Cops crack down on bookies, six held
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 30
In view of the forthcoming India-Pakistan cricket matches, the police has launched a campaign against match bookies, gamblers, and “satta” operators in the city to check cricket-based betting.

The drive has already borne fruits and on October 29, while the South Africa-Pakistan one-dayer was still on, a raid was conducted at Kapoor guest house on Queen’s Road at about 6.45 pm. The police party was headed by the DSP, civil lines.

In room 110 of the guest house, six persons were caught indulging in match betting regarding the outcome of the match between Pakistan and South Africa.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said the gamblers were tech-savvy and even had the facility of a mini exchange, Internet and TV sets. All of them were arrested on the spot. The police seized Rs 32,500, 12 mobile phones, one TV set, one briefcase with one tape recorder, receiver, two cassettes, one calculator and three notebooks from their possession.

The accused were identified as Rajinder Kumar, resident of Gopal Nagar, Majitha Road, Hardeep Singh, resident of Maha Singh Gate, Bikramjit Singh, resident of Golden Colony, Gaurav, resident of Partap Bazar, Jolly, resident of Jora Fatak and Ranbir Singh, resident of Ganga Bulding.

It was found that the accused were instigating public to bet more and more on the match. A case under section 71 of the Information and Technology Act, the Telegraph Act, sections 13-A/3/67 of the Gambling Act had been registered against the accused, said the SSP.



City surely loves jetting off
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 30
With the onset of festive season Amritsar’s Rajasansi Airport is humming with activities.

The air traffic at the international airport is expected to increase in coming months as NRIs are back home to tie nuptial knot and honeymoon couples are all set to travel to their dream destinations with air tickets becoming affordable.

In the recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the passenger traffic at Amritsar airport. In 2001-02, only 12,000 passengers travelled through airways, while in 2001-02 the number increased to 1, 12,000. During 2006 the number of international passengers swelled to 4, 09,166, whereas domestic passengers improved to 77,974.


The airline and travel agents operating in the city point out that there has been a steep rise in the number of first-timers who were flying to destinations in the far east, including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Jatinder Gupta of Dove Travels says, “With air tickets becoming more affordable, the people travelling to Indian destinations by rail now prefer to take an aerial route to check out far off places.”

Honeymoon couples

For honeymoon couples, Mauritius, Maldives and Thailand top the priority list. “Most of them spend at least a week in these places and make it a point to visit all interesting places to make their stay memorable,” he adds. The expenditure for a week-long stay comes to around Rs 35,000 per person. So, if you are willing to shell out around Rs 1 lakh, the airlines and travel agents can guarantee you a good time.

On study visa

November is also the time when a number of students fly to Australia on study visa. According to an estimate, more than 10,000 students across the state travel to Australia last year. “The new session in educational institutes in Australia starts in November and scores of students travel from Amritsar,” says a spokesman of Singapore Airlines, which has three flights a week to Singapore.

Escaping the chill

Australia and New Zealand were favourite destinations for those scared of chilly weather. On the other hand, the aged Punjabis settled in USA come back for a winter sojourn till the extreme cold conditions subside. “Till Divali, the trend would be of inbound tourists and NRIs coming to Amritsar and it would be reversed after the festival season. Most Punjabis prefer USA and Canada to meet their relatives and friends settled there,” she says.

Tying the knot

Lakhwinder Singh, Dote Air Travels, says they are already getting bookings from lots of NRIs travelling to Amritsar either to get married or to attend wedding ceremony of their relatives. “The trend would continue till February-end. Since this is the peak time, most airlines don’t offer any special packages during this season,” he says. Jatinder Gupta says that many NRIs coming back usually belong to the Doaba region. “But they prefer Amritsar airport to Delhi and get bookings done prior to their landing here,” he says.

More flightsaThe Rajasansi Airport offers international flights to Europe, Middle-East and America, including destinations like Birmingham, London, Bratislava, Kabul, Dubai, Sharjah, Ashgabat, Tashkant and Moscow. Most airlines also offer connecting flights to the several other destinations. On the domestic circuit, the Amritsar Airport is linked to Delhi. Airlines have expressed interest to begin more flights on international and domestic destinations and some of the agreements are expected to materialise soon.



Helping Hand
NGO bats for border belt
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, October 30
London-based NGO has come forward to provide medical, educational and other necessary facilities besides spreading awareness against drug abuse in the rural belt of this region.

A new society, New Punjab Community Care Service (NPCCS) under Croydon Community Care Service (London), has been launched with its branch office at Qadian (Batala) and head office at Croydon (England) here recently.

Announcing this M.A. Noori, vice-chairman and general secretary of the society said the chief objectives of the society include providing medical relief to poor section of society in the border villages and rural areas by opening hospitals, nursing homes, dispensaries besides giving scholarships for imparting medical education to poor deserving candidates. He said the society would also endeavor to build schools and educational institutes for the downtrodden people and providing stipends, books and stationary required for this purpose.

Noori said the executive committee members of the society include Dr Abdul Kareem, chairman, Ameen Khaid, president, Hakeem Swaran Singh, senior vice-president, Naseem Hamad Raja, vice-president and Parminder Singh, treasurer etc.

He said the society conducted a survey in the government and private clinic and surrounding villages of Qadian, Batala, and Gurdaspur about the various facilities available. He said the society was astonished to see the absence of quality medical and educational facilities and thus decided to do as much as they could do for the benefits of the poor people. The prevalence of drug menace also concerned the society.

He said in first phase they would establish nursing homes and dispensaries in the remote village of state and then after seeing the response they would move to open hospitals.

Noori said the society has also decided to spread awareness about the drugs abuse and would establish de-addiction centre for this purpose. He said the council the children to wean them away from other evils and drug abuse they would provide sports facilities.

It have also feature to provide free sewing machines to poor widows and one submersible pump in every village for providing drinking water to the poor sections of the society.

The vice-chairman and general secretary of the society said it also planned to provide free food to the blind, deaf and dumb, widows and orphans.

He said they would start their work as soon as they got permission from the central government for transfer of funds from abroad. He said the society based at London was also supported by European Social Fund.



Love notes at Saanjh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 30
Arif Lohar, popular Pakistani Punjabi folk singer, known for performing with a native musical instrument called ‘chimta’ was the main attraction at the ‘4th Amritsar-Lahore Festival:Sanjh 2007’, held at Springdale School campus. The singer who represents traditional folk heritage of Pakistan is the son of famous folk singer Alam Lohar and is visiting India for the first time.

Arif kept the audience spellbound with his performance. The uniqueness of his performance was the fact that he enlivened the stage with zestful tenor to the accompaniment of a long steel chimta.

The festival is the brain child of director, Punarjyot, Manveen Sandhu, and Faizaan Peerzada. It is aimed at sharing the joy of the arts from both sides of Punjab, ranging from sufi, folk, classical music and theatre, all sung or performed mostly in Punjabi language.

In addition to celebration of art and culture, SAANJH also involves meaningful interaction among the people at large and intellectuals from both sides.

The festival is the venue for stimulating and thought provoking discussions on issues of common interest to both the countries.

Manveen Sandhu, director, Punarjyot (Centre for Preservation and Promotion of the Heritage of Punjab and Usmaan Peer Zaada, director Rafi Peer Theatre welcomed the audience and spoke on the significance of SAANJH. They hoped that Saanjh would continue to help promote love between the major art centres of Amritsar and Lahore.



Shifting of transformer raises concern
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 30
An elevated road project has become a cause of concern for the owners of MRL Honda showroom near the Hall Gate here. A transformer located 30 feet away from the entrance to the showroom is being brought even closer and would now be installed just three feet away.

Kamal Kishore, accounts manager of MRL Honda, said despite a number of letters sent to the Punjab state Electricity Board (PSEB) over the past four years, seeking re-location of the transformer as even the distance of 30 feet was too close and it blocked the view of the showroom, no action was taken he rued.

“But the move to bring it even closer has come as a bolt out of the blue. There is frequent sparking in the transformer risking the safety of nearly 200 customers coming to the showroom,” he said.

However, a PSEB official said the transformer was being shifted forwidening the road.



‘Voice of Punjab’ audition draws huge crowd
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 30
Audition for a music talent hunt show, “Voice of Punjab,” was held in the city in which hundreds of talented singers performed at a local theatre here.

The auditions were open to the general public in the age group of 18 to 25 years. The jury comprised noted Punjabi singer Feroz Khan and Tejwant Kittu.Those selected by the judges will compete in the next level of semifinals. The winner of the exciting initiative will get an opportunity to cut an album with Speed Records and perform with Punjabi singer Jazzy B in London. A company spokesman said auditions were scheduled across 16 cities and towns. He said candidates could participate in the contest by recording their voices on CDs/tapes and sending it to the Zee Punjabi office in Mohali. 



Campus Buzz
UGC’s emeritus fellowship for ex-pro VC of GNDU 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
Prof Satinder Singh, former pro vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, has become the first ever professor of Punjabi who has been granted emeritus fellowship by the University Grants Commission.

Joint secretary of the UGC A.K. Dogra in a communication to Prof Satinder Singh said the fellowship might be offered to him in view of the recommendations of the experts committee, which had agreed to provide him a honorarium of Rs 20,000 per month along with a contingency grant of Rs 50,000 per annum. The communication added that the fellowship would be available from the date of joining up to the age of 70 years.

Prof Satinder Singh said the topic of the research would be “Companion to Punjabi literature.” He said he would start work on the fellowship by November 5.

Prof Satinder Singh had received many awards and honors, including the best author award for literary work on Guru Nanak Kav-Adhiyan by the Punjab government in 1970 and for Adhunik Punjabi Kav: Roop Adhiyan in 1980. He was also awarded with Gurbax Singh Preetlari Best Book Award on “Viharak Sameekhiya’ in 1986 and with Shiromani Sahitkaar Award by Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid Sahit Kender.

He held senior positions in Guru Nanak Dev University, including the post of dean, students’ welfare, publication committee, member, staff college advisory committee, university planning board, etc.

GNDU mourns death of professor’s son

The vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) Dr Jai Rup Singh has expressed great sorrow over untimely demise of Arshdeep (17), son of senior professor of molecular biology & biochemistry, Dr Sukhdev Singh. Arshdeep was a Class XII student.

Among others who have expressed their condolences include dean, academic affairs, Prof Raghbir Singh, registrar Dr RS Bawa, faculty, employees and associations of the varsity. The faculty and staff of the molecular biology & biochemistry department and non-teaching employees’ associations have also mourned the boy’s death.

National conference on sports excellence

A galaxy of sports scientists, sociologists, psychologists and physiotherapists, who participated in the two-day national workshop on sports excellence, were of the unanimous view that the subject of physical education should be made compulsory from school to the university level and the sports fund should be used judiciously.

They were participating in a two-day national conference on “sports excellence” that concluded in Guru Nanak Dev University here on Tuesday.

They also pointed out that only professionals should be taken on the sports policy making bodies and other sports bodies at the central and state levels. The services of the sports persons, who had made a mark in the national as well as international sports arena, should be utilised as sports volunteers in various schools and colleges to encourage and motivate the students towards sports to achieve the desired goals at the international level.

The eminent scholars also suggested that key posts in the sports departments and other sports organisations should only be given to the qualified sports personnel. They said the players should be made aware of the bad effects of drugs on their body.

Former vice-chancellor of Physical Education University, Gwalior, Ajmer Singh said the non-professionals such as politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen were dominating the policy making sports bodies and opined that adequate representation was not being given to the sports professionals on these bodies, which created problems at the time of implementation of the sports policies.

Pleading for making physical education subject mandatory at all levels, Ajmer Singh said most of the talent went untapped because “we failed to give them a chance to show their talent”. Thus, he suggested that all the children studying in schools and colleges should be encouraged and motivated to adopt sports to achieve the desired results after providing them requisite infrastructure and scientific training. “We should provide an opportunity to all the students to exhibit their talent and then groom them accordingly.”

Ajmer Singh said the budget allocated for promotion of sports should be utilised judiciously. He said the budget allocation had been enhanced from Rs 26.46 crore in 1982 to Rs 1,145 crore in the 10th Plan. He expressed his concern that the major chunk of the budget was spent only on selected players. The schools, colleges and universities so far could not get the adequate and required funds for the development of the sports.

Noted scholar S.P. Singh said India had about 70 crore young population but we could manage to encourage only 5 to 7 per cent youth towards sports. He said China and Cuba were leading the world in sports due to the commendable contribution of sports volunteers. But in India there was no such provision and she was lagging in sports.



Ram Ashram school bags silver in TT tourney
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
Students of Shri Ram Ashram Public School here won the silver medal at the recently concluded Inter-School Cluster XVI Zonal Table Tennis Tournament 2007-08. As many as 32 schools throughout the state took part in the tournament. The school team comprising Kunwar Mahajan, Shyamal Kathuria of class X and Jaspreet Mehandiratta and Kashyap Vohra of class IX won the second position in the under-16 category.

Principal Preeti Sharad congratulated the winners and said one of the players could be selected for the national CBSE tournament. She said this was for the first time that the school team had won the runners-up trophy by securing the second position while it stood third last year.

As many as 40 teams from 32 schools and 160 students from Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Ferozepore, Bathinda, Moga, Gurdaspur, Patiala, Phagwara and Ropar, among others, took part.



Career Talk
Avail opportunities in Canadian varsities, students told
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
With a view to making students aware of multifarious educational opportunities available in various Canadian universities, a seminar was held in Spring Dale Senior School here.

More than 300 students from the school participated in the seminar which was addressed by Mel Broitman, director of the Canadian University Application Centre, and Kristen Donalson, international recruitment specialist who informed the students about the various opportunities in Canadian universities.

Citing the benefits of Canadian education over American education, Mel stated that Canada with a small population of about 30 million people could afford to produce high quality students. Comparing the statistics of American and Canadian universities, he informed that interestingly whereas 80,000 Indian students were studying in the US, in Canada, 5,000 students were enrolled in different universities. He claimed that education in Canada was not only of high quality, but was affordable as well as has high placements all over the world.

Throwing light on an internationally accredited university, St Mary’s University, Kristine said this university not only laid strong academic foundation in students but also provided access to extra cocurricular activities wherein students’ interpersonal as well as critical skills were polished. Every class had a minimal strength of students which enabled the students to bond with their teachers. Offering a vast variety of courses, the students graduating from this university had made their mark felt in the entire world.



Refresher course for teachers

Amritsar, October 30
Even in the era of globalisation information technology cannot substitute human mind. So, the teachers should keep updating their knowledge. This was stated by Dr S.S. Bhatti, director, Adesh Institute of Engineering and Technology, Faridkot, while inaugurating a three-week refresher course. The course in computer science, electronics and information technology is being organised by the Academic Staff College of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Exhorting the teachers, Dr Bhatti said, “Updating knowledge and its dissemination is very important for teachers. It helps teachers to contribute to society and gives a sense of contentment.” Describing teaching as a noble profession, he said teachers can play an essential role in nation building.

Course coordinator Dr Derick Engles, professor of electronics technology and communication, stressed on the need of convergence of the technology. More than 21 teachers from various colleges and universities of northern region participated. 



Education needs a makeover
Puneeta Grover

I am a Class XII student and currently taking coaching for engineering entrance. The ever-increasing competition in studies is taking its toll on the health of children. A majority of the students are expected to take the science steam. The pressure of studies and extensive coaching classes has deprived them of all fun and leisure. The main problem is the huge difference in the syllabi of Class X and XI. While Class X is simpler , many are not able to cope with the increased pressure of Class XII.

Parents shell out lakhs of rupees on coaching classes and it is highly disappointing when the children are unable to deliver. Amendments need to be made in the education system . First, the levels of education should be made progressive from Class IX itself instead of the huge jump in Class XI. Secondly, well-qualified staff should be employed at schools which will decrease theneed to attend coaching classes. Thirdly, fees at coaching institutes should be reduced, making it affordable for the lesser privilaged.Only if these things are done will studies be seen as a boon and not as a burden. 



Riot of colour

Showcasing rich Gujarati culture through innovative arts and crafts, city’s ongoing Adivasi Mela is a complete one-stop shop for household items and decorative pieces. Live demonstrations by adivasi artists is the most spectacular feature of the mela.

On offer are bedsheets in various patterns including block printing and tie-n-dye works, priced between Rs 350 and 600. Next in line are wall hangings laden with ornamental work. One can also enhance home interiors with beautifully embroidered cushion covers, brought all the way from Kutch region. Other gift items include brass idols of gods and goddesses , artistic statues and traditional beaded earrings and necklace sets, the latter priced at Rs 100.

Furniture from Sankeda, a small village in Baroda, is a good buy. Rich work, low height and a classic look, it starts at Rs 13, 757. This craft has been passed from one generation of adivasis to the other. With discounts of 10 to 15 per cent, a good place to shop. — Aneesha Sareen



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