Lacklustre response to National Youth Fest 
P.K. Jaiswar and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, January 16
Majority of the residents from the city and surrounding areas were not aware of the five-day-long 14th National Youth Festival, which opened here on January 12.

One may call it lack of coordination between the Central and state government or may be it was absence of full throttle publicity backed by media hype which was missing during this big cultural festival held for the first time in the state.

The preparations for this event started six months ago with the Union minister of youth affairs and sports, Dr M S Gill, who had taken personal initiative to organise this huge cultural show at Amritsar. The grouse of the local public is that the government had failed to publicise this major event wherein thousands of artistes from across the country were to showcase their folk culture, art, culinary skills, art and craft, adventure sports and other items.

Even the media was ignorant of the programme schedule to be held at different places and was literally running from one venue to another to pick the story. The opening of the show turned out to be a fiasco as the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues failed to turn up in the inaugural function presided over by Vice-President of India Dr Hamid Ansari.

The lack of participation on part of public could be attributed to poor publicity and coordination between different schools and colleges who could have provided them a perfect audience. A senior member of a management of a school preferring anonymity said they were not informed about this big event and added that the school could have offered them with excellent venues with mini auditorium and a big covered hall with all the facilities for the artistes to perform. The government would have to sit back and think about the lack of interest shown by the public and they had to take the residents and several NGOs into confidence before organising such big cultural shows.



Soon: Admn to kick off several devp projects
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 16
The district authorities are working to acquire land for setting up Rs 1,250-crore world-class university, Rs 130-crore integrated check post at Attari-Wagha border and expansion of Amritsar International Airport.

Land measuring 750, 120 and 44 acres of land for university, check post and airport, respectively, are being acquired to ensure the commencement of construction works of these projects in the current year.

Deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu informed that for beautification of surroundings of Sri Durgiana Temple by widening its main access from 16 feet to be 60 feet, the district administration would undertake acquisition of necessary properties at a cost of Rs 29 crore. Besides, a commercial complex would be constructed to accommodate all shopkeepers.

On the infrastructure front, the district administration has set the target to complete four-laning from Dhilwan to Verka Chowk and from Verka Chowk to Attari-Wagha Border, to start the work of four-laning of road from Amritsar to Pathankot, setting up of Rs 35 crore district administrative complex, a 10-acre parking lot at Attari-Wagha border, construction of railway overbridges (ROBs) at Baba Bakala and Jawala Floor Mill, completion of elevated road project from Partap Avenue to Bhandari Bridge and to Golden Temple, identification of land for setting up of an IT park, introduction of city bus service, besides a Rs 360-crore project in collaboration of Japan Bank for extension and upgradation of sewerage system and setting up of treatment plants in the holy city, the deputy commissioner added.

He informed that on the health front, a Rs 75.39-crore project has been undertaken to upgrade Guru Nanak Dev Hospital for setting up of Bebe Nanki Centre for Mother and Child Care, Swami Vivekanand Drug De-addiction Centre, Guru Teg Bahadur Block for Imaging and Diagnostic Services and Nursing College.

The District Red Cross Society would launch a project of healthcare for rural adolescent students especially for anemic girls by providing them supplementary iron and other mineral/vitamin - dozes.

To facilitate the public in approaching the public authorities, an information-cum-help centre was being set up in the office of deputy commissioner and to ensure the availability of birth and death certificate within 24 hours, the record would be computerised, he added.

While giving details of the initiatives under taken on agri-front, the deputy commissioner said a Rs 25-crore Kheti Vigyan Kendar of PAU, two seed forms of 1,200 and 119 acres at village Ranian (Chogawan) and Sheron - Bagha, (Baba Bakala) and 100 Agro Service Centre would be set up during the year in the district. Besides this, 1,000 new Automatic Paddy Transplantors were being introduced to make sure the timely plantation of paddy.

On education front, six more adarsh schools at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore each, one Navodaya Vidyalaya (Government of India’s residential school) 50 Satya Bharti Primary Schools with the modern facilities, one private degree college at Ramdass and Government College for Boys would be set up at Verka during the year, he informed.



Indo-Pak art community pays tributes to Sandhus
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 16
Eminent and renowned personalities from theatre, art and culture across the two sides of Indo-Pak border paid tributes to the cultural ambassador couple Dr Shivinder Singh Sandhu and his wife Manveen who died in an accident near Bikaner in Rajasthan last Sunday.

According to information received from Lahore, the group of artistes led by Madeeha Gohar, founder of the Ajoka Theatre group, gathered to pay homage to Shivinder and Manveen who had been the moving force behind several joint theatrical ventures and had organised many live performances in Amritsar and Lahore.

Madeeha, who had specially come to join the grieving family on cremation, said it had been an awesome tragedy and felt that her close friend and sister had died. She said both of them had dreamt of cementing cultural ties between the two culturally rich cities.

The artiste community got together today at Virsa Vihar, hub of prominent art personalities, and paid glowing tributes to the couple who had been given the title of true cultural ambassadors of India. Leading the mourners, deputy commissioner Kahan singh Pannu said it was indeed a rare phenomenon when persons of the calibre of the Sandhus were born once in centuries.

Pannu said the rich tributes to their memory would be that let the entire artiste community pledge to carry forward their legacy of brotherhood and harmony by enriching our traditions and making many friends. He said the artistes belonged to different genre of people who created magic through their art form and endeared people through their talent.

Guru Nanak Dev University vice-chancellor Jai Rup Singh offered his condolences to the couple who had left behind a tremendous legacy in the fields of education, social work and art.

The others who spoke included Municipal Corporation commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda and university registrar R.S. Bawa. The art community, led by famous playwright and director Kewal Dhaliwal said that Manveen and Shivinder were epitome of humility and guiding stars for the entire group of artistes.

Founder promoter of Naatshala Jatinder Brar said the Sandhus always supported his endeavour to set up the modern theatre and said that they would financially support Naatshala through regular donations.

Acknowledging the several messages of condolences by the group of artistes and others, their daughter Kirat Sandhu said that her family promised to carry forward their vision and continue to support all kind of art forms they had been associated with. She added that she would continue to patronise various institutions connected with her parents.

Meanwhile, Dr Ranbir Singh Pannu said the Sandhu couple were a driving force in the city with unlimited energy and vision. They took social service to unassailable heights. In terms of quality education they had no match. Amritsar public owed special gratitude toward them, their love for the Punjabi language and culture was unmatched. 



Sardar Panchhi - a poet against narrow ideologies
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 16
As a 13-year-old, Karnail Singh, known as Sardar Panchhi, saw horrors of Partition, which stirred his heart.

Hence, his strong anguish towards narrow religious, community, caste and political affiliations is profusely found in his creations.

Born and brought up at a village near Gujranwala, now in Pakistan, he was 13 when he and his family had to migrate to this part of the subcontinent under the shadow of fear and faithlessness.

After penning couple of books in poetry like “Mazdoor Ki Awaz”, he started weekly Hindi “Avadh Mail.”

Famously known with his pen name Sardar Panchhi, his poetical voyage included seven books in Punjabi, nine in Urdu and two in Hindi.

He has written several songs for Bollywood movies. Notable of them are in Hema Malini starrer “Ek Chadar Maili Si” and Smita Patil’s “Waris.”

His father Fauja Singh Bijla was also a poet and freedom fighter who had been trained by his maternal grandfather Pandit Devi Das, who was a priest in the temple of Chani Wache Di village in Gujaranwala district.

Primarily, Sardar Panchhi is a poet of love and beauty. He is at his best when he meditates on the joys of life. He has a tendency to identify himself fully with the object of his contemplation.

“Hina mein, phool mein, moti mein, ya ke deepak mein, Hum apne khoon ki rangat kahaan talaash karein...”

(Where else can I find the hue of my blood except in hina, a flower, a pearl or a lamp?)

Sardar Panchhi’s poetry embodies the music of words. His unique sense of rhythm, cadence and resonance is quite obvious in his couplets. No wonder his poetry lends itself so readily to reputed singers. He himself has been endowed with a mellifluous voice that enthrals the audience at literary functions. On his part, while listening to music, he is transported to the world of imaginative flights.



Sukhbir’s elevation shows SAD’s fear of losing poll: Dal Khalsa
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 16
The Dal Khalsa, a radical Sikh organisation, here today termed the hurried move of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to propose appointment of its president Sukhbir Singh Badal as deputy Chief Minister before the Lok Sabha elections as an outcome of “an assessment that after elections his popularity is going to hit the low.”

Kanwarpal Singh, secretary for political affairs, Dal Khalsa, said it was pertinent to mention that senior Akali minister Capt Kanwljit Singh had publicly observed that the “ensuing elections would be litmus test for the leadership of junior Badal.

He said since Akalis were aware that the ensuing elections to the parliament was no cake walk for them, they decided to elevate junior Badal to deputy CM post lest his popularity hit the low. At the back of their minds, Akalis knew they were not going to win so they acted hurriedly, he pointed out.

Although the passing of baton from father to son had always been talk of the town, but the timing showed that fear of losing the elections loomed on the minds of Akalis, he remarked. By connecting Sukhbir’s political fate to the outcome of Lok Sabha elections, Captain Kanwaljit remarks paved the way for Sukhbir’s reaching the pinnacle in advance, he observed.

He accused the SAD for not practicing what it professed. Taking a dig at senior SAD leader Sukdev Singh Dhindsa for falsely claiming that the SAD had implemented all its election promises, Kanwarpal reminded him how under pressure from the BJP, the SAD had brushed the commitment of abrogating the clause 5 of the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, under the carpet.



PPCC secretary lashes out at Sidhu

Amritsar, January 16
Harpal Singh Bhatia, secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has threatened to take an agitation path if foundation stones and plaques, which have been laid in the areas of the Congress councillors, were not removed.

In a press release issued here today, Bhatia said BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu along with local leaders of his party were laying inauguration stones in the wards of Congress councillors areas without brining it to their notice.

He said it was blatant violation of public mandate by not giving voice to representatives of those areas.

Citing an instance of ward number 20, he said Sidhu along with MLA Anil Joshi, Mayor Shawet Malik and other BJP leaders inaugurated a plaque for a green belt about two months ago.

Amazingly, he said, name of the Congress councillor from ward number 26, Pappu Mahajan, was engraved on it but the area councillor’s name was not given. He said Sidhu who often talked about protocol did not take notice that the area councillor was not even invited at the functions. — TNS



Reform police force, says ex-ADGP of MP
P.K. Jaiswar/TNS

Amritsar, January 16
It is like homecoming for Dhanwant Singh Gill, former additional director general of police, Madhya Pradesh, who has now decided to settle in Amritsar after 12 years of his retirement.

Talking to The Tribune, he strongly advocated immediate transformation of the police force with emphasis on reforms to equip the force with new set of rules and regulation not only to meet the aspirations of the growing population but to undertake preventive steps for law and order and to be ahead of the modern criminals.

He said the government had been dithering on the issue of reforms and the present state of policing was not in a position to meet the growing needs of modern-day policing.

Sharing his experience of his tenure in Madhya Pradesh, he said the police was inadequately trained and equipped to handle the Naxalite movement in the country, which has engulfed major regions of the country.

He said besides equipping and specialised training the police, emphasis should be given to poverty, education and various problems being faced by the people who later joined the ranks of Naxalites.

Gill expressed serious concern over the narco-terrorism that has engulfed Punjab. He said the cross sections of the society including all the political leaders should 
collectively fight this kind of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Gill joined the Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Youth Front and was honoured by front patron Jaswant Singh and front president Gurmeet Singh Bablu. Bablu said the retired ADGP would work as motivator to them and the other members of the team.

About his changed role, Gill said the front was going to set up a drug de-addiction center at Mahal village here. He said he would use all of his experience to motivate and help victims of drug addiction and their family members so that they could get rid of this evil.

He said scourge of drugs was hitting our youth badly and large number of them addicts due to easily availability of narcotics.



Chessboard in bottle
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 16
A 60 mm x 60 mm chessboard inside a glass bottle with 15 mm diameter. It sounds amazing.

But it has been made possible by Amrit Pal Singh (23).

A 15-mm diameter bottle has a 60 mm x 60 mm chessboard in it. A cursory glance of the bottle was enough to draw the attention of onlookers. It also forces one to ask how a chessboard could be planted inside a bottle.

However, it was the result of painstaking efforts put in by Amrit, an artist in wood work.

He has been learning the nuances of the art for the past four years. He is no blind follower of the drawn line. He deviates from the traditional art since he believes it gives birth to a new form and satiates his creative hunger.

Elaborating the arduous process, Amrit said first he dropped 64 blocks of equal size into the bottle. Blocks are of two colours - coffee and cream.

With the help of tiny tools, he shaped, chiselled and gave finishing touches to the chessboard inside the bottle.

Earlier, Amrit had prepared 22 mm x 22 mm chessboard and sent his entry to the Guinness Book of World Record office in England.

The world record for the tiniest chess is in the name of Mani Kandan of Tamil Nadu who had made 24 mm x 24 mm chessboard.

However, the authorities in the Guinness Book of World Record replied that since category had been dropped, no new declaration could be made in this regard.



Doctors plug hole in baby’s heart
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 16
A team of doctors of Fortis-Escorts Hospital here performed a surgery to cure a hole in the heart of a baby, Simarjit Kaur, yesterday.

Chief cardiac surgeon Dr Pankaj Goel and his team performed the surgery.

Dr Goel elaborated that the girl was suffering from ventricular septal defect (VSD). There was a big hole in the larger two chambers of heart (ventricles) which led to mixing of pure and impure blood. Such children suffered from retarded growth and frequent chest infections and could not live a normal life. The defects needed to be closed by operating heart.



111 couples tie nuptial knot

Tarn Taran, January 16
As many as 111 couples tied the nuptial knot at a mass marriage organised by the Citizen Council at the local Sewa Devi S.D. College. An NRI, Harbans Lal Gerra, and his other associates financed the function.

The marriages were solemnised with the Sikh rites. The NRI family gave Rs 20,000 each and other daily use articles to newlywed couples.

Mohinder Singh Prince, patron of the council, said some other donors too had extended their help to the council for the cause.

Congress leader Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Rana Gurjit Singh, member, Lok Sabha, attended the function.— OC



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