Illegal clubs continue to flourish in Rambagh
Manish K. Singhal
Tribune News Service

Even after several years of expiry of the lease, four clubs continue to function in the heritage building of Rambagh. The district administration has done nothing to evict them and put an end to the illegal activity. The clubs have been here for more than three decades.

The matter is in the court of the Subdivisional Magistrate for a final decision and the local administration is reluctant to evict Amritsar Club, Services Club, Lumsten Club and Merchant Club from the complex.

The officials said the Municipal Corporation had filed a civil suit to evict these clubs under the Punjab Public Princes Eviction Act. The case was earlier filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which directed the case to the SDM.

According to officials of the Amritsar Vikas Manch, these clubs were given a limited period, which expired a long time back. “The Deputy Commissioner who is responsible for stopping illegal activities is the Chairman of Amritsar Club whose lease expired in 1988,” said the general secretary of the manch.

Amritsar Club was allotted 14,620 sq yards of space for nine years on November 1, 1979, under resolution No 94. The lease expired on October 30, 1988, but it continues to occupy 15,340 sq yards of area. The president of this club is the Deputy Commissioner.

Services Club was given a lease under resolution No 1017 on August 17, 1981. It was given 10,893 sq yards of space and now it has acquired 11,180 sq yards.

Lumsten Club, which is also situated on the same premises, was given a lease of nine years on August 25, 1981, under resolution No 1081. The lease expired on October 31, 1989, but the club is still functioning from the premises.

It was given an area of 13291 sq. yards but now it has acquired 15022 sq yards.

Under resolution No 1157, Merchant Club was given 728 sq yards for a year on November 30, 1979. The club is still running without permission.

It clearly shows that law is different for different people.

“We have also given eviction orders to the Municipal Corporation, Amritsar, but nothing has been done so far,” said Mr C.J. Kaul, in charge, Archaeological Survey of India, Amritsar. He said Rambagh and its buildings came under the ASI and no club was allowed on the premises as per the rule of the ASI. Apart from this, vehicles also ply inside Rambagh, which was also against the rules laid down by the ASI. 



Petty crime rises in holy city
P. K. Jaiswar

The year 2006 closed with about six big incidents of robbery and theft. A salesman of a leading ophthalmologic instrument manufacturing company was robbed off a laser eye machine worth Rs 15 lakh when he landed in city to deliver the machine to a leading eye specialist. The police remained clueless as foggy weather and swear cold conditions immobilised the force, especially late in the night and early morning.

The year gone by reported a two-fold increase in cases of theft, looting, burglary and snatchings. The business community was targeted by looters in particular. In one such incident armed car-borne looters snatched Rs 57,000 from a businessman on the Majitha road area. They fired at him but he managed to escape unhurt.

A large number of petty incidents of chain and purse snatchings remained unreported as the victims, fearing police inaction and harassment, failed to register the incident.

As many as 340 theft cases were reported in 2006 as compared to 117 cases in 2005. Besides, the city also witnessed five dacoity incidents, while there were no such incidents during the corresponding period in 2005. There were 15 cases of snatchings compared to four cases the year before. The city reported 12 cases of burglary compare to 50 cases in 2005.

Interestingly, unemployed educated youths hooked on drugs have adopted a novel modus operandi to hoodwink gullible individuals and make good their escape with high-tech computer laptops and mobile phones from the busy shopping areas of the Mall Road and the Lawrence Road. Police sources said the department had received more than 10 complaints of this kind in the past few months.

The cases pertaining to the seizure of narcotics and the number of detentions increased phenomenally. According to the available information, 290 cases were registered last year as compared to 160 cases in 2005, besides seizure of huge quantity of heroin and intoxicants.

Crime against women has also shot up in 2006. As many as 13 cases of rape were registered in the district compared to five the year before. Five dowry deaths were reported this year while it was four in 2005.

Meanwhile, murder cases showed a marginal decline as the police registered 44 cases compared to 47 murder cases in 2005. Out of these, 12 cases were of blind murders. Six out of these 12 blind cases have been solved. There were 42 cases of attempt to murder while it was 26 in 2005. There were 25 cases of kidnapping registered this year, while the number of these cases was 20 during 2005.

The police said there was an increase in the crime graph due to various reasons, including rampant commercialisation, large-scale migration from poor pockets of other states. It has been compounded by liberalised economic policies, which lent a new dimension to criminal activities. The increase, according to police authorities is also due to the fact that the police was not concealing records of criminal cases. 



Encroachments in walkers’ way
Manish K. Singhal
Tribune News Service

Encroachments on footpaths have become a big nuisance in the city. Rehriwalas and shopkeepers encroach upon the space to sell their goods, installing their rehris or extending their counters on to the footpaths illegally leading to traffic chaos and inconvenience to the public.

The Municipal Corporation may have made footpaths for pedestrians but a majority of them have been encroached upon. The police and corporation officials are getting a monthly sum from these people to continue their illegal activities.

Officials of the Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) said these encroachments forced the pedestrians to use roads, causing blockage of traffic. “Long queues of vehicles can be seen on city roads. All of them are a result of illegal extensions made by the shopkeepers and the rehriwalas,” said Mr Amrit Lal Mannan, general secretary, Amritsar Vikas Manch.

The AVM has also asked for details from the corporation under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in which the corporation has clearly mentioned that footpaths were made for the pedestrians and no one is allowed to encroach upon them.

From the year 1997 to 2007, the corporation spent crores to make these footpaths. Mr Mannan said if the corporation wanted to give them for business purposes, then it should earn revenue from them. All major roads near Darbar Sahib, Hall Gate market, Lawrence Road, MM Malviya Road, Queen’s Road and more have large volume of traffic even during non-peak hours. It was the result of encroachments that the corporation officials ignored them for their vested interests,” he added.

He said that if all encroachments were removed the traffic flow would be smooth and the pedestrians would also get space to walk.



Still not major tourist destination
Gurinder Singh Johal

Amritsar is a place of great historical and religious importance, both for Sikhs and Hindus. People from different communities, religions and regions come to the city along with foreign tourists but the city is still not among the major tourist sites like Jaipur, Udaipur, Goa, Shimla and McLeodganj.

Tourists from Italy and Spain come to Amritsar from July to September while British and Americans come from October to March. Very few tourists come from Australia, others European countries and Israel come to Amritsar. Lack of promotion of Amritsar as a tourist destination is the main cause of few visitors.

The main attraction is Harmandir Sahib, followed by Jallianwala Bagh. There they don’t like the litter thrown by the visitors and un-operational fountains around the memorial.

Tourists love to walk the old streets but much to their dismay when they see old building with Nanakshahi bricks in a pitiable condition; buildings with beautiful frescoes spoiled due to ignorance of the administration. The heritage needs to be saved to promote tourism in the Amritsar.

Management of Ram Bagh is another area of concern. The museum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is worth visiting. Many of his courtiers belonged to European countries like France, Germany, Italy and Poland. The panorama is also interesting but the management by the corporation is bad.

The retreat ceremony at the Wagah is a treat to watch. But foreign tourists are astonished to see onions, potatoes, tomatoes rotting in loaded trucks waiting for their turn for custom clearance.

Rampant use of pressure horns and traffic chaos also causes problems for tourists.

They have to face inconvenience when they find offices of the tourist information offices at the airport and railway stations closed. Tourist information offices close after 5 pm while most flights and trains arrive after 5 pm. 



Weekly Round-up
State Bank of India hold pensioners’ meet
P. K. Jaiswar

The State Bank of India, Rani Ka Bagh branch, organised a pensioners’ meet on the occasion of the inauguration of the ATM machine in the branch. The pensioners were welcomed with a shower of flowers. They were also honored on this occasion. Mr R. S. Chhina, secretary Khalsa College, was the chief guest and inaugurated the second ATM machine installed in the branch.

Calendar released

The Centurion Bank of Punjab released the New Year calendar to commemorate the services and the fifth birth centenary of Baba Budha Ji, the first Chief Granthi of Golden Temple. Giani Gurbachan Singh, Head Granthi, launched the first calendar at a special function held at Information office of Harmandir Sahib.

Blood donation camp

A voluntary blood donation camp was organised at the Railway health unit at Amritsar where about 10 railway employees from the Civil Engineering Department donated blood. A team of doctors led by Dr Jaideep Singh visited the camp. Rotary Club, Amritsar, offered refreshment for the donors. Mr B. M. Singh, a retired engineer donated blood at the age of 70 for the 44th time.

Yoga teachers honored

As many as 42 Yoga teachers were honored by Mahant Shri Anantanand Ji Maharaj and Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, MLA and Chairman Improvement Trust, during the inaugural ceremony of Shri Krishna Yog Divya Centre in Nehru Shopping Complex at Lawrence road. Dr Anurag Saxena of Haridwar, who conducted free check-up camps and Dr (Mrs) Sukhdeep Verma were also honored on the occasion. Mr Manvinder Singh, SP and Mr Lakhwinder Singh were among those present on the occasion.

Amway camp

The corporate communication head, Mr Jatinder Vashisht, said Amway, in collaboration with the Red Cross Society and Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, organised a blood donation camp at its office in Ranjit Avenue. The Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti, inaugurated the camp where over 30 units of blood were donated by the distributors of the Amway Corporation.



Seminar on herbal drugs at Patti
Our Correspondent

The two-week national-level seminar on the theme of “Challenges and techniques involved in Standardisation of Herbal drugs” organised at Shahid Bhagat Singh (SBS) college of Pharmacy, Patti, proved to be successful for updating the knowledge and teaching skills of pharmacy teachers. The seminar was sponsored by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

As many as 50 delegates from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and New Delhi, besides Punjab, participated in the seminar. Dr V. K. Arora, Registrar, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, was the chief guest on the concluding ceremony while Dr S.H. Ansari, Professor of Pharma-cognsy, Jamia Hamdard was the chief guest on the occasion.

Dr A. N. Kalia, former Head, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Dr P. Gupta, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology, Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, Dr N. N. Mahadevan, Dr S. S. Ganti, Dr M. Ali, Dr F. Jalees, Dr Sayeed Ahmed (herbal drugs specialists) were also present. A book was released by Dr V. K. Arora on the occasion.

In his address, Mr Rajesh Bhardwaj, Managing Director, SBS Educational Society, lauded the contribution of the professionals. Mr Ram Iqbal Sharma, Chairman of the society, talked on the quality of education in rural areas. Dr Hayat M. Mukhtar, Co-ordinator and Principal of SBS, Patti, thanked the resources persons, delegates and the organisers for their contribution for the successful conduct of the seminar. 



Fellowship for city doctor
Our Correspondent

Paramvir Singh
Dr Paramvir Singh 

The National Heart Centre (NHC), Singapore, has offered Dr Paramvir Singh of Escorts Hospital a 12-month fellowship training in cardiac anaesthesia from January.

He is probably the first Indian doctor to get a fellowship from one of the premier institutes of heart speciality and cardiac centres in Asia.A graduate from the Government Medical College, Amritsar, and postgraduate from the Government Medical College, Patiala, Dr Paramvir Singh has been working in Escorts Heart and Super-speciality Institute for past one year.

The one-year training from the prestigious institute would acquaint him with new techniques in the cardiac anaesthesia, by-pass operation of the heart and heart-lung transplant operation, he said.



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