Poor drainage to cause flooding again
Punjab, Rajasthan generous with excess water
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The monsoon is a testing time for the flood-control machinery of any state in India. Haryana is no exception. Every year the state spends crores of rupees on flood-control measures, yet come the rains and vast areas are inundated. Floods in Haryana are not caused by rivers as much as by poor drainage.

The Yamuna, which runs along the Haryana-UP border, affects what is known as the Khader belt. Areas downstream the Ghaggar have to face the fury when the discharge in the seasonal river goes beyond 50,000 cusecs. There have been occasions when Sirsa district does not get any rainfall and still its large areas are flooded. The Ghaggar, which brings rain water from Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, opens up in Sirsa district.

Punjab, which otherwise denies Haryana its share in the river waters, becomes generous during the monsoon. It releases flood waters in the disputed under-construction SYL canal, which floods tracts of Ambala district of Haryana. Rajasthan does the same. The Sahibi Nadi, which originates in the desert state, brings flood waters to Rewari, Mahendragarh and Mewat districts, which ironically constitute the dry belt of Haryana.

The topography of several towns like Ambala City and Rohtak is saucer- like. It poses a challenge to town planners and engineers to provide a suitable drainage system. Experts say not even in developed countries, the urban drainage is designed to carry 100 per cent rain water, which is a very expensive proposal. At best, the urban drainage system is designed for 60 per cent rain water.

Old-timers remember how even a two-hour downpour would inundate the Government Girls College, Rohtak, “neck-deep”, disrupting studies for weeks, before the college was shifted to a more suitable place. Rohtak, considered to be  “political capital of Hindi-speaking areas in the joint Punjab, did not get its due after Haryana came into existence because the political leadership had shifted to other districts. No wonder Bhupinder Singh Hooda, after becoming the Chief Minister in 2005, promised to improve the drainage system in Rohtak, which has always been his main support base. Two years later the Rohtak administration is confident that the residents would not have to walk through knee-deep water during the monsoon.

Sirsa, the native district of the Chautala family, which gave the state two Chief Ministers, has not been so lucky. The town continues to suffer due to poor drainage.

Haryana has a peculiar problem. Unlike the general practice under which land of drains and nullahs is state property, at many places in Haryana this land is private property, with the result people have constructed houses on it. This blocks not only the natural flow of water, but also puts the houses on such land in peril.

Financial commissioner, irrigation, R.N. Prashar says it has been decided to invoke section 45 of the Haryana canals and drains act to prohibit construction on even private land under drains. To start with, a Panchkula nullah will be notified under the act. It is for the first time that the provisions of this section will be invoked in the state.

Prashar says all flood-control measures will be completed by the end of the first week of July.

Surprisingly, the power utilities have adopted a bureaucratic approach to the flood-control measures. It has raised the security amount for temporary connections to water pumps to be installed by the government departments to drain out rain water from Rs 100 per kw to Rs 4,000 per kw. The utilities have now agreed to take the matter to their boards of directors for reducing the security amount. The irrigation department has decided to purchase its own electricity meters because the meter rent charged by the utilities for temporary connections comes out to be much higher than their cost. 



Haphazard growth 
Govt frames tough measures
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Residents of the state will no longer be able to convert their residential properties into commercial ventures without adapting the policy parameters for conversion that is now in place. The state government’s policy for the conversion of all residential properties and vacant plots into commercial use specifically targets old municipal towns and aims at controlling haphazard and unplanned growth.

With the policy coming into effect, it will be illegal to open shops and other business ventures in the residential areas. Any violations will invite strict penal action under the Haryana Municipal Building Bylaws, 1982.

According to senior officials of the Haryana Urban Local Bodies Department, a policy has been formulated and covers conversion of existing houses and vacant plots into shops and shopping complexes, professional establishments, private hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, crèches, marriage halls, motels, information technology enabled services like cybercafés and BPOs, petrol pumps, etc. The only exception will be areas 

already covered under the planned schemes of HUDA, housing board, improvement trusts, rehabilitation department and municipalities.

Under the new policy, the municipal corporations are required to declare an area along a continuous street as “commercial” under Section 13 (I) of the Haryana Municipal Building Bylaws, 1982. It has been decided that no area can be declared commercial unless it has a road having a minimum width of 20 ft in the core area and 30 ft in other adjoining areas. To be eligible to be declared commercial, the property has to further adhere to the Haryana Development and Regulations of Urban Areas Act, 1975.

At the same time, the policy bars shopping complexes and professional establishments to be larger than 1,000 sq m. This means that no departmental store, professional office, restaurant, bank, transport booking agency, coaching centre, beauty parlour can be larger than this size.

Rules under the new policy will not permit buildings to be taller than 21 m in core areas and 30 m in other areas. All buildings over 15 m will have to install lifts/ramps and back their operation by 100 per cent standby generators along with automatic switchover. In compliance of the notification making installation of solar water heating mandatory, each building will be required to have solar heating installed before it is given a clearance certificate.

Besides, for water conservation and in compliance with the state government’s decision, every commercial building will have to install a rainwater harvesting system at the time of completion of the building.

According to senior officials of the Haryana Urban Local Bodies Department, this policy will help in curbing haphazard development in old towns, which are already congested and exposed to traffic, fire safety and other hazards.


  • Policy aims at controlling haphazard growth
  • Illegal to carry out commercial activities in residential areas
  • Commercial areas must have road with minimum width of 20 ft
  • Policy bars shopping complexes to be larger than 1,000 sq m
  • No building to be taller than 21 m in core areas and 30 m in others
  • All commercial buildings to install rainwater harvesting system



Of flying gurus, pelf  & grounded shishyas
Low pay turns off pilot instructors
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Karnal, June 28
Students always learn it the hard way. The Spartan look of the flying club at Karnal for training aspiring pilots does not betray any hint of the glamour associated with a commercial pilot’s job.

A student was doing sorties, while Capt Kamal Kishore, chief flying instructor, was profusely sweating and wiping his face with a handkerchief in spite of occupying a prized position before a medium-size running pedestal fan. Puneet, a trainee pilot, was handling the radio with Kishore barking instructions to him. The student flying solo was Gaurav. Kishore earlier did a sortie with him.

The hangar contains a few other planes, including two brand new Cessna 172 aircraft purchased by the state government. Someone tried a stool to sit before the fan but took a tumble. One leg of the stool was broken at the joint.

Gaurav and Puneet want to be commercial pilots and try their luck in the burgeoning aviation industry. Kamal Kishore is the only instructor at the flying club now after Anil Chaudhry, assistant pilot instructor, left having secured a lucrative assignment elsewhere.

A vintage Pushpak MK 1 was used for flying while the other plane getting baked on the runway under the glare of the sun was a Cessna 152. It was held up for inspection. Puneet, who is not confident about flying a Pushpak, therefore, will not be able to fly today.

Since the Pushpak, manufactured by HAL, does not have a self-starter its propeller needed to be given a spin manually and soon it was hovering over the adjacent rice fields of Karnal.

Flying over, Puneet and Gaurav were given the house key by Kishore to get his car. The boys had to push the car from the CFI’s home to his office because the vehicle would not start. Puneet, in compliance with the rigorous regimen of the flying club run by the Haryana Institute of Civil Aviation (HICA), was also running errands for other employees at the hangar.

The boys would be paying Rs 10 lakh each to the club to learn flying to become commercial pilots. In addition they will be spending another Rs 4,000 per month as living expenses. While Kishore said it took about 18 months to clock 200 hours of flying to qualify for a CPL, an insider reported that a student had actually done 80 hours in the past 30 months.

While the boom in the aviation industry is attracting young men and women to flying, it has also dealt a huge blow to the clubs by robbing these of instructors. The API of Karnal left six months ago. The only instructor at the Pinjore club also quit after finding a better paid job. Flying is likely to resume at Pinjore after a retired instructor hired by the HICA clears a medical test. The club at Hisar, too, has just one instructor.

The shortage of pilots is linked to the low salary offered by the government to HICA employees, including the instructors. Ironically, the HICA staff, who train students for the highly competitive aviation industry, do not even get the fifth pay commission scale and there is considerable unhappiness in Karnal, which has produced 28 CPL holders on this score.



Tractor gets the feminine touch 
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, June 28
As many as 11 girls from different states are undergoing extensive tractor driving and maintenance training at Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institute here.

The institute is run by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and is the only one of its kind in North India. Three other such institutes are located in Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.

All these girls are final year students of agricultural engineering courses run by various agricultural universities. Director V.N. Kale said the training lasted for one month during which the trainees learnt driving and maintaining tractors and other farm equipment. The training was necessary, as on completion of the course the graduates would train farmers.

Rashmi Chauhan and Divya Singh, both students of Chaudhary Charan Singh Agricultural University, Meerut, said the training was so extensive that they could now not only drive a tractor in the fields for all agricultural operations but also dismantle the engine and reassemble it.

They said initially they had problems handling the tractor. “It’s like controlling a wild beast. But once you learn to control it, it responds to your commands,” said Divya Singh.

Kale said more and more girls were coming for training here. But there were few girls from Haryana although in districts like Rohtak one can find women ploughing fields with tractors. He said a few girls from Haryana Agricultural University were expected in the next batch, beginning July.

The institute runs several types of courses. Those undergoing user-level courses are paid a stipend of Rs 150 per week. They also get rail or bus fare from their home to the institute.



Monsoon Misery
Districts leave nothing to chance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The administration in Mewat, Gurgaon, Rewari and Mahendragarh districts, constituting the core of the Ahirwal belt, is giving finishing touch to the flood-control measures. The anxiety among officialdom is understandable, given the bitter the past despite all its pretensions of sound flood-control measures.

The newly created district of Mewat is the most susceptible to floods. Being a border district of Rajasthan, the sanctity and efficacy of the measures taken here depend largely on the measures taken by the authorities on the other side of the fence to prevent flood waters entering this side. The relationship between Haryana and Rajasthan on this count has been on a roller coaster due to the alleged insensitivity and lack of preparedness on the other side.

The Rewari administration has identified 14 sensitive and 30 moderately sensitive villages. The district faced serious flood situations in 1970, 1987 and 2003. There was a flood-like situation near Dharuhera last year in which one boy lost his life. The allegation is that the storm water let out from the Bhiwadi industrial belt in Rajasthan bring along pollutants and industrial wastes vide the Sahibi river to the Dharuhera area of the 

Mahendragarh district has been divided into five sectors. Six villages have been identified as sensitive in Narnaul sub division and two in Mahendergarh sub-division.

Faridabad : Six residential colonies and 31 villages in the district have been included in the flood prone or dangerously exposed area category, while about 77 villages have been classified as moderately exposed areas.

The floods in the district occur mainly due to the Yamuna, which flows on the eastern boundary of Faridabad, Ballabgarh and Palwal subdivisions. Flooding in certain villages of Ballabgarh and Palwal subdivisions is likely to assume serious dimensions, despite the fact that a majority of these have been provided ring bunds.

It is claimed that due to the construction of heavy spurs in violation of norms by neighbouring Uttar Pradesh on the other side of the river had made the Yamuna to shift towards Haryana, causing threat to river embankments and agricultural and residential areas. To contain the threat this year, the Irrigation Department is constructing six new ‘studs’ at Manjhavali, Lalpur and Dadasia villages. Ring bunds have already been provided in 24 villages.

Rohtak: Finally, it seems that residents of Rohtak have got rid of the perennial problem of rainwater accumulation in the town. It was after a long time that despite heavy showers, no water accumulated on Civil Road near Chhotu Ram Chowk and other flood-prone areas.

“The recent spell of rain was a litmus test of our preparations, and we can say that we have cleared it,” asserts deputy commissioner R.S.Doon. He points out that owing to the saucer-shaped formation of Rohtak, rainwater used to accumulate in the middle of the town and, due to lack of effective measures to drain it out, water used to remain accumulated for days together.

According to the DC, nearly Rs 60 crore have been spent to ensure that rainwater does not accumulate in the town any more. As the old sewerage system of the town is a major limiting factor, a master plan is being prepared to revamp it.

Karnal: Districts along the GT Road are fully geared up to tackle any emergency flood situation. After identifying the sensitive areas, the district authorities have prepared plans for rescue and anti-malaria drives in the flood prone areas. Flood control rooms at district and subdivisional headquarters would become operational from July 1.

Certain pockets along the Markanda river in the Kurukshetra district are considered sensitive areas whereas district authorities in Karnal and Panipat have geared up to meet eventuality from the swelling of the Yamuna.

Kurukshetra DC T. K. Sharma said the administration had made arrangements for diesel pumps and electric pump for draining out water. Besides, elaborate arrangements had also been made for boats, trailors, life jackets etc.

Balbir Singh Malik, Karnal DC, pointed out that the main cause of floods in the district was the excess discharge of water from Tajewala headworks into the Yamuna.

Panipat district, too, has drawn up a detailed flood control and rescue plan. The flood-protection measures, including desilting and cleaning of drains, and strengthening of existing works of stone studs were being completed on a war-footing.

Sirsa: Much older and politically active Sirsa district urgently requires the attention of the administration to provide basic amenities to people here.

Deputy commissioner V.Umashankar says six flood control rooms will be operative from July 1 to September 30. Besides it, the administration also claims to have made arrangements of boats and trained the officials to meet the flood danger.

The district lacks proper drainage system. In city alone, the commuters have to face a tough time while passing through the water-logged national highway-10, Hisar road, Parshuram chowk, Barnala road, Tehsil road and Vishkarama chowk. The passengers at the main bus stand also faced convenience due to water gathered on the roads outside and also inside the bus stand.

Yamunanagar: With the repair of protection bunds along the Yamuna, Pathrala and Somb rivers and other rivulets here completed, the district administration has claimed that the machinery to deal with floods in the district was in place. The government spent Rs 4.84 crore on flood protection works in the district.

Officials admit that there is no system in place to issue flood warning. Wireles sets would be placed at critical points like Mandewala and Tajewala before June 30.

It has been claimed that protective measures like strengthening of bunds, provision of spurs and stone pitching have been taken and now there are no villages in the district which could be termed as dangerously exposed.

Hisar: The administration has taken adequate flood control measures. R. N. Prasher, Secretary, Irrigation, held a meeting here on June 23 to discuss the measures to be taken to prevent floods. The meeting was attended by deputy commissioners of Hisar, Bhiwani, Fatehabad, Sirsa and Jind districts. Prasher asked them to ensure desilting of drains by July 10 the latest. He said under no circumstances should rain water be released in the Hansi-Butana Canal which was under construction as it could be damaged.

In Hisar floods are caused not by rain but by cuts made in drains by residents of villages of adjoining districts, especially Jind, in a bid to save their own villages. The DCs were told to rule out such a possibility.

AMBALA : Ambala has to bear the brunt of floods, particularly in the Naggal area. The flood of 2004 is still fresh in the minds of the people. Ambala Cantt had to face flood, which destroyed goods worth crores of rupees.

Deputy Commissioner R.P. Bharadwaj says recently a meeting with the Army officials was held for better management during monsoon period.

Inputs from Ravi S. Singh, Bijendra Ahlawat, Sunit Dhawan, Vishal Joshi, Kiran Deep, Nishikant Dwivedi, Raman Mohan and Rahul Das 



Cow smugglers make quick buck as cops connive
Nishikant Dwivedi
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, June 28
The district has become one of the largest centres of cow smuggling in the North. There are several ghats on the river, which flows like a nullah for most of the year and a truck loaded with cows and oxen can easily cross over to the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.

Police officials claim that it is almost impossible to patrol all ghats. On an average, two to six trucks loaded with cows crosses over to UP, admit police sources. During the past three years the police has registered more than 70 cases of smuggling.

The police on several occasions has arrested smugglers and rescued cows, but the activities of the offenders continue. These smugglers have become so daring that they sometimes even break through police barriers or attack personnel.

The sources said that cows and oxen were being brought from various parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to various ghats of the river in the district and taken to slaughterhouses in Gangoh, Saharanpur, Dugdhgarh, Chilkana, Tajpur, Raipur and Behat in UP.

The connivance of several police personnel with the smugglers cannot be ruled out as trucks loaded with cows and oxen travel hundreds of kilometres unchecked before reaching Yamunanagar. Residents of villages situated along the river in the district are also allegedly helping the smugglers, including providing information regarding police presence in the area.

The smugglers do not use the main roads to avoid checkpoints and take internal village roads to reach the ghats. Police sources said smugglers preferred the Bibipur and Gumthala ghats as it was easy to cross there in a truck. The smuggling mostly takes place at night. "Nighttime is safer as they can easily flee in case they are trapped", said a senior police official.

The police sources said that many times the cows or oxen are off-loaded a few kilometres from the Yamuna and later taken to UP. Slaughterhouses pay between Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,000 per head of cattle.

It has also been observed that smugglers often use the same vehicles for smuggling.

The smugglers do not use main roads to avoid checkpoints and take internal village roads to reach the ghats. The police sources said smugglers preferred the Bibipur ghat as it was easy to cross in a truck. 



Sabotage may delay thermal plant project
Nishikant Dwivedi
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, June 28
After a recent act of vandalism by mob at the under-construction Deenbandhu Chhotu Ram Thermal Plant in Ratanpura-Pansara villages here, there are apprehensions that the project might be delayed as several vital equipments were burnt down. But the Haryana Power Generation Corporation (HPGC) claims that the project would be completed in time and the security has been beefed up at the site, spread over 1,107 acres.

The thermal project is one of the most prestigious projects of the state government and it does not want to take any chances. Sources say instructions for the timely completion of the project have been issued. Once both units are commissioned (second unit scheduled for February 2008) the state would be getting 144 lakh units of power daily.

It is to be mentioned here that in 1992, the then Prime Minister P.V Narshimha Rao had inaugurated the project, but the work could not be started. Former Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala, too, laid the foundation stone of the project in 2004. However, the actual work started when Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda laid a fresh foundation stone in 2005.

Senior officials, including managing director of the HPGC Jyoti Arora, are monitoring the progress on daily basis, say the sources. Arora says more than 86 per cent of the work has been completed and first unit would be commissioned as per schedule on November 19.

Sources in Reliance Energy Limited (REL), which is erecting the plant, also endorse that the project is on time. In fact, they say the project is going much ahead of the schedule, but the burning down of few control panels by the mob has caused some technical difficulties. Fresh order for the burnt equipments with China-based Shanghai Electrical Company has been placed.

The sources say initially, the ministry of coal has granted coal linkage to the tune of 2.25 MTPA for the project. But as the project was enhanced from 2X250 MW to 2X300 MW, the ministry agreed to provide an additional linkage of 0.52 MTPA. A request for additional 0.23 MTPA has also been made with the ministry, the sources add.

As per the HPGC, around 86.40 per cent overall project progress has been achieved and boiler drums for the both units have already been placed in position. Unit-1 boiler hydro test was carried out successfully about three months ahead of the scheduled date and 80 per cent of chimney erection work has also been completed. Boiler light up is scheduled on September 5.

The HPGC also announced that it would be sending its engineers and technical staff for training to best institutes of the country. Arora during her visit here had announced that if required engineers would also be sent for training to China.



A public-private effort to preserve antiques
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jind, June 28
In an effort to protect archaeological objects dated back to the Harappan civilisation, residents and district officials of Jind have set an example by jointly raising Jayanti Archaeological Museum.

The residents have donated hundreds of antiques from their private collection for the museum that is set for inauguration next month. Coming up in a hall at the famous Jayanti Devi Temple here, the museum has provisions for further expansion.

“It all started in April this year when private collectors from the district approached me to build a museum. The moment they offered to donate their valuable collections we instantly started our efforts to protect these invaluable items,” said deputy commissioner Yudhvir Singh, who got positive response when he urged the district officials to donate one-day salary to raise funds for the project.

Similarly, surveyors, who were assigned to collect ancient manuscripts early this year, donated their entire honorarium of Rs 50,000 for the museum.

There would be separate categories to depict smaller antiquities like blades, bangles, beads, terracotta and other items. The museum would also house manuscripts, stone sculptures, coins, musical instruments, arms and ammunitions.

“It is believed that the Pandavas had performed special puja at this temple and it emerged as the right place for the museum,” said Yudhvir Singh, adding the Kurukshtrea Development Board (KDB) had agreed in principle to take over it.

To authenticate the donated articles help of the known archaeologist and curator of Srikrishna Museum, Kurukshetra, Rajesh Purohit and other officials of the state archeology department have been taken, he said, adding that Purohit has also designed and conceptualised the upcoming museum.

“Jind is known for its vivid and varied history. The antiquity of the region dates back to the Indus valley civilisation as has been evident from the archaeological findings of a site adjoining Jind, called Rakhigarhi in Hisar district,” said Purohit.

“According to Mahabharata, Jind was anciently known as Jayanti and falls within the 48 kos area on the banks of Drishadwati river of Kurukshetra. During the epical era Drishadwati used to flow on the south while Saraswati flowed in the northern side of Kurukshetra,” said the archaeologist.

In this museum, the curator has also planned to furnish information through maps, charts, designs and photographs pertaining to various themes such as ornaments, sculptures depicting exclusively various cults of Brahmanical religion.



Juggling figures, but Faridabad’s face still sooty
City among 10 most polluted ones
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 28
Pollution here has acquired such dimensions that the city has been listed among the 10 most polluted ones in the country.

While air pollution is four times above the acceptable mark, it reaches a whopping 44 times in stone crusher areas. But the Haryana pollution control board (HPCB) authorities, which do not agree with this, claim that pollution has been on the decrease in the past six years. The board, however, has no data regarding water pollution, though underground water is becoming unsafe for use due to various factors.

According to a survey conducted by an agency hired by the Delhi-based Bandhua Mukti Morcha, which runs a pilot programme in the region, a couple of months ago the SPM (suspended particulate matter) level was three to four and a half times more than the prescribed standard of 500 mcg/cm (microgramme /cubic metre) at various spots in the city. While the HPSCB office here showed the SPM level to be between 304 mcg and 432 mcg in the year 2006, with a monthly average of only 399 mcg, samples taken by the NGO found that the SPM level had been between 1,839 mcg and 2,303 mcg at various spots. These figures were recorded in April this year. This level reached 13,728 mcg on April 23 and 14,398 mcg on May 18 in the Pali crusher zone on the outskirts of the city. The SPM level in the Mohabatabad area was 20,683 mcg on April 23 and 22,813 mcg on May 18. The HPSCB claims that almost 70 per cent of the air pollution in the city is due to traffic while the pollution caused by industry is not more than 30 per cent. However, many people do not agree with this and say industry is equally to blame for the problem.

According to Rishikant of the Shakti Vahini, an NGO based here, a large number of industrial units located in sectors 27 and 31 here have been discharging pollutants into the air as well underground. He asked the board to disclose how many industrial units had been closed for causing pollution since it was 
set up.

According to a chart prepared by the HPSCB regarding air quality, the average SPM (monthly) for the year 2006 was 399 mcg while it was 374, 371, 394.7, 460, 328 and 599.7 for the years 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000, respectively.

According to the centre for science and environment , a national-level body, the prescribed annual SPM level (based on a monthly average) should be 140 mcg for residential areas and 360 mcg for industrial areas. It says the 24-hour average SPM for a residential and industrial area should not cross 200 and 400 .

While work on providing CNG stations for the city has been on, there are 8 lakh to 10 lakh vehicles in the district on a single day,including about one lakh on National Highway 2 passing through the city. Over 20,000 diesel-operated authorickshaws and an equal number of commercial vehicles running on such fuel were responsible for polluting the air here, claimed an official. The quality of ground water, which is the main source of drinking water supply in the city, is well below the required standard. The TDS (total dissolved solids) level, which should be up to 500 m/l, hovers between 2,000 and 5,000 m/l at various places in the city. The fluoride and sodium levels are also much higher than the prescribed standards, states a report of the Central Ground Water Board . The survey was carried out in February this year.



Young Achievers
Never give up his motto
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
When it comes to young achievers, Haryana has always been in the forefront. Whether it is films, fashion or sports Haryanvis have done the state proud. In the list of such people, Dinesh Kumar Singh figures among the top.

Recipient of the Bhim Award, state’s biggest honour for sports, Dinesh is aiming to be part of the Asian Senior Volleyball Championship to be held in Jakarta in September.

An injury some time ago has forced Dinesh to miss a few national and international tournaments. “With hard work and determination I look forward to playing all major national and international tournaments”, he says. A true sportsman, he believes in “never give up philosophy”.

“The award money (Rs 1 lakh) I got did not give me so much happiness as the blazer and scroll that I received. The name of the state inscribed on them reminds me of the land to which I belong and all that the state did for me to reach such levels of acclaim”, says Dinesh with modesty.

An employee of the HSIIDC, Dinesh says his recommendation to the state government would be to explore the tremendous potential in sports among the rural youth. “If the government encourages sports at the village level, it will find surfeit of national and international players in the soil of Haryana”. 

Under his belt

  • Silver medal in the 2003 World Youth Volleyball tournament
  • Gold medal in the 4th Asian Youth Volleyball tournament
  • Gold medal in the 9th SAFE games in 2004
  • Gold medal in the 53rd Senior National Volleyball tournament.



Naib tehsildars to be graduates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Haryana Government has decided to raise the educational qualifications for filling posts of Naib Tehsildar through promotion from matriculation to graduation.

A decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here last evening.

However, in case of Kanungos or District Revenue Accountants or Senior Revenue Accountants, who have already been working in the respective feeder cadre on a regular basis on the date of notification of the amendment, the educational qualification shall continue to be matric instead of graduation for promotion. 



Never too late to learn
‘Jai saksharta’ — the mood among rural women
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, June 28
At 30, Raj Pati is the mother of six . She has four daughters and two sons. No one in her family knows the exact date of birth of any child.

Coming from a farm labourer family of Mughalpur village, near Uklana town of Hisar district, she has been married for 14 years to Krishan of Baijalpur village, near Bhuna town of this district.

Though all her children go to school, she never thought that she, too, could read and write like many others in her village. Now, she proudly writes her name in Hindi in reasonably legible handwriting.

She can also read words and figures from “Jatan”, a learner’s Hindi handbook supplied by the Zila Saksharta Samiti (ZSS) under the total literacy campaign of this district.

The newly acquired knowledge has instilled a lot of confidence in her and her joy knew no bounds when she first put her signatures while getting supplies of sugar from the fair price ration shop of the village last week.

Earlier, she used to give the impressions of her right thumb on the register. The ration depot holder, who was in the habit of robbing her of one commodity or the other for selling those in blackmarket, appeared overawed by the newly acquired confidence of Raj Pati.

She has learnt the value of education and says she will see to it that all her children get the best of education, whatever the circumstances.

Ever since Kamlesh, a woman from her village working as “akshar sainik” with the ZSS, has started classes in her neighbourhood, she never forgets to be in the class from 12 noon to 2 pm. Whenever someone from the ZSS comes to the classroom, women greet him saying “jai saksharta”.

The story of Raj Pati is not an isolated case of a woman taking to education at such a late stage of life.

Maina Devi, Chandro Devi, Kaushalya, Raj Bala and Daya are all examples of “angootha tek” (word used for illiterates) women learning the art of writing their names and acquiring that much knowledge of words as is required for their day-to-day chores.

Hundreds of women of this village as well as other villages of the district have been getting the knowledge of words from these “akshar sainiks” under the total literacy campaign.

Among those who are getting education in around 27 saksharta centres of Baijalpur village is a 65-years-old woman Sunehari, whose great granddaughter is also a school going child.

The centres for women outnumber those for men, as men have to go to work in the mornings. Night classes are organised for men in some villages, though response in these is lukewarm.

Saveen Kumar and Ram Dia, both district project coordinators of the ZSS, say the “akshar sainiks” have been trained to use examples of household items to provide knowledge of words and figures to their students.

Phoonkana, a pipe used to blow air into chullah for burning kitchen fire denotes 1, the sickle used for reaping is 2 if the blade is in upward direction and 5 if it is in downward direction. A chapatti denotes 0 while two chapattis put together become 8. The blade portion of the sickle is used to create figure 3.

Additional deputy commissioner Yudhbir Singh Khayalia, who has the responsibility of the implementation of the project as the vice-chairman of the ZSS, says the total literacy campaign of Fatehabad district was sanctioned on February 23, 2006 and the ZSS was constituted under the chairmanship of deputy commissioner O.P. Sheoran. An amount of Rs 1.13 crore was sanctioned for the implementation of the project.

During a survey of the district, it was found that in all 49,508 persons in the target age group of 15-35 were illiterates out of whom 29,878 were females. Out of these 12,655 persons, including 10,448 females, have already enrolled themselves in the classes being run in different villages of the district, adds Sukhvinder Singh, chief coordinator of the ZSS.

The campaign is to end in September this year and the organisers aim to cover all illiterates by then.



Badarpur flyover a distant dream
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 28
The dream of the residents of Faridabad to have an easy and smooth access to the national capital of Delhi is still far from becoming a reality, as the work on the project failed to take off even after the lapse of eight years since its approval.

Despite assurances by the successive state governments, nothing concrete has been done in this regard. The flyover has been connected with the overall development of the town and it is believed that it could help the city to shed the B-grade tag, as the traffic congestion in the border area along Delhi is a major bottleneck.

“The latest statement on the flyover project came a few days back when the deputy commissioner, who was here to attend a function of an association of industrialists, said the work was likely to start soon, but he did not announce any clear date or deadline, a local entrepreneur said. He said the matter was taken up several times with the state government in the past eight years, but to no avail. About three years ago, the authorities claimed that the detailed project report had been prepared and submitted to the ministry concerned.

According to the report, the flyover was likely to be elevated over 3.5 km, starting from Badarpur village and ending near Sector 37 in Faridabad. However, there were some differences over the bearing of the cost of the project, but the authorities later claimed that it had been sorted out and the National Highways Authorities of India (NHAI) would get the work completed.

On other hand, sources revealed that there were reasons, more political than official, behind the unusual delay. “The factors affecting the construction of the flyover include presence of about nine petrol pumps on the border area along the National Highway, owned by political persons or their kin,” said the sources.

“The flyover would affect the business of these pumps and the shops existing on the stretch. Besides, several acres of government land had also been encroached upon by certain politicians and the project could adversely affect the activity as the government may take over this land for the expansion of service and slip roads.”

A prominent politician of Haryana, who did not want to be named, had also admitted to the problems created by a politician based in Delhi regarding the final clearance of the project. He, however, had claimed that the things had been sorted out and the work on the flyover would be started soon.

It is reported that over a lakh vehicles cross the border everyday and this highway, also known as the Mathura road, has emerged as one of the busiest and congested road.

“The property rates in the city and around could match with those of Gurgaon and Noida once the easy access to Delhi is been provided,” claimed a property dealer here.

The industrial and commercial development of the city is also directly dependent on this matter, said a spokesperson for the Faridabad Industrial Association (FIA). He said the government should expedite the project and make it happen for the larger interests of the people of the region.



Inside Babudom
Literature his passion
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Literature is first love for Hukam Singh Rana, the only Rajput IAS officer in the Haryana cadre. His first anthology with a preface by former union minister Karan Singh was released early this month.

In fact, Haryana, like Punjab, has some civil servants, who are passionate about literature. No major “mushaira” in the region is considered complete without the participation of one or the other bureaucrat-cum-poet. This select band includes former Punjab chief secretary A.S. Pooni and Haryana’s financial commissioner Raminder Jakhu.

Rana, who has done B.A. (Honours) in Hindi and postgraduation in English, belongs to Amritpur Kalan village in Karnal district. He has studied Punjabi till matriculation. An ardent lover of nature and ecology, Rana also owns an orchard.

After his Masters in English from Hindu College, Sonepat, Rana had a seven-year stint as a lecturer before he got into the state civil service as an excise and taxation officer. In 1993, he was appointed as an IAS officer and allocated the 1988 batch. Firmly rooted, his stints both in excise and taxation and civil service have been acknowledged for being public-oriented.

Rana has another distinction to his credit. He is perhaps one of the few bureaucrats whose stint as deputy commissioner was reduced to three weeks because of his actions in the public interest. During a subsequent assignment in the Department of Revenue, he used his free time to learn Urdu. Now, he can read and write Urdu.

Due for superannuating in August this year, Rana is clear about his future. No re-employment, he asserts, maintaining that he would rather dedicate more time towards his first passion, literature, and remaining free time in social service.

At times, he is tempted to join the select band of bureaucrats, including Kirpa Ram Punia, who joined politics after retiring from civil service.

Anup Jalota will sing some of his devotional poems in his next album due for release in August this year.



Delhi Metro extn to cost more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Haryana has agreed to the increase in the cost of extension of the Delhi Metro to Gurgaon.

According to official sour ces, due to a proposal to shift the location of certain entry and exit points to the metro stations at Garden Estate, Sikanderpur and DT City Centre as well as the provision of escalators and elevators for the convenience of the people, the cost has increased by Rs 5.90 crore.

Now the project would cost Rs 693.90 crore. 



Using kikar to produce power
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Karnal, June 28
Under an ambitious project that may have far-reaching results, the Karnal-based Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI) has proposed to initiate a pilot project with international collaboration in the salt-affected areas of Haryana for biomass production to generate 

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune CSSRI director Gurbachan Singh said the institute had written to the Indian council of agriculture research (ICAR) for approval to use Prosopis juliflora (mesquite), or pahari kikar, to generate electricity.

He said experts from the Netherlands-based organisation for agriculture in saline environment (OASE) had agreed in principle to support the project.

Dr Gurbachan Singh said the institute had held a series of meetings with delegates of the OASE and development alternatives, a New Delhi-based NGO.

He said the NGO had been successful in the past in producing electricity using pahari aak, a commonly found plant. The NGO was running the project in Taragarh village in Jhansi district (MP). The biomass power project was like a power generator. The branches of a mature tree with a specific diameter were used as a gasifier that produced power which further converted it into 
electrical energy.

The trio had agreed to develop bio-saline agroforestry species like mesquite, or pahari kikar or vilayati kikar, on 500-1,000 hectares in the districts of Gurgaon, Faridabad and Mewat.

The premier central institute would provide technical knowhow whereas the Indian NGO would encourage the panchayats in the identified villages to provide common land to grow plants for the project.

Soil salinity and alkalinity reduce the productivity of about 6.73 million hectares of otherwise productive land in India. Recent data available with the CSSRI estimates that there is about 1.84 lakh hectares of alkaline and 49,157 hectares of saline soil in Haryana.

Out of the 2.33 lakh hectares of salt-affected soils in Haryana, a sizeable area constitutes village community land, areas along roads and canals, railway lines and government land reserved for specific purposes.

This innovative idea, if approved and implemented, would provide livelihood to rural communities settled in a disadvantageous saline environment, said Dr Gurbachan Singh, a senior soil scientist.

He added that it would regenerate salt-affected land, increase forest cover and moderate carbon dioxide emissions and provide an opportunity to generate electricity/bioenergy.

Reclamation of such land for normal agricultural crops was posing problems because of community rights.However, land resources offered a promising opportunity for growing trees, bushes and grasses for firewood, fodder and bio-energy production, said the director.

It would be part of a project jointly carried out by the CSSRI, the OASE and the international centre for bio-saline agriculture (ICBA), Dubai.

The nine cooperating participants in this project include scientists from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Dubai, the Netherlands, Germany and France.The Indian share in this project was 1.46 lakh Euros, said Dr Gurbachan Singh.

The project aims at the development of biosaline agroforesty systems for various types of saline environment and exploring the potential and options for biomass/bioenergy production.



Admn inert as Kaithal stuck in traffic
Satish Seth

Kaithal, June 28
Unregulated traffic in the town has made the life of road users miserable. Frequent traffic jams here are causing great inconvenience to the public, but the authorities have failed to take effective steps to control the situation.

Pehowa chowk, Chotu Ram chowk, Chatrawas road, Hindu school chowk, level crossing on the Kaithal-Jind road, Kabootar chowk road, Bhagat Singh chowk, Ashoka cinema road and town’s main bazaar are the vulnerable points where traffic jams are a common sight. The problem aggravates during the crop season as foodgrain-loaded tractor-trailors and other vehicles pass thorough the main roads of the town.

Despite police barriers on the Jind road, Karnal road and the Ambala road, heavily loaded trucks and other vehicles enter the town during the peak hours.

The traffic jams on Pehowa chowk and Chhotu Ram chowk are mainly caused by encroachment by shopkeepers and halting of buses in the middle of the road, leaving little space for the vehicles coming from behind.

The occupation of major part of Chhatrawas road by vendors and parking of vehicles on the road by the shopkeepers result into traffic jams. The attempts by the administration to shift these vendors to other places had not met with success due to agitation by the vendors and the support extended to them by 
politicians of all shades.

The heavy rush of vehicles on Hindu school-Kabootar chowk road and Bhagat Singh chowk-Ashoka Cinema road leads to daily jams in this busy area, still no traffic policeman is visible here and the motorists find it difficult to pass through the area without losing precious time and fuel.

During paddy and wheat crop season, a large number of farmers from nearby villages bring their produce on heavy vehicles to the old anaj mandi situated in the heart of the town. The roads are not wide enough to cope with the rush of vehicles. To add to all this, indiscipline among the motorists encroachment by shopkeepers and haphazard parking of vehicles on roadsides aggravates the situation.

The administration has failed to introduce one-way traffic system in the main bazars of the town. No senior officer of the civil or police administration has ever cared to visit these bazaars to take stock of the situation.

The residents of the town demand that civil and police officials should make concerted efforts to solve the traffic problem.



MDU offers job-oriented courses
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, June 28
It’s admission time and students, hoping to realise their rosy dreams of a bright future, are thronging the campus of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) here. With a number of students making a beeline for admission to various job-oriented professional courses, a fete-like atmosphere is prevailing on the campus.

Apart from the professional programmes, traditional postgraduate courses in English literature and language, geography, sociology, history, life-sciences (including botany, zoology, genetics, environmental sciences and bio-chemistry) also remain evergreen choices of students.

The recently established Advanced Centre of Biotechnology offers three specialised courses. These include M.Sc. (Biotechnology), M.Sc. (Medical Biotechnology) and M.Sc. (Food Processing Technology). The intake in these three courses is 17, 16 and 16, respectively.

The university has already issued notice for admission to these courses and the last date for submitting applications is July 6. The admissions will be made on the basis of a common entrance test scheduled to be held on July 15.

Another centre for job-oriented professional courses on the MDU campus is the Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management. The institute offers masters in hotel management and masters in tourism management courses. The last date of applying for these courses is also July 6 and the admission will be made on the basis of academic merit in the qualifying examination.

Apart from these, MDU runs MBA programmes in marketing, human resources management, finance, IT, international business and business economics through the Institute of Management Studies and Research (IMSAR) and the Department of Business Economics. Then, the MCA and B.Pharma courses are also among the most sought-after courses of the university. MDU has recently started a full-fledged Department of Engineering and Technology with B.Tech. courses in four disciplines.

The admission process for traditional postgraduate programmes (MA/MCom/MSc) is in full swing with the last date for the submission of application forms being June 29 with a late fee of Rs 500. The entrance tests for these courses will be conducted from July 4 to July 7, while the merit lists of successful candidates will be displayed on July 13 and admission counselling held from July 16.

From this academic session, MDU has introduced a certificate course in Urdu as well. The university has already been running certificate and diploma course in French and Spanish languages. M.Phil. in clinical psychology and diploma in health psychology are in the pipeline.

Vice-chancellor R.S. Dhankar says the university is on its way to becoming a distinguished academic institution with national and international linkages.

Admissions are on for:

  • M.Sc. (Biotechnology)
  • M.Sc. (Medical Biotechnology) l M.Sc. (Food Processing Technology) l Masters in Hotel Management l Masters in Tourism Management l MA/M.Com./M.Sc. l Certificate course in Urdu
  • Diploma courses in French, Spanish
  • M.Phil (Clinical Psychology)



Engineering courses: Govt lowers eligibility
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Haryana government has changed the eligibility criteria for admission to the B.E. and B.Tech programmes for engineering diploma holders and B.Sc. degree holders.

Parliamentary secretary, technical education, Dillu Ram said henceforth admissions would be made through lateral entry scheme. Now, the applicant must have 50 per cent marks in degree or diploma to take admission in these course for the session 2007-08. Earlier, the requirement was minimum 60 per cent marks.

Diploma holders of engineering and B.Sc. degree holders are straightaway given admission in the third semester of BE and B.Tech programmes because of their advanced knowledge of engineering.

Ram said during the past two years, the intake capacity per annum in the technical institutes of the state had increased up to 25 per cent. At present, there were 183 technical institutions functioning in the state.





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