R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri

  • Poplar belief
  • Shooting star
  • In aid of AIDS awareness


Awareness camp
: The State Legal Service Authority organised a one-day awareness camp at Surla village of Sirmaur district on Sunday. The District and Sessions Judge while presiding over the function said that any person with an income below Rs 50,000 could avail free legal aid.

CM visits college:
The NCC cadets belonging to the Himachal Pradesh (Una unit) presented a guard of honour to the Chief Minister, Mr. Virbhadra Singh, during his visit to Government College at Amb in Una district recently. The guard of honour was presented under the command of Lt. Rajiv Rattan.



Regional potpourri

Poplar belief

Here is some good news for the poplar-growing farmers who have to compromise on crop yield when these trees mature. The National Medicinal Plant Board has approved an agro-forestry project that envisages the growing of medicinal plants along with poplar trees.

“The project aims at supplementing the income of farmers by providing them a viable alternative which ensures good returns,” says Dr Bimlendra Kumari, Associate Professor of Forestry, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, who is the Principal Investigator of the project.

As per the proposal prepared by Dr Kumari, medicinal herbs, including giloi, kaunch, shatavari, ashwagandha, mulethi and aloe vera, will be grown alongside poplar trees. After pursuing the project on an experimental basis, appropriate recommendations will be made for the benefit of the farming community.

Dr Bimlendra Kumari
Dr Bimlendra Kumari

As of now, the farmers grow conventional crops like wheat, fodder, sugarcane and vegetables along with poplar trees. However, as the trees mature, the crop yield is reduced due to shade and competition for nutrients and water.

Under the project, it has been proposed that the aforesaid medicinal plants, including three climbers and an equal number of inter-crops, be grown alongside poplars to ensure better yield and good returns to the farmers.

The board has sanctioned a grant of Rs 11.75 lakh for the three-year project.

Dr Kumari asserts that the model they are trying to develop can prove to be a boon for the farmers of the region, especially those belonging to the poplar belt.

In aid of AIDS awareness

NRI Raghbir Singh Bains (second from left) being honoured for social service in Ludhiana recently
NRI Raghbir Singh Bains (second from left) being honoured for social service in Ludhiana recently.

Dr Raghbir Singh Bains, an NRI settled in Canada, who has received various national and international awards like the Order of British Columbia, was honoured with the Shan-e-Punjab International Award in Ludhiana recently. The award was given by the Alag Shabad Yug Charitable Trust for his contribution to society.

Every year, Dr Bains visits India for three months. During his stay in Jalandhar, he sensitises students about AIDS, drugs and prostitution. He believes counselling can help drug addicts kick the habit, though the success rate is quite low.

He is also the brain behind the Multimedia Sikh Museum at Khadoor Sahib, near Tarn Taran, where he used the robotic and liquid crystal display technology to spread the message of universal love and peace enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. It is a talking museum and friendly to use.

Dr Bains has visited several countries, including Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, to study the AIDS problem.

The trust also honoured Dr Inderjit Kaur, chairperson, Bhagat Puran Singh Trust, Amritsar; Raja Singh, Chairman, Texla TV, Gurmeet Singh of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, Ludhiana; and Jaswinder Singh Chahal, film producer, on the occasion.

Contributed by Sunit Dhawan and Vishal Gulati

Shooting star

Sneh Lata Singh
Sneh Lata Singh

On first sight, you may not notice anything exceptional about Sneh Lata Singh, a young housewife hailing from Samar Gopalpur village, near Rohtak, except for the medals dangling from her neck.

But she has several things in common with the country’s first individual Olympic silver medalist Rajyavardhan Rathore. Both are shooters. Both have double trap shooting as their favourite event at various meets. And last but not the least, both are Rajputs.

Sneh Lata recently won a silver in double trap shooting at the National Shooting Championships. Her feat is important considering she snatched the medals from the Indian Army’s shooters, who have excellent training and practice facilities. Sneh Lata, on the other hand, has to depend on her husband’s family for funding this very costly sport.

A winner of a gold medal in the 16th All-India G.V. Mavalanker Shooting Competitions, she began shooting as a student of Japiur University in 2002. Since then, she has come a long way. She is lucky in that a conservative Haryanavi family is supporting her. In his heyday, her father-in-law Joginder Singh was himself an ace boxer. He is also an NIS-trained boxing coach. Though he is going all out to provide financial backing to his daughter-in-law, he has his constraints despite being an affluent farmer.

Sneh Lata says she can have a future in this sport only if the government or a corporate house backs her financially. “Each shot I fire costs around Rs 40. The high-quality weapons cost lakhs. This sport is difficult to sustain for a person from a middle-class background .”

So far, no help has been forthcoming, but that does not deter her. And she continues to practice at the shooting ranges around Delhi.

— Raman Mohan


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