Amritsar Bypoll
Cong: Pb cops are no good, we want paramilitary forces
Varinder Walia/TNS

Amritsar, May 9
In a missive to the Chief Election Commission (CEC), the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has asked for the deployment of paramilitary forces to ensure free and fair Amritsar (South) bypoll, which is scheduled for May 22.

In its complaint, signed by Bir Devinder Singh, chief spokesman of PPCC accused the Punjab Police of favouring the ruling party candidate. “We have lost faith in the police functioning as majority of its officials are succumbing to the alliance pressure,” the complaint further reads.

“In continuation to our communication dated April 23, we once again reiterate our demand for deployment of paramilitary forces in the district for smooth conduct of byelections,” said the PPCC chief spokesman, quoting certain glaring violations of election code of conduct. “In this scenario, our demand is totally justified,” he further added.

The complaint further said the Punjab Police, which was responsible for maintaining law and order, had been reeling under severe staff crunch, especially officers. “According to the reports, as many as six districts of the state are without Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs). Moreover, the SSPs of Barnala and Batala have already proceeded on long leave, as they were unable to bear the undue political pressure. A large number of SHOs have also refused to succumb to the pressure of the jathedars and have desired to be relieved,” claimed Bir Devinder.

He alleged that the Faridkot episode, wherein nomination papers of a Congress canditate were torn in SSP’s presence, has further raised doubts on the role of Punjab cops to ensure fair poll.

Ferozekhan appointed general observer

The chief election commissioner of India has appointed M. Malik Ferozekhan, commissioner of tribal welfare, Chennai, as the general observer for the Amritsar (South) bypoll to be held on May 22. Similarly, Sachitra Sharma, additional commissioner, customs and central excise, Nagpur, has been appointed as expenditure observer. 



Badal tour boosts alliance campaign

Amritsar, May 9
The continuous tour of the Amritsar (South) constituency for the past 10 days by Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, has given the SAD-BJP alliance an upper hand in the poll campaign as more and more Congress workers and former councillors are coming into the SAD-BJP fold.

Badal said today that the Congress during its tenure had initiated development works worth Rs 4 crore only in Amritsar, whereas in a short span of a year, the alliance had initiated projects worth Rs 1,000 crore in the city. — TNS



Chinna group in driver’s seat
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 9
The Chhina-Adlakha group got a shot in the arm when its five office-bearers were elected unopposed after the withdrawal of nominations by opposition led by Tarn Taran SMO Dr Sant Parkash Singh Dhillon.

Among those elected were Subash Arora (vice-president), B.M. Vinayak (honourary secretary), Tejinder Singh Arora (joint secretary) and two executive members.

Interestingly, the withdrawal came just two days before the Service Club poll scheduled for May 11.

Expressing distress, Dr Dhillon said he would contest the elections because it would be coward to withdraw at this stage. He said, “Come what may, I would contest poll because winning or losing is not an issue. I would welcome the result even if I lose”.

According to the information, hotelier and business tycoon Tejinder Singh, alias Gogi, played a vital role in nomination withdrawal.

Those who have withdrawn nominations were Prem Jaitly, Amritpal Singh Sandhu, brother of former Service Club chief, J.S. Wadhwa, P.S. Grover, S.S. Khurana, Gurmukh Singh, Vibhakar Sharma and Satish Bhalla.



Door-to-door drive to ensure farmers don’t burn stubble 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 9
To make peasants aware of harmful effects of burning stubble, the district administration has launched a special door-to-door campaign.

The drive was flagged off by deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, who urged the farmers to ensure proper health of the soil. During the campaign, a total of eight vans would go from door to door spreading awareness against the unnatural practice.

Addressing the gathering, the DC said every year around 550 lakh tonne of crop residue is produced. Burning it destroys the organic matter, which determines the productivity of the land, present in the soil, he said. “The organic matter in the fertile soil should be 0.04% , whereas here it’s just .025% ,” Pannu further said, adding that burning of stubble also destroys essential nutrients and microorganisms necessary for production of new crops.

The agriculture experts while giving their views said burning of crop was resulting in the deterioration of land health every year. They said it was unfortunate that the practice of burning crop residue existed only this part of the country due to lack of knowledge amongst farmers. It also contributes to pollution, global warming and other environmental ill effects.

Dr Paramjit Singh Sandhu, chief agriculture officer, said the vans would educate the farmers with the help of agriculture technocrats, besides informing them that how the mixing of crop residue with soil helped in health of land.



Jallianwala Bagh revamp going on war footing
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Amritsar, May 9
The renovation and modernisation of the historic Jallianwala Bagh is going on a war footing as the restoration of bullet marks on the three walls of the bagh, flooring of the “samadhi” and construction of the plaza at the entrance have almost been completed.

Giving the details, ITDC’s site engineer said the green stone on the smadhi had been replaced by a redsat stone, which had helped in giving heritage look to the monument. There were 94 bullet marks on various walls of the bagh, which were being repaired very carefully.

He said they were also repairing the walls around the monument, which had been damaged by the construction activities carried out by residents from time to time. He said the whole work was time consuming and they had to take into account even minor details while carrying out the repair work.

The ambitious project was proposed by Maninderjit Singh Bitta, the then president of the Indian Youth Congress to former Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao. However, the project could see the light of the day only after a high-level meeting of the board of trustees was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The district administration had recently demolished about half a dozen shops located adjacent to the main entrance to provide a separate entrance and exit facility to visitors as the narrow lane, through which the British troops had entered the bagh in 1919, used to get too congested with increase in the number of visitors.

Kahan Singh Pannu said the main aim behind this was to make a separate entry to the hall where the visitors could know about the history of the national monument through media presentation and then they would proceed to other areas. He said the project would be completed before April 13 next, however he hastened to add that the if the work continued at the same pace, they were hopeful of completing the work by December end.The beautification plan costing about Rs 5 crore has been undertaken at the behest of the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) for the beautification, cleanliness and renovation of the memorial site to develop it as a world-class monument. The plan envisaged demolition of all encroachments that had come up around the bagh, such as the construction of windows and other structures by the residents on the periphery of the boundary line.

The project also include the start of a light and sound programme everyday in the evening in order to familiarise the tourists with the various facets of the April 13, 1919 tragedy in which hundreds of people lost their lives. The project also include making of videos and CDs of the proposed light and sound show and distribute it throughout the country as part of an awareness campaign.

One of the paintings in the present museum depicting the Jallianwala Bagh massacre has been also been sent for a redo as the colours on it have faded and is likely to be reinstalled at its original site soon.



Round-the-world cruise for peace 
P.K. Jaiswar

BV Narayana in his specially-modified motorbike in Amritsar on Friday.
MAN ON A MISSION: BV Narayana in his specially-modified motorbike in Amritsar on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Amritsar, May 9
This man with the mission of world peace is doing it for the third time. Bangalore-based B.V. Narayana is once again on a world tour, but this time on a specially modified motorbike.

A marketing sales executive by profession, Narayana spent Rs 90,000 on the bike to modify it and aims to set a world record.

He was in the holy city on Thursday to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. Talking to The Tribune about his journey, Narayana said, “In 1978, I made my first all-India tour on bicycle. I covered 7,689 km in 56 days. After that in 1979 I decided to take a world tour and that too on a bicycle. My will power gave me the strength and I covered a distance of 89,600 km and visited 59 countries during that tour.”

Describing his present tour, 48-year-old Narayana said he would travel 20 countries, including Pakistan, the USA, Canada and certain European nations, covering around 90,000 km. “I wish to create a world record during this tour,” he added.

He said Bathinda and New Delhi would be his next destinations as he had to seek visas for visiting various countries.

Coming to expenses, Narayana said, “Though my expedition would be expensive, several agencies, including the central and state governments, have offered their help”.

“I have always invited my friends and colleagues to join my mission. My aim is to spread brotherhood and humanity across the globe. The world in plagued by terrorism and violence due to which innocent people have to suffer,” he said, adding that love was the language everyone understood.



Bid to kidnap key witness in murder case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 9
Several unidentified persons allegedly tried to abduct Jallupur Khera village resident Balbir Singh, who is a key witness in a murder case.In his complaint lodged at the Beas police, Balbir stated that the accused barged into his house when was having his meal in the evening and started thrashing him. They also dragged him out of the house. It was only when his neighbour Kashmir Singh came out for his help, the accused fled after leaving him there.

According to police authorities, Balbir is a key witness of murder of Kabal Singh, who was killed in October 2007 during a land dispute.

Apparently, the accused tried to pressurise him, the police said, adding that the investigations were on. 



SGHPS honours toppers of religious contests
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 9
Students of Sri Guru Harkishan Public School (SGHPS), who stood first in the recently conducted religious competitions, were honoured in a special function organised on the school premises today.

The function was presided over by school principal Swarnjit Singh.

Presenting the school progress report, he said the religious competitions were held at Fatehbad and around 500 students from different schools participated in them. The school team was adjudged first in shabad reciting and third in turban tying competitions.



Barbora visits Rajasansi air base

Amritsar, May 9
Air Marshal PK Barbora, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command (WAC), IAF today visited the Rajasansi Air Force Station to familiarise with the front line operational units. This was his first visit since he took over the reins 
of WAC in January

Group Capt Vishwas Gaur, station commander Rajasansi, briefed the Air Marshal about the operations and tactical warfare. Barbora also scrutinised the combat readiness of the station in handling unforeseen contingencies and visited different war reserves. He also paid a visit to various construction sites, messes and Air warrior accommodation, apart from conducting a windshield tour of the camp.

Meanwhile, Arundhati Barbora, President Air Force Wives Welfare Association visited AFWWA complex. She also inspected the Air Force School and took stock of educational facilities being provided to the children. A cultural programme was also organised on the occasion. — TNS



Man donates land worth Rs 15 crore to Red Cross
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 9
On the occasion of World Red Cross Day, social worker Praful Chand Thakur was honoured by the district civil authorities for donating five acres of land worth Rs 15 crore to the Red Cross Society.

He was awarded at a function organised at Khalsa Senior Secondary School by deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu. Another donor Kiran Vij was also honoured for her service to poor.

A blood donation camp was also held on the occasion and 25 units of blood were collected.

In his address, the DC said global warming was a great threat for the humanity and initiatives should be taken to fight it.

Among those present were Mandhir Kaur Pannu, chairperson of hospital welfare section Red Cross Society and Khalsa College senior vice-president Charanjit Singh Chadda.



Int’l NGO opens branch in city

Amritsar, May 9
An international NGO Round Table, India, working for providing education to the economically weaker children opened its branch at Amritsar. Organisation’s national president Ajay Handa inaugurated the branch during a function held here.

Speaking on the occasion, Handa said many children in rural India were leading a miserable life due to lack of education.

The main aim of the organisation was to open schools in rural belts so that children can be educated. He said the organisation had constructed about 1,000 schools all over the country at the cost of Rs 75 crore. — OC



Biz Buzz
Auscan comes to holy city
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 9
Indian aspirants who wish to study in Australia should apply for visa with valid documents rather than submitting fake documents to seek work permit.

This was stated by Auscan managing director Sunil Kumar Jaggi while launching the institute’s operations in Amritsar. He said the institute would provide consultancy services for both immigration and student visa.

Talking about e-visa system, Jaggi said now those who go on student visas would be given work permits along with their visa. Besides, they would be able to travel on grant letter without getting visa evidence stamped on their passports.

He said, “We have a team of experts trained in Australian law who can handle refusal cases for both student and immigrant visas, apart from taking up fresh applications”. The institute would also provide coaching for IELTS which was a primary requisite for Australian visa.

He said the courses in demand these days were engineering in mechantronics and robotics, bachelor of nursing, diploma in horticulture, community welfare, hospitality and hairdressing. According to the Australian law, an agent providing consultancy services should be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), he added.

Brace for fast pace

The youngsters and die-hard cricket lovers in this border region can now have a taste of swashbuckling pace of speedsters like Brett Lee, Shane Bond and Shoaib Akhtar.

Spice telecom, the main sponsor for Indian Premier League’s Punjab team, Kings XI Mohali, has come up with a state-of-the-art bowling machine inside a specially created cricket zone in Ranjit Avenue here. The machine can bowl up to speed of 150 km/hr. It can also bowl off-spin and leg-spin. The youngsters can now showcase their batting skills in front of some fiery pace. Mukul Khanna, vice president, marketing, Spice Telecom, said the cricket zone was an initiative to garner support for the Kings XI team. 



Special literacy drive for children

Amritsar, May 9
The district authorities have launched a special campaign under “Parro Punjab” to literate the children under the Sarv Shikhia Abhiyan up to 14 years of age.

District coordinator Jasbir Singh Jas visited the Government Elementary School, besides Katra Sher Singh, Bhakna Kalan, Bhakna Khurd, Kartar Nagar (Chhehatra) and Chhecha. The coordinator instructed the teachers to give preference to work in the Punjabi language. — OC



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