Tasks aplenty before new councillors
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 10
Now that the celebrations are over, it’s time for some reality check. With a host of problems plaguing the holy city, the going won’t be easy for the new municipal corporation house which has inherited a crown of thorns. From lack of effective garbage disposal system, potholed, bumpy roads to absence of even basic facilities, the residents are reeling under neglect and apathy. As the newly-elected councillors get ready to take over the MC reins, The Tribune tries to list out key tasks before them.

Sewerage trouble

The municipal corporation has divided the sewerage system into three catchments — north zone, south zone and Chhehartta. The system comprises large diameter (above 400 mm) pipes and small diameter lateral pipes. However, the entire system fails the test of heavy rains, leading to water-logging in most parts of the city.

The issue of inefficient sewerage system in most of the colonies was raised by many candidates during the election campaigning. The storm water drains, which run parallel to key roads of the city, have been choked by repeated dumping of solid waste and plastic into them. The problem of water-logging is particularly severe in localities around Lawrence Road, Madan Mohan Malviya Road, Court Road, Tej Nagar Chowk, McLeod Road and Puti Bai Chowk. In areas such as Mall Road, Rialto Chowk, outside the railway station, fruit and vegetable vendors have set up make-shift stalls.

The waste generated by them is dumped in the nearby storm water drains and sewers, resulting in their clogging.

Heaps of dirt

Beautification of the city will continue to be a far cry till the streets are littered with heaps of garbage. Even though the municipal corporation has finalised several proposals in the past to generate power from garbage with foreign collaboration, none of them has materialised. In the absence of planned system, the city continues to be a picture of neglect.

The MC had recently declared that it had finalised a proposal to generate power from garbage by using the integrated solid waste management technology. The details of the Rs 36-crore project had been worked out and it had been put up before the ministry of urban development for final approval.

As of now, all vehicles travel to dumpsite and there’s a need to set up transfer stations at different locations. Open trolleys need to be replaced with different set of vehicles depending on the density, road network and waste generation in each area.

Potholed roads

The total road length maintained by MC is around 1431 km, out of which 493 km is bituminous road, 800 km is brick-paved and 138 km is cement concrete. A drive on the Batala Road, Verka Road, Chheharta main market, Gol Bagh, 22 no Phatak (Islamabad), Fatehgarh Churian Road, Chabal Road and Loharka Road can be a nightmarish experience. Even the posh Ranjit Avenue has stretches which need urgent repair and re-carpeting. The roads running parallel to the elevated road project are also in a pathetic state and result in frequent traffic bottlenecks.

Dumping disaster

The unofficial MC garbage dump is located inside the Bhagtanwala Grain Market. Spread over around three acres of prime land, the dump is a health hazard for traders operating from the market. Despite several reminders to the MC authorities by the market committee officials, loads of garbage is dumped here every day. It’s difficult to figure out the road passing through the heart of the grain market as it has been covered with garbage which goes up tp the height of six feet. An area of around three acres of land notified to be a part of the grain market has been also covered with heaps of dirt. The dump has turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes and rodents, posing a serious health risk for the people of the area. The solution to the problem lies in getting engineered landfill designed for disposal of the waste outside the city to make sure the waste is not disposed off in an unorganised and inefficient manner.

Traffic travails

Smooth flow of traffic in the city is hampered by haphazard parking and absence of traffic police personnel at many key crossings. The unregulated movement of autorickshaws in front of the bus stand and railway station leads to frequent jams during rush hours. Cars are parked along the main roads, obstructing smooth flow of traffic. Even the recently-constructed commercial complexes either do not have underground parking facility or the space is used for some commercial activity. The convenience of customers seems to be the last thing on the priority list.


Getting rid of the mushrooming illegal kiosks and make-shift stalls in different areas of the city would be the major test for the new house. Given the level of politics involved in allotment of sites, it would be interesting to see what kind of effective steps does the corporation take to tackle the problem.



Not In Pink Of Health
MC hospital awaits fresh lease of life
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 10
If politicians deliver what they promise, then the ailing 50-bedded Princess of Whales Janana Hospital, being run by the Municipal Corporation in the Dhabh Khatikan area of the city, is likely to get a new 
lease of life.

The SAD-BJP manifesto for the recent local bodies elections, apart from other tall promises, included upliftment of the hospital, which was inaugurated in 1940, nearly 23 years after its foundation stone was laid.

Following its inauguration, the hospital was handed over to the municipal body for its management and upkeep.

Located in the heart of the city, the hospital used to be the only place for the caesarian deliveries.

However, with the passage of time the condition of the hospital started deteriorating due to the apathetic attitude of the corporation.

The condition has worsened to such an extent that a brief downpour also leads to knee-deep water in the hospital compound.

The patients have to virtually wade through it to reach the wards. “The matter has been taken up with the corporation authorities several times but to no avail.

The functioning of the hospital comes to a standstill during the monsoons,” said a hospital employee on condition of anonymity. Apart from the poor infrastructure, the hospital is also facing an acute staff shortage. Nearly 17 sanctioned posts are lying vacant. Of these, there are four posts of midwive and two of staff nurse.

The authorities also fail to provide an ambulance after the old one was disposed off.

Besides, the laboratory, which is in dire need of up gradation, is equipped to carry out only basic tests like HB and BCTC. The hospital also needs ultrasound facility. “Patients have to go to private radiologists and laboratories. Since this is a full-fledged hospital, the authorities should make these facilities available in the hospital itself,” said the attendant of a patient. The hospital gets around 100 cases per day in the out-patient department (OPD) and a total of 102 patients were admitted in the indoor wards last month.

The hospital specialises in providing gynecological treatment to patients of the area and the corporation has appointed specialised gynecologists.

However, lack of adequate facilities and a neglected building keep most patients at bay.

The staff quarters have not been properly maintain. An indication of this is the fact that the residential area has not been whitewashed since 1986. Cement plaster from the stairs has fallen off and there is widespread dampness in the entire block.



Total revamp in offing for GND varsity
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 10
Listing a host of measures taken by the Guru nanak Dev University, the vice chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh has said the university is in for an overhaul in fields of education, infrastructure, sports and research. The university has approved additional units in MBA, B.Tech. and B.Tech courses for the university campus and its regional campuses from the current academic session, according to the VC.

M.Phil courses in physics, zoology, botany, environmental sciences, music (vocal) and music (instrumental) have also been introduced. The B. Pharmacy course has been restarted. MA (public administration) and a PG diploma in computer application have also been started at the University College, Jalandhar, said the VC. Video-recording at evaluation centres has been started to avoid any leakage or manipulation of information, said the VC. Copying has been completely checked, he claimed. Process of uploading DMCs has been initiated, he added. The university would play host to the south east asia inter-university hockey tournament with nine participating teams from different countries, informed Singh.

In the the cultural field the university was adjudged the best cultural university after winning the all India inter-university national youth festival for the seventh time. It also hosted the north-zone inter-varsity youth festival on the university campus, said the VC. He said Sant Kabir Chair, Bhagat Namdev Chair; Guru Ravi Dass Chair; Bhagat Puran Singh Chair and Hazrat Mian Mir Chair are being revamped by appointing eminent scholars on a regular basis, he added. The university had signed MoUs with CSIO, Chandigarh, Eurasia-Pacific Uninet (Austria) and with the Research Institute for Cell Engineering (RICE) Laboratory, Japan, informed the VC.

The VC said a grant of Rs 5.27 crore had been sanctioned by various funding agencies for research. The university has approved eight departmental research projects of Rs 32.75 lakh, he added. As many as 20 teachers had been issued research grant of Rs 25,000 each, said the VC.

The university has also established a de-addiction counselling centre with the help of psychiatrists, medical experts and psychologists, informed the VC. A helpline for drug addicts will be setup soon, he added. The VC informed silicone treatment of university buildings has been completed. Facilities in hostels, guest houses, students’ holiday home and teachers’ holiday home, (Dalhousie) have also been improved, he claimed.

Multi-media projectors, OHP’s and other teaching devices have been provided to all departments. University would get research papers published in its journals referred from experts appointed by the editorial board. Internet, PCO, photostat and furnished study room facilities have been provided at its regional centres. Recruitment agencies, including TCS have recognised both campuses for placements, informed the VC. Solar lights have also been installed at these campuses.

A sound proof audio-video hall is being built at cost of Rs 4.5 lakh for the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and a seminar hall at cost of Rs 3.15 lakh is being provided in the IT Block.

The university has taken over the ASSM College, Mukandpur, after signing MoU and IT, management and other technology courses will be introduced at this college, said the VC. The UGC has granted Rs 6. 30 for a UGC centre for interdisciplinary research in sports sciences.



Wives of officers celebrate Teej
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
Amritsar Officers Wives Club celebrated the festival of Teej at Heritage Club here. The celebrations began with the traditional jaago with the ladies dressed in their brightest best. Motifs like phulkaris, baagh, manji, peedhi, charkha, gagar and a well decorated the stage. Swings decorated with flowers were put in the garden. Dishes like Kheer and Malpure were also served.

Club members sang Teej songs, performed giddha to mark the festival. Competitions in applying mehandi, payal, teej -were also organised. Mandhir Kaur Pannu, wife of deputy commissioner and president of the club, said teej was one of the favourite festivals of young women. “Traditionally young married women went to their parental home, had fun and enjoyed with their old friends at the festival. We have tried to bring back those memories,” she added.

Madhu Singh, wife of SSP, Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, said, “Teej has changed a lot over the years, especially in cities where the erstwhile community activities have given way to a few cultural evenings, nevertheless such celebrations keep the tradition alive.”



Rare honour for Pal College principal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
Jaswinder Kaur Sethi, principal of Pal College of Women has been conferred with the ‘Jewel of India’ award by the Indian Solidarity Council, New Delhi for her contribution in making higher education available to the the ruralites, especially women. She received the award from former chief election commissioner Dr G V G Krishnamurthy at a function held in New Delhi. Sethi was among the three persons from Punjab who were bestowed upon with this rare honour.

Principal of Pal College of Women Jaswinder Kaur Sethi being honoured in New Delhi.
Principal of Pal College of Women Jaswinder Kaur Sethi being honoured in New Delhi. — A Tribune photograph



Science exhibition

Amritsar, August 10
CBSE-conducted regional science exhibition kicked off at Spring Dale Senior School in Amritsar on Thursday. Inaugurating the event, Dr Jairup Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University vice-chancellor, along with Munjal, who is a resource person from CBSE, Delhi and a part of the jury, said schools are suitable place to spread awareness. He said concepts like rain water harvesting and solar energy should be popularised among the children. He said new buildings in the university have been set up on the basis of rain water harvesting and the university also uses solar lights. — TNS



Fake currency seized
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
The Special Narcotics Cell (SNC) today seized Pakistan-made fake Indian currency notes of Rs 1 lakh in the Sultanwind area here and arrested Lakhwinder Singh, alias Lakha, a resident of Mane Mali village in this regard.

A relative of notorious Indo-Pak smuggler Karam Singh Karma, Lakha, was waiting for a customer to deliver the consignment.

Revealing this, the Special Narcotics Cell authorities said Lakha was to deliver the consignment by taking Rs 70,000 from the customer.

The SNC authorities said the police seized 200 notes of Rs 500 denomination.



Two die in accidents

Tarn Taran, August 10
Harjit Singh (21) of Khalra village died when he fell down from a tractor-trailer on Friday evening. He was coming back from the fields. According to the police, Amrik Singh (45) of village Rajoke was electrocuted to death after he touched a live wire accidentally. .Postmortem examinations have been conducted. — OC



100 saplings planted

Tarn Taran, August 10
As many as 100 saplings were planted on the campus of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa Secondary School, Sarhali, 22 km from here, today to observe Vanmahotsav.

Roor Singh, member trustee of the school managing committee, was the chief guest, while Santokh Singh, range officer, presided over the function. Gurdev Singh, principal of the school, and Dr Daljit Singh Sidhu, principal of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, spoke on the importance of trees. — OC



Poornima tops M.Com final exam
Our Correspondent

Poornima Mahajan Amritsar, August 10
Poornima Mahajan, a student of Guru Nanak Dev University, has topped the M.Com final year examination conducted by the university by securing 75 % marks.

She would be a strong candidate for the gold medal during the university convocation, claimed the family members.



Chess tourney from today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
The Amritsar Chess Association will organise a state-level sub-junior championship for boys and girls at Bhavan’s SL Public Shool here from tomorrow.

General secretary of the association Anuj Shingari said the championship would be held under five categories i.e u-7, u-9, u-11, u-13 and u-15. He said the top four players of u-15 category would represent Punjab in the forthcoming nationals.



Amritsar needs mini-zoo

During a constitutional in Ram Bagh, I, to my dismay, looked at the abandoned and forlorn bastion, a natural habitat (now closed) of animal world known earlier as mini-zoo of the city. Decades ago, I used to see with admiration the children of all ages throng the place, enjoy, cheer and tete-a-tete with the animal world from close proximity. Close to its proximity has come up a majestic museum “Maharaja Ranjit Singh panorama” with lush green beautifully carved and well-maintained sprawling lawns, another newly added tourist attraction. Amritsar with an international airport in place, is fast developing as a medical, religious tourist hub in this part of the country, and a zoo will add to the holy city’s attraction. It can be developed as the centre for rare Indian species, some facing extinction, like egret, hoolock, panda, macaque, nilgiri langur, quail and loris. Once the clubs are shifted out, there shall be enough area to expand the zoo. Guru Nanak Dev University, with a well-developed zoological department, can be of great help for technical support and guidance. Let the Amritsar development authorities (ADA), which is on the envil, take the project and revive the glory and glamour of the city.

— B.M. Singh, Amritsar



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