Extortion threat: Shopkeepers want a police post
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, February 22
Fearing threat to life, the shop owners in the Kesri Bagh market of Amritsar have demanded a permanent police post to curb the activities of the anti-social elements who were involved in extortions.

Anil Dogra, in his complaint to the police, alleged that at least seven persons allegedly came to his lottery shop and demanded money from him. He said when he refused the accused took about Rs 10,000 from his cash box and threatened that if he reported the matter to the police he would be killed.

Another dhaba owner Subash said the accused daily came to his dhaba to have meals in the evening and did not pay money to him. He said day before yesterday when he refused to serve the meal, the accused broke utensils and furniture in his shop. He further alleged that the accused also set ablaze the mini-truck owned by him in front of his shop.

He said that even though they had lodged a complaint with the B-division police station in this regard and two accused have been arrested, they still fear for their lives as their accomplices were still roaming about freely. He claimed that the police was yet to register the FIR.

The complainants said that as thousands of tourists and devotees came to the city for paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, there was urgent need for setting up a police post in the area so that there was no harassment to them at the hands of these unscrupulous elements.

When contacted, the police authorities said that they had received the complaint and investigations were being conducted. They said action would be taken after a probe.



Easing Traffic Congestion
Rs 5 crore for relaying Batala road stretch
Sanjay Bumbroo

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 22
Work on the Amritsar-Batala road would start soon as the central government has cleared all objections and sanctioned Rs 5 crore for the ambitions project of constructing the road.

Disclosing this to the media today, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu said that the work on the 2.81-km road would be started in the first week of April and completed within five months. He said the road would also be broadened to 14 metres which would help in easing the traffic congestion.

The road had been in dilapidated condition as vehicle owners had to pass through deep potholes as the road had not been repaired for the past several years.

Moreover, the shopkeepers on both sides had raised the platforms in front of their shops as a result the rainwater accumulated on the road.

The BJP MP said the Narega scheme of the central government would benefit the unemployed youths of the border area as they would be able to get 100 days’ employment in a year if development works were initiated in the rural areas of the border district. He said he would convene a meeting of the elected representatives of the villages of the border districts after the panchayats elections in the state to create awareness among the rural masses about the scheme. He said the district administration should spend the money received by it from the central government on the development works before March 31.

Speaking on the occasion, SAD MP Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala said that job cards had been issued to the unemployed youth of Amritsar district during the current financial year under the Narega scheme. He announced that in the next financial year about 60,000 cards would be issued to the unemployed youth in the area.



Amritsar chosen under food security mission
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 22
The holy city has been chosen under the National Food Security Mission for seed replacement and increasing the production of wheat. Under this mission certified seeds would be supplied to the farmers at subsidised rates.

Informing this, chief agriculture officer (CAO) Paramjit Singh Sidhu said that 7,000 mini-kits of the wheat PNW-502 variety were distributed free among the farmers. He said 3,700 demonstration plots were given to the farmers along with seed treatment fungicide free of cost. He said that to control the weeds in the demonstration plots weedicide would also be supplied free to the farmers.

He said to provide timely solution to various problems of the farmers, 24 farmers field schools were being set up in the district at pilot villages.

Besides, various farm equipment were also being given to farmers at 50 per cent subsidised rates. So far, 117 rotavator and 53 zero till drills have been supplied to farmers, the CAO added.

Further to aware the farmers of the various facilities being provided under the mission, literature was being circulated among them.

He said the main objective of the mission was to increase production, productivity in a sustainable manner in the district, to restore soil fertility and enhancing the economy of the farmers which were facing hardships due to decrease in farm production owing to various reasons.

He said whole produce of demonstration plots and mini-kits would be used as seed for the next year for seed replacement.



Campus Buzz
Scholars lay stress on need for ethical, moral values
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 22
Stressing on the need for ethical and moral values, scholars of various walks of life said in the modern life of turmoil, moral values and standards are of the utmost requirement, otherwise there would be chaos all around and there would be no check on the spread of evil. The ethical values enshrined in the world religions are still an antidote to the ills that the modern society is suffering from.

In spite of spectacular advancement in the field of science and technology, the people of underdeveloped countries are still grappling with the problems of explosion in population, social and economic disparities, unemployment, illiteracy, inadequate care for food and health.

This was the consensus of the scholars participating in the two-day national seminar on “Ethical concerns of the world religious” being organised by the department of Guru Nanak studies of Guru Nanak Dev University under the UGC special assistance programme in the conference hall. More than 40 eminent scholars from Canada, Turkey, Germany and India are participating in the seminar.

D.S. Chahal, director of the Institute for Understanding Sikhism, Canada, inaugurated the seminar while Sebasitian Velassery, professor, department of philosophy, Panjab University, Chandigarh, presented the keynote address.

The scholars were of the view that because of the complexities of modern life, the present age of globalisation could rightly be called the age of intense anxiety and pressure. Moreover, the problem of evil instead of receding had increased manifold.

They said the use of force to resolve the political issues had put a question mark on the world peace. Really, the danger of clash between civilisations was looming large. Similarly, the use of drugs, spread of deadly diseases such as AIDS, ecological imbalance, environmental pollution were some of the modern day evils which had put a question mark on the future of human race on this planet.

Psychiatrist J.S. Neki, former director of the PGIMER, Chandigarh, emphasised the relevance of Sikh ethics in creating peace, harmony and coexistence of world religions.

D.S. Chahal, in his inaugural address, underlined the fact that the genetic weakness of religiosity in human was being exploited by religious fraudulent or so-called spiritual leaders for their personal benefits. This genetic weakness was to be looked after for formulating scientifically and logically sound ethics by the theologians and researchers. Ethical concerns of world religions were very important and sensitive issue.

GNDU professor gets fellowship

Pushpinder Kaur, a senior professor in the department of zoology of Guru Nanak Dev University, has been honoured with a prestigious fellowship by the Indian Society for the Advancement of Insect Science (ISAIS) of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.

The fellowship was conferred on Pushpinder Kaur by the society in recognition of her commendable contribution to the field of insect science.

Lankan librarian delivers lectures to varsity students

Chief librarian of Buddhist and Pali University, Sri Lanka, J.A. Amaraweera delivered series of lectures on IT applications in libraries, internet search, website evaluation and digital information sources and their use to students of master of library and information science of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Amaraweera is here at Guru Nanak Dev University as a visiting fellow till February 25. He is the vice-president of the Sri Lanka Library Association and a member of the Asia Pacific Networking Group (APNG).

Lecture on EU’s foreign policy

European Union, which earlier did not want to offend the USA on the Kashmir issue during the past few decades, now wants peaceful solution of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

These views were expressed by Dr Wolfgang Monu, Johannes Gutenburg University, Mainz (Germany) while delivering a talk on “European Union’s foreign policy” at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) here.

Dr Monu said that European Union was neither a federal state nor an international organisation; it is only a supranational body. He said economically the EU was very strong, whereas politically it was moderate. He said the EU had a soft corner towards the USA over the issue of China but not towards India which was a matter of concern for both the parties. He also dwelt upon the problems of the EU functioning, especially its foreign policy.

He said the EU was facing the issues like enlargement of European Union as Turkey and Croatia were seeking its membership. He said there was also a great problem of multilingualism as every document was to be translated into 22 languages. On the issue of Kosovo’s independence, EU members are divided, he added.

Prof Konarf Meising of Johannes Gutenburg University, thanked the university authorities for arranging this interaction with the faculty. He evinced keen interest in mutual exchange programme with the GNDU.

Earlier while welcoming the delegation, Vice-Chancellor Jai Rup Singh said the GNDU was keen to collaborate with German universities on academic exchange programme. He said the local industries would also be involved in this programme.

10 years of campus placements

The campus placement department of the university is celebrating a decade of campus placements on February 26. Informing this, Gaganpreet Singh, convener of the students placement committee said that Guru Nanak Dev University was the first one in the country to start a centralised campus placement facility which was earlier available only in technical and management institutes. Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh would preside over, while director, placement, Dr Ranjeesh Arora would present future strategies for better placements.

More than 3,000 students have been placed during the past 10 years, while 829 students had been placed in the previous session and it was expected to reach 1,000 by the end of this academic session. About 227 students of the 2009 batch were already placed by February, 2008.



Review stand on minorities, says Tarlochan Singh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 22
Former National Commission on Minorities chairman and present Rajya Sabha (RS) member from Haryana Tarlochan Singh has asked the state government to review its stand on minorities.

Talking to The Tribune, Tarlochan Singh said it was shocking to know that the SGPC counsel and the state government had pleaded in the Supreme Court that Radha Soamis were not a part of the Sikh community. He said by dissociating Radha Soamis from the community, the government and the SGPC were not doing service to the Sikh panth. “Instead, efforts should be made to bring other sections of the Sikhs closer to the panth. We have already done a great disservice to the community by dissociating Sehajdharis and should not repeat the mistake,” added the Rajya Sabha member.

According to the information, the Punjab government and the SGPC had challenged the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on formers verdict which came on December 17, 2007. The plea filed by advocate Harish Salve on behalf of the SGPC contended that the high court had made an error by striking down the minority status of the Sikhs. He had pleaded that according to the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, only one-third of the electorate in the state belonged to the Sikh community. “Besides, the sect members believing in living gurus cannot be considered as Sikhs, which proves that Sikhs are clearly a minority,” pleaded advocate by referring to Nirankaris, Dera Sacha Sauda and Radha Soamis.

Meanwhile, former SGPC secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta, said, “Efforts should be made to broaden the definition of the Sikh community because the ‘narrow definition’ would reduce the religion to a microscopic minority.”



UK teachers take teaching lessons from DAV counterparts
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 22
A nine-member delegation of British primary teachers visited the DAV Public School here recently under the aegis of teachers international professional development programme for the UK teachers funded by the British government.

The team led by Annette Nelson, included Jene Richardson, Mavis Wilkinson, Amanda Roberts, Ruth Tisset, Anne Homer, Rosemary Brown, Nicole Rooley and Jemma Harrison.

The British group observed the teaching practices of the school and shared their experiences with the students and the faculty members. One of the group members exclaimed that despite constrains and limited infrastructure available to the Indian students they managed to excel in international competitions which was quite commendable. The group also learned about the “guru shishya” culture.

Speaking on the occasion, programme coordinator Ritika Parruck said, “Such visits help teachers to act as reflective practitioners as they have critical dialogues about skills, setups and methodology for enhancing classroom performances.” The primary wing students entertained the visitors through antics and displayed their skills in art, craft and computer operations.

Earlier, welcoming the delegation, school principal Neera Sharma said the educational exchange program with other countries helps to develop an environment which is globally conducive.



MLA-Police Row
Joshi forms panel to check admn’s carelessness
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 22
Even though three senior BJP leaders in a closed-door meeting have taken a strong notice of the immature approach of the young MLA for acting like an “opposition leader”, BJP MLA Anil Joshi has moved one step ahead by constituting a 21-member committee for “controlling the carelessness of the local civil and police administration”.

Joshi said the committee had been constituted to look into the public grievances against the administration and police repression, besides protecting their fundamental rights. He said that it would be held responsible if any complaint received from the general public with regard to the police and the district administration would not be looked into properly.

The local police and the BJP MLA had locked horns as the latter has criticised the police authorities for harassing the general public by “not registering their proper FIRs”.

Earlier, he had staged a dharna in protest against the “erring police official” for challaning the vehicle of his close confident.

The MLA had publicly announced that those who had any grouse against the police should approach him so that he could take up the case with the Chief Minister and the BJP high command.

Joshi, along with various councillors, warned that the committee would “take action” for stopping the misuse of the post by the officers of the police and district administration. He also warned the committee members about getting undue favours for their personal gains. He said the main aim of the committee should be to protect the rights of the public rather than working for their political aspirations.



CII organises training programme to boost tourism in city

Amritsar, February 22
In its endeavour to assist entrepreneurs, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) organised a soft skills training programme here on Thursday for sensitising its stakeholders towards tourism.

The event was attended by 250 participants, including tourism police, hoteliers, restaurateurs, dhabawalas, cab drivers, rickshawalas, coolies, etc., and was presided over by MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh.

Encouraging the efforts of the CII, Sidhu said the city received one lakh devotees every day and the workshop was a commendable initiative to promote tourism industry. He said he was committed to the city’s development and would take every step to improve the infrastructure in Amritsar.

Speaking on the occasion, CII Amritsar zonal council chairman Gunbir Singh said the holy city was Gateway to India from north and had immense potential to become another major tourist destination after Kerala, Goa and Rajasthan. Besides, the addition of more flights to Amritsar would give a strong boost to the tourism industry in the city. Sharing his views, programme’s chief trainer Vishal Kalia focused on various aspects of the hotel and tourism industry, including sanitation, cleanliness, food service and energy saving methods. — OC



City lad wins gold in global science contest
Tribune New Service

Amritsar, February 22
Archit Gupta, a student of Senior Study School, has done the city proud by winning the gold medal in an international science competition held by Educational Assessment Australia under the University of New South Wales.

Disclosing this in a press release here today, principal Kanchan Mehra of Senior Study School said Archit, who is studying in class IV, had secured the first position in the competion in which students from 14 countries had participated.

Mehra said Archit had also secured the first rank in Punjab and 10th at the national level in Maths Olympiad and first in Punjab and 31st rank at the national level in the Science Olympiad held in 2007-08. She said Archit had received many awards in roller skating competitions, besides winning the all round trophy of the school for his achievement in sports and academics.

Archit said his main aim was to become an IAS officer.



Farmers exhorted to adopt drip irrigation system

Amritsar, February 22
About 75 per cent subsidy would be given to farmers who adopt drip irrigation system for irrigating fields. This was revealed by Kahan Singh Pannu, deputy commissioner, during a meeting with the district agriculture production committee here. Speaking on the occasion he said a huge amount of water is used in the traditional old irrigation system due to which water get collected in the fields leading to damaging of crop plants thus reducing the yield, while the drip irrigation system ensures proper use of water and help produce good quality crop.

Paramjit Singh Sidhu, chief agriculture officer, said 1.87 lakh hectare land had been brought under wheat cultivation during the season.

Meanwhile, deputy director, animal husbandry, Dr Goel said although there was no threat of bird flu in the region, but a close watch was being kept on the poultry farms.

Ranjit Singh, horticulture officer, said the department achieved the target of planting new horticulture gardens in 17.30 hectares. — OC



Let The Music Play
Pak singer all set to make waves in Punjab
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune New Service

Amritsar, February 22
Farha Lal, younger sister of renowned Pakistani singer Nasibo Lal, arrived in India on Wednesday through the Wagah joint checkpost to participate in the various cultural programmes being organised in Punjab.

Talking to The Tribune, Farha said she had been fond of singing since her childhood as she was inspired by the singing of her mother. She said her elder sister had also been in the singing profession and her songs were also famous in India.

She said she had added the surname “Lal” taken from the Sufi singer Lal Shah Kalandar from whom she had got the initial training in singing. She said, besides Lal, she had also got training from Ustad Shafi Mohammad.

Farha said singing has been in her blood as her ancestors had been in the profession. She said her ancestors lived in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and after partition her family settled in Lahore. She said they used the Marwari language in her house till date.

She had come to India for the first time to take part in the cultural programmes and was happy over the warm welcome accorded by the people of this country.

She claimed that there was hardly any film in which she, along with her sister, has not sung songs. She said her first cassette “Vichoda” was well received by the people of Pakistan and she had not looked back since then. More than 12 cassettes of hers have already been released.

She said, besides singing for Pakistan radio and television, she had also presented various programmes on private TV channels. Participation of artistes and singers of India and Pakistan in cultural programmes was necessary as it would help in strengthening the relation between the two beleaguered countries.



Principal’s removal triggers protest

Amritsar, February 22
The unceremonious removal of S.K. Luthra as principal of DAV Senior Secondary School, Hathi Gate - the biggest aided school in the state - today triggered widespread protest against the management.

Teachers raised slogans against D.R. Gupta of the DAV Colleges Committee and described the decision as “draconian and dictatorial”. When contacted, V.K. Sharma, principal, DAV College (Boys), who is manager of DAV Senior Secondary School, said that A.C. Preet has been appointed a regular principal replacing Luthra. However, Luthra, who had been officiating as principal for the past about two years, said he had been “punished” for no fault of his.

The staff secretary of the school, however, alleged that the decision of the management had come as “bolt from the blue and a staggering shock” to the entire staff because Luthra had been doing a commendable job as principal of the school. He said that Luthra should continue as principal of the school in the larger interest of the DAV institute. — TNS



Scientists visit Khalsa College
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 22
A delegation of 50 scientists from 25 countries visited the historic Khalsa College here today. They were here to participate in the fifth international symposium on genetic, health and disease held by Guru Nanak Dev University.

They interacted with the faculty of various departments of the college who apprised them of the research work and achievements of the 115-year-old college. The delegates told them about the latest developments in research on cancer, AIDS, diabetes and other diseases and latest techniques for treatment.

They also stressed on the role of holistic genetic counselling for checking the rising incidence of cancer, diabetes and heart ailments.



German varsity delegation meets GNDU VC

Amritsar, February 22
A six-member delegation from Johannes Gutenburg University, Mainz (Germany), evinced keen interest in the academic exchange programme with Guru Nanak Dev University. To explore the possibilities of inking an MoU in this regard, the delegation interacted with Vice-Chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh and other senior faculty members here today.

On reaching the university campus, they were received by the Vice-Chancellor. He apprised the German delegation of the various academic and research programmes being run by Guru Nanak Dev University. Prof Konarf Meising of Johannes Gutenburg University gave details about the important courses and other academic activities of their university.

Wolfgang Monu, Dr Raghbir Singh, dean, academic affairs; Gurnam Singh, head of school of social sciences; S.S. Bindra of political science department also participated in the interaction. — TNS



IIRSI gold medal for city doc
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 22
The Intraocular Implant and Refractive Society, India, (IIRSI) has selected Dr Rohit Om Parkash of ‘Satyam Netralay’ for IIRSI gold medal.

In a press release, the hospital spokesman said the honour would be conferred during the inaugural session of the three-day annual conference to be held in from August 21 to 23 in Mumbai. He said Dr Rohit was being honoured for his contribution to the field of ophthalmology.

Giving details about the society, he said the Chennai-based society is celebrating its silver jubilee this year and selects two doctors from the field of ophthalmology annually for the special awards.



Fastway to start live gurbani telecast
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 22
Residents of the holy city and its neighboring areas, including Tarn Taran, Patti, Harike, Sarhali, Ajnala, Fatehgarh Churian, Jandiala, Tangra, Khalchian, Baba Bakala, Rayya, Beas and Majitha, would now be able to watch the live telecast of gurbani from Gurdwara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh.

Recently launched Fastway Transmissions and DG Cables has started the live telecast of the kirtan from the holy Sikh shrine from Wednesday morning onwards.

The direct telecast of bhajans and kirtan from Durgiana Temple and Mata Lala Devi Temple has already been started by the cable service.



Bank employees hold dharna

Amritsar, February 22
Employees and officers of local branches of various banks under the banner of the United Forum of Bank Unions held a dharna at Town Hall on Wednesday in protest against the government attempts of merging public-sector banks on the pretext of making them stronger to face the global competition, besides other genuine issues.

The employees demanded stopping of mergers of public-sector banks, restoring of appointments on compassionate ground in banks, filling of all vacancies and early settlement of wage revision. They staged a massive demonstration at the culmination of the dharna in afternoon. — OC



Awareness camp organised

Amritsar, February 22
The Mission Aagaaz-Earth and Resources Care Group, an NGO, organised an awareness camp during the week-long Basant Panchmi fair at Chheharta Sahib Gurdwara here in which people and children were apprised of the ill-effects of drugs.

Deepak Babbar, executive director of the mission, said that residents and participants of the camp pledged to take steps for saving environment.

The Red Cross Society and the Central Anti-Drug Abuse Committee put up the posters with slogans written on it. — OC



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