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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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J A L A N D H A R

Money exchanges flourish in Doaba Illegal transactions play a big part in the business
Jalandhar, January 9
To their land of birth, the NRIs of Doaba are not just paying back in terms of donations to educational institutions or investments in various developmental projects; their major contribution has also been the business of money exchange.

Bilga village gets Rs 34 lakh water supply scheme
Bilga, January
9 With an objective of providing drinking water at the doorsteps of every family in this village of freedom fighters, a Rs 33.99 lakh water supply scheme, based on the silver ionisation water disinfection system, was commissioned by the Food and Civil Supplies and Public Health Minister, Punjab, Mr Avtaar Henry here today.

A dim sun behind a thick veil of morning fog in Jalandhar on Monday

A dim sun behind a thick veil of morning fog in Jalandhar on Monday. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma






EARLIER STORIES

 

One degree up, rains coming
Jalandhar, January 9
Even as sub-zero temperatures prevail, isolated rain is likely in parts of Punjab and Haryana from tomorrow, the Met Department said today, though it assured that the mercury would not dip any further.

Too many hoardings, too little civic sense?
Jalandhar, January 9
Flouting rules becomes almost a norm when forthcoming events have to be publicised in the city. Huge hoardings dot every nook and corner here.

Sukha episode: 58 congmen resign en masse

Two city ultrasound centres sealed
Jalandhar, January 9
Officials of the Health Department today sealed two ultrasound centres— Miglani Hospital and Nirmal Hospital— located in Adampur for violating the PNDT Act. Work at the centres has been suspended for 60 days.

Cane growers’ dharna continues
Phagwara, January 9
An additional hike of Rs 5 per quintal of sugarcane has been announced by the management of Wahid-Sandhars Sugars Ltd here.

Najka incident: Akali leader defends son
Jalandhar, January 9
Akali leader Harbhajan Singh, whose son had allegedly burned down an animal shed belonging to a Dalit in Najka village recently, today said “there are attempts to give the incident in a communal colour which is not the case.”

INTUC delegation to meet PM
Phagwara, January 9
A delegation of INTUC, Punjab, led by its president, Mr Subhash Sharma, will meet Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on January 24 at New Delhi to apprise him of the latest political developments of the state.

A scholar with a high-tech mission
Phagwara, January 9
Dr Raghbir Singh Bains, the author of the first multi-media Encyclopaedia on Sikhism on CD-ROM and director of the first multi-media Sikh Museum, Khadoor Sahib, would be conferred the title of the “Sikh Scholar of Computer Age” tomorrow by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht.

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Money exchanges flourish in Doaba
Illegal transactions play a big part in the business
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 9
To their land of birth, the NRIs of Doaba are not just paying back in terms of donations to educational institutions or investments in various developmental projects; their major contribution has also been the business of money exchange.

Officially, the volume of this business is pegged at Rs 3,000 crore per annum and illegally, the revenue of all these money exchanges fluctuates by as much as 50 per cent to 150 per cent over and above the Rs 3000-crore mark.

Managers with multi-national money exchange companies based in Jalandhar said 40 per cent of these returns came from this district alone.

Jalandhar has hundreds of money exchangers, though the core business of the majority of them is garment and jewellery retailing. Then there are others who have set shop in every nook and corner around the main bus stand here.

But there also established exchanges here— Thomas Cook, Wall Street Finance Ltd, Bank of Punjab, UAE Exchange and Western Union Money Transfer—a sign of the growing business here. All these centres are in their peak season nowadays, as many NRIs are in their hometown for annual holidays. This season usually lasts till the end of March.

Though none of the managers of these money exchange companies were ready to be quoted due to obvious reasons, they agreed on divulging the details.

All of them said that most of the currency that was being exchanged was Euro and Pounds, though off late, the US, Canadian and Australian dollar had also started pouring in large amounts. They said that ever since the Reserve Bank of India lifted most of its restrictions, business had been flowing in steadily.

The Full-Fledged Money Changers (FMC), they added, had been authorised to appoint any number of Restricted Money Changers (RMC), which has led to an expansion in the business.

Western Union Money Transfer, however, faces more restrictions, as remittance cannot be made in the form of donations to charitable institutions or for business purposes. This US bank also faces some restrictions following the 9/11 attack with the number of transactions per person limited to 12 and the cash flow limited to $ 2500.

But the residents of Doaba have smartly found a way out of these hurdles. Many families now receive money for two or more persons and the cash flow thus gets multiplied as many times.

There are many other illegal practices into it. Rainak Bazaar in Jalandhar, where most NRIs visit to purchase garments, has scores of illegal money exchangers running a parallel market.

Many NRIs who were illegal settlers, avoided taxations and had their black money converted in these markets, and were even willing to convert their currency at a lower exchange rate, sources said. That factor naturally added to the unaccounted volume of the business, sources added. They said the cash usually remained out of the chain till it reached the RMCs and finally the FMCs.

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Bilga village gets Rs 34 lakh water supply scheme
Tribune News Service

Bilga (Jalandhar), January 9
With an objective of providing drinking water at the doorsteps of every family in this village of freedom fighters, a Rs 33.99 lakh water supply scheme, based on the silver ionisation water disinfection system, was commissioned by the Food and Civil Supplies and Public Health Minister, Punjab, Mr Avtaar Henry here today.

Addressing a gathering on this occasion, Mr Henry revealed that similar water supply schemes to provide safe drinking water to 105 villages of this district would be completed by the next financial year.

“The government has already spent Rs. 1494.97 lakh for making available potable water to as many as 87 uncovered villages of Jalandhar district during the past four years.

In the entire state, potable water has already been made available to as many as 1064 villages at a cost of Rs 354.87 crore. At the same time, special attention is being paid to increase the quantum of water supply in 1359 partially covered villages to up to 70 litre per person per day and as many as 21 ultra -modern potable water filtration plants have been installed in different villages at a cost of Rs 4 crore,” he said.

The minister informed that 13 new projects had been sanctioned to provide safe drinking water in 254 uncovered villages, and 954 uncovered villages would be provided water under a project costing Rs 261.57 crore.

The project would be completed with NABARD assistance. “Various new water supply schemes are in progress for covering 1338 uncovered and 2712 partially-covered villages of Punjab,” he added.

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One degree up, rains coming
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 9
Even as sub-zero temperatures prevail, isolated rain is likely in parts of Punjab and Haryana from tomorrow, the Met Department said today, though it assured that the mercury would not dip any further. But the cloud-covered sky would keep reappearing for the next few days, the Department added.

The minimum temperature in Adampur was minus one degree Celsius.

A blanket of clouds shrouded the city of Jalandhar from early morning bringing with it some thick fog, though it went away with time. But despite efforts of the sun to find space for itself, the dark clouds kept overpowering it, giving in return icy winds.

Life, as such, was huddled in city, with many lighting bonfires in the morning. As morning passed into noon and then into evening, the air continued to remain grim with little chances of a mood swing in the night.

The mercury refused to budge from the chilling depths in other cities too. The Holy City recorded a minimum temperature of 0.4 degrees Celsius, Ambala 2.4 degrees, Halwara 1.8 degrees, Pathankot 4 degrees, Bathinda 0.8 degrees, Chandigarh 2.4 degrees, Jammu 5.4 degrees, Udhampur 3 degrees and Srinagar minus 3.8 degrees.

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Too many hoardings, too little civic sense?
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 9
Flouting rules becomes almost a norm when forthcoming events have to be publicised in the city. Huge hoardings dot every nook and corner here.

Hoardings of the size 10-25 feet in height rich pertaining to New Year, Surjit Hockey Tournament and Gurpurb have been erected in all prominent roundabouts, intersections and even road diversions, in a blatant violation of the rules laid down by the civic authorities.

Ironically, the maximum number of hoardings have been put up right in front of the office of Municipal Corporation.

At least 10 such hoardings have been put up along the walls of the office and the road intersection across the office main gate, clearly indicating that the officials have turned a blind eye towards its own regulations.

Even two pillars that flank the gate of the MC office have been defaced with posters pasted by various organisations.

The hoardings have covered Ambedkar Chowk, PAP Chowk, Namdev Chowk, BMC Chowk and Jyoti Chowk from all sides, posing a serious risk to motorists and passersby.

The hoardings erected on the road intersections and diversions along the narrow congested roads seem to be even more unsafe as they block the vision of the drivers along various directions.

Most of these hoardings depict a series of bold photographs of various city officials, including the MC Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey, Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, members of religious bodies and MC councillors of the areas.

These seem to have been sponsored by various business organisations as suggested by the names of the private firms given at the foot of the hoardings.

The residents have been literally fuming over inaction on the part of the civic bodies as a prominent educationist pointed out, “The authorities must do something to get these hoardings lifted for the safety of the commuters. A law is a law and it must be the same even if it concerns religious, social, cultural or sports events. There are other ways to publicise about these.”

Mr S.S. Johl, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said that since the matter involved sentiments of the residents, the corporation was helpless for the time being. But he said that it had been decided that a separate space be reserved for such hoardings on a white background in prominent places where these could be safely erected without posing any danger to the passersby.

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Sukha episode: 58 congmen resign en masse
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 9
The Sukha episode took a dramatic turn today after as many as 58 District and Block Congress officials, including Mr Jaspreet Singh Bains, Chairman, Phagwara Market Committee, Mr Inderjit Singh Khalyan, President, Block Congress Committee (Rural), Mr Gurjit Singh Walia, District President, Sports and Cultural Wing of the party, Mr Sanjeev Bugga, Councillor, Nagar Council and a former Senior Vice- President of the party, some sarpanches, panches, Block Samiti members, and a few party office-bearers handed over their mass resignations to local Congress MLA, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, in protest against not being heard by the party high command on the December 8 fracas and “inaction” against the Jalandhar Zila Parishad member, Sukhwinder Singh alias Sukha.

“By playing with our sentiments, sheltering a tainted partyman having criminal record and by proceeding arbitrarily against honest police officials, the ruling party High Command has ushered in a wrong precedence which has tarnished the image of the party," alleged the partymen.

Sukhwinder Singh, a “protege” of the Punjab Transport Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, had allegedly manhandled an ASI, “misbehaved” with the then DSP and local Congress leaders on December 8 last year.

After the incident, five policemen, including the complainant ASI, were suspended and shifted, while the then DSP was shuttled between Jalandhar and Nawanshahr.

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Two city ultrasound centres sealed
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 9
Officials of the Health Department today sealed two ultrasound centres— Miglani Hospital and Nirmal Hospital— located in Adampur for violating the PNDT Act. Work at the centres has been suspended for 60 days.

After inspections were conducted in these centres this morning, it was found that they did not posses the requisite records mandatory as per the specifications of the Act, said Civil Surgeon Dr SP Sharma.

The inspecting team comprised Dr Tarsem Singh, Dr Kamal Duggal and MIEO, Mr Rakesh Pal, he added.

He said the PNDT Act would be strictly enforced and erring hospitals would not be spared at any cost.

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Cane growers’ dharna continues
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 9
An additional hike of Rs 5 per quintal of sugarcane has been announced by the management of Wahid-Sandhars Sugars Ltd here.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Sandhar, the newly-appointed chairman of the sugar mill, and Mr Jarnail Singh Wahid, its managing director, today declared that the cane growers would now get Rs 125 per quintal of sugarcane.

Last year, the mill had hiked the rate from Rs 115 to Rs 120. The fresh hike, the second in the current cane-crushing season, was a New Year gift from the mill’s management to the cane growers, added Mr Sandhar and Mr Wahid.

  Meanwhile, the indefinite dharna by the members of the local Cane Growers’ Co-operative Society against direct bonding of sugarcane by the mill today entered 61st day.

Braving nearly sub-zero temperature, fog and chilly winds, the protestors continued their dharna.

However, the management has been claiming that the dharna was started by those with vested interests and that it had flopped.

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Najka incident: Akali leader defends son
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 9
Akali leader Harbhajan Singh, whose son had allegedly burned down an animal shed belonging to a Dalit in Najka village recently, today said “there are attempts to give the incident in a communal colour which is not the case.”

Addressing media person here, Mr Harbhajan Singh said the incidents had “wrongly been termed as incidents of communal tension.”

He claimed that false cases had been registered against his son, Amandeep Singh, and two elderly persons— Chamkaur Singh and Baldev Singh belonging to the village.

Mr Harbhajan Singh denied that there was any injustice being done to the members of the Dalit community in the village.

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INTUC delegation to meet PM
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, January 9
A delegation of INTUC, Punjab, led by its president, Mr Subhash Sharma, will meet Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on January 24 at New Delhi to apprise him of the latest political developments of the state.

The PM would also be apprised of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s “dictatorial attitude, which could harm the party in the next Assembly elections”.

Mr Sharma stated this while talking to media persons after presiding over a state executive meeting of INTUC held at Phagwara last afternoon. He alleged that both CM and his advisor were ignoring the interests of INTUC.

He added that INTUC would be forced to adopt the path of agitation if their demands, including increase in medical allowance and pay scales, were not accepted.

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A scholar with a high-tech mission
J.S. Gandam

Phagwara, January 9
Dr Raghbir Singh Bains, the author of the first multi-media Encyclopaedia on Sikhism on CD-ROM and director of the first multi-media Sikh Museum, Khadoor Sahib, would be conferred the title of the “Sikh Scholar of Computer Age” tomorrow by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht. 

“I am committed to the spread of the philosophy of Sikhism for the well-being of the entire human race,” Dr Bains told this correspondent. 

Interestingly, this scholar, who has now earned the sobriquet of “Computer Icon”, had not even known the ABC of computer till 1990!

His first tryst with destiny, so to say, was when a computer was donated to him by a Canadian, Mr David, who also taught him its functioning. And the rest is history.

Dr Bains spent 17 long years sweating for 18-20 hours daily for creating the first multimedia Encyclopaedia on Sikhism. The project was so costly that his son had to sell off his hotel, house, car and other belongings! This encyclopaedia has been released in 57 countries.

Dr Bains belonged to a poor family from Manak Dheri village of Doaba. He had to discontinue his studies after matriculation for lending a helping hand to his father who worked as a clerk and teacher.

He was just ten years old when he marshalled his friends’ help for cleaning village streets and dirty drains on every Sunday by floating a “Baal Sabha”.

He has so far written 150 articles and authored several books and CDs on Gurus and Sikhism. He is settled in Surrey, British Columbia.

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Two crushed under train

Jalandhar, January 9
In two separate but similar incidents, two youth were crushed under trains on the Jalandhar-Amritsar rail route here on Monday. Sarvjit Singh was killed in an accident near Suranusi Railway Station and an unidentified youth died in an accident near the Jalandhar Cantt Railway Station. — TNS

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Rs 1 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, January 9
Thieves took away a bag containing cash amounting to Rs 1 lakh from a fertilizer shop situated on the Amritsar road here this morning.

According to the police, Mohinder Singh, the owner of the shop, while opening the lock of the shop, had placed the bag containing the cash near the shop’s entrance. As soon as he opened the lock, he found his bag missing. The police has registered a case.

In another incident, thieves stole cash from the golak of a gurdwara situated in Santpura locality here on Sunday night.

The police said the thieves threw the golak in an abandoned well near the gurdwara. The exact amount of the cash stolen could not be ascertained. The police is investigating.

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