Threading glory: Rains fail to mar Rakhi feel
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
Weather has thrown life out of gear and affected the daily schedule of the people of the region, but the rains have, however, not proved to be a dampener for the Rakhi celebrations, the festival which speaks volumes of brother-sister bonding.

With Rakhi just round the corner, the air is rife with excitement. Although a whole lot of varieties of rakhis adorn the stands in the markets, rakhis for the kids being the rage. Adding to the euphoria of the season is Bollywood masala, with the “Singh is Kinng” rakhi riding the craze tide, given the fact that the movie is a hit with the audience. So this special rakhi carries a picture of good old Akshay Kumar in his newest avatar, donning the turban as in the title song of the movie.

The “Krrish” rakhis, which were a hit last year, continue to find buyers in the market this time as well. The new rakhis in demand include those of “The Great Khali” who appears on the thread flexing his muscles.

Rakhis depicting cartoon characters like Tweety, Superman and Popeye are also available this time, with beeping lights, music and desi avatars of radium being an added advantage for the little ones.

Says Sameera, a buyer, “Kids basically need something new to flaunt around. My son has specially come with me and my daughter to buy a rakhi of his own choice.”

Special “thalis” for kids are also available with designer “tikka” boxes, toffees and toys.

Designer pouches for rakhi packing and “tikka” boxes are also available for the elder ones.

Suiting every pocket, rakhis come in a range from Rs 10 to Rs 1,000, said a shopkeeper in the Model Town market. Shopkeepers in all the bazaars were selling rakhis today with their counters extended till the verandahs, rolling these inwards every time there were rain showers.



City bus service from August 17
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
The Municipal Corporation (MC) is all set to formally launch the much-awaited city bus service on August 17. State-of-the-art buses would ferry passengers in and around the city, thereby easing the daily problems of the commuters coming from far-off places. The buses would ply from 6 am to 8 pm daily.

With the launch of the local bus service, Jalandhar will become the first city in Punjab to get this facility from the SAD-BJP government.

Engineering student from the DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology (DAVIET) Jasvir Kaur said, “This is indeed a good initiative by the state government. The bus service will help the residents, particularly students, working and elderly people and physically challenged, to get a comfortable ride. Above all the timings of the buses have also been set keeping in mind the need of the people.”

Based on public-private partnership (PPP), the city has got a fleet of 16 buses for which the drivers have been recruited on contract basis. The MC authorities and the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) have already deposited Rs 50 lakh with Jalandhar City Transport Service Limited (JCTSL) for the operation of the city bus service.

Talking to The Tribune, MC superintending engineer Kulwinder Singh said, “The buses have two-by-two seating facility and each bus has a seating capacity of 40 persons and an equal number of those standing. Apart from this, the bus has also a hi-tech sound system which will keep them updated about the next destinations.”

According to the information available from the MC authorities, the buses are pre-fabricated, modern, high quality with low decks and wide doors which will make boarding easier for children and elderly.

And for the convenience of the passengers as many as 152 quality stainless steel bus queue shelters have been constructed. The shelters are fitted with modern features like online global positioning system (GPS) which would provide information to waiting passengers regarding the exact time of the arrival of the bus. The shelters would further 
help in generating revenue from advertisements every month.

The bus route will be from Rama Mandi- Mahavir Marg-Maqsudan (fare Rs10); Rama Mandi-Mahavir Marg-Basti Bawa Khel-Jalandhar Kunj (fare Rs 15); bus stand-Manbro Chowk-Wadala Chowk (Nakodar Road) (fare Rs 5); and railway station-bus stand-Rama Mandi (fare Rs 10).



Heavy rain likely to cut short I-Day celebrations
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
If the current rain spell fails to break till Friday morning, the district-level Independence Day function is likely to be affected and cut short.

However, the Tricolour would be unfurled and the parade would take place but without the cultural show if it rains between 8.58 am to 11 am. The function is scheduled to be held at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium tomorrow.

Talking to The Tribune, youth services assistant director Capt I.S. Dhami said, “The rain would surely play a spoilsport as the show would lack luster without a performance by students drawn from various educational institutions. But we cannot ask children to perform in rain as they can fall ill.”

He added that barring the VVIP lounge, the remaining portion of the stadium was uncovered and the performance usually takes place in the open ground right in front of the lounge.

According to information, there would be flag hoisting by minister for irrigation Janmeja Singh Sekhon, who is also the chief guest for the occasion, followed by march-past by personnel from the CRPF, the BSF, the PAP and the Home Guards, senior and junior wings of the NCC and Club Bulbul comprising primary kids.

A PT show with participants from eight to 10 schools, along with cultural items like Vande Mataram, Rajasthani and Haryanvi dances, followed by giddha and bhangra, are also a part of schedule.

Security arrangements in place

As precautionary measures, the district police has made elaborate security arrangements and a high alert has been sounded to avoid any untoward incident on Independence Day. Several teams have been deputed for thorough search of identified vulnerable points in the city and a dog squad along with the mounted police has been pressed into service for the extensive search operation, superintendent of police S.K. Kalia said.

Deputy inspector-general (DIG) Narinder Pal Singh and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Pawan Kumar Rai supervised the security arrangements and the venue of the Independence parade was cordoned off.

A special commando force was summoned for strengthening the security arrangements, he added. — PTI



Chaos At Crossing
MC proposes, Railways disposes
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
The indolent and apathetic attitude of the Railways has been giving harrowing time to commuters here as widening of level crossings at Guru Nanak Pura and Ladowali Road had been hanging fire due to it.

Interestingly, the Jalandhar municipal corporation deposited Rs 20 lakh on January 1, 2007, to widen the road at the Guru Nanak Pura crossing, but the Railways failed to kick off the project. Similarly, Rs 40 lakh had been submitted for undertaking construction at Ladowali Road and the work did start about 15 months back but was left mid way for the reasons best known to its officials.

Talking to The Tribune, municipal councillor from Ward 14 Kuljeet Singh Babbi said he had written a letter to Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and urged him to direct the railway officials concerned to initiate the work at both Ladowali Road and Guru Nanak Pura level crossings at the earliest, failing which residents would be forced to block rail traffic.

Babbi said, “I took up the issue with the municipal corporation about three years ago as the narrow crossing was creating a lot of inconvenience to the residents. The municipal corporation wrote a letter to the railway authorities and deposited the money, but to no avail.” Babbi said he had pursued the issue with the DRM office in Ferozepore but to no avail. He again took up the matter with municipal corporation commissioner C.S. Talwar who directed the superintending engineer to ask the railway authorities to get the work completed as soon as possible. Joint commissioner Rahul Gupta said the department had deputed an employee to pursue the matter with the Railways.

Meanwhile, Ferozepore DRM Satish Agnihotri could not be contacted. Divisional superintendent engineer (coordination) S.K. Sapra said he would be able to tell the status about the projects only after checking it from the staff.



Image Change
Mehatpur govt girls’ school becomes a trend-setter
Jyotika Sood/TNS

Jalandhar, August 14
Government schools in Punjab, which have always been criticised for lack of initiatives, seem to be witnessing a wind of change. In perhaps a first-of-its-kind effort, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Mehatpur, organised elections for the post of head girl, a practice hitherto common in public schools.

Interestingly, the students went through the actual polling process gaining an exposure to the environment of political affairs. Six girls - Kamaljeet Kaur, Monica Sharma, Shivani Sood, Sunita Rani, Manjinder Kaur and Karamjit Kaur - of classes IX to XII were in the fray. The contestants were given individual election symbols, which did not resemble any political party.

Students of classes VI to XII participated in the poll which witnessed 86 per cent polling despite rain. Kamaljeet Kaur of class XII-A (medical) won by getting 56 per cent votes. She was later administered the oath and a panel was formed consisting of rest of the contestants.

Punjabi lecturer Ravinder Singh revealed that the contestants for the post of head girl prepared their manifestos based on issues which were either ignored or rejected for one or the other reason.

He said each candidate was given two days in the morning assembly where they were asked as to how they would tackle students’ problems at their own level. The question-answer round witnessed the maximum participation as it was entirely a new thing for the school students.

Talking to The Tribune, Kamaljeet said, “My main emphasis is on addressing issues, including discipline, which are a major drawback in government schools. Developing a good understanding between teachers and students is another priority because the image of this relation in government schools is generally a bad one. Besides, other things to be taken care of are neat and tidy campus.”

School principal Surjit Singh said the initiative aimed at changing the image of government schools as people no more trusted on the quality of education being imparted in these schools.



Medical Bane
Naujawan Bharat Sabha protests poor health services
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
Braving the downpour, activists of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha today staged a rally to protest against the poor condition of the health services in the countryside.

Addressing the protesters, sabha president Kulvinder Singh Josan said there were no doctors and in a majority of cases the dispensaries or primary health centres (PHCs) were either locked or were being run by class IV employees.

Citing instances, he said the health centres at Khusropur, Bahopur, Bada Chhota Pind, Dhirpur and Sudawan had been locked for the past many years and wild weeds threatened to ruin them.

This exposed the claims of the government that it was committed to open a health centre in each village having a population of 5,000. If one tours the countryside, one would not find a PHC even in big villages with a population of over 10,000, he alleged.

He said there were only two PHCs in the entire Kartarpur assembly segment comprising 117 villages.

The government is reneging on its promises by not appointing adequate staff to run such centres but was in the process to enter into a partnership with private parties to operate these dispensaries. This would put the rural poor to a great disadvantage since they would not be able to get themselves treated at exorbitant rates, he added.

The condition of the operational state-run centres was also pathetic.

If there are doctors to treat the patients, there are no laboratories to conduct even the basic tests.

There is no provision for life-saving medicines at subsidised rates, he pointed out.

They warned the government that if it did not make all the centres operational in the coming days, they would be forced to launch a statewide agitation.



J&K stir hits Punjab poultry business

Jalandhar, August 14
Continued blockade on the national highway towards Jammu and Kashmir by the agitators over the Amarnath land row for the past over one month has not only put an adverse impact on the tourism to the hill state but has also badly affected the trade, especially of poultry business of Punjab, which is the main supplier of live stock of chicken and eggs to J&K.

In routine, there used to be a flow of more than 100 trucks loaded with poultry products daily to the neighbouring states, but as the national highway was blocked by the agitators, the whole lot had to be supplied to the state market which caused a steep decline in the rates on the simple basis of supply and demand pattern, said Sukhwinder Singh, owner of one of the retail outlets of chicken in the city.

Even in the retail market of Jalandhar, chicken which used to be sold at the rate of Rs 110 per kg was being sold at Rs 65 to 70, Singh said, adding that as the poultry products could not be stored for long time, the farm owners had no option but to supply the products for local consumption.

If the situation continues for another week, the rates of poultry product would further decline, he apprehended.

Although due to the situation of poultry products, consumers were benefited, but the situation was vice versa in the case of apple as due to a steep cut in the supply of Kashmir apple in the Punjab market, the rate of the fruit has witnessed a steep increase, Gurdeep Singh Nagra, one of the whole sellers of the fruit, said, adding that the apple which was being sold at the rate of Rs 40 to 50 per kg in the retail market, was now being sold at the rate of Rs 75 to 95.

Instead of an increase in the retail price of apple, the wholesellers were not benefited as they were also getting the supply at a higher rate, he added.

If the situation continues for some more period, the situation would be worse and the rates of the fruit might go further up, he said. — PTI



Young World
Schools celebrate Independence Day
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
Students of CJS Public School celebrated Independence Day on Thursday. On this occasion the students presented patriotic songs, poems and speeches. Principal Ranbir Kaur unfurled the National Flag and encouraged the students to work hard.

Tagore’s International Smart School celebrated Independence Day with patriotic fervour as the students spoke at length about the importance of the freedom struggle.

Similarly, Apeejay School, Rama Mandi, witnessed the entire week as Independence week with students displaying “unity in diversity” by presenting various programmes in different languages.

Delhi Public School observed a Hindi week on the occasion of Independence Day. The students participated in various events which were held in Hindi, including creative writing, acting and quiz.

Meanwhile, students of MGN Public School in an attempt to rekindle the spirit of nationalism among the children celebrated Independence Day on Thursday.

The school authorities organised a group singing competition on the occasion.

Students of CT Public School celebrated Independence Day and presented patriotic skits. Principal Lakhwinder Kaur hoisted the Tricolor and encouraged the students to work with dedication to make the country a better place to live in.

Students of the journalism department of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Regional Campus, Ladhewali, celebrated Independence Day. A special function was organised in which the students participated in quiz, patriotic songs and debate. HoD Kamlesh Singh Duggal exhorted the students to follow the ideals of the freedom fighters.

Freshers’ party

The computer department of BD Arya Girls College, Jalandhar Cantonment, organised a fresher’s party in which Kirandeep was adjudged Miss Fresher.

Talent hunt

The English Literary Society and the Sarv Sahitya Sabha organised a talent hunt for fresh students of the arts, commerce, science and computer science streams on August 13 in the college. As many as 28 students participated in the declamation and poetry competitions. The winners were given awards.

Science exhibition

Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg, has been selected among the top 15 schools which would be competing for the national science exhibition to be organised by the CBSE some time in September in Delhi.

The science project, “Biomedical nano technology”, by the students won accolades. Various exhibits of medicine of nano technology were presented by Sana Khan and Mehnaz Kumar of class IX.

Teej celebrated

Students of Guru Nanak Girls Khalsa College, Sangh Dhessian, celebrated Teej with rich Punjabi culture. The students put up impressive stalls of monsoon food, artifacts and participated in giddha, bhangra and sammi.



Colour me abstract
Aparna Banerji/TNS

Jalandhar, August 14
The city is coming of age. The silent revolution, started by the artists of the region, is finally giving way to a bigger movement. So it seems. “Vibes of Spirits”, a three-day painting exhibition which concluded at Virsa Vihar here on Wednesday, seems to have provided the art lovers with an all new perspective.

Showcasing works of biggies like M.F. Hussain, the exhibition exposed the city crowd to works which had hitherto been the privilege of the people from the “bigger cities” only.

The exhibition is probably the first of its kind in Jalandhar where artists from all over the country have joined hands to introduce the audience to an amalgamation of abstract art.

The paintings present the myriad manifestations of the poetic imagination of the artists who splurge on a riot of colours and mediums to express themselves.

The city psyche, which had so far been dwelling largely on clichéd concepts and concrete shapes, structures and figures as far as art was concerned, certainly had a whole new feast of unbridled, statements on canvas laid in front of it.

Be it the bright bold strokes of Hukum Lal Verma; the spontaneous, flowing, seemingly effortless (but ardently worked upon all the same) figurines of Badri Nath; the dotted, freedom personified dreamy women of Anshu Pancholi’s works; the play of the rustic and the abstract by Mohan Malviya; the interplay of natural forces presented by Nisha Sharma; the layered realities of Siraj Saxena’s agrestic yet intriguing works; Pawan Kumar’s winged, stitched, double-faced manifestations of the self; Ajay Narayan’s interpretations of earth and space; Tapan Dass’s works presenting a multiplication of the self-image or, of course, M.F. Hussains’ candid yet solemn statements which hit you like a bolt, it was all right there for the art lover to devour. Anuradha’s ceramic works were also a true delight for those who were interested in more than just paintings.

Event organiser Pawan Kumar, while talking to The Tribune, said, “It was a great experience to showcase the works of such big artists for the people of the city. Initially, it was a great risk getting a place to showcase the works as crores of rupees were at stake with the costliest painting being the one by Mohan Malviya priced at Rs 7 lakh.”

“The paintings by M.F. Hussain and Tapan Dass, however, were not for sale,” he added.

Talking about the response of the people, he said, “The response from the city was certainly more than we had expected. Students thronged the place and stayed for two to three hours studying the paintings. Industrialists took a special interest in the exhibition. The visitorship of the exhibition can be gauged from the fact that I had a thousand catalogues with me, all of which were taken away with many people still asking for them.”

Elaborating on the sales, Pawan said, “The works of Nisha Sharma, Anshu Pancholi, Anuradha and Hukum Chand were sold, fetching about Rs 4 lakh in all.

“We are now getting calls from galleries in Delhi and Hyderabad to showcase our works,” Pawan added.



Rain spell makes a pool out of government school
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
The continuous spell of rain for the past three days left the entire campus of Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School in the low-lying Basti Sheikh area inundated, making it impossible for the school to function normally.

The two blocks of the school on either side of the road were filled with nearly one to 2-foot-deep sewerage-mixed water, exposing the students and the staff to various skin and other monsoon-related ailments. The students and the staff members were stuck in their seats as they could not even place their feet on the ground.

The carpets and other items in the principal’s office got badly drenched. There was a foul stench emanating from all the classrooms due to clogging of water. The students found themselves suffocated.

The school encounters a unique problem during the rainy season every year. The school functions from two small buildings facing each other and there is a low-lying dividing road which assumes the form of a huge stream even after an hour of moderate rainfall.

While classes V to VIII are run in one part of the building, classes IX to XII are taken in the other section. The laboratories, kitchen for mid-day meal preparation and the principal’s office are in the senior section building due to which the students and the staff need to shuttle between the two buildings every now and then. But this almost becomes impossible on a rainy day since the road in between the two blocks gets flooded with muddy water.

Since many teachers take classes of the middle as well as the senior sections, they often find themselves cut-off from the main building even after half an hour of rain.

They said, to avoid this, they were being forced to shift the entire middle section to the main building in view of the cloudy weather every morning.

“When this happens, we fall short of classrooms. We then merge various sections of classes which often leads to chaos,” a senior teacher revealed, adding that even the entire primary section, which too is located in the other block, has to be accommodated in the main building owing to heavy rainfall.

Mayor Rakesh Rathour said the students and the staff would have to bear with it this season.

“From the next year, the problem would be rectified as we are soon going to lay storm water system,” he added.



Blessing In Disguise
Heavy rain a hope for better ground water level

Jalandhar, August 14
The heavy rain, which was witnessed in Punjab during the past 24 hours, may have caused inconvenience to the people due to waterlogging, but it brought cheerful hope of improving the ground water level, which had gone deep low due to a large scale sowing of paddy.

During the past 24 hours, Jalandhar has witnessed 86.6 mm of rainfall which was at a subsequent higher side as compared to the last year, chief agriculture officer of the district Swatantar Kumar Aeri said, adding that 20 mm of rainfall was recorded at Nakodar and 60 mm at Phillaur with an average of 55.5 mm of rainfall in the whole district. Good quantity of rain was obviously good for the peasantry both in short term and long term as it would reduce the cost of paddy cultivation and improve the ground water level as well, he said.

Although for maize, stranded water in the field could be harmful, yet the recent spell of rain did not cause stranded water, Aeri said, adding only in the area of Adampur where fields were flooded with water due to a breach of the Bist Doab Canal late last night, there was danger to the maize crop.

Meanwhile, when contacted, deputy commissioner A.S. Pannu claimed that all arrangements had been made to deal with the flood-like situation and even tie up was being made with the Army authorities also.

“As soon as we are getting information of waterlogging in any of the villages, teams are being dispatched to such places,” he said, claiming that the district administration was capable to deal with any situation. A threat of flood was seen in villages adjoining the Bist Doab Canal after noticing the breach at several places, especially in the Adampur area and teams were dispatched to the sites to deal with the situation, he added. — PTI 



City rues ‘washout’ of Olympic business

Jalandhar, August 14
The dreams of sports goods manufacturers of reaping gold in the Beijing Olympics and the forthcoming Commonwealth Games have been dashed as not a single order of sports goods has come into their lap from these world-class events.

In an ironic development, the business in this “sports city” has been in fact hit adversely by the mega sports event being held in the neighbouring country.

Even the sale of hockey sticks and accessories, which had got a boost after run-a-way success of Shahrukh Khan-starrer “Chak De India”, had decreased in domestic market after the unceremonious exit of the Indian hockey team in the Beijing Olympics, rued Rana Raghunath Singh, a leading sports goods manufacturer.

The City, which contributes more than Rs 500 crore in the export of sports goods, did not receive a single order for even the replicas for the Beijing Olympics, he said.

To make matters worse, there has been no order for sports goods for even the Commonwealth Games to be held in the national capital in 2010, according to Raj Singh, another sports goods trader. “This is in contrast with the Soccer World Cup when every manufacturing unit was busy in making football goods as orders in bulk were received from the international market,” he said.

“Now cricket seems to be the main sustaining sport for us as we still have orders at hand for cricket equipment,” he said, adding, “We are now praying that cricket retains its popularity.” — UNI



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