Saving Environment
Sidhu launches second edition of ‘Go Green’ project
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 29
After leading by example of taking initiative to green the city last year with the plantation of about two lakh trees with his personal contribution of Rs 1 crore, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has launched the second edition of the “Go Green” project with even greater vigour.

Sidhu had invited environment experts who had the credit of greening the capital city of India and the major express highways in northern India as well as Gujarat and Maharashtra to undertake a similar project to replicate the tree plantation drive. The plantation architects conducted a survey in the city and suggested a green cover on the major roads, including the Amritsar-Jalandhar GT Road and the MP has decided to follow their suggestion to give a go-ahead to the second round of plantation of grown-up trees with the height of 10 to 15 feet to give an instant green cover.

Sidhu said under the second plan, one lakh saplings, which were 10 to 15 feet tall, would be planted on city roads and in parks to mitigate the impact of overall urban environment projects. He added that 350 parks would be upgraded as recreational areas and green belts. Trees like gulmohar, kachnar, scholar’s tree, ashok, jamun and kadamb would be planted to augment the urban green scapes. On the lines of Chandigarh, the holy city would also have a rose garden named “Amrit Baag” spread over 30 acres at a cost of Rs 4.90 crore, he added.

He said the air and water pollution were the main causes of endangering the stability of eco-system. The cities were struggling to comply with the air quality standards and the ways that trees could help clean air should not be overlooked. He further said that a direct effect of air pollution could be seen on the Golden Temple as the magnificent architectural and spiritual marvel was losing shine on the layers of gold which adorned its domes. This effect could be offset by tree plantation which would not only restore and preserve the heritage, but also the environment, he added.

He said that municipal corporation mayor Shwet Malik had laid down terms and conditions for the maintenance of these trees. Municipal commissioner D.P.S Kharbanda had also contributed his bit by guiding the teams in the detailed survey of the holy city, he added.



Jallianwala Bagh gets Rs 6 crore revamp nod from culture ministry
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 29
The ministry of culture of the government of India has finally decided to go in for a complete revitalisation of the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial.

Interestingly, the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Committee is headed by the Prime Minister of the country. But in spite of the high profile management, the memorial suffered complete neglect during the past many decades. Under flak from the public and the families of the hundreds of martyrs, the government has come up with a Rs 6-crore project designed by the ministry of culture to give a complete face-lift to the national memorial.

The government had erected the memorial in the early 60s but later with some cosmetic landscaping and addition of a museum, nothing much was done till 2000 when the government decided to construct Amar Jyoti with the installation of a permanent flame as an added attraction to the memorial.

The government had allocated Rs 2 crore in 1994 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh carnage but the funds were released only in 1998. However, according to sources, the amount remained unspent due to administrative and political reasons.

The present governor of Bihar and former local Congress MP R.L. Bhatia, who has been the chairman of the local managing committee of the monument, has been pushing up the case for its revamp.

In a recently held meeting this week, Bhatia said the entire memorial would be given a face-lift with total illumination and the landscaping of the complex.

He said a major attraction for tourists would be the launching of the light-and-sound show to depict and relive the complete episode of the 1919 massacre which had shaken the British empire.

He said the project was likely to be launched by the end of this year as the government has already finalised the concept. The light-and-sound show would continue in the years to come to make the coming generation aware of the supreme sacrifices made by thousands of freedom fighters to get liberated from British rule, he added.

Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, who is the key person to monitor the functioning of the memorial, said the proposed Rs 6 crore revamp would include a change in the front part of the entry point.

He said the restoration project would include the entire renovation which would provide an open plaza, amenities like multipurpose hall, information centre-cum-library, touch screen and souvenir shops, etc.



State-level award for tabla maestro Agam
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
Little master Agam Shingari, who holds the distinction of being the youngest tabla player and has found mention in the Limca Book of Records, was honoured by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal with the state-level award.

The award was announced by the state government on Independence Day at Ludhiana.

Agam's grandfather Vijay Shingari had received the award on his behalf and had sought time from the CM to personally hand over the award to the young artiste.

The CM, besides giving him a cheque for Rs 11,000, also gave Rs 1 lakh cheque while presenting the award to Agam in the presence of his family and principal of the school Neera Sharma on August 27.

Talking to mediapersons today, Agam, along with parents Amit and Shweta Shingari, said as they had just returned from Mumbai after the recording of the episode on “Pogo” TV channel, they could not be there to receive the award on Independence Day.

Agam had recently played the tabla and combined it with comedy starred in programme “'Chak De Funjabi” where Agam’s picture found pride of place on the “Wall of Fame” of the programme.

One of the most popular shows, “strictly singing”, on TV “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” made an exception and featured this young talent in a special programme.



Bed occupancy
PSMDTA refutes accusation
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 29
The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association (PSMDTA) has condemned the circular issued by the Punjab government blaming it for “low bed occupancy rates” in the hospitals attached to state-run medical colleges.

The association termed the circular as “derogatory and a blatant attempt” to erode the credibility of teachers.

It also condemned another circular issued by the government authorising the deputy commissioners to order a probe into the public dealing of the medical and dental colleges.

Demanding withdrawal of the orders, the association said it was a breach of the protocol and alleged that it would open floodgates for bureaucratic intervention in the working of the medical and dental institutions.

It said it would participate in enquiries only if the probe would be conducted by government officers of the secretary rank and above.

Association president Dr Amrik Singh Bhatia said patients had to shell out money for admission and surgical procedures in the hospital and claimed that despite it the bed occupancy rate in these hospitals was fairly high. He added that none of the adjoining states like Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana had imposed 
user charges in their state hospitals.

General secretary Dr Dinesh said state hospitals were already reeling under a severe resource crunch and imposition of user charges had further complicated the situation.

“In the government hospitals patient are left with a doctor minus basic facilities and that is one of the reasons for a shortfall in hospital bed occupancy rate,” he added.

Interestingly, the state government is promoting and funding a health care scheme, Sanjivani, where money is being paid to private or corporate hospitals for undertaking minor operations.

However, it is charging money in its own hospitals generally visited by members of the low and middle income groups.

Besides, the state government employees had been permitted to seek treatment in private hospitals and could get reimbursement of expenses.



‘Keep eye donation out of Transplant Act’

Amritsar, Augusy 29
The Union government should separate the eye donation from the purview of the Transplant Act of 1994 to authorise various government and non-government institutions for performing eye transplants in the country.

These were the views of various ophthalmologists who were participating in a 15-day yatra initiated by the Bhai Ghanaiyaji Blood and Eye Donation Council in the state. The council honoured various persons for their contribution in the area of eye transplant and blood donation at the Golden Temple. The yatra had arrived in the city yesterday after crossing through Dasuya, Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Bahadur Singh from Hoshiarpur, who is also running a charitable institute recognised by the Punjab government for the eye transplant for the blind, said the yatra had been organised in the state to educate the common people about the benefits of the eyes donated by relatives of the dead persons which could give light to some blind person, besides removing the misconception among the public. — TNS



FM radio completes one year in city

Amritsar, August 29
The 45th station of Big 92.7 FM at Shimla would start airing its programmes within the next three months, said FM’s regional director Siddharth Bhardwaj while celebrating the first anniversary of the channel in Amritsar here today. Siddharth said the network had its presence in 44 cities across India since its launch in September 2006.

He said the Amritsar station was the third to be launched after Chandigarh and Jalandhar in the Punjab cluster. He said the channel would throw a rain dance party for its listeners at the Sun City Amusement Park on Saturday evening. — TNS



These bridge holes are invitation to tragedy
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 29
The district administration claim of giving good roads to the commuters seems to have gone for a toss as the holes have appeared on the Sultanwind and Taranwala bridges which were mended recently.

The holes are too big that a two-wheeler or a pedestrian can easily fall prey to the district administration’s carelessness. Besides, there are no street lights or boards to alert the commuters. What one could find as a caution here are just small brick walls which are coming off.

The bridges have become accident-prone and it seems that the district administration has been sitting like a mute spectator waiting for a tragedy to take place.

The bridges have become a nightmare for the commuters, especially those coming from Jalandhar and Tarn Taran. Traffic jams have become a regular scene on the road and the buses had been provided with an additional route on the Maqboolpura road.

According to information, due to heavy rainfalls the Taranwala bridge was damaged and the traffic was diverted to the Sultanwind bridge, which also failed to bear the heavy traffic and led to cracks on the road.

Talking to The Tribune, deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu said he had directed the municipal corporation to take immediate steps to repair the bridges, adding that they had received funds from the state government for the repair. He said there was a need to build new bridges to streamline the traffic on the GT Road.



From Schools & Colleges
National Sports Day: Schools try to revive spirit for hockey
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
To mark National Sports Day on the 100th birth anniversary of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand, a special assembly was held at DAV Public School here today. Prof Paramjit Singh Randhawa of DAV College was the chief guest on the occasion.

Randhawa said commercialisation had played havoc with the national sport hockey and lack of guidance was adding to its woes. He called upon the children to revive the spirit for the game.

Similarly, Shri Ram Ashram Public School celebrated the day by constituting a girls hockey team. School principal Preeti Sharad said the effort was a step to promote the national game, especially girls’ hockey. A colourful show highlighting the glory of hockey was also presented.

M.Tech course

With the introduction of the M.Tech (ECE), Amritsar Engineering College has become the first institute in the city to offer the course. Earlier, students had to seek admission in other cities for the course.

Death mourned

DAV College expressed grief on the death of B.Com (final) student Anubhav Mahajan who met with an accident on August 25. The college remained closed for a day. College principal Dr V.K. Sharma said the staff and students had sympathies with the bereaved family.

Varsity toppers

Ravneet Kaur, Amandeep Kaur and Manjit of the BBK DAV College for Women stood third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the MA fine arts (part I) examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University.

Meanwhile, the college won the runners-up position in the university’s inter-college tug-of-war competition which was held on the university campus.



School for special children opened
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
A special education school for cerebral palsy, autism and mentally retarded children was inaugurated by the minister for medical education and research here recently. The school started on the premises of the Global Institute for Childhood Disability (GICD), a specialised institute for cerebral palsy, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy here.

Arun Khanna, chairman of the GICD said the institute started its services with only four special children three years ago for helping the children with cerebral palsy. Now it has transformed into a full-fledged centre which provides physiotherapy, occupational therapy, neurotherapy, speech and audiology and special education under one roof.

He said the institute now has about 50 regular children with a dedicated staff of six professional doctors - Dr Karnail Singh, Dr M.S. Pannu, Dr Parminder Singh, Dr Narinder Singh, Dr A.S. Padda and Dr Boparai. He said various personalities of the city also helped the organisation in the pious cause.

Khanna said the main objective of the school was to make such children lead a near normal life as other children do. He urged the minister for making arrangements for installing hyperbaric chamber at government-run children ward and hospital so that the children could be saved from cerebral palsy. The small unit of hyperbaric chamber costs Rs 20 lakh, while a big unit costs Rs one crore. Tikshan Sood, cabinet minister, speaking on the occasion assured every possible help for the institute and gave Rs 1 lakh to it.



Billboards erected despite SC directions
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 29
Blatantly violating the directions of the apex court of not putting any billboard on the GT road, large and ugly hoardings can be seen on the overbridge outside the railway station, constructed for enabling passengers to cross the busy GT road.

A leading social activist, Brij Bedi talking to Amritsar Plus, said big hoardings were being put on the overbridge blatantly violating the directions of the Supreme Court.

He said the sites near the entry and exit gates of the railway station gives an ugly impression about the city.

The corporation without going into pros and cons had set up the dividers on the GT Road, which had further added chaos on the road. Some sort of grills should also be installed on the dividers to stop the commuters from jumping over them besides displaying notice board near the overbridge to direct the commuters to use it for their safety.

Another city resident and proprietor of a hotel located near the railway station Sanjay Kumar said the staircase of the overbridge on both sides of the road had occupied more than 8 feet space thus adding to the narrowing of the road resulting in congestion.

He said the corporation officials should initiate steps for at least putting up fence on the road dividers in front of the entrance gate of the railway station so that the commuters could be forced to use the overbridge.

This would also help in the smooth flow of traffic as the auto-rickshaws would not stop and wait for passengers creating traffic congestion.

Municipal commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda could not be contacted as his cell phone was switched off. People coming in and going out of the railway station hardly use the overbridge and cross the road by jumping the divider in order to save their time.

Even the traffic policemen remain mute spectators and hardly direct or advise the commuters to use the overbridge.

The people are endangering their lives due to heavy traffic on the road.



Give martyr status to Jallianwala victims: Mann
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
SAD (A) chief Simranjit Singh Mann has expressed his anguish over the denial of martyr status for the victims of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

In a press release issued today, Mann said the deputy commissioner seemed to have made a mistake while digging out the documents on killing of 468 persons on Baisakhi in 1919.

He said the administration should correct the anomaly and recommend the status for all those who died in the British firing. 



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