Bonded to brick kilns
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Denied Lot

  • Contractors hire workers by paying them Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 in advance
  • The owners of the brick kilns recover this advance money from their meagre wages for which the workers are compelled to work 14-15 hours a day
  • A worker gets less than half the minimum wages
  • The labourers are under constant restraints and are not even allowed to move from the brick kilns

Panipat, July 14
More than 60 years after Independence and a number of laws to ensure labour rights, migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan are still entrapped in the age-old system of bonded labour in the state.

There are more than 2,500 brick kilns in Haryana, each on an average employing 250 to 300 persons. Being vulnerable to exploitation, these workers work at the brick kilns year after year with no certainty of escaping from the clutches of their owners.

Investigations carried out by The Tribune revealed that the brick kilns are provided with bonded labourers by "contractors", who hire the workers from their native villages by paying them Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 in advance. Landless and unable to get gainful employment at their native places, these illiterate workers easily take the bait.

The owners of the brick kilns deduct this advance money from their meagre wages. For the repayment of advance, the workers are compelled to work for more than 14-15 hours a day. Even their family members are made to work for their "owners".

Moreover, the workers are not given minimum wages as fixed by the government. For each 1,000 bricks moulded, a labourer gets Rs 200. They get Rs 40 each for 1,000 bricks removed from the furnace and some labourers get a fixed wage of Rs 3,000 a month depending on the kind of job they do. It was found that the preparation of 1,000 bricks took 28 to 30 hours. Hence, a worker gets a little over Rs 50 a day. The wage is less than half of the minimum wages fixed by the state government, which is Rs 135 per day for unskilled workers. Besides, each worker is given a subsistence wage of Rs 300-500 fortnightly for purchasing food grains.

It is found that the labourers are under constant restraints and they are not even allowed to move from the brick kiln. It is not only the workers even their families are being exploited.

Moved by the plight of the labourers, the Nai Duniya Welfare Society (NDWS) and the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), two NGOs working for the protection of the fundamental rights, have filed a PIL in this regard in the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently.

Raj Kumar Bahot, a senior member of the HRLN, said brick kilns in the state had been violating various laws, including the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act of 1979, and the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act of 1976. He said though innumerable labour legislations had been passed, due to complex and overlapping nature they failed to ensure labour rights. Hence, a special regulatory body was needed to ensure fair treatment to labourers, he said.



Power Theft
Hook a crook, it pays
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, July 14
The Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) will give 40 per cent of the recovered amount of penalty imposed on the detection of electricity theft to the person who gives the information of theft, under its "theft informer scheme".

Besides, 20 per cent of the amount will be given to the officers and staff of the Nigam who detect theft and collect the penalty. Thus, 60 per cent of penalty amount will be given as incentive. The ceiling on incentive money of Rs 50,000 has also been removed. Now, the reward can go up to lakhs depending on the penalty imposed.

According to official sources, if the theft is detected on getting information under the scheme, a minimum amount of Rs 1,000 per case would be given to the informer on providing correct information. If DHBVN is able to recover the assessed theft amount, 40 per cent of the amount realised will be given to the informer on providing correct secret code given by him while giving information and the secret code number given by the DHBVN after noting his information.

The informers need not to disclose his identity at any stage. Twenty per cent of the recovered amount would by divided among the officials comprising the raiding team and making efforts in recovering the penalty amount.

The chief general manager, general manager, deputy general manager and assistant general manager will also be given a part of the incentive money.

An informer can contact the DHBVN on telephone number 01662-221527 or toll free number 16001801011 during working hours. The informer at the time of giving information will also give his secret codeword to claim the award. The operator would record secret code against the information in the computer and give him a secret number of the information.

On the detection of the theft, the informer may claim Rs 1,000 immediately and the rest of the total 40 per cent of the penalty will be given to him after the recovery of the amount. The reward will be calculated on the recovered amount. The information can also be given through email at or

The DHBVN has so far detected 1,360 cases of theft and imposed penalty to the tune of Rs 2.78 crore under this scheme.

A minimum amount of Rs 1,000 would be given to the informer on providing correct information about power theft. If the nigam is able to recover the assessed theft amount, 40 per cent of the amount realised will be given to the informer.



Not so smooth in Gurgaon
Residents of not only the old city but also of new Gurgaon are left with no option but to commute on potholed roads
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Sector 15 road
Sector 15 road

Civil Line Chowk
Civil Line Chowk

Gurgaon, July 14
Euphemisms like cyber city or millennium city look gross exaggerations when it comes to the condition of roads here. It is so pitiable that if one terms commuting on them as a nightmarish experience, it sounds as an equally gross understatement.

Left with no option but to commute on potholed roads, residents of not only the old city but also of new Gurgaon, which is marked by high-rise apartments, stylish corporate office buildings and mega malls, are suffering in almost equal measure.

No repair has been done in several areas for years together, particularly in sectors developed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Developers of private residential colonies in new Gurgaon have shown similar apathy, residents complain.

Besides elected representatives, nominated members in the district grievances committee have been regularly raising the issue. All that the departments have got done is filling up of potholes with large-sized stones and waste building material which has rendered commuting all the more jarring and risky especially after recent rains. Such is the condition of a 250-metre stretch on the Sohna road near Badashahpur. Even such type of repair was done in case of some roads while others remained neglected.

Not much improvement could be seen on the road leading to bus stand from Mahavir Chowk, which is the responsibility of the PWD B&R though the department was asked to set it right within a week around one month back. Similarly, the repair of road from Gurgaon village to Droanacharya college, Khera Devat to Bhim Nagar Chowk was to be completed by July 15. A 10-day deadline was given in the case of the road from local Head Post Office Chowk to Sector 4/7 Chowk via new railway road and patchwork on Rajendra park- Bajghera road.

The performance of HUDA is not better either. HUDA officials were asked to make the road from Sector 10 to Khandsa motorable within 10 days and complete its carpeting by August 15. Another deadline of June 30 was given for the repair of roads in Sector 15, from Shama tourist complex to NH-8 via Jharsa. Directions were also given to remove encroachments on the Sukhrali main road and to complete its repair after constructing dividers within a month.

It is a measure of the official apathy at the local level that Haryana finance minister Birender Singh, who is the chairman of the district grievances committee, recently talked tough while reviewing the action taken on earlier directions regarding the repair work. He has set a month's deadline for the PWD B&R, municipal corporation and HUDA to do the needful.

Interestingly, deputy commissioner Rakesh Gupta had earlier given a deadline of June 30 to the departments to finish patchwork on roads. The minister has asked additional deputy commissioner Abhe Singh Yadav to present action taken report as well as to give recommendations on the basis of which the officers responsible for repair of roads would face punitive action in terms of either transfer or suspension. Given the previous experience, one has to keep fingers crossed till expiry of the latest deadlines.



Post-bypolls, parties don thinking cap
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, July 14
Barring the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal, most of the political outfits in the state are in disarray. While the Bharatiya Janata Party is in a limbo after the recent defeats in the three bypolls to the state assembly, the newly floated Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) is similarly undergoing an overhaul in the aftermath of the bypolls.

As against this, both the Congress and the INLD have done well to quickly consolidate their gains and make up for the losses in the interregnum.

The Congress organised rallies in all three constituencies which went to the polls. The rallies were addressed by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and other HPCC leaders. This helped the party quickly get over the loss in Adampur. In the other two constituencies - Gohana and Indri - where they emerged victorious the party was able to consolidate its position through these rallies.

Likewise, the INLD supremo Om Parkash Chautala toured widely across the state to raise the political pitch and keep the morale of the cadre high.

However, the BJP and the HJC were unable to do so. The BJP went into a shock by the loss of face at a time when the party is looking forward to making L. K. Advani the next Prime Minister after the next Lok Sabha election.

The state leadership’s bickering came out at the last state executive meeting in Gurgaon.

The HJC has organised only one rally at Uklana in this district since the polls.

Incidentally, Hisar being the home district of Bhajan Lal is HJC’s strongest wicket in the state.

Sources said the BJP is even contemplating a change of guard in Haryana, although the party leaders have denied these reports.

But the failure of the Haryana BJP chief A.P. Manchanda to motivate the cadres is proving to be a big hurdle in the party’s moves to gain ground.

On the other hand, HJC chief and Congress MP Kuldeep Bishnoi ordered organisational changes after the party lost the prestigious Gohana seat by a huge margin. Former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal restricted his touring after the Adampur win to his pocket borough.

Even during his thanksgiving tour, the father-son duo was on the defensive because of the huge decrease in the victory margin.

They were asking voters to stay with their family and forgive for any lapses on their part.



Seeking quota, Punjabis threaten to do a Gujjars in state
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, July 14
Close on the heels of the recent violent protests by Gujjars and vociferous demand by Jats for reservation in government jobs, now the Punjabis settled in Haryana have raised their voice in this regard.

Alleging discrimination against the community in selection for state government jobs, the local Punjabi Sabha has demanded reservation for the members of the community in government appointments.

To press for the implementation of its demand, activists of the sabha organised a dharna and observed token fast here yesterday. They also submitted a memorandum addressed to the Haryana Governor to the local deputy commissioner.

Seeking intervention of the Governor in the matter, the Punjabi Sabha demanded reservation for Punjabis in the state government jobs in accordance with their population and grant of second language status to Punjabi in the state.

The sabha claimed that nearly 70 per cent of government officials in Haryana at the time of its inception belonged to the Punjabi community, but the percentage had gradually declined and it was merely one per cent at present.

Earlier, hundreds of members of the community assembled at the local Gohana stand where they staged a dharna and observed a token fast in protest against the alleged discrimination with them in recruitments for various departments of the state government.

The protesters were addressed by several Punjabi leaders, cutting across party lines. These included former Haryana minister and Haryana Janhit Congress leader Subhash Batra, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Dev Raj Dewan, local Congress leader Anil Bhatia, local Punjabi Sabha president Satish Khanna, general secretary Som Malik and secretary Gulshan Buddhiraja.

The memorandum warned the state authorities that the Punjabis of Haryana would not hesitate in launching a massive agitation if their demands were not considered favorably.

Meanwhile, state urban local bodies minister A.C. Choudhary has also demanded reservation in politics and government jobs for the members of the Punjabi community. Choudhary, who is also the president of the Haryanavi Punjabi Welfare Sabha, has asserted that he would take up the issue with the central as well as state leadership of the ruling Congress party.



Mall culture adds to traffic woes
Suman Bhatnagar

Ambala, July 14
A number of malls, multiplexes and shopping centres coming up in Ambala city and Ambala cantonment have no doubt embossed the look of the duo city, but it has also added to the traffic problem.

As most of these do not have sufficient parking space, motorists have to park their vehicles on the roads, thus causing inconvenience to commuters and residents of the nearby areas. It seems that before issuing the NOC, the district administration failed to ensure that the commercial centres follow the norms and provide for proper parking facility.

During the past one year, a number of multiplexes and malls have come up in Ambala City and cantonment.

In Ambala City, one mall has sufficient parking space where around 200 cars can be parked, but since it is located near a residential sector of HUDA, it causes a lot of inconvenience to its residents.

Other shopping complexes, most of which are mainly located on the main roads, do not provide for any parking space. The customers have to park their vehicles on the already congested roads. All this leads to frequent traffic jams especially during the peak hours.

Similarly, visitors to a number of showrooms of readymade garments and saris, located on the main roads in the city, have been using the footpath or roads for parking their vehicles.

Similar is the situation in Ambala Cantonment. For instance, in Rai Market where Big Bazaar is located traffic jam is the common scene.

With three more big shopping centres coming up in the duo city, it is high time that the administration give a serious thought to this problem and before issuing NOC to such projects must ensure for proper parking facility.



Thathera Samaj meet
Couples vow against foeticide
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, July 14
The Rewari Thathera Samaj, descendants of Lord Sahasrarjun, has organised a national convention of the samaj here recently for solemnisation of mass marriages as well as for a concerted crusade against female foeticide and other social evils.

Nearly 18,000 members of the samaj, women outnumbering men, from various parts of Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and several other states participated in the three-day conference which concluded here on Friday.

As many as 35 young couples from Rewari, Bhiwani, Delhi, Jaipur, Hathras, Agra, Allahabad, Bahraich and several other places tied the nuptial knot at the sammelan. The couples were specifically administered a pledge that they would never indulge in female foeticide.

While the couples were given blessings for a happy married life by local minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, labour and employment minister A.C. Chaudhary and elders of the samaj, they were also presented with Rs 2,100 each as well as other household items by the organisers.

It is worrisome that as many as 190 eligible boys registered with the samaj could not go in for wedlock due to skewed sex ratio in the state.

While prominent activists of the samaj claimed that it was creditable for them all that not a single incident of harassment for dowry had been reported from any of the community members during the past 60 years, they also conceded that the lack of education was a matter of concern.

They also deplored that their long-standing demands of better living conditions, abolition of sales tax on brassware and appropriate marketing facilities for their products had persistently been ignored by the government.

While prominent activists of the samaj and a score of others made relentless efforts for weeks together to make the national convention a success, all members of the samaj here collectively provided enviable hospitality to around 15,000 guests, who gathered here from various parts of the country.

While Radhey Shyam Gupta, a prominent industrialist of the Rewari region, who inaugurated the sammelan on July 9, presented Rs 1 lakh to the samaj, Capt Yadav and Chaudhary, too, announced financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each for the organisation.

Capt Yadav also announced a cash gift of Rs 1,100 each for all 35 couples who tied nuptial knot at the sammelan.



Trans-Himalayan trip on a tractor
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, July 14
The beauty of mountains fascinates this man. An advocate by profession, Jaibir Singh has made several forays into the Himalayan region driving his car.

But this was an adventure journey with a difference. In a first of its kind, Jaibir Singh, a resident of Tohana town in this district, recently covered the trans-Himalayan region on a tractor! Jaibir took up this expedition to garner a place in the Limca Book of World Records, as he claims that there is no record of this sort as yet.

“I wanted to do this event as it is very different from what other people have done. Others travel in the trans-Himalayan region by car, jeep or motorcycle, but no one has ever gone there on a tractor because it is a very uncomfortable machine and difficult to drive in that region,” says Jaibir.

“I selected the high altitude area of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. My journey was a circular route. I needed a tractor and financial support, so I approached Preet Tractors, Nabha. I gave them my plan and they readily agreed to sponsor my expedition,” he adds.

Jaibir started his expedition on June 12, 2008, from Nabha, where he was flagged-off by Surjeet Singh Rakhra, a former MLA and an NRI. He entered Jammu and Kashmir on the second day of his journey via Gobindgarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

“As per schedule, the event was for three persons but due to some reasons the other two could not accompany me and I had to complete this event all alone,” he says.

“I collected my journey proofs from the police stations on the way and also maintained a log book, including fuel and stay bills, as this was required as proofs for Limca Book of Records,” he adds.

Jaibir attached a small trolley to the tractor to carry his luggage, kitchen kit, tent and a barrel that could hold 200 litres diesel as there are no filling stations in the remote areas of Zanskar. He also carried some spare parts and a tool kit of the tractor.

“I faced some problems with the tractor on two or three occasions like leakage of diesel and nozzle breakage and could not find a mechanic nearby. I handled the snags by myself as I have been doing such expeditions for the past ten years and can handle various machines,” Jaibir claims.

In high altitude deserts, Nubra and more plains, he carried extra water and food, as there was no chance of finding any eatery there.

At many places he could not find any shelter so he used his own tent. At some, he took shelter at Army camps and they treated him very well.

“I also travelled in the inner areas of Ladakh for which a permit was required to be issued by magistrate, Leh Ladakh. I visited Pangong Lake, which is at an altitude of 14,500 ft and 135 km in length. Out of the total, 45 km falls in Indian boundary and 90 km in China. It is a very beautiful and appears like an ocean. Boating in this lake is not allowed for tourists and security speed boats of army protect it,” Jaibir.

“I crossed nine high passes of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, including the world’s highest motorable road Khardung La (18,380 ft) and the third highest Chang La (17,800 ft.),” he claims.

During his return journey through Manali and Chandigarh, Jaibir travelled amidst heavy downpour. But despite all kind of hardships, he enjoyed each moment.



Proud conquerers of Chalung Peak
Tribune News Service

Karnal, July 14
A 19-member mountaineering team of Sainik School, Kunjpura, Karnal, successfully scaled the 6546-m high Chalung Peak in Rupshu valley of Leh region in Jammu & Kashmir on June 29. The team was led by ace mountaineer J.S. Gulia.

The expedition was flagged off Dr A.R. Kidwai, Governor, Haryana, on June 13 from Raj Bhawan, Chandigarh.

The team reached Leh on the evening of June 17 by road after crossing five passes, which included the world’s second-highest pass Tanglang-La, situated at 17,586 ft. At Leh, acclimatisation routines were followed along with procurement of stores. On June 21, the team reached Sumdo Ribil, which is 200 km from Leh. Here the team camped for two days to acclimatise with the conditions there.

A base camp was established at 5,200 m on June 25. At the base camp, routine treks and exercises were carried out for proper acclimatisation. High-velocity icy winds many a times uprooted the tents. Thereafter, the team was trained in snow and ice craft on Morane glacier, which included glacier walking, self-arrest, front-point climbing, descending and crevasse rescue.

After training at the base camp, the team established its assault camp at an altitude of 5,900 m on June 28. At 1 pm, the camp was struck by a high-velocity blizzard, which uprooted all tents. The kitchen tent was torn into pieces. Considering the safety and security of the students at around 4.30 pm, 10 students were sent down to the base camp as a safety measure. The storm continued till 11 pm.

On June 29, the weather improved and team prepared for the final assault on the peak. The team took the route from the unclimbed western ridge. The ridge of rocks, which began from a height of about 6300 m, was very fragile so it was necessary to fix ropes along 190 m of the weak, diagonal strata. After having climbed for 200 m from the end of ropes, the team traversed to the left and went over a steep slope covered with ice for about 100 m.

After six hours of front-point climbing, the team reached the summit of Chalung peak at 1 pm. The team members stayed at the top for 30 minutes, took photographs and congratulated each other.

From the peak they could see many mountains that expanded endlessly into Tibet in the east, Mt Lungser Kangri, the mountains of Spiti to the South, lake Tsomoriri and Mt Sara and Mt Mentok (6340 m) to the west. At 1.30 pm, the team decided to descend. It reached the base camp by midnight.

With the scaling of the Chalung Peak, the team achieved the following landmarks: First Sainik School to scale a peak of a height of 6546 m. It was the second ascent on the Chalung Peak. The first ascent was done by a Japanese team in 1997. And lastly, it was the first team to climb Chalung peak from the virgin western ridge route.

The members of the team who reached the top included: J.S. Gulia (leader), Fateh Chand, Pyare Lal, Harish, Gaurav, Sukhdev, Amardeep, Rohit Dangi, Vikram, Amit Nain, Shishrant, Sachin, Krishan, Sudhir, Saurabh and Ajay.



Interstate mobility set to improve
Haryana-Delhi transport pact

Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 14
The reciprocal common transport agreement signed between Haryana and Delhi, a few days ago, have enthused the commuters here, especially as it enhances their interstate mobility.

The agreement, which has already came into effect, has been revised after a gap of more than two decades.

In fact, the last agreement was inked between Haryana and Delhi in 1987 that sanctioned for limited number of kilometers for the movement of buses from both sides of the fence into each other’s territories.

As per the new agreement, buses of the Haryana Roadways and other authorised buses will operate on over 1.64 lakh km each day in the territory of Delhi.

On the other hand, Delhi will be allowed to operate on over 1.95 lakh km each day in the territory of Haryana.

As per the old agreement, the buses from Haryana could operate on only about 64,000 km, each day while Delhi was also allowed to operate on almost the same length.

However, with the virtual integration of a number of areas of Haryana, especially areas like Faridabad and Gurgaon, with Delhi within the structure of National Capital Region (NCR), there has been manifold increase in the number of interstate commuters. Unfortunately, on account of the limited bus service from Delhi or Haryana, commuters were made to suffer. Besides, the instances of challaning of buses from Haryana by the Delhi police had also hampered the transport service.

According to the district transport officer, Faridabad, Yashpal Yadav, the increase in the number of kilometers for buses of the two states meant that the frequency of the buses would also be increased.

This would go a long way in reducing rush in the buses as well as shorten the waiting time for commuters.

He said Delhi had banned operation of diesel-run buses from Haryana to move in its area and only CNG buses were allowed for movement in the inner parts of Delhi.

Earlier, the Haryana did not have CNG buses. However, gradually CNG buses were pressed into service from areas of Haryana falling in the NCR to Delhi.

According to Yadav, the long route buses of the Haryana Roadways and other authorised long route buses would still be diesel-run, but these had been allowed limited movement within Delhi.



Villagers ‘deprived’ of voting rights

Sonepat, July 14
Residents of Hasamabad village, located on the outskirts of Sonepat town, have been deprived of their voting rights for the past about one year. According to the villagers, Hasamabad was inhabited about 60 years back near to Raipur village though it remained attached to Raipur due to less population.

The names of the residents of this village were included in the voter list of Raipur village and they had been exercising their franchise in every election, be it rural, state or Lok Sabha, up to 2005. The villagers participated in every election of village panchayat during the past 60 years and even one panch used to be elected from this village. However, villagers allege that the Raipur village panchayat used to neglect Hasamabad so far as developmental activities were concerned. The sarpanch in connivance with the BDPO refused to commence development work here on the plea that Hasamabad was part of the Sonepat municipal council, they rue.

When Ram Kumar, a resident of Hasamabad, sought information from the BDPO under the RTI Act, the BDPO informed that the village was under the Sonepat municipal council and the names of the villagers had been removed from the voter list of Raipur village.

Villagers, however, were shocked when the municipal council authorities intimated in writing in March 2005 that Hasamabad was outside the municipal limits. The matter was brought to the notice of the deputy commissioner and additional deputy commissioner in September 2007 with the demand that their names should be included in the voter list of Raipur village, they said, adding, “We are neither in village voter list nor in the list of the municipal council”.

When contacted, the election tehsildar, Sonepat, informed that in election and revenue records, Hasamabad is a non-existent village, but the residents have every right to vote. The election office here had invited applications for the registration of the new voters and the residents were welcomed to get themselves registered, he added.



SMS news service by varsity students
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, July 14
The department of mass communication of the Chaudhary Devi Lal University, Sirsa, would soon launch news headlines service on SMS. Subscribers of the free service would get news update, in the form of latest headlines, twice or thrice a day on their cell phones. A proposal to this effect submitted by the department has been approved by the vice-chancellor Dr K.C. Bhardwaj. The proposed service has already been started on a trial basis for a select group of subscribers and would be soon launched formally.

Virender Singh Chauhan, chairman of the department of mass communication, said the scheme would be managed by the students, under the overall supervision of the faculty of the department.

Initially, two to three SMS news bulletins would be broadcasted everyday on the cell phones of the subscribers as per a fixed schedule.

These bulletins would contain headlines from local and state news to the national and international developments. The choice of content would be based on the importance of the events.

People in and around the city would be able to subscribe to the service by sending a message “join samachar” to 567678. The service would not only provide ample opportunity to journalism students to hone their skills, but also keep subscribers abreast with currents affairs of local, national and international importance. For training students, the department runs a news portal and has already started the process of establishing a Community Radio Station (CRS). The CRS would start broadcasting educational programmes at 90.4 Megahertz on FM band by November this year.

Chauhan said the CRS would be established in the Media Centre, a building being constructed to house a well-equipped television studio and a newsroom, apart from the CRS.

In addition, the department has been permitted to start two new courses with effect from this academic session (2008-09). The courses, being offered under Self Financing Scheme (SFS), are BA and a PG diploma in mass communication. While BAMC classes would be run in the morning session the PGDMC classes would be held in the evening. Both the courses would be based on a semester system, he added.



Rotate crops for healthy soil: Expert
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, July 14
As revealed by tests on around 5,000 samples of soil during the past two months, excessive use of fertilizers, insecticides, sub-soil water and land for wheat cropping has adversely affecting the fertility of land.

The agriculture scientists from water and soil testing laboratory, Sonepat, had received 5,926 samples of soil from areas in Sonepat, Rai, Kharkhoda and Gannaur blocks during April, May and June. Most of these were brought by the farmers themselves. Deficiency of nitrogen and phosphorous in almost all and of zinc, iron and manganese in some of them was found after the tests were conducted on 5,260 samples.

Similarly, as many as 71 samples of sub-soil water were tested and only eight samples were found useful for irrigation purposes. As many as 28 samples of tubewell water were totally rejected for irrigation.

The officer in-charge of the laboratory, Satbir Singh Dahiya, confirmed that the samples were collected after harvesting of wheat crop and the deficiency of nitrogen and phosphorous was found in almost all of them.

“The presence of nitrogen, phosphorous, sulphur and potash as main elements and zinc, iron and manganese as micro-elements in the soil are essential for maintaining fertility of land,” he said. He added that the deficiency of any one of these elements could decline production levels by 20 to 25 per cent.

Dahiya said rotation of wheat and paddy crops had also brought down fertility of agricultural land. He suggested farmers should adopt crop diversification in order to maintain soil health.



A tin shed called railway station
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Tandwal (Ambala), July 14
Amid lush green fields, one comes across a small railway station that has the dubious distinction of being run on contract. Built in 1957, the Tandwal railway station was given on contract around two years ago in December 2005, after the Railways ran into losses.

The station has no path leading to it. Passengers have to walk all the way from the nearby road, which has a railway crossing on it. A small beaten path, alongside the track, leads one to a tin shed with a bench.

A small room with two chairs squeezed in acts as the office for the contractor who runs the station. A meagre Rs 5,000 is what Sushil Kumar, who has taken the contract for this station, makes as profit every month. But with the railway track running parallel to his fields, it is a cushy job for him.

The station opens at 5 am, just in time to sell tickets for the first train to stop here and shuts at around 8 pm when the last train goes through. The nearby railway crossing mostly remains closed, opening only when a vehicle has to cross through, which is once in a while.

The station caters to around 20 nearby villages. On an average, 150 passengers travel from this station and 12 trains pass from here everyday. They are usually passenger trains and go to Meerut, Delhi, Saharanpur, Ludhiana and Kurukshetra. Not many complain.

They are only relieved that the station here is still functioning. However, lack of any facility of drinking water or toilets pose a problem for passengers travelling with kids.

No vendors or hawkers greet you at this station and passengers have to carry packed tiffin boxes and water with them. There are neither any modes of public transport to reach the station.

According to the divisional railway manager, H.K. Jaggi, 25 halts are being run under the Ambala division and Tandwal is one of them. There are five stations, which run on contract. “There is no major problem that we face. In case of any snag, it is reported to the management appropriately,” he said.



Citizens’ Grievances
Rationale of “STET”

The Haryana Government is going to hold School Level Eligibility Test (STET) under the aegis of State Board of School Education in July and August 2008. Haryana is the only state in the country to hold such test on the lines of UGC-NET.  But, I want to ask the rationale of holding such a test as candidates aspiring for post of school teachers first pass entrance for admission to B.Ed, then they would have to qualify the STET and then appear for written test/interview to be conducted by Haryana Staff Selection Commission for appointment.

Hemant Kumar, Ambala City

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