Youth takes to yoga 
Sanjay Bumbroo and Ashok Sethi

Driven by faith a large number of patients in wheelchairs, crutches, physically challenged, young and old descended on the city from far off places.

Kanwaljit Singh, alias Pretty, paralysed from neck down patiently waited along with his family for an audience with Swami Ramdev. He had an accident three years ago and broke his spine.

The perceived hatred between the people of the two neighboring counties was not a natural phenomenon but had been generated by vested interests for their selfish motives, said Swami Ramdev during his visit to the Wagah border for the Retreat ceremony. He said the people of both countries shared common heritage and belonged to the same region with rich culture and tradition. The politicians kept the people of the two nations apart to fulfill their aspirations, he added.

Ramdev waived at the Pakistani crowd due to Friday holiday and said he was pleased to note that the people across the line had acknowledged his presence. He said he was willing to teach yoga to his Pakistani friends and expected an invitation from them. 

Swami Ramdev was in his element while interacting with 2,000 jail inmates, exhorting them to take up yoga to uplift themselves. Describing the Amritsar Central Jail, where the there had been a series of reforms, as the most corrective place in the country he said the inmates had been provided with the opportunity to expand their horizons by undertaking several courses run by distant education centre of Guru Nanak Dev University. The visit was an eye opener for him.

It should be declared a model jail and all others in the country should replicate the reforms.

Yoga guru Swami Ramdev has carved a niche following throughout the country as well as abroad. During his six-day sojourn in the city people of all ages thronged to have a glimpse of the guru and learn a few health tips.

The welcome was phenomenal and city residents visited his yoga camp to find cures for all types of ailments, ranging from cancer to AIDS, besides obesity and lazy habits.

Institution, schools, colleges, professional institutions, social organisations, shrines clamored for his visit.

The daily morning camp from 5 am to 7 am saw more than 20,000 enthusiastic participants in various age groups learning yoga and pranayam exercises. Swami Ramdev had answers to all health queries. Offering basic tips about leading a purposeful and healthy life, he emphasized upon the need to rise early, have simple food habits and exercise.

The yoga guru also bonded with the young with equal ease. He told students at Bhawans SL Public School that they had tremendous talent and potential and could achieve results with single-minded devotion.

Their (the students) parents had provided them good schooling and now it was their turn to contribute to the society.

The President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, came from a poor family but achieved the highest position in the country through sheer determination and hard work, he added.

Talking about himself, Swami Ramdev revealed that he also came from a poor rural family and he had reached the present position through grit and devotion.

Exhorting young students to live upto their potential, he cautioned them against being distracted by trivial and frivolous things in life.

More than 30 Ayurvedic doctors from Haridwar came along with swami. According to an estimate, more than 10,000 people from the city as well as from outside visit the OPDs at the camp site.

The main organiser of the camp said the patients were provided treatment and medicines on the spot.

Full-fledged makeshift dispensaries and OPDs were set up at the camp site on Ajnala road, besides a similar OPD at his camp house on Maqbool road.

According to estimates, donation from entry fee was about Rs 1.30 crore, which would be used to set up ‘Pitanjali Yogpith Trust. 



GND varsity celebrates 37th foundation day
Tribune News service

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has emerged as a trendsetter in the field of higher education, keeping in step with the fast changing world of knowledge by synthesising the traditional with the modern. Established in 1969, the university celebrates its 37th foundation day on November 24.

The university has earned five star level status from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).

The Centre for Genetic Disorders of the university has added another feather in its cap by identifying three new cataract causing genes in Indians. The three genes control the development of ‘fan-shaped, cerulean and sutural cataracts.

Research grant of Rs 25,000 to Lecturers for projects has already been approved. A provision of Rs 5 lakh is being made for research scholars who intend to publish their research papers in international journals but can not do so for want of financial constraints.

The university had explored possibilities to promote academic and cultural exchange programmes with Austria. The Austrian Ambassador in India, Dr Jutta Stefan-Bastl and Prof (Dr) Brigitte Winklrhner, Network Coordinator of Austrian universities, visited the campus recently.

The university made special provisions for the meritorious poor students to raise the standard of education in the backward border areas. Free wireless connectivity would be provided to students soon.

The university has excelled in sports and cultural activities as well. It has won the coveted Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy, the highest inter-varsity sports award in the country, 19 times. The university has so far produced three Padma Shris and 25 Arjuna awardees in various sports disciplines.

In the recent years, more than 1,000 students have been placed with various national and multinational companies by this the Placement Cell.

It has adopted the university-Industry Linkage Programme of the UGC. The AICTE has recently sanctioned a grant of Rs 8 lakh to strengthen the Industry-Institute Partnership Cell. 



Salary, staff troubles in Tarn Taran

The historic town of Tarn Taran is still waiting for the approval of the Finance Department to start functioning fully as a revenue district. Due to the delay, most offices are functioning without regular staff. The town, established by the fifth Sikh Guru Arjun Dev, was declared a revenue district by the state government on the 400th death anniversary of the Guru Arjun Dev in June.

Mr Ranbir Singh Mudhal was appointed the District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) here but he is still drawing his salary from Moga whereas the accountant, sent here on deputation, is drawing her salary from Guru Har Sahai. Two clerks in the office were transferred here from Gandiwind and Chohla Sahib.

Mr Ranbir Singh Mudhal, DDPO, said the budget for the department had not been sanctioned as the approval from the Finance Department was pending. The DDPO has to look after about 550 village panchayats of the district.

The Departments of Education, Agriculture, Horticulture and others, where the government had deputed officers but the subordinate staff was yet to be appointed, suffered the same fate. The departments concerned had made temporary arrangements by bringing staff here from other offices. Even, the office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) is functioning in a similar fashion.



My City
Heritage under threat
Brij Bedi

Amritsar, my city and the city of our Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, stands vandalised. It is crying for attention as its very character of a holy city, of glorious past and heritage is being destroyed by insensitive administration and unconcerned citizens. Everyday, thousands of devotees visit the holy city to pay obeisance at Harmandir Sahib but the administration had turned a blind eye towards providing facilities to them.

Amritsar’s Mall Road has been converted into a road of malls with no parking space. Lahore has preserved its prestigious boulevard Mall Road but we have converted it into a commercial road, destroying its royal look and the basic character.

The ancient city is rich in heritage and known for architectural marvels. Many old buildings had the wall paintings in the traditional art form of frescos but no effort was made to save them and gradually decay has set in. Many historical buildings have disappeared while others are being pulled down. The latest casualty is the first-ever educational institute of the city, the Saragarhi School, which is over 150 years old. The building is being demolished for a parking lot. What to talk about preserving, our Municipal Corporation is so callous that it has even built a toilet on the last of the 12 gates built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh around Ram Bagh.

There is no traffic plan and management. Almost all main roads are encroached upon and even the surroundings of the Railway Station have not been spared. We can see scores of buses and other vehicles parked in no parking zone on the highly congested GT Road. On the Railway Road one can see almost 20ft of road encroached by cycle sellers. The traffic police has turned a blind eye to the traffic menace. With increasing traffic on the roads, the city is being choked by dividers all over the city. No where else in the world dividers are constructed in the middle of the road, as they have simply marked the road to divide it into two parts.

It was said that the modern bus stand would smoothen traffic flow on the GT Road, but a parallel bus stand operates in the presence of the traffic police, which is nothing but a bunch of dummies.

Same goes on Queens Road, Lawrence Road, Hukam Singh Road, Ram Bagh, and Katra Jaimal Singh. In fact, Amritsar has become encroachers’ paradise. Footpaths are completely encroached upon. The Municipal Corporation has destroyed the skyline by letting advertisers put up hoardings all over the town. Pavements have been made into strategic hoarding sites caring a damn for the law, even the High Court orders are violated with impunity.

Walls of private and government buildings in the holy city have been defaced by ugly political and obscene posters, which have been prohibited by the High Court. Vulgar and obnoxious posters and graffiti can be seen all over the city. The latest feature in the city is of land scams by politicians and affluent persons, which are highlighted by the media every day.

The industrial tag of this city is almost vanishing. Today most of the industries have been converted into marriage palaces or into small colonies. Our city was known for it gardens but these are the things of the past. Today, the famous Company Bagh is almost barren with very little green area. Instead of planting trees, we are installing steel structures for hoardings.

The corporation is demolishing traffic islands and installing horrendous looking lights, spending lakhs of rupees. They have also failed in garbage management, as open trolleys litter garbage on city roads. God save us.



Accident victims remembered
P. K. Jaiswar

The increase in vehicular traffic has also led to a rise in the graph of road mishaps and causalities. Many families have thus lost bread earners and many innocent persons have lost their lives.

Remembrance Day was observed in memory of those killed in road accidents. Mr S. S. Srivastav, the district police chief, asked the people to abide by traffic rules, as majority of accidents occurred due to violation of these norms.

According to data about 78, 000 persons were killed in road accidents all over the country in 2005 while 3,500 died in Punjab and 82 persons lost their lives in accidents in the holy city. He expressed concern over the rapid increase in number of accidents all over the district. There was an urgent need to create awareness among the masses in this regard, he added.

Prof Balwinder Singh of Guru Nanak Dev University held the shortcomings in the road structures and layouts responsible for the increase in number of accidents. He said the increase in drug addiction among the people was also responsible for many accidents. The non-implementation of traffic rules by the authorities concerned, interference by political leaders into the traffic management and implementation of rules, and driving by underage children had made matters worse, he said. 



City Military Hospital gets Rs 5 crore, radiologist 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

The Armed Forces Medical Services has allocated Rs 5 crore to the Military Hospital in the holy city, besides filling the post of a radiologist. Vice-Admiral V.K. Singh, Director-General, Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), said Rs 500 crore was being spent to modernise facilities to provide high-quality health service to the serving Defence personnel and former servicemen. Technical training would also be provided to medical and paramedical staff to keep them informed of the latest developments in healthcare.

The Director-General was in Amritsar for a two-day visit to inspect and review military hospitals, field medical units and medical camps and social uplift activities carried by the Army under aegis of the Panther Division in liaison with the civil administration for former servicemen as well as the civil population in Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts.

Expressing satisfaction over the functioning of Amritsar Military Hospital, Vice-Admiral Singh said modern equipment was being acquired for the hospitals to streamline medical facilities. He said water-borne ambulances had been provided to evacuate soldiers in rough weathers in high seas. He claimed that the AFMS has succeeded in bringing down the casualties to 0.1 per cent from about 70 per cent.

The AFMS was fully equipped and prepared to meet any eventuality in case of a nuclear war. It was capable of providing first aid between two to six hours to even far-flung areas during natural disasters. He said special ambulance helicopters, equipped with ICU facilities, would soon be introduced to provide first aid to critically injured soldiers.

Later, he paid obeisance at Harmandir Sahib, Durgiana Temple and visited the historic Jallianwala Bagh. He also participated in the Retreat Ceremony at Wagah Joint Check Post.

Medical camp at Dagtut

To strengthen the bond between the Army and the local population, the Panther Division held a medical camp during a health exhibition at Dagtut village under Ajnala Tehsil in Amritsar district. The effort was to provide health care services to the people of the border belt.

Major-Gen KMS Shergill, VSM, GOC Panther Division, said it would not only alleviate the ailments and hardships of the people but also provide specialised medical treatment.

The stressed of the camp was on healthy living. Financial grant was also given to the Dagtut Secondary School for renovation, ceiling fans and sports equipments. The Ravi Brigade has adopted the village for overall improvement. Brigadier Sarabjit Singh, Commander, Ravi Brigade, said besides expert treatment and free medicines, awareness would be spread in the border population about preventive and curative measures against de-addiction, female foeticide, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.

The Border Roads Organisation put up stalls to educate the local youth about recruitment process. Interested youth would also be provided training for recruitment. The state fisheries and horticulture departments also put up stalls.

The camp was attended by more than 5,000 people. Display of Army equipment, Army bands and entertainment troupe programme was organised. Former servicemen were given sewing machines and financial aids by Col N.S. Randhawa, District Director, Sainik Welfare.



VC advocates NCC for all
Tribune News Service

If India is to grow as a disciplined nation, it would have to make NCC compulsory at school, college and university levels, according to Dr Jai Rup Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University. While addressing officers and NCC cadets of Amritsar group, he said NCC played a great role in ensuring discipline, which helped a person excel in life.

He quoted Israel as an example, where all citizens were given compulsory military training to make them disciplined. India should follow Israel, he added.

Speaking on the occasion Brig D.C. Katoch, Deputy Director-General, NCC, said India had 13 lakh NCC cadets, the highest in the world.

The NCC was being extended to rural and semi-urban areas. There were schemes to provide job opportunities to cadets who have cleared the ‘C’ certificate level. He said so far 500 cadets had cleared that level. The NCC Directorate had launched its own website where the names of all successful ‘C’ Certificate cadets would be put for placement with MNCs. A professional counseling centre was also being set up for the cadets.

Laying more emphasis on physical activities, Brig Katoch advised the youth to make regular exercise a part of their lives. He also exhorted them to stand up against social evils like drugs, dowry and female foeticide.



Teachers stand by protesting staff

The Khalsa College Teachers’ Union has extended full support and solidarity with the protesting non-teaching employees and their genuine demands. They have been on strike against the management since November 12.

The union decided that a deputation would meet the authorities concerned to sort out the matter amicably so that a congenial environment prevailed in the historic college. Mr Daljeet Singh, secretary of the union, clarified that no ultimatum had been given to the college management on the issue. — OC



Helping the needy in Thailand
Tribune News Service

Narotam Singh Narang
Narotam Singh Narang

Mr Narotam Singh Narang, a Thailand-based non-resident Indian and president of the World Punjabi Organisation (Thailand chapter), is trying to do the needful for the economically weak in Thailand.

He arranges ‘Anand Karaj’, school or college fee for children, cataract surgery for the aged and bypass surgery for those who can’t afford them.

He had also urged the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, to restrain managements of gurdwaras from charging fees for ‘Anand Karaj’ and other religious functions.

Talking to The Tribune, he revealed that once a Sikh gentleman Mr Kashmir Singh contacted management of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha, the only gurdwara in Thailand. They demanded fees from him as they charged people from overseas.

Mr Kashmir Singh then contacted him through Ms Gurdev Kaur, a teacher at a Sikh school run by the Dharam Prachar Committee (DPC). Mr NArang then arranged for the ‘Anand Karaj’ at his house and made arrangements for the whole function without charging Mr Kashmir Singh.

Mr Narang had established Dharam Prachar Committee for educating children about Sikh religion, heritage and culture.

He said there were two groups – senior group has children from 9 to 20 years while the junior group consists of children between 4 to 8 years.

Mr Narang was nominated the chairperson of an international committee by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib in Bangkok, Thailand. He is also the president, Lions Club of Krungdhon District 310D, and heads the NRI Welfare Society of India (Thailand Chapter) and India-Thai Chamber of Commerce.



Weekly Roundup
Road work in Focal Point inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mr Sardool Singh Bandala, Minister of Excise and Taxation, inaugurated the work for construction of roads in Focal Point area on Mehta Road. Mr Bandala assured the members that all the roads would be constructed with the best quality of material. Earlier, the minister was welcomed by Mr D. S. Goraya, president. and other office-bearers of the Focal Point Industries Association.

Lecture on movies

Mr James Aubery from Denver and a Fullbright scholar from the USA, delivered an interactive talk on Bollywood movies and their influence on Hollywood at Khalsa College for Women, Amritsar. He shared colorful experiences and knowledge of Indian movies with receptive students of the college.

Dhadi chief

Mr Baldev Singh MA has unanimously been elected president of the Shiromani Dhadi Sabha, Punjab. Seven resolutions were also passed on the occasion, including creation of a welfare fund for the dhadis who had served the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) dedicatedly for whole life, installation of portraits and photographs of two dhadis - Daya Singh Dilbar and Pandit Mohan Singh Ghariyala in the Sikh museum, for the completion of Giani Sohan Singh Sital Dhadi Kavishar College, Wadali Guru, and to take action against those who raised doubts about the authenticity of Dasam Granth.

Mehndi competition

Jagat Jyoti High School, Mahan Singh Gate, organised a mehndi and rangoli competition in which about 100 students of the school participated.

Rich and Ritu got the first position in the rangoli competition, Gurpreet and Rohini stood second and Madhvi, Radhika, Shamili and Kajal were declared joint third. In the mehndi competition Nisha and Sonu of Class X secured the first and second positions, respectively while Silky stood third. 



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