No more flickering, faulty streetlights
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 20
Residents are all set to get rid of flickering and non-functional streetlights in the city. In a drive launched by the municipal committtee, teams have been constituted under the supervision of executive engineers and subdivisional officers. The teams will take rounds of different areas to prepare lists of streetlights that need repair immediately.

Municipal commissioner Hussan Lal said the move followed complaints from different residential colonies. The MC entered into maintenance contracts for the upkeep of streetlights with some private parties early this year. “The teams constituted by the corporation are taking rounds of different areas between 7 pm and 9 pm every evening to spot the non-functional points. The nuisance of flickering tubes and bulbs is also being checked. This is the first time that such a large-scale drive has been started ever since the maintenance contracts were signed,” said the commissioner.

To streamline the system to redress the complaints pertaining to streetlights, the corporation has also decided to set up a complaint centre in each of the 12 zones of the city.

“Till now, there used to be only one complaint centre at Guru Nanak Bhavan and it was an ordeal for residents of other parts of the city to go all the way to the walled city to register their complaints.

More such public-utility steps are being considered by the corporation and would soon be implemented,” said Hussan Lal.

“The state government has made more funds available for development of the city but no separate budget allocation has been made for the special drive,” he informed.

To get rid of Congress grass, the corporation has prepared a list of residential areas facing problems due to the presence of the weed. “We have deputed our staff to root out the weed so that its presence is substantially reduced in the colonies where it is known to spread every monsoon,” he said. He also appealed to the general public not to allow the weed to grow in vicinity of their home. 



Majithia promises cheap, easy water connections
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, July 20
Cheap and easy water connections will be provided to consumers under the rural water supply and sanitation project funded by the World Bank to provide safe drinking water to the people of the state.

Informing this during a Sangat Darshan programme in the Kathunangal area, near here, Bikramjit Singh Majithia, water supply, sanitation and information and public relations minister, said the connections would be provided at the rate of Rs 500 per house to common man and Rs 250 to families belonging to Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes.

Majithia, also the public health minister, said the government had decided to improve the whole water supply and sanitation system in the state under the Rs 1,280-crore project in which water supply and sanitation services would be decentralised and the rural people would be involved in the project.

He said the World Bank had provided Rs 750.90 crore for the project while the state and central governments had granted Rs 245.40 crore and Rs 207.20 crore, respectively. The remaining amount of Rs 76.80 crore was contributed from public funds, which was only 10 per cent of the overall cost of the project.

Five per cent amount of the project would be taken in two instalments from the Kandi areas, border belt areas and residents of villages.



10 months on, cops fail to trace teen

Tarn Taran, July 20
Even after the lapse of 10 months, the police has failed to locate a Dalit teenaged girl who had disappeared from her house under mysterious circumstances.

Piar Kaur, mother of the 13-year-old girl and resident of Kot Mohammad Khan village, 18 km from here, is a harassed lot. She is running from pillar to post to know about the whereabouts of her daughter, but without any success.

Piar Kaur, talking to The Tribune, said her daughter disappeared from their residence under mysterious circumstances on October 28, 2006, and on the very next day she approached the police to register a case. However, after much persuasion the police registered a case on December 30, 2006.

She said even after the registration of the case and repeated requests to the police authorities, the police failed to locate her daughter.

According to information, a case under sections 363 and 365 of the IPC was registered at Sarhali police station against five persons, including two women. The accused have been identified as Tarsem Singh, his wife Nirmal Kaur, Sarabjit Singh, Amarjit Kaur and Dial Singh, all residents of Kot Mohammad Khan village. The DSP (D), in his report, said two accused, Tarsem Singh and Sarbjit Singh, were arrested in the first week of March.

They had been lodged in the local Central Jail. The Sarhali police, when contacted, said three of the five accused had not been arrested yet.

Piar Kaur said she had approached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission for justice.



Quality Check
New water testing lab for city
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 20
Keeping in view the need for a water testing laboratory, the municipal corporation has set up a research laboratory. The facility was inaugurated by minister for local bodies Manoranjan Kalia at the office of the executive engineer (zone II).

Giving details, executive engineer P. . Jaggi said, “The laboratory has been established at a cost of Rs 2 lakh and would ensure that residents are provided clean drinking water.” Earlier, the water samples were being tested at Amritsar Medical College and public health cooperative lab. “Now, the samples would be collected from various residential areas and checked. It would greatly check spread of water-borne diseases,” he added.



Making a difference
Shivani Mehra

Amritsar, July 20
Vimla Dang may look fragile but her life is a strong example of selfless service towards humanity. A veteran Communist leader, Dang is so determined in her resolve to fight for the poor and hapless sections of society that despite her failing health she is associated with a number of welfare projects for the underprivileged women and children.

Awarded with the Padamshree, Dang began her struggle at the age of 15 as she joined the student movement and later jumped into the freedom struggle. After independence she began social work and took part in active politics. In 1968 she was nominated president of the municipal commission, Chheharta, which was one of the best managed public organisations in the state at that time. She remained in detention for holding strikes in 1955 for the cause of deprived textile labourers.

During militancy in Punjab, she worked for rehabilitation of victims of violence and became a legend for her social work. “For me life is to move forward. But the cause has to be secular and I want to do something which would really help the underprivileged children.” says the 81-year-old Dang.

As honorary secretary of the Punjab Istri Sabha Relief Trust, established in 1989, Vimla also plays an important role in taking major decisions. She has helped numerous couples reconcile and settle amicably. The Trust comprises nine members. At its child labour study centres it provides a stipend of Rs 100 per month to children working in tea shops, dhabas and brick kilns. “We also conduct painting competitions for them and take them out to see various monuments of the city,” says Dang.

“Handicapped children who do not get any support from government are also given stipend of Rs 400 per month by the Trust,” she adds. Another important project for children is Aruna Asif Ali stipend. It helps poor students by giving 100 scholarships in government schools at Amritsar, Bathinda, Chandigarh, Ferozepore and Jalandhar.

The Trust also gives stipend to victims of natural calamities. It donated Rs 20, 000 to the National Relief Committee fund for the victims of Samjhauta Express disaster. “Government gives stipend to the families of the soldiers who died in the Kargil war but we give our help to the children of the soldiers fighting there,” 
said Dang.



Teen claims miraculous cure after holy dip
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, July 20
It’s hard to believe but her faith did it for her. In a miraculous cure, Jitender Kaur, a 16-year-old girl, got her 80 per cent eyesight back, which according to her, happened just because she took dips in the holy sarovar and held ardas at the Golden Temple.After her continuous prayers for the last one and half years, now, this young girl from Barnala, is overwhelmed to see everything, what she wished for long.

She says around eight years back she lost eyesight completely due to wrong prescription of medicines. Although she was taken to top eye specialists and ophthalmic surgeons in the country but no success came in her way.

Jitender has every reason to thanks her aunt in Amritsar, who invited her to the holy city and specifically to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. “I was in the city for three days and visited the Harmandir Sahib to pay obeisance daily,” Jitender says.

Giani Gurbachan Singh, head granthi, says the case of Jitender is not exceptional. “Sincere prayers get their due reward,” he adds. On the contrary, prominent ophthalmologist of the region says it’s difficult to believe such miracles in the present scientific world.



City girl tops PTU BTech exam
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
Prabhjit Kaur, a resident of Chowk Bhori Wala, has secured the first position in B. Tech (IT), eighth semester, examination of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, by scoring 90 per cent marks. She scored 795 out of 850 marks.

Prabhjit’s father owns a dairy business. She gives the credit of her success to her teachers, parents and Almighty. Prabhjit wants to become an engineer and she has already got placement in Satyam Computers, a software company in Hyderabad.



DAV College introduces PG diploma in journalism
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
DAV College has started a one-year postgraduate diploma in mass communication and video production (PGD-MCVP) from the current session. Guru Nanak Dev University has granted permission to the college in this regard.

Informing this, college principal V.K. Sharma said interested graduate or postgraduate students with 50 per cent marks in any discipline were eligible for the course.

He said after doing the PGD-MVCP, a student would be eligible for joining the second year of the postgraduate degree course in mass communication and journalism through lateral entry.

He said the course was aimed at producing a technically equipped workforce for the print and electronic media. He said as per data the expanding media industry in the country presently needed at least one million trained personnel.

He said mass communication and video production was already being taught as an elective subject at the undergraduate level in the college and those who had graduated by studying the subject were well-placed in news channels, newspapers, media management and even in the celluloid world.



IT commissioner goes on a third poetic journey
P K Jaiswar

Amritsar, July 20
Income tax commissioner B.S. Rattan, who is also a known name in the field of Punjabi poetry, has compiled his third poetry book.

“Rete Uppar Lakiran”, the latest in the series, depicts the struggle of common man in the modern capitalist world. His earlier collections are “Aavesh-Parvesh” and “Khali Dariya”.

Many persons, who have read Rattan, feel that his form of poetry belongs to the common man which connects them to their roots.

In his poems the protagonists are taken from real life and persons linked to this land.

Women working in offices, girls baking corns, life of models struggling day and night for their survival, etc., all find place in his poetry. The lines of casteism and inequality dividing society also find a mention in his poetry.

“Zakhma De Nishan” is one such poem portraying the agony of social injustice resulted from this divide. In “Maa Da Sandook”, the poet highlights fineness of the rich Punjabi culture which is diminishing in today’s mad rush.

Renowned writer Parminderjit said the poems in “Rete Uppar Lakiran” speak the language of heart with uttermost simplicity. The social interactions, inherent relations and contemporary realities depicted in the poems show the deep observations of this world of Rattan, he added.

Writer Amajit Kaunke described the poems of Rattan as the poetry of idioms. “Presented in simple language, his poems relate to happiness and sorrows of common man,” the writer said. Like earlier books, this would also make a mark in Punjab’s poetry circle, he added.



Play on environment degradation

Amritsar, July 20
“Khuli Hawa Ki Talaash Mein”, a CEVA Drama Repertory Company’s presentation was staged at Spring Dale Senior School here on Friday. The company, set up by G.S. Chani, is a group of citizens who are activists as well as performers. The play explored the patterns and relationships between various issues concerning environment degradation.

Principal Manveen Sandhu was rueful about environmental degradation. The play, a satire on the tetra packs and plastics which have plagued our society, had already done more than 150 shows at different places. — OC



Exploring Himalayan beauty on bikes
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 20
The Himalayan Odyssey, an annual “pilgrimage” of the bikers from across the world, organised by Royal Enfield, reached its final destination in Amritsar recently.

Bikers on 52 Royal Enfield motorcycles had embarked on a 14-day journey which took them to the most inhospitable terrains in the Himalayas, crossing some of the highest points like the snow-covered Rhotang Jot (13,030 ft), Tanglang La, the second highest motorable road in the world, and Khardung La (18,350 ft), the world’s highest motorable road.

These bikers, which included three girl riders, were flagged off by film star Sunil Shetty from Delhi on June 24. For this group of over 70 persons, which included a large backup team of doctors, mechanics, media persons, covering a distance of 2,500 km, this was an experience of a lifetime.

Anupam Thareja, director (marketing), Royal Enfield, who received the riders in the holy city, said, “I love the power and feel of a Royal Enfield. The best way to experience this is not in cities or highways, but in terrain that tests mettle of both the machine and its rider. The drive from Manali to Leh was the most treacherous leg in the entire odyssey.”



‘Better marketing a must for handicraft industry’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
The industrial department in collaboration with National Centre for Design and Product Development organised a three-week training programme here.

Inaugurating the programme, district industrial officer R.L.Bhagat said, “The course aims at encouraging young entrepreneurs to revive the diminishing traditional handicraft business.” He said modern marketing techniques hold key to rejuvenate the dying industry. “The holy city was once known for its traditionally manufactured products, but now many of these units have shut down,” he added. The need of the hour is to set up a united marketing forum for skilled artisans so that they can sell their products at a better rate.

The course, attended by around 100 artisans, also offers special training to entrepreneurs of cut glass work products so that they can meet the international market standards. Giving details of the training, Bhagat said, “It would help artisans create better quality products by using latest techniques.” 



Catch a PO, bag reward
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
Amritsar police has decided to honour cops who have nabbed proclaimed offenders (PO). In a release issued here the department claimed four POs have been arrested. While one of the accused, identified as Dilbagh Singh, was held by Kathunangal police. He was at large since April 2004 and was declared PO on August 2006 in a murder case.

Similarly, Mattewal police nabbed Satnam Singh Satta of Mattewal village who was declared PO on July 6.

He was wanted in a case of theft registered in December 2006.

Sukhdev Singh of Tur village and Mukhtar Singh of Fattuwal village are the two other accused who have been arrested by the Amritsar (rural) police. 



‘Kanyadaan’ to be staged in city

Amritsar, July 20
Playwright Vijay Tendulkar’s “Kanyadan” would be staged at Guru Nanak Bhavan on July 22. Directed by theatre personality Lillete Dubey, the play boasts of the best career performances by Ranedra Gupta, Radhika Apte, Joy Sengupta and Raaghav Chanana.

The award winning play depicts a daughter’s transformation into a wife and a mother. In the process, a lot of thought-provoking moral and social questions are raised. The plot revolves around a young woman from a politically active family which decides to marry a socially inferior, but talented man.

The play, which is laced with gentle humour, also has an undercurrent of violence, uncertainties and anger. — OC



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