Environment hazard: Over 45 trees on
Army land wither
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 21
Though the men in olive green have been making statements about eco-preservation and conserving bio-diversity, this time they have been found on a wrong foot.

A fire, set to burn stubble in the military farm, has taken a toll on more than 45 trees lining its boundary near PAP Chowk in Jalandhar cantonment.

Going against the directions issued by the government not to set the straw in the field on fire, the officials went ahead with it.

However, in the process the authorities failed to take care of the shady trees in the vicinity, which have withered due to smoke and excessive heat erupting from the fire.

A row of trees on the edge of the land adjoining the BSF complex has completely dried. Huge eucalyptus trees in the centre of the field are completely dehydrated.

Last year too, the same portion of the Army land had been set on fire and jawans concerned were pulled up by the officials. This time again, the same practice has been followed, which resulted in damage to the trees.

Following the wheat harvesting from the farm two months back, the stubble was set afire almost a week back.

While this quick and convenient method of preparing the soil for the next crop is being often used by the farmers across the state despite a ban and recommendations of the Punjab Agricultural University, such cases are seldom reported in military areas where the officials are rather strict about practising any method leading to environment degradation.

However, the Army authorities said the practice was not allowed and the labourers were always told to plough the straw out of the field.

Sub-Area Commander, Brig B.B. Patil, presently in Mumbai, when contacted, said that he was not aware of the incident. “I will inquire into the matter when I come back”, he replied.



Illegal constructions to perish soon: NC
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, June 21
The Phagwara Nagar Council has decided to get rid of all illegal constructions, especially commercial, in and around the city, where various residential colonies had mushroomed over the period of time.

The action comes in the wake of government's directives issued to all municipalities of the state, which had termed encroachment as 'mother of all scandals'.

It is widely speculated that these illegal constructions like multistoreyed commercial plazas, shopping complexes, etc, have come up with the alleged nexus between the Phagwara Nagar Council, land mafia and a section of the officialdom and which have caused huge loss to the government exchequer.

Sources in the local administration said while the fate of all houses, including commercial establishments, would be decided at the government level, but those illegal constructions undertaken during the Congress regime will be razed.

The sources said owners of several plots had constructed boundary walls in violation of the Phagwara Nagar Council's orders. Some owners of existing houses had also extended the houses or constructed boundary walls and in some cases they never bothered to get the housing plan approved as per the government norms.

It was learnt that more than 100 acres of land originally belonging to the government was sold off by private persons allegedly in connivance with some revenue officials. Surprisingly the land was shown as agricultural land in revenue records while many residential colonies had mushroomed in the periphery.

Administrative sources told The Tribune that the Deputy Commissioner had written to local nagar council and the local police chief for required equipment and police force, respectively.

The latest development comes in the wake of illegal constructions being carried out by some influential persons and the NC authorities had stalled the construction of some commercial shops in Onkar Nagar, Hadiabad, Satnampura, besides New Model Town who could not show the approved plans of the said shops.

The NC has already identified around 300 unauthorised constructions in the city and the survey regarding other illegal constructions in the city is on, disclosed NC official.

The local NC authorities were all set to issue notices to owners of such unauthorised existing and under-construction housing and commercial buildings in the city.



NSSO zooms in on employment, migration
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 21
Focus of the ongoing sample survey of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) is employment, unemployment, migration, participation and expenditure in education and household consumer expenditure.

The objective of the year-long survey is to help the government formulate its policies at the central and state levels.

The organisation under the ministry of statistics and programme implementation will conduct the survey from July 2007 to June 2008.

During the nationwide survey exercise, the information will be collected from small but representative samples of the population by following statistical techniques in order to arrive at reliable estimates. In Punjab the survey will be conducted in 176 villages and 144 urban blocks.

Amarjeet Kaur, deputy director general and regional head of the NSSO, who inaugurated a three-day regional training conference organised by the NSSO here, reiterated that the national sample surveys of the Government of India were being conducted in the form of annual rounds for over 50 years following scientific sampling techniques and statistical methods to collect socio-economic data on various surveys, which place these surveys as pioneer not only in the country but also across the world.

She stated that data being collected through the NSSO was being extensively utilised for academic as well as application research, besides being used by the planners and policy makers for economic and development

She advocated the importance of field training in establishing a good chemistry with the respondent, which is crucial for extracting precise information.

The conference would discuss various concepts, definitions and procedural aspects of the survey in detail.

She said the survey would provide national and state-level estimates in terms of average monthly consumption, expenditure per household and per capita expenditure, indicating the average living standard.

These data form basis along with other information for working out the income distribution of the population and in deriving poverty estimates or poverty lines.

She said the survey would provide data for estimating various parameters on employment, unemployment and under-employment and participation and expenditure in education at the national as well as state levels.

Bivas Choudhuri, joint director, data possessing division, Kolkatta and observer of the conference, said the reliable data collected by the field staff would help in the appropriate planning and formulation of proper policies in the education and employment sector.

He added data on migration and remittance to be collected during the survey would be good information to assess the mobility of the people in and out of the country.

During past over 50 years the NSSO, according to experts, has been instrumental in developing a strong database on various socio-economic parameters through its countrywide sample surveys, which had helped the central as well as the state government in the process of development through planning and policy formulations.

The NSSO has been conducting not only large-scale sample surveys in the form of NSSO rounds covering a variety of socio-economic topics but also undertaking other surveys in the field of industrial statistics, agricultural statistics, prices, etc on a regular basis.



Maharaja Yadvindra Enclave
‘We didn’t receive any notice; JIT violated act’
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 21
The controversy surrounding proposed Maharaja Yadvindra Enclave scheme of Jalandhar Improvement Trust seems to be getting murkier with many residents of the Lamma Pind claiming that till date they have not received any notice from the trust even as their land was part of the enclave.

The villagers have said the trust should have given them two notices as per regulations of the Punjab Town Improvement Act.

They said since sections of the Act have been violated, the government did not have any authority to acquire their land now.

Harmesh Manav, a resident and an advocate, alleged the trust had tried to befool the residents most of whom come from dalit community and are less educated.

Citing various sections of the Act, he said a registered notice should have been given to all owners of the land, as per sections 36 and 79, in which the government should have shown its intention to acquire the land.

He said that another notice should have reached them after 30 days as per section 38 in which they should have been asked about objections over acquisition or be given any information regarding compensation that they could get.

Manav pointed out that in case they had not received a notice, they should have been penalised as per section 80 of the Act which called for a fine of Rs 500 for every failure of the noticee in receiving it.

He said even in case they were not at home, the notices could have been pasted outside the houses but this too did not happen in their case.

He added that Kuldeep Singh and Jaswant Singh, the residents of Lamma Pind, had even tried to cull information from the trust in this regard by filing an application under the Right to Information Act but to no avail. “The duo paid Rs 300 for they wanted copies of various documents which were never received by them. Further, the replies to all questions were incomplete and confusing”, he rued.

Kewal Krishan, president of their action committee, said that they apprehended that the trust was trying to buy land from them for as low as Rs 26,000 per marla and sell it off for Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh per marla to the applicants as in Guru Gobind Singh Avenue.

He said that he owned a 5 marla house there and had learnt from the trust employees that he would be getting just Rs 2.8 lakh for a land that would be further sold for Rs 12 lakh.

Arjun Dev, another resident, said that he did not want to get displaced as it would be an inconvenience to his children.

He also argued that he would be given only a small amount in lieu of his constructed house out of which he will not be able to buy and construct a house elsewhere.

Amrik Singh, Nachhatar Lal, Dwarka Dass Bawa, Malkit Singh, Joginder Pal, Garib Dass, Kasturi Lal, Dev Raj, Kishan Lal and Parshotam Lal, all occupants of the site, have said that they had now approached Pawan Tinu, a prominent dalit leader from the city and president of Bahujan Kranti Party, to take up their case.

Meanwhile, over 14,300 applicants have paid an amount over Rs 121 crore for residential plots in the avenue proposed during the Congress regime almost six months back.

Vinay Bublani, deputy director local bodies and chairman of the trust, could not be contacted.



Young World
Five DAV students make it to Mumbai-based firm
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 21
Five students of BTech civil engineering studying in their pre-final year at DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology have been placed with Mumbai-based construction giant Shapoorji Pallonji and Co Ltd.

All the selected students would join the company in June 2008 with a starting annual package of Rs 1.92 lakh per annum.

More than 200 final year students have also been placed with renowned companies like Infosys, Wipro Technologies, Satyam Computers, HCL Technologies, Aricent, Birla Soft Ltd, Tech Mahindra, i-flex Solutions, L&T Infotech, L&T (ECC Division), Ansal Properties & Infrastructures Ltd, Afcons and Crompton & Greaves.

Nearly 160 students of pre-final year have also been placed with top rated companies like Infosys, Wipro Technologies, Tech Mahindra, Birlasoft, Syntel, L & T Infotech, US Technology, Perot Systems, Sasken, i-flex Solutions and Persistent systems.

Summer club

Li’l Kangaroos School is organising a summer club in which the participants are learning English speaking, mathematics ability, cooking, fabric painting, pot decoration, thali decoration, dance and other activities.

Chief operator Monica Upadhaya and chief administrator Neha Ratti said that soon the club would start evening classes. They said that the club members were now looking forward for a drawing competition and an exhibition of items made by them.


A student of Kanya Maha Vidyalaya, Harneet Kaur, has topped BSc (IT) first year examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University. She has secured 669 marks out of 900. Principal Dr Rita Bawa congratulated her on her success.



Village gets kisan club
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 21
A kisan club was inaugurated by Oriental Bank of Commerce deputy chief manager M.S. Randhawa at Khakh village, chief manager Darbara Singh Sidhu said here today.

Randhawa explained the various schemes of the bank for the farmers like kisan credit card, self-employment card, general credit card and other deposit schemes.

He also planted 10 saplings in the village school complex. Sidhu advised the farmers to benefit from the various schemes launched by the bank.



‘Overuse of sound gadgets invites deafness’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 21
“An increase in the number of cases of hearing impairment due to long use of mobile phones, earphones and headphones is a matter of concern.

Even regular visits to discos have added to the noise trauma that can lead to deafness.” This was disclosed by Padamshree awardee Dr J.M. Hans while talking to The Tribune. Dr Hans was accompanied by local ENT specialist Dr Yash Sharma during the conversation.

Dr Hans said, “People have to adopt a responsible behaviour if they want to retain their hearing abilities for a longer period”. He added that genes played a vital role in a person’s hearing abilities.

“More than 10 per cent of India’s population is suffering from one or the other hearing problem. And about 1 per cent of the population has got afflicted with severe deafness. About 10 lakh people suffer from irreversible hearing losses which need cochlear implant”, he added.

Elaborating the cochlear implant technique, he said, “It is an electronic device implanted in human skull which stimulates the hearing nerve electrically bypassing normal ear mechanism”.

He added that cochlear implant can be used in cases of congenital deafness as well as deafness due to infection or injury.

Referring to the use of cochlear implant in children, Dr Hans and Dr Yash Sharma said the procedure of cochlear implant should be undertaken during the first five years of age so that the child can hear and speak normally with the help of post-operative hearing and speech therapy.

However, the procedure does yield good results even in adults, 
they revealed.



No work just claims
Budget aimless, says Congress
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, June 21
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) secretary Parminder Mehta has described the annual budget presented by the SAD-BJP government as an aimless budget, which cannot come up to the expectations of the people.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mehta alleged that the SAD-BJP government was befooling people of the state by lingering on its poll promises, including the Atta-dal scheme.

Mehta alleged that ministers of the government were hesitating to face the people and media, which were proved by the cancellation of the press conference of Punjab local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia, which was scheduled to be held today at Chandigarh.

PPCC secretary alleged that nothing tangible was being done practically to solve people’s problems and the ministers were wasting time only by issuing press statements. He alleged that Kalia along with Punjab BJP president Rajinder Bhandari visited Ahmedabad only to attend the anniversary of Narendra Modi’s government under the cover of monitoring the development plans of metro cities of Gujarat and spent huge amount from the government’s treasuries.

Mehta asked Bhandari to give the details of his entire expenditure of his visit, including airfare. He asked Kalia to tell in which capacity Bhandari accompanied the delegation.

Mehta alleged that Akalis were playing a foul political game in the Dera Sacha Sauda episode only to spoil the peaceful atmosphere of the state. Mehta claimed that the Congress would actively contest the municipal corporation elections in the state.



CD piracy in full swing
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, June 21
Sale of pirated compact discs (CDs) and blue films is on in full swing in the city right under the nose of the police. Pirated CDs of latest movies, including the X-rated movies, are allegedly produced locally and are being sold across the city.

Such a racket came to light a few days back when the Phagwara police raided two music centres in the city and seized 2,312 pirated CDs. These included 329 blue films from the shops. The owners were arrested under the Copy Rights Act, but were bailed out later.

The underground sellers, video parlours and internet cafe owners operate in various markets of the city viz Cinema Road, Central Town, Prempura, Gaushala Road and some other markets of the city, reveal sources.

The police act only when agents of authorised companies, who are hit by the pirated business, provide them clues about the pirated CDs business in the town, rue residents. All the pirated CD makers need is a computer and a CD writer to operate the business, reveal sources.



Theme party in support of Taj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 21
“Taj Our Pride”, a theme party, was organised at the local Gaggun Bedi’s Sparkling Pearls Institute of fine dances and grooming.

This was done in a bid to help Taj Mahal retain its place in the list of seven wonders of the world and to create awareness among residents of Jalandhar regarding this.

Keeping in view the theme, the participants wore sparkling white clothes and danced to the tunes of peppy Hindi film numbers.

“The Taj symbolises the beauty of India. So this should be retained in the list of seven wonders of the world. The students of our institute have already voted in favour of the Taj. The Taj has been a symbol of India and its culture for centuries. Why people want to keep it out of the list now?,” questioned Gaggun Bedi, the managing director of the institute.



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