R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S


LOK ADALAT: The District Legal Services Authority, Amritsar, will organise a special Lok Adalat at the District Courts on May 21. Assistant District Attorney said summary cases under the Shops act , the payment of Wages Act, the Minimum Wages Act, cases under the Negotiable Instruments Act, bank recovery cases and pre-litigative cases would be taken up at the Lok Adalat.

MISSING: Mr Avtar Singh (70) a retired Central Government employee, has reportedly gone missing after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple. According to a complaint lodged with the police, Mr Sukhwant Singh, son of the missing person, who had come to pay obeisance at Darbar Sahib along with his wife, Ms Mohinder Kaur and son on April 28, stated that they were staying at the Golden Temple serai. He said when they were returning, his father went to Guru Ram Dass serai but never returned.

NATIONAL SEMINAR: The Civil Engineering Department of the Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology on Saturday organised a national seminar, “Trend in geotechnical engineering”. A former Director, Technical Education, Dr M.S. Ghuman, inaugurated the seminar. Delegates from Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra spoke on the occasion.

LIQUOR VEND: Various voluntary organisations and political outfits have joined hands to protest against the opening of a liquor vend in thickly populated Pratap Nagar. The representatives of these outfits have formed a joint welfare front against gambling dens and liquor vends in the area, according to front convener Mahinder Singh.

SNATCHED: Two unidentified motor cycle-borne youths stopped Ram Tirath and his wife Rajinder Kaur of Patti while they were returning home on a motor cycle from Ram Colony camp at danger point snatched two gold rings, one pair of ear rings and one mobile set between Bohan and Patti on Saturday. A case has been registered under Section 392 of the IPC.

MEETING: The Arya Samaj, Model Town, held its annual meeting here on Sunday. Dr Bhawani Lal Bharti presided over the meeting . During the meeting the members for different posts for the year 2005-6 were unanimously elected. The following were elected: Mr Satyanand Munjal — president; Capt Vijay Sayal — secretary and Mr Jagjivan Bassi — cashier.

INSTALLED: Installation ceremony of the office-bearers for the year 2005-2006 of the Bharat Vikas Parishad was held here on Sunday. Sukhdev Garg, Surjit Bansal and Subash Nagpal were administered oath by Mr Narinder Mittal, regional president, for the posts of president, secretary and treasurer.

RETIRED: Prof Gurdip Singh Sobti, Principal of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Ludhiana, retired on Saturday. On his retirement, a farewell function was organised by the members of the staff. The wife of outgoing Principal and newly appointed Principal Tarlochan Singh and his wife were present on the occasion.



OFFICE BEARERS: The following have been elected office-bearers of the New Residents Welfare Committee ( from house number 3801 to 3866) Sector 32-D . President — Dr Arvind Vijh; Vice-President — K.K. Aggarwal; Adviser — Mr Tejpal Singh Mundey; General Secretary — Mr R.L. Sachdeva; Finance Secretary — Mr Ravinder Singh Garewal and Organising Secretary — Mr R.S. Kaura.

ELECTED: The following have been elected office-bearers of the Residents Welfare Association Sector 23-D: Patron — Mr Birinder Singh; President — Mr Gurdev Ram; Senior vice-president — Mr Sadhu Singh; Vice-President — Mr Dinesh Sharma; general secretary — Mr Charanjit Singh; Joint Secretary — Mr Lal Chand; organising secretary — Mr K.L. Chhabra; Finance Secretary — Mr Sudharshan Kumar; Auditor — J.C. Sharma and Legal Adviser — P.L. Kapoor.

LAUNCHED: The Indo-Global College of Engineering (IGCE), Abhipur, near here, launched ‘Technologist Zone’, a technological news bulletin, at the Press Club on Sunday. Promoted as a science, industrial and technological newsletter, it is the joint effort of the students and the faculty of the college. It aims at spreading technological awareness and to develop scientific temper among the readers.

SCHOOL POLL: Students of Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 71, here elected their house captains and school captain in a manner similar to the elections conducted for the Vidhan Sabha and the Lok Sabha. Harman Singh Saini of Class XII (non-medical) was chosen as the school captain and Jatinder Singh Chahal the vice-captain. Inderpreet Singh, Tarunbir Kaur, Navjot Kaur and Prabhjot Kaur were elected captains of the red, blue, green, yellow house, respectively. 

Inaugurated: Ms Mangier Gill Municipal Councilor, inaugurated an art workshop on the theme of Inter-state cultural exchange programme to promote national integration in Sector 4 at Panchkula. The month-long workshop will provide training in folk and other dances besides painting, flower making and clay modelling.



AYURVEDA DOCTORS: In order to strengthen ayurvedic health institutions in the state, the Himachal Government has sanctioned 85 posts of ayurvedic doctor. An official spokesman of the Himachal Pradesh Ayurveda Department said here on Sunday.

LOANS GIVEN: As part of various subsidy schemes, loans worth Rs 1,46,301 were given to 2088 families living below the poverty line through 154 self-help groups in Kangra district in last financial year. Deputy Commissioner Bharat Khera gave these details while presiding over a meeting of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) and Rural Development Officers. The meeting was convened to review the achievements during the last year.

SPECIAL SCHOOLS: The Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Harsh Vardhan Chauhan, on Saturday said that alternative schools would be provided at places where primary schools had been closed due to poor strength of students. He said 910 primary assistant teacher would be recruited to ensure at least two teachers in every school.

SENTENCED: The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr D.K. Sharma, on Saturday sentenced Nand Lal Chaudhary, a resident of Baikuntpuri Kokolpatti village in UP to five years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined him Rs 5,000 for an attempt to rape a minor girl in October 2003. He was convicted under Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC.

GUTTED: Household goods worth Rs 1 lakh, including a television set, a CD player, music system, furniture, etc. were gutted in a fire caused due to lightening in a house at Kandhaghat on Friday. No loss of life was reported.



Taking birds under his wing

Jaspreet Singh
BIRDWATCHER: Schoolteacher Jaspreet Singh has been working to protect migratory birds in Ropar.

There was a time when the migratory birds visiting the wetland in Ropar district went unnoticed. Many were even killed by the locals out of lack of awareness. It took 20 long years for a local government school science teacher, Jaspreet Singh, to get the villagers and officials of the administration involved in protecting the hundreds of migratory birds that come here from Central Asia every year.

The efforts of the teacher paid off and the villagers gradually started coming forward to protect the birds and even built a structure in the wetland area for viewing the winged visitors. Besides, environment clubs have begun functioning in the local schools on his initiative.

The district administration is also holding a special function to welcome the birds. Schoolchildren from all over the district have been brought here to educate them about the various birds species and their role in preserving the ecological balance.

“When I launched a campaign to protect the birds, I was just a one-man army. I requested the locals as well as officials to put an end to the killing of birds, which had been going on unchecked. Sometimes, I even suffered humiliation since as a government employee I had limited powers to raise my voice against any wrong-doings,” says Singh.

“After school hours, I used to spend a lot of time to trace the birds and interact with people to create an awareness about the need to protect migratory birds,” he recounts.

“I have had no formal education on the subject but my interest was kindled when I came across a book on migratory birds in a library years ago. Thereafter, I purchased a detailed book on the subject from Chandigarh,” he says.

“For the past 20 years, I have been keeping a record of the migratory birds that come here Besides, I keep a record of the rare species of local birds and have been making efforts to stop poaching in the forest area,” adds Singh.

But the problems don’t end here. “The Sutlej continues to get polluted by the industrial waste that is released into it, reducing the fish population and vegetation. Owing to this, the population of the migratory birds has also been declining over the past few years,” he laments.

In deadly earnest

Some people want to contribute their bit to society during their lifetime. Others would like to be of use after death. Murari Lal Munjal of Fatehabad is one such person. He has decided that after his death his body will be donated to a medical college for research.

Munjal (82) has been suffering from paralysis for the last eight years. Born at Khuban village near Abohar, Munjal and his wife, Sumitra Devi, now live with one of their sons, Kul Bhushan Munjal, in this town. In fact, one of his grandsons has recently completed MBBS and is preparing for admission to a postgraduate medical course.

One fine morning, Munjal told his wife and son that after his death he wanted his body to be donated for medical research. He felt that if it were donated to some medical college, it would at least help students in their studies. At first, the family was stunned by the patriarch’s announcement. But soon they reconciled to his wish.

The family then approached Agroha Medical College, near the town, to enquire about the procedure. His son is now in the process of completing the documents that will formalise this wish of Munjal.

Minding her business

Kishwar Ahmed-Shirali
MIND Doctor : Mental health activist Kishwar Ahmed-Shirali helps depressed people

When she came to the tiny village of Rakkar in Dharamsala eight years back, she had already helped seven depressed women, for whom shock therapy and protracted medical treatment had proved ineffective, come out of their negative state of mind in Ghanati village, near Shimla.

Kishwar Ahmed-Shirali, who describes herself as a ‘mental health activist’, says sharing her house with these women was like “giving them space for madness.”

“There was one teenager, rescued from a brothel in Delhi, who had a phobia of people and was addicted to drugs. Since I gave her the much-needed respect, acceptance and the freedom to be herself, she soon joined a vocational course, got married and adopted a girl,” she says.

Kishwar, who is at present working as a consultant for an NGO, Nishta, besides being on its board of trustees, says she always wanted to find an alternative to the conventional therapies of dealing with depression. “I never subscribed to the use of shocks and drugs as part of this treatment,” she says.

“We hold psychotherapy workshops twice a week and group therapy sessions for single mothers and alcoholics once a month. We also help school and college students get over their anxiety related to exams and other tests,” she adds.

“Nothing works like offering your heart and ears to depressed people. And this seems to have worked even in places like Kashmir, where we held workshops to tell people how to deal with stress,” she says.

A major social problem in Dharamsala is that of alcoholism, which has been aggravated by the unemployment arising from the ban on mining. “We advise women not to get into an argument if their husbands come home drunk as it then leads to domestic violence,” she says.

“Even during my stay in Ghanati, although I shared my house with seven depressed women, I had scores of people, including young boys and girls, coming to me with their problems, mostly about relationships,” she says.

In fact, initially, the villagers thought that I was a Pakistani spy or was running a brothel since all these were women staying with me.

Kishwar, who went to study clinical psychology in Boston, had a small stint teaching psychology in New York before joining Punjabi University, Patiala. Later, she moved to Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, from where she retired in 1997.

Contributed by Kiran Deep, Sushil Manav and Vibhor Mohan


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