Baton-happy cops
Chowki in charge suspended, 12 cops shifted
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
The ruckus created by a group of drunken persons in a small eating joint in the Sadar Bazaar area of Amritsar cantonment and subsequent failure of the police to act against the accused, besides beating up three persons who tried to intervene to stop the fracas, landed the entire police post staff in trouble.

Chowki in charge Gurminder Singh was suspended and the entire staff were shifted after the residents protested outside the police post against the police inaction and beating up of residents of the area. Gurminder Singh was allegedly in an inebriated condition when he attacked the residents with policemen in toe.

According to the details of the incident, a group of drunken youths had an altercation with the shopkeeper and it was free for all. Some of the residents tried to stop the fight. Alert residents called the police which settled the issue at that time.

However, later when the police team left, Gurminder Singh arrived and started beating up the residents who were trying to act as peacemakers between the warring groups.

Shop owner Jugal Kishore alleged that the accused group broke the glass of the counter and took out Rs 7,000 from the locker.

He alleged that he lodged a complaint at the police chowki, but instead of taking action against the accused persons, it took the three persons in custody who were trying to stop the fight and tortured them.

The matter was later brought to the notice of the SHO who further informed the higher authorities.

They immediately suspended the chowki in charge and transferred the 12 policemen of the Sadar Bazaar police chowki.



Casting a spell to ward off the TB monster
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
Rallies, camps and workshops are all heard of measures for organisations to resort to when dealing with fatal diseases, but in a most welcome measure and perhaps for the first time, the magic wand was used to fight the TB menace.

The state TB control society organised a series of magic shows in the city to spread awareness in the public regarding the symptoms and cure for tuberculosis.

Magician Ved Prakash performed at various places, including slum colony Tung Bala, DAV Public School, Mata Kaulan Bhalai Kendra, Government Senior Secondary School, Shivala Bhayian, DAV School, Yasin Road, Mahal village and TB Hospital from January 19 to 22.

He educated children and made people aware of the symptoms, cure and precautions of the disease with the help of numerous tricks. The method of educating people about the disease, laced with laughter and surprises, attracted viewers in large numbers in the localities and Mahal village.

Dr Naresh Chawla, district TB officer, said a study by the society had brought out the fact that the amount of patients from the slums of the urban areas was much more than those in the rural areas.

Hence, stress was laid on sensitising people living in slum areas located at Mustafabad Road, Majitha Road, Batala Road, Haripura, Islamabad, Mehta Road and Nawi Abadi.

According to Ved Prakash, research in these localities revealed that overcrowded houses and poor civic amenities were adding to the problem in these localities. Unhygienic conditions, coupled with insufficient knowledge about the disease was also an area which needed to be dealt with, he said.

He said the campaign was to sentitise people so that they might consult the doctor following a prolonged cough (for more than two weeks).

As per data available with the local TB Hospital, 3,800 patients were treated last year.

A new mechanism was evolved in which a box containing medicine for six-months was earmarked for a patient. The procedure is called directly observe treatment (DOT).

He explained that a medicine box was not released in a go since it was necessary to keep watch over regular consumption of medicine.



Sukhbir to launch ‘war on drugs’ from city
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s much-talked about “war on drugs” would be launched from Amritsar where addiction has assumed epidemic proportions, claiming hundreds of lives.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is likely to honour Master Ajit Singh and his wife Satpal Kaur, both government teachers, who have come forward to educate children and save them from this fatal attraction in Maqboolpura, which has earned the dubious distinction of “locality of widows”. The couple have been running the Citizens Forum Vidya Mandir being managed by Brij Bedi .

It is pertinent to mention here that immediately after the swearing-in ceremony here on January 21, Deputy CM had announced that a statewide campaign would be launched to wipe out drug addiction in the state. Talking to The Tribune, deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu confirmed that the CM would honour the couple for their selfless service towards the downtrodden and the needy.

Earlier, in his demi-official letter, commissioner of Jalandhar division S.R. Ladhar recommended to the deputy commissioner for honouring Master Ajit Singh and his wife on Republic Day. The recommendation of Ladhar reads, “I was truly amazed at the fantastic efforts of Master Ajit Singh and his family along with Brij Bedi, a noted social activist, who had jointly promoted the Citizens Forum Vidya Mandir, school for the orphans of drug addicts in the locality of Maqboolpura having the dubious distinction of being labelled as the locality of widows. While interacting with the students of this venture during my visit I found that they are rendering exceptional services to the poorest of the poor sections of society and require a lot of appreciation. I wish to add that Master ji had started the school from his house with 20 children as he was deeply touched by the plight of children of drug addicts with nobody to provide them solace or comfort.” 



Paralysed man beaten to death by godman; 3 held
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
Going to a self-styled godman proved costly for a paralysed person, who was beaten to death in Meera Kot Khurd village here today.

The self-styled godman belonging to the same village had convinced Kejar Singh (62), who was suffering from paralysis, and his son Amandeep Singh that he had the divine power to treat such patients.

The accused were identified as Sukhraj Singh, his son Gurjit Singh and their relative Hardial Singh. A case under section 302 of the IPC has been registered against them and the body of the deceased has been handed over the family members after post mortem.

Amandeep Singh, son of the deceased, in his complaint lodged with the Rajasansi police alleged that on the assurance given by the three accused of treating his father, he left his father to the house of Sukhraj Singh for treatment.

He alleged that his father was brutally beaten up there. He said he was also beaten up when he went to the house of Sukhraj Singh to inquire about his father.

He said he somehow managed to escape from their house late last night. In the morning when he along with members of the village panchayat went to Sukhraj's house, he found his father dead.

The police immediately swung into action after the registration of case and arrested all the accused. Further investigation is on.



7-yr-old sings his way to hearts in Australia
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
Seven-year-old city lad Kartik Abrol has become a singing sensation following a guest singer performance in radio channel 97.7 FM at its 8th annual anniversary musical night titled “Kal Ajj Aur Kal” at Melbourne (Australia) held recently.

A class second student of local DAV Public School, it was for the first time that a tiny tot made it to the international performing art after Melbourne-based Australian Radio station sent an all expense paid invitation to Kartik to showcase his talent in singing and playing the keyboard simultaneously for its audience on its programme named “Humsafar.”

School principal Neera Sharma said Kartik had opened a brand new avenue of showcasing talent. Earlier, talented youngsters especially singers were only aiming the “reality shows”, of late which became popular platform for budding singing and dancing stars on Indian television channels.

Orthopaedic surgeon by profession Ajay Abrol, father of Kartik, said he performed live at Springvale Town Hall, (Melbourne, Australia). He played compositions on keyboards and sang simultaneously.

His performance was applauded and appreciation messages and requests poured in, he said adding that it endeared him to a vast audience comprising NRI Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Fijis, Mauritians, Afghans, Zambians besides nationals familiar with Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi languages.

According to him, his excellent performance triggered invites from other organisations and he performed for the community function in downtown Melbourne.

Kartik said it was a thrilling moment for him when his host FM channel celebrated his birthday with a big cake shaped as letter “K” coupled with a live interview on radio. He also had a rare privilege to be the first guest performer on the opening show of the New Year by the FM channel where he played the keyboard and sang compositions, including 'bhajans' and 'gurbani shabds'.

The channel also gave him a guided tour of different musical schools of Melbourne and Sydney and honoured with a memento and certificate of appreciation.

Significantly Kartik's selection is completely unplanned and not even deliberate says his mother Rekha Abrol, a radiologist.

Karthik’s father, a keen drummer, encouraged his son to singing. Kartik had stood third in the Sur Tarang organized by Zee TV in the city. Video of his live performances, educated him about his faults. His father helped him creating a tiny "music studio" for him in the house. His father uploaded the video clips of his son's performances onto a video internet site “” only to be able to watch his son's performance from anywhere in the world.

However, little did he expect that his efforts would get noticed by “Australian Radio FM 97.7”, whose coordinator Deo Narayan rang up the family upon watching these videos on internet.

Subsequently, the radio conducted a live telephonic interview of Kartik from Australia who not only answered questions but also played the keyboard and sang to the requests of the interview.



Muslim community threatens to return cheque
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 23
Shahi Imam Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman today threatened to return the cheque for Rs 2.50 lakh against the grant promised by BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Talking to mediapersons, the Shahi Imam said that Sidhu had promised to give a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the mosque based at Sultanwind Road and added that Mayor Shwet Malik had announced that the cheque for Rs 5 lakh was being handed over. However, to the embarrassment of the Muslim community, cheque turned out to be for Rs 2.50 lakh. He urged Sidhu to grant the full amount, otherwise they would to be compelled to return his cheque.

The headquarters of the BJP MP said that they would give another cheque for Rs 2.50 lakh at the earliest to meet the commitment made to the Muslim community. They urged the Shahi Imam to accept this cheque as a token and assured them the remaining amount would be handed over to them very shortly.



Holy city fails to get integrated textile park
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
The holy city failed to get the integrated textile park under the scheme initiated by the Ministry of Textiles for lack of arranging matching fund.

As per the scheme for integrated textile park (SITP), a consortium of local textile manufacturers had to pool Rs 60 crore to get the contribution of another Rs 40 crore from the ministry to kick start the highly ambitious project.

Pyara Lal Seth, secretary, Shawl Club of India, said non-cooperation, lack of professionalism on part of the business community did not allow them to unite to bring the park here.

Currently, the shawl industry was the backbone of textile in the city with Rs 500 crore annual turnover, including Rs 100 crore export.

According to the ministry report, the holy city is known for its woolen textiles industry, which dates back to over a century. Presently, around 200 power loom units are operating in and around the city.

Approximately, 35 of them are running with computerised jacquard machines. They manufacture shawls stoles, lohis, stweeds, blankets and winter suitings. It said from 2002, the entrepreneurs started installing shuttle looms.

It informed that during 2007-08, Amritsar cluster earned Rs 400 crore from textiles, out of which around Rs 50-60 crore was contributed by exports.

Profile of Amritsar cluster is as under: Woolen, worsted spinning units 12, composite woolen units 5, synthetic mink blanket units 3, embroidery units 400, processing units 30, power looms in SSI sector 2500, shuttleless looms in SSI sector 500 and knitting units 20.

Meanwhile, Seth informed that the government had agreed in principal to set up a mega business-cum-exhibition center and decided to allot 25 acres for it.



Campus Buzz
Non-teaching staff threaten agitation
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
Raising several demands concerning welfare and promotion of the non-teaching staff working in different departments of the university, the Guru Nanak Dev University Non-Teaching Employees Association held a general body meeting in which a huge number of employees were present. Association leaders criticised the university administration, professors in charge deputed in several departments. They demanded filling of the vacant posts in the various departments and end to the contract system.

President Swinderjit Singh and secretary Surjit Singh Cholia threatened to launch an agitation against victimisation of the staff members, especially those who were connected with the association.

Swinderjit alleged that several departments which being headed by the professors in charge, bypassing the officials. He added that the newly appointed professors lacked the administrative experience and they were pursuing anti-employee policies. The employees took the strong stand against the in charge of the examination branch and said they should not target the employees.

The association leader urged the state government to implement the pay commission recommendations.

Basketball trials

GND University has postponed its inter-college basketball (women) championship scheduled to be held from January 24 to 26. Sport director Kanwaljeet Singh said the selection trials to select the team would be conducted on the varsity campus. The principals of the colleges concerned were asked to send their players for the trials as scheduled.

Exams from March 4

The practical examinations of BA/BSc (I, II and III) for both regular and private students of GND University for the academic session 2008-09 would commence on March 4.

Professor in charge (examinations) Dr Gurnam Singh said the date sheet for the practicals was already issued and the practicals would be conducted at 9 am and 1 pm as per the syllabus of each subject.

Refresher course

The Academic Staff College (ASC) of the university would organise the three-week refresher course in commerce and management in collaboration with the department of commerce and business management from February 6 to 26 on the college premises here.

ASC director Dr H.S. Bhatia said lecturers of the colleges and universities in the disciplines of commerce and management could apply for the course on the prescribed proforma available in the college or it could be downloaded from the university website

New HoD

GND University has appointed Dr Atul Khanna, reader, as head of the department of applied physics against the extraordinary leave of Dr Kanwerjeet Singh, the present head, from February 1 to 19 next, a university press release said.



Sandhus’ last tryst with Jaisalmer
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, January 23
The cultural ambassador couple, Shivinder Sandhu and Manveen Sandhu, who had left an indelible impact on the social, cultural and educational psyche of this region, had celebrated the silver jubilee of their marriage at Jaisalmer on January 8 and that turned out to be their last journey.

The Tribune has managed to get some of the rare pictures taken at the camp site in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Shivinder and Manveen met with an accident in the afternoon of January 11 near Bikaner while returning home with their friends after celebrating the 25 years of their married life.

Recalling their tryst with Jaisalmer, family members said they had developed deep love with the people and the place as they had revived the rustic Rajasthani folk music.

Spring Dale Senior School principal Rajiv Sharma said late Shivinder and Manveen had taken up the mission to revive the music of that area and encouraged the young generation to carry forward the music traditions of their forefathers. He said that both of them had helped to start Lok Sangeet Sansthan and had given liberal grants to keep the traditions for the young generations to follow.

Meanwhile, the family has received hundreds of condolence messages from all over the globe, Pakistan.



NREGA boon for rural belt: DC
Paddy bonus will be cleared soon, he assures farmers
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
Several farmers of Dadupura village complained about the non-payment of paddy bonus to deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu who was on a visit to oversee work under the national rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGA).

Farmers said commission agents were deliberately not clearing their dues. Listening to their complaints, Pannu contacted district food and supplies controller Dr Anjum Bhaskar about the problem on the phone and instructed her to look into the matter. He assured the farmers that their problem would get solved within two days.

Meanwhile, Pannu, along with his team of officers, visited the villages of Nangal Pannuan, Bhagwan, Gallowali, Dadupura and Anaitpura in the Majitha block to review the progress of various development activities, including the works under the NREGA scheme.

At Nangal Pannuan, Bhagwan, Gallowali, Dadupura and Anaitpura, the grant was utilised for the de-silting of ponds and for the disposal of sullage water.

Under this scheme, a total grant of Rs 1.61 crore has been utilised in Majitha block where as many as 1,770 families have benefited from it.

Pannu said this scheme was proving to be a great boon for the unemployed wage-earners in the rural belt. A total of Rs 1,466.93 lakh was received for the purpose of development, of which Rs 1,410.85 lakh was released to gram panchayats and line departments in 2007-08.

He said during the period 24,322 job cards had been issued, while 15,555 households were provided employment and Rs 1,086.84 lakh had actually been spent on development works.

The DC said during the year, Rs 1,011.03 lakh was received, of which Rs 723.73 lakh had already been utilised for development purposes.

He said till December 31, 2008, 29,803 job cards had been issued, as many as 11,406 households provided employment and 4,36,870 person days have been generated.

He visited a brick-kiln near Majitha town after listening to the complaint of local residents about burning of tyres in brick-kilns, causing excessive air pollution. He cautioned the brick-kiln owners against such practices.



Chief Khalsa Dewan to open old-age home
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
Chief Khalsa Dewan has now decided to open an old-age home adjoining to Central Khalsa Orphanage on Ram Tirath Road side here.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal would lay the foundation stone of the old-age home at a function here on January 26.

CKD president Charanjit Singh Chadha said today that the orphanage would be constructed at a cost of about Rs Rs 2 crore. The four-storey building would have all the facilities, including lifts, hygienic kitchen, park and small library consisting of newspapers, periodicals and magazines.

The home would have 32 rooms with attached bathrooms where 64 elderly people, who would be admitted on merit, irrespective of their caste, colour or religion, could stay at a time.

Honorary secretary Bhag Singh Ankhi said the old-age people would be admitted after proper verification. The institution was already running an old-age home in Tarn Taran, he said. He added the capacity of the home would be increased at a later stage as per the requirement.

The home would also have a guest room for visitors and a common room where means would also be set up for their proper entertainment.



Kairon lays stone of bridge
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, January 23
The Punjab government would provide urban-type facilities in the rural areas, food and supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon said while addressing a number of gatherings in the Patti area yesterday. The minister was in the area to lay foundation stones of works worth Rs 985.30 lakh which include widening and construction of roads and brides in different villages.

He said a bridge connecting Kandiala and Burj Nathu Ke would be constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.62 crore. Link roads from Patti to Kullaha Colony, Dyalpur to Ghariala, Dhagana to Dubli Ghairala, Dhariwal to Manakpur, Sabhra to Dubli, Bhathe Bhani to Bhaggupur would be built.



Car, mobiles snatched
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 23
A group of gunmen snatched a white Honda City car (PB-02-5151) from its owner Varun Grover and his friend Naresh at gunpoint near Basant Avenue here late last night.

The armed group stopped the car and forcibly took the vehicle, besides two mobile phones, and fled away. A case has been registered.None of the senior police officials could be contacted despite repeated attempts.



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