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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

           J A L A N D H A R

Suspected dengue death alerts health authorities
Phagwara, September 18
In the wake of the suspected dengue death of a resident of Jalandhar yesterday in DMC Hospital, Ludhiana, the Kapurthala Civil Surgeon Arjun Singh Gill visited Phagwara today. He instructed the Health Department to ensure proper sewage disposal in the area.

Their sole mission to improve lot of villagers
Dehrian (Hoshiarpur)
The Punjab Government may have been painting a rosy picture of the state, but half a dozen remote villages of Hoshiarpur district, including Dehrian and Kot villages, remain perfect “islands of isolation and primitiveness”. Dr Jasbir Dosanjh teaching yoga at a village.

Dr Jasbir Dosanjh teaching yoga at a village.

Wheat flour prices likely to go up
Phagwara, September 18
Prices of eatables are hitting the roof and wheat flour is no exception. According to reports, the flour prices in Phagwara are likely to go up, and these prices would be higher as compared to those in neighbouring states and Delhi.




EARLIER STORIES


Visually impaired couple brings light to many lives 
Jalandhar, September 18
Visually impaired husband-wife duo here is helping hundreds of physically challenged boys and girls of the region get educated and earn their independent livelihood. Coping up with the odds in their own lives, Mr Atma Ram and Ms Seema have helped many visually challenged and hearing impaired youth get free school education, free lodging and food, and acquire jobs in government departments through two centres started by them.
Visually impaired Ms Seema and Atma Ram

Visually impaired Ms Seema and Atma Ram

Over 30 pc ‘UK colleges’ have fake post boxes
Jalandhar, September 18
Are a large number of “fake” colleges in the UK fleecing countless gullible Indian students in the name of granting admissions to them in various pound-generating professional and non-professional courses?

Muslim artisans help Dasehra come alive
Jalandhar, September 18
This is a heartening tale of religious harmony. Muslim artisans have been in Jalandhar for the past fortnight, making effigies of demon king Ravana that would be set ablaze in various parts of the city to mark Dasehra.

Muslim artisans from Agra giving final touches to the effigies to be set on fire on Dasehra, in Jalandhar on Monday. — Photo by S.S. Chopra

Muslim artisans from Agra giving final touches to the effigies to be set on fire on Dasehra, in Jalandhar on Monday.

Gold chains snatched
Phagwara, September 18
An unidentified motorcyclist snatched a gold chain from a woman Gurjit Kaur on the Phagwara-Khothra road here today morning. The woman was waiting for a rickshaw when the robber struck and snatched the chain and sped away.

Burglary attempt foiled
Phagwara, September 18
Residents of Aman Nagar on the Khothra Road here foiled a burglary attempt on Sunday night. According to sources, a person tried to commit the crime by breaking open the door of the house of one Lahmber Singh, an NRI, who was settled in the UK. “I heard some noise in my neighbour’s house around 2 am.

 

 

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Suspected dengue death alerts health authorities
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 18
In the wake of the suspected dengue death of a resident of Jalandhar yesterday in DMC Hospital, Ludhiana, the Kapurthala Civil Surgeon Arjun Singh Gill visited Phagwara today. He instructed the Health Department to ensure proper sewage disposal in the area.

Mr Gill, along with a team of doctors, led by Dr Jagtinder Singh, an epidemiologist, and Phagwara SMO, Dr Yash Mitra, had a round of Phagwara city, particularly slums and villages. He advised residents to keep their surroundings free from stagnant water that is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Dr Jagtinder Singh said fumigation would be done by the Phagwara Nagar Council in the town. The Health Department would do focal spray in the vulnerable areas and the areas from where cases of dengue were reported last year. He also advised the residents to wear full-sleeve shirts and use mosquito net while sleeping.

 Dr Yash Mitra cautioned the residents that if symptoms like high fever and bleeding from the nose occurred, they should immediately consult a medical expert.

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Their sole mission to improve lot of villagers
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Dehrian (Hoshiarpur)
The Punjab Government may have been painting a rosy picture of the state, but half a dozen remote villages of Hoshiarpur district, including Dehrian and Kot villages, remain perfect “islands of isolation and primitiveness”. This is thanks to the absence of any link of these villages with the outside world.

However, residents of these villages have finally got a reason to smile. Dr Jasbir Dosanjh and Mr Baljit Rai have made it their mission to improve their lot. They are not only providing them with free medicare, and holding medical camps for them, but also they are teaching children of these villages free of cost on Sundays.

Dr Dosanjh, a Jalandhar-based skin specialist, and Mr Baljit Rai, an insurance executive, have joined hands to make the future of the people of this one of the most neglected regions of Punjab brighter. So far, they have been successful in their effort. They get 45-50 students and nearly 100 villagers as patients every Sunday at their “Adhyatam Kendra” in Dehrian village.

That Dehrian and five-six adjoining villages are among the most neglected villages of Punjab even after 60 years of Independence is evident as these villages hardly have any road, school, healthcare and communication facilities. There is hardly any means of transport from Dolbaha village, the nearest developed village, which is at a distance of 25-30 km from here. Since there is hardly any transportation facility available to the people of the area, the students have no choice but to tread a minimum distance of 14-15 km on foot to reach the nearest high school at Kukanet village.

The absence of any “pucca” road adds to their woes. Since there is no road, people of the area, including students, have to make good use of a rivulet “Khud” to reach Kukanet, but not without getting drenched in knee-deep water of the “Khud”. “We have a private minibus, but that comes up to Kukanet. This ‘Khud’ is our only means of contact with the outer world. Since the area is too remote, we don’t get mobile phone signals. In a world armed with communication facilities, we are forced to live in a primitive era. Politicians have been coming here for seeking votes, but they only come during the poll time. Rest of the four and a half years we have to search for them. Though the work had been started by the authorities for widening and relaying of the Bhunga-Kukanet road at a cost of Rs1.48 crore, it has come to a standstill for reasons best known to officials,” rued Mr Ram Pal, a former sarpanch of Kukanet village.

“We had almost compromised with our fate, but Dr Dosanjh and Mr Rai have made us understand the meaning of life. Prior to their arrival here, we had to take our patients to Hoshiarpur, which is about 47 km from here. Moreover, our children are learning ‘Yoga’ from the duo on a regular basis,” said Mr Hazara Ram.

Asked about what had made them work for the people of the most-deprived area of Punjab, Dr Dosanjh and Mr Rai said, "It seems that we were inspired by the Almighty to come here and serve these people."

Apart from serving people with free medicare and education, Dr Dosanjh also does not forget to ensure free distribution of “Harkara”, a spiritual magazine edited by him to students attending his classes.

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Wheat flour prices likely to go up
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 18
Prices of eatables are hitting the roof and wheat flour is no exception. According to reports, the flour prices in Phagwara are likely to go up, and these prices would be higher as compared to those in neighbouring states and Delhi. However, if the four per cent VAT on the purchase of wheat is abolished, the situation can be brought under control, says Mr Gulshan Kumar, president, Phagwara Chakki Owners’ Association.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Gulshan Kumar blamed the local administration for not being able to bring down wheat prices by abolishing VAT just like Delhi Government had done. “We met the District Food and Supplies authorities many times and requested them to withdraw the tax, but to no avail,” he said. According to him, with the advent of online forward trading by big companies like ITC, Reliance, and picking and stocking wheat at rather higher rates than those in the open market, the situation had aggravated further. “These groups wait for a few months and then sell the same at higher rates to earn profit. The government should ban the on-line trading also,” he insisted.

With wheat godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in poor condition, the local administration had not been able to check this price rise, he said.

Notably, wheat prices had gone up to Rs 300 per quintal, and the traders were forced to buy it from outside as the FCI was not providing the same, he added.

“If the local administration does not take immediate steps to bring down these prices, the rate of wheat flour would also go up by at least Rs 3 per kg,” he claimed.

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Visually impaired couple brings light to many lives 
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
Visually impaired husband-wife duo here is helping hundreds of physically challenged boys and girls of the region get educated and earn their independent livelihood.

Coping up with the odds in their own lives, Mr Atma Ram and Ms Seema have helped many visually challenged and hearing impaired youth get free school education, free lodging and food, and acquire jobs in government departments through two centres started by them.

The Rashtriya Andh Vidyalaya for Boys at Vasant Vihar and the Girls’ Training Centre for Blind on the Khambran Road started by Mr Atma Ram more than a decade ago have been a real help to hundreds of boys and girls who had to go to far off places to learn Braille and undertake vocational training.

After completing school education, the boys and girls are also helped in getting admission to colleges here for pursuing higher education. During their stay in the hostels, they get computer training, learn instrumental and vocal music, telephone operating, typewriting and cane weaving.

Even as the duo are also working as teachers in a government school and raising their three children, they make sure to spend sufficient time in the institutes being run by them. “It is in these centres that we get peace of mind. Both of us faced hardships as youngsters in acquiring our education. We want to make lives of others like us a bit easier,” they said.

Narrating his story of life, Mr Atma Ram said he had just completed his matriculation when he had a chicken pox attack. Owing to poor medical facilities at Tuhana in Haryana where he belongs to, he said he lost his eyesight.

But this did not dishearten him. “I left my home and went to Hisar from where I learnt Braille. Then I did BA. Thereafter, I came to Jalandhar and did MA in music and later in history. Even before I completed my studies, I started the project of setting up Rashtriya Andh Vidyalaya. A piece of land measuring 63 marlas was acquired, and I prepared a map for construction purposes. I did not get anyone as contractor and instead got the work executed on my own,” he recalled.

The then Principal of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Mr Raja Harnarinder Singh, was of much help, he said. “He not only inspired me to go ahead but also helped me raise donations through NRIs known to him,” Mr Atma Ram explained.

The couple has much more on their agenda. “The Rashtriya Andh Vidyalaya for Boys and the Girls’ Training Centre for Blind have the lodging provision for 40 students each. However, there are many others whom we have to refuse unwillingly. We are looking for more donations so that we can accommodate more students,” the duo added.

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Over 30 pc ‘UK colleges’ have fake post boxes
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
Are a large number of “fake” colleges in the UK fleecing countless gullible Indian students in the name of granting admissions to them in various pound-generating professional and non-professional courses?

The answer to this question seems to be in the affirmative if the views of Mr G.S. Virk, a UK-based senior solicitor and immigration expert, are to be believed.

A whopping number of nearly 30 per cent of such colleges that insert attractive advertisements in newspapers of Asian countries, including India and Pakistan, were the ones that “were operating from mail post boxes”.

“They don’t have any campuses or even proper offices. What the people running these ‘colleges’ do is to hire post boxes and seek money from the people in the name of admissions. Since a large number of people, particularly youngsters, are in hurry to land themselves in foreign lands they don’t generally bother to check the authenticity of such colleges and institutes or their representatives in their countries. They blissfully keep entertaining and responding to letters and other communication from such colleges, but one fine morning they come to realise that they have been cheated. By this time, their money is already lost,” said Mr G.S. Virk, who is also the managing partner of Jalandhar-based Robin Singh and Company, Immigration and Appeals Services.

“Though our company does not handle education-related matters at all, we come across a number of people who are victims of such ‘fake colleges’ run by a network of conmen spread across half the globe. Fed up with the complaints about such colleges and institutions, the Home Office of the UK had recently issued a list of such colleges, most of which had their representatives based in Asian countries,” said Mr Virk.

He suggested that students desiring to go to the UK on study visa should verify the authenticity of the educational institutions.

“To be sure about the background of colleges and educational institutions, the best way out for students is to contact the Home Office of the UK through e-mail, and by using the Home Office services, they can even get the list of ‘fake’ colleges,” he said.

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Muslim artisans help Dasehra come alive
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
This is a heartening tale of religious harmony. Muslim artisans have been in Jalandhar for the past fortnight, making effigies of demon king Ravana that would be set ablaze in various parts of the city to mark Dasehra.

A team of 25 men from Agra is making 10 sets of the ten-headed Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnath in a lane behind the Geeta Mandir here. Forty to 60-foot-high structures made out of bamboo can already be seen lined up there waiting to be dressed up in colourful papers.

Face structures of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnath that are yet to be fixed are also being readied by them. Besides, these craftsmen are also preparing a stationary structure of a chariot to be led by four horses, a replica of the one outside the Geeta Mandir.

Mobeen Qureshi, one of the craftsmen, said he had been coming here for the past eight years. “I work at a cycle repair shop in Agra, but I am skilled in this art of making effigies. I learnt it from my father. I come here almost a month before Dasehra and manage to make good money,” he smiled.

Another craftsman, Salim, said he was engaged in making sweets in Agra. “But we all come here around this time. We came by a truck that was loaded with bamboo sticks to be used for making effigies,” he said.

Usman and Shabo, both artisans, explained that the job required skill as the bamboo sticks had to be turned to a specific angle. “The tall structure has to be strengthened using wooden rods so that it stands upright. Arms, faces and weapons, too, have to be given a specific shape. It has to be stuffed with paper and crackers so that it can be set alight. The use of coloured paper for making it attractive, too, requires skill,” they explained.

These craftsmen, symbolising communal harmony, said that they enjoyed making the structures even as they knew that these were meant for a Hindu festival. “For us, all religions are alike. We may not be here to see our effigies go up in the air, but would definitely be seeing the festivities with our families when we go back home,” they added.

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Gold chains snatched

Phagwara, September 18
An unidentified motorcyclist snatched a gold chain from a woman Gurjit Kaur on the Phagwara-Khothra road here today morning. The woman was waiting for a rickshaw when the robber struck and snatched the chain and sped away. In the second incident, two unidentified motorcyclists snatched a gold chain, a wristwatch and Rs 1,000 in cash from one Sunil Kumar near Palahi village late last night.

In third such incident, Ms Ashu was deprived of her gold chain when she was going by a rickshaw near the local Model Town last night. Though the police has registered cases, no arrests could be made so far. — TNS

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Burglary attempt foiled
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 18
Residents of Aman Nagar on the Khothra Road here foiled a burglary attempt on Sunday night. According to sources, a person tried to commit the crime by breaking open the door of the house of one Lahmber Singh, an NRI, who was settled in the UK. “I heard some noise in my neighbour’s house around 2 am. I woke up my other neighbours and surrounded the house,” said

Rajinder Singh, an immediate neighbour of the NRI. But the burglar managed to escape under the cover of darkness, he added.

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Body found
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 18
A pall of gloom descended on Saidpur village in Sultanpur Lodhi sub-division when the decomposed body of eighteen-year-old Amandeep Singh, who had been missing from his house in the same village for the past 12 days, was found from a well here today.

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