31122020-ATR-01.qxd 12/30/2020 10:40 PM Page 1 c m y b Amritsar TRIBUNE OPEN DRAINS IN WALLED CITY DRIVE RESIDENTS UP THE WALL Residents have raised objection over the open drains on both sides of the streets near Kesar da Dhaba. FORECAST PARTLY CLOUDY INBRIEF TWO DEATHS, 35 NEW CASES IN DIST Amritsar: The health authorities reported two deaths in the district on Wednesday. The death toll has increased to 553. The deceased have been identified as Nirmal Kaur (73), of New Amritsar, and Manjit Kaur (54), of Mohini Park. The authorities reported 35 new cases with which the total count has increased to 14,484. The new cases include 20 influenza like illness cases and 15 contacts of positive patients. With recovery of 44 cases, the recovery count has reached 13,513. At present, there are 421 active cases in the district. TNS SAPLINGS PLANTED AT DELHI BORDERS Tarn Taran: The Kar Sewa Sect, Khadoor Sahib, started two decades ago to protect environment, planted saplings at Tikri, Palwal and Singhu borders of Delhi. The followers of the sect had gone to Delhi with ration and saplings. Baba Sewa Sigh, head of the sect, had returned his ‘Padma Shri’ award to the President of India in solidarity with the agitating farmers. Farm unions have been protesting against the three agri laws introduced by the Centre from the last couple of months. Bhai Davinder Singh of the sect said volunteers planted saplings at Singhu, Palwal and Tikri borders with the help of farmers. Bhai Gurpreet Singh said these plants would inspire the coming generations to fight for their rights. OC PAGE 2 TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO 2020: B-TOWN IN VACATION MODE PAGE 3 With celebrations being low-key this year, many celebs are holidaying with loved ones to ring-in the New Year. MAX 16°C | MIN 3°C | YESTERDAY MAX 13°C | MIN 2°C SUNSET THURSDAY 5:37 PM NEHA GETS EMOTIONAL AS ROHAN JOINS HER ON INDIAN IDOL STAGE PAGE 4 This will be first time when Neha Kakkar and her husband Rohanpreet will be coming together on Indian Idol stage. SUNRISE FRIDAY 7:30 AM THURSDAY | 31 DECEMBER 2020 | AMRITSAR Tourism sector still in the doldrums PANDEMIC BLUES Relaxations fail to increase tourist footfall, taxi operators seek stimulus Credit plan for dist launched, will give a push to farm sector Neeraj Bagga Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Amritsar, December 30 On June 8, hotels and restaurants were allowed to reopen after the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the local tourism industry has not reached the level of pre-Covid occupancy and tourist footfall even after over six months. Piyush Kapoor, general secretary, Amritsar Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHARA), said, failure of the Central Government in resolving farmers’ stir added to the woes of the industry. He said the stir led to disruption of rail connectivity for the couple of months. Four pairs of trains were operational, which was highly insufficient to bring in passengers. Kapoor said the hospitality sector continues to remain in doldrums. He said hotels were Jallianwala Bagh, a famous tourist destination, lies closed due to renovation work; and (right) hop-on hop-off buses wait for tourists at the Heritage Street in Amritsar. SUNIL KUMAR incurring losses on account of low occupancy as their running cost remains very high. Hoteliers were hoping against hope as a large number of tourists come to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple on New Year. Taxi operators demanded to conduct Retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah joint checkpost and open Jallianwala Bagh to attract tourists. Malkiat Singh, a taxi operator said, as trains were not allowed to operate, majority of tourists came by their own vehicles and did not hired taxis. He said taxi operators had been rendered jobless and rued that the government has not formulated any policy to bail them out of financial crisis. Hoteliers and taxi oper- ators said there was need to swiftly resume train service, increase domestic flights and reopen other tourist hotspots in the district to increase the footfall of tourists. GNDU to install portable MC House meet today ambient air quality sensor To discuss proposal to improve AQI, ban on plastic bags Charanjit Singh Teja Tribune News Service Amritsar, December 30 Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) elaborated upon the several initiatives it has undertaken in order to make the campus environment friendly and improve the air quality in and around it. In a webinar attended by distinguished scientist from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Prof J Srinivasan, VC Prof Jaspal Sandhu, informed that university would soon install portable ambient air quality sensor (PM2.5) as part of collaboration with Research Institute of Humanity and Nature (RIHN) Kyoto Japan. He said the Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, GNDU, is collaborating with atmospheric scientist Prof. Sachiko Hayashida from RIHN as part of working group on ‘Crop residue burning in North India’ under Aakash Project and GNDU will install portable ambient air quality sensor as part of collaboration. He also shared several other green initiatives like starting an electric bus service for transportation inside campus for students in the webinar. The webinar was hosted by UGC-Human Resource Development Centre, GNDU, is a flagship programme of UGC, New Delhi. Prof J Srinivasan, who was lead author and review editor of intergovernmental panel on climate change’s fourth assessment report on climate change for United Nation, talked about climate change modelling and challenges in mitigating the climate change. He emphasised that climate change was far greater challenge and need political will and reduced dependence on coal and carbon based fuels. Other experts in the panel included Prof AP Dimri, an expert of climate modelling from JNU New Delhi, who deliberated on climatology of north India along with monsoon trends. Dr Satnam Singh Ladhar, ex-director, Punjab State Council of Science and Technology, gave expert talk on impact of stubble burning on climate change. Tribune News Service Amritsar, December 30 The General House meet of the Amritsar Municipal Corporation (MC) will be held at Ranjit Avenue office on Thursday afternoon. Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu stated that all the health guidelines issued by the government in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic will be followed. This will be the first General House meet in the last 10 months. The MC officials said the meeting will be attended by only councillors and heads of departments. The Mayor appealed the participants to wear masks and use sanitisers before the meeting. The councillors con- OBJECTIONS RAISED ON TENDERING PROPOSAL ■ SS Sharma, an RTI activist, has written to MC Commissioner Komal Mittal and alleged misappropriations in tendering of environment programme phase 1 and phase 2. Sharma claimed that a bidder, who had been rejected in one bid, was being cleared in another. The proposal of the environment project would be discussed in the General House meet. Sharma suspected a scam worth crores in connivance with the MC officials in it. ■ It’s being expected that the meeting would be a stormy affair as the Congress councillors and oppositions have several grievances with work orders passed through the Finance and Contract Committee. demned the Mayor and MC officials for not announcing the meeting 72 hours before. Some councillors stated that they had not received agenda of the meeting. According to information, the House would discuss the proposal to improve air quality index of the city and ban on plastic bags. There is a proposal to notify slums to provide basic facilities. Several development proposals would also be discussed. It’s being expected that meeting would be a stormy affair as the Congress councillors and oppositions have several grievances with work orders passed through the Finance and Contract Committee. Amritsar, December 30 Ranbir Singh Mudhal, ADC (Development), launched the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Potential Linked Credit Plan (PLP) for 2021-22 with an outlay of Rs 13,368 crore for the border district on Wednesday. The PLP was launched at the District Consultative Committee. The PLP document covers the potential credit areas under the priority sector. The PLP outlay has been increased by approximately 1.21% from last year. He stressed on quality lending to farmers under modern farming practices and the need of nurturing farmer interest groups and FPOs so as to boost the district’s development. Bankers are guided to focus on the MSME sector as it plays crucial role in welfare of the district. NABARD district development manager Jaskirat Singh informed that agriculture credit should increase under investment credit so that capital formation in agriculture sector can take place. The theme for the year 2020-21 is ‘Collectivisation of agriculture produce for enhancing farmers Income’ to improve farm economy by adopting collectivization by farmers for both forward and backward linkages. Taking into account the above factors, the total projections of the PLP for the year 2021-22 have been estimated at ~13,368 crore inclusive of ~4,516 crore for crop loan, Rs 781 crore for term loan for agriculture allied, ~521 crore for agriculture infrastructure, ~608 crore for agriculture ancillary activities, ~4,310 crore for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), ~609 crore for export credit, ~522 crore for education, ~1,307 crore for housing, ~32 crore for renewable energy, ~80 crore for other categories and ~77 crore for social infra indicating a growth of 1.21% over PLP 2020-21 projections. City-based IT professional & mother of two People prefer New Year celebrations at home instead of dining out wins Mrs India Queen of Hearts pageant NNEW Home sweet home RMAL Neha Saini Tribune News Service Amritsar, December 30 A city-based IT professional and a mother of two, Harshita Mishra, has won the title of Mrs India West Zone at the Miss and Mrs India Queen Of Hearts — 2020 pageant held in Delhi recently. Mishra, who participated in a beauty pageant for the very first time, also won several titles such as Mrs Popular and Mrs Confident at the pageant. At 40, she was the oldest contestant in the category of the married women. Sharing her experience of winning the pageant, Harshita, said it was a surprise win for her family. “My husband and kids were pleasantly surprised when I told them that I won several titles. My husband couldn’t sleep during the night of the finale event as I was in Delhi and he was here,” she said. Calling her decision to enter the beauty pageant quite random, Harshita said she never considered herself a ‘beauty queen’. “All through my life, I had been studious, mostly Harshita Mishra has won the title of Mrs India West Zone at the Miss and Mrs India Queen Of Hearts pageant held in Delhi recently. academically inclined. The fact that I spent a major part of my life building a career and taking care of kids never really gave me a chance to consider for something like this. But during lockdown, I got to rediscover myself by taking care of myself, my fitness and pursuing other interests. My family encouraged me to enter the competition when I told them about the competition,” said Harshita. Preparing herself for the pageant was not a cakewalk for her. “I trained myself for hours every day, keeping a track of my fitness routine. I learnt to play flute to hone my skills for competition. I was working throughout the lockdown, helping kids with studies. It was exhausting. But it made me stronger,” she said. Her transformation, she said was more mental than physical. “I had always seen myself as an achiever but never thought that I could associate myself with beauty. I worked as a scientist with ISRO in the beginning of my professional life and later spent years in USA as an IT professional, raising kids while my husband was serving in Kashmir. So, for me, grooming myself in terms of physical appearance and mental makeup required time that I never had for myself. With this pageant and the support of my family, I have got an important opportunity and I am happy to enjoy my success. The true meaning of beauty, she said, comes through self-acceptance. Beauty should not be superficial. It lies in being true to yourself,” she said. c m y b Manmeet Singh Gill Tribune News Service Amritsar, December 30 While the festival season is in full bloom, the celebrations this season have been a lowkey affair as people preferred to stay home and be with their families and close friends instead of going to hotels and restaurants for partying. The residents stated that the fear of coronavirus has changed the way these festivities were held. Even those who made it a point to be at a hill station on New Year’s Eve earlier have avoided going away from home to be safe. “For years we had been going to Shimla to celebrate. It is a kind of annual ritual but this year we would be staying home,” said Ragini Arora, a homemaker. She added that the present situation requires people to stay home and be safe. While the tendency to dine out has already squeezed in the past few months, the hotels and restaurants, which earlier sold costly entry tickets for New Year revels, are A group of friends from the city during a get-together at home in Amritsar on Wednesday. SUNIL KUMAR While the tendency to dine out has already squeezed in the last few months, the hotel and restaurant owners, who earlier sold costly entry tickets for New Year revels, are a worried lot worried. A large number of these places used to host parties for the public on the day. Sukhwinder Singh, a resident, said, “People had to make booking in advance earlier but this time the public would prefer to celebrate at home.” He said that in view of the safety guidelines issued, the residents should avoid going out. Though the market places are gearing up for the celebrations, the shopkeepers have apprehensions that the people would not come out in such large numbers as they used to do in the previous years. “Shopkeepers are getting the decorative lights fixed as they did every year but the mood in the market is not upright,” said Rakesh Kumar, a shopkeeper.
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