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Regional potpourri
Chipko champion of Chamba
Park avenue
Statues and slums


Support for BSP (Ambedkar)
: A large number of people led by Gurdial Singh of Bahujan Samaj Party (Mayavati) and Harbans Kaur of Congress and their supporters joined Bahujan Samaj Party (Ambedkar) in a function held here on Saturday. Claiming this Mr Devi Dass Nahar, president, BSP (Ambedkar), said that people who joined his party were fed up with the alleged false promises by the various political parties. He criticized the BSP (Mayawati) and Congress for playing with the sentiments of Dalits by making false promises. 

Case against travel agent
: A case of duping of Rs 4.30 lakh has been reported in City Police Station. According to the police sources, Jarnail Singh of Daulatpur Gillan village, residing at Dagana road stated in his complaint that Rattan Chand, son of Chint Ram of local Krishna Nagar area, took Rs 4.30 lakh about two years ago for sending him to the UK. But he neither sent him abroad nor returned his money. City police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC against the travel agent.

Red Cross force: To serve the suffering humanity more effectively Red Cross volunteer Force will be set up in Hoshiarpur district, disclosed Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner while presiding over a meeting of the District Red Cross Society here. He said to rehabilitate and to provide medical treatment to the handicapped persons, the society is running a physiotherapy-cum-rehabilitation centre in the premises of local civil hospital. The society is also running a maternity and child health centre at Vakilan Bazar for the benefit of expectant mothers and children. 

24 girls married off
: The marriages of 24 girls were performed by Lok Sewa Society, Jagraon, on the occasion of seventh ‘samuhik kanya daan mahayagya’, at GHG Academy in Kothe Baggan, 1 km from here, on Sunday. The society with the help of donors gifted domestic articles to all couples, which included utensils, water cooler, chairs and furniture etc.

New IMA chief
: Dr G.S  Gill , the newly elected President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA ), Punjab , formally took charge here on Sunday . He said the IMA would ensure that all hospitals of Punjab have the basic minimum standards . He added that the IMA would promote sports activities amongst doctors in the next one year 

Farewell to judge: The District Bar Association gave arousing farewell to District and Sessions Judge Sham Sunder Gupta here Saturday evening . Justice Gupta has been transferred to Chandigarh as Sessions Judge , Vigilance.

Riot relief
: May 15 is the last date for the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims to apply for compensation of Rs two lakh if they have not yet done so, said Mr Baldev Singh, SDM, Samrala, here on Sunday. Meanwhile, the SDM has appealed to the applicants to submit the correct figures and statements only, failing which their claim would be not be entertained.

Tributes paid: Rich tributes were paid to Achhra Devi, wife of late senior advocate Prem Vir Garg, at the local Durga Mandir, here on Sunday. Jathedar Kirpal Singh Kheernian, member, SGPC, and Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon highlighted the services rendered by Mrs Achhra Devi and late Mr Prem Vir Garg for the poor and needy persons of the area. 

OBSERVED: The 49th death anniversary of Baba Sant Ram Ji will be observed from May 16 to 18 at Nagra village, 5 km from here, said Mr Ajmer Singh Nagra, Sarpanch, on Sunday. A langar will also be served to all, he added.




Office-bearers: The following have been elected office-bearers of the Garhwal Sabha: president — Mr Sabbal Singh Pundir; senior vice-president — Mr Vivekanand Joshi; vice-president — Mr Ram Prashad Sundli; general secretary — Mr Bharat Singh Negi; secretary — Mr Sarup Singh Rawat; and finance secretary — Mr Varinder Singh Rawat


Road mishap
: One person was killed and another injured seriously when a truck collided with motorcycle near Jasaur Kheri village of the district on Friday. According to information, the deceased were identified as Ravinder of Bawana village and his relative Attar Singh of Chhudani village. The truck belonging to the Power Department of the state government had collided with it. 

Directive against loud speakers
: The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mr Ashok Garg, has directed SHOs of all police stations in Kaithal subdivision to ensure that no loud speakers are used between 10 pm and 6 am in view of the orders passed by the Supreme Court.

Theft cases solved: Following interrogation of six members of an inter-state gang of robbers, who were arrested by the local police on May 6, the police has solved three cases of theft and recovered Rs 1 lakh in cash from them, according to the SP, Mr Navdeep Singh Virk. 

Clerk kidnapped:
Local advocate Akash Gupta’s clerk, Suresh Pal, was allegedly kidnapped by two car-borne persons on Friday morning when he was coming to the District Courts on his motorcycle from his village, Birjpur, falling under Sadar police station. The police has registered an FIR in this regard at Madhuban police station on the statement of the victim’s fellow villager, Ved Pal. According to Ved Pal, about 10 persons, including Rajesh, Rakesh and Ved Prakash came in two cars and took Suresh Pal forcibly with them.



Power drive
: A special power improvement drive has been launched under a government scheme in the Kot-Kehloor Assembly constituency and a total of Rs 5 crore is being spent on the project. Laying the foundation stone of Government Middle School, Maakadi, near Bakhra Dam, some 95 km from here, on Friday evening, Himachal Forests, Youth Services and Sports Minister Ram Lal Thakur said the project would be completed within this year.

Abetment of suicide
: On a complaint of Parvati Devi, widow of Beli Ram, a case has been registered against contractor Desh Raj, resident of Kariyan, district Chamba, under Section 306 of the IPC. In the complaint Parvati Devi, resident of Gurei district Dang (Nepal), at present living at Banikhet, 6 km from here, said her husband had hanged himself as he was not being paid the Rs 1.30 lakh he had earned by working with contractor Desh Raj 

Case registered: The Dalhousie police station has registered a case against two employees of the Power Grid Corporation of India on the statement of Pawal Kumar, resident of Mashim Dinga village, tehsil Thathei Tanger, district Simdiga in Jharkhand state. In an official press note issued here on Saturday the police spokeman said in the complaint it was alleged that Rahul Kumar was electrocuted when he was working on the Power Grid line at Bharera on May 10 due to the negligence of two employees, J.P. Singh, junior Engineer, and Prabhu, lineman. An FIR had been registered with the police station in the regard. The case registered under Section 336 and 304-A, IPC, was being investigated.



Chipko champion of Chamba

Kulbhushan Upamanyu
Kulbhushan Upamanyu

The man who made the Chipko movement a success in the remote areas of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh, is a sad man today. The degradation of Chamba’s environment and the depleting flow of the Ravi river, eulogised in many a folk song and folktale, have left Kulbhushan Upamanyu worried.

A close associate of Chipko leader Sunder Lal Bahuguna, Upamanyu has devoted his life to protecting the environment of this district.

Part of the state government’s initiatives on environment, he is, however, not happy with the government’s policy of constructing power projects, mega or mini ones. He argues that if huge power projects are an indicator of prosperity, then Chamba should have been the most prosperous district. On the contrary, it is among the backward districts of the state, with hardly any employment opportunities for the local people.

He is especially against those projects that require the flow of a river to be diverted, as has happened in case of the Ravi. Two mega projects, Chamera-I and Chamera-II, have already been completed and preparations are on for the third phase of the project. These projects entailed diversion of the Ravi’s flow, depriving Chamba town of the gurgling sound of its waters. Though the Himalayan Environment Society is planning to oppose such projects, it is still a long way from creating a Tehri-like mass movement.

Upamanyu favours only those micro power projects that have no adverse effect on the environment and generate employment for the local people.

The people of Himachal know Upamanyu as the man who came out on the streets against the government policy of planting pine saplings. He even destroyed a government nursery of pine trees. He says that the pine is harmful for the local flora and fauna. Its leaves are acidic and destroy the natural grass, which is fodder for the livestock. He advocates planting of broad-leaved trees instead.

Making people aware about their environment is his life’s mission. Inspired by Bahuguna, this native of Kamla village has truly emerged as a protector of the verdant hills of Chamba.

Park avenue

S.S. Chana
S.S. Chana

He crusades for saving the green parks of Ludhiana and has also been fighting against the lack of civic amenities at various platforms. S.S. Chana, a retired IFS officer, has dedicated himself to the greening of the city’s parks.

Having developed a park along with his team, Chana strives to ensure that all the parks in the city are well-maintained.

He has knocked at the door of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission twice to seek better maintenance of parks and to protest the non-lifting of garbage from various parts of the city.

It was because of his persistent effort of visiting Chandigarh regularly to plead his cause before the PHRC that the district administration was directed to prepare a detailed report on all the parks.

The report slammed the civic body of Ludhiana for the poor upkeep of parks.

“We live in the most polluted city. We cannot do much about that. But we do have the right to green parks all around us. And if these parks are full of weeds and are a shelter for pigs, somebody has to take up the matter. If the local authorities do not listen, we have no option but to knock at the doors of the commission,’’ he says.

“I feel very happy when children come and play in well-maintained parks. Even the adults are able to carry out various recreational activities there. It brings smiles on their faces and that makes me feel on top of the world,’’ he beams.

He has vowed not to sit pretty and let the parks wither away or become unkempt. “I will continue the fight till the residents are provided with green belts. It is their right and I will make sure that they get it,’’ he adds with a steely determination.

Statues and slums

The site of Dr Gopi Chand Bhargava’s statue in Hisar has become a dwelling place for the slum people
The site of Dr Gopi Chand Bhargava’s statue in Hisar has become a dwelling place for the slum people. — Photo by Sanjeev Mehta

While certain sites where statues have been erected in memory of national heroes and leaders get spruced up at least once or twice a year, to mark their birth and death anniversaries, those of others face utter neglect throughout the year .

One such site is that where a statue of Dr Gopi Chand Bhargava, the first Chief Minister of joint Punjab and an eminent Gandhian leader, stands near Congress Bhavan in Hisar.

The statue was unveiled on December 26, 1991, by the then Vice-President of India, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, in the presence of Haryana Governor Dhanik Lal Mandal and Chief Minister Bhajan Lal.

However, due to poor upkeep and maintenance, the statue today presents a picture of neglect. Parts of the railing surrounding the statue are missing and several marble slabs have been removed from its pedestal. Thanks to the indifference of the HUDA authorities, some slum-dwellers have even put up their shacks near the statue.

No action has been taken despite repeated requests by the Gopi Chand Bhargava Memorial Trust in this regard. “It is a pity that despite being located on a busy road of the city, the authorities concerned have not paid any heed to the matter,” says senior advocate Pt Jagat Swaroop, who is the secretary of the trust and has been closely associated with the late Gandhian leader.

The trust, which runs a free dispensary, library and sewing and embroidery classes, has even offered to look after the statue in case the authorities find it difficult to do so. Contributed by Ranju Aery Dhadwal, Kanchan Vasdev and Sunit Dhawan


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