Lahore no more a kidney haven for Indian patients
Pak govt mulls law on organ transplant
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
Lahore, which has been a favoured destination of kidney patients from India, is likely to be out of reach for them since organ transplantation has become a costly affair now.

Moreover, the government of Pakistan is contemplating promulgation of an ordinance for curbing human organs and tissues transplant trade following pressure from human rights organisations in the country.

This was disclosed by patients who have come here after getting kidney transplant done in Lahore's Rasheed Hospital.

The patients, who pleaded anonymity, said this trade had flourished in Pakistan, especially since India placed a ban on such operations.

With the launching of the Amritsar-Lahore bus, a number of Indians suffering from renal failure, especially residents of Amritsar and Gurdaspur, had got a fresh lease of life.

However, a patient from Amritsar said when he alighted from the Amritsar-Lahore bus, an employee of Rasheed Hospital was already waiting for him at the international bus stand with a placard.

On this, a police inspector started harassing him but he was allowed to go to the hospital in Lahore on the intervention of the employee of the hospital.

He said at least five Indians, mostly Punjabis, were operated in the hospital when he got the kidney.

A resident of Amritsar, while speaking to The Tribune, said the total cost of kidney transplantation in Rasheed Hospital had increased from Rs 5lakh (Indian currency) to about Rs 9 lakh which may increase further in coming days.

Caught between poverty and skyrocketing prices, poor Pakistanis are increasingly resorting to sell their kidneys to make their both ends meet, which has turned into a flourishing “kidney bazaar” .

Doctors in Lahore have also formed a Renal Transplant Association (RTA-Pakistan) which has been providing comprehensive and world-class operation facilities to patients requiring any urological or surgical operation, including renal transplant, with an option for pre-operative guidance and post-operative long term follow-up facilities.

With Lahore becoming a new hub of kidney transplantation in Asia, Pakistan has become much sought-after destination for Indian patients of renal failure.

Indian patients were getting an attractive package for kidney transplantation. Unlike India, they (patients) don’t have to undergo lengthy procedural predicaments.

They need to deposit about Rs 13,000 with the hospital management of Lahore which arranges the donor.

Rasheed Hospital is a 100-bed hospital situated in the heart of Lahore in Garden Town, near Barkat Market, where one could easily get a kidney.

There are more hospitals in Lahore which have been receiving patients from all over the world.



Ensure easy visas to youngsters, says PIPPD
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
For promoting peace India and Pakistan should allow youngsters to cross the border to interact with the people across the Radcliff line said Jatin Desai, spokesman for the Pakistan-Indian Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPPD).

Sharing his views, Jatin said that the two neighboring countries should not only issue visa to the big industrialists and influential people but also to common man, especially the youth who were the real torch-bearers for promoting peace in the subcontinent.

Commenting on the denial of visa to a cycling team from Maharashtra, which had arrived here after covering a distance of 1900 km in 29 days after passing thorough various states, Jatin said that it shows the non-seriousness of the authorities on both sides of the border related to the ongoing peace process.

It is pertinent to mention here that a nine-member team of cyclists from Maharashtra hit the roadblock on Wagah border when they were not allowed to cross over to Pakistan for promoting peace and friendship.

The team members had applied for the visa on February 24 to cross the border through Wagah joint checkpost along with their bicycles but had not received any communication in this regard from the Pakistan High Commission.

Led by Dhananjay Madan (47), the cycling team, which included six boys and two girls, all in their twenties, had started their journey from Panvel, about 50 kms from Mumbai on March 1 and had reached here after passing through various states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.

However the peaceniks, who had decided to stay in the holy city for few days, in hope that the Pakistani government would issue them visa to cross the border to interact with people, returned home later.

The youngest member of the team Rupali



High-rise buildings on govt radar
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

A six-storey building, constructed in violation of bylaws in Kabir Park, opposite Guru Nanak Dev University on Amritsar-Wagah road .—Photo by Rajiv Sharma
A six-storey building, constructed in violation of bylaws in Kabir Park, opposite Guru Nanak Dev University on Amritsar-Wagah road .—Photo by Rajiv Sharma 

Amritsar, April 3
During the regime of the Congress government, the multi-storey buildings, in gross violation of building bylaws, mushroomed in various parts of Amritsar.

The NGOs and city planners have said that the sky-rise buildings may result in traffic chaos in the vicinity of the Golden Temple, The Mall, Ranjit Avenue and Lawrence road in the coming days. The state government is contemplating to order a high level probe into the change of land use in alleged connivance of the Municipal Corporation and Improvement Trust in the last five years of Congress rule.

A number of residents of Kabir Park, opposite Guru Nanak Dev University have also approached the local district administration against violation of the recently constructed six-storey building. The building, which originally belonged to Gurvinder Singh Mammanke, chairman, Improvement Trust, Tarn Taran, was later raised to six-storey. However, when contacted Mammanke claimed that the building was raised from two-storey to six-storey when his wife transferred it to some other person.

A senior government official pointed out that under the commercial shopping complex scheme in posh colony, the owner of a plot (366 sq yards) is allowed to raise the buildings up to 50 ft while many of the builders have raised the buildings up to seven stories.

Surprisingly, the Local Bodies department has written a letter to the government to raise the height of the building from 50 ft to 65 ft but without inviting any objections from the residents of the area. So much so the provision of underground parking had been used for commercial activity, while the vehicles were parked outside the buildings.

According to official norms, a building with less than 500 sq yards plot is required to go up to the height of 37.5 ft with the provision of water tank and other provisions. While plots above 500 sq yards, the provision for height is 70 ft. But some of the builders are adding mezzanine floor, violating the building bylaws.

Amritsar Vikas Manch has strongly demanded the immediate demolition of the multi-story commercial complex of 160 shops in front of Harmandir Sahib in blatant violation of the Galiara scheme.

It also demanded a high level enquiry under which circumstances the huge complex came up illegally just 50-meters from Harmandir Sahib. In different letters to Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister Punjab and Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Manch Presidet.

Harbhajan Singh Gill has said that it is a calculated move and a big blunder committed by the congress government to raise multistory commercial complex that marred the front view of the Sikh shrine.

The SGPC has also raised objections to the construction of this building by writing to the then Chief Minister.

The building has made this area more congested instead of decongesting, which will affect the free flow of thousands of visitors who come here daily. It will rather create inconvenience and harassment to the visitors. 



47 engineering students get placement
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
In a bid to take fresh blood staright out of the educational institutions, a team of Perot System TSI Limited conducted a placement drive at the Amritsar College of Engineering and Technology recently.
As many as 1,700 students from 18 colleges appeared for the test. Of them 165 students were shortlisted for interview. Fortyseven students were selected for placement at a salary package of Rs 2.80 lakh each per annum.



Minister flays attack on scribe
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
Condemning the murderous attack on Rajan Mann, reporter, Punjabi Tribune, here today, Bikram Singh Majithia, information and public relations minister, Punjab, said the state government will take strict action against all the disruptive forces and anti social elements.

He earlier expressed condolence over the sad demise of Ranjit Singh who was shot by some anti-social elements. He said that not only would the guilty be taken to task but also stern action would be initiated so that no one could dare to indulge in such an action again. He also gave a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to the family members of late Ranjit Singh of Jijeani village, in Majitha Constituency. Bir Singh, father of late Ranjit Singh, also sustained injuries in the incident.

The minister said that government would extend all cooperation and support to their family and will provide free medical aid to him.



Life plays cruel jokes on kids
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Sukhpreet, the unfortunate orphan, whose father died due to excessive drinking in Maqboolpura village, where most youth is addicted to drugs.
Sukhpreet, the unfortunate orphan, whose father died due to excessive drinking in Maqboolpura village, where most youth is addicted to drugs.—Photo by Rajiv Sharma 

Amritsar, April 3
Death is cruel. So is the life for those who are left behind to fend for themselves.

And among these are some innocent lives who don’t even realise what life has done with them.

For five-year-old Sukhpreet’s life comprises of laughter which can be heard from a distance as she plays with her cousins. Sounds just like any other kid of her age.

But death took away her mother and father. Mother because of illness and father due to the excessive liquor consumption.

Living in the Maqboolpura village near here, Sukhpreet is just one example of any kids who are generally left fatherless owing to the fact that most of the village youth are hooked on to drugs and liquor.

“Her father was a daily wager and was a habitual drinker. Most people in the village are linking his death to the free distribution of liquor during the recently held assembly elections,” says Darshan Kaur, Sukhpreet’s aunt, who is looking after her.

“My brother and Sukhpreet’s father was a daily wager and had been consuming alcohol for a long time.

“His death had left the child with no one to take care of her as her grandmother is too old to take her responsibility,” she adds.

“There are many such instances in the village wherein the father has died due to drug addiction and the children are being brought up with assistance from relatives and friends,” said Ajit Singh.

“The village has had a history of drug addiction and the only solution lies in imparting proper education to the coming generation so that they get to know the consequences before trying the drugs for adventurous,” says Ranjit Singh who lives in the neighbourhood.



My City
Holy city turns into encroachers’ paradise
Brij Bedi

An advertisement poster pasted on the statue of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the Nehru Shoping Complex at Lawrence Road in Amritsar.
An advertisement poster pasted on the statue of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the Nehru Shoping Complex at Lawrence Road in Amritsar. —Photo by Rajiv Sharma 

My holy city Amritsar, known as ‘Pool of Nectar’ and home of our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, can best be described as a city of khokha, hoardings and paradise for encroaches. Our administration during last five years has done their best to ruin the city.

The final nail has been to convert the Mall Road into a commercial hub where number of malls under construction have no facility of parking space.

It won’t be wrong to say that the Mall Road has become a road of malls. Another ‘sickening’ sight is the defacement of the walls of Amritsar.

One can see most obnoxious graffiti along with vulgar cinemas posters displayed specially on the walls of the girls schools and colleges.
Green belts have been used for putting up khokha and hoardings. These hoardings have destroyed the sky line. While the private parties who have put up these so called uni-poles are making bucks and rest is shared with the Municipal Corporation.
Almost all roads at Amritsar are occupied by buses or cars, scooters and motorcycles for sale while the parking lots have become duds of buildings.

On the GT Road on the main road one can see sand, bajri and bricks stacked on the road side, while buses are operated from the roadside. It is almost a parallel bus stand on the GT Road.

As soon as the present government took over, buses owned by the Congress MLA disappeared and buses belonging to different owners took over the main roads.

They have made GT Road as addas and the police play role of a mute spectator.
Supply and use of drugs should be another concern for each one of us.

The supply has to be stopped or soon it will gobble all of us. 
The sad part of my story is that citizens of Amritsar only behove in honoring politicians and bureaucrats who care least for the city. Our new Director General of Police has declared that he is going to get cracking against drug paddlers but how long it takes only god knows.

Deputy Commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu also says that he going to make the city neat and clean.

Our MP Navjot Singh Sidhu also roars a lot but perhaps he is not aware of the pathetic situation at the ground level.

My request to the citizens of Amritsar is that lets do the cleansing act ourselves, let all of us get on the roads and remove the encroachers and the evils so that our city truly becomes neat and clean so that every Punjabi all over the world can be proud.



Fear Factor
  Campus thefts give staff sleepless nights
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
A theft on Guru Nanak Dev (GND) university premises, wherein burglars decamped with gold worth Rs 40,000 from the house of a university teacher, has set the alarm bells ringing amongst the campus residents who are now demanding additional security arrangements.

Prof Mohan Pal Singh Ishar, head of the department of pharmaceutical sciences, said valuables from his house were stolen on March 20. The theft appears to be the work of an insider, he added. Notably, this is not for the first time that thieves have targeted houses on the campus. “Last year, miscreants broke into the house of a teacher and walked away with a rich booty. There have been several thefts of motorcycles, scooters and bicycles from the campus,” added Ishar.

The entry of outsiders can be checked at the gates but there is also a need for more surveillance on campus so that even the insiders are kept under the scanner, he said. We have made several representations to the authorities concerned but there has been no let up in such incidents, said another varsity employee.

When contacted, security officer SS Chinna said the university has started round-the-clock surveillance in the residential areas. “We have increased patrolling. Also close circuit TV cameras have been installed at the main gates.” He said the theft was just an isolated incident and there was no cause of concern for those staying on the campus.

However, a varsity staffer, pleading anonymity, said incidents of theft have taken place even after the security beef up. “ A scooter and a motorcycle were stolen from outside the public relations department of the university last year. In another incident, a thief entered the house of a university staff member on the third floor in block ‘D’,” he claimed.

Prof Parminder Singh, president of the GND university teachers’ association, said there was need to taking preventive steps to make sure such incidents don’t happen in future. He also advocated day patrolling in the residential areas. Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh said all efforts are being made to ensure the safety of students and staff.



Police should be independent
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
The Punjab Government should make the police department independent instead of taming the cops and give them enough leverage to bring discipline in public life.

These views were expressed by chairman citizens forum Brij Bedi to Amritsar Plus while commenting on the statement of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for bringing about drastic changes in the functioning of the police and converting it into a force that would respect human dignity and human rights.

He said things would not improve if the police personnel continue to put up for the security of VIPs in the state. 



Illicit liquor haul
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
The Majitha police has seized 3632.5 litres of illicit liquor during 2006-07, registering an increase of 35 per cent as compared to the previous year.

The 2005-06 figure was 2078.4 litres. District police chief Lok Nath Angra said that during a special drive they had recovered 170.85 quintals of lahan in the last three months.

Angra claimed the police had been also successful in solving two blind murder cases during the last three months.



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