Now, Sukhbir’s poster adorns controversial building
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
The oversized banners of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and other senior Akali leaders on the controversial building of Prof Darbari Lal, a former deputy speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which is facing a vigilance probe, have been amusing the onlookers.

It was on June 18 last year that the Punjab government ordered a vigilance probe against the construction of the four-storey building by Prof Darbari Lal on a busy traffic junction in Amritsar, in violation of a sanctioned scheme as well as the High Court.

The ruling SAD-BJP has not spared any building, roundabout or roadside to put up big hoardings or posters in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Most of the recent hoardings of politicians were put up by the Akali Dal to felicitate Sukhbir Singh Badal on his induction as Deputy Chief Minister.

The ruling party did not spare even the historic Jallianwala Bagh. Its entry gate was eclipsed with a huge billboard covering the signage.

The SAD also violated the directions of the Supreme Court, which had banned installation of such hoardings on the GT Road. A large hoarding can be seen on the overbridge outside the railway station.

Though BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and municipal corporation mayor Shavet Malik recently launched a drive to remove the hoardings of politicians, their posters could still be seen defacing the streets and roads of the holy city.



‘I Am No Lab Rat’ campaign reaches holy city
Neeraj Bagga/TNS

Amritsar, February 3
With a view to create awareness among masses regarding genetically modified (GM) foods in the country, the “I Am No Lab Rat” campaign reached the holy city here today.

The campaign was launched by the Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM) in collaboration with a number of NGOs across the country. In this part of the country the KVM has joined hands with the Pingalwara Charitable Society to spread awareness.

According to Kavitha Kuruganti of the KVM, under the campaign, general public was made aware of negative fallouts of the crops by stopping them at morning walks, intersections and other public places. Dr Inderjit Kaur, president, Pingalwara Society, said she decided to join the movement since it was concerned with human health and environment. Efforts must be made to provide hygienic condition so that healthy children were born in the society.

She said since the health was a state subject, people were asked to give their names, address, contact numbers in a page requesting Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, Punjab health minister, to say no to GM crops in the state.

She said the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (MHSC) in collaboration with the world’s biggest seed company Monsanto planned to introduce Bt Brinjal 
in the country.

“GM crops are known to cause various adverse health impacts like stunted growth, internal organ damage, impaired immune systems, reproductive health impacts and inter-generational adverse effects.”

She claimed that Bt brinjal’s biosafety tests also pointed out that it had various adverse impacts even though the MHSC concluded that everything was safe with the product. The world also witnessed the fact that MAYCO did not part with the data claiming that it was confidential business information. “We want to tell the biotech companies, American agencies investing their funds into the development of such GM crops, Indian agriculture universities and the regulators that we will not be made lab rats in this experiment. They have to pay heed to democratic voices.”

It was well known that the biotech industry would not like an informed debate on the issue of GM foods and to leave choices to consumers , wherever informed debates have been created, consumers have rejected it. “We want all Indians to realise that it is both their right and responsibility to let the government know that their right to save food can not be denied.”



Discount phenomenon sweeps stores
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
It is apparent that discount phenomenon has gripped almost all the retail apparel stores - major and middle - in the city. Advertisements, billboards and banners announcing rebates, leave the onlookers wondering. The discount being offered was baffling in the range of 50 to 70 per cent.

The question arises as to what led to the sharp fall in the prices of clothing.

Apart from global recession, weather was held responsible for the sharp decline in the sales.

A national apparel chain store, which gave the city its first multistorey store with an escalator, was offering a 60 per cent discount, while other outlets were offering 50 per cent and above.

A booming economy and availability of liquidity had led to opening of the several indigenous trendy and fashionable apparel chains competing with the international brands flooding the country.

Consequently, a number of apparel outlets had sprung up in many areas, including Hall Gate, Madan Mohan Malviya Road, Bhai Veer Singh Road and Ranjit Avenue.

Varun Maheshwari, who runs an international footwear store, said though the global recession had little impact in this part of the country, yet market sentiments had deeply impacted psychology of the people. “Unsure of future economic trend, people have restricted their spending.”

Proprietor of a leading cloth store Jaideep Singh said weather was the major culprit this time. Although the biting cold conditions had been there at the beginning of the year, but it did not last long.

Shopkeepers were resorting to time-tested techniques, like “buy one and get one” and “happy hours” offering heavy rebate during the fixed hours to induce the buyers.



National Awards
Shamshad Begum and Bhai Nirmal Singh do city proud
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
With Shamshad Begum and Hazoori Raagi Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa being felicitated with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards, respectively, there couldn’t have been a prouder way for the holy city to kick-start the year.

A very few people know that Shamshad Begum, the nasal-voiced legendary classical and playback singer of yesteryear, presently settled in Mumbai, was born in Amritsar.

Shamshad, who was born in 1920, ruled the Punjabi playback singing arena of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Shamshad had passed auditions as a Punjabi folk singer from All India Radio, Lahore, in 1937. From 1937 to 1939, Shamshad Begum used to commute from Amritsar to Lahore once or twice a month to perform live at the radio station. Her crisp, high pitched and voluminous voice came to the notice of Amritsar born, Lahore-based music director Master Ghulam Haider. In 1940 Ghulam Haider featured her voice in his second Punjabi film “Yamla Jatt”.

Her voice was instantly acclaimed by the cine-goers. This film did very well both in Amritsar and Lahore and recovered its entire cost from these two cities. From 1940 onwards Shamshad started living in Lahore and her voice was featured on both Punjabi and Hindi films made in Lahore. In 1944, Ghulam Haider moved from Lahore to Bombay and took Shamshad Begum along with all the members of his famous orchestra to the city. In 1949 Ghulam Haider moved back to Lahore, but Shamshad Begum refused to move back. She sang for almost all well-known music directors of the film industry, like Naushad, Sajjad, C. Ramchandra, Khem Chand Prakash, Hans Raj Behl, Vinod, Alla Rakha, Ram Ganguli, Shanker Jaikishan and O.P. Nayyar.

Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, hazoori ragi at the Golden Temple, has been bestowed with the Padma Shri this year. Serving the cause of music for the past about 25 years, he is one of the finest exponents of “gurmat sangeet”, deft at the rendition of the Guru’s hymns.

It is indeed insightful on the part of the experts of music associated with the Government of India to honour one of the great “kirtanias” with a great national award.



Waste mgmt plant: Clean hopes float in air
Sanjay Bumbroo and P. K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Dustbins to be used for the project. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Amritsar, February 3
The solid waste management plant to be established in the holy city of Amritsar has raised hopes among the residents that it may help make the city clean.

The Rs 82-crore project launched by hoards of politicians, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in charge of the BJP affairs in Punjab Balbir Punj, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and mayor Shawet Malik on Monday, is first one to be set up in Punjab.

The brainchild of Sidhu, the project would cater to the needs of more than 12 lakh residents of the holy city living in 65 wards by lifting the garbage.

The plant has a capacity to handle about 600-700 metric tonnes of garbage being generated daily by the residents and small scale 
industry while at present 500 metric tonne of garbage is produced in the city daily.

D.P.S. Kharbanda, municipal corporation commissioner, said under the scheme 70 per cent garbage would be lifted from the 60 per cent of the area.

He said the detailed project report for the second phase of processing and disposal has been sent to the state government. He said under the directions of the high court the second phase would be started by April this year.

Under this ambitious project 50 per cent of the funds would be pooled by Central government while 20 per cent and 30 per cent would be contributed by state government and Amritsar Municipal Corporation, respectively.

The state government has already released Rs 16 crore out of its 20 per cent share and the Antony Waste Handlings Cell Private Ltd, Mumbai has been entrusted with the task to lift 300 metric tonne garbage of the city excluding the walled city.

The company has provided latest equipments worth Rs 10 crore, including about 50 mini tipper for door-to-door collection, 10 dumper placer for transporting 4.5 capacity closed containers.

The company will be collecting garbage from door to door, segregating it and transporting it to waste processing unit and landfill. Sufficient waste storage facilities will be provided by the company.

All provided infrastructure are as per MSW rules of India. The company is selected by corporation through a competitive bidding.

This system will be an integrated Solid waste management system for Amritsar city and this will ensure timely garbage from the city’s in closed vehicles on fixed route timing.

There will be no backlogs in the city since it is a 24 hours operation. GPS system will be fitted on all vehicles so that the vehicles can be tracked by both the company and corporation. This is ensure that the drivers and operators meet their allotted site requirements.

There will be a dedicated complaint cell in all zones to attend the complaints at any point of time. 24 hours toll free number 1800-1802-104 is also provided for the citizens to lodge their complaints. This contract is for a period of seven years considering the life of vehicles deployed in the project. This may be extended for same block period after seven years if mutually agreed.

The garbage collected from the city would be dumped at Bhagtanwala on the outskirts of the city. The dumpsite would also be reshaped by raising its boundary wall by about 3 ft. A greenbelt would also be established around the dumping site to give it a cleaner look.



Research must for growth: Pani
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
The scenario of research in various fields seems to be grim as only 6 to 7 per cent students in the age group of 18 to 23 years enrolled in various institutes of higher education opt for research as a career.

However, the zonal and national research conventions programme being organised by the Association of Indian Universities has brought a number of talents forward.

This was revealed by Dr Amarendra Pani, assistant director research, Association of Indian Universities (AIU), while talking to The Tribune here today.

He was here on the occasion of the second student research convention (north zone) - Anveshan-2009 being held at Guru Nanak Dev University here.

Sharing his views, Dr Pani said most of the talent remained unexplored and it was high time for such talent to be identified and promoted by being providing with the required facilities.

He said the main aim of the student research convention programme was to identify the research talent of young students and promote research by providing them proper and required incentives for taking research as a career option.

Dr Pani said the 21st century would be remembered for the great revolution in the arena of knowledge. The research convention organised by the AIU at the zonal and national levels was a flagship programme which would certainly go a long way in creating an intensive research culture in the institutions of higher education and supporting the future knowledge economy.



21 research projects presented during Anveshan-2009
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
As many as 21 research projects were presented on the second day of the three-day Anveshan-2009 being organised by Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in collaboration with Guru Nanak Dev University here.

More than 40 research scholars have been participating in this 2nd Student Convention (North Zone). Earlier, Dr Jai Rup Singh, vice-chancellor of the GNDU, inaugurated the convention while Dr Amarendra Pani, Assistant Director Research, AIU, gave introductory note of the convention.

The vice-chancellor said there was no dearth of talent in the country. However, he rued that most of this talent remained unexplored. He also stressed that there was need to recognise the research activities in the institutions of higher education for making them socially relevant.

Advising the young participants, Jai Rup Singh stressed that the research should be taken seriously and young and fresh minds should come up with new innovative proposals, which certainly help us in building knowledge culture in the country. He said the youth has the potential and talent, which needed to be promoted. He said Guru Nanak Dev University has created the funds for this purpose.

Dr Narpinder Singh, Dean, faculty of applied sciences, and zonal coordinator of Anveshan-2009, said this was unique programme that gives opportunity of the young students to exhibit their talent not only at the zonal level but at the national level. He said the innovative researchers were the need of the hour and the young researchers of the country should concentrate on conducting quality research, which was beneficial for the society at large. Dr Pani said the higher education system across the globe was passing through a critical phase. He said the universities being the great centre of learning have to strengthen their research base for creating and disseminating knowledge through research.

He said that the present convention organised by AIU aims that identifying the research talent in the country and promoting them through rewards and incentives.



Play on Baba Deep Singh staged
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
With a view to paying tributes to the 18th century Sikh martyr Baba Deep Singh, whose birth anniversary was observed recently, a play was staged at Guru Nanak Dev University here.

The performance was jointly put up by department of Guru Nanak studies of the university and the Dhan Dhan Baba Deep Singh Society.

Written and directed by Kewal Dhaliwal, it brought alive the sterling role of the martyr to rescue fellow countrymen and liberate the Golden Temple from the clutches of marauding Afghans.

The play had another reason to be endeared to the viewers since Baba Deep Singh was born and brought up at Pahuwind village, located on the Amritsar-Khemkaran road, near Bhikiwind.

He was baptised by Guru Gobind Singh in 1700 and had the privilege to spend a considerable time in close companionship of the 10th Sikh Guru.

Major events of his life were covered in the play. From Bhai Mani Singh, he learnt reading and writing Gurmukhi and later helped him in preparing copies of Guru Granth Sahib. Before departing for Deccan, the 10th Sikh master installed him as the caretaker of Gurdwara Damdama Sahib. Later, he joined Banda Bahadur during the attacks on Sadhaura and Sirhind. He also led Shaheedan Misl.

Deployed near Kurukshetra, Baba Deep Singh freed a large number of prisoners and salvaged booty from Ahmad Shah Abdali’s army. At the ripe age of 75 Baba Deep Singh, commanding a Sikh army, attacked Afghans occupying the Golden Temple and sacrificed his life for the cause.

Values of piety, liberty, bravery, fearlessness and selfless service to the religion and country by the saint-soldier were enacted in a captivating way which spellbound the viewers.



Govinda set to join mega stars’ club
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
Showing his talent in a number of movies, making the audience to giggle with his comedy, Bollywood star Govinda, with his upcoming six movies, is set to join the rare club of a few mega stars in the holy city.

Having already figured in 120 movies, Chi Chi, fondly called at home and by friends, is raring to touch the magic number of 150 movies since his debut in 1986.

During his three-day visit to here, he went to the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh and Durgiana Temple and met a cross-section of the Congress leaders and his fans. He said among his upcoming movies, one was directed by Mani Ratnam and another by David Dhawan.

Govinda, who has entertained the cine-goers with his emotional performance, powerful dance and hilarious comedy, was listed among the first 10 in a BBC news online survey to find out the top 10 stars of stage and screen of the last 1,000 years.

Beginning his career from “Illzam”, Govinda soon became an iconic face of the family movies in the late 80s and early 90s like “Love 86”, “Swarg” and many more.

When asked about his future plans, he said, “In our culture it is considered as a moral duty of a man to earn and ensure proper livelihood of the family.” He said he was performing his duty and would be doing the same as long as God desired.

He worked with many actresses right from Hema Malini to Karishma Kapoor. In the initial years of his career, his partnering with Neelam was lapped up by the viewers. The duo produced films like “Illzam”, “Love 86”, “Khudgarz” and “Hatya”.

Later in his career, teaming up with Karishma Kapoor and David Dhawan yielded hit comedies one after another. The back-to-back hits included, “Shola Aur Shabnam”, “Aankhen”, “Raja Babu”, “Coolie No 1”, “Saajan Chale Sasural” and “Hero No 1”. Owing to his dancing acumen, coupled with humour-filled comedy, made him a true man of entertainment.

However, surfacing of the tapes showing him with the underworld dons created a flutter and threatened to derail his political career.



Campus buzz
GND varsity for wetlands conservation
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
Guru Nanak Dev University, under the aegis of its department of zoology, would celebrate World Wetlands Day on February 4 to generate awareness among the public, particularly among the students, regarding conservation of wetlands.

Head of the department Dr Satwinder Dhillon said vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh would be the chief guest, while All-India Pingalwara Society chairperson Dr. Inderjit Kaur would be the guest of honour.

Among other environmentalists, Dr Rajiv Kalsi, birds and wildlife expert from Yamunanagar (Haryana), Harjinder Singh Sandhu from Nature Care Society, Harike (Tarn Taran), and Dr Aneesh Dua, an expert on conservation of wetlands from Guru Nanak Dev University, would present their lectures and slideshows on awareness of conservation of wetlands.


GND University would host the north-east and all-India inter-university kho-kho (women) championship, 2008-09, on its campus here from February 13 to 21. Director sports Kanwaljeet Singh said the competitions for the championship would be held from February 13 to 17, while the championship would be organised from February 19 to 21. Students from 42 universities, including GND University, Punjabi University (Patiala), Panjab University (Chandigarh) and Lovely Professional University (Phagwara) are expected to participate, he added.



Space Settlement
Spring Dale school wins design contest
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
Spring Dale Senior School won the Asian championship of the fifth Asian Regional Space Settlement Design Competition (ARSSDC) held at Manesar, Gurgaon.

A school press note issued here said it was the only school from India to qualify for the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC) to be held at Johnson Space Center , NASA, Houston.

A 12-member team of the school participated in the design competition organised by Atlantis Edutainment Private Limited in association with the Boeing company.

In the first phase of the competition the Spring Dale team had to compete with more than 30 teams from prestigious institutes from all over Asia. The school team was assigned the task of proposing a space settlement design - Arial, the first lunar settlement in orbit around the moon. The construction of which would start in 2044 and would be completed in 2054. The entire proposal was divided into various sections like executive summary, structure of the settlement, operations, human engineering, automation, compliance matrix and the calculation of its cost and schedule.

The school team would now be clubbed with international teams from various continents and compete for International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC) at Johnson Space Center, NASA.



Workshop on female foeticide organised
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
Government Nursing College held a workshop on female foeticide here.

The nursing interns highlighted various aspects of the social evil of female foeticide.

A poster competition and paper presentations were organised on the occasion under the supervision of principal Rajrani and the teaching faculty of the nursing college.

Medical superintendent Dr R.P.S. Boparai highlighted the urgency of stopping the evil practice by spreading awareness and educating the masses against the gender bias. He cautioned against the widening difference in sex ratio and the associated social problems.

Dr Boparai gave away prizes to the winners and mementos to the faculty and other participants.



Dowry death: Husband, in-laws booked
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
The district police today booked Deepak Kumar and his family members, residents of the Chheharta area here, for allegedly burning Madhubala, wife of Deepak, to death for dowry.

Pawan Kumar, a resident of the Sultanwind area and brother of the deceased, in his complaint lodged with the police alleged that Deepak and his family had been demanding a motorcycle from them. He alleged that on Lohri, when they had gone to her house with some gifts after the birth of a child, the in-laws of Madhubala asked for a motorcycle, which they could not afford to give.

He alleged that today they got the information that his sister had died and when he along with the family reached her house, they found Madhu burned to death.

The police has registered a case under section 304-B of the IPC against Madhubala’s husband Deepak, her brother-in-law Naresh and mother-in-law Sheela.

Madhubala’s relatives protested against the police for not involving her sisters-in-law in the case.



APKF’s clean-up drive in Galiara
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
With a view to providing a clean environment around the Golden Temple complex, activists of the Akal Purkh Ki Fauj (APKF) cleaned the galiara path here.

Holding brooms, spades and drums to collect garbage and dust, they sent a message to shopkeepers and residents to keep the area clean.

They cleaned Atta Mandi, Kathiyan Wala Bazaar, Baba Atal Chowk and Papad Wala Bazaar falling under galiara project.

Earlier, the APKF members led by its district convener Balpreet Singh held a march. The march began from Bhai Gurdas Hall and ended at Harmandar Sahib. Before launching the cleanliness drive, they performed ardas at the Golden Temple.

SGPC member and APKF coordinator Kuljit Singh said since pilgrims from around the world pay obeisance at Harmandar Sahib, it was the moral duty of people to keep its surrounding clear of dust and dirt. He said the campaign was initiated under “Smile Amritsar” by the APKF.



Committee meets SE

Amritsar, February 3
A deputation of the Area Development Committee of Dashmesh Avenue, Vikas Nagar and Shori Nagar colonies, led by its president Prabhdyal Singh Dhillon, met PWD (B and R) superintending engineer Ashok Goyal and apprised him of the problems being faced by the area, including widening and repairing of the polytechnic road, adjacent to GNDU, had remained a dream for the pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Goyal said their demands would be put forward to the authorities concerned for approval. He said the patch work for repairing the road would start within a week. — TNS



Training programme for branch postmasters

Amritsar, February 3
The Amritsar Division of Department of Posts held a rural postal life insurance business-cum-training programme at a private hotel here recently.

Senior superintending of post offices R.P. Sharma here today said the aim of the training programme was to motivate the branch postmasters of the district to create awareness among rural public about the rural postal life insurance. Punjab postmaster-general Jaswinder Singh was the chief guest on the occasion. He addressed the members of the local department. The insurance-cum-saving scheme aimed at fulfilling the needs of the rural people, he added. — TNS



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