Trust vote politics casts shadow on state
Haryana is witnessing new political alignments with old friends parting ways and new friendships being forged
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The fate of the confidence motion in the Lok Sabha will be known only late tomorrow. But the trust vote has already started casting its shadows on Haryana.

The process of new alignments began with Congress MP from Karnal Arvind Sharma sending jitters down the spine of the party when he made his intentions to go with the BSP public on July 18.

Though he did not say that he would vote against the confidence motion, he kept everyone guessing how he would behave on July 22, when the grand finale will be played.

Congress crisis managers immediately summoned Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was the chief guest at a series of public functions in Kaithal that day, to Delhi immediately. It took two days for Hooda to crack the hard nut. God and Sharma alone know what his grievances are or were against the Congress leadership. But those who know him say the grievances were certainly not ideological.

Hooda was able to prevail upon Sharma to an extent only. Sharma agreed to meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi yesterday, though he had not attended a dinner hosted by her a day earlier. What transpired at his meeting with Sonia is not known. But if the crisis managers felt relieved after the meeting, they were again uneasy over Sharma after he failed to turn up at the dinner hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night. He remained unavailable to the press too.

The limelight immediately shifted from another rebel Congress MP from Haryana Kuldeep Bishnoi to Arvind Sharma's antics. Though Bishnoi has claimed that he was offered Rs 100 crore and Chief Minister's post on behalf of the Congress by "someone very close" to him, Arvind Sharma's sudden change of heart got more publicity than the younger son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal. The reason was obvious. While Bishnoi's distance from the Congress is two years old, Arvind's love for Mayawati is new, hence greater novelty.

But Bishnoi was again in the limelight. He immediately opened a channel with the BJP. In doing so, he was assisted by the INLD, whose leaders went over to Mayawati under the cloak of the UNPA yesterday morning. The BJP, a strong section of which advocates an electoral alliance with the INLD, immediately invited Bishnoi to the dinner hosted by L.K. Advani last night. The invitation came from Advani himself.

Sources say Bishnoi has been in touch with certain prominent BJP leaders, particularly those belonging to Rajasthan, where the Bishnoi community has a sizeable population, in the past several weeks. These leaders along with a section of the Haryana BJP leaders have been pleading with their high command to go with Bishnoi’s Haryana Janhit Congress instead of the INLD of Om Prakash Chautala. But the high command has been taking its own time to decide, particularly in view of the resistance by Chautala’s friends among its ranks.

The INLD overtures to Mayawati, which is being projected by the UNPA as its Chief Minister candidate, will surely not go down well with the BJP and Advani, himself a PM hopeful. In that case, the party may go with Bishnoi. The sources say Bishnoi, whose main interest lies in the Assembly elections, will not be averse to leave a major chunk of the Lok Sabha seats in Haryana for the BJP.

With its strong non-Jat plank in Haryana, the BSP may not like to go with the INLD, the Jat face of the Haryana politics, in the state, despite pressure from Chautala’s UNPA partners. In that case, the INLD may find it left in the lurch. But as a senior INLD leader put it, if Mayawati can take Ajit Singh’s RLD on her ship, what prevents her to tie up with the INLD?



Fresh boost to infrastructure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Haryana will soon get five big road projects costing over Rs 2,600 crore. The projects have already been sanctioned and their implementation will start once Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lays their foundation stones.

The projects include the widening of the Delhi-Rohtak National Highway No. 10 to six lanes at a cost of Rs 486 crore, Rs 340-crore six-lane Badarpur elevated highway, the four-laning of the Rohtak-Hisar road a cost of Rs 543 crore, the four-laning of the Rohtak-Panipat National Highway No. 71-A at a cost of Rs 620 crore, and the four-laning of the Rohtak-Jhajjar-Rewari-Bawal National Highway No. 71 at a cost of Rs 640 crore.

Since all these projects, except the Badarpur elevated highway, relate to the Rohtak Lok Sabha constituency, its MP Deepender Hooda met the Prime Minister recently and urged him to lay the foundation stones of these projects.

The Prime Minister reportedly assured Hooda that he would visit the state in the near future to do the needful.

Hooda said there was also a plan to construct four new bypasses at Meham, Madina, Kharkara and Hansi.

He thanked Dr Manmohan Singh for sanctioning a central university and an IIM for the state. He also expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister for giving adequate funds for the development of the state.

Hooda also assured the PM that the people of Haryana were with him on the nuclear deal.

He said there was a possibility that after the signing of the nuclear deal the state might get country’s first nuclear plant as the PM had already announced that a nuclear power plant would be set up at Kumharia village in Fatehabad. 



Grant for house to BPL families raised
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, July 21
With a view to uplifting the weaker sections of the society in the district, the grant to BPL families for the construction of house has been increased to Rs 50,000 from Rs 10,000. For inter-caste marriage, the incentive has been doubled to Rs 50,000.

A budget of Rs 23 crore has been sanctioned under the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshni Vivah Shagun Yojna for 2008-09. Under this scheme, a sum of Rs 15,000 will be given for marrying an SC girl and widows of all categories while it is Rs 1,500 in all other categories.

In order to raise the living standards of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes, they are being provided several incentives, including 100 yard residential plot, grant for the construction of house, construction of public toilets in every village, said deputy commissioner N.K. Yadav, while giving details about various state and central government schemes launched to benefit the poor.

Highlighting the benefits of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NAREGS), the deputy commissioner further said so far a total of 84,000 families had been provided job cards and a sum of Rs 37.55 crore had been sanctioned to benefit unemployed villagers. The scheme had been launched in every district of Haryana where employment was provided at the doorsteps of the villagers.

As many as 100 days guaranteed employment was given to the suitable persons at the rate of Rs 135 per day, he said, adding that during 2007-08, a sum of Rs 3.17 crore had been spent on the repair of choupals of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes.

Besides, free water connections were being given to the SCs with 200-litre water tank free of cost under the Indira Gandhi Paijal Yojna. An amount of Rs 50.60 crore were spend under the Indira Awas Yojna on the construction of 19,550 houses for SC families.



Synthetic milk products flood Ambala markets
Suman Bhatnagar

Ambala, July 21
Ambala City and Ambala Cantt have become the transit centres for supplying synthetic milk products and unhygienic meat to Punjab and other parts of Haryana. A large quantity of synthetic khoya and paneer is being brought here from various parts of Uttar Pardesh everyday through private vehicles and rail-bus services.

Quintals of synthetic khoya and paneer are being carried to Ambala early in the morning from Meerut and other parts of UP everyday, which are later supplied to various parts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. A sweet shop owner told that during festival season most of the sweet shops buy UP khoya to meet huge demand. He said khoya brought from UP was cheap in comparison to self-prepared one.

Recently, the police had raided a dairy at Barara close to Ambala Cantt and seized a large quantity of synthetic khoya and its ingredients. The police found the involvement of some traders of Meerut and Mujaffarnagar in the case. The police had also recovered a diary in which names of some famous sweet shops of Ambala City and Ambala Cantt and Chandigarh were mentioned.

Last month also, adulterated khoya was recovered when the district administration raided several sweet shops of Ambala Cantt. Around one dozen samples of sweets were found failed. The district administration could not take any strict action against the guilty allegedly due to political pressure.

Not only khoya but also red meat is being brought from Saharanpur and Meerut. This meat is almost available at the half rate of the market price. A few moths back, the municipal council had raided some meat shops and recovered unhygienic meat from there. Recently, the administration destroyed around 200 quintal of unhygienic ice at Ambala City that was brought from a factory of Punjab.

Local residents are of the view that this unfair trade cannot survive without the connivance of the authorities. According to information, a number of dairy owners, ice factory owners, glossary and confectionary shop owners generally pay a fixed amount per month to health department officials.

Deputy commissioner Mohammad Shyin said a campaign would be launched and those found guilty would be booked.



Century-old lake on verge of extinction
Suman Bhatnagar

Ambala, July 21
Residents of Ambala city are witnessing the death of a beautiful lake that is located in the heart of the city.

Initially, the lake was spread over 25 acres but now it has been reduced to a mere five acres. Not only the land mafia but also the municipal council has played a major role in denting its exclusivity.

The council owns a major portion of the lake while some other portion belongs to private parties. It is not ascertained when this lake came into existence. Elders of the area say a century ago, there were brick kilns at this place and the land took the shape of a lake when its soil was dug up in huge quantity for the manufacturing of bricks. Later, the deserted brick kiln took the shape of a mount still positioned in the mid of the lake that looks like an island.

Three decades back, the municipal council developed a park surrounding the lake. A major portion of rainwater of the city used to gather in this lake and save several low-lying localities from waterlogging.

The park surrounding the lake became a picnic spot for the people of the city and the nearby areas. Later, with the development of residences in the area, people started using this lake for the disposal of sewerage. The water in the lake became dirty and started emitting foul smell.

Now, the entire surface of the lake has been covered with wild weed and gives the look of a jungle. The municipal council never made any effort to clean it. Finding it abandoned, property dealers in connivance with some influential persons started encroaching it. Gradually, they started filling its portions connected to roadside to develop shopping complexes. The municipal council also constructed a market by curtailing the dimension of the lake.



UNPA prospects brighten in state
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Fast-changing “business-alignments” on the political scene at the Centre, the rising and falling numbers in the run up to the trust vote the UPA faces on July 22 and the “reorganisation” of the anti-UPA forces, it’s all happening at a whirring pace.

The crumbling United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), weakened considerably with the departure of the Samajwadi Party (SP), is resurrecting itself with support trickling in everyday. UP Chief Minister Mayawati’s cosying up to the UNPA has certainly come as a shot in the arm for the latter, hopeful of an alliance that would grow in the future and sure of propping up a Third Front yet again as an option to the UPA and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).

But there’s one man missing out on all the fun of the unfolding of the great political “circus” where every MP is worth his weight in gold. Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala, a key player of the UNPA, is away to Dubai as the political scene hots up to a race, which just might begin after the trust vote. At a luncheon meeting organised at TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s house, the INLD was represented by its Rajya Sabha MPs Ajay Chautala and Tarlochan Singh.

Sources in the INLD said since the party had no MPs and not expecting things to move as speedily in the UNPA, the senior Chautala was abroad. However, in his absence, the sources said his MP son was holding fort till his return while adding that the uniting of anti-Congress and anti-BJP forces was a welcome move.

Though Mayawati is yet to get a formal invitation to join the UNPA, her “advances” have already brought cheer to the sagging morale of the allies who were looking for a “befitting replacement” for Mulayam Singh, the sources added. In Haryana’s context, too, her shaking hands with the UNPA might just end up in an alliance between the INLD and the BSP. However, another politician whose movement is being watched with tremendous interest by the INLD is Rashtriya Janta Dal’s Ajit Singh.

He and his three MPs are “scouting around” for like-minded parties before committing to any particular side. His meeting with Mayawati today has further fuelled this fire which might not augur well for the INLD since Chautala and Ajit Singh have been arch rivals in UP. The INLD is wary of his “fickle-mindedness”.

Sources said his meeting with Mayawati also had little meaning since he was not a natural ally and could swing in favour of the Congress at the last minute. 



NH-73 laced with potholes
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, July 21
The stretch of National Highway-73, passing through the district, has become a nightmare for commuters due to the huge potholes that have made the area accident-prone. The condition has worsened due to the heavy rains this year.

One of the major factor that has led to the situation is the fact that heavy vehicles, carrying huge loads, ply on this stretch as the area is one of the major industrial belts in the state.

The condition of the roads is worst in the 3-4 km stretch from the Jagadhari bus stand to Yamunanagr bus stand. This stretch poses the maximum threat to commuters.

Interestingly, there are potholes even in front of the deputy commissioner’s camp office and his house, and in front of the mini secretariat and the forest office.

However, officials seem to have turned a blind eye to the situation.

The situation is even more alarming as the mode of transportation for most of the schoolchildren, employees and others are auto-rickshaws, often overloaded, which are more prone to accidents. Recently, a truck driver hit a three-wheeler which led to the death of three persons.

Besides, the condition of Yamunanagar-Chachhrauli state highway is also pathetic. 



No fishy business this 
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, July 21
With the ever-increasing input costs and disappointing minimum support prices, more and more farmers in the state are now looking for alternative sources of income. In the given circumstances, fish farming has proved to be a big hit among the state farmers who are now finding it to be the best option available.

Going by the records of the past three years, more than 1,375 acres of wetlands have been developed in Panipat district alone to promote fish farming. These wetlands produced more than 2,500 tonnes of fish a year enabling the farmers to bag substantial profit.In the district, those involved in fish farming have earned profits to the tune of Rs 4 lakh by selling fish seeds alone.

It is not only the lucrative gains that have been attracting farmers but also the state government has been going all out to boost the “blue revolution” by offering subsidies. These subsidies are also playing a vital role in promoting fish farming.

Chief officer of fish farming development agency Om Prakash says fish farming is not only adding to the income of the farmers but also generating more employment. He says most of the farmers at present are earning considerable profits by adopting it as supplementary vocation.

Dalip Singh of Baseda village says having failed to get any job he decided to go for self-employment. He approached the agency that helped him set up his own fish farm at his native village. He says the agency also provided help to make his farm a success. As a result, today he is a proud owner of 1.6 acre fish farm and his earnings have gone into lakhs.

Another farmer from Ghari Kewal village, who had adopted fish farming as an alternative source of income, says these days agriculture is not as profitable as it used to be. “When I came to know about fish farming, I immediately decided to go for it and it proved a blessing,” he adds.



Groundwater Depletion
Mass awareness must: Experts
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, July 21
The three-day 16th National Symposium on Groundwater Resources: Conservation and Management concluded at Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology here recently.

Inaugurating the symposium, V.P. Raja, principal adviser, department of atomic energy called for protection of natural water resources and a sound water management policy for social and economic benefits in the future.

He said maintaining the demand of water at sustainable levels was crucial for any sound water management strategy.

He said successful management of groundwater resources would have to be mass-based programme as a common commodity like water could not be conserved without mass awareness and mass participation.

Expressing concern over depleting groundwater levels in the country, he said cash crops consumed a huge quantity of water and this was the biggest reason behind depleting water table.

Vice-chancellor Devendra Dayal Singh Sandhu said population explosion and industrial growth were putting tremendous strain on groundwater resources. There was an urgent need for conservation and qualitative as well as quantitative evaluation of groundwater resources.

Sandhu said water-related issues were posing serious challenges to a majority of countries in their struggle for economic and social development. The international community needed to come together to meet these challenges for the benefit of the humanity.

On the second day, Manju Rawat of Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Delhi, presented a paper on the problem of solid waste management. She expressed concern over mismanagement of medical waste in northern states. She said hospitals were not taking enough measures to dispose of this waste scientifically.

She said domestic waste had undergone a sea change ever since the culture of use and throw had taken hold. Domestic waste had now become hazardous as households were disposing of solid waste like batteries, and defective electrical and electronic equipment also.

The use of polythene bags had not decreased despite the ban imposed by various governments. This continued to pose a major challenge to environmentalists.

On the final day, the GJU VC Sandhu said non-governmental organisations, government agencies, research institutions, industries and public must sit together for effective coordination and formulating scientific strategies to manage and conserve groundwater resources.

More than 125 scientists from all over the country are participating in the three-day symposium. They included Gabrielle Viogt of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, and D.K. Goyal from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India.



Admn gears up to check floods in Ambala
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Ambala, July 21
Three major rivers — Markanada, Tangari and Ghaggar — pass through Ambala district, which lies at the Shivalik foothills. During heavy rains in the catchment areas of these rivers, the possibility of flash floods is high.

The main cause of floods in Ambala tehsil is due to the Tangri river and its tributaries. As a result of heavy rains, floodwater carries heavy silt and the riverbed rises every year. The district administration is taking measures to reduce the deposition of this silt.

Ambala cantonment and city have seen sudden floods in 1978, 1996 and in 2004, as the area remains susceptible to floods owing to heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of the Ghaggar or Tangri,. Not only this, the grain of the ground around Ambala being north east to south west and the presence of the bunds of the railway line and the national highway from Delhi to Jammu lying southwest of Ambala prevent further south-westward drainage of this water. Thus, Ambala and surrounding villages are prone to flooding/waterlogging.

The flood prone areas in Ambala cantonment include Mahesh Nagar, Dayal Bagh, Kabir Nagar, Gobind Nagar, Ram Nagar, Durga Nagar, Ram Kishan Colony and Housing Board.

In Ambala city, Baldev Nagar, Motor Market, Dhulkot, Kingfisher tourist complex and Sena Nagar, Goverdhan Nagar, HUDA Sectors 1, 9 and 10, Kailash Nagar, Jiwan Nagar, Kartar Nagar, Devi Nagar and Singhwala are the flood prone areas. Villages prone to floods include Naggal, Brahman Majra, Gorison, Dukheri, Bhrouli, Garnala, Adomajra, Khanpur, Khana Majra, Dudhiana, alpi, Nahoni, Khaira, Harra-Harrari, Allahpur, Danipur, Rahgarh Tammnauli, Kot achwa, Ismailpur, Saini Majra, Nadiali, Baringa, Dangerian, Amipur, Chourmastpur and Hassanpur.

The civil administration has been over the past few weeks undertaking cleaning exercises of important flood points like nullahs etc. Meetings have also been held with the Army to work out a liaison in case of floods.

The administration has only three boats and 25 lifejackets. In case of flood relief operations, help of the Army would be taken for which meetings have already been conducted, stated a senior official of the civil administration.

The irrigation department will have its own communication network at key points that have been earmarked.

Three flood control room centers have also been set up at the office of the district revenue officer Ambala, office of the Tehsildar Barara and office of the Tehsildar Naryangarh. Three mobile phone numbers have been also displayed where the residents can call in case of emergency these are 9215389207, 9215389243 and 9215389244.

The district administration undertook a review and before the start of monsoons and work to construct ring/semi-ring bunds have almost been completed.

Though no exact warning can be given regarding floods by heavy rains, all officials have been directed by the DC to remain alert, while the irrigation department will keep a check on the level of the rivers.



MDU to have central science laboratory
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, July 21
Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) here will have a modern central science laboratory for better research and teaching facilities.

The Haryana government has given a grant of Rs 10 crore for the provision of latest state-of-the-art equipment in the laboratories of the university. The underlying idea behind establishing this centralised laboratory is to curb avoidable expenditure owing to duplication, besides making all equipment available at one place. Besides, a central computer laboratory will also be established so that all students of the university can become computer literate. This was stated by MDU vice-chancellor R.P. Hooda at a recent meeting with deans of faculties and heads of university teaching departments at the onset of the new academic session.

Talking about the adoption of the semester system of teaching and examination with internal assessment, the vice-chancellor hoped that it would make students more aware and regular. Departmental committees will be constituted to take consistent decisions, he added. Professor Hooda said in this era of specialisation, career-oriented courses were the most sought after ones.

“Showing excellent professionalism, the teachers should build and activate faith of the students in the system,” he said, adding that a grievance redressal mechanism should be implemented to solve the problems of the students promptly. The vice-chancellor said a final document of the self-financing scheme (SFS) was also ready, which would ensure that the teachers in the SFS were not a deprived lot.

He informed the faculty that the construction projects undertaken by the NBCC were near completion and the teaching departments would soon be shifted to new buildings. 



Jind students in AIIMS merit list
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Jind, July 21
Ankur Lathar of Rajgarh village in the district has brought laurels in the academic field. She has emerged runner-up in PMT conducted by the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) this year. She had earlier notched up exhilarating performance by getting 22nd position in the All-India CBSE PMT examination held earlier this year, besides being selected for other well-known institutes, including the AFMC, Pune.

Ankur is a student of the DAV Public School in Hisar, where she is staying with her uncle at present. Her father, Dr Karan Singh Lathar is a veterinary surgeon, serving with the state government and has been presently posted at Julana town in the district. According to her father, Ankur has been very hardworking and laborious student throughout and was interested in taking up medical as a career right from the beginning. She has recently joined the MBBS course at Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi on basis of her merit position in the entrance exam of the CBSE PMT. But now she wants to take admission in AIIMS, as this institute is more prestigious, claimed her father. Ankur had got 94.2 per cent and 96 per cent marks, respectively, in the matric and class XII examinations.

Besides Ankur, Vipul Jindal is another student belonging to this district who has made it to the merit list of the medical entrance test of AIIMS. He has secured 11th position.

According to his father Satpal Jindal of Gandhi Nagar here, who is working a science teacher in a government school in Dumarkha village in the district, Vipul has also been able to crack the entrance tests of various other institutes, including CMC Vellore, AFMC Pune, BHU and PMT Delhi this year.



HJC hopes to gain from N-deal row
Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 21
Political developments in the country in the wake of the nuclear deal controversy, coming close on the heels of assembly byelections in Haryana, has given workers of Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) an opportunity for greater self-identity. The development, which has given tense moments to the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, has brought smiles on the faces of the rank and file of the HJC.

A good number of workers and leaders of HJC feel that the confidence motion and subsequent parliamentary elections, a few months down the line, will allow the leadership a window of opportunity in national politics.

A senior HJC leader and former home minister of Haryana, Subhash Batra, has revealed his party’s strategy of re-establishing itself under Kuldip Bishnoi. 





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