Power, LPG shortages hit life
Threaten a political crisis
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, February 7
A severe energy crunch in Haryana threatens to blow up into a major political crisis as both power and cooking gas continue to remain elusive commodities. The unprecedented shortage is also posing a threat to the law and order situation.

While detention and manhandling of power utilities staff by irate citizens have now become an everyday affair in Haryana, the acute shortage of cooking gas is already beginning to spark sporadic protests especially by women.

If these protests have so far been largely peaceful it is because these were led by political activists. But if the shortage continues such protests can potentially turn into violent shows of public anger considering the harassment faced by consumers.

The sub-zero temperatures over the past few weeks all over the state have added to the problems of Haryanavis. While there is no electricity supply in most cities for an average of 10 to 15 hours a day, there is no gas in kitchens to cook food.

The extent of cooking gas shortage can be imagined from the fact that on an average there is a gap of 10 to 15 days between the date of booking and the date of delivery. This gap has been widening over the past few weeks. LPG distributors are not entertaining fresh bookings made less than 30 days of the last delivery.

Reports from neighbouring districts also indicate that at least one family member or hired domestic help has to spend several hours in a queue outside gas agencies every few days to first book a cylinder and then to get the delivery. That explains long queues outside the distribution points.

Although senior officers blame the shortage of gas to increased demand because of winter and more and more people switching over to LPG geysers, privately they admit they are flummoxed by the extent of shortage. Oil company officials admit short supply, but they too are bewildered by the huge gap in demand and supply. "It is unprecedented. Together with the district administration we have been doing all that we can to control and ease the situation, but it simply refuses to go away," a senior oil company executive said here when asked the reasons for the shortage.

Irate residents are not prepared to listen to any excuses considering there is no such shortage in neighbouring Punjab and Delhi. Reports from Punjab say the supply position is normal in most towns. There were reports of LPG shortage in Bathinda and Ludhiana last month but the situation has since eased. There is huge political fallout of the situation and the ruling Congress graph has dipped sharply in the recent days. The opposition parties' propaganda that the Chief Minister's lack of hold on the administrative machinery is responsible for the crisis, has found ready acceptance among the masses.

The recent protests by the INLD on power and gas shortage last week were mainly organised to blame the Chief Minister for the situation. The speeches made by INLD leaders and the memoranda submitted to the Governor on these issues put the blame for the paucity on lack of administrative control by the government.

While political parties continue to make political capital out of the crisis, the common man continues to suffer in the process.



Targets met, so what if saplings wither away?

Jhajjar, February 7
Indiscriminate industrialisation and continuous need for infrastructure development has left little space for greenery to flourish. Though the district authorities are supposed to work towards preserving and enhancing the green cover, they are limited to the organising ceremonial functions and completing the targets only on paper.

The tree plantation campaign named as "Taru Yatra", launched with fanfare by the district rural development agency from July 6 to July 21 last year and concluded on a promising note in the presence of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, appears to have met the similar fate.

About one lakh saplings were planted in the rural and urban areas during the campaign. But due to the absence of proper aftercare many saplings failed to pick up growth and wither away.

The sources said the forest department had provided saplings to the district rural development agency, which was the nodal agency to launch the campaign. The DRDA then roped in various institutions like schools, colleges and gram panchayats for the plantation drive. Though the drive was completed as "successful" with over one lakh saplings planted, but there was no one to take care afterwards.

The sources even said a large number of saplings were dumped unplanted and those planted were never watered and guarded adequately. There are reports that many newly planted saplings are withering away due to the lack of water and care. For example, a majority of saplings planted in the presence of the Chief Minister in Government College here had vanished. Similarly, reports from many villages also exposed the neglect of the saplings after the conclusion of the campaign.

Additional deputy commissioner Ajit Joshi, however, said the responsibility to take care of saplings and watering these was upon the institutions who planted them. He said so far the DRDA had not collected the data about the survival rate of the saplings. 



Braving cold, visitors throng Surajkund mela
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The 22nd Surajkund Craft Mela, which opened seven days ago, has again proved to be a big hit. Despite severe cold conditions, people are thronging the mela area not only for an outing but also to appreciate the traditional crafts of the country’s various states that are displayed at one place.

To give some sort of permanency to the mela, which otherwise is an annual 15-day feature, the state tourism this year has added a Surajkund design gallery complex, which was inaugurated by minister of state for tourism Kiran Choudhry a day before the mela commenced on February 1. Already the complex has become a hub of activity for fashion lovers, who can buy designer products here round the year. They can also explore the latest fashion trends of the country here.

It is a unique venture between the state tourism department and reputed designers of the country to provide a platform for designer-artisan interaction for the ultimate benefit of the both. The crafts persons would be able to learn the tricks of trade to make their products more acceptable and saleable in the market. The designers have got a new platform where they can explore new ventures with the new crafts persons for better job work of their designs. In return, the tourism department will gain from the complex by making its resorts at Surajkund alive throughout the year.

One of the main purposes of the Surajkund mela is to give a new life to the languishing craft of the country. This year special emphasis has been given one such craft from Andhra Pradesh - leather puppetry, which is standing on its last leg and may shortly become a “tell-tale” for the posterity.

It is said that making cut-work designs and cutout puppet from goat or buffalo leather needs the concentration of goldsmith and the precision of a diamond-cutter. S. Chitambara Rao from Andhra Pradesh has both skills. He is the fourth generation member of the family in the business of leather puppetry.

Winning a national award for designing a colourful Ravana, Rao says "Times have not changed but it is the liking of the people which has changed. Children in particular are not interested in seeing puppet shows. No matter how much colour I put in my puppets, I cannot make them as glamorous looking as TV programmes."

The major attraction of this year Surajkund Crafts Mela is the folk and dance troupes who have come from all over India. One such heart warming dance performance of West Bengal is “Gaudiya Dance - A poetry in dance”, performed by Mahuja Mukherjee and her troupe.

A face-painting competition was also organised in which school children participated with enthusiasm. 



Industry on migration mode
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 7
Due to deteriorating situation of power supply in Gurgaon and its adjoining areas, majority of the small-scale industries are looking for an option to shift to some other states where they would get better power supply and infrastructure.

The industries are opting to move to states like Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar for setting up their units. The IT industry, which gave the “millennium city” title to Gurgaon, is also exploring the idea of shifting because of the absence of basic infrastructure here.

While talking to The Tribune, the president of the Chamber of Industries of Udyog Vihar, Col Raj Singla (retd), said the indifferent attitude of the state government towards small industries and liberal incentives to multinational companies was deplorable. He said in the past five months more than 5 per cent of the small industries had shifted to Uttarakhand, Baddi in Himachal Pradesh and even in Gujarat for better facilities.

Singla said the unavailability of electricity had not only affected the individual industry but also had its say on the output of big industries. He said because of continuous shortage of power supply for the past one year, most of the Gurgaon-based industrialists failed to give the delivery of their orders in time.

An impression had been formed in the market that the Gurgaon industry did not even have the potential to deliver production orders in time, he said, adding that the new orders were being given to the industries in Delhi instead of Gurgaon.

The industrialist said the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) had recently imposed a cut in power supply to the industrial sector for more than two days in order to cater to the needs of the agriculture sector. The Nigam officials even forcefully shut down several units, leaving industrialists to bear the loss of production.

The general secretary of the Haryana Industries Association, Udyog Vihar, K.K. Kapur, stated that for the past one month there had been acute power cuts on the industry which had forced not even small-scale industries but even some of IT entrepreneurs to think shifting to some other state.

He said most of the state governments were framing liberal policies to attract investment, but the Haryana government was only concerned about big units without bothering about the fate of small industries. He said the decision of the Nigam to charge Rs 2 per unit extra from the industrial units desirous to use electricity during peak hours was uncalled for.

Recently, an official of the Nigam official stated that the demand of the power was increasing by more than 25 per cent every year. He said though the state had been starting ventures for power generation, it had not been able to cope with the increasing demand. 



Faridabad public transport a mess
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 7
Though the city is on the path of industrialisation and modernisation, it limps on the front of public transport services and easy intra-city connectivity.

The city is now part of the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad along with the nearby Ballabgarh areas. This has made intra-connectivity issue a burning one.

While the people of the city are devoid of convenient and organised public transport system, the problem assumes larger proportion with the government showing intention to allow further expansion of the city. Already rapid construction works with regard to the residential area in trans-Gurgaon and Agra canal areas have started and the public is hard-pressed on mobility front.

The government had in the past started few buses, but the project failed. The government feels that the project was not economically viable. But there are many who feel that the project failed due to faulty planning in mapping routes. The government had also provided permits to private parties earmarking several routes to interconnect various parts of the city. But a large number of them abandoned the prescribed routes operation and started operating on the Delhi-Agra national highway. The reason being that this route is fetching in terms of returns.

Presently, the commuters rely mainly on three-wheelers in spite of the risk of life on road and ill-mannered behavior of the operators.

According to an estimate, thousands of three-wheelers are illegally operating in the MCF areas with the authorities concerned apparently looking the other way or finding it difficult to bridle the operators. The three-wheelers are overloaded, and the operators take their own time to whizz off and on. They would start only when the people are packed like sardines.

The operators would come to an abrupt halt in the middle of the road without caring for traffic rules. The rashness has often resulted in accidents.

Junked vehicles, which had to get off the Delhi roads on account of CNG-use enforcement, too, are adversely affecting the already polluted environment of the city. 



Scholarships for more SC students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The scope of the Ambedkar meritorious student scheme has been widened to give scholarships to more students belonging to the scheduled castes and backward classes. 

Haryana social justice and empowerment minister Kartar Devi said that now 5,000 scholarships would be given to students belonging to the scheduled castes instead of 2,000 earlier. Apart from students belonging to block A of the backward classes, those of block B would also be eligible to get scholarships under the scheme. She said all students belonging to the scheduled castes and blocks A and B of the backward classes studying in polytechnics and industrial training and vocational education institutions would also be eligible for the scholarships. She said the scholarship amount would be Rs 1,000 per month for 10 months in a year. 

Those who were getting scholarships under other general schemes would also be eligible under this scheme. Those who had been sanctioned scholarships in 10+1 would be entitled to get scholarships after getting admission in 10+2, but they would have to again submit their applications. Eligible students would be able to submit their applications up to February 18. She said the application forms could be obtained free of cost from the office of the district welfare officer or the tehsil welfare officer. 



Frost damages mustard crop

Jhajjar, February 7
The extended spell of severe cold coupled with ground frost has caused extensive damage to the mustard crop, the main rabi crop for non-irrigated areas in the district. The survey reports of the agriculture department revealed about 50 to 60 per cent damage to the mustard crop, which is likely to bring the down the production target much below the earlier projection.

Sources said the total area under mustard crop was 38,527 hectares while the department had set a target of about 50,000 hectares. However, adverse weather conditions and the absence of winter rains led to the crop failure.

Farmers who took to sowing mustard hoping that the rain gods would respond to their prayers are at the receiving end and will have to suffer losses.

Krishan Kumar, a young farmer in Dariyapur village in Badli assembly segment, said he sowed three acres of mustard crop, and with no irrigation facility he was hoping that a spell of rain would help in surviving the crops. But the entire crop got damaged due to frost that continued for the about two weeks. "I was expecting about 10 to 12 quintals mustard production per acre. But now I will get nothing," he rued.

Subdivisional agriculture officer Aditya Dabas said the survey in Bahadurgarh division revealed that crops over 3,000 hectares had suffered more than 50 per cent damage while remaining crop, too, had affected up to 30 per cent. "In fact, the frost occurred when the seed was in formation process. In the absence of irrigation, a spell of rain was required but the rain skipped the winter season that too added to the woes of the farmers," Dabas said, adding that damage was maximum in the crops which were sown early.

The sources said some of the worst affected areas include non-irrigated areas of Salawas region, Lagarpur, Dariyapur and some villages of Badli region.  



Inside Babudom
16 officers face reversion
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
As a result of the reduction of the cadre strength of HCS, 16 officers, who came to HCS from other services, are going to be reverted to their original posts. Even their elevation to HCS during the Chautala regime was not free from controversy.

D Suresh, an IAS officer posted now in Delhi, was transferred because he was hesitant to make a recommendation with a false date to meet the deadline for receiving recommendations for promoting a personal staff to the HCS in this fashion. Prior to that, the regime had increased the HCS cadre strength to accommodate aspirants.

The strength has been restored to its original level by the Congress regime. Thus, the 16 promoted as civil servants by the INLD are to be reverted to the positions they were occupying before the jump. The affected ones went to court when they were given notice by the government. The state government was asked to convey its decision to the HCS entrants and leave a gap of 10 days for the implementation of the order to enable anyone aggrieved by the order to approach the court during the gap period.

Chief secretary Promilla Issar is going to retire at the end of this month. The question now is whether she will give the orders before she quits service. It has been a while now that the final orders regarding the 16 IAS officers is awaited. These are supposed to be separate "speaking orders", meaning that the orders must explain the reasons for the action.

Raghavendra Rao has, meanwhile, replaced Promilla Issar's deputy Dheera Khandelwal as special secretary, political and services (SSPS) while the latter has become managing director of the Haryana Financial Corporation. The transfer of IAS officers last week, in which Rao and Khandelwal figured, has made one thing clear, according to an IAS officer. The officer says Rao's posting as SSPS is a clear indication of Dharam Vir succeeding Issar as chief secretary. Rao and Dharam Vir get along well and that is why Rao has been posted as the chief secretary's deputy, he says.

Quoting his friend, who is an important member of the Chief Minister's office (CMO), the officer says another round of transfer of IAS officers is expected to take place in the near future. An IAS officer, now heading a marketing board, is in the reckoning for appointment as excise and taxation commissioner (ETC), he says. Arun Kumar, the incumbent ETC, will be then posted as MD of a power sector corporation, the officer, who is also himself expecting to get "rehabilitated" during the anticipated reshuffle, he says.

The Dharam Vir-Rao team is likely to find on their plate a problem involving a much larger number of HCS officers. The case fought by Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal in the high court on the HCS selections in 2002 by the HPSC, has led to some startling revelations with regard to the examination process. These HCS officers, also selected during the Chautala regime, are all serving in various posts even as a feeling is growing in various circles that the government must not wait for the court's verdict to take action against them. 



Basic amenities
Sonepat village seeks grant
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, February 7
Though the district administration claims to have spent crores of rupees on the development works in the rural areas of the district, there are several villages who have been in a state of neglect.

Uldepur is one such village. It has received a grant of just Rs 3 lakh during the past three years. Hardly one or two projects could be initiated with this meager amount, says village sarpanch Ashok Kumar.

The village has been facing the problem of drinking water supply as all hand pumps installed by the administration have gone dry in the wake of sharp decline in the level of groundwater, which has gone down to 80 ft.

None of the hand pumps is in serviceable condition and the women are forced to bring water from private tubewells of farmers. The villagers have demanded the installation of at least six new hand pumps.

Other amenities like pavements and maintenance of village streets, repair of chaupals, replacement of old and damaged electricity wires and poles are virtually non-existent. As many as six streets of the village are in damaged condition, as no repair has been carried out in the past 10 years, complain Sunita and Baby, both residents of the village. Similarly, the village cremation ground requires a shed and boundary wall for which the villagers have raised demand a number of times in the past.

The villagers point out that they have urged the power board authorities a number of times for the replacement of loose and damaged electricity wires and shifting of the iron poles of electricity from the middle of streets, but the authorities have always been indifferent to their demands. The villagers complain that there have been incidents of electrocution of animals due to the faulty and damaged wires in the past.

The sarpanch said, "We have demanded a grant of Rs 1 crore for various development works in the village of 8,000 people and hoped that the administration would sanction the grant for initiating various projects, the list of which has been given to the authorities concerned".

Inquiries from the office of district rural development authorities confirmed that the village has received a grant of around Rs 3 lakh for various development works. The BDPO office also informed that only Rs 1.80 lakh had so far been spent on various works in the village. 



Indian writings ‘reflect Western culture’
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, February 7
For those having interest in English literature, particularly the one written by Indian writers, a seminar on "Indian writings in English: Native and diasporic", which concluded recently, was a literary feast. 

The tone was set by Prof Abhay Maurya, vice-chancellor of the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, when he observed in his inaugural address that Indian writers did not write keeping Indian ethos in mind.

He said Indian writers, particularly the diasporas, were influenced more by the Western culture. He said though the earlier Indian writers like Mulakh Raj Anand and R.K. Narayan portrayed Indian culture in their writings, the trait had not been carried forward by subsequent writers like Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie.

Prof G.K. Das, former vice-chancellor of Utkal University, while presenting his paper, "Exile in paradise: Some thoughts on the expatriate Indian writing in English", said the term diaspora basically had a sense of exile.

He said in the European literary tradition, Dante was the most eminent exiled author and intellectual. Delving upon some authors like Nirad C Chaudhary, Prafulla Mohanta and Salman Rushdie, he said his presentation was an attempt to investigate some of the issues as were reflected in a small group of selected Indian expatriate writers.

Prof R.W. Desai, former head of the English department, Delhi University, while presenting his paper "Catering to the West through stereotypes: Some reflections on Bharti Mukerjee and Jhumpa Lahiri", said through skilled storytellers, their art was marred by portrayal of their home country in a poor and disparaging light and with the obvious intention of titillating the appetite of Western readers by giving them a diet of spicy Indian fare.

Dr Manorama Trikha, former head of the English department, Meerut University, who wanted to bring home a point in her paper "Sense of place in recent Indian Poetry in English", said the poetry of Indian writer in English was always local though it carried a universal message.

Dr Tejinder Kaur, Professor of English, Punjabi University, Patiala, presented her paper "Diaspoic concerns in the selected English fiction of Indian diaspora women writers".

Some other prominent papers presented in the seminar were "Articulation of diaspora and its passages: Exploring M.G. Vassanji" by Manjit Inder Singh, chairman, department of English, Punjabi University; "The poet as activists - A study of Henry Derozio" by Hema Dahiya of Delhi University; "Jhumpa Lahiri as diasporic writer" by S.P.S. Dahiya, head of the English department, MDU, Rohtak; "The concept of imaginary homelands and its implication in Salman Rushdie's novels" by Tripta Mehta from MM College, Fatehabad; "Indian writings at crossroads - the zigzag journey of Anita Desai" by Sangeeta Handa from Government Mohindera College, Patiala; "Shalimar the clown: Salman Rushdie's paradise lost" by Ravi Bhushan from Bhagat Phool Singh Mahila Vishavidyalaya, Khanpur Kalan (Sonipat); "Class dynamics and woman in Rupa Bajwa's The Sari Shop" by Daisy also from the Khanpur Kalan women university; "Nature in Ruskin Bond" by Dimple Badhwar from Government College, Siwani; and "Hearts in search of home - Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss" by Rashmi Singh from Government College, Baund Kalan.  



BJP in dilemma over poll alliance
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Haryana BJP is in a dilemma. It does not know if it would go alone in the next elections or it will have to enter into an alliance with another party. And, if it decides to go for an alliance, the party has to pick from among the INLD, the BSP and the Haryana Janhit Congress.

Though officially leaders of the state BJP firmly maintain that the party would not enter into an alliance with any party and would contest the next elections on its own, in private, they are not sure if they will be able to stick to their stand.

In the last elections, it was the unanimous opinion of the state leaders to go alone, which forced the high command to snap the ties with the INLD. The BJP could win only one Lok Sabha seat in 2004, and two in 2005. The strength of the INLD, which also contested on its own, was reduced to naught in the Lok Sabha and to nine in the state assembly, one short of the magic figure of 10, which would have given the status of the leader of the opposition for Om Parkash Chautala.

Many BJP leaders are apprehensive that the high command may not agree to their stand of going alone this time. Since the Lok Sabha elections will be held one year ahead of the assembly elections, the high command, in its keenness to capture power at the centre, may force the state unit to enter into an electoral alliance.

Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, who has close ties with the Chautalas, is likely to intercede with the BJP high command on behalf of the INLD. Though during the last elections, Badal had tried for the revival of the INLD-BJP ties, he failed in his endeavour because the BJP was deeply hurt by the arrogance of the INLD leadership.

While the BJP was badly mauled in the assembly elections, it had a hope that in future it would emerge as the rallying point of anti-Congress and anti-Chautala forces. Initially, it was able to attract some of such leaders, cutting across the caste lines. However, the emergence of Kuldeep Bishnoi on the state’s political scene upset the BJP applecart. The constituency of Bishnoi and the BJP is primarily the same i.e. non-Jats.

Political observers feel that if the two join hands, the next elections will be contested broadly on the basis of non-Jats versus Jats. However, there is one major hurdle. Both would like to contest urban or semi-urban constituencies. For any alliance, the two would have to give-and-take a lot.

An alliance between the BJP and the BSP seems unlikely in view of Mayawati’s highly critical views about the former. However, in view of the growing animosity between the Congress and the BSP at the national level, nothing can be said with certainty on the possibility of an alliance between the BJP and the BSP. If they decide to come together, there would not have any serious problem on seat adjustment, as may be the case between the BJP and Bishnois.



Need to lift sports in rural areas: Malleshwari
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, February 7
Karnam Malleshwari, the first woman sportsperson to have won an Olympic medal for India, has emphasised the need to promote sports among village students, particularly girls.

Speaking at the 4th annual sports meet of Sirsa Public School as the chief guest here yesterday, Malleshwari said students studying in village schools had better stamina, as they were physically and mentally stronger than their urban counterparts.

The former Olympian said women could do wonders in all fields if they were encouraged properly. She declared the sports meet open by hoisting the flag and also took salute of march past by various participant teams.

Earlier, Dr Kuldip Dhindsa, managing director of the Jan Nayak Chaudhary Devi Lal Vidyapeeth, and S.C. Sachdev, director of the school, welcomed the chief guest.

Speaking on the occasion, Dhindsa said the school, run by the Vidyapeeth management, aimed at the overall development of its children.

Students exhibited their talent by presenting yoga skills, dumb bells, aerobics and judo skills. 



Panipat flyover
Commotion to continue till April
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, February 7
There seems to be no immediate respite for the NH-1-users as the opening of the elevated highway at Panipat is delayed at least by two months.

State public works (B&R) minister Ajay Singh Yadav had reportedly announced in December last year that the elevated highway would be functional by February. But inquiries revealed that it would not be operational before April.

With the construction work still pending, motorists on the GT Road that passes through this congested township may have continue to travel through the chaotic vehicular movement that has been posing problems to the commuters as it takes more than one hour to cross the town during peak hours.

Frequent traffic jams on the 4-km stretch within the municipal limits of the township have become the bane of commuters and local residents.

In the absence of any alternate route, the authorities are being blamed for ignoring the construction of a second road to control traffic on one of the busiest road of the country.

Due to the ongoing construction of the flyover, traffic lights in the township remain non-functional and these traffic control points are manned by traffic policemen with the help of casual workers engaged by the construction company.

But owing to the shortage of traffic police staff, the job remained manned by unskilled manpower, leaving the vehicular movement at the will of the drivers.

Vehicular traffic from Rohtak, Assandh and parts of UP also enters the congested roads of this industrial township.

Sources said there was a proposal for an alternative route, but it got delayed as it was not taken up at the political level.

Location of the bus stand on the GT Road is another traffic hazard. The road in front of the bus stand is being used by the buses and taxis as pickup points, besides maxi cabs, government and private buses remain parked on the highway for passenger services. 



Superstores to change the way rural folk shop
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Jind, February 7
The shopping experience for the farmers and rural people may not be the same like their urban counterparts, but it is certainly in for a change with superstores coming up in the neighborhood.

Jind has emerged as one of the few districts in the state where such a store has been opened in the rural area. DCM and Shriram Fertilisers have jointly started retail stores under the name of “Hariyali Bazaar” in the rural areas with two such shops opened in the district, one in Aftabgarh village in Safidon subdivision and another in Uchana town.

A visit to the store at Aftabgarh village, 35 km from here, made fascinating revelations about the change in the shopping pattern of the rural folk. “It had been a common trend that superstores that bring all kind of items and commodities under one roof had been catching on in the urban areas where the purchase power and the requirements had been more than in comparison to the people residing in villages and smaller towns,” said an employee of the store, adding, “But it appears to have become an outdated notion in view of the development in the rural areas”.

He said though the number of customers visiting the shop might be less in comparison to such stores in bigger cities, the concept was getting popular. The store located on the main road connecting Safidon with Assandh boasts of having a wide variety of items, including latest and all kind of agricultural equipment, seeds, pesticides, fertilisers, tractor tyres, besides regular items of grocery, toiletries, clothes and even electrical and electronics items, including colour televisions.

“This is the first of its kind facility provided to the farmers and rural people where they could get most of the items of their need at one place,” claimed Ranjan Deswal, manager of the store.

Tarsem Singh, a resident of a nearby village, who had come to buy some agricultural implements, said shopping here was a good experience. The store had solved their problem of going to town for buying items of daily use that too at attractive prices. 



Drug trafficking
Three states plan joint police cell
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, February 7
In an effort to curb the activities of interstate criminals, particularly those of drug traffickers, police forces of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan have decided to set up a cell for better coordination.

The cell, the location of which is yet to be worked out, will have personnel from all three states and will keep track of criminals operating in the border areas of these states.

Police officers of the three states met recently at Mandi Dabwali to chalk out strategies to nail the activities of the inter-state criminals.

Anant Kumar Dhull, IG, Hisar range, presided over the meeting.

Giving details of the meeting to The Tribune, Saurabh Singh said the issue of interstate drug trafficking dominated in the discussions.

The officers shared information on the type of criminal activities prevalent in their respective areas and intricacies involved in keeping track of their activities in the border areas of their respective states.

It was resolved that the coordination was necessary to curb the activities of the criminals. 



Citizens’ Grievances
Passport, when?

I had applied for a passport in May 2007 vide file no: Z57194207. Till date, I have not been issued the passport. Nor have I received any communication from the RPO, Chandigarh, in this regard.

                                                                          Ramesh Kumar, Kurukshetra

Youth fest judges partial

Controversies marred the youth festival held at a Yamunanagar college recently, which puts a question mark on the relevance and authenticity of such events. In my student days, youth festivals commanded as much respect and importance as film festivals and other national-level cultural events. But the decline and degradation could be seen the way judges were enjoying the hospitality of a college and even before the competitions they declared that the first prize would be given to that particular college or candidate as they had looked after them so well. Questions have also been raised over the clean sweep in prizes, including the overall trophy, by a college for the past many years. The day is not far when colleges will prefer to boycott such events to save their money, and the time and energy of their students.

                                                                              Amrit Kaur, Yamunanagar

Reduce RTI fee

The fees and costs prescribed for obtaining information under the Haryana Right to Information Rules, 2005, is no less than five times as compared to rules framed by the central government. While the fee for seeking information under the central rules is merely Rs 10, in case of Haryana, it is Rs 50. Further, while the central public information authorities charge photocopies of documents at the rate of Rs 2 per page, their Haryana counterparts ask for Rs 10 per page. In case the information is to be in a CD, the Haryana rules prescribe Rs 100 as against Rs 50 under the central rules. There is a need to end this anomaly. The rules for implementing the RTI Act should not be allowed to act as a deterrent for information seekers.

                                                                           Hemant Kumar, Ambala City





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |