Delimitation leaves Ahirs fuming
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The delimitation of the Lok Sabha constituencies has affected almost all MPs of the state. But it has hit union minister of state for defence production Rao Inderjit Singh the most.

While the other MPs find one or two assembly segments transferred from their constituencies to the others, the traditional seat of Rao, Mahendragarh, has been divided into two.

The delimitation commission has carved out a new constituency of Gurgaon by merging five assembly segments of the Mahendragarh constituency, with four assembly seats of the Faridabad constituency.

The remaining four assembly segments of Mahendragarh have been merged with Bhiwani to create a new constituency of Mahendragarh-Bhiwani.

No doubt, this has left the Ahirs, the community that Inderjit Singh represents, fuming. Before the delimitation, the Ahirs used to dominate the Mahendragarh Lok Sabha constituency.

Now the Ahirs cannot claim to dominate either the Gurgaon or the Mahendragarh-Bhiwani constituency.

And this is the major chink, the union minister for defence production will find in his armour, as and when the Lok Sabha elections are called for.

According to sources, Inderjit Singh, scion of one of the most respected Ahir leaders, Rao Birendra Singh, is in a dilemma – from where to contest, Gurgaon or Mahendragarh-Bhiwani.

Gurgaon now has a sizeable Meo-Muslim population. If the Congress wants to field a Muslim candidate, Gurgaon is the only seat from where it can do so. In that case, the party will have to shift Inderjit Singh (going by the principle of re-nominating the sitting MPs, which the Congress generally follows) to Mahendragarh-Bhiwani.

Of course, it is not necessary for the Congress to give representation to the
Muslims in Haryana, which has only 10 Lok Sabha seats on which allcommunities cannot be adjusted.

The party can give representation to the minority community in larger states having greater Muslim presence than in Haryana.

In the past also, on a number of occasions, the Muslims did not find a place in the Congress list for the Lok Sabha in the state. If that will be the case, the Rao should be the natural choice of the party for Gurgaon.

But this may not be convenient to the veteran leader. The BSP has already nominated former MLA Zakir Hussein, who is a son of a respected Meo leader Tayab Hussein, from Gurgaon.

He is likely to poll a major share of the Meo-Muslim votes. The Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) of Kuldeep Bishnoi is likely to nominate former minister Rao Narbir Singh, who will cut into Inderjit’s vote bank. The Mahendragarh-Bhiwani seat is equally a hard choice for him.

Inderjit Singh will have to first test his mettle against members of the Bansi Lal family, who traditionally consider Bhiwani to be their seat, in convincing the high command in his favour.

Then he will have to see that there is not much division in his community votes as the HJC and the BSP are planning to field Ahir candidates from this constituency.

The BJP may also field former MP Sudha Yadav from here. But in case of an alliance between the BJP and the INLD, the Mahendragarh-Bhiwani seat may go to the latter. In that case, Sudha will be shifted by the BJP to Gurgaon.

This will further split the Ahir votes in that area, making things difficult for Rao Inderjit Singh. A hard choice indeed for the Rao!



This beti feels for other betis
At 15, Sukriti has authored a book titled “Beti”, which not only dwells on the evil of rampant female foeticide but also attempts at creating awareness about the social evil
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Fifteen-year-old Sukriti Vidyarthi is no ordinary teenager though she may pass off as just any studious child of her age. With a one-point agenda of doing well in her Class XII, studies are her only concern.

Coming from an academic background with both her parents associated with education, interest in books comes naturally to her.

However, that’s not what sets her apart from the rest of the crowd at DAV Public School, Panipat, where she has become somewhat of a celebrity. At this age, she has authored a poetry book on a subject as serious as female foeticide.

In two months time, she has been able to pen down 35 poems in her book titled “Beti” that not only dwells on the evil of rampant female foeticide but attempts at creating awareness about a social issue that threatens to ruin the fabric of society.

“I have tried to capture all roles a girl plays in her lifetime and how society treats her at all different stages. My personal favourite is a poem called ‘Ajab Tamasha’ which exposes society’s pretensions in caring for the girl child when the reality is very different,” says Sukriti.

It’s not that she stumbled upon the idea of contributing her mite towards protection of the girl child of waking up to the harsh reality of foeticide one fine day.

“Female foeticide found mention at a number of public fora and speakers were always at great pains to explain that we need to wake up to the cause of the girl child. Every time I heard any such lecture or message, I was very moved and the resolve to do something kept building up,” she remarks.

Finally, she poured her heart out on paper in the form of verse and the foundation for her book was laid. With encouragement from her father, Dr Dharam Dev Vidyarthi, she began writing poem after poem on the burning issue.

“I have been writing poems since I was in class V and my first poem was about humanity. So, poetry came easily to me and my father was particularly elated with this attempt. He decided to get my poems published though that was not on my mind when I started on this mission,” Sukriti avers.

Through her book, she wants to drive home the point that girls are important to the existence of the mankind and if this evil is not checked, the world will be doomed.

“My message to the society and the people is that our future is safe in the hands of the girls. Without them, there will be no men, no society and no life. So, we should all mend our ways while there is still time left,” she emphasises.

Her book was recently released by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Chandigarh. With this behind her, it is back to studies and preparation for her Class XII board examinations for Sukriti.



Anomalies in pay, status irk school principals
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Even as the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government plans big on the education front, hundreds of school principals in the state continue to get a raw deal regarding pay scales and status, as compared to their counterparts in the neighbouring states.

While the country prepares to implement the Sixth Central Pay Commission recommendations, the school principals are moving from pillar to post to get the recommendations of even the Fifth Pay Commission implemented.

The twin demands of pay anomalies and status of the principals have been hanging for the past several years even after the government conceded to the demands, said Sudhir Kalra, president, Haryana School Education Officers Association.

The demands had been taken up with senior functionaries of the state government, including Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, several times.

It was in July 2006 that the then education minister Phool Chand Mulana announced at a public function in Kurukshetra that the demands would be met. However, the announcement is yet to be translated into reality.

As per the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission, education officers of the central government and the neighbouring states get a pay scale of Rs 10,000-15,200 and the Class I status.

However in Haryana, education officers of the same category (under which the school principals fall) get a pay scale of only Rs 8,000-13,500 and a Class II status.

It is ironical that school principals have been singled out for the "step-motherly" treatment by the government while other teachers, including primary teachers, lecturers and school headmasters, have been kept at a par with central government teachers, Kalra bemoaned.

Taking cognisance of the repeated representations of the association, the finance department had prepared a survey report in which the teachers' demands were termed as genuine.

However, the report seems to have hit the bureaucratic red tape with no follow-up action being taken by the departments concerned.

Demanding the implementation of the forthcoming Sixth Pay Commission recommendations in totality, Kalra demanded that the school principals should be paid the arrears since the implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission.



Eighth vow against foeticide
Man behind concept to further his mission
Shyam Sunder’s leave for two years has been sanctioned by the Haryana Governor in view of his pioneering work against this social evil over the past few years
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Bhiwani, July 10
Meet the crusader who has introduced the eighth “phera” to the traditional Hindu marriage ceremony involving seven vows taken by the marrying couple by going round a holy fire.

The eighth “phera” is the vow the couple takes against female foeticide. The man is the secretary of the Bhiwani district Red Cross society, Shyam Sunder.

He has proceeded on two years’ leave from July 1 to take his mission further and conduct research to begin a movement against female foeticide that could prove to be a milestone in this direction.

His leave has been sanctioned by the Haryana Governor on the recommendation of the deputy commissioner in view of his pioneering work against this social evil over the past few years.

Shyam Sunder was pained when the 2001 census revealed the dangerously skewed sex ratio in several states, including Haryana.

“I decided to start a movement against female foeticide and my job provided me a platform to do so. I started visiting villages and counselling parents and youths,”
he says.

Earlier, he was honoured by the New Delhi-based International Red Cross office. The National Child Development Council had also appreciated his efforts. The council is exploring the possibilities of using his services at the national level.

The Art of Living guru Shri Shri Ravi Shankar was greatly impressed by his crusade. He presented him a copper pot and asked him to go to villages and persuade young couples to take a vow against female foeticide by adding salt to the water in the pot. The traditional ceremony is known in rural Haryana as Lota Namak.

Shyam Sunder has already involved five lakh people in the movement. Since his crusade began with Bhiwani, the district has shown considerable improvement in the sex ratio.

Haryana Governor A.R. Kidwai, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijendra Jain are among the VIPs who have taken a vow by Lota Namak ceremony.

Shyam Sunder found the most effective weapon against the social evil in the eighth “phera” concept.

It all started when he and his wife succeeded in convincing a couple to take an additional phera during the marriage ceremony holding the pot in their hands.

The novel idea proved so popular that so far more than 100 couples have taken this vow. A French TV channel was so impressed that it telecast a special programme on this concept.

“It was very important to involve the pundits in this campaign. So I met them and explained the whole idea. Most of them agreed to conduct the eighth “phera”. Later, I involved religious leaders and sadhus in the campaign,” he said.

Initially, the couples were hesitant to perform the “Lota namak phera”. So, Shyam Sunder offered them the choice of Ganga Jal which was readily accepted.

He firmly believes that if India has to change, Indians must change outlook. “When that happens, we will be once again the greatest nation on the earth,” he said.



Inside Babudom
HC paves way for HCS officers’ promotion
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
For HCS officers waiting for promotion to the IAS, the seven-year-long wait seems to have come to an end, with the Punjab and Haryana High Court allowing the government to make the promotions subject to the outcome of a writ petition pending before it.

The last HCS officer to be promoted to the IAS was Neelam Kasni in 2001. After that, no HCS officer could be promoted because one of their colleagues, Udhvir Singh Khayalia, had moved the court praying that he should be allowed to join against a post kept reserved for him in 2001.

Khayalia was put at the top of the selected candidates in 2001 by the selection committee. However, in view of the disciplinary proceedings pending against him, his selection was termed “provisional”.

Later on, he was exonerated of all charges. Under the principles of natural justice, Khayalia should have been allowed to take the post against which he was selected. However, a rule came in his way. Under that rule, a selection list remains valid till
60 days.

Meanwhile, the 2001 post was carried forward to 2002. All these years when the HCS officers had to cool their heels, officers from the excise and taxation department (ETD) continued to be nominated to the IAS.

Vidhya Dhar and Yudhvir Singh, both of the ETD, were promoted to the IAS against two posts of 2002, while four posts of the same year remain vacant for the HCS.

Next year also, two officers of the ETD, Vijay Singh and O.P. Sheoran, were promoted to the IAS. The one post, which became due in 2004, remains vacant.

Again an ETD officer, J.S. Ahlawat, was promoted to the IAS in 2005. In 2006, Sameer Pal Srow, also an ETD officer, made it to the IAS, while the HCS officers could not reach an agreement among themselves.

Two posts of 2007 and five posts of 2008 are vacant. Sources say of the 2008 posts, one will go to an ETD officer and four to the HCS officers.

During these seven years, many HCS officers who could have made it to the IAS and would have been service for another two years, retired. (The retirement age of the IAS officers is 60 while that of the HCS officers is 58).

While selecting the HCS officers for 12 posts kept vacant for them, the selection committee will have to consider these retired officers also.

If found suitable, they would have to be given performa of promotion, since many of them have crossed even 60 years of age.

However, in case of Lajvir, who retired on June 30 last, if promoted, he will get another two years in service, besides the tag of an IAS.



INTACH comes to rescue of Hemu’s haveli
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, July 10
Maharaja Hem Chandra Vikramaditya (1501-1556), popularly known as Hemu, who was the emperor of Delhi, has unfortunately gone into the dark realm of obscurity for obvious reasons.

It was Hemu who commanded a large army that faced the Mogul troops in Panipat on November 5, 1556. In the course of the battle, an arrow hit Hemu’s eye and he fell unconscious.

His army, though outnumbering the Moguls, then took to the heels. Bairam Khan, the commander of the Mogul troops, mercifully dispatched Hemu and that was the end of the Second Battle of Panipat as well as the Afghan empire in India.

All recorded chronicles say that Hemu played a crucial role in the political history of pre-Mogul India, primarily during the reign of Sher Shah Suri and his successors.

He was known and shall always be remembered for his unparalleled bravery, spectacular political foresight and superb administrative acumen.

Dr. K.C. Yadav, a noted historian of Haryana, says, “Hemu deserves a better treatment and a bigger space.” It is all the more agonising that his royal mansion, known as ‘Raola’ or Hemu’s haveli, too, now stands neglected and is in ruins in the Qutubpur colony of Rewari city.

The two-storeyed haveli, which the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has included in its list of 13 most endangered (unprotected) sites of national heritage, was once the royal abode of Hemu’s family from 1535 to 1556.

Although in a dilapidated condition, the historic haveli stands witness to the environment in which this legendary Hindu warrior spent a crucial part of his life.

The haveli is accessed through an elaborately carved entrance gateway in sandstone. There is a central open-to-sky courtyard surrounded by a double layer of rooms. The entire structure was built in local stone, lakhori bricks and lime mortar.

The ownership-cum-possession of the haveli, whose historic fabric suffered extensively owing to persistent onslaughts of abandonment and absence of maintenance, now lies with the family of Sudhir Bhargava, chairman of the Hemu Vikramaditya Foundation (HVF).

A detailed survey of this fast-decaying haveli was recently conducted by a high-level team of the architectural heritage division of INTACH, New Delhi.

Along with an elaborate documentation of the entire haveli, the team has emphasised the urgency of its expeditious restoration with the establishment of a museum-cum-interpretation centre, public library, women’s centre and a café, to ensure maintenance, besides providing much-needed resources to sustain upkeep.

However, Bhargava said it would be better if it was taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ensure its decay-free preservation.



Solar energy
A slow but steady march
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Jind, July 10
Solar energy seems to be making a slow but steady inroads into the lives of the rural people in the district. Solar power, the cheapest and non-polluting source of energy, has been mainly lying untapped to a large extent in view of the development made so far to popularise the concept.

The authorities in the district have, however, been making quite an effort to create awareness and promote the use of solar energy.

This has been especially helpful when there is power crisis these days. The District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), which is behind the move, has been able to install as many as 64 solar energy-based street lighting system in about 10 villages in the past one year besides providing several water heating equipments and solar cookers in the rural areas.

At least, two villages in the district have been made CFL (compact fluorescent light) villages, with every house having energy saving CFL bulbs instead of traditional lighting system.

As a part of the Integrated Rural Energy Programme, the DRDA recently held a camp to train around 22 educated youths in repairing solar lights and other equipment.

“This was perhaps for the first time when such a training programme was held to prepare personnel to repairs solar energy-based equipment and all trainees were given a kit worth Rs 2,500 at the end of the course,” said additional deputy commissioner B.B. Kaushik, who is the CEO of the DRDA.

He said the students proved their ability in this work by repairing the solar water heater installed in the DRDA building here. He said the heater had been lying unused for want of repair for past few months.

Elaborating on activities regarding the promotion of use of solar energy equipment, he said efforts were on to popularise the use of solar energy in various ways.

He said at least 15 villages had been covered under the solar street lighting project. These include the holy spot of Pandu Pindara village where 10 streetlights had been installed recently. According to project officer Om Dutt Sharma of the DRDA, over 60 lighting systems had been installed in about 10 villages in the past one year.

These include four villages of Jind block and six villages of Narwana block. In Jind block, Ram Rai village has got the maximum 16 lighting systems while Rajpur, Ikkas and Gulkani villages have got 5 to 6 lights so far.

The villages of the Narwana block that have been covered so far include Sachakhera, Dablain, Danoda Kalan and Badowal where solar based street lights have come up.

He said the specialty about such lights was that they get automatically switched
on and off at night and in the morning, respectively, and there was no need of
any attendant.

He said besides the street lighting system the department had also been providing home lighting system to the individual applicants.

The subsidised cost of one portable home lantern comes to Rs 1,600 per unit against the market cost of Rs 3,300. The annual target of sale of such lanterns in the district is about 205 units.

The department has also introduced a new five-watt lantern costing Rs 600 against the actual cost of Rs 1,600, but this has been made available to the BPL families only at present.

The DRDA had also installed several solar water heating systems at many places in the district in the past one year.

Having a capacity of about 4,000 litres, these systems have been installed at various government run institutions including the working women hostel, kanya gurukul, kharal, kasturba gandhi balika vidyalaya, district de-addiction centre, naturopathy hostel and the nari niketan bhawan in the district.

According to the authorities concerned, Sachakhera and Ikkas had been two villages where all the households had been provided CFL bulbs.

A total of 4480 bulbs and as many as 175 T- 5 energy saving tube lights had been sold in these two villages in the above stated period. The cost of each 15-watt CFL bulb comes to Rs 34 to the consumer instead of the market rate of Rs 67 per unit.

The department has also introduced the solar energy based Inverter power backup systems. The government has offered a 50 percent subsidy of Rs 25500 on each unit having a power of 150 VA, which can run two ceiling fans and two CFL bulbs
at one time.



Job scheme puts Sirsa village on path of progress
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Godikan (Sirsa), July 10
Now, Ramesh Kumar doesn’t have to travel to Dabwali town or Sirsa, which is 40 km away, to find work. He is getting work in one or other projects which have been initiated in his village.

Thanks to a flurry of developmental projects to the tune of Rs 1.31 crore in this nondescript Godikan village, which falls under Dabwali sub-division, work has become available in the village since the introduction of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the district.

The district, along with 198 other districts of the country, was among the first in which the ambitious developmental work was introduced.

Deputy commissioner V. Umashankar said that under the NREGA, so far Rs 30 crore had been spent in 333 villages of the district.

Meanwhile, Godikan village received funds under numerous developmental works, which could herald a new horizon for its dwellers.

Vinod Kumar, sarpanch of the village, said that under the NREGA, as many as six acres of barren uneven land of the panchayat had been turned into a kinnow orchard. Efforts were on to add four acres more to it.

At a cost of Rs 20.29 lakh, 12 rooms of the village school were being constructed while two more rooms would be raised with Rs 3.66 lakh, he added.

A community hall had been constructed with Rs 3.65 lakh and another Rs 1.5 lakh was being spent for public toilets. Another hall for Scheduled Caste community had been constructed with Rs 2.60 lakh.

Interestingly, the scheme of government to grant plots measuring 100 square yards failed to take off as the gram panchayat had already distributed three marla plots each to 111 people, which sarpanch Vinod Kumar considered an achievement for
the panchayat.



Adding life to years
In the absence of facilities for the elderly, the idea to form senior citizens’ choupal will surely help them in turning their idle and dependent lives into busy and vibrant ones
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, July 10
As the government has little to offer, the elderly people of this boomtown find it hard to pass off evenings of their twilight years.

Such seclusion is painfully boring for those whose grownup “kids” are pursuing their careers, have their own families settled in faraway places in the country or abroad.

In this background, a small group of 30 senior citizens, including former bureaucrats, academicians and bankers, have taken an initiative to constitute an informal circle called Senior Citizens Chaupal in Ardee City, a private residential colony spread over 300 acres in Sector-52 here.

In the absence of any official or private facility for these elderly people, the idea can help others to help themselves and turn their idle and dependent lives into busy and vibrant ones.

To have a world of their own where they could spend some quality time interacting with other members, helping each other in need and sharing their joys and sorrows germinated in the colony’s park where they used to assemble in the evening.

“We all used to ponder over how to spend free time as none of us had much to do except usual daily chores. Soon our problem was solved. One of our members M.M. Arora, a retired deputy secretary, union ministry of urban development, offered verandah of his house for the purpose,” says R.S. Vatsa, a former IAS officer, who retired from the post of administrator, HUDA.

Since its inception six months back, Chaupal members meet here between 11 am and 1.30 pm daily. They have created a facility of newspapers, periodicals and magazines and books.

Besides reading and watching television, they hold regular interaction on issues
of daily social concerns, be it local, state or national with emphasis on
neighbourhood welfare.

To broad base the readership, Chaupal has approached various government bodies, foreign missions in India to include its name in their mailing list to send literature/newsletter and other publications.

Once a month, they organise a community dinner, which is hosted turn by turn by each member at his house.

Chaupal has purchased utensils for this and even members chip in with some from their household items.

All of them along with their spouses ensure this gala time by their own standards is not missed.

“Post dinner, we cheer up with cracking jokes narrating anecdotes, a round of antakshri, simple delectable gossip or a game of tambola,” informed S.C. Sabharwal, a retired FCI officer and Choupal’s general secretary.

The future agenda includes trips to places of religious and historical importance depending on logistical considerations like health of members, weather and availability of suitable accommodation. Chaupal is in touch with tour operators and sponsors for the purpose.

At present, membership is free with a nominal monthly contribution of Rs 10 meant for incidental expenses. But it is expected to increase.

“We hope this initiative serves as catalyst and boost morale of others like us so that they never feel marginalised and help them stay as an important link in the society’s mainstream,” added Sabharwal.



Colleges to pay youth fest fee on registration
Ravinder Saini

Jhajjar, July 10
With a view to tightening the noose over those colleges which do not take interest in paying Zonal Youth Festival (ZYF) entry fees despite being mandatory, the Maharshi Dayanand University has recently taken a vital decision in which all colleges affiliated to the university will now have to deposit ZYF entry fee to the university at the time of submission of registration returns.

Due to non-receipt of entry fees from several colleges, the ZYF organising college had to bear the loss of thousands of rupees every year. A circular in this regard has been sent to all colleges in the eight districts of the state falling under the jurisdiction of MDU.

As per ordinance of the university, it is mandatory for all affiliated colleges to submit the entry fees at the time of ZYF whether they participate in the festival or not. Official records of the last decade reveal that several colleges were disinclined to pay the mandatory fee.

As a consequence, the organisers of the ZYF had to send reminders to such colleges that failed to submit the entry fee. But the defaulting colleges were not paying heed to it.

Hence, the department of student welfare of the university considered the
case and forwarded to the executive council, the highest decision-making body
of the university.

After considering the case, the EC amended the existing rules in this regard and made provision of mandatory payment of ZYF entry fees at the time of submission of registration return by the affiliated colleges.

The colleges failing to deposit the entry fee would not be able to get their student registered with the university.

It may be pertinent to mention here that 331 colleges of eight districts- Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonepat, Bhiwani, Gurgaon, Mahendergarh, Rewari and Faridabad- are affiliated to the MDU.

As per rule, the ZYF entry fee for the colleges having strength up to and above 300 students has been prescribed Rs. 2000 and Rs. 3000, respectively.



MDU offers new fine arts course
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, July 10
The department of fine arts at Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) has introduced a six-year integrated course — master of visual arts (painting) —- from the current academic session.

Bhup Gulia, senior lecturer at the department, said this course would impart professional expertise to students in the discipline.

He said after the completion of three years, the students would be awarded the degree of Bachelor of Visual Arts; and after six years, they would get the degree of Master of Visual Arts (Painting).

“As the commercialisation of art is at its peak today, a professional artist has got countless avenues,” Gulia said, adding that fine art professionals could work as artists, designers, web page designers, free-lancers in advertisement agencies, multimedia, the tourism industry and art museums, etc.

Candidates who have passed the 10+2 exam with 50 per cent marks in the aggregate can apply for this course.

Candidates who studied fine arts (painting and applied arts) in their qualifying class will be given an additional weightage of 5 marks. There are 30 seats in the course.



Grapes turn sour for growers
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, July 10
An early monsoon has taken a heavy toll on the production of grapes in the state. Fatehabad is one of the four districts of Haryana where production of grapes is in abundance, the others being Sirsa, Hisar and Bhiwani.

Grapes require hot and dry atmosphere for ripening. This year, the conditions conducive to the growth of grapes have eluded growers.

Grapes are still unripe and the months of their ripening have already passed. Growers have started plucking unripe fruit as now there is no point in waiting.

In some farms of the district, the grapes have turned black with fungal growth over them. “The land in our area is best suited for growth of grapes because the soil is sandy. We have sufficient irrigation facilities too,” said a farmer, who has grown grapes in his fields alongside the Fatehabad-Sirsa road.

“It normally does not rain in June in this area. The hot and dry winds that sweep the area in June help the fruit to ripen,” he added.

But the shift in weather this year has ruined the crop. Intermittent rains that have occurred in the area in May and June have caused heavy losses to the growers.

This has also affected the pedlars who sell the grapes in villages on their bicycles. They are finding it hard to eke a living in these months.

Jai Dayal, a farmer from Bhuna, said that despite having an abundance of grapes in his farm, the sweetness of the fruit is missing. Even the colour of the fruit has turned black, he added.

“We have started plucking and throwing away the fruit as these are not worth selling in the market,” said Ram Singh, another farmer from Bhuna.



Wind this fan, it will run for 5 hrs
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, July 10
This revolutionary innovation by an illiterate village mechanic will surely make many learned scientists scratch their head.

Jagbir Panchal, who runs an agricultural implements repair shop at Meham township of the district, has developed a fan which runs merely by winding.

All one has to do is to wind the fan with the help of a lever attached to it for five minutes, the fan runs for nearly five hours.

Jagbir says as a child, he was fascinated by toys running by winding keys. “Gradually, I began efforts to develop a mechanism to run a motor by manual winding,” he recalls.

Eventually, the iron-mechanic developed this fan that runs by manual winding. But it was not an easy process; and it took Jagbir almost 10 years to complete this novel invention. This innovative mechanic has also developed an automatic iron-hammering mechanism. He now plans to manufacture a bike, which would run by manual winding.

Jagbir’s innovative efforts got noticed recently when a team of the National Innovation Foundation visited his shop and evinced keen interest in his inventions.

The foundation has decided to sponsor Jagbir’s innovations. As the crude model of his fan is heavy and unidirectional, he would be provided financial assistance to develop a lighter and rotating model.



Forum seeks funds for old-age centre
D.R. Vij

Kurukshetra, July 10
The Senior Citizens Forum felicitated former Haryana minister Dr Ram Prakash for becoming a Rajya Sabha member at a function held here recently.

Forum president J.S. Virk, in his welcome address, highlighted the forum’s activities, including the old age care centre project and appealed to all to donate liberally for the construction of the centre.

Chief guest Dr Ram Prakash appreciated the efforts of the forum. He announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the forum from his discretionary fund and assured all help for the construction of the centre. Thanesar MLA Ramesh Gupta announced a sum of Rs 51,000 as financial help to the forum.

Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee’s former vice-president R.D. Goyal and Thanesar municipal committee’s former chairman Subhash Sudha announced a sum of Rs 1 lakh each as help to the forum.

Kuldeep Singh, chairman, panchayat samiti, Thanesar, Kesar Subhash Gulati and comrade Kishan Singh contributed Rs 11,000 each.

Senior advocate Chandra Mani presented a copy of the Bhagvadgita to the chief guest while Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman O.P. Khurana, industrialist K.L. Wadhwa, Thanesar-Shahbad urban Congress block president Dina Nath Arora and forum secretary S.K. Shahi were present on the occasion.



More traffic police posts to come up on highways
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, July 10
District units of the traffic police have earned kudos by securing the highest revenue from the Hisar range, which comprises five districts.

Established on the NH-10 in February last year, the traffic police station has made the state government richer by Rs 85 lakh in a year. Five districts in Hisar range are Bhiwani, Jind, Sirsa, Hisar and Fatehabad.

Keeping in view heightened risk on the highways from speeding vehicles and anti-social elements, the police administration is mulling over the plan to set up chowkis on the highways.

Confirming the move, SP K. Venkat Ramana said following success of traffic police station in the city, the police administration desired to go ahead with setting up more traffic police posts on the highway.

He said the move of accepting fines of challans at the traffic police station proved successful. However, after the expiry of a month after the challan, the lawbreaker would have to deposit the fine at the court.

With the aim of removing lacunae in challans, the district was the first to adopt challans with numbers printed on them.

Station house officer of the police station Amit Beniwal said this move had eliminated room for nepotism.

Besides, he said, as many as 14 locations had been identified in the district where maximum accidents took place.

Interestingly, some persons with superstitious bent of mind thought that something was wrong with the place.

Meanwhile, the senior police officer felt some engineering faults behind the spate of accidents and had asked the department concerned to remove the anomalies for safer journey.

The district police chief said the drive to install reflectors on vehicles received a boost after the Rotary and Lions clubs joined hands. Thus, 8,000 reflectors had been distributed.

In order to reach out to the far-flung rural areas, BDPOs were asked to provide Rs 5,000 to each panchayat to distribute reflectors among villagers.



New vistas for higher education
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, July 10
With the emergence of several prestigious educational institutions, Rewari is now virtually making strides in the domains of higher as well as technical education.

Commencement of classes of the newly sanctioned Government Women’s College, as well as the construction of the buildings of the Postgraduate Regional Centre (PGRC) at Mirpur village and that of the Government Polytechnic College at Lisana village, near here, are indications of a prospective radical transformation of the educational scenario in the Rewari region.

Local minister Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav, who is virtually the man behind this spectacular changeover, ruefully said that during the past one decade from 1996 to 2005, when he and the congress party in particular remained in opposition in Haryana, Rewari was meted out a step-motherly treatment in the matter of development by the two successive governments.

However, with the installation of a Congress government in March 2005, the doomed Rewari region has again started getting a fairer deal in all such matters, he added.

After an endless wait of two decades, since Rewari became a district in November 1989, the long-cherished boon of a Govt. College for Women was granted by the chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in response to a demand raised by the local minister Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav at a public meeting here on January 25, 2008.

Consequently, the state government has allotted a 10-acre piece of land for the college in sector 18 here and has made an allocation of Rs. 5 crore for its building
as well.

Meanwhile, classes of the college have started in the building of Govt. Girls Senior Secondary School in Sector 4 here.

Dr. L N. Sharma, principal of Govt. College, Bawal, who is also holding additional charge of the women’s college, said that while about 300 girls have already sought admission in the B.A and B. Com (Part I) classes, all the 640 seats in the two disciplines would be hopefully filled up sooner than expected.

He also said that the college would catapult higher education of girls in the region on a fine pedestal in the years to come.

Similarly, the construction work of the prestigious Post Graduate Regional Centre (PGRC), which remained in limbo for over 18 years, has now been going on in Mirpur village (10 km from Rewari) on a war footing.

The local minister Capt. Yadav said that as many as 40 rooms as well as boys and girls hostels and staff quarters would be hopefully ready by October.

He also expressed the hope that classes of the PGRC, which had been running in a rented accommodation here since November 1988, would then be shifted to the new complex at Mirpur by October end.

He also said that the PGRC, whose entire complex is being erected on a 100-acre piece of land, would be developed into a full-fledged university in the years to come.

He went on to say that the university, which would be the first in the Ahirwal region, would open new vistas of higher education for the youths of the region.

Moreover, the Rs 19 crore, Govt. Polytechnic College at Lisana village, near here, which will be functional by April 2009, will be another big achievement in the field of technical education for the region.



Cinema treat for children
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, July 10
Festival offering a package of over a dozen movies, each representing the taste of children, would be organised in the district from July 28 to August 2, during which some of the award winning films produced by the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI) would be showcased.

The children’s film festival is being hosted by the district administration in collaboration with the CFSI. Besides entertainment, the festival aims at promoting cultural understanding, friendship and cooperation amongst the children.

Children would be allowed to watch movies free of cost at various cinema halls across the city that would be shown between 8 am to 10 am each day during the six day event.

The basic idea behind organising the festival is to provide clean and healthy, value based entertainment with a view to look after the entertainment and educational needs of the school going children. The festival would exhibit films that are specially suited for children.

According to the additional deputy commissioner Dr Amit Aggarwal, who is looking after the holding of the event in the city, the festival would facilitate promotion of children’s films by encouraging, strengthening and spreading the children’s film movement in the region.

The concept of an exclusive cinema for the country’s children was mooted by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

It was in the year 1955 that the CFSI was constituted under the presidentship of Hriday Nath Kunzru.

The festival would feature some of the feature films and shorts films that are aimed at enhancing their knowledge, develop the character, broaden the perspective and help shape them into useful citizens.

The district administration has already started gearing up for the festivals. During a recent meeting held at the district headquarters, the senior officials discussed various steps to be taken for the smooth conduct of the festival.

B. L. Dhiman, a senior official in the district administration, said that the festival would be like a bouquet of films that would give vivid reflections of children and
their dreams.

Transcending all boundaries, the impact of a visual medium was much more than books or write-ups, he added.

All schools in the district including the private and the government have been asked to make appropriate transportation arrangements for taking the children to different cinema houses without charging any extra fee from them.



Sonepat hikes minimum-wage limit
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, July 10
Taking into consideration, the rate of inflation and rising prices of essential commodities, deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi has fixed the new minimum monthly and daily wages for different categories of the working class.

The new wages that have become effective from March 1 are higher than the wages recommended by the labour department.

The minimum monthly wages for non-skilled workers and skilled workers in the industries has been fixed at Rs 3,860 and Rs 4,235, respectively, against the recommendation of Rs 3,586 and Rs 3,976 of the industries department.

The monthly wages for agriculture labour, beldar, barber, book binder, chowkidar, safai karamchari, helper, washerman, shift attendant, generator operator, machine man, gardener, munshi, sweeper-cum-gardener, sweeper supervisor and other similar categories have been fixed at Rs 3,860. However, a sewer man will get Rs 4,000.

Tailor master, craft teacher, key-man, plumber, painter, counter sales man, warden, sanitary supervisor, store keeper, printing press composer will get minimum monthly wages of Rs 4,235.

First and second grade carpenter, painter and electrician will get monthly wages of Rs 6,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively. Fireman and security supervisor will get Rs 4,576 every month.

Field investigator, work inspector, site supervisor, shift supervisor, junior programmer with three-year experience will be entitled for monthly wages of Rs 6,000. Security guard with arms will get remuneration of Rs 4,290.

The monthly wages for fire brigade driver, heavy and light vehicle driver, tractor driver, road roller driver has been fixed at Rs 5,000.

Minimum monthly wages for other categories include Rs 8,000 for language teacher and legal manager, Rs 7,000 for a ‘patwari’, Rs 4,600 for clerical and general staff, Rs 4,700 to a steno typist, Rs 4,800 for a junior scale stenographer, Rs 5,000 for a senior scale stenographer and Rs 4,000 for a telephone attendant.



‘Tainted’ leaders put Congress in a spot
There are several leaders in the district who have blatantly courted controversies, much to the embarrasment of Congress
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 10
Several Congress leaders in the district are in the soup, giving uneasy moments to the party organisation in the process.

The developments also reveal infighting among the leaders of the ruling party and distrust among them.

The latest is the alleged involvement of the president of the Haryana Vyapar Manch, a frontal organisation of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), Vasudev Saluja, in a fraud case.

The complainant had to move the court, on whose direction the police had to register a case under several criminal charges, including that of Section 420 of the IPC against Saluja, his four brothers and sister-in-law.

Although the matter is sub judice, operative portion of the allegation against Saluja and family members is that they illegally sold land after constructing shops on them even though they were not the real owners of the land.

The government land was alleged to have been allotted to the family several years ago on lease. One of the purchasers of the shops has now moved the court raising question on the ownership of the land.

Saluja asserts that he and his family have not committed any wrong and he has all documents to prove that. However, from the political point of view, he asserts that his political opponents have framed him.

Although, he has not said this on record, he has been making the point privately that the minister for local body A.C. Chaudhary, who hails from Faridabad, is behind the alleged frame-up.

Both Saluja and Chaudhary are senior leaders of the Congress, not only in Faridabad but also in the state.

The development has given uneasy moments to the Congress circles leading many, especially the leaders of the opposition parties, that the ruling party does not need an enemy to damage it.

The law-enforcing agencies and the district administration have also come under the shadows of the controversy.

The moot point is as to why the complainant wished the court to intervene and why did the police did not register the case on its own when approached by complainant.

Also, the opposition leaders have started gearing up to question as to why has the police not arrested Saluja and family members when an FIR has been registered against them?

Where is observance of Article 14 (Right of equality) of the Constitution that guarantees equal protection of law and equality before law to the citizens?

Another case is the twin murder case of two sisters, natives of Prithla village. There had been allegations by the family members of the sisters as well as mahapanchayats organised by residents of the area suggesting that the political interference is the reason that the police did not arrest the culprits.

There were allegations of a senior Congress leader of the district in putting pressure on the police.

The Congress leader in turn alleged in private quarters that another senior leader of his party from this district was behind projecting his name in the case.

The police could not crack the case and the government on account of public pressure referred the case to the CBI for investigation.

Earlier, a son of a former minister and now MLA was involved in land controversy. There was another case well known as “Naveen Nagar”, which showed the senior Congress leaders in bad light.

Apart form these leaders who have blatantly courted controversies, there are many others who have been instrumental in getting rules bent or obtaining favour, mostly having financial implications.



Learn Sanskrit, urges Jagadguru
D.R. Vij

Kurukshetra, July 10
Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Madhavashram of Badrikashram has urged upon the people to learn and speak Sanskrit in order to understand the true spirit of the Indian culture.

He was speaking on the concluding day of the 12-day annual Sanskrit speaking and teachers training camp, organised by Sanskrit Bharti, Haryana, at Shri Krishna Dham here recently.

He emphasised that Sanskrit and the Shastras are the best contribution of India to humanity and, in this age of western values being readily adopted by the youth, Sanskrit could ensure the transmission of eternal ideals of true culture and civilisation all over the world. The jagadguru expected the holy land of Kurukshetra to take the lead in this regard.

Dr Surendra Mohan Mishra, state president of Sanskrit Bharti, in his welcome address, praised the jagadguru for his religious, spiritual and social activities.

Dinesh Kamat, all-India coordinator, Sanskrit Bharti, in his address, said that there are 13 Sanskrit universities and 3 crore students and 10 lakh teachers are engaged in Sanskrit studies and research in India.

He pointed out that at some special schools in London, Sanskrit was being taught as a compulsory subject up to 12th standard.

Dr Vikas Vashishth, a supreme court advocate, Dr Mahendra Hans, Shriprakash Mishra, Sumer Chand Shastri and Pratap Singh were present on the occasion.

Later, the concluding ceremony of the camp took place at the Pracheen Dakshinamukhi Hanuman temple at Brahamansarovar after a procession was taken out through the city.

Prof K.K. Sharma, former vice-chancellor, North Eastern Hill University, Kohima, was the chief guest. The ceremony was presided over by Subhash Sudha.

Prof K.K. Sharma, who is a renowned scholar of educational technology, maintained that the method of teaching Sanskrit through other languages is outdated and the teachers of Sanskrit ought to be retrained to teach Sanskrit in Sanskrit only.

Shivani Sharma, chief trainer of the camp, conducted the proceedings and Haridev Shastri, treasurer, offered the vote of thanks.

Earlier, additional deputy commissioner Sumedha Kataria had inaugurated the camp on June 15.

Dr Himmat Singh Sinha, former chairman, philosophy department, Kurukshetra University, in his presidential address, quoting historian Will Durant, had said that Sanskrit was the mother of all European languages and majority of sciences.



Citizens’ Grievances
Subdivisional status demanded

Citizens demand sub divisional status for the town, Shahabad Markanda, having a population of about 50,000 is presently having the status of a Tehsil.

People of the area have to go to Kurukshetra for issuance of driving licenses and other official work related to the SDM level.

They have to waste a lot of time, energy and money in this process. If the demand is fulfilled, then 50 villages around the town would also be benefited.

On the other hand, Pehowa, a smaller town than Shahabad in Kurukshetra district is having a status of sub division.

Surinder Pal Singh Wadhawan, Kurukshetra

Readers, write in

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Movie of the week

Producer: Afzal Khan
Director: Afzal Khan
Lyrics: Late Anand Bakshi
Music: Ismail Darbar
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Manisha Koirala, Ajay Devgan, Reema Lagoo

‘Mehbooba’, written, produced and directed by Afzal Khan which was delayed due to some dates problems of big stars, is finally slated for release today at Suraj-Panchkula, Ashoka-Karnal, Fun-Ambala City, Fun-Panipat, Cinemax-Panipat, PVR Crown Plaza, Pyramid, SRS Cinemas, SRS Shubham Tower, INOX, MTMM, MTCM, Movie Time Sector 12, Movie Time Sector 20 (All Faridabad), PVR MGF, PVR Europa, PVR Sahara, SRS Omaxe, PVR Ambience, DTCC, DTMM (All Gurgaon) Nigar-Ambala, Naaz-Palwal.

What to watch out for: Sanjay Dutt’s performance, Afzal Khan’s direction, plus Ismail Darbar melodious score. — Dharam Pal





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