Main fire station has only one tender!
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 7
Located in the congested walled city area, the fire department is trying hard to douse a crisis of its own. As if lack of equipment and staff shortage were not enough, the main fire station has been deprived of one of its two fire tenders. Reason: The municipal corporation has not cared to pay its repair bill for over a year.

The hose pipes, crucial to douse any major fire, have outlived their utility and need to be replaced immediately.

An estimate of around Rs 2.5 lakh has been sent to the corporation but it is yet to be taken to the general house for approval.

“A fire which can be pacified in a matter of minutes can take hours because the pipes leak all over.

This is evident from the performance of the fire department, which falls gravely short of expectations whenever it attends a fire call. The head office is making do with only one fire tender,” says an employee on condition of anonymity.

“Even though the four fire stations in the municipal limits have a sanctioned strength of nearly 150 personnel, most posts are falling vacant and the present strength is not more than 60. These include leading firemen, firemen and sub-fire officers,” he adds.

Arun Mehra Pappal, independent councillor from ward no 47, said though the corporation had money to shell out Rs 11 lakh to buy the official vehicle for mayor, it could not pay a bill of less than Rs 2,000 to get the fire tender back from the workshop. It had been one year and two months and there were reports that the workshop had also started adding monthly rent to the bill, he said.

Sources added that even though the state government had given a nod for a fire station in Ranjit Avenue to cater to the population outside the walled city, the proposal remained on paper.

The existing four fire stations were supposed to extinguish any fire that broke out in the twin districts of Amritsar and Tarn Taran.

Not just this, ringing in fire tenders by dialing “101” is an impossible task as the number is invariably held up. “Even if the caller hears ringing tone, there is no bell in the telephone sets in the head office,” says another employee.

The building of the head office located near the municipal corporation office is also in a dilapidated condition and needs urgent maintenance work. Plaster on the walls is falling from different places and it has not been whitewashed for years, rue the employees.

Assistant divisional fire officer Tarlochan Singh could not be contacted for comments on the issue.



Write Move
Review Languages Act, Lekhak Sabha urges CM
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 7
The Kendriya Punjabi Lekhak Sabha (Central Punjabi Writers Association) urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to review the Languages Act, 1968, besides taking adequate steps to control the anti-Punjabi attitude in government and non-government institutions.

In a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the deputy commissioner, a delegation of the association, led by its vice-president Talwinder Singh and general secretary Janwadi Lekhak Sangh Dev Dard, gave a call for a movement for the promotion of the Punjabi language.

Prominent writers alleged that there was an increasing anti-Punjabi trend in public and private schools where students had to face harassment and punishment at the hands of the school authorities for using the Punjabi language even for talking. They urged Badal to formulate an educational policy in which educational institutions and other departments concerned were asked to give preference to Punjabi so that it could be given its rightful place.

They also demanded that the Punjab government should take up the issue of declaring Punjabi as the second language with their counterparts in the neighboring states.

They requested the people of Amritsar and Punjab to come forward and stand up for their mother tongue.



MC to script a tech-happy tale
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 7
Having drawn flak from the ministry of local bodies for not implementing the e-governance project, the municipal corporation has decided to expedite the process of making its departments tech savvy.

The proposal was passed in the general house of the corporation on March 5.

For receiving grants under the Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (NURM), e-governance was one of the reforms which the municipal corporation was liable to implement by March 31.

Sources say that the ministry was “adamant” not to release the second instalment of the grant for the elevated road project since this condition had not been fulfilled by the corporation. The grant was released only after an assurance was given on behalf of the state government that the reforms would be implemented soon.

Municipal commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda said, “The corporation is determined to implement the reforms, especially because they are linked to the release of grants from the central government. Since the proposal has been given a nod by the MC house, its implementation would begin soon.”

As part of the e-governance programme, the corporation would introduce an asset management system in all its departments, on-line cash collection system, slum data management system, streetlight management system, solid waste data management system, legal cases follow up, animal (stray and registered) monitoring system and scheme wise database on property development.

The corporation has already done spadework for using e-governance modules for property tax assessment, billing and collection, maintaining birth and death records, water and sewerage connectivity and billing and accounting.

Presently, three ambitious projects - the elevated road project, water supply and sewerage project for the walled city and Rs 5.79-crore basic services to urban poor (BSUP) - are being implemented under the NURM.

Amritsar is one of the 63 cities selected in the country under the NURM launched by the ministry of urban development and ministry of urban employment and poverty alleviation. 



Gang of auto-lifters busted, army man nabbed 

Amritsar, March 7
With the arrest of one person, district police today claimed to have busted a gang of vehicle lifters. The accused has been identified as Army jawan Kulwant Singh, resident of Indira Colony, Kot Khalsa here. Kulwant, who was posted at Baramulla sector, has been absent from his duty for the last seven months.

Giving details, district police chief Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said the accused, who was on a motorbike along with his accomplice, was signaled to stop by a police party near Kabir Park area. Seeing the cops, the duo tried to flee. However, Kulwant was overpowered, while his associate Tajinder Singh of Bopa Rai Singh village managed to give cops the slip. The police also recovered Enfield Bullet, bearing registration number PB-02-AH-2559, from Kulwant’s possession.

During interrogation, the accused disclosed about another accomplice of his. Raids are being conducted to nab the man, identified as Parduman Kumar, added the SSP. A case under sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered at Islamabad police station. More recoveries are expected, added the SSP. — OC



‘Hazur Sahib projects to be over by Oct 31’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 7
A simple presentation of the ongoing projects at Takht Hazur Sahib, Nanded, situated on the banks of the Godavari, given by P.S. Pasricha, former DGP, Maharashtra, and chairman of the Takht Hazur Sahib Management Committee, elicited a big response from the Chief Khalsa Diwan - the oldest Sikh institution here.

With the help of multimedia, Pasricha showed that a number of projects, including airport, new railway station and 22-km-long corridor, linking all Sikh shrines in Nanded, would be completed before the tercentenary celebrations of “Gurgaddi Divas,” being organised there from October 31.

Though CKD president Charnjit Singh Chadha had already given donation of Rs 1 lakh, Baldev Singh Chohan and Dhanraj Singh were quick to announce Rs 1 lakh donation each to complete the projects at Nanded Sahib. Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib is the principal shrine at Nanded. It is where the Guru had camped in 1708 after the departure of emperor Bahadur Shah. The 10th Guru held his court and congregation there.

Guru Gobind Singh, while conferring “gurgaddi” on Guru Granth Sahib, had himself named Nanded as Abchalnagar (steadfast city) after the first word of a hymn read at random on the occasion.

The Sullow organisation also made announcement on behalf of Gurdwara Nanaksar to make liberal donations.

Sikh devotees across the world, especially from North India, have a reason to cheer as the Takht Hazur Sahib, Nanded, would be air-linked with Chandigarh and Amritsar before the tercentenary of the “Gurgaddi Divas.”

The function was organised by the CKD to make arrangements to receive “Guru Manyo Granth Yatra,” which showcased “shastars” of Guru Gobind Singh for the first time, scheduled to reach here in April to mark Baisakhi.

Pasricha said work on the ultramodern railway station and renovation of the old railway station at Nanded had been going on war footing. Maharashtra would release Rs 1,300 crore to carry out the ongoing projects. Apart from this, more than Rs 100 crore would be collected from the Sikh sangat from across the world.

The takht management has also created a website which offers unique services like booking facilities for performing “paaths,” reading the days “Hukumnama” from Guru Granth Sahib, making online donations and booking rooms in advance for staying at the gurdwara.

Meanwhile, Pasricha emphasised the need for bringing Wanjara Sikhs and Sindhi Sikhs, who are more than one crore in other states, including Maharashtra, in the mainstream of Sikhs. He described these Sikhs the most dedicated and sincere.

SGPC member Manjit Singh Calcutta and Bhag Singh Ankhi, secretary, Chief Khalsa Diwan, assured Pasricha all help in celebrating the proposed Sikh mega event.



City lecturer gets prestigious Green School award
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 7
Manisha, a lecturer in mathematics at Government Secondary School, Town Hall, won the Gobar Times Green School award by the centre of science and environment, ministry of environment and forest, New Delhi, for winning the eighth position in the country on an environment project submitted to the ministry.

The award was presented by Dr Krishan Kumar, director, NCERT and Green Schools, Government of India. The project had been divided into five chapters - water, air, land, energy and waste.

The state government has appreciated the efforts and works of Manisha. A.S. Chattwal, principal secretary, science, technology and environment, and R.C. Meena, director, ministry of environment and forest, Government of India, gave away a prize of Rs 10,000 and certificate of appreciation to the lecturer.

She was appointed lecturer in 1994 in the Punjab education department, while in 2003 she got the second position in teaching aid competition and extempore speech in the district in a science fair.

Manisha has been working as a resource person in the various seminars of teachers training programs of DIET, Verka, and in-service training centre, conducted by the director-general of the Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan, Punjab, for the past five years.



Campus Buzz
Globalisation, inequalities go hand-in-hand: Experts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 7
“There has been an accentuation of inequalities after the initiation of globalisation. India might have billionaires but there has also been an increase in slums in the emerging cities. The people belonging to the middle class are one of the most spoilt ones in the world.”

These observations were made by an eminent economist of international repute, JNU Professor Emeritus, Dr G.S. Bhalla, former member of the Planning Commission, while inaugurating a two-day national seminar on “Globalisation, inequality and sustainability”. The seminar was organised by the department of sociology of Guru Nanak Dev University. Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh presided over the inaugural session, while Prof S.L. Sharma, director, Institute of Correctional Administration, Chandigarh, delivered the keynote address.

Dr Bhalla said since 1991 the state had abdicated its responsibility to build cheap houses for the poor. The result was that the workers were forced to live in slums in most despicable conditions.

Prof Sharma gave two critical views of globalisation i.e. equalitarian and sustainability. He discussed the problems of globalisation in the urban context. He talked about the sound economic consequences of globalisation in India and abroad. He pointed out the differences between free trade, finance and capital, and development referring to economic growth.

Infrastructure boost

The Institute of Spatial Planning and Environmental Research (ISPER), India, donated equipment worth Rs 2.5 lakh to the Guru Ram Das School of Planning of GNDU here on Friday.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh, Kanwar Surjit Singh, alumni of the department and general secretary of the ISPER, and Mr R.C. Aggarwal, president, ISPER, formally inaugurated these equipment.

The VC said the GNDU was the only university in the region which was running a prestigious course in planning and in the near future more efforts would be made to introduce need-based courses keeping in view the global demand.

Mauritius calling

Dr Vikram Chadha, professor of economics, GNDU, has been invited by the International Institute of Development Studies (IIDS) to make a presentation on the role of ICT sectors in engineering knowledge economy of India in the context of India’s global integration jointly with Seema Kapoor of the Khalsa College for Women, Ludhiana, at the sixth IIDS international conference on development to be held at the University of Technology, Mauritius, from July 15 to 19. 



Vishal adjudged best NCC cadet

Vishal Sharma
Vishal Sharma

Amritsar, March 7
Vishal Sharma, a cadet of 2 Punjab Naval NCC Unit and student of DAV College here, was adjudged best naval NCC cadet and IIIrd best NCC cadet out of 18 NCC directorates which participated in the Republic Day Parade this year.

He was awarded by Brig Rajendra Singh, DDG, NCC, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, during his visit to the local NCC headquarters.

Out of eight groups, NCC group headquarters won the DDG banner for being the best group this year. — OC



DPS tiny tots take a trip to fantasy land

Amritsar, March 7
Tiny tots of Delhi Public School presented a colorful dance-drama during their annual day function. The play, "When magic lamp changed hands", was conceived by Sangeeta Singh, principal of the school.

Jatinder Brar, president of theatre organisation, Manch Rang Manch, was the chief guest on the occasion. As many as 300 students from class I to III acted in the play.

The dream sequence saw students visiting planets as taught to them in geography books and even taking a "moonwalk". Showing the victory sign some dreamt of being in the Indian cricket team and winning the World Cup, while others relived their ramp queen dreams. The play concluded with a moral message to ‘look within’. Each human being possesses a magic lamp within and we just need to light it, it further added. — OC



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