Centre, state earmark Rs 17 cr to make
city clean, green
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, June 20
Ever since I have been at the helm of political affairs of this city, it has been my earnest endeavour to initiate steps to plant trees and plants to maintain the ecological balance.

Stating this to Amritsar Plus, cricketer turned politician, Navjot Singh Sidhu, said he had personally contributed Rs 1.5 crore from his personal savings to plant more than two lakh trees with tree guards.

He said the campaign he launched last year yielded excellent results with over 95 per cent trees surviving the vagaries of weather.

He lauded the efforts of the tree loving people and the various NGOs who stood by him in nursing these trees.

He said deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu and SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had lent excellent support to his mission of making the city green and said continued cooperation from all quarters would further enhance the green cover.

Sidhu said he would motivate educational institutes including schools, colleges and universities to adopt public parks and take up the cause of their maintenance on a regular basis.

He said he would urge the people to form a vigilant group to keep a close watch on the cutting of the trees and in case they found any unauthorised axing they should immediately report to the police.

Appreciating the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for allocating Rs 5 crore for planting more trees and the maintenance of the green spaces on his special request, Sidhu said this money would be properly utilised with every penny being made accountable to the public.

He said it would be his mission to make Amritsar one of the greenest cities of the country. The BJP MP said Amritsar should be advertised as an example for the growth and progress of Punjab.

He said the holy city provides excellent national and international connections with large inflow of pilgrims and tourists to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs.

He said the central government would provide special funds of Rs 12 crore for managing the garbage in the city.

He said this money would be spent to prepare a special mechanism to lift the garbage and also plan its disposal in a scientific manner which would be used for the solid waste management plan.

He said the margin money of Rs 20 crore had already been provided by the state government and the balance amount of Rs 65 crore from the national corpus of Rs 1,000 crore earmarked on the directions of the Supreme Court of India.

He said the project would be commissioned by the next two to three months under the expert guidance of SR Maley, who had been appointed consultant for the plant.

He said the project would be self sustaining and the civic authorities would have to provide only land and the running cost would be borne by the company.

Giving the background of this major city makeover plan Sidhu said he had personally envisaged the entire project with the help of mayor Shwet Malik, commissioner DPS Kharbanda and the corporation engineers who had given proper feed back to the tetra tech consultants who had prepared a detailed project report to invest Rs 100 crore plus the additional amount of Rs 65 crore given by the state government.

Assuring the people of the city who had elected him as their MP, Sidhu said every penny earmarked for the developmental project would be spent in a transparent manner and the entire money would be accounted for.



Narrow Escape
2 rescued after shop roof’s collapse
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 20
Two persons had a narrow escape when they were trapped under the debris as the roof of an old commercial building collapsed in the city last evening.

There was blast-like sound in the area when the roof of a shop, Space Electronics, collapsed. The owner of the shop, Ajit Singh, and salesman Narinder Kumar were trapped in the debris.

The fire brigade and police officials had a tough time in rescuing the two by removing debris.

When contacted, commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda said keeping in view the security and safety of the people of the walled city a detailed survey had already had been carried out by the MTP department identifying buildings which could pose danger.

He said he would soon hold a meeting with deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu and take a final decision to demolish those buildings.



Afghan female singer hates forcible wearing of ‘burqa’
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, June 20
London-based Afghan female singer Ariana Sayeed, who was here for the shooting of the first Indo-Afghan music album, said she hated forcible wearing of the “burqa” and the “hijb”.

She rued the plight of women in the war-torn country where they were denied education and medical help. Ariana, along with her father, who had a dry fruit business, left Afghanistan for London when trouble started in the country.

Giving details of the album, she said it contained four songs, two of which were duets with Germany-based Afghani singer Javed Sharief who was already a popular figure in that country, along with Sikh Punjabi singer from Holland Balli Kalsi.

She said the aim of the Farsi-Punjabi music album was for a change and peace in Afghanistan, besides urging people involved in violence to live and let live.

She said the album would be a huge surprise for her home country and she was ready to take all criticism in her favour like Hamas Kohistani who defied all to participate in an international beauty pageant in London and was threatened by hardliners in that country.

She was not afraid of repercussions in her home country over her skimpy dresses. Ariana loved the recent movie “The Kite Runner” based on a book by Afghan writer Khalid Hossini which presented a near-true picture of Afghanistan and the travails of those who left the country to escape the wrath of Talibans.

Javed said music knew no boundaries and made an appeal that his countrymen should be freed from taboos on listening to music.

He said the album would be shot at historic ramparts of Khalsa College and would catch the old world charm of Serai Amanat Khan, besides in Chandigarh and Shimla.



SAD murdering democracy: Cong
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 20
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and information minister Bikram Singh Majithia are responsible for the criminalisation of politics in this border region.

Alleging this to The Tribune on phone here yesterday, Harminder Singh Gill general secretary, PPCC, said any retaliation by the people would further cripple law and order situation in the region and only these two leaders would be responsible.

Gill said there had been the murder of democracy as witnessed in Patti block of Tarn Taran district where nominations of four Congress workers for the election to the municipal committees were rejected without citing any reason.

He said Congress candidates whose nominations had been rejected by the returning officer were Ashok Bhanot, block president of the Youth Congress Amrik Singh Bhullar, Ramesh Rani and Kamlesh Kohli.



DD serial on Maharaja Ranjit Singh from
August: Raj Babbar

Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, June 20
Versatile film-maker and actor Raj Babbar would soon launch a special serial on the life and history of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on Doordarshan from August this year.

Addressing the media here, Babbar said Doordarshan had sponsored the serial which would have 104 episodes, but till date the national TV channels had sanctioned only 52 serials. He said the cost of the entire project ran into about Rs 32 crore.

Babbar said he was scouting for the main cast as he was looking for a perfect actor to play the role of the Maharaja.

He said he had already shortlisted some actors and would name the main character very soon who would portray the role of the Sikh ruler which had created a wonderful history and ruled the region with deft administration and brought glory to the Sikh community.

The cinestar said he had been able to cast aspirant theatre artistes from the National School of Drama and Film Institute, Pune, besides he would also give an opportunity to young talented boys and girls from the holy city.

He said he had shot almost nine to 10 hours of the serial at different locations in Punjab and Rajasthan and during the next two months the entire unit would be stationed at Amritsar to complete the serial.

He said the concept of the serial was to portray the Maharaja’s rule which had been lauded by various experts of the Sikh history.

He said the king was a complete personality who had provided comprehensive development of the area without any bias.

Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated the shooting in the Golden Temple complex this morning.



Fake currency racket busted, 5 arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 20
The Sadar and Sultanwind police on Friday claimed to have busted two rackets of fake currency in separate incidents and seized fake currency amounting to Rs 50,000 from them.

Those arrested are Mangat Singh, Manga, of Heir village, Inderjit Singh, Sabbi, of Majitha Road, near Gurdwara Hargobind Sahib, Baljit Singh, Bobby, of Kamboj village, Amrik Singh of Rajasansi and Gurbhej Singh, Bheja, of Sohia Kalan falling under Majitha police station.

Mangat, Inderjit and Baljit were nabbed by the Sadar police and Rs 20,000 of Rs 500 denomination, besides one printer, a scanner and a car were seized from them.

The Sultanwind police arrested Amrik Singh and Gurbhej while their accomplice, identified as Ranjit Singh, Bittu, of Gore Nangal village, escaped. Total 39,400 Fake Indian currency of Rs 39,400 was seized from them. Cases have been registered.



Gang of robbers busted, 5 held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 20
The district police busted a gang of robbers arresting five members, Veer Singh, alias Veeru, Pawan Kumar, alias Bau, Daljit Singh, alias Jitam, all residents of Anngarh, Harmeet Singh, alias Sonu, of Roriwala and Harbhajan Singh of Sanghna.

Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP, said acting on a tip-off, the police arrested the robbers at Canal Bridge planning a dacoity near Bohru village.

Their other four accomplices, Bag Fuli, Dilbag Singh, alias Baga, Raju, alias Manka, residents of Anngarh, and Vicky of Fateh Singh Colony managed to escape.



Rain brings mercury, power supply down
Gina Arora

Amritsar, June 20
Monsoon clouds hovered over the city which witnessed a heavy rainfall, proving the almanac wrong due to pre-monsoon rain, bringing respite from heat.

The pre-monsoon showers made the city dwellers come to life with full gusto. Such bombastic rains have helped in boosting the agricultural output.

But the rain proved to be a “complete disaster” for the city. It was both a bliss and bane as it brought down both the mercury and the power supply.

People did cheer it as it provided relief from the hot and humid weather but, at the same time, there was a complaint of waterlogging.

The widespread rain pulled down trees and inundated long stretches of roads. The repugnant condition of roads was further intensified as the rain flooded the busy roads disrupting traffic on Lawrence Road, Maqbool Road, Rattan Singh Chowk and other areas, making the commuters travel in knee-deep water.

Most city residents chose not to step out as the rain rendered everything wet and muddy. It was dangerous as the rain flooded the streets covering the open manholes in which one could step inadvertently because of non-existent
pathways. This display of degradation shows lack of vision both in the people and the authorities.



Land mafia out to ‘grab temple property’
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 20
The Lala Devi Sahai Khanna Family Dharamarth Trust has alleged that some land mafia was trying to grab the land and properties of the 150-year-old temple and has tried to demolish a structure, including a shed.

Stating this to The Tribune today, trust president Devinder K. Khanna said they had lodged a complaint at the Gurbaxnagar police chowki station after some persons tried to demolish the structure on the night of June 12.

He alleged that one of the accused, who is close confidant of the local MLA, was trying to grab the property.

He further alleged that the accused had, in connivance with the patwari, even tried to tamper with the intaqal of the temple by stating that the building was a residential one.

When contacted, SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, feigned ignorance about the case. Khanna said the trust was formed on the directions of the High Court in 1949 which is the registered one.

He said that at present there were 50 to 55 tenants in the temple complex who were being issued proper receipts after taking rent from them every month.

He said the accused had tried to grab the property in connivance with some
of the tenants.

Khanna said as per the constitution of the trust the property could not be rented out even to the family members who were earlier the owners of the temple property before the formation of the trust.

He said whatever the amount they got from the rent could only be utilised on the development of the temple.

Meanwhile, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena president Surinder Kumar Billa, while demanding a CBI enquiry into the matter, urged the state government to initiate steps so that the land mafia could not grab the religious places in the state.

He said if the government failed to take action against the accused they would be forced to launch a massive agitation to safeguard the shrines.



Minor girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 20
The Amritsar (rural) police has booked Virsa Singh of Chuchakwal village for allegedly luring and abducting a minor girl of same village.

Satnam Singh, father of the victim, in a compliant lodged with the police alleged that his daughter (14) went missing on the night of June 7. He said he searched for her everywhere but failed to trace her.

He said yesterday his brother told him that he had seen the girl with Virsa Singh. He said Virsa Singh lured her with a promise of marriage.

The police has registered a case under sections 363 and 366 of the IPC at Lopoke police station. No arrest has been made so far.



Dining Den
Punjab on palate, its party time for desis and videshis
Gina Arora

Amritsar, June 20
“The Brothers”, adjoining “Bhrawan da Dhaba”, is the advent of a new age of dhabas. As compared to 100-year-old “Barawan da Dhaba”, it is based on the innovative concept of multiplicity of meals.

Amritsar being a tourist hub, the place attempts to cater to the tastes of people from across the globe.

Though “The Brothers” sounds almost familiar in name to “Bhrawan da Dhaba”, it has stuck to appetising traditional Punjabi meals.

It redefines the traditional Punjabi dhaba, serving multi cuisine food like Punjabi, South Indian, Thai, Chinese, desserts, street food and all kinds of beverages.

However, a common characteristic of both the dhabas is the liberal use of butter and desi ghee.

Proprietor of “The Brothers” Vivek Vij, while talking to Amritsar Plus, said he always believed in enhancing the quality of food by putting up an array of meals on menu.

The mainstay of the dhaba is mouth-watering sarson da saag and makki di roti, Punjabi daal and lassi to name a few of the splendid Punjabi delicacies.

Patiala resident Preeti visits the dhaba every year to taste the lip-smacking
and hot “Amritsari kulcha”, whereas localite Manmohan Kaur’s favourite is “stuffed aloo ka parantha”.

A hardcore vegetarian dhaba, the place has constantly tried to keep the flavour of Punjab in tact while also keeping the menu varied, owing to the fact that the city is home to hoards of tourists.

Due its exotic flavours, it is gaining popularity as Sanjay Nanawati from Rajasthan specially visited the dhaba on a tour to Amritsar with his family, hearing of its authentic flavours from his friends and relatives who have already visited the dhaba.

“The Brothers” has recently won the Number 1 dhaba award. Owing to its fabulous quality and host of appetisers, it has also launched its official website.

The USP of “The Brothers” is its reasonable rates for all sections of people and wholesome food brimming over with the rustic flavour of Punjab.



Bank robbery: Police claims to have vital clues
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, June 20
The district police has finally closed down to crack the sensational Rs 37-lakh bank heist case which has created a scare in the banking industry in the border region, besides getting a flak from the public, for its inability to nab the culprits for almost three weeks.

According to reliable sources, the police has got vital clues from the spot as well as from the bank van which the dacoits had taken away with them and later was recovered from Bohru village on Jhabal Road.

In their attempt to get vital clues, the police took more than 100 persons in custody for investigation.

The police sources also revealed that more than 250 phone calls were traced during investigation for cracking the case.

Although the sources claimed that the police had arrested the prime accused in the case, district police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh denied this.

However, he confirmed that they had zeroed in on the culprits who were very much within its reach. They would be arrested soon, he added.

It may be recalled that about four masked man looted Rs 37 lakh from the cash van of the State Bank of India, Bhagtanwala.

The van had been carrying Rs 57 lakh, but Rs 20 lakh dropped out of the van as the robbers fled from the scene on June 3. Security guard Gurmeet Singh was seriously injured after a gun shot by the looters.

The amount was to be distributed among four branches of the bank located in New Grain Market, Gopal Nagar, Hari Pura and Ram Tirath Road.



SAI plans centre for hockey at Spring Dale school
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 20
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has decided to adopt hockey players of the local Spring Dale Senior School and set up a centre to promote hockey at school level.

Principal Manveen Sandhu said the school had already established Maharaja Ranjit Singh Hockey Academy, a brainchild of Dr S.S. Sandhu, managing trustee of the school, along with Balwinder Shammi, a hockey Olympian, who had been in the forefront to develop hockey at the grassroots level.

She said 18 players from the school had been excelling in major tournaments at the national level. The school team has won the all-India CBSE hockey tournaments for two consecutive years during 2006 and 2007.

The team also bagged the first position at the All-India Dalip Singh Hockey Tournament organised by Bishop Cotton School, Shimla.

She said the team showed excellent temperament at the All-India Bombay Gold Cup organised by the Mumbai Hockey Association where it was the only school team which participated among the other professional teams.



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