Amount a part of Rs 250-crore master plan for holy city
Rs 100 crore in kitty, Sidhu, mayor promise more development
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 14
The state government handed over a cheque for Rs 100 crore for city’s development to MP Navjot Sidhu and mayor Shawet Malik at Chandigarh today. Speaking to The Tribune over the phone on their way back from Chandigarh, Sidhu and Malik said the financial aid would change the face of the city.

“Such a large grant for a city is unprecedented in Punjab. The amount would be spent on laying and repair of 613 kms of roads in city so that the holy city can live up to the reputation of being the Vatican of the Sikhs,” says Sidhu.

“The blueprint for the project would be ready in a week’s time and global tenders would also be floated to invite world-class companies for the project. We are keen on hiring blue-chip companies like Larsen and Toubro Limited which can live up to the expectations of the people,” he said.

“We are grateful to the Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and the minister for local bodies Manoranjan Kalia for the financial aid to Amritsar,” he said.

He added that roads would be built irrespective of the fact that the area is represented by a Congressman or SAD-BJP representative in the assembly or the MC. “Work would be taken up on merit and with the money in hand, there is no excuse not to provide world-class infrastructure to the residents,” he said.

The state government has handed over a cheque of Rs 100 crore to the MC as part of Rs 250-crore-master plan for city’s development. As per the initial announcement by the Chief Minister, the MC will use these funds for maintenance of internal roads, improving drinking water and sewerage facilities and providing uninterrupted power supply.

The decision to prepare master plan for the development of Amritsar was taken at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of CM Parkash Singh Badal with the local MLAs and MP in October. Malik said the Rs 20 crore drinking water supply project for the city is already underway, besides other key projects like the elevated road project.



Road work: Snail’s pace irks residents
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 14
The cementing of lanes going at snail’s pace in the Lawrence Road locality has become a source of inconvenience for the city residents. The untimely showers, earlier this week, added to the woes, leaving the commuters fuming and fretting.

The area residents complain that work on the project has not been expedited despite bringing it to the notice of the municipal corporation authorities.

“The approach road to the Lawrence Road residential area, close to Dr Muni Lal Chopra Hospital is in a bad shape for weeks. Even slight showers make the road unapproachable and impossible to walk on. Besides, due to rain mud has seeped into the road and would affect its cementing,” says an area resident VK Mehta, executive member of Service Club. Agreeing to him is shop owner Surinder Singh, who says that the corporation has failed to update its technology. It still uses the primitive shovel-and-crowbar method to dig up holes in the middle of roads.

Deep ditches, trenches, potholes and roads shorn of their black topping remain a common sight in the area leading to discomfort to the commuters.

As the work has been delayed now the restoration would be carried out in a hurry. This would further weaken the road, making it pot holed and bumpy all over again.

“We even apprehend that like other parts of the city, instead of relaying the road properly, the corporation would merely throw some stones and mud to construct a makeshift road,” he adds.

Thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities, who have turned a blind eye to the problem, the residents of the area see no end to their miseries.

The corporation has not even levelled the makeshift road as a result vehicles, especially two-wheelers, often lose balance and trip down. With rains lashing the city this week, the problem has even worsened, residents complain.

Meanwhile, mayor Shawet Malik said the work has been affected because the contractor was not well. However, the project was now in full swing.



‘Badals should revive SAD glory’
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 14
Instead of opening a new office in Chandigarh there is need to revive the old glory of the Shiromani Akali Dal for which it was formed, All-India Shiromani Akali Dal president Jaswant Singh Mann said in a fax message to the media here on Thursday.

Mann said the basic character, structure, policy, programmes, objectives and political thinking had undergone a metamorphosis which had totally distorted its image. He said it had become a shadow skeleton of its glorious 87-year-old history and traditions.

Lashing out at Parkash Singh Badal for opening its head office in Chandigarh and installing photographs and portraits of BJP and Congress leaders, Mann said the new office should be declared as a hall of shame as it had glorified those who were enemies and opponents of Sikh religion and polity.

He said Badal and his coterie, functioning with the Hindutava leadership, had ignored the agenda of the historic organisation which adopted Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat and had unleashed corruption and patronage to the land mafia, leaving behind collapse of education and untold miseries to the common people.

Mann alleged that a bunch of adventures, shorn of any Sikh spirit and contour, both in political and religious spheres, were misleading the Chief Minister and his new advisers. He said the present-day SAD leaders were dividing the people on communal lines for their selfish motives.

He said the SAD leaders had subverted the ideals and teachings of the Sikh Gurus and the glory of their history.



Mr Sikh International
All eyes on the grand finale

Amritsar, December 14
The stage is all set for the much-awaited finals of Mr Sikh International to be held on December 15 at Khalsa College Amritsar when one of the 29 contestants would be crowned as the winner. Last night, the contestants presented individual and group items like gidha, mimicry, mono action, shabad gayan and bhangra. The marks obtained during these performances would be added to the finals.

Speaking on the occasion, DC Kahan Singh Pannu urged the organisers, Akal Purukh Ki Fauj, to present these boys as the brand ambassadors and role models of the Sikhs during religious functions.

The Akal Purkh Ki Fauj chief Jaswinder Singh said the contest aims at infusing a sense of pride in turban amongst Sikh youngsters. It will reinforce the pride of being Sikh and would provide Sikh youngsters a platform to join international fashion industry with their identity intact, he added. Giving details, Jaswinder said seating arrangement for more than 10,000 people has been made and a good crowd was being expected.

Talking about Bollywood celebrities likely to join the function he actors Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Raj Babbar and singer Himesh Reshamiya were expected to arrive. Besides, Roma Gaur from Mumbai, film director and producer Ish Amitoj Kaur from America would also grace the occasion. He said the prizes would be given by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in the presence of cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar. — TNS



Farmers in distress: Cheema takes up matter with Centre
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 14
Amardeep Singh Cheema, member of the Agriculture Working Group, 11th Five Year Plan of the Planning Commission of India, and director, Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation, took up issues of farmers of the state at the rural business hubs programme of the union panchayati raj ministry.

He was invited to participate in the national consultation of “Rural business hubs - performance, problems and prospects” held at Vigyan Bhawan and chaired by Mani Shankar Aiyer, minister for panchayati raj, youth and sports welfare.

Highlighting the issues and future prospects of the association of panchayati raj institutions, he said due to lack of knowledge, faulty planning and forecasting their was a scarcity of produce, which was in glut at times. He pointed out that there was something concrete needed to be done on the front and a nodal agency or interfacing agency be identified to address this which could take care of glut by processing it.

Cheema shared the experience of the first rural business hub-type experience of Punjabi farmers in late eighties with the arrival of Pepsi and the very latest of contract farming in Punjab in the last years.

He stressed for the need of knowledge up-gradation of rural panchayats and the capacity building, management skills of the representatives of the villages.

Mani Shankar Aiyer and Jai Ram Ramesh, minister of state for commerce, assured that these would find a place in the forthcoming policy.



SME sector needs a boost: Ahluwalia
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 14
There’s a need to rejuvenate the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector and understand the thrust areas in agro-processing, light engineering and textile industry besides putting emphasis on service sector. This was said by Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia, the consultant to formulate new industrial policy by the Punjab government, while interacting with industry representations during a programme organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

Addressing the gathering, Ahluwalia said the meeting was intended to gain inputs from industry representatives to review the situation and bring about a new policy to trigger second industrial revolution in the state. She also highlighted the need for an effective single-window concept for clearance of industrial projects.

The consultant brought to the fore the problem of skill shortage which is indeed hampering growth and suggested to improve vocational training and have industry- institute linkage. It was also felt that there was a dire need to to enhance job opportunities in the state to provide employment to youth.

Looking at the entire gamut of VAT, which is causing a major hurdle in the progress of the industry due to multiplicity of new taxes and levies imposed by the government to redeem its nosediving revenue collection, it was suggested that a data should be provided for a comparative analysis with other states. The issue of entry tax was also discussed.

Earlier, welcoming the guests and industrialist from Amritsar, Batala, Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Dhariwal region, Gunbir Singh, chairman of CII, Amritsar Zonal Council shared his views on the current industrial scenario in Punjab.



Market Buzz
New apartments on anvil
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, December 14
Delhi-based real estate developers Collage Group have announced to construct “Collage Windsor Apartments” worth Rs 100 crore under its group housing plan in the holy city. Addressing the media, vice-chairman of the group Amit Khaneja and marketing director Vivek Srivastav said the project would be constructed on a 10-acre land at Ajnala Road here. A total of 253 apartments would be constructed. He said the work would be started at the end of December this year and would be completed in 2009.

Himalaya opticals

Himalaya Opticals, leading brand in world-class range of eye wear products like spectacle frames, lenses, contact lenses, designer sunglasses and state-of-the-art eye testing lab, has opened its designed showroom in Narula Mall on the Mall Road here. Top Delhi-based models sashayed down to showcase the company’s latest range of sunglasses and designer eye wear accessories to a host of mediapersons at a press conference.

Himalaya Opticals manager Kripal Singh said the company, with a chain of 35 outlets countrywide, was all set to bring to this part of the country some remarkable concepts in eye wear fashion range. Even the latest outlet here was a unique European style showroom.



Meditation gives clarity of thought, says Guru Ma
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 14
Teachers should be able to earn the respect of students and latter must treat their teachers as a guiding beacon. This was said by Gupreeti Hari (Guru Ma), a spiritual guru at a seminar organised by the Shri Ashram Public School on effectiveness of meditation, focus on mental, physical and spiritual well being leading to higher achievements in life.

Hari said the responsibilities of a teacher are immense, the foremost being inculcating right values in the generations to come. Giving demonstration of ‘meditation’ and ‘Tratak’ - focusing on single source of light - techniques to students, she said there was difference between meditation and concentration.

She said meditation helps to be one with self-generating inner peace and clarity of thought, while ‘Tratak’ helps in increasing concentration levels. “Our mind is always engrossed in constant flow of thoughts, which can be both good and bad. To put the mind to rest and activate positive thought process, mediation plays a key role,” she added.

She also talked about ‘Yog Nidra’, a stress relieving deep sleep that can be cultivated to put the mind at rest for better creativity, enhancing memory, concentration, recognition that activates other positive multifold functions. She urged the students to experience the benefits and cleansing quality of early morning rising as propagated by saints. She said scientific research has proved the goodness of morning sun rays on mental and physical health. The spiritual guru ended her talk with focus on ‘sankalp’ or determination.



Fight against femicide: DAV pitches in
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 14
A team of the local DAV Public School staged a skit and a Marathi pooja dance against the scourge of female foeticide in Delhi recently. The school team was invited by an NGO, Woman and Child Society for Rural Technology, to a seminar to represent Punjab, having the lowest ratio of females in comparison to males.

The theme of the seminar was “Beti Bachao.” A colourful Marathi pooja dance highlighted “Shakti” or the goddess of strength representing the female form in a brilliant subtle manner.

Through a comedy play, “Andhi duniya,” 12 students threw light on the growing influence of babas and “ma-didi-bibi culture” on people.

The students also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and enjoyed a tour of parliament house.



City boy Agam wins ‘Funjabi Chak De’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 14
Agam Shingari (6), a student of DAV Public School here became the youngest Amritsari to win prestigious title of “Funjabi-Chak De” in the programme telecast on TV channel ‘Star One’. The programme was aired on December 14. Agam played on the tabla and combined it with comedy liked by the judges cricker-turned politicianand BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and TV commentator and actress Mandira Bedi. Vijay Shingari Agam’s grandfather said his picture found pride of place for the winners on the ‘Wall of Fame’ in the programme,” he added.

Principal, Neera Sharma said, “Agam’s name was entered in the “Limca book of records-2007” as the youngest Tabla player (3 years nine months) this year. He has recorded a number of episodes of “amazing kids” of Pogo TV channel.”



Special courts for adulteration cases sought

Amritsar, December 14
The Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) has urged the state government to set up special courts to ensure fast disposal of cases relating to the adulteration in fruits, vegetables and other food items vended with impunity. Harbhajan Singh Gill, president, AVM, in a missive to state health and family welfare minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla apprised her of highly adulterated fruits, vegetables and condiments being vended in the market with impurity. He asked for the identification of the culprits and strict punishment for them under the existing laws in order to curb the menace. — TNS



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