SNC identifies smuggling spots in riverine belt
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
In a bid to thwart the nefarious designs of the international drug cartel which had been probing the loopholes on the Indo-Pak border to facilitate smuggling, the Special Narcotics Cell (SNC) has managed to identify certain vulnerable points in the riverine belt of the Harike and Ferozepore sector.

The revelations were made during the investigations into the case involving the sensational recovery of 15 kg of heroin worth Rs 75 crore on October 18.

It has been revealed that ex-servicemen had been involved in smuggling through the riverine belt who had become more active in illegal trade after surveillance was stepped up alongside the plain areas of the Amritsar and Tarn Taran sectors by the Border Security Force. It is pertinent to mention here that the border fencing in the riverine belt is vulnerable due to the changing course of the Beas and Sutlej rivers which converge at Harike and the flood waters which destroy the fencing, making an easy way for the smugglers to send narcotics and arms into Indian territory.

Worried over this, various agencies, including the SNC and the BSF, decided to identify various places and points in the riverine belt. The consignments recovered by the SNC in the last three major seizures were smuggled from this area. A total of 28 kg of narcotics have been recovered by the SNC in these three cases.

SNC SSP P.K. Sinha said during investigations they had identified certain points downstream Harike to Muththianwala. He said they had informed the BSF in this regard which would take corrective measures to plug the points. Meanwhile, he added that they were trying to trace the big fish involved in the smuggling network across the border through the mobile number seized from dismissed army man Harpal Singh, a resident of Mallanwala Khas, Ferozepore, and his brother-in-law Harjit Singh of Jhuggian Peer Baksh, Tarn Taran, who were caught with the contraband. Sinha said they were also trying to find out the person to whom the consignment was to be delivered. 



Smuggler held with fake currency

Amritsar, October 27
The special narcotics cell (SNC) seized fake currency worth Rs 5 lakh from notorious Indo-Pak and inter-state smuggler Sukhchain Singh, alias Chaina, a native of Khurmania (Chhehrta) here on Sunday.

SSP of SNC P.K. Sinha revealed that sleuths of the SNC, acting on a tip-off, apprehended Sukhchain Singh from an area of the bus stand, Daburji, where he was waiting for a party to deliver the consignment of fake Indian currency.

The seized fake currency notes were in the denominations of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500. A case was registered.

During preliminary investigations it was found that Sukhchain had close links with notorious Pakistan and India-based smugglers active in the border villages of Hawelian, Naushehra Dhalla, Raja Tal and many Pakistan villages along the border.

The consignment was pushed from the Pakistan side to the Indian territory from Naushehra Dhalla village side and was to be forwarded by Sukhchain Singh to other parts of the state and country.

The sources in the department revealed that the nabbed smuggler was an accomplice of Harpal Singh of the same village, who was recently caught by the directorate of revenue intelligence with Rs 11 lakh fake currency notes and five pistols. — TNS 



Global meltdown gives traders a glum Divali
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, October 27
The global economic meltdown and rising prices of essential commodities have had their tremendous fallout on Divali, which is generally celebrated with great bonhomie and traditional fervour.

The corporate gift culture and the exchange of souvenirs to mark the Divali festivities, which has spread to all segments of society, was generally missing as the shoppers were reluctant to go in for expensive gifts to please officials, friends and relations.

The rush in the gift and jewellery shops on the occasion of Dhanteras was missing as people made only small symbolic purchases to keep up with the tradition of this extremely expensive festival.

A leading jeweller in the holy city lamented that in spite of a drop in the gold prices there were few buyers trying to pick up small items and added that most of the big business houses and the families had to shun heavy purchases as the global recession have hit all segments of society. He said during Divali the jewellers in the city would do business in crores but the present economic scenario had depressed the bullion business. He said that they were looking to the coming marriage season which may generate some demand.

The people of the city were largely reluctant to venture out to buy a variety of items.

A businessman with interest in property and textiles, preferring to maintain anonymity, said he was keeping a low profile this time as business had seen a considerable drop. He said he would generally be giving gifts to his friends in official circles and would visit his friends and relations in a big way but this time the family had decided to limit the gifts to the minimum and only visit close relations.

Disturbed by the continued raids on the sweet shops by the department of health and sanitation, the people in the city preferred to buy dry fruits and other branded confectionery items as the sweet selling establishments were found to be unhygienic and not fit for health.

Shopkeepers across the city, who were looking forward to the festival for huge sales, were utterly disappointed due to lack of visitors and buyers. Only traditional items were being purchased by the families for celebrations.

Amritsar Divali, which is known for its big purchases somehow lacked the fervour of the festival on account of the economic turbulence which hit the world finances during the past two months. The sale of crackers and other similar items has dropped considerably due to the awakening of global warming and pollution awareness among people. 



Sweetshop challaned: Insects found in ‘chashni’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The district health authorities raided and challaned Bansal Sweet Shop situated in the Lawrence Road area here for not maintaining cleanliness and took samples of various sweets from the preparation unit of the shop.

The raiding party, led by medical officer Sukhwinder Sukhi and district food inspector Sukhrao Singh along with sanitary inspector Baldev Raj was shocked to see the condition of the sweet manufacturing unit with insects lying dead in the “chashni”. When the party raided the complex, workers of the sweetshop tried to hide the material. The sweetshop was challaned under the  Sanitation Act.

It is pertinent to mention that about a couple of days back, another health team had raided the shop and issued a warning for maintaining cleanliness. However, the shopkeeper failed to improve the working conditions of the manufacturing unit. 



Sultanwind Bridge  
MLAs’ efforts bear fruit, repair after Divali 
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The work on repairing the 124-year old Sultanwind bridge would be started after Divali. An amount of Rs 2 crore, allotted for the renovation of the bridge, has been handed over to the irrigation department by the municipal corporation.

Disclosing this, deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu said as per the orders of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the required money had been deposited with the irrigation department. He said all the estimates had been prepared and design approved.

The DC said after Divali, tenders would be floated in this regard and work would be started in November itself.

It is pertinent to mention here that MLAs Inderbir Singh Bularia and Malkiat Singh had taken up the matter with the Chief Minister during his “sangat darshan” programme in the city. The CM had immediately directed the district administration to prepare estimates for its urgent repairs.

The DC said the work would commence after the due process of inviting tenders was completed. He said that the project would be completed on a war footing.

The bridge has become accident-prone and a nightmare for the commuters as a hole in it is big enough to make a two-wheeler or a pedestrian fall prey. Further, there are no street lights or boards to alert the unsuspecting commuters, especially those coming from Tarn Taran side.



Old persons get home to stay 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The Guru Ram Dass old-age home constructed by the Vishvakarma Welfare Trust was formally inaugurated by Mayor Shawet Malik at a special function held here.

Situated in Akash Vihar at the Sultanwind canal link, the old-age home was constructed at a cost of Rs 1.50 crore.

The ground floor of the two-storied building has been completed with an expense of Rs 80 lakh, said Onkar Singh Sandhu, a writer and philanthropist, who conceived the idea of an old-age home when he met a group of senior citizens who gathered at a park everyday in the evening to share their experiences.

Sandhu said he was distressed to learn that a son of one of these persons met his father in the park only. The atmosphere at home was not conducive to such an interaction, he added. The bitter reality, he said, gave him the idea of an old-age home.

Thus, the Vishvakarma Welfare Trust came into existence, of which Sandhu is the managing trustee.

Joginder Singh Kalsi, executive trustee (finance) of the trust, said constructed on a land measuring 1150 yards, the home included board and lodging facilities for the inmates. It would also provide medical assistance, library, recreational activities, meditation, etc., he added. There were two parks on the old-age home premises.

Each room has an air-cooler and is suitably furnished. Apart from this, four independent suites have been constructed to accommodate four couples.

These suites comprise a bedroom with an attached bathroom and a drawing room.

The old-age home has been designed to provide accommodation to 60 persons in 30 rooms, with attached bathrooms and independent approach to their respective rooms. At present, the home can accommodate 30 persons with 15 rooms constructed on the ground floor.

Meanwhile, the trust distributed 21 stitching machines and 500 blankets among the needy families. The mayor, while giving assurance of all possible help on behalf of BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu (who was to earlier inaugurate the old-age home), announced to give Rs 10 lakh to the trust. Sidhu could not attend the function due to some engagements.



‘Reality shows do not promote classical music’
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The younger generations should adopt and learn classical singing and music. It’s not as difficult as people who start pursuing for shortcuts to gain prominence think it is, says Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar, the young scion of the Dagar family, which keeps alive the tradition of Dhrupad classical style of singing.

A 20th generation descendant of the family, Usatd Faiyaz said this while commenting on the surfeit of reality shows being telecast on various TV channels which were considered a sure shot way to success by the youth.

Talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of the four-day zonal youth festival being held at Guru Nanak Dev University here, he pointed out that “crash courses” to gain immediate success only crush students. He said such courses just acted as a means of providing introduction so that students could focus and work on it.

However, it should not be taken as sure shot mantra of success.

He said the younger generations should understand that classical singing was created by humans and they would enjoy once they learn its finer nuances.

The Dagar family is one of the only three major schools of Dhrupad, a form of classical singing, while the other two are the Mishras of Bettiah and the Mallicks of Darbhanga. The Dagar family is the oldest one to have kept this tradition alive for the past 20 generations.

“Reality shows promote individuals and not classical singing and music,” he lamented and added that he was dismayed that the TV channels only promoted themselves and real talent got lost in the advertising blitz projected by them. Criticising the channels of making a mockery of contests, he added that the verdict should be left to the judges rather than the public.

Ustad Wasifuddin, who is considered to be one of the foremost Dhrupad singers in India today after the demise of his father and later his uncle, has been giving solo performances. When asked about the future of Dhrupad style of classical singing, he said the young generation was showing a lot of promise and was flocking to attend the concerts, which is a very positive sign.

Though unmarried, the young Dagar said that it would be his earnest endeavour to give the same training to his family and children. He said many students were also learning Dhrupad from him.

When asked how to divert more youth towards classical singing, he said, “We should provide them opportunities and economical support in order to bring them back to roots.” 



Zonal Youth Festival
APJ college, Jalandhar, is ‘A’ division champion
Tribune news service

Amritsar, October 27
The APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, won the “A” division championship trophy, while the Master Gurbanta Singh Memorial College, Kartarpur (Jalandhar) lifted the “B” division championship trophy of the four-day zonal youth festival (C-Zone) of Guru Nanak Dev University which concluded here today. Over 1,000 student-artistes from 21 degree colleges of Jalandhar district affiliated to the university participated.

Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya, Jalandhar, and St. Soldiers College of Jalandhar remained runners-up in “A” and “B” divisions, respectively. In “A” division, the third place went to Kanya Maha Vidyalaya, Jalandhar, and DAV College, Jalandhar. In “B” division, Guru Nanak Khalsa Girls College, Baba Sang Dhesian, and DRV DAV College, Phillaur, got the third position in the festival.

Bhai Baldeep Singh, a world-famous exponent of shabad gayan, presided over the valedictory function and gave away trophies to the winners. Baljit Singh Sekhon, director, youth welfare, said over 1,000 students drawn from 21 degree colleges of Jalandhar district participated in 38 items of music, dance, fine arts, literary and theatre items.

Bhai Baldeep Singh while addressing the students, said it was very difficult to get adequate education and teacher could play a vital role in this regard.

He advised the students to learn traditional “vidya” (education) along with the modern disciplines. He also emphasised to learn traditional concept of an art to understand its details.



Students pledge to celebrate safe Divali

Amritsar, October 27
Hundreds of students of DAV Public School under the aegis of Sahodya Schools Complex (CBSE-affiliated schools) today pledged to celebrate clean, colourful but pollution-free Divali this year.

Gathering on the school premises, they formed a human chain decrying crackers. Raising slogans for a safe and pollution-free Divali, students sang songs holding each others hands creating awareness about the hazards of bursting crackers.

A student, Agam Shingari, the youngest tabla maestro and Limca Book record-holder, said, “We enjoy for a few minutes by bursting crackers, but when they cause an irreparable damage to our atmosphere.”

Another student, Sargun Kaur, a singer, who recently got accolades for her presentation at the “Shiv Batalvi ghazal nite” at Naatshala, said the crackers led to severe throat and eye problems and skin irritation. Moreover, the aspect of child labour involved in the making of these hazardous crackers should be discouraged by not purchasing and using crackers. — TNS



A lesson in caring, sharing for students on Divali
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
On the eve of Divali, students and staff of the Spring Dale Senior School visited Citizen Forum Vidya Mandir School to share the happiness of Divali with them. Candles, candies and tetra packs of juices were distributed among the schoolchildren. They were also served mouth-watering “puri, chane and halwa”.

They were shown animation movie “Jai Hanuman” which they found very entertaining. Citizen Forum Vidya Mandir is a school set up in Maqboolpura, popularly known as locality of widows as most of the families in the area have been struck by the menace of drug addiction.

In order to bring back the offspring of this locality into the mainstream of society, Master Ajit Singh had started the school for these hapless children. Spring Dale principal Manveen Sandhu said the students also invited Maqboolpura students to exhibit their talent in singing. She said Maqboolpura students sang melodious songs and recited beautiful poems and the best performers were given chocolates in order to boost their morale. She further said the main feature of today’s programme was that the students of Spring Dale had contributed from their own pocket money.



Special sammelan on Infantry Day
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
A special sainik sammelan was organised at Khasa Military Station by Panthers Division to commemorate the 61st Infantry Day. Wreaths were laid at the Dorgrai War Memorial by Major-Gen P.S. Paul, GOC, Panthers Division, and other officers.

Besides presenting a ceremonial guard, a two-minute silence was observed by the Army officers and jawans in the memory of those infantrymen who had made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. It was on this day in 1948, the first Indian Army unit - 1 Sikh - was airlifted to the besieged Kashmir valley, just in time to save the Srinagar airfield from falling into enemy’s hands and since then this day is observed as Infantry Day.

Exhorting the jawans to always be in a state of preparedness, Gen Paul said that they should fulfil the tasks assigned to them with fortitude, dedication, professionalism and pride. He reminded them that they were the mainstay and predominant arm of the Indian Army. He said it was due to the sacrifices made my the valiant soldiers that the Infantry had to its credit 17 Param Vir Chakras, 30 Ashoka Chakras, 113 Maha Vir Chakras and 403 Vir Chakras.

Gen Paul said that Infantry had brought laurels to the nation not only in the four wars and Operation Vijay in 1999 but also during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka and Operation Cactus executed in support of the Maldives government. Through their dedication, discipline and professionalism the Infantry men had earned the respect and admiration of their counterparts the world-over through deployment on UN missions, he added.

The GOC said besides zealously guarding the nation’s frontiers over 60 years of independent India’s turbulent history, Infantry battalions had acquitted themselves extremely creditably in internal security and counter-insurgency operations.



Homage paid to martyrs on police Commemoration Day 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The police Commemoration Day parade was held at Police Lines recently to pay homage to police personnel who laid down their lives while patrolling at Hot Spring (Ladakh) during an attack by the Chinese Army on October 21, 1959.

Tributes were also paid to police personnel who scarified their lives while on duty elsewhere in the country. Policemen reversed their arms in memory of the martyrs.

Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla was the chief guest who inaugurated the Martyrs Memorial in Police Lines and laid a wreath.

Border range DIG Parampal Singh Sidhu, deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu, SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh and other senior police officers of the district and prominent citizens were present on the occasion.

A two-minute silence was observed to pay respect to the martyrs. A large number of families of policemen who fell to the bullets of terrorists were also present.

Lauding the role of the Punjab police, health minister asked the police personnel to live a simple and corruption-free life to make the police force more respectable. She assured full cooperation to the families of the martyrs. She also appealed to all the departments concerned to help the families of the martyrs.



People given tips to keep dengue off
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Amritsar, October 27
Keeping in view the rising cases of dengue and air and noise pollution of Divali, a social awareness programme was organised by Mission Aagaaz in a private school. Residents of Guru Harkrishan Nagar, Surta Singh Road, along with the students participated in the programme.

Addressing the gathering, Mission Aagaaz president K.S. Takkar urged the people to keep their surroundings clean and free from stagnant water. He said by doing so, dengue could be averted to a large extent. He also told them to use “kari patta” in their daily food as it acted an anti-oxidant and in case one suffered from dengue, a glass of juice of a hedge named “glow” which increased the blood platelet count, could also be taken. By adopting these minor measures one could be saved from dengue, he added.

Takkar urged the sweet makers to restrain from preparing spurious sweets on the festival of Divali. He termed this as the most heinous act as it affected children and old people a lot.

Plants of “kari patta” and hibiscus were distributed on the occasion to mark green Deepawali. Students of the Mahila Navchetna Abhiyan presented cultural items on the occasion.

Meamwhile, the NGO distributed 150 saplings among the people and urged them to celebrate Divali by planting these and minimise the use of crackers. It also distributed another 100 saplings among the students of the school.



3 robbers nabbed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The district police nabbed three robbers when they were escaping after robbing one Shera of mobile phone and some cash last evening.

The accused were identified as Tehal Singh, alias Kulcha, Mahesh Kumar, alias Meshi,and Gurpreet Singh, alias Gopi, all residents of Sandhu Colony here.

Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP, said the Vijay Nagar police has lodged a complaint on the statements of Shera. He was going near Indera Colony when the incident took place.

According to Shera, the accused forcibly stopped him and attacked him with a knife snatching his mobile phone and some cash from him.

He said the police party arrested the robbers and recovered the mobile phone and knife used in the crime.



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