Red carpet welcome awaits Pak delegation
Global trade fair opens today
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, December 2
Pakistani exhibitors were giving last-minute touches to their stalls at the Punjab International Trade Fair grounds here. The event would open here tomorrow on an optimistic note in spite of the last week’s Mumbai attacks.

As the air cleared over the five-day event, the PHD Chamber of Commerce was busy to roll out a red carpet welcome for the business community from across the border.

Chamber co-chairman R.S. Sachdeva said they were hopeful that the fair would draw a large crowd and the exhibitors would get their money’s worth. He said the business delegation from the Lahore Chamber of Commerce would arrive here on December 4 in a rare gesture to show their solidarity with the country in the wake of Fidayeen attacks in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu today reviewed the entire arrangements at the fair site and said more than 230 stalls were being erected displaying a large range of goods, including textiles, handicrafts and engineering goods. The real estate sector was also setting up enclosures to entice respective investors.

He said Punjab being the host state had taken a big pavilion to showcase its industrial and agricultural diversity and had asked its various undertakings, including the Punjab Agro Corporation, Punjab Infra, Punsup, Markfed, Punjab Energy Development Authority, Fulkari and Tourism Department.

Giving details about the dates and timings for the visit of schoolchildren, Pannu said they would be allowed free entry from December 3 to 5 from 10 am to 2 pm.

The security agencies, meanwhile, have been asked to beef up intelligence network in and around the city, especially the fair venue.

The police has made foolproof arrangements to provide cover to the visiting business delegation from the neighbouring country.



‘Wattna to dur’ cast come calling
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 2
The star cast and crew of film “Wattna to Dur” that descended at New Rialto here for promotion of the film said the film was about today’s youth who for fulfilling their dollar dreams could adopt any mean, whether legal or illegal, to go abroad.

Rajan Lyalpuri, producer of the film, said the film is the story of three youths who go to foreign shores by taking loans. However, they have to toll hard and face embarrassment and harassment. Their families also suffer a lot back in their native country.

Rajan said among his next projects includes film based on famous Sufi poet Bulleshah with Hans Raj Hans in the lead role.

Tina Ghai, singer and Bollywood actress, said she had worked in more than 50 films in various regional languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, Telgu, Bhojpuri, Haryanvi and Rajasthani.

Among others, Arun Bakshi, TV and film personality, was also present.



Accommodating VIPs, NRI passenger left in lurch
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Amritsar, December 2
Accommodating VIP passengers at the last minute, the Singapore Airlines on Sunday evening did not allow a confirmed NRI ticket holder, Malkit Kaur, board the flight for Malaysia en route Singapore.

Stung by the apathetic attitude of the airline authorities, Malkit told The Tribune that she was given security slips and even her baggage was cleared but in spite of that she was not allowed to take the flight. She alleged that two VIP passengers, who were on the waiting list, accompanied by two policemen were allowed to board the flight and she was stranded at the airport in spite of her protests to the ground staff of the airline. However, repeated attempts to contact the airline staff did not materialise.

Malkit said she had booked the ticket for Malaysia to meet her ailing daughter Jasmine Kaur but the callous attitude of the airliner delayed her departure for a few days.

She said she along with her son had arrived at the airport at 8.30 pm and got the clearing slips for her baggage by 9 pm. She said the authorities kept on saying that she had come late. But it was not the case of her late arrival but their alleged action of accommodating VIPs on the waiting list, she added.



Unfazed by Mumbai onslaught, peace riders hit holy city 
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 2
The strained relations between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the audacious terror attacks in Mumbai in which about 200 persons, including several foreign nationals, were killed and hundreds were injured could not dishearten a group of peaceniks from Bangalore who travelled across the country on their bicycles to spread the message of peace.

Originally they had planned to go to Lahore and culminate their mission there.

However, they could not get visas for crossing over to Pakistan and had to culminate their mission at the Attari-Wagah joint check-post here today.

The group, which had started from Bangalore on November 1, reached here after passing through Mumbai, Dandi, Ahmedabad, Agra, Delhi and Amritsar. They almost covered 100 km a day. The group covered the entire length of India from south to north and has covered a distance of about 2,840 km till now.

The group is led by John Devraj who said the main aim of the mission was to create awareness about child suffering, injustice and promote a campaign against child labour, establish peace and friendship with the people of Pakistan by encouraging opportunities for both the nations to continue and moving towards normalisation and increase spending on domestic issues rather than on bilateral conflict. The cycle rally also promoted cycling as the most environment friendly, economic and fun mode of transport to help reduce green house effect, he added.

They interacted with students of Spring Dale Senior School.



Fortis hospital launches drive against AIDS
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 2
Fortis Escort Hospital launched a week-long campaign from SG Thakur Singh Art Gallery to create awareness among the people against AIDS.

Health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla was in the forefront along with various NGOs for launching a campaign against HIV/AIDS by leading a candlelight march and was joined by doctors and paramedical staff of the hospital.

Chawla said Punjab had about 18,000 HIV positive patients and Amritsar was ahead of other cities.

She said, “We must join hands to educate the people about this dreaded disease and urged them to lead a honest life as this ailment not only economically cripples the family but leaves a big scar on the near ones.”

Executive director of the hospital Sunil Kapoor said they had been working on the HIV/AIDS awareness for the past two years in the city and has touched more than 1.5 lakh people till now.

Eleven public lectures in various schools, colleges, Verka milk plant, etc were held in the last one week by the hospital’s team of peer educators.

A “Nukkad” natak was staged on the issue at eight places in the city.

Earlier a play on the AIDS was staged at the gallery to educate people. Among those who participated in the function included Mayor Shwet Malik and commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda.

A poster exhibition on HIV/AIDS awareness was also organised in which more than 80 entries were received from 25 schools and colleges of the city and the award winning exhibits were displayed at the art gallery.

The exhibition would remain open for public for the next two days.

Meanwhile, a private FM Channel also joined some groups and students of various schools in the city to launch a campaign against the menace of AIDS.



Excise dept refunds Rs 71 lakh VAT
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 2
The excise and taxation department today refunded the VAT amount of Rs 71 lakh belonging to eight dealers lying pending with it since March, 2007.

Rajinder Singh Marwaha, director, trade board, Punjab, said they took up the matter with assistant excise and taxation commissioner-II Harinder Singh during a meeting yesterday and managed to release the refunds. He said the business community, including industrialists, was in dire straits, especially Raj trading company, which had Rs 22 lakh lying pending with the department.

The other beneficiaries included Kiran Enterprises, Chand Enterprises, Khanna Paper Mills, Adison Pharma, SK Jaina and Company, Khan Chand and Rohit Verma and Competent Enterprises, he added. The vouchers of the refund were released on the spot.

Marwaha said the department assured the traders to release the refund within two months with the condition that they would complete the formalities within the stipulated period. The department had also extended the date of submitting C-forms, which would be available now twice a week, ie on Tuesday and Thursday. He claimed that the department authorities would put a department stamp and sign the documents submitted to it. In another decision taken during the meeting, the traders would now have to show and clear their documents regarding the material caught by the department in the head office of the excise and taxation department itself rather than going to the place where the material was held.

Marwaha said earlier the traders had to face harassment at the hands of the department officials as they had to take the related registers and documents to the spot. He said the method had been adopted in the district on trial basis, which would be implemented in other parts of the state also if it would be found successful. In the trial, the government had selected the Kiliawali, Sarna, Maunak, Khanori and Shama Kalara barriers.

Meanwhile, the director filed a complaint to the chairman, trade board, with copies of the authorities of excise and taxation department demanding stern action against the officials responsible for the delay in the release of VAT refund.



‘Parkinson’s disease patients can lead normal life’
P.K. Jaiswar/TNS

Amritsar, December 2
Patients of Parkinson’s disease can lead a near normal life for a long span of time contrary to the existing notion that the patients loose their mental faculties soon and become lunatic, says Balbir Singh Ahuja, a businessman, who is suffering from the disease. He has set an example by leading a near normal life without disturbing his normal routine.

It was will power and determination that made Ahuja overcome this neurological disease and nobody could guess that he is a patient of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder, which makes the immune system of brain slow resulting in slowing of reaction time and hands and several other body parts continue to shake.

Ahuja said if the disease is diagnosed early and patient takes the medicines properly besides doing physical and mental exercises of mild nature, he can lead a normal life. He said walking about half and hour in the morning and evening besides doing some breathing exercises and yoga would enable the patient to live near normal life.

He said great men in history also suffered from the disease. Sir Winston Churchill, Hitler, President Nixon of America were few of them.

He said a person having any symptom of the disease should consult a competent neuro physician rather than going to quacks who would only exaggerate the problem rather than solving it.



Campus Buzz
Cyber crime figures at valedictory function
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 2
With the growing dependence on computer and Internet, cyber crime and instances of cyber terrorism are likely to acquire a more prominent place in the world of crime.

This was said by Dr Gurjeet Singh, vice-chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University of Law, Patiala, while he was delivering the valedictory address on the topic “Cyber crime and terrorism”, during the concluding ceremony of a three-week refresher course in computer science, electronics and IT, organised by the Academic Staff College, Guru Nanak Dev University, here. The course was attended by 19 teachers from various colleges.

Singh said that some of the so-called professional hackers were befooling society and online fraud and cheating were the most lucrative businesses today in cyber space. He suggested that awareness about the IT Act was a must for all the components of contemporary society.

Earlier, Dr Gurwinder Singh, course coordinator, apart from extending a warm welcome to the chief guest, listed the real need of updating knowledge, especially in the field of technology and a must for all kinds of technocrats.

Prof Hardeep Singh of the department of computer science and engineering, presented a vote of thanks.

Best poster award

The poster entitled “Neuroprotective potential of short-term dietary restriction regimen in young and old male rats,” presented by research scholars Sushil Kumar, Manpreet Kaur, Jyoti Parkash, Sandeep Sharma, Rumani Singh, Dinesh Lakhanpal, Hardeep Kataria and Gurcharan Kaur from the department of biotechnology, Guru Nanak Dev University, were awarded the best poster prize in the neurosciences section, at the two-day international symposium held in the university here recently.

The work entitled “Characterisation of monocot lectins with potent anti-cancer effect on human neuronal cell lines” presented by researchers Vikram Dhuna, Kshitija Sharma, Jatinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Kamboj from the department of molecular biology and biochemistry, Guru Nanak Dev University, was given the best poster award under the category of biological and medical sciences. The symposium was organised by the department of biotechnology of the university.



CBSE to tie-up with British Council

Amritsar, December 2
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) would tie up with the British Council for preparing a project to integrate sports and other cultural events with literary skills to enhance the overall development of school students in the country.

CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi stated this to mediapersons after the culmination of a CBSE hockey championship held at Guru Nanak Dev University here yesterday.

Joshi said the board had also decided to give relaxation in the attendance to the sportspersons by reducing it from 75 to 60 per cent. — TNS



Facelift for Guru Nanak Auditorium

Amritsar, December 2
The Guru Nanak Auditorium in the city center is being given the much needed facelift. Shwet Malik, mayor of Amritsar Municipal Corporation, unfolded Rs one-crore plan for the city’s only government owned auditorium. 

Malik said it had deteriorated during the last few years and required complete revamping of the hall and other infrastructure. — OC



Farm loans issued
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 2
The deputy general manager of the Oriental Bank of Commerce issued farm loans worth Rs 6.5 crore to more than 200 farmers during a special agricultural camp held here. Addressing the gathering, DGM S.N. Chopra said different loan schemes were available for the farming sector.

He also distributed loans under different schemes among 325 beneficiaries worth Rs 30 crore. 



Spring Dale lifts hockey trophy

Amritsar, December 2
Spring Dale Senior School won the four-day CBSE national hockey championship under-19 boys category concluded here today.

In the girls group, Maharaja Agarsen Sen School (Sirsa) beat Kolhapur Public School (Kolhapur) 5-1 and bagged the first prize. The host team defeated Bright Public School, Sonepat, and won the match 3-0.

The Sonepet team was declared runners-up, while Pooja Modern Public School (Pipli) got the third place. Kolhapur Public School (Kolhapur) and Akal Academy Baru Sahib (HP) remained second and third, respectively.

Earlier, Spring Dale School also won in the under-14 boys category beating SGGS Khalsa Academy, Amritsar, while again in girls category Agarsen Senior Secondary School (Sirsa) won the title defeating S J S Public School, Rai Barelly (UP). SGGS Khalsa Academy and Mehta Gurukul, Doraha (Ludhiana) were declared the runners-up in the boys category, respectively. SGS Public School Rae bareiley (UP) and Divine Child School, Mehrana (Gujarat), were declared the second and third in girls category, respectively.— TNS



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