Snatch scare: Rickety rickshaws on cop radar
Police develops special security module to 
protect tourists, residents
Sanjay Bumbroo and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, April 18
Alarmed at the recent spurt in snatchings and crime against visitors, the police has developed a foolproof security module to protect them and provide them hassle-free visit to the holy city.

The district police chief, Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, after a brainstorming session with various stakeholders in the development of tourism in the city, has prepared a document which would facilitate several thousand visitors who arrive here to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and other historic and religious places connected with the heritage of the city.

Giving details of the grand plan, Vijay Pratap Singh said after studying the modus operandi of various crimes committed in the city in the past few months, the police had come to realise that in the majority of the cases tourists on rickshaws had been the victims of snatching of their valuables.

It is pertinent to mention here that a number of recent cases of snatching had created a scare among the residents and tourists. The police devised various means to reestablish the faith of the public in police force through some innovative planning and deployment of tourist police.

The SSP said the police had framed some norms for the rickshawpullers and suggested to the hoteliers that they should advice the rickshawpullers to pull up the hood or use canopy to protect not only the identity of the passengers, but also to safeguard their valuables being carried in their handbags.

He said the police would make a relentless pursuit to protect the tourists and would protect their lives and belongings through improved patrolling on the main roads.

He said the lack of sensitivity and a broad tourist framework policy had resulted in many gaps in security of the visitor. He said the rickshawpullers and others lack the mindset of treating a visitor well and generally tend to overcharge the tourists which leave a bad taste among the tourists, who contribute liberally to the economic growth 
of the city.

He said to overcome this problem, a special pool of auto-rickshaws and taxis had been created at the railway station, specially designated to ferry the tourists to important destinations of the city. He said the entire tourist taxi operation would be coordinated by the specially designated tourist police, which had been given proper training to help the tourist flow in the city.

He said the police would constantly monitor the working of thepool and would also bring in changes for the hassle-free visit of the tourists.

Vijay Pratap Singh also held a series of meetings with hoteliers who had agreed to install CCTVs outside their hotels which would help in monitoring the activities of the possible criminals moving in the area. He said they had assured him to work in unison with the police authorities and give proper guidelines to the tourists visiting the city in a bid to safeguard their esteemed customers.

He also directed the hotel managements to request their guests to return to the hotels latest by 10 pm and also to deposit their valuables, including passports, in vaults of the hotels. He suggested to the hoteliers to advise their guests to move in groups and ferry them in in-house transport and the police would provide a special police guide escort for their security.

A special 4-page coloured brochure would be produced, which would carry the details of the heritage sites of the city along with the detailed map and would provide tourists the do’s and don’ts. It would also carry important police helpline numbers for the benefit of tourists besides carrying the telephone numbers and emails of all hotels. These brochures would be made available at special tourist counters at railway station, bus stand and the international airport.

Spot them

The department has designed a special uniform with blue tunic for the tourist police, which would help the tourist for getting assistance. Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said the strength of the tourist police would be raised to 100 with fair sprinkling of female staff. He said the novel step had been taken not only to protect the tourists from being fleeced but also to guide them to different historic places and shrines in the city.



Bypoll date out, city sees flurry of political activity
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

The Frontrunners

SAD Challenge: Gurpartap Singh Tikka (L) and Rajinder Singh Mehta are strong contenders for the party ticket.
Cong Fight: Harjinder Singh Thekedar (L) and Narinder Singh Walia will lock horns to emerge as a favourite.

Amritsar, April 18
With the announcement of May 22 as the date for the assembly bypoll (Amritsar- South), the city is witnessing a hectic political activity.

While former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh would meet his close confidants here tomorrow, the present Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has planned to spend two days for the election campaign. Though the formal announcement of the party candidate would be made by SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, his father Parkash Singh Badal would guide him to select the candidate after getting feedback from the party workers.

The contenders for SAD’s ticket are Gurpartap Singh Tikka, Amritsar’s Youth Akali Dal president for the last 14 years, Rajinder Singh Mehta, who has a militant background and executive member of Shiromani Committee, and Inderbir Singh Bolaria, son of former Akali MLA Raminder Singh Bolaria whose death has created the seat.

However, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee might take some time to announce its candidate in wake of strained relations between PPCC chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Capt Amarinder Singh.

Former Congress MLA Harjinder Singh Thekedar, who lost the previous elections to Bolaria, is with Capt Amarinder Singh, while another aspirant Narinder Singh Walia is a close confident of Bhattal. Other candidates in the league are Improvement Trust’s former chairman Maninder Singh Heera and Ashwani Pappu.

Meanwhile, All India Shiromani Akali Dal has already selected Satnam Singh Kanda as its candidate for the upcoming elections.



Martyr Attariwala’s tomb will be a tourist site
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 18
To pay tribute to martyr Sham Singh Attariwala, the Punjab tourism department is busy these days in developing its “samadh” into a tourist spot.

The tomb, which is few kilometres away from the Indo-Pak border, is being renovated so that tourists visiting the Attari border can have more site seeing places.

Talking about the project, deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu said the work was being undertaken by the tourism department and would be completed soon. It would soon figure in the list of tourist spots in and around the holy city, he added.

Born in family of a Sikh farmer in Attariwala, Sham Singh participated in many campaigns, including Multan, Kashmir and the frontier province.

According to the historians, Sham Singh’s daughter was married to Nau Nihal Singh, grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the weeding was a gala event.

General Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala Trust’s general secretary Col Harinder Singh Attari (retd) said tourism minister Hira Singh Gabria was taking keen interest in the project.

He said the heritage site would be ready by February 10 next year on Attariwala’s martyrdom day.

He said Sham Singh Attariwala was a general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and he laid down his life during a battle with the British army on the banks of the river Satluj.

“The renovation of the site would ensure that coming generations are inspired by the great fighter, who proved his mettle on several occasions,” added Col Harinder.



On a high: It’s raining jobs for varsity students

Amritsar, April 18
IT company INFOGAIN has selected 14 students of Guru Nanak Dev University through campus placements. The selected students have been offered jobs a year before completion of their degree and would get a salary package of Rs 2.50 lakh per annum at the time of joining in July 2009.

Director placements Dr Sukhdev Singh said, “Since February 280 students from different departments of the varsity have been placed through campus placements. These include students from all the three campuses - Amritsar, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur.”

He said more than 10 IT firms had confirmed their visit for campus recruitments in June and July 2008. Selected students are Ritu , Sukhpreet , Pawandeep, Amandeep, Sarpal, Navdeep, Harkamal, Jasbir Singh, Jaskarandeep Singh, Smith Kakar, Sumit Nanda, Yogesh Kumar, Amit Verma, Lakhwinder Singh and Rohit Rampal. — OC



Nihang Chhavni: A treasure storehouse
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 18
The rare weapons of Sikh Guru Gobind Singh and other Sikh warriors preserved at “Nihang Chhavni” near gurdwara Shaheedan is a feast to the eyes.

The work of conserving these weapons was initiated by saint turned freedom fighter Maharaj Singh and is presently being looked after by his great grandson Gurpartap Singh Tikka.

The family has preserved many historic things, including 155-year-old hand-written book “Bir Mrigesh”. The book was written by Pandit Sher Singh and is a primary source of information about Sikh history. Written in Gurmukhi script, the book has more than 2,000 pages.

The book presents a first-hand record of intrigues, conspiracies, and murders after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Besides, it deals with the birth of Sikh Raj in Punjab under Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Talking to The Tribune, Tikka said, “Maharaj Singh was a descendant of Baba Bir Singh, a Sikh saint. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, people wanted him to become their ruler.” Bir Singh believed in non-violence and during a battle between Lahore Darbar and his followers at Harike, Bir Singh directed his men not to fire. He and his followers preferred to lay down their lives instead of taking up arms, he added.



2 held with stolen vehicles; country-made pistol seized

Amritsar, April 18
Two persons, identified as Bikramjit Singh, resident of Wadala Bhoma village and Nishan Singh of Gurdaspur, were arrested by the district police on charges of stealing vehicles and selling them after preparing fake documents.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, in a release issued to the press, said the police party, on a tip-off, laid a naka at canal bridge Bohru and intercepted a car ( PB-03-K-5721), coming from Jhabal side. The driver Bikramjit and is aide Nishan Singh failed to produce any documents. During the search, a .32 bore country-made pistol was seized from them. On interrogation, the accused revealed that they used to steal vehicles from a particular area under C division police station. Two cars - one without number plate and another bearing registration number PB06-E-2715 - and a motorbike was also recovered from them, added the SSP. The officer said both the accused were wanted in various looting, snatching and cheating cases. — OC



‘Young kids losing habit of reading books’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 18
Famous children’s writer and winner of state and national award for his research work on teaching, Jasbir Singh Jas, has joined as district coordinator of reading cell project.

He has been appointed the coordinator by Sarv Shiksha Abhian Authority, Punjab, for opening libraries in order to develop reading habits amongst students, teachers and improving quality of education in primary schools.

Addressing a meeting of block elementary education officers, Jas said efforts would be made to adopt traditional educational techniques and new communication system besides seeking help of non-governmental organisations under SSA for lifting the education standards. He said teachers would also be motivated to work to their full potential.

A lecturer in Punjabi, Government Senior Secondary School, Chheharta, Jas said, “Young kids are losing the habit of reading good books.” He said the SSA director and director general school education had decided to open libraries in all 13, 650 primary schools of the state. Arrangements have been also made to provide two monthly papers “Primary Education” and “Pankhria” being published by Punjab School Education Board. Around 100 sets of children’s books would be made available in these these libraries.

Meanwhile, Sukhwinder Singh, district education officer, said the mentally challenged and disabled students would be identified and provided necessary education tools.

He said according to a survey the number of such kids is 2,685 out of which 1,222 children were not even getting primary education.



INTACH walk raises heritage awareness
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, April 18
A heritage walk was organised by the local chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to mark World Heritage Day, which commenced from the historic Jallianwala Bagh and passed through various markets and historically important buildings.

A large number of students and teachers from various schools, including S.L. Bhawan School, DAV International School, Khalsa College Public School, Police Line DAV Public School and Manav Public School, participated in the walk.

Presiding over the function, Dr P.S. Sharma, head, foreign languages, Guru Nanak Dev University, lauded the efforts of the local chapter of INTACH for consistently working towards awareness about cultural heritage. He distributed prizes among the winners.

Dr Sukhdev Singh, Punjab state convener, INTACH, while explaining the significance of World Heritage Day, said, “The blind following of modern development models of industrialisation and urbanisation has lead to the huge loss of cultural heritage wealth.”

Appreciating UNESCO’s declaration to celebrate April 18 as World Heritage Day to collectively raise the voice for cultural diversity and cultural heritage, he said, “The development strategies must be synchronised with the local knowledge systems, socio-cultural fabric and environment.”

Hira Singh, co-convener, INTACH, Amritsar Chapter, declared that INTACH would give an award of Rs 5,000 for the best performance in cultural heritage activities during the year. He also announced the judgement of the traditional dress competition.

Amrit Lal Mannan, in charge, INTACH heritage Clubs, Amritsar Chapter, presented a report on awareness activities and said the teachers should encourage the students to save cultural heritage and environment. He appealed to the people to vote for those candidates in elections who promise to consider heritage and environment an issue.

Tinisha Handa of S.L. Bhawan School stood first in the folk song competition, while Vridhi of Spring Dale Senior Secondary School and Nehal of DAV International School stood second and third, respectively.

In the traditional dress competition, Kamaljit of Khalsa College Public School stood first, while Parmeshwar Kaur of Police Line DAV Public School and Akhil Arora of DAV International School stood second and third, respectively.

Harpreet Singh of DAV Public School, Palak Arora of DAV International School, and Gagan of Manav Public school were adjudged first, second and third, respectively, in the debate.

Sahil Seth, Sakshi Dhawan and Harmandeep, all of DAV International School, lifted first, second and third prizes, respectively, in reports on traditional recipes. In the on-the-spot report on heritage site competition, Sakshi Dhawan of DAV International school, Plakpreet Kaur of Police line DAV Public School and Rajat Chatrath of DAV International School bagged the first, second and third prizes, respectively.

In the quiz contest, Ravi of Government Senior Secondary School, Ktara Sfaid, stood first while Harjit of Government Senior Secondary School, Town Hall, stood second.



Varsity Verve
Dr Bedi new HoD of pharmaceutical sciences dept

Amritsar, April 18
Dr Preet Mohinder Singh Bedi, has been appointed as the head of department of pharmaceutical sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University by vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh.

Dr Bedi has done his Ph.D from the varsity and has 15 research papers, published in various national and international journals, to his credit.

With more than 10 years of teaching experience, his research area focuses on design and synthesis of biologically active molecules possessing antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic properties. Besides being a member of Indian Pharmaceutical Association, Indian Pharmacy Graduate Association, Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India, Dr Bedi is also associated with International Pharmaceutical Federation, European Association of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, International Society for Infectious Diseases and International Forum for Quality Assurance of Pharmacy Education. —OC



Baba Jallan award for poet Ghuman

Amritsar, April 18
Dr Bikram Singh Ghuman, famous Punjabi writer and former dean of Guru Nanak Dev University, was given the Baba Jallan award during the three-day Baisakhi festival fair at border village of Naurshera Dhalan.

The writer was honoured with Rs 11,000 cash, a shawl and ‘siropa’ for his book “Baba Jallan: Jevan ate Rachna” by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee member Nirmal Singh, Kanwaljit Singh Sandhu, descendent of Baba Jallan and Davinder Singh Lali, sarpanch of Naurshera Dhalan. Dr Ghuman, who is also director of Punjabi Cooperative Society, dwelt in detail on Baba Jallan. — OC



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