Treading flowery way to millionaire club
Ramandeep Singh
Tribune News Service

Karnal, December 20
Dutt Flower Farm, 20 km from here on the NH-1, is a glowing example of what can be achieved in the field of horticulture with farsighted vision, hard work and proper planning and implementation.

When farmers are reluctant to give up traditional forms of agriculture despite meagre remuneration and numerous other difficulties, Aloke Dutt, owner of the flower farm, took a gamble 25 years ago and is now reaping the fruits of a decision that has succeeded spectacularly.

Dutt, at present, is probably the largest producer of chrysanthemum (goldaudi) in the country. His farm is spread over 30 acres and he grows 40 different varieties of the flower, though he has the capability to grow 400 different varieties of the flower.

“Chrysanthemum is the second most popular flower in the world after rose. It has a vase life of three weeks, which is more than any other flower,” he says

Dutt says yellow and white colours constitute about 60 per cent of chrysanthemum sold in the market. “Our main market is New Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh. Though we get orders from numerous other cities too.”

He says he moved here from Jalandhar in 1989, as he wanted to be near New Delhi, his main market.

“Though I started growing flowers way back in 1980, Jalandhar was not the ideal place to sell the produce as demand in the city as well as surrounding areas was lukewarm. So I decided to shift here,” Dutt says. Known locally as “chrysanthemum king”, Dutt and his team of helpers toil from 7 am to 2 am everyday. “I sleep in the afternoon” he says.

This hard work has its rewards. The annual production of seedlings on his farm is nearly 50 lakh. He says he even consults pundits about the auspicious dates of marriages so that he plans his crops accordingly. “The demand for my flowers is huge during marriage season. So I time the harvest according to that.”

He says in October and November he sells flowers to the tune of Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000 every day. “I earn Rs 70,000 to Rs 4 lakh per acre per annum,” says a proud Dutt. Compared to wheat/paddy crop this figure is mind-boggling.

“I don’t understand why people say farming does not pay these days. I have been in this business for 25 years and I can’t even think of doing anything else,” he says, adding, “Farmers have to diversify if they want to earn handsomely. The days of earning healthy profits from paddy/wheat are well over”.

The horticulturist says future farming will require different kinds of skills and only farmers who are educated and well conversant with latest technologies will succeed.

“Tomorrow’s farmer will be an MBA. Farming is a paying proposition and if done creatively and with commitment it can be the best option for young and educated farmers,” he says, adding, “My son who is doing MBA is keen to join me here. What more can I say? This shows that if farming is made attractive more and more youth will opt for it.”

According to Dutt, the main problem faced by horticulturists is the lack of flower markets in the country.

“Our climate is very conducive for the growth of flowers but selling them is a problem. The government cries hoarse that farmers should diversify but it is not providing adequate infrastructure for those who are into other forms of agriculture,” rues Dutt.



Changing course of Markanda
Farmers losing fertile land
Rahul Dass
Tribune News Service

Ambala, December 20
The gradual yet steady change in the course of the Markanda is a matter of concern for the farmers who own fields along its banks.

The Markanda, which originates from Himachal Pradesh, flows through Ambala district before entering Kurukshetra at Shahabad. The river witnesses heavy flow, particularly during the period of torrential rains in the upper catchment area.

Over the years, the Markanda has been changing its course and it has led to a situation where farmers have lost fertile land to the river. The change in the course takes place in two ways. One, the riverbank shifts from both sides in which one side gains while the other loses land to the river. In the second way, the bank gobbles up land on both sides in which case both sides lose land.

Farmers having land along the riverbanks are distraught over the changing course of the Markanda. While lands along the riverbanks were earlier not preferred except for setting up of industries, in the recent years such lands have also began to command significant premium. This has led to the farmers losing out on agricultural produce from the land as well losing its commercial value.

There are several instances of farmers who have lost land to the changing course of the Markanda. Yashpal Singh of Hardi village has lost 3.75 acres while Raj Kumar Singh of Ghelri village has lost around 7 acres.

There are other farmers like Rajpal Singh of Harda village and Ranbir Singh of Shaila village who have already lost land to the river and more land is being lost every year. Rajpal Singh has already lost 2.75 acres to the Markanda and his another 12 acres is facing threat.

Similarly, Ranbir Singh has already lost 6.5 acres and his remaining 2.5 acres is also facing constant threat.

Farmers state that the Haryana government has turned a blind eye towards their plight. They observe that despite repeated requests to the government, no action has been initiated.

A few years back, an ambitious plan had been envisaged during the tenure of the then Chief Minister Bansi Lal. The plan was to develop embankment along the river so that the farmers did not lose land to the changing course. The embankment was especially useful during the period when floods take place.

In villages like Tandwal, Subka and Pasiala work had been started and stones were put up as embankment. But the work was not carried out for the entire stretch of the river. Resultantly, a large number of farmers remained left out from the benefit of having an embankment to protect their fields.

Since the lands along the riverbanks become unsuitable for sowing of traditional crops like paddy and rice, these are utilised for producing vegetables. Also, some farmers have tried to plant eucalyptus trees in an attempt to stop the changing river course.



New Year hope for school dropouts
Polytechnic courses from Jan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Informal skill development programmes will start in government polytechnics for school dropouts from January in the state.

Technical education minister A.C. Chaudhry has said vocational training to 50,000 persons would be imparted in the informal sector during the 11th plan period under the community college or community development scheme.

The courses would be offered as per the requirements of the present day industry. Fundamental courses for the development of personality and communication skill would be the integral part of each and every course.

The courses would be clustered in such a way so as to enable the students to have an opportunity for upward mobility and after achieving certain credit points, they would be considered as eligible to take up the option of lateral entry in conventional diploma courses.

He said a proper campaign for the awareness of community polytechnic courses among masses would be initiated. The initially proposed courses included garment manufacturing, beauty culture certificate courses in core hardware, certificate course in basics electronics engineering, motor winding, electrician, auto mechanic,construction, multitask technician, DTP and retail management.

Chaudhry said in the present changing scenario, equipping the younger generation with skill development was becoming highly imperative. With the ever growing industrial activities and shrinking land holdings, these employable training to youth would make them valuable citizens. The budget provision of Rs 50 lakh in the current financial year had already been provided for this purpose.

He said in addition to the conventional engineering courses, stress would also be laid on the non-engineering courses.



Pharma units desert Faridabad
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 20
The drug policy of the union government and the apathy of the Haryana government has allegedly marginalised the local pharmaceutical industry, which ranked among the top in the region.

The gradual shrinkage in the sector has led to negative effect on the social sector as a large number of employees have lost their jobs.

The drug policy, implemented two years back, included the pharmaceutical industry of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir in the zero excise duty fold. This was done with a view to boost development in these states.

But it proved to be nemesis of the pharmaceutical industry in Haryana, especially Faridabad, as the units started shifting to these states, mainly Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, to avail the benefit of tax holiday. There were about 50 pharmaceutical units operational here. But now about 35 have shifted their base. Only about 10 are operational that, too, on a reduced scale. While some units have winded up completely, some are waiting to be closed, as the owners are looking for buyers for their infrastructure.

According to industry sources, the new policy is discriminatory, as it has injected an uneven level playing field in this sector. Medicines produced in Haryana continue to attract 16 per cent excise duty while producers in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir have head start on profits.

Also, the new policy has introduced a new formula for calculating excise duty. Earlier, it was calculated on ex-factory, which means on the price of the product cleared from the factory gate. As per the new dispensation, it is calculated on nearly half the amount of MRP. As a result, the impost has increased and with value added tax the regime has broken the back of the manufacturers.

Moreover, the government has implemented rescheduled “basic plant schedule (M)”. This means that the existing units will have to expand their operational area. The industry view is that the problem with this scheme is that the units were set up several years ago. With over congestion they do not have extra available space, or area to purchase and expand. Even if some have they will have to go in for change in land use (CLU), which requires new and heavy investments.

The demand of the industry is that Haryana should either reduce the rate of excise duty or declare some part of the state as excise duty-free zone.



Six yrs after HSIIDC took charge
Development still eludes Rai village
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, December 20
Though Rai village in the district was adopted by the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development (HSIIDC) around six years back for its all-round development, the villagers are dissatisfied with the works initiated so far.

About 500 acres of fertile agriculture land of the village was acquired by the state government in 1994 for setting up a world-class vegetable and fruit market. At that time, the villagers appreciated the move keeping in view that the market would benefit the farmers of Haryana and other states in general and of the district in particular in getting remunerative prices for their produce.

However, the government sold the acquired land to the HSIIDC for developing it as an industrial estate. But when the villagers opposed this move, the HSIIDC authorities promised to adopt the village for its all-round development.

As per promise, the village was to be provided sewer and drinking water pipelines and electricity lines from the industrial area, but all this is yet to be fulfilled. Moreover, with the rapid growth of industries in the area, the villagers are forced to bear air and water pollution of the industries, the villagers alleged.

Village sarpanch Ram Kanwar Tyagi informed that the HSIIDC had laid the sewer and drinking water pipelines more than four years back, but it had so far not been put to use. Moreover, the laying of the pipelines had damaged the concrete streets of the village causing inconvenience to the residents, he added.

However, J.S. Jolly, AGM of the HSIIDC, said the corporation had already initiated the development works and would concentrate to complete these works speedily. He also blamed the village panchayat for not cooperating in completion of the works.



Panipat war memorial finds no takers
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Uggrakheri (Panipat), December 20
Owing to the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned towards the historical Kala Amb, a memorial raised in the reminiscence of the warriors of the battles of Panipat, has failed to become a tourist destination.

One has to travel on potholed 7-km stretch from the GT road on the heavily crowded Sanauli road with no reliable means of transportation to reach the site. As the local authorities have failed to popularise the site, visitors also find it difficult to locate the place.

District officials, too, admit that no serious effort had been made to exploit this tourist spot. Only a few factory labourers or localities visit here on weekends, say the attendants here.

Inaugurated on August 9, 1992, by the then Haryana Governor Dhanik Lal Mandal, initially the memorial was maintained by the state archeological department and later it was looked after by the state tourism department.

For the past few years, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had taken over the memorial.

It is believed that in the Third Battle of Panipat, the elder son of Peshwa, Vishwa Rao, was killed, which disheartened the Marathas that led to their defeat. Almost 70,000 Marathas were killed in the battle on January 14, 1761.

It is stated that a mango tree on this battlefield was soaked in the blood of the Marathas. Subsequently, the colour of the mango tree turned black when it dried up and the area came to be known as Kala Amb.

An influential person of the area had used the wood of Kala Amb to make two doorways. One of the doorways was presented to Queen Victoria on her arrival in India in 1903.

The second door was kept at Victoria Memorial Hall, Karnal, now known as Gandhi Memorial Hall.

In 2001, this doorway was brought back to Panipat and displayed at the Panipat Museum to perpetuate the memory of the Marathas.

But a visit to this historical place reveals the sorry state of affairs. In the absence of any expert at the site, class IV employees work as guide.

The poorly displayed photographs of archeological sites at the exhibition hall lack the proper noting about their historical significance etc.

Though the complex is a protected monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, its maintenance leaves much to be desired. Defacing of the engravings poses another set of problems.

A district official says the main reason that turns off tourists is the security, particularly of women. Hooligans from the neighbouring villages pass lewd remarks at women. At times, scuffles have been reported between the visitors and the rural youths over eve teasing.

Absence of facilities like drinking water and cafeteria, too, keep the visitors away. More than 24 insect-infested “karanj” trees cry for immediate attention. A water channel without drainage system in the heart of the lawn is not filled with fresh water for years, sources say.



Chak De fails to lift cause of hockey... and its players
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Rania (Sirsa), December 20
“Chak De India” has created ripples all over the country and has awakened the conscious of the powers-to-be towards the need for treating hockey players at par with the players of other sports. After all they, too, work hard to win medals and trophies for the nation. However, the magic created by the film is yet to materialise for the real heroes, the international hockey players, who still seem to be standing at the fag end of the priority list of the Indian government.

A classic example can be found in Sant Nagar town of the district, about 42 km from here. The town has produced five international hockey players. However, both players as well as the town have remained bereft of the facilities and the credit they deserve. These players are not given enough weightage by the government about their careers and future while the cricketers bask in glory and rake in moolah.

Sardar Singh (23), a member of the Indian hockey team who was also a part of the team which won the Asia Cup in Chennai this year, his brother Didar Singh (25) and three others players, Ajmer Singh, Didar Singh and Harpal Singh, who, too, have played for India, hail from the town.

“Sardar Singh is living in a rented accommodation in Chandigarh along with his brother Didar Singh. Both are preparing for the PHL league scheduled to commence from December 20. I am happy that both my sons have reached this level and have played for India. However, all national and international players should be treated equally. We have been running from pillar to post requesting the government that Sardar be recruited in the police force like the way cricketer Joginder Singh has been honoured,” said Gurnam Singh, father of Sadar and Didar, while talking to The Tribune.

“We welcome the decision of the Haryana government which had appointed cricketer Joginder Sharma as DSP in recognition of his work. Similarly, our son, too, should be considered,” he added.

“None of the hockey players from our town have ever been rewarded for his hard work by giving him a respectable job by the government,” he added.

“We spent Rs 40,000 on hiring vehicles to meet those who assured us help in meeting the Chief Minister regarding our plea in the past few days. But nothing has come out of it so for,” Gurnam Singh rued.

He said, “We have six acres of land and we are two brothers. After my sons completed their schooling here, they were trained at Namdhari Academy in Ludhiana. We provided them with all facilities and equipment. Only recently, after years of struggle, we have managed to construct a new house, which is still not complete,” he added.

Sardar Singh’s mother Jasbir Kaur said both brothers were passionate about hockey right from their childhood. “The two were always found in the school playground practicing hockey and we never asked them to run errands for us as that would have hampered their growth in the game,” she said.

“The deputy commissioner has called us and also represented our case to the state government for rewarding Sardar Singh. He has informed us that the government has sanctioned Rs 10 lakh for him. Recently, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal also honoured Sardar and gave him a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh. However, I would have been much happier and relieved if the state government would appoint my son as DSP. This would also make him feel more secure. After all he, too, deserves to be rewarded like other players for his achievements,” she added.



Exploring the unexplored
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, December 20
Jaibir Singh Virk, a young advocate from Tohana town of Fatehabad district, has been on expedition to the unexplored areas of Trans Himalayas.

A masters’ degree holder in Law and Journalism, Jaibir was drawn to expeditions due to his passion for photography and urge to see new and picturesque places.

He recently completed his expedition “frozen desert” from Chandigarh to Comic village, 600 km north of the city beautiful, on his Maruti Esteem car.

He set out on this expedition on November 27 this year with friends, Charan Kamal Singh and Pankaj Sood, and completed this tedious journey while passing through difficult terrains in seven days.

Quamik is the highest village of Asia at an altitude of 4,275 m. On way to Quamik, Virk visited Shimla, Rampur Bushahr, Recong-Peo, Nako, Sumdo, Tabo and Kaza.

Narrating his experiences to The Tribune, Virk says near Quamik village is the renowned Tangyud Gompa, built around 14th century. The gompa belongs to the Sa-kya-pa sect and is of historical importance. It is recorded that a team of Buddhist scholars of the gompa accomplished the task of revision of Tangrgyud, the tantra treatises which in 87 volumes form one class of Tibetan scriptures.

Kaza at a height of 3,600 m from sea level was once the capital of Nono, the chief of Spiti. This is a beautiful place and has Buddhist monastery and a Hindu temple.

Virk also visited Tabo monastery (3,050 m), Kye monastery (4,116 m) and Dhankar monastery, situated 25 km east of Kaza. He also visited Hikkim post office, situated at the world’s highest attitude.

Nako, situated at a height of 3662 m from sea level is the largest village at such a height and is famous for its Nako Lake. The lake has boating facilities in summer and is used for ice-skating in its frozen state in winter.

At Giyu village, 20 km from Sumdo in Spiti valley, a 550-year-old mummy of a lama is placed whose hair and nails are still growing.

Despite all odds, Virk has a passion for these expeditions. This is made clear from the fact that “frozen desert” was his fourth expedition in 2007.

Earlier in April this year, Virk completed his 1000 km cycle expedition “countryside journey of hidden Himachal” from Kurukshetra to Jalori Pass of Kullu district in Himachal Pardesh.

In June, Virk completed his expedition “mission Tiranga 100 hours”. It was a non-stop expedition of 2,200 km from Yamunanagar to Khardungala Pass, the world’s highest pass situated at a height of 18,350 ft. “Mission Tiranga” was sponsored by Kurukshetra MP Naveen Jindal.

In August, Virk completed his expedition “jhanda uncha rahe hamara” on the 60th Independence Day of the country and went up to the dead-end of the National Highway-22 till Kaurik (Sugar Point) situated near the China border.

The more he travels, the stronger becomes the urge to explore newer areas. Every time he decides to set out for an expedition, he finds some generous persons or an organisation to sponsor his mission.

Virk has placed all photographs of his expeditions on website



Empowering women through self-help groups
Satish Seth

Kaithal, December 20
The Swaran Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna introduced in Haryana for the social and economic upliftment of the women has picked up momentum in this district.

Additional deputy commissioner Ramesh Verma says the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), which is executing this scheme, has taken various steps for its effective implementation and to ensure that the benefits percolated to the deserving. The present scheme was launched in 1999 after some modifications in the old scheme.

Verma says under this scheme a self-help group of 10 members belonging to the BPL families (irrespective of caste) is formed which starts by inter-loaning among themselves. After six months Rs 10,000 is given as subsidy by the DRDA and Rs 15,000 as loan is given by the banks for starting its activities. After watching the performance of the particular self-help group, a subsidy of up to Rs 1,20,000 is given by the DRDA and the bank gives a loan up to an amount of Rs 4,00,000.

Since the inception of this scheme in 1999, about 1,100 self-help groups have been formed at the initiative of the DRDA, Kaithal, thereby providing self-employment to about 10,000 BPL families in the district. A subsidy of Rs 5 crore has been given to these groups and the banks have advanced Rs 10 crore to the beneficiaries. More and more groups are being formed to empower women, adds Verma.

Generally, activities such as dairy farming; manufacturing of artificial jewellery, readymade garments, schoolbags, papad, nutritional goods like daliya, and soap and washing powder, and candle making; bee keeping and boutiques etc are undertaken by such groups.

Since the choice of an activity is very important for the proper functioning of this scheme, a 15-day training camp was recently held at Kaithal, which was inaugurated by deputy commissioner S.K. Goyal and as many as 100 beneficiaries participated.

Verma claims that the training was unique because a workshop of this scale was never organised in this district. He says the low cost of production will go a long way to provide monetary benefits to the beneficiaries.



Bhiwani to get rid of choked sewers
Shiv Sharma

A labourer busy cleaning a sewer
A labourer busy cleaning a sewer. — Photo by Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, December 20
The public health and the water supply and sanitation departments have hired a private firm for the cleanliness of sewerage in the city. As the work is progressing, it seems that the new system would yield better results and the city would get rid of its long-standing problem of choked sewerage.

Executive engineer Bhanwar Lal said the city had been facing water logging and flood-like situation every year during rainy season. Apart from rains, sewer water over flows in several areas due to blocked sewerages.

Earlier, the department had decided to give the work of cleaning up the entire sewerage on contract basis, but safai karmcharis had opposed it. Viewing the resentment, the chief engineer gave the work of sewerage cleaning to a Delhi-based company.

Lal said for the first time in Haryana, sewerage work was being done through sucker machine. “We are sure that this system would prove to be a success.”

In the first phase, a 5-km long stretch had been selected which would be cleared by the end of this month. Lal said thereafter this city would get rid of this prolonged problem for another seven years.

The executive engineer said the modern technique would clear all choked sewerages and any discrepancy or fault could be seen through close-circuit TV. “Since this system involves a huge expenditure, we have taken certain areas like Dinod gate to disposal station, circular road, parts of Vikas Nagar, Hanuman Dhani, M.C. Colony and Krishna Colony in the first phase”, he said, adding that a sum of Rs 29 lakh was being spent.

He also said after clearing the sewerage lines, the main tank at disposal station would also be evacuated.



Farmers upset over theft of equipment
Nishikant Dwivedi
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, December 20
Farmers of villages along the Uttar Pradesh border are these days haunted by the fear that they may wake up to find motors, engines and starters missing from their deep well tubewells.

More than 100 motors, engines and starters have been stolen during the past two months. Besides, there have been reports of thefts of power cables from tubewells. The affected villages are located in the Radaur, Jathlana and Chhachhrouli areas.

The farmers use engines to run tubewells in the absence of power supply. A large number of farmers have now shifted to submersible tubewell system, but the theft incidents are giving them sleepless nights.

The villagers as well as the police believe that UP-based gangs is behind the thefts. The police has succeeded in arresting three persons allegedly for stealing motors and cables. The stolen items are reportedly being sold in markets of Saharanpur, Nakkur and Sarsawa in Uttar Pradesh, sources say.

A few days ago, a farmer from Jathlana had managed to nab a thief who was taking away a motor on a tractor-trailer. The villagers say thieves cross the Yamuna on tractors and use livers of the vehicle to take out motors and engines that weigh more than 50 kg.

In the wake of rising incidents of such thefts, the Jathlana police has claimed to have increased patrolling in villages along the border. Police sources claim that it is very difficult to keep a regular watch on tubewells dug in fields along the border. Thefts are taking place during nights and wee hours.

Recently, the affected farmers had held a meeting under the banner of the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh. They complained that irrigation was affected due to the thefts and they were facing financial loses.

A motor (3-5 hp) costs about Rs 10,000, engine Rs 25,000 while a starter is available for Rs 8,000 in the market.

They have also demanded that a vigil should be made on the activities of scrap dealers who trade in old motors, engines and cables. State general secretary of the farmers’ body says a list of the affected farmers is being prepared and their woes will be taken up with the district administration.

The sources do not rule out the possibility of an organised gang(s) behind the thefts as it is not only dangerous but difficult also to take out and cart away the heavy and properly fitted equipment from tubewells.



Abandoned buildings safe haven for criminals
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, December 20
Abandoned buildings in the state, including those belonging to the state government and the Railways, have turned into crime spots as well as shelters for criminals and drug-addicts.

According to an unofficial estimate, there are about 150 such buildings all over the state located in prime areas but abandoned due to age or several other reasons. The Railways heads the list with about 12 such assorted buildings in Hisar alone. The state government comes next. However, there are not many central government buildings lying abandoned.

The murder of a 23-year-old woman here last week in a building abandoned by HUDA in the commercial area of Urban Estate II is a case in point. The victim was done to death around 11 in the morning. Although the culprit was her own brother and she had been allowed to live in the abandoned building by HUDA after her mother’s death, the fact is that the abandoned building provided the killer a perfect scene to commit the crime unnoticed.

The mother of the deceased was a HUDA employee. She was moved to the abandoned building about a month ago after she and her brother staged protest against their eviction from HUDA accommodation given to their mother without settling her dues.

Similar incidents have taken place in abandoned buildings at other locations in the state over the past few years and every time the police investigations revealed that the abandoned buildings provided safe places to criminals to commit the crime.

The government and its agencies abandon buildings for several reasons. In the case of the state government, shifting scattered offices to new buildings for a single window service to the public is the foremost reason for abandoning a building. The HUDA office here was located in a commercial area developed by HUDA itself for several years. It was shifted to a new sprawling office complex about three years ago.

Instead of renting it out or selling it, HUDA retained the ownership of the building located in a prime area and then forgot all about it. Plunderers soon made sure they removed whatever they could, including some doors and other fixtures.

In the case of the Railways, it abandons buildings mostly due to the age factor. There are several abandoned structures in the railway complexes at almost every major rail junction in the state. Ambala being the oldest and the busiest railway station has the highest number of such structures.

In Hisar, too, the Railways has abandoned several structures, including some tall structures with water reservoirs on the top. There are also some tubewell motor rooms and small office buildings. Mostly these buildings are located away from main offices or godowns, making them ideal spots for criminals and drug-addicts.

Railways officials concede that anti-social elements are misusing these properties. But they say procedural difficulties prevent them from demolishing these structures. Railway police officials say they have better work on hand than ensuring that drug addicts and petty criminals.

Other abandoned public properties include public utilities. Several toilets built by the municipal council and other bodies like HUDA can be found in every town in Haryana that, too, have been ripped off fixtures and turned into virtual dens for drug-addicts.



Inside Babudom
Saving bureaucrats at cost of environment
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Did the Haryana Government mislead the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), constituted by the Supreme Court, in its overzealous act to protect its officer from being booked for contempt? From the reply of the principal chief conservator of forests, Haryana, sent to the CEC the answer appears to be in the affirmative.

Once established, Haryana bureaucrats are likely to be hauled up for double “blasphemy”, first for violating an order of the Supreme Court and then for misleading the CEC on the issue to save the skin of some bureaucrats.

Following an expose by The Tribune on January 22 this year about the illegal construction of two nullahs in the protected forest and reserve forest areas in Kurukshetra district, allegedly at the instance of district administration, M.K. Jiwrajka, member secretary, CEC, wrote to the Haryana chief secretary to probe the matter and submit a report to the latter.

The state government ordered an inquiry and chief wildlife warden R.D. Jakati was made the inquiry officer. Both deputy commissioner T.K. Sharma and deputy conservator of forests, Kurukshetra, Sanjeev Chaturvedi were asked to appear in person before the inquiry officer.

In his report no. 6096 of January 24, 2007, the deputy conservator of forests informed the conservator of forests, north circle, that the deputy commissioner personally asked the officials of the forest department to allow the “illegal” construction on the forest land on January 12. The deputy commissioner personally supervised another “illegal” construction on January 18 from Pehowa-Patiala Road to Teokar. He annexed photographs of work being conducted at the two sites along with copy of the damage report to his superiors for information and action.

For almost a year, the government kept on delaying the matter, despite several reminders from the CEC. Since the breaking of land for any purpose in protected forest is a cognisable offence under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and also the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, forbids the diversion of forest land for any non-forestry purpose, the construction work on the Pehowa-Patiala road and also in the reserve forest area of Nikatpura at the instance of the then deputy commissioner, Kurukshetra, T.K. Sharma was a clear disregard for the law of the land.

Sharma, however, denied that any construction was carried out by the locals with the help of the district administration. He maintained before the inquiry officer that no construction was carried out in the forest area, and only a passage for wastewater was created by local residents. Despite the denial, the damage report by the range forest officer and accompanying affidavits mentioned Kurukshetra DC as one of the persons who violated Section 32, 33, 26-D and 26-C of Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Interestingly, after committing the violation in January 2007, a case for the sanction of the violation was sent to the ministry of environment in July this year. Meanwhile, to protect the deputy commissioner, his name was not only removed from the damage report sent to the CEC, but also from the charge sheet filed in the environmental court at Kurukshetra by the DCF.

And to top it all, the reply sent to the CEC on September 21, the principal conservator of forests has admitted that the clearance from higher authorities was received on July 31, 2007, much after the offence was committed and in the other case it is “likely to be received shortly”, thereby trying to mislead the CEC by saying no offence had been committed.



240 chambers for 600 advocates
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, December 20
Imagine a situation in which the lawyers, who boast of getting justice to the oppressed, are not able to get even a reasonable sitting space for themselves in the judicial complex.

This is precisely the situation prevailing at the local courts, where Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda used to practise law some years ago. During his recent visit to the town, Hooda had assured his former fellow advocates that appropriate arrangements would be made for them, but nothing concrete has been done.

Ranbir Virk, president of the District Bar Association, says the Bar has nearly 1,400 members, of whom around 600 are in regular practice. However, there are only 240 chambers, which are grossly inadequate to seat the advocates.

Unable to find a decent place, many practising advocates and their staff are forced to sit on the road and in the parking lot. This further pushes the things into a mess as vehicles are parked haphazardly due to the lack of a proper parking space.

Annoyed with the situation, some lawyers got their chambers built in an unauthorised manner. Following this, the district authorities carried out a demolition operation to get such chambers razed.

The most intriguing aspect of the situation is that while the local administration takes quickfix measures like demolishing unauthorised chambers, no worthwhile solution to this longstanding problem has yet been worked out.



Parties 'biased' against backward classes
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, December 20
Though the state has come a long way ever since its inception in November 1966, the backward classes, excluding the newly included castes of Ahir, Mev, Gujjars and Saini, of the state have remained backward so far as giving them representation in the state Assembly by all political parties is concerned.

If their representation during different tenures of the state Assembly is taken into account, the highest number of five was in 1987 whereas there was no representation of these classes during 2000-05. Their representation in other tenures is: one during 1972-77; three during 1977-82; two during 1982-87; one during 1991-96; three during 1996.

During the 40 years of the history of Haryana, only four leaders belonging to backward classes, namely Parma Nand, Lachman Dass Kamboj, Dr Ram Parkash and Dr Kamla Verma, had served as ministers, which is being regarded as meagre representation and not in accordance with their population that is claimed to be around 22 per cent.

Cutting across party lines, leaders belonging to backward classes blame all parties for adopting negligent attitude in providing political opportunities to them. They also mentioned other reasons and circumstances, which included their socio-economic condition.

They pointed out that the people from these classes have been by and large rural artisans living in the villages and used to be the important members of the village society.

However, industrial and green revolutions have rendered the rural artisans jobless and forced them to look for other occupations to sustain their living.

The migration from the villages in the town and cities in search of work changed their social and economic life and also brought change in their work culture. "And this migration from the villages has weakened our social unity with other castes of the category," a state-level office-bearer of the Congress party remarked.

Besides, about 71 castes are included in this class and these have so far not succeeded in forming a strong joint front because of their varying interests, different castes and occupations.

State secretary of INTUC Braham Singh Rohilla pointed out that though several industrialisation schemes were launched in the past, these failed miserably. "Had these schemes succeeded, there would have been sufficient opportunities for rural artisans to improve their socio-economic condition," he remarked.



An answer to fake medicines
Latest device set for India debut

Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, December 20
The next time your chemist supplies you a counterfeit medicine you can detect the mischief by simply swiping the strip of pills before a scanner installed at a nearby store.

Radio frequency identification device (RFID) is the latest technique through which one can find whether a medicine or a particular consumer durable is genuine or fake. The technology is the most recent in the world and will be seen in India soon.

Arvind Manchanda, managing director of a house of pharma packaging located at HSIDC industrial hub, Rai (Sonipat), is bringing this technology to India.

Manchanda, who recently returned from China after attending an international exhibition on packaging technologies, is working on the extra costs the technology would put on the manufacturers by adopting the RFID embedded labels.

Talking to The Tribune, Manchanda says counterfeiting in medicines is as common as in any other consumer durable. But, while a fake necktie or a bag can fall apart in a few months, a fake drug can kill one. The RFID technology, says Manchanda, is an answer to all counterfeiting worries of the consumers as well as manufacturers.

The manufacturers wishing to save his products being faked will have to get prepared special types of labels, which will have RFID chips embedded in those. Not only in medicines, labels with an RFID chip embedded on it can be stuck onto FMCG products like toothpastes, edible goods and even on silk saris.

The manufacturer has to buy a sticker that would cost him less than a rupee and configure the RFID chip with product details.

Next time, when the consumer buys the product, all he needs to do is swipe the sticker-based chip on an RFID scanner (probably installed in shops or malls) and verify the authenticity of the product.

Counterfeiting, says Manchanda, is a global phenomenon and is estimated to be a $900 billion worth black hole.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer, according to Manchanda, began shipping its Viagra product with RFID tags to its customers in the US last year. The RFID technology is now being added to all Viagra products sold in the US.



Society vows to treat eye patients
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, December 20
The district will soon be cataract-free and all cases of preventable and avoidable blindness will be treated.

This was claimed by S.K. Nair, secretary general, National Society for the Prevention of Blindness in India (NSPB), who was here recently. He informed that there were approximately 7 lakh blind persons in the state. NSPB experts would be visiting various parts of the district to check people suffering from eye diseases.

Nair said the society, a non-profit organisation, is recognised by the department of science and technology as a centre of research and development. He said the NSPB had helped more than 1.5 million people get back their vision.

According to the recent surveys, India has more than 25 per cent of the world’s blind. Estimates put the figure of visually challenged persons in India at more than 20 million. Nair said eyesight could be restored to more than 75 per cent of these visually challenged people.

The Indian ophthalmic fraternity had now come up with “an assembly line surgery model” where the cataract patient could get the best of treatment and an intraocular lens implanted at less than Rs 900, he added.

“The irony of the situation is that the preventable blind do not get the timely and necessary medical support and access to quality treatment,” said Nair.



No bus service from Jhajjar after 6 p.m.

Jhajjar, December 20
In an era of instant communication and fast connectivity, the district headquarters of Jhajjar is lagging way behind so far as transportation facilities are concerned. Despite the fact that Jhajjar Roadways depot is one of the most profitable depots in the state, there is no bus service to most of the neighbouring towns after 6 pm.

In absence of late evening bus facility, the commuters have to face a lot of inconvenience. Jhajjar connects to the nearby towns of Rohtak, Sonepat, Rewari, Gurgaon, Bahadurgarh and Najafgarh in Delhi. Though there are bus services to and fro these towns during the day, the commuters have to rush to catch the last bus as early as 5.30 pm.

As per the timings, the last bus from here to Rewari, Gurgaon, Sonepat and Najafgarh departs at 5.30 pm while those heading for Rohtak have to catch the last bus at 6 pm. The last bus for Bahadurgarh is scheduled to depart at 7 pm. There are many passengers, including government employees, who reside in the nearby towns and come to Jhajjar daily.

Satpal Singh, a daily passenger who commutes to Rohtak in the evening, says, “I have to rush to the bus stand before 6 pm, as I had to face a lot of problems when I missed the bus previously”. Even after 6 pm, about 50 passengers can be spotted at the bus stand looking for a conveyance for Rohtak, he says, adding that in such a scenario, they have no option but to travel in maxi cabs for which not only they have to pay more but also risk their lives.

Another government employee, Vineet Kumar says most of the times he has to stay in the office till late. “On one occasion when I missed the last bus to Bahadurgarh, I had to take lift from a truck”.

Ram Kumar Varma, transport manager, state roadways, says they have enough fleet of 81 buses. “However, at present, the roadways is facing the problem of staff shortage, but once the government completes the recruitment of drivers and conductors, we would increase the timings for late departure of the buses to the nearby towns,” he adds.



Shahabad lacks basic amenities

Famous for its historical Sikh fort, Rishi Markandeshwar Mandir and Olympian and international hockey stars, Shahabad Markanda is a developing town of Kurukshetra district having a population about 50,000. The only HUDA sector of this city has been reeling under many problems like poor condition of parks, streetlights and roads. The sanitation and water supply system is also not up to mark. There is a small park which is in a worst condition. Congress grass grown in vacant plots is causing allergic problems and affecting the health of the residents. Repeated complaints to the authorities failed to yield results. More than fifty per cent of streetlights are out of order. The roads are also in poor condition. Residents demand that necessary steps should be taken on priority basis to bail them out.

Surinder Pal Singh Wadhawan
Shahabad Markanda

HCS selection process

With reference to Hemant Kumar’s letter titled “HCS selection process flawed” published in these columns, the learned writer deserves a pat for daring to point out the alleged anomalies in the HCS (Judicial) Exams, 2007. Even in states like Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh etc though there is provision for holding preliminary examination but they have prescribed minimum qualifying marks for prelims, but in case of Haryana, it was not considered necessary. Next, the selection committee was authorised to fill 34 vacant posts, but it added 20 anticipated posts contrary to the rules.

Kiran Bala

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:



HUDA delayed refund

I had applied for a six marla plot (general) in Sector 33, Karnal. After more than four months and my numerous reminders to HUDA’s Karnal office and its headquarters at Panchkula, I finally got the application money of Rs 84,240 refunded on 21.11.2007.

Since the gaffe is from HUDA for inordinate delay in refunding the application money, it is their legal obligation to pay me four months’ interest on this substantial amount.

Anjiv Singh Jaswal


HUDA has given time up to 31.12.2007 to allottees whose drawings are already approved by HUDA on or before 30.6.2007. The authority had taken so much time for approving the building plans i.e. from two to five months and most of drawings are approved in the last week of June 2007.

As per the new extension policy, the allottees are required to apply for completion certificate by 31.12.2007 within a short span of six months and this period includes mainly rainy and winter season. Keeping in view the above it is requested that suitable time be extended for applying the completion certificate.

Panchkula Residential Plot Owners’ Association

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:



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