Punjab gets an international approach

A Sikh Heritage Trail app, developed by Ishvinder Singh, a 29-year-old project engineer in an aerospace company was launched on June 11 that explores the Sikh’s history in Singapore. Ishvinder Singh and his team of Chris Cai, 29, and Melody Ho, 24, as well as head researcher Vithya Subramaniam, 27, spent about three years putting together the app.

Aiming to cover a trail of Sikhs imprisoned in 1850 in Singapore, then a penal colony of the British Empire, this SGD 20,000-app, is available both on Android Google play store and the Apple app store.

The trail also includes the cover of the late Maharaj Singh who fought against British Raj with bravery and planned revolts with his followers. The Sikh martyr was jailed in 1850 at the now-defunct Outram Prison. He died in 1856. His unmarked tomb in the forested grounds, where the Singapore General Hospital is today, was relocated to the Silat Road Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) in 1966.Among other trails, the app has the Sepoy Lines, which is the area around Outram Road and Cantonment Road where the sepoys, or Indian soldiers in the British Raj, built their barracks.

Another international connection that Punjab is developing is with the film industry of the state. Going to an international level, the first-ever Virasat International Punjabi Film Festival is being organized in Melbourne, Australia, from August 11 to 13 by SanjhiAwaaz Radio and Hundal Films, and will see the participation of various Punjabi filmmakers.

Apart from political personalities from India and Australia including Tony Abbott, former Austrian Prime Minister, many film and business personalities from Punjab and Australia like BinnuDhillon and Harish Verma, would be participating in the festival.

An award night will be organized on August 13 along with a business forum between Indian and Australian business delegates and politicians, after the screening of the films.The festival that would be known as VIPFFA from now on, would promote talent from Punjab and Punjabi Diaspora in Australia, which is an attempt to open a treasure chest of our language for the younger generation.Highlighting the issue of female feticide, the films to be screened at the festival include feature films, short films and documentaries that focus to embrace the artistic aspect of Punjabi language and culture.

Punjab needs to connect directly to USA

A state develops manifold, once they start having direct international flights. This is so because with the flights start direct trade between the two countries, also tourism definitely is one of the major factors, which brings in development. Along with the question of development, it is easy for people to go on vacations and business purposes to that particular state or country.

As mentioned above, all of this can start in Amritsar, once the direct flight between Amritsar and London is launched. As there is a lot of percentage of people from Punjab staying in London, it is important for the whole state to have some connectivity with this major destination. Air India has recently started a direct flight from Gujarat to London, which would also be covering New Jersey.

NGO Amritsar Vikas Manch has recently kept in their request to start a direct flight from the holy city to London and USA. There is a huge percentage of students of Punjab and a lot of population residing in UK, USA and Canada, therefore it is the need of the hour to gift the state a direct flight to such destinations. Firstly, this will bring the families closer and even give an opportunity to the students of both the destinations to experience different cultures. A large population of the state used to travel on the Amritsar-Birmingham and Amritsar-London-Toronto flights but unfortunately these have been discontinued. The NGO demands the Air India team to restore these two very important routes for the citizens of the state.

Amritsar is known to be one of the major tourist attractions for people internationally, who are keen on visiting India, to experience its culture, food and people. Start of such a connection of Amritsar will bring in another boost to the tourism sector. Along with this, it will also be a great opportunity for the airports and cities around Amritsar to grow along with the same.

It is great to see that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given such a great gift to the Gujarati community in US, UK and Canada. But now the people of Punjab are looking for something to come their way, so that they can also get closer to their families living abroad.

Uplifting the Amritsar Railway Station

Most of the travellers still like travelling in trains, when it comes to domestic travel. Along with being a cheaper option, many find it more comfortable and a fun journey when travelling with friends and family. Also, the lower income group of the society travels by this medium in their day-to-day lives.

In past few years, the railways and railway stations have improved at a great extent in different parts of the country. A very positive step has been taken by the Rajya Sabha MP, Shwet Malik, who is one of the members in the Railway Department of the Parliamentary Committee. At the Amritsar Railway Station, he recently organized a meeting with the administration and suggested to make the station as beautiful as the International airport of the city. This is because, Amritsar being one of the top cities of the state when it comes to travel and tourism, so having a superior class railway station is very important.

A development plan has already been devised for the railway station, which is estimated to be costing around Rs. 13 crores. This plan includes a number of improvements and revamping processes to be done at the station. Starting with it proposes to improve the parking lots by creating a four-lane parking area, with different points of entry for the two-wheelers, four-wheelers, VIP cars and three-wheelers.

A modern ticket-booking booth is required at the Platform number one; therefore the old one will soon be replaced with a new modern model of the same. The parcel building at the station is also being advised to be replaced with dormitory and more than half a dozen retiring rooms for the travellers visiting the station. Malik also suggested the administration to include a disaster management plan in the whole scheme, and add on escalators on both the sides of the station. Another improvement, in addition to the physical structure of the station, which is required, includes the way the customers are treated by the workers at the facility. The MP has suggested instructing the officials at the inquiry and booking booths to deal with the customers politely and in a courteous manner, so that they feel welcomed and do not hesitate in asking for any help.

The up-gradation of the Chheharta Railway station will help a lot in de-clogging the Amritsar railway station as various commercial transportation can be carried out from there.

Taking a step towards educating the poor

It is not just some schemes and rules applied by the administration, which will help in educating the children in the rural areas, we have to put in personal efforts and do something for the society. Be it an educational institute or an individual, you must play your role in taking this noble cause further.

Satya Bharti Adarsh Senior Secondary School has been doing a lot in this sector. From finding students from the villages, identifying their potential to teaching them and helping them score great numbers, they have been doing it all. In the tenth standard this year, they have a number of marvelous examples of students who were picked up from their day-to-day lives, fighting to help their parents in feeding the family. All of these students have performed brilliantly and scored great position in the class tenth exams. They had 225 students appearing for the examination this year, out of which, 41 have scored a perfect 10 CGPA and 56 students have scored CGPA between 9 and 9.9. This has been possible because of the continuous efforts of the teachers of the school, administration and their motivation amongst the kids to excel in the examinations.

The schools were located in the rural areas, still the kids from different challenging backgrounds of their lives came forward and regularly attended classes along with taking care of their families and various other chores. These students were so determined to come out with flying colours in the examination that the school has had a pass percentage of 99.11 percent.

The students, who came for studying at the school, were spotted by the institute in villages or at different construction sites. The determination amongst the kids and their will to work hard and learn something new made such a brilliant result possible. Every child should at least get an opportunity to be educated and make a bright future of his own.

Bharti Foundation is the Non-Government Organization that has been working towards this noble cause and look out for students around the rural areas of the state. They then get along with the schools and fund the educations of the children. Various other organizations and educational institutions should take up this challenge of educating the poor. If this problem is solved, various other issues of the country will be sorted if the literacy rate increases at a fast pace.

Its time to shoo away vehicles around Golden Temple

The city based NGOs and social non-profit organisations of Amritsar, have recently extended support towards the efforts and decision made by the government, to make the area, around The Golden Temple, vehicle-free and pollution-free.A deputation of the NGOs led by Rajinder Singh Marwaha, president, trade cell, Majha zone, Shiromani Akali Dal, met Police Commissioner Amar Singh Chahal to demand the completion of the no-vehicle zone project. The Amritsar Vikas Manch, Mission Aagaaz, Team Fateh, Eco-Sikh, Amritsar Hotel and Restaurants Associations, Lok Kalyan Samiti, Saathi Sanstha and Human Rights Organisations unanimously favoured the setting up of the no-vehicle zone.

This move taken by the government under the ‘Golden Temple Beautification Project’ has various reasons behind its declaration. Along with streamlining traffic and solving jam problems, the project will also protect travellers and devotees from accidents and incidents of snatching, pick pocketing and more. With such ease of movement the tourists will be able to roam around, look at the markets and shop in complete peace and comfort. Also, the devotees that worship at the shrine daily will be able to enjoy pure solace and quiet, away from the noise and humdrum of the city and vehicles.

For everyone’s convenience, the government will also address the grievances of traders and workers, who follow that particular route, with alternate passages. The leaders will make sure that no one faces any problems due to this project and provide easy solutions.Keeping these points aside, the most important reason, for the establishment of this project, is the rising pollution in the air and its impact on the holy Sikh shrine.

The beautiful Golden Temple that witnesses 1 lakh devotees and visitors daily, is exposed to the most harmful and poisonous air pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which cause permanent dullness and damage to the shrine made of gold, marble and fresco.The condition had worsened to such an extent that the fresh new plating of gold had to be laid down in 1999. Since then, the SGPC has to perform routine cleaning annually.This project is the need of the hour to protect the temple from damage and to protect the health and safety of those who pay their visits daily. These efforts taken by the government, with the support of NGOs and cooperation by residents, will surely lower the count of pollutants in the air by a significant ratio.

Developing Adarsh Villages in the state

Punjab is known to have a number of villages in the major portion of the state, and these require a lot of development in terms of infrastructure, education, governance and more. The government has now decided to uplift this segment of the state, which holds the roots of Punjab and make it a better place for the people and the community.

The government has developed a huge plan with great ambitions and aspirations, which will help in overall development of the rural areas and create Adarsh Villages all across Punjab. Officers at the district levels have been informed about the same and given instructions to implement this plan at the earliest and in the best possible way. To help in monitoring the development of this plan and creation of Adarsh villages in the right direction, the government has decided to create Planning Units at the Gram Panchayat level.

The 14th Finance Commission had already allocated a good amount of funds for this project to be carried out smoothly and in the best of its spirits. The authorities are trying to implement public representation at the level of the villages so as to induce the Panchayat Raj in the state and make it a stronger practice for managing and developing the respective villages. Under the plan, the Gram Panchayat would be the one that would formulate the Development Plan at the Planning Units with a number of members, including, Sarpanch of that particular village, Panchayat Secretary, Gram Employment assistant, engineers, school teachers, workers and more. Once this has been well-formulated, then NGO, self-help groups and suggested retired officers and workers can also be made a part of the team to help in better suggestions and working.

The guidelines by the Centre Government has been the base of the formulation of this development plan, where the main focus and concern has been given to being transparent in giving out grants and also taking suggestions from the people wherever required. The main issues of the society and specially the villages have been the major concern while developing this plan, like sex ration, welfare of the community, malnutrition, education, increasing death rate of the mother and child, social security, issues of farmers and more.

The state government has been working hard to lift up the social as well as the financial status of the scheduled caste of the society, so that they can get an equal opportunity to develop their future in the society. Cleanliness, safe potable water, development of parks and playgrounds for the kids are a few more major concerns that the development plan will be taking care of.

Shanti Kunj invites you to its open-air gymnasium

Working out on a regular basis is very important for everyone with today’s sedentary lifestyle. It helps in keeping you active and fit throughout. Working out in regular gymnasiums and at your home might get boring at times and also suffocating. Therefore, it is best to work out in the open air, inhaling the fresh air and enjoying the greenery and scenic beauty around you.

Shanti Kunj invites you to its open-air gymnasium.jpg

Chandigarh gives you an amazing option to shift your workout in the open air with its first Open air gym at Shanti kunj, which is located in Sector 16 in the city. Also, this facility is open for all and is free of cost. It is a tremendous move by the authorities to motivate people to start working out and lead a healthy life. This installation is a motivation from the open-air gymnasium at Lodhi Garden in New Delhi. As it is located out in the park, the machines at the gym are manually operated and do not require electricity.

The cost of installation of this gymnasium is being borne by the Councilor’s Ward Development Fund and is for those who wish to start working out but unable to afford the expensive gymnasiums in the area. Around 10 machines have been purchased to be installed in this open-air facility and the cost incurred for the same is around Rs. 10 Lakhs. It is just the initial installation cost, which is high; otherwise the maintenance cost for this facility is very low.

A number of machines have been installed, keeping in mind different parts of the body,which is generally worked out like manual treadmill, legs shaper and abs shaper. To avoid stealing of the machines by anyone, the authorities have fixed the machines in the ground and they cannot be moved from their place. This facility has been installed at a stage, which was earlier used for cultural functions at Shanti Kunj.

With installation of this facility, people from all age groups will be attracted to come to the park and make use of its facilities, unlike only elderly people who have been the main audience of this place till now. It is also a great step to introduce senior citizens to Gymnaisum, who otherwise feel uncomfortable in going to such facilities. The civic body is also planning to install such facilities in other popular parks of the area and will also be appointing a trainer during peak hours here.