Dishum-dishum on cards now ?
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Foxed at the uncontrolled tempers and unparliamentarily behaviour of the BJP and Congress nominees, during a live debate on a television channel that ended in less than three minutes following accusations and counter-accusations, the Amaritsaris got a taste how they would be represented in Parliament !

People seated themselves in front of their TV sets and eagerly awaited the debate between cricketer-turned -political celebrity Navjot Sidhu and articulate senior Congress leader Surinder Singla, were disheartened when they thrashed it out on the stage. They seemed least bothered that the world was watching them. For some, it was entertainment . They were to spell out their respective visions on the future of the city. A large crowd had gathered on the campus of Khalsa College to seek answers to their queries.

Their expectations were dashed to the ground within two and half minutes as both the leaders started insinuating one another. The hooligan supporters of both the camps took over at the behest of their respective star debaters plunging the entire show in no-holds-barred sloganeering match to the chagrin of the organizers of the 'most spectacular live show'. The viewers were taken aback with the glimpses of the unruly and 'rowdy' scenes that led to abrupt cancellation of the programme.

The TV news channel blanked out the telecast as the two leaders continued to point fingers at one another in spite of repeated pleadings with folded hands by Ajay Sharma, the anchor. With the lights switched off the anchor once again used his charm to dissuade the warring leaders from accusing one another and hurling choicest of typical Punjabi.

Immediately after switching off the cameras, the organizers realized that the live coverage of the verbal duel would bring them more viewers. The anchor resumed his commentary and said 'this is the real face' of democracy which has disillusioned masses’. A senior Reader of Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr Harkanwalit Singh, describes the incident as 'unparliamentary'.

Peeved at the behaviour of candidates, a voter opined that both the candidates should go back to Patiala and settle their personal scores there.

The live debate dramatically started with the anchor asking Congress candidate to open the debate to tell the public the achievements of government. Mr Surinder Singla rattled off statistics and at the end called his rival Navjot Singh Sidhu as 'Katil' (murderer). Sharply reacting to the accusation, Sidhu said “the government had bluffed the people on the issue of development and called him 'Dalal' (middleman) of the big industrial houses.

The Amaritsaris, already sore over the imposition of 'Malwai candidates', were disgusted on witnessing the slanging match .

'I shall devour the lamb who has been thrown into the jungle', thunders Navjot Sidhu ….

'Sidhu is a 'Bhonku' (barking dog) who knows only to shout', retorts Surinder Singla.



Alert on alcohol abuse
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

If there is anything Punjab needs to fear, it is the 'unchecked' distribution of alcohol, as the state is already reeling under the serious problem of high alcohol abuse.

Dr Amitabh Mohan Jerath, Consultant Gastroenterologist, posed this problem before a gathering of senior citizens at the Fortis Hospital here He was speaking on "digestive problems". Brig (retd) ML Chadda presided., Dr Jerath said that smoking increases risk of peptic ulcers, but Amritsar was free from this problem due to taboo on smoking among the Sikhs. He added that correct timings, wholesome food as opposed to junk food, with some light exercises could make a world of difference towards achieving healthy digestion.

While suggesting high intake of fibers as in vegetables, fruits, nuts, brown wheat the gastroenterologist pointed out that age-old "Isabgol" worked wonders for digestion and helped in preventing colon cancers and other digestion related diseases like diverticulosis (difficulty in passing stool ) polyposis (wart like structures).

Mortality rate among the over 60 rural males had gone up in recent years because of high alcohol and drug consumption.

He called upon the senior citizens to join hands for forming an "Anti -Tobacco/alcohol Forum". Meanwhile, about 325 patients attended a free cardiology check-up camp held by the Fortis hospital in collaboration with the Escorts Heart and Super Specialty Institute. The team comprised Lt Gen (retd) Dr ML Chawla Executive Director Escorts and Dr Anuj Mahajan (medicine and cardiology). Senior citizens availed of consultation, free medicines, ultra sound, blood-sugar check, ECG and Echo tests besides free OPD in medicine, surgery, ENT, orthopedics and cardiology.



Just a thought
PR of fear
R. Jaikrishan

After an extended weekend because of the Republic Day chutti on Friday the office was least exciting. As I plonked myself on my seat,I sent for chai, pani. The attendant brought the two in quick succession. I started with water and waited for a few minutes to have chai.

Having had the not-so-hot cuppa of tea,I was on my feet itching to be out of shade into the sunshine.

Thanking the easterlies,which have ensured that there is no substantial drop in the temperature, like last Sunday, I spent the morning without a pullover. As I was sauntering about in the office porch, a colleague came up to me asking, if I would care to go through his assignment? I brushed him off with, “Later”.

The more I tried to collect my thoughts, the more I found myself at the loss for words. I switched on the computer. And tried to move my fingers on the keyboard,but found myself staring at the blank template. Long time back, a friendly writer had shared his terror of the empty page with me. Was the template terrorizing me? I wondered. It was the election din that has been compounding my confusion.

One thing good about the Republic day chutti is that one is off from the newspaper diet the next morning.

While I was storing vitamin D in my bones on Republic Day, a colleague of mine from a vernacular daily lost and regained his job for asking Capt Amarinder Singh an ‘offending’ question at a prèss conference in Ludhiana.

The question was: “While your government had come to power on the promises of providing a corruption -free regime, nothing much has happened in reality.

Now, you claim that your poll plank is development, but the people are refusing to take you seriously as ground realities are diffirent,as not much development has been made. What do you have to say on this?”

Incensed by the straight forward question, the CM’s media adviser, Mr B.I.S.Chahal, called up the owner of the newspaper to complain about the reporter.

The owner readily obliged by curtly informing the reporter that he had lost the job for asking the ‘offending’ question.

This was followed by protest by journalists present there. On the advice of the Chief Minister, Mr Chahal talked to the newspaper owner and got the reporter reinstated.

Having been in the print media for over two and half decades, most of it in Chandigarh, I am familiar with Mr Chahal’s ways.

Mr Chahal used to be a real heavyweight during his stint with the Punjab State Electricity Board.

Well aware of the power of the deskmen’s red pencil,he would personally try all his PR ways to get his news and picture in.

He would not stop pestering the shift in charge till he woudn’t get an assurance.

In nine out of 10 instances, he would succeed in his endeavours.

On being made the media adviser, he invited select desk journalists from my office for a dinner.

This time Mr Chahal had shed lot of his flab while managing the media to ensure the victory of the Congress on the plank of providing a corruption–free regime.

The party was in a decent hotel of Chandigarh. Good booze and snacks were on Mr Chahal’s narrative about the job on sale scam of my former colleague Ravi Sidhu, The then Punjab Public Service Chief (PPSC) chief. Soon after the lid was blown off the scam and our paper didn’t shirk in publishing the indiscretions of its former staffer.

It goes to the credit of Mr Chahal’s PR acumen that he worked on the desk staff, who are responsible for the presentation of news, to ensure a proper display of the soon–to-be revealed scam involving Ravi Sidhu and certain other honourable men in the judiciary and executive.

What makes people like Mr Chahal play God to journalists?

The reason is the editorial policy of most papers is aimed at attracting ads.

This is why journalists try to play it safe rather than saying as things are. That is why faultlines in the system are papered over.

When they erupt they not only take a heavy toll of life and limb but also of trust.

That is why homilies that the media should regulate itself to arrest its free-for-all slide from an English daily, in which Mr Chahal has acquired a stake, doesn’t go well with those not high on the media adviser’s PR list.



Bus ride of AIDS awareness
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

The Red Ribbon Express bus that will visit various colleges to educate the students on AIDS
The Red Ribbon Express bus that will visit various colleges to educate the students on AIDS.

To sensitise the students on AIDS, Pushpa Gujral Science City in association with the Punjab State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, has flagged off the Red Ribbon Express bus. The bus, fully loaded with audio-visual aids, will visit various colleges in the region to educate the youth.

The science city has already started action-based programmes in 100 colleges by establishing the Red Ribbon Clubs. Initially, the clubs have been formed in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur districts. The clubs will be set up in other districts also.

Each club has 15 student members and a programme officer, preferably the in-charge of the NSS, will head it.

Like the eco clubs, the Red Ribbon Club will hold seminars, discussions, awareness camps, rallies and street plays.

For educating the students, the science city will develop resource material, comprising training manual and multimedia CDs, for use by the students and the public.

Two counsellors, including one female, will visit the clubs to create awareness among the members, who will further spread the message among their contemporaries.

Master trainers from the colleges, who will be trained under the project, will further sensitise students and the general public. The counsellors will also visit new colleges to set up clubs. The Director-General of the science city, Dr R.S. Khandpur, said: “The objective of setting up the clubs is to reduce new HIV infection among the youth and to prepare them as peer educators.

The programme is basically dynamic and individualistic and allows each college to discover its own means to pass on the message with a view to develop healthy and clean attitudes on relationships between the sexes.” Among the new projects in the science city, he said 20-KW solar power centre had been set up. The contract for setting up the Dinosaurs Park had been awarded and it would be ready in the next six months.

In collaboration with the Philatelic Congress of Punjab, the science city would be displaying stamps on scientists, scientific institutions, birds, animals and other related areas. The stamps would be periodically changed.“If the youth is involved at every stage of the project, including planning and implementation, then the problems relating to AIDS can be addressed adequately,” believed the Director-General.



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