Derecognition Axe
GMC can only pray as govt takes it easy
Sanjay Bumbroo & Ashok Sethi/TNS

Amritsar, September 9
Even as the sword of Damocles continues to hang on Amritsar Medical College and Hospital, one of the premier medical institutions in the country, on account of derecognition by the Medical Council of India, the state department of medical education and research continues to dither to provide much-needed infrastructure and to fill the medical staff vacancies.

Many proposals and plans to upgrade the college and hospital continue to remain in the files gathering dust due to the government apathy, which has created a serious threat to the institution. A proposal to install CT scan, a major equipment for diagnosis, under public-private participation module has been hanging fire for many months while the Patiala and the Faridkot medical colleges have taken the lead to install the state-of-the-art infrastructure there.

The shortage of trained teaching faculty has been the perennial problem of the college and hospital which is actually necessary to meet the requirements of the MCI. A reliable source told The Tribune that the government had recently floated a plan to allow at least 22 senior medical officers to be designated as lecturers and a letter to this effect was sent to the principal of the college here.

The principal had pointed out the fallacy that it was only the government which was empowered as a designate authority to approve the alleviation of the medical officers as lecturers. The sources said even the proposal is yet to be approved by the government, which would have helped the medical college to overcome the staff shortage and fill the vacancies.

The other suggestion to fill eight posts of associate professor was mooted by the medical college, but only two have joined. Similarly, in the case of assistant professors 33 vacancies exist, but only five have joined duties.

The MCI, which is the nodal agency for monitoring the functioning of medical colleges in the country, has allowed one-month reprieve to the three state-run colleges to make amends or face the harsh consequences of de-recognition which may jeopardise the career of hundreds of MBBS aspirants.

The time seems to be ticking away fast and the government is yet to come out of its deep slumber with remedial measures. The minister of medical education and health, Tikshan Sud, during his recent visit to the city had pointed out that the government was committed to improve the infrastructure and meet the shortage of staff under a contingency plan.

Many hospital wards, which are part of the medical college, suffer from serious maladies and the patients suffer due to the lack of in-house facilities. During the visit to various wards, The Tribune reporters received complaints from the poor patients about the middlemen of outside medical diagnostic laboratories operating freely to collect blood and urine samples. The families of the patients alleged that these middlemen were charging higher rates for the tests in comparison to the hospital rates.

The pathological department was fully equipped but did not get enough work as doctors allegedly in league with private laboratories were sending samples to them. Even the ultrasound machine continued to be out of order and the doctors were forced to send the patients for tests to outside centres.

Medical superintendent Dr A.S. Padda said although they had taken strict steps to monitor the entry of agents of private labs to stop them from collecting samples but the strong nexus between certain doctors and the private labs was a serious concern. He said the hospital laboratory had shown good signs of growth with the clampdown and hoped that the things would improve through strict vigilance.



Security Concern
Movement restricted on Indo-Pak border 
P.K. Jaiswar/TNS

Amritsar, September 9
In view of a sudden spurt in the movement of anti-social elements on the Indo-Pak border, the district administration has restricted the movement within 500 metres 
of the border.

Deputy commissioner-cum-district magistrate K.S. Pannu while issuing the order under section 144 of the CrPC said all types of movements had been restricted from 8.30 am to 5 pm. However, Pannu added that the restrictions would not be applied to the police, the CRPF, the BSF, the home guard, Army personnel and officials of the excise and customs department.

It may be pertinent to mention here that a large hauls of heroin, arms and fake currency being smuggled into this side of the border by Paksitan-based smugglers were seized recently by the BSF which had raised concerns of various security agencies in India.

Meanwhile, the district administration has extended restrictions over the use of and enjoyment of land within and from 100 metres to 900 metres and in line with the boundary of the bomb dump at the Indian Air Force Station, Rajasansi, here. Earlier, the restrictions were imposed on a periphery of 100 meters.

Issuing the ban notification exercising his powers under sub-section 2 of section 3 of Works of the Defence Act 1903, Pannu said no construction of any type of building or structure and even plantation of trees would be allowed in the described area limits.

He said the matter was brought to his notice by the chief administrative officer, Air Force Station, Rajasansi, that the ministry of defence had imposed restrictions on the use and enjoyment of land in this area.



Political apathy has stunted city’s growth: NGO
Ashok Sethi and P K Jaiswar

Amritsar, September 9
The holy city has been lagging behind in growth and advancement largely due to political apathy and the strong and powerful public role. But a number of NGOs have been making vociferous demands to give a new impetus for the development of the city.

The Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM), which has been at the forefront to bring in the big projects, has drawn the attention of the state government to the large centre and state investments.

The state governments’ funding of Rs 165 crore to the municipal corporation, at the behest of local MP, Navjot Singh Sidhu, had been totally earmarked for the building of roads and to improve civic amenities.

This is a very small amount in comparison to the big projects which would improve the living conditions and clean the city. The projects which had been hanging fire include expansion of the Amritsar International Airport where the government is yet to finalise the acquisition of 44 acres of land for its immediate development. The central government had decided to bring the central university to the holy city and urged the state government to provide them 700 acres for this. However, the state government kept dithering for many months and finally took a decision to shift the university to Bathinda. It is sheer discrimination against the city as alleged by various NGOs. The local leadership needs to put their act together and rise to fight this political bias and and relocate the university back to the city.

A renowned educationist and a seasonal administrator confided, on condition of anonymity, that the ruling leadership was bent upon creating a regional bias and allowing all the mega projects to be shifted to places near Chandigarh or to the Malwa region.

Earlier, during the visit of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to the city in September 2004, he had outlined four major projects to be set up at Amritsar.

AVM said out of the four projects, including the setting up of Biotechnology Park, Centre for Guru Granth Sahib Studies, SEZ and four-laning of the G T Road till the Wagah Border, only the four-laning has been initiated while the other three projects have either been shifted to other cities or have been shelved for reasons best known to the government.

The highly ambitious freight corridor project proposed from Bombay to Ludhiana has been extended to Amritsar inspite of strong protest by local MP, Navjot Singh Sidhu. 



Elevated road to be ready by March next year 

Amritsar, September 9
The construction of the elevated road would be completed by March 2009 along with the repairing of city roads at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crore.

Stating this to the media here on Monday, Shwet Malik, mayor of Amritsar municipal corporation, said the holy city is all set for a makeover. Apart from construction of neat and clean roads, the city will get fluorescent lights, solar panels and new parks.

Besides, surveillance cameras would be installed on various roundabouts. Malik accused the previous Congress government in the state for not initiating any development projects, causing rapid deterioration of the city. Malik said complete transparency would be observed during the execution of the projects.aAll the councilors have been assigned the task of supervising the works going on in their respective areas, said the mayor, adding that around 800 road gullies would be constructed in the city soon to ensure proper draining out of rain water. Malik said green signal would also be given to the solid-waste management project, besides installing tube wells and constructing water tanks. — TNS



Faith Factor
Spiritual-ability contest for Sikh youth 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 9
The Kesh Sambhal Prachar Sanstha (KSPS) would organise a spiritual and general ability (SAGA) contest to be held from November 2 in which the Sikh youth from Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Jammu, Karnal, Delhi, Paonta Sahib, Lucknow, Indore and Mumbai will participate.

The KSPS’s Amritsar unit general secretary Sukhdev Singh Sandhawalia said on the basis of marks obtained by those appearing in the written test, 100 contestants would be selected for the quarterfinals. He said in the quarterfinals, the panels of judges would examine them from the point of view of their personality, talent, general and spiritual ability.

He said those contestants (boys and girls) who would be found not following the “rehat maryada” in regard to keeping their hair unshorn and boys with untrimmed beard and moustaches would not be able to qualify beyond the 
quarterfinal state.

The main aim of the KSPS, which was established in July 1997, has been to promote the spiritual way of living, besides promoting ancient Indian tradition of keeping the hair unshorn, besides propagating the Sikh tenets as propounded by the Sikh Gurus.

Sandhawalia said the top 40 selected from various places would have to come to Amritsar for the semi-finals which would be held seven to eight days before the finals. He said training in various personality traits (walking, speaking and confidence, etc.) to 16 finalists would be provided and four contestants would be selected for the final to be held on November 29. He said the candidate must be 15 to 25 year old on October 1, 2008.

He said the boy with the first position would be decorated as “He Khalsa”, while the girl would become “She Khalsa”. He said the toppers would be awarded a cash prize of Rs 21,000 each while the runners-up and the second runners-up would be given Rs 11,000 and Rs 7,500, respectively.



Don’t burn stubble, farmers told 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 9
The district administration has launched a major drive in the border belt to make farmers aware of the damage caused to soil nutrients by burning the stubble after harvest.

Deputy commissioner KS Pannu flagged off nine special vans, carrying the message of save soil nutrients for the golden harvest. The campaign was launched under Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) scheme sponsored by the agriculture department.

Talking to the mediapersons, Pannu said the government was contemplating to bring out a law against the erring farmers who indulge in stubble-burning. He said punitive action would be taken against offenders and the department would maintain utmost vigil in the border areas.

Chief agriculture officer Sukhdev Singh Sandhu said 545 lakh tonne of residual crops have been left behind after harvesting in the state. The burning of residual crops generates poisonous gases and creates air pollution, causing an adverse effect on the environment. He said the campaign would continue this month.

The department was keeping a close watch in potato, peas and vegetable belt where farmers engage in burning of stubble for sowing of fresh crops. 



Drivers plying autos with fake licences

Amritsar, September 9
To avoid legal action from the police and transport department, auto-rickshaw drivers here have managed to acquire fake motor documents, including driving licences.The fact came to light when Brij Bedi, social activist, and the chief traffic warden made a surprise check of auto-rickshaw drivers along with a police party by holding a naka near Hussainpura Chowk here today.

They found a handicap person (with disabled leg), Hardev Kumar, driving an auto-rickshaw.

When asked for driving licence, he produced a fake one, which he had managed to acquire from an influential property dealer, claimed Bedi.

Bedi said it was shocking to note that address mentioned in the licence was Chawinda Kalan village, tehsil Ajnala, Yatima Wala Khooh, GT Road, Chheharta, whereas no such place existed.

On verification it was found that it was a complete false address which exposed the working of the transport department, he added.— TNS



US Embassy team to interact with varsity faculty

Amritsar, September 9
Close on the heels of India’s major success in getting the NSG waiver at Vienna for the Indo-US nuclear pact, the American Embassy in Delhi has launched a major campaign to win over the Indian public and the media.

Three top-ranking US officials based in the embassy in New Delhi would be arriving here on a two-day hectic schedule to interact with the Guru Nanak Dev University faculty and students, besides meeting with the local media, business community and visiting different colleges and institutions to talk about the diverse issues relating to the Indo-Us relations. — TNS



Marriage of poor girls solemnised
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 9
The district unit of Red Cross Society today facilitated the marriage of four girls, Puja, Gauri, Aman and Pinki, all residents of Nari Niketan here.

The ‘kanyadan’ of the girls was done by deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu.

Mandhir Kaur, chairperson of hospital welfare section and association for Social Health in India (ASHI), was also present on the occasion.

The Red Cross gifted the necessary household items, including utensils, bed and sewing machine, to the girls. Some gold jewellery was also given to the girls. The ragi jathas performed kirtan and the management of Gurdwara Ranjit Avenue A-block honored Pannu and Mandhir Kaur with siropa. 



Motivational lecture

Amritsar, September 9
A lecture on ‘courage in difficult circumstances’ was organised by rotary club, Amritsar on September 3. Jaswant Singh Gill, former executive director of Coal India Limited, while addressing the members gave a brief history of coal mining and hazards related to it.

Gill said in 1973 when coal mines in the country were nationalised, lot of problems were created by various unions. Gill said he along with his family had to face the wrath of unions a number of times. The man was also instrumental in saving lives of 65 workers in a flooded mine in 1989 and was awarded Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak by the President of India. — TNS



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