Stressed, more Haryanavis embrace death
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, December 6
Increasing mental stress caused by socio-economic and lifestyle changes is driving Haryanavis to resort to committing suicide more than ever before.

According to behavioural experts and leading psychiatrists, the number of suicides and attempted suicides has almost doubled during the past few years. On an average, around 1,600 persons take their own lives in the state annually while around 4,000 survive the suicide attempt.

Police records, however, show a much lower figure because most of the suicides never make it to the police records. Besides, attempted suicides are not reported to the police as family members and well-wishers prefer private hospitals over government hospitals for treatment.

Inquiries from private hospitals reveal that in most cases victims consume insecticides or fumigants. Suicides by other means, including shooting, drowning and throwing oneself in front of train, are, however, on the decline mainly because insecticides and fumigants are easily available.

Psychiatrists say rural women are more prone to suicides than men while in cities men outnumber women. They say domestic violence is the main cause of suicides among rural women. This is because rural women are physically stressed due to farm work and domestic chores and because of rampant domestic violence they break down mentally easily.

Financial stringency is the main cause of suicides among rural men because of shrinking landholdings and rampant unemployment. This explains why Rohtak witnesses the highest number of suicides every year. Landholdings in Rohtak are the smallest in the state.

In the urban areas, more men are prone to suicides because of increasing pressures of changing lifestyles. Failure in examination and business are the two top reasons. Peer pressure to perform in studies is driving urban youth to take the extreme step. Other reasons are unemployment and domestic turmoil.

Psychiatrists say failure in love drives more rural youth to suicide than their urban counterparts because the conservative rural society does not encourage love affairs. Caste differences and other social factors cause unbearable emotional stress among young boys and girls. As against this, such affairs rarely cause emotional stress of that level among the urban youth because of a more tolerant society.

Easy availability of insecticides in villages and fumigants in urban households has not encouraged suicidal tendencies but this factor has affected the manner of taking one’s own life. Doctors say more people now prefer death by consuming chemical poisons rather than jumping into a well or throwing oneself before a running train.

The absence of proper counseling centres in the state is a cause for concern among NGOs and psychiatrists. They say nearly 4,000 persons who survive their attempt to take their own lives are likely to try again unless they are counseled properly. They are of the view that teachers can play a vital role in curbing suicides among youths as they can influence the young minds more than parents, relatives and friends.



Political hoardings dot NH-1
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, December 6
With the state politicians continue to erect hoardings for various political rallies along the NH-1, they continue to defy the directions laid down by the Supreme Court to make national highways safer for motorists.

Instead of initiating any action against the illegally placing of hoardings, the official functionary prefers to remain a mute spectator on the visible violations committed by their political masters.

As yet another felicitation rally is scheduled at Karnal for December 9, which will be organised to celebrate the birthday of Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi and also to honour Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the National Highway-1 is once again marred by hoardings.

In the past, The Tribune had highlighted the nuisance of placing hoardings on the GT Road. Sources said since these publicity materials distract the attraction of the motorists, the courts had strictly objected to the highway nuisance.

Though on occasions the administration acts swiftly while removing hoardings, glow signs etc put up by local traders and shopkeepers, the same machinery turns inert when it comes to political hoardings.

Hoardings and posters erected by various political parties, including the ruling Congress party, give a shabby look to the corridor to North India. State Congress chief Phool Chand Mullana is the chief convener of the forthcoming “Dalit samman rally” to be held at Karnal.

It was found that scores of hoardings had been placed to “motivate” Congress supporters. The hoardings bear the photographs of Baba Sahib Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Sonia Gandhi, Hooda and Mullana himself.

Similarly, the publicity material placed by the supporters of rebel Congress MP Kuldeep Bishnoi for his Janhit rally and other state politicians give a dismal look to the stretch.



HUDA officers rapped for sloppy work
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Competence takes a back seat when it comes to appointing officers for the much sought after jobs of HUDA administrators in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Papers in possession of this reporter show two HUDA administrators posted at two stations in the NCR region came under fire for their sloppy work. While one of them attracted ire of court, the second officer was severely reprimanded recently by his senior officer.

Thoroughly exasperated by the incompetence of one of the two administrators, the additional advocate general (AAG) of Haryana requested the HUDA chief administrator (CA) “to post a new officer at the important station”.

AAG Randhir Singh wrote that during the hearing of a case in the high court here, the Bench observed that the administrator, who was sitting as a quasi-judicial authority to decide the appeal of the petitioner, should not have sought advise from his bosses.

“The Bench, during the course of proceedings, had also put some more queries to the administrator. He was not able to reply and understand these queries which caused much embarrassment to the government,” the AAG wrote.

This particular officer was later transferred but has been given another important assignment.

The other officer is, however, continuing in his post. “I am constrained to send this communication after seeing your style of working for the past six months. It is evident from the proceedings of the review meetings that you come unprepared for meetings. The returns regarding legal cases and other relevant information are not being sent in time,” the CA wrote to him.

The letter added that the administrator forwarded a case regarding no-objection certificate for commercial use of a plot to the headquarters on October 24 “in a clerical fashion”.



Heritage Festival begins today
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A kaleidoscope of colour and revelry, a dash of vigour and enthusiasm and a touch of royalty to every visitor, Pinjore’s second Heritage Festival which begins at the Yadavindra Garders amidst the beating of the dhols and the sound of conch shells gets underway tomorrow evening.

Kick-starting the three-day extravaganza will be a “run for fun” to be held in the morning at Panchkula. Leading the pack will be renowned cricketer Kapil Dev followed by ICL teams, in the city for the on-going ICL tournament. The run will begin from Government College, Sector 1, and conclue at Red Bishop in Sector 1.

The evening will see the inauguration of the Heritage Festival, the brainchild of minister of state for tourism Kiran Chaudhary and being promoted as a part of the ministry’s attempt to put Pinjore on the world map.

Resplendent in their finery, bedecked elephants will greet visitors at the gates of the Yadavindra Gardens to add a dash of royalty at the picturesque Mughal Gardens crafted by Nawab Fidai Khan. With a backdrop of an illuminated Pinjore Gradens, strains of lilting music from bean-baaja, shehnai and sarangi promise to make for a heady mix while vivacious performances of bhangra and gidda will provide a burst of energy in the midst of serenity.

Qawwals, Haryanavi Saang (storytelling in the form of song), Anarkali bazaar with shops housed in shamianas along the formidable walls of the gardens, a palette-tickling food court offering a feast with treats drawn from different parts of India promise a memorable day.

Says Keshni Anand Arora, “We have catered to all tastes and pockets at the Heritage Festival. There will be something to enjoy for everybody. We have competitions in tattooing, painting, slogan-writing, a walk for senior citizens, music and dance for those traditionally inclined, the best of cuisines to enjoy and the beautiful gardens to play host to for those looking forward to quietude amidst the dim.”

The ICL teams and visiting Mayors from different states of India will be visiting the festival. The department is hoping they will serve as ambassadors to spread the word around about this slice of history tucked away in our corner of the world.



‘Hadwara’ bane of Sonepat residents
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, December 6
A hadwara (ground used to dump carcasses) in front of Shani Temple here has become a bane of residents of the surrounding localities in general and of devotees coming to the temple in particular because of the emission of foul smell.

The demand for the shifting of the charnel ground to other place was raised at least three times before the then Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala during his “Sarkar App Ke Dwar” programmes. Though he directed the administration and local civic authorities to do the needful, nothing concrete was done.

Chairman of the local Municipal Council Ashok Chabra said the council had tried its best to secure a remote place adjoining villages for the shifting of hadwara, but on knowing about hadwara, the village panchayats as well as individual landowners refused to sell the land.

“Despite every effort, we did not get the land,” he said and hoped that the council would be able to solve this problem.

Shopkeepers of the area as well as residents of nearby colonies pointed out that because of the hadwara’s location, there is no way to escape from the foul smell.

Though the council had taken a number of steps to improve the charnel ground and its surroundings, these measures failed to provide any relief to the people.



Humane police force in the making
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Karnal, December 6
At the Haryana Police Academy (HTA), Madhuban, a humane police force is in the making - one that is academically inclined, sensitive to public grievances and alive to its social responsibilities.

For the ustads doling out lectures in classrooms and for the recruits learning the ropes of policing, the guiding light comes from Mahatma Gandhi himself. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” is the moving spirit at the academy where 400-odd recruits, boys and girls, are being trained to be catalysts of change and paragons of virtue, upholding the dignity of the uniform they wear.

“We do realise that our policing has come down as a legacy from the British. We want to breakaway from the colonial legacy and move towards democratic policing,” says Dr V.N. Rai, Director, HTA, and Armoured Police (Training), spearheading this transition at the academy.

To facilitate this “makeover” in policing, a completely new policing curriculum has been drafted for the recruits. And, it does not begin with lessons in third degree. In fact, it is called the “samvedi police syllabus” and comprises study of literature as also participation in drama, dance and singing, besides other activities.

“When I came here, I realised that our recruits had a very narrow outlook which would make them misfits in today’s age of communication, computerisation and modernisation when they joined their duties. For a holistic approach and with an intention of inculcating values in them, we worked upon our syllabi and liberally peppered it with activities entailing social responsibility, value-building and expanding their minds horizons,” he explains.

At the academy where khaki rules, while the recruits learn the Indian Penal Code and its applications, investigations and criminal procedures, they are also learning the softer skills of photography, dance and music as also eating healthy and keeping fit.

They have moved on from applying third degree to becoming more consciously awakened citizens who truly care for the public. And, there is an evidence to rest this case. It is mandatory for a recruit to enroll for a social service of his choice after theory classes are over.

So, if a handful of recruits teach autistic children at the campus and the school’s three branches, there are others who are engaged in spreading literacy among children and adults who have never attended school. Still others visit old-age homes or run around helping at senior citizens homes, hospitals and orphanages, with Red Cross activities, destitute schools, women empowerment and others.

“We have tied up with 14 social organisations drawn from diverse fields. All 292 girl recruits of the 68th batch and 2,000 plus boy recruits of the 69th batch, lower school course comprising 390 more in-service policemen. We regularly monitor change in their mindset through questionnaires and the change is very evident at the end of the course,” explains Rai.

As if this is not already enough for the recruits, the academy makes computer learning mandatory and emphasises on inculcating reading habits. “To ensure that recruits read a good book, they are made to submit a precise at the end of their session,” explains S.P. Suman Manjree, also posted at the academy.

After all this, the recruits are supposed to exercise in a well-equipped gym and participate in shramdan (contribution in beautification of the campus). They are working well after the sun goes down and are up at the first crack of dawn for another day, another lesson and new exposure. The academy is a step close to churning out a fresh crop of cops who truly care.



Inside Babudom
KK stands for ‘Kushal Kumar’
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
When K.K Khandelwal was appointed additional principal secretary to the Chief Minister a few months ago, he was asked to look after the implementation of various announcements made by Bhupinder Singh Hooda from time to time.

Hooda felt the need to have an exclusive officer to oversee the implementation of his announcements after he received several complaints that the bureaucracy was delaying the work, which brings a bad name to him. He chose Khandelwal, who had impressed him with his style of functioning, first in the education department and then as the labour commissioner.

Khandelwal was also appointed director, public relations, to look after the publicity of the government. Many of Chief Minister’s advisers were of the view that the amount of good work being done by the government was not being reflected in the media adequately. Perhaps such advisers do not believe that for a government, the absence of bad publicity is as good as good publicity. During its tenure of over two and a half years, the Hooda government has rarely got a bad press.

Khandelwal’s colleagues were sure of one thing right from the day he joined the Chief Minister’s office. No one believed that Khandelwal would look after the implementation of the Chief Minister’s announcements and assurances alone for long. His colleagues felt that it was only a question of time, when he would move to bigger things and start looking after various departments on behalf of the Chief Minister.

Their belief was not misplaced. Within a few weeks, the Chief Minister earmarked a number of departments, the files of which would be put to him through Khandelwal. An officer in the CMO is responsible for studying all files, which come for the Chief Minister’s orders from the departments concerned, and advises his boss regarding what action should be taken on them. Of course, the final authority is the Chief Minister, but the officer advising him on a particular file does have some role in influencing the mind of the political leadership. This explains why officers posted in the CMO are sought to be kept on their right side by other bureaucrats.

The list of the departments being allotted to Khandelwal is increasing. Only yesterday three more departments of public works (buildings and roads), environment and food and supplies were given to him. Sources say some more departments are likely to be given to him.

Before that he was made the commissioner, public relations, also. Thus he is own boss in the department of public relations. No wonder, his colleagues do not call him Krishan Kumar Khandelwal but “Kushal (intelligent) Kumar Khandelwal”.

Meanwhile, HCS officers are still waiting when Hooda would give representation to their service in the CMO.



MDU bids farewell to Dhankar
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, December 6
Finally, R.S. Dhankar laid down his job as Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) vice-chancellor on December 3. Though Dhankar completed his term on September 13, he had been asked by the MDU chancellor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, to continue in the office until an alternate arrangement was made.

As Dhankar continued as a caretaker vice-chancellor after the completion of his term, the MDU campus remained rife with speculations on who would succeed him. There were even rumours of Dhankar getting a second term despite his differences with the powers that be.

As the selectors zeroed in on former Kurukshetra University vice-chancellor R.P. Hooda for the coveted post, the clouds of confusion vanished and Dhankar finally laid down the office. The MDU faculty, students, officials and other functionaries gave a warm sendoff to Dhankar.

Sharing his experiences during three years as MDU VC with The Tribune, Dhankar maintained that his tenure at the university was a satisfying as well as learning experience. “I leave with a sense of achievement,” he maintained.

The former VC asserted that forging international academic linkages was the most worthwhile aspect of his tenure. The university signed MoUs with leading foreign universities, including the University of Massachussets, USA, Brock University and Lakehead University, Canada, and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), Preston (UK). Moreover, a pact was also signed for scientific collaboration with the CEERI (Central Electronics Research Institute), Pilani (Rajasthan), a leading national laboratory.

Moreover, he introduced several job-oriented professional courses and value-added courses. A new faculty of performing and visual arts was created.

Several strategic student-support services components like career guidance and placement cell, alumni association office, international relations office, foreign students bureau, were also set up.

Prof Dhankar said he took several measures for academic uplift and boosting the academic environment of MDU. These measures include restructuring of Ph.D programme, introduction of internal evaluation system at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, enhancement of university research scholarships, introduction of merit scholarships to the toppers of various university teaching departments, new rules for research projects, introduction of lecture series and so on.

Prof Dhankar said he was fully satisfied with what he had been able to do during his tenure and hoped that the university scaled new heights in academics in the time to come.



Polio fails to handicap her studies
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, December 6
In a society where 40 out of every 100 females are illiterate, Poonam, a physically challenged girl from Dhangar village of this district, is braving all handicaps to get her the best of education.

Fatehabad, it may be recalled, is amongst the districts with lowest literacy rate as only 60 per cent of its women population being literate.

According to a survey conducted by, the district ranks at 453 among all districts of the country in terms of number of literates, at 410 in terms of literacy ratio, 450 in terms of male literacy and at 448 in terms of female literacy.

Dhangar, among other villages dominated by conservative rural communities, heads the villages with low literacy rate.

But physical handicap has failed to dampen the spirit of Poonam, who peddles down a few kilometers every day to her school on a tricycle.

Poonam, the eldest among four siblings, is daughter of a marginal farmer of the village.

Due to negligence of her parents to get her two drops of polio vaccine in childhood, Poonam contacted the disease and has been living with 100 per cent physical handicap.

Though her parents are not well off and cannot afford to send their polio-affected daughter to school, Poonam has been resisting all these shortcomings due to a strong urge in her to get the best of education.

She says her physical handicap does cause problems and at one time she even thought of leaving her studies, but then she is reminded of her ambition and that motivated her. Poonam wants to become a teacher after completing her studies.

She says other girls who do not go to school or drop out owing to family pressures should start going to schools as education is very important for girls.

A student of Government Girls High School, Dhangar in Fatehabad district, Poonam says her teachers and fellow students have been very cooperative with her.

Vaneet Kumari, headmistress of her school, says that all schoolteachers take special care of Poonam due to her handicap.

She says that the likes of Poonam inspire other rural girls to continue their studies. She says the government also gives several incentives to physically challenged children, which include scholarships and free books.



Scholarships for war widows
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, December 6
Panipat Foundation, a one-year-old non-profit organisation, floated by a young IAS officer of Haryana cadre, is all set to institute a special scholarship programme for war widows.

The foundation has proposed to give Rs 5,000 each to 11 selected war widows at the initial stage.

Sharing his views about the welfare programme with The Tribune, the patron of the foundation and ADC, Jhajjar, Ajeet Balaji Joshi, termed it as an act of social responsibility.

“It is just to honour those nears and dear ones who laid their lives for the sake of our motherland,” said Joshi.

He said defence persons would be contacted to shortlist needy war widows from different parts of the country.

About another project in the pipeline, he revealed that the foundation would soon offer vocational education to the war widows.

“It all started from last year during my first posting at the historical place of Panipat, which is known as a battleground for fierce history. Lakhs of soldiers were killed in these three battles that had ultimately changed the history of India,” he said.

He added that the main objective of the foundation was to promote Panipat as a prominent tourist place at the national level.

Joshi felt that though the soldiers were paid the customary respects, similar honour should also be forwarded to their widows.

With the curator of Prince Wales Museum, Mumbai, Dr Sadashiv Gorakshkar as the chairman of the foundation, it is being supported by eminent personalities from various walks of the life from Panipat and other places of the 

The foundation managers said once the entire set was thoroughly prepared, the general public might also be roped in to offer their help in fulfilling the task of providing financial scholarships to the war widows.



Citizens’ Grievances
Non-receipt of interest

I have not received the cheque for Rs 750 as interest/dividend for the period October 2006 to March 2007 in respect of HUDCO Infrastructure Bonds Series I (certificate no. 7914, distinctive nos. 241134 to 241143). I have written several letters for the same but got no reply. I request the authorities concerned to look into the matter and release the payment.

Rattan Lal Aggarwal,
 Ambala City

Waiting for result

I was a student of MBA at MMIM, Mullana, during 2004-06. I reappeared in the examination of Business Policy and Strategic Management (CP-301) conducted by Kurukshetra University in November 2006 (roll no: 118256). In May 2007, the result was declared, but my result was withheld by the university on the plea that my internal assessment from the institute had not been received. Though the MMIM said it had already been submitted, I personally took a copy of it to the university, but it did not accept it saying it could only be sent through the institute concerned. The MMIM had again sent the internal assessment. More than six months have passed and I am still to get my result.

Jitender Kochar, Raipur Rani



Deficient services in Mewat
Transport is just another of the lot
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Mewat, December 6
Rekha commences her day by walking more than 5 km, not on the advise of her doctor, but to reach her place of work at Nuh in Mewat district, as no mode of transportation is available in her area or nearby.

"I am working in this centre for the past two years but I don't remember a day when I got some kind of transport to reach the centre."

Similarly, Zakir, who use to travel on the roof of private taxis, says, "I always thank God when I get space in taxis. A number of times, I have to walk regularly for some miles to reach my destination which is very tiring".

He says, "I know it is risky to commute on the roof of taxis, but if I walk several miles daily, I will die of exertion".

This is not only the story of Rekha and Zakir of the Mewat area, but all those who commute from one place to another face similar problems.

Interestingly, in this age of Metro, Mewat people are still waiting for streamlining of basic mode of transportation, which are buses in their district. Surprisingly, for a population of more than 12 lakh, there are only 45 buses plying in the district. The commuters are left at the mercy of private taxis, who are doing a roaring business due to the shortage of public transport.

After talking to a number of commuters it is found that there is no fix timetable of buses, besides there is no bus stop in any part of the district. The worst happens on the days of some government function or a visit of the area by a VIP, as all private taxis are requisitioned by the administration that add to the problems of the commuters.

Sources say recently when Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda visited Hathin block more that 50 girls met him to acquaint and plead about their grievance caused due to the acute shortage of public transport.

Sources in the roadways say at present there are only 45 buses to meet the transport needs of the people of Mewat as compared to requirement of more than 100 buses. The shortage of drivers and conductors is quoted as the main reason for the miserable bus service in the district.

Jaibir Singh Arya, general manager, Haryana Roadways, Gurgaon district, says a proposal for improving the bus service in Mewat has been sent to the transport ministry. It has been demanded that as the population of Mewat has increased manifold, there is need to increase buses in the area. He says there are plans to make Nuh block as the main depot of Mewat which is at present a sub depot and also Ferozpur Zirka be upgraded as sub depot.

Arya says the people of Mewat have been continuously complaining about the shabby bus service in the area and the need to improve it. But this cannot be acceded to unless the proposal sent to the transport department is approved, he adds.



Haryanavi delicacies
Rewri — the pride of Rohtak
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, December 6
A mere mention of rewri, a mouth-watering delicacy of the region, reminds one of the historic town of Rohtak. This winter-special sweet made mainly in Rohtak is popular in many states of the country and even abroad.

While the period between "Janmashtami" and "Basant Panchami" is considered as the peak rewri season, certain festivals like "Lohri" cannot be imagined without it in this part of the country.

Rewri and its other forms like gajjak, patti, samosa, khasta, shalimar, khoya chakki and malai tikki derive their flavour from sesame seed (till), sugar, gur, cardamom, kewda, clove, desi ghee and other ingredients. The process of making it is quite arduous and requires a lot of patience.

The story of the origin of rewri is also equally interesting. Perhaps very few people who have a strong liking for the sweet are aware of its origin.

According to the old-timers engaged in rewri business, a Mohammedan named Gemini was the pioneer in introducing the sweet in the region. This Rohtak-based man used to make rewri at his home and sell it as a street-vendor.

This was in the beginning of the 20th Century. Gradually, this delicious and good-for-health sweet became popular among the local residents. A local trader, Lala Shivnath Rai, sensed a big opportunity and learnt how to make rewri from Gemini. In 1912, Rai opened a rewri shop in the Kewalganj locality of the town. This shop, now famous worldwide, initially employed members of the Saini community for preparing the sweet. Many of them started their own business after learning the process.

Encouraged by the tremendous response, a number of rewri-making units and shops came up not only in Rohtak, but also in the neighbouring townships and other districts and states.

"The mushrooming of shops, coupled with mechanisation of rewri-making process, has had an adverse impact on the purity of the preparation. The shrinking winter season has also hit the rewri business," maintains Dharampal Kataria, who is into the business since long. He adds that to fulfill the increasing demand, quality is being compromised for quantity.

Moreover, the phenomena like shrinking winters due to global warming and the availability of a wide variety of sweets and other eatables have also come into account during the recent years.

Nonetheless, the taste for rewri has stood the test of time and continues to grow with each passing year.



Draft lists of BPL families prepared

Chandigarh, December 6
The district-wise draft lists of families living below the poverty line (BPL), based on door-to-door census conducted in all villages by the Haryana Ex-services League, have been finalised for placing them before each gram sabha in the state.

Stating this here yesterday, a spokesman of the Haryana Rural Development Department said these draft lists were to be got approved from the respective gram sabhas. Special meetings had already been convened between December 7 and 17 in all districts of the state.

He said these lists had been sent to all deputy commissioners for display at panchayat headquarters for perusal of public in general.

The number of BPL families in the state was closely related to 6.70 lakh, as estimated by the Planning Commission.

He said with a view to ensuring complete transparency, wide publicity had already been made by the district-level functionaries before the conduct of meetings of the gram sabha.

The final BPL lists would likely be adopted by the district rural development agencies with effect from January 1. — UNI 



Manas Drain turns into nullah
Satish Seth

Kaithal, December 6
Manas Drain, which was constructed on the northern side of the town to save it from floods, has been converted into a dirty nullah.

Besides, it has become a mosquito breeding centre and a dumping ground for garbage and waste municipal water.

Residents were very happy when the drain was constructed in 1989 as it carried excess rainy water to the main Kaithal drain.

Initially, the irrigation department maintained it but after a few years it lost its status as a drain.

The authorities failed to check the inflow of wastewater and garbage and with the passage of time it turned into a nullah.

Polythene bags flowing in this drain has aggravated the situation. Wastewater of many residential colonies falls into this drain.

Due to apathy of departments concerned, the drain has become a great health hazard. The residents of the town blame the civic and public health authorities for the present situation.

The drain was distilled on some occasions in the past by the public health department when The Tribune and other papers highlighted its negative effects on the environment.

But the departments concerned have failed to find a permanent solution to this problem.

The continuous stink that emanates out of the drain has added to the woes of residents of Sector 20 of HUDA, Radha Swami Colony, Rajindra Colony, Employees Colony, Nank Puri Basti, Arjan Nagar, Lepers Colony and other residential areas.

The proposed Sector 21 of HUDA, which is supposed to have all civic amenities, will also touch this drain and some portion of land acquired for this sector is surrounded by overflowing dirty water of this drain.

XEN, public health, Kaithal, K.K. Verma said the drain was distilled in March and would distilled again in March 2008.

He said many small drains of Municipal Council, which at present fall into this drain, would be connected with the main sewer line, which was being constructed along the existing Kaithal-Patiala bypass, and through this main line water would be carried to under construction sewer plant on the Manas Road.

Residents said the government should take immediate steps to save people from the adverse effects of this stinking drain, as it had become a big health hazard over the years.



‘Save Stray Cow’ needs a saviour
Sushil Manav
Our Correspondent

Fatehabad, December 6
“Save Stray Cow”, a project initiated by some social activists with the help of authorities here, has run into rough weather due to lukewarm response from social organisations and the alleged indifferent attitude of the municipal authorities.

The project was started in September this year after some local residents, including Ramesh Sachdeva, Sanjay Batra and Sat Pal Arora, took an initiative to provide shelter to stray cattle.

These social activists constituted an organisation, “Gau Raksha Samiti”. Initially, they found ample support from the district authorities and some senior officers like city magistrate Satish Jain.

The authorities also provided a piece of land situated on the Bighar road for the construction of a cowshed. Some local philanthropists also came forward to provide financial help to the samiti.

The volunteers of the organisation would go to the town in search of stray cows and bring them to their cowshed. But from the very beginning, the volunteers found that there were more bulls than cows on the roads.

When a sizeable number of animals assembled in the shed, they were flagged off to other gaushalas in Fatehabad or surrounding villages. While gaushalas accepted cows with glee, none came forward to accept bulls.

Now, bulls outnumber cows in the cowshed, which has become a fighting ground for the animals. With the passage of time, the enthusiasm of the volunteers and well as social organisations started waning away. Now, the situation has arrived that social organisations are not very keen to associate with the project.

The boundary wall of the cowshed, which was allegedly poorly constructed by the local municipal authorities, has given way due to impact of fighting between bulls.

The volunteers are peeved at the attitude of the municipal authorities, whose response, they say, has been lackluster.

The volunteers allege that it is the duty of the municipal authorities to solve the stray animals problem, but it has not even extended a helping hand to the samiti.



Rewari villages, too, not well-connected
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, December 6
Thousands of residents of over 50 out of 410 villages of the district have been facing hardships due to the non-availability of bus service in their villages.

These include Tihara, Shahpur, Naichana, Nangal Teju, Nangal Shahbazpur, Teekla, Majri, Panwar, Pranpura, Anandpur, Rasiawas, Odhi, Sanjahrpur and Mohammadpur villages in the Bawal area; Jhal, Juddi, Birhor, Nathera, Shahadat Nagar, Kheri Nangal and Nehrugarh in the Kosli area; Kohard, Bharangi, Mumtazpur, Khurshid Nagar, Bahu, Jholri, Bawwa, Karoli and Bahala in the Nahar area; Chillarh, Karawara Manakpur and Rohrai in the Jatusana area; Bitodi, Nandha, Dhani Kolana, Cheeta Dungra and Ahrod in the Kund area; and Ramgarh, Bhagwanpur, Budana, Budani, Meerpur, Gokalpur, Tatarpur, Sunaria, Malahera, Dhakia and Khatavali villages in the Dharuhera area of the district.

While numerous Haryana Roadways buses as well as over 30 buses of cooperative societies have been plying regularly on various rural routes in the district, almost all these villages stand deprived of bus services. It is all the more distressing that though these villages have approach roads that are linked to one or the other main rural road of the area concerned, yet buses keep away from these villages.

Notwithstanding repeated representations made by the panchayats of several villages to the higher authorities, nothing positive has emerged till date.

Under such circumstances, the hapless residents of these villages have to travel by overloaded tempos, maxi cabs and other private vehicles in utter disregard of their personal safety and convenience.

The situation becomes more troublesome when villagers have to take some patient to a city clinic in emergency and more so at odd hours.

The non-availability of bus service is also proving detrimental to female education as a number of parents do not have the ways and means to send their daughters to senior secondary schools and colleges at far off places.



Collecting old weapons his passion
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Jind, December 6
Arms and weapons have always charmed the humanity, be it a matter of safety or a mark of status and rank of a person in a defence set up. The weapons have also been a record of history, depicting the brave side of soldiers and power of any regime.

If an automatic rifle like AK 47 could catch the fancy of youngsters, old and dilapidated weapons like swords could also make a person addicted to its charm.

Dev Raj Sirohiwal, a resident of Urban Estate here, is one such person who has been in news for his unique interest. Fond of collecting old and ancient weapons, he has been able to set a record in the region by donating over 200 pieces of antique swords and arms to various museums in the state. He recently donated about 182 swords and similar weapons dating back to several hundreds years.

Employed in the public relations department of the state government, Sirohiwal has been working overtime to procure adequate record of ancient weapons and its role in the lives of common man in Haryana and other parts of the country in various periods.

Kurukshetra University has already started documentation work of the weapons kept in Darohar Haryana Sanghrahalya. This will help in adding a new aspect to the military and armed history of the region, claimed an official.

Sirohiwal developed this interest after he took up a burnt shell used in the 1971 war in Jammu and Kashmir. Claming that his interest became a passion that was hardly liked by his family members, including his wife, as he used to spend a lot on acquiring old weapons. While the total value of such weapons could be several lakhs, he decided to donate nearly all weapons to the newly set up museums in Kurukshetra, Jind and Panipat.

According to Sirohiwal, the most decent weapons had been the swords of ‘Taroari’ make. He said these were used in wars that took place in the northern part of the country in 12th century. One such sword was used in the battle between Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Mohammad Gauri in 1192 AD.

It is claimed that the one of the swords was used by Begum Razia Sultan, the ruler of Delhi between 1240 and 1242 AD, and it is one of the most unique weapons as it is just 1.5 ft long. This weapon is made of “damas” iron and it was prepared with a special technique with the foundry temperature of up to 1200 degrees Celsius.

The staff weapon of Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi used in the first war of Independence in 1857 is also present in the collection. It is a matter of fact that the shape and size of the swords and royal weapons kept changing with time.

The sword had a length of about 42 inches about 1,000 years ago. Later, the length was reduced to about 24 inches. A royal sword from Britain depicts the power and authority of the Buckingham Place and it could be used by the high and mighty only. Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, is stated to be last person to have used this sword.

The most famous weapon used in the country is ‘Sirohi’ sword, whose history dates back to over 1,000 years. These swords, known for toughness, were used by Moghul kings.

“Victorinex”, a dagger with insignia of the English Crown, is another unique weapon present here.

After selling five swords for Rs 80,000 in 2000-01, Sirohiwal decided to donate about 18 such weapons to the museum set up in Panipat by the Panipat Yudh Samarak Samiti. He also donated about 27 such arms to the museum set up in Jind this year.

Sirohiwal’s collection includes include 900-years-old Teg Khanda Afghani talwar, 600-years-old Bhala Mughalia (javelin), 800-years-old Khanda Talwar Irani, katar shermar of Razia Sultan, janghi gola (shell) of Moghul period, Royal sword of Jind state, Sirohi swords, Queen Victoria salute sword, French sword royal, Jafran kulahri (axe), nagani sword, European arrow, hathi ankush (rod to control elephants), Russian talwar, Hansi talwar and Morya sword.



Ambala wakes up to herbal parks
Suman Bhatnagar

Ambala, December 6
The district, which is generally known for science apparatus and mixers, will now be acknowledged for its herbal parks.

The state government along with various agencies is developing as many as six herbal parks in the district. One big herbal park is being developed between Ambala City and Ambala Cantt close to Senangar. The Army has provided around 34 acres of land adjoining Air Force station, which was lying unused for the past several years.

A few years back, the Army had planted some saplings there to get it beautified but it could not proved affective. Now, it has handed over the land to the state forest department, which has initiated steps to develop a herbal park there. Besides enjoying morning and evening walk in the park, the residents could relish rich varieties of herbal and medicated plants.

A similar park has been developed in Ambala City near the Officer’s Colony on five acres of land. Various herbal plants like ashwgandha, aak, sarpgandha, akarkera, brahmbooti can be found here. The department has also printed details of medicated plants on a board and its use in various diseases.

The administration has planned to develop three herbal parks one each in Ghel, Mandore and Kersri villages. Divisional forest officer Jag Mohan Sharma, who is taking keen interest in developing these parks, says similar parks will be developed in Narangarh and other parts of the district.

Some of the educational institutions, who are inspired from this new venture, are developing herbal parks in their establishments. Besides, there are a number of progressive farmers in the district who have been growing herbal crops for additional revenue.



International venue in blink of an eye
Gopal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 6
Thanks to the Essel group-launched Indian Cricket League in November end, Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula can be dubbed as an international cricket venue, that too in the blink of an eye. Barely two months ago, the stadium resembled any other cricket venue situated in some remote district lying in disuse. Not a Test match or an ODI, the venue was not deemed fit to host even a first class game like Ranji Trophy match.

This was untill the Essel group had not set its eyes on the decrepit venue situated on the Panchkula-Shimla highway. Its promixity to Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula and Zirakpur, said to the fastest growing township in Punjab, and the legendary “Haryana Hurricane” Kapil Dev being the son of the soil could be the factors that convinced the ICL bigwigs to develop Tau Devi Lal Stadium as a cricket venue on par with any other international cricket venue.

Who would have thought barely a couple of months ago that legends like Brian Lara, Inzaman-ul Haq and some of the biggest names in cricket like Chris Cairns, Craig McMillan, Lance Klusener, Abdul Razzak, Marvan Atapattu, Marvyn Dillon, et al would be seen competiting with intensity and zeal alongwith some of the best Indian domestic talent at the stadium.

“It was a challenge for us. We put in our best efforts, galvanised men and the latest machinery, toiled hard and a venue fit enough to host so many internatonal stars was ready in a record period of time,” Ashish Kaul, Essel Group’s executive vice-president, revealed. With the move having the support of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, it took hardly a month to transform it as a decent cricket venue.

“The baby having been delivered, the skeptics proved wrong, things are only going to look up from here,” Kaul revealed.

A visit to the stadium just one day before the start of the mega event showed feverish activity going on to make the stadium fit for the 17-day mega event. A huge crane was erecting the last of the six flood light poles on the perephery of the stadium and big patches of fresh grass were being embedded on near the boundary area as well on the area outside to make the park lush green.

An international cricketing match has not been played in Haryana in the recent past. This is not for complete lack of stadium good enough to host a match. Nahar Singh Stadium in Faridabad has hosted one-day matches in the past. Under government control and now lying in disuse since long, the Haryana Cricket Association with Ranbir Singh Mahendra at the helm chose Chandigarh as the venue for the one-day against world Champions Australia this October. A lot of money having gone into getting the Chandigarh Stadium fit for an international match, Mahindra revealed after the match that the HCA, whenever it gets the next match on the basis of rotation policy, will prefer to stage it at Chandgarh.

The HCA has invested crores in getting ready a cricket stadium near Rohtak. But reports say that venue has been developed as a training facility for budding cricketers and not as a place where international matches would be held in near future as the stadium is situated good 20 km away from Rohtak in Lalhi village. There being no five star hotel or air travel facility nearby — both mandatory stipulations for a venue to host a Test match or an ODI — the stadium is as good as ruled out as a venue fit to host an international game. There is a stadium in Gurgaon which has hosted only first-class games.

With the ICL in the midst of staging a gala event successfully, Panchkula is set to be a favourite cricket venue in Hayana. The project concerning four-laning of the road connecting Panchkula and Zirakpur and further proposed extention of the road up to Pawanoo could well be a blessing in disguise for Tau Devi Lal Stadium.

With the ICL organisers having grandiose plans for the stadium and planning better infrastructure, better matches having better star cast, better days are ahead for Tau Devi Lal Stadium as a cricket venue. 



Registration of society flats
Owners say move defies group housing logic
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
HUDA’s decision to secure registry of individual flats by society owners has stirred a hornet’s nest in the state and among residents of the housing societies.

On a warpath against this move, representatives of housing societies maintain that the demand for getting flats registered amounts to harassment and is against the very movement of group housing. On the other hand, the HUDA authorities are adamant about levying these charges failing which punitive action would be initiated against flat owners and office-bearers of societies after December 14.

“The societies were allotted land by HUDA under a special scheme floated for the cooperative group housing society registered under the Haryana Cooperative Society Act. The main feature of the scheme was that the developed sites would be allotted to the societies on a no-profit-no-loss basis,” says S.K. Jain, a member of the joint action committee formed by GHS residents, to fight against the “injustice” by HUDA.

The office-bearers of the societies maintain that the bylaws of the society were duly approved by the registrar, cooperative society, Haryana, and the same were forwarded to HUDA, which allotted the land.

“They did not mention anything about registry at the time of floating the scheme and the allotment of land. Nothing was even mentioned while issuing the completion certificate or at the time of the conveyance deed. HUDA has suddenly burdened the salaried class with huge amounts to be deposited as registry money,” says Sushil Goyal, another member of the committee comprising society representatives of Panchkula and Gurgaon.

Moreover, the conveyance deed of land is signed in favour of he societies concerned and the necessary fee has been paid to the government. We are also depositing the transfer fee of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 depending upon the area of the flat as per their policy. HUDA has accepted this transfer of flats but the issuing of a public notice amounts to cheating, the society members reason.

Even as members of various societies approach the Chief Minister seeking reprieve, HUDA is gearing up to charge, with the deadline of December 14 for registry of flats fast approaching.

Adopting a divide-and-rule policy to tackle the growing unrest, sources in HUDA said the owners who had bought their flats in resale would be targeted first for the recovery of registry fee. The authorities have clearly stated that all flats are covered under the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act, 1983.

Actively involved with the affairs of the societies, local Congress leader Tilak Kataria stated that the government should relent and reconsider its decision to levy registry fee from flat owners since the Chief Minister was extending benefits to all classes.

“These flats belong to the salaried class which has taken loans to pay for the construction of their homes. The government should not and cannot expect them to pay huge amounts just like that,” he remarked.

For the time, the society owners are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping for the Chief Minister’s intervention before HUDA gets cracking.



Bishnois face daunting task ahead
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, December 6
With Rohtak’s Janhit Rally behind them and a new political outfit Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) in front of them, Kuldeep Bishnoi and Bhajan Lal find themselves at the beginning of a long nerve-wrecking political journey ahead.

The Rohtak rally has proved a double-edged sword for its organisers. It will impact them in both positive and negative ways.

First the positives: The rally has succeeded in projecting Bishnoi as a chief ministerial candidate. This is no mean a milestone for him personally. Before he took up cudgels for himself in his father’s name, Kuldeep Bishnoi was just a promising upstart. Post rally, he has changed that although it is too early to guess how serious a contender he would prove to be ultimately.

The run up to the rally has helped the former chief minister’s younger son create pockets of support throughout the state. A year ago, Bishnoi’s base was limited to the Hisar-Bhiwani belt. But he has come a long way since then. As an individual he can now claim presence in almost every constituency. Again, it remains to be seen how much of this presence will be reflected on the muster rolls of his new political party.

On the downside, the father-son duo has not been able to create a dent in the Congress as they had been claiming. Contrary to Bhajan Lal’s claim, no new faces other than those who have been backing them from the beginning were present at the rally. This has surely disappointed his ardent supporters though they still claim that the absence of new faces is just a tactic.

Bishnoi’s farcical resignation has certainly taken some of the sheen off his conscious projection of himself as a “fighter”. Clearly, this is a ruse to take his rural audience for a ride on the one side and to save his Lok Sabha membership for the time being on the other.

It is evident that he wants the Congress to throw him out so he can retain his official status for few more months. Besides, a resignation in June would mean no byelection from Bhiwani parliamentary constituency because the Election Commission normally disfavours a byelection if the House has only about a year to go.

However, Bhajan Lal does not have any such compulsion. He will be prepared to face a byelection from Adampur, as he is confident of a win from there even if the whole government machinery is pitted against him.

Hypotheses apart, the biggest task the Bishnois face post rally is keeping their new found support intact. After maintaining political hype at the peak levels all these months, the rally has provided their admirers a sudden catharsis that has left them elated yet idle. The Bishnois have to find several ways to maintain some hype over the next months lest the supporters lose interest. This will not be easy.

The human resource managers for the Haryana Janhit Congress face a daunting task too. Leaving the slogan-shouting admirers aside, what the new outfit has on its hands by way of human capital is mostly former ministers and legislators who are where they are hoping to find a ticket to ride during the next Assembly election. They can prove to be a great nuisance in the long run though in the short run they come handy for the Bishnois.



‘Rohtak ki chaudhar’ remains intact
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, December 6
The historic town of Rohtak has had a unique identity of being the political capital of Haryana. Be it the reign of legendary farmer leader Devi Lal or tough taskmaster Bansi Lal, this town has always remained a hot spot of hectic political activity.

Though the power in Haryana has largely been shared by Sirsa-based Devi Lal’s clan, Hisar-based Bhajan Lal and Bhiwani-based Bansi Lal, Rohtak has been the political hub ever since the state came into existence.

The town had a reason to cheer when local leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda took over the reins of the state in 2005. “Rohtak ki chaudhar” was considered a major achievement by the local residents as Hooda was made the Chief Minister.

Hooda got a shot in the arm when his son was elected Lok Sabha MP from the Rohtak constituency. To strengthen their hold over their home electorate, the Hoodas have launched a slew of developmental projects in the town. Perhaps as fallout, the Opposition has been making all-out efforts to make its presence felt in the Chief Minister’s hometown, which also happens to be the Jat heartland of the state.

The most recent instance was the Janhit rally organised by disgruntled former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal and his rebel MP son Kuldeep Bishnoi. The other two opposition parties, the BJP and the INLD, cannot afford to overlook the town in the prevailing scenario.





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