The ‘poster’ city needs attention
Amritsar, May 8
Taking up this issue, Punjab Heritage and Education Foundation has urged Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal to assign the task of overseeing beautification of Amritsar to one of the ministers in his cabinet.
Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, vice-president of the foundation, said according to a survey conducted by the BBC, the Golden Temple was declared the sixth most popular tourist destination. But unlike other countries where effective steps are taken to promote tourism, in India no effort has been made to attract foreigner tourists to Amritsar even though a large number of tourists from other state do come here.
The main reason is the filthy environs of the city with garbage dumps in every nook and corner of the city, polluting vehicles, irritating pressure horns and stray animals. He added that rampant encroachments on pavements, noise of loudspeakers at night and traffic jams make the foreign tourists at bay.
Dr Rakesh Arora, a private practitioner in Ranjit Avenue, said every time a political leader comes to the city, the roundabout outside Hall Gate is the first victim of posters and hoardings. Though action is taken against graffiti and obscene posters, because of political pressure, this defacing of the roundabouts is not taken note of. At some points these hoardings and cut-outs also obstruct view of traffic coming from the other side and can lead to accidents.
Like hoardings of showrooms and products, due permission should be taken from the district administration and sites should be identified to make sure these large posters are not put up at will, he added.
In a letter sent to the Chief Minister, the federation requested him to take a round of GT Road, Akali Phulla Singh Road, Karmo Deori, Katra Jaimal Singh Tahliwala Bazar Gheo Mandi, Hall Bazar and Mahan Singh Gate and compare them with the roundabouts in Chandigarh. The crossings were covered with large hoardings and posters by Congress and now by the BJP workers.
Dr Gumtala said pedestrians and motorists on their way to the Golden Temple have a tough time negotiating the pot holes as there are no street lights on the roads.
Given the glorious heritage of the city, the Municipal Corporation and the district administration should make a concerted effort to make sure that the city does not lack public utility services.
He added that though issues like improper garbage disposal, stray animals and non-functional street lights were raised by NGOs, successive governments seem to turn a blind eye to these problems.
Some NGOs have also suggested that the MC should allot maintenance of the roundabouts to corporate houses.
67-yr-old dispossessed of house running from pillar to post
Amritsar, May 8
Bachan Singh talking to the media said that an FIR was lodged in this regard on April 25, 2006 and the then SSP had sought a complete probe into the FIR which was submitted in December last year by SP Headquarter Dilbagh Singh. He said the report had confirmed that the case registered was found to be fair and on facts.
Giving details of the case Bachan Singh said that his foster son Parkash Singh who was given half share of his property was living separately with his wife. But on the demise of his (Bachan) wife his son forced his entry into his house and dispossessed him from his lawful property.
He alleged that his son had also demolished the house where he was living separately. When contacted SSP Amritsar (Rural) Iqbal Singh that he had joined at his new posting only recently and the case was not in his knowledge. He said he would seek details about the case and would act accordingly.
He alleged that the gunman of SAD MLA from Ajnala was protecting the alleged culprit who continued to forcibly live in his house and he was also ploughed his fields under the influence of the security guard.
He urged the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to direct the police to get his house vacated from his foster son so that he could live peacefully in his old days.
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 8
K.S. Pannu, deputy commissioner, Amritsar came up with this idea at a meeting of the Zila Sainik Board which was convened to review the status of various schemes jointly launched by the Central and state governments for the welfare of ex-servicemen.
He said that besides disseminating information about various welfare schemes to the potential claimants and solving the problems of retired soldiers, the sincerity, experience and dedication of nearly one lakh former servicemen in the district should be utilised for the larger interest of the masses.
Pannu said that a system may be evolved whereby this huge manpower may be utilised for the upliftment of the masses.
He added that we are faced with herculean tasks of generating employment, spreading education, controlling pollution and drug-addiction and the like and the ex-servicemen may be grouped into units/battalions to meet these challenges.
He hoped that the city would harness rich benefits from these dedicated units.
Later, Pannu revealed that Zila Sainik Board has advanced financial assistance worth Rs 1.45 crore in Amritsar district, during the last quarter.
Out of this, Rs 46 lakhs were given to 253 Gallantry awardees, Rs 23.50 lakh were given as ex-gratia grant to the next of kin of the martyrs.
Besides, Rs 14.77 lakh were disbursed among 945 ex-servicemen, above the age of 65. Nearly, Rs 16.85 lakh were given to 213 cases of war jagir.
The Kendriya Sainik Board gave Rs 4.16 lakh as distress grant to 33 beneficiaries, monthly maintenance grant amounting to Rs 1.08 lakh, traveling allowance to war widows amounting to Rs 1.89 lakh and marriage grant worth Rs 1.65 lakh was also disbursed.
Nishan Singh Randhawa, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare, informed that various pre-recruitment courses and other diploma courses (computer applications and Punjabi stenography) are being run by the office of deputy director, Sainik Welfare, Amritsar.
Soon biogenetics dept in GNDU
Amritsar, May 8
Appreciating the copier paper ‘e-copy’ produced by the paper mill the Chief Minister assured all the support required to revive the sick industries in the state.
Brij Mohan Khanna, chairman, Khanna Paper Mills, also promised to give complete support to the university in establishing department for paper technology.
The participants raised various important questions concerning Amritsar and its development besides raising various issues ranging from infrastructure, railways network and power crisis to education sector.
The Amritsar Conclave was also attended by BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and industry minster Manoranjan Kalia and vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh besides eminent industrialists, educationists, businessmen, doctors and eminent citizens of country.
Amritsar and Lahore have long been touted as twin cities on either side of the border. However, in terms of development Lahore was almost two decades ahead of holy city of Amritsar. Thanks to the lack of commitment on the part of the powers to be and irresponsible behaviour of the people to develop the city.
A trip across the Wagah Border was an eye opener in many ways than one. The fields are lush green in both the Punjab’s across the border enroute to the city are similar, though less populated on the other side. The road to Lahore is a four-lane highway and in parts is most lovely with a canal running through the middle unlike our narrow track.
I got an opportunity to visit Lahore during the SAARC car rally recently. The orchestrated Punjabi welcome, the confetti, the dholis and the song and dance zapped us with delight to say the least. There was bonhomie everywhere with Indian and Pakistani flags waving in unison painting a pretty picture of peace and harmony. The city, unlike Amritsar, has no visible garbage, has orderly traffic and has manicured gardens and crossings.
The powers that be have preserved the best and developed the rest. The old areas are well preserved with an eye on tourism, and lit up in the most professional manner.
No hotel or multiplex can operate without undertaking this responsibility. Even their car parks are well organised by professional security guard agencies rather than sifarshi touts. The parks and the roundabouts are tastefully maintained and seem straight out of Dubai and Singapore.
While the old heritage building on this side of border were crumbling down as no authority was willing to take the responsibility and don’t take any headache to preserve the golden era of past.
A trip from Lahore down the Sheikhupura road showcases industry in ship shape. Miles and miles of successful industry nails another myth that border areas should not be encouraged as economic regions of sustenance. Another eye opener, another injustice to our entrepreneurial skills this side of the border, and another indicator to the lack of vision, which has inhibited industrial growth on our side of the Punjab.
Tourism too is treated as an industry while we were still making plans to initiate steps to adopt any approach to this potential industry. The tour guides are thorough professionals, the caretakers of the Gurudwaras, many of them Muslims are superbly well read and quote history with both confidence and relish. The market places are clean whether it is the old Anarkali section or the newer Gulberg and Liberty areas.
Lahore fort, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Museum, Badshahi Mosque are indeed must sees. In sharp contrast, Amritsar has become today a municipal nightmare, with each successive government offering lip service at best to resolve the core issues. In three words all they need to do is to “Decongest, Clean and Green” the city. What we lack is political back bones. This has lead us to a situation that we as neighbours of Lahore are swamped by the comparison.
Perhaps our present bureaucratic and political incumbents need a trip across the border, just one hour away, to showcase the possibilities of our city against the better reality of Lahore.
Our heads hang low in shame and in recognition of lost opportunities. We have neither been able to preserve and exhibit our heritage, excite economic activity, nor been able to develop our environs as a civilised society. Perhaps our ‘twin’ city next door can teach us a lesson or two!!!!
PSEB to be made autonomous
Amritsar, May 8
Stating this to the media Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Minister for Education, languages, civil aviation and vigilance said that the government is determined to provide quality education to all the students under government institutions so that they could compete with their counter parts of private schools and face the challenges put forward by the globalization.
In a significant development, she said autonomous status of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) would also be revived again so that it bring changes in the curriculum of various classes besides removing shortcomings in the examination criteria to enable students of government schools and colleges to compete in competitive tests.
The minister for education said that in developed countries about 47 percent students get higher education while in India only 10 percent students get the same. She said even though the country had set a target of educating 100 percent children till the sixth five year plan, but the same could not be achieved even in 11th five year plan.
She said that government would soon fill up 32,000 vacant posts of teacher in various schools and colleges in different phases. She said that necessary infrastructure would also be provided besides giving long overdue promotions of the teachers. She said the government would also establish 144 Aadarsh schools (model schools) at each block in various districts of the state in two to three years in its endeavor to provide quality education to the rural youth. She added that the government was also planning to upgrade the government schools having good infrastructure and results to model schools.
The minister said that the problems regarding the pensions of the private and aided school teachers would be solved soon.
Meanwhile, she announced a grant of Rs two lakh to Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary Public School for its contribution in the education field while inaugurating a new wing of the school. She also released annual souvenir ‘School chronicle’.
Addressing the students she called upon the students to work hard and help in the development of the country with their selfless service after getting education. Lauding the role of Chief Khalsa Dewan by imbibing Panthic traditions besides providing the formal education to the young children, she urged the CKD and other social organizations to come forward and help the government and society in offering free education to poor and down trodden.
Don’t ‘wait and watch’ in dog bites: Docs
Amritsar, May 8
According to recent research, 95 per cent of the reported rabies cases were due to bites by an infected dog. Once symptoms of rabies develop, there can be no treatment and death is imminent.
Veterinarian, Dr Sunil Dutt, said this theory can go wrong in cases where the virus may take slightly longer in traveling to the brain of the animal. “Risk of rabies is a question of life and death and there cannot be any scope for taking chances,” he said.
Since the rabies virus affects the nervous system of humans, the closer the bite is to the spinal cord, the more risky it is. In all cases of dog bites, there should not be any delay in taking anti-rabies shots.
Interestingly, there are 20 dogs for every human in India and the birth control programmes for stray dogs have not been able to check their population. Surveys point out that 88 per cent pets are still not vaccinated. There is a need for making registration of pets mandatory, as has been Indonesia, so that the total head count is known and it is ensured that vaccination is done in time.
Dr Dutt in his lecture on the subject pointed out that vaccination of animals and taking anti-rabies shots in case of dog bites was only solution to tackle the deadly disease. He warned against going to quakes for treatment for treatment of dig bites as only a qualified, registered veterinarian can treat a deadly disease like rabies.
Experts said that with growing number of rabies cases being reported, there is a need for mass anti-rabies free vaccination camps for animals. Most human victims are from economically weak backgrounds and cannot afford costly vaccines after the animal bite.
Dr P.S.Dhaliwal, professor and head of the Department of Clinical Vetirinary Medicine said there were varied opportunities for veterinary doctors.
Walia-Brar-Jagwant group wins PCCTU poll in Amritsar
Amritsar, May 8
B.B. Yadav of the Walia-Brar-Jagwant group won the election by defeating S.S. Rangi by a huge margin. Yadav secured 25 votes against nine by Rangi.
While in Jalandhar Tejinder Virli of the Walia-Brar-Jagwant group defeated Sanjiv Sharma by a margin of three votes. Rajinder Singh of the Hundal-Tiwari group beat V.K. Bhardwaj of the Walia-Brar-Jagwant group by one vote only.
The Walia-Brar-Jagwant group had already won in Chandigarh, Gurdaspur, Ferozepore, Patiala and Tarn Taran districts.
Earlier, Bhushan Kumar of the group was elected district secretary of the Amritsar unit of the association, while J.K. Arora and Kuldeep Singh were nominated as district president and secretary, respectively, of the Tarn Taran unit.
Put an end to dumping at grain market, govt urged
Amritsar, May 8
The committee also appealed to the government to shift the already unloaded municipal solid waste (MSW) to an authorised site duly notified by Punjab Pollution Control Board, Patiala and as per solid waste rules laid by Government of India.
P S Randhawa, general secretary of committee, said that the impact of the dump on trees was quite clear as about 50-feet high mature eucalyptus trees along the Amritsar- Tarn Taran railway track side of the grain market had dried in large number. Arhtiyas (commission agents) had to discard many shops as the garbage engulfed their shops exposing them to many diseases.
Meanwhile, making some strict observations on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by pollution control committee on the sorry state of sanitation in holy city, the divisional bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court had also ordered the commissioner, municipal corporation to appear before the court on May 25.
The committee had urged the high court to order corporation authorities to shift the dump to an authorised place. The committee had also requested that the disposal of MSW and dead animals should be done in a scientific manner, thus ensuring that lives of residents were not endangered.
Randhawa said not only this many points of drinking water taps installed by the market committee and electric lamp posts and poles for lighting had been damaged by the garbage, the committee said. The huge garbage dump with large number rodents, stray animals, canine, smoke and foul smell had made the life hell for the residents of nearby areas and traders in the grain market who were exposed to health hazards.
PCC said that during a dust storm at the time of wheat procurement this season a lot of fugitive dust from dump, litter, garbage was polluting the good grains which could prove harmful for general public health consuming that wheat.
It is pertinent to mention here that D S Bains, Principal Secretary, had recently visited this dump in person and had directed the authorities to take steps to solve the problems.
He said earlier, Punjab state Human Rights Commission after long discussions and hearings had ordered the Municipal Corporation and other concerned authorities to complete shift the garbage dump within four months in the year 1999. However, in spite of these orders the corporation ha failed to lift the garbage from the grain market and mismanagement been continued rather worsened, he added. Randhawa called upon the people and media to rise on the occasion and to urge the government contain and clear this unauthorised dump.
Punjab industry needs level playing field: CII
Amritsar, May 8
Gunbir Singh. chairman, Amritsar zonal council, CII, presenting the Vision Punjab 2012 document to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, said that the industries in the state were hit by the lack of level playing field for Punjab and value added tax which was higher than other northern Indian states which had left the industry in a demoralised state.
He said the agriculture stagnation had eroded in net revenue and production standoff and there was no value addition to agriculture produce resulting in huge losses to the farmers.
The document further said that while the GDP and Industrial growth (3 year average) of the country stood at 9 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, while that of Punjab it was 6 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.
It further said that Punjab heavily depended on its low value agricultural produce and was facing water table depletion besides unplanned rapid urbanisation.
Suggesting various measures the document said that the state government should also provide level playing field for industry and trade with contiguous states so that the sick industries could be revived in the state.
It said there was need for thrust on renewal of agriculture by introducing organic cultivation of crops which helped in reducing the input costs considerable. The state government should encourage the farmers for producing value added crops to increase their profitability, it added.
It said the efforts should be taken to provide basic infrastructure for setting up multi sectoral special economic zones (SEZ) and take steps to generate more power so as to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the industries in the state.
The document urged the state government to provide capital subsidy and financial package to revive the industry in the border belts besides initiating steps to remove disparities between VAT charges in the state against lower incident of taxes in neighbouring states. It further urged for removal of bottlenecks in trade with Pakistan to tap its market which was worth $9 billion.
Farmers can cash in on ‘rasbhari’
Amritsar, May 8
This was revealed in a research conducted by research scholar Savreet Sandhu here. As per the research, with its low production and an exceptionally higher level of yield per hectare it is categorised to be a highly remunerative crop for the farmers who were reeling under severe debt due to vicious wheat-paddy cycle. Further it can also be grown as an inter-crop i.e. with other food crops like kinnow because of its less height.
Sandhu said, apart from being rich in food values, plants of cape gooseberry were high yielding and that the soil and climatic conditions of the holy city were very suitable for the cultivation of “rasbhari”. She said the crop could grow very well in the climate of Amritsar where the annual rainfall was 735 mm and which represented the sub-tropical humid zone of Punjab with sandy loam texture of the soil.
Cape gooseberry was a small shrub having short juvenile period and gives returns within six to eight months of transplanting which is also beneficial for the farmers. “Rasbhari” is a quick growing herbaceous crop, easily propagated by seeds or stem cuttings. The plant is about 4 feet in height and have bell shaped yellow flowers. The fruit, which is yellow to orange in colour, resemble tomato in shape but is small in size. Fruit is a globose berry which is enclosed in an inflated, bladder like calyx or husk which improves its transportability and shelf life, making it a “no-problem fruit”.
She said the cost of cultivation was less as pesticides and insecticides were not required and, if required, that was in very lesser amount. She said it took one year to conduct research. She said the seeds were brought from Patiala and from sowing to harvesting it took seven months.
Sandhu said cape gooseberry was grouped under minor under-exploited fruits but from nutritional point of view its importance was not less than any other major fruit as it was rich source of vitamins A, C and P, protein, fat and carbohydrates. Out of the total carbohydrates content, an appreciable quantity (10 per cent) is available as pectin which is used by industries for the preparation of preserves like jam and jelly and is thus attributed as “jam fruit” having great export potential.
Shopkeepers threaten to go on fast
Amritsar, May 8
Pardeep Aggarwal, general secretary, Jain Building and Bazar Dhobian Association, said the administration should implement the decision of the high powered committee which in its meeting held on July 22, 2005, decided to allot residential and commercial sites to the Galliara oustees within prescribed time frame.
The additional commissioner, municipal corporation was given the task. Sixteen flats were allotted within few months to the residential oustees in the new Amritsar scheme but we haven’t heard anything in this regard from the district administration, said Aggarwal.
They submitted a memorandum to deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, who is also the project director of the Galliara scheme, on March 28, but any response is yet to come.
He said a survey had been done by the municipal corporation about the displaced persons whose commercial and residential buildings had been demolished.
They have deposited forms for the same in the MC office.
“We urged the authorities to allot us shops in the new shopping complex which was nearing completion but the authorities were dilly dallying on the issue for the reasons best known to them,” said Aggarwal.
He said that they would also submit memorandum to the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in this regard during his visit to the holy city on March 5 and apprise him of their problems as they had been exhausted physically, mentally and
Uncovered food items on sale as administration sleeps
Amritsar, May 8
Make-shift stalls in the hall market and Bhandari Bridge area attract a large number of customers during the scorching heat, unaware of the fact that the consumption of exposed cut fruits, ice candy and sugar cane can prove to be a health hazard.
As part of the anti-Cholera measures, Deputy Commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu has given directions prohibiting sale and storage of over ripe, under ripe fruits, all kinds of cut fruits kept without wire gauze or glass cover. Sale of exposed cut vegetables, meat, cakes, sweets, biscuits, bread, parched grains and other eatables unless properly covered has also been banned.
The deputy commissioner has authorized Civil Surgeon, District Health Officer, all senior medical officers, medical officers of government and local bodies, district epidemiologist, all food inspectors, health supervisors, sanitary inspectors, multipurpose health supervisors and all magistrates to enter into and inspect any market, building, shop or stall used for manufacture, storage and display for sale or free distribution of contaminated foodstuff or drinks.
Such foodstuff can be seized, destroyed, disposed off in case it is considered unfit for human consumption. An official of the health department said any ice factory or aerated water factory or mineral water or food establishment can be closed down if it is found not working in a way to avoid the spread of cholera and if they do not produce water portability certificate from the state bacteriologist or from any such laboratory duly authorized by the Punjab government.
“Most people believe that sipping on sugarcane juice is the nutritious way to best the heat. Little do they know that instead of improving their health, juice of exposed sugarcane puts that at risk to catch cholera and other water borne diseases. The ban is aimed at checking the manufacturing procedures of ice candies, sweets, cakes and bread,” he said.
Even though the ban on sale of exposed cut fruits, ice candies and sugar cane juice is applicable in the municipal corporation area, municipal towns and the notified area committees but vendors can be seen openly flouting these instructions in the walled city area and villages on the periphery of the city.
Rajinder Bakhshi, owner of Rajindra Motor Accessories in Hall Bazar, said scores of students converge on the stalls selling cut fruits and ice candies on their way back from school on hot afternoons. “With jaundice spreading in parts of Amritsar, the district administration should launch a drive to inform the vendors about the instructions to be followed and also make general public aware of the health hazard posed by the sale of exposed cut fruits,” he said.
Sanjay Bumbroo and Ashok Sethi
Amritsar, May 8
Spearheading to spread the message of the mission Uma Shergill and Avinash Mahindroo explained the concept of the missin to The Tribune that the Amritsar centre had created a special place among the people through the spead of message of vedant. Mahindroo said the mission had appointed special wholetime acharya Swami Vinayakchetanya for running the spiritual affairs of this institution.
He said Chinmaya Mission was founded by Swami Chinmayananda and was presently headed by Swami Tejomayananda. The Amritsar centre was part of hundreds of mission centres all over the world and was carrying on the activities of the mission in a spirit of devotion and service to humanity.
Explaining the various social schemes to uplift poor widows in the holy city, Mohindroo said that in 2002 the mission came across a suggestion to look after the needs of young destitute widows and to provide free ration to the deserving widows with small children. No requests from politicians and others were entertained and the process was transparent.
The most difficult part of the widow ration scheme was to collect the needed funds but, optimistic Mohindroo said, there was no dearth of donors and he received instant help from the core group of the mission activists who not only pledged their own contributions but also offered to arrange from their vast circle of friends and institutions. The foremost institution which came instantly to provide space and material help was Mohindroo’s own school, Bhawans S.L. Public School, which offered its own premises and contributed one months’ ration to the widows. Initially the project started with 101 such women but was later enhanced to 201 which continued to be beneficiaries for the past five years.
Swami Tejomayananda extended all help and said the project should not be dropped midstream.
Mohindroo said the idea behind the scheme was to give them initial reprieve to get over the grief and resource crunch and the relief of ration was given for one year only. In the meanwhile, the women were helped to stand on their own feet and become economically self-reliant. He said the mission had tied up with various banks and social welfare organisations to give them training in vocational courses.
The various educational institutions, social and business organisations which have contributed included Senior Study School, DAV Public School, DAV International School, Police DAV School and the Punjab Rice Millers Association.
Mentioning the various activities of the mission for the general masses, Mohindroo said the mission also organises quiz contests, trek tours, camps and spiritual picnics to channelise the energy of the youth in creative fields. A regular study group is conducted every Sunday by Acharya Vinayak Chaitanya, besides organising workshops for students.
Bust of 1971 martyr gathering dust in store
Amritsar, May 8
The president of the club Dr A.L. Adlakha in a release to the press here today said that a lot of hue and cry was raised by social activist Brit Bedi regarding the missing statue of war hero. He said the statue was kept in the store room by the contractor for carrying out repair work at the site.
It is pertinent to mention here that Bedi who makes an annual sojourn to pay floral tributes at the memorial on Capt Bhatia’s martyrdom day in December found the statue missing from the platform raised by the municipal authorities while the bust was given by the martyr’s family. Later it was found abandoned from the store room of the service club.
Many social organizations had expressed their alarm over the security in the protected area of the garden and have raised the issue with the administration as their callous attitude towards the Vir Chakra winner, a local resident who laid down his life in the 1971 war.
Dr Adlakha demanded that the concerned authorities should reinstall the bust of the martyr at its proper place as soon as possible or it should be taken away for its safe custody. He said the club would not be responsible for any damage caused to it.
Tribune News service
Amritsar, May 8
She said 15 per cent of the total seats would be reserved for under-privileged students.
In the eleventh year of its operation, the college offers undergraduate and post-graduate courses in business, fashion, media, advertising and graphic design, hospitality, retail, banking, information technology, hospital administration and politics and social work, said Sengupta.
She added that the highlight of the courses is the traineeship programme, wherein the students get hands-on experience in the second half of the day.
He said students can also seek transfer to other 15 campuses of the college in different cities.
This year, she said, the college is opening up branches in smaller cities as well and there would be branches in 40 cities by the year-end.
WLCI also has branches in 26 countries and students can also get a chance to go abroad to get more academic exposure. She said the admissions would start soon and classes are expected to be on by august in Amritsar.