R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri

  • It’s banned, butt who cares!

  • Brush with history


Seminar held
: The Lions Club, Mandi-Abohar, on Saturday organised a seminar at Assumption Convent School here on AIDS awareness. The Principal, Sister Ambrosia, lauded the club for taking the initiative to bring awareness among the public. Dr Jaswant Singh, G S Jassal and Dr H S Popli addressed the gathering. District education officer Harbans Singh Chahal was also present.

Nature Day: The Social Science Department in LRS DAV Senior Secondary School here on Saturday celebrated World Nature Day by organising a poster and slogan exhibition. DSP Parampal Singh and his wife joined the staff in planting saplings and inspired the students to be more concerned about greenery. Principal Kusum Khungar welcomed the guests.

Crushed to death: Manu Dutt (57), an employee of a liquor retail shop in Himmatpura village in the subdivision, was crushed to death as an unidentified car hit his bicycle on Saturday. The body was handed over to the family on Sunday after postmortem at the local Civil Hospital. A case has been registered, sources said. 

Held for theft: The police on Saturday arrested Major Singh, a resident of Dharam Nagari here, under Section 379 of the IPC for allegedly stealing a mobile phone from a medicine shop while buying some medicines.

Shellers meet: The State Bank of Patiala organised a meeting of rice sheller units in Amritsar on Saturday evening. It was attended by more than 50 rice sheller owners of Amritsar and Tarn Taran and presided over by deputy general manager of Jalandhar zone A.K.Parischa.Chief guest Diwarkar Gupta, chief general manager of the bank, said all participants should take benefits of its superior technology.

Bassi Pathana
ELECTED: The following have been elected members of a district-level body of safai sewaks: chairman - Kashmiri Lal, president - Daulat Ram, senior vice-president - Soam Nath, vice-president - Surinder Kumar, general secretary - Jagdish Kumar Bhalla, press secretary - Bholla and cashier - Rajesh Kumar.

2 women held
: Two women have been arrestred on charge of drug peddling and 40 gm smack has been recovered from them. SSP Dinesh Pratap said the two women, identified as Asha and Rajni Rani, were residents of the Housing Board Colony, Ganganagar. They were arrested near Daulatpura village.

One killed: A resident of Chakk Sharif was killed and his uncle injured critically when a truck knocked down the motorcycle they were riding, near here, on Sunday. Prassan Singh died on the spot while Maggar Singh was referred to the Civil Hospital, Amritsar. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the unidentified truck driver.

Arjuna awardee SP booked for fraud
: The district police has booked SP-cum-assistant commandant (PAP) Balwinder Singh, an Arjuna Awardee, for allegedly cheating an NRI Amarjit Singh Dhanoa by forcibly taking possession of latter’s house in the Central Town locality here. According to the police, in his complaint Dhanoa stated that Balwinder was his friend and he had asked the latter to look after his house. “However, the SP not only took the possession of my house but even gave it on rent,” claimed Dhanoa.

‘Badal govt has forgotten promises’: The SAD-BJP government, led by Parkash Singh Badal, has forgotten its promises made with the private colleges’ non-teaching employees during the campaigning in the last assembly elections. This was alleged by president of the Private Colleges Non-Teaching Employees Union (Punjab and Chandigarh) D.K. Manroa while addressing the union’s executive members at a meeting held at Dayanand Ayurvedic College on Sunday.

Rehris removed: DIG, Patiala, Param Jit Singh, on Sunday directed the local police to remove rehris from both sides of the road leading to the bus stand from Delhi Gate here. Local SHO Swaranjit Singh reached the spot, along with police force, to remove nearly 60 rehris parked on both sides of the road. The DIG’s intervention was sought by residents at a police-public meeting held at Harjindra Resorts on Saturday.

CEREMONY: Lions Club, Patiala Central, in its installation ceremony, appointed H.S. Sethi as president, here on Sunday. The other elected members for 2007-08 are: secretary - Subhash Garg, treasurer - Anil Thakur, and PRO - Iqbal Sabharwal.

‘Callous’ cops:
The body of an unidentified person, crushed to death by a vehicle on Saturday night, kept lying on the Phagwara - Chandigarh highway for more than 12 hours right in front of the CIA staff office. The cops ‘made no efforts’ to lift the body lying right in middle of the road. It was only on Sunday that the body was taken to the civil hospital for postmortem. SSP Kapurthla Rakesh Aggarwal said the matter would be probed.


Support for monkey culling: The Kheti Bachao Sangharsh Samiti has supported the government move of monkey culling in the Naura Dhar areas of Sirmaur district and has said this is one of the quickest ways of getting rid of the monkey menace in the state. State president of the samiti K.S. Dheer and spokesman Om Prakash Bhuraita lashed out at those criticising culling of monkeys. They said they were also not in favour of killing any animal, but when there was a choice between man and animals, “we must decide in favour of man”. The samiti has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding that the state government should pressurise the Central Government to lift ban on export of monkeys.

‘No bird flu’: There is no sign of bird flu in Bilaspur district. This was stated by deputy director, animal husbandry, A.N. Sharma here on Sunday. All birds in poultry farms in the district were under close watch of the department, he said.

Condemned: State committee of the Himachal Kisan Sabha has condemned the killing of eight persons in a police firing at Khammam in Andhra Pradesh. It has decided to stage state-wide dharnas and rallies to protest against the police action on July 30. Leaders of the left parties, including B.V. Raghavulu from the CPI (M) Polit Bureau, P. Madhu, member of the Central Committee and K. Narayana, secretary of state council of the CPI, who were on an indefinite hunger strike were forcibly arrested at midnight on Friday. It has urged upon the government of Andhra Pradesh to immediately take action against the police officers responsible for the firing, besides payment of adequate compensation to those killed.


Regional potpourri

It’s banned, butt who cares!

POWER PUFF BOYS: Residents take a puff right outside the office of the Medical Superintendent in Jammu despite a ban on smoking
POWER PUFF BOYS: Residents take a puff right outside the office of the Medical Superintendent in Jammu despite a ban on smoking.

The ban on smoking in public places and use of recycled polythene bags ordered by the Jammu and Kashmir Government many years ago is observed more in defiance, not only by the common man but also by law makers and policy planners. In fact, ministers, legislators and bureaucrats flout the ban on smoking inside that very secretariat and legislature where the law was framed or passed. A former chief minister used to smoke in his office chamber in the secretariat.

Smoking was banned in public places about five years ago, on March 3, 2002. But it has so far remained on paper and is more of a formality to implement the orders of the Supreme Court.

Visitors smoking in the medical college hospitals and district hospitals throughout the state are a common sight. At times, the police personnel who’re supposed to book the defaulters are themselves seen taking a puff.

Jammu and Kashmir is perhaps one of the highest cigarette consuming states in the country. The habit is also prevalent among schoolchildren and women, particularly in the rural areas. Although smoking is also banned at the railway station complex, several cigarette stalls have mushroomed around the place.

The authorities have also failed to implement the ban on recycled polythene bags that was ordered about nine years ago. Certain eating establishments have been using recycled plastic bags for packing eatables. The banned carry bags are openly available in the vegetable and fruit markets.

Plastic bags have badly affected the civic conditions as these choke drains, particularly in the old city. Most of the water bodies in and around the towns, particularly Jammu and Srinagar, are polluted with plastic bags.

The ban on the entry of polythene bags is being observed strictly only in a few places, including the tourist spot of Patnitop on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Brush with history

Moga-based artist Iqbal Singh Gill at work on a bust
Moga-based artist Iqbal Singh Gill at work on a bust. — Photo by the writer

Iqbal Singh Gill, a young artist born to a middle-class peasant family of Manuke village in Moga district, is known in the area for showcasing history with his brush and chisel.

Having depicted the life of various martyrs and deities in more than 300 paintings and 50 statues, besides recreating scenes and episodes from Sikh history pertaining to Guru Gobind Singh, he now plans to diversify his craft.

The preservation of our cultural heritage and social customs is his next priority.

Maintaining that an intensive study of the background of the themes is a prerequisite for an artist, Gill says that he goes into minute details before setting out on a project.

“In case of historical events, I depend on books, pictures and stories narrated by Baba Zora Singh, founder of Gurdwara Mehdiana, while for making a statue or bust, I study pictures and interact with members of the subject’s family,” says Gill, adding that the character and personality of the subject should be reflected in the work.

Though Gill considers his skill as God’s gift, he wants to spread the art through training. “My guru, Anile Rattan of Kerala, wants me to spread the art among the desirous. But, unfortunately, very few students come forward to learn the basics of this art,” he laments. He fears that commercialisation might make this art extinct.

Though Gill has been felicitated at many functions organised by the civil administration, none of the Sikh organisations, including the SGPC, have recognised his efforts to recreate historical events at Gurdwara Mehdiana, a place that has become a centre of attraction for art lovers and Sikh devotees.

Contributed by S.P. Sharma and Mahesh Sharma

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