Billboard snag for smooth commuting
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 2
In violation of the municipal corporation rules, several political as well as religious organisations have put up big billboards at major intersections, thereby causing defacement of the city.
The Municipal Corporation publicises the city bus service by putting up a hoarding on an old tree in Jalandhar
The Municipal Corporation publicises the city bus service by putting up a hoarding on an old tree in Jalandhar. A Tribune photograph

This, in turn, is causing resentment among the commuters who rue the indifference of the MC authorities by deliberately not removing such boards allegedly due to political pressure.

A major problem of the city, the number of these hoardings usually increases during religious functions.

Though SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal issued a directive in this regard, nothing seems to have changed till date.

Through his directive, he especially emphasised not to put up hoardings bearing his pictures, but ambitious party workers, in an attempt to showcase their political might usually follow this path.

During a random survey of the city by The Tribune team, it was found that nearly all the major junctions of the city, including Guru Nanak Mission Chowk, Company Bagh Chowk, PAP Chowk, Rama Mandi Chowk and BSF Chowk are lined up with not one but many big hoardings, thereby causing a great threat to the commuters. The violation of norms can be gauged from the fact that nearly five hoardings have been put up right outside the MC office.

Of these, two billboards belong to religious organisations while three have been put up in praise of the ruling SAD-BJP government.

Similar hoardings dot Guru Nanak Mission Chowk as well which is situated in the heart of the city. Another busy area, Rama Mandi Chowk, also remains blocked with huge billboards.

The chowk witnesses heavy traffic during the day and night. Other intersections, which have been burdened by excessive hoardings, include BSF Chowk and PAP Chowk.

Senior citizen Gurmail Singh maintained, “It is sad to see that some of the influential people, in an attempt to prove their political might, indulge in putting up big hoardings at prime locations. This not only defaces the city but also acts as a danger for the commuters.”

Another resident Harjeet Singh said since a majority of the youngsters indulged in rash driving, putting up of big banners should be avoided.

“The MC should take quick action against the violators, irrespective of the person concerned,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the previous government had signed a contract to put up billboards at specific locations in the city.

When contacted, Mayor Rakesh Rathore said, “Usually the religious organisations are given a time limit of 15 days to put up their banner and only after that we take some action. But as far as the defacement of the city is concerned, we will soon initiate an action against the violators.”



Civil hospital building cries for care
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 2
The building of the local civil hospital has been crying for care, courtesy Punjab government for not spending even a single penny on its repair after its construction over 10 years ago.

Constructed by Punjab Health Systems Corporation Limited (PHSCL) after spending crores of rupees, the building has developed cracks thus putting the corporation officials under a scanner. Moreover, the underground water supply and sewerage pipes gave way in just over seven years.

The building was inaugurated by the Punjab health and family welfare minister in 2003.

The chocked bathrooms have gathered fungus on walls thus making the hospital rooms unhygienic. The state of intensive care unit (ICU), male and female surgical wards and doctors’ duty rooms is no different as unhygienic conditions prevails everywhere causing health hazards to not only patients, but also to the doctors and other paramedical staff.

Worst affected are two operation theatres (OTs) on the top floor that have huge clusters of fungi on their walls and dampness inside. The OTs have been temporarily closed by the hospital authorities.

A visit to the hospital by The Tribune team revealed that a majority of the patients were undergoing treatment in unhygienic rooms and wards located on different floors of the building. Worst affected were the patients suffering from heart ailments in the ICU as they were virtually stuffed inside.

A visit to the building gives a shock to the visitors, as there is hardly any cleanliness inside. Stench and filth dot every nook and corner. A huge basement with dozens of rooms has virtually been abandoned and become a hideout for miscreants. It looks more as a garbage dump than a hospital.

Medical superintendent of the civil hospital Dr Ashok Nayyar admitted that the building had been affected due to the leakage in the water supply and sewer pipes. He claimed that continuous leakage had created unhygienic conditions in different rooms, especially the OTs and the ICU and certain wards.

“We have written to the health system corporation about the condition of the building a couple of month ago and awaiting its repair and maintenance,” claimed Dr Nayyar.



NH-I: Remedial steps are must to check accidents 
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 2
About one-and-a-half-kilometre stretch of the Delhi-Amritsar National Highway-I between Chugitti Chowk and Bhagat Singh Colony Chowk has become risky for the people to commute on.

Fatal collisions are almost a routine affair there. While no exact data of casualties in accidents on this stretch are available, according to an estimate, on an average seven persons are killed in a month.

Although the highway stretch is accident prone, The Tribune team, during its visit to the area, found that the authorities have not taken any steps to solve the problem.

Around 50 stray cattle were seen moving on either side of the highway. Some cattle were even seen sitting in the middle of the road, giving an open invitation to mishaps on one of the busiest national highways.

Several rehriwalas sell vegetables and fruits on both the sides of the national highway near Focal Point Chowk.

Bhagat Singh Colony resident Lalit Gupta says these cattle gather on the road as they get plenty of leftover vegetables and fruits along the highway.

The stray cattle and rehriwalas not only create a problem for the passers-by but also become the cause of accident several times, he says. He demands that the authorities should remove the rehriwalas and stray cattle from the road to minimise accidents here.

A resident of a locality near Transport Nagar, Kanahaiya Sharma, says the police is well aware of the problem. The authorities installed traffic lights on Transport Nagar Chowk a few months back but several other steps are needed to be taken to minimise the accidents, he adds.Sharma says there is the need to widen the roads on both sides of the dividers at the crossing of Chugitti Chowk and Transport Nagar Chowk to provide proper space for the vehicles to stop safely while waiting for the green light.

Further, apart from removing rehriwalas and stray cattle from the highway, either sub-ways or foot overbridges (FOBs) at Chugitti Chowk, Transport Nagar Chowk and Focal Point Chowk for pedestrians and cyclists should be built, say Gupta and Sharma. They further said pedestrians and cyclists working in various factories at Focal Point find it difficult to cross the highway.

The sub-ways or FOBs can prove beneficial for them. Besides, this will stop the cyclists from crossing the highway by jumping the divider. A number of pedestrians and cyclists get knocked down by speedy vehicles here, they add.

People have broken the divider at several places between Chugitti Chowk and Transport Nagar Chowk for their convenience. Pedestrians, cyclists and even two-wheelers cross the road through the broken divider.



MC flouts rules, puts up hoardings on old trees
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 2
In a gross violation of the forest department regulations, the municipal corporation, Jalandhar, has put up its hoardings for publicising the city bus service on old trees along roadsides.

Such hoardings have been put up across several routes of the local bus near Garha Road and even outside HMV College.

But the MC officials seem to be least remorseful about the same. “So what, we have only put up our hoardings on trees. We have not cut them off. We have even hung them on poles across the city, especially along routes where there is no other place to put up hoardings,” said MC commissioner Vinay Bublani.

Soon realising the mistake, he tried to correct himself and he said, “I have not personally seen any hoarding on a tree. I remember that we had put up some hoardings across certain landmarks so that the people get to know the routes of the bus service.

NGO Pahal president Lakhbir Singh said, “It is technically wrong to nail trees. By doing that we are reducing their life, for they fall pray to several termite and microbial infections later.”

Divisional forest officer K. Kannan said nailing of trees was a clear violation of the rules laid down by the department. “We do not allow this and get the hoardings removed as and when found,” he said. A forest guard said the tree along Garha road did not fall in the ambit of the forest department but the one outside HMV College certainly was.

“We will visit the site and get it removed quickly. We first see that if the nail has gone just inside the bark, we remove that outer skin. But if it gets penetrated deep, it is bound to induce slow death of the tree. We are really fed up with the people indulging in such violations. Most people find the forest trees as the easiest means for putting up publicity materials for these fall on the highways,” he pointed out.



Come what may, this guy refuses to slow down 
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 2
He suffers from post-polio paralysis. Both his lower limbs are permanently disabled to an extent of 80 per cent. But this is no big a snag for this guy. He is not only fully self-dependent but is also helping others through a non-government organisation (NGO).

Ashok Sharma (30) is an advocate by profession and has been independently practising for over a decade.

Recalling his infancy, Sharma says he was an active and playful child till the age of 11 months but thereafter he had a severe attack of polio which incapacitated his both legs. His poor parents did everything possible to get him treated but he became permanently disabled.

Accepting it as the will of God, his parents tried their best to provide him proper education. They admitted him to Greatway Model School, Kot Pakshian, where his teachers nurtured him and his class-fellows gave him a chance to prove himself as a normal child.

After completing class VIII, he started walking with the help of calipers and crutches and got admission at Government Senior Secondary School, Ladowali Road, where he completed his class XII in the commerce stream.

Subsequently, he passed the LLB examination by securing 71 per cent marks, after completing B.Com from DAV College Jalandhar.

He remained senior vice-president of the District Bar Association, Jalandhar, in 2007-08.

A resident of Rasta Mohalla, he got married to Seema in 2002. They now have two sons.

Sharma is not only looking after his family but is also helping other needy members of society under the aegis of NGO Helpline, founded by him in 1997.

Seema feels proud of being his wife. “Disability is not a curse for him,” she says.

Also the president of the Handicapped Welfare Society, Sharma tells The Tribune that he is providing free legal aid to disabled persons and people from the weaker sections. Besides, he has also organised hepatitis-B vaccination camps and cleft-lip surgery camps with operation rainbow Canada team.

Apart from this, he has exposed several illegal financers and helped their victims and debt-ridden persons. His NGO has organised several seminars to spread awareness among the general public regarding traffic problem, encroachments and crime against women.

The district administration conferred on him the district award for social service in 2007.



Doppelganger dude pulls off a straight act this time
Aparna Banerji/TNS

Jalandhar, December 2
The four-day musical extravaganza which SPIC MACAY exposed the city audience to, came to a close with the performance of sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterji at Red Cross Bhavan here on Friday.

It’s the first time, after he set the Kapurthala Heritage Festival on fire with his doppelganger act, that Chatterji made an appearance for audiences in Punjab. The performance being very short, a special appearance was more like it.

Chatterji, who’s been tutored in sitar by father Parthapratim Chatterji and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, almost startled the audiences by starting off with a vocal composition which was followed by Miyan Ki Todi played on his “travel sitar” (called so because it is regulated by machine pegs). To conclude his performance, he came up with both the vocal and instrumental rendition of the bhajan, “Payoji maine Ram rattan dhan payo”.

In between he also had a session of interaction with the audience, mainly comprising schoolchildren.

Talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of the concert, Purbayan said he was introduced to the sitar at the very young age.

He said he used to be very unruly as a kid. So during one of his father’s tours to Europe, while he was creating a commotion during a journey, he was handed over the sitar by his father to settle him down.

On a relatively serious note, he says, “I remember during my childhood my father used to give me the sitar and tell me to play it while he sat right there watching me practise.”

Who’s your idol?

Sunil Gavaskar, Comes the reply.

The greatest compliments you have received as an artist.

Those have been by Pt Bhimsen Joshi at the Savai Gandharva Festival, by Pt Nikhil Banerji and Ustad Zakir Hussain.

The very next line of compositions that he plans to come out with is “Dwo”. Shankar Mahadevan would be singing a track in it and the beats are being worked at by Taufiq Qureshi.

“I am planning to launch the compositions on January 26 at a unity concert in which 40 artistes from around the world would be participating. There would be another launch in Calcutta on February 15 where I would be performing with Ustad Zakir Hussain.”

He would also be composing music for a movie shortly in which the background score has been done by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy.



Young World
City college students make it big with 67 placements 
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 2
As many as 32 students of BCA-III and B.Com-III of the Prem Chand Markanda College for Women have been selected by Unicon Company and Cryo Bank International through campus placements.

A similar campus placement drive was organised by WIPRO at DAV College, Jalandhar. As many as 13 graduate and postgraduate students have been selected at an annual package of Rs 2 lakh each.

KMV College also organised a placement drive by Hughes Team. Nearly 22 students of BA, BSc and IT-III were selected.

Reading day

Reading Day was organised for students from nursery to class XII of the CT group of institutions, in collaboration with the “Scholastic” group. The day was observed to inculcate reading habits among the students.

Tricycles distributed

World Disabled Day was celebrated at Pingla Ghar by the St Soldier group of institutions here on Monday where students of the physiotherapy department of St Soldier Co-Ed College organised a physiotherapy-cum-check-up camp. Students told physiotherapy exercises to the physically challenged. Students alongwith their teachers check the blood groups of patients. Chairman Anil Chopra and vice-chairperson Sangeeta Chopra distributed tricycles among the physically challenged. They also gave clothes and sweets to the inmates of Pingla Ghar.

Homage paid

The staff and the students of RK Memorial GM Model Senior Secondary School, Model Town, paid homage to the Mumbai attack victims. A two-minute silence was observed on this occasion.

Prize distribution

Police DAV Public School, PAP Campus, organised its annual prize distribution function “Samaj ka pratibimb toot-teh sambandh - reflections of breaking bonds” on November 28. Students presented a cultural programme on the occasion.

Debate competition

The Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, New Delhi, organised the fourth national universities debate competition on the topic “Population and environment”. Jyot Prakash, a student of DAV College, Jalandhar, bagged the second position. He was awarded Rs 25,000.

Free medical camp

A medical specialist examines a patient at Darshan Academy in Jalandhar.Darshan Academy, Jalandhar, organised a free medical camp on November 30 at its senior wing, Kot Sadiq, Kala Sanghian Road. A team of medical specialists participated in this noble work and examined the patients free of cost.

A medical specialist examines a patient at Darshan Academy in Jalandhar. A Tribune photograph

Hindi skit

An inter-house Hindi skit contest was organised at CJS Public School here on Tueday. Students presented different skits on social events like environmental degradation, communal harmony, dowry, corruption, drug addiction and much more.

Declamation contest

Garima Arora, a student of the Apeejay College of fine Arts, bagged the first prize in an inter-college declamation contest held at Pushpa Gujral Science City, Kapurthala, on Tuesday.

AIDS awareness rally

The Red Ribbon Express and the Youth Red Cross Society, in association with Rotaract Club of the Government Arts and Sports College, jointly organised an AIDS awareness rally on the occasion of World AIDS Day on December 1. The rally started from the college campus and culminated at Football Chowk.



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