|Monday, April 17, 2000,
violates ILO direction on bag size
Chautala: villages to have
Meham panchayat clears
Strawberry farming leaves bitter
Insurance cover for scribes in
Taxi operators make hay, govt
4 die as jeeps collide
Minister for use of
Haryana violates ILO direction
on bag size
CHANDIGARH, April 16 Shortage in the supply of jute bags has forced the wheat procuring agencies in Haryana to go beyond the specifications on the size of bags prescribed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The ILO had taken the view that carrying of 95 kg bags entailed inhuman burden on the labourers and it asked the member countries to ban the use of 95 kg bags and introduce 50 kg bags in their place. Following the ILOs directive, a standing order was given by the Union Government to all the states to ban the use of 95 kg bags.
The Om Prakash Chautala-led government of Haryana did not use 95 kg bags in the last season, but this time government agencies have reverted back to the use of 95 kg bags. While confirming this, official sources said that procuring agencies were forced to use 95 kg bags due to shortage of the 50 kg variety bags.
Official sources, however, claimed that out of the total 1,40,000 bags being used in Haryana, only 20,000 were 95 kg bags and the remaining bags were of 50 kg capacity. The state government had obtained special permission from the Centre for using 95 kg bags, the sources added.
Meanwhile talking to TNS Mr Sanjiv Kumar, Director, Food and Civil Supplies Department, said that unlike previous seasons, this time large number of private millers were engaged in direct buying of wheat from the farmers by offering them prices in excess to the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 580 per quintal fixed by the government.
Mr Kumar explained that following the withdrawal of subsidy given by the government to the millers, the latter had become reluctant about purchasing wheat from government agencies by paying the high price of Rs 900 per quintal. These millers have started dealing directly with the farmers by paying them prices ranging from Rs 615 to Rs 650, Mr Kumar said.
Mr Kumar also refuted allegations levelled by an Opposition MLA recently that state government did not make adequate arrangement for procurement of wheat. The authorities have set up 18 new wheat procurement centres this time, he said.
Moreover, in a unique move, the state government has set up 28 sub-yards, spread over seven districts of Haryana, for procurement of wheat, Mr Kumar pointed out, while adding that this would spare the farmers from travelling all the way to the mandis to sell their produce.
Mr Kumar also pointed out that unlike rice, wheat was considered profitable by the government agencies because government specifications with regard to wheat was much more relaxed. Moreover, wheat absorbs moisture from air as result of which weight of the wheat bales go up during storing-which is considered as another favourable aspect.
Chautala: villages to have
BHIWANI, April 16 Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala said that village-level committees be set-up to provide facilities to rural areas on a par with urban areas. He was presiding over the 1999-2000 District Decentralised Planning annual meeting here today.
The formation of draft plan was made taking into consideration of the local needs and regional backwardness of the district. He said that out of Rs 71 lakh to be spent on the annual plan stress had been laid on rural development.
Mr Chautala said that all Deputy Commissioners have been directed to form village-level development committees to identify the development projects at the grassroots level and to ensure the involvement of the villagers in implementation of such projects. Steps should also be taken to remove all encroachments on common lands. The Government had decided to remove encroachments on such lands irrespective of the status of the person involved. He said that old age pension for February would be distributed at the tehsil headquarters in the presence of the doctors and senior functionaries so that only eligible persons got it. He said this pension was introduced by Mr Devi Lal to pay respect to senior citizens and the government was determined to carry on this practice for the eligible persons only.
The village-level committees would also ensure that the earmarked sum was spent on the right place and they would also be able to claim matching grants from the government. This would also ensure the speedy implementation of development works.
Mr Chautala added that despite shortage of water the government provided sufficient irrigation water for the rabi crop sowing resulting in bumper crop this year. He said that the canals would be run for a week to fill all village ponds. Villagers should ensure that such water may not be used for vested interests. Mr Chautala said that his aim was to develop the state. All Vidhan Sabha constituencies would be treated on a par and there would be no discrimination in sanctioning development projects.
Mr Chief Minister also presided over the District Public Relations and Grievances Committee meeting here today. As many as 10 complaints were redressed them on the spot. He directed the officers to bring the complainants at the meeting even if he had withdrawn the complaint. Action would be taken against the person lodging false complaint. The Chief Minister directed the civil surgeon to identify the quacks and take stern action against them and this committee be informed accordingly.
He also entrusted and inquiry to the Additional Deputy Commissioner to investigate the matter regarding misappropriation of funds by the son of the sarpanch of Devsar village. This report should also be placed at the next meeting.
Those who were present
on the occasion were Mr Ajay Singh Chautala, MP, Mr
Bahadur Singh, Minister of State for Education, Mr Shashi
Parmar, Mr Ram Kishan Fauji, Mr Ranvir Mandaula and Mr
Jagjit Sangwan all MLAs.
ROHTAK, April 16 The panchayat of Meham Chaubisi (24 villages) headed by Chaudhary Ram Sarup today declared former Minister Anand Singh Dangi innocent in the corruption case registered by the state Vigilance Department against him recently.
The well-attended meeting also condemned registration of the case, describing it as politically motivated and authorised a five-member committee headed by Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief Bhupinder Singh Hooda to chalk out a strategy to counter the move aimed at "harassing the former minister and his family."
The meeting was presided over by Mr Ram Sarup, a supporter of Mr Dangi. Another such panchayat headed by Mr Surat Singh, however, kept away from todays meeting dubbing it as a political matter of no concern for the Chaubisi panchayat.
At least four MLAs of the Congress, besides HPCC chief Mr Hooda attended the meeting held at Meham Chabutra. Supporters of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) also dubbed the panchayat political. Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was the main speaker served an ultimatum on the state government to either withdraw the case within a month or face a state-level agitation. He said the case was a political stunt to divert attention from real issues.
Addressing the panchayat Mr Dangi said the Chief Minister wanted to repeat the Meham incident of 1990, which had claimed several lives.
He said he was not afraid of any case and said the case was motivated to pressurise him to withdraw his petition seeking a probe by the CBI on implementation of the Saikia Commission Report on Meham violence in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
He sought the permission of the panchayat for moving the High Court for probing in the disproportionate assets case filed by Mr Pratap Singh, a brother of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, against the latter.
Strawberry farming leaves bitter
AMBALA, April 16 - The dream of a sweet success in strawberry farming has left a bitter taste among small farmers of the region.
Strawberry farming was started with much gusto by some small farmers a few years back with the hope that it would give them rich dividends. But over a period of time, the farmers have decided to revert to traditional farming rather than spend their time, energy and money in this exotic farming.
Even as strawberry farming has proved to be a reasonable success for large farmers who have sound technical know-how, the same cannot be said for small farmers who feel that strawberry farming should only be tried by those who have good knowledge, reliable farmhands and excellent contacts to market the produce.
A visit by The Tribune to the villages showed that small farmers, who had initially tried strawberry farming, have left it and gone back to traditional cultivation.
Mr Jasbir Singh of village Sambalkha in Naggal constituency said that he had tried strawberry farming three years back. I had planted strawberry saplings in roughly over an area of 600 sq feet. But I did not manage to market my produce. The whole exercise went waste. I have now shifted to the field of piggery, he said.
Mr Singh pointed out that having excellent contacts specially in cities like Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai matters a great deal since strawberry does not have a local market. Small farmers like me do not know how to sell strawberry and we land up making losses,.
His friend, Mr Vikram Singh, said that he had tried strawberry farming on a large scale. But my endeavour did not succeed as one requires a great deal of technical knowledge to have very good produce. Strawberries which are not good will not be bought by large hotels which only want the best. So a mistake by a labourer while plucking can also affect your produce, he said.
He stated that there is a need to have a system by which the small farmers do not have difficulty in selling their produce. If there is a government organisation, then we can sell strawberry to them at a good price. But right, now we are not aware of any such system, Mr Singh said.
In Barara block Mr Pramod said that in the region, farmers can only hope to make money by selling the strawberry `runners which are used for growing strawberries. These runners cost between Rs 4and Rs 6. So, if a farmer wants to do strawberry farming he will have to pay a price for these runners which in turn will benefit the seller. These days, strawberry farmers are making money not just by selling strawberries but also by selling these runners, he said.
A Horticulture Department official admitted that strawberry farming had not been as successful as it had been hoped. The small farmers tend to buy a large number of strawberry `runners at a high price which leads to an increase in investment. They are unable to sell the produce locally so they have to bear losses, he said.
He said that the department had been educating small farmers to not to buy large number of `runners at one time. Instead, those who are interested in strawberry farming must in the first season do it on a small scale. In the subsequent season, they can utilise their own produce and they will get experience in the first season at a low cost, the official said.
According to a pamphlet, strawberry is a nutritious and tasty fruit. Strawberry contains Vitamin C (40.9 mg per 100 gram), Vitamin A and Vitamin B. In Haryana, farmers can sow the saplings in the winters. The saplings can be sowed from September 25 to November 15. The strawberry fruit is ready in February-March. According to a study in Shimla, during December to March, if the strawberry saplings are covered with a plastic sheet, the strawberry growth is much faster and the produce is nearly 20 per cent more.
According to an
estimate, from an acre (of strawberry farm), Rs 80,000
can be earned in the first year and Rs 1,20,000 in the
second year. In the first year, the investment comes to
around Rs 45,000 and in the subsequent year about Rs
15,000, the pamphlet states.
Insurance cover for scribes in Haryana
BHIWANI, April 16 (UNI) The Haryana Government would provide insurance cover to the journalists and also constitute a tripartite committee for the implementation of the wage board report. The government would actively consider the setting up a journalists welfare fund.
This announcement was made by the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, while presiding over the 21st meeting of the Haryana Union of Journalists here today.
Mr Chautala called upon the journalists to write fearlessly without succumbing to any pressure so that their credibility be maintained. The press had a vital role to play in keeping the democratic norms alive. This was the only institution on which the public could pin its hopes as during the previous regimes there were instances of contempt of even the judiciary. He had all respect for the judiciary and the Fourth Estate as they were the only source of keeping the democratic norms alive. He cited the example of Sardar Barjinder Singh who opted to stick to journalism by vacating his Rajya Sabha seat.
The Chief Minister said he had great regards for the Press as he had restored the accreditation of journalists withdrawn by the previous regime on the very first day on assuming office on July 24, 1999. He believed that the constructive criticism was always good for the government. He asked the pressmen to refrain from yellow journalism and said that there should be a workshop for the new entrants of this noble profession for which he would extend all possible help.
He would love to keep cordial relations with the media. He called upon journalists to work meticulously and judiciously so that it did not harm any innocent person.
Mr Chautala said he would work to provide medical facilities to the mediapersons. He appreciated the daring deeds of the journalists during "Operation Vijay" in Kargil. He also handed over the insurance policy taken by the union for its members. Mr Ajay Singh Chautala, MP, hoped the Chief Minister would redress the grievances of mediapersons.
Mr Bahadur Singh, Minister of State for Education, Mr Baldev Bhai Sharma (Dainik Bhaskar) Mr Ajay Pandey (Rashtriya Sahara) Dr N.K.Trikha President of NOJ (I), Mr Yoginder Gupta, President of the HUJ and Mr Ashwini Dutta, the newly elected President of the Union, also spoke.
Taxi operators make hay, govt
JHAJJAR, April 16 The Haryana Roadways has proved inefficient in meeting needs of the commuters and the maxi cab is thriving at the cost of Haryana government transport services.
More than 500 maxi cabs have been plying on different routes, from Bahadurgarh to Jhajjar, Rohtak and Kharkhauda. Most of the commuters of the area are employees serving in Delhi or working in factories in the urban area. Nearly Rs 10000 by way of fare is involved each on the Bahadurgarh-Jhajjar and the Bahadurgarh-Kharkhauda route and the amount of fare is as high as Rs 30,000 on the Bahadrugarh-Rohtak route daily. About Rs 15 lakh per month turnover of fare is estimated only for maxi cabs on these routes which is a clear loss to the Haryana Roadways.
A roadways official at Bahadurgarh bus stand said that bad condition of the approach roads was to be blamed for poor service.
Most of the maxi cabs are without permits. But local administration and Roadways officials have failed to check them. Policemen posted at places like bus stands or check posts receive money from these private transporters and do not take any action.
A private transporter
revealed that every maxi cab shelled out Rs 1000 per
month to policemen at different places. And for the
commuters, harassment and difficulties apart, travelling
in these vehicles is always on their risk. Many accidents
have taken place involving these maxi cabs causing
Minister for use of treated
PANIPAT, APRIL 16 The Union Minister of Environment and Forest, Mr. T.R. Baalu today said that the absence of holistic planning for safe disposal of waste water generated in urban settlements had resulted in severe pollution of rivers in recent years. Mr Baalu said that recognising the magnitude of the problem and realising the importance of preserving water quality, the Centre had launched the phase one of the Ganga Action Plan in 1985. The programme was subsequently expanded in 1993 to include the main tributaries of the Ganga such as the Yamuna.
Mr Baalu who was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a sewage treatment plant at Sewah under the Yamuna Action Plan here this evening said that the cost of the projects under the Yamuna Action Plan for the state of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh was Rs. 509.45 crores with Haryana having a share of Rs. 232.20 crores.
In Haryana, sewage treatment plants were being set up in the towns of Yamunanagar, Jagadhari, Karnal, Panipat, Sonepat, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Chachrauli, Radaur, Indri, Gharaunda, Gohana and Palwal with 100 per cent financial assistance from the Centre. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) was providing a soft Yen loan of about Rs. 401 crores for the project.
He stressed the need for ensuring maximum re-use of treated sewage for aquaculture, irrigation and urban forestry so that nutrient rich sewage can be used as a resource.
Similarly, he said that the sludge generated at the sewage treatment plant could be used as manure and bio-gas can be produced for electricity generation.
Speaking on this occasion, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala said that under a new proposal the government was contemplating to connect all the suburbs and villages situated on the banks of Yamuna with the sewage treatment plants.
Sewage treatment plant
SONEPAT, April 16 A Rs 11.26 crore sewage treatment plant based on Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB), technology constructed under the Yamuna Action plan, on the Sonepat-Rathdhanna road, 4 km from this city, has been commissioned.
According to official sources, this is most suitable for tropical conditions particularly for treatment of domestic waste water. The bio-gas produced from the plant will be utilised for running of machinery and lighting purpose at the STP site. The treated effluent will be utilised for irrigation purposes and the sludge produced will be sold to farmers for use as manure as the same has a high nutrient value.
The sewage treatment plants being set up under the Yamuna Action plan project will be treating only the domestic sewage of the towns covered under the project. The responsibility for treatment of industrial waste of these towns will continue to be with the units concerned. The Haryana Pollution Control Board is taking steps to check the discharges of untreated water by the industrial units into the Yamuna.
4 die as jeeps collide
HISAR, April 16 Four persons were killed and as many as 10 injured in the head-on-collision between two private jeeps, carrying passengers, near Atela village on the Charkhi-Dadri- Loharu road, 70 km from here, yesterday.
According to a report here today two passengers were killed on the spot while two died on the way to hospital.
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