Slum development project in troubled waters
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
Barely three weeks after the project for development of 11 slums was launched with much fanfare by local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia, the municipal corporation Jalandhar has cancelled the allotment of tenders for the same.

While the cancellation follows allegations of irregularities in allotment by the district Congress representatives, mayor Rakesh Rathour said that he had cancelled the tenders due to a procedural mistake.

“The officials concerned had taken the earnest money in the form of a cheque while they should have instead accepted it as a draft. No other irregularity was found in the tender allotment”, he claimed.

Besides, the MC has also cancelled tenders for allotment of road paving work worth Rs 13 crore, concrete flooring worth Rs 13 crore, street lights works worth Rs four crore and park development works worth Rs 3.5 crore.

The mayor assigned reasons for the same saying that the CC flooring tender were being recalled for there was just one bidder. Only conditional approvals were given for the other projects, he claimed adding that the fresh proposals would be rolled in the forthcoming MC House meeting on January 8.

The slums development project which is being partly funded by the Central government has been getting dilly-dallied due to various reasons, much to the annoyance of the councilors and politicians who have been using the scheme to woo their vote banks. While earlier the scheme was delayed because of cost escalation, it remained held up because of non-availability of the minister for another few days.



Parents’ woes
Son dead, hospital refuses to release body
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
Grief at losing their infant son has now turned into despair with the hospital authorities refusing to release the body of the child on account of non- clearance of medical bills.

The New Year turned to be a black one for a couple, Rajinder Kumar and Neetu, of Dhogri village whose one-year-old son, Vansh, died at the DMCH, Ludhiana, on December 27.

Narrating his tale of woes, Rajinder said his son was admitted to a local hospital with symptoms of diarrhoea but was referred to Ludhiana, as his condition position was serious.

“I took him to DMCH on December 15 but after a few days he was put on a ventilator. I deposited about Rs 1.5 lakh towards the treatment costs but Vansh was declared dead on December 27. Following this, I was told that I had to deposit Rs 41,000 or the hospital would not release his body,” he sobbed.

“I am a poor man and had mortgaged my EWS dwelling towards the treatment of my son. I even pawned by household belongings and nothing else but the clothe son by back. I pleaded with the hospital authorities to waive off the amount but to no avail. My wife is inconsolable all these days and is practically bed ridden with grief,” he added.

He then approached the Pendu Mazdoor Union (PMU) who met DC Ajit Singh Pannu who in turn rang up the hospital authorities and urged them to do the needful in view of the inability of the couple to pay further. Upon this, the hospital waived half the amount but has expressed their inability to do anything further in this matter.

On their part, the hospital authorities claim that it becomes difficult for them since there are scores of such cases in their institution and how could they waive off all charges. There have been instances where the persons who could pay did not want to do so after their patient died.



City welcomes 2009 with zeal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
Party lovers from across city gathered at various hotels and clubs to celebrate the New Year. People rocked the dance floor on the tunes of hit numbers till late night. Almost all the hotels were jam-packed on the occasion.

The highlight of the New Year eve was Club Cabana situated on Jalandhar-Phagwara highway where popular pop singer Baba Sehgal and TV actor Sonia Kapoor rocked the show with their non-stop song and dance sequences. Party birds including the youngsters kept dancing till the wee hours of the morning.

The thundering performance of Baba Sehgal made everybody dance. His continuous foot tapping numbers left the crowd asking for more. People danced and rejoiced the evening with top chart busters including “Sona sona dil mera sona, Ek punjaban kudi punjaban, Singh is King, Hare Ram Hare Ram” and many others.

Sonia Kapoor with her gyrating dance movements virtually made the evening a memorable event. And no sooner the clock clicked 00:00 the crowd cheered the New Year with zeal, thrill and enthusiasm wishing a prosperous year ahead.



Meter Shifting
Forum dismisses residents’ plea
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
A case filed by residents of Chhoti Baradari, Phase-II, here seeking restrain against the Punjab State Electricity Board from removing or changing or shifting their electricity meters through the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has got dismissed through a recent order.

Five residents of the colony had filed a complaint in June 2007 against the PSEB through its chairman in Patiala and Chief Engineer (North) in Jalandhar. The complainants had said that some officers of the PSEB visited their premises on June 1, 2007, and started removing their meters. They said they were told that they had got instructions from their officers to remove meters from inside their houses and affix them outside but they failed to show any written copy of instructions or orders for the same.

The complainants said they were told that the existing instruments were ordinary electric recording meters which they were replacing with tamper-proof meters but they said that they were not intimated about the change of such meters through any prior notice. They alleged that the act of the PSEB employees was in contravention of the provisions of the Electricity Act amounting to deficiency in service.

The PSEB appeared through its counsel Chanandeep Singh and resisted the claim. It said that the board was fully competent to make its own rules and amend policies from time to time as per requirements. “The basic underlying objective is to shift the meter outside and to check the theft, pilferage and tampering of meters, besides other malpractices. The complainants would not face any inconvenience or loss by shifting of meter outside their premises,” the counsel declared.

The forum, presided over by A.K. Sharma, observed that the PSEB was empowered by the circulars and condition of supply for fixing of meters outside the premises of consumers.

The CE (operations), as per another circular, will ensure that the real time display is installed outside the premises of the consumer, action plan is followed in a time-bound manner, the forum found. The forum also observed that the CE (metering) had been asked to ensure that the new meters are of good quality, installed with anti-tampering feature and got tested from accredited testing laboratory.

The forum held that no injunction order could be issued to restrain the PSEB from doing its lawful duties. It dismissed the complaint holding it non-maintainable.



PAP men laugh their way to ’09
Dharmendra Joshi/TNS

Jalandhar, January 1
While some residents of the city organised dance parties at different places and several others offered prayers at religious places to welcome the New Year, the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) chose a novel way to celebrate 2009.

PAP personnel welcomed New Year with smiling faces in a special laughing session organised at the parade ground on the first day of 2009.

Apart from senior officers, as many as 500 PAP personnel participated in the laughing session and felt themselves destressed after attending the session. PAP SP (Training) P.K. Uppal made the personnel to burst into laughter with his tricks including making unusual sound during about one-hour long session.

Uppal has been organising laughing sessions to make policemen tension free for about a decade. During his posting as SP with the Jalandhar police, he used to hold laughing sessions almost every month to de-stress policemen and his laughing sessions were widely covered by state and national print and electronic media. Such laughing sessions should be held at regular intervals for policemen as their job was full of tension, a PAP personnel said.

Later, the PAP personnel danced on the beat of dhols to celebrate 2009. ADGP (Armed Battalion) Rajan Gupta, PAP IG G.S. Sahota, PAP DIG Ishwer Chander and Commandant Rajiv Ahir were present on the occasion.



Two in illegal police custody, alleges CPI (ML ND)
No information, claims SSP
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist New Democracy) levelled serious allegations against the Jalandhar police that it had picked up two persons from Mehsampur village falling under Phillaur police station on December 19 and kept them in illegal custody for about two weeks.

Talking to The Tribune, state leader of CPI (ML ND) Ajmer Singh alleged that the CIA staff of the Jalandhar police had picked up Anupam of Jharkhand and Dharmendra Saathi from the latter’s house at Mehsampur village.

They had been kept in illegal custody by police since then as neither any case was registered against them nor they were produced in any court, he added.

Besides, the police had been raiding the houses of different persons, including Mangu, Sunny, Master Rampal, Vickey and Harpal Sanghe, in Mehsampur, Darapur and Haripur Khalsa villages falling under Phillaur and Bilga police stations, he said.

The CPI (ML ND) leader said if Anupam and Dharmendra had committed any crime, an FIR should be registered against them and they should be produced before a competent court, otherwise they should be immediately released from the illegal custody.

Representatives of different organisations, including Nirmal Singh of Lok Morcha, Tarsem Peter of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, Teja Singh Bargaari of the Inkalabi Kendra Punjab, Balwant Makhu, Karam Deol of the Lok Sangram Manch Punjab met SSP P.K. Rai in this regard on Thursday.

However, when contacted, the SSP said he had no knowledge whether the police had picked up the two men or not. He would gather the information in this regard, he added.

Meanwhile, the representatives of these organisations warned if the two persons were neither immediately released nor produced before any court, they would be left with no option but to hold demonstration in this regard.



DD programme on Guruta Gaddi celebrations
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
Doordarshan Kendra Jalandhar under its ongoing Guruta Gaddi Divas celebrations would launch its seven-series programme “Guru Manyo Granth” on January 5 in its studio. The two-hour programme on the highlights of Sikh religion would be broadcast during the regional transmission.

Chief guest, Punjab minister for public relations Bikram Singh Majithia would release the CDs of this programme on this occasion.



New phone plan for BSNL customers
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
The BSNL Punjab circle has launched some schemes for specified period for prepaid mobile customers.

In a press note issued here today, it has been stated that customers will avail enhanced talk time of Rs 200 and validity of 200 days against the existing talk time of Rs 100 and validity of just 90 days on purchase of new started pack under Punjab prepaid general and new prepaid general plans having a sale price of SIM as Rs 203.

The scheme is valid from December 25, 2008, to January 14, 2009.

Similarly, recharge coupon of basic value of Rs 1,000 will have enhanced talk time of Rs 1,100 with a validity of 300 days during the promotional period from December 29, 2008, to January 27, 2009, against normal talk time of Rs 900 and a validity of 120 days.



Medi‘CARING’ about people
Charitable organisation ‘Manav Sehyog Society’ reaches out to the needy
Amaninder Pal

Jalandhar, January 1
It delivers where the government fails. Though very few people know that the medicines they get almost free of cost have nothing to with the government, charitable organisation ‘Manav Sehyog Society’ hardly bothers about the credit.

With the help of a mobile dispensary, the society reaches out to people of several villages including Patara, Nauli, Issarwaal and Udowaal. It also serves industrial labourers of 
focal point.

The society encompasses its services from providing basic education to delivering basic health care.

Along with one mobile dispensary, the society is running four other dispensaries. Every dispensary, including the mobile dispensary, is equipped with clinical laboratory and qualified staff. These dispensaries are located in Basti Sheikh, Deep Nagar, Kot Kishan Chand and Ladhowali Road.

Chairman of the society Dr S.K Sharma, who is an eminent surgeon, says, “The society was a joint effort of about 15 like minded persons who wanted to deliver something positive through their professions. This society was established in 1973 with an annual budget of Rs 2000 per annum, which has now been, increased up to Rs 50 lakh per annum. At present there are 900 members registered with society.”

While giving details about functioning of society particularly in health stream, he added, “We have a staff of 65 persons including 15 regular medical officers and 15 consultant doctors. We have also set up an X-ray plant where poor patients get their X-ray done in at 50 per cent concession on normal charges.

An ultrasonographic machine has also installed in dispensary of Basti Sheikh. A special project for tuberculosis has been started in which patients are being sponsored by our society to get free medicine.”

“We provide quality medicine to patients on slip fees of Rs 10. We have chosen 10 sites and visit regularly these sites twice a week. We provide facility of all general tests with which we can rule out some basic ailments like diabetes and kidney disorders. In mobile dispensary, we do have staff of 3 persons including one driver, Pharmacist, and Medical Officer. We prefer to provide our services in those areas where no government doctor is available,” said Dr Raj Kumar, in charge of mobile dispensary.

Along with providing basic health care, society also provides educational services to poor students. Dr Sushma Chopra, one of the founder members and vice-chairman of society, said, “ For last 10 years, we are running two classes of poor students in Madrassi Mohalla and Aggarwal Ashram Ladhowali with capacity of 40 and 100 students, respectively. We have also started a vocational course for poor girls in Mohalla Gobindgarh. Students get 6 months polytechnic diploma just by paying Rs 1,800 for whole course.”

The society also grant scholarship of total Rs 2 lakh every year to students securing more than 65 per cent marks. Students from families earning less than Rs 50,000 per annum considered eligible for scholarship. Society is also going to begin with new school affiliated to CBSE in Shahpur village.



When Ken comes hunting
Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
On the last evening of the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan, 2008, I notice a bunch of foreign tourists busy shooting videos and listening to it very intently. I think of getting to know their side of the story. How did they like the festival? What do they think about Indian classical music? While I’m still busy making plans I see the entire group ready to leave. I hurry to catch up with them. I strike up a conversation with one of the group members. Santosh from London introduces me to Ken Hunt, a European writer. Quickly we exchange numbers. 

Before leaving Santosh adds, “You can do a Google on him (Ken).” When I come home and do Google, Ken Hunt turns out to be an authority on Indian classical music. Working for music for the past 40 years he has been a regular contributor to the site “World Music”, his biography on the site says -“India’s sitar maestro Ravi Shankar called his intuitive approach to writing about the music of the Indian subcontinent ‘unique’ in his experience. Yehudi Menuhin just told him he was ‘extraordinarily well-informed’.” A writer for publications as varied as Roots (UK), Folker! (Germany), The Guardian (UK), The Independent (UK), Jazzwise (UK), the Oxford University Press’s Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (UK), Penguin Eggs (Canada), Rock’n'Reel (UK), Sing Out! (USA), The Scotsman (UK) and The Times (UK), Ken is currently working on the third edition of his book “Rough Guides to World Music”. He acts as the English language editor for Germany’s Tanz&FolkFest Rudolstadt - one of Europe’s paramount music festivals. Other writings of his have appeared in Glastonbury festival programmes, Rolling Stone (Deutschland), succeeding editions of the Rough Guides on four subjects, Rock, India, South India and World Music, The Strad (UK) and Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) and Times Literary Supplement (UK).

Excerpts of The Tribune’s email interview with Ken:

Q. Was there 'anything' about the Harballabh which you think would make it stand out from the other festivals you have attended worldwide? If yes, what?

A. Maybe, I am blessed. Every festival I have ever attended has moved me on my path of discovery. That applies to seeing Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight Festival in England in 1970 or the Azerbaijani maqam master Alim Qasimov at Tanz&FolkFest Rudolstadt in Germany in 1998. Or a transcendent performance by the bansuri maestro G.S. Sachdev and Zakir Hussain at Ali Akbar Khansahib's 70th birthday bash in 2002 in California. I had hoped the Harballabh performances were going to bring me back to a style of audience participation where arms were raised, rasikas wa-wa'd and the audience and artist engaged in a verbal exchange during a recital. On the last day I watched a young lady. She was wrapped head to foot to fend off the cold and she was counting the matras. She knew how to respond even when, so to speak, the laya wasn't drut. It made an old man happy. I am taking that memory with me because she - and her kind - are the future that the Harballabh is nurturing. Hindustani music was always more than a bunch of people singing or holding instruments sitting on a dais.

Q. Which was your favourite performance at the festival?

A. Such a nasty question. The Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar dhrupad recital moved me greatly; Sangeeta Bandopadhyay's performance was simply thrilling and it reminded me why I have followed her career as closely as I have; Manju Mehta's performance was one I thought I would never see and she was everything and more that I had hoped for in a sitarist of her status; Santosh Nahar with Subh Maharaj on tabla fed the imagination. But when push comes to shove, the one that sticks in the memory is the Kadri Gopalnath and Ronu Majumdar jugalbandi.

Q. Anything which you think could have been worked harder upon (during the festival)?

A. At the risk of sounding all too English, I would welcome a greater care with the festival's literature. A small example from the cover: the 133rd Harballabh was dedicated to Kishan Maharaj but spelled it “Krishan”. I have worked on programmes for the Glastonbury and Rudolstadt festivals 
and I know what it takes to get it right.



Delhi resides in him
Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service

Iqbal Ahmed Khan Jalandhar, January 1
Wearing a “tehmat”, he sits in his hotel suite visited by mellow, misty morning sunlight. None of the I’m-the-artist-air around. A student researching raag Khamaj visits him and he does his utmost to guide her into the world of Hindstani classical music.

He said, “ I used to pray all the time. Allah se kitni minnatein ki….Allah meri mausiki mein mithaas de….” Ordering a sugar-free coffee he jokes, “Now I say, Allah mithaas mangi kahan, dee kahan.”

The Tribune met the Khalifa of the Delhi gharana, Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan on the sidelines of the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan.

Khan started his “talim” in Hindustani classical music at the age of three. Adopted by his maternal grandfather Ustad Chand Khan, he had his early training in music under him and later under grandfather Ustad Jahan Khan and grand uncle Usman Khan. He was taught Hidustani classical music by his uncles Ustad Hilal Ahmed Khan, Ustad Naseer Ahmede Khan, Usatd Zafar Ahmed Khan and also his father Ustad Zahoor Ahmed Khan.

After the death of all my elders within a span of almost 10 years, I had the enormous responsibility since the Delhi gharana was left without a khalifa.

Speaking about the Delhi gharana, he says, “The Delhi gharana has a variety of khayals - taan bandhaan ke khayal, Savayi leke khayal, Domukhe, Nalki ke, Palki ke, Sehre Suhaag ke, Jahazi khayal, etc.” He says the Delhi is the only gharana which has produced both vocalists and instrumentalists.

Disappointed at the attitude of the government towards artists, he says, “I have received a lot of love and affection from people, but have not been lucky as far as receiving honours from the government is concerned.” However, he considers himself lucky to have received the Baba Alauddin Khan Sahab Award.

He has worked for unforgettable TV productions like “Amir-Khusro”, “Indar Sabha”, “Chadar Ka Tukra”, “Basant Bahar”, “Kala Vasana”, “Yaad-e-Ghalib” and the critically acclaimed documentary “Qutab Minar”.

The scion of the Delhi gharana, founded by Amir Khusro, says, “In the production of ‘Qutab Minar’ I used all 12th century instruments to create the 
right ambience.”

He disclosed that his elders had performed at the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan in 1920, 1921, 1930 and 1931. I feel lucky that I’m performing here now.”



Young World
Belle show at Lovely varsity
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
The Department of English, Lovely Professional University, organised a belle programme, a play, a talk show and a seminar on “Nobel prizes in literature”. The belle presentations featured feminine characters of the 18th and 20th century novels “A Doll’s House” and “The Rape of the Lock.”

The attire, creativity and talent of the artistes in both the performances drew accolades from the audience as the students launched an attack on the trivial concepts that mar dignity and individuality of females.

Ball badminton

Students of St. Soldier College, Basti Danishmandan, Jalandhar, grabbed champions trophy in the inter-college ball badminton championship conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University. According to college director Anoop Singh Multani, players Nisha, Vandana, Rekha, Kulwinder and Shruti shows excellent performance. Rekh, Vandana and Nisha were selected for the inter-university championship to be held at Chennai.

NSS Camp

KMV College, Jalandhar, organised a 10-day NSS camp at Nurpur Colony here from December 22 to 31. The camp was organised with an aim to instill social responsibility among the students.

The students taught villagers in disaster management, women empowerment and the need to conserve environment and raise voice against female foeticide.



Preserving art of shehnai, the Gaikwad way
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
Representing the rich tradition of shehnai, Pramod Prabhashankar Gaikwad’s name is synonymous to the cascading renditions of the auspicious musical instrument, the mention of which has been made in our Vedas.

The shehnai exponent from Pune specialises in the correct rendering of the shehnai. He was here to perform at the 133 rd Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan.

“I feel honoured in preserving the art of this centuries old musical instrument,” said Gaikwad.

Born in a family of shehnai and sundri players, the artist received his early musical lessons from his grandfather and guru Shankar Rao Gaikwad, popularly known as ‘shehnai samrat’, the monarch of ‘sanayee’ as it is called in Maharastrian style.

Talking about his grandfather, he said, “He was known for his fluent renditions of classical North Indian raagas and other semi-classical genres like thumris and theatre songs.”

Though Gaikwad learnt the Maharastrian style of shehnai in the initial stages, it was his father Surmani Pandit Prabhashankar Gaikwad who adopted the ‘Banarasi baj (style) on the shehnai.

As a child he also learnt playing harmonium, which helped him in picking the shehnai lessons further.

The shehnai exponent has had duets with maestros in violin, sitar, flute, jal tarang, sarod, santur, clarinet and Scottish instrument bagpiper as well.

At present his shehnai notes are being broadcast on Zee Marathi in a teleserial “Maharachi Saree”.

“It would not be wrong to say that the Hindi music industry is nothing without the auspicious notes of shehnai. There was a time when almost every Hindi film included the background score of shehnai. And especially with the efforts of shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan the instrument received worldwide recognition,” he added.

At present Gaikwad has established “Shehnai Samrat Shankar Rao” and “Surmani Prabhashankar Gaikwad Institute of Shehnai and Sundri”. “This is my service to this classical art form. My disciples include many Indian as well as foreign students,” he said.



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