Thursday, March 22, 2007

Punjab declares holidays on Shaheed Bhagat Singh,s anniversaries

CHANDIGARH: Duly recognising the supreme sacrifice of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday declared March 23 and September 27 as gazetted holidays on the occasion of 75th Martyrdom Day and 100th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
Disclosing this here, an official said that Badal decided to revive the holiday on March 23 on the persistent demand of the public after a gap of five years as the previous government had withdrawn this holiday.
The Chief Minister also announced that the state government would organise a year-long celebrations to observe the 75th Martyrdom Day and 100th birth anniversary of great martyr that falls during the year 2007.
Punjab News :

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Takht Hazur Sahib set to get facelift with medicinal plants

Venue for the tercentenary celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib's consecration and Guru Gobind Singh's 'parlok gaman', Nanded in Maharastra is all set to get a facelift with medicinal and other plants grown with the advice of a senior Punjab IAS Officer.
For the purpose of receiving 'useful tips' from Punjab's Financial Commissioner-cum-Principal Secretary, Information and Public Relations, D.S. Jaspal, the organisers have already invited him over. Approximately three-million pilgrims from across the world are religiously expected to visit Takht Sachkhand, Sri Hazur Sahib Gurdwara, Abchalnagar at Nanded for the celebrations scheduled to be held next year.
Mr Jaspal has given his consent for the project. He has already 'cloned' trees associated with the Sikh Gurus in this part of the region and has also been involved in the pictorial documentation of 48 Sikh shrines named after native species of trees in his book 'Tryst with Trees - Punjab's Sacred Heritage'.
Giving details, the sources in the Punjab Government assert Mr Jaspal has been invited by the Takht Hazur Sahib Trust for advising it on landscaping and beautifying the environs of the gurdwara. In a communication to Mr Jaspal, Maharashtra's Director-General of Police-cum-Chairman of the Gurdwara's Administrative Committee Dr Parvinder Singh Pasricha has asserted: "I understand you have developed clones of Dukh Bhanjani Beri and are making clones of other trees associated with the Sikh Gurus .. We would also need some useful tips on landscaping and enhancing the greenery in the city".
Elaborating on the importance of the city in Sikhism, the sources assert Nanded is one of the four 'high seats of authority of the Sikhs'. Tenth and the last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, had held his court and congregation in the city.He had left for heavenly abode at Nanded and his ashes were buried in the gurdwara on the side of the river Godavari . The Sikh mythology says the Guru rose to heaven from Nanded, along with his horse Dilbag.
The prime-time celebrations will begin with Takht Snan or holy bath on October 24 next year. Diwali will be held the next day followed by a procession on October 26. The Gurta-Gaddi or inception of Guru Granth Sahib will be celebrated on October 27 followed by 'parlok gaman' on October 30 next year.
Gurudwara News by

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Amritsar Airport Rajasansi to be expanded

The Punjab government will get the Rajasansi airport, Amritsar, inspected by officials of the Civil Aviation Department next month for facilities provided to passengers at the international airport and a plan will be prepared for its expansion. This would be to strengthen infrastructure at the three airports in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar to provide more air connectivity to people of the state.
Mr Navjot Sidhu, MP, said he would also take up the matter of shifting of the Air Force station in the airport with the Ministry of Defence so that land was made available for expansion of the airport. He added expansion plan of the airport would be finalised only after the report of the inspection of the airport was submitted. This would be the first-ever official inspection of the airport by the government.
At a press conference, Mr Sidhu said 30 per cent to 40 per cent of total passengers coming to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi were Punjabis and they could be given direct flights to Amritsar. "This airport has become redundant due to lack of adequate land. Besides, it does not have even a single aerobridge. A grant of Rs 68 crore has been received from the Centre and there has to be proper state-centre co-ordination to make the best of the financial aid. This airport lacks infrastructure and the Punjab government is committed to upgrade it to provide better facilities to passengers," he said.
The Punjab government, he said, would soon meet officials of the Government of India for a plan to improve air connectivity, along with better road and rail networks in the state.
Amritsar, Punjab News by

Punjab village breathes new life into girlchild

Khothran (Nawanshahr) : A sleepy village, back of beyond, has woken up to stir the conscience of its people, snuff life out of the evil of female foeticide and help the girl child breathe easy. Surrounded by green fields, dotted with clusters of kutcha-pucca houses opening into slushy streets, the girl child is getting a new life here. Words like "abortion" and "discrimination" hold no water anymore and every birth is a reason to celebrate the baby, the mother and life.
A girl is as welcome as a boy and lending credence to this changed mindset are statistics. Against 50 males and 31 females born in 2004, of the 77 children born here in 2005, 44 were girls, giving a fillip to the dwindling sex ratio of the district and goading volunteers of "Upkaar" to stoke the campaign fire further.
This district-level co-ordination body formed by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Krishan Kumar, "Upkaar", with people from all walks of life, spearheads the campaign. United, they all stand for one cause — that of saving the girl child.
While the increased number of girls at the end of the year have brought some cheer to the volunteers as also village sarpanch Nirmal Kaur, they know it's just the beginning and have a long way to go. But, then, again, every villager believes that large oaks from small acorns grow and are willing to slog. They want their small beginning to snowball into a people's movement for correcting the sex ratio of their villages, going on to the block, the district, the state and finally the country.
Punjab News by

Monday, March 19, 2007

DSGMC wants Delhi to help Afghan Sikhs

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) urged the government yesterday to arrange safe passage for Sikhs living in Afghanistan who said they faced humiliation and ill-treatment there.
DSGMC was reacting to a Reuters report that said Sikhs in southern Afghanistan were spat on by locals and their men stoned. The report said Sikhs hid in back alleys in the city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the hardline Islamic Taliban movement, and yearn for the safety of India.
"The government of India should look at the Sikhs in Afghanistan as its own citizens and act urgently to give them the option of safe passage from Afghanistan where their religion is in danger," "If they are ensured bread and butter in India, they will not like to stay in Afghanistan where they are humiliated and ill-treated," Sikh community leader told a news conference.
He said New Delhi must rehabilitate Sikhs who choose to come to India but Indian officials would not immediately comment.
In the late 1980s, there were about 500,000 Sikhs spread across Afghanistan, many of them money lenders for generations. But following the Mujahideen civil war and the rise in 1994 of the Taliban, with its hardline interpretation of Islamic law, most fled. Sikhs who fled Afghanistan in the 1990s and live in India say New Delhi should do more for them as well as their community members still residing in the Islamic nation.
Sikh News by

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Punjab has lowest forest cover

The forest cover in Punjab is less than the desert state of Rajasthan that has 4.62 per cent of its total area under forests. In Punjab it is 3.14 per cent of the total area. As per the latest report of the Forest Survey of India (FSI), the dense forest cover in Punjab has decreased by whopping 80,600 hectares. The vested interests cleverly concealed the figures that reveal the real picture of the state of the forests in Punjab.
The worst affected districts in terms of forest cover depletion are: Ferozpur that has witnessed 111 per cent depletion, Amritsar 106 per cent, Hoshiarpur 84 per cent, Bathinda 76 per cent, Gurdaspur 21 per cent and Ludhiana 55 per cent during the period extending from 2001 to 2003. Hoshiarpur district comprised of 22 per cent of the total state forest cover as per the 2001 forest survey report. However, in just two years the percentage of forest in the district has gone down to 18 percent. The dense forest areas in Hoshiarpur have gone down by 51 sq km. INTERESTINGLY, on the World Environment Day, 2005,the Department of Forests, publicized in leading newspapers, claiming that the forest cover in the state increased from 1,387 sq km in 1997 to 1,580 sq km in 2003.
However, the department deliberately concealed the figures as regards the forest cover in 2001. As per the Forest Survey of India report, the forest cover in the state in 2001 was 2,432 sq km. It included 1,549 sq km dense forest cover and 883 sq km open forest cover.
Another interesting fact available from the data is that the entire forest that has vanished formed the dense forest cover. The dense forest cover in the state reduced from 1,549 sq km in 2001 to just 743 sq km in 2003. The open forest cover remained almost the same at 837 km. The forest cover loss in the state was also the highest in the country. It was even more than Madhya Pradesh, the biggest state of the country in terms of geographical area. (The figures have been quoted from the latest Forest Survey of India report published in 2005).
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