Polluted landfill threat to thousands of people
 Sanjay Bumbroo

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
The Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) along the Amritsar-Attari bypass has around 3 to 4.5-metre deep polluted landfill, besides dioxins and furans released by various industries, including paper mills, cause severe health hazard for the people living along it.

Rawal Singh Aulakh, director, Third Space, Trans-Heritage Initiative for Research and Designing Space (THIRDS), said time had now come for the residents to wake up and raise their voice against those who were permitting the industrialists to dump the waste in and along the drain.

Aulakh said according to a study, in order to produce a tonne of paper pulp, 17 trees, 25,000 litres of good water and 1,800 litres of oil were required.

It also releases 587 lbs of pollutants into the air, occupies 3.07 cubic yards of landfill space and consumes 4,077 KW of energy, he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that Guru Nanak Dev University had conducted tests on the residents living alongside the drain a few years ago and the results had revealed that pollution in the drain had caused changes in their genes and was causing them to suffer from various diseases caused by ungrounded polluted water.

He said Amritsar, the land of Gurus, which was supposed to be the most clean and neat city, was undergoing an imposed decay along the garland it possesses.

Aulakh said in the western countries discharge samples were tested daily but the process was very costly and it was not possible in a country like India to conduct such tests daily.



Encroachments removed in Chheharta area
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Continuing the anti-encroachment drive launched by the local municipal corporation under the directions of the Punjab and Hayrana High Court, hundreds of illegal structures and kiosks were demolished by the demolition squad of the corporation, led by Shakti Bhatia, municipal town planner, in the Chheharta area today.

The residents raised slogans against the corporation officials who had earlier given 10-day ultimatum to encroachers to remove their illegal structures. However, they did not bother to remove their establishments from the Amritsar-Attari Road. They even tried to interrupt the demolition squad. However, their move failed as a large posse of police personnel had accompanied the squad.

A large number of vegetable and fruit vendors had put up huge kiosks on both sides of the road disrupting the smooth flow of traffic besides causing accidents.

The residents earlier had demanded to remove the police station established in the middle of road by the police administration, which has become an eyesore for the general public and visitors coming from across the country visiting the Attari-Wagah joint check post for watching beating-the-retreat ceremony.

Earlier, the squad had visited the area last evening. But on the requests of the vendors, they had postponed their action for one day so that they could remove their belongings.

Speaking to The Tribune, Harbans Singh of food market, chheharta, said they had been at the place for the past 40 years earning their bread. He said if the the government wanted to remove them, it should have made alternative arrangements for them.

Bhatia said the corporation had also warned the the shopkeepers if they did not vacate the service lines they would be forced to take action against them.



Bid to loot bank in Rayya, 4 booked
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Four unidentified persons tried to loot the State Bank of India in Rayya falling under Amritsar Rural police district last evening.

However, the attempt was foiled as the people immediately gathered inside the bank and raised the alarm following which the accused had to flee but not before taking away the magazine of the SLR of the police guard.

The police has registered a case under sections 392, 386 and 511 of the IPC and sections 35, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act at Beas police station. However, no arrests have been made so far.

SPO Nacchatar Singh, in his complaint to the police, stated that he was on duty at the SBI branch situated on Pheruman Road, Rayya, when one of the accused, aged about 30 years, who was wearing a helmet and had his face covered with white cloth, tried to enter the bank on the pretext of depositing a cheque for Rs 2 lakh. He said bank manager Amarjit Singh asked him to enter the bank after uncovering his face and removing the helmet. But the accused forcibly entered the bank and pointed his revolver at him. He snatched the SLR along with the magazine containing 10 rounds.

He said after this three more accomplices, who were standing outside the bank, entered and manhandled the manager, assistant manager Harjit Singh and helper Jagtar Singh. This resulted in a hue and cry raised by the people standing nearby causing the accused to flee, taking away the magazine with them.



Tributes paid to ‘Father of pension schemes’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Tributes were paid to Parduman Singh, communist leader and also known as “Father of pension schemes in India,” on his first death anniversary held on December 10.

Paying tributes to the Comrade, as he was affectionately called, the leaders from different walks of the society hailed his contribution towards the downtrodden and distressed sections of the society.

There had always been something unique about Parduman Singh. He was a silent worker and one would find him bringing peace and solace where there was misery and sorrow. His work for the downtrodden reflected his altruism. Owing to his relentless efforts, nearly 35 lakh retired workers or their families are enjoying the benefits of pension. In 1980s, he conceived an old age, disability and survivors’ pension scheme for industrial workers who are members of the EPF by partial conversion of the provident fund.

He put his proposal before the Central Board of Trustees. The board accepted the proposal, and eventually the union government promulgated such a pension scheme for 40 crore private and public sector employees on November 16, 1995.

Parduman Singh was born on March 7, 1924, at Jehlum (now in West Pakistan). He studied at various district headquarters in Punjab due to regular transfers of his father, Ram Singh, who retired as the ADC. He graduated from the prestigious Government College, Lahore, in 1944 that was considered Asia’s best college.

During the days of Partition in 1947, he worked actively for the amelioration of sufferings of refugees from Pakistan and saved the lives of many innocent victims. After this, he and his friend were offered officers’ job. However, He declined the offer because the Congress had accepted the partition of the country.

He joined the CPI and started the work of organising industrial workers in trade union under the banner of AITUC in 1948-49. He remained in Amritsar Central Jail for periods extending between 15 days and three months. Reason: He led various strikes against rising prices and rise in bus fares. During the period 1980-92, when terrorism held its sway in Punjab, he was one of those who mobilised and involved not only workers but also common people against separatism, in spite of the dangers involved.



One killed in accident

Amritsar, December 12
One person was crushed, while several others were injured in the wee hours today in a head-on collision between a bus and a milk tanker on the Ram Tirath road here. The injured were rushed to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital.

According to information, the accident took place due to dense fog in the early morning. The tanker was coming to Amritsar while the bus was on its way to Ram Tirath when the accident took place near Bowli. Rajwinder Singh, a resident of Bhindi Aulakh and driver of the tanker, died on the spot. Tarlochan Singh, driver of the bus, was seriously injured.

A case has been registered in this regard. — TNS



48 get appointment letters

Amritsar, December 12
The Amritsar municipal corporation today issued appointment letters for jobs given on compassionate grounds to the kin of 48 employees who had expired while in service.

Giving details, MC commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda said they were given the jobs as per the government policy. He said a majority of the cases had been settled and about 10 cases which remained pending would be settled soon. — TNS



Mumbai attacks: PIPI chief joins Indians in peace march
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
People of Pakistan also felt the pain as the Indian people have as more than 200 innocent lives were lost besides several hundred injured in the terror attacks in Mumbai.

Stating this to mediapersons here today, Awais Sheikh, president, Pak-India Peace Initiative (PIPI), said Pakistan was also passing through the same phase as hundreds of people were being killed in terrorist violence there. He said he had come to India on the auspicious day of Id-ul-Zuha to show solidarity with the kin of those killed in the carnage.

Shiekh was in the city to participate in the peace march organised by students and staff of Sant Singh Sukha Singh Senior Secondary School to show solidarity with the kin of those killed in Mumbai attacks. The students holding placards and banners raised slogans against terrorism and urged India and Pakistan to jointly launch operation against the terrorists to bring peace in the subcontinent.

He said instead of levelling allegations against each other both neighbouring countries should continue to hold bilateral ties and not allow the sinister designs of the terrorists and other forces for derailing the peace process. He said, “Terrorists have no religion and we have to jointly fight against them.”

Speaking on the occasion, Jagdish Singh, director of the school, pitched for the opening of Kartarpur corridor so that the Sikh community on this side of the border could visit the gurdwara on the Pakistan side, which was also the birth place of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev.



ART centre: Need to curb graph of AIDS patients 

Amritsar, December 12
More and more HIV/AIDS patients were coming to the Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) Centre in Guru Nanak Dev Hospital. More than 3,654 patients had registered themselves with the centre till October.

Out of the infected patients, who are being examined at the centre regularly, 1,491 are women and 307 children below the age of 15 years.

Medical officer Dr Sunil Mahajan, talking to Amritsar Plus, said initially people were not aware of the facilities being provided to the patients but now more and more patients were coming to get the treatment. He said the centre was providing free medicines worth Rs 3,000 per month.

Mahajan said the centre, which was being run under the aegis of the National AIDS Control Organisation, health department, government of India, was catering to the needs of the patients coming from far-off places like Tarn Taran, Moga, Bathinda, Batala, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Amritsar.

Besides, free consultation, counselling and medicines, the centre also provides one-way fare to the HIV positive patients so that they could come to the centre without any hesitation. He said the maximum number of patients were drivers.

Medical officer said, besides the holy city, the other two ART centres had been established in Jalandhar and Patiala. These centres had now been linked to the community care centres and drop-in centres which provided homely environment for the HIV patients so as to help them in tackling their social, psychological, legal and family issues. — TNS



Defer Mohali airport project by 10-15 years, says AVM
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
The Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM), an NGO, has urged the Punjab government to postpone the Mohali airport project as it would prove to be detrimental for Rajasansi International Airport here.

AVM patron Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, in a missive to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, said the government should immediately review the ambitious project as there was not enough international traffic from Punjab.

He said as per the policy of the Airport Authority of India, the second international airport could only be set up in the state if enough independent traffic was created by the airport without disturbing the traffic at the existing airport.

He said the Mohali airport would harm the future growth of the Amritsar airport.

Gumtala said keeping in view the importance of Amritsar as a religious, historical and tourist hub, it was the religious and moral duty of the Akali government to defer the scheme of Mohali airport for at least 10 to 15 years.

He said states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bangal and Maharashtra which are three to five times bigger than Punjab, had only one international airport each. He further said that a small state like Punjab did not require a second international airport. Besides, it was not necessary to have more than one international airport for development and better connectivity. Nowhere in India did two international airports exist at such a little distance from each other as Mohali and Amritsar airports, he added.

The AVM president claimed that if Mohali international airport came into existence, it would only promote the shifting of Punjab industry to Baddi and other adjoining areas of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana as it would be more beneficial for the big business houses to set up their units there.

He said it was very unfortunate for the SAD-BJP government that Jet Airways and Singapore Airlines, which started their operations from Amritsar airport during the tenure of Capt Amarinder Singh, were withdrawing these flights.

He said as per the recent survey, the contribution of the neighbouring districts of Mohali, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib was only 4 per cent of the total international traffic from Punjab. He said the neighbouring districts of Amritsar such as Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur contributed more than 50 per cent of the total traffic.

He further urged the SAD government to concentrate on the development of the airport of the holy city of Amritsar and to defer the scheme of Mohali airport for the time being.



Whenever, wherever

Superstar singer Shakira is reportedly in talks to perform at US President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration party on January 20. She may perform at a celebration to be held as Obama is formally sworn into office, according to reports.

The paper further states that the Hips Don't Lie hit-maker may join stars, including Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee, and Anne Hathaway celebrate Obama's historic White House Victory in Washington, DC.

She was a vocal supporter of Obama during his election campaign.

"Obama can restore peace and the world's confidence in the United States," a source said.

Her faith in Obama was later reciprocated with the Democrat voicing his admiration for the Colombian singer's charity work in aid of Latin American children. 



PWD employees hold protest
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Members of the PWD Employees Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, held a rally in Majitha town to protest against the state government for its failure to regularise the services of daily-wage workers. The protesters, who later blocked the main road of the Majitha town, lashed out at the state government for not fulfilling the promises made to them during the last assembly elections even after two years of coming to power.

Addressing the gathering, committee spokesman Harvinder Singh Khalsa said they would be forced to intensify their stir during the forthcoming parliamentary elections if the government did not meet their demands.

He said their main demands include regularisation of services of those who have put in more than 20 years of service in the department as wage earners, release of the pay commission report, implementation of the pension scheme in the sewerage board, besides implementation of the promotion channel in the PWD. 



‘World Wonders’ annual craft exhibition begins
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
The annual craft exhibition of Spring Blossoms School for 2008-09 commenced on Fatehgarh Churian Road here today.

The exhibition “World Wonders” was inaugurated by industrialist and director of Punjab Naatshala Jatinder Brar and his wife Davinder Brar who appreciated the efforts of children in the age group of 2 to 6 years and admired the concept to fuse global culture and moulding them in a crafty style.

The guests and parents were enthralled by the display of the artifacts and other articles depicting the creativity of tiny-tots.

They were highly impressed to see how the children had learnt about extensive geographical, traditional and architectural aspects of various countries by creating the same with their hands.



Campus Buzz
Varsity to give certificates to jail inmates
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Guru Nanak Dev University would give certificates to those inmates of Amritsar Central Jail who have completed their courses run by the Adult Continuing Education and Extension Department of the university.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh would be the chief guest at the function which would be organised by the jail administration on December 16.

Stating this, Dr R.S. Sandhu, director and head of the Adult Continuing Education and Extension Department, said the vice-chancellor would present the certificates to the inmates of the Amritsar Central Jail who had completed their courses (January to June, 2008) in cutting and tailoring, electronics and TV maintenance and servicing and computer course (basic concept) successfully. These six-month courses are being conducted on the jail premises by the university since August, 2006, he added.

Malkhamb, shooting competitions

The Guru Nanak Dev University inter-college malkhamb (men and women) championships would be organised on December 18, while the inter-college (M&W) and rhythmic (w) championships for 2008-09 would be held on December 28 and 29 on the university campus here.

Director sports Kanwaljeet Singh said the teams of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, DAV College, Jalandhar, Sports College, Jalandhar, DAV College, Amritsar, Government College, Gurdaspur, and Saint Soldiers College, Jalandhar, would participate in the men categories, while the teams from HMV, Jalandhar, BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, SD College for Women, Gurdaspur, SDAM College, Dinanagar, and Khalsa College for Women, Amritsar, would participate in the women sections.

The teams of the Guru Nanak Dev University Campus, Amritsar, would participate in both men and women competitions, he added.

Similarly, the GND University inter-college pistol shooting and air rifle (M&W) competitions for 2008-09 would be organised at the university shooting range on December 18. Stating this, Kanwaljeet Singh advised the players to carry with them their weapons for the competitions and ensured the principals of colleges concerned to depute a responsible in charge of sports with the players.

Winter vacation from Dec 29

Guru Nanak Dev University has changed its schedule of winter vacation for the year 2008-09, to be observed by its teaching departments at Amritsar and its regional campuses situated at Ladhewali (Jalandhar) and Gurdaspur due to the 14th All-India National Youth Festival-2009 slated for January 11 to 17 which would be held on the university campus here.

Registrar R.S. Bawa said according to the revised schedule all the teaching departments of the university campus here, including its Regional Campus, Ladhewali (Jalandhar), and Regional Campus, Gurdaspur, would observe winter vacation from December 29, 2008, to January 16, 2009, instead of December 15 to January 2 owing to the youth festival.



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