SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H A R Y A N A

Hoardings on highway, busy roads
Hoardings of various political parties put up at a busy traffic intersection in Hisar on Wednesday. Hisar, December 6
The city as well as the neighbouring township of Hansi are dotted by numerous large and small hoardings of various political parties these days.

Hoardings of various political parties put up at a busy traffic intersection in Hisar on Wednesday. — Photo by Mundey 

Vigilance probes: 100 officers to be on roster
Chandigarh, December 6
The Haryana Chief Secretary, Mr Prem Prashant, today said a roster of 100 IAS and HCS officers would be drawn up for entrusting vigilance inquiries to them.

New assignments for 2 officers
Chandigarh, December 6
The Haryana Government today transferred two IAS officers with immediate effect.

Rice millers to go on strike from today
Chandigarh, December 6
Rice millers in Haryana will go on strike from tomorrow to press their demand for relaxation in the specifications of rice to be delivered to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and in protest against, what they call, the arbitrary functioning of Hafed.

Power tariff hike widely decried
Karnal, December 6
Hike in power tariff in Haryana has evoked strong reaction from different quarters as consumers apprehend another hike in April next year when state agencies revise the tariff for new year.

Dalits’ torture: ASI shifted, 10 booked
Rewari, December 6
The police administration swung into action today registering cases under 10 persons in a three-month-old case pertaining to the families of two Dalit brothers - Ramesh Kumar and Kalu Das - of Lisan village under Khol police station of the district.



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



YOUR TOWN
Bhiwani
Chandigarh
Hisar
Karnal
Panipat
Rewari
Sirsa


EARLIER STORIES



Police foils marriage of minor to old man in Sirsa
Sirsa (Haryana), December 6
Panchayat and the police today foiled the marriage of a girl (15) with an old man. On getting information about the girl’s marriage against her wishes, Kusar village panchayat Sarpanch Rajinder Mehta, procured the birth certificate of the girl, informed the police which told the girl’s stepfather not to go ahead with the unlawful action.

Experts call for ban on drug to save vultures
Parwanoo, December 6
Urgency is one thing that every vulture conservation expert swears by if the fast-dwindling population of vultures is to be saved from imminent extinction. The ban on diclofenac, the killer drug responsible for vulture deaths, is just one step in the right direction.

DC tells bank not to auction farmers’ land
Panipat, December 6
Farmers of villages in Madlauda and Israna blocks of the district today felt relieved when Deputy Commissioner, DPS Nagal restrained land mortgage cooperative bank from auctioning of their land.

Mega reclamation plan for 1,000 villages
Chandigarh, December 6
The Haryana Government has forwarded a mega Land Reclamation and Water Management Project of Rs 935 crore to the Central Government for the reclamation of about 45,750 hectares in 1,000 villages and brought another 44,000 hectares under irrigation all over the state.

2 sarpanches suspended
Bhiwani, December 6
Two Sarpanches, Mrs Saroj Devi of Sanwad village under Dadri-I block and Mr Badlu Ram of Sungarpur village of Kairu block, have been suspended. They have been barred from attending any meeting of their respective panchayats under section 51-2 of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act 1994 by Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Kumar while exercising powers given under section 51-1 K of the Act.




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Dalits’ torture: ASI shifted, 10 booked
Our Correspondent

Rewari, December 6
The police administration swung into action today registering cases under 10 persons in a three-month-old case pertaining to the families of two Dalit brothers - Ramesh Kumar and Kalu Das - of Lisan village under Khol police station of the district. The brothers had to leave the village in the first week of September after being tortured and threatened by men of the upper caste in alleged connivance with the police.

Mr. Ved Prakash Godara, DSP, Kosli, contacted Kalu Das, who had been brutally tortured by some villagers on the night of September 2 and who, along with his family, had been living at Berli Kalan village near Jatusana since then. Kalu Das was medically examined at the Primary Health Centre at Nahar near Kosli, today.

According to the district police chief Mr. Ram Singh Bishnoi, a case of causing hurt and house trespass for hurt and rioting under sections 323,452,147,149 of the IPC and under section 3 of the SC/ ST( Prevention of Atrocities ) Act has been registered against 10 alleged torturers.

They are Sher Singh Yadav, Sarpanch of Lisan village, Pooran Singh Yadav, a panch of the village, and his three sons- Attar Singh Yadav, Govind Yadav and Surender Yadav, and Ganga Ram Yadav, Satbir Yadav, Sehzad Yadav, Rohtash Yadav and Bobby Prajapat.

Mr. Mahender Lal, Inspector-General of Police, Gurgaon Range, has also transferred ASI Ram Swarup of the Dahina Police Post, where Kalu Das had been forcibly taken by his alleged torturers on the night of September 2.

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Vigilance probes: 100 officers to be on roster
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Haryana Chief Secretary, Mr Prem Prashant, today said a roster of 100 IAS and HCS officers would be drawn up for entrusting vigilance inquiries to them.

“We have a large number of IAS and HCS officers and each of them could be given two or three cases and asked to give their findings in six months’ time”, Mr Prashant said.

He said decisions regarding vigilance cases against chargesheeted officials normally got delayed because the person designated as the inquiry officer had to handle several cases at a time.

The Chief Secretary said work was also under way to set up a state vigilance commission on the pattern of the Central Vigilance Commission. A committee headed by the Principal Secretary, Revenue, Ms Promilla Issar, had already drawn up a draft Act which would be presented at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Mr Prashant said the tenure of the members of the proposed vigilance commission would be three years. He added that various departments had been asked to designate an officer as vigilance officer to curb corruption.

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New assignments for 2 officers

Chandigarh, December 6
The Haryana Government today transferred two IAS officers with immediate effect.

Mrs Sumita Misra Singh, Special Secretary, Home-I, and Director, Renewable Energy Sources, has been posted as Special Secretary, General Administration, and Director, Renewable Energy Sources, against a vacant post.

Mr Ashok Kumar Yadav, Joint Secretary, Administrative Reforms, Archives, Monitoring and Coordination, will also work as Joint Secretary, Secretariat Establishment, in addition to his own assignments during the leave period of Mr R.P. Gupta. — TNS

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Hoardings on highway, busy roads
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, December 6
The city as well as the neighbouring township of Hansi are dotted by numerous large and small hoardings of various political parties these days. In gross violation of specific directions of the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a large number of these hoardings have been put up along the busy national highway and other roads.

In the case of M.C.Mehta vs Union of India and others, the Supreme Court had directed the authorities concerned to remove all hoardings and advertisement boards considered hazardous and caused disturbance to safe traffic movement.

Similarly, in the Civil Writ Petition No. 7639/1995 in case of Nimit Kumar vs Chandigarh Administration and others, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered that all signboards, hoardings and advertisement boards facing the highways, main roads and side roads/ lanes be removed.

Binding directions of the apex court and the high court notwithstanding, these hoardings are being erected with impunity, with the district authorities remaining mute spectators.

What makes the matter serious is the fact that most of these hoardings have been put up by the members or supporters of political parties, including the ruling Congress and the INLD, which was in power before the present government.

The Tribune had highlighted the matter in a recent issue and the local municipal authorities had issued notices to a few advertising agencies. The agencies had been asked to remove the hoardings as well as the frames supporting these.

Interestingly, while the notices were served to advertising agencies, political parties continue to flout court's directions and compromise public safety. The local authorities choose to remain oblivious of the violations.

Mr Vinay Tayal, a practising lawyer, asserted that as per the provisions under the Representation of Peoples Act, some sites could be identified and used for displaying posters at special occasions like elections.

"However, putting up of hoardings announcing political rallies and other such things along busy roads amounts to contempt of court and those doing or allowing it are liable for prosecution," he remarked. But then, the question is: Who will bell the cat? 

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Rice millers to go on strike from today
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Rice millers in Haryana will go on strike from tomorrow to press their demand for relaxation in the specifications of rice to be delivered to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and in protest against, what they call, the arbitrary functioning of Hafed.

The Punjab millers are already on strike to press similar demands.

According to the president of the Haryana Rice Millers Association, Mr Azad Singh Rathi, the millers want that the FCI should allow them to deliver rice with 4 per cent damage and 8 per cent discoloured grains as was the practice last year. They are also demanding that the FCI should accept 66 kg of rice against 1 quintal of paddy instead of 67 kg as is the norm.

Mr Rathi said the strike would continue till December 10, when the situation would be reviewed by an 11-member committee, which would also 
decide the further course of action.

The millers are angry with Hafed on number of counts. They allege that the agency has supplied substandard gunny bags to them. The patron of the association, Mr Praveen Gupta, said the weight of a gunny bag should be 655 gm, while Hafed had supplied bags which weighed only 500 gm. This resulted in a shortfall of 155 gm in each bag and the millers had to pay for this shortage.

The millers say Hafed paid them the milling charges equivalent to those of the FCI. But it did not give them other facilities on a par with those of the FCI. While the FCI and other state agencies paid the millers charges for transporting paddy from the market to the shellers, Hafed was adamant that no such charges would be paid. Besides substandard gunny bags, Hafed had also supplied them with substandard wooden frames and torn covers to store paddy.

They also demanded the immediate transfer of a senior functionary of Hafed.

No senior officer of Hafed was available for comments.

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Power tariff hike widely decried
Tribune News Service

Karnal, December 6
Hike in power tariff in Haryana has evoked strong reaction from different quarters as consumers apprehend another hike in April next year when state agencies revise the tariff for new year.

The Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) has announced hike in the power tariff ranging from 13 paise to 40 paise per unit for all categories, except the agriculture sector.

A cross section of power consumers decried the Hooda government for the rise.

A homemaker commented there was already an acute shortage of power in winter and nothing had been done to provide relief from the problem. She said prices were already on the higher side and termed the further raise as unfair.

Members of the ruling party too have shown “displeasure” on tariff hike but fearing public outcry preferred not to go on record.

A number of Congress MLAs and the party workers, however, expressed resentment. A senior elected representative said they would face tough time in facing the voters in their areas.

Former Finance Minister and senior INLD leader, Sampat Singh termed it as “illogical” move by the government. He said initially the Congress government waived Rs 1600 crore power arrears as a populist move but now targeted to collect over Rs 1900 crore from consumers.

The waiver was a publicity gimmick, he stated.

He said the government had “intentionally” ignored earlier recommendations on the pending surcharge keeping in view the “political reasons”. He added the government now should subsidise the entire amount targeted by the HERC, as the government to appease voters did not implement it.

Industrialists have also shown resentment over the issue and said the industry was going through worse phase due to unavailability of power.

Entrepreneurs who did not want to be quoted said the government should provide quality power and they would not mind if tariff was raised.

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Police foils marriage of minor to old man in Sirsa

Sirsa (Haryana), December 6
Panchayat and the police today foiled the marriage of a girl (15) with an old man.

On getting information about the girl’s marriage against her wishes, Kusar village panchayat Sarpanch Rajinder Mehta, procured the birth certificate of the girl, informed the police which told the girl’s stepfather not to go ahead with the unlawful action.

“We told him that his daughter is a minor and to marry her at this age will land him in trouble”, S.P. Sultan Singh said.

The panchayat also passed a resolution against the proposed wedlock, he said adding it also demanded legal action against the stepfather.

After the police warned Teja Singh, stepfather, he assured them that he would marry his daughter only when she became a major. — PTI

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Experts call for ban on drug to save vultures
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Richard Cuthbert
Richard Cuthbert
Chris Bowden
Chris Bowden
Jemima Parry-Jones
Jemima Parry-Jones

Parwanoo, December 6
Urgency is one thing that every vulture conservation expert swears by if the fast-dwindling population of vultures is to be saved from imminent extinction. The ban on diclofenac, the killer drug responsible for vulture deaths, is just one step in the right direction. Vultures, however, are still dying and their population is down  to the lowest ever, they maintain.

"We have to reach out to the people and tell them diclofenac is poison. I know when DDT was banned in the United Kingdom, people still had it in their homes and cupboards for a decade after the ban. We can't afford this with diclofenac. It has to be done away with immediately and replaced by meloxicam which is a safe alternative," says Jemima Parry-Jones, a UK-based expert in breeding vultures, in the city for a workshop of the Haryana Forest and Wildlife Department to save the vultures.

Working closely with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on vulture conservation, Chris Bowden, Vulture Programme Director from The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, admits the problem is acute and there's long winding road ahead. "There are signs that the drug has become scarce after the ban but the problem still persists and vultures are dying all around. Every year we are losing 30 to 50 per cent of the remaining vulture population which is an alarming statistic," he adds.

However, there have been some encouraging results since the time the vulture-breeding project was initiated in Pinjore a couple of years back. "Last year, two eggs were laid which is very heartening. Most of our birds at the breeding centre are still very young and are not expected to breed for some years to come but these two eggs have indicated that we are on the right track. Hopefully, we will have some chicks by the end of next year," Bowden remarks.

Another captive breeding centre has recently been opened with 16 vultures in West Bengal and the experts are keen on opening one in Assam. "It is urgently needed in Assam which is house to the rare vulture species, the slender billed vulture. We know that it is possible to re-establish a species nearing extinction. It has been done in America and we will do it here," Dr Richard Cuthbert, a research biologist from the UK, asserts.

He discloses that a survey of the vulture population is on the cards. "We plan to begin in March and cover the entire length and breadth of the country by road. It comes to nearly 5000 km where we record every sighting," he says.

However, while saving vultures is on top of their agenda, the experts, these days, have another immediate problem to deal with---kite flying. "We are worried about what it will do to the handful of remaining birds and are unsure of how many will live through the kite-flying season in Gujarat. January is the worst month for these birds because they get injured and hurt by kites competing with each other," explains Cuthbert.

The pieces of sharp glass strung to the kites prove to be deadly for the birds. "Though the contest is held over the weekend, people practice for it right through the month.

Last year alone 400 birds were injured of which there were 20 of the last few vultures in the state. We plan to campaign against kite-flying in the state to save the vulture. We are hoping our efforts will bear fruit and there will be lesser injuries this time," they say in unison. 

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DC tells bank not to auction farmers’ land

Panipat, December 6
Farmers of villages in Madlauda and Israna blocks of the district today felt relieved when Deputy Commissioner, DPS Nagal restrained land mortgage cooperative bank from auctioning of their land.

The auctioning which was to commence today covered the farmers who could not return loan taken from the bank.

The bank authorities had issued notices of auctioning of the mortgaged land on December 5 and 6 of the farmers of Israna and Madlauda blocks.

After receiving notices of auctioning, farmers led by president of the Haryana Kisan Sabha, Mam Chander Saini met Deputy Commissioner, DPS Nagal on Monday and urged him to help the farmers in this situation.

Bank sources said most of these farmers were those who had taken loan for the purchase of tractors, but could not return the loan. — PTI

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Mega reclamation plan for 1,000 villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Haryana Government has forwarded a mega Land Reclamation and Water Management Project of Rs 935 crore to the Central Government for the reclamation of about 45,750 hectares in 1,000 villages and brought another 44,000 hectares under irrigation all over the state.

The Haryana Agriculture Minister, Mr Harmohinder Singh Chatha, said here today that the project also aimed at recharging aquifers and conserving natural resources, especially water.

He said the major components of the project were sub-surface drainage, ground water discharge and water conservation. As per the proposal forwarded to the Central Government, an allocation of Rs 222.25 crore had been made for drainage, Rs 351.75 crore for recharge activities and Rs 174.15 crore 
for other associated activities.

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2 sarpanches suspended
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, December 6
Two Sarpanches, Mrs Saroj Devi of Sanwad village under Dadri-I block and Mr Badlu Ram of Sungarpur village of Kairu block, have been suspended. They have been barred from attending any meeting of their respective panchayats under section 51-2 of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act 1994 by Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Kumar while exercising powers given under section 51-1 K of the Act.

The suspended sarpanches have been directed to hand over record or other articles of the panchayat to next majority holder panch.

Report said that Mrs Saroj Devi had misused her post by not registering the amount earned from cutting and selling keekar trees from shamlat land of the panchayat.

Mr Badlu Ram showed an expenses of Rs. 5180 from the panchayat fund whereas a sarpanch could only spend a maximum of Rs. 3,000 only. The duo sarpanches had been served show-cause notices.

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