State govt’s move to axe green belt around the local mental institute draws flak from  residents
City needs lungs not multiplexes to live
Sanjay Bumbroo and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, June 6
A cross section of the city residents have unanimously castigated the state government for axing a large number of trees at the local Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Institute to pave way for the construction of multiplexes. Eminent environmentalist and opinion makers in the city today gave a clarion call to the citizens of the holy city to launch a “Chipko” movement of Sunder Lal Bahuguna fame to save the trees and thereby the ecological balance.

The mindless destruction of trees, plants and shrubs to make places for constructing residential and commercial buildings has already played havoc with the eco system of the city. The most pronounced destruction have been witnessed on the famous Mall Road, where the green areas have been thoroughly vandalised.

Dr Inderjeet KaurDr Inderjeet Kaur, president of the All-India Pingalwara Society, which was in the forefront to save the trees at Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Institute from felling for building commercial complexes, says no one will give his approval for the cutting of trees and The Tribune has taken a bold initiative to launch a big campaign and create awareness among the people to come together for saving the precious green wealth of the city, established by Guru Ram Dass about 500 years ago.

She said the government must hold a referendum on the cutting of trees before venturing out to undertake the ugly process of destroying the environment. She said only after the approval of the people of the city, the government should go ahead with the felling of the trees.

She said the sale proceeds of the properties of the city being auctioned by the government should become part of a holy corpus to be managed by the people with impeccable credentials and honest intentions, who would decide the way money should be spent. She said the entire fund is the wealth of the city and nobody has the right to misuse it or spend it recklessly in the name of development. She said if the government keeps denuding the green cover blindly, the holy city would turn into a desert. She urged the people to come forward and unitedly fight against the destruction of trees and green spaces.

Deepak BabbarDeepak Babbar, executive director, Mission Aagaaz, while lashing out at the state government for unprincipled destruction of the plants and trees, says the time has come when the people should only talk about planting and protecting trees to save the mother earth. He said the only green cover with various species of trees was left near the Mental Hospital, Circular Road. The brains which consider only malls and huge shopping complexes as the only criteria of development now should be got checked and given a proper relaxation therapy. Babbar said they had already created a lot of mess in the name of development. He said the mission had taken up the task of educating the government and people on maintaining the environmental balance to protect the city from being devoid of the green cover.

He said the part of the money collected from the sale of the properties should be earmarked to invest in planting more and more trees to maintain the eco balance. He suggested that the government must plant 10 trees extra against the axing of one tree to give clear message to the public that it meant to protect the life of the city and give more green cover. Dr A.L. Adlakha, while showing his concern on the cutting of trees, described the plants as gods according to Indian scriptures. He said the trees must not only be protected, but also worshipped. He said there is a great sanctity for certain trees in Indian mythology. “Mundan” ceremonies are performed under ber tree. Bohr (banyan tree) is considered to be a “devta,” he added.

Dr A.L. AdlakhaDr Adlakha said it was under the pipal tree on the banks of the Niranjan Phalgu rivulet that Lord Buddha attained “sampooran gian” (complete wisdom). Lord Mahavir attained “sampooran gian” under an Ashoka tree. According to old mythology, cutting such trees may bring ill luck to the authorities (government), he warned. He said the site to be auctioned by the state government was surrounded by residential colonies like Basant Avenue, Beauty Avenue, Medical Enclave and Fatehgarh Churian road colony, where the majority of people are poor and sleep on the roofs during electricity cuts. High-rise buildings would intrude into the privacy of these poor people and inmates of the mental hospital.

Obtaining certificate of availability of electricity, water and sewerage for mega projects of more than one acre should be made compulsory as suggested by The Tribune. He said instead of constructing multiplexes, the government could earn crores of rupees by converting the land into a botanical garden and bird sanctuary or parks like Disney World, Santosa Island of Singapore or Rock Garden of Chandigarh.

Gunbir SinghGunbir Singh, president, Punjab chapter of the World Wildlife Foundation, says maintaining the balance of ecology is as much the responsibility of the state as the community at large. He said in case development demands some sacrifice of trees, the policy should be to plant 10 trees in the same area and sustain it for good. Gunbir Singh said climate change is today a harsh reality and the time has come for all stakeholders to take responsibility for sustaining ecology rather than its further destruction.

He said the assets of the city must be protected at any cost.



Fuel Crisis
India can be ‘ethanol hub’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
The era of cheap oil production is over and 80 per cent of the oil in the earth crust would be exhausted by 2040. The International Bio-fuels Forum, comprising five major consumers of fossil fuels i.e. USA, China, Brazil, South Africa and European Commission, including India, have joined hands to develop, produce and promote the use of bio-fuels.

Stating this, Prof Satindar Kaur of the applied chemical sciences and technology department of Guru Nanak Dev University said India imports nearly 70 per cent of its total consumption of crude petroleum annually. With the oil prices having shot up from $20 per barrel in 2004 to more than $120 per barrel this year, it is high time to realise that India could be a major “ethanol hub.” Efforts should be made to go for a revolution, she added. Prof Satindar Kaur said skilled professionals of sugar and alcohol are in great demand to meet the growing need of ethanol as a bio-fuel.

She said keeping in mind the need of the industry, the department, which already had an eight-semester B.Tech degree course in sugar technology, approved by the AICTE since 1993, has now upgraded it to sugar and alcohol technology.

She said it is the first of its kind in India as it is a degree course which trains students in handling sugar complex in toto and the course curriculum is a blend of sugar, alcohol and co-generation. She said the union government in its 10 year plan has suggested the evolution of a national policy to produce 25 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2030. This would include the use of ethanol blended petrol (EBP) up to 10 per cent in petrol and 15 per cent in diesel with no change in the carburetor or engine. It would reduce both particulate emission and environmental pollution as it contains 35 per cent oxygen, which helps complete combustion.

The eligibility for admission to the degree course is 50 per cent in plus 2 non-medical. Admission is done on the basis of the all-India entrance test conducted by the university in May/June every year. There are 10 general seats and five NRI seats in the course.The course provides technical education, training and research in chemistry, sugar chemistry, sugar engineering and manufacturing. 



Left, BYJM men rally against oil hike, burn PM, Sonia’s effigies
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Amritsar, June 6
The Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Bharatiya Yuva Janta Morcha (BYJM) held protest rallies at various places in the city to protest fuel price hike by the Centre. The protesters burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and petroleum minister Murli Deora.

Addressing the activists, BYJM district secretary Rajkumar Judo urged the central government to immediately withdraw the increased prices of the petroleum products, including the cooking gas.

He said the common man was already reeling under the steep prices and the hike would add more burden to them. Demanding a rollback, he said if the price hike were not withdrawn, the party would launch a state-wide protest.



SSP denies molestation bid in suicide case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
Iqbal Singh, SSP Amritsar (Rural) on Friday denied that there was any molestation bid in the sensational suicide case in which two teenaged sisters had killed in Dhing Nangal falling village, falling under Majitha police station.

Amardeep Kaur (17) and Inderjit Kaur (14) of Dhing Nangal had committed suicide on Thursday morning when their brother Mehar Singh along with his wife Sukhwant Kaur Sukh had gone to Majitha for shopping. However, the incident came to light late in the evening when the family members returned.

It was alleged that two girls were disturbed over the alleged molestation bid made by the brother of Sukh a few days ago. The girls in order to save their modesty had crossed over the boundary wall of their house and taken shelter in the neighboring house, it was claimed.

However, SSP said that he had personally inquired into the case and found that there was no molestation bid in the case. He said during the probe the ill-treatment meted out to the sisters by Sukh had come to light. 



Bedi gets AGA reins
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
Former Indian cricket team captain Bishan Singh Bedi was appointed patron and vice-president of the Amritsar Games Association (AGA) today to promote the game and other sports activities in the city.

AGA is one of the premier organisations looking after the interests of cricket for the past 60 years at the historic Gandhi Ground.

Amritsar has produced many stalwarts of cricket, including former Indian all-rounder Madam Lal, late Vijay Mehra, Mohinder Amarnath, Surinder Amarnath, Harvinder Singh, Sarandeep Singh and Swarnjit Singh Batt.

A decision to this effect was taken after a meeting chaired by deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, who is also the ex officio president of the AGA.

The DC said the former cricketer was assigned the task for upgrading the cricket ground to the international level by initiating steps for setting up the state-of-the-art infrastructure, besides organising at least one international match on the ground.

A 25-member committee was formed in this regard, which would support Bedi in the task, he added.



Wagah: Vigil stepped up after security breach
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, June 6
The security at the Wagah joint check post has been beefed up following the incident of security breach by a Bangladeshi national on June 3.

The Border Security Force and the customs authorities held a meeting, here today, to decide how to strengthen their coordination to avoid such security lapses in future.

Talking to The Tribune, customs commissioner Talkeshwar Singh said, “After the incident we have increased the security cover and are thoroughly checking all consignments to thwart any such attempt.”

He also expressed desire to implement integrated check post mega project, which has been hanging fire for the past two years, as the Punjab government had failed to acquire 120 acres of land for the project.

The step came after a Bangladeshi national Abu Tahir succeeded in crossing over to Pakistan on June 3 from the Wagah joint check post by concealing himself in a truck loaded with onions. The incident caused a major embarrassment to the Indian and Pakistani security agencies. 



Campus Buzz
Students can play key role in improving literacy: VC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
Emphasising on the need for making the environment pollution free, Dr Jai Rup Singh, vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), asked the students to make at least one person literate.

The VC was presiding over the valedictory function of hiking and trekking camp, organised by the youth welfare department at Holiday Home, Dalhousie. He also motivated them to take part in cultural activities as they help in personality development.

Baljit Singh Sekhon, director, youth welfare, while giving the camp said Bhavneet Kaur of HMV, Jalandhar was declared best camper, while Jaspreet Kaur of Khalsa College, Amritsar and Rajni of BD Arya College, Jalandhar Cantt were adjudged second best campers. SDSPM, College for Women, Rayya, was declared best disciplined team. Sekhon said the students from different colleges affiliated to the university, including Khalsa College, Amritsar, SGAD Government College, Tarn Taran, RRMK Arya College, Pathankot, Shaheed Ram Singh Pathania University College, Niari, SDSPM College for Women, Rayya, HMV, Jalandhar, BD Arya Girls College, Jalandhar Cantt, BCM Girls College, Nawanshahr, Khalsa College, Domeli and DAV College, Phillaur participated in the event.

Entrance test for MBA/MCA on July 4

GNDU would conduct entrance test for the five-year integrated MBA and MCA courses on July 4. The test is being held for admission to MBA (FYIC) and MCA (FYIC) programmes available at University College, Jalandhar and MBA (FYIC) at ASSM College, Mukandpur. Dr RK Bedi, coordinator of this test said the prospectus for admission to these courses would be available from June 5 onwards at University Campus, Amritsar, University College, Basti Nau, Jalandhar and ASSM College, Mukankpur (Nawanshahr). 



Advocates get themselves examined

Amritsar, June 6
Fortis Escorts Hospital organised a medical camp at Old Bar Room, District Court Complex, which was inaugurated by SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh.

Around 300 members of the Bar Association and visitors to the court complex availed themselves of free examination of blood sugar level, blood pressure, ECG tests as well as height and weight measurement ratios. Specialised tests, like echo, were also conducted. A team of doctors, comprising Dr Hemant Ojha, Dr Mohit Arora, Dr Rominder Kaur, Dr Gaurav Thukral and Dr Manan Anand, examined the lawyers for heart, diabetes and respiratory problems.

Meanwhile, the hospital also conducted a three-day heart and multi-speciality check-up camp in association with Fortis Helathworld in which more than 850 patients with heart ailments, diabetes, kidney problems, bone and joint pains and , liver diseases . — TNS



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