To boost recovery, 2 teams have been formed: Commissioner
House tax defaulters: MC gets the whip cracking 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 19
In order to speed up the development projects in the holy city, the financially crunched Amritsar municipal corporation has intensified its campaign for recovering arrears totalling Rs 37 crore. Under the movement, the MC is collecting tax on account of house tax and water supply charges from various commercial establishments.

Interestingly, the citizens, who were earlier taking the warning by the MC lightly, have started paying their dues to escape the wrath as the municipal officials are in no mood to spare 
the defaulters.

According to sources, many reputed commercial houses and religious “akharas”, including Brahm Buta and Udasi, were the main defaulters as each one of them owe Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh to the corporation. Out of 15 “akharas” in the city, house tax officials have been able to recover 70 per cent of the arrears as owners of nine “akharas” have paid their taxes, while the rest have sought some more time to clear their dues.

The MC stick has also made many well-known business establishments pay their dues to avoid blot on their reputation. However, the ones who failed and whose properties have been sealed include Manchanda Palace, owned by former ambassador late Daljit Singh Pannu, Victoria Tower which belongs to Nisha and Neena Arora and Harjit Singh’s commercial complex on the Fetehgarh Churian road.

Talking to The Tribune, MC commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda said the time had come to act for the development of the city and for this the corporation needed funds. He said the MC had given notice to the people evading taxes and they were told that their properties would be seized in case they failed to clear their arrears.

He said, “To strengthen the process of recovering taxes, two teams have been constituted under the leadership of assistant commissioner P.S. Ghumman and includes house tax superintendents Sushant Bhatia and Daljit Singh. They would be assisted by policemen.”

The MC commissioner said the sealing process had forced many people to deposit their dues in order to avoid penalties. More than 80 per cent of the arrears have been recovered from the defaulters and he was hopeful that the remaining amount would be deposited within a week.

Kharbanda said even the government establishments like ESI hospital, Medical college, police stations and other departments have been served notices and dues worth Rs 25 lakh had been collected. Besides, clear directions had been issued to the realisation teams to seal the properties in case defaulters failed to pay their dues.

He said the corporation needed funds for the development of the city and people should come forward to pay their taxes so that development projects could be initiated at the earliest as it was for the benefit of residents only.



State Of Affairs
Peeved over low facilities at Attari, IFCC shoots missive to Lalu
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 19
The Indo-Foreign Chamber of Commerce (IFCC), a body which represents Afghanistan and Pakistan trade in India, today blamed the railway authorities for not providing enough facilities at the local railway station, probably the only international dry port under the railways.

In a hard-hitting missive sent to the railway minister, B.K. Bajaj, president, IFCC, alleged that the railway authorities were bent upon stopping the Indo-Pak trade by creating hurdles. The IFCC chief said while the union government had been endeavouring to increase the Indo-Pak trade by creating facilities at Attari station, the indifferent attitude of senior officials posted at Ferozepore had been discouraging the import-export with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Pity is that the Indian Railways treat Indo-Pak trade as if it is a normal cargo station,” quipped Bajaj.

He said the Indian Railways must realise that where international cargo is traded becomes a dry port and hence all rules and system have to be in accordance with the international law/system.

The IFCC pointed out that throughout the world, including India, at every international port first 120 hours are provided free of any demurrage/detention charges to the importer/exporter. However, Bajaj alleged that at Amritsar railway station after five hours demurrage and detention charges are levied. To add fuel to the fire, the Ferozepore authorities have started charging five times the normal rate of the demurrage/detention charges.

The IFCC alleged that the repeated requests, made to the Ferozepore railway authorities fell on deaf ears. The end results is that the Indo-Pak trade is suffering. Bajaj alleged that no budget was ever sanctioned to carry out repairs of the railways sheds where international trade is transacted.

He said the condition of the railways sheds is matter of shame to the nation. The IFCC sought immediate intervention of the railway minister into the matter so that the Indo-Pak trade could be given a fillip in the coming days.



Cong leader rebuffs assault charge

Amritsar, February 19
Congress leader Gagan Bhatia refuted the allegations levelled against him by Harjinder Kaur of the Hussainpura Chowk area that he beat up her with the help of his henchmen on Tuesday, claiming that it was all done to defame him.

Reacting to the allegation, he said the whole case was fabricated and baseless. He said Harjinder, who happens to be his close relative, along with her husband, had made false complaints against him earlier too. He said a property dispute between his wife and Harjinder was the main cause of the whole episode.

It is pertinent to mention here that Harjinder, an additional programme officer in the ADC office, had alleged that the police had failed to take any action against the Congress leader and his henchmen who had beaten her up when she was returning home from the market earlier this month.However, the SSP said both the parties had made counter-complaints and the police was investigating into the case. — OC



France: No solution to turban trouble in sight, says Vedanti

Amritsar, February 19
Sikhs residing in France are facing many difficulties due to a ban on turban imposed by the French government and there is no scope of any solution to the issue in the near future.

These views were expressed by Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti here on Monday after his return from France. He had gone there to inaugurate a gurdwara building in Bigbony.

Talking to mediapersons, Vedanti said, “Even communities like Muslim are facing the same situation and the French government is least interested in resolving the issue.”

He said he had urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the turban issue with the French President during his recent visit to India on Republic Day. However, he failed to pressurise the French government to lift the ban, added Vedanti.

Commenting on the controversy over Nanakshahi calendar, Vedanti said, “I have not received any objection over the issue from Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar Iqbal Singh. An 11-member committee has already been constituted to look into the matter and if anyone has objections or suggestions he can submit these to 
the committee.” — TNS



Police needs to win back people’s confidence: Bedi
Tribune reporters

Amritsar, February 19
Exhorting the cops to do their duties honestly, first woman IPS officer of the country, Dr Kiran Bedi today said the police was reeling under severe image crisis. “Instead of becoming savior, it has turned into a notorious force, which has lost confidence and trust of the common man,” said Bedi.

The policemen were misusing their uniform to make quick buck, she said, adding that it was due to this reason that scams like illegal kidney trade were flourishing in the country.

Answering the media queries on political intervention in the police functioning, she said if the judgment of the Apex Court dated September 22, 2006 is implemented, no police official could be transferred from his present posting before two years. It will reduce all kinds of pressure effecting their functioning, she added.

Meanwhile, addressing the students of SR Government College for Women during the annual sports prize distribution function, the former cop said the girls should identify their hidden talent and make themselves financially self-independent. She also exhorted the students, to take up sports and NCC to enhance their physical and mental strength to meet the challenges in life. Vocational courses during the summer break greatly help in paving way for future job, she said. “Most of the college students who were coming here are from the rural areas. They should take up the responsibility of bringing in social reformations in villages,” added Bedi. She urged the college management to make students aware of Domestic Violence Act. Later, she distributed prizes to the winners of various sports events held in the college. The college girls also presented Giddha and cultural programme. 



Ruralites get tech tips on internet use
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 19
In order to create awareness among the rural youth about the internet facilities being provided by Bharatiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a GPRS week is being observed throughout the state from February 18 to 24.

Disclosing this to the media, SR Agarwal, chief general manager, telephones, Punjab circle on Monday said their main focus was to educate the rural masses on how to use the internet on their cellphones.

He said the subscribers could also watch 12 TV channels on their mobiles by paying additional rent. He said the post paid customers would have to pay additional Rs 199 per month and would have unlimited access to internet. For pre-paid customers, a voucher of Rs 175 per month and Rs 20 per day is introduced for unlimited usage. Regarding the expansion plans, he said BSNL would be setting 5.2 lacs lines shortly involving a cost of Rs 5.5 crore, besides setting up 400 more towers.

This will be having a capacity of 1.3 lakhs lines of 3G mobile telephony capable of handling all high-end features like speed data transfer. Amritsar SSA would be adding 44 sites of 2G and 60 sites of third generation mobile telephony. 



Campus Pulse
Dr Thukral elected fellow of Linnaean Society
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 19
Dr A K Thukral from the department of botanical and environmental sciences of GNDU has been elected as fellow of the Linnaean Society of London.

Dr Thukral, who completed his PhD from BITS, Pilani, and post-doctorate from Moscow University, is presently holding the office of dean, students welfare. He has 33 years of research experience and has published 75 research papers.

The Linnaean Society promotes research in life sciences and was established 220 years ago in honour of renowned scientist Carl Linnaeus.

Guest lectures

Dr Gopal Pathak, dean professor and head coordinator, Environmental Science and Engineering group, BIT, Ranchi and Dr J A Amarbeer from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, would deliver lectures on “Water quality and environmental awareness” on February 20. The event would be held in the department of botanical sciences as a part of National Science Day and is being sponsored by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Chandigarh.

Delegation visit

A German delegation from the Institute of Indologie, Johannes Gutenberg University, would visit the university on February 20 and a lecture on “Foreign policy of the European union” would be delivered by Dr Wolfgang Muno on the occasion.

Orientation course

The University would be organising a four-week general orientation course from February 21 to March 20 for university and college teachers under the aegis of its Academic Staff College. Dr M S Dhillon, dean, College Development Council, would inaugurate the course. 



‘Awareness on genetic disorders need of hour’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 19
The geneticists who participated in the three-day fifth international symposium on genetics, health and disease on “OMICS in 21st century” have unanimously recommended that the genetic diagnostic in general is very poor, especially in the developing countries. They were of the view that there was an urgent need to expedite the efforts to empower medical education to promote awareness regarding genetic diseases.

They resolved that active centres for genetic counselling and diagnostics for genetic diseases should be established throughout the developing countries under the patronage of the state and central governments so that the properly equipped laboratories with the state-of-the-art infrastructure were available.

The international symposium organised by Guru Nanak Dev University in collaboration with the Institute of Human Genetics, Berlin (Germany), and department of paediatrics, Brown University, USA, concluded here today at the Guru Nanak Bhawan auditorium. More than 400 delegates from India and abroad participated.

The human genetic scientists recommended that laws at the state and central government levels should be formulated to mandate newborn genetic screening and counselling. They were also of the view that all diagnostic labs and counselling centres for genetic disorders should be accredited in compliance with international standards and networked.

The scientists said the cooperation between the patient-parent organisations and geneticist needed to be strengthened. The role of genetic factors in the lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, also needed to be further explored. They said more epidemiological studies were required to be undertaken and national registries established. Thematic fertilisation of genetic and genomic research with advances in stem cell therapy needed to be encouraged at the highest level for the welfare of the society.

In the afternoon, an Indo-German-Czech workshop on Down syndrome was organised in which Prof K. Sperling from Germany, Prof Dr. J. Santavi from Czech Republic, Dr Arun Mukherji and Dr Ratna Puri presented their research advancements. Vice-chancellor Jai Rup Singh welcomed the scientists.

Presenting their observations about the symposium in the valedictory session, Prof Karl Sperling from Germany and Prof Surendra Sharma from the USA said the foreign delegates from 25 countries of the world had a wonderful exposure about the Indians and their culture.



Antarctica warming raises concern
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 19
Expressing concern over the melting of snow in the Antarctica region due to global warming, Dr Surjeet Singh Dhillon, former dean and head of the zoology department, Punjabi University, said if the process continued, then most of the world’s land would be submerged in the sea.

He was speaking at a seminar on biodiversity in Antarctica, organised by the postgraduate department of zoology, Khalsa College, here.

While enlightening the students about the environment, biodiversity and effects of global warming, he said 98 per cent of the land in Antarctica was covered with permafrost, which had depressed the continent by 2,000 feet. The main species found in the area were seal, blue whale, krill, penguin, moss, lichen and algae.

Dr Dhillon said Antarctica was the widest and windiest place having six month-long day and six month-long night. The maximum wind speed was approximately 300 km per hour accompanied by snowstorms.

Dr Daljit Singh, principal of the college, welcomed the guest. Prof G.S. Sappal, head, department of zoology, thanked the guest.



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 |