Tribune Impact
Red shift for Hall Gate
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
Following strong criticism, the local municipal corporation today decided in principle to restore the original colour of Hall Gate to red. The colour of Hall Gate was changed from pink to yellow that received a lot of flak from the heritage lovers.

This was disclosed by Shavet Malik, Mayor, while talking to The Tribune here today.

The original colour of Hall Gate was red, which was changed to pink during the stint of K.S. Kang as commissioner of the corporation.

The corporation had also started painting other heritage buildings, including the boundary wall of the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, but now the work has been stopped.

The secretary of the Panchrang, Mala Chawla, and other artists from the city held an emergency meeting to oppose the changing of the colour of Hall Gate. The Panchrang artists said if the officials of the corporation had love for yellow colour then they should first paint their own houses yellow.

Eyebrows were raised over the sudden changing of the colour of the historical Hall Bazaar Gate from pink to yellow - the favourite colour of the Shiromani Akali Dal - on the eve of the Amritsar byelection.

When the SAD- BJP combine had come to power in 1995 the colour of the roadways buses were changed to yellow and that had received flak from the common man at that time.

However, the successive state governments, including the Badal government that had promised to give governance on the pattern of “Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule,” and the SGPC failed to preserve the invaluable art of the Maharaja’s time. Amritsar looked like a fortified city in the days of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The fortification consisted of an immense rampart of earth and a wide ditch, apart from 12 gates to save the town from foreign invasion.

While most of the gates have been demolished, there is no trace of the ditch. Unmindful of their heritage value, most of the gates were pulled down in the past. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, many old buildings were replaced by “modern monuments” constructed by the British.



‘MLA’s resignation tip of the iceberg’
Kang episode shows frustration among SAD leaders: Cong
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
Terming the resignation of MLA Manjinder Singh Kang as “the tip of the iceberg” of revolt simmering inside the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), senior Congress leader Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said the SAD-BJP leadership was frustrated due to dictatorial attitude of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal.

Welcoming the daring step of Kang, Randhawa said the resignation had exposed that how much top leadership of the SAD was frustrated from their own government, which was being run as a “private limited company by Badal and family.”

He dared Badal to show statesmanship by accepting the resignation and announcing byelection in Beas. Beside that Badal must clarify that under which condition or humiliation the Kang had resigned, he added.

In a joint statement with Harpatap Singh Ajnala, MLA S.S. Sukhsarkaria, Sawinder Singh Kathunagal, Harminder Singh Gill, PPCC secretary Bhupinder Singh Randhawa and Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa issued to mediapersons here yesterday, Randhawa said after the resignation of BJP ministers and MLAs, the Kang’s resignation had clearly reflected that how much the coalition MLAs were facing humiliation by Badals and their coterie.

They had made MLAs irrelevant and ineffective and democratic institutions had lost their punch for the fight of the people, he added.

Randhawa said, “The way Bikram Majithia made a parachute entry and then clipped the wings of Akali leaders of Majha has become a headache for senior Akali leaders of Majha.” He added, “Kang’s resignation is the tip of the iceberg as some more self-respecting SAD-BJP MLAs would revolt against the dictatorship of Badals and Majithia.”

Meanwhile, Manjinder Singh Kang remained admitted to Escorts Hospital. When this correspondent tried to contact him for his comments on the resignation submitted to the CM yesterday, his supporter said he was in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

However, Dr H.P. Singh, medical superintendent, said the condition of Kang was stable and he had been shifted to the private ward of the hospital.



Peaceful poll: Cops honoured
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
The police and administration today honoured policemen who rendered excellent services during the Amritsar (South) assembly byelection, which went off peacefully.

More than 2,000 policemen, three companies of commandos and 110 personnel of paramilitary forces were deputed for the elections and all the booths in the assembly constituency were declared sensitive.

Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP, said the election was conducted peacefully with no incident of violence reported from any part of the district.

In a specially convened meeting at Police Lines, SSP distributed commendation certificates among police personnel for their encouragement. He said the police force took the challenge of conducting fair and impartial elections by working round the clock to avert any untoward incident.

Senior officers of the district, SP (city-I), SP (city-II), SP (HQ), SP (Det), DSP (city-I), DSP (special), DSP, sadar, DSP, Chheharta, DSP (HQ) and the SHOs of the district were present at the Police Lines.



Hotels, pubs cash in on IPL craze 
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 23
The Indian Premier League (IPL) fever has taken the entire nation into its grip with Amritsar being no exception.

Most of the clubs, restaurants, hotels and resorts in the city have put up big screens to make their customers enjoy the excitement of Twenty20 cricket. Interestingly, the step has helped push up the sales during the past one month.

A countryside resort owner, Ram Singh, said, “After the IPL kicked off, there has been a significant increase in the number of visitors, especially in the evening. Last month was almost houseful.” He added that TV shows with sporting activities should be encouraged as they provided a clean entertainment.

According to analysts, advertisement rates for 10 seconds during an IPL match varies from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh which is higher than the prime time shows, including “Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki”, “Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi,” “Saat Phere” and “Kasam Se”. Cricket has not only brought huge cash from the advertisers but has also given a distinctly new dimension to the cricket commentary.

Till now more than 40 matches have been telecast and female viewers have joined male members and children of the family to watch “cricktainment”. In fact, Twenty20 has increased TRP of Sony Max which has telecast rights for all the matches.

Talking to The Tribune, a cricket buff commented that it was difficult to watch news and other programmes after yesterday’s match between Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders washed out at Ferozeshah Kotla ground. He said, “I prefer to go out with friends rather than watching TV soaps.”

Even the TV market has seen an upsurge in the sales of colour TV sets. The local operators have been flooded with requests for new connections for DTH services like Tata Sky and Dish TV. 



Watch that street fruit to cut health risks
Vishal Gulati

Amritsar, May 23
It’s summer time and cut fruits are in great demand. But the holy city residents who relish these fruits are unaware of the unhygienic conditions under which these are preserved and served.

A visit to various areas of the city reveals that the small-time vendors are selling the cut fruits under extremely unhygienic conditions. These vendors have watermelon, lemon, cucumber, pineapple and others fruits - all stacked in neat piles. With mercury hitting north, young and old alike are tempted to beat the heat with these natural coolants. Water is occasionally sprayed on them to give them a fresh look. Never mind the water is stored in rusted containers.

“What hygiene you are talking about. People love coming to my stall, especially on sunny days, to relish these fruits,” says Sahib Singh, a fruit seller near the municipal corporation office.

Never mind, as a bonus one can find a dead fly while savouring these bounties.

In the same locality, when another seller was asked about the cleanliness of his place, he replied: “Log khatte hai, tume is se kya lena hai (People come here and enjoy. Mind your own business.”

Poor storage facilities, refrigeration, missing garbage bins and unclean utensils add to the woes.

Doctors in the civil hospital admit that exposed eatables, unripe fruits and vegetables, ice-candies made of polluted water, are the major source of water-borne diseases, especially during monsoons. As many as 70 per cent of diarrhoea cases, the doctors say, are because of bacterial infections.

Old-fashioned lemonade bottles, popularly known as ‘banta’, are selling like hot cakes these days. Similarly, the sale of kulfi and ice candies have also picked up, especially in localities located in the periphery of the city. However, the residents don’t realise that often impure water is the prime constituent of these ‘summer delicacies’.

There is always a rush for cheap ice, which is again prepared in unhygienic factories. Consumption of this ice leads to gastroenteritis. No one from the health department pays attention to the manufacturing process. The municipal corporation does little to enforce the Food Adulteration Act. It does not have the required number of officials for sampling and testing of food items.

An official of the municipal corporation, on condition of anonymity, says the administration has neither will nor the time to check the sale of such items. Civil surgeon Lehmber Singh claims that the administration is regularly conducting raids to check the sale of unhygienic eatables.

However, most of the vendors use their “connections” to stop samples from being tested.



Rain Gain
Cool summers, good kharif yield 
Ashok sethi

Amritsar, May 23
The continuous three-day rain has not only brought down the mercury and provided relief from the scorching sun, but has also given farming community a reason to cheer.

The months of May and June are synonymous with blazing heat wave and considered the hottest in the subcontinent. However, there has been a tremendous change in the weather conditions with the unusual cool showers.

According to the Met department, the temperature was hovering around 22 degrees celsius during the day, while at night it drops to around 18. The holy city residents are enjoying the pleasant weather. “There’s no need for an AC in the evening,” said a Green Avenue resident.

However, a cooler shop-owner felt that in the next couple of days the weather conditions would return to ‘normal’ and the sales, which are low these days, would once again boom.

In what can be termed as good news to the farmers, the agriculture department experts have termed the summer showers good for the kharif crop as it would boost plantations scheduled for first week of June.

A spokesman of the department said the conditions were ideal for plantation of basmati and 1,121 other rice varieties which are generally sowed May end and first week of June. 



Study prescribes makeover pill for sugar mills
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
Sugar mills in Punjab need to be modernised in order to bring them out of the red. This was revealed in a study conducted by two students of applied chemical sciences and technology, Guru Nanak Dev University, during a survey of sugar mills in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.

Talking to The Tribune, Mayank Sood and Prateek Mehra said, “After comparing sugar mills of these three states with those of Punjab, we have come to the conclusion that the distilleries attached to the sugar mills in Faridkot, Gurdaspur, Nawanshahr and Nakodar should be revived. These distilleries would not only generate power but would also provide revenue.”

Besides, the minimum capacity of these mills should be increased to 2,500 tonnes per day, the duo added.

They stressed the need to encourage cultivation of sugarcane in the state and suggested that the Punjab government could help in it by announcing increased prices of sugarcane before the autumn sowing.

Mayank and Prateek said, “Punjab has lagged behind because no attention has been paid to upgrade and expand sugar mills.

These mills could provide about 60 to 80 per cent of the total fuel required by the distilleries.”

At present the capital cost incurred for power generation was Rs 4 to 4.5 crore per MW depending upon the boiler pressure and temperature. However, by using a boiler with working pressure of 89/105 bar and steam temperature of 510/540ºC, consumption of power turbine would come down from 11kg/kW to 4 - 5kg/KW, thus reducing the cost of production. The amount invested could be recovered in four to five crushing seasons, they added. They said the Indian sugar industries should come forward to tie-up with agencies identified by the Kyoto Protocol for achieving “carbon credit eligibility”.

The government should also rationalise the excise duty/sales tax on ethanol which were currently varying from 4 to 20 per cent in other states, the sugar technologists added.They urged the government to restart the closed sugar mills and if it was unable to do so, the mills could be handed over to the private sugar/alcohol players for the development of the agro industry.



Next: Local bus service for city
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
Three major cities of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana will soon have local bus service. A decision in this regard was taken by the government on Thursday. In order to reduce the volume of traffic in the cities, the government decided to construct eight-lane ring roads.

Sources in the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) said the government approved the Mohali-Phagwara expressway and a luxury train covering the religious circuit, comprising Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib.

“A pre-feasibility study would be undertaken to examine the possibility of bypassing Jalandhar en route the holy city,” said the sources.

On the pattern of Chandigarh, the government also decided to start radio-cabs in five major towns. However, the radius of the cab service would be extended up to 40 km.

The government also decided to construct modern bus terminals at various places, including Mohali, Bathinda and Hoshiarpur, and a bridge over the Chakki khud, near Pathankot. The government reviewed the working of pilot training institutes at Ludhiana and Amritsar and the Neem Chameli tourist complex on the Attari-Wagah border.



Women h’ball team from Pak arrives 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
An 18-member women handball team from Government College of Women, Faislabad, Pakistan, arrived here on Thursday on a week-long tour.

The team would play four matches from May 23 to 25 to be held at Lucknow where teams from India, Bangladesh and Nepal would participate.

According to coach and referee from Pakistan Tara Saleem, the Pakistan team will perform very well as they were fully trained to play at all national and international levels.

Earlier, the team was given a warm welcome by the principal and staff of the BBK DAV College for Women last evening.

The team visited the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh and enjoyed the Punjabi hospitality.

Talking to newsmen the members of the team said that they felt literally at home. The Pakistan college principal said they were won over by the love and affection of the Amritsarites and they found no difference in the attitude of the people here.



School Buzz
City girls excel in Class X, XII exams
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Commerce student Tania Sharma of Sri Guru Harkishan Senior Secondary Public School made city proud by securing 96 per cent marks in the class XII examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Jassimranjit Kaur stood third in the district by scoring 94.6 per cent marks.

As many as 188 students appeared from the school, out of which 12 scored 90 per cent and above, while 63 students got more than 80 per cent marks. Rahat Sareen of Spring Dale Senior School topped in the science stream with 93.6 per cent marks followed by Shauryavir Singh (93 per cent) and Madhvi Mehra (92.2 per cent). Thirteen students of the school secured more than 90 per cent marks, whereas 46 students scored above 85 per cent.

Sukarma Singh and Sukhmani Kaur Kahlon of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School secured top positions in the class X and XII examinations, respectively, conducted by the ICSE. While Sukarma got 96.8 per cent, Sukhmani secured 95 per cent marks. School principal Sister Regis said 135 students appeared from class X and 61 from class XII.

Prize distribution

Rose Nursery Convent School organised its annual prize distribution function on the school premises recently. The students presented folk dance, skits and other cultural items, including patriotic songs. Pingalwara Society chairperson Dr Inderjit Kaur and Janta Dal United chief Jaspal Singh Kapoor were the chief guests on the occasion.

Teaching seminar

A seminar, “The living classroom - reading, writing and beyond” was held at DAV International School. The resource persons Anu Marwaha, Amanprret Bindra and Nirmaljeet Chabba said teaching in classrooms should not be confined to books. They said education does not mean making students bookworm, instead it aims at their all-round personality development.

JRF exam

Sheffy Mahajan, student of M.Com II of BBK DAV College for Women cleared JRF, UGC exam in her first attempt.



Farmers get tips on use of fertilisers
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
To educate farmers about the judicious use of fertilisers, a soil testing camp was organised at Daburji village by the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra in association with the Farm Advisory Service Scheme and IFFCO.

Giving details to The Tribune, Dr Satpal Saini, deputy director (training), said besides conducting the soil tests the farmers were also told about the chemical behaviour of their soils.

He said they were also educated about the importance of macro and micro nutrients in the soils and explained about the possible deficiency symptoms in crops. The farmers were advised to apply the recommendations of the department after getting the soil tested to make the maximum benefits from it, he added.

Sukhdev Singh Bhangu, senior area manager, IFFCO, exhorted the farmers for adopting recommendations of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.



City doc cracks IAS exam in first attempt
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
City-based gynaecologist Kajal Bhagat has brought laurels to the holy city by clearing the civil services examination in her first attempt. She has secured an all-India rank of 293 in the services.

She gives the credit of her success to her family, especially her husband, Nitin Bhagat, and her hard work. She used to study for 14 to 15 hours daily.

She did matriculation from Gian Jyoti Public School, Mohali, MBBS from the local Government Medical College and MD from the PGI.



4 booked in cheating case

Tarn Taran, May 23
The police on Friday booked four persons, including an employee of the district treasury office, on the charge of embezzling funds. The accused have been identified as treasury employee Rajinder Singh, Harjit Singh, Gurdev Singh and Kanwaljit Singh. They were booked under sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC.

The accused had embezzled more than Rs 10 lakh from the treasury by producing fake bills of the block elementary education officer (I), Tarn Taran.

However, the treasury employee has been absent from duty for the past 20 days. 
— OC



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