NREGA Scheme
‘Politics’ chokes fund flow
Nearly 50% grants remain unutilised; SAD-BJP accused of neglecting Cong panchayats
P. K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, April 15
Nearly half of the amount released by central government under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) Scheme for various rural areas of the district has remained unutilised. Reason: ‘Vested political interests’.

According to sources, Centre released Rs 14.31 crore for the district under NREGA scheme. However, half of the funds, to the tune of Rs 6.65 crore, remain unutilised. It’s being alleged that SAD-BJP leadership never bothered to issue the cheques to Congress sarpanches and panchayats.

A senior official of the district administration, pleading anonymity, said they were under pressure by Akali leadership to not release money to the Congress-supported panchayats.

District Congress committee (R) president, Sukhjinder Raj Singh (Lalli) Majithia alleged that state government was deliberately and systematically trying to fail the schemes launched by the central government.

Citing example, he said, out of the allocation of Rs 2.02 crore for Majitha block, only 89 lakh was utilized. The remaining amount stands unused, he said, adding that there were around 67 villages in Amritsar, out of which 26 fall in Majitha.

According to the utilisation statement released to the press, more than 90% funds remain unused in the department of forest and horticulture. Similarly, in Verka, Rayya and Majitha blocks more than 50% of the grant money has failed to reach the actual beneficiaries.

Majithia, said he has sought an independent inquiry into the matter. While lamenting the SAD-BJP combine’s lackadaisical approach towards social welfare schemes, he said the government failed to constitute state council to monitor the scheme. 



Court Hearing
SHO-escort a must for seasoned crooks
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 15
Alarmed at the recent cases of escape by hardcore criminals and smugglers during their court appearances has prompted the district police chief to upgrade their security and have directed the area SHOs to escort them from jail to court complex for trials.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, talking to The Tribune, said that they had devised different mechanisms and security modules to provide extra security around the hardcore criminals who had recently made mockery of the police negligence and managed to break the police dragnet and escaped.

He said that from henceforth all the notorious criminals and smugglers would be properly escorted by the SHO-level officers during their trials and also for recovery cases.

He said the police had been directed to provide foolproof security and instill a sense of fear among the criminals so that they dared not to plan their escape.

Recently a number of cases have been reported where various smugglers and others had hoodwinked their security guards and escaped from court complexes and police lock-ups.



Noose tightens: Two gangs of robbers busted, 12 arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 15
Facing severe criticism from all sections of society for its alleged inability to control a sudden spate in snatching incidents, the district police has arrested 12 robbers and snatchers in three separate incidents.

While 10 persons were arrested from the B-division police station area, two were caught from the Civil Lines area.

The accused were identified as Sahib Singh, alias Saba, Amandeep Singh, Babu Singh, Angrej Singh and Balwinder Singh, all residents of Tarn Taran police district, Sandeep Singh of Gopal Nagar, Jatinder Kumar and Ranjit Singh of Sandhu Colony, Sanjay of Hargobind Avenue and Happy of Tungbala. Vivek Sharma and Vijay Kumar of Jandiala were caught in a purse snatching case near Ajanata Public School.

The police said that Saba, Amandeep, Babu, Angrej and Balwinder were arrested while planning a robbery near the Jahajgarh area and three swords, one dagger and iron rods were seized from him. Sandeep, Jatinder, Ranjit, Sanjay and Happy were caught from the Jora Phatak area. The police recovered two motor cycles (PB-02-AB-8191 and PB-02-AB-6755), besides swords and iron rods from them.



Snatchings: MLA to take up issue with CM
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 15
Piqued over the increased snatchings and attacks on non-resident Indians and foreign nationals in Amritsar, BJP MLA Anil Joshi recently announced that he would take up the issue with the Chief Minister for improving the law and order situation in the city.

Talking to mediapersons, Joshi said the tourism police, introduced by the state government, had completely failed as there was considerable increase in snatchings in the holy city where tourists from across the world came to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. He alleged that there was no coordination among various officials of the police department and the civic department which could have helped in controlling crime in the city.

He said snatchings and attacks on foreign nationals and non-resident Indians were very disturbing as they were tarnishing the image of the holy city among the tourists. He said if immediate steps were not taken the day was not far when tourists would stop coming to the holy city, thus hampering the tourism trade and economic growth of the city.

IG, border range, R.P. Meena could not be contacted for his comments as he was busy in a meeting. DIG, border range, Parampal Singh Sidhu, however, claimed that there was proper coordination between various police officers and the crime rate in the city had decreased considerable. He said incident of snatchings were isolated one and were coming to light due to free registration, whereas, earlier the people did not bother to lodge the complaint in snatching cases.

He said the process of verification of bailed-out snatchers was on and the police was reviewing the incidents to keep check on their activities. However, SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh refused to make any comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, Joshi, while addressing blanket manufacturers and jewellers of the city, announced that Chief Minister had on their request decided to reduce the entry tax from 4 to 1 per cent in the state and a formal announcement would be made soon in this regard. He said the relief was on a trial basis for one year and would continue if there was no loss in revenue to the government. He urged them to pay their taxes sincerely.



When Re 1 separated Lahore from holy city
Ex-HP addl advocate-general takes a stroll down the memory lane
Varinder Walia/TNS

Amritsar, April 15
Believe it or not, from Amritsar one could go to Lahore by train by spending hardly Re 1 on a ticket. Many would go to Lahore on their bicycles. Wagha, now internationally known as Wagha Border, was an unknown place.

Recalling the pre-partition days spent in Amritsar, Som Dutt Vasudeva, a former additional advocate general, Himachal Pradesh, said hundreds of Amritsaris would go to Lahore every day to see the ancient city, full of architectural treasures and famous as the finest Mughal artifact in the world. Lahore was also famous for being shoppers’ paradise.

Legend has it that Lahore was founded more than 4000 years ago and named after Luv, son of Lord Rama.

Excited about the days spent in the twin cities (Amritsar and Lahore), Vasudeva says he could forget Anarkali Bazar, Shalmi Gate, Tibbi Bazar, dargah of Data Gunj Baksh and Sitla Mata Mandir, outside Shalmi Gate, even after a lapse of more than 60 years. Panjab University, University Law College, Government College, Lahore, where it was difficult to get admission in those days, were also places of interest. Thus it was rightly said a person who had not visited Lahore had, in fact, not born.

Resident of Sultanwind village on the fringes of Amritsar, Vasudeva remained on the rolls of Hindu Sabha College from 1944 to 1948. Earlier, he passed his matric from Hindu Sabha High School, Amritsar, after studying up to eighth class in Bhishan Das S.D.High School, Empress Road, Lahore.

Walking down the memory lane, Vasudeva says life in Amritsar then was worth living. In fact, it was a pollution-free city. The Company Bagh - the Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh - and its surrounding areas used to be full of residents in the evenings who would come for stroll. Even Saketri Bagh, outside Chattiwind Gate, used to be visited by residents of nearby localities and also people from outside city. The Upper Bari Doab Canal, near the city, used to be visited by number of people on holidays, especially on Sundays, for picnic in the pre-partition days and the “Taran Wala Pul” on the Jallandhar-Amritsar national highway provided a good spot for taking bath and for diving in the canal.

The nearby mini-hydro-electric substation was operated by irrigation department officials. One could see groups of picnic revellers enjoying the salubrious climate and preparing mouth-watering dishes. Hindus and Muslims used to enjoy picnics together on holidays. Vasudeva rues that after the partition due to the apathy of the authorities concerned, the picnic spot near the city was completely neglected. In his views, it needs to be revived and also the hydro-electric substation.

Talking about the pre-partition days, Vasudeva says how can one forget the charm and attraction of “Thandi Khui” on the Mall Road. To escape the heat of the summer almost every resident of the city invariably wanted to go to it to quench his thirst and during the evening hours, it looked like a “mela.” “Alas! because of the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned, ‘Thandi Khui’ has been lost. I remember it was my daily routine that after playing hockey at the Alexandra ground (now Gandhi Ground ), I would go to ‘Thandi Khui’ and take two glasses of cold water and then go to my village Sultanwind.”

It was unfortunate that Sultanwind, a historical village associated with Guru Hargobind, which was included in the Amritsar Municipal Corporation perhaps in 1972, presented a dismal picture of neglect, he said.

Vasudeva recollects that during holidays, music festival used to be held near Durgiana Temple in three sessions, during the day for almost a week. “I had the privilege of listening to renowned musicians like Late Onkar Nath Thakur, tabla maestro Samta Prasad, Nizakat Ali, Salmat Ali, Kishan ji Maharaj, Pt Ravi Shankar and many others,” he said.



Cops go for image makeover
Ashok Sethi and P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, April 15
Keeping in view the legal wrangles through which theft victims have to go through, the city police has decided to return the belongings to respective owners and handle legal procedures themselves. Under the drive, the police returned all the belongings seized from 14 pickpockets arrested in the past few days.

Talking about it SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said a huge number of pilgrims were expected on Baisakhi and the police had set up 10 special counters and police security booths around the Golden Temple to protect devotees from pickpockets. Besides, CIA staff dressed in casuals was on surveillance to keep check on thieves.

He said the police had received 10 FIRs of theft under lodge your own FIR scheme from people, including Delhi, Mumbai and Nagpur. Keeping legal proceeding these people had to undergo, it was decided to return valuables to the respective owners.

Delighted by the cops’ attitude, Amar Singh from Haryana, a victim of pickpockets, said he was happy to see the courteous attitude of the police and they had cut short the legal wrangles. He said his valuable were returned to him without any hassle.

Going under an attitude makeover, the police also returned 11 such stolen vehicle to their owners within two days of recovery. The vehicles were returned in special camps organised at Kot Khalsa and Rambagh police stations.

Talking about the plans, the SSP said, “We have decided to make police public-friendly and so legal procedures in theft cases would be undertaken by the police itself.” He said it would held in simplifying the method and the owners would not be required to knock at the court door to get possession of their vehicles.



Be self-reliant, Chawla tells girl students
Our correspondent

Amritsar, April 15
Health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla on Tuesday urged the young girls to take up vocational and job-oriented courses to become self-reliant and contribute to the development of the nation.

Addressing the students at the annual prize distribution function of the Mai Bhago Government Polytechnic College for Girls here, Chawla said the government was offering a number of vistas to the fairer sex.

“It’s heartening to see women occupying top positions and excel in every sphere. For those who want to become successful, it’s absolutely imperative to choose a role model and try to emulate the achievements through hardwork and determination,” she added. Earlier, the minister distributed awards to meritorious students.

Principal Gian Ranjan presented the annual report highlighting the achievements of the institution. He said a number of students have found excellent placements in reputed industrial and commercial houses.

A colourful cultural programme was also presented by the students. Among those present on the occasion were Bakshi Ram Arora, district president BJP, Dr Neeta Mohindra, theatre artist and Mala Chawla, social worker. 



‘Look for Ishaan Awasthis in class’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 15
Each child has unique abilities. However, parents and teachers often become so obsessed with kids’ weaknesses that they fail to notice and celebrate their strengths. The fact is that a majority of educators lack critical knowledge of the human brain and the learning process.

These were the deliberations made during a seminar on ‘multiple intelligence’ organised for the faculty and staff of DAV Public School and DAV International School. The event aimed at teaching various learning laws to educators so that students learn things according to their abilities and natural characteristics.

The key speaker was Steven Rudolph of USA, director of JIVA (Educational Foundation) and senior editor of Primary Plus magazine. He is also an educational consultant to the World Bank, Unesco and Microsoft.

Citing example of Aamir Khan’s film “Taare Zameen Par”, Steven said the film was clear depiction of the multiple intelligence.

“There is need to identify Ishaan Awasthis in classes. Scientific techniques can be of great help to students with learning differences,” he said, adding that it was critical to understand the uniqueness of a child. “The educators and parents have a vital role to play in it,” he added



60s cult ‘Sadhna cut’ makes a comeback
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, Amritsar 15
Today’s women have come out of their comfort zones and love to experiment with their looks. They were exploring new hairstyles and trends to embrace the latest hair-fashion.

This was revealed by Nitin Manchanda, regional technical manager, Schwarzkopf Professional, during a workshop organised for the beauticians here.

Nitin said, “The beauticians should have knowledge about the latest techniques so that they can give the best results to the clients as public is more aware about looks.” He advised them to use colour save shampoos and conditioners, for retaining colour for a longer period.

Talking about the latest trends, Nitin said uneven layers with length, textured fringes, earlier known as “Sadhna cut”, were in fashion once again. He said femme fatale’s mood had a split personality as the mood was mixing up retro glamour with playful textures and styling.

Piled, pulled, blown and tossed hair with washed-out golds, strawberry blondes and resonant browns captured this essence perfectly, he added.

Nitin showcased season’s modern haircuts and fashion moods - glitterati, femme fatale, the dancer, glam girl and the latest trends in straightening.



See clear: City gets bladeless technology for vision correction
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 15
Get ready for a spectacle-free life as the city gets its first “bladeless” technology for permanent vision correction at Dr Om Parkash Eye Institute.

Talking to the media, Dr Rohit Om Parkash and Dr Ajay Khanna, both ophthalmologists, explained the all-laser lasik intralase technique and said the new device was more accurate and no blade was used in it.

They said the new technique took merely 10 to 15 minutes and required no cutting, injections, stitches or bandages. Besides, the patient could experience the results within a few hours of surgery.

The doctors said lasik was a safe and successful method of vision correction and the method provided a greater opportunity to achieve 20/20 vision.

They said the intralase laser's potential could be used for patients suffering from a condition known as “keratoconus” in which cornea rapidly deteriorated and led to severe vision impairment.



Air Warriors spellbind audience
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 15
The Air Warriors of Indian Air Force organised a musical function to celebrate Baisakhi. The two- hour long performance, which was a rare ensemble of military fanfare, opera, pop, jazz, popular Hindi film and patriotic songs, was held at Panther Stadium.

The entire stadium wore a festive look and good arrangements were made for the convenience of the public.

The extravaganza took off with standard Air Warriors Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) followed by pop numbers, ‘Las Ketchup’ and ‘Brazil’. Soon, Bollywood took over with ‘dil hai chota sa’, ‘ek main aur ek tu’, roja janeman and ‘mere sapno ki rani’.

The icing on the cake was ‘channave ghar aa jave. Major Gen PS Paul, VSM, GOC, 15 Infantry Division, Air Commodore SS Rana, VSM, SPSO, HQ Western Air Command, Air Commodore SS Soman VM AOC, AF Station Pathankot, and Depty Commissioner Amritsar Mr Kahan Singh Pannu were among those who graced the occasion. 



Soulful music: Album of ‘shabads’ released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 15|
An album “Sri Gur Ramdaas” containing six “shabads” from “Bhattan De Swayyea” rendered by Bhai Gurdev Singh, Hazoori ragi of the Golden Temple, and produced by Frankfinn Entertainment Company Ltd was released by Head Granthi Giani Gurbachan Singh here recently.

The “shabads” in the album are “Ab rakho daas bhat ki laaj”, “Eh Janak raaj gur Ramdaas”, “Gur Ramdaas sar abhar bhare”, “Gur Ramdaas rakho sarnaee”, “Sri Gur Ramdaas jayo jai jag mahe” and “Shri Ramdass taaran taran”.

The SGPC member who was present on the occasion described the album as exceptional and straight coming from the heart and touching the soul of the listeners.

Frankfinn group chairman K.S. Kohli, while thanking the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Akal Purukh Ki Fauj for their support, said the company was committed towards promotion of “shabad gurbani” and this album was another step in that direction.



16 varsity technocrats get placement
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 15
Tech Mahindra, a leading software development company from Noida, has selected 16 computer and electronics engineers of Guru Nanak Dev University passing out in 2009 for placement.

Stating this, director placement of the university Sukhdev Singh said the selected students are nine of B.Tech (computer science), three of B.Tech (electronics) and four of MCA. With these placements, the number of students placed with various multinational software companies had reached 266.

He said the HRD team consisting of senior managers from Tech Mahindra, who visited the university campus before selecting the prospective students, subjected them to one-hour rigorous aptitude test, technical and HR interviews.



Indo-Pak rail officials hold meeting

Amritsar, April 15
An 11-member delegation of railway officials of Pakistan arrived in India through the Attari/Wagah joint check post to hold a meeting at the BSF conference room today.

The Pakistani delegation, led by Abdul Jabbar, railway division officer, Lahore, and Tahir Anwar, was received by the DRME, Ferozepore division, Satish Kumar, and other officials of the railways.

Higher officials of the Indian railways while talking to mediapersons said the two sides held a meeting to review increasing the number of goods trains in view of the increased trade between the two countries. — TNS



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