R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri

  • Old is bold

  • Of daughters and sons


Paper presented:
Dr Arun Dev Sharma, lecturer, Biotechnology Department, Lyallpur Khalsa College, and his students presented a scientific research paper during a national conference held at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, recently. The paper was based on a research on microbial inulinases— key enzymes for the production of high fructose syrups. Instead of most common applications in which high-cost substrate is involved, Dr Sharma found ways of production of the enzyme from naturally occurring carbon sources such as garlic, wheat and rice.

Meeting: Unemployed Elementary Teachers’ Union will hold its meeting at Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar Hall on February 8 to plan their agitation against the government. Mr Jaswinder Singh Sidhu, the union president, said the members, who had been protesting in Chandigarh for the past 93 days, were “upset ever since they got the information that their appointments would be made through panchayats.” The members said they had also been told that their scale was being reduced to that of Class IV employees which was not at all acceptable to them.

Lok Adalats:
Claims worth Rs 16,89,806 in different cases were settled in the three Lok Adalats held in the district courts here on
Saturday. According to a press release, 58 cases were considered for these Lok Adalats and 37 cases were disposed of on the spot.

Gallery: A modern gallery will be constructed at Kupp Rohirha village in Sangrur district displaying the gallantry efforts of Sikh martyrs for the benefits of young generation. This was disclosed by Mr Tikka Shatrujit Singh, president of Guru-ka-Lal Sultan-ul-Qoum Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Memorial Trust, in a press release issued here on Saturday. Tikka Shatrujit Singh said he would participate in the kar sewa at Nankana Sahib with a Jatha of kar sewaks from Kapurthala. He had also donated Rs 1 lakh for kar sewa, said the press release.

Mr Ashok Sudan has been appointed District President of the Shiv Sena Bal Thakeray for the third consecutive time.

Dr Harbhajan Singh Bhatia, Professor, Department of Punjabi, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and an authority on “practical criticism,” on Saturday stressed that “practical criticism” should be text-oriented. In an interface with the  post-graduate students of Punjabi Department of the local Guru Nanak College, Dr Bhatia said, “One-yardstick, watertight-compartment approach cannot be complete in this connection. A resilient, multiple yardstick ambit, exploring theory out of text, is required.” Literature had to mirror the totality of life for which both experience and outlook of the writer mattered, Dr Bhatia, an author of many books, added. Noted Punjabi poets Prof Kashmir Qadar and Dr Bhupinder Kaur also addressed the students.

Farewell function: A farewell function for 10 plus two students of Government Senior Secondary School, Pabri, near here, was organised on Sunday. Students excelling in studies and extra-curricular activities were awarded by the school principal, Ms Paramjeet Singh. Colourful cultural programmes, besides a contest for Miss Pabri and Mr Pabri, were also organised.


Elected: The elections to the state-level body of the Dalit Chetna Manch were held here on Monday. The following have been elected office-bearers: chief patron — Dr K.S. Raju; patron — Mr Gurcharan Singh Panchi; chairman — Mr Surinder Singh; vice-chairman — Mr Darshan Singh Atwal; president — Mr Shamsher Singh Purkhalwi; vice-president — Mr Tarwinder Singh Hoshiarpur, junior vice-president — Mr Supinder Singh Lalru; general secretary — Dr Bhupinder Singh Banur; finance secretary — Mr Charanjit Singh Bheora; press secretary — Mrs Baljit Kaur; joint secretary — Mrs Charn Kaur Ropar; propaganda secretary — Mr Gurmel Singh.


House burgled:
Thieves broke into Jhuthar Singh’s house at Jaitpur village, about 12 km from here, on Thursday night and decamped with ornaments and valuables worth about Rs 40,000. The Rohrai police has registered a case of burglary in this regard.

Worker killed:
A factory worker, Islam, was killed when he was hit by a car on the GT Road near Pipli Khera village, about 15 km from here, on Thursday.
According to a report, the police has registered a case against the car driver and sent the body for a post-mortem examination. Islam had been living in a rented room at Pipli Khera village.

Body recovered: The police recovered the decomposed body of a youth lying in diversion drain No. 8, near Akbarpur Barota village, 8 km from here, on Thursday. According to a report, the body was identified as that of Kapil Dev, a son of Mr Brahm Parkash of Delhi.


Move on temples opposed:
The Nagar Vikas Sabha has strongly objected to the proposal of the district administration to relocate 16 prominent temples in the old town at Jabbli near the youth hostel. Sabha convener A.P. Sharma said here on Friday that Jabbli was not a suitable place for relocating these temples.

Water shortage hits life:
Normal life has been affected in Dharamsala by an acute shortage of water for the past one week. In a statement issued here on Thursday, the Dharamsala Beopar Mandal said some areas had no water supply for over two days and residents were having a tough time going about their daily routine.

CPI organises procession:
Communist Party activists along with a large number of factory workers of Kala Amb took out a procession here on Friday demanding relief for factory workers and daily wage earners in Himachal. The procession started from the bus stand and ended at the DC’s office where a memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Sirmour.

NSS camp organised: A 10-day NSS camp was organised on the campus of Government Senior Secondary School in which 50 volunteers took part. During the camp the burning issues like AIDS and pollution were discussed.

VAT seminar organised: A seminar on the various problems relating to value added tax (VAT), service tax and the TDS was organised in association with the beopar mandals of Nurpur and Jassur here on Thursday. The seminar was presided over by the Revenue Minister, Mr Sat Mahajan.

Remand extended: Six local youths, arrested by the police on January 20 for allegedly gang-raping a minor Dalit girl, were produced before the judicial magistrate here on Friday. The magistrate extended the judicial remand of the accused until February 16.

Women’s empowerment:
The Himachal Government has initiated action for empowerment of women to raise their economic and social status. Speaking at a function organised by the National Commission for Women to commemorate its foundation day, here on Saturday, Mr Rangila Ram Rao, Minister for Social Justice, said the government had constituted a state women’s council to monitor and ensure effective implementation of the plans aimed at improving the status and living conditions of women.

ABVP dharna: Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarth Parishad on Friday staged a dharna to draw attention to the problem of infiltration from Bangladesh. The protestors shouted slogans demanding eviction of infiltrators. A seminar was also organised.


Regional potpourri

Old is bold

At the age of 88, Sarpanch Bhagwanti Devi not only takes care of her grandchildren but also nurtures two villages in Yamunanagar district
CHILD’S PLAY: At the age of 88, Sarpanch Bhagwanti Devi not only takes care of her grandchildren but also nurtures two villages in Yamunanagar district.

WHEN most women her age are confined to the bed or are busy taking care of their grandchildren, Bhagwanti Devi (88), the oldest woman Sarpanch of the Yamunanagar area, is carrying out development work in two villages, Bhagwanpur and Magarpur, in Mustfabad block of the district.

Every since she became the sarpanch in April last, no police cases have been registered as all disputes are now solved through mutual consent. The streets of the villages are being re-laid and nullahs reconstructed. A new anganwari building has come up and plans are afoot to construct the boundary wall of the primary school in Bhagwanpur village.

The octogenarian, popularly known as ‘mataji’, did not attend school herself but nurtures the dream that all village children get education. “We are trying hard to get at least one of the primary schools in these villages upgraded,” she says.

Unlike many other women sarpanches, who are treated as just rubber stamps of their husbands or sons, Bhagwanti Devi takes all the decisions on her own and attends most of the meetings with government officials.

She gets up early in the morning and after helping her daughter-in-law (wife of her youngest son) in the kitchen, she starts her ‘darbar’, where villagers come to her with their problems. She counsels people to shun liquor and drugs.

She commands such respect in both villages, habited predominantly by the Dalit and Bazigar communities, that she was elected unopposed. She cannot walk properly as iron rods were implanted in both her legs after her accidents, yet she makes sure to visit all the sites where development work is being carried out.

Her husband died in 1995 and she has seven married daughters, four sons and as many as 27 grandchildren.

“When I can rear 11 children and play nanny to 27 grandchildren, then taking care of two villages is child’s play for me,” remarks Bhagwanti Devi, full of zest.

Maintaining cleanliness, increasing the revenue of the panchayat and educating the village children are her priorities. When asked about the dominance of men in panchayat affairs, she quips, “I have broken that tradition.”

Of daughters and sons

DHEEAN nu hass ke apnao, putran nu nashian ton bachao (Happily accept the daughters and save the sons from drugs), is not a mere slogan for the NGOs in Nawanshahr district, but is virtually driving a mass movement against evils like female foeticide and drug addiction.

Motivated by the Deputy Commissioner, Krishan Kumar, the NGOs have joined hands to fight these social ills under the aegis of Upkar, the district-level NGO Coordination Society.

Though it is still in its nascent stage, it is helping change the mind-set of the  people.

Besides organising seminars and rallies in the district, the NGOs, in coordination with the health, social security and panchayati raj departments etc, have started conducting surveys to register the number of pregnant women and drug addicts.

To curb the menace of female foeticide, cases have been registered against the women, ultrasound clinics and doctors involved in these activities.

Upkar is employing the unique tactic of mourning the killing of unborn girls in front of the houses of couples opting for sex determination tests and getting female embryos aborted. This is being done to create the fear of social boycott among these couples.

Besides, Upkar has been organising drug deaddiction camps in the district.

Some of the youth who’ve benefited from the deaddiction camps have pledged to join hands with the NGO to help in this drive against drugs.

Upkar has also started the publication of a monthly magazine for creating awareness on these issues.

S.C. Bhattacharya explains to visitors the theme of female foeticide depicted in his cartoons at an exhibition held in Nangal recently
S.C. Bhattacharya explains to visitors the theme of female foeticide depicted in his cartoons at an exhibition held in Nangal recently.

INSTEAD of blaming the system for all ills, each individual can help to make our society a better place. These were the views expressed by K.K Sood, an engineer with the BBMB and president of the Bharat Vikas Parishad, who was in Nangal recently to launch a campaign against female foeticide.

This NGO organised a cartoon exhibition on female foeticide by S.C. Bhattacharya and a camp to spread awareness against this social evil. “Girls are still seen as a burden in many families and that is the main reason for the rise in the incidence of female foeticide. And this mind-set prevails despite the fact that girls have been contributing equally in every sphere of society,” said Sood.

“We bring like-minded people together to help eradicate various social evils. Blood donation camps and other programmes are held to spread awareness on these issues,” he added.

Contributed by Nishikant Dwivedi, Kiran Deep and Parmod Bharti

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