Comply with Atomic Energy Regulatory Board norms or else
X-ray centres given month’s time
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
The radiological safety division (RSD) of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has given a month’s time to all X-ray centres in the holy city to comply with the strict norms of the board and remove the shortcomings detected by the team of scientific officers who had visited the city on November 12 last year.

The division acting on report filed by the scientific officers asked the centres to take appropriate measures in respect of the deficiencies and communicate compliance with applicable regulatory requirements to the division within 30 days from the date of receipt of the letter.

In the notice issued by S.P. Agarwal, head, RSD, he said if the centres failed to take appropriate steps, necessary regulatory action would be initiated by the “competent authority” under the relevant provisions of the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004.

It is pertinent to mention here that a two-member AERB team had raided various X-ray centres in Amritsar and found the conditions at these centres very unsatisfactory. Among other shortcomings, the team had found that the layout plan was not approved by the competent authority as required by AERB safety code of medical diagnostic X-ray equipment and installations. The area of the X-ray room did not comply with the guidelines of the board, besides it did not have any lead lining.

The radiations workers were also provided with personnel monitoring badges. Further the X-ray equipment at these centres were not registered with the competent authority.

The Supreme Court in order to check the mushrooming of X-ray and scanning centres in the country had issued directions for setting up of the Directorate of Radiation Safety (DRS) in every state. However, till now only Kerala had set up a DRS and in view of delay tactics by the state, the board had called up an urgent meeting of the principal secretaries in Mumbai on January 9.

Approximately about 200 X-ray centres are reportedly operating in Amritsar alone without necessary safety measures. Interestingly, the health department does not have have any record pertaining to these centres.



Road project faces major hurdles
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
The ambitious elevated road project, which was started with great fanfare about 3 years ago to decongest the city roads and to give hassle-free travelling to thousands of pilgrims visiting the Golden Temple daily, has been facing major roadblocks.
The delay in the completion of the road project has left the city residents a harried lot.
The delay in the completion of the road project has left the city residents a harried lot. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Sources in the municipal corporation, which was funding and monitoring its construction, said a number of encroachments by a religious organisation were proving to be a major headache for the completion of the project, which was scheduled to finish by March this year but now the deadline has been extended to the year end.

It is pertinent to mention here that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Amritsar in 2006 announced 50 per cent central grants for the project.

According to the original plan, the project was to be funded by the MC, Improvement Trust and Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), contributing 60 per cent to the total cost. The remaining 40 per cent was to be borne by the state government.

Doubts were also being raised over the timely completion of the project worth Rs 212 crore due to lack of adequate funds.

The sources further said the funding process for the project have also been tardy as the state government and the Centre have not been releasing the funds due to various technical flaws, which has also resulted in the delay of the project.

When contacted, MC commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda said a notice has been served on the managing director of the Gammon India Limited by giving them a time schedule for constructing 15 spans of the flyover per month so that the project could be completed without any further delay. Talking about the problems being faced by the commuters, he said diversions keep on changing as the construction process was on. However, they have been able to remove the traffic chaos for the smooth flow of traffic coming to the city, he added.

Ongoing construction of elevated road on the Jalandhar Amritsar GT road is creating inconvenience for the commuters as the traffic has been diverted to a city road without giving any proper directions to the traffic in view of the closure of service lane on one side of the ambitious project.

The space between the pillars erected for the elevated road was being used by the private transporters to park their trucks creating blind turns thus putting the lives of two wheelers at risk. Even the trolleys loaded with sand and other materials have been parked on the service lane.



GMC aims to get back its old glory
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
Even as the government and Health Department initiated a number of steps to upgrade the heath facilities at local Guru Nanak Dev Hospital and Government Medical College, but it was the threat of de-recognition of one of premiere medical institutions on account of its failure to abide by the norms of the Medical Council of India (MCI), which remained in the headlines in 2008.

The authorities were still to make any headway in this regard, although the medical superintendent claimed that the majority of the vacant posts of professors, assistant professors and lecturers have been filled to meet the strict guidelines of the MCI to save the college from de-recognition.

However, the college authorities were determined to bring the institute back to its old glory with the Central and state government sanctioning an whopping Rs 150-crore project for its overall development under Prime Minister Swasthaya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY). Out of this amount, the state government would contribute Rs 25 crore while rest of it would be pooled by the Centre.

Interestingly, state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal during his visit to the institution had promised to completely revamp the infrastructure and decided to allocate more than Rs 100 crore to bring the institution at par with the best in the country. However, Badal’s dream for providing the sum proved only a lip service and only a trickle of that amount reached the college, which has been gasping for urgent funds to update its infrastructure and the medical facilities.

The state government woke up from its deep slumber for completing necessary formalities especially dealing with the shortage of staff in various government-run medical colleges only after alarm bell of de-recognition started ringing.

The education in the medical colleges was greatly hampered with lack of faculty and other backup services as the state government has banned new appointments of lecturers on pretext of financial crunch.

It is reported that a number of posts of professors, assistant professors and lectures had remained vacant besides the deficiency in the infrastructure had forced the MCI to pass strictures but the government in an emergency measures did fill up some of the posts to avoid direct action by the regularity authority.

The veteran doctors who had been once the part of this elite institution felt that some more drastic steps were required to fulfill the requirements so that it could bounce back as a premiere medical college and retain its pristine glory.

Among the achievements in the health sector was opening of the multi-specialty block at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, which was under construction for more than a decade. The block was meant to provide specialised treatment in urology, cardiology, plastic surgery, burn unit and neurology.

Interestingly, none of the department became fully operational in the multi-specialty high-tech block. The complex was opened after shifting orthopedic block from ole emergency building near civil surgeon office at Ram Bagh while the Cardiology Department was running with only one professor.

Dr R.P.S Boparai, medical superintendent, claimed that as per the MCI norms vacant posts in the GMC have been filled in order to complete the shortage of staff as per the norms of MCI. He said many other deficiencies pointed out by the MCI have been looked into.

Dr Boparai said under the PMSSY, about five units would be set up in the medical college that include Bebe Nanki Mother and Child Care Center at the cost of Rs 37 crore, Swami Vivekanand de-addiction block, a nursing college, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur diagnostic block and an administrative block. A multi-specialty trauma centre was also proposed under this project.

He said the trauma centre and orthopedic block would be equipped with latest medical gadgets including world class operation theatre and advance surgery equipments, computerised navigational system and MRI etc.

The 250-bed and seven-storied hospital would also have the facility of a helipad at its rooftop. The ambitious project would contain all types of trauma centers such as orthopedic, surgical, neurology, plastic surgery and cardio thoracic, he added. The medical superintendent said the orthopedic block would also consist of three units besides physiotherapy and artificial limb center. He said the proposal would now be sent to central government in this regard.

Meanwhile, about his vision in 2009, he said that it would be his earnest efforts to complete the projects initiated during 2008 as soon as possible besides bringing back the old glory of the institute.



Second Punjabi film fest from Jan 17
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, January 6
Navtej Sandhu, a prominent film buff, who had taken up the challenge to give a boost to the Punjabi film industry, is organising the second edition of the Punjabi film festival from January 17 here.

Talking to mediapersons, Sandhu said the week-long festival had received many entries from the Punjabi film fraternity. Besides, leading stars from the film world had confirmed their participation to add glamour to the show. He said the second film festival had been possible due to the success of the first film festival.

Sandhu said the event had been organised under the aegis of Sur-Saanjh Productions promoted by a group of Punjabi film fans who wanted to promote the Punjabi language and culture through the films which had received rave reviews in India and abroad.

He said on the opening day, more than 25 film personalities from the glamour world would receive honours in dozen-odd categories, including production, direction, acting, singing, music, lyrics and comedy. He said a jury consisting of top film stalwarts would decide the honours for these categories.

Echoing the sentiments of promoter Navtej, top Punjabi film star Kimmi Verma said Sur Saanjh was an excellent platform to promote Punjabi films. She said the awards would provide an incentive for the upcoming artistes to give their best to the Punjabi film world.

Meanwhile, local singing sensation Lakhwinder Wadali, who is also associated with organising this event, said it would give a major thrust to Punjabi films and added that he would debut as a star in an upcoming movie “Jashan” produced by Navtej.



Teaching gatka to keep youth away from drugs
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
In order to keep the youth away from the menace of drug abuse, a local gurdwara has found a novel way by training them in centuries-old martial art “gatka.”

About 80 to 90 youths clad in traditional dresses throng the akhara established in the park adjacent to Gurdwara Guru Singh Sabha in the Tehsilpura area of the Golden Avenue locality daily at about 7 pm and practice the traditional art for about three hours.

The young enthusiasts have so perfected the art that they take part in the nagar kirtans organised during religious functions on various Gurpurbs. Even wounds would not deter them from practicing the martial art.

The gurdwara has engaged the services of Akal Akhara Shaheed Bhai Fauza Singh International (AASBFSI) to train these young children in “gatka.” The coach, Zorawar Singh, under the supervision of the AASBFSI’s patron, Satbir Singh Khalsa, trains and teach them the minute details of fighting skills of the Sikh martial art. The gurdwara has also provided them with a room where these young enthusiasts keep their weapons, including swords, sticks and other items, besides providing floodlighting system in the park.

Ajit Singh Basra, president of the gurdwara, said the young children come to the venue daily from various localities such as Sharifpura, Maqboolpura and Telsilpura areas of the holy city. He said students had been divided in three age groups - five to 10, 11 to 15 and 16 and above.

Basra said by this initiative, which was started about four years ago, they had been able to channelise the energy of these children towards right direction besides keeping them away from the bad impact of the TV programmes being aired these days. He said the children were themselves coming to the venue and were showing keen interest in learning the martial art.

Giving details about the other activities of the gurdwara, Basra said they also help the poor who can’t afford to spend huge amounts on the marriage of their wards by making arrangements for the marriage ceremony at the main hall of the shrine and for this they take only Rs 600 as maintenance charges.

He said they were also running a charitable dispensary at the shrine for providing cheap treatment to the poor people of the area and for this they have engaged the services of a doctor who visits daily at 5 pm. He said X-rays and tests were also being done at the clinic and they are charging half the rates from that of the market. He said they were also helping the poor meritorious students by providing them books and other items.



Badal misleading people: Cong
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
District Congress Committee (rural) president Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli has alleged that the Badal family was misleading the people by saying that the Congress government at the Centre had always ignored Punjab in its policies, programmes and central-funded schemes, which he said was not true.

In a press statement here, he said contrary to the facts, it was the NDA government, which had ignored the state.

Giving data, he said the during current SAD-BJP regime, the state government received total of Rs 2,323.39 crore for development and many other projects under various schemes while during NDA government the state get only Rs 731.65 crore in 2003-04.

He claimed the BJP and its alliance led states also received a big pie for their development during the UPA government. However, the Congress ruled states were always discriminated during the NDA regime as they received lesser amount of funds for running state’s affairs, he alleged.

The DCC (R) chief said the state government had miserably failed to submit plans for drawing maximum financial help from the Central government and instead putting blame on the UPA government.

He said the UPA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave various projects for developing infrastructure and improving economic conditions of the state including railway corridor, construction of over bridges, express highways, elevated road to golden temple, funds of Galliara scheme for beautification of surroundings of Golden Temple, Central university, IIT, IIM, National Law School university, National Institute of Nano 
Technology etc.



90 youths, teachers attend ‘Vibrations’ 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
“Vibrations-2008”, a two-day youth camp, was organised by the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, youth wing of the Chinmaya Mission, at Bhavans SL Public School last week.

The mission, with the aim of spreading message on the ancient Indian scriptures and empowering the youth, regularly arranged special talks, spiritual tours and camps.

Inaugurated by the youngest camper, the camp was conducted by Vinayaka Chaitanya, acharya of the Amritsar centre, backed by a team led by Avinash Mohindru, Ashwani Malhotra, president and secretary of the Chinmaya Mission, respectively, and youth wing secretary Sanjay Mahajan.

As many as 90 students and some young teachers attended the camp. They were taught subtle techniques of self-improvement to become useful members of society.

Mohindru observed that such camps were very helpful in channelising the energy of the youth and unguided youth were likely to dissipate energy and the aim of the mission was to provide a needed positive direction.

Chaitanya delivered a talk on Lord Rama as the role model for the youth, while Mohindru gave a talk on the sure mantra of success and S.N. Joshi spoke on the spiritual values. The campers played outdoor and indoor games to keep themselves physically fit for overall personality development. Yoga and meditation sessions were organised to develop concentration of mind.

About 90-minute informal inter-action with distinguished persons in their respective fields was held.

They included GND University registrar Dr R.S. Bawa, SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, and municipal corporation commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda.



The bazaar that wakes up in the winters
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
The sleepy Bhar Bhunje Wala Bazaar, inside the walled city, buzzes with activity with the arrival of winter. As soon as winter sets in, it turns into a gourmet paradise.

Though no official record is available on how old the market actually is, it is widely believed to be as old as the city itself. Varieties of “gachaks” and “rewris”, made of sweat-meats prepared either from sugar or jaggery, til (sesame seeds) and “sut ladus”, are prepared and supplied to the rest of the city. The eatables are savoured by people as snacks during winter.

Subsequently, they are sold to retailers and rehris plying in various localities in the city. Preparation of “gur gachack”, though a lengthy process, is a delightful sight for the onlookers. The dough of jaggery and other materials is constantly beaten against a wooden pole to turn it into crisp stuff. Mixed with peanuts and dry fruits, it is packed in plastic wraps to avoid coming in touch with dust and other material.

It is generally sold at Rs 80 per kg. However, the rate increases with the inclusion of dry fruit in its preparation.

Owner of a shop Manohar Lal said he supplied eatables to nearby towns, apart from the city, after preparing them at his shop. According to him, it has been the family’s vocation since generations to prepare the material.

Of late, they enlarged the purview of their family business with the sprucing up of the outlet and incorporation of the marketing of products to new areas.

Prerna Arora, a housewife and resident of Basant Avenue, said like all she also likes to savour these snacks with her family while relaxing in the warmth of quilts. Another wholesaler and retailer Jaswant Singh said peanuts, pressed rice (salted and without salt), baked maize and gram were the other items sold in the market.



Paper presented on poetry in US convention
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
The Punjab government’s Shiromani Kavi awardee Parminderjit read a paper on spectrum of the contemporary Punjabi poetry in the annual convention of the World Punjabi Literary Academy based in California, USA.

He returned here recently after participating as the chief guest in the annual function.

Expressing his dismay at the level of awareness with regard to the Punjabi literary works, he said the young generation was out of sync with the Punjabi culture and its rich literature as the contemporaries in the USA were not giving them the platform and cultural inputs to understand the basic nuances of the language.

Prescribing his solution to overcome the language and cultural barriers among the youth, he said it was vital to work out regular exchange programmes at the school and college levels so that they could appreciate and understand Punjabi pulse.

Citing the example, he said Kavita and Richa, daughters of Punjabi poets Daljit Makhu and Sukhwinder Kamboj, respectively, were writing in English. He said they were born and brought up in the USA and were conversant with its culture and language.

He lauded the poetic and prose works by Sukhwinder, Daljit, Ravinder Sahra, Gurmail Sidhu, Kulwider and ghazals by Surinder Sohal, Jagjit, Surinder Sirat and Harjinder Kang.

He said their creations did not offer a gloomy picture of the Punjabi diaspora being nostalgic about missing the Punjabi culture, Punjab and near and dear ones.

He said a majority of the writers active in the USA had migrated from Punjab in search for the greener pastures. Although they are pursuing varied professions for earning their livelihood, they were but still serving their mother tongue.

His paper was aimed at setting up a dialogue with the poets in the USA. He was all praise for those pursuing literary activity in Punjabi in the alien land.

However, he expressed concern about the new generation.



Dog show brings cheers for pet lovers
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, January 6
It was a virtual who’s who for the rich and famous to bring out their dogs in the bright sunshine and create a show for the canine beauties which captivated a 1,000-plus crowd. It was the 20th edition of the dog show organised by the Amritsar Kennel Club which has brought participants from all over the country with international breeds from Thailand, Australia, Mexico, Sweden and Hong Kong.

Club general secretary Yogesh Tuteja said the rare breed of the dogs had been on display during the day-long show. He said some of the leading dog lovers, including V. Duraiswamy from Chennai and Betty Stepkovitch from Australia, had specially come down to showcase their highly-trained dogs. The best in the show included Afghan hound belonging to Nagraj Shetty, while the poodle of Duraiswami stole the show. The other winners included GSD of AIS Bhinder from Amritsar, while Karry Blue Terrier of Nagaraj Shetty and Maltesen Shihtzu, both belonging to Duraiswamy, took the honours. On the second day for the 21st kennel show, it was poodle and Afghan hound which claimed first two positions.

Kennel Club chairman AIS Bhinder said in view of the enthusiasm generated among the people of the city, there was a growing demand for the pets among families. He said a good breed dog could cost up to several lakhs of rupees. These shows provide a great opportunity to showcase the well-bred dogs for the public to understand the rewards that a nicely-kept pet might bring in. 



Bai heads pensioners’ new organisation
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
Former assistant registrar of Guru Nanak Dev University Amarjit Singh Bai, who had a long stint of trade unionism, was unanimously elected founder president of the newly constituted GND University Pensioners/ Retirees Welfare Association for two years. The unanimous election of 21 executive committee members was held on the university campus here today.

Former assistant registrar Wassan Singh was elected senior vice-president, former professor of physical education Dr Daljinder Singh and former assistant registrar Bhupinder Singh were elected vice-presidents.

Giani Amar Singh would be the general secretary of the association. The post of secretary went to Iqbal Singh Bhullar, Baldev Singh Gill was elected joint secretary, while Tejwant Singh would be the finance secretary and Surjit Singh press secretary.

Earlier, the general body meeting unanimously approved the draft constitution of the association. It was further decided to submit the draft constitution to the university for approval by the syndicate.



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