An endless wait for wedding bells
Fatehabad, February 21
Jat youths, particularly those having small landholdings, are being forced into bachelorhood one after the other due the paucity of brides.
Take an example of three middle-aged brothers, all bachelors, Kala, Mohinder (40) and Raj Kumar (38) of Gorakhpur village in the district. Their father Partap Singh had five sons. While Partap Singh was able to find brides for his two elder sons, he could not find brides for Kala, Mohinder and Raj Kumar.
Kala has since gone insane while Mohinder and Raj Kumar are part of an army of 500 bachelors of Gorakhpur, one of the largest villages of Haryana.
The case of Shamsher Singh (30) and Maha Singh (28) is another example of two brothers having been forced to lead their lives as bachelors due to the scarcity of girls in the state.
Ram Mehar (31), Pawan (30), Rajesh (32), Zile Singh (43), Suresh (38) and Ishwar Singh (37), the list is endless and transcends the village to every part of the state.
With this, a trend emerged where families started procuring wives for its bachelors from other states like Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa. However, in several cases procured wives have added to the problem rather than solving it.
Ramdhari Singh, who “purchased” a Bihari bride for his son Balraj through some go-between. But the “wife” ran away after a few days with cash and jewellery leaving the family in the lurch.
Similarly, Jodha Singh procured a wife for his son Tasha, from a Punjab village. But she, too, ran away and took with her all savings of Tasha.
Krishan Swaroop Gorakhpuria, a senior CPM leader and a social activist, says the situation is worsening due to the skewed sex ratio in this area. The ratio is 861:1000 in Fatehabad district.
Though rich and prosperous Jat families do not face any problem in finding suitable brides for their sons, it is those with small landholdings who find it almost impossible to get brides, as the parents prefer to marry their daughters in well-off families.
Another trend that emerged is the “barter system” for marriages where one family marry its daughters in families, who in turn give their daughters in marriage to the former family. But in case the number of daughters in the family is less than the number of sons, the system fails again.
Jogi Ram managed to marry his son Satish (32) and in exchange fixed the marriage of his niece in the family of Satish’s bride. But Jogi Ram’s other two sons Kuldeep and Raj Kumar are still unmarried, as they have no girls left in the family to “exchange” them for getting brides.
Jagmati Sangwan, president of the Haryana unit of the All India Democratic Women Association , says the social implication of the gender imbalance, which was not visible earlier, has manifested in the past eight to 10 years.
She says the ever-increasing army of bachelors in Haryana villages has adverse fallout on the society, as the youths get frustrated and indulge in anti-social activities. These men idle in village streets and it is due to this that the incidents of crime against women are on the rise.
She advocates the need for a social campaign against female foeticide and gender imbalance by involving such men in the drive, as these are the persons who can best understand the implications of the skewed sex ratio.
Panipat, February 21
Fearing public outcry, the district administration is maintaining silence on the issue, but residents here have decided to oppose any such move.
A leading industrialist says the flyover is meant to facilitate GT Road users, but it seems that Panipat residents will be “penalised” for the convenience of NH-1 users.
“The local population feels cheated by the state authorities for never hinting at the toll tax issue,” says Sevak Nayyar, a resident of Model Town.
The 10-km-long highway at Panipat that includes a 3.4-km elevated stretch over the township is largely projected as a time-saving plan for NH-1 commuters.
Talking to The Tribune, Sanjay Tripathi, project director, NHAI, confirmed that all light and heavy vehicles crossing the toll plaza near drain or Baburpur, would have to pay toll tax. “Irrespective of the fact that a motorist is driving on the elevated highway or the service lanes, he has to pay the tax,” Tripathi informed, adding that the provision of toll tax was a part of the agreement.
If a motorist coming from Assandh, Rohtak or Hardwar road and needs to drive towards Ambala, he will reach toll booth without using the flyover.
Tripathi clarified that the localites would be entitled for a discount varying from 25 to 50 per cent. Declining to furnish further details, he said the rates would be made public through a notification after the work on the flyover was completed. He said part of the upcoming highway would take another four months to complete.
“The elected representatives, including the Chief Minister, have never tried to prepare the local residents to pay toll tax and the situation is getting murkier,” admitted an official.
The Rs 325-crore state-of-the-art highway is being executed by L&T Panipat Elevated Corridor Pvt Ltd on built-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. The official deadline of the project is January 2009.
Deep drilling worries soil experts
Karnal, February 21
Speaking to The Tribune here recently, experts said deep drilling for submersible pumps disturbed the underground rocky formations resulting in the release of certain unknown substances responsible for increase in salinity in the soil.
Biosaline and soil experts from six countries were here at the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI) to discuss the increasing problem of salinity as part of a European Union-sponsored project on the subject. Dr Gurbachan Singh, director, CSSRI, said the farming community should be educated to maintain soil and water health record for timely treatment whenever any significant imbalance was traced in their quality. He also favoured “benchmarking of tubewells” to ensure quality of water and soil.
The coordinator of the EU-funded project, Dr Jeannette Hoek, also endorsed the view of Dr Gurbachan Singh.
Healthcare to go in private hands in Gurgaon
Gurgaon, February 21
The administration had constituted a committee to study the proposals received from 25 corporate houses for renting out dispensaries. The committee after reviewing the proposals allocated eight dispensaries to private firms.
These dispensaries are: Sector 49 dispensary, which has been rented out to Global Cancer Concern India while the dispensaries at Sector 39 and 54 have been given to DLF. Similarly, National Thalasemia Welfare Society would run Palam Vihar dispensary while Sector 57 dispensary has been rented out to Ch. Vedram Charitable Trust. The dispensary at Sector 40 would be run by Chikitsa Society and the dispensaries at Sector 43 and 55 would be managed by Genpact.
Interestingly, all dispensaries were lying abandoned after HUDA constructed these at a cost of Rs 20 lakh each. Most of the dispensaries had remained non-functional as no doctor or para-medical staff was posted there. Though the administration had earlier given the charge of two dispensaries to Red Cross, their functioning was not adjudged up to the mark.
Deputy commissioner Rakesh Gupta says the administration has prepared the PPP model for dispensaries in order to improve the quality of the healthcare services.
He says a dispensary at Sector 45, which is being run by Seagram, is providing excellent services to the resident of the area. It is only after evaluating the success of that dispensary, the administration decided to hand over the charge of eight more dispensaries to private companies to be run under the similar pattern, he adds.
Gupta asked these corporate houses and organisations to get the dispensaries ready by first week of April.
He revealed that if the experiment worked, the administration would also hand over primary health centres and community health centres to these corporate houses.
The deputy commissioner said these companies have to focus on preventive aspects of diseases and to promote maternal and child healthcare.
He said health services, including consultancy, treatment and medicines, would be provided free of cost and the patient had to give only Rs 10 as registration fees. An MOU had been signed between the District Family and Health Welfare Society and these companies to provide quality services to the poor at low cost. He said the administration would monitor the working of these dispensaries so that it would not be used as referral centres for other hospitals.
Bye to open defecation
Chandigarh, February 21
“We had heard of Nirmal villages which had become ODF last year. All these are small villages and we had never thought that a big village like ours could achieve such a goal. Though it seemed a distant dream, we decided to have a go at it. Today, everybody in the village is happy that their effort has yielded fruit,” says village sapranch Jaipal Singh. What makes the achievement bigger is that they have done so without any kind of help.
It all began in January this year when the village panchayat met and decided to adopt a New Year resolution for improving the quality of life of the villagers. They set a target of achieving the ODF status notwithstanding the large population.
“We approached additional deputy commissioner Amit Aggarwal who was more than willing to help us. Though he made it clear that the district administration would not offer any kind of monetary help or subsidy, he gave us a blueprint on how to get started. It was on January 17 that we got down to some serious work and the project was formally launched,” the sarpanch says.
The ADC personally visited the village a number of times to create awareness about hygiene, mobilised support for the project while the panchayat’s five volunteers went from house to house to instill the idea of total sanitation and urge villagers to become equal partners in this mission.
“This exercise worked and many families came forward to extend support. As many as 700 toilets were constructed in the village without any help from the government in a record time of one month. A labourer, Rajinder Rohilla, was made the chairperson of a five-member committee supervising the implementation and they worked day in and day out to complete the project,” maintains Jaipal Singh. On February 17, a formal function was held to mark the completion of the project and the people associated with the mission were honoured. The ADC says, “We were very enthused that the panchayat had approached us for the project. However, we did not want to offer subsidy so that the families constructing the toilets should spend their money and own these toilets. They wanted to break away from the general public psyche that the government should construct and maintain these toilets which end up as mere showpieces.”
During their visit to the village, the administration found that there was a lot of community feeling and the village was all out to achieve the goal. The officials agreed to offer logistic support and the results amazed everybody, including the panchayat.
“This village stands out as an example for others. If such a big village can do it in record time, the smaller ones should have no problem. Our district has also become a ground for research by foreign scientists wanting to study these models and the programme largely owes its success to community involvement,” Aggarwal says.
At the village, after the realisation of the goal, the panchayat has nominated another committee to ensure complete sanitation. Dustbins have been installed at different location with government support and the villagers have been urged to own up responsibility for the maintenance of sanitation in this village that has become a show-window for others.
Hisar, February 21
These acrimonious attempts to safeguard their political interests are not limited to rival party aspirants, but intra-party turf wars are turning out to be even bitterer.
Savour the one between Congress MP from Hisar Jai Parkash and Chhattarpal Singh, party MLA from Ghirai and president of the Hisar District Congress Committee. Chhattarpal Singh's constituency will be abolished when the centre notifies the delimitation. He now has his eyes on neighbouring Narnaund constituency, which is presently represented by BJP's Ram Kumar Gautam.
On the other hand, Jai Parkash's brother Randhir Singh, who represents Barwala constituency at present, is also eyeing Narnaund as his constituency too will be abolished in the new dispensation. The warring politicians were all present at a rally addressed by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at
Hooda did the balancing act that day sharing the honours with the warring Congressmen on the dais and praising late Virender Singh, former Haryana minister, whose son Dr Ajay Singh was the party nominee during the last poll.
But, within hours Chhatarpal Singh made a controversial statement indirectly hinting at Jai Parkash's alleged links to the notorious kidney king, Dr Amit Kumar of Gurgaon. This was not the first time he had tried to run down his senior in party and politics. His unabashed outburst made the headlines in local newspapers much to the chagrin of Jai Parkash.
The Hisar MP responded vicariously. On his behalf, two of his leading supporters Dharam Singh Poonia and Rajinder Sura made equally unsavoury remarks about Chhatarpal Singh reminding him that he was sacked from the Bhajan Lal cabinet on allegations of trying to molest an airhostess. They sought a public apology from Chhatarpal Singh failing which they threatened to take the issue right in the "court" of Sonia Gandhi.
Likewise, with Bhiwani Lok Sabha seat set to lose its identity in the new scheme, Congress leaders of the district are already on the offensive against minister of state for defence production Rao Inderjit Singh whose Mahendragarh Lok Sabha constituency will now have five assembly segments of Bhiwani.
Since Bhajan Lal's pocket borough Adampur will now be part of Hisar Lok Sabha seat, Kuldeep Bishnoi will have to shift here in the next poll. A war of words is already on between Bishnoi, Jai Parkash and INLD camps, as Ajay Chautala is also considering Hisar as an option in the changed scenario.
Bishnoi's Haryana Janhit Party (BL) organised a big demonstration here on Tuesday demanding the arrest of Jai Parkash for his alleged links to the kidney king. This demonstration is the direct outcome of the turf wars.
These wars are likely to grow fiercer in the coming days as the likes of Om Parkash Chautala, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Nirmal Singh and Meena Mandal look for alternative political bases and still others like Navin Jindal, MP from Kurukshetra, and Avtar Singh Bhadana, Faridabad MP, try to find feet in changed turfs.
Chandigarh, February 21
Secretaries are required to send a note on the activity and achievement of the departments headed by them to the Chief Minister for reference during the session. However, instead of preparing precise notes and sending it to the Chief Minister, the practice, all these days, have been to send to the CM's office a bulky sheaf of papers which in no way can be called a note.
"It has been observed that quite often departments send these notes in a routine manner and as such they do not serve much purpose. All administrative secretaries are requested to personally ensure that the notes contain concise and crisp information on concrete achievements," wrote the PSCM to the recipients of his letter.
The babus have also found a way to circumvent the RTI Act if the information sought by someone entails extra work. Om Prakash, resident of Birauli village in Jind, recently sought information on the number of jobs given to the dependents of farmers killed in firing by the police during agitations. He also wanted to know if similar benefits were given to dependents of government staff who died while showing exceptional courage in discharging their duties.
Rather than collecting the information in this regard at one place and sending it to Om Prakash, his application was sent to all heads of departments who were asked to send the required information directly to the applicant. They were not asked to send a copy of their replies to the official to whom the question was originally directed. Om Prakash will be a lucky man if he really gets replies from all those who come under the ambit of his question.
The heads of the departments often do a sloppy job when it comes to preparing cabinet memorandums. Letters issued in this regard from time to time, some even dating back to 1965, were circulated in a consolidated form recently so that the departmental heads (directors) could prepare cabinet memorandums properly. Indifferent work on this front resulted in wastage of time of the cabinet, the directors were told.
Rewari in for better times with Capt Yadav
Rewari, February 21
Though there has been a change of guard several times in Haryana in the past 18 years, Capt Yadav's association with Rewari remained intact.
Thus, while Rewari found in Capt Yadav its veritable architect and dedicated patron, he, too, received unstinted support and love from the people of the district.
During his 18-year long stewardship, Rewrai has risen to a position of regeneration with the accomplishment of numerous development works and several ongoing projects.
Capt Yadav's five-year tenure from 1991 to 1996, when he was a minister in the Bhajan Lal government, had also remained less fruitful. Similarly, his 10-year tenure from 1996 to 2005, when the Congress was in the opposition, remained detrimental to Rewari's development.
However, his elevation to the minister level in the present government has brought rich dividends in the matter of rapid development of Rewari in the past three years.
Thus, a new face of Rewari has emerged with the establishment of a district secretariat, judicial complex, Bal Bhawan, Red Cross Bhawan, Kisan Bhawan, dry port, industrial training institutes, war memorial, gymkhana club, youth hostel and several other projects.
In addition to this, several ongoing development projects deserve mention. The construction work of the prestigious Post Graduate Regional Centre (PGRC), which remained in limbo for 17 years, is now on in Mirpur village, 10 km from Rewrai. The centre will become functional from April 2009.
Similarly, the Rs 19-crore Polytechnic College at Lisana village, near Rewari, which will be functional by April 2009, will be another achievement of the MLA.
Appreciating Capt Yadav, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda made a public announcement here recently that with the accomplishment of more such development projects in the next two years, there would be a radical transformation of Rewari that would then be on a par with the Gurgaon region.
Innovation his scalpel
Rohtak, February 21
Rohtak PGIMS director S.S. Sangwan, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon of the region, does precisely that. In his longstanding career, Dr Sangwan has developed several surgical techniques, besides designing new tools and modifying the existing ones.
Some of his major innovations include designing a modified kuntsher nail (commonly called k-nail) by bending it at a certain angle, broadening it from above and fitting it with a screw instead of an eye. Dr Sangwan has fondly termed this redesigned nail, used in cases of femur fracture,
Apart from this, the surgeon has carried out modifications in bohler braun splint and T & Christ fixator used in treating orthopaedic patients. He has evolved a novel technique of tourniquet application, besides developing and redesigning abduction bed, extension prosthesis, dynamic hip screw (moulding), notched perio-steam elevator and wooden blocks for spinal surgeries.
The innovative orthopaedician has also carried several out limb-salvage surgeries on patients of bone tumour, using advanced technique like rotation-plasty and mega-prosthesis. By using these methods, the height of a patient is preserved and mobility maintained even after the amputation of lower limbs.
An MS and DNB in orthopaedics, Dr Sangwan has received several national and international awards for his innovative efforts. These include the SICOT World Congress Award, Commonwealth fellowship, UK, and Dr C.L. Sahni Award by the IMA College of General Practitioners. He has more than 100 research publications and
Seminar on female foeticide
Fatehabad, February 21
The district with a sex ratio of 893:1000 is the third best in the state after Hisar and Kaithal.
Jhalnia, a village near Fatehabad has a high ratio of girls in the age group of 0-6, claims Dr J.K. Bishnoi, civil surgeon, Fatehabad.
The district administration has asked several schools and colleges to send their teams for participation in the seminar.
Deputy Commissioner O.P. Sheoran had called a meeting of health authorities, officials of the women and child development department, private doctors and prominent citizens in this regard and took several decisions to check the menace of female foeticide.
Fire incidents in industries
Jhajjar, February 21
There are over 1,000 units operating in this industrial township of the National Capital Region, most of which are located in the Modern Industrial Estates. A majority of the units are engaged in manufacturing paints, plastic and chemicals which are fire-prone and call for following proper safety measures like fire extinguishers, gas hydrants and other such equipment. Moreover, the physical training to the workers to take emergency steps is also required.
However, most of these units do not follow any of the fire safety measures. With short-circuit turning out to be the main cause of fire in most cases, it seems that electrical wiring is also not laid keeping in view safety aspects.
Despite all these shortcomings and negligent attitude on part of the industrial unit owners, the authorities, including the fire department and the local administration, have not taken any action against these units so far even as the mishaps continue to occur repeatedly.
In a latest incident, a blast in blower had led to severe burn injuries to five workers of Shiva International.
When asked about the action being taken by the district administration, SDM Sushil Sarwan said he had constituted a committee, comprising local administrative and municipal officials, who were conducting a survey of all industrial units regarding fire safety. "The committee is likely to give its report within two weeks and we will take strict action against the defaulting units," the SDM said.
Eco clubs set to play active role
Gurgaon, February 21
While talking to The Tribune, HSPCB chairman A.S. Chahal revealed that around 2,800 eco clubs had been formed all over the state, but it remained on papers only and hardly any effort was made to create awakening among the masses and improve the degrading environment around us. He said the schools having eco clubs failed to develop any concrete programme to make them fully functional.
Chahal said in a meeting held recently to review the working of eco clubs in the schools, it was found that only one teacher had been selected by the school authorities to deliver lecture on environment on Saturdays and there was only one function of planting saplings each year on the school campuses. Even teachers on the panel of the eco clubs acknowledged that there was no proper schedule made for these clubs in any school at the state level, he added.
The chairman said the board had decided that on every Wednesday in all schools of the state there would be a lecture on environment during assembly. A group of students would be formulated in each school that would undertake the work of planting saplings in and around the school campus. Regular competition on various themes of environment would be organised between these groups at the school level. He further said district-level eco club competitions would also be organised.
At present, the schools were getting Rs 2,500 for the smooth functioning of the eco clubs in the schools and if any school showed outstanding performance in environment awareness than this amount would be raised appreciably, he said, adding the students should be encouraged to promote community participation in these programmes.
Chahal said the menace of environmental degradation was staring us in our face. Neglect and carelessness in protecting natural resources could prove disastrous for the mankind. People all over the world have started showing concern on the climate changes, global warming, ozone depletion and joint efforts needs to be initiated to curb these problems posing danger to the future of mankind.
Livestock population declines
Chandigarh, February 21
This has been the preliminary finding of the 18th livestock census carried out by the animal husbandry and dairying department recently with October 15, 2007, as the reference date.
The exact census compilation was still under process, an official said and added that the department would bring out a comprehensive report on the census once the process was finished.
The total livestock population was found to be 94.45 lakh in the census carried out in 2003. The latest census figures show the total livestock population as 90.92 lakh.
While there has been no major increase or decrease in the number of cows and buffalos, that of goats and pigs has been found to have gone up marginally. It has been found during the census that the canine population in the state has gone down drastically. The dog population shows a 20 per cent decrease when compared with the 2003 count of dogs. Poultry population has shown an increase of 2.5 per cent.
Kurukshetra, February 21
Once a horse, while grazing by its side, fell into it. The animal was rescued by Jyoti Nagar dwellers with the help of passersby after a long rescue operation. Similarly, a buffalo fell into this 4 ft wide and 5 ft deep nullah. When the owner raised alarm, several passersby and local residents pulled out the buffalo after a lot of hard work.
Other victims also include three children, who received injuries when they fell into the nullah while playing.
According to the information, prior to the digging of this nullah, the Jyoti Nagar residents had got a stay order from a local court with the plea that it would pose a danger to the children of nearby areas. However, fearing floods during rainy season, the administrative officials persuaded the residents to get the stay vacated by withdrawing the case.
Keeping in view the right cause, the residents agreed to the proposal on the condition that the nullah would be cemented and covered. Though the nullah was constructed pucca, it remained uncovered.
Several requests have been made to the Thanesar Municipal Committee to cover the nullah, but nothing has been done so far.
G.L Setia, retired school principal and a resident of Jyoti Nagar, says, “This nullah has created more problems than it has solved. It has proved a health hazard for the residents of the locality as it has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Besides, foul smell keeps emanating from the nullah as it has also become a dumping place for garbage”.
The residents have demanded that either the nullah should be covered and cleaned regularly or it should be closed as it has lost its utility because of the scarcity of rains.
HCS selection row
Chandigarh, February 21
Though technically, the commission is an autonomous and constitutional authority, in Haryana it is a common knowledge that no stone moves in recruitment agencies like the HPSC and the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) without the express consent of the Chief Minister.
Therefore, the INLD cannot escape the responsibility for the doings of the commission that was dominated by its appointees. To be fair to the INLD, the practice did not start during its regime. It was prevalent before the party came to power and continues even after it has been ousted out of the power.
If the judiciary quashes the HCS selection, it would be a big embarrassment for the INLD, which would also have to pay a heavy political price. The Lok Sabha elections are just one year away. To re-establish itself politically, the INLD must put a good performance in the elections, which will be semi-finals before the assembly elections in 2010.
Coming close to the indictment of the INLD bigwigs in the JBT teachers’ recruitment scam by the CBI, any adverse verdict in the HCS selection case in the election year cannot be comfortable for the party.
Those who joined the services in good old days, feel hurt when they see how things have been going from bad to worse in the recruitment agencies and the merit has been given a complete go bye.
They feel time has come to amend the Constitution for laying down not only minimum educational and other qualifications for the members of the public service commissions but also to amend the procedure for their appointment. At present, the appointment of the members and chairman is purely a matter of whim and fancy of the Chief Minister. The Chief Justice of the state’s high court, the leader of opposition and any other suitable persons must be associated with the selection of the members and the chairman.
HUDA sector sans basic amenities
Sonepat, February 21
Roads in this fast developing area are dotted with numerous potholes and rough patches and many of these are damaged in considerable length. The problem has been continuing for the past four years. As alleged by the welfare association, driving on these roads is dangerous and it had caused several accidents in the past.
In a letter to the District Public Relations and Grievances Committee, the association has pointed out that the problems have been brought to the notice of the authorities concerned a number of times, but nothing has been done despite assurances from time to time. So far as sewerage system is concerned, all major sewer lines are choked and filthy water gushes out of manholes emanating foul smell. Though the local engineering wing of HUDA had used hydraulic machines more than a month back, it could not fully succeed in clearing the sewer lines, the association alleged.
After failing to get positive response, the association brought to the notice of the administrator that there was a mini-hydraulic machine fitted with buckets available with HUDA division at Sonepat, but despite requests, the machine had not been used for the past two years.
When contacted, executive engineer R.S. Bisnoi admitted that there was some problem in clearing the sewer pipelines because of the low capacity of the treatment plant installed under the Yamuna Action Plan more than a decade ago. Moreover, draining the sewerage water in the open without treating is not allowed by the pollution control board authorities, he said, adding, "We have submitted plans to install a new treatment plant to overcome this problem. Even the Yamuna Action Plan authorities have been urged to increase the capacity of the existing plant. Though every effort is being made to overcome the problem, it is likely to continue for sometime."
I applied for a passport in January 2006 vide file no Z510406. Till date, I have not been issued the passport nor have I received any communication from the RPO, Chandigarh.
Renu Chawla, Kaithal
Though the Kurukshetra district administration claims that the town will be brought on the tourist map of the country, no apparent efforts could be seen taken in this direction, particularly to improve the sanitary conditions.
Heaps of garbage could be seen scattered all over the streets, mainly in HUDA sectors. Even the residents have become used to such conditions as no one raises his voice over the non-functional government machinery.
Dr Avtar Narain Chopra, Kurukshetra
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