Five-marla Houses
Free water, sewer facilities may end
Under pressure to fulfil condition for central funds, local bodies dept forwards plan

Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
The free water and sewerage facilities announced by the previous Congress government for the owners of five-marla houses in the holy city would soon be withdrawn if the comprehensive plan submitted by the local bodies department to the Punjab government is approved.

According to sources, the local bodies department had to fulfil this condition in order to get second instalment of the central funds worth Rs 3,291 crore for providing better water and sewerage services to the consumers in Punjab.

Baldev Raj Chawla, chairman, water supply and sewerage board, had already made it clear that by the end of December the work on this ambitious project would be launched on a war footing.

However, Chawla said the state cabinet had already taken a decision to continue the free water services to the five-marla house owners in the city.

He said they were taking the help of NGOs and religious bodies to educate people against wasting precious water which was already receding fast in the state. Municipal corporation commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda said no decision had been taken by the government till date and local bodies department had sought the figures of the freebies being given to the citizens.

The previous government, headed by Capt Amarinder Singh, in July 2006 had provided free water and sewerage services to about 10,500 people having plots measuring 125 square yards, besides waiving the arrears.

The central government had asked the local bodies department as to how the corporation would be able to repay the loan as the municipal corporation had failed to generate resources.

Even then the department was successful in collecting taxes to the tune of Rs 12.50 crore.

This year the department could collect only Rs 5.5 crore during the first six months against the target of Rs 14.25 crore for 2008-09. If the state government continued to provide free water and sewerage services the day would not be far when the corporation would have no funds to pay even the salaries to its employees, leave alone the development works.

The work under this project has already commenced in the Majitha block of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Malout. An amount of Rs 36.90 crore has already been passed for the development works in Amritsar and work to the tune of Rs 19 crore is under way in various areas on the periphery of the city.

If the state government approves the plan sent by the local bodies department, the consumers, especially the weaker sections of society, would have to pay for the water and sewerage to the corporation. As per available figures, only 50,000 consumers were paying the bills in the city.



Woman, daughter crushed by tractor-trailer

Amritsar, October 24
A woman and her one-and-half-year-old daughter were crushed by a speeding tractor-trailer near Sakki Nallah here this morning.

The deceased have been identified as Kanwalpreet Kaur of Ball Labbe vilaage and Monika. Lakhwinder Singh, Kanwalpreet’s husband, said he along with his wife and daughter was going to Ajnala on a motorcycle when near Sakki Nallah a tractor-trailer hit his bike from behind. As a result of the collision, Kaur and Monika fell down and were crushed under the wheels of the tractor, said Lakhwinder, who also sustained injuries in the accident.

The tractor also hit a cyclist Jagir Singh who was seriously injured and was admitted to a hospital with broken legs. The driver of the tractor fled from the scene, leaving the vehicle behind. A case has been registered at Ajnala police station. — TNS



Dengue situation worsens
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
With as many as 40 new patients, with suspected and confirmed dengue reportedly admitted to various hospitals here today, the dengue threat continues to be a major headache for the health and civic authorities.

Of this, 19 cases were brought to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, nine to the civil hospital, while 12 were rushed to Fortis Hospital. Four patients were admitted to Arora Hospital at in the Chhehrta area yesterday.

All the efforts put in by the health and civic authorities proved to be inadequate as the medical fraternity was bewildered with more and more cases being reported in hospitals daily. The number of patients admitted in various private hospitals could not be counted due to lack of nodal health services to determine the exact numbers.

Dr R.P.S. Boparai, medical superintendent, GNDH, said out of the patients admitted in the hospital, 16 had been confirmed with dengue. When asked about the reasons for such a huge numbers of cases being reported daily, he said due to a heavy rainfall during the season, the breeding of mosquitoes might be high. Moreover, he opined that the insecticide spray and fogging as claimed to be undertaken by the civic authorities seemed to be insufficient and they should take more steps in this regard.

It is pertinent to mention here that the tall claims by the health department and the municipal corporation were proving futile. The people rued that the corporation had failed to initiate any steps to check cleanliness as huge dumps of garbage could be seen at every nook and corner of the city.

Despite repeated attempts, civil surgeon Dr Lehmbar Singh could not be contacted.



Tarn Taran in trouble too
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 24
With a reported case of dengue in the town, it is a wakeup call for the health department and municipal council.

The reported dengue patient is Maninder Singh (37), son of Parshotam Singh, resident of Gali Masteran Wali of the town, an employee of the health department. Maninder is posted at Dhotian village as a multipurpose health worker (MHW). Maninder has been admitted to Fortis Escorts Multispecialty Hospital, Amritsar, where his condition is stated to be stable. After confirming the dengue case, the Escorts hospital authorities brought the matter to the notice of the district health officials. Dr Gagandeep Singh Grower, epidemiologist, said when the district authorities were told about the dengue case in the town, the authorities immediately dispatched a team of seven employees, headed by a sanitary inspector, to look into the matter.

Dr Grower said a 22-member team, headed by two sanitary inspectors, had been constituted by the department and would start functioning from tomorrow by making visits to various localities, including the residences of the dengue patients.

He said it is the second dengue patient in the district, though the first patient, Girdaur Singh, resident of Piddi village, had suffered from the disease after visiting Amritsar.

He said the department had launched awareness campaign in the town to educate the masses about the epidemic.

The municipal council authorities are yet to come out of their deep slumber as they have not taken any precautionary measures, including the fogging in the town.



Sikh jatha arrives from Peshawar
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
Sikh jathas continue to arrive in the city from Pakistan through the Wagah joint check post to participate in the Gurta Gaddi Divas of Guru Granth Sahib at Takht Hazur Sahib in Nanded. An 80-member Sikh jatha from Peshawar, led by Surjit Singh, arrived this evening through the Wagah joint check post today.

Talking to mediapersons, Surjit said there was great enthusiasm among the Sikh community in Pakistan for participating in the celebration at Takht Hazur Sahib.

But in the absence of visa facilities many Sikh devotees could not come to India, he added. Earlier, too, a 165-member Sikh jatha had arrived at the Attari international railway station late last night through the Samjhauta Express.

The devotees are at present staying in the holy city from where they would proceed through the Nanded Express train tomorrow.



City emerging as major health tourism hub
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, October 24
The holy city has been offering multi-speciality health services for many decades due to which a number of foreign patients have been coming here for the treatment of various ailments.

Recently Al Hameedi from Iran flew from Dubai to get treatment for vein closure.

Hameedi, while talking to The Tribune, said he learnt about this cure from his local rice dealer who had been in touch with him with regard to this problem.

He said the local contact got in touch with Dr Atul Kapoor, a senior radiologist, who sought an appointment for treatment.

Hameedi said he also sought opinion from other countries but was convinced that Amritsar and its doctors would cure his problem. Lauding the health care system, he said he was pleased that Dr Kapoor had given him the best possible treatment and he would fly back home fully treated and satisfied.

He said the package offered by the local specialist was very reasonable.

Dr Kapoor said he had specialised for this treatment from the USA two years ago and had treated more than 200 patients till date who had been suffering from blow-up veins in the legs due to ulcer and other ailments.

He said the patients faced a lot of pain and difficulties and through the process of needle lasers he managed to cure the ailment. He said he has been receiving queries from a large number of NRIs settled in Europe, the USA, Canada and Middle East.

He urged the government to develop international standard infrastructure in the city so that more patients visit it for treatment.

This city provides world-class treatment for all kinds of eye ailments with renowned eye specialists like Dr Daljit Singh, Dr Rajbir Singh and Dr Rohit Om Parkash who had been rendering world-class cure for various eye diseases.



Despair over walkway repair
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
A large number of regular morning and evening walkers who converge on the historic Rambagh Gardens, popularly known as Company Bagh, have raised serious concern over the digging of about 1-km-long patch of the walkway.

The road from Service Club to Baradari Gate, near Gamla Ghar (pot house), was dismantled during conservation and restoration work for the past one year while no attention was being given to repair it.

All-India Social Service Volunteers Force (AISSVF) Welfare Society president Gurnam Singh Gill, in a letter to the tourism secretary and the deputy commissioner said the patch of the road was the main route for people who wanted to take a walk. The morning walkers were facing inconvenience due to digging of the road resulting in clouds of dust.

Society chairman Kultar Singh Chawla said they had discussed the issue with the tourism secretary along with consultant architect Gurmeet Rai and contractor from Delhi Jaspal Singh, who had assured them of completing the work shortly. However, regretting the attitude of the authorities concerned, they said no progress had been made in the repair of the road. Chawla said the contractor should first have completed the renovation of heritage buildings in the historical garden and then gone for repairing and digging of the roads.

Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu said the renovation work was stopped as the contract for the same was to be allotted. As of now the contract had been allotted and the work would start after Divali, he added.



150 kg spurious sweets seized
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
Taking serious view of the poor quality of sweets being produced by a large number of confectioners and sweet shops, health officials have destroyed adulterated sweets and seized 150 kg of spurious “sonpapri” from a runaway tempo which was caught after a chase.

The health department has taken samples of sweets from a number of shops from various parts of the city in a bid to check adulteration and sale of poor and unhygienic quality sweets to be sold during Divali.

According to information, the team took samples of khoya, paneer, burfi and other milk products from New Lakshmi Bikaner Sweet Shop situated on Kachehri Chowk, Ashoka Sweet Shop, Rani Ka Bagh, and various shopkeepers from Tarn Taran Road, Guru Arjun Dev Nagar and different grocery stores.

Earlier, district food inspector Sukhrao Singh and sanitary inspector Baldev Raj had put up a naka outside railway station to catch a Tata truck carrying some consignment of “sonpapri”. When signalled to stop, the driver fled towards Queenz Road and the team caught hold of him. The team found the sweets packed in unhygienic conditions. The sweet had completed its shelf life. In all, 150 kg of the sweets were confiscated. On investigation, the driver of the tempo revealed that he was carrying the consignment given to him by Gopal of Surta Singh Road. He was asked to deliver the sweets at Rayya. Later, the owner of the sweets denied that he had asked the driver to deliver the sweets at Rayya but said the driver was supposed to destroy the consignment.

Meanwhile, civil surgeon Dr Lehmbar Singh said the “sonpapri” was not fit for human consumption and samples had been drawn for further investigation 



Majithia details big development plan for Majitha
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
A massive development plan has been prepared for the Majitha block of Amritsar. This was stated by information minister Bikram Singh Majithia in a release issued to the press today. The idea is to complete all the development projects in next three years, said the minister after a meeting at Athwal villager in Tarsika block of Majitha.

He said to improve the standard of education in Majitha constituency 20 schools were being opened at a cost of Rs 30-35 lakh. They would provide primary education to around 7,000 students in the area. He further said the Khalsa College for Girls would be opened soon in Chawinda area. He said free education, food and uniforms would be distributed among the students. Majithia said a road network of 30 km would be constructed at a cost of Rs 20 crore to improve the basic infrastructure in Majitha constituency. He said the government was introducing private sector thermal electricity projects in Goindwal Sahib, Rajpura, Talwandi Sabo and Gidderbaha to make the state self sufficient in power production.



Campus buzz
1,000 students participate in zonal youth fest

Amritsar, October 24
The four-day zonal youth (C-zone) festival of Guru Nanak Dev University opened here on Friday. It started with bhangra in Dasmesh Auditorium in which more than 1,000 students and artistes from 21 colleges of Jalandhar are participating in 38 items of dance, music, theatre, literary and fine arts.

Dagarvani Dhrupad singer Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar from New Delhi inaugurated the festival.

Youth welfare director Baljit Singh Sekhon honoured Ustad Dagar on behalf of the university on this occasion.

While blessing the student artistes, Ustad Dagar highlighted the importance of cultural fests and musical concerts. Describing the students as future of the country, he said that our ancestors always remained conscious about the future of their wards and now-a-days “we are equally concerned about our future generation”.

He said this problem was being faced since centuries. Thus, this problem of parents is a natural phenomenon but without hard labour and dedication no one could achieve the heights in their field whether he was a singer or a scientist and so on. The classical art of music taught by our forefathers needed to be passed on to the next generation, he added.

The contests of bhangra, mimicry, skit, histrionics and mime enthralled the audience. The competitions for classical vocal, classical instrumental (percussion), classical instrumental (non-percussion) and semi-classical vocal were held in the auditorium.

Employees’ body poll

The group led by Suwinderjit Singh made a clean sweep in the Guru Nanak Dev University (Non-Teaching) Employees Association elections for the year 2008-09 held on Thursday, the results of which were declared on Thursday night. He has the credit of becoming the president of the association for the consecutive sixth term. Balbir Singh was elected senior vice-president, while Harbans Singh became vice-president.

The post of the secretary was retained by Surjit Singh Cholia, while Hardeep Singh Nagra was re-elected joint secretary. Gurmeet Singh won the post of secretary (public relations) and Gaganjit Singh treasurer.

Aman Kumar, Jyoti Prasad, Avtar Singh, Nirmal Singh, Surinder Kumar, Gurmukh Singh Chabba, Kulwant Singh, Balwinder Singh, Rakesh Kumar and Sharanjit Singh were elected executive members. — TNS



School Buzz
Rallying for anti-cracker Divali
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
The students and staff of SL Bhawan’s Public School organised an anti-cracker rally at Bhandari Bridge. The principal of the school Anita Bhalla said the students carried placards and banners creating awareness regarding the pollution caused by crackers during Divali.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh while addressing the rally there was no point wasting money on crackers. “Global warming was a major challenge facing the world and it’s our moral responsibility to jointly work to save the mother Earth,” he added. Springdale also sensitised students about the harmful effects of crackers on environment. Principal Manveen Sandhu said the students have pledged to say no to crackers this Divali.

The students of Senior Study II also organised a rally in Putlighar area of the city to create awareness regarding environmental pollution. Col Harcharan Singh, Olympic Hockey player along with Brigadier GS Sandhu, director of Lovedale School, flagged off an environment awareness rally organised by the students and staff of the school.

Soccer tourney

Davindera International School won the 2nd Seven Star Football Tournament which concluded at St Francis School today.

St Francis School and Khalsa College Public school were declared first and second runners up, respectively. Giving details of the tournament, Father Roby, director of St Francis School said 20 teams from 14 different school participated in the tournament. He also gave away prizes to the winning teams.



Turning dream into reality

Living your life and portraying it through cinema is every moviemakers dream. And that is what debutant director Kaushik Ghatak has done in his film Ek Vivaah... Aisa Bhi.

"The concept of the film is very close to my heart. I have actually lived the life I have portrayed in my film. I have had to stay away from family and my home to make a career and also had been in love with my wife for more than seven years before we got married," said Ghatak "I knew exactly the way the emotions needed to be shown on screen and it has been much easier for me to explain the characters to the cast. I am sure loads of Indians will relate easily to the characters and emotions in the film," he added.

Isha Kopikkar and Sonu Sood play main leads in the film that is schedule for Nov ember 7 release. — ANI, IANS



Mazdoor union thanks minister

Amritsar, October 24
The Punjab Pradesh Galla Mazdoor Union (PPGMU) today organised a meeting to thank Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, food and supplies minister, at Chheharta railway station in which thousands of members of the union from Jandiala Guru, Patti and Rayya participated.

Addressing the gathering, Channan Singh, president, PPGMU, said the previous governments had failed to revise the rates for stitching, loading and unloading of bags since 1995. He claimed that Kairon, during the assembly elections in the state in 2007 had promised to enhance the rates. He said after coming to power the minister had fulfilled the promise and enhanced the rates by more than two folds.

Pritam Singh, Joginder Singh and Sarwan Singh from Jandiala, Baldev Singh Billu, Dalip Singh and Sucha Singh from Tarn Taran, Surta Singh and Jaimal Singh from Patti and Dara Singh, Sardul Singh and Dalip Singh from Rayya addressed the gathering. — OC



‘Maximum complaints against telecom dept, insurance firms’
State consumer commission head inspects local unit’s working
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
Justice SN Aggarwal, president of state consumer disputes redressal commission, today expressed satisfaction over the working of district consumer dispute redressal forum. He was here for annual inspection of the Amritsar unit of the commission. Earlier, he was accorded warm welcome by SP Bangar, district and session judge, BS Mangat, additional district and session judge (retd) and president of district unit of redressal forum along with other authorities from the judiciary.

Justice Aggarwal said the forums at major cities of the state are doing good work but the people in the other parts of the state were still not aware about the facilities being provided by consumer forums.

He said soon new presidents would be appointed at newly-created districts of Tarn Taran and Mohali. A major chunk of complaints received by the forum are against the telecom department and insurance companies followed by electricity and postal departments. He said such disputes are solved by the forum within 90 days.



Drama, poetry tips for Springdale students
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
To discover and nurture the latent skills of students, a drama and poetry workshop was organised at Spring Dale School by noted playwright Rani Drew and poet John Drew of University of Cambridge. The couple is known worldwide for their creative talent.

Rani Drew taught the students about the art of creative writing and discussed her famous works like ‘Cleopatra and Asian Galaxy’ and ‘Glimpses of the World’. They were also given tips on expressions, nonverbal communication skills, body language and voice modulation. A lot of emphasis was laid on spontaneity and variety, two essential ingredients of any work of art. She said students must be encouraged to develop imagination.

John Drew, who has many books on poems to his credit, said emotion is essential for poetry. Ordinary prose writing appeals more to the head than heart, but the function of poetry is to touch the heart. Besides, a lyricist should take care of rhythm, rhyme, vision and imagery in his work. Also alliteration, repetition, onomatopoeia and refrain add to the beauty of a poem.




Spreading joy

Amritsar: ICICI Prudential, a life insurance company, would light up the Divali celebrations of children of Nishkaam Public School, a unique school run by a retired government official for rag pickers. The company would distribute sweets, books, copies and other items among the children on Saturday. — TNS

Taekwondo meet

Amritsar: District Amritsar Taekwondo Association is organising a one-day championship at Badminton Hall in Goal Bagh here on Saturday. More than 300 participants from different schools of Amritsar district were likely to participate in the competition. — TNS

Maha sammelan

Amritsar: The local chapter of Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyala would organize a three-day maha sammelan on the topic “Experiencing God’s Powers” from November 2. Rajyogini Hriday Mohini would address the gathering on the inaugural day. — TNS



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