A blow-by-blow way to a job
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bhiwani, August 23
Standing in the boxing hall at the Bhiwani ground at six in the evening was like stepping into the firing zone of a heavily fought battle. A visitor cannot help but show caution to avoid landing in the firing range of the brawny boxers.

It is all work in the boxing hall at 6 p.m. Some of the boys were punching sandbags. Some were perfecting punches on targets both static and moving. A few boys were also working out on skipping ropes.

The most fascinating spectacle was in the ring where five pairs were practising. The coach had earlier introduced Sandeep, a champion in the under-17 category, as having a “very good game”. Sandeep was engaged in a fight with Amarjeet, a class XII student of the government school in Bhiwani.

Sandeep surely is nimble footed, but Amarjeet was able to corner him and land some great punches on his face. All five pairs fighting inside the ring were looking straight into each other’s eyes and trying to make “connections”. It was evident that the boys did not mind getting a few punches to be able to land a few.

Most of the Bhiwani boxers are not well off. “The boys feel it will open employment opportunities for them”, coach Vishnu Bhagwan says. Fed on a traditional diet of bajra and buffalo milk, the boys are athletic looking and believed to have a natural flair for boxing. Bhagwan reels out the names of successful boxers from Bhiwani — Akhil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Dinesh Kumar, Vijender Singh, Premjit Samota, Suresh Kumar, Baljit Singh, Manjit Singh, etc. “It is amazing when you see the number of boxers from Bhiwani representing various teams in championships”, Bhagwan says.

The boxers believe they can meet the challenge in the ring.“It is a convenient way to get a job”, said Amarjeet quite unabashedly. Satyam, a class V student of Modern High School, Krishan, a student of class IX, and the others interviewed by this reporter had the same objective.

Nimble-footed Sandeep is already doing well from the career perspective. He is a member of the state government-sponsored nursery and gets food worth Rs 100 daily from the government. Fifteen promising boxers of Bhiwani are enjoying government support in this way.

Akhil Kumar,a gold medallist in the flyweight category in the last Commonwealth Games, is the latest icon of the students.A large photograph of him has been hung on a wall of the hall. Kumar, like many other champion boxers from Bhiwani, has got employment with the Railways.



CCTV for Ambala station 
Rahul Das
Tribune News Service

Ambala, August 23
The lengthy procedure for the installation of a CCTV system at Ambala cantt railway station seems to be worrying the security agencies which are keen that vigil must be stepped up at the earliest following a perceived security threat.

Stress on picture quality

Considerable stress is being laid on the picture quality of the CCTV since security officials had a bad experience while investigating the Samjhauta Express blasts. On studying the CCTV pictures at Delhi railway station, officials realised that these were grainy and of poor quality

The explosions on the Indo-Pak Samjhauta Express at Panipat earlier this year prompted security officials to seek a closed-circuit TV system at Ambala cantt railway station. It is believed that the railway station may become a possible target due to its strategic location.

The receipt of a threat letter on the eve of Independence Day this year led to considerable tightening of security. The person writing the letter had threatened to blow up Ambala cantt and Amritsar railway stations. Officials of various security agencies said the heightened vigil could have been made more effective if a CCTV system would have been in place before August 15.

As of now, the process for having a CCTV system at Ambala cantt railway station is still on. The tender for the project has been awarded and sites for installing the cameras have been finalised. It is expected that the system will become functional in the next couple of weeks.

Additional DRM R. K. Saxena says:"Special high-capacity cables will be supplied for this project from the railway HQ. The CCTV system will become operational soon."

Railway protection force commandant S.Z. Khan says that besides installing the CCTV system at Ambala cantt railway station, a proposal has also been finalised to have a similar system at Chandigarh and Saharanpur railway stations.

"Work on the CCTV project is in progress and sites for the purpose have been finalised. The CCTV system will be based on the latest technology. The best system is being acquired since we do not want to compromise on quality," he says.

Incidentally, the CCTV system to be installed at Ambala cantt railway station is not going to be internet-enabled. Unlike at major railway stations like Secunderabad, where the CCTV operations can be monitored even by a senior security official in New Delhi, this will not be possible in the case of Ambala cantt railway station.

Experts believe that providing linkages to the internet affect the quality of the system. Since picture quality is being accorded top priority, it has been decided that it will not be uplinked through the internet. In the CCTV systems which can be internet-linked, a highly secure net system has been operationalised and the password and other access codes are available only with a senior officer.



BJP squirms as Bishnoi ‘rises’
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The arrival of Bhiwani leader Kuldeep Bishnoi on the political scene of Haryana has caused a setback to the ambitions of the BJP to become a possible alternative to the Congress and the INLD in the state. Not only has the trickle of leaders from other parties joining the BJP stopped but a reverse trend has also begun.

In a shrewd move, Bishnoi has decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Bansi Lal as "sanmaan divas" every year. The motive is obvious. There are many leaders and workers of the erstwhile Haryana Vikas Party, who are emotionally attached to their mentor Bansi Lal, with whom Bishnoi's father Bhajan Lal was not on good terms. Bishnoi's move is being viewed as an attempt to woo them

The campaign by the suspended Congress MP from Bhiwani towards becoming the next Chief Minister of the state has caused jitters in the INLD leadership also, which was banking on anti-incumbency to come back to power. Anti-incumbency has been the single major factor at the time of several elections in the state. The INLD leadership was hoping that if the BJP failed to emerge as a viable alternative, those who would be disenchanted with the Congress would have to turn to the INLD in a big way.

However, now the INLD leadership is apprehensive that due to a division in the anti-incumbency vote, its dream of recapturing power in the state may remain a dream.

Before Bishnoi's emergence, the BJP did succeed in alluring certain leaders, giving an impression that the party is in an upswing mode in the state. But the situation has changed now. Many of those leaders who had joined the BJP have started deserting it to join Bishnoi. Initially, it was presumed that the BJP and Bishnoi (read Bhajan Lal) would join hands in a bid to consolidate the non-Jat votes. However, since their area of influence is almost identical, any alliance between them will be highly unworkable.

Many political leaders in the wilderness, whom Bishnoi approached, bluntly told him that they would be nowhere if he joined hands with the BJP and left their constituencies for the latter. To convince such leaders of his assertions that he would not ally with the BJP, Bishnoi started poaching in BJP territory. Some of the former associates of his father, who had joined the BJP earlier, recently quit the party to support Bishnoi.

In a shrewd move, Bishnoi has decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Bansi Lal as "sanmaan divas" every year. The motive is obvious. There are many leaders and workers of the erstwhile Haryana Vikas Party (HVP), who are emotionally attached to their mentor Bansi Lal, with whom Bishnoi's father Bhajan Lal was not on good terms. Bishnoi's move is being viewed as an attempt to woo them.

Reacting sharply to Bishnoi's announcement, Haryana minister of state for forests Kiran Choudhary, who is a daughter-in-law of Bansi Lal, said Bishnoi was a hypocrite in celebrating the birth anniversary of the man who was considered to be the builder of Haryana. She said Bishnoi's father had openly declared that the HVP would be merged with the Congress "only over my body". She has urged the former HVP workers — many of them still owe their allegiance to her late husband Surender Singh — to celebrate Bansi Lal's birth anniversary in each district on August 26.

Bishnoi recently made a major gain, when former ministers, Rao Narbir Singh and Jaswant Bawal, joined him. This will make his presence felt in Ahirwal, a traditional stronghold of the family of Rao Inderjit Singh, union minister of state for defence production. Rao Narbir Singh is likely to challenge Rao Inderjit Singh in the next Lok Sabha elections as a nominee of Bishnoi's unborn party.



Dissidents firm on Hisar MC chief’s exit
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, August 23
The office of the local municipal corporation has been wearing a deserted look for the past one month due to the campaign by dissident councillors to remove chairperson Bihari Lal Rada, who enjoys the backing of local bodies minister Savitri Jindal.

The dissidents, who accuse Rada of corruption, have been unable to muster the number required to dislodge him.

Rada became the chairperson in August last year by removing Arvind Kharinta through a no-confidence motion. At that time, vice-president Manju Arora was siding with Rada. However, they developed differences immediately after Rada assumed office. She is now leading the dissident group. The dissidents claim the support of 21 members that falls short of the required number by just one. Last week, the dissidents were able to convene a meeting to move a no-confidence motion, but the meeting ended because of the lack of quorum.

The dissidents had come to attend the meeting after remaining on a “Bharat darshan” tour for about a month in a bid to thwart efforts by Rada to win over any of them. After the failed bid to remove the chairperson, 17 councillors sent their resignations to Savitri Jindal, alleging that she had betrayed them. They alleged that Jindal and her son, Congress MP Naveen Jindal, had promised them that Rada would be removed after August 7. They said they had put off their campaign till then after this assurance. 



Gurgaon has apology for fire brigade
Aarti Kapur

Gurgaon, August 23
The firefighting department of the millennium city, Gurgaon, seems to be fighting a lonely battle with outdated, obsolete and insufficient machinery, thanks to the apathy of the MC authorities that has put the needs of the department on the backburner.
Most of the fire engines are more than a decade old whose proper functioning cannot be guaranteed 
The administration in its own report prepared recently has mentioned that with the rapid development of the area, the fire security threat has increased manifold

The administration in its own report prepared recently has mentioned that with the rapid development of the area, the fire security threat has increased manifold.

This has pushed the demand for equipping the fire department with more vehicles, manpower, latest firefighting devices, foam tenders for chemical industries and latest rescue equipment.

Sources said the fire department was under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Committee, Gurgaon, which did not have adequate funds even to disburse the salaries of the employees on time. The department sources told The Tribune that they had not been paid salaries for the past two months, as the committee had not cleared the salary bill so far.

He also revealed that due to the paucity of funds, the MC had also not given proper uniforms to the employees.

The present status of the fire department is that it has sanctioned posts of 51, but only 17 have been filled. The sources said a force of 250 employees was needed to run the fire station efficiently.

The sources said most of the existing fire engines were more than a decade old whose proper functioning could not be guaranteed. The department is also lacking latest technology and infrastructure in handling different fire hazards. Surprisingly, the department also does not have any rescue van to transport the victims in case of an emergency. In a proposal, the department has demanded two chemical disaster vehicles, six motor fire engines, one rescue tender, 50 hosepipes (30-m long), six fire entry suits, five jacks and two foam crash tenders.

But the demand has yet to be fulfilled, as the MC is not in a position to carry out even day-to-day repair of the vehicles. Owing to the lack of funds most of the city fire stations and substations are in bad shape.

The sources informed that as per the fire norms there should be one fire station within a distance of 1-3 km, but at present the fire stations were at a distance of 7 km. This would result in delay in fire engines reaching the scene of fire.

Fire station officer Hanuman Sihag said the department had proposed the formulation of separate Haryana fire Act, which would provide them adequate funds and power to run the department efficiently.



Nod to railway overbridge at Sirsa
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, August 23
A long-pending demand of the people of the district has been fulfilled with the sanctioning of the construction of a railway overbridge in the heart of the city. Details of the project, involving a cost of Rs 36 crore, have been communicated to deputy commissioner V. Umashankar. It is learnt that the DC had suggested some modifications and an alternate route to divert traffic.

Locals and commuters on NH-10 and another main link road have been facing inconvenience due to traffic jams. The level crossing in the middle of the city is closed for 10-15 minutes on an average 15 times a day, which leads to traffic chaos.

The construction of the bridge will begin soon and the administration has already selected an alternate route from the Delhi bridge to the HUDA road to divert the traffic on the national highway. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had earlier announced the construction of the overbridge during an election rally here. A formal announcement of the clearance of the project will soon be made by the Chief Minister.



Panipat offers risky motoring on GT Road
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 23
Ill-equipped workers busy cutting grass and other wild vegetation and scores of advertising trucks parked along the GT Road here continue to pose a serious threat to the motorists on the busiest road of the region.

Many workers are engaged in cutting grass on the GT Road in Panipat with the authorities failing to take measures to ensure their safety. Another major threat to motorists is posed by hoarding-mounted trucks parked unauthorisedly along NH-1

It has been found that no attention is being paid on the road safety aspect by the district authorities. It is observed that many workers are engaged in cutting grass and other wild vegetation in Panipat and adjoining districts without taking the safety aspect into consideration.

According to officials, it is mandatory for the workers to wear fluorescent jackets while working on roads. The illuminating jackets make visible the workers from a fair distance to the motorists. But it is found that the same is not followed at most places.

Pleading that they have not been allotted any such jackets, workers say fear of fatal accident keep haunting them. It is also observed that even obstructers are not placed on the road where some work is on.

Talking to TNS, several commuters complain that unregulated workers on the GT road continue to pose traffic hazard. Workers with grass cutting implements in their hands appear suddenly on the road, thus increasing chance of accidents, they say.

Another major threat to the motorists is posed by the publicity trucks parked in an unauthorised manner along the NH-1. It is a common scene in Panipat, Sonepat and other districts located on the GT Road where trucks mounted with hoardings remained parked on both sides of the roads.

Though highway police is in place, no attention is being paid to the continuous nuisance on the highways. The apex court has banned the display of hoardings, glow signs and other publicity materials along the national highways, but the authorities remain mute spectators.

The officials, meanwhile, admit that hoardings and glow signs distract the attention of the drivers but say there are no clear-cut instructions about these hoarding-mounted vehicles.



Faculty shortage hits MD varsity
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, August 23
Thanks to the blanket ban imposed on the appointment of faculty members at Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) here, an acute shortage of teachers prevails at the university teaching departments. Ad hoc measures like employing guest teachers are being taken to keep the show going, though regular recruitment is the need of the hour.

The department of education is being run by only one regular faculty member, while there are merely two regular teachers each in the departments of computer science and defence studies, three each in English, mass communication and fine arts and four each in public administration and music

According to senior faculty members, no regular appointments have been made for more than a decade now. On the other hand, the number of teaching departments, courses and students has been on the rise.

The heads of the teaching departments are under tremendous pressure from various quarters, including students. So much so that the head of a teaching department was recently forced to resign due to mounting pressure as a result of inadequate faculty.

To gauge the gravity of the situation, sample this: the department of education is being run by only one regular faculty member, while there are merely two regular teachers each in the departments of computer science and defence studies, three each in English, mass communication and fine arts and four each in public administration and music. There are only five regular teachers in the departments of physics and mathematics. The engineering courses, started recently, are also being run by temporary or guest teachers. All this despite the fact that as per the UGC specifications, each postgraduate teaching department of the university should have one professor, two readers and four lecturers. From the prevailing situation, it is quite evident that the provision of autonomy for the universities exists only in the name. Let alone the traditional academic disciplines, the university is bound to seek due clearance (read permission) to appoint teachers and other staff even in the self-financing courses.

“While the state government provides funds only to meet 20 to 25 per cent financial requirements of the university, it wants to exercise cent per cent control over it,” says a senior faculty member, refusing to be named.

In the given circumstances, the university resorts to fleecing students to meet its financial needs, especially those of the distance education study programmes.

Moreover, in the absence of regular appointments, the heads of teaching departments and other officials concerned are forced to adopt temporary or stopgap arrangements. This practice is detrimental to the quality of education and the academic atmosphere of the university.

However, the successive state governments have remained more concerned about exercising control over the functioning of the university. A previous state regime introduced legislation to make it mandatory for the university to seek government’s approval before taking any decision having financial implications.

Now, the university is bound to get due clearance for most of the matters as nearly all decisions have some financial implications attached to them. As the state policy is to curtail expenditure, fresh recruitments are not being allowed. The shortage of staff is not just in the teaching faculty, but also in the non-teaching cadre.

“Sheer ad-hoc-ism is prevailing in the university as no regular appointments have been made for a long time,” says Dr Rajinder Chaudhary, president of the MDU Teachers Association. 



KU sets new targets in post-jubilee year
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kurukshetra, August 23
After celebrating its golden jubilee last year, Kurukshetra University has not stopped its endeavour to consolidate its academic and research programmes.

Vice-chancellor R.P. Hooda, who completes two years of his three-year term tomorrow, says new social and economic trends have put tremendous pressure on universities to restructure themselves to cater to the goal of social reconstruction. For a conventional university like Kurukshetra, this is best done by innovating and designing new academic programmes that are in consonance with the time and useful in opening new employment opportunies

The post-jubilee year has witnessed the introduction of several new-age academic programmes, recruitment of competent teaching faculty, appointment of skilled supporting staff, replenishment of the infrastructure, formation of a cultural council, enhancement in the budget for sports activities, computerisation of the examination wing, extension of the internet to the teaching faculty and increased subscription of email journals in the university library.

Vice-chancellor R.P. Hooda, who completes two years of his three-year term tomorrow, says new social and economic trends have put tremendous pressure on universities to restructure themselves to cater to the goal of social reconstruction. For a conventional university like Kurukshetra, this is best done by innovating and designing new academic programmes that are in consonance with the time and useful in opening new employment opportunies.

Keeping in line with this thinking, the university has recently set up the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Technology which offers five new professional courses --- MSc (mass communication), MSc (electronic media), MA (mass communication), BTech(printing, graphics and packaging), PG diploma in graphics and animation, web media, and internet journalism.

Various other professional courses like MSc, MBA (service management), MPharma, PG diploma courses in management of developmental and welfare services, fish farm technology, forensic sciences, internet journalism, floriculture, banking and finance have also been introduced from this session.

Dr Hooda says to enhance the credibility of its new-age programmes in engineering and technology, the university has adopted the credit system of study and grading system in the BTech(instrumentation) and MTech (process control instrumentation) courses of the Institute of Instrumentation Engineering. The credit system of examination has also been introduced in the courses being run in the departments of microbiology, geology and geophysics.

For the first time in the history of the university, 180 vacancies in various teaching departments have been filled in one year to "make the teaching qualitative, competitive and contemporary". Besides, the university has also promoted more than 128 teachers under the career advancement scheme.

The university's endeavour for excellence has been noticed by those who matter the most, the students. The university received 618 applications for MA (English) against 120 seats, 229 for economics against 60 seats, 125 for MCom against 60 seats, 99 for BLib science against 35 seats, 579 for LLB (5 years) against 80 seats, 280 for LLB (3-year morning) against 150 seats, 351 for MSW against 40 seats, 440 for MSc (physics) against 60 seats, 695 for MSc (chemistry) against 80 seats, 200 for MSc(computer sc) against 40 seats, 296 for MSc (botany) against 36 seats, 264 for MSc(bio-chemistry) against 22 seats and 338 for MSc (microbiology) against 22 seats.

During the current session, 34 foreign students, mostly from Afghanistan and Nepal, have taken admission to various courses here. The university has also received 16 more applications through the Indian Council for Cultural Relations .

Special arrangements of international standards as provided in other universities of the country have been made for the foreign students. A remedial course in English is also planned on the request of foreign students to improve their communication skills.The university's achievement on the placement front has also been quite encouraging. The students of most professional courses have found suitable jobs in national and multinational companies through on-the-campus placement.

Dr Hooda says "we aspire to create a perfect mix of academic excellence, superior research and a supportive environment so as to establish a distinct benchmark for the university. We envisage forming a community of scholars dedicated to the improvement of society through education and the creation, preservation, dissemination and application of knowledge." 



Butana home to ‘sultan’ of fish breeding
Ramandeep Singh
Tribune News Service

Butana (Karnal), August 23
Butana village is home to Haryana’s number one fish breeder. Sultan Singh, who is also the sarpanch of the village, ventured into fish farming way back in 1983. He started from a community pond by investing Rs 26,000.

Sultan owes his success to Dr Jagdish Markanday, emeritus scientist, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Karnal, who did pioneering work in this field and developed and standardised technology for fish culture and breeding in this area

At that time, fish farming was seen as something done by the people of lower castes and vegetarianism was in practice in his village for its being close to Kurukshetra. It was a bold move by Sultan, who set up a full-fledged fish farm on 6 acres in 1983.

Initially, Sultan reared fish to sell directly in the market. But in 1984, he set up a breeding farm, the first in the state. He took a loan of Rs 50,000 from the state fishery department for setting up a fish-breeding hatchery.

At present, his farm is spread over 27 acres and he sells around 40 crore fish spawn (seedlings) every year and his annual turnover is Rs 32 lakh out of which he gets a net profit of Rs 12-14 lakh.

Sultan has won the best breeder of the state award five times. He was also awarded the prestigious Jagjiwan Ram Kisan Puruskar in 2005, and the Business Initiative Director’s Award at Quality Summit held in New York in 2006.

“Dr Markanday gave me training and without his help I would not have come this far,” says Sultan, who sells most of his produce to buyers from Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Sultan also faces some problems. The biggest one is poaching. “Poachers under the cover of darkness or during rains use nets to take out fish from the ponds,” he says.

“Hi-tech feed is also not available here and has to be bought from the southern states. The government should set up a feed plant here.”

His other demand is a fish processing plant. “A deboning plant will go a long way in making fish accessible to a larger part of the population,” Sultan says.



Groundwater Depletion
Barara ‘critical’ block in Ambala dist
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Groundwater is declining sharply in the Barara block of Ambala district. Its utilisation is highest among other blocks in the district.

As much as 95 per cent of groundwater in the block is being exploited annually and it has been categorised as a critical block, a booklet prepared by the Chandigarh-based Central Groundwater Board of the Ministry of Water Resources highlighted

While Ambala and Naraingarh fall in the category of semi-critical blocks with 71 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively, annual utilisation of water resources, Shehzadpur is a safe block with 51 per cent utilisation of groundwater. The utilisation of water resources means pumping out of water both for domestic and irrigation purposes.

The average utilisation of groundwater in the district is 76 per cent. The total geographical area of the district is 1,574 sq km and it is divided into three tehsils, Ambala, Barara and Naraingarh. The Tangri, Beghna and Markanda rivers crisscross the district, which has 21,917 tubewells and borewells and the gross irrigated area is 1.80 lakh hectares.

Studies conducted by the board say during the past 10 years the average decline of water table in the district during pre-monsoon period is 0.36 m per year with a range of 0.078 m to 1.875 m.

However, during the same period the trend is showing a little rise (0.10 m per year) in some northern areas of Ambala block.

In Saga block, the depth of water level ranges from less than 3 m to 14 m and the water level of deeper aquifer is 50 m during pre-monsoon.

Water-logging conditions exist in the area southwest of Ambala, especially in and around Air Force station.

Groundwater in some areas is alkaline. The pH values ranges between 7.07 and 10.10, indicating the water is neutral to alkaline. The fluoride values are within permissible limits except at Patwi and Saha. For irrigation, most of the well water is suitable. At some places such as Patwi, Kakru, Mohra and Shahzadpur, the ground water is marginally alkaline.

“Our aim is to popularise and make the common man aware of the problems relating to ground water extraction. Such steps will go a long way in tackling the already deteriorated situation,” says Sushil Gupta, regional director  of the board.



Inside Babudom
HCS officers demand better posts
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Haryana government's decision to post four IAS officers as zonal transport authority (ZTA) has annoyed members of the Haryana Civil Service (HCS), who view the move as an indictment on their integrity.

For the past several years, no HCS officer has been nominated to the IAS. This has resulted in stagnation in the state civil service. Senior HCS officers should be posted as special secretary or principal secretary because HCS officers are barred from entering the IAS cadre once they attain the age of 54 years 

HCS officers say the decision to appoint the IAS officers is based on the false premise that IAS officers are clean while HCS officers are corrupt. They say that certain IAS officers of the Haryana cadre have been caught by the CBI for allegedly being involved in corrupt practices.

Earlier HCS officers used to be appointed regional transport authority (RTA), which is equivalent to the ZTA, before the post was abolished in favour of that of district transport officer (DTO), on the Punjab pattern.

After Bhupinder Singh Hooda took over as the Chief Minister, he was dismayed to find that most of the HCS officers wanted to be posted as DTO for obvious reasons. The officers used the services of ruling party politicians in a big way to get their ambitions fulfilled. Hooda decided to gradually abolish the post of DTO. It was done and the powers of DTO were transferred to SDMs, also HCS officers. Since the SDMs were already overburdened, they could not devote their full attention to the work of DTO, particularly checking overloaded trucks, the ban on which by the Supreme Court is not being implemented. Hence, now the government has decided to create the post of ZTA and appoint IAS officers of the seniority of additional deputy commissioner (ADC), in the hope that young IAS officers are more idealistic, and hence honest.

The HCS officers point out that there are not many IAS officers of that seniority available in the state. The post of ADC is a cadre post of the IAS. But due to the shortage of young IAS officers, more than two-third of the posts of ADC are being held by HCS officers. Out of the IAS cadre of 190 officers in the state, 112 are in rank of commissioner and above. The HCS officers say only 12 IAS officers in the state are eligible to be posted as ADC as per their seniority and eight officers are in the junior scale posted as SDMs and assistant commissioner, under training.

The HCS officers further point out that if the central deputation reserve, state deputation reserve, training reserve and leave reserve are excluded, the effective IAS cadre strength in the state is 115, out of which 112 officers are commissioner and above. They say this shows that the IAS cadre in the state is highly mismanaged and more than 60 per cent of the officers are in the supper time scale and above, which is not a healthy situation. They say since the IAS officers are promoted even when no vacancy exists, they "are a burden on the state exchequer".

The HCS officers say no post of deputy commissioner is held by any of them on the pattern of Delhi and some other states. Similarly, no post of additional chief administrator or additional managing director of boards and corporations has been kept for the members of the HCS. The HCS officers are not given assignments according to their seniority. In the absence of a defined transfer policy, the HCS officers are posted in an arbitrary manner. Even their tenure is not fixed.

The HCS officers also resent the fact that for the past several years, no colleague of theirs has been posted as officer-on-special duty in the Chief Minister's office.



Traffic woes in Gurgaon

The dismal traffic scene is a nightmare even in the so-called millennium city of Gurgaon. Incidentally, here, drivers of taxis, especially with registration numbers HR-55 and HR-38, are the most notorious. They seem to have received some kind of specialised training for aggressive, impatient and callous driving. It is a shame that our fading cultural values and negative attitudes are so vividly projected on our roads.

The "mall mania" is another reason for the massive traffic jams and parking problems. Considering, that such chaotic traffic is inevitable and perhaps unavoidable under the circumstances, with flyovers and metro rail coming up, but at least the traffic police can be present at vulnerable places to make it easy for the stranded commuters to come out from the bedlam of horns, cars scraping each other's sides, cyclists, pedestrians, cows and what not! That is the least we can expect from the guardians of the law.

Dr Pravina Bhim Sain, DLF City, Gurgaon

Commercialisation of dharamshalas

There are a number of dharamshalas in Kurukshetra that provide lodging facilities at reasonable rates to the public. For this reason, the government has given tax rebates to these institutions. Unfortunately, schools and coaching centers are occupying several dharamshalas, which charge high rent from them, thus defying the basic purpose of their establishment. Action should be taken against these institutions that are earning big money by evading income tax in the name of public service.

R Shastri, R.K. Sharma, Rajesh Kumar Sharma, Kurukshetra



Citizens’ Grievances
EPS refund not received

I had served in a Panchkula-based pharmaceutical company for 9 years and 8 months. While my EPF contribution (account no. HR/7869/29) has been refunded, EPS portion is still lying with the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Karnal. Despite my repeated visits and reminders to the RPFC, I failed to get any response. Will the authorities come to my rescue?

Ramesh Chand Sharma, H.No. 5334/1, MHC Manimajra, Chandigarh

Unfair deal

I deposited Rs 1,00,004 vide cheque no. 085556 favouring Sahara India on 10.4.2005, for registration of flat at Gurgaon. The cheque was submitted at Sahara India, Main Bazar, Kalka, through an authorised agent vide application no 333027053418, receipt no. 010142424598 and pass book no. 2360551.

When I received no response from the company regarding the launch of its scheme, I applied for refund. While Rs 75,000 was refunded on 8.5.2006, it was advised that the balance amount along with interest thereon would be paid after two years. When I applied for the refund after two years, I was paid Rs 14,670 on 20.6.2007.

What to talk of the interest, even the principal amount has not been refunded in full.

S.K. Goel, H.No. 151, Sector 16, Panchkula

Non-functional streetlight

There is an electricity pole with a mercury bulb assembly at the turning point of the street in front of the gate of Aggarwal Bhawan, Sector 16, Panchkula. This assembly is out of order for the past three years. The residents of this sector had made umpteen complaints to the MC, but to no avail.

Accidents are a matter of routine at this junction. I have personally written to the area councillor several times, but it seems that these people are least bothered about the public.

Lalit K. Gupta, H.No. 595, Sector 16, Panchkula.

Service, Joshi Autozone style

I bought a Tata Indigo car (chassis no. 1303 and engine no. 1757) from Joshi Autozone Pvt Ltd, Chandigarh, on 9.1.07. After the first service of the vehicle, it came to a sudden halt and got stuck in the middle of the road on 4.7.07. The defect detected was the non-functioning of fuel pump. To my utter surprise, I was told that the fuel pump would be repaired, as the cost of new pump was very high. When I insisted on replacing the part, I was denied and it was only repaired. The car started troubling again and now even the mobil oil has started leaking.

Despite my repeated requests to the car dealer, the fault has not been rectified. I also wrote to Tata Motors about the same, but to no avail.

K.C. Gupta, 6, Swastik Vihar, Ph I, MDC, Panchkula



Haryanvi bahu figures in Canadian poll 
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, August 23
A Haryanvi bahu is making news in Canada by contesting election for the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) of Ontario, a province of Canada.

Pam Hundal, whose marriage to Bill Bhangal was solemnised on March 5 this year at Fatehabad, is contesting from Bramalea-Gore-Malton riding of Ontario province on the PC party's ticket

Pam Hundal, whose marriage ceremonies with Bill Bhangal were solemnised on March 5 this year at Fatehabad, is contesting from Bramalea-Gore-Malton riding of Ontario province on PC party's ticket. The famous cities of Brampton and Mississauga fall under the riding Pam Hundal is contesting for. The elections are to be held on October 10.

Bill's father Resham Singh, who owns agriculture land and ancestral house at Dhani Masitan on the outskirts of Fatehabad, left his village for Canada in late sixties.

After doing some menial jobs, he tried his luck in real estate and that proved lucky for him. Today, the family is among the richest in Brampton city.

Hundal, whose Sikh parents hailed from Jalandhar, was born and raised in Brompton. A Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, Hundal is certified in human resources management and qualified to teach English as a second language. She did her LLB from the University of Birmingham in England.

Though both Pam and Bill were born and raised in Canada, when their families planned their marriage, they chose Fatehabad as venue for the solemn occasion.

Many political leaders, bureaucrats, judges and prominent persons from Haryana and Punjab had attended the marriage. Former premier of Ontario Bill Davis kicked off her poll campaign on June 14 and since then she has not looked back.

She opened her campaign office at 2, Automatic Road, Unit 101, William Parkway, Airport Road on August 12 and organised a party meeting on August 19. She is scheduled to organise another party meeting on August 26. Interestingly, all political meetings are being held on Sundays alone unlike in India where election campaigns continue on all working days.

Her decision to contest election has enthused the local residents. The idea of a local bahu making it to a provincial parliament in Canada has raised hopes of the locals, particularly those who know the family closely, and they have been praying for her victory.



Tabla prodigy at 3
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, August 23
When children of his age are busy playing hide-and- seek in the streets, he is seen practising difficult rhythms on the tabla. At the age of three, Swra has already become a music prodigy, who can play a number of instruments.

Son of Rajnish Sharma and Anil Sharma, a couple who has chosen music as their principal avocation, Swra started evincing interest in musical instruments at the age of two. Though he can play the harmonium and the dholak , he is passionate about the tabla and the moment he starts playing it, Swra forgets everything else and gets fully absorbed in it.

He loves doing “jugalbandi” with his father, who along with his wife has recorded over 24 audio cassettes of devotional songs for T-Series.

Interestingly, Swra has not received any formal training. Rather, his parents, who had to go through a lot of struggle for earning a decent living through music, did not want their son to tread the path chosen by them.

Rajnish says during their practice session Swra used to watch the accompanists, who played the tabla. He would then suddenly start playing the tabla at midnight by switching on television or playing a tune on his father's mobile phone and playing the tabla with the song.

Soon his parents also started taking interest in his newfound passion. Now, Swra knows the nuances of the tabla and can play it non-stop for Western music, devotional songs, Rajasthani beats and even bhangra beats, besides famous Bollywood numbers. He shakes his head in disapproval whenever he finds an accomplished tabla player misses a beat on a television show or a stage programme.

He is well-aware of the tough jargon associated with the tabla and changes his style the moment his mother asks him to switch over to the next taal.

Swra's parents say now they have decided to provide him training in the tabla from a professional teacher. 



Nawab of Loharu put off by glorification of 1857 revolt
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Loharu, August 23
Alauddin Ahmed Khan, Proud of his Mughal ancestry, “eighth Nawab” of Loharu Alauddin Ahmed Khan, however, is distraught by the glorification of the revolt of 1857.

“It was not the first war of independence. All Indian nobles leading the revolt had their own axe to grind against the British. Do you think the queen of Jhansi would have rebelled had the succession issue been conceded in her favour?” asks Khan.

Emperor Shah Alam gave Alauddin Khan’s ancestors the title of Nawab of Loharu in 1803. In 1857, when soldiers rose in revolt against the East India Company, the family was in Delhi. “Of course, their sympathies were with the Mughal Emperor only”, says Khan. Sitting in the living room of Nawab Villa, property inherited by Khan from his family, Khan said his family, which had migrated to India from Bukhara, was also Mughal.

He is somewhat saddened by the lack of acknowledgement of the contribution made by the Mughals to Indian civilisation. “Babur's name is evoked sometimes to lampoon Indian Muslims. But the Mughals introduced so many good things in India, including gardens and a new architectural style”, he says.

The Loharu fort, situated in the heart of the town, has the features of a Mughal palace with a garden consisting of a lake, fountains and canals laid out at various levels. But these are in a state of advanced dilapidation.

The state government in the seventies bought the fort and the animal husbandry department has an office in a part of the building now which earlier used to be the living quarters of the royals. Dust, vegetation and ruins have swamped the rest of the fort. Villagers use the abandoned area for defecation. The fort is not vast. The buyer can keep the place clean by pruning the vegetation. But no effort is made to conserve the fort.

Khan said his father had sold the fort to the government on the condition that it would be maintained.But the fort has been left to decay.

Nawab Villa, where Khan now lives, used to be a retreat for the royals from the hubbub of the main palace. It is a beautiful house with portraits, black and white photographs of the last two centuries, exotic lamps, chessboards, decanters, flower vases and other items.

Khan (69), who had lived in Kolkata and Mumbai before he started staying in his ancestral residence at Loharu about 15 years ago, is also no respecter of Mangal Pandey and thought the film named after the hero of the 1857 uprising was quite outrageous. He also believes that the British had restored order in India after the Mughal empire started “disintegrating” following the death of Aurangzeb.

Khan has strong views on the 1947 division of the country. “It was stupid. People did not want partition, politicians did”, he remarked. Khan said many of the rulers of princely states had found the idea of dividing subjects on the basis of religious affiliation unacceptable.



DHBVN to install 24,000 transformers
Tribune News Service

Hisar, August 23
The Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) will add 24,000 transformers to strengthen its power distribution system at a cost of Rs 220 crore during the next four years. This will help ensure proper voltage at consumers’ end.

A spokesman for the DHBVN said with the installation of these transformers, the total number of the transformers in the area of DHBVN would touch one lakh. About 7,000 new transformers were installed last year, taking the current total number of the transformers to about 75,000, he added.

The nigam has also launched a drive for repair and maintenance of existing transformers. Field officers have been directed to complete the task by September next year. Under this drive, a special survey will be conducted and those transformers in service for five years or more will be overhauled. Each operation circle has been directed to carry out the capital maintenance of at least 200 transformers every week.



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