When cops play invaders
Chheharta police station encroaches upon GT Road
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 19
The district administration has launched a major drive to remove encroachments and illegal structures from government and public properties in the wake of strict orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had directed that all senior officers would face contempt proceedings if they failed to comply with the orders.

However, it is yet to be seen whether the administration is able to remove the illegal building constructed right in the middle of the GT Road and that too by a police station on the road leading to Attari-Wagah joint checkpost.

Chheharta police station, which has become an eyesore as it has encroached upon a considerable chunk of government land alongside the GT Road leading to the international Attari railway station and Attari-Wagah joint checkpost, which are visited by almost every visitor and tourist from India and abroad to witness the beating the retreat ceremony.

The police station has encroached upon about half of the road by extending the building for construction of the office of the Station House Office (SHO) on the road.

Moreover, when people come in groups to the police station, it often results in hindering the smooth flow of traffic on the GT Road.

A number of residents and organisations have raised questions over the seriousness of the administration in removing the encroachments when one of the premier agencies for the enforcement and maintenance of law and order itself had encroached upon the land.

Questions on the administration’s role to tackle such encroachments were also raised by various fruit and vegetable vendors during an agitation to protest against the demolition of kiosks by the MC team with the help of the police force at Chheharta Chowk a few days back.

Municipal corporation commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda said encroachments by government departments on government and public properties would also be removed in the second phase of the drive launched to rid the city of all the encroachments.

Social activist Brij Bedi said removal of encroachments was fine, but there seemed to be lack of vision and determination on the part of the government. He said the government should make alternative arrangements by providing land and buildings to the police department for construction of police stations.

It is also pertinent to mention here that many influential persons with political clout have constructed guardrooms opposite their residential houses in public parks in the posh localities of Green Avenue and Basant Avenue, and in spite of the public outcry the administration has turned a blind eye to these illegal structures.



Education dept agrees to sell school land for funds
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 19
The municipal corporation will hold auction of a prime land measuring 2,852 sq yards as a commercial site on December 22 at Pt Deen Dyal Upadhyay Complex on Bhandari Bridge at a reserve price of Rs 30,000 per square yard i.e. the collector rate, though the tentative market rate is about Rs 1 lakh per sq yard.

The site belonged to Government Primary School in Dholley Mohalla on Mahna Singh Road in an area measuring 3,698 square yards. The hotel will be constructed by demolishing the dilapidated government school building. About 100 children study in the school.

The office of the BPEO (primary) is also situated on the first floor of this building. The site was jointly inspected by the DEO (primary) and an executive engineer of the municipal corporation who noticed cracks in the walls as well as in the roof of the building.

The government officials reported that there was apprehension that the building would fall due to heavy rains or any other natural calamity and hence the building is not fit for habitation in its present condition.

According to municipal corporation commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda, the education department showed helplessness to carry out the necessary repairs in the building at its own level.

The commissioner said keeping in view the safety and security of the children studying in the school, the MC vide resolution dated March 5 resolved to construct a new building for the school as well as for the office of the BPEO (primary) in some portion of this land out of the proceeds received from the sale of the remaining portion of the land.

The matter was taken up with the education department which sought the necessary report from the deputy commissioner.

Accordingly, the site was inspected by the executive engineer, provincial division, PWD (B&R), Amritsar, who intimated that the old building needed heavy repairs and it was not fit to continue the school without carrying out the heavy repairs to this building.

This piece of land is just 400 metres away from the Golden Temple, 2.50 km from the Durgiana Temple as well as the railway station and about 10 km from the international airport. Recently, the MC constructed a metalled road leading to this land. The government has sanctioned the necessary building plan.



Peace Process
Break in talks worries Pak intelligentsia
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, December 19
Panic and intense worry has gripped Pakistan’s saner elements in the aftermath of the Mumbai mayhem with bonhomie and diplomatic thaw, which was set in motion a few years back, virtually in irreversible mode.

Leading social activist and member of a leading political party Shaista Parvaiz, wife of former member of the national assembly of Pakistan, Mohmmad Parvaiz Malik, in a message to the Indian public said, “It is a real test ahead, especially for the intelligentsia and the media to help diffuse the current tension which may once again freeze the relations.” A number of Pakistanis from respected political families, intellectuals, press people, artists and others, who helped to mould the public opinion and managed to bring the people of both the countries closer to warm up the traditional ties, have felt cheated due to the fallout of the Mumbai massacre.

Pakistanis, who had just seen the return of democracy after the bloody killing of Pakistan People’s Party leader Benazir Bhutto and had been clamouring for closer ties between the two neighbouring nations, felt that several terror incidents in both the countries played dampener to peace in the subcontinent.

The much-touted candlelight vigil phenomenon to jointly celebrate Indpendence Days on August 15 and 14 started by veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, a strong votary of friendship among the two nations, has gone into the background and the skeptics are having the last laugh over the deteriorating relations. The cancellation of the cricket tour by the Indian team to Pakistan next year has further added to the woes of the beleaguered neighbour and has not gone down very well with the small minority of India’s well-wishers in that country.

The people-to-people contact which had resulted in giving full steam to the confidence-building measures between the two nations has received a major setback. India has put on hold all kinds of dialogues, including trade talks, which had sent a strong message that it would not brook any terrorist activity on our territory and give a strong warning to Pakistan to mend its ways and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on its soil to save the subcontinent from such elements.



Blessing In Disguise
Badals’ visits ‘save’ residents from power cuts
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 19
Is it a sheer coincidence or well-orchestrated move of the Punjab State Electricity Board to withdraw all power cuts during the visit of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal or his son Sukhbir Singh Badal to the holy city.

The state has been facing severe power crisis for the past three months and the daily shut down has been extended from four hours to six hours much to the annoyance of the residents and the business community.

A senior functionary of the board preferring anonymity said they had the instructions of their bosses to keep the full supply during the high profile visits of the VVIPs and today was no exception with the senior Badal in town to lay the foundation stone of a girls’ college in a border village. Earlier, also the residents were saved of load shedding during the visits of the top echelons of the SAD family.

On December 2, there was no disruption of electricity as SAD chief Sukhbir Badal visited the town to inaugurate news print plant of a major paper mill in the city.

The board has announced major cuts for the industry with longer duration of 32 hours a week besides weekly closure and peak load hour restrictions.

A spokesman for the industrial association said the manufacturing segment was under tremendous strain due to global economic meltdown and slugging domestic market and had to spent a more to run the gen sets.

He said in spite of excellent and pleasant weather due to the absence of severe winter, when the demand for electricity was drastically reduced, the government must provide regular and uninterrupted power supply to keep the industrial momentum going.

A senior resident who had lamented that it was a strange phenomena that the board did not go for power cuts on the day of the visit of any Badal, while one has to brave the power cuts from 10 in the morning till 2 pm and again from 3.30 to 4.30 pm disrupting the normal life.



Aman - a torchbearer of Punjabi poetry
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 19
The modern-day Punjabi poetry is incomplete without the mention of Bhai Veer Singh, Dhani Ram Chatrik, who were instrumental in laying the foundation of the Punjabi press, and Bawa Balwant, who hailed from the holy city.

The Freedom Group of Industries honours poets and artists at the Amrik Singh Aman memorial night in Amritsar on Friday.
The Freedom Group of Industries honours poets and artists at the Amrik Singh Aman memorial night in Amritsar on Friday. Photo: Vishal Kumar

The city has also been home to the literary legends like principal Sahib Singh, novelist Nanak Singh, Gurbax Singh Preetlari, principal Sujjan Singh, Bawa Balwant and Urdu legendary figure Sadat Hassan Manto.

Poets like Vidhata Singh Teer and Kartar Singh Balagan also belong to the city. Punjabi literary magazine “Kavita” was the first of its kind to be published in Amritsar.

Keeping in line with the rich literary heritage of the city came another torch-bearer, Amrik Singh Aman. The managing director of an industrial unit, Aman’s love for poetry began with a monthly magazine “Lo”, which he brought out in 1978. He came in contact with numerous contemporary literary figures through the magazine. Today, late Amrik Singh Aman was remembered by his friends and family members.

His nephew Kanwaljit Singh Freedom and Parminderjit, a Shiromani poet, honoured various literary figures, including Satinder Singh Noor, Dr Rawel Singh and Mohanjit at the function held in Amritsar Club here.

It may be mentioned here that within a year of launching “Lo”, Aman had become a legendary figure in the holy city. Many famous poets and literary figures joined him in his endeavour. Scholars started sending their works for publication in “Lo”. Amrita Pritam also visited the city along with Imroz at the invitation of “Lo”. Parminderjit had worked as editor of “Lo” from 1979-89. He got the chance to meet Aman when he visited Preet Nagar along with Faiz Ahmed.

Aman was instrumental in keeping the flame of the Punjabi literature burning through his magazine.



Political backing might be keeping them stick to the place
Rail link road encroachers refuse to budge
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 19
The encroachers, who occupy the railway link road round the year, once again faced the wrath of the municipal corporation which launched a major drive to dislodge them from the government property and the road here today.

While the MC staff removed the cots and tables from the road to begin with, the situation was back to square one as soon as the team of the corporation left the place.

The government machinery seems to fail every time they land on the busy road connecting the railway station with Court Road.

Chor Bazzar and the rehri market, which sprung up after the advent of the Samjhauta Express in the early 70s, with encroachers selling Pakistani wares and imported items on the road side, have also encroached upon the public park and are a big eyesore on the GT Road and the railway link road, but the administration has failed to remove them from the government land.

Some of the encroachers have erected temporary and permanent structures with impunity as the government’s writ does not seem to run in this area. Even today’s drive was almost cosmetic which left little impact on the people.

The government, which following the strict orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had been trying its best to carry out regular campaigns to oust people from the government property and roads fearing contempt proceedings but the habitual offenders continue to defy the intentions of the government.

Senior civil and police officils, on the condition of anonymity, said the major encroachments were being carried out by influential persons enjoying political clout.



‘Milestones’ released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 19
Stressing on the need of inculcating moral values in the professional life, teachers and students of the Amritsar College of Engineering and Technology have come out with a booklet “Milestones” which touches all the realistic and relevant issues from humanity to discipline, humour to time management and team work.

Managing director and brain behind the booklet Amit Sharma said, “Education remains incomplete unless we incorporate it with morals and ethics in our life. The college decided to come out with a booklet as an attempt to motivate the students to instill these values in their lives.”

Director Dr H.N. Chandrawat and principal Dr Rajneesh Arora were also present on the occasion. Dr Arora while interacting with the students stressed on the need of the moral and professional values. They told the students about the importance of the values like team work and time management.

The “Milestones” team was led by senior lecturer Amit Sarin and Binod Kaur. Student editors Kunal Sharma, Vishal Kapoor and Shruti Mehra along with co-students Poojanpreet Singh, Sakshi Jaitly, Kanika Bajaj, Ankush Khosla and Nitish Sharma were also part of the team. 



AIR’s FM radio for Amritsar soon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 19
All India Radio is all set to establish its FM radio station at Gharinda, near Amritsar. In a reply to USA-based writer Harjap Singh Aujla, Jitendra Arora, deputy director, engineering and planning, All India Radio, Akashvani Bhavan, New Delhi, said tenders had been invited for installing a high-power 20 KW transmitter and construction of a building at Gharinda, near Pakistan border.

Fabrication of a 984-foot (300 metres) high steel frame (Doordarshan and Akashvani) tower is already under way at Gharinda.What programmes it would originate or relay will be decided before commissioning of the radio station.However, work on the studio complex is still in planning stage.

The entire project is slated to be commissioned some time during 2009-10.



Khel Abhiyan concludes
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 19
Host Punjab dominated on the concluding day of the first National Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan for boys and girls under 16 at Guru Arjun Dev Stadium here yesterday. Khushi Ram, deputy commissioner, gave away prizes to the winners.

Earlier, Pargat Singh, director, sports, said the sportsman must focus on the game and lead the team and the society with the personal example of sportsmanship.

Meanwhile, Punjab outplayed Haryana in the final match of volleyball by 3-0 (25-21,28-20,25-17), whereas Karnataka got the bronze by defeating Tamil Nadu 3-0 (25-17,25-20,25-20).

In girls’ final match, Karnataka defeated Punjab 3-0 (25-7,25-6,25-22) and won the gold, Haryana got bronze by defeating Tamil Nadu 2-0 (25-13, 25-21).

In the football final match, Punjab lads defeated Nagaland boys. For the bronze medal Mizoram defeated Assam by 5-0.

Punjab weightlifter girls clinched gold by getting 171 points. Andhra Pardesh got silver with 141 points and Uttar Pardesh got the bronze with 134 points.

In boys’ weightlifting, Chhattisgarh topped the tally by 208 points, Punjab and Delhi won silver and bronze, respectinely, by getting 189 and 149 points.



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