‘Club together for green sheen’
A joint forum can force the govt to abandon its plan of auctioning the green belt: Experts
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, June 17
The holy city residents have flayed the state government for felling a large number of trees at the local Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Institute to pave way for the construction of multiplexes.

Charanjit Singh Gumtala, a social activist and strong votary of green, Amritsar

Amritsar, which was earlier known as the city of parks, is now faced with the ignominy of parting with its precious green cover. It is fast turning into a city of a concrete jungle, notwithstanding the climatic shift which is bothering its residents.

Amritsar Vikas Manch patron Charanjit Singh Gumtala has been in the forefront of making the city a pollution-free zone and had filed many writ petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions from the judiciary to remove all dairies from the city.

Charanjit said the Supreme Court had set a unique example by making Delhi a pollution-free city by introducing CNG buses, three-wheelers and taxis.

He said the people should have knocked at the door of the judiciary to save the holy city from the impending pollution.

He cited the example of the destruction of the two century-old Saragarhi School in the heart of the city where 118 trees were felled to make way for building a multi-story parking complex. This set an ominous trend which was strongly opposed by the people.

Lashing out at the politicians who lacked vision of preserving the government’s green lands and rather sold them off to fill their coffers, Gumtala said a public movement was required to stop the government from destroying ecological balance.

Gumtala said the city, which initially boasted of parks, including Ram Bagh, Rani Ka Bagh, Bagh Ramanand, Akali Phoola Singh, Chali Khui along with many pear and guava orchards, had now been stripped of its forest cover and the construction of scores of high-rise buildings had destroyed the once lush green expanse.

He said the government should keep the entire amount collected from the auction of lands in a public trust corpus which should only be used for building better infrastructure with proper green areas.

He said the government must compensate for the lost green cover by planting more and more trees to keep the natural balance.

Ram Singh, promoter of Health and Entertainment, Teg Resorts

Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Institute and Health Centre is a revered place where thousands of mentally ill patients have received treatment and got cured.

The green area around the hospital should be dedicated to those who have provided succour to those who had suffered. Ram Singh strongly advocated a leisure valley being built on the designs of Chandigarh where people could go to relax and enjoy nature in their free time.

He said the government should also develop a Japanese bonsai garden with traditional medicinal plants and trees to bring back the past glory to the Civil Lines area of the city.

He said the government must consult top landscape experts to build a theme park to break the monotony of the concrete jungles dotting the city.

Ram Singh said the area should become a paradise with green plants, trees, shrubs and fountains so that the public could enjoy and breathe fresh air. He said the area must be notified as a natural habitat.

He urged the people to forge a joint forum to force the government to abandon its plan to sell the green belt for establishing a multi-story complex.



Marked Effect
CBSE gradation - Schools’ style
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, June 17
The competition among educational institutions to claim top positions in the different CBSE examinations has generated an intense debate among parents, teachers and management of schools.

The educational institutions are making different claims about their achievers which is sending wrong message to the parents as well as the students who have done exceedingly well.

For example, DAV Public School claimed that its student Mridul Sachdeva had topped the region in the class X examination by securing 97.2 per cent marks.

The school authorities said the percentage had been calculated from the five compulsory subjects as prescribed by the CBSE.

On the other hand, Spring Dale Senior School had claimed that their student Stuti Chugh was the topper in the region because she got 97.4 per cent marks as per the board results.

According to CBSE bylaws quoted in a letter from its joint secretary R. Neelamegam, “No overall division/distinction/aggregate shall be awarded in respect of a candidate offering an additional subject. A language offered as an additional subject may replace the language in the event of the candidate failing in the same provided that after replacement the candidate had English or Hindi as one of the languages.”

DAV Public School principal Neera Sharma said this change of norms by different education institutions was creating confusion among students and schools alike.

She suggested that the CBSE must clear the top merit positions along with percentage of marks obtained so that the toppers get the due recognition.

She said the CBSE must ensure that the education institutions should confirm to its norms and did not allow them to manipulate percentage by adding marks of additional subjects.

However, Spring Dale School principal Manveen Sandhu strongly defended the decision of the CBSE wherein it had disbanded the system of percentage and replace it by grades.

She said, “We are encouraging our students to take additional subjects so that they get more exposure.”

She said, “The board’s policy where all subjects are given equal weightage must be encouraged only then the purpose of offering additional and vocational subjects would be justified.” She adding that working for six subjects was more challenging than standing for five subjects.



Go slow on paddy sowing, states urged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 17
Haryana and West Punjab (Pakistan) should join hands with Punjab in the delay sowing of paddy to conserve water and environment.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should take up the issue with his counterparts in both Haryana and West Punjab.

Urging this, the pollution control committee, led by Prakash Singh Bhatty, in a communique to the Chief Minister pointed out that Punjab, Haryana and West Punjab (Pakistan) sit on the same lines of different aquifers that run down from Himachal Pradesh to Punjab and through a large part of Haryana and go down to West Punjab finally ending into the Arabian Sea.

He said the state government should be complemented for passing the ordinance on the delay sowing of paddy.

However, the success of the scheme depends upon the other two states also as if they would keep drawing water in their part of aquifers, it would not help the cause to maintain water tables in this part of those common aquifers, he added.

It is, therefore, that both state governments must join the scheme for the conservation of water.

Another serious issue that should be taken care of in order to save water is stop wasting water in the cities. Bhatty said water in urban areas was being wasted at a large scale.

City residents were misusing, wasting and polluting more water than their counterparts in rural areas, he said.

He said in cities water is used for washing cars, driveways, watering of lawns and gardens, filling of swimming pools and then released into sewer.

He said the used water in cities goes into sewer pipes, while on the other hand the water used for irrigation or other purposes like bathing, etc, by villagers enter the soil and helps raise water table.

Further, he added that there was no water treatment plant in Punjab and all cities were wasting their used water which goes untreated down the drains.

Bhatty suggested a similar ordinance imposing heavy fines with disconnection of water and power connections be issued to make the city dwellers part of conservation of water.



Lopsided economic growth bothers expert
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 17
A three-week refresher course took off at the Academic Staff College of Guru Nanak Dev University here on Tuesday.

The event was inaugurated by an eminent economist Dr SR Hashim, former chairman, UPSC, Ambassador to Republic of Kazakhstan, member  and secretary planning commission.

Dr Hashim while delivering his inaugural address laid stress on burning issues like stagnant agriculture, poverty, population, corruption, and unemployment.

He said the economy no doubt is on the upswing, but the alarming poverty standards are bothering the planners of the country.

“The real benefits of the economic boom were not percolating to the grassroots level,” he said, adding that the failure of the panchayati raj system was due to government’s ‘inability’ to give adequate powers to the panchayats.

“It has denied the poor the much-needed fillip and consequently they are not being able to participate in the development process.”

Dr Hashim said the present economy was providing jobs to a select group of workforce. The manufacturing sector was not growing at an expected pace, as a result has been unable to generate more employment opportunities. The expert feels planned urban development was the need of the hour.

“The government must provide excellent infrastructure to the cities to ensure better living conditions,” he further added.

Dr SS Dhillon, course coordinator, also addressed the gathering. More than 20 teachers from various colleges and universities of the northern region are participating in the course.



Ready overbridge awaits VIP unveiling
Sanjay Bumbroo

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 17
Thousands of railway passengers are facing problem due to the non-functioning of the overbridge constructed outside the local railway station.

The bridge, which was completed a few months ago, is still awaiting its inauguration by some VVIP. The doors at both sides of the entrance to the over-bridge have been locked.

However, D.P.S. Kharbanda, commissioner, local municipal commissioner, said the overbridge had been closed due to technical reasons and the contractor was directed to correct some flaws with a fresh coat of paint to make it serviceable for the general public.



NSD’s spl workshop begins on June 20
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 17
A 40-day long musical theatre workshop would be organised by Dastak, an NGO, in collaboration with National School of Drama, New Delhi, Police DAV Public School, Punjab Naatshala and Amandeep Hospital here.

The event will take off on June 20 at Police DAV Public School. The president of Dastak and camp director in a press release informed that the workshop would be based on Punjabi folk and theatre.

He said various artists from the country, including Ravi Nandan (music), Balram (script writing), Rajinder (acting), Govind Yadav (light design), Amit Sexena (body movemnet), Rajesh Singh (set and design), Babita Panday (costume design) are participating. The auditions for the workshop would be held at Virsa Vihar in Amritsar on June 18.



Infosys picks up 78 DAVC students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 17
As many as 78 students of DAV College here have found placement in leading information technology company Infosys during the recently-held campus interviews.

Principal of the college Dr V K Sharma said the college is keen on securing jobs for their students during their academic tenure.

“We want our kids to walk out of the campus with a job in hand,” he added, lauding his students.



Dining Den
Twists and turns: So sweet
Gina Arora

Amritsar, June 17
Jalebi for its sweetness is truly the spirit and essence of the holy city and sweetness is quintessentially a trait of all Punjabis.

Jalebi, a luscious sweet, is commonly sold everywhere from exquisite hotels to narrow alleys.

Gurdaas Ram Jalebian Wala at Ahuluwalia Katra has been selling jalebis for the
past 50 years.

Named after its proprietor, it was started by him and his brother Dina Nath, the family business being carried on by his son Sanjeev Sharma.

Stimulating the taste buds of every customer, jalebi gained so much popularity that the chowk is eminently known as “Jalebian Wala Chowk.”

The predominant product of jalebi being pure desi ghee, the former is relished by people of all age groups, whether hot or cold.

The shop has customers throughout the year, especially in the festive season when the sweet is considered as a symbol of bliss.

Situated in the vicinity of the Golden Temple, it is frequently visited by tourists
and local people.

The vendor winds up his shop after the twilight due to consumption of all eatables revealing peoples adoration for sweets.

Smaller in size but superior in savour, this sweet shop also excels in the making of gulab jamun, namkeen and other seasonal items.



Gyan’s lassi - The wholesome drink
Meenu Salwan

Amritsar, June 17
The city crowd loves to splurge money on foreign substitutes of Indian food. The que to the Mc Ds and pizza huts certainly gives the “desi” food outlets a run for their money.

But thankfully the “videshi”, though loved by many, is yet to make as big a mark on the psyche of the Indian population as the “desi” does.

No matter how innovative the food joints get, there are no substitutes for certain Indian delicacies and topping the list is our good old “lassi”.

The city crowd loves to have a feel of the rich and real taste of Punjab and still prefers to consume items in a natural form. Amritsarites love to chill out with this natural drink.

One of the famous “lassi” shops of Amritsar is Gyan Singh’s old and famous Punjabi “lassi”. Located in the Hathi Gate area, it is presently being run by Surjan Singh.

The shop has been running for 70 years with the same real taste in “lassi”, a glass of “lassi”, being priced at Rs 15, is served with butter and “malai” floating on top.

Talking to Amritsar Plus, Surjan Singh said the “lassi” sold by him is popular not only in Amritsar but outside the city too.

Even foreigners, during their visit to the city, make it a point to grab a glass of “lassi” at his shop, he added.

He said at times the stock finishes before 4 pm. Apart from the routine “lassi” they also serve “petha lassi” priced at Rs 25, he said.



OBC plans fresh loans for farmers
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 17
The Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) would provide fresh loans to all eligible borrowers on the completion of the task of waiver/relief by June 25.

Stating this in a press release, chairman and managing director of the OBC Alok K. Misra said the bank had launched a proactive drive for the effective and transparent implementation of the agriculture debt waiver and relief scheme for farmers.

He said 250 senior officials had been deputed to ensure smooth and timely implementation of the scheme at the branch level.

He said 96 per cent of the work related to eligible accounts had been completed at the branch level and the list would be displayed at the branches after auditing.

Misra said all the branches had geared up to provide fresh crop loan/investment credit to small and marginal farmers immediately on waiver, and to other farmers on deposit of one-third of their share of the overdue amount.

However, the investment credit to the other farmers would be made available soon after the eligible farmers deposited their share of the overdue amount.



Helping rural women hone painting skills
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 17
An advanced fabric painting skills upgradation programme was organised by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Amritsar, at Jodhpur village, near Tarn Taran, for members of a self-help group.

Assistant professor (home science) Shaminder Bawa said the programme was organised as per the demand of the district rural development agency (DRDA) to give an opportunity to young women who were below the poverty line so that they could adopt it as an enterprise afterwards to uplift their economic status.

She informed them about the techniques used by different professionals in the cities for painting, which fetched them better prices for their products, and guided them to use the colours and fabrics according to the latest fashion demands.

She also told them that the loans would only be disbursed when they had satisfactorily completed skill training.



Campus Buzz
BBK DAV introduces new course
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 17
The BBK DAV College for Women is introducing B.Sc (biotechnology) from the academic session 2008-09.

The principal said the new course would equip girls for getting lucrative jobs in agro-based industry, pharmaceuticals, bio-tech industry and research institutes.

She said the college was also going to introduce add-on course in communication skills with special focus on group discussions for students facing interviews.

Bharti in cultural board

In recognition of her talent, dedication and innovativeness, Bharti Singh of BBK DAV College has been nominated to the inter-university national cultural board, an advisory body for the promotion and development of youth activities in the universities and colleges of the country.

Besides making her mark as a comedian in “Laughter Challenge IV” by beating her nearest rival with a margin of seven points, she has won highest awards and honours at the university and national levels in one-act plays, histrionics and skits. She was also a national-level pistol and rifle shooter in the college.

Giddha team member

Anudeep Kaur, a student of BBK DAV College has been selected by the union ministry of youth affairs and sports to represent the country’s giddha team in a cultural show to be held in China.



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