25082021-ATR-01.qxd 8/24/2021 11:27 PM Page 1 c m y b Amritsar TRIBUNE NO SALARY FOR THREE MONTHS, PHARMACISTS HOLD PROTEST PAGE 2 Members of the Pharmacists Association staged a protest outside Civil Surgeon’s office over non-payment of salaries. FORECAST MAINLY CLEAR SKY ISHA CHHABRA TO REPRESENT INDIA AT PERFECT LADY GALA PAGE 3 CHATTER BOX: RESPECT IS THE NAME OF THE GAME, VIRTUALLY Actress Isha Chhabra of MTV Forbidden Angels fame is all set to represent India at the Perfect Lady Gala 2021. MAX 37°C | MIN 27°C | YESTERDAY MAX 35°C | MIN 26°C SUNSET WEDNESDAY 7:03 PM PAGE 4 With trolls watching over every post, the need for social media etiquette is stronger than ever, says Chaudhary. SUNRISE THURSDAY 6:02 AM WEDNESDAY | 25 AUGUST 2021 | AMRITSAR Over 500 ‘illegal’ hotels mushroom near Golden Temple INBRIEF FARMER FROM TARN TARAN DIES Construction activity took place despite ban | Hoteliers took advantage of lockdown |Town Planner passes the buck Charanjit Singh Teja Tribune News Service Amritsar, August 24 After taking action against 17 commercial establishments around the Golden Temple on July 24, 2019 on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation soon went into a deep slumber and failed to act against under construction ‘illegal’ hotels in the walled city. Ironically, most of these illegal hotels have become operational, despite a ban on approval of their building plan by the high court. Sarabjit Singh Verka, who is a petitioner in the case, said around 550 hotels had been constructed around the Golden Temple during the last nine years. “The Supreme Court had given an interim relief to the hoteliers who opposed the MC’s action related to disconnection of their water and sewer connections. However, nobody allowed others to con- Tarn Taran: A farmer who was heading back from Delhi died of a cardiac arrest on Monday. The deceased has been identified as Sajjan Singh (75) of Varana village falling under the jurisdiction of Sarhali police station. Sajjan, who was a member of the Azad Kisan Sangharsh Committee, had gone with a jatha to participate in the protest against the Centre on August 3. He was heading home on train when he suffered the heart attack near Sonipat (Haryana). Sajjan died on the spot. Family members brought the body to his village today. Harjinder Singh Tanda , chief, Azad Kisan Sangharsh Committee, expressed condolences and condemned the Central Government for not withdrawing the three agri laws, which were death warrant against the farming community. Sajjan was single and lived with his nephews. OC struct new buildings. Last year, we counted 500 buildings and now it’s around 550 approximately.” Verka said hearing in the case slowed down due to the pandemic, but hotel mafia took the advantage of the situation, and increased illegal construction activity around the Golden Temple. On July 24, 2019, the MC and the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited had disconnected water, sewer and power connections, of illegal hotels around the Golden Temple. The high court had stayed operation of the Amritsar Walled City (Recognition of Usage) Act, 2016, and had directed the Deputy Commissioner to disconnect water and electricity supply to unauthorised commercial establishments, including hotels, in and around the Golden Temple corridor. Later, the hoteliers moved the Supreme Court and got a stay against the high court’s orders. Narinder Sharma, Municipal Town Planner, said, “There is hardly any illegal construction reported around the Golden Temple. The illegal hotels were constructed before 2019. We are vigilant about illegal hotel buildings.” Verka claimed that hotels produce a lot of pollution and heat around the Golden Temple. The pollution damages gold plates and fills holy sarover with silt. “Around 500 hotels means 500 kitchens, 2,000 rooms mean 2,000 airconditioners, and the same number of washrooms. The existing drain in narrow streets around the Golden Temple is not able to tackle this load.” The petitioner said, “Religious and heritage concerns are there. The centuries-old buildings have been demolished to construct hotels. The hotels give space to flesh trade around the most sacred place of the Sikhs. Hotels should be constructed a few miles away from the Golden Temple.” TIMELINE 2010: Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against 105 illegal hotels around the Golden Temple corridor 2012: The Punjab and Haryana High Court directed that no building plan should to be sanctioned till further orders 2014: A three-member SIT formed, which finds 125 illegal hotels built after 2012 2016: Govt enacts the Amritsar Walled City (Recognition of Usage) Act and the MC demands applications to regularise illegal hotels. The MC receives 216 applications 2017: It’s found that no hotel fulfils building bylaws. The Local Bodies Department dismisses a senior Town Planner, demotes three ATPs and imposes 50 per cent pension cut on seven building branch officials for ‘overlooking’ violations 2017: The government amends the Act and offers one-time settlement 2018: On the high court’s directions, the MC initiates a drive to seal the illegal hotels, but owners reopen these 2019: The government again seeks applications for one-time settlement. Owners of 352 illegal hotels submit applications 2019: The high court stayed operation of the Amritsar Walled City (Recognition of Usage) Act, 2016, and directed the MC to disconnect water and electricity supply to unauthorised commercial establishments, including hotels in and around the Golden Temple corridor Farmers lift blockade, train Impending 3rd wave may hit festive season services yet to be restored Civil Surgeon requests residents to follow Covid guidelines WHEELCHAIRS FOR DIFFERENTLY ABLED Tribune News Service Neeraj Bagga Tribune News Service Amritsar, August 24 Farmers lifted their blockade on Amritsar-Delhi railway track near Jalandhar on Tuesday evening after the state government hiked state advised price (SAP) of sugarcane by ~35 per quintal to ~ 360. The blockade of this track crippled the train movement at the Amritsar railway station. The Indian Railways officials today said it would take sometime to restore the normal traffic on this route. Only three trains—Howrah Mail, Amritsar to Jaipur and Dadar— headed for their respective destinations from Amritsar via Nakodar today. Similarly—Frontier and Dadar—arrived via Nakodar. Officials said due to the absence of relevant infrastructure at the Nakodar railway station and single track, enough trains could not be plied on this route. Vendors at the Amritsar railway station rued that their losses multiplied in the last two years. First, it was the lockdown, and then farmers blocked the Tarn Taran: A total of 241 physically challenged persons of the Patti area were given 428 equipment at an event organised in Patti on Tuesday.The function was organised by the District Red Cross Society and the Alimco Company jointly. MLA Harminder Singh Gill, in his address, said the beneficiaries were given motorised bicycles, tricycles, wheel chairs and other equipment.Deputy Commissioner Kulwant Singh said in the camps organised in the district, 969 physically challenged persons had registered for being given the required equipment worth Rs 1.78 crore. Similar camps would be organised in Bhikhiwind on August 25 and in Naushehra Pannuan on August 26, said the Deputy Commissioner. OC A deserted Amritsar railway station on Tuesday. TRIBUNE PHOTO track near the Jandiala Guru railway station for months together. “We hardly registered any sale in the last five days as less than six pairs of trains were running daily,” said vendors. Ahead of the farmers’ blockade near the Jalandhar railway station, around 30 pairs of trains plied from the Amritsar railway station daily. This number used to be around 65 pairs of trains before March 2020. “These figures cleary indicate how much loss we have suffered so far,” said vendors. AZADI KA AMRIT MAHOTSAV Three-day photo expo starts Meanwhile, officials at Shahid Madan Lal Dhingra Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) said flow of passengers has increased considerably in the last couple of days. The ISBT was packed to its capacity today and passengers jostled to aboard buses. Navneet Kaur, a passenger, said, “I booked a train ticket for Delhi, which got cancelled due to the farmers’ agitation. Thus, I decided to travel by bus till Rajpura. From there I will travel by train to reach the final destination.” The exhibition is under way at Town Hall in Amritsar. TRIBUNE PHOTO several programmes in which students will participate and get to know about our country,” said Khaira. Gurmeet Singh, Field Publicity Officer, Ministry of Information and Broadcast- ing, who is overseeing the three-day event, said they were organising photo exhibitions and other programmes on this theme across the country. He said continued on page 2 3 test positive in dist Tribune News Service Amritsar, August 24 With three fresh Covid cases reported on in the district on Tuesday, the tally has increased to 47,202. The new cases include two influenzalike illness cases and one contact of a positive patient. The district Health Department has also reported the recovery of three patients with which the total recovery count has increased to 45,575. The district, at present, has 38 active cases. Meanwhile, 21,892 residents were inoculated during the ongoing vaccination drive on Tuesday. Of the total, 16,371 received the first dose of the vaccine while 5,521 received the second dose. Tarn Taran sees 1 new case The district reported one fresh Covid case and no causality on Tuesday. The district toll remained at 376 and the number of active cases has reduced to 11 and Voicing concern for minorities Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Amritsar, August 24 The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is organising multiple cultural programmes on the theme of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark the 75th year of Independence. Under the same series, a three-day exhibition was inaugurated at Town Hall today by Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Khaira. The exhibition displays photographs from India’s past, its journey of 75 years, depicting its political, social, martial and cultural heritage. Khaira said Punjabis have made a valuable contribution to achieve Independence. “It’s very important to tell the new the generation about our heritage and sacrifices , therefore, we have organised Amritsar, August 24 A panel set up by the Centre, in its latest report, warned that a third wave could peak somewhere around October. This warning has worried general public, especially traders and shopkeepers, who rely heavily on festive season for their sales. With Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami, Dasehra and Diwali, lined up in October, traders fear that another lockdown to contain the virus would prove detrimental for their business. “The government will opt for the lockdown again in case the third wave hits during festival season,” said Amanpreet Singh, a shopkeeper. “Who wants the pandemic to affect celebrations,” said Sahibjit Singh, a college student. An expert panel constituted by the National Institute of Disaster Management predicted about the Covid wave and suggested significantly ramping up vaccination pace. Locally, the numbers of daily reported positive cases have already shown a slight increase. The numbers of positive cases reported by the Health Department are usually lower than the actual number of cases as many patients prefer a chest X-ray or CT scan over RT-PCR if symptomatic. Further, as people are still avoiding tests and disclosing their health status, the social and religious gatherings during festivals and shopping before the celebrations could result in spreading the infections. The district health officials stated that to deal with the situation, they would increase the contact tracing limit to 30 persons for every positive case. They stated that a target to test 5,000 people daily has also been set. Civil Surgeon Dr Charanjit Singh said people should take the warning seriously and follow all safety guidelines. He added that the Health Department had been proactive this time and has made extensive arrangements to deal with the third wave. However, it is wise to prevent the disease instead of being lax and fall sick, he said. Amritsar, August 24 Majha House hosted eminent panel of speakers, including filmmaker-author Ghazala Wahab, Natasha Badhwar, researcher Dr Indrajeet Singh and author Dr Ori Z Soltes to talk about issues faced by minorities in the backdrop of India’s 75th Independence day celebrations. Discussing the anxieties and hopes of Muslims and Jews in India, and the Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan post the Taliban reign there, the speakers talked about their recent experiences and perspective on the subject. The recent Afghanistan crisis was discussed as UKbased researcher Dr Indrajeet Singh elaborated on the history of the war-torn nation. c m y b is witness to the ❝Historyspite of wars and fact that in violence, there were many leaders who were visionaries. Dr Najeebullah noted that the safety of Hindus and Sikhs was in jeopardy and he ensured that speedy visas were granted to those wanting to leave the country. ❞ Dr Indrajeet, A SPEAKER AT WEBINAR He talked about the present scenario and what the future holds for the Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan. “History is witness to the fact that in spite of all the wars and violence and internal strife, there were many leaders who were visionaries and sympathetic people. Dr Najeebullah noted that the safety of Hindus and Sikhs was in jeopardy and he ensured that speedy visas were granted to those wanting to leave the country,” Dr Indrajeet explained. He said even earlier the Taliban had sought to differentiate Hindus and Sikhs from the local people by asking them to wear some yellow cloth to identify them or to hoist yellow flags on their houses. “This diktat was negotiated by the Hindus and Sikhs as they were paying Jaziya to them and they had a saying in matters. This is how the minorities have always lived - by negotiating,” he said. He lauded the role of many film-makers, like Afghan-based Prit Pal Singh, who made documentaries on how they were living in Afghanistan and these were eye-openers for everyone. As resolutions to the current violent situation, Dr Indrajeet said, “The problem of the Durand line should be addressed; muslim scholars should be consulted for women’s rights and education; and ideally a party continued on page 2 COVID UPDATE NEW CASES TOTAL CASES NEW DEATHS TOTAL DEATHS NEW RECOVERY TOTAL RECOVERY ACTIVE 3 47,202 0 1,589 3 45,575 38 nine were under home isolation. A total of 3,09,115 persons had been administered 3,83,535 dozes till date. As many as 17,409 dozes were administered to eligible beneficiaries today. Tarn Taran Deputy Commissioner Kulwant Singh said teams of the Health Department had collected 1,147 samples from various places to be tested for Covid and the report of 970 samples was yet to be received. 23 MC staffers found absent Amritsar, August 24 Amritsar Municipal Corporation Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi conducted a raid at 9.30 am at civic body’s office in Ranjit Avenue and found 23 officials and employees absent on Tuesday. The Commissioner checked offices on ground floor, where most of the Municipal Town Planning Wing officials sit. MTP IPS Randhawa, ATP Varinder Mohan, building inspectors Rohini, Rajrani, Madhwai, Sukhwinder Kumar, superintendent Pardeep Kumar, draftsmen Navdeep Kumar and Dinesh Kumar were found absent. Apart from them, secretary Vishal Vadhawan, Gurpreet Singh Bhatia, Hakam Singh, data operators Vishal Kumar and Malkeet Singh were also found absent. — TNS
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