It’s over to people now
Vibhor Mohan/Tribune News Service

Amarjeet Kaur who has no formal education, says her strong point is exhaustive knowledge of people’s problems. Photo by Rajiv Sharma
Amarjeet Kaur who has no formal education, says her strong point is exhaustive knowledge of people’s problems.

Amritsar, August 7
As Amritsar gets down to electing its councillors, voters face tough choice in many wards. Many rebel candidates are giving sleepless nights to party ticket-holders by contesting as independents. The SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress have sprung up a host of surprises by fielding candidates with interesting profiles. Many of them are political novices or involved in a rather unusual vocations for a candidate for councillor’s post. But they all make up for their lack of any political experience with a strong commitment to develop the city. We caught up with some of these candidates to find out what they had to offer their voters.

Youngest candidate
Kashmir Singh (R) is riding high on people’s faith in his abilities.
Kashmir Singh (R) is riding high on people’s faith in his abilities.—Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Twenty one-year-old Bhawna, a second-year student of Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), is the BJP’s candidate from ward number 61. She seems too young to be a councillor but her confidence defies her confidence. “My being a novice should not be considered a disadvantage as long as I fulfil expectations of the voters. I believe that the face of the country cannot change unless youth of the country take charge and the process has to begin from the neighbourhood,” she says.

“I hate people calling our ward backward. The sewerage system is faulty, roads are potholed, street lights do not work and there is no regular water supply to the area. I want to change all this in case people vote for me and turn this into a posh locality. It is a mammoth task but somebody has to make a start. It was my staunch patriotism that drove me to contest for the elections,” she smiles.

“During my door-to-door campaigning, I established an instant connection with people and they briefed me about the lack of civic amenities in their colonies. I took notes of all these problems and would like to get into action mode immediately if I’m voted in,” she promises.

People are able to see my seriousness going beyond their initial reactions about my age, says Bhawna. “I am serious about bringing about a change and do something for the area,” she says. Bhawna’s parents have been active party workers for the BJP Bhawana hopes to learn a lesson or two from them.

No formal education

Her voters know her, but only as the wife of local Congress leader Bakshir Singh. Amarjeet Kaur, who has had little formal education, says she understands the problems of the people and is thus the best choice for the councillor’s post.

The first-time candidate is up and about going door-to-door to seek votes from women voters. After the campaigning is over, she religiously takes charge of her kitchen, baking “rotis” and cooking vegetables for her family. “People of the area turned out in large numbers at my road shows and they believe that having known them so closely, I would be able to do something for the area,” she says.

She shrugs when asked about her inability to read and write. “My family is well educated and they would help me run the office if I become the councillor. There is nothing unusual about women of my age not going to getting degrees,” she says. “My husband wanted to contest the elections from the area but after the ward was reserved, he discussed the issue with me and thought that we would be able to do something for the area even if someone else from the family wins the elections,” says she. Amarjeet is Congress candidate from ward number 31.

From atop a trolley

Residents of ward number 60 have always seen the Congress candidate from the area, Kashmir Singh, mounted on a trolley. He is in the business of carrying mud and “malba” (construction material) on his trolley to various brick kilns in the Kot Khalsa and Prem Nagar areas. “I have been in this business for the past eight years. People of the area have faith in my abilities and they would surely vote for me,” he claims. One thing that the 35-year-old candidate really missed during the week-long campaigning was riding his trolley. So whenever he got the opportunity, he set out on his trolley, done up with banners and flags carring the Congress election symbol.

“People of my ward have been voting for different candidates with varied profiles but they have now realised that what really matters is proper understanding of the real issues like regular supply of drinking water, proper sewerage system and effective garbage disposal system,” he says.

Veteran independent

Master Kashmiri Lal, who has won the local bodies four times, has the distinction of being elected the Municipal commissioner of the Municipal Committee in 1972. Later, he joined the Congress after constitution of the corporation and won thrice from the area on the party ticket.

Since ward no 61, from where he had contested last time, has now been reserved for women, he had applied for Congress ticket from ward no 57. But when the party denied him candidature, he decided to fight as an independent.

“Most roads in the Gurbax Nagar and Haripur areas have not been metalled, the taps go dry for days on end and there are heaps of garbage in every nook and corner. “The area has been neglected for a long time and the corporation needs to make separate budget allocation for the area,” he said.

“It was unfair for the party to drop sitting councillors like me from the list of candidates and give tickets to losing candidates instead. The party leadership would soon realise its folly when it loses the elections. There are many good winning candidates who were denied tickets by the party and this would lead to bad-blood in the party fold,” says Master Kashmiri Lal.

Clash of titans

One of the most prominent BJP rebel candidate is Bimal Arora, who is taking on the party’s district chief Bakshi Ram Arora in ward no 50. “Even though my ideology still conforms to that of the party, I decided to contest as independent, projecting my clean image,” he says.

Arora has a vision for the Lawrence Road, the commercial hub of the city. “Traffic movement has to be regulated and there is need for more parking lots. I would also take the issue with the BBK DAV college management so that they open their back gate during peak hours.

There is also a need to provide better public utility services like public toilets in the area,” he says.



Now, hi-tech sound system to greet devotees
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, August 7
Devotees paying obeisance at the Golden Temple would soon be able to listen to the hymns and kirtan through an ultra-modern sound system to be installed at the holy shrine at a cost of Rs 1 crore soon.

A draft of Rs 25.50 lakh as first installment for installing the equipment was presented to Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Avtar Singh Makkar at the information office of the Golden Temple here by Lakhwinder Kaur Dhillon, popularly known as Lucky Dhillon, of UK-based Amrit Vela Radio, on behalf of the Sikh Sangat there.

Talking to this correspondent, Lucky Dhillon said she was inspired to get the ultra-modern sound system installed at Harmandar Sahib during her visit to Gurdwara Singh Singhnian at Pakistan. She had visited the holy shrine in Pakistan for installing the same equipment.

She said when Makkar asked her that the ultra-modern sound system was also required at the Golden Temple, she immediately decided to collect donations from devotees in the UK for it.

She expressed her gratitude to the Sikh sangat in England, which generously donated the amount for the setting up of the system.

Lucky Dhillon, who was awarded with the British Media Award for her achievements as a presenter, runs Amrit Vela Radio, which airs religious programmes related to the Sikh religion and Sikh heritage.

Speaking on the occasion, Makkar thanked the Sikh sangat residing in the UK for their generosity. He also honoured Lucky Dhillon with a siropa. Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, SGPC, Rajinder Singh Mehta and other members of the SGPC were also present.



All set for the D-day

Amritsar, August 7
For fair conduct of the municipal corporation poll tomorrow, additional police force has been roped in from the adjoining districts of Tarn Taran, Batala, Gurdaspur and Amritsar (rural). According to the sources, around 1,400 police personnel would be deployed at 680 booths to be set up in the 65 wards. Meanwhile, surveillance has been stepped up in the city. The police plans to check the antecedents of people coming to the city on August 8. The entire city has been divided into 12 zones, which would be under the direct supervision of an SP rank officer. — TNS



Where does improvement feature on the menu?
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 7
The city lacks basic amenities but these issues have not featured in the priority list of the candidates contesting municipal corporation elections.

The walled city area presents a dismal scene with garbage strewn in every nook and corner. Locals point out that the corporation has failed to put up adequate garbage bins, leading to the mess. To add to it, the sewerage system is faulty and the drainage system is unable to take care of rain water, leading to widespread water logging during monsoon.

The Congress mayor of the last house, Sunil Datti, who has been making tall claims of development during the tenure of the last house, refused to comment on the lack of basic amenities in the walled city area. “I cannot comment on the larger condition of the city as my present concern is to fight and win my seat from Ward 2,” he said.

With lack of vision to develop and beautify the city, certain candidates focused on the larger political issues instead, speaking the language of their state-level leaders who camped in the city to give impetus to electioneering.

For instance, most of the Congress candidates preferred to harp on the development card, boasting of getting sanction for massive developmental projects for the city and hitting out at the opposition for its failure to fulfill the atta-dal promise.

On the other hand, the SAD-BJP alliance leaders blamed the Congress for doing little in the name of development and getting no major projects sanctioned from the Urban Renewal Mission scheme of the centre.

Sanjay Budhraj, a resident of Shastri Nagar, said the city wears an even worse look ever since the campaigning has kicked off with walls and roundabouts being smeared with posters.

Brij Bedi, Citizens’ Welfare Forum president, said the “high-profile officials of the district administration were pigmies in front of those defacing the city with film and election posters.”

“This time the election candidates seem to have gone further by pasting posters inside the main gates of private residences. As per the code of conduct for campaigning, no posters can be put on a private building without the permission of the owner and defacement of government buildings is absolutely banned. But the order has been blatantly violated during the election campaigning,” he said.



Update knowledge, VC tells librarians
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 7
University and college librarians must work hard to keep themselves updated to face new challenges posed by their profession. Dr Jai Rup Singh, vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, stated this while interacting with the participants of a three-week refresher course in Library and Information Science. The course concluded at the Academic Staff College (ASC) of the university here recently.

The VC sought their suggestions for further improvement of the course. More than 29 librarian and assistant librarians from various colleges and universities of Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir took part in the refresher course.

Dr J.L. Sardana, former Professor of Library and Information Science, Delhi University, called upon the participants to update their knowledge.

He emphasised that librarians must become scholar librarians and provide services using modern technology but without becoming slaves of technology. He also highlighted the importance of human existence, human concerns and knowledge.

Dr H.S. Bhatia, director, Academic Staff College highlighted its activities of the ASC. Sewa Singh, Professor of Library and Information Science and course coordinator presented a detailed report of the course. Fifteen resource persons delivered lectures and interacted with the teacher-participants.



Rain: Admn claims fall flat
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 7
The tall claims made by the local administration pertaining to the cleaning of sewerage and drainage system fell flat following few hours of rain, which led to the clogging of the major roads of the city with filth and rain water.

The main roads of the Putligarh, Islamabad, some parts of the old walled city and Daphai area on the Amritsar - Chabbal Road were flooded with rainy water leading to a traffic jam.

However, the ones who made the best out of this situation were the children who were seen playing on the clogged roads and floating paper boats in the water.

Even though various projects were initiated under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission Scheme announced by the previous Congress government in the state to lay new sewerage and drainage pipes in the holy city, but the work was yet to begin.

The roof and the floors of the Nehru Shopping Complex on the posh Lawrence Road area were also filled with rainy water as the Improvement Trust, which was responsible for its maintenance, had not installed any drainage pipes in the building thereby causing considerable damage to the walls of the building.

Though the trust officials had floated tenders before the assembly elections for removing tiles from the outer walls of the building, as were falling down, no plan was initiated to install the drainage pipes. Even wild grass has grown at various places on the rooftop of the shopping complex.

The small plastic pamphlets, put up by various political parties during their campaigning in the ongoing corporation elections, have made the matter worse as these get chocked in the sewerage and drainage pipes.

Meanwhile, Gurbhej Singh and Deepak Babbar of Mission Aagaaz, have urged the Election Officer not to declare the results of the corporation elections till the candidates of different wards in the holy city remove the banners and pamphlets in their respective areas. 



Glass artisans get valuable tips
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 7
A 21-day training programme, organised for cut glass workers by the local industrial department in collaboration with the National Centre for Design and Product Development (NCDPD), concluded here. K S Pannu, deputy commissioner, distributed the certificates to 40 artisans who took part in the programme.

The workshop was meant to provide product development training to the artisans to improve their designs. A team of designers from Philippines also participated in the programme.

DC Pannu said with the help of such programmes, the local artisans would be able to manufacture products to meet international standards and designs. “Amritsar is the hub of manufacturing traditional products like Pappar-Varian, Punjabi Jutti, Chura which were famous all over the world. However, due to lack of proper marketing facilities these artisans fail to get good remuneration for their work,” he said, adding that if a proper strategy was used to market these goods to the tourists, the small industries here could be made internationally viable.

R K Passi, co-chairman of NCDPD said, “The artisans in Jodhpur and Muradabad are earning Rs 1,200 and Rs 2000 crores respectively by exporting their products. In comparison, the artisans of Punjab are far behind. The state has rich heritage and abundance of traditional craftsmen.” He asked district industry centers to launch moré such programmes for the benefit of artisans. S K Tikoo, assistant director (handicrafts) also spoke on the occasion.



CBSE to hold 3-day science exhibition
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 7
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will conduct a three-day regional level science exhibition at Spring Dale Senior School, Fatehgarh Road from August 9 on wards. a“The exhibition is going to be a mega event with 170 schools of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh expected to participate in it,” informed Manveen Sandhu, principal of Springdale School, while talking to mediapersons on Tuesday. 



Festival for promotion of Sikhism
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 7
SikhNet, an organisation for the spread of Sikhism was holding the ‘Second Annual SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival 2007’ to inspire the Sikh youth to make creative use of the audio-visual and other mediums for the promotion of the spirit of the religion.

According to Gurumustuk Singh, spokesman for SikhNet, their organisation conceived this event to publicize the experience of Sikh identity, along with its values and culture as most of people across the globe were ignorant about the religion.

“We are looking for videos in English, Punjabi, Hindi or in any other language that come out of the entrants’ own personal experiences, that are designed to move and inspire viewers. Cash prizes up to $1000 in both senior (18-25 years old) and junior divisions (11-17 years old) will be awarded on September 1, 2007, the last day of festival. The participants are requested to restrict the length of their films to 25 Minutes,” he added. The participants could seek any other information from the website at:



Tree plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 7
A tree plantation drive was launched in and around the walled city under the ‘Go Green” movement. The drive, organised by Mission Aagaaz at New Shopping Complex Building, near the Golden Temple, was inaugurated by district police chief Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh. More than 150 plants were also planted in the Galiara Complex.

Speaking on the occasion, Singh appealed to the residents to take care of the trees that were being planted in their areas. With the participation of more and more people, the ‘Go Green’ drive would get a boost.

It would also encourage various non-governmental organisations to carry on the project in a spirited manner, he added. Gurbej Singh Babbar, Deepak Babbar, Kashmir singh Gill, Aman Sachar and J.S. Sandhu, XEN Galiara were among others present on the occasion.



‘Drinking leads to osteoporosis
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 7
Excessive drinking, smoking and lack of exercise are the main causes of osteoporosis said Dr M.M. Khurana of Novartis India Ltd, Mumbai on the concluding day of the bone mineral density checkup camp here today.

Dr Khurana said excessive doze of calcium could cause kidney stone and simultaneously due to lack of calcium in the body, there could be a danger of stiffness of joints, pain in bones.

The camp was organised by the Novartis India Ltd, Mumbai in collaboration with the Health Centre of the University. More than 200 staff members of the university had undergone this test.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Sunil Gupta, in-charge of the health centre, advised the general masses to undergo the bone mineral density checkup test and set their dose of calcium on the advice of their physicians.

They said the diagnosed patients should come for follow up after three months. 



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