Know what’s in store for you in 2008
A gaze into the crystal ball
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 1
Every year, a host of new projects are launched by the district administration, the municipal corporation and other government departments. But due to delay in budgetary sanction or sheer red-tape, most of them fail to keep pace with the calendar and linger on well past the set deadlines. We spoke to those at the helm of affairs to take a look at what they have to say on the key projects which are most likely to materialise in 2008.

Deputy Commissioner K.S. Pannu: The Rs 35-crore District Administrative Complex tops the list of ambitious projects likely to come up by the end of this year. Besides, the conservation of Gobindgarh Fort would begin with the funding from the state government and work on setting up of a heritage village in Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) would begin. The conservation work of the historic structures inside Ram Bagh, the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, is already on and the pristine garden would be spruced up by the end of 2008.

Government Medical College principal Dr Jagdish Gargi: Cancer patients from the region might not have to travel all the way to Chandigarh for treatment as a cobol therapy centre is likely to come up this year. Work on the building of the project has already begun with financial grants from the state government and the cost of equipment, estimated to be around Rs 4 crore, would be borne by the Government of India.

The 200-bedded emergency-cum-super speciality block, which has been hanging fire for more than 15 years, would finally see the light of the day this year. Also, on the anvil is the AIDS control centre in Amritsar. It would be a Government of India project.

Municipal commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda: The face of the city would change once the solid waste management plant becomes operational this year. The project has been passed by the house of councillors and would be set up in public-private partnership. Part of the project cost would be borne by the centre as part of the Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (NURM).

The much-awaited elevated road project, which would provide a straight link to the Golden Temple from the entry to the city, would also come up this year. The scheduled date of completion of the project, which is being carried out by Gammon India Limited, is December 31, 2008.

The Rs 5.79 crore basic services to urban poor (BSUP) would also kick off this year, as part of which flats costing Rs 1.34 lakh each would be provided to slum dwellers in the city. It would also be a NURM-sponsored project.

The anti-encroachment drive is already on and it has been decided to make it a regular feature. Moreover, the green belt from the Gateway of Amritsar onwards is being revived so that visitors like the city from the word go.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh: The police department would begin the New Year by introducing beat system in all its 20 police stations. Each police station would be divided into 15-16 beats for effective law and order maintenance.

Among the projects for 2008, a community oriented policing programme has been chalked out with the theme “respect for law abiding citizens and tough action against law breakers.” The police would also involve the general public in launching a crackdown against notorious elements in the city.



Traffic travails: MC, cops need to act tough, say residents
P. K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, January 1
Traffic chaos has become order of the day in the city. In absence of substantial steps at the ground level, the problem is getting worse by each passing day.

Residents hold municipal corporation as well as the transport department equally responsible for the mess. They hold lack of coordination between various agencies besides the public responsible for constant traffic indiscipline on the road. Political interference and patronage is also the main cause of the never ending problem, they add.

Government employee, Pritpaul Singh, a resident of Amarkot, says MC must remove encroachments from the very beginning as it is the root cause of the traffic muddle. He says shopkeepers have grabbed all footpaths by extending their shops in the main markets. Even the main G T Road of Amritsar-Lahore road leading to the Attari check post had not been spared by them, he adds. The 60-feet road is left merely 40 feet in breadth at many places while at places like Chheharta, Putlighar, bus stand, Hall Gate etc it is left less than 30 feet, rues Singh.

Mushrooming of malls without provision of parking places had also worsened the problem, feel residents. Cars parked outside the malls cover the road, leaving little margin for other vehicles to pass, they rue.

Use of basements of malls, meant for parking as per the municipal town planning department rules, for commercial purposes instead, had added to the problem, they feel.

“It is mandatory to use basement of these malls as parking space, but majority of these malls do not have parking places as these basements were being used for commercial purposes. The corporation had also failed to check this menace,” feels Singh.

The number of vehicles on roads had increased manifold but the number of roads remain the same. As per the official estimates, the total population of the city is more than 12.50 lakh and the number of registered vehicle is seven lakh.

The craze for bikes and two wheelers among the new generation leading to underage driving has compounded the problem, feel residents. The number of three wheelers and heavy vehicles has increased a number of times. At present there are about 15,000 three wheelers in city. As per police officials, only 20 per cent tractor trolleys have permits. Brij Bedi, a social activist says, “Proper traffic management was needed. Political interference and patronage to the violators was responsible for all the traffic chaos,” he added.

Mayor, Shawet Malik, says under a traffic management plan the corporation was narrowing down the huge roundabouts in various busy chowks of the city. This aims at decongesting traffic, besides, opening alternatives routes for diverting traffic.

The mayor said the MC has launched an anti-encroachment drive besides seeking cooperation of the shopkeepers to remove illegally extended shops. He said that the corporation had planned to draw zebra crossings and yellow lines for movement of pedestrians and parking of vehicles. He said violators would be taken to task.

The corporation had initiated rehri market scheme to remove encroachments by vendors on roadsides on the pattern of metro cities. Timings for the movement of heavy vehicles entering the city has also been fixed, added the mayor. He said this would be done in phases.



Revellers make merry
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 1
As Amritsar plunged its way into 2008, there were unprecedented crowd at couple-dance parties across the city. And for a change, a majority of those shaking a leg were well past their early thirties.

The organisers were in for a pleasant surprise as shedding their inhibitions; couples of all ages put on their dancing shoes and headed straight to the hotels and restaurants in the city.

Pradeep Kumar Vaid, general manager, Ritz Plaza, said even though the hotel has been organising dance parties since 1999, it was a rare sight for the city to have its middle-aged dancing to the tunes to ring in the New Year.

“We had families from Delhi and Mumbai, who were in the city to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. They took the lead in bringing on the “shy” aged to the dance floor. But the way people of Amritsar have started enjoying their dancing is quite surprising. It could be the urge to burn some extra calories or compete with the younger lot, but the trend seems to be here to stay,” he added.

Rajat and Rajni Chopra, a newly-wed couple, who attended the “Dance and Dine” party at Service Club, said their parents were equally excited to hit the dance floor. With people getting widespread exposure from travelling and the media, people have realised that dancing and enjoyment has nothing to do with age.

Ram Kumar Arora of Kumar International said even though the hotel used to organise dance parties every year, this was for the first time that a couple dance was planned. “The response was very encouraging as people of all ages had a blast on the dance floor. After the huge success of the event in 2007, we plan to continue with it this year as well,” he added.



Born on Jan 1, little angels spread sunshine in lives of three families
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 1
Being born on the world’s official party night is always special. As for their parents, it is no less than a miracle to hear their first-borns’ cry amidst firecrackers and cheers welcoming New Year.

At Guru Teg Bahadur Government Hospital, three newborns - two males and one female - were born early on the morning of January 1.

Sonia, wife of Rohit Khanna, was the first to give birth to a girl child at 7.15 am after a Caesarian delivery.

Next to follow was a baby boy for Sanjana at 7.45 am. Even though her husband was at his native village in Sultanpur (UP), Sanjana had her mother and father by her side.

An elated Ram Avtar (Sanjana’s father) said, “We had a tough night before the delivery. The private hospital we first went to, told us that the chances of saving the child were bleak because of some complications. However, the New Year turned things around for the better and it was no less than a miracle to have a normal delivery. We are happy that it all ended on a happy note,” he said.

At Shashi Hospital, Cheena Gambhir delivered a girl child at 11 am on January 1. “Saade ghar taan Lakshmi aa gai hai,” said Neelam Gambhir, grandmother of the newborn.

“It is after a long time that we have got a child in our family and every single family member is anxious to take her in their arms,” she said jubilantly.

We also came across a family which didn’t want to disclose its identity for the fear of inviting jealousy, asthe child was born at 12.02 am on the night of December 31 at a private nursing home.

“There cannot be a better time for the little one to come into our lives,” said the child’s father.

“We had heard stories about how people plan the date of birth of their child to make sure that he or she is born on an auspicious day, but God has planned everything for us. We are thankful for a normal delivery as well,” he added.



Remembering the old days, ways
Tribune news Service

Amritsar, January 1
It was yesterday once more at the Government Medical College, Amritsar, as old students had an emotional reunion. ‘Punarmilan-2007’ saw broad smiles and warm hugs from the participants who had come from not only across the country but also abroad. Out of total 98 attending doctors, 16 were from USA, one from UK and Norway each.

The alumni were overwhelmed to visit their alma mater and were pleasantly surprised to see the development. They also decided to give liberal donations to upgrade the facilities at the institute. Dr Amritpal Singh Pannu promised to donate a sum of Rs 2.5 lakh for anatomy dissection hall, while Dr Tejwant Singh and Dr Karnail Singh offered Rs 2 lakh and Rs 50,000, respectively, for sprucing up other departments.

A function was also organised by the alumni to honor their teachers, including Dr B.S Tung, Dr Ved Gupta, Dr AK Datta, Dr AS Padda, Dr Harbilas Rai, Dr Hardyal Singh, Dr (Mrs) and Dr SK Khetarpal, Dr Hardas Singh, Dr Gurdass Signh, Dr Santokh Singh, Dr RS Sidhy, Dr Mridula Mahan and Dr Lakhanpal.

The event was organised by local doctors, including Dr Rajinder Pal Singh, Dr Arvinder Singh Dr Rohit Mehta, Dr Ruchi Gupta, Dr Ravi Kant Sharma, Dr Jagjit Singh. Dr Naresh Grover was the organising chairperson. Principal of the college Dr Jagdish Gargi also graced the occasion.



Ex-cop held with drugs, fake currency
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 1
The police has arrested Ashwini Kumar, a former constable, for his alleged involvement in drug peddling and robbery. Te police also recovered 300 gm of smack worth Rs 30 lakh and fake currency worth Rs 10,000 in the denomination of Rs 500 from his possession. A case under section 489 A, B, C of the IPC and section 22/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered at Police Station A-Division, Amritsar.

According to district police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, the accused was involved in a series of criminal cases, including murder, robbery and drug smuggling in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. The accused used to bring smack from Meerut and Delhi. He allegedly also connected to terrorist outfits functioning from abroad, the SSP added.

Ashwini was in jail for more than six years in a case of robbery of Rs 49 lakh from a bank in Delhi.



Campus Buzz
GNDU appoints 4 new HoDs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 1
The reader of applied physic department, Dr Kanwarjit Singh, reader of physical education (teaching), Dr Sukhdev Singh, professor Sarbjot Singh Behal of the architecture department and Dr Dharam Singh, School of Punjabi Studies, have been appointed heads of the department (HoDs) of their respective departments from January 1, 2008. This was stated in a press release issued by the university. The appointments have been made by vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh.

IASM office-bearers

During the 29th Indian Association of Sports Medicine Congress, which was held at Ranchi, Dr Shweta Shenoy, a senior lecturer in sports medicine, GNDU, was elected secretary general of the Indian Association of Sports Medicine (IASM). Similarly, Dr Shyamal Koley was elected chairperson of the Liaison Commission of the IASM for four years.

Informing this, HoD, sports medicine, Dr Jaspal Singh Sandhu, said during the event 24 research papers were presented by the students.

He said the congress was organised by Apollo Hospital, Ranchi, on behalf of the IASM and was inaugurated by Jharkhand Governor Mohammed Sibte Razi. Around 600 delegates from India and abroad participated in the event.

Giving details, Dr Jaspal said the IASM was affiliated to the Asian Federation of Sports Medicine and the International Federation of Sports Medicine and would be conducting the ninth Asian Federation of Sports Medicine Congress in December 2009. He added that this time the secretariat of the IASM would be shifted to Guru Nanak Dev University from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |