‘Settling abroad’ is their magic, tragic mantra
Doaba residents can’t resist from going overseas
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 19
There have been many incidents which trigger negative thoughts in our minds regarding going and settling abroad but no matter what happens Punjabis, especially from the Doaba region, don’t hesitate to pursue illegal means to settle in foreign countries.

Incidents like infamous Malta boat tragedy don’t put any halt from going illegally to different countries. As many as 290 South Asians, including 170 Punjabis, were killed in the Malta boat tragedy on December 25, 1996.

Several such incidents keep happening every now and then in which a number of Punjabis find themselves in trouble.

In a recent incident of such kind, over 300 South Asians, including 11 Punjabis, were caught by the Mauritania police in February this year when they were allegedly trying to go to Spain in a boat illegally for earning better livelihood.

Further the current incident in which Gujarat BJP MP Babubhai Katara was arrested in New Delhi along with two Doaba residents, Paramjeet Kaur of Feroze Sanghowal village in Kapurthala district and Amarjeet Singh of Jalalpur village in Hoshiarpur district, proves the fact that Doaba people can’t resist from going abroad.

Katara was trying to take Paramjeet and Amarjeet illegally to Toronto on her wife and son’s passports.

While Paramjeet and Amarjeet’s family members alleged that they had been cheated by the travel agents Joginder Singh and Santu but as they had promised them to send their children on valid visas but their allegations seemed an after thought as the question arose why they agreed to pay such a hefty amount to go Canada on a valid visa.

Interestingly, a Tribune team came to know during its visit to the two villages that at least one member of almost each of the families of two villages Feroze Sanghowal and Jalalpur is already settled abroad. Surinder Kaur, village sarpanch, Feroze Sanghowal, and Manjit Kaur, Jalapur village sarpanch, told The Tribune that there were several families in the village where every member had settled abroad.

So much so, Surinder’s two sons Surjit Singh and Malkiat Singh have settled in Italy. Similarly, Manjit’s son Sukhjinder has also gone to California on study visa.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission Balwant Singh Khera counted several reasons, including economic issues, adventure and charm for Doaba persons’ craziness to go abroad.

Khera said that people should not adopt illegal means to settle abroad. Criticising the Punjab police for doing insufficient to check illegal travel agents, he suggested that a list of both legal and illegal travel agents should be published and made public for the benefit of general public.

Meanwhile, local Congress leaders Virendra Sharma and Surinder Chaudhary demanded that tainted BJP MP Babubhai Katara should surrender his membership to the Lok Sabha or his membership should be withdrawn as people like him could be a threat to the security of the country. 



Spent 10 years in Pak jail
RAW agent waits for compensation even after 19 years
Satrajit Chakrabarti
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 19
He has served India in one of the most difficult ways. He has spied for the country. But Bishan Dass, a RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent, never imagined that his efforts will go in vain.

Even after spending 10 years (from 1978 to 1988) of his life in Pakistan jail, the Government of India has not given him any compensation or reward for spending a torturous term in the hostile country.

According to Bishan, he has lived 10 lives during his stay in a Pakistan jail.

He joined RAW in 1974 and went to Pakistan on several spying missions. During the course of frequent going and coming, he was captured and sent to Sialkot jail. He was arrested on June 6, 1978.

During his stay, he went through a difficult phase. His father could not cope up with the separation and died of a heart attack. He was tortured in every possible way, which left him unable to do any hard work.

After many appeals to the Pakistan Supreme Court, 110 Indian prisoners were released and were handed over to the Indian Embassy in Pakistan.

They reached India on March 23, 1988, via Attari.

After some time he went to the RAW office at Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and confirmed about his duty. He was directed to contact the RAW head office in Gandhi Nagar, Jammu, and was assured that his next assignment would come to his house.

But despite several visits to the Kathua office, he got no positive response.

Dass, a resident of Mirzapur in Pathankot, who is residing in Jalandhar for some time now, expect that he will be paid for the time he spent in Pakistan jail but to his surprise till today he hasn’t been given any compensation.

He has written to the President of India and the Prime Minister for help but nothing has come forward.

Bishan said, “This is my right but they have denied this to me. Neither RAW nor the Government of India helped me in any way.

Now I need help at any cost. I have to take care of my family. I don’t have money to pay school fees for my children.”

He has four children and it’s getting difficult day by day with his meager earning of Rs 2,000 per month working in a private company. He has appealed to the government to provide him justice by giving him employment. And he is still optimistic that after a gap of 19 years he will be given much-needed justice.



People’s concern
Scrap BOT approach: Pasla

Jalandhar, April 19
The Punjab unit of the CPM has condemned the recent decision of the Akali-BJP government to shift the burden of toll tax on to the bus passengers.

State secretary Mangat Ram Pasla in a statement issued here today said: ''The enhancement of bus fare by Re 1 to Rs 9 per ticket will further increase the 'plunder' by big transporters who are plying buses unathorisedly.''

The state secretary exhorted the people to unitedly fight this unjustified and unwarranted fresh burden with the widest possible mass mobilisation.

Mangat Ram Pasla urged the government to scrap the build, operate and transfer (BOT) approach and withdraw this new notification of shifting the burden of toll tax on to the passengers. — UNI 



Phagwara parks in sorry state of affairs
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, April 19
Parks are supposed to be the lungs of a city. But in a crowded town like Phagwara, most of the parks are in a neglected state and as such remain deserted.

Lack of funds from the Phagwara nagar council and a shortage of staff are stated to be the reasons behind the sorry state of affairs. These ‘green zones’, instead of providing a breath of fresh air to residents, have been converted into garbage dumps.

A visit to the various parks of the town tells the same story. They lack basic infrastructure including landscaping, benches and ornamental trees. The parks also do not have swings or slides.

In fact, during the monsoon, the rains aggravate the bad condition, with water stagnating in

Take for instance, the park in Hargobind Nagar adjacent to improvement trust office. Heaps of dry leaves and weeds dominate the park- no wonder few are ready to venture here. It turns into a cesspool during the monsoon and also becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies.

"As the park in our locality is not maintained at all, we have no option but to play cricket beside the road," said Raman, a twelve-year-old kid residing in the area.

Similarly, the park in Urban Estate Colony is in a bad state. In the absence of a gardener, the residents make their pets defecate there.

The indifferent attitude of the nagar council towards the maintenance of these parks has made residents form welfare societies to look after and maintain these parks.

"We pay the gardener and keep a vigil on the maintenance of the park in our locality. We have no faith in authorities now," a resident of New Model Town locality said.

They add that majority of the gardeners deployed by the nagar council for the upkeep of the parks, spend their time taking care of lawns in private houses. "Hence they are never here where they are supposed to be."

When contacted, an official of the nagar council admitted that the civic body was facing problems in maintaining the parks. "This is because of a fund crunch and shortage of staff. We have now handed over a number of parks to welfare societies and private organisations for upkeep." 



Young World
21 selected in campus placement
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 19
As many as 21 students from Lovely Institute have been selected by IT major Wipro in a campus placement organised by the company. A team, led by Wipro managing director Ahsaan Akhtar, conducted the recruitment process in which students securing more than 60 per cent marks in computer-related streams participated. The course of recruitment procedure involved a three-phased programme which comprised pre-placement talks, telephonic round and a written test.

Addressing the students, Akhtar said that the IT sector was in the forefront in generating jobs for Indian educated youths. With leading companies in the west fighting desperately to cut costs, things are only to turn better for the Indian IT industry.

Interestingly, this is the third visit of Wipro to Lovely Institute in the ongoing academic session. In the current academic session, Lovely Institute has registered the highest number of students emerging successful in the campus placement programme.

Institute president Ashok Mittal attributed the success to the growing visibility of the institute owing to the quality standards it adhered to.

School carnival

Tiny tots of Saffron Public School participated in a carnival organised by the school for students of pre-nursery, LKG, UKG and Class I.

The carnival was initiated by its trustee Tejinder Kaur. The tiny tots came up doing the march past and presented themselves confidently with their dancing talent. Awards for “Master Saffron” and “Baby Saffron” were grabbed by Gurnoor and Tanya. “Master Saffron Universe”, “Master Saffron World” and “Master Saffron Asia” were won by Ekam Sodhi, Siddhartha Taneja and Myaas, respectively.

New session

The Gurukul organised the ceremony of opening of the new session on the school campus at Malkon.

The flame of “jyoti Saraswati” was performed by Daljeet Singh Cheema, Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister. Cheema was welcomed by school president N.K. Handa, headmistress Monika, and other teachers of the school.

Top positions

Students of Kanya Mahavidyalaya bagged the four top positions in the advance diploma in international business of Guru Nanak Dev 

Parneet stood first by securing 870 out of 1100 marks with distinction, while Ruchika was placed second with 866 marks with distinction. Monika stood third by scoring 862 marks with distinction, while Anjali got the fourth position by securing 819 marks.

On the other hand, Pooja of Hans Raj Mahila Vidyalaya (HMV) bagged the second position in the MSc (IT-1) of Guru Nanak Dev University by securing 475 out of 600 marks.



Khalsa College sees hopes in Johnson’s visit
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 19
Foreign coach David Johnson, who has been invited by the Punjab sports department to train athletes, was honoured by Lyallpur Khalsa College.

Discussing several aspects, the foreign coach shared tips with the athletes.

On the occasion, the prominent and the best athletes were also honoured. Balbir Singh, chief of the governing council of the college, said Johnson’s contribution to sports in England was immense and the college was happy to get his services. Principal Satish Kapur hoped that his interaction would help the athletes in their career.

Johnson said: “If we nurture the talented at this stage, they can be an asset for any country.” Talking about the system in England, he said young players were chosen and trained in schools and colleges by the centre of excellence.

Claiming it to be beneficial for the college, Jashpal Singh, head ofthe sports department, said Johnson’s presence would certainly boost the morale of the players.

On the occasion, four players who won laurels for the state at the Guwahati National Games, shared a healthy conversation with the coach.

Championship in Roha

The National Sub-junior Basketball Championship will be held in Raho in Nawashahr district in May, said R.S. Gill, president, Punjab Basketball Association and DGP-cum-Director, Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur.

For choosing the team of Punjab, the 34th sub-junior Punajb Basketball Championship was held at police lines Gurdaspur from April 14 to 17. Teams from all districts of Punjab and Baba Lodhiana Academy, Ludhiana participated in the championship.

The tournament matches were played on knock-out cum league system.

Baba Lodhiana Academy beat Mansa in the finals in the boys section and Gurdaspur triumphed over Kapurthala to clinch the girls crown. Bhatinda, Sangrur took third place in boys and girls sections, respectively.



Market Buzz
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Top-of-the-range DVD models, DVD808 and DVD908 are feature packed with ClearVid™ CMOS and a 2.7" wide hybrid clear photo LCD touch screen that makes reviewing the footage easy and enjoyable even under strong sunlight glare. DVD908 allows users to capture 6.1 mega-pixel photos, while DVD808 will capture 4.0 mega-pixel photos.

For convenient recording, the other DVD models are also impressive. DVD708 is equipped with 25x optical zoom for long distance and a 2.7" wide hybrid touch screen as well as impressive sound qualities through a built-in 5.1 channel surround sound recording capability. Finally, the DVD608 boasts of 40x optical zoom and a 2.5" LCD touch screen. Renowned for amazing picture quality and ease-of-use recording, the new line-up of DVD Handycam camcorders include Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar an Vario Tessar lens optics for blur-free images and increased optical zoom. — TNS



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