Driving in reverse gear for Team India
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Sunith Kumar Chakraborty, 40, has reached here by reverse driving his old Fiat car, covering more than 2,000 kms from Kolkata.

“When I can do awesome back driving in reverse gear why can’t the Indian team win the world cup,” says the cricket enthusiast.

A member of the West Bengal Motors Vehicle Technical Officers Association, Snity said his main was to boost the morale of men in blue.

He arrived in the city as the head of the seven-member team. The expedition was flagged off by West Bengal Transport and Sports Minister Subash Chakraborty on March 11 and would culminate at the Wagah check post. If accidents could be avoided in driving back gear then everyone can avoid accidents.

He said his first trial was on August 15, 1999, when he drove his car in reverse gear for about 75 km from Durgapur to Burdwan. During the second attempt, he drove the car in similar fashion for 130 km from Kolkata to Burdwan and during the third attempt he covered a distance of 250 km from Shantiniketan (Bholpur) to the Indo-Bangladesh border. He was also trying to get his name enlisted in the Limca Book of World Records.



GNDU to honour Dr Khush
Ashok Sethi

Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) would honour international Rice Breeder and Padmashree recipient, Dr. G.S. Khush of University of California, Davis (USA) and an eminent Medical Scientist of international repute and Prof. N.K. Ganguly, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi with Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) Degrees in the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Dr. GS Khush is being honoured with honorary D.Sc. degree in the Faculty of Life Sciences in recognition of his seminal contribution to Plant Sciences especially Science and Genetics. Similarly, Dr. N.K. Ganguly is being honoured with honorary D.Sc. degree in recognition of his phenomenal contribution in the field of Medical Science.

The development of 320 breeding lines at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), under Dr. Khush's leadership, has been adopted as different varieties of rice by national rice improvement programmes throughout the world. IRRI developed breeding materials and their progenies are now planted in 60 per cent of the world rice land.

The work done by Dr. Khush is therefore primarily remembered as it helped in increasing the production of rice in the whole world.

The University would also honour Prof. N.K. Ganguly in recognition of contribution in the field of Medical Science with a degree of Doctor of Science in the Faculty of Life Sciences.



Creating jobs for rural youth
Tribune News Service

Laying stress on several aspects of employment generation in villages, the economists participating from across the country discussed and recommended several steps at a two-day national seminar on ‘Rural Employment in Punjab Challenges and Strategies’.

They focused on the existing pattern and structure of rural employment, agricultural labour, female labour, rural development, non-farm employment, evaluation of employment schemes and rural credit.

The Punjab School of Economics of Guru Nanak Dev University organised the seminar where economists from Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir participated.

The scholars recommended that more non-farm employment avenues be created in the rural areas, by exploiting the backward and forward linkages, involving diversification of agriculture towards horticulture, floriculture, dairy, poultry, fishery, animal husbandry, bee-keeping, sericulture, forestry and medicinal plants for generating employment in the rural areas as per the needs and aspirations of Punjabis.

The panellists suggested introduction of agricultural biotechnology and genetically modified foods which hold the key for second green revolution in the state in view of declining size of land holding.

The different biotechnological developments aimed at reducing the breeding period, virus and insect-pest free plants, environmentally tolerant varieties under green house and controlled conditions, production of bio-fertiliser and bio-diesel be initiated in Punjab by allocating more funds for R&D in targeted fields.

They also advocated more self-employment opportunities be created for the females in the rural areas, through Self Help Groups (SHGs), group based participatory programmes and co-operatives.

Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) be set up at the village and block level by involving the retired army and civil officers and other educated personnel of the areas to motivate and guide the programmes for the women.

Training programmes be started for the women in the selected activities and marketing network be created so that the women are able to earn sufficient income in the rural area itself.

For the development of agri business activities in the rural areas, said experts, there is need for provision of infrastructure, including good roads, warehouses, cold stores, refrigerated transportation and above all uninterrupted supply of electricity by setting up nuclear power plants. Till such facilities are provided in the entire rural areas of the State, cluster of villages in each tehsil, where such facilities be created, be selected and all possible subsidies be given for their growth.

Ultimately, when uninterrupted electricity supply become available, government should make it compulsory that all flour mills and other processing units be set up only in the rural areas.

Entrepreneurship and vocational training programmes should be started for the rural youth, seed capital be provided to them by the government and loan facilities be made available without collateral. The ITI vocational courses must include new thrust areas of non-farm agro-based activities.



DC for development
Tribune News Service

“My main priorities would be for the development and beautification of the holy city besides initiating steps which would enable the poor farmers to generate more income so that they could come out of the debt trap,” said the newly appointed Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, Kahan Singh Pannu, who took over the charge of his office on Tuesday.

Talking to mediapersons, Pannu said there was a need to take steps for the beautification. He said he would make it a point to meet the general public regularly so as to redress their problems.



Ram Bagh solace for elderly
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Termed as the Jogger’s Park, owing to huge turnout of health conscious Amritsari’s, Ram Bagh situated on the Mall road continues to be the favourite hangout of those for whom walk is more than a silent routine.

Not only it is a perfect place and time to catch up with old friends but also for a bit of exercising including yoga and not to forget the laughing and clapping session that have become a part of the morning routine here.

Much before the sun-rays hit out, small groups of morning walkers comprising of mostly elderly people, could be seen lining up the bagh. After a brisk walk on the outer ring of the garden, it is time for some serious discussion about the day’s top news stories.

For an aged person what could be a better place than the bagh where not only he finds a number of age mates but also patient listeners. This is what draws scores to senior citizens to Ram Bagh. The retired people are seldom seen walking alone. They move together in small groups, discussing their favourite topics and never leave for home without a cup of tea or a game of cards on the cemented platforms in the garden.

K.B.Duggal, retired Engineer and a regular at the garden for the last 16 years, says while many of his friends bring packets from their homes for their group of friends, the rest prefer to grab a bite at the various makeshift stalls selling snacks and tea.

“If it’s a Sunday, the party doesn’t seem to end till the evening for the middle-aged. Couples find this the right venue to celebrate their marriage anniversaries and birthday parties. Some keep relaxing around until it’s time to go home for lunch. Senior citizens have a special attachment with this place,” he says.

“About ten years back, there used to be only 500 morning walkers coming here daily but with more and more people becoming health conscious, the number has swelled to over 2,000 youth and middle-aged,” adds Duggal, who is a resident of Nagina Avenue.

Ramesh Sood, a retired SDO from the Irrigation Department says he never felt bored after his retirement in 1996 as he kept regular contact with his colleagues at Ram Bagh. “I still take three rounds of the outer ring of the garden, which comes to about six kilometers,” he says.

“Since I am also a member of the Service Club located inside Ram Bagh, I have started going there in the evening. After some walking, I go straight to the club to chill out for the evening. The crowd is, however, a bit lesser at dusk and only about 500 people come here after they are done with the day,” he says.

“After Swami Ramdev’s shivir in the city last year, many people have taken to yoga in a big way and what better place than Ram Bagh to practice the exercises. Many of my friends do the exercises collectively here as it helps them stick to a regular routine,” he adds.

To see their friends driving down alone at the age of sixty-plus also acts as inspiration for them, says Shallu Mallik, a schoolteacher, who is a resident of Kashmir Avenue.

Ram Bagh is also a destination of health freaks, who walk down to the place all the way from their far flung colonies. Dressed in tracksuits and sneakers, they take numerous rounds of the garden, either alone or with their spouses. “The health conscious, however, don’t indulge in any merrymaking and leave soon after the think they have sweated out enough for the day,” she says.

Many students from local private school hold their cricket practice at Ram Bagh early in the morning. Rahul Joshi, a VI student of Little Angel School says since this place is centrally located, it is convenient for all his teammates to come down here daily for the practice.

Adding a religious tinge to the walk, a number of make shift pandals could be seen at the entrance. These pandals not only come out with the preachings and religious but also mouth watering karah parshad.

“The ‘karah’ is a regular feature here. Spiritual leaders come here every morning to utter mantras on the potable microphone for the morning walkers.



Prayers for Attari Express victims
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

A 150-member delegation, including 35 women, arrived here to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and to show solidarity and pray for the departed souls who were killed in the twin bomb blasts in Attari Express, near Panipat, on February 18.

The leader of the delegation and chairman of the National Integrated Forum of Artists and Activists (NIFAA), Pritpal Singh Pannu, talking to the Tribune said they had started the peace march from the Diwana railway station to the Attari station to bring together people of the two countries against terrorism.

Terming the bomb blasts as heinous task against humanity, he said the terrorists were trying to derail the peace talks between two nations. He said through this peace rally they wanted to show the people of the neighbouring country that Indians were equally anguished.

The members of the delegation, who came from 20 districts of Haryana, have collected 20 banners with friendship messages. The NIFAA had honoured residents of Siva village for saving the lives of the passengers of the train.



Man and his bakery
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

From behind the counter, he elaborates to a customer about 17 different varieties of biscuits made at his bakery. Except for the old timers, most customers don’t realize that this man sporting gray moustache and a pair of glasses is the father of an IPS officer.

Sitting on a small wooden bench outside the West End Bakery and Confectionary Store in the Rani ka Bagh area on the Amritsar-Wagah road, 62-year-old Dina Nath Sharma tells us how he took over the bakery from his father after completing pre-university in 1962.

“Things have changed over the years and many of the bakeries that had mushroomed in the city in the last 10 years have faded out. But we have survived because we never compromised on quality and still enjoy a regular clientele.

“We belong to district Bilaspur but settled down in the holy city. We still do our own manufacturing at the bakery and customers have a large variety of biscuits, including pista, almond and coconut flavours to choose from, besides pastries and cakes,” he says.

About his family he says, “I never asked my children to lend a helping hand at the bakery. With God’s grace, they have done well.

The elder one is working as general manager with a pharmaceutical company after doing MD from All India Institute of Medical Science and my younger son cleared IPS . Both of them studied at the DAV School in Amritsar and have made us all proud.

They often tell me to close down the business and take it easy but I like to continue with the routine.”

Talking about his daily routine, he laughs, “We normally open up a bit late around 8 am. Because of our good quality, the customers wait for us instead of us waiting for them.”



Seminar on culture

Folk traditions make creative channels of art, literature, music and dance significant.

Dr Surjit Singh Lee, former head of human language department of Punjabi University, Patiala, said this delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session of a two-day national seminar on “Folklore and study of folklore” organised by Guru Nanak Dev University.

Dr Lee said the operation of multinational corporations was leading to the displacement of people, their traditions, their beliefs and values. The people uprooted from their traditions lose hold on their destiny.

The present model of development was destroying native traditions in the name of globalisation.

Surjit Singh said the Punjabi culture from Afghanistan to New Delhi should be documented. — TNS



Edible oil launched
Tribune News Service

Aiming to double its production in the next financial year, Savera FMCG Products Pvt Ltd, producer of mustard oil (kachi ghani), has launched edible oils in Punjab.

Upinder N. Ojha, director, Savera, said several studies conducted by various international laboratories had proved that mustard oil, especially kachi ghani, was cholesterol free and was useful in Indian conditions. He said that they hoped to double the turnover from the present Rs 265 crore and the production of mustard oil from the present 90 metric tonne to 180 metric tonne.



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