Station renovation plans underway
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
The 72-year-old Amritsar Railway Station is all set to wear a new look with renovation of its main entrance. This is part of the master plan prepared by the Government of India, according to which the station would be upgraded to international standards by 2010.

It had been a long-pending demand of city residents that the railway station be renovated to add more facilities for hundreds of passengers commuting from Amritsar. Railway authorities say the renovation of the entrance is a step towards upgradation of the station in a phased manner.

Many city-based historians and architects have, however, expressed reservations about the way the colonial architecture of the station is being replaced by a commonplace look with plaster of Paris covering the pristine pillars, which have always been a reminder of the glorious past of the station.

Most of the railway stations built by the British during that time had very similar colonial architecture. Even though everybody would want that the railway authorities make an effort to preserve the old look by hiring an expert agency, since it is not a heritage building the controversy over the change of shape of pillars is absolutely uncalled for, says an architect.

The building of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital is another example of colonial architecture. After intellectuals raised a hue and cry over the decision of the Punjab government to pull down the building and replace it with a multiplex, the idea was dropped.

The architecture of Saragari School is also very colonial.

With such old buildings disappearing at a fast pace, it is important to preserve whatever heritage we are left with. We do not want our next generation to see photographs to know what the old railway station looked like before it was completely renovated, he added.

The traffic chaos outside the railway station needs to be cleared up by regulating the movement of auto-rickshaws and clearing up encroachments which have mushroomed all over the place. 



Most of the residents have got hooked on to mango shake
Tangy taste: Mangoes making waves in city
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
With the soaring mercury, the the king of fruits, mango is making its presence felt in the market as well as in the daily lives of the city residents who are savouring the many delightful tastes the mango offers in its many avatars.

The juice bars are already thriving on mango shakes and most city residents have got hooked on to the nutritious drink. Scores of rehris and carts line up along the outer wall of Ram Bagh and Majitha road here every evening. Even as city residents await a variety of mangoes like ‘saharani’, ‘langra’, ‘banarsi’, ‘alphanso’ to make an entry, the two varieties of ‘totapari’ and ‘safeda’ are up for grabs. The juicy, small, round ‘tapka’ variety of mangoes will make its appearance in the rainy season.

Apart from the yummy taste, mango is one fruit which offers up to 40 per cent fibre, which, doctors say, helps digestion. Researchers say dietary fibre prevents degenerative diseases, including heart ailments by lowering cholesterol levels and helps prevent certain types of cancer.

Mangoes also have high contents of antioxidants and potassium. Mangoes are also a known source of vitamins A and C, potassium and contain beta carotene. Mangoes are low in calories (approximately 110 per average sized mango), fat (1 gram) and sodium.

A large crowd of city residents converge on the shops selling mango juices on the Majitha road every evening, besides those located in the walled
city areas.

The health-conscious city residents, who were bored with having lassi ever since summers began, now have a better option in mango shakes. It is low on fat content and the taste is obviously unmatched.

“Most of the mango available in the city has been brought here mostly from southern states. The price of Safeda begins at Rs 20 per kg. We have already got addicted to the fruit and no evening passes without having a glass of mango shake. Once the ‘dashehri’ variety enters the market, kids would have more fun,” says Beant Singh, a resident of Shivala Colony on Batala Road. Ever since mangoes have come into the market, having milk is not an ordeal. There are so many options, mango juice, mango souffle, mango shake, kulfi and ice-cream have become a daily routine with city residents.

Watermelons have also become a hit with city residents and loads of these are brought straight from adjoining villages on carts every evening. “With growing consciousness about nutritious diet, even youngsters now prefer to have a glass of juice or mango shake instead of colas. The stall selling sugar cane juice right outside the main gate of the university draws a large crowd of students and even teachers every day,” says Rajwinder, an M. Phil student at GND varsity.



Cops get lessons in fitness
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
Some sought to reduce their waistline, some wanted to reclaim physical fitness and the rest preferred much-needed relaxing time.

A week-long yoga camp at the Police Lines provided all these, where more than 300 policemen of various ranks, constables to the SSP, participated. It was organised by the Amritsar police, in collaboration with Amritsar Chapter of Patanjali Yog Vidyapeeth Hardwar (founded by Swami Ramdev), for the benefit 
of officers.

The idea behind this camp is to help police personnel feel relaxed from their hectic routines by using yoga techniques and also to change their mindset to deal with the common people. This would change the work culture of the police towards commoners as well as to improve police public relations. A total of 20 police officers have been selected for advanced yoga course so that they can be trained as yoga teachers. Amritsar Police is going to include yoga in the daily routine of the police officers. Every morning, the police stations and other units will have yoga classes in future, said a police official.

Most of the police officials were new to yoga and said the whole experience helped them have a more relaxed and chilled out approach towards work. 



Woman among two held for drug peddling
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
The Special Narcotics Cell of the Punjab police claims to have achieved success by nabbing two inter-state smack smugglers, including a woman. Around 333 grams of smack has been recovered from their 

The accused have been identified as Rajwant Kaur, a resident of Muchhal, Khilchian in Amritsar, presently living in Mohali and Ranjit Singh, a resident of Gali Mandirwali, Kot Khalsa, Amritsar.

Acting on tip of a specially constituted police party from Special Narcotics Cell under the supervision of Inspector Jasbir Singh and ASI Nirmal Singh of the Special Narcotics Cell, Amristar, apprehended the two smugglers from the area under police station ‘B’ division, Amritsar and recovered 333 grams of smack from their possession as the duo was waiting for a party to deliver the consignment of smack at Chamrang Road in their Mahindra Scorpio car bearing registration number PB12-G-0034.

A case under Sections 21/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered.

Preliminary investigations reveal that Rajwant Kaur alias Raj is a close associate of notorious inter state smack smuggler Jai Parkash alias JP, a resident of Shahbad Markanda in Haryana. Rajwant Kaur and her associates were allured by huge profits in this illicit trade. All efforts are being made to crack the complete network of the accused within the state and out side the state, said the police.

The anti narcotic drive has been launched under the leadership of V. K. Bhawra, Inspector General of Police, (Intelligence), Punjab. Under the supervision of Jagdish Mittal, IPS, DIG/CI, Punjab and Tulsi Ram, PPS, senior superintendent of police, Special Narcotics Cell, Punjab, Amritsar, the special narcotics cell has launched a crackdown against drug trafficking and drug abuse in the state.

Right from its inception the Special Narcotics Cell, Punjab, Amritsar has launched a massive drive against drug smugglers across the International borders and the drug abuse in the state.

The Cell has already affected heavy recovery of heroin, smack and fake Indian currency in a short span of time and we look forward towards more such achievements with public support,” says the police.



My City
Electric crematoriums more viable option
Dr Ranbir Singh Pannu

The existing crematoriums in city are a big source of pollution and should be relocated out side city limits. The new place must have more space with facility for conducting electric cremation. These spaces must be converted to gardens.

The amount of pollution, deforestation of wood, huge amount of smoke and hard suspended particles these crematoriums produce pose health hazard and are an obstacle to the ‘green city drive’.

Both crematoriums are situated in very congested areas, the final destination for the dead should be pleasant, hassle free, and less bothersome to citizens of the town but surrounding population here is suffering silently.

Our system of disposing the dead body by burning is best in the world but we should shift to cleaner, hygienic, less expensive, less time consuming cremation and the answer is electric cremation.

To say superstition comes in a way of electric cremation is not true as the easy way would be to conduct an opinion poll after making residents aware of the advantages of electric cremation through the television or the print media.

Some opposition is bound to be faced but that has to be weighed against the advantages. Senior citizens should come forward with will (last wish) to be cremated in an electric crematorium. Common citizen has never been asked as to what kind of superstition he has with electric disposal of the body. NRI groomed in our culture are using electric cremation in western countries.

It would take joint efforts of people from all walks of life, including sociologists and religious leaders, to spread awareness about electric crematorium. All rituals could be performed on the body before putting into electric chamber.

To burn one body you have to cut a grown up tree whereas, electric cremation will cost peanuts. On an average of three to four quintals of wood is required to cremate a single body and about 20-25 bodies are cremated daily in Shiv Puri and Sheedawala cremation ground.

Electric cremation is done in most parts of India especially in the southern states and different religious societies and social workers have taken responsibility to maintain these crematoriums all over India. I do not think why we are so backward so as not to accept electric burring even when Chandigarh and Mohali were doing 
the same.

The Holy City's first and only electric crematorium is in Shiv Puri cremation ground under the Durgiana Committee which has been non-operational since 1992. Very few persons are aware of its existence. Cremation is municipal service like water supply and antimasque fogging etc. to all who are in the city.

Earlier the Archeological Survey of India had also warned that if electric crematoriums were not used, the green belt and the green cover around the monuments would seriously be endangered. It had also requested the court to direct the authorities to shift the cremation ground from the vicinity of Taj Mahal and encourage people to use the electric crematorium.

So keeping in view the importance of Golden Temple and other heritage buildings in the holy city there was need to take steps for their safety. Even all metro cities are done with electric crematorium.



Minister promises better infrastructure
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
Punjab transport minister Master Mohan Lal promised better infrastructure and transportation for local and foreign tourists coming to Punjab.

He was speaking at the function organized by the 249-year-old international travel and tour operators Cox and Kings. A seminar on “International and Domestic Package-Inbound and Outbound” was also organised.

The speakers expressed the need for the government and the private sector to take effective steps to attract foreigner tourists to Amritsar by showcasing the historic places of interest.



Seven years after, boy gets new parents, name
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
Seven-year-old Amarpratap Singh is in a whole new world. After all, he is now Sanchit, son of Harish and Manju, whom he barely knew till he was handed over to the couple after a court order this week.

The young boy is faced with the tough task of taking two strangers as his parents. Little wonder, it took a while for him to believe the claims of true love made by his biological parents, who had lost Sanchit soon after he was born.

The mid-wife at the nursing home had swapped him. He is slowly turning friendly with his elder brother, Sahil, at his new home in Sharifpura. Apart from daily visits to doctors for counseling, Sanchit is enjoying outings with his new family. The other day, he was taken to the Golden Temple to pay obeisance and enjoyed every bit of it.

It has been a gradual change from the day the custody of Amarpratap was handed over to his biological parents earlier this week. That day, he preferred to accompany his lawyer V.P.Singh Bhatia instead.

“Since he was not familiar with his biological parents, he said he wanted to come to my house first. But over the last couple of days, he is feeling more and more comfortable in his new-found family,” says Bhatia.

Also staying with the family is Muskaan, the girl child who was handed over to Harish and Manju. Manju who reportedly fell unconscious during delivery was told by the nursing home staff that she had delivered a baby girl. The child Muskan, handed over to her by the nursing home, is being brought up by the couple since then.

This is one of the rare cases which has been decided by getting a DNA test of the child done on directions from the court.

It was on January 6, 2003 that the police claimed to have unearthed the racket of selling newborns with the arrest of Ramesh Rani who was running her nursing home inside the walled city for allegedly swapping the male child with a female one, of a woman Parveen Kumari admitted to her hospital for delivery last month.

The deal was said to have been struck by Ramesh Rani for Rs 3.5 lakh with the proposed buyer, the police said. On the basis of DNA report, the prosecution had argued that the test had established that six-year-old Amarpratap Singh was born to Manju and Harish and the child should be handed over to his biological parents.

On the other hand, the defence counsel had pointed out that Sukhwinder Singh and Ranjit Kaur had brought up the child and hence he could not be separated from them. Bhatia pleaded that the DNA reports were the most reliable as in comparison to blood tests; the odds of DNA finger printings going wrong are one in 30,000 million. Quoting the DNA profile, Bhatia stated that blood samples of the swapped male child matched with DNA profiles of Manju and her husband Harish.



SAF scholarships for 69 students of GNDU
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
New Delhi based South-Asian Foundation (SAF), has awarded scholarships to sixty nine students studying in various associate institutes of centre of distance education under the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU).

Dr. M.S. Dhillon, director, Centre for Distance Education said that of the selected 69 students, 50 are from Shanti Devi Arya Mahila College, Dinanagar (Gurdaspur), five from Pal College for Women, Jandiala Guru (Amritsar), four from Swami Vivekananda Girls College, Bathinda, three each from Sant Baba Hazara Singh Girls College, Nikke Ghuman (Gurdaspur) and Kamla Nehru College for Women, Phagwara, two from DAV College, Jalandhar and one each from RR Bawa DAV College, Batala and Tagore Degree College, Behrampur Road, Gurdaspur of session 2006-07.

He said that a cheque of Rs 4,500 would be presented to each student during a function scheduled to be held on May 22 at Baba Budha College Bhawan of the University.



Theatre workshop for budding artistes
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
A 45-day theatre workshop is being organised at S.R. Government College for Women in which eminent personalities from the National School of Drams, New Delhi would train the students in various dramatic activities.

The renowned artistes would train the students in various fields of theatre such as acting, direction, choreography and dance movements.

Addressing the gathering Jatinder Singh Brar and Jasbir Singh Jas described ‘theatre as a live art and a very powerful medium to address the problems of the society.

Earlier welcoming the guests college principal Jasmeet Kaur said organisations like ‘Dastak’ would go a long way in transforming the society through their plays. She said the college would train its student in various fields of art and theatre to bring out the best in them.

Amit Sazena, Rajinder Singh, Dhiren Divedi, Meeta Misra and many other young talented graduates from NSD and Mandeep Singh MOFS Chandigarh would be joining the workshop for training the enthusiastic students of the college.



Insurance industry observes strike
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
On a joint call given by all recognised trade unions of officers of general insurance industry, members of the United India Insurance Officers’ Association took part in a one-day strike on May 18.

The demands included amendments in promotional policy like waiver of examination clause, amendments in transfer and mobility policy, grant of pending non core benefits and restoration of compassionate appointment and medical benefits post hospitalisation. The striking officers also demanded grant of one more option for pension, wage revision anomalies and an end to merger and closure of officers.



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