SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H A R Y A N A

Illegal drinking water supply threat to public
Rohtak, August 16
The privately operated illegal drinking water supply system in villages is posing a serious threat to public health. During the past few weeks, as many as 51 of the 99 samples of water being supplied by unemployed youths by means of a network of poor quality plastic pipes in dozens of villages of this district were found unfit for human consumption.

Capt following dual policy: Chautala
Om Prakash Chautala
Chandigarh, August 16
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, said here today that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had been making mistakes one after another out of frustration as his government had been trying to harm the interests of Haryana in the case of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.

Develop pre-paid card to check power theft: CM
Chandigarh, August 16
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today directed the Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation (HARTRON) to develop a pre-paid card for consumers of electricity so as to check theft of power in an effective manner.

Chautala grants subsidy to farmers
Chandigarh, August 16
The Haryana Government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore to provide special subsidy of 25 per cent for the current financial year in addition to the existing subsidy of 25 per cent on gypsum.

Women empowerment growing in rural Haryana
Nilokheri, August 16
More than 63 per cent of the women panchayat functionaries in Kurukshetra and Jind districts are below the age of 40 years, while only 14 per cent are above the age of 51 years, indicating that more and more young women are taking interest in politics.


Stories from Haryana towns falling in the National Capital Region are put in
 Delhi & neighbourhood.


YOUR TOWN
Ambala
Chandigarh
Kaithal
Panipat
Rohtak
Sonepat


EARLIER STORIES

 

Father alleges foul play in son's death
Chandigarh, August 16
Mr SC Madan, father of Vishal Madan, who reportedly drowned in the Dadupur Headworks, near Yamunanagar, on August 7 today alleged foul play in the death of his son.

Leaf from History
India’s oldest airbase
AMBALA:
Ambala Air Force Station is the oldest airbase of the country. The airbase is of strategic importance and its history is intertwined with the history of the Indian Air Force.

HIGH COURT
PIL filed
Chandigarh, August 16
A petition in public interest has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking directions to the Haryana Government to strictly enforce its policy of not retaining any government employee at one place for over three years.

14-year jail for Pak spy
Ambala, August 16
The Additional Sessions Judge, Ambala, Mr J.S. Kundu has sentenced a Pakistani spy, Masood Haider, who was arrested by the Ambala police on June 26 last year to 14 years’ imprisonment. He was sending an E-mail to Pakistan from a cyber cafe at the cantonment. He was residing in a rented house at the cantonment by changing his name as Deepak.

Dharna by anganwadi workers
Sonepat, August 16
Anganwadi workers and helpers today staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office and submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, of their demands.

Maintain historical places, says Kidwai
Panipat, August 16
Haryana Governor A.R. Kidwai directed officers to maintain historical and cultural places of Panipat . He visited several historical places in Panipat city and adjoining areas today.

Advocate killed in mishap
Kaithal, August 16
Advocate Vijay Mehta (47) was killed in an accident near here last night. According to information he was coming to the town from his Baba Lahana farm on a motor cycle when he was hit by a vehicle and fell down.

Gangster’s murder: 2 surrender
Ambala, August 16
Two persons who had allegedly shot dead a gangster, Nafis Ansari, in Kurukshetra surrendered in the city yesterday.

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Illegal drinking water supply threat to public
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, August 16
The privately operated illegal drinking water supply system in villages is posing a serious threat to public health.

During the past few weeks, as many as 51 of the 99 samples of water being supplied by unemployed youths by means of a network of poor quality plastic pipes in dozens of villages of this district were found unfit for human consumption.

According to sources, the tests revealed that the water contained several types of micro organisms which could cause a number of water-borne diseases. Besides, the samples also contained many other undesirable elements considered harmful for humans beyond a certain limit.

The authorities say in the absence of any law, they cannot initiate legal action against the operators. Mr Ravi Chandra, Executive Engineer, Public Health, said his department was responsible only for supplying potable water in the villages for which government water supply systems were in place. He said just as the department had no powers to curb the sale of bottled mineral water or its use by the public, it could in no way prevent supply or consumption of contaminated water in the villages by private operators.

Likewise, the Health authorities express their inability to check the supply of such water in the rural areas. The District Health Officer, Dr K.C. Aggarwal, said his department came into the picture only if there was any outbreak of disease. It had no role to play in determining or regulating the quality of water being supplied by government-run water works or private networks. Dr Aggarwal said the Public Health department was the agency which regulated the quality of water supplied to the public, according to the prescribed norms.

Enquiries revealed that samples were taken on complaints by individuals and social organisations. In the past, too, similar exercises were undertaken but in the absence of any rules governing the supply of water by the private operators, the authorities as a precautionary measure appointed a panel headed by the District Development and Panchayat Officer to convince private operators to take steps to treat water with bleaching powder. Many private operators began treating water before supply but after a few months they became lax again.

Private operators came on the scene about five years ago in the absence or inadequate supply of piped drinking water in the rural areas. Most of the operators are unemployed youths. They dig a tubewell in the vicinity of village ponds where underground water is relatively sweeter because of seepage from the pond. They lay poor quality plastic pipes from the tubewell to the streets. Individual connections are released from junctions at the streets through GI pipes.

Private operators charge a one-time non-refundable security of Rs 2,400. This covers their cost of laying a pipe to the street junction and the household concerned. Thereafter, they charge Rs 100 a month for an hour’s supply in the mornings and evenings. Such systems exist both in villages covered by government supply as well those still outside its ambit. The government supply is inadequate and the pressure is low. Villagers, therefore, prefer private operators to augment the supply over installing hand pumps.

It is learnt that the operators share their profits with the village sarpanches who allow them to dig the land for laying the pipes. Most of the youths have the blessings of the legislators of their area without which they cannot operate.

Though such systems exist in almost all water scarcity-hit areas of the state, Rohtak and Sonepat districts have the maximum number of private operators. The government has not taken any steps to frame rules to ensure quality control over water supplied by private operators.

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Capt following dual policy: Chautala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, said here today that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had been making mistakes one after another out of frustration as his government had been trying to harm the interests of Haryana in the case of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.

The Chief Minister, who was talking to mediapersons shortly after releasing an audio cassette of Haryanvi pop songs, “Dhare Jab Pahuncha England”, was asked to comment on the issue of transfer of Chandigarh raised by Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Chautala said that Capt Amarinder Singh had been following dual policy. While on one hand, he had got the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill-2004 passed to nullify all inter-state accords, on the other he had been claiming Chandigarh under an inter-state accord.

When asked how the Haryana Government would now impress upon the Central Government for an early construction of the SYL canal, Mr Chautala said the Supreme Court had already done justice to Haryana and he had full confidence that the highest court in the country would direct the Central Government to construct and complete the canal. Also, the Central Government would get the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act nullified.

Mr Chautala said a special girdawari had already been ordered to assess the loss in the recent floods in the state and the affected people would be suitably compensated.

The songs in the cassette have been penned and sung by Ram Niwas, an IAS officer of the Haryana cadre.

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Develop pre-paid card to check power theft: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today directed the Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation (HARTRON) to develop a pre-paid card for consumers of electricity so as to check theft of power in an effective manner.

The Chief Minister, who was presiding over a meeting to review the working of HARTRON here today, said by paying in advance for the electricity to be consumed, the consumers would also become more conscious of their requirements for power and ensure its judicious use by checking wastage. He was told that the corporation had already taken up the task of electricity billing in four circles of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam and the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam.

Mr Chautala also directed that the commercial activities of the corporation should be expanded, especially in developing hardware for computers.

He was all praise for its recent pilot project on electoral rolls with photo cards undertaken on behalf of the Election Commission of India. He directed his Principal Secretary, Mr B.D. Dhalia, to explore the possibility of having such electoral rolls for the next Assembly elections in State.

The Commissioner and Secretary, Information Technology, Dr Harbakhsh Singh, said the corporation had decided to create two state-of-the-art cyber parks at Gurgaon at a cost of Rs 200 crore. The project was a joint venture of the HARTRON and the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation.

The Managing Director of Corporation, Mr R.K. Rao, said the corporation had taken effective steps to reduce expenditure and increase revenue of its research and development centres, as a result of which no grant was taken from the state government for bridging the deficit of these centres.

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Chautala grants subsidy to farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Haryana Government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore to provide special subsidy of 25 per cent for the current financial year in addition to the existing subsidy of 25 per cent on gypsum.

The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who was reviewing the working of the Haryana Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (HLRDC) here today, said the corporation should devise ways and means to give more benefit to the farming community. He also directed that medicinal plants should be grown at all the farms being managed by the HLRDC so as to popularise their cultivation.

It was informed that with a view to boost the sale of gypsum, the HLRDC had provided a special rebate of Rs 200 per metric tonne to the farmers under the Land Reclamation Scheme during 2003-04. So far the corporation had distributed 1,09,047 metric tonnes of gypsum among the farmers under various schemes during 2002-03.

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Women empowerment growing in rural Haryana
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Nilokheri, August 16
More than 63 per cent of the women panchayat functionaries in Kurukshetra and Jind districts are below the age of 40 years, while only 14 per cent are above the age of 51 years, indicating that more and more young women are taking interest in politics.

This came to light in a recent study, “Empowerment of Women in Haryana — A study of Panchayat Representatives”, conducted by Dr Surat Singh, Director of the Haryana Institute of Rural Development, Nilokheri.

The study pointed out that elderly women panchayat functionaries were losing acceptability for leadership position in these two districts. One of the reasons could be the breakdown of the joint family system due to the impact of modernisation. Another reason could be the lack of literacy in them.

Lower and middle-aged women panchayat functionaries between the age group of 30 and 40 years, which constitutes about 42 per cent of panchayat functionaries, were more acceptable than the younger ones because of their maturity.

As far as the caste structure was concerned more than 60 per cent of the women panchayat functionaries were from the upper castes. However, 33 per cent Scheduled Caste women were also active in the functioning of the panchayats. “The hegemony of high castes no longer exists but their dominance continues”, points out the study.

The educational profile of the women panchayat functionaries has shown that a considerable number of women were still illiterate because the level of female literacy in Haryana was relatively low as compared to the males. In Kurukshetra and Jind districts, 21 per cent of the women panchayat functionaries had studied up to primary level while 17 per cent had got education up to high school level. Surprisingly, only two out of the total of 1,926 women panchayat functionaries in these two districts were graduates.

The economic condition of women panchayat functionaries was also not impressive. Nearly 52 per cent of the women claimed to be in the lowest income group, earning less than Rs 500 per month, while 10 per cent were in the income group of Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per month.

The study further highlighted the low socio-economic status of the women panchayat functionaries in Kurukshetra and Jind was a reflection of the status of women in rural Haryana as a whole. It could be attributed to the predominantly traditional and male dominated character of the state’s rural society and the neo-feudal and conservative nature of its culture.

The involvement of elected women leaders in decision-making process of the panchayats was also found negligible on account of their low socio-economic status.

However, an exception was visible in case of women from financially sound families. They were active in deciding the day-to-day activities of the panchayats.

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Father alleges foul play in son's death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Mr SC Madan, father of Vishal Madan, who reportedly drowned in the Dadupur Headworks, near Yamunanagar, on August 7 today alleged foul play in the death of his son.

Talking to TNS here, Mr Madan alleged that even after nine days of the death, the police had failed to arrive at a convincing argument to prove it as an accident.

It may be recalled that Vishal, along with three other persons-- Billu, Nayyar and Rakesh--had reportedly gone to the headworks for taking a bath.He reportedly slipped into the headworks and was swept away by swirling waters. His body was fished out from the Western Yamuna Canal on August 10.

Coming down heavily on the tardy pace at which the investigations had been going on, Mr Madan regretted that no case had been registered by the police till now. Not only that, the persons accompanying Vishal had not been properly interrogated by the police.

While the police had been terming it as an "accident", the other aspects of the interrogations had been given a go- by, raising serious doubts about impartiality of the police, he alleged.

Vishal, along with his wife, Ms Surinder Kaur, a government employee, had been living in the Haryana Housing Board Colony, Jagadhari. He originally belongs to Chandigarh.

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Leaf from History
India’s oldest airbase
Rahul Das

AMBALA: Ambala Air Force Station is the oldest airbase of the country. The airbase is of strategic importance and its history is intertwined with the history of the Indian Air Force.

In 1919, six squadrons of the Royal Air Force (RAF) were based in undivided India. The squadrons were No. 20, 31, 48, 97, 99 and 114 RAF Sqns. They were responsible for all necessary air operations in India, particularly along North-West Frontier Province.

“In September 1919, No. 99 RAF Squadron commenced operation from Camp Umbala. It was later succeeded by No. 114 RAF Squadron in November, 1919. This squadron was later renumbered No. 28 RAF Squadron and continued to operate from Ambala till February, 1939,” a booklet on the history of Ambala airbase states.

In 1920, the Headquarters of the RAF India Command were established here and they remained here till 1922 before they moved to Delhi and Simla alongside Army Headquarters.

“The role of Air Force in India during the initial years was to control the tribesmen of the North-West Frontier Province from the air, alone or in cooperation with the Army. The No. 28 Squadron cooperated with the Army in quelling tribal disturbances. In addition, it also made the first aerial photographic survey of Hyderabad,” the booklet states.

RAF squadrons in India were equipped with Bristol Fighters F2Bs or with De Haviland 9A two-seat day bomber.

Sir Jonh Slessor, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, in his book “The Central Blue” states: “Booth at Prachinar in 1921 and the next year during practice camp from Umbala, it was a common experience to have to borrow a propeller from one flight, a tail-skid from another and a wheel from the third to make a single aeroplanes in the squadron fit to take the air.”

In late 1928, the ageing DH9 a/c & Bristol F2Bs were replaced with West Land Wapiti IIa, while several Vickers Valentia troop carries were brought into use as transport and occasional bombers. “In December, 1928, one compulsory innovation imposed on all aircrew was the carriage of parachutes — a safety device not as universally welcomed by the crews as might have been expected,” the book on the history of Ambala states.

Station Headquarters were established in Ambala on April 1, 1938. A few officers of No. 28 Squadron were posted to fill in station vacancies. Wg Cdr CF Horsley was the first Commanding Officer of the station.

On June 18, 1938, No. 1 IAF Squadron moved to its permanent station here. The role of the station continued to be training in Army-Air cooperation. While No. 28 Squadron RAF had Audax aircraft, the IAF Squadron flew Wapitis. Aircraft of both squadrons visited states like Jaipur and Udaipur to cooperate with the state forces.

One aircraft of No.1 Squadron IAF carried out close support exercise for IMA cadets. “It was customary in those days for fifth-term IMA cadets to visit this station when each cadet was given air experience. Arrangements were also made for aerobatic demonstrations for the benefit of the cadets,” the book states.

On March 16, 1939, Flt-Lieut Subroto Mukherjee took over the command of the squadron from Sqn Ldr C.H. Smith, thus becoming the first Indian to command a flight, a squadron and thereafter, a station and finally the Indian Air Force.

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HIGH COURT
PIL filed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 16
A petition in public interest has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking directions to the Haryana Government to strictly enforce its policy of not retaining any government employee at one place for over three years.

Giving details of the continuing non-enforcement of this policy, particularly in the Haryana Housing and Development Department (HUDA), the petitioner, Mr Parmanand, who retired from HUDA, has stated that the continuation of some officers at some posts leads to corruption.

He has also stated that some persons who are facing disciplinary proceedings are also being allowed to continue at their posts for long periods.

The case is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow.

False case

A retired police officer has moved the High Court seeking Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged implication of his son in a false case at the behest of some politicians and people connected to them.

In his petition, retired sub-inspector Bhoop Singh has claimed that while two of his sons have been already murdered in family disputes, his son has been falsely implicated in a firing case at Gurgaon jail.

He has named the Haryana Assembly Deputy Speaker as one of the persons who is helping his rivals in getting his son implicated. The case will come up tomorrow.
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14-year jail for Pak spy
Our Correspondent

Ambala, August 16
The Additional Sessions Judge, Ambala, Mr J.S. Kundu has sentenced a Pakistani spy, Masood Haider, who was arrested by the Ambala police on June 26 last year to 14 years’ imprisonment. He was sending an E-mail to Pakistan from a cyber cafe at the cantonment. He was residing in a rented house at the cantonment by changing his name as Deepak.

According to police report, maps of various cantonments of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, some photographs and important documents related to the Army were seized from his possession. Haider had left for India from Pakistan on July 7, 2002. According to a chalan produced in the court Haider was aware of the geography of the Northern India and he had visited a number of cantonments of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

During interrogation he revealed that the ISI had been paying a handsome amount to him for spying. Haider was having complete knowledge of computer too and was trained by the ISI.

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Dharna by anganwadi workers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 16
Anganwadi workers and helpers today staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office and submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, of their demands. They were led by district president of the anganwadi and Helpers Union, Ms Salochna Devi and general secretary Nirmala Devi.

The main demands of the union included payment of monthly honorarium of Rs 200 and Rs 100 to helper with arears from April 2002. Workers and helpers be paid monthly honorarium of Rs 2500 and Rs 1500 respectively till the regularisation of their services; workers and helpers be given reservations in village-level employments like primary school teachers, assistant nursery teachers etc according to guidelines of the Government of India.

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Maintain historical places, says Kidwai
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 16
Haryana Governor A.R. Kidwai directed officers to maintain historical and cultural places of Panipat. He visited several historical places in Panipat city and adjoining areas today.

The Governor visited Panipat museum, Kabuli Bagh, Kabul Bagh mosque and Panipat war memorial Kala Ambh. He showed interest in weapons used during three battles of Panipat.

Mr Kidwai’s Secretary Vijay Vardhan, DC Anurag Rastogi and SSP Dr Suman Manjari accompanied him.

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Advocate killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Kaithal, August 16
Advocate Vijay Mehta (47) was killed in an accident near here last night. According to information he was coming to the town from his Baba Lahana farm on a motor cycle when he was hit by a vehicle and fell down. A passerby noticed the accident and stopped when mobile phone of Mr Mehta rang. He picked up the telephone and came to know that it was a call from the family of Mr Mehta which was locating him. He informed them of the accident. The family reached the site and the victim was taken to the hospital. Later he was referred to the PGI but he succumbed to his injuries before reaching the hospital.

He was cremated here. Work in the courts here remained suspended.

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Gangster’s murder: 2 surrender
Tribune News Service

Ambala, August 16
Two persons who had allegedly shot dead a gangster, Nafis Ansari, in Kurukshetra surrendered in the city yesterday.

Balwinder Singh and Majid Ansari surrendered before the local Superintendent of Police, Mr Des Raj Singh. They were later handed over to the Kurukshetra police.

The shooting was a result of gang rivalry. The two belonged to a rival gang headed by Sushil Moonch.

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