R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri

  • Hills, hawkers and history

  • That’s an idea to chew on

  • Fair treatment


project launched: 
To impart computer education to students from Classes VI to XII, the Punjab Government has kicked off an information technology project under which 2,878 government schools will be covered in its first phase, while the second phase would witness addition of 2,304 schools in the project. Finance Minister Surinder Singla stated this here on Saturday while laying the foundation stone of a girls’ college being raised by the Goodwill Society.

Gang of vehicle thieves busted
: The police has busted a gang of vehicle thieves who were responsible for a large number of thefts across the state. The kingpin of the gang, Veru, alias Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Ferozepore, was wanted in 12 vehicle theft cases. He was declared as proclaimed offender in various cases registered against him at Ferozepore after which he shifted his base to Gurdaspur.

Competition organised: The HDFC bank on Sunday organised a "Mega skill hunt competition" for the benefit of poor and disabled children.The event was inaugurated by Patiala MP Mrs Preneet Kaur at the Leela Bhavan branch of the bank. The zonal head of the bank, Mr Sanjeev Kumar and other officials of the bank were also present at the occasion.

office-bearers: Dr Manmohan Singh has been nominated chairman of the District Advisory Committee (PNDT) here on Saturday. Dr Karanjit Singh, Civil Surgeon, has been elected president of the committee. The other members who have been nominated are Dr Manmohan Singh Surgeon, Dr Sukhdev Singh Lauka, Dr Haripal Kaur Dhaliwal, Mr Daljit Singh Nagpal, Dr Minakshi, Mr Balbir Singh Ahuja, Ms Sarabjit Kaur and Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chohla.

Body found: The body of an unidentified Nihang of about 25 years was found hanging at the stairs of Gurdwara Goindwal Sahib, 24 km from here, on Saturday. The police said he had committed suicide. The police has lodged a complaint under Section, 174, CrPC.



Badal flays attack: The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on Sunday described the unprovoked police assault on the Hindustan Times photo-journalist, Mr Samuel N. Dass as "brutal". He said the uncalled-for incident is part of the government's ongoing policy of repression of the media and assured that his party would stand out for the freedom of the press.

Company gets award: Cipla, a leading pharmaceutical company, has won the prestigious "Scrip Award 2006" for the best company in an emerging market. Mr Kishore Pathak, plant manager of the company's unit at Baddi, hailed the award as the result of the dedication and hardwork of all the employees of the company. Mr Amar Lulla, Chief Executive Officer of the company received the award.

Educational tour organised
: Students of the JIIT, a Punjab Technical University learning centre here, visited Shimla on an educational tour on Wednesday. Mr Rohit Rajan, director of the institute, said the educational tours are an integral part of the professional courses run by the institute. The students feel that such tours should be organised from time to time as they help in grooming their personalities.

Laboratory opened: In an effort to provide relief to patients suffering from allergies, Medica Lab, the first ever clinical laboratory in the region, was inaugurated in Phase V of Mohali, on Sunday. Mr Bhupinder Singh, owner of the lab, said that the lab will provide testing facilities for all types of allergies. A Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme was also organised to familiarise professionals and medicos with the technology in the lab.

Annual function held: Dances and songs livened up the annual prize distribution function at DAV Senior Public School in Surajpur on Sunday. Mr Chander Mohan, Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana was the chief guest and Mr J.P. Shoor, the Director of DAV Public Schools, Haryana was the guest of honour. They encouraged the students with pearls of wisdom through their speeches. The function consisted of a variety of programmes from dances and dramas to prizes for outstanding students. To add to the festivity, Mr Chander Mohan announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the school.


Murder case solved
: The police has claimed to have solved the murder of an aged couple at Kanalsi village here with the arrest of five persons, including relatives of the deceased. One more accused in the case was still at large. Kiran Pal, a nephew of the deceased, Gagye Singh, and his son Pratap Singh were remanded to judicial custody by a local court, while the other three accused, Karan Singh, Naseem and Sushil were sent in police remand for one day. The sixth accused, Durga of Radaur, was at large.

Photographer duped
: A person posing as an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court disappeared after taking away a camera and other costly equipment valued at about Rs 2 lakh of a local photographer . After receiving a complaint, the police has started investigation in this case . In the complaint, photographer Harmik Singh has alleged that on November 28 one of his relatives, Devinder, who is a local advocate, came to his shop along with another person whose name he disclosed as Ram Pal Sharma advocate from Chandigarh and took away a camera and other equipment.



One killed in accident
: A new truck fell into a deep gorge near the Sangrah Telephone Exchange, 70 km from here, on Friday night. One person was killed and two were injured in this accident. The ill-fated truck was on its way to Haripur Dhar when it lost control and fell into a gorge.



Regional potpourri

Hills, hawkers and history

Bhupinder Chaurasia forms the fifth generation of a family of newspaper agents in Subathu, Himachal Pradesh.
NEWS SENSE: Bhupinder Chaurasia forms the fifth generation of a family of newspaper agents in Subathu, Himachal Pradesh. — Photo by Madan Gupta Spatu

Bhupinder Chaurasia, a grocery shop owner-cum-newspaper agent of Subathu in Shimla, and his forefathers have virtually been witness to the history of the area. Since 1890, they have been supplying newspapers, particularly The Tribune, to the residents as well as the VVIPs visiting the hillside.

After its establishment at Lahore in 1881,The Tribune was sent through the ‘harkara’ (mail carrier) to the Subathu cantonment. It was around 1890 that Lala Jawala Parshad, a grocery shop owner, took to selling newspapers.

In 1814, the Britons conquered Subathu’s Gurkha Fort and captured Gen Amar Singh Thapa there.

The Viceregal Lodge was built there for the then Viceroy as the summer capital long before Shimla was discovered by Captain Kennedy. Subathu was the first cantonment of the Shimla Hills where civilians also migrated from the plains of Punjab and UP, informs author and astrologer Madan Gupta Spatu.

Narayan Dass Chaurasia, following in his father’s footsteps, distributed periodicals and papers there between 1930 and 1960. The newspaper business was thereafter taken up by Maam Raj, a nephew of Narayan ‘Paanwala,’ as Chaurasia was popularly known in the area. Since his shop was like a news centre, Narayan Dass would gather tidbits from the cantonments of Kasauli, Dagshai and Jutogh and disseminate the same to the residents, who gathered twice a day to listen to his latest “bulletins.”

The legendary freedom fighter and revolutionary Bhagat Singh too visited Subathu for a secret meeting.

The Chaurasias, whose fifth generation is into the business now, have supplied The Tribune to several eminent personalities, including Rahul Sanskritayan, a noted Hindi litterateur, Devika Rani, a Dada Sahib Phalke awardee and silent era heroine, and G. D. Sondhi, the first Indian Principal of Government College, Lahore.

Indira Gandhi, who was a regular visitor to the area in the early 50s, used to procure national dailies as well as The Tribune from them.

Now, the newspaper agency is run by Bhupender Chaurasia. Undoubtedly, his shop stocks many contemporary papers and periodicals now, but The Tribune continues to occupy a pride of place.

That’s an idea to chew on

A Rs 41.8-lakh project is being undertaken by the CIRB, Hisar, to make cattle feed more easy to digest.
LAST-ING STRAW: A Rs 41.8-lakh project is being undertaken by the CIRB, Hisar, to make cattle feed more easy to digest.

Here’s news that’s not hard to digest. Haryana’s only buffalo research facility, the Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes (CIRB), Hisar, has been awarded a Rs 41.87-lakh research project by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, for developing technology to increase the digestibility of straw and other fibrous food for buffaloes.

Dr B. S. Punia, Director, CIRB, says about 500 million tonnes of crop residue is available every year for feeding animals in India. However, animals are unable to digest about 60 per cent of this food. There is a huge potential for increasing the digestibility of straw and poor quality fibrous feed in domestic ruminants by using superior fibre-degrading anaerobic fungus.

There is also a large scope for technology for the development of commercial enzymes and genetic engineering of microbes, he says.

The project will be carried out at the institute’s Nabha sub-campus in Patiala district. The technology is to be developed in three years and is expected to greatly ease the shortage of fodder in Punjab, Haryana and neighbouring Rajasthan, where thousands of milch animals are forced to migrate to other states in search of greener pastures.

On the one hand, the new technology is likely to help meet the shortfall of fodder, and on the other hand, it will check the wastage of crop residue used for feeding animals on account of low digestibility. 

As for the buffaloes, this certainly will be something new to chew on.

Fair treatment

Dr Robin Brar
Dr Robin Brar

A skewed sex ratio and the gender bias prevalent in the state pained this 27-year-old homeopath so much that he decided to crusade against it in his own way.

Dr Robin Brar, a homeopath based in BRS Nagar, Ludhiana, is providing healthcare free of cost to girls till they reach the age of five.

He is also educating parents not to kill the girl child in the womb. “We are just two brothers. We badly miss having a sister. Thus, providing treatment free of cost to girls is my way to salute womanhood,” he says.

The motivation to do something for the girl child came from the rising incidence of female foeticide in the country, especially Punjab.

An alumnus of Lord Mahavira Homoeopathy College, Dr Brar says that girls have long been victims of constant discrimination from parents as well as society at large.

“I have seen that people from poor families do not provide medicare to their daughters though they leave no stone unturned to take good care of their sons. My efforts are aimed at helping girls enjoy good health too.”

Since homoeopathic treatment is quite expensive, his father, R. S. Brar, who is a lecturer at Malerkotla, is funding his project for the time being. He feels that funds could be an obstacle in future, what with more and more parents of girls approaching him each passing day.

 Dr Brar says he has approached the Punjab Homoeopathy Council for help in this endeavour. The Council’s chairman, Dr P. S. Ranu, and member, Dr V. S. Brar, have already pledged complete support to his cause.


Contributed by Pradeep Sharma, Raman Mohan and Kanchan Vasdev

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