissioner of MCJ, Mr Satwant Singh Johl, pegs it all to socio-administrative failure. “The change in the lifestyle of the people, the increase in the number of vehicles, particularly cars and two-wheelers, and the absence of proper parking lots in the city have created problems.”
“The work on an underground parking lot, with a capacity to park 250 cars and as many two-wheelers, near Nehru Gardens has already been started. Two more underground parking lots will be constructed near Narinder Cinema to reduce traffic congestion.”
About the lack of regulated and streamlined growth of the city and virtually non-existent green belts and withering green spots (more than 100 trees planted near DAV College here have dried up allegedly due to garbage-dumping by MCJ), he resorts to future-plan-talk. “We have decided to hand over maintenance of green belts, parks and central verges to private parties to ensure greenery in the city. We are working in close coordination with various NGOs in this regard.”
Cricket is this youngster’s passion
This youngster’s dream is to be a cricket player par excellence. Akhilesh Sharma, captain of the District Cricket Team (under-19), Kapurthala, is an upcoming pace bowler. “This humble and keen learner and disciplined all-rounder has the capabilities of a Ranji Trophy player,” says his coach, Mr Ashwani Sharma.
Akhilesh, who has taken his Plus Two exams recently, had a yen for sports right from his childhood. He has been a fan of Sachin Tendulkar and Glenn McGrath. “I was interested in cricket from my school days. This game has been my favourite,” he sallies.
He got a chance to play for Zone B Senior Team. He claimed twelve wickets and hit 124 score in two matches while participating in Katoch Trophy, 2004. He got three wickets and hit 68 runs for his team against Jalandhar, even though the rival team consisted of six Ranji players.
On being asked about his memorable moments, he says, ‘‘While playing against Jalandhar in Champions Trophy, 2004, I managed to claim three wickets in second-last over to tilt the result in favour of my team when the rivals were just 15 runs away with two overs and four wickets in hand.’’
“It’s just a beginning for me. I still have to learn a lot,” he says. He has been practising regularly to hone his skills. “You have to stay fit and give the game your best. You cannot afford to be complacent,” he adds.
He is aiming high and he says that he is willing to work hard for this game, which is his passion, as well. He gives the credit for his performance to his coach and members of the Kapurthala District Cricket Association. He hopes that he would get the right exposure so that his game improves.
Petrol stations flouting rules with impunity
The recent petrol pump boom in Punjab and the resultant cut-throat competition has made scores of two-three-wheeler petroleum and diesel outlets in the state throw norms to winds by catering to four-wheelers and other bigger vehicles.
In stark violation of norms and regulations specified by the Ministry of Petroleum and Department of Explosives, which clearly say that no two-three-wheeler petrol outlet could supply fuel to four-wheelers and bigger vehicles, about a dozen two-three-wheeler petroleum outlets in cities like Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Bathinda are openly supplying petrol and diesel to four-wheelers and bigger vehicles.
With liberalisation creeping in the process of allotment of petrol pumps, a large number of two-three-wheeler specific petrol pumps were allotted by different oil companies, particularly in thickly populated areas of bigger cities, in a bid to ease congestion at bigger outlets.
Each of two-three-wheeler specific petrol outlets technically require lesser space of approximately 16 metre by 16 metre as against the larger space of 30 metre by 30 metre required by a full-fledged petrol outlet. In order to confine these outlets to cater to smaller vehicles, one of provisions also specifies that a gate of pre-specified measurement should be installed at entry point of each such outlet so as to allow entry of only smaller vehicles like scooters, motorcycles and three-wheelers.
But instead of abiding by the norms, a large number of two-three-wheeler outlets have allegedly started catering to bigger vehicles, which has led to defying the very purpose of decreasing congestion at bigger outlets. So much so that those running these outlets have started going beyond the specified 16 metre by 16 metre area by purchasing adjoining vacant plots and extending their operations beyond specified limits.
What is more surprising is that none of the two-three-wheeler petrol outlet displays a board in front of it specifying that its operations are restricted to catering to fuel needs of two-three-wheelers only.
In some cases, the number of underground fuel tanks has also been increased by those running small outlets without mandatory information to the Department of Explosives.
But how these outlets are flouting rules right under the nose of authorities, the explosive department and the district administration, remains an unsolved mystery.
Sources in the petrol-outlet trade revealed that with a large number of small two-three-wheeler outlets jumping in, bigger outlets had started feeling heat and they were suffering from revenue loss.
Mr Gurmit Monty Sehgal, a petrol station owner, admitted that the small two-three-wheeler petrol outlets were causing huge financial loss to owners of bigger outlets.
A number of people associated with the trade felt that since the small outlets were largely set up in congested areas, these could be a potential safety hazard.
Traffic chaos common in Phagwara
Traffic congestion is the order of the day at Phagwara. Youngsters zoom past the traffic police without helmets. Those in car seldom use seat belts. "You often see under-age drivers driving at high speed. They are without helmets and they sometimes jump traffic lights, too," says Mr Kamal, a city resident. He adds that those flouting rules are not brought to the book. This encourages others to flout rules.
Traffic violations are galore in markets here. Encroachments by shopkeepers and rehriwallas along roadsides have further worsened the situation in Handa Market, Dana Mandi, Sarai Road, Chahal Nagar and the make-shift bus stand.
Parking on roads adds to the traffic chaos. Parking lots proposed by the then-Chairman, Improvement Trust, Mr Om Parkash, along the old Civil Hospital and the Banga Road are still hanging fire. Mr Balbir Raja Sodhi, Chairman of the Improvement Trust, says that the trust will make all-out efforts to acquire the land for parking shortly.
Interestingly, the authorities concerned have a different version of the traffic chaos in the city. "We have sufficient strength of 22 cops to deal with traffic chaos. Six cops are posted at bus stand, three in the city and the remaining staff is put on highway patrolling duty. As per the instructions of our seniors, we do not challan the helmetless drivers and car drivers not using seat belts. This is just to give relief to persons within the municipal limits," says a traffic police official, requesting anonymity.
"The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation has an income of about Rs 1.20 crore annually. If this amount is handed over to the Municipal Council, we would construct a proper bus stand within a stipulated time period," says Mr M.S. Ragbotra, President, Municipal Council.
"We do go to schools and colleges to educate students about traffic rules," says Mr Dharamveer, Traffic police official.
The DAV Institute of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation has made a mark for itself in the field of education in this part of the region.
The institute was set up by the DAV College Managing Committee in the year 1992 to offer three-and-a-half-year diploma in physiotherapy. Later, in the year 1996, keeping in view the growing demand for physiotherapists here and abroad, the institute introduced a four-and-a-half-year programme - Bachelor of Physiotherapy — which includes four years of training and one year of compulsory internship.
The rehabilitation centre at the institute also offers low-cost effective treatment to patients suffering from various post-operative and bone-related ailments.
The institute, affiliated with the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, is situated on Jalandhar-Amritsar road. It has eight departments - anatomy, physiology, exercise therapy, electro-therapy, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy, gymnasium and an artificial limb centre. These are equipped with the latest imported and state-of-the-art machinery and gadgets to provide better training to budding physiotherapists.
Holding seminars, workshops and conferences is a regular feature here. Audio-visual aids like LCD projector, slide projector, epidiascope, overhead projector and computers and an air-conditioned well-catalogued library having special books on various health-related topics — all are used to impart quality education to the students, says Dr Jitendra Sharma, officiating Principal of the institute.
"We are going to set up a special placement cell for campus recruitment of bright students. The cell will co-ordinate with national and multinational companies for placement of the students. Besides, it will train the students in preparation of their resumes and will hold mock interviews. The cell will also be responsible for coordinating with international healthcare institutions for overseas placements," claim the institute's authorities.
The institute lays maximum emphasis on overall personality development of the students to enable them to develop technical competency based on clinical knowledge, skills in human relations and social understanding.
The college authorities maintain that they have a sustained good record in academics. "In our college, 12 students out of a total of 50, who took the B.PT exam during the recent university examination, bagged first division," reveal the authorities.
"Patients suffering from side-effects of disorders related to heart, nerves, muscles and bones need to be provided with a specific exercise schedule to improve their fitness level. The role of a trained physiotherapist is pivotal in such cases. Our rehabilitation centre is providing low-cost effective treatment to the patients. We charge only Rs 20 per patient per day," says Dr Sharma.
The college authorities claim that seven of their students have recently been selected for higher studies by universities in the USA, the UK and Australia.
Penning verses on politicians
From George Bush to Atal Behari Vajpayee and from the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, to the CPM leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Raghbir Singh Terkiana has spared no one. He has been subjecting top political and social leaders to his stinging verses for the past 30 years.
This Hoshiarpur-based advocate has been posting his verse-cards every year to about 7000 people, including prime minister, chief ministers, editors of newspapers, judges, ministers, journalists and lawyers. And the show has been on, without fail and without any signs of fatigue, since 1975.
His verses take on politicians of all hues. "Amriki lokaan de man vich khabre eh ki aaiya, jangbaaz, apraadhi Bush nu mud ke jinha jitaya." (God knows what American people thought and made criminal Bush to have a taste of victory). "Amarinder ne phir nahin mud ke bharishtachar rukvaayia, thanda pai gaya samajh nahin aaondi ki usde man aayia." (Captain Amarinder did not stop corruption once again and God knows what in his mind made him develop cold feet about corruption). "CPM ne sansad vich Congress nu apnaayia, Harkishan Surjit taan ban baitha hai Congressiaan daa taya." "India Shining, Shining keh ke Vajpayee pachtaayia, ese jhuth ne raj satta ton usnu pare hataaya."
Commenting on socio-economic scenario of the country, he says — "Garib lachaar bewass lokaan ne aje nahin bigul vajaayia, inqlaab taan udon aaoo jadon lokan bharthu paayia."
"Actually, politics has rarely been touched upon by poets and writers, though it has a direct impact on lives of people. So I decided to use poetry as a medium of my expression. What can be more apt for conveying my feelings to people than sending cards using my poetry?" says Mr Terkiana. "Though I started writing poem-based greeting cards from 1975, only the ones I sent after 1980 have been preserved by me.
The entire project takes about 15 days. The annual monetary costs is about Rs15000," he informed.
From the Schools
On their successful stepping into the mainstream school, the tiny tots of St Soldier Divine Public School participated in a convocation ceremony on Tuesday.
The tiny tots from KG section wore robes with hoods as they came forward to receive their certificates. The programme began with Saraswati vandana, followed by a welcome song. The senior students presented group folk dance, gidha and bhangra. Col R.K. Khanna, managing director, told the parents about novel patterns of teaching being adopted in the school.
Ram Navmi celebrated
The students and staff of Lawrence International School, GT Road, celebrated Ram Navmi on Saturday.
The school quadrangle was decked up for the day. Sheenam Uppal of class XI spoke on the nobility and sacrifices made by Maryada Purshottam Ram. Saru of class X, Jasmine of class XI and Harleen of class VIII touched upon the different aspects of Lord Ram's life and various rituals associated with the festival.
A melodious bhajan was sung by the students from classes VII and VIII, followed by a dance item presented by students of classes III and IV. Principal V.K. Mehta briefed the students about the importance of the day and stressed upon them to imbibe the qualities from the life of Lord Ram to make the world a happier place for everyone.
Fun games organised
Primary section pupils from Mayor World School gathered to enjoy their first taste of fun games at a resort on Friday.
The children played various games like tug of war, dodge ball, throw ball, athletics, races, dog and the bone and I sent a letter to my friend. The special attraction for the children was Rugby which they played with lots of enthusiasm. The teachers also participated in the games along with the students. Dr Ian Barker, Director, Ms Neerza Mayor, trustee, and Ms Gunmeet Bindra, Principal, all sports enthusiasts, also participated in rugby and fun games session.
Visit to Niku Park
Tiny tots from primary section of Apeejay School, Model Town, were taken to Niku Park on Tuesday. The kids were excited to see the ducks swimming in a small pond. They also enjoyed various rides in the park. Ms Ranjana Sud, Principal, also visited the park with the children.
Last week, primary wing of the school organised World Health Day in which students presented a play emphasising the importance of health, hygiene and nutrition. Ms Usha Malhotra, Headmistress, told the students to avoid all kinds of junk food and eat a balanced diet.
Students from Sanskriti KMV School organised English and Hindi calligraphy competition on Wednesday. Students from classes I to V showed their writing skills and the winners received prizes from Ms Usha Pandey, Principal. The pre-primary wing of the school participated in balloon games that were played for teaching them the concept of number and colours.
Overnight camps held
Delhi Public School held a series of overnight camps for its students that concluded last week. The camps offered a variety of activities, including painting, nature walk and a host of adventure sports. A talent search contest was also held in which the students showcased their talent with wonderful stage performances. Finally, it was a befitting finale to the camps when Mr Paul and Mr Ondry, both teachers, stole the hearts of everyone by singing old English numbers.
Silver jubilee held
The management of the MGN Educational Trust held a silver jubilee ceremony in their Urban Estate branch to mark 25 years of their secretary, Mr Jarnail Singh Pasricha's service. The members of the trust appreciated his efforts in setting up a chain of institutions, including MGN schools of Adda Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar Cantonment, Basti Bawa Khel, Adarsh Nagar, Urban Estate and Kapurthala, besides the MGN College of Education, Jalandhar, and the Guru Nanak College of Education for Women, Kapurthala. — TNS
From the Colleges
The second annual prize distribution function of the St Soldier College of Education was held on the campus on Saturday.
On the occasion, students who had made strides in the field of academics, sports and cultural activities, were presented certificates and mementos. Ms Alka Gupta, Principal, read out the annual report of the college highlighting various novel concepts of teaching practices being taught to students.
Dr Amarjit Singh Dua, Dean, College Development Council, Guru Nanak Dev University, was the chief guest. Dr D.S. Mangat, Principal, MGN College of Education, was the guest of honour.
Blood donation camp
A blood donation camp was organised by Pahal, an NGO, in the Art and Craft Department of Mehr Chand Polytechnic on Wednesday.
Boys and girls from the polytechnic took part in the camp enthusiastically. Dr H.S. Lamba, along with a team of his doctors, collected 40 units of blood. Though a large number of girls offered to donate blood in the camp, as many as 90 per cent of them were found to be anaemic and were thus considered ineligible for donating blood.
During the camp, the students were told that at least 70 lakh units of blood were required annually to meet the demand for blood in the country.
A campus placement was held at the Apeejay College of Fine Arts by Dell International Services, Mohali, to recruit executives in technical and logistic fields on Monday. — TNS
The All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) has condemned the state government for its alleged administrative failure to implement the UGC notifications with regard to revision of pay scales and service conditions of teachers.
Dr V.K. Tiwari, national secretary, AIFUCTO, said that though the state government had received Rs 70.17 crore from the Central government for the implementation of the new policy, the former had failed to implement the policy.
Dr Tiwari reiterated the demands, including age of retirement at 62 years, counting of total length of service towards promotional placements like senior scale, selection grade, Reader and Professor, benefit of past service rendered in other colleges or universities, elongated scale for Tutors (2200-4000 from October 8, 1992 and 8000-13500 from January 1, 1996).
CPM criticises move
The state secretariat of the Communist Party Marxist (CPM), Punjab, met at Jalandhar for two days and formulated a detailed approach to address immediate political tasks before the party. Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu presided over the meeting.
The CPM, Punjab, strongly condemned the Amarinder government for its move to promote privatisation of public-utility services in the state.
The move to privatise the Punjab State Electricity Board was also opposed by the members. The members observed that poor families would be hit severely in case education and health sectors were handed over to the private companies.
The Life Insurance Corporation employees staged a demonstration on April 20 against the Punjab Government's proposal to privatise the Punjab State Electricity Board. Addressing the gathering, the Northern Zone Insurance Employees' Association secretary, Mr Surjit Ram, alleged that the privatisation move would impact adversely industry and agriculture.
Urging the government to rethink about the proposal, the association alleged that the privatisation of the electricity board would spell disaster for consumers also. The association extended its support to the agitation by the electricity employees.
(Compiled by J.S. Malhotra)
A 17-day-long "Great Diamond Festival" is on at Ebony, a departmental store in Model Town, to mark Baisakhi and Navratras since last Wednesday.
The Ebony is displaying a variety of designs of the topmost diamond brands in the country, including Gili, Sparkles, Adora, Cygnus, D'damas, Ishi's, Glitterati, Sangini, Sheetal, Sanoor, Trupeari, Touchstone and Creations. The store is also offering special discounts to customers shopping at Ebony.
Bugli's Creations exhibition
Bugli's Creations, a Delhi-based designer house, is organising a two-day exhibition of hand-painted dress materials in the city. The exhibition that would conclude on April 23 is being held at Hotel Shangrila, New Jawahar Nagar, here.
The highlight of the exhibition is unique designs of block-painted dress materials, says Ms Kiranreet Singh, textile designer. "As it is summer, we have opted for pastel shades with bright paintings on them," she says, adding that sequin work is also one of the attractions of the exhibition.
Intel holds seminar
Intel, a multi-national IT firm, organised a business advantage seminar at a hotel on Thursday.
The company directors held discussions with IT entrepreneurs, students and academicians on various topics pertaining to adoption of IT into businesses, presentation by alliance partner, software solutions for business automation and growth, business transformation using IT solutions and aligning with Intel technology for added benefits.