Help for accident victims
Highway police ties up with 46 hospitals
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, December 27
To combat the ever-increasing number of accidents, the Haryana national highway police has proposed to rope in as many as 46 government and private hospitals to work as emergency medical facilitating centres for the accident victims.

Sharing details of the project exclusively with The Tribune, AIG (NH Police) Rajpal Singh said the details of these identified emergency medical centers would soon be displayed along the national highways.

The identified hospitals, equipped with the required lifesaving mechanism, have agreed in principal to offer immediate help to the accident victims, he added.

According to an official data, more than 1,200 road accidents have been reported so far this year, including several of them that proved fatal. Last year, the reported figure was about 800.

Rajpal Singh stressed that there was a need to popularise the emergency accident help line (1033) among the citizens to help the highway-injured persons. He said these emergency medical facilitators had been identified in different pockets on various national highways.

Sources said in the absence of sufficient medical services and manpower in government hospitals to deal with the accident victims, the authorities had decided to seek the participation of private nursing homes.

Though the state government had planned the first trauma centre of Haryana at Karnal, the project failed miserably to meet emergency cases. Indifferent attitude of the respective governments can be calculated from the fact that there is not even a single doctor and other paramedical staff appointed exclusively for the trauma centres.

The sources said since there was a shortage of specialists at various government hospitals, the new concept would be of great help.

The AIG added that after furnishing certain formalities, the information boards showing the way to the nearest trauma centres and the contact numbers would be placed at different places.



Dabwali victims allege govt apathy
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, December 27
Even after 12 years of the fire tragedy that shocked the nation when 462 persons mostly students and their parents charred to death and many others were left with the serious injuries in Dabwali, the families of the victims are still in trauma and facing the government apathy.

The commission, which was formed four years ago to decide the quantum of compensation, is yet to give its report.

The incident occurred on December 23, 1995, during the annual function of the DAV school held at a marriage place here. After the tragedy, then Prime Minister P.V Narsimha Rao had made tall claims for proper care and compensation for the family members of the victims. But in reality those who received serious injuries in the fire are still awaiting for the proper facilities in the hospital and compensation.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court appointed a commission on January 28, 2003, headed by a former Allahabad High Court judge, justice T.P. Garg (retd), to decide the quantum of the compensation within six months. However, the probe of the commission still continues and it had already recorded the statements of as many as 1,500 persons so far. The term of the commission has been extended till March 2008.

The government has initially paid Rs 1 lakh to the family members of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured.

“A hospital was built in Dabwali town after the incident but it lacked special facilities required for fire victims. Most of them still have to get treatment from PGI Chandigarh, Rohtak and Delhi, said victims Seema and Rani.

They also rued that out of 90 persons who had sustained serious injuries only 21 were given compensation of Rs 50,000. Fire Victims Association convener Vinod said the victims’ only hope to get compensation was the commission report. The disability in the fire tragedy had led many victims in depression and they had not been able to recover, he added.



 Housing research institute to come up in Gurgaon
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, December 27
The Haryana Housing Board is planning to set up a training and research institute of housing and human settlement at Gurgaon. The institute would be set up on the pattern of Human Settlement Management Institute, New Delhi.

The focus of the institute would be to undertake research on cost effective building material, particularly for the economically weaker sections.

This institute would carry out training programmes related to capacity building and human resource development and technology for architects, engineers, project managers and NGOs. The proposed institute would also collaborate and network its activities with other national and international institutes for bringing innovative, cost effective technologies and best practice from other parts of the world.

A laboratory would also be set up in the institution, which would carry out research on the objects, which would be of low cost and substitute for constructing material of a building.

The four-storeyed building with basement of the institute would be constructed on the covered area of 28,000 sq ft at an estimated cost of Rs 8 crore. The institute will also have the facility of hostel to accommodate visiting guests and the trainees.

S.P. Gupta, chief administrative, Housing Board Haryana, revealed that a consultancy agency was being engaged to prepare a report about the requirements of the institute. He said the model of the institute had been finalised and it would by handed over to a private agency or an NGO to run it with regular monitoring by the board.

Gupta said with consultation with this institute, the board would provide safe, affordable and quality shelter to the weaker sections. 



Senior citizens spice up their lives with computers
Nishikant Dwivedi
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, December 27
Few days ago, Maj Gulshan Lal Khanna (retd) (72) and his wife Meena Khanna (65) became computer literate. Like them 28 other men and women too picked up basic computer tips.

Now, all these senior citizens from the twin towns of Jagadhri and Yamunanagar can email, chat and surf the Internet. Thanks to the computer literacy programme for senior citizen, conducted by the local DAV College for Girls.

“We are living in computer age and senior citizens should not be left behind. That was why I and my wife joined the course,” said Major Khanna. His daughter lives in Dubai and son is in the Army. “The Internet skills will help us interact with our children,” said Meena Khanna. The couple said it was a very thoughtful gesture on part of the college management. “Now we too live in the computer yug,” said Major Khanna, who is planning to buy a personal computer. Dr Sushma Arya, principal of the college, said the college had a big computer laboratory. It remained largely unused during the month of December due to house tests. “So we decided to utilise the laboratory and started free computer course for senior citizens,” informed Dr Arya, adding, “Computer skills help senior citizens to stay in touch with their children who live at distance places”.

The Tribune talked to some of the neo-computer literates of the district and all of them said they were benefited from the course and would be using the new skill to “spice up” their lives.

B.L Kawtra (69), a former employee of BILT, said after attending the course he came to know that the Internet could be a great time pass. “I had applied for passport and did not know about the status of my application. During the course, I tracked my application and found the status. The Internet is an interesting thing,” said Kawtra.

When asked how it felt to sit in a classroom like children and dabble on computer keyboard while a teacher less than one third of his age instructing him, Kawtra hummed a song from a film, featuring Deva Anand, “Jo saath waqt ke chala vo mard hai, jo rah gaya vo raste ke gard hai”.

Similarly, S.S. Sapra (64), a retired officer of the State Bank of India, said he would be using the new knowledge to make his life more interesting. “Through Internet I can get information about railways and read international newspapers,” said Sapra. “Now, I know about computers and would help my grandchildren with computers”. Sapra, however, has no immediate plans to buy a computer. “There are several cyber cafes and I would be using those,” said Sapra. According to him, earlier he used to be “at sea” when people talked about computers. “But now I feel comfortable during such discussions,” said the former banker.

And what has Sanjya Bhardwaj, the coordinator of the department of computer science and application of the college, whose team taught the computer skills to the senior citizens has to say, “It was great to teach the elderly as they proved to be very good students”.



Campaign against foeticide
Bhiwani admn widens net to nab culprits
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Bhiwani district administration’s campaign against pre-natal sex determination is no less than a well-mounted intelligence operation. It has been able to set up a network of over 400 informers to keep a watch on those involved in the crime against the girl child.

The prize money has also been increased from Rs 11,000 to Rs 25,000 for an informant whose identity is kept confidential. This list of informants include conscientious medical specialists, certain Ayurvedic doctors, ANMS, anganwadi workers, unskilled midwifes (dais), mediators and quacks.

The campaign has led to the sealing of six of the 36 registered ultrasound machines in the district in the past six months, four machines were sealed in one week alone. However, the problem is being compounded by the presence of unregistered and portable ultrasound machines.

Deputy commissioner T. Satyaprakash, who is personally leading the campaign in the absence of leadership from those who are supposed to do so under the PNDT Act, says if the administration has got support from unexpected quarters, appallingly the resistance to its efforts is also substantial. “Sympathy for the doctors who are allegedly performing sex determination tests is equally conspicuous,” adds the young bureaucrat brimming with idealism.

It all started with a raid on the premise of an untrained “dai” at Dadri following report that a woman with two daughters had come there for abortion. The woman reportedly revealed the place where the sex of the foetus was determined. However, she later resiled from her statement. Still on the basis of this information, a house was raided where an unregistered ultrasound machine was found.

When the administration later learnt that the woman had aborted the foetus. Once again she was taken into custody and the aborted foetus was preserved. But the authority designated as “appropriate” in the Act showed reluctance to probe the matter in depth.

Satyaprakash decided to take on the socio-legal issue on a different plank. The anganwadi workers were instructed to register pregnant women. After facing initial resistance, the initiative has now taken off. The purpose is to track whether these women had delivered the baby or not.

Since the business of pre-natal sex determination has become highly organised, it becomes very difficult to collect evidence of illegal tests. Some doctors conduct the tests with portable ultrasound machines by taking them to villages. Some ANM or anganwadi worker will bring a pregnant woman, who wants to get her foetus tested, to a technician operating an ultrasound machine.

After the sex of the foetus is determined, the woman is taken to a different doctor for aborting the foetus. This makes very difficult, if not impossible, for the administration to penetrate, which also faces another dilemma. If the raiding party gets late the foetus is dead. If it raids earlier, the evidence is almost nil.



14 yrs on, crores spent, auditorium far from ready
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, December 27
This can be termed as a hallmark of sloppy functioning. The authorities of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) here started constructing an auditorium in 1993 and have spent crores of rupees on it, yet the work has not been completed.

Surprisingly, no architect was engaged for the project while the construction work continued for years. Then, one fine day in 2006 (nearly 13 years after the work began), the authorities decided to engage an architect.

The university, which owes nearly Rs 3 lakh to the architect, has now found that he was engaged at rates higher than the prevailing market price and even his performance was not satisfactory.

Several flaws in the design of the auditorium building were pointed out by another architect called by the university. This architect has also suggested certain changes in the building design. The university administration is now consulting building experts to seek their opinion.

Sources reveal that instead of getting a building design prepared by a competent professional, the then authorities of the university decided to copy the pattern of an auditorium located on the premises of Haryana Agricultural University (HAU) in Hisar.

The work of constructing the auditorium building was allotted to a Gohana-based construction company in 1993. The construction work continued for several years, but was stopped in 1998 due to the paucity of funds.

The project remained halted till 2002. Finally, the same construction company was allotted the balance work at revised rates. Later, the MDU authorities decided to get some more work done, which was not covered in the previous agreement. For this, fresh tenders were invited and the work was allotted to a local building firm.

According to university sources, an amount of Rs 4.55 crore has been incurred on the construction work of the auditorium till date. Yet the work is far from being completed. According to revised estimates prepared by the MDU engineering wing, the auditorium will require about Rs 9 crore more for completion. According to internal sources, the work will still take two years.

Apart from the finishing part and making provisions for facilities like air-conditioning, acoustics, multimedia, furniture, lightening, stage setup and firefighting means etc, money will also have to be spent on rectifying the reported flaws in the building design.

The present vice-chancellor, Prof R.P. Hooda, admits that gross irregularities have been found in the matter. “A mere look at the auditorium building reveals that criminal wastage of space and money has taken place in its construction,” he observes.

Prof Hooda maintains that expert opinion was being sought in this regard, following which effective steps would be taken to resolve the issue.



RTI rap for official
Fined Rs 2,000 for delaying info

Jhajjar, December 27
The State Information Commission (SIC) has held a public information officer (PIO)-cum-senior medical officer of Bahadurgarh community health centre guilty of causing delay in providing information to an applicant under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The PIO has been fined Rs 2,000 and also issued a warning against making such lapses in future.

The PIO, N.K. Mundra, has asked the applicant Naresh Joon of Noona Majra village to cough up Rs 4.92 lakh for availing information of various kinds of pending fee against the medical officers in the CHC, Bahadurgarh. Due to the demand of exaggerated amount, the applicant had to appeal in the SIC which led to delay in procuring the information.

Information commissioner Meenaxi Anand Chaudhry stated in the order that “the PIO-cum-SMO had incorrectly calculated the estimate of additional fee which resulted in delay in furnishing the information”. Strangely, the commission mentioned in the same order that submissions of the PIO in response to the show cause notice of the SIC showed that he had no malafide intention in withholding the information, yet he erred in making an exaggerated estimate of the additional fee.

The PIO has demanded Rs 100 per medical legal report (MLR) copy in addition to the Rs 10, which is the charge of getting a copy of the information under the Act, which resulted in whopping fee of Rs 4.92 lakh.

It may be mentioned that Naresh Joon applied for the information in December 2006, but was provided the same in July this year after the applicant pursued his case with the SIC. Intervening in the case, the commission rapped the information officer and waived the entire fee. 



Ancient village awaits overall development
Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, December 27
Kaliyana village under Charkhi Dadri subdivision in Bhiwani district is full of hills and greenery and endangered peacocks can attract anyone visiting this village.

Known for the production of shaking stones, rare medical herbs are the real product of the village. Botanists could be seen finding herbs on the hills here. According to them, rare medical herbs, which are helpful in the treatment of incorrigible diseases, could be found here.

However, the village does not have any source of drinking water and agriculture is completely based on rain or canal water. Though water pipeline and taps have been installed which are fed through private tubewells, the villagers have to buy water for their daily chores.

Mostly streets are not cemented and no efforts have been made to convert these into pucca roads. The lack of drainage of sewerage water is another big problem.

The villagers, most of whom are educated, have sought special attention for the overall development of the village.

Two government and two private schools cater to the educational needs of the villagers. For health services, there is a government-run primary health centre.

It is said that a Rajput king Kalyan Singh had established this village in 1197 and later it was known after his name. Today, two Hanuman temples and a Krishna temple are the centres of religious faith. No house is landless in this village. The gram panchayat has about 2,000 acres, out of which each family has been given one acre for agricultural purpose. A large part of this panchayati land is ruffled and sandy, but farmers work hard and get crops of mustard, wheat, bajra etc.



NRI sets up 50-bed hospital
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
NRIs have been known for their philanthropic acts in this region. The Sukhdev Raj Soin Hospital Trust at Banchari village in Hodal tehsil of Faridabad district is one such example where an NRI has set up a 50-bedded hospital in memory of his father with the objective of providing medical care to villagers of nearly 100 villages in the districts of Faridabad and Mewat.

The hospital was constructed on land provided by Maharshi Dayanand Memorial on its campus.

Rajesh K. Soin, a USA-based NRI, is the man behind this philanthropic act. He graduated from Delhi University in 1969 in mechanical engineering.

The hospital will be opened on December 29. Senator George Voinovich, Congressmen Mike Turner, Phil Gingrey, Rob Bishop and Steve Pearce will be present on the occasion along with Haryana ministers Kartari Devi and Randeep Singh Surjewal.

The hospital has 24-hour emergency facility, besides medicine, paediatrics, gynaecology and ophthalmology OPDs. Consultation and medicines will be provided free of cost to the poor. 



An ambassador of Indian fine arts
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, December 27
Wisdom, rationality and intellectualism are the assets of great artists who approach their vocation like a calling and Gurgaon-based Dr Roop Chand falls in this rare category.

A painter, sculptor, scholar, writer, poet and above all a fine human being Roop Chand, whose contribution in various fields of fine arts entitles him to be honoured as a complete artist and an ambassador of Indian fine arts heritage.

In city for the release of his latest novel “Kranti”, he shared his views and life experiences on art in India and abroad. He had been associated with many landmark projects like the formation and functioning of the zonal cultural centres for the preservation and promotion of India’s rich cultural heritage.

He claims to have put up the project details to the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, recalling the final discussions that took place at Patiala under the chairmanship of Mani Shanker Iyer, PM’s representative.

Born in a small sleepy village of Dundahera in Gurgaon district in 1936, Dr Roop Chand belongs to the illustrious group of men of letters and aesthetic maestros.

He was endowed with the sensibility of an artist from his very childhood. He went on to attain doctorate in history of art after securing masters in ancient history, culture and archeology, besides proficiency in musicology from National Museum, Delhi.

His literary creations like “Art, Artist and Society” (philosophical themes); “Loose Scribbling” (poetry); “Suksham” and “Kranti” (novels); “Love Light, Life” (autobiography); and Indira Gandhi (biography) are an eloquent testimony of his literary prominence.

Credited with 27 group painting exhibition shows, 38 solo painting exhibitions in India and abroad, he had been organising art workshops. Dr Chand’s works won raves for his creative excellence in his solo exhibitions at Kathmandu (1972), Paris (1973), Behrain, Copenhagen Denmark (1975) and many more. Felicitated with President of India’s certificate of honour in 1967, Roop Chand was bestowed with the UN gold medal for his painting on world peace series.

Undeterred by growing age, Dr Chand, presently chairman of National Art Centre, Gurgaon, is never complacent and engaged in mounting an exhibition of 100 artists at Lokayata Mulak Raj Anand’s Centre of
Art in Delhi.



Inside Babudom 
2008 to bring good news for ‘81 batch officers
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

The coming year will see eight IAS officers of Haryana retire from the service. This will provide the much-awaited opportunity to the 1981 batch officers to move up the ladder

Chandigarh, December 27
The coming year, which is barely five days away, is likely to bring good news for the Haryana cadre IAS officers of 1981 batch.

Beginning of 2008 is expected to see the 1981 batch officers getting promoted as principal secretaries. The topper of the batch in Haryana, Madhusudan Prasad, is in Delhi on deputation and thus his case may not be of much consequence to the state government.

P.K. Jain, also a 1981 batch officer, was considered for being packed off for compulsory retirement and he, too, is likely to be ignored by the state government in the matter of promotion.

Out of the four remaining officers, Harbaksh Singh and Maha Singh are both posted at Chandigarh. Anuradha Gupta and P.K. Gupta, are at present abroad. They are slated to return next week.

All four of them are in the reckoning for promotion, even though it was allegedly the presence of Harbaksh Singh in the batch that had caused the delay in promotion of the 1981 batch.

Harbaksh Singh, a medico-turned IAS officer, had held important assignments in the previous government. Though the IAS officer was dumped by the then Chief Minister toward the fag end of the regime, the position and power enjoyed by him till the 2004 Lok Sabha elections was enough to provoke his peers to “sideline” him in the government that took over after Chautala’s exit. He was posted as secretary, archives and archeology departments, in the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government.

Despite Haryana’s immense potential in the field of archeology, secretary, archeology department, is traditionally considered a low-key assignment in the state.

A vigilance probe against Harbaksh Singh did not yield any result while an order to suspend him for not attending an official meeting also was revoked as suddenly as it was issued. His promotion was held up and so was it with the other officers of the batch. A central government communiqué asking the state government to take its clearance for promoting IAS officers in ex-cadre posts further added to the woes of the batch.

It has become an established practice in Haryana to promote a batch having an officer who is in the good books of the government, and deny promotion to a batch having someone who is not so popular with the regime.

However, the coming year will see as many as eight directly recruited IAS officers of Haryana taking retirement from service. This will provide the much-awaited opportunity to the 1981 batch officers to move up in the ladder.

Coming to the retirement of officers, those who will reach the age of superannuation in 2008 include some of the heavyweights of bureaucracy. Chief secretary Promilla Issar and home secretary K.S. Bhoria will both retire next year and so will be the forests and environment secretary H.C. Disodia.

While revenue secretary Dharam Vir is expected to be appointed as the next chief secretary, no story is in circulation with regard to the successors of Bhoria and Disodia.



Gudha villagers make life worth living
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, December 27
Gudha, a small village with a population of 1,156, has set an example with its management of cleanliness and sanitation. In the village, which is situated outside the boundary limits of Gohana municipality, all 237 houses have a provision of toilet.

Though the government provides financial assistance for constructing individual as well as community toilets, the owners of only 12 houses have utilised this assistance. Interestingly, there are 26 families in the BPL category and 14 of these have constructed toilets with their own money.

The residents appeared to be disciplined and responsible in maintaining cleanness and sanitation of the streets and drains.

Village sarpanch Rajpal Goyat says the villagers not only sweep the streets in front of their houses, but also ensure that waste of any kind is not thrown outside the house. The panchayat has employed a sweeper at a daily wage of Rs 100 for collecting the street waste.



‘Cow slaughter on rise in Mewat’
Tribune News Service

Mewat, December 27
The recent incident in which as many as 80 cows were reported to be slaughtered in Punhana of Mewat district has exposed the chinks in the steps taken by the state government for curbing the menace in the state.

Police sources reveal that only a few cases of cow slaughtering have been reported in the Mewat area whereas the president of Gau Raksha Shangharsh Sewa Samiti, Ashok Malik, states that cow slaughtering is going on a very large scale in the district.

Malik says his organisation has recently submitted a list of people involved in this business to the police. He says according to the Cow Slaughter Act, interstate export of cows is not allowed, especially to the state where there are reports of cow slaughtering.



Service, BSNL style

I got my BSNL telephone and broadband connections disconnected on 27.7.06. Even then, BSNL is regularly sending the bills at my address without justifying the reason. In one such bill dated 05.12.07 while the units consumed are nil, the bill amounts to Rs 7,370. I have written several times to the BSNL authorities, but to no avail. I fail to understand when I have no telephone and broadband line at my home, why the company is sending me the bills?

Dr S.P. Gupta, Kurukshetra

Passport, when?

I had applied for the issuance of a fresh passport to the RPO, Chandigarh, on 08.06.07 (application no: Z 57241607). Along with me, my four other family members have also applied for the same. The said members have received their passports in due course of time. But in my case more than six months have elapsed, but I am yet to receive the document.

Ashok Aggarwal, Kurukshetra


I applied for the renewal of my passport on 17.07.07 through the district administration, Kurukshetra. On 30.10.07, the regional passport officer, Chandigarh, asked me to furnish four photographs showing frontal view of full face. The same were dispatched on 20-11-07. So far, I have not received my passport. My file ID No is CHD Z 57306407.

Sham Sunder Sharma, Kurukshetra

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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