Mayor’s post still a distant dream for SAD
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Shivet Malik/Baxi Ram /Rakesh Gill/Sanjiv Khanna/AS Randhawa/
Inderbir S Bolaria/AS Trakanwala

Amritsar, August 21
The dream of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to have its mayor of the Holy City is not likely to come true despite the relentless permutations and combinations by the local Akali leadership. In fact, such ambitions created bitterness between the coalition partners and the BJP announced, “Come what may, the mayor of Amritsar would be of the BJP.”

The SAD, with no other option, had to surrender its claim. The hard stand by the BJP described the efforts of the SAD bringing independent and BJP rebel municipal councillors into the party fold as against the spirit of the “coalition dharma”. Giving a suggestion to information and public relations minister Bikram Singh, BJP state chief Rajinder Bhandari said the minister should shun his immature politics and stop dreaming of electing mayor of the Akali Dal.

In the 31-year history of the municipal committee of Amritsar, which came into being in 1976, it was for the first time that the SAD had dreamt to have its mayor.

The municipal corporation elections were held for the first time in 1991 when Congress leader Om Parkash Sony became the first mayor of the Holy City. In 1997, the BJP's Subhash Sharma occupied the hot seat. However, after the unceremonious removal of Sharma following serious charges of moral turpitude, BJP senior leader Brij Mohan Kapur succeeded him. After a gap of 11 years, Congress candidate Sunil Dutti again got the coveted post after the election in 2002.

With a change in demographic scenario of Amritsar, it has become difficult for the Akali Dal to grab the post of mayor.

Presenting the secular fabric, a large number of non-Punjabis, including Marwarhis and Maheshveris and people from Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, have settled in different parts of the city. During the 1991 elections, the corporation had 50 wards, which rose to 60 after delimitation during the corporation elections in 1997.

Similarly, the number of votes increased from 5.81 lakh in 1991 to 7.30 lakh in 1997. All the contenders for the post of mayor from the BJP have already started lobbying.

The front-runners for the mayor’s post include BJP district president Baxi Ram Arora, Shivet Malik, who made hat-trick by winning the MC poll, and Rakesh Gill. Even industrialist Sanjiv Khanna, who enjoys the support of the Vishav Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, is also trying for the post.

However, as per the agreement between the coalition partners, the post of deputy mayor would go to the SAD.

This development has also divided the ruling SAD in Amritsar. Those trying for the post of deputy mayor include Ajaybir Singh Randhawa, Avtar Singh Trakanwala, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, son of an Akali MLA, Surinderpal Singh Sultanwind, Avinash Jolly, Bibi Prabhjot Kaur and Manjit Kaur Bhatia.



No To Deras 
Sikh bodies criticise SGPC, SAD for emergence of ‘dera culture’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 21
Leaders of various Sikh organisations, including former Jathedar of Akal Takht, today flayed the Sikh clergy, SGPC and ruling Akali Dal for the emergence of “dera culture” in Punjab at a seminar organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).

Speaking on the occasion, Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar, Akal Takht, alleged that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal, working president, SAD, were frequent visitors to Dera Sacha Sauda. The allegations were substantiated with the video footage and pictures, highlighted by print and electronic media, he said.

Reading out some text from the book, “Paras Di Watti”, published by Dera Sacha Sauda, Bhai Ranjit Singh said neither the SGPC, nor the ruling Akali Dal had bothered to seek ban on such printed material. He sought immediate ban on such “blasphemous” books, published by Dera Sacha Sauda and other deras.

He alleged that Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti had to cut short his Canada’s visit and return to Amritsar so that the apology by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief could be processed.

He called upon the Sikh leadership and Sikh masses to beware of the “apology dramas,” being enacted with the support of the Sikh clergy, which had no precedent in the Sikh history. He said Sikhs who inadvertently violated the Sikh maryada but tendered apology by appearing before Akal Takht with clear heart and mind could be pardoned.

The main organiser of the seminar, Bhai Ram Singh, secretary-general, SAD (A), said it was an attempt to mobilise the Sikh masses against the ill designs of the deras in Punjab and elsewhere, which had been working against the established Sikh maryada. He said such seminars would continue to be organised till the uprooting of the dera culture from Punjab.

Sikh intellectual Dr Balkar Singh alleged that the SAD and SGPC had failed each other due to vested interests of the Sikh leadership. He, however, said, “We get what we deserve.” He called upon the Sikh leadership to know the reasons as to why Parkash Singh Badal become the Chief Minister every time the SAD won the assembly poll?

He also called for undergoing introspection as to why the Sikh institutions were being denigrated by the Sikh leadership. “The lack of good qualities normally result in mushrooming of the deras,” he said. Dr Balkar Singh said proper methodology should be worked out to counter dera culture.

The Akali leadership and SGPC would have to adopt proper ways to strengthen the age-old traditions. He said the Dera Sacha Sauda issue should not be studied in isolation and concerted efforts should be made to keep the downtrodden in the mainstream of the Sikhism by understanding their basic needs. Coming down heavily on the Sikh clergy, the speakers alleged that it was a matter of great concern that they (Sikh high priests) themselves had withdrawn many “gurmattas,” passed at Akal Takht with regard to Dera Sacha Sauda at the behest of the ruling Akali Dal.

Baba Ram Singh, chief of the breakaway group of the Damdami Taksal, Prof Mohinder Singh, Bhai Dhian Singh Mand, working president, SAD (Amritsar), Iman Singh Mann and Baldev Singh Sirsa addressed the gathering. Baba Ram Singh called for the cleansing of the Sikh institutions. He alleged that the SGPC had failed to arrange free distribution of Guru Granth Sahib among the devotees. He said attempts to sell Guru Granth Sahib did not send good message. He alleged that the Dharm Parchar funds of the SGPC were not being properly used to spread the Sikh tenets, which encouraged the mushrooming of deras.



DAV students make hay while sun shines
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, August 21
The DAV Public School hosted “CBSE India heritage quiz 2007-2008”, district-level “Hindi poetry composition” contests and a meeting of the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology to chart out programmes for its annual activities.

About 39 students selected from 13 schools of Amritsar, Ferozepore, Batala, Tarn Taran and Pathankot participated in the programme. The written test lasted two hours. Principal of the school Neera Sharma said the quiz aimed at creating awareness and pride among the students about India’s rich heritage and cultural diversity. She further said winners of this level would be eligible for participation at the zonal level to be further selected for nationals.

Meanwhile, under the aegis of Sahodaya school complex, 16 schools participated in the inter-school Hindi poetry writing contest held on the school premises. As many as 64 students from Amritsar district participated in the contest. Shreya Arora of Manav Public School won the first prize in the junior category, Aneesha Khanna of Ajanta Public School stood second and Kiranjot of Springdales School came third, while Abhinandan Mehra of DAV Public School and Kiranjit Kaur of Springdales won consolation prizes.

In the senior section, Harminder Singh of Amritsar Public School, Focal Point, stood first, while Priyanka Bawa of DAV Public School stood second and Pratima Malhan of DAV International School third. Prize-winning poems included titles like “Lakshay”, “Kesa Hoga Mera Bharat”, “Chehekti Chiryan”, “Bhrashtachar”, “Mukhote”, “Rishtey”, “Chunauti” and “Mey Aur Tum.” The students were given an hour to compose the poems.

Meanwhile, thePunjab State Council for Science and Technology, Chandigarh, held a meeting of 40 teachers who participated in charting out the programmes to be included for organising a children science congress on the topic of “biodiversity nurture - nature for our future.”

The main aim of the meeting was to awaken society about biodiversity of environment. It was held under district science officer Kailash Chander Sharma. Six themes were identified, including water management, agriculture and food, energy resources, disaster management, mathematics modelling and educational technology.



No salaries; teachers worried
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 21
Resentment prevails among government school teachers as they have not been paid for the past five months. The decision of the state government to stop benefits to the close relatives of the deceased employees has added to their woes.

Condemning the state government’s attitude, district president of Democratic Teachers Front Punjab, Amarjit Singh Bhalla, said, “Salaries for the past five months are still unpaid. It’s really tough to manage without salaries.”

“Apart from that the government is not even releasing the general provident fund. As a result many employees find it difficult to marry off their daughters,” Bhalla added.

Talking about the expenses made by the teachers for continuing mid-day meal scheme, Bhalla said, “Earlier we were asked to spend money from our pockets to continue with the scheme. Now, the authorities are not reimbursing the teachers.”

Meanwhile, DTF has demanded immediately release of the teachers salaries and provision of benefits under the GPF scheme from the state government.



Applications invited for atta-dal
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 21
The district administration has decided to receive fresh applications under the Atta-Dal scheme launched by the state government till August 31.

The DC said only those families were eligible under the scheme whose annual income from all sources was less that Rs 30,000 per year. He said the block development and panchayat officers (BDPO) would be the nodal officers to collect the fresh applications from the eligible persons.

Application can be submitted on plain paper to their respective BDPOs in rural areas concerned, whereas the urban applicants could lodge their claims with their respective executive officer of the municipal committee. City residents can lodge claims in the office of the MC.



Bank defrauded of 8 lakh, 12 booked
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 21
Twelve persons defrauded of Rs 8 lakh from the Patti branch of State Bank of Patiala by using forged documents. The accused include the field officer of the bank and an advocate working with the bank branch.

Two cases have been registered against the accused by the Patti police under section 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC. The cases have been registered on the statement of bank manager Amarjit Singh Gill.

Field officer Vinod Kumar and advocate S.K. Mehta have been named as the accused in both the cases. The other accused include Iqbal Singh, Gurdip Singh (both patwaris), Resham Singh of Rattoke, Balkar Singh, Nabhi Singh of Dhaliwal village, Amarjit Singh of Rattoke, Milkha Singh Lamberdar and Resham Singh of Alia village. The bank manager in his complaint alleged that the accused in two different cases made forged documents and took loan from the bank in September and October 2004. The matter came to the notice of the authorities, then the bank asked them to repay the loan. No arrest has been made so far. 



‘NGOs can bring about social metamorphosis’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 21
NGOs can play a very useful role in supplementing and complimenting the efforts of the government in socio-economic development of the people.

This was stated by Bikram Singh Majithia, information and public health, environment, science & technology and non-conventional energy minister, Punjab, while addressing a gathering on the occasion of installation of president of the Rotary Club here. He said the NGOs could function as a bridge between the people and the government and work at the grassroots level in most inaccessible and remote areas where even the government agencies failed to reach sometimes.

Majithia advocated the need to launch a crusade against poverty, ignorance and disease. He urged the members of the Rotary Club and other NGOs to expand their social endeavours for this gigantic task. "The problems in society are enormous and the government alone cannot successfully tackle them. The dedicated and devoted efforts and initiatives of the NGOs are essential for society," he added.

He said during the 60 years of independence, India had conquered many milestones, yet it was faced with the uphill task of amelioration of millions of people living below the poverty line, improving the social status of women, checking unemployment and urban congestion and maintaining the eco-system.

Majithia appreciated the work done for the service of the community by the Rotary International during the Gujarat earthquake, tsunami, polio campaign, etc. and called upon them to carry on with the noble task of rendering valuable service to the community. Later he presented awards to Rotarians in recognition of their efforts and service projects undertaken by them.



‘Techno Travel’ heads for Delhi 
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, August 21
A science model on “Techno Travel,” prepared by students and staff of Shri Ram Ashram Public School, has been selected for the national science exhibition to be held in Delhi.

Science model prepared by the students and staff of Shri Ram Ashram Public School is third time that the school project has been selected for the national exhibition in the last four years. CBSE regional competition has schools from Jammu, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Pathankot, among others

The model was selected from over 192 entries from 127 schools at the fourth CBSE regional science exhibition held recently. It is one of the two models chosen from Amritsar to be exhibited.

Preeti Sharad, principal of the school, said it was for the third time that the school project was selected for the national exhibition in the last four years of regional competition by the CBSE in which schools from Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Pathankot, Jammu, Solan, Sirhind and Hoshiarpur, besides others, participated.

The project focused on hi-technology management of smooth traffic flow, parking and anti-hijacking techniques. It dwelt on the futuristic facets of managing traffic through satellite imagery with computer monitor displays of traffic signals. The model showed a networking unit interlinking all road junctions wherein information could be transmitted to all other computer monitors at various road junctions.

They displayed a system in which a vehicle travelling at a speed of 50 km/hour would find green signal at all traffic lights. The drivers could also know for how long the red signal would be there on the highway and could take alternate routes or navigate their speed accordingly. A screen outside a shopping mall displayed a visual board directing the driver to park his vehicle in a particular slot.

The model showcased computer stations on road junctions to record complaints of accidents, road rage or rash driving and take action on the spot by road marshals or the traffic police. The model dealt with vehicle hijacks by a special “car chip” coordinated with the owner’s mobile phone chip and could monitor the whereabouts of the vehicle in case of a hijack. In addition to this, the online complaint would facilitate that the number of the hijacked car would be displayed on monitors on all road junctions for its fast tracing. Simultaneously, the model displayed anti-accident management of super-speed trains.

By using a high-speed optical unit, trains would automatically stop if they were on the same track. It would avoid a head-on crash of trains and could even avoid crashing of bogies that had slipped from the tracks.



Docs bat for nuke medicine in diagnosis and treatment
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 21
Nuclear medicine has many applications in diagnosis and treatment of some dreaded diseases like cancer, said Dr Atul Pathak, head of the department of nuclear medicine, Escorts Heart and Super Speciality Institute.

Substantiating his claim, Dr Pathak said the hospital recently treated 11 patients in the age group of 26 to 65 years who were suffering from malfunctions of thyroid with encouraging results. He said surprisingly 70 per cent of these patients were women who were suffering from hyper thyroidism/graves condition leading to severe weight loss, palpitations and tremors.

After radioiodine treatment, all these patients reported normal functioning of thyroid and were cleared of a majority of symptoms, leading to positive lifestyle changes, he added.

Dr Pathak asserted in comparison with other diagnostic techniques like blood, urine and stool testing, besides X-ray, CT scan, MRI, ECHO, ECG, etc, nuclear medical examinations were unique, high precision, extremely accurate and unquestionable.

He added its results were currently unattainable by using other imaging procedures for many diseases.

He said in several cases, for instance among diabetic patients, the functions of kidney or others vital organs like heart, thyroid, liver, gall bladder, blood flow, intestines, presence or spread of cancer, locations of infections or bone evaluation in fractures, infection, arthritis or tumor, etc, nuclear testing had proved to be a boon.

In comparison to some tests like endoscopy for stomach and other digestive problems, nuclear testing was less invasive, less traumatic, besides allergic reactions were extremely rare, he added.

He said in nuclear testing radioactive tracer substances were administered to patients orally, intravenously or by other means which helped in diagnosing the imaging. However, he cautioned that pregnant women should not go through these tests.

Meanwhile, Dr M.L. Chawla, executive director, Escorts, said the hospital intented to start “bone-pain relieving” in cancer patients which could reducing pain to almost 90 per cent, besides nuclear therapy for thyroid cancer.



Gymnastics gets boost; new centre set up
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 21
A gymnastics training centre was inaugurated at the BBK DAV College for Women here on Tuesday. The centre will train players from the various schools, colleges and clubs of the district. Inaugurated by director of sports Pargat Singh, the centre has been established by the district gymnastic association in collaboration with the state government. Equipment here has been provided by the government through the district sports officer.

DGA president Sandeep Sareen said six coaches, R.R. Kapoor, Davinder Singh, Narpinder Singh, Vipan Kumar, Lakhwinder Singh and Akashdeep, had been deployed to train more than 60 gymnasts who had registered their names with the centre. Girls of all age groups and boys only up to the class IX would get trained at the centre. Senior gymnasts were getting training at the Goal Bagh Training Centre from government coach Shailender Kumar.

Sareen said national and international junior and senior-level gymnasts displayed their skills in artistic, rhythmic, yoga, rope, malkham, pyramids, aerobics and hoopla. He also said that a yoga training centre for boys and girls was also being run in the college with expertise training by Raj Kumar.

Sandeep Sareen said heads of educational institutions, Col Harcharan Singh, hockey olympian and Arjuna awardee, Hazari Lal Sharma, deputy director sports, Punjab, Dr Suman Sharma, Arjuna awardee, Dr Girdhari Lal Sharma, president, SKFI, and Gurinder Singh, president, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Club, were among those present at the function. Players of the BBK DAV College and Kirat Kullar national champion winner of five gold medals were honoured on the occasion.



‘Punjabi cinema needs govt support’
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 21
The Punjabi film industry, which had been in the doldrums for quite some time, has made considerable progress during the past few years and managed to create waves in the overseas market due to strong Punjabi diaspora, said Punjabi film star and singer Harbhajan Mann.

The actor, who was here to launch the Big FM radio channel and to promote his next film “Mitti Awajan Mardi”, said the Punjab government needed to announce its new film policy to encourage the vernacular cinema.

Talking to newsmen after the launch, he said the Punjabi film industry had received tremendous worldwide response and required the support of corporate houses and the theatres across Punjab to promote the local talent.

He said the Punjabi music had already hit an all-time high in India as well as overseas but the cinema lacked good discerning audience in our country. He said although the Punjabi society dominated the country, still Punjabi films found very little footage across the country.

He said more Punjabi business houses should come out to support the Punjabi cinema which had become economically viable and a profit-making venture.

Earlier, he along with the top brass of the radio channel opened the station in Amritsar. Assistant vice-president (north) Pankaj Chandra said the FM channel had received encouraging response in the city and would come up to the expectations of the listeners.



Neki elected VP
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 21
Dr N S Neki, Professor of medicine, Government Medical College and Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, has been elected vice-president of the Geriatric Society of India for the year 2007-08 for his outstanding contribution in the field of geriatric medicine.

He is reportedly the only doctor from Punjab to have been elected for this coveted post. It may be mentioned that he had been the member of the governing body of this society for the past five years. He is also life fellow of the society. 



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