R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri

  • Trunk call

  • Statue in neglect

  • Freedom struggle revisited


CBI probe sought: Baldev Singh Sirsa, special general secretary, SAD (A) (presidium), has demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged drug trafficking by Harmeet Singh Sandhu, SAD MLA from Tarn Taran. Sirsa said here on Friday that recently 1.5 kg smack was seized from Sandhu’s official vehicle. Sandhu said he had no official vehicle. He said people like Sirsa were leveling baseless allegations against him.

Seminar: To create awareness among rural women about their rights, social equality, health care, job avenues as well as to develop source of income by forming self-help groups, Social Care and Development Society, Chandigarh, in collaboration with Jeewanjot Welfare Society, organised a function at Saheedgarh village, five kms from here, on Sunday. Hundreds of women from the adjoining areas attended the function. Experts delivered lectures to educate the rural women about the present scenario.

: Ace international shooter Avneet Kaur Sidhu has won a gold medal in women's individual 10m Air Rifle event of the Australia Cup Shooting Championship held at Sydney International Shooting Centre (SISC), Sydney (Australia) today. Confirming this, her father Amrit Pal Singh Sidhu, informed, "She has won the gold medal in Air Rifle 10m event held today." A product of Dashmesh Girls College at Badal village, Sidhu has also earned herself an Olympic quota for 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Meeting: A meeting of the rural medical officers association was held at Teachers Home here today in which they resented callousness of the state government against the doctors. It was decided to intensify their stir against the government’s indifferent attitude towards their long pending demands. They also decided to wear black badges showing their resentment towards the health minister wherever he would visit in the state.

Blood donation: Aasra Welfare Society organised a blood donation camp in memory of reputed blood donor late Tej Ram Bansal at the local Des Raj Primary School here today. About 25 units of blood was donated by the society’s members. School students also presented a cultural programme on the occasion. Gurmit Singh, DSP, was the chief guest and Manohar Lal Arora and Darshan Kumar were the guest of honour.

Moneylenders: Rajya Sabha member from Punjab Manohar Singh Gill on Friday said there was a major problem of private moneylenders and the state government should enact a legislation to manage this. Moneylenders charged high interest rates from poor farmers. He said the legislation could be enacted in the current Punjab Vidhan Sabha session.

New appointment
: BJP Chief, Punjab, Prof Rajinder Bhandari has appointed Jagtar Singh Saini as the new district president of the BJP unit here in place of Vijay Aggarwal, according to the party sources here. Jagtar Singh is considered a close associate of the minister for medical education and research, forest and wild life, labour and parliamentary affairs, Punjab, Tikshan Sud.

Annual function
: As many as 525 students, who achieved excellence in various academic and non-academic activities, were felicitated at the annual prize distribution function of Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya, here on Saturday. On the occasion, the postgraduate department of Hindi released the annual issue of its research journal ‘Sahityavlokan’, while  the cell for the physically-challenged released  the ‘Talking book CDs’.Addressing the students and college staff, chief advisor to CM, Punjab, Daljeet Singh Cheema assured every possible help in elevating the institution status.

‘Revise school timings’: Dinesh Kumar, general secretary, Gazzetted and Non-Gazzetted Employees Federation, Punjab, and Balbir Singh Bains, vice-president, Punjab State General Category Welfare Federation, in separate press statements, have urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and education minister Upinderjit Kaur to revise school timings from 8 am to 2 pm in summer and from 9 am to 3 pm in winter.

Eye check-up camp: Maharaj Brahmanand Bhuriwale Charitable Hospital, Tapparian Khurd, organised a free eye check-up camp here on Sunday. The camp was sponsored by Canada-based NRI Gurcharan Singh Chechi in the memory of his father Baldev Singh. Acharya Chetna Nand, present master of the Bhuriwale sect, inaugurated the camp in which a team of doctors examined 560 patients.

Patwari protest: Responding to the statewide protest call given by the Revenue Patwari Union, Punjab, the patwaris would go on mass casual leave on March 11 & 12. “We are protesting against the ‘anti-employee’ attitude of the director, land records,” said Harbhajan Jadli, general secretary of the district union in a press release issued here on Sunday.

Conference: As many as 1,500 delegates and observers from all parts of Punjab and Chandigarh participated in the 9th conference of Punjab Bank Employees’ Federation held at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hall of Punjabi University on Sunday. The conference was inaugurated by general secretary of the All India Bank Employees’ Association C.H. Venkatachalam while professor of economics, Punjabi University, Ranjit Singh Ghuman welcomed the delegates and observers.

‘Pay cheques to farmers’: President of the SAD (A) Simranjit Singh Mann has asked the Badal government to ensure payment of wheat produce to farmers, in the ensuing wheat procurement season, through cheques instead of payment through arhtiyas. Mann said here on Saturday that his party would not tolerate payment made through arhtiyas.



Inaugurated: The newly constructed Sivananda Ashram in Sector 29 was inaugurated by H.H. Swami Chidananda, President of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh. The ceremony was started with the lighting of the lamp, followed by a conference here on Sunday.

Branch: HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited has inaugurated its branch office in Sector 70, Mohali. The company has more than 382 corporate agents and other sales intermediaries, including banks, for the distribution of insurance products.



Safai karamcharis: The Haryana government will provide yearly budgetary support of Rs 45.50 crore under the scheme for financial assistance to gram panchayats for improved sanitation for the deployment of safai karamcharis. As many as 11,000 safai karamcharis will be deployed in state villages on the basis of its population. A spokesman on Sunday said the scheme would go a long way in improving the sanitation conditions in villages and the total sanitation campaign was also being implemented in the state with a revised outlay of Rs 175.39 crore.

Office-bearers: Subhash Mittal was re-elected president and Satish Bansal was elected general secretary for the governing body of RKSD (PG) College, whose elections were held here on Sunday. The other office-bearers elected are vice-president Naresh and treasurer Radhey Shyam Malikpuria. Mittal got 1,241 votes and his rival Y.K. Mangal received 1,234 votes.

Freedom fighter dead: Onkar Singh, a veteran freedom fighter of the Indian National Army (INA) and a retired Subedar Major of the CRPF, died at his native village, Majra Sheoraj, 7 km from here, on Saturday. He was 91. While SDM Yogesh Bhardwaj placed a wreath on the pyre on behalf of the district administration, a police contingent gave the freedom fighter a gun salute on Sunday. Prominent citizens from various walks of life attended the funeral at Majra Sheoraj.

IMA threatens stir: Members of the Rewari district unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have given an ultimatum to the state government that if no appropriate and expeditious action was taken against those persons responsible for an uproar in Dr Ved Prakash Surgical Hospital here on March 5 as well as the erring police personnel, they would be compelled to go on a mass protest strike. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting on Thursday. They urged the Haryana government to enact legislation on the pattern of the Andhra Pradesh government to provide legal protection to the medical fraternity against the increasing onslaughts on their clinics.

School buildings: The state government has spent Rs 1.36 crore on the construction and repair works of 62 school buildings of Sirsa district during the last three-year tenure under the Haryana Rural Development Nidhi School Repair Scheme. According to an official spokesman, Rs 3.86 lakh had been spent on school buildings falling under Badaguda block, Rs 20.44 lakh under Dabwali block, Rs.24.50 lakh under Sirsa block and Rs 11.63 lakh under Ellenabad block. Similarly, the work had been started in various schools of Nathusari, Odhan and Rania blocks of Sirsa district.



One killed: Driver Mahinder Singh son of Pritam Singh of Bassi village (Bilaspur district) was killed on the spot when his truck fell down into a gorge from NH-21 near Chadol on Saturday. The body of the driver was extricated by the villagers from under the truck and the police handed it over to the family after the postmortem. The truck was loaded with coal and was coming from Kiratpur to ACC Barmana factory. The accident occurred when the driver was reversing the truck after taking his dinner and the truck suddenly lost balance and fell down. The police has registered a case and are investigating.

20 kg poppy husk seized
: The Paonta police on Sunday seized nearly 20 kg of poppy husk from a bus during checking on the Yamuna bridge. V. S. Thakur, DSP, Paonta, said during the search of an Uttaranchal bus (07-B-4243) an unclaimed bag containing nearly 20 kg of poppy husk was found in the vehicle. A case has been registered under the NDPS Act.



Regional potpourri

Trunk call

Baba Bhundu Ram of Katesra village in Rohtak district of Haryana has spent his whole life planting, nurturing and protecting trees
Branching out:
Baba Bhundu Ram of Katesra village in Rohtak district of Haryana has spent his whole life planting, nurturing and protecting trees. — Photo by the writer

A septuagenarian resident of Katesra village in Rohtak district of Haryana, Baba Bhundu Ram, may be referred to as a one-man tree-protection force. He has been planting, nurturing and protecting trees in and around his village ever since he was a boy. Despite his age and limited availability of saplings, he is still actively involved in plantating and protecting his trunk population with a missionary zeal. So great is his devotion towards the cause that he even turned down an offer for a job in the armed forces for it.

To Bhundu Ram, trees are like his babies. Armed with a “laathi”, he has taken utmost care to protect them throughout his life. He has planted and distributed thousands of saplings of badh, peepal, kikar, sheesham, neem and other eco-friendly trees in his village and nearby areas. Thanks to his relentless efforts, his village has come to be known as “pedon wala gaon” (the village of trees).

Bhundu Ram feels that planting and protecting trees is a dharma which should be followed by all of us. “However, my guru who inspired me to plant saplings used to say that not everybody can grow a tree,” he maintains.

Sitting on a cot outside his house in the village, Bhundu Ram recalls that since his early days he used to have an early dinner and go to bed by 9 pm. He got up around midnight and began his daily routine — of growing and protecting trees.

He would plant saplings, water these and cover them with thorny bushes for protection from stray animals. He would even pick up a fight with anyone found harming his trees in any way.

“We keep on telling him to stop rebuking children for damaging trees, but it’s hardly of any use,” says his son Binder. He, however, feels a sense of satisfaction and pride that his father has been doing something productive.

Statue in neglect

The statue of Maharana Pratap at Pong Dam in Kangra district.
The statue of Maharana Pratap at Pong Dam in Kangra district. — Photo by the writer

Villagers living on the periphery of Pong Dam in Kangra district have some sweet memories of the day when the former chief minister, Virbhadra Singh, unveiled the statue of Maharana Pratap Singh at Pong Dam on January 19, 2004. But today, the statue is nobody’s baby, thanks to the apathy of the state government.

Built at a cost of Rs 9 lakh on the banks of Maharana Pratap Sagar (previously known as the Pong Dam reservoir), the bronze statue has lost its sheen. Dark patches that’ve appeared on it may be due to vehicular pollution. It’s now more an eyesore than an attraction.

The idea of installing the statue was mooted by the present BJP regime during its previous term as a mark of respect to the great warrior. Sculptor Sunil Gautam was given the responsibility of making it by the Languages and Culture Department.

But neither the district administration nor the department have taken any steps for its upkeep.

“We are shocked at the utter lack of respect and decorum shown to our great warrior by the powers that be. It is a sad reflection of the changing political mores and values,” laments Narinder Singh of Khadyad village.

Freedom struggle revisited

Documents and pictures pertaining to the freedom movement being exhibited at Sirsa recently
Documents and pictures pertaining to the freedom movement being exhibited at Sirsa recently. — Photo by the writer

At a time when our younger generation is forgetting the martyrdom of all those freedom fighters who had laid down their lives for this country, an exhibition relating to the people and incidents connected with their struggle assumes significance.

One such exhibition of photographs and documents relating to India's first struggle for freedom in 1857 was organised in Sirsa town recently. Organised by the Department of Archives, Haryana, it was a huge draw.

It displayed photographs of freedom fighters from Haryana and other parts of the country who participated in the Independence movement from 1857 to 1947.

It included pictures of Rao Tula Ram, Raja Ram Gopal Dev, Maharani Laxmi Bai, Tantya Tope, Bahadur Shah Jafar, Subhash Chander Bose, Mangal Pandey, Beghum Hazrat Mahal and also Ranbir Singh Hooda, father of Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The deputy commissioner V. Umashankar inaugurated the exhibition. R. K. Srivastva, assistant director of the department of archives, informed that Jodhkan, Rori, Chhattrian, Rania, Khairkan, Odhan, Sirsa and Thiraj areas of Sirsa district had been centres of freedom struggle of 1857 and J. H. Oliver, the then deputy commissioner of Sirsa had recommended seven years imprisonment to 67 residents of these villages.

Contributed by Sunit Dhawan, Vishal Gulati and Sushil Manav


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