Farmers to get more Happy Seeders
Tech fillip for farm sector
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 18
The ‘Happy Seeder’ machine which was introduced last year in a low-key affair would be promoted in the region in a big way to improve mechanical farming to boost production.

Deputy commissioner KS Pannu is evincing keen interest in the project to modernise farming and cut costs to make the sector a more profitable venture. Under his supervision, an improved model of Happy Seeder was introduced in the district this season. The DC said the improvisation has yielded good results and more machines have been ordered from a manufacturer in Ramdass area of the border district.

Pannu recently visited Butari village to supervise the performance of the machine and gather proper feedback from farmers. A transit-cum-walk demonstration, wherein a cluster area was sown with the improved version of Happy Seeder, was organised by the agriculture department.

While detailing the benefits of the new machine, the Dc said it would not only curb the tendency of burning the paddy straw but would greatly help in improving the soil fertility. “With the presence of mulch, weed control would also be very effective,” he said.

The agriculture service centers, which are successfully working in the district, are providing Happy Seeder to farmers on custom-hiring basis. The farmers need not to buy it. Pannu said the same machine would be used for sowing of Moong. “The technology would lead to a significant reduction in production cost of wheat in terms of saving on fertiliser use and enhanced water-use efficiency. The environmentally-friendly technology will further reduce the air pollution that results from burning of crop residue,” he added. He said around 1,000 acre was expected to be sown this year using the new technology. The farmers would be able to save nearly Rs 2,000 per acre by using this technique, which also contributes to maintaining a clean environment. “Now, there is no need to plough the fields before wheat-sowing,” said the DC.



Govt mulls regularisation of illegal colonies
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, November 18
Expressing serious concern over lack of basic amenities in a large number of unauthorised colonies, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sought complete information about these colonies which have mushroomed over the past several years.

As many as 158 such colonies had sprung up before 2003 while some more came up later without meeting the norms set by PUDA.

The Chief Minister has asked the commissioner of the municipal corporation to give complete details of the colonies so that a proper action plan could be worked out to improve the civic infrastructure.

Commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda told The Tribune that the government was mulling the concept of regularising these colonies by claiming development charges from them to provide civic amenities.

He said, according to the norms of PUDA, every authorised colony had to shell out Rs 40 lakh per acre as development charges. While these rates were considered very high by these colonies, the government may come out with a bailout package for them.

He said, according to the PUDA regulations, colonies with 75 acres of real estate were allowed to establish residential areas but much to the chagrin of the government, some of the small colonisers had built residential areas with much lower acreage to circumvent the PUDA law and were thus avoiding paying the development charges.

The government has been planning to come out with a special scheme which may lower the charges and all the colonies, which were outside the ambit of PUDA regulations, may be roped in to have better infrastructure and civic amenities, including water sewerage, roads, street lighting etc.

He said the government had decided to constitute a committee with representatives from the MC and PUDA to present a report on these colonies so that some plan could be evolved to bring them into the mainstream residential and commercial areas.



Guru Gyan
SHOs to get mentors for better policing
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
An SP or DSP-rank official would be appointed as a mentor to inspire the station house officers (SHOs) of various police stations in the district to bring out better quality of work from them and to ensure transparency in the police system.

These mentors would visit their appointed police stations weekly (preferably on every Thursday) for about four hours. The visiting police officers would have to give their remarks on the working of the SHOs, besides overall performance of the police stations, also giving reports to district police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh regarding the improvements brought in the working.

Talking to The Tribune, the SSP said the exercise would also help in bringing the community closer to the police. He said certain functions had been lined out for the officer and in charge of the police stations.

The in charge would have to encourage the SHOs to work for “result-oriented policing” for which he would hold meetings with beat officers and take feedback from them.

What is more important is that these officers would also brief investigating officers to dispose of long-pending investigations, especially into heinous crimes and cases which had been pending for a long time, besides ensuring presentation of challan in the court within the stipulated period.

Under this new campaign, the SSP has directed the senior officer in charge to constantly monitor the menace of drug abuse in their areas. He said the officers would also supervise the progress to nab the absconders and proclaimed offenders.

Singh said in the stepped-up vigil the police would improve surveillance against the bad characters and other anti-social elements moving in the area.

He said it would ensure better policing in the area, besides improving inter-personal relations with senior officers to mitigate the problems faced by the subordinate staff.



Red Cross DAV excels in Special Olympics
Tribune News Service

Amritsar November 18
Eight students of Red Cross DAV School for the mentally and physically challenged here brought laurels to their school bagging 21 medals in the recently concluded Punjab State Special Olympic Games held at Ludhiana.

The school won six gold, four silver and 11 bronze medals bringing the total medal tally of 21.

Dr Neelam Kamra, principal, BBK DAV College, and Neera Sharma, principal, DAV Public School, said four students of the school, Shalinder, Mohit, Ankit and Kewal, did exceedingly well by winning three medals each in various athletic competitions.

Shalinder and Mohit bagged gold medals in the 200m race, besides winning silver and bronze in shotput throw and 100m race, respectively, in different age groups.

Kewal clinched three medals, including a gold, in 100m and silver in 200m, besides a bronze in shotput throw. Ankit bagged a gold in shotput throw and silver and bronze in 100m and 200m race, respectively. All the winners were given medals and tracksuits by the Punjab state organisers.

Significantly, Shalinder, who won three golds in athletics and was chosen the best athlete last year at the National Special Olympics, has also achieved the grand distinction of being chosen to “represent India” at the International Special Olympics to be held in Pakistan in 2010.

The school has added another feather to its cap with three of its students, Shalinder, a deaf and dumb student, Heena and Mohit, who have been selected to be awarded by Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) for excellence in painting, at Governor’s house on November 19, the birthday of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.



PNB reaches out to students

Amritsar, November 18
Punjab National Bank here has launched a pan-India campaign for school students to create awareness about banking services and to develop their habits for opening bank accounts.

Bank DGM V.M. Upadhyay told The Tribune that during the special campaign the students were informed about various banking schemes and other educational plans specially designed for the students to pursue their studies. He said the bank was offering a zero balance savings fund account for the students of 10 years and above. He said that bank offered services like issuing bank draft of all types of fees, besides anywhere anytime banking facilities through its vast network of branches and free cost of ATM debit cards. He said the students of above 18 were also eligible for the overdraft facility.

Earlier, the bank organised an inter-school essay competition at DAV Public School on Children’s day. The first prize was won by Jaskaran Singh of Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Basant Avenue, the second prize went to Navkiran of Spring Dale School and the third prize to Amritpal Kaur of Harkrishan Public School. Celebrations for underprivileged: Holy Heart Presidency School organised a special cultural programme for the underprivileged students of Bal Vatika School being run by the institution. Students presented cultural items. Gifts were distributed among the children. — OC



Navigational surgery expert felicitated
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
German-based Aesculap Academy felicitated Dr Avtar Singh, a leading orthopaedician, and joint replacement surgeon of northern India, for completing more than 500 computer-assisted knee replacement surgeries during the past three years. Of these 200 surgeries (about 40 per cent) were performed this year.

Dr Harald Zehetgruber (Austria), who was a special guest from the academy, described Dr Singh as pioneer in the orthopiolet navigational surgeries. Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia was the chief guest on the occasion.

Dr Singh had completed about 1,000 computer-assisted hip and joint replacement, during the past three years since navigational equipment brought by him to Amritsar.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Avtar said osteoarthritis of knee was more prevalent in women than men while in a majority of the cases obesity was the main reason of the disease. He said India was the cheapest place for the replacement surgery. The technique has brought a revolution in joint replacement.

The cabinet minister congratulated Dr Singh for his achievement and appreciated on behalf of the government for doing such services to the city and society with various schemes run by NGOs and governments. The hospital run by Dr Avtar Singh and his wife Dr Amandeep Kaur was associated with the Smile Train Organisaiton who provide free cleft lip surgeries. 



Fund Factor
Finally, Rs 25 cr released for elevated road
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
After four-month-long correspondence, the state government finally released Rs 25 crore to complete the ambitious Rs 140-crore elevated road project here.

Earlier, the government, especially the finance department, had been dithering to release the required grant.

The Rs 140-crore project would provide devotees a shorter link to the Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh. The elevated road is one of the most-talked about projects planned for Amritsar.

During his visit to Amritsar in April 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced 50 per cent central grants for the project.

The incomplete road project work has left commuters a harried lot as mismanagement is causing huge traffic snarls on the national highway everyday. The roads on both sides of the upcoming elevated road are potholed and mismanagement of traffic leads to frequent traffic bottlenecks.

This is primarily due to the indifferent attitude of the state government even as the central government had already released its due share. Gamon India has been allotted the contract. Despite the fact that the construction company had not yet received about Rs 8 crore, they continued the work, though at a snail’s pace.



Band of brothers spreads joy in Maqboolpura
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
Didar Singh and Iqbal Singh, NRI brothers from the UK, lit up a glum day in the life of the students of the Citizens Vidya Mandir at Maqboolpura. The philanthropist brothers organised a small party and enjoyed the celebrations for the students of the school situated on the outskirts of the city.

Earlier, Didar and Iqbal organised a path of Sukhmani Sahib in the Bhai Veer Singh Hall and invited all the children of the school where they also held the party.

The Singh brothers brought in big cakes and distributed sweets among the students.

The NRI brothers have been associated with the school where about 400 children of victims of families of drug abuse have been getting free education and other facilities for the last four years.

Iqbal Singh said they would also provide pullovers and contribute to build a bigger complex to accommodate more children of the area.

The duo lauded the efforts of Master Ajit Singh and Brij Bedi, social activists who have been passionately working to uplift the children of this neglected part of the city.

The situation has been so alarming that the area has earned the dubious tag of being the locality of widows.

Iqbal Singh, who had earlier donated Rs 1.50 lakh for the construction of a new building, said they would also get more help from friends and relations back home to push in more money for the school.



Campus Beat
DAV grads bag placements
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
Rohini Duggal of the BBK DAV College for Women has bagged the top position in the eighth semester of the bachelor of multimedia examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University securing 98 per cent marks. Jasleen has secured the third, while Jasmeen got the fifth position. Principal Neelam Kamra said these students had already got placements in various TV channels. She said since the inception of the college many students had got placements in the electronic and print media.

Seminar on slowdown

“Coordinated fiscal stimulus plan was needed to arrest the global recession and to remedy the deteriorating financial health of the economies across the world,” said Dr Sucha Singh Gill, head of the department of economics, Punjabi University, while delivering a lecture on “Global meltdown and its impact on Indian economy” organised by DAV College here on November 17.

Dr Gill said although the present financial crisis started in the USA, it would affect the developing economies like India. As a result the GDP growth may slide down to 7 per cent from more than an average 9 per cent during the past four years. While dwelling on the causes of financial meltdown, Dr Gill opined that lack of proper regulation of international financial system, particularly in the USA and other developed economies, had given rise to economic instability. The only silver lining was that Indian economy would not be as badly affected as other economies around the world.



Youth should do their bit for preservation of culture: Brahmpura
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 18
Rural development and panchayt minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura has asked the students to come forward to preserve the rich Punjabi cultural heritage. The minister was speaking during a seminar on Punjabi literature held at Mata Ganga Girls College here today. The function, organised by the Punjab language department, was presided over by Iqbal Singh, SSP Amritsar (Rural).

The minister said promotion of Punjabi language was among top agendas of the government. During the conference, Prof Satinder Singh and Dr Jagbir Singh from New Delhi read their research papers on Guru Gobind Singh and his contribution to the Indian culture. The SSP also spoke on the literature written by the tenth Sikh Master. Among others, deputy director Harjit Kaur, assistant director Veer Pal Kaur, story-writer Talwinder Singh, Nirmal Arpan, Biba Kulwant , Ranjit Komal, Surinder Nimana, Boota Ram, Pal Singh Vallaha and Iqbal Singh were also present on the occasion.



Huge haul of pirated CDs; two arrested
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
On a tip-off, the district police seized hundreds of pirated and pornographic CDs after conducting raids on Sethi Electronics in Ram Bagh and Sonu CD Centre, Ravi Dass Road, here.

A case has been registered against the accused who have been identified as Vishal Kumar Sethi and Surinder Kumar, in the A Division police station, it was reported here today. The police seized 412 MP3 CDs, 135 Chitrahar CDs, 330 film DVDs and 82 film VCDs.

The city police has recovered titles and MP3s of movies like Khwahish, Dostana, Kidnap, Singh is Kinng, Welcome, Hello, Race, Naqaab, etc. The police has arrested the accused.



Jaspreet gets Priyadarshani award
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 18
Woman artist Dr Jaspreet Kaur has been selected for the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshani award 2008. She had the distinction of making a hand carved three dimensional wall hanging replica of the Golden Temple.

Jaspreet, who has done doctorate in history specialising in pre-partition phase of Sikh politics, had set up a firm, Golden Curios, has been listed as a top artist who had been making replicas of the Golden Temple and other sacred Indian monuments and plaques based on numerous Indian traditional themes.

Talking to The Tribune, she said it was very exciting moment for her to receive such an important honour on the 89th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi on November 19 in New Delhi. She said it was an honour for her to present the first replica of the Golden Temple to then President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during his visit to the holy city in March 2003. She also had the distinction of designing mementos for the 500th “parkash utsav” of Guru Angad Dev, World Punjabi Conference, the Amritsar heritage festival and various other such occasions.



Puran Singh award goes to Bhupinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
Dr Bhupinder Singh, department of Punjabi, Khalsa College, was honoured with the Bhagat Puran Singh award for his contribution in the academic, social and cultural fields.

He was conferred the award by Cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia at a function organised by the Punjab Youth Forum at the local Art Gallery recently. Earlier, he was honoured with the “Ambassador of Peace” award by the Universal Peace Federation, Inter-Religious and International Federation for World Peace in 2006.

He reiterated his commitment for promotion of the Punjabi culture and literature to the national level. During his 20-year-long teaching career, he remained associated with the Red Ribbon Club and the Fine Arts Club, besides having two books to his credit “Sital De Navalkari: Sahit Itihasik Paripekh” and “Sohan Singh Sital De Shresht Novel”.



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