Hooda invades Bhajan’s Adampur bastion
Pre-emptive move before the Bishnois’ Rohtak rally
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, November 15
The ongoing battle for political supremacy between Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal has further intensified with the former making deep incursions into the Bishnoi pocket borough of Adampur weeks before the Bishnois are scheduled to organise a rally at Hooda’s hometown Rohtak.

Obviously stung by Bhajan Lal and Kuldeep Bishnoi’s audacious move to hold a rally at Rohtak, Hooda decided to take the bull by its horns right inside the Bishnoi belt of Haryana, considered as a stronghold of the father-son duo.

His visit to Adampur villages last Sunday inflicted many wounds on his arch opponents.

Hooda chose the villages he toured carefully. He went to the Bishnoi-dominated Mangali village, which the Bhajan Lal camp considers its fortress. But by winning over several sarpanches of nearby villages who also honoured him, Hooda proved that there were chinks in the fortress’s walls.

The visit to Chaudhrywas village was also aimed at sending signals to anti-Bhajan Lal forces in the constituency to come under his banner. Chaudhrywas is the ancestral village of Haryana Congress organising secretary Master Hari Singh, once a political aide of Om Parkash Chautala and Bansi Lal.

Bhajan Lal had booked Hari Singh under TADA in 1991 when he came to power after a gap of several years. The former schoolteacher’s family fled to the USA to escape Bhajan Lal’s wrath. But the gritty teacher stayed back and fought. Thus the Chaudhrywas sojourn was a clear signal by Hooda to fence sitters in the Bishnoi camp to jump on his bandwagon.

Hooda has gained from this fight on another front, too. He comes from Rohtak where the Jats consciously cultivate their image as that of a rough and tough community that will bash an opponent inside his territory. By making repeated incursions in Adampur, he has earned the admiration of his community though he is generally considered a very mild mannered and gentlemanly person.

The Chief Minister also visited the house of a prominent Punjabi family here. This, too, was linked to his current campaign against the Bishnoi clan. Kuldeep Bishnoi has been banking heavily on the perceived support of the Punjabis, which is obviously crucial for his political survival.

The Chief Minister was winning over the Punjabis here exactly when Bishnoi was admitting several prominent Punjabi leaders of Sirsa to his yet to be christened political party. These leaders have quit the Congress to back Bishnoi. Hooda’s overtures to Punjabis here balanced the situation deftly.

The Bhajan Lal camp is peeved, but indications are that it would not react in haste as all its energies are now focused on the Rohtak rally.

Nevertheless, verbal fireworks are sure to dart across Haryana’s skies in the coming days as both rivals try to checkmate each other in their opponent’s territories.

For the record though Hooda maintains that his visits are aimed at strengthening the Congress in the area and not for weakening anybody.



No check on water supplied in HUDA sectors
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, November 15
The HUDA authorities are perhaps oblivious of the WHO report, which stated that contaminated drinking water is behind a majority of diseases. This is evident from the fact that the authorities have adopted a callous attitude towards the cleanliness of its water tanks here.

There is also a little check on the quality of drinking water being supplied to the residents of HUDA sectors and other adjoining colonies. While several residents of these localities have contracted jaundice, many more may fall ill if immediate and effective measures are not taken.

The condition of the waterworks is such that a dense growth of wild weeds has covered a major portion of the tanks. Migrant labourers defecating in the open area surrounding the water tanks is a common sight. There is no fencing to prevent stray animals from falling in the tanks. As if it was not enough, water taken from two tube wells is reportedly supplied to houses along with filtered water.

Repeated complaints made by the sector residents in this regard have fallen on deaf ears so far. A delegation of residents of Sector 2 recently apprised the executive engineer concerned about the situation. He maintained that the tanks were cleaned at regular intervals and he would pull up the officials concerned. However, nothing worthwhile has been done in this regard till date.

From the given situation, it seems that the authorities are perhaps waiting for some epidemic to break before they act. 



Now, CCTVs at SDM’s office
Rahul Das
Tribune News Service

Ambala, November 15
Closed-circuit TV cameras will now keep a vigil on the functioning at subdivisional magistrate’s office here.

While CCTV cameras are normally associated with the security aspect, in an innovative effort these cameras are being set up with a view to improve the functioning at the SDM office. The setting up of CCTV system at the SDM office located in Ambala City is a novel attempt at improving the efficiency as well as maintaining strict discipline.

Although efficiency at the SDM office has gone up after the introduction of computers, operationalising CCTVs is expected to further improve the functioning on a day-to-day basis.

An important aspect of the CCTV set up is going to be the constant recording of all activities at the SDM office. The SDM can check the working in his absence by viewing the recordings.

The effectiveness of setting up CCTV system could lead to this model being introduced in other government offices throughout the state. It is expected that this system will go a long way in improving functioning in the government offices.

SDM Mukesh Ahuja has been instrumental in conceptualising this proposal. He had put up this proposal before deputy commissioner Mohammad Shayin who promptly sanctioned it.

Ahuja said the setting up of CCTV cameras was practically an extension of the existing computer infrastructure. He said computerisation had helped in speedier execution of day-to-day functioning. “For setting up CCTV system, eight cameras have been strategically located in different areas. These cameras will be hooked to a computer in which all recording of the activities will take place,” he said.

Ahuja said this would ensure that the staff was working efficiently. “The CCTVs will keep a constant vigil and now even non-verbal communication seeking any favour will be impossible. Question of misbehaviour with the common people will no longer arise. No staff member will be able to waste time,” he said.



All set for Rezang La Diwas on Nov 18
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, November 15
Over the years, Rezang La Shauriya Diwas Samaroh has become a major festival of the Ahirwal region, which is held annually here on November 18 to commemorate the sacrifice of Ahir martyrs in the historic battle of Rezang La.

The battle has gone down in the annals of the world history as a saga of supreme sacrifice and gallantry of Ahir Jawans.

The battle of Rezang La was fought between the Charlie Company of the 13th Kumaon Regiment and the Chinese army at the Rezang La post at a height of 16420 ft in Chushul sector of Ladakh on November 18, 1962.

Maj Shaitan Singh was the commander of the Charlie Company, which comprised of three platoons, a mortar section and the company headquarters. Its personnel were armed with outmoded weapons while the Chinese troops, numbered about 1,500, were equipped with sophisticated weaponry.

In the battle, the country lost its 114 heroes, including the company commander as well as two JCOs. Out of these 114 martyrs, 111 were Ahirs, 57 from Haryana. As many as 1,310 Chinese soldiers were killed in the battle.

It was at the High Ground, the place where 13 Kumaon headquarters was situated at the time of the battle, that the heroes of Rezang La were cremated in February 1963. A monument was raised at the spot, known as Ahir Dham.

Maj Shaitan Singh was posthumously awarded the country's highest gallantry award, Param Vir Chakra, while eight JCOs and Jawans were awarded Vir Chakras.

Regarding this epic battle of Rezang La, Maj-Gen Jagjit Singh once said, "In the history of warfare can be found very few instances where, in the face of overwhelming odds, a large body of troops have fought to the proverbial 'last man, last round'. Rezang La, without doubt, ranks as one of the finest such examples."

The Rezang La Shauriya Samiti (RLSS) is organising a function to commemorate the 45th anniversary of this epic battle here on November 18. Its general secretary Naresh Chauhan has informed that Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh would be the chief guest while Col Ram Singh, chief patron of the RLSS, would preside over the function. Besides, Lt-Gen Satya Vir Singh Yadav, Colonel of the Kumaon and Naga regiments, would be the most distinguished guest of the function.



Poor sanitation, traffic bane of Bhiwani
Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, November 15
The city with a population of about 2 lakh has been reeling under several problems, especially poor sanitation and traffic chaos.

Heaps of garbage can be seen on almost all major roads as well as streets and interior localities.

Despite Bhiwani being a district headquarters and two state ministers have their residences in the city, neither the district administration nor the municipal council has taken any measure to keep the city clean.

The municipal council has a limited staff and the sweepers are sent only to the "VIP" areas. The circular road here leads to Loharu, border town of Haryana, which connects the state with Rajasthan. People from Delhi and other areas, who go to Pilani in Rajasthan, use this road but they have to face frequent traffic jams. The situation worsens during rainy season, as water gets accumulated and affects the traffic flow significantly.

The department concerned seems to have become used to this problem. For years, knee-deep water accumulates on this road during monsoon. In such circumstances, the department officials abstain from visiting this area nor do they pay any heed to the public complaints. Sewerage water overflowing on the roads due to choked sewerage lines add to the woes.

To ease the flow of traffic, several steps have been taken like creation of no-parking zones, but the situation remained far from satisfactory. It has been seen that the traffic police considers only two spot as the most important ones i.e. Hansi chowk and Ghantaghar chowk. One can see traffic policemen regulating the traffic here only while several other crossings where traffic gets disrupted for many hours daily remain unmanned. These include Meham Gate chowk, Agarsein chowk, etc. At Dinod gate road, traffic remains stranded for hours together but no policeman comes to regulate the traffic. Bansi Lal during his regime had opened an auto market for the tractor mechanics of Dinod gate road on the outskirts of the city, but after his death the shifting of auto shops remained incomplete.



Inside Babudom
Wanted! A boss for Khemka
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
The state government is in search of a boss for this babu. Though the intelligence of this IAS officer, Ashok Khemka, is widely acknowledged, not many want him as their junior. Many senior officers dread him and would not mind telling the Chief Minister to post them anywhere but not as the boss of Khemka.

Known for his impeccable integrity, Khemka is a man of his own convictions and would not flinch even for a moment in taking a stand inconsistent with the system in which he has to work.

His quality of taking on his boss without caring for the consequences was exploited by the powers that be, to tame "inconvenient" vice-chancellors in the past on more than one occasion.

Khemka became a darling of the media and politicians in opposition (read the Congress) when he vehemently opposed the acquisition of Nathupur panchayat land worth crores in Gurgaon district for a private builder by the Chautala government for a paltry sum of Rs 4 crore. After his objections somehow made to the media, the Congress too joined the fray. The Chautala government had to beat a hasty retreat.

When Bhupinder Singh Hooda became the Chief Minister, Khemka was posted as DC of a district as an acknowledgement of his integrity. But on Khemka's request, Hooda reluctantly brought him back to Chandigarh after a few months. He was posted as chief administrator of the Housing Board. But his bosses were not "comfortable" with his campaign against corrupt elements. On his promotion, Khemka was posted to the secretariat. However, his stand on various issues in the finance department made him unpopular with many. It is also said because of objections raised by Khemka, the implementation of certain announcements made by the Chief Minister were delayed.

Khemka was posted as director, agriculture. Soon difference between him and secretary, agriculture, Raj Kumar, surfaced over the department's computerisation. But it is not known if these differences were responsible for his transfer from the department or was it an "explosive" note prepared by him.

In the note, Khemka had said the power utilities were using subsidised power to the agriculture to cover up their inefficiency in checking power theft. He argued that even if all tubewells in the state were run on diesel, the cost would be less than the subsidy given to the power utilities in the name of agriculture.

Khemka was then posted as director, land consolidation, a post under financial commissioner, revenue, Dharamvir, with whom Khemka had a long-standing dispute. Khemka was shifted within a couple of days to the Land Use Board. Even this posting is considered to be a temporary parking slot for him because it falls under the secretary, agriculture. Sources say before being shifted to the Land Use Board, Khemka's name was considered for a post where he would have to report to chief secretary Promila Issar. She, too, was reportedly reluctant to accept Khemka as her junior.



Fire safety
State remains as vulnerable as ever
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, November 15
Despite having witnessed one of the worst ever fire tragedies in Dabwali in 1995, Haryana continues to be the most unsafe state from the fire hazard angle. Even as the government is levying a tax for fire services in the urban areas, the firefighting machinery in the state is in a shambles.

Inquiries from various districts reveal that fire stations are not strategically located, firemen are ill equipped, most fire engines have outlived their utility, staff shortage is chronic and there are no fire hydrants from where fire engines can be refilled in case of a fire.

Interestingly, even though HUDA is carving out new residential sectors all over the state, it is not installing fire hydrants in any of these. In the municipal areas, the fire hydrants that existed decades ago have been buried under roads and there are no funds for installing new ones.

Fire hydrants are legally required to be erected across all towns for easy access by fire engines to a water source in case of a fire. These hydrants have to be connected to a water source round-the-clock. The use of these hydrants for any purpose other than supplying water to fire engines is prohibited.

However, presently if a fire engine needs to be refilled during firefighting operation it has to be rushed to the nearest waterworks or canal, which takes a long time.

The location of fire stations is also a cause for concern. In Hisar, it is located near the Auto Market on one side of the town. Normally, a fire engine should reach the place of a fire within 10 minutes of receiving a report. But, given the distances of newer colonies and the heavy traffic on the inner roads in most towns this is not always possible.

In Rohtak, the fire station is located on the Sonipat Road. However, due to haphazard and unplanned growth of the residential areas, rail tracks intersect main roads at eight points. Almost every important road has a railway crossing. These are the Rohtak-Bhiwani road, Kaccha-Beri road, Jhajjar road, Circular road, Sonepat road, Bajrang Bhavan road and the Delhi road bypass, the last being intersected at two points. These tracks hamper movement of fire tenders. The situation will improve once the overbridges under construction are completed.

Incidentally, Rohtak has about 12 cracker units, which manufacture and store fireworks the year round. In 1993, a fire in one of the units caused over 12 deaths. There was another major fire in one such unit in June this year. Reports from Sirsa show that there are only four regular and six temporary drivers for six fire tenders there. According to norms, there should be 18 permanent drivers. The number of firemen, too, is much below the prescribed figure. A similar situation exists in Hisar and Rohtak.

Essential equipment like fire axes are in short supply in every fire station. Firemen do not have proper gear. Very few fire stations have their own workshops though every fire station with four firefighting vehicles should have one of its own. Fire officers lament that in the absence of proper laws they find themselves helpless. 



US college delegation visits MDU
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, November 15
A delegation from Montgomery College at Rockville in Maryland, US, visited Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) here yesterday to explore the possibilities of academic collaboration, joint academic programmes and setting up a community college at Manesar (Gurgaon).

This visit is a follow-up to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s recent visit to the US, where an MoU was signed between the state government and Montgomery College.

MDU vice-chancellor R. S. Dhankar said discussions with the visiting delegation had paved way for future academic tie-ups.

The visiting delegation included Dr Brian Johnson (president), Dr Hercules Pinkney (vice-president and provost), Dr Sanjay Rai (dean, science, engineering and mathematics), Dr Stephen Cain (instructional dean), and Victoria Duggar (deputy chief information officer). The visiting delegation visited various departments and central facilities of the university.



Political rallies talk of the town
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, November 15
With the date of rebel Congress MP Kuldeep Bishnoi’s much-publicised Rohtak rally drawing near, campaigning for the rally has picked momentum in Fatehabad Assembly constituency.

This segment is important for Bishnoi as it includes Mohamadpur Rohi, ancestral village of his father Bhajan Lal, and he is expecting huge turnout for the rally from this area.

Close on the heels, Bishnoi’s cousin Dura Ram, who is parliamentary secretary in the Hooda government, has announced to hold a rally in Fatehabad in January next year.

The Fatehabad rally will be addressed by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and several of his cabinet colleagues, besides HPCC president Phool Chand Mulana.

The Chief Minister’s office is believed to have played a major role in the announcement of January rally by Dura Ram.

Sunder Pal, media adviser and K.V. Singh, officer on special duty in the CM’s office, met Dura Ram at his residence on Monday, just before the local MLA announced the programme of his rally.

The announcement is being viewed as a ploy by the ruling party to stop Bhajan Lal’s traditional supporters from going to Rohtak rally as Dura Ram, too, wields considerable influence among the Bishnoi population here.

Meanwhile, Bishnoi’s supporters have begun their mass contact programme for the rally in a big way.

The Bishnoi supporters organised a workers’ meeting last week, which was addressed by former MP Jangveer Singh, former MLA Mani Ram Keharwala and a close confident of Bishnoi and a younger brother of Dura Ram, Devi Lal.

Soon after the meeting, the rebel MP’s supporters led by Rajinder Chaudhary “Kaka”, Anoop Dhuria, Balwan Singh Daulatpuria, Krishan Rohaz, Bimla Rohaz, Inderjit Poonia and Anil Beniwal launched a vigorous campaign for the rally.

The supporters have been travelling from village to village and organising nukkar meetings to mobilise support for the rally. Over 12 huge hoardings have been installed on the 2-km stretch of the NH-10 passing through Fatehabad town.

Besides, small hoardings have been put up on streetlight poles on the road dividers. 



More powers for Wakf Board CEO
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
The Haryana Wakf Board has entrusted its chief executive officer (CEO) Hanif Qureshi with sweeping powers to safeguard the interest of the board and to ensure the smooth functioning of the organisation. This decision was taken recently at a board meeting held at Ambala where members expressed concern over the repeated attempts by undesirable elements to usurp the board’s properties and interfere in its functioning.

Apart from financial powers, the CEO will have all powers to deal with litigation to safeguard the properties of the board and to give the same on lease etc. The CEO has been issued specific powers to take necessary steps for the recording of Wakf properties by the authorities appointed by the government for the settlement and consolidation of holdings.

Officials, who did not wish to be named, said over the years Wakf properties had been subjected to illegal encroachment and occupation by unauthorised persons. It was, therefore, thought fit to entrust the CEO with powers to sue and defend cases on behalf of the board by engaging advocates. However, the chairman will have the power to approve the council fee from time to time.

The CEO has been directed by the board to ensure that the report of the Wakf commissioners be scrutinised and published regularly in official gazette of the body.

Further, the CEO would now be required to get the accounts of the board as well as those of the Wakf, which are under the direct management of the board audited at the end of each financial year and submit a report to the chairman. He shall, however, not have the right to auction moveable properties of the board that have a original purchase value of over Rs 10,000.

Also, the lease committee of the board has entrusted the CEO with the task of approving the urban Wakf properties up to Rs 500 per month irrespective of the donation or the patta and agriculture land up to Rs 10,000 per annum irrespective of donations.

The Wakf owns movable or immovable properties that are used for religious, pious or charitable purposes as recognised by the Muslim Law. Wakf institutions deal with the religious, social and economic life of Muslims and also involved in the social welfare that includes support to schools, colleges, hospitals and musafirkhanas.

Development of urban Wakf properties is an important function of the board by which it protects vacant Wakf land from encroachers. The Wakf is also involved with granting educational funds and scholarships to deserving students. The Haryana Wakf Board was under a cloud earlier this year when its erstwhile CEO accused officials of leasing out of Wakf properties in Gurgaon for “considerations” in connivance with private parties. Qureshi, an IPS officer appointed as CEO this July, is now expected by the board to improve the organisations image.



Shrinking green cover
Encroachments, govt apathy to blame
Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 15
The town’s growth and modernisation has its direct bearing on the environment-related issues.

Faridabad and the adjoining historical town of Ballabgarh fall under the limits of the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad. The entire area continues to be the envy of other cities of the region even though Faridabad’s growth and development slowed down in the past about two decades. The government, however, appears to be trying to bring back the focus on Faridabad and kick start development process here.

However, what appears to be escaping the notice of the policy makers is the shrinking green cover of the area.

The thinning of the green belt is occurring mainly on two counts, encroachments and the apathy of the administrative machinery.

Land mafia has allegedly encroached upon the green belts at several places right under the nose of the authorities. The ugly development has now become a nuisance, affecting the health of the residents.

Although the encroachments on green space could be found at a number of places, they are stark on NH-2 in the Ballabgarh area. In fact, right from Sarai at Delhi-Faridabad borders to Ballabgarh, the green belt and the service roads have been encroached upon. A move on to Faridabad city from Ballabgarh reveals the same story.

According to many, such developments on such a large scale cannot take place without the support of a section in the government and political circles.

The popular perception is that the apathy of the authorities as well as the general public towards the upkeep of the existing parks are also not helping the cause of environment in the twin cities.

The number of parks in the MCF area could be well over 100. But the devil lies in the detail. Out of this, only about six are well maintained. The authorities had started a programme of allowing private stakeholders like residents welfare associations and industrial associations to maintain specified parks. Initially, the experiment did show success, but the all-round enthusiasm fizzled out soon. 



HIFA vows to preserve state’s culture
Ramandeep Singh
Tribune News Service

Karnal, November 15
As the cliché goes, the only culture in Haryana is agriculture. This might be true to a large extent, but the state has been a melting pot of different cultures since time immemorial and this rich heritage is, sadly, losing out to modernisation and an indifferent attitude of successive governments who have done little to preserve this unique legacy. Hence, agriculture will be the only culture left in the state.

But all is not lost. The Haryana Institute of Fine Arts (HIFA), constituted in 1994, is a Karnal-based NGO working to preserve this cultural legacy on its own and by assisting the state government. Dr Piush Kumar, secretary, HIFA, says that the state is a goldmine of talented artistes, performers and artisans and the like.

“Sadly, many of them are not that well-known even in their own homeland because the state government has completely ignored them or not encouraged them. This has resulted in their migration to other states where their talent has been given the due recognition,” says Piush.

“Few people know that 60 per cent of the comedians in the country are from Haryana. But because they were/are not given the required platform to perform, most of them have moved elsewhere where they are excelling in their field,” he says.

“This exodus has to stop. The treasure of this land should remain here. This is where HIFA steps in. Our goal is to preserve and promote all forms of art and culture in Haryana and give recognition to persons who have brought glory to this land by awarding them for their achievements,” Piush says.

HIFA arranges many activities annually towards this end like kavi sammelans, art and craft exhibitions, theatre festivals, carnivals, seminars, workshops, music and dance concerts and most importantly an award function where sons of the soil are honoured for achievement in their respective fields.

Among the famous recipients of these awards, started in 2004-05, are Pundit Jasraj, ace photographer Raghu Rai and hockey coach Baldev Singh.

These awards are open to persons of Haryana domicile living in the country or abroad and divided into two categories, Kala Samman and Karma Samman. Kala Samman includes the following categories: Indian classical music and dance, theatre, fine arts, folk music and dances of Haryana, handloom and handicrafts, journalism etc. While Karma Samman contains the following disciplines: Environment, social service, industry, NRI, alternate therapy, empowered women and distinguished disabled.

The nominations for the awards are on and for further information Dr Piush Kumar can be contacted at 9416008008.



Scheme launched to help farmers
Satish Seth

Kaithal, November 15
The state agriculture department has launched a scheme to set up an agricultural technical management agency with a view to strengthen the economic base of the farmers. This scheme has been launched to motivate the farmers for adopting diversification of crops, dairy farming, fish farming and horticulture and increase their per acre yield.

Deputy Commissioner S.K. Goyal said officials of animal husbandry, fisheries, horticulture and agriculture departments had been asked to jointly prepare a plan to implement this scheme within the next five years.

The scheme would be implemented with the help of scientists of krishi vigyan kendras and to attract the farmers conventional sowing techniques would be replaced with modern techniques, he said, adding that the work of providing information to farmers had already been started through the extension department.

Deputy director (agriculture) Devinder Singh Malik said to run the scheme smoothly a governing body, headed by deputy commissioner, would be constituted. Representatives from the fields of agriculture, banks, industry, power, cooperative societies, market committees, district kisan clubs and five progressive farmers having knowledge about agriculture, fish farming, horticulture and dairy farming would be included in this body.

Dr Malik said initially, the farmers would be taught modern techniques of sowing wheat, pulses, oil seeds, besides the production of vermi compost and its judicious use. The imparting of knowledge about balanced use of fertilisers and pesticides to maintain the fertility of soil would also form part of this scheme. 



Kaithal’s Jawahar Park cries for care
Satish Seth

Kaithal, November 15
The only park in old Kaithal town, Jawahar Park, lies in a state of neglect. Situated in the heart of the town and once considered a prestigious place, this park has lost its glory.

Hundreds of families of town used to visit the park till a few years ago, but now only youth and elderly persons come here. The local municipal council, which is responsible for its maintenance, has failed miserably.

People lament that this place, which was once a hot spot, can no longer be called a park, as it has no green lawns and blooming flowers. The flowerbeds are covered with wild growth while the lawns have dried up. The fountains installed to add beauty to this place have also stopped functioning long back.

The portion where a statute of Mahatma Gandhi was installed is strewn with dirt and malba. The cement benches are in bad shape and broken.

When inquired from the staff posted here, it came to light that for the proper maintenance of this place at least 15 gardeners are required. However, there is a sanctioned strength of eight gardeners out of which three have been working at the residences of senior district officials for the past few years. The remaining staff found it difficult to maintain the place. No permanent sanitation staff is posted here, hence dry leaves, used polythene bags etc can be seen scattered all over the place.

Staff members present in the park told The Tribune that a number of times, especially on holidays, youths played cricket inside the park and spoiled grass, besides damaging the plants. When stopped from playing cricket, the youths allegedly threatened the park staff.

Stray animals also enter the park from various points and cause damage to the vegetation. The workers also said the park was being used as a shortcut route by students and others to reach municipal chowk and other areas of this town.

The area of the park has also shrunk over the years. A major part on its western side, which was known as rose garden, had been overtaken by the public health authorities for the construction of water tank and boosting stations. The municipal council has also allowed the construction of markets opposite Modern School.

Local MLA S.S. Surjewala and his minister son Randeep Singh Surjewala have made announcements to restore the glory of this park and the adjoining Bidhikyar tank. The residents hope that their elected representatives will fulfill their promises and provide them a place where they can spend their evenings in non-polluted atmosphere.



Faridabad’s Sector 55 lacks basic amenities
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 15
Residents of about 3,000 houses in Sector 55 Housing Board Colony have been struggling for a decent living, but in vain.

The colony, placed in the category of lower income group (LIG), falls in Ballabgarh tehsil, but is a part of NIT Assembly constituency in Faridabad city. The Housing Board handed over the colony to HUDA for maintenance after the houses were allotted in 2001.

The residents allege that they ran into problems right from the time they took possession of the houses. They say that the colony got a raw deal despite the fact that Congress MLA A.C. Chaudhary, who recently became a minister, represents NIT Assembly constituency.

However, president of the Residents Welfare Association Raj Kumar Kaushik says things have improved in comparison to the time when the residents took possession of the houses. But a larger section of the residents are miffed over the alleged apathy of HUDA.

According to them, the authorities try to redress the problems piecemeal rather than solving them. By the time one problem was solved another crops up, as the earlier one was not solved in entirety.

The residents allege that among the numerous problems the one relating to choked sewer was a major one. According to them, there were technical faults on the part of the Housing Board in laying the sewer pipes. At a number of places network of pipes was missing and where the network was fine, it had problems with the main disposal point located between Gochi and Pratapgarh. The upshot of it all was that the sewerage system in the colony remained chocked and there used to be backflow of filth and human excreta in the houses.

After a sustained struggle by the residents, the authorities agreed to redo the sewerage pipe network and laid a parallel line connecting with the main disposal point. The network in the blocks of houses covering a good portion of colony is claimed to have been connected with the main pipeline. Although a large number of houses claimed to have got relief, a good number of them continue to reel under the sewerage problem.

The affected residents have no alternative but to accept the version of the authorities that the problem would be solved after the remaining houses are connected with the new/parallel pipe connecting the main disposal point.

The residents also had major road problem within the colony. The earlier roads were made up of bitumen. As there was no provision of exit of storm and other kind of water within the colony, bitumen got eroded and there were craters like holes on the streets of the colony. The residents launched another bout of struggle at various forums. The matter reached the district grievances and redressal committee where they argued for a cemented road. Works in 60 per cent of the colony have been accomplished, but a major part of the colony still has large potholes on the roads.



Sonepat poised to become educational hub
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, November 15
The district is set to become an educational hub with the opening of several educational institutes of international standards.

With the opening of a women university, a university of science and technology, initiation of process to set up state-of-the-art Rajiv Gandhi Education City and setting up of the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM), the district is likely to witness an educational boom.

Bhagat Phool Singh Women University at Khanpur Kalan has been set up with an aim to facilitate and promote women in the emerging areas of knowledge like information technology, architecture and design, medical sciences, engineering and technology, etc.

The university will commence its first academic session in April 2008, and according to the registrar of the university, around 6,000 girls from different areas are studying in six institutions on the university campus.

In order to promote technical education and scientific research, Deenbandhu Sir Chhotu Ram College of Engineering, Murthal, has been upgraded to the University of Science and Technology, which will have 10 per cent reservation for local students. In the first year, the university has introduced several new courses.

Rajiv Gandhi Education City, a dream project of the state government, is coming up near Rai. The government aims to develop it as a centre of international education. It had already acquired 2,068 acres of land for this purpose. Local students will be given 25 per cent seat reservation in different courses of higher learning.

Similarly, the NIFTEM, foundation stone of which was laid by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on October 7, will become operational by 2009. It will provide study and research facilities in food technology, business administration, and executive development programmes. The institute is in the process of collaboration with the University of California, Davis, USA; Cornell University, US; and Wageningen University of Netherlands for collaboration in different areas.



Wooing villagers isn’t easy for Chautala

Jhajjar, November 15
The INLD is on the look out for an opportune political issue that could help it in mobilising people against the incumbent government. The recent three-day tour of several villages by former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, failed to make an impression, as was evident in the public meetings in the villages.

Chautala toured about 40 villages falling in the Bahadurgarh and Badli Assembly constituencies during his public contact programme. Former MP from Rohtak Capt Inder Singh and former Bahadurgarh MLA Nafe Singh Rathi, who is also the president of Jhajjar district unit of the INLD, accompanied him.

The response towards his programme was much below expectation, as there were a handful of villagers who were turning up to hear him village after village. This, despite the fact that the local party unit had ensured that a good number of party workers accompanied their leader. They also mingled with the crowd to make the meeting an honourable show.

Chautala, however, started his speech in distinct style; having direct dialogue with the villagers asking about their well-being, followed by inviting their opinion about how they felt about the government. Most of the times, hardcore supporters raised the issues like water and power shortage, price rise, land acquisitions and cursed the Hooda regime. The INLD leaders, however, had to face an awkward situation at Kasar village when the villagers answered that the present government was much better than the earlier INLD government. The situation was controlled after some verbal volleys from both sides.

In his average 10 minutes address, Chautala would remind the people that leaders like Sir Chhotu Ram, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Charan Singh, Karpuri Thakur and Devi Lal had left the Congress because its policies were against the common man. He targeted the Congress by terming it as capitalist. Chautala, however, never forget to promise that he would increase the old age pension to Rs 500.

The former CM’s conspicuous silence on the issues like SYL canal, the Hansi-Butana link canal, law and order or lack of infrastructure and industrialization, indicated that he had a dearth of issues to cater to people. It was quite strange to see a leader like Om Prakash Chautala to enter a village chaupal so quietly and make an exit with uneasy calmness.



Admn gears up for Kapal Mochan fair
Lakhs expected to take dip in holy sarovar
Nishikant Dwivedi
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, November 15
The district administration is busy making preparations for the annual four-day fair at Kapal Mochan in Bilaspur here starting November 21. Over the years, the fair has become a symbol of composite culture as people from all faiths converge in lakhs to take holy dip in the sacred sarovars.

However, the number of devotees has been falling with each passing year. Locals and district officials said at one time the number used to cross 15 lakh, but last year it was less than eight lakh.

Organisers feel that this time the weather is good and officials expect the turnout to cross the one million mark on Kartik Purnima. The main “sanan” will take place on November 24 midnight.

Pilgrims, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pardesh, take dip in the four holy tanks (Kapal Mochan, Rin Mochan, Suraj Kund and the one at the Kapal Mochan gurdwara) and also pay visits to Gau Baccha temple and Kapal Mochan gurdwara.

For small traders, the fair presents an opportunity to do some brisk business. Pilgrims start visiting the place well before time and return only after the rituals, but a significant number of pilgrims stay for a dip on Kartik Purnima. Pilgrims who plan to stay bring quilts, 
blankets, utensils, grocery and even LPG cylinders and gas stoves.

The administration sets up fair price shops in all sectors of the venue. From last year, the administration has started implementing a master plan for the smooth conduct of the fair and it proved successful, claimed district officials.

The importance of Kapal Mochan can be gauged from the fact that its name appears numerous times in the Mahabharata and the Puranas. It has been described as the destroyer of all sins. People believe that by taking dip in the holy sarvoars one could attain salvation and childless women would be blessed with child.

As per Hindu mythology, Kapal Mochan has been the workplace of Maharishi Ved Vyas. It is believed that the Pandavas along with Draupadi visited the place and took dip in the holy tanks to wash off sins they committed by killing their relatives in the epic battle.

According to another Hindu mythology, Lord Rama had visited Kapal Mochan in “Pushpak viman” while returning to Ayodhya after killing Ravana.

The place has great significance for Sikhs as well. Guru Gobind Singh had visited Kapal mochan to wash his shastras (weapons) in the sarvoar after the Bangani war and stayed there for 52 days. His soldiers had also cleaned their weapons and tested them to meet future challenges.

A gurdwara has been built near the Kapal Mochan sarovar in the memory of Guru Nanak Dev, who had also visited this place in 1527 AD. 



Haryanavi lads excel in football
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, November 15
Local boys Manandeep and Vivek Kumar have done India proud by displaying exceptional talent in the recently concluded Asian Football Confederation Group C qualifiers held at Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
Vivek Kumar
Vivek Kumar


The state has very few players who have shown interest in this sport.

In the qualifiers, India’s under-16 football team moved on to final stage along with Iraq from their six-team group.

Manandeep and Vivek played a vital role in team’s victories with the former, a striker, scoring two goals in the qualifiers.

The Indian team, which maintained a clean unbeaten record with four wins and a draw against Iraq, will now play in the finals in October next year.

The other teams that qualified from the eight groups for the final stage are: Yemen, Syria, Iran, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Korea and Australia.

The team came back to India only last week and Manandeep and Vivek went straight to Gurgaon, where they are now representing Haryana in the 44th Junior National Football Championship for the B.C. Roy trophy being played there. The championship will conclude on November 31.

Both Manandeep and Vivek belong to middle class families. While, Manandeep’s mother Paramjit is an officer in state’s public relation department at Jind, Vivek’s father works at a junior-level position in the Railways.

While the state government has been lavishing cash prizes and government jobs to sportspersons from cricket and hockey, it is to be seen whether it gives the same treatment to these lads, who have excelled in football.



Sonia to unveil Surender’s statue
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, November 15
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will address a rally here on November 28, which is being organised to commemorate the memory of the late Haryana Minister Surender Singh.

Minister of state for tourism Kiran Choudhary, widow of Surender Singh, is the convener of the rally, who invited Sonia for the rally, named as “Surender Singh Smriti rally”. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda will preside over it.

Sonia Gandhi will also unveil a statue of Surender Singh here on that day. Sonia’s visit to Bhiwani at the invitation of Choudhary would establish the latter’s supremacy in Congress politics of the district.



Huge funds fail to lift Jind roads
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Jind, November 15
Some of the important roads in the town continue to remain in bad shape, despite the state government allocating huge funds for repairs and reconstruction of the roads.

The government has reportedly sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the construction of roads and bypasses in the district this year. The city roads have also been lacking proper street lighting even though the civic body here has been functioning with an independent budget.

Though the PWD department has repaired several patches and has claimed to have started work on many important projects with an aim to improve the condition of the roads, the local residents have been at the receiving end.

Satyender, a local resident, says motorists have to face a lot of difficulties on the roads starting from Devi Lal Chowk, formerly known as Jawaharlal Chowk, which are full of potholes. He says these roads, including the 3-km long stretch connecting the chowk with Rohtak bypass, Bhiwani road and the Hansi road, have developed huge craters, which have not been repaired for the past four years.

He says driving on these roads is even riskier during nighttime as there are no streetlights.

According to Ravi Kumar, another resident, moving on the roads has become very difficult in the wake of large-scale encroachments on both sides of the roads, mainly by shopkeepers. He says shopkeepers of the auto market (mistri market), located on the Narwana and Safidon roads, have encroached upon the roads, leaving very less space for the commuters.

Alleging that the local civic body has failed to provide basic amenities to the residents, he claims, the state of affairs of the roads, parks and streetlights points to the fact that the municipal council is no more than a helpless and defunct body.

Overall cleanliness and maintenance of the public parks is a far cry, says a shopkeeper of the Palika Bazaar, adding that there is hardly any public toilet in the main market, though the civic body collects huge taxes from the residents.



HCS selection process flawed

The rules governing the appointment of civil judges in Haryana, PCS (Judicial Branch) Rules, 1951, are not being fully complied by the selection committee entrusted with the task of conducting special recruitment to fill 34 posts in the cadre of HCS (judicial branch). Contrary to the rules, the committee permitted final year law students to appear for the exams. Secondly, in lieu of directly holding main examination, it conducted a prelim examination and that too without fixing any qualifying marks and evolving any clear and logical criteria for selection to main examination. All this has resulted in prevalence of ambiguity and uncertainly among the prospective candidates.

Hemant Kumar, Ambala City

South districts neglected

Recently, the state government has decided to set up four institutes, each of film and television; fine arts; design and fashion technology; and professional studies for women; all in Rohtak. These are welcome steps. However, the distribution of universities/ institutions of higher learning in the state is highly skewed. In southwestern region, there are two universities in Hisar, besides a medical college, and one in Sirsa. There are three universities in central region and one university in Kurukshetra to cater to the northern region. But the southern districts of Bhiwani, Mahendergarh, Rewari and Mewat are the most neglected. The students have to go to far off places for higher education. Rewari does not even have a government college. Therefore, I appeal that one central university and one medical and engineering/technology or management university each should be set up in Mahendegarh, Rewari and Mewat districts.

Puran Singh, Nilokheri


Readers, write in

Make Haryana Plus your very own forum and do yourselves and your neighbours a good turn. Here is an opportunity to highlight civic and other public issues, and air your grievances about government negligence and ineffectiveness and the apathy of the officialdom. Send in write-ups, not exceeding 200 words, to Haryana Plus, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh. E-mail: adalat@tribunemail.com





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