Unholy air around sacred pond
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

The pollution level in the holy city has crossed all limits. Amritsar is more polluted that the industrial city of Ludhiana. According to the data collected by the authorities of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), the suspended particulate matter (SPM) in Ludhiana is about 250 to 300 mg per cubic metre. However, in Amritsar it ranges from 350 to 400 mg per cubic metre cube against the acceptable upper limit of 200 mg per cubic metre.

Mr G. S. Majithia, executive engineer, PPCB, said the vehicular traffic contributes the most to the pollution in the city. There are 3,85,476 two-wheelers, 35,249 tractors and 2,082 buses running in Amritsar.

The survey was carried out in the area around Harmandir Sahib. Out of the 75 randomly selected vehicles running on diesel, 60 vehicles did not meet the pollution standard, which means 80 per cent are contributing to the pollution.

One of the inferences of study was that commercial diesel vehicles were being run on low-quality fuel. Many were being run on kerosene, which releases toxic fumes that are responsible for itching eyes and respiratory problems. It also adds lead oxide, sulphur dioxide and nitric oxide in the air.

Most petrol vehicles, 60 out of the 75, were found to adhere to the pollution norms.

The information about diesel vehicles was passed to the district transport authorities. However, no steps have been taken to check fuel and pollution standards.

The disposal of solid waste is another problem being faced by the city. About 400 tonnes solid waste is generated by the residents every day. The solid waste is dumped in an near residential colonies.

The Supreme Court had asked all local governments to identify places for dumping of solid waste and make arrangements for scientific management by 2008. The pace at which the authorities are preceding in Amritsar, it looks highly unlikely that the deadline would be met.



My City
Joy, culture & yummy cuisine
B.M. Singh

Our family, originally from Doaba, decided to settle permanently in Amritsar. It was unanimous and irrevocable. The simple reason - the city has an aura of its own, with beauty, vigour, sophistication and urbanity that is unmatched and compelling.

Amritsar, hub of tourism, is now fast welcoming medical tourism; with Escort Heart Hospital and Fortis, medical super-specialty hospitals, functioning for the benefit of the area. The city is already well-known for eye treatment in the region.

With fast mushrooming of shopping malls and hotels of international standards, the holy city is getting a bridal and modern look. New airport building with international traffic, which is picking up at a fast pace, is scripting a new chapter to the beauty of the city.

The city attracts tourists with its resplendent Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir, along with the historic Jallianwala Bagh, where hundreds of innocents laid down their lives on April 13, 1919, a milestone in the freedom struggle.

A sojourn to the city is not complete without a visit to the Wagah border, for the retreat ceremony. A look across the border, reveals people who look, speak and dress alike, and yet are separated.

The city is also known for its cuisine. From the delectable mahan di daal, parathas at Kesar da dhaba to the stuffed sumptuous kulcha with a dash of lassi available at practically every corner is so satisfying that it can lead even the chronic insomniac to sound sleep. The pace of life is still easy and laid-back despite invasion of multi-nationals with their new marketing culture.

The city also belongs to Bhagat Puran Singh, the saint and visionary, embodiment of compassion and service who built Pingalwara, a home for the disabled and destitute. All his life, Bhagat ji professed and practiced the saying: ‘Hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray’.

The city also boasts of famous educational institutes. The massive, majestic and grand Khalsa College on GT road leads to the Wagah border. Close by is Guru Nanak Dev University, that stands as a premium seat of learning and sports in Punjab.

Amritsar’s mention without their bejeweled, gorgeous women that takes one’s breath away with their graceful poise is incomplete.

Their love of diamonds is dazzling. A star among them is smart, bold and daring Ms Kiran Bedi, Magasaysay Awarde winner and police officer of stellar qualities.



‘Efforts needed to preserve heritage’
Tribune News Service

Sikhs have made sincere efforts to protect and preserve Guru Granth Sahib but have not made committed attempts to preserve heritage. These remarks were made by Dr Jaswant Singh Neki, former Director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical and Education Research, Chandigarh, while delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session of the two-day seminar on the “Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak: Evaluation of Main Sources” organised by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

With passage of time some additions were made to ‘Janam Sakhis’, so the oldest should be considered close to the reality. They were written with religious commitment and not from a historical perspective. They may have philosophical importance but the ‘sakhis’ could not be treated as authentic sources of history.

Persian sources were more reliable, but they were rare and not based on research. The ‘Nanakchandrodya’ epic by Dev Raj Sharma was the only authentic source in Sanskrit.

Eminent Punjabi scholar, Prof Pritam Singh from Patiala, said scholars who doubted the ‘Udasis’ (Travels) of Guru Nanak, should critically examine the old history of those places before expressing views.

While emphasising the need to conduct comparative study and research on Guru Nanak’s bani, he said the scholars needed to adopt a critical approach while researching Sikh history and religion.

Dr Jai Rup Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said the human society was at crossroads. Science, technology and explosion of knowledge had provided comforts but moral and spiritual values had denigrated. The need was to highlight and inculcate moral and spiritual values among our youth.



Ranjit Avenue losing sheen
P. K. Jaiswar

Ranjit Avenue is considered a posh area of the holy city, but it is fast losing its status. Developed by the Improvement trust, Ranjit Avenue is in bad conditions now.

Residents have voiced concern over its condition but no heed is paid by the authorities concerned.

The locality presents a shabby look. A resident said the roads were in shambles.

Large and deep potholes mark the road while the parks are also in an equally bad shape. The authorities, of course, claim the opposite.

The green belt is being maintained by the residents themselves as the authorities had express an inability to upkeep them.

Garbage dumps along the road greet the people. The municipal authorities have turned a blind eye to the mounds of waste, which eventually finds its way onto the road. Stray animals, especially dogs, are a nuisance.

Many children and residents have reported dog bites. Recently, poor water supply also added to the woes. The motor was repaired after four days, but the water supply is still poor.

The pavements are covered with congress grass, leading to an increase in skin and respiratory ailments. The green belt in the posh avenue is disappearing with each passing day but the authorities are not concerned.

In addition to all, push cart have encroached open space outside the markets, adding to the woes of the residents as well as the shopkeepers. 



Sanawar School days revisited
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pahuwind, an obscure hamlet in the Bhikiwind area of Amritsar, has the distinction of giving the first Indian Head Boy for prestigious Lawrence School, Sanawar. Septuagenarian Gur Bans Jasinder Singh, whose great-grandfathers Sardar Gulab Singh and Sardar Ala Singh were generals in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army, still gets nostalgic about his school days, narrating experiences of being among the first batch of Indian students in the school.

Before Independence he studied at Aitchison College, Lahore, where life was particularly pleasant. Students had servants to look after them. Mr Gur Bans Jasinder Singh took admission at Lawrence School, Sanawar, in 1948; Mr S.C. Cowell was the Headmaster and Mr E.G. Carter, the Principal of the school. Before Independence only children of British soldiers were allowed admission in the school. The difference at Lawrence School was tremendous. A royal military school, here students had to carry out their own chores.

Initially it was difficult for the young lad but he soon, adapted to the situation. The discipline in the school was strict. The Principal’s favourite quote was: ‘If you want to make man out of your child send him to Sanawar.’

After Independence, the number of British children in the school started decreasing as families moved to England or Australia. T. Chilmaid, who was the Head Boy, found it hard to control the growing strength of Indian students. One day a pillow fight between the Indian and British students took a serious turn. After that, the Principal summoned Mr Jasinder Singh from home and made him the Head Boy of the school. Besides commanding the morning parade, he had to control the students.

Mr Jasinder Singh, being an excellent athlete, commanded respect among fellow students. He was the captain of the hockey and football teams and the vice-captain of the cricket team. He has carefully saved the certificates issued by the school for excellence in various sports events.

“After leaving the school, I went there back in 1972 to get my son admitted there. About two years back I once visited the school to refresh my memories.

There are a lot of changes in the school these days. Though it has transformed from the colonial era, but still there is nostalgia of the old days.

“I wish to join the next Old Students Meet of Sanawarians with the hope that I would be able to meet my chums from the school,” he adds quietly. 



Shobha De’s Serendipity
Ashok Sethi

Celebrated writer, columnist, TV serial producer and a socialite-turned-fashion-diva stylist launched a new range of fashion line ‘Serendipity’ at Satya Paul’s show room in the holy city. The style icon was at her brilliant best while interacting with admirers and fans and said it was indeed a dream come true for her to pay obeisance at Golden Templealong with her daughter Arundhati.

She said about 10 years back she had dreamt of visiting the holy city and her wish was fulfilled when the Satya Paul group made her this offer. Harmandir Sahib has a strong spiritual pull which was indeed difficult to resist, she added.

Shobha De has authored 14 books and now plans to pen down 15th book soon. She is also has her hands full with a TV serial to got on Doordarshan national channel soon.

Shobha De gave the credit to her family who backed her in various vocations and interests that kept her going in spite of hurdles. The bottom line of success was her self confidence.

Fashion designing was just one of her hobbies. Talking about her strong family bonding, she said they inspired her to write and design.

Satya Paul, an international clothing brand, had encouraged her to set her own fashion line. It had allowed her to share her aesthetics with a large audience across the globe, and had given her a new dimension in her life.

Satya Paul Serendipity reflects Shobha De’s multi-dimensional personality that revels in unexpected discoveries and unplanned treasures.

Her outfits include diaphanous drapes and outfits in mosaic of designs, exquisite weaves, rich brocades, magic of phulkari, innovative saris, sensual use of zari, velvet and elegant quilting, which gives a new definition to elegance. 



Energy education park by month-end
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

At Pushpa Gujral Science City, near Kapurthala, work on the Renewable Energy Education Park is underway. It will be completed by this month. Dr R. Sharma, Director, says the Ministry of Non-Conventional Resources has provided funds for the energy park and technical assistance is from the Punjab Energy Development Agency. The park is being set up with an investment of Rs 1.75 crore.

Gadgets are being installed to impart training to students and visitors. The park will have solar power plant of 20 KW, solar water plant, solar streetlights, hydel centre for displaying various turbines, solar home, solar restaurant for exhibiting solar cookers and heaters and a 60-foot-high windmill.

However, for children a mini toy train that runs on solar energy, battery-operated cars and cycles, power generating drum and energy slip will be the added attractions.

Dr Sharma says everyday nearly 1,000 visitors, especially students, are visiting the science city. Spread over 72 acres, the science city opens from 9am to 7pm from Monday to Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays the visiting hours are from 9am to 9pm.

Regarding the future expansion plans, he says four new galleries — the Science of Sports, the Ecology and Environment, the Health and Biotechnology and the Emerging Technologies — will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore by March 2008.

The Gallery on Science of Sports will include virtual reality sport shows on cricket, tennis, football, etc, where visitors would enjoy the excitement and challenge of their favorite sports without ever having to set foot on a playing surface and investigate the mechanics of sport around an indoor field. A rock climbing facility will also set up in the gallery.

The Ecology and Environment Gallery would attempt to highlight issues such as global warming and pollution, identifying ways and means to mitigate their adverse effects with the help of models, dioramas, information panels and interactive computer-based programmes with touch screen facilities and plasma display panels.

A special theatre will be constructed, Object Theatre, showing programmes on effects of climate change and global warming. This show will create awareness regarding the causes of global warming, about its adverse effects and how to prevent the climate change in a unique manner with the use of film projection and objects.

The Ministry of Railways has approved to set up a railway gallery in the science city. The gallery will have a steam engine and engine simulators.

The Indian Meteorological Department has installed an automatic weather station linked to the Satellite Kalpana. This will be followed by setting up a satellite receiving station and weather forecasting information system.

In collaboration with the Philatelic Congress of Punjab, the science city will be displaying stamps on scientific subjects as a permanent feature. The stamps would be on scientists, scientific institutions, birds, animals and other related areas. The stamps would be periodically changed.

The science city has launched a totally computer-based learning system for physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology from Class 1 to XII. It would be possible to teach any of these subjects — on demand for any class.

On the demand from the schools and colleges to strengthen the botany-related exhibits, the science city has taken a number of steps.

A herbal garden which will have over 90 medicinal and aromatic plants has been set up. One part of the science city will also have trees of Punjab, which have cultural value.

The assortment of exhibits spanning various disciplines in the science city are basically incubators of scientific knowledge and the emphasis is more on hands-on exploratory learning rather than the formal text-based approach. Through innovative science exhibits, which stress aspects of everyday life.

The Air Force has also allocated one decommissioned MIG 23 for display.

“A dinosaur park is also being set up in an island surrounded by a water body. Indian dinosaurs will be displayed specifically and we are going to get 45 models of dinosaurs shortly,” Mr Sharma adds.



DD Punjabi in UK from January 26
Tribune News Service

Punjabis in the UK will be able to watch DD-Punjabi from January 26. Though the signal of the channel was available in the USA, but Doordarshan was trying to improve the reach of the channel there.

DD-Punjabi, according to Mr. Leeladhar Mandloi and Mr. Ashok Jailkhani, the Director General and the Deputy Director -General of the Doordarshan, were already available in nearly 144 countries.

“We have crossed almost all the hurdles now and we are ready for beaming of the DD-Punjabi in the UK from January 26, 2007. We have already finalized tie-ups over there.

Efforts are afoot to do a lot more things about DD-Punjabi signal in the USA,” said Mr. Mandloi, Mr. Jailkhani, and Mr. S.S. Rahman, the Director of the Jalandhar Doordarshan. 



Tarn Taran, Patti win kabaddi titles
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran zone boys won the kabaddi title while Patti zone was second at the two-day School Games of Tarn Taran district, which concluded at Tarn Taran. In the girls section Patti zone won the title while Tarn Taran had to settle for the second place. In kho-kho (B) Sarhali Mandan (Patti) were first and Bugha (Tarn Taran) were second.

More than 200 students from different elementary schools of the district participated in the games. Mr Paira Singh, District Education Officer (S), was the chief guest for the prize distribution function while Mr Gursharanjit Singh Mann, District Education Officer (E), presided over the function. 



Zara’s perfect world
Tribune News Service

Zara is a 21-year-old beautiful, sweet natured and well-mannered girl belonging to an upper middle-class Muslim family. She is in love with her childhood sweetheart Samar, a handsome young boy who was her classmate when they studied in the USA. After her studies, Zara comes back to her hometown, while Samar stays back in the USA for further studies.

Zeenat is Zara’s beautiful sister, who is married to Aamir. Zeenat and Aamir are very much in love with each other. The couple lives with Aamir’s family that includes Aamir’s mother, his aunt Gul Phupi and her daughter Shirin. Although Zeenat is a good daughter-in-law, Aamir’s Gul Phuphi hates Zeenat as her daughter Shirin was in love with Aamir and she still pines for him.

Zara’s world is perfect. Her happiness knows no bounds as Samar will be arriving after three months and will ask for Zara’s hand in marriage. All their dreams of coming together and leading a happily married life will be coming true very soon. But just as she starts dreaming about her wedding, Zeenat asks Zara for a favour that will shatter her dreams. She has to choose between her sister Zeenat and her love Samar. If Zara chooses to help her sister, she will lose Samar forever. If she does not, her sister may not be able to save her own marriage. For more see SaharaOne from Monday to Friday.



Another honour for Rashmi
Tribune News Service

Rashmi Sharma, a gold medalist in law from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has added another feather in her cap when she received the ‘State Meritorious and Excellence Award’.

She had been conferred the award by the Chairman, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Justice R. L. Anand, at the annual awards ceremony held at Phagwara. A silver souvenir was also presented to her by District and Session Judge of Kapurthala.

It is pertinent to mention here that Ms Rashmi had topped the Punjab Civil Services (Judicial) Examination held early this year. Dr Balram Gupta, senior advocate Punjab and Haryana High Court, was conferred with the ‘Nyaya Rattan Award’ while advocate B.S. Ohri from Hoshiarpur, Dr S. Mahindera, Dr S. S. Joshi, Mr Sheetal Vij and Engineer S. K. Gupta also received awards.

Mr Justice Anand highlighted the importance of human rights and also recommended to the Punjab Chief Secretary to set up ‘Friends Commission’ at the sub-division and district levels to involve NGOs to protect the right of the citizens. 



Hi-tech sanitation

The Municipal Council, Tarn Taran, has become the first civic body of the state to introduce special cycle-rickshaws fitted with plastic bins to collect garbage from the houses in old parts of the town.

Mr Jatinder Kumar Sood, President of the MC, said the council had purchased 10 rickshaws for the purpose. It would help the council to improve the sanitary conditions in the town. The council was in sound financial condition, so the decision was taken to launch the system.



Dhillon shooting coach for Asiad

Tejinder Singh Dhillon
Tejinder Singh Dhillon

Ace shooter Tejinder Singh Dhillon, Deputy Inspector-General, CRPF, Jalandhar range, has been selected as the coach of the shooting team for the Asian Games being held in Doha till December 10.

He also represented the country as a coach in the 49th World Shooting Championship held at Croatia from July 22 to August 6. During the meet, India bagged six medals, including three gold medals. Dhillon had also participated in the ISSF World Cup held in China this year. — TNS



Award for Dukhi

Amarjit Singh Dukhi
Amarjit Singh Dukhi

Mr Amarjit Singh Dukhi, Principal, Mai Bhago Government Polytechnic for Girls, Majitha Road, has been given the prestigious ‘Bharat Jyoti Award’ by the Indian International Friendship Society (IIFC). The presentation will be on December 7 in New Delhi.

The IIFC is a leading voluntary organisation, which advocates economic growth and national integration. It champions the cause of forging friendship between individuals, corporations, regions, religions and nations. — TNS



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