|House tax issue to raise hackles
FARIDABAD, Dec 3 A confrontation between officials and Councillors of the Faridabad Municipal Corporation is brewing up on the proposed increase in house tax.
26.58 lakh children to get polio drops
CHANDIGARH, Dec 3 The Haryana Health Department officials today claimed significant progress in their efforts to eradicate polio virus from Haryana.
anti-farmer, says Chautala
House tax issue to raise hackles
FARIDABAD, Dec 3 A confrontation between officials and Councillors of the Faridabad Municipal Corporation is brewing up on the proposed increase in house tax.
The civic body has already made a survey of the industrial and commercial establishments and the survey of the residential premises is on the cards. The general house of the Corporation, at its meeting held last month, passed a unanimous resolution that the proposed increase in house tax would not be acceptable.
Subedar Suman, Mayor, and a number of Councillors have announced that they would oppose the increase. If the Corporation did not oblige, they would challenge the tax increase in the High Court or would resign en masse.
The Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, provides that a survey for increasing house tax should be done after five years. It should be levied at the current collection rate and cost of construction at the present value on the basis of the norms of the Public Works Department (Building and Roads).
If the provisions of the Act are implemented, house tax would increase by 600 to 1000 per cent.
The cost of land today is Rs 5,000 per square yard in some sectors which would come to Rs 12.50 lakh for a 250 sq. yard plot plus an equal amount on the construction at the current rate. Thus the tax would amount to Rs 15,625 per year. For a more than one floor house the tax would further increase.
Even if the collectors rate is calculated, which is presently Rs 2,000 per sq. yard the tax would amount to Rs 6,250 per year against the present rate of Rs 800.
It is stated that the Corporation Act is not in conformity with the 1997 government order which stipulates that 25 per cent tax would be increased after five years.
The Act also contravenes the Supreme Court order of 1987 which took into consideration the cost of land and construction when the building work began for tax purposes.
Mr A.C. Chowdhary, a former Haryana minister, said the proposed increase in house tax was illegal because rules and bylaws had not been framed even after four years of the passing of the Act by the state assembly. He was the minister when the Act was passed.
26.58 lakh children to get polio
CHANDIGARH, Dec 3 The Haryana Health Department officials today claimed significant progress in their efforts to eradicate polio virus from Haryana. The number of cases, they said, had fallen from 250 in 1995 the year in which the pulse polio immunisation (PPI) programme began to 54 this year.
Talking to media persons, Mrs Komal Anand, Commissioner, Health, Haryana, today expressed the hope that the State would be polio free by the turn of the century. She said Haryana had taken a lead from other countries which numbered 165 to become polio-free. She said all the 5.5 lakh children born in Haryana every year were being given polio doses at the time of birth. The same treatment was given to two crore children added to the country's population every year.
For successful implementation of PP it was crucial that 100 per cent children of the age group of 0-5 years were brought to the immunisation sites on December 6 and January 17 irrespective of whether the child had been immunised earlier or not. This year too, this gigantic task would be accomplished by organising massive social mobilisation by all agencies both in the government and private sector.
She said a sensitive surveillance network had been set up in the State in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.
The state planned to hold immunisation sites in all villages with population of more than 1,000. Smaller villages would be covered either by fixed immunisation sites or by the mobile teams. In urban areas, towns, the immunisation sites would be established per 3000 population. The immunisation sites had been worked out in such a way that they would cater to 250 to 350 children per post. At every immunisation post the oral polio vaccine (OPV) would be administered by the health workers who would be assisted by anganwari workers, school teachers and local volunteers. As many as 26,58,043 targeted children (20,45,844 rural and 6,12,199 urban) of 0-5 years would be administered polio drops through 8918 PPI posts (7193 rural and 1725 urban).
Areas like dhanis, brick kilns, construction sites, difficult to reach areas and other high risk areas would be covered by 520 mobile teams.
This year special emphasis would be laid on the high risk areas i.e. the areas with low routine coverage, urban slums, areas having confirmed polio cases and the areas having large influx of migrant population. For covering cent per cent children in these areas besides static posts, mobile teams would be pressed into service. Supervision in these areas had been strengthened. The members of the static posts and the supervisors would visit house to house during the lean hours in the forenoon and afternoon to find out whether the polio drops had been administered or not. Those children who were not brought to the PPI posts for any reason would be provided OPV drops at their homes by these teams. Also Rotary International had been requested to post independent monitors in the high risk areas to monitor the quality and coverage of PPI campaign. Independent observers from the headquarters, PGI Chandigarh and PGIMS Rohtak, would also be observing the quality and coverage of PPI on the national immunisation days being observed not only in India but also in neighbouring countries.
As last year's coverage of children was 85 per cent, a number of children had left out on account of ignorance of their parents about the immunisation schedule. This year all-out efforts had been made to ensure that every area of the State had been fully covered through publicity.
SONEPAT, Dec 3 A former Haryana Chief Minister and the President of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Mr Om Parkash Chautala, today criticised the Congress party and described it as "anti-farmer". He said the installation of the new Chief Ministers in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh was an ample proof of it as none of them was a farmer.
Talking to mediapersons here he warned the Congress not to feel proud of its victory in the recent Assembly elections as the electorate had expressed their anger against the price rise. He predicted that the people's love for the Congress party would be short-lived not only in Haryana, but all over the country.
He ridiculed the claim of Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, President of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), that the INLD candidates had failed to even save their security deposits in the elections. He alleged that Mr Hooda was misleading the people of the state on this account.
Expressing grave concern over the shortage of DAP fertiliser in Haryana, Mr Chautala blamed the Bansi Lal government for it. Mr Bansi Lal, he said, was befooling the people on one pretext or the other and had backed out of the pre-election promises made to the people of the state, particularly round-the-clock power supply.
He said the state government had failed to safeguard the interests of the farmers and had not paid compensation to those farmers whose crops had been ruined in the recent rain. He alleged that all development activities in the state had come to a standstill and corruption was rampant in the administration.
Mr Chautala also expressed grave concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and said the people were feeling insecure after the bomb blasts in different parts of the state. He urged the people to remain united and continue their struggle for dislodging the Bansi Lal government.
HISAR, Dec 3 Prof J.B. Chowdhury, Vice-Chancellor, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, launched an Indo-Australian collaborative research project on chickpea research at the university here today by inaugurating a week-long training-cum-workshop for Indian participants. The project entitled: "Traits for Yield Improvement of Chickpea in Drought-Prone Environments of India and Australia" aims at improving yields of chickpea in drought prone areas by determining the limitations to chickpea yield under dryland condition in India and Australia.
While addressing the participants, who had come from different research centres of CCSHAU and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Prof Chowdhury said chickpea was an important source of protein in Indian subcontinent, West Asia and North Africa. Hence it was imperative that biotic stresses viz wilt, root-rot, halitosis infestation and abiotic stresses, water, nutritional and temperature stresses affecting the productivity of chickpea in dryland areas were studied afresh. Dr Chowdhury said unless and until the factors affecting the growth and thereby hindering the yield are identified no amount of research, extension or manual efforts can help in popularising its cultivation among drought-prone areas.
Dr Neil Turnor, Australian Project Coordianator in his presidential address highlighted the objective of the project. He said under this project, characteristics that confer improved adaptation and yields for chickpea in water would be identified and efficient screening methods for drought resistance would be developed. He said the research would involve a series of field experiments throughout Australia and five centres including CCSHAU, Hisar. Indian scientists would be imparted training in improved methods of chickpea breeding and physiology.
Dr B.L. Jalali, Director of Research, CCSHAU, described chickpea as the most preferred crop of dryland areas. He said in the past decade there have been considerable efforts in breeding for improved drought tolerance in field crops.
import hits domestic sector
YAMUNANAGAR: Saraswati Sugar Mill started its crushing operations on November 17, 98. The capacity of the mill is 10,000 tonnes cane crushing per day. Last year the mill had crushed 114 lakh quintals cane and produced over 10 lakh quintals sugar. The recent rains have adversely affected the sugarcane crop in the area which will reduce the availability of sugarcane in the forthcoming crushing season.
Mr V.K. Sachdeva, president of the mill, says the sugar industry is going through the worst-ever times as the stock of sugar in the country and the expected sugar production during the current sugar year is much higher than the total demand. To top it, heavy import of sugar from Pakistan is taking place. Needless to mention this, the import has resulted in the loss of precious foreign exchange. Although the government is considering a hike in custom duty on the imported sugar, yet the wait has proved too long for the sugar industry to bear. Because of these factors the sugar market is quite depressed.
The mill has constructed a spacious sugarcane growers shelter-cum-canteen this year for the convenience of the sugarcane suppliers. The existing area for parking of sugarcane tractor-trolleys has been extended to remove congestion on the road.
In consonance with the philosophy of the management to protect and improve the environment, an environment management system is being designed and implemented leading to certification under ISO-14001 which in other words means that the company will be the first sugar factory in the country that will have obtained such a certificate.
The company observed a safety week recently with the objective of bringing awareness amongst the staff and workers about the importance of safety in daily working life. This will not only help in keeping accidents to the minimum, but also achieving a zero accident level during the ensuing crushing season and thereafter.
About 2,000 workers took an oath to comply with the safety norms.
* * *
A record catch has been detected in Jagadhri by Mr D.N. Sharma, Excise and Taxation Officer. On November 3, three trucks (no. HNX-3595, HYA-4740 and HR-37-2150) loaded with brass scrap were caught by the checking team.
The value of the goods was Rs 18 lakh and a fine of Rs 3,60,000 was recovered on November 13, 98. This is a biggest case of tax evasion in Yamunanagar district during roadside checking.
Mr Ram Kumar Gupta, Taxation Inspector, and Mr Sadan Sohan, driver, were members of the party in checking.
* * *
More than Rs 20 crore will be spent in Yamunanagar district for strengthening the power distribution supply which has commenced under the World Bank-aided comprehensive programme of the power sector in Haryana. Mr R.S. Nandwani, Superintending Engineer, informed here that in Haryana 50 11 KV feeders had been identified which were critically overloaded and would be bifurcated or trifurcated to avoid breakdowns, trippings and to ensure better power supply.
He informed that there would be a replacement of 10,000 defective meters under the programme, in Yamunanagar circle. He stated that about 477 km of old and wornout low tension cables of distribution transformers and of mains, sub mains and service lines were proposed to be replaced and 454 overloaded distribution transformers had been identified for augmenting their capacity to remove overloading under the circle, which consisted of the entire Yamunanagar district and some parts of Ambala, Panchkula and Kurukshetra districts.
Mr Nandwani said till October 98 cables of 32 transformers of different capacity had been replaced, besides the replacement of about 1.5 km old/wornout PVC on supply mains/sub mains/service lines in various localities and villages.
The target for replacement of LT (low tension) cables of 500 distribution transformers per quarter and replacement of 20 km LT cables of mains and sub mains per month has been fixed by Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam. With the augmentation of overloaded distribution transformers and replacement of deteriorated PVC cables, the affected consumers shall get un-interrupted power supply at improved voltage.
He said the construction work of new 66 KV sub-station, Jathlana with installed capacity power transformers under the OECF (Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund), Japan, was in progress, which was expected to be commissioned by March, 99. With the commissioning of this sub-station, power supply of areas around Jathlana, Alahar, Gumthala, Mohri, Marupur and Radaur would improve.
The Superintending Engineer informed that vigorous checking of electricity connections was being carried out to detect theft of energy and other malpractices by unscrupulous consumers. He said 106 cases of theft of electricity had been detected in this circle up to November 15, 98. A penalty of Rs 15.12 lakh on account of pilferage of energy and Rs 27.97 lakh for other malpractices had been charged to the defaulting consumers concerned.
* * *
The farmers are unable to repay the loan, which they had raised for crops, due to unprecedented rain which has damaged the crops adversely.
According to statistics available here, the loan advance in cooperative sectors in Yamunanagar district alone for the crop is estimated at Rs 50 crore, including loan for cane growers.
As per the estimate, the cooperative sector alone has advanced approximately Rs 25 crore for crops other than cane. Yamunanagar district is prominently a cane-growing area, yet approximately 40 per cent of the area comes under crops. The effect of rains is by and large less on cane crop, but it has affected other crops like paddy adversely.
A majority of the farmers mostly depend upon the institutional credit afforded by commercial banks and a network of mini banks in the cooperative sector of Haryana.
The farmers in affected areas may not be able to repay the loan which they had raised for the crops. The quantum of crop loan advanced by "commercial banks" may be around Rs 7 crore in the district and "cooperative sector" covers approximately 90 per cent of the total crops loan advanced to the farmers.
These crop loans are reimbursed to the financing agency by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) for conversion or postponement of loan. NABARD has stipulated a condition that the damage should exceed 50 per cent. In the present rains, the damage differs from farmer to farmer and village to village. Now the government and NABARD should come forward to help the farmers by relaxing the rules.
MDU union alleges harassment
ROHTAK, Dec 3 University and college teachers from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will stage a day-long dharna at Chandigarh on December 15 to demand implementation of revised pay scales and salary for the strike period.
The M.D. University Teachers Association (MDUTA), has in a resolution, alleged that the Vice-Chancellor of M.D.U was harassing its members for their participation in the activities of the association. The Vice-Chancellor, it said, has even refused to recognise the MDUTA.
The association has decided to write to the Governor and the Chief Minister about the atmosphere at the university. It has also urged various social organisations and teachers associations to oppose the repressive tactics of the Vice-Chancellor in suppressing the democratic rights of teachers.
The MDUTA further alleged that the university was violating the reservation policy, by not appointing lecturers belonging to the Scheduled Castes even when they deserved appointment on merit.
The association has resolved to bring these lapses to the notice of the Governor and the Chief Minister.
Non-teaching staff seek new
YAMUNANAGAR, Dec 3 The Haryana Private College Non-Teaching Staff Union has expressed resentment against the state government for giving them step-motherly treatment.
Mr Sunder Lal Nagar, treasurer of the union, said here yesterday that new grades had not been given to the employees and the government had reduced their leave to eight days from 20.
He stated that there were six working days in colleges whereas in all government departments there were only five working days.
looted at gunpoint
ROHTAK, Dec 3 Three unidentified youths looted Rs 30,000 in cash and a truck loaded with bags of gram at gunpoint near Dulhera village in Jhajjar today.
According to information received here, the truck was going to Bhiwani when it was intercepted near Dulhera by some unidentified robbers. They allegedly looted the cash and escaped with the truck. The truck was reportedly carrying 42 bags of gram.
In a separate incident, two unidentified youths took away a Maruti car at gunpoint near Deverkhana village.
The police has registered cases but no arrest has been made.
White paper sought on Bansi's
YAMUNANAGAR, Dec 3 Mr Ashok Sharma, a former Haryana BJYM general secretary, has demanded white paper on the performance of the Bansi Lal regime.
Talking to reporters here today, he urged the BJP high command to review its alliance with the HVP.
He stated that not even a single election promise had been fulfilled by the HVP-BJP alliance.
He said even octroi had not been abolished which had resulted in frustration among traders and industrialists.
Gambhir refused anticipatory bail
FARIDABAD, Dec 3 The anticipatory bail application of Mukesh Gambhir, Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, has been rejected by Mr P.L. Goyal, District Session Judge today.
Gambhir became embroiled in a controversy when excise staff, headed seized trucks of a transport Brij Gopal, carrying goods without payment of taxes and the latter shot an official dead and levelled corruption allegations against staff of the Excise Department and police officials.
In response to these the police raided the residence of Mukesh Gambhir on November 26 and recovered disproportionate assets from his residence.
Gambhir has since gone underground.
Three held for murder, robbery
SONEPAT, Dec 3 With the arrest of three persons, the Ganaur police yesterday claimed to have solved cases of robbery and murder committed allegedly by them in the city and Panipat.
The Superintendent of Police, Mr K. Selvraj, told mediapersons here that the arrested had been identified as Ashok of Kami village, Sukampal of Garhi Lakhu, and Jaswant of Bilbalan village.
The police, he said, had recovered two countrymade pistols, two live cartridges, one knife and a scooter from their possession.
He also disclosed that two of them were involved in a murder in the Raj Nagar area of Panipat.
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