Gateway of Amritsar likely to be inaugurated on Feb 10
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
The ambitious project of “Gateway of Amritsar” is likely to be inaugurated on February 10 by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the occasion of martyrdom day of Sardar Sham Singh Atari, the great Sikh general of legendry Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The final touches are being given to the project, which would be greeting the large number of visitors on their way to Attari-Wagah joint post for witnessing beating the retreat ceremony or dignitaries coming from across the border.

Meanwhile, the huge statue of Sham Singh Atari is also getting final touches and is ready to be installed at site of ambitious project of the municipal corporation. It is after a span of nearly two decades that the project with an estimated cost of around Rs four crore became a reality when the foundation stone was laid by the CM to commemorate the 400 years of foundation day of the holy city.

About 10-tonnes statue of the Sikh general was manufactured at an expenditure of more than Rs 20 lakh. The statue is made up of gunmetal and is crafted by a Rajasthan-based craftsman.

MC commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda said the beautiful landscape of the “Gateway of Amritsar” which is on final stages would be a feast to watch for the visitors. He said work was on war-footing to complete the remaining work while the second phase of the project for construction of international level cafeteria for the visitors has already been started which would cost about Rs 25-20 lakh.

He said the beautiful gateway would be entry gate of India from Pakistan and would probably emerge as one of the major tourist spots. He said complex would be constructed of latest material including tensile fabric. The entire area around the gate would be beautified with lawns encircling the structure.

Situated at Amritsar-Chheharta bypass road, the “Gateway of Amritsar” would present an eye-catching spot, which has earlier become an accident-prone area with vehicles coming from Attari ramming into the low-boundary wall encircling the three-way crossing due to absence of streetlights and reflectors.

The sharp turn around the large roundabout of the chowk had further aggravated the problem. The high-beam light of the approaching heavy vehicles from the opposite direction made driving more dangerous. From this bypass, one road leads to the international Attari railway station and Wagah joint checkpost, while the other to the Rajasansi international airport.



SWM Project
MC staff end strike, clear way for private guys
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
The two-day strike by safai karamcharis of the health department of the municipal corporation was called off following intervention by MP Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Members of the Municipal Corporation Workers Union had called the strike in protest against the workers of a private company engaged in handling the solid waste management (SWM) plant, collecting garbage from their areas.

Union general secretary Surinder Tona said the decision was taken after Sidhu had called a meeting at his residence last night.

He said the private company had been given authority over the Civil Lines area to collect garbage for the SWM project where three of the MC’s tractor-trailers used to function for the same purpose earlier. He added that all the three vehicles had been diverted to the walled city, facing a shortage of wagons for collecting garbage.

He said the other demand was promotion of 41 persons of the department.

Earlier, the union was adamant not to allow employees of the company to collect garbage.

However, they softened their stand following the intervention of BJP politicians since they did not want any impediment in the working of the plant as they were projecting it to move the heart of electorate in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

The company handling the SWM project has mechanised the entire process of garbage collection. Colourful glossy cycle rickshaw wagons could be spotted on the roads in the morning collecting garbage from door to door, segregating it and transporting it to the waste processing unit.



Kingpin of Dedh gang, accomplice held
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
In a major success, the district police arrested hardcore criminal and kingpin of the Dedh gang Amandeep Singh, alias Dedh, a resident of New Partap Nagar here, along with his accomplice, after a firing incident.

The police seized a .32-bore pistol with five cartridges and sharp-edged weapons from him. His accomplice was identified as Sukhwinder Singh of New Jaspal Nagar, Sultanwind Road. The gang was also involved in two incidents of recent gang wars in the Gujjarpura locality under C-division police station.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said after a tip-off, a police party, led by the DSP and the SHO of Civil Lines police station, laid a naka at Rattan Singh Chowk, Navi Abadi, Faizpura.

They were checking the vehicles when six youths riding three motorcycles coming from the Mental Hospital side were signalled to stop.

However, the accused tried to dodge the police by breaking the barriers and crossed from the wrong side.

The police team, led by ASI Shamsher Singh, gave a chase. While two motorcyclists escaped, both the riders of the third motorcycle were overpowered by the police.

The absconding four persons of the gang have been identified as Narwinder Singh of Bhagtan Wala, Dana Mandi, Sandeep Popli of Jaspal Nagar, Sultanwind Road, Navi and Jassi of Mandir Wala Bazaar, Sultanwind Road.

The arrested persons were notorious criminals of the Sultanwind area and are wanted in connection with eight cases of attempt to murder, kidnapping, gang war, etc. in various courts. They were recently bailed out of jail, the SSP added. Now a case under sections 307, 353, 354, 186 and 34 of the IPC, sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act and section 68(1) K of the Punjab Police Act, 2007, has been registered at Civil Lines police station.

3 of robbers’ gang held

Busting a gang of robbers and dacoits, the police arrested three persons Gurpreet Singh, Ranjit Singh and Sukhchain Singh, all residents of the Sultanwind area, here today.

However, two of their accomplices, identified as Rockey and Sonu of the same area, managed to escape. The police recovered four mobile phones and sharp-edged weapons from them. According to police authorities, the Sultanwind police received information about the gang after which a raid was conducted near Pingalwara, A-block New Amritsar. A case under section 399,402,382,411 of the IPC has been registered.



Lok Sabha Poll Preparation
Photography for voter I-cards from Feb 7 to 15
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
Electorates without photo identity cards from the Amritsar north assembly constituency would get a chance to be photographed from February 7 to 15.

On the first day of photography for polling station numbers 1, 63 and 64 would be held in the office of Chief Agriculture Officer, Ranjit Avenue, for polling stations 2, 24 and 75 in Manav Public School, Anand Avenue, polling stations 3, 25 in Provident Fund office on Old Jail road, polling stations 4, 6, 7 and 8 in Khalsa College International Public School, Ranjit Avenue and for polling station number 5 in Government Elementary School, Fajpura.

For polling station numbers 9, 10 and 26 in Baba Isher Singh Nanaksar Public School Ranjit Avenue, polling station numbers 11, 12 in Madhav Vidhya Niketan Ranjit Avenue, polling station 13 in the office of Engineer Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), Maqbool road, polling station numbers 14, 27, 28 and 29 in government secondary school, Nushehra Khurd and polling station numbers 15, 16 and 17 in Spring Dales Secondary School, Fatehgarh Churiyan road on February 8.

For polling station numbers 18, 20 and 30 in Government Elementary School, Ganda Singh Wala, polling station number 19 in Government Elementary School, Bhutanpura, polling station numbers 21 and 32 in Government Middle School, Ganda Singh Wala, polling station numbers 22, 39 and 40 in Government Secondary School, Tungbala and polling station number 31 in Saint Sain Senior Secondary School, Gulmohar Avenue on February 9.

Meanwhile, for polling station numbers 23 in Government Elementary school, Karampura, polling station number 33 in Engineer TRW, Tungpai, polling station number 34, 35, 36, 37 in Government Elementary school, Tungbala, polling station numbers 38, 44 and 54 in Model Study School, Tungbala and polling station numbers 41 and 42 in Bhaba Public School, Majitha road on February 10.

Photography for polling station number 43 in Sofia Memorial High School, Shahid Sudesh Nagar, polling station numbers 45, 46 in Government secondary school Mustafabad, polling station numbers 50 in Preet Public School Mustafabad, polling station numbers 47, 48, 49 in the office of Superintendent engineer PSEB, Verka, polling station numbers 51, 52 in Government Elementary School Mustafabad and polling station numbers53, 58, 59 and 60 Ajay Senior Secondary School, Tungbala on February 11.

Photography for polling station numbers 55, 56 57 in S.S High School, Guru Gobind Singh Nagar, Tungbala, polling station numbers 61, 62 in Government Health and Family Welfare and Training Secter, Old Jail road, polling station numbers 65, 69, 70 in Medical College’s Physical Education room, polling station numbers 66, 67, 68 in Ajanta Public School, Basant Avenue and polling station numbers 71 and 72ffice Water Supply and Sewerage Board on February 12.

Electorates without photo identity cards from Polling station numbers 73, 74 in Shahzadanand College Green Avenue, polling station number 76 in the office of Assistant Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, court road, polling station numbers 77, 78 in Government Sarup Rani College for Women, Rani Ka Bagh, polling station number 79 in Jagat Jyoti Senior Secondary school, Rani Ka Bagh and polling station numbers 80, 81, 82 and 83 in PBN High School, Dayanand Nagar Gali umber two would be photographed on February 13.

Electorates from polling station numbers 84, 85 in DAV Public School, Lawrence road, polling station numbers 86, 87 and 88 in BBK DAV College Lawrence road, polling station numbers 89, 92 and 94 in St Mary Girls High School, Majitha road, polling station numbers 95 in Bhaba Senior Secondary School, Gopal Nagar, polling station numbers 90, 91 and 93 in Sacred Heart High School would be photographed on February 14.

Voters left out from getting photo identity cards from polling station number 96 in Government Elementary School Gopal Nagar, polling station number 97 in Lawrence School, Kashmir Avenue, polling station numbers 98 and 110 in Ram Ashram Senior Secondary School, polling station numbers 99 and 100 in Shivam Public School, New Jawahar Nagar and polling station numbers 101 and 102 in Maha Shakti Vidhya Bhawan, Jawahar Nagar would be photographed on the last day of campaign on February 15.



MC too busy to hold general house meet
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
In a demonstration of a tardy way of functioning, the municipal corporation has been working without holding a general house meet for the past six months. The last meeting took place on July 21.

The amount of significance associated with the general house meeting could be gauged from the fact that it is where issues concerning with the city are taken up and attention is drawn towards most compelling areas of development for redressing grievances of public, if any.

Ranjan Aggarwal, Congress councillor and leader of opposition in the House, said as per the provisions governing the proceedings of the house, the general house must meet at least once a month.

He said repeated requests and memorandums to the ruling SAD-BJP coalition had failed to elicit any response.

He alleged that “municipal councillors of the coalition parties were busy brightening the winning chances of their candidate for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat - Navjot Singh Sidhu”.

According to him, a number of issues concerning public were lying pending and people were asking them how long it would take to redress them.

He said public was approaching them with the problems of their areas but they could not bring them to the notice of authorities concerned.

When contacted, mayor Shwet Malik said since spate of developmental works like laying of roads, setting up of sewerage plants and others were taken up, they could not call the meet.

However, he assured that meeting of the House would be called at the earliest and all issues would be discussed threadbare.



Laughter is the best medicine: Dr Neki 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
Punjabis were once known for their laughter, but now the situation is something different because the real smiles of the Punjabis has lost somewhere and the fakeness has taken over it, rued leading Sikh scholar, poet and former director of PGI, Chandigarh, Dr Jaswant Singh Neki.

Talking to The Tribune, after giving laughter tips during a special lecture at Khalsa College here, the Sahitya Akademy award winner Dr Neki said laughter was not losing its ground in Punjab but it was diminishing from the faces of people. He said the land of five rivers was known for its vivacious people who never recede even from laughing at themselves in order to give smiles to others.

Dr Neki is a recognised metaphysical poet in Punjabi and has contributed 10 poetry books to the Punjabi literature. Among his famous poetry books are “Asle Te Ohle”, “Eh Mere Sanse Eh Mere Geet”, “Simriti De Kiran To Pehla” and “Karuna Di Chhoh To Magron”.

Besides, he has won several others prestigious awards in literature which include the Asan Memorial award, the Shiromani Sahitkar award (Languages Department), the Sarvotam Sahitkar award (Punjabi Akademy, Delhi), the Bhai Vir Singh award, the KS Dhaliwal award and the Puran Singh Memorial award. Guru Nanak Dev University has conferred on him PhD (hons) for his contribution to literature. He has been a member of the jury (Punjabi) for Sahitya Akademy awards and member of the advisery committee (Punjabi) for Jnanpeeth award.

Meanwhile, giving some laughter tips to the students of Khalsa College, he said laughing was not learnt or acquired. It came naturally on one’s face. He said due to the hectic life schedules, people were becoming prone to diseases, which also resulted in the deterioration of health. He said laughing was the best medicine available for the sound health and for removing stress and strain of daily life.

Earlier, Khalsa College principal Dr Daljit Singh, while welcoming Dr Neki and his wife Kanwarjit, said it was an honour for the college to have such a dignitary visiting the college. He honoured Dr Neki with a picture of the majestic building of the historic college.



‘Adopt ‘Islah’ to raise Punjabi ghazal standard’

Amritsar, February 6
Punjabi poet and psychiatrist Dr Jaswant Singh Neki today underlined the importance of the synthesis of thought, content and craftsmanship of poetry at a two-day workshop on poetry dedicated to Bhai Vir Singh at Guru Nanak Dev University here.

Dr Neki was of the view that Urdu ghazal could only touch such literary heights because of Islah and the practice needs to be adopted to raise the standard of the Punjabi ghazal.

The workshop was being organised by the university under the aegis of its School of Punjabi Studies in association with Bhai Vir Singh Sahit Sadan, New Delhi, to sharpen the sensibility of the budding poets, particularly of the colleges and universities. More than 20 eminent poets from India and abroad and over 40 budding poets were participating in it.

Dr Satinder Singh, a distinguished Punjabi scholar and former pro-vice-chancellor of the university, delivered the keynote address, while director of research Dr Sarabjit Singh Chahal presided over. Dr Neki, Dr Satinder Singh, Dr S.S. Chahal and Dr S.S. Khehra also released a university publication on “Giani Kesar Singh”, authored by Dr Sohinderbir and Dr Raminder Kaur.

Dr Satinder Singh told the teachers and students to equip themselves with the latest development in the field of knowledge to keep pace with the modern world. He emphasised that the writer expressed the true voice of people and, therefore, they should not confine themselves to the den.

Earlier, head of the School of Punjabi Studies Dr Dharam Singh said it was the first event of its kind in the university which would help established poets to share their experiences and creative process with the promising poets. — TNS



Heritage fest from Feb 20
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
The Virsa Vihar Society, Amritsar, in association with the Punjab Kala Parishad would hold the three-day Amritsar Heritage Festival from February 20.

Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu said for the first time the entire responsibility of organising the festival had been given to local artistes. The opening day would observe heritage procession entailing elephants, horses showcasing traditional musical instruments, besides martial art “gatka” and others in the holy city. An exhibition of Punjabi books in a van would criss-cross various roads as well. Subsequently, a langar and a kirtan darbar would be held at Virsa Vihar, besides a play on Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s Luna and a kavi darbar. On the second day of the festival, contests in paintings and a seminar on Punjabi in which Punjabi teachers from the district would participate. A programme for folk dances, folk music instruments would be held in which Kavishri, Dhadhi jatha, Sufi songs would be the events to watch. On the last day, a heritage walk covering heritage buildings, five pious water bonds, Santokhsar, Ramsar, Kaulsar, Amritsar and Viveksar, would be an informative tour. In the evening, noted singer Gurmeet Bawa along with her daughters would regale the viewers with her hit numbers. Pannu said local artistes who had performed in the TV “Laughter Challenge” programme would also be honoured.



City boy qualifies for national badminton tourney 
Neeraj Bagga/TNS

Sonali shows medals.
Sonali shows medals. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Amritsar, February 6
His grit, determination, coupled with faith in himself, paid off when he qualified for the Open National Badminton Championship to be held at Indore from February 10 to 18. Currently pursuing MBA from Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), city youth Mayank Behal left the Railways job after six years. He is also the brand ambassador of an international sports goods manufacturing company based in Austria.

He qualified for the nationals after clinching the Men's Open State Badminton Championship that concluded at Jalandhar recently. In a pulsating final, Mayank had defeated Lakhwinder Singh of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) 21-12, 21-14.

He teamed up with another local Opinder Pal Singh and secured the doubles as well. The duo defeated Navdeep Singh and Harinder Singh of Jalandhar 21-17, 21-12.

Sports culture at home propelled him to start at a very young age. Badminton became a natural choice. Manoeuvring the shuttlecock with clever smashes and scoring a point over the opponent became a habit for him.

The glorious moment of his career came when he defeated Russian Pukoff in the World Railway Championship in 2005. He was among the top 16 players in the Satellite Tournament held in Sri Lanka in 2007 in which Asian countries had participated.

Mayank had been the winner of the North Zone Open Badminton Men’s Championship thrice, while remained the winner of the State Open Badminton twice.

Sibs win honours

Sonali Devgan has won two of the four medals won by Punjab at the national roller skating championship held at Faridabad recently.

The state won four medals in all with three medals by Amritsar and out of that Sonali, who is a student of DAV School, Lawrence Road, has bagged silver in road race and a bronze medal in rink race. She has till now bagged 60 medals with two golds in road race and rink race under the 14-16 age group at the open Punjab roller skating tournament held at Sangrur in December last year. Her brother Shubam Devgan too has won medals in the under 10-12 age category with gold in road race and silver in rink race.

League matches

Hosts Guru Nanak Dev University and Panjab University, Chandigarh, won their league matches of the north-east zone inter-university basketball (women) championship being played at Multipurpose Indoor Gymnasium of GND Varsity here. In the first league match, PU beat Kurukshetra University 82-44, while in the second league match GNDU defeated VBS University, Jaunpur (Purvanchal) 71-69.



School in ‘locality of widows’ leaves a mark on DC 
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu today visited Citizens’ Forum Vidya Mandir School situated in the Maqboolpura locality in the outskirts of the holy city here where free education is being provided to the wards of victims of drug addiction.

The locality, which is infested with rampant drug addiction, derived its name “locality of widows” due to large number of deaths as many young lost their lives to this abuse. Started by Brij Bedi, industrialist and social worker with the help of Master Ajit Singh and his wife Satpal Kaur with 20 children in the house of teacher couple, the school has now above 400 students.

Pannu, who visited for the first time, was very impressed to see arrangements in the school where students themselves teach the younger students after getting education. He interacted with the children of the school.

While sharing his experience in the visitors’ book, he wished that he had visited the school earlier. He said he was very impressed with the functioning of the school, its staff and especially the dedication of the Master Ajit Singh, his wife Satpal and Bedi who were leaving no stone unturned for the betterment of the future of the tiny tots of the area. He promised that he would do his possible best for school.

Speaking on the occasion, Brij Bedi urged the deputy commissioner to provide a land adjoining to the area for construction of big school so that the strength of students could be increased by inducting more children of the area and provide them better education opportunities.

The deputy commissioner assured that he would talk to the Chief Minister in this regard and would try to do the needful for the school.



Anveshan 2009
Students’ research convention ends
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
Shabir Hussain Wani and Aseem Verma of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, stood first in the oral and poster-making presentation in agriculture and engineering and technology faculty in the valedictory session of the three-day Anveshan-2009 north zone second students’ research convention that concluded at Guru Nanak Dev University on Wednesday.

Isha Bharadwaj, Vandana and Reeva Paul Choudhary of Panjab University, Chandigarh, secured the first position in social science and humanities, commerce and law stream.

Sandeep Kumar and Tilak Raj from GND varsity got the first position in basic and health sciences and allied subjects, pharmacy, nutrition, respectively.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh was the chief guest, while Secretary-General Dr Dayanand Dongaonkar presided over the valedictory function.

The vice-chancellor said the universities could not progress without research which was their integral part.

Dr Dongaonkar said the need of the hour was to promote and create quality researchers. The Secretary-General said there was tremendous potential and talent among the youth which needed a systematic support and guidance and it was the reason behind organising such type of conventions across the country.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh honoured Dr Dongaonkar and Dr Amarendra Pani, assistant director, research, AIU, with a memento and shawl each on behalf of the university. Certificates and trophies were given to the winners of the poster and oral competitions. Dr Pani detailed the activities during these three days.



17 schools to have satellite system

Tarn Taran, February 6
All the 17 government secondary schools of the district were being connected with the satellite system to teach students about the relevance of science. The teachers were being given training on the techniques of the new system. A one-day operational training camp was organised here today at Sri Guru Arjun Dev Government Secondary School in which the teachers and coordinators participated. District education officer (secondary) D.K. Mahia inaugurated the camp. The DEO after inaugurating the camp said the system had already been installed at Government Girls Secondary School, Patti, and the remaining 16 schools had been given the ultra modern techniques recently.

The EDUSAT SIT’s system would give up-to-date education in the backward district and would provide latest information technology to the students. Reception towers in all the schools have already been installed and the other operational system too was fitted in the schools. — OC



Bee-keeping course from February 10
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 6
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana-run Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Amritsar, would hold a nine-day course on bee-keeping at its office in Ranjit Avenue from February 10.

Experts on the subject would educate the interested candidates with proper life cycle of honey bees, maintenance of bee colonies, insect-pest, diseases of honey bees and sale of honey.

KVK assistant professor Astha said interested candidates could be unemployed rural youth and women with no minimum qualification. An interested person after submitting an identity proof and depositing Rs 50 as registration fee could enrol in the vocational course.

Upon completion of the course a certificate would be issued and it could be used to get a loan up to Rs 2 lakh through the Khadi Gram Udyog to kick off the vocation.

Meanwhile, the KVK organised a field day on integrated nutrition garden at Nagkalan village in Majitha block, near here, recently. The field day was funded by the Sir Rattan Tata Trust, Mumbai. Agriculture scientists attending the field day emphasised the importance of growing vegetables, pulses and fruit in kitchen garden for fulfilling dietary requirements of our families.

With a view to empowering women, 50 farm women and 70 farmers were provided all inputs for nutritious units. He also spoke on the increased daily intake of vegetables, fruits and pulses.

Agriculture experts gave the technical knowhow to women and farmers for growing vegetables, fruits and pulses.

A demonstration on method of planting of fruit plants was also held.



IT raid leaves goldsmiths fuming

Amritsar, February 6
A raid carried out by the Income Tax department yesterday agitated the goldsmiths in the Guru Bazaar area in the walled city here, who raised slogans against the department. The agitating goldsmiths led by Ashwani Kaleshah, president of the Swarn Sangh and councilor of the area, threatened to launch an agitation against the district administration if they would not stop harassment. According to information, the IT sleuths raided Mahinder Singh Jewellers, which led to the protest. The Sangh objected to the raid and started raising slogans. Kaleshah rued that the department had raided various shops in the bazaar earlier also. However, they found nothing. He said the market was already facing crunch due to global economic meltdown and they should desist from harassing them. — TNS



Sidhu gives Rs 1.21 cr for devp projects

Amritsar, February 6
BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu distributed cheques worth Rs 1.21 crore for the overall development of various areas of the city. Sidhu gave cheques for over Rs 80 lakh for development works in the Verka assembly constituency, while Rs 21 lakh and Rs 10 lakh for various works in the constituencies of Anil Joshi and state secretary of BJP Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, he said the SAD-BJP government was committed to the overall development in the state for which it was giving huge grants. Among others who were present on the occasion included mayor Shwet Malik and SAD MLA Dr Dalbir Singh Verka.

Later he announced to give Rs 10 lakh to the Swami Satyanand College of Management at the annual prize distribution function where he gave away prizes to the deserving candidates. — TNS



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