In careers rural girls follow city gals 
Sanjay Bumbroo & Ashok Sethi

Private institutions offering quality education have provided a great opening to rural girls who were felt constrained due to their parents’ orthodox attitude in pursuing higher education. Now, it has become easier for the village belles to assess college studies with profession courses

With the change in the mindset of rural folks, young women are venturing out into new vocational courses and finding it easy to rub shoulder and compete with their city-bred counterparts.

Faridkot’s Ms Amandeep Kaur, who is a commerce undergraduate at the BBK DAV College for Women, said she chose the college on her own to expand her horizon and would be able to compete with the city girls in a better way. Ms Amandeep felt confident enough that she would be able to pursue a career of her choice and would compete for a place in MBA from a prestigious institution of the country.

Earlier, only city girls were open to new careers and joining the professions dominated by the males but now rural girls were picking up courage, confidence, style and exuberance of their city counterparts.

The heartening aspect of present-day rural girls is that they are willing to chalk their own course in different professions, including office jobs and doing something different. Majority of rural girls find teaching as a convenient option.

In contrast, girls from the urban area seem to be more professional in their outlook as they were not only career conscience but were also trying to earn while in college by taking up tuitions and doing extra jobs such as running a boutique or beauty parlours. One such student of the same College Ms Nisha Rani, who is pursuing PGDCA (regular) and a resident of Sunder Nagar area of the city, said in her spare time she takes up odd jobs to supplement her pocket money and gets tremendous satisfaction by doing productive work.

There are hundreds of such instances where girls like Nisha find it easier to work during their spare time and earn money to blow up during college time. Serious career issue of these girls is settled as they can continue to pursue their part-time professions into full-time jobs after finishing studies.

The university and college curriculums offers vast range of professional and other job-oriented courses and the girls are making best use of the options, which include courses like M.Tech, B.Tech, MBA, IT and Honors courses besides fashion, textiles, interior designing and other career courses.

The Principal of the one of the leading women colleges with multiple options in professional courses, Mrs J. Kackria, said the institution was empowering women and making them self-reliant and confident. She said it had been her endeavor to make the present generation of women economically self-dependent who could independently chalk out their careers. She said the vast range of courses available, including conventional arts, commerce, computers, IT, besides courses in designs have created a new woman out of them.

She was confident that the variety and selection of courses would help them lead highly meaningful life and compete in the best of the world.



My City
Wah Amritsar, or Ah Amritsar
K.J.S. Ahluwalia

It is said you can love many women but only one city, for me it’s Amritsar. All cities too have two sides – positive and negtive. The city was established by Guru Ram Dass and designated as ‘City of Virtues’. Golden Temple, the epicenter of Sikhs, adds to its aura and attraction for one and all. Ram Tirath enhances its religious ranking further. It had the honour to be the summer capital of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the valiant Sikh warrior, besides being home to eminent Punjabi poet and theologian Bhai Vir Singh.

Gates of Amritsar are of enormous historic importance even today. Jallianwala Bagh massacre acted as a catalyst for gaining independence and is a heritage site. The city is proud to have educational institutions of excellence like Khalsa College, DAV College and Guru Nanak Dev University.

Direct telecast of Gurbani from Harmandar Sahib has a large audience abroad. Growth of international flights has put the city on the world aerial map.

Opening of the Wagah border has brought two distant neighbours closer. Plying of new and fast trains has increased its connectivity to various cities tremendously.

Outstanding individuals and institutions of medical services fetch notable number of patients from inside and outside the country. The holy city boasts of eating joints. Amritsari fish, kulcha –cholle, papad and warian are known far and wide. It’s a city which doesn’t go to sleep – courtesy international flights and kirtan recital from ‘Sachkhand’.

Now if we switch over to the dark side, Amritsar is a city where electricity is no guarantee. Encroachments are growing like a cancerous tissue and nobody seems willing to undertake surgery for reasons obvious.

Traffic has increased manifold and traffic police is more interested in whistling around to make their presence felt than in aiding in the smooth traffic movement. One or the other road is always being dug.

‘Kidneys’ (Sewers) are often in need of ‘dialysis’ and even in the non-rainy season overflow, emitting obnoxious smell.

Pockets of rubbish are part and parcel of the city’s property.

Though mega-malls and multiplexes are multiplying, yet in the absence of infrastructure they amount to having a fancy phone without a dial tone.

Trees are treated and felled at regular intervals without any inhibition. Peace is giving way to pollution – be it air pollution or noise pollution.

Like road to heaven is full of tests, troubles and torture, approach road to Golden Temple is a fitting reminder of the same.

Parking rules are violated more than observed. Shopkeepers have blocked the corridors meant for the conveniece of the general public.

Some have even erected fixtures to the utter disappointment of the pedestrians.

It is said if a law is enacted to tax those whose health is disproportionate to their known source of income, majority of citizens would face the music. The golden rule in the ‘City of Golden Temple’ is that gold rules.

Beggars are omnipresent and on Saturdays ‘Shani brigades’ also join in great numbers. The trolley carrying debris keeps parading on the roads till mid-day as if it’s a ‘float’ of the Municipal Corporation taking part in the Republic Day Parade.

Rehris and rickshaw act as speed-breakers and road-blocks in the city. 



Few takers for HP varsity programme
Tribune News Service

The Personal Contact Program (PCP), of the International Centre for Distance Education Open Learning (ICDEOL), Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, turned out to be a farce as only three students of M.Com turned up for the classes.

Other students didn’t receive letters regarding the PCP as they were dispatched by the university ‘very late’. The students were informed through ordinary mail about the PCP. The examinations are scheduled for the last week of November but the students are yet to receive study material.

There was only one teacher, Dr Kulwant Singh Rana, Professor of Commerce, on the first day. He would find it difficult to do justice to the syllabus in the given circumstances. Dr Rana had engaged a Professor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, to take classes but the permission from higher authorities is yet to be obtained.

Dr Rana admitted that the low attendance was due to ‘communication gap’ between the students and the university. A few years back more than 500 students would enroll for the classes.

Earlier, the PCP used to be held in October but this year it was held from November 6 to November 12. 



Hotelier Younis awaits Pak guests
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

 Mohammad Younis
Mohammad Younis 

Nostalgia keeps Mohammad Younis and his faithful old employees upbeat even in these difficult times. Once a prosperous, crowded, full-to-the-brim Younis Hotel misses its Pakistani customers, who patronised the establishment till the Indian Government banned their entry after Operation Bluestar in 1984.

The only Muslim hotel owner of the city, near Gol Hatti crossing of Hall Bazaar, Mohammad Younis remembers the glory days when his hotel used to crowded and all 30 rooms booked.

Mohammad Younis was born and brought up in Amritsar. During the Partition he decided to stay back in his home city while most relatives and friends migrated to Pakistan. Help came in from his friends in the holy city and he opened Younis Hotel to make both ends meet in 1951. It was the only business establishment run by a Muslim in the city at that time.

The hotel specialised in Kashmiri non-vegetarian fare and most visitors from across the border relished those delicacies here.

Even after the Partition, issuing of visas for visiting Pakistani nationals was quiet liberal. Many families who migrated to Pakistan visited Amritsar frequently and stayed in Younis Hotel.

However, things changed after Operation Bluestar. The Indian Government banned visit of Pakistani nationals in the border districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozpore. The ban affected the influx of customers to Mohammad Younis’ hotel too.

To add to the woes, about 20 rooms of the hotels were lost to the city master plan. The road carved into the area where the hotel was situated, and most rooms were demolished.

Now, the hotel attracts just a few Kashmiris who come to the city. It has only five rooms to house customers. “I find it hard to make both ends meet with the earning from the hotel. My children work as mechanics of electronic goods to sustain the family,” Younis says.

Despite the difficulties, Younis bravely carries on. He sees a silver lining in the move to get a visa centre for Pakistan opened at Amritsar.

It just may resurrect business for Younis Hotel. “People from the region face great difficulty to get visa for Pakistan these days. I am in my late 70s. Most of my relatives are in Pakistan. However, I do not have the capacity to stand in long queues of visa center at Delhi,” he said.

The old employees, who are still faithful to Mohammad Younis, also miss the old days. They still expect the heydays to return and then they would also be back in business. 



Father smells foul play in son’s murder case

Mr Pargat Singh (55), father of Gurmaninder Singh (24) who was shot dead two weeks back, has expressed dissatisfaction over the action taken by the police. The police has registered a case against only two while four persons were involved in the murder, he added.

Gurmaninder Singh was shot dead on the night of November 6 at Tarn Taran. One of the killers has been identified as Tiddu, alias Raju, of Tarn Taran, while the second person has not been identified as yet.

Meanwhile, Mr Navtej Singh, SHO city, said the police investigation revealed that there was only one killer. The deceased and the killer had a heated exchange when they were smoking drugs at the time of incident. The police has also failed to recover the pistol with which Gurmaninder was shot. Pargat Singh alleged that the pistol belongs to an influential person of the area, whose car Tiddu used to driver.

Mr German Jit Singh, a local municipal councillor, and Mr Satnam Singh, member of the local sub-division level Grievances Redressal Committee (both Congress party leaders), also expressed disappointment over the way the police had carried out the investigation.

Mr Pargat said the person who had called his son on the mobile should too be involved in the case. He also alleged that he had been receiving threats.



NRI heads California Medical Association
Our Correspondent

Anmol Singh Mahal
Dr Anmol Singh Mahal

Dr Anmol Singh Mahal, city-born NRI based in the USA, created a history of sorts when he took over as the president of the California Medical Association (CMA), a prestigious and influential medical organisation.

He became the first Indian to head the 35,000-strong physicians’ organisation on its 100th anniversary. Dr Mahal works at the Washington Hospital in Fremont and specialises in internal medicine and gastroenterology. He had also served as the chief of staff of the Washington Hospital Healthcare System.

Mahal went to the USA 33 years ago after receiving his medical degree from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He completed his internship in internal medicine at the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark.

Earlier, during an interview with the magazine ‘SPAN’ he said he had completed his fellowship in herpetology at the College of Medicine and Dentistry at New Jersey and fellowship in gastroenterology at the Stanford University Medical Centre, California, in 1977. Dr Mahal has two children, Subena (28), a family practice resident, and Vikram (23), a college student.

At present he is working on three projects: a free medical clinic at an Indian Community Center, a framework to bring medical services to millions of Californians who are not insured and setting policies to ensure access to medical care for all. He tried to bring one of the chief tenants of Sikhism, the philosophy of equality, into play as he grappled with the issues.



Vikas Manch for review of Halwara airport 
P. K. Jaiswar

Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM), an NGO for the development of the holy city, urged the Central Government to reconsider the decision to develop and upgrade Halwara Airport near Ludhiana to international standards.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the President, All-India Congress Committee (AICC), Ms Sonia Gandhi, and Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, Dr Charnjit Singh Gumtala, advisor and former president of the manch, said it would be better to invest and develop Amritsar airport rather than risk two airports in close proximity.

He asked the government to develop the Amritsar International Airport with the funds earmarked for the Halwara airport.

Dr Gumtala has mentioned provisions of the Civil Aviation Policy of 1934, according to which no fresh airport can be permitted within 150 km of an existing one.

The government sought a special waiver of this provision and decided to have another airport at Halwara – with air distance of only 100 km.

According to the policy, a new airport should not jeopardize the functioning or future of an existing airport.

He said bigger and more populous states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka had only one international port.

Even the USA and da didn’t have international airports as close as Amritsar and Halwara.

The decision to thrust a second airport on Punjab with a population of only 2.5 crore calls for a revision as it feels that the decision had been taken in view of the impending Vidhan Sabha elections in Punjab.

Dr Gumtala hailed the decision of former Prime Minister Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, who had sanctioned Rs 125 crore for the up-gradation of Rajasansi airport. 



Bamboo ladders is good business
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Climbing up has been made easy by advancement in technology in the form of lifts and escalators. However, the ladders made from bamboo still have good market in the city.

A bamboo market still flourishes on the Kot Atma Singh road. Bamboo traders are doing brisk business.

Surinder Singh, a bamboo trader, said his grandfather started the business about 40 years ago. Still the most commonly sold product in the market is the bamboo ladder.

The traders said the customers for bamboo ladders are the construction contractors and people from rural areas.

“However, now we are also diversifying. The people from the urban areas are also giving orders for making bamboo huts, ladders and decorated gates. The demand for the products is increasing and people are ready to pay for artifacts prepared from bamboos,” he said

The problem getting trained manpower for making decorated structures, however, still persists. Earlier the artisans were available in Punjab. However, these days it is hard to find Punjabi artisans.

Most of the labourers working in the bamboo market these days are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Since these labourers are migratory it is very hard to retain them. They generally return back to their home after sometime and one has to look for the new ones, the traders said.



Teachers support striking staff
Tribune News Service

The Teachers Union Khalsa College, Amritsar, has decided to support the non-teaching staff, which has been on strike for the past four days. They are protesting against the non-payment of arrears and management’s decision against paying them the salary for the one-day strike.

Union representatives, who hold a one-hour dharna everyday before the Principal’s office, have alleged that his attitude was anti-employee.

Arrears include enhanced dearness allowance in the salary. The teachers union has given an ultimatum to the management that the dues should be paid otherwise they would also join the agitation.

They also alleged that deduction of salary was also unjustified.

The teachers also condemned the move of the college management to break the dividers on the main road of the college.



Parking lot vacant while cars clog roads
Tribune News Service

The six-floor parking of the Amritsar Improvement Trust developed in Nehru Shopping complex on Lawrence road finds no takers. The Improvement Trust spent crores on the construction but has failed to move the vehicles parked on the roadside into the more than adequate parking space.

The biggest parking area developed in the city, where thousands of vehicles can be put had just a few two wheelers parked inside. Four wheelers can be parked up to the sixth floor in this multi-level parking.

Only one attendant manned the parking lot. No fee is levied. The vehicles are safe as a slip is issued. Even visitors to the Nehru shopping complex prefer to park their vehicles in front of the commercial establishment in the open.

The aim was to provide parking place for the vehicles coming to the Nehru shopping complex and decongest traffic on the posh market on the Lawrence road. Parking is a problem here, especially in the evenings. Vehicles are parked on the roadside, making it difficult for people to even walk let alone drive through the market area.

However, if vehicles are parked in the constructed area the problem can be easily tackled. Most people lack awareness about the new parking lot. The administration needs to act to decongest the traffic in the main market.



Stress on prevention on Diabetes Day
Our Correspondent

The preventive aspect was to the fore on the World Diabetes Day on November 14. A number of hospitals and social organisations launched a rally to educate people about the problems and effects of diabetes.

More than 230 million people across the globe suffer from diabetes. India has about 30 million diabetics.

More than 600 college and school students along with 200 senior citizens participated in the rally ‘Diabetes care for all’.

A quiz competition was also organized.

Escorts Heart and Super Speciality Institute brought out a special data that revealed that every 20th person in the state was a diabetic. The hospital planned to target people over 30 years and with a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

The Director, Fortis Hospital, Dr H.S. Gill, suggested regular medical check-ups to detect the onset of diabetes. If not detected, it could lead to higher risks and complications. 



MS Randhawa Award for Inderjit
Our Correspondent

Dr Inderjit Singh, a teacher in Baba Sohan Singh Senior Secondary School, Bhakna Kalan, Amritsar, has been given the MS Randhawa Award (Gian Sahit)-2006 by the Language Department, Punjab, for his book ‘Rahu-Reetan Te Teohar’ (Ritual and Festivals).

He received the award at a function at Patiala, from Mr Narinderjit Singh, Secretary, Higher Education, and Mr Mohan Ram Banga, Director, Language Department.

Expressing happiness over this achievement, he said it was his first book involving a lot of research and hard work.

Another book on the historic village of Bhakna Kalan was under publication while the Language department had given him a third project on holy city of Amritsar. 



Awareness rally

Members of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Society took out a rally in Amritsar on Thursday to spread awareness regarding the ill effects of drugs. The rally started from Kulwant Nagar and ended at the Jallianwala Bagh. The local MLA, Mr Om Parkash Soni, who is also the chairman of the society, said youths administered oath against taking drugs. OC



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