R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri

Rahat for drug addicts
Donor with a difference


One booked  for fraud
: The police booked Girish Kumar, a resident of Hapur in Uttar Pradesh and incharge of a sweets shop at Balaji Dham, under Sections 420 and 120 B of the IPC for allegedly duping two jewellers, a businessman and others of lakhs of rupees .

SGPC men to stage dharna
: Members of the SGPC will stage a dharna in protest against the alleged discrimination against the Sikh community in Saudi Arab before its embassy in New Delhi on August 24, the secretary SGPC, Mr Harbeant Singh, said on Saturday.

: Following have been elected office-bearers of the Rotary Club: president — Mr Bhagat Singh Jassal and secretary — Mr S.P. Kaushal. 

Two held
: The police on Saturday arrested Gouri and Harpreet Singh, both residents of Batala and recovered 20 grams of smack from them. The accused have been booked under Sections 21, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act. 

One arrested
:Harinder Singh, the husband of Manpreet Kaur, who committed suicide on Friday, was arrested by the police under Sections 306 and 34 of the IPC on Saturday on the basis of a complaint by victim’s mother Veena Kalia, alleging that her daughter was harassed by her husband and mother-in-law, Jasbir Kaur, forcing her to end her life.

Man assaulted
: The Sidhwan Bet police has booked Harjit Singh of Sidhwan Kalan on the charge of assaulting Kuldeep Singh of Sidhwan Bet with a knife. The police has registered a case under Section 324 of the IPC. Some old dispute is said to be the reason behind the incident. The injured was admitted in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana. No arrest has been made so far.

4 booked: The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 382, 342 and 365 of the IPC on the complaint of Pardeep Sharma of Sherpur Para (UP) against four unknown persons for allegedly kidnapping Kamal Singh, the driver of the truck, and snatching the vehicle in Pandori village area. No arrest has been made so far. 

Challaned: Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon,following the instructions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave directions to challan those vehicles which were running on LPG.As a result, 20 vehicles were challaned.Also, Drivers of school buses were told not to use LPG cylinder in their vehicles as they carry children. 

Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle (GGSSC) organised a Gurbani recitation competition at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, E-Block, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, here on Sunday. It was dedicated to the 4th Centenary Martyrdom of Sri Guru Arjan Dev. More than 400 students from various schools and colleges took part in it. The winners would be awarded bicycles sponsored by Avon Cycles, wrist watches, T-shirts, books and certificates.

Dispensary: Nishkam Seva Ashram inaugurated its sixth dispensary at Ambedkar Nagar in Nishkam Vidya Mandir Campus, Dugri Road, here on Sunday. A medical check-up camp was organised by the Art of Living Organisation. A team of doctors comprising Dr Santokh Singh, Dr Priyanka, Dr Sweety Mahajan and Dr Arora examined 537 persons. The needy were provided with medicines free of cost.

Panel formed: A working committee of the Nav Niyukat Elementary Teachers Union was formed here on Sunday after dissolving the old body. More than 30 teachers from 17 districts of Punjab met at Chhatar Singh Park and formed the committee. Mr Jaswinder Singh will be the convener, while Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Gurmukh Singh, Mr Ramesh Singh and Mr Simranjeet Singh will be its other members. 

Vedic Week: Vedic Week concluded at Arya Samaj, Model Town, here on Sunday. Acharya Gianeshwar from Gujarat told the congregation that the chief aim of Arya Samaj was to spread the words of the Vedas as it was the true knowledge. Women members presented bhajans on the occasion. 

Convention: A convention was held at Arya Samaj, Maharishi Dayanand Bazaar, here on Sunday. Former president Devpal Arya elaborated on last year’s activities of the samaj. Mr Sant Kumar Arya’s name was proposed by Jagjivan Lal Sood for the post of president, which was unanimously accepted.

Installed: The installation ceremony of office-bearers of the local Lions Club Vegetarian was organised at Hotel Marriot on Saturday. Lions district governor R.K. Rana was the chief guest. The vice-district governor Lion H.J.S. Khera installed the president Lion Ninder Singh, secretary Lion D.S. Walia, treasurer Lion K.S. Lotey and other members. 

: As many as 400 saplings were planted at Vanmahotsava function organised by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda to mark the birthday of the head of the sect, Sant Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, at Kamam village on Saturday.

Turban ban opposed: The president of the district unit of the SAD, Mohinder Singh Hussainpuri, on Saturday condemned the ban on wearing turbans imposed in some schools in Hoshiarpur and Patiala.

Contests held: Gurpreet Kaur, Jaswant Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur, Harpreet Kaur and Rajwinder Kaur won first positions in the shabad gayan, declamation, poetry recitation and debate competitions organised by the Sikh Missionary College at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Nagar on Saturday. 

Office-bearers: The following have been elected office-bearers of Baba Sain Bhagat Nagar Sudhar Committee: president—Mr Sucha Singh Bhauria, vice-president— Mr Kewal Ram, Secretary—Mr Kamal and treasurer—Mr Shingara Ram.

Doctor dies
: Noted doctor, Major Tejinder Singh Sandhu died of cancer on Saturday. The district unit of the Indian Medical Association has condoled his death.



Group Swadhan: The State Bank of Patiala on Saturday launched ‘Group Swadhan’ insurance scheme in collaboration with the SBI Life Insurance Company at the bank’s main branch at Kalka.

Students excel
: Tanya Kumar and Ainesh Mujoo of Little Flower Public school have stood first and second in the Aloha zonal competition. Ms Sheena Bansal, Centre Head of the Sector 10 Aloha centre, has congratulated the students.



: The Sessions Judge, Mr R.C. Bansal, has sentenced Prakash (22), a resident of Jaipur district of Rajasthan, to life imprisonment holdings him guilty of the murder of Hanuman Sahai, the driver of a Qualis vehicle from Jaipur, in the Bawal area of Rewari district on March 7, 2003. 

Road mishap
: A woman was crushed to death when a motor cycle was hit by a truck near Kalesar forests on the Jagadhri-Paonta Sahib national highway on Saturday. Police sources said Gurmeet Kaur of Haripur village of Paonta Sahib died while her nephew Tejinder (25) sustained serious injuries in the accident.



Computer education programme
: The STP group of Institutes, a unit of the Saksham Educational and Welfare Society, on Saturday launched a computer seva siksha abhiyan, a 45-day free computer education programme for rural areas. It was launched by the CEO, Mr Sunil Koul. Mr Koul said under this programme 50 villages would be covered in one year.

Subsidy cheques given
: The Horticulture Department on Saturday organised a farmers’ awareness camp at Rajgarh, in which Speaker, HP Vidhan Sabha G.R. Musafir disbursed subsidy cheques, under the Horticulture Mission Programme, worth 15 lakh among 150 farmers . Horticulture specialist Dr S.K. Katoch said Rs 13,000 as subsidy would be available to farmers for establishing new orchards in 12.5 bighas of land. Subsidy up to Rs 30,000 would be given for fencing of orchards under this programme.



Rahat for drug addicts

A drug deaddiction course in progress at Mansa
A drug deaddiction course in progress at Mansa. — Photo by the writer

Recently, we stopped at Mansa Kanchian on the Bhikhi Road in Mansa where my colleague told me that we would get authentic Punjabi food. He was not wide of the mark as the friendly dhabawala served three of us pure vegetarian food for less than Rs 100.

Adjacent to the dhaba was a new red-tiled building surrounded by a boundary wall with a huge gate. “Rahat Foundation (Regd.)” was emblazoned across the wall in bold letters. What was this Foundation?

Curiosity led me to the building. There, a young boy accosted me and said that no one was permitted to go inside. “Can’t I meet the person in-charge and wait for him in his office?” He did not know how to respond.

The dhabawalla who was watching me from outside rushed in to help me. I was duly led to the office and asked to wait. The person in-charge, Ravindra Verma, walked in and told me bluntly that “no interview, no photography” would be allowed.

Eventually, he mellowed and told me that he himself was a drug addict for six years. He gave it up 10 months ago. “If I can leave the habit, why can’t others? So I set up this Foundation to help addicts come out of their dependency on drugs.”

The enterprising Verma got together a group of people and social workers to start the Foundation where drug addicts are admitted to a three-month course. They are provided counselling on clinical and psychological aspects of drug addiction.

He charges Rs 4,000 per month for the residential course. By now,Verma had turned helpful. He opened the lock to lead me to a group of 30 people who were in various stages of de-addiction. Most of them had a vacant look on their faces.

Four of them were not attending the counseling session in progress as they were facing withdrawal symptoms.

“When we send them back to their homes, we will give them enough tips on how to keep themselves away from drugs. Ultimately, the urge for change must come from within,” saidVerma as I took leave of him.

The faces of those youths, who should have been bubbling with enthusiasm at their age but for their drug dependency, haunted me even after I got back into the car and continued my journey.

Donor with a difference

Piara Singh
Piara Singh

Small gestures from people in small cities can sometimes add up to make a big difference to a cause. Piara Singh of Batala is one such example.

He has contributed his bit to medical research by offering to donate his body to Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, upon his death. To ensure that his wish is not overlooked, he always carries an acceptance card issued by the CMC in his pocket.

He was issued a body/organ donor card in January last year by the CMC’s Anatomy Department after completing all documentary formalities for the purpose.

Piara Singh says that he got inspiration from the body donors of the Taraksheel Society Punjab, particularly from Krishan Bargadi, who is a torchbearer of the society.

He says that he decided to donate his body because he doesn’t believe in life after death. He has given the CMC authorities full right to use it for training medical students or to transplant any organ into the body of a needy or poor patient.

He has also prevailed upon his family not to waste time in performing ‘futile’ religious rites at the time of his death, but to ensure that his body reaches the CMC at the earliest.

Risk on the riverside

Tourists snacking in the cool waters of the Beas near Manali
Tourists snacking in the cool waters of the Beas near Manali. — Photo by the writer

Various kiosk owners on the Kulu-Manali highway are doing brisk business even though they may be endangering the lives of tourists and adventure lovers in the process.

During a recent visit to Manali, a large number of daredevils were seen enjoying eatables while sitting in the shallow waters of the Beas. Most of the tourists were from the plains, and probably did not appreciate the magnitude of the danger involved.

Foodstall owners have set up makeshift kiosks on the banks of the river. They lure customers by inviting them to enjoy the feel of the rippling river while partaking of snacks. For this purpose, they have put up chairs and tables in the shallow waters.

“There is no harm in enjoying nature’s beauty,” felt Shweta Singh, a tourist from Mumbai. “The crystal clear, cold water is so soothing for the mind and body, she added.

It may be fun but these tourists are exposing themselves to danger. For, a sudden strong current, especially in June and July when the river is in spate due to the rains, could wash them away in seconds.

Moreover, the tourists also pollute the river with the discarded food packets and other solid waste that they leave behind.

—Contributed by A.J. Philip, Naveen S. Garewal and Vishal Gulati



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