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Protecting blackbucks
Govt plans community reserves in Abohar
The formalities in connection with the setting up of two community reserves were being completed and it was expected that the Punjab government would issue a notification shortly, the DFO said
Abohar, December 27
Taking a major initiative, the Punjab government has decided to set up two community reserves in this sub-division for the protection and conservation of blackbucks, blue bulls and sambar, who roam in those villages, which are located outside the open sanctuary area spread over 13 villages.

Lot done but no time to stand & stare
Bathinda, December 27
The railway overbridge built on the Bathinda-Talwandi Sabo road came as a relief for commuters saving them from endless waiting at the railway crossing and cutting travel time. The year 2010 is about to end but it will, for sure, leave behind several sweet and sour memories for Bathinda.


The railway overbridge built on the Bathinda-Talwandi Sabo road came as a relief for commuters saving them from endless waiting at the railway crossing and cutting travel time. File photo


EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS


Easy availability of ‘birs’ on cards for Sikhs in US
Amritsar, December 27
With the return of a two-member SGPC delegation to India, the dream of Sikhs living in the US and Canada of getting copies of Guru Granth Sahib in their own countries may soon come true.

Father Mascarenhas Educationist’s contribution recalled
Bathinda, December 27
In 1921, when children from the lower middle class, particularly the girls, could not even think of getting elementary education, a priest — Father Raymond FC Mascarenhas — in the southern corner of India, visualized taking education to every corner of India.


Father Mascarenhas

Sarai Rohila-Sriganganagar Express to be flagged off on Jan 4
Abohar, December 27
The long-awaited Sarai Rohila-Sriganganagar express train will be flagged off by the Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit on January 4, Northern Railway General Manager SK Bullakoty informed Virendra Kataria, former MP (Ex-President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee) during a meeting today.

Property dispute
Former sarpanch kills mother, son
Ferozepur, December 27
Gurpreet Kaur and her minor son Gursewak Singh were done to death in their house by Asa Singh in Sarranwali village, located on the Ferozepur-Mudki road, late in the evening today with sharp-edged weapon and a double barrel .12 bore gun while they were in their house.

Organic farming
Man of the Year award for farm tourism pioneer
Bollywood star Dharmendra handing over the Organic Man of the Year award to Vinod Jiyani (both with sunglasses) at a function held at Aajb village in Rohtak. Fazilka, December 27
Vinod Jiyani, a resident of Katehra village of this sub-division, has been presented the Organic Man of the Year award by Jai Baba Rumai Nath organisation of Aajb village of Rohtak district for his significant contribution in promotion of organic farming in Punjab.

Bollywood star Dharmendra handing over the Organic Man of the Year award to Vinod Jiyani (both with sunglasses) at a function held at Aajb village in Rohtak. A Tribune photograph

Right to Services Act
Govt considering legislation to ensure better services
Moga, December 27
The Punjab government is considering enacting Right to Services Act for providing better services to the people by making the bureaucrats and other civil servants accountable for any lapses on their part in discharging their duties.

BSF officials asked to tighten vigil
Sriganganagar, Dec 27
Border Security Force (BSF) Rajasthan-Gujarat Frontier Inspector General KL Meena has directed the officials and troopers of the para-military force to further tighten the vigil along India’s border in Sriganganagar-Anoopgarh region.

Poet Badal from desert district wins Sahitya Akademi award
Sriganganagar, Dec 27
Prolific writer/poet Dr Mangat Badal of this district of deserts has been selected for the prestigious Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award for his book of poetry ‘Meera’, penned in Rajasthani language. Notably, Mohan Aalok of the district was long back conferred this honour too for his unique poetry in Rajasthani.

PSERC writes to govt on power policy
Patiala, December 27
The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has expressed reservations on the power generation policy for the state that was announced by the Punjab Government in June. It has written a letter to the Principal Secretary, Department of Power, which mentioned that the objective of providing affordable power is unlikely to be achieved by adopting the MoU route.

 

 





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Protecting blackbucks
Govt plans community reserves in Abohar
The formalities in connection with the setting up of two community reserves were being completed and it was expected that the Punjab government would issue a notification shortly, the DFO said
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Abohar, December 27
Taking a major initiative, the Punjab government has decided to set up two community reserves in this sub-division for the protection and conservation of blackbucks, blue bulls and sambar, who roam in those villages, which are located outside the open sanctuary area spread over 13 villages.

Official sources said necessary formalities in connection with the setting up of two community reserves were being completed and it was expected that the Punjab government would issue a notification in this connection shortly.

This sub-division is known for its open blackbuck sanctuary in the world as it is the first of its kind, which has come up on private land. The sanctuary, which is spread over an area of 180.5 square kilometres and comprising 13 villages, is housing thousands of blackbucks, blue bulls (Neel Gai) and sambar. The members of the Bishnoi community, whose population dominated these 13 villages, take keen interest in protection of the wild animals.

Official sources said one community reserve would be set up in Gumjal and Panniwala villages and the second reserve would be set up in Haripura and Diwan Khera villages. The area of the first community reserve would be around 7,758 acres and that of the second community reserve would be around 9,103 acres.

Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife), Ferozepur, Sanjeev Tiwari said the consent of panchayats of these villages in connection with the setting up of the community reserve had been taken. The paper work was being completed and hence the notification by the Punjab government in connection with it could take place anytime.

He said the land, where the community reserve would be set up, would remain in the ownership of respective owners. The wildlife department would deploy its employees in these community reserves for the protection and conservation of blackbuck, blue bull and sambar. The help of residents of these villages would also be taken in conservation of these protected animals.

He said these villages could not be included in the sanctuary area as these were located far away from it. Tiwari said a corridor between the sanctuary and these community reserves could be developed after a few years. 

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Lot done but no time to stand & stare
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 27
The year 2010 is about to end but it will, for sure, leave behind several sweet and sour memories for Bathinda.Though the district at large and the city in particular witnessed a lot of development during the year, it did court some controversies along the way.

Among the major development projects for the city, the authorities enlist the opening of two railway overbridges located on the Talwandi Sabo road and Dabwali road and also a railway underbridge connecting the main city with Paras Ram Nagar and other localities.

Further, the opening of a second shopping mall in the city-the Mittal's City Mall--- that houses Fun Cinema, Dominos, Big Bazaar and Amantran food court, emerged as a major attraction not only for people in the city but also for the residents of nearby towns in the region.

The first shopping mall of the city-the City Centre Mall-- that caters to four screens of the Big Cinemas, was inaugurated towards the end of 2009.

Besides, the opening of some new eating joints, like the Sagar Ratna, Café Coffee Day and Platters in the city this year brought palatable solutions for the foodies.

Still, market analysts feel that it will take some more years for people to adopt to this new culture.

On the education front, the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, started functioning from its transit campus located in the city. It was the biggest achievement of the year for the region.

Meanwhile, the inauguration of the state-of-the-art building of the district and sessions courts was also a milestone in the list of development works. Keeping in view the salinity of the groundwater in the region, the authorities attempted to equip each ward of the Bathinda Municipal Corporation with reverse osmosis (RO) plants to provide safe drinking water.

Besides the projects completed, there was a long list of projects, whose construction started during the year like, the ring road part-II, domestic airport, jogging path at the lakes, canal fountain, a railway overbridge on Mansa road, PESCO's vocational training institute and the Remount & Veterinary (R&V) squadron to train NCC cadets at Ghudda village. The pace of construction at the Guru Gobind Singh refinery was also reported to be going on full steam.

On the other hand, there were a number of promises, which could not be fulfilled like the shifting of all dairies to the Dairy Development Nagar, the setting up of the international cricket stadium, a five-star hotel, hockey turf and a flying academy. Meanwhile, the promise to provide the whole city with sewerage and water supply connections also remained unfulfilled.

Further, there were a number of schemes which remained in the news like the construction of a railway overbridge on the road leading to the Badal village and the auction of the Blue Fox land and a chunk located on Powerhouse road, which failed to find any buyer. Meanwhile, allegations levelled upon the authorities concerned for compromising with the quality of material in some projects also kept daunting during the year.

Destination reached

Model Town phase IV and V launched

Central University of Punjab starts functioning from transit campus

Lighting at Rose Garden

ROBs and RUB

New Mall, multiplexes and new eating joints

State-of-the-art courts complex

RO plants installation in municipal wards

Miles still left to go

Guru Gobind Singh refinery

Ring road part II

Domestic airport

Jogging path at the lakes

RUB at Mansa road

New OPD block at the Civil Hospital

Sewerage system at Talwandi Sabo

PESCO's vocational training institute

Unkept promises

International cricket stadium at Dabwali road

Five-star hotel

Hockey turf

Flying academy

Sewerage and water supply to whole city

Mired in controversies

ROB at Badal road

Quality of construction material compromised

Bidders fail to turn up for auction of Blue Fox land

Problems with lights worth lakhs in Rose Garden

Jogging path has congested the Malout road

Not much response for shops in the new Malls

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Easy availability of ‘birs’ on cards for Sikhs in US
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 27
With the return of a two-member SGPC delegation to India, the dream of Sikhs living in the US and Canada of getting copies of Guru Granth Sahib in their own countries may soon come true.

The delegation, comprising SGPC senior vice-president Raghujit Singh Virk and secretary Joginder Singh, has already given its report to SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

Talking to The Tribune, Joginder said: “The land offered to us at Charlotte in North Carolina for printing of Guru Granth Sahib is quite suitable in terms of road connectivity with Canada and rest of the United States. It will enable us to facilitate ‘birs’ and other Gurmat literature in two countries having the most Sikh population outside India.”

The project will cost the SGPC around Rs 5 crore. The 2.5 acre-plot having a double-storied building in Charlotte has been offered by SS Randhawa, an NRI, who was earlier running a motor garage from its premises.

He has also offered to renovate the building as per the requirements.

However, the SGPC is treading cautiously and says it will first consult the experts before making any changes in the structure. It intends to set up the printing facility on the ground floor and binding section on the first floor. The SGPC is also mulling the setting up of a distribution centre for disbursal of Sikh literature in Canada.

The delegation also examined the land offered by Shamsher Singh in Washington, which the SGPC wants to utilise for establishing a Sikh mission. It also visited Vancouver in Canada to explore the possibility of setting up of a printing facility, but the land being offered there by an education trust houses a school and it could not be utilised for the purpose.

Makkar confirmed that the SGPC would acquire both pieces of land for the printing facility and the Sikh mission, adding that they would soon be initiating the next step in this regard. The SGPC executive also passed a resolution in this regard on Wednesday.

The SGPC had decided to allow printing of Guru Granth Sahib and other Gurmat literature in foreign countries in August this year following persistent requests from the Sikh Sangat residing there.

Earlier, the SGPC used to send Guru Granth Sahib and Gurmat literature to the Sikhs abroad by air and sea.

However, maintaining of “maryada” (Sikh code of conduct) during travel was an arduous task. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committe has the exclusive and legal rights for publication of Guru Granth Sahib worldwide.

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Educationist’s contribution recalled
Rajay Deep/TNS

Bathinda, December 27
In 1921, when children from the lower middle class, particularly the girls, could not even think of getting elementary education, a priest — Father Raymond FC Mascarenhas — in the southern corner of India, visualized taking education to every corner of India.

The 50th death anniversary of this great luminary was observed on December 23. Father Mascarenhas, was a not only a champion of education, but also someone who exuded compassion for all, especially the poor. The day was observed at the St Joseph's Convent School, Bathinda.

Recalling his history, authorities of the school informed: "To spread literacy, Father Mascarenhas desired to have a Congregation of Sisters, who would dedicate their lives totally to the cause of education and commit themselves to a life of prayer.

This congregation, addressed commonly as Bethany Sisters, took no time to spread in Karnataka and then to Kerala, offering educational facilities especially to the girls."

Then, the Bethany Educational Society was formed, which now runs educational institutions in 170 centres. Today, Bethany Sisters are present in 24 states of India.

In 1960, Bethany Sisters came to the north and set up two educational institutions, one at Karnal in Haryana and another at Bathinda in Punjab.

In a recently held cultural bonanza, St. Joseph's Convent School, Bathinda, celebrated its golden jubilee with fanfare amidst a large number of alumni, who remembered Father Mascarenhas for his contributions.

The school authorities informed that the St Joseph's Punjabi School, Bathinda, was also being run by the same society. The alumni of these schools today shine in various corners of the world.

Father Mascarenhas put the eight intelligences and technical education into practice in 1920s through Bethany schools by starting technical schools and imparting education based on one's aptitude.

He was apparently aware that not all the children were gifted for abstract thinking and hence, introduced vocational training, agricultural training and catering. 

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Sarai Rohila-Sriganganagar Express to be flagged off on Jan 4
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, December 27
The long-awaited Sarai Rohila-Sriganganagar express train will be flagged off by the Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit on January 4, Northern Railway General Manager SK Bullakoty informed Virendra Kataria, former MP (Ex-President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee) during a meeting today.

It was gathered that the Railways had been waiting for the date from the CM. The fully air-conditioned train will have three categories of AC coaches to suit pockets of middle and upper middle-class passengers. The demand for adding ordinary sleeper coaches to the train has not found favour with the officials citing technical problems. The former MP will be among the passengers of the inaugural run of the train that had been announced by the Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee while presenting the annual budget in the Parliament.

The former PPCC president said he had met the railway officials including Devinder Singh, in-charge of rail traffic, during the current month. In a memorandum submitted to the GM today, the former MP apprised him of the great trouble that had cropped up following suspension of the 13007/13008 Udyan Abha Toofan Mail train on December 23 for five weeks owing to foggy weather. Over 1,000 passengers, who ensured 99 per cent occupancy in the train, have got no substitute. He requested that the train should be run from Sriganganagar to Agra via New Delhi to give relief to the passengers. He also urged the railway authorities to allow halt of the Sarai Rohila-Sriganganagar AC train at Malout and Abohar since these towns had made maximum contribution in the occupancy of Delhi bound trains.

The former MP regretted that the Nanded Sahib-Sriganganagar Express weekly train remains parked at its destination for 4-5 days even when it had attracted hundred per cent occupancy and advance reservation was not available for the next 30 days. It should be run twice a week from both sides and stoppage be allowed at Malout also. The GM has assured to consider the proposal, Kataria informed.

Gurprasad Behal, president of the Rail Road Sangharsh Samiti (Sriganganagar) said befitting welcome would be accorded to the new train at Sriganganagar station. The Samiti has requested former MP Virendra Kataria and other dignitaries including Sriganganagar MP Bharat Ram Meghwal and Bikaner MP Arjun Ram Meghwal to attend the reception. Both the MPs had earlier led the deputations to the Railway Board chairman Vivek Sahai and spoke to Mamata Banerjee over the problems faced by the passengers due to delay in launching of the new train besides suspension of the Udyan Abha train. The Railway Passengers Association (North Zone) vice-president Hanuman Dass Goyal has reiterated that the new train must have stoppage at Abohar and Malout. 

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Property dispute
Former sarpanch kills mother, son
Tribune News Service

Ferozepur, December 27
Gurpreet Kaur and her minor son Gursewak Singh were done to death in their house by Asa Singh in Sarranwali village, located on the Ferozepur-Mudki road, late in the evening today with sharp-edged weapon and a double barrel .12 bore gun while they were in their house.

Asa Singh, former sarpanch of Sarranwali village, killed Gurpreet Kaur by hitting her with Kahi (sand-digger) repeatedly and subsequently killed her son Gursewak Singh by firing a shot in his chest from close range.

Police sources said Asa Singh had committed the crime with the intention to settle personal scores with the family members of deceased.

A few days ago, a court, where Asa Singh and the family members of the deceased were contesting a case in connection with a property dispute, had announced its verdict in favour of Gurpreet Kaur.

Sources said when Asa Singh was attacking both mother and son, Lal Singh, grandfather of Gursewak Singh, managed to go inside the room and saved himself. Another grandson Gurmeet Singh, father of Gursewak Singh, was not of sound mind.

Around six in the evening, Asa Singh entered the house of Gurpreet Kaur with Kahi and a gun.

After indulging in a verbal duel with Gurpreet, he started hitting her in the head with Kahi. Gurpreet fell on the floor and when Gursewak came to save her from the attack of Asa Singh, he (Gursewak) was fired at.

Sources said while Gursewak died on the spot, Gurpreet, who was taken to a hospital at Ferozeshah village, was declared dead by the doctor who attended on her.

The body of Gursewak was lying in a pool of blood when a police party reached the spot after getting information in connection with this incident. Asa Singh had managed to flee from spot after committing the crime.

A case in this connection had been registered under sections 302, 452 of the IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act at the Ghal Khurd police station.

The bodies had been sent to the local civil hospital for postmortem. No arrest had been made by the police in this connection so far. 

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Organic farming
Man of the Year award for farm tourism pioneer
Tribune News Service

Fazilka, December 27
Vinod Jiyani, a resident of Katehra village of this sub-division, has been presented the Organic Man of the Year award by Jai Baba Rumai Nath organisation of Aajb village of Rohtak district for his significant contribution in promotion of organic farming in Punjab.

Jiyani, who is one of the pioneers in farm tourism in Punjab, was the only farmer of the state, who has been given this award by the organisation by holding a special function at Aajb village on December 23. The function, which was organised to celebrate the World Organic Day, was attended by about 20,000 farmers and people belonging to different walks of life. Jiyani has been carrying out the organic farming of kinnow, moong, maize, guar, wheat, pigeon tea, mustard, bajra and gram since 2005.

He has managed to carve a niche for himself in this field in Punjab. His farms have been attracting people from different parts of the country and abroad as well. He has also been involved in dairy farming with Indian bred cows.

Bollywood star and former Member of Parliament, Dharmendra, who was the chief guest, while addressing the gathering, advised the people that they must go for cultivation of crops and vegetables that are free from chemicals to save themselves from various diseases.

Acharya Balkrishan Ji of Patanjali Yog Peeth and Swami Sampurananandji, main organiser of the event, also addressed the gathering. 

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Right to Services Act
Govt considering legislation to ensure better services
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune Bews Service

Moga, December 27
The Punjab government is considering enacting Right to Services Act for providing better services to the people by making the bureaucrats and other civil servants accountable for any lapses on their part in discharging their duties.

A senior official of the government revealed that the Punjab Governance Reforms Commission has drafted a proposal in this regard to ensure the rights of the citizens, which if implemented in the state, would have the provisions of imposing penalties on the civil servants.

As per the details available, more than 50 public services related to the revenue, health, water, electricity, transport, police and other departments, besides, registration of vehicles, arms licences, passport verifications, character certificates, first information reports and daily diary reports from the local police stations, civic amenities, have been included in this proposed draft of reforms.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, while interacting with The Tribune recently, said there is a need to change the system of governance in the state in the interests of the public. He further pointed out that the government is considering bringing an ordinance for these reforms soon and later, the Right to Services Act would be enacted by bringing in a legislation in the state assembly. 

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BSF officials asked to tighten vigil
Our Correspondent

Sriganganagar, Dec 27
Border Security Force (BSF) Rajasthan-Gujarat Frontier Inspector General KL Meena has directed the officials and troopers of the para-military force to further tighten the vigil along India’s border in Sriganganagar-Anoopgarh region.

The IG during his meeting with the top BSF officials reviewed the prevailing situation along the border and asked the commanders to reinforce the round-the-clock defence along the Indo-Pak border since dense fog continued to engulf the region for the past few days. There had been intelligence inputs that narcotics smugglers and intruders might become more active taking advantage of the change in climate, sources said.

Meena during his two-day visit to the region held a series of meetings with the top BSF officials.

Officiating DIG RS Kataria, commandants RK Arora and MB Khan were among those present.

The IG also visited some border outposts (BOPs) including Khakhan and Hindumalkot along the India-Pakistan border and interacted with the troopers. He asked the officials to complete the development of the tourists spot at Hindumalkot before the end of March next. 

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Poet Badal from desert district wins Sahitya Akademi award
Our Correspondent

Dr Mangat Badal
Dr Mangat Badal 

Sriganganagar, Dec 27
Prolific writer/poet Dr Mangat Badal of this district of deserts has been selected for the prestigious Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award for his book of poetry ‘Meera’, penned in Rajasthani language. Notably, Mohan Aalok of the district was long back conferred this honour too for his unique poetry in Rajasthani.

While responding to the phone calls from scores of literary friends including eminent poet Janak Raj Pareek, relatives and officials, he told this correspondent at his residence in Raisinghnagar that after his retirement as HoD of the Hindi department in Shaheed Bhagat Singh College (Raisinghnagar), he had humbly turned down all the offers, some for heading educational institutions, since he desired to enrich literature and serve society only.

Announcement regarding the national award was a pleasant surprise for him. The book ‘Meera’ published in 2006 depicts revolution by the modern women.

Born on March 1, 1949, Dr Badal has nine (published) books in Hindi and six in Rajasthani to his credit so far. Having participated in hundreds of literary functions, Dr Badal was conferred with Sudhinder award by the Rajasthan Sahitya Hindi Academy for his book of Hindi poetry ‘Is mausam mein’.

Canada-based Rajasthan Sanskriti Association honoured him for his distinguished services for the promotion of literature in 2001.

He got the Surya Mal Mission Shikhar award in 2006 from the Rajasthan Sahitya and Sanskriti Academy for his poetry book ‘Dashmesh’ that glorified the life and teachings of the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Its Punjabi translation was done by Gurmail Marahad and the book titled ‘Sarbansdaani’ was published by the Haryana Punjabi Academy.

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PSERC writes to govt on power policy
Umesh Dewan/TNS

Patiala, December 27
The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has expressed reservations on the power generation policy for the state that was announced by the Punjab Government in June. It has written a letter to the Principal Secretary, Department of Power, which mentioned that the objective of providing affordable power is unlikely to be achieved by adopting the MoU route.

The Punjab Government had notified the policy on June 21. Under it, the government can award any thermal project by entering into an MoU with private firms. After the policy was notified, the government had signed an MoU with the NTPC to set up a 2,640-MW coal-based power project at Gidderbaha.

Principal Secretary (Power) Arun Goel said: “We have asked the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited to comment on the matter.”

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