Cong MPs, MLAs lock horns
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
It's Congress MPs versus party MLAs, an image that certainly does not augur well at a time when the Congress is readying for the Lok Sabha elections. The growing distance between the two came to the fore at a recent five-hour meeting of the coordination committee of the Haryana Congress and later the cabinet and parliamentary secretaries, chaired by party general secretary and Congress in charge Margret Alva.

While the MPs expressed their dissatisfaction about the progress of developmental works in their constituencies and the indifference of the government, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's "men", his cabinet colleagues, squarely blamed the MPs for the growing "mistrust" within the party cadres.

Sources said at the meeting of the coordination committee, the issue of slow pace of development of infrastructure in Gurgaon was discussed at length. It is learnt that Alva, too, backed the need to pump in investment in Gurgaon as committed by the Chief Minister.

On the issue of appointment of chairpersons to boards and corporations, too, the Chief Minister informed Alva that the list was pending approval. To this, members of the committee sought to know if the appointments were to be a one-man show or their suggestions were welcome. Alva asked them to give their respective candidates.

The much sought after appointments have been hanging fire for over three years ever since the government came to power. While interested candidates have knocked virtually every door to hasten the process, the government is blamed for dangling these before them without really offering these. At the meeting of the last co-ordination committee, it had been decided to put the appointments on hold till the byelections were over in May. The government was asked to clear the backlog of vacancies and fill them with "deserving candidates".

If the MPs had an upper hand in the meeting where the Chief Minister was on the backfoot, all MPs with the exception of Rohtak MP and CM’s son Deepinder Hooda were in the line of fire for ignoring the elected representatives from their respective parliamentary seats. The junior Hooda, known for his pleasant disposition, earned praise for keeping the local MLAs abreast of his programme and “accommodating” them whenever needed.

The MPs were paid back in the same coin at the meeting of the cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries where the ministers and parliamentary secretaries raised the banner of revolt against the MPs for not being given “due recognition” in the constituencies.

The MPs were accused of not touring their respective constituencies while they were at the receiving end for aiding the rivals and diverting funds towards causes espoused by them. With battle lines clearly drawn between the two, some of the ministers even sought details of the funds allotted. This was on the lines of a demand by the MPs earlier in the day to know the caste-wise distribution of jobs given by the Haryana government.

To all this, Alva asked both “parties” within the Congress to sink their differences and work together. She suggested that the government and the party work in tandem. She also said a separate campaign committee and a media department of the party would be formed shortly.



Grasshoppers run riot
Official report reveals fodder crop in 3,274 acres has been eaten away
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, August 14
Rapid growth in the population of grasshoppers in almost every area of the district during the past two months has caused extensive damage to the crops, mainly Jowar and vegetables.

This has not only added to the problems of farmers, but also forced the agriculture department to chalk out a strategy for a permanent solution to this menace.

According to official report, fodder crop in 3,274 acres has been damaged. However, the farmers put this figure up to 5,000 acres. Interestingly, swarms of these insects that so far remained confined in the cropped areas have now made its presence felt in the residential areas and on the roads as well.

No sooner the lights are on, these insects come on the roads making it difficult for two-wheeler drivers to drive without an eye-gear. Sometimes roads are found carpeted with hundreds of grasshoppers.

During a visit to a field near Badwasni village, the foliage of the Jowar crops were found eaten up by the insects and only the stems were standing in the fields. A woman farmer present in the field said, "We are facing this problem from the past three years and the government has not taken any step to control these insects".

After receiving complaints about the menace, additional commissioner of the agriculture department from Chandigarh Chander Prakash Malik visited Sonepat recently and held meetings with the officers and field staff of the department to take stock of the situation and devise plans for the elimination of grasshoppers.

SDAO O.P. Dalal informed that July and August are the peak months of these insects before they lay eggs under grass covers in September. These eggs grow into full insects by May and fly out with the first rain of monsoon.

Keeping this lifecycle in mind, he said the department had planned to carry out fogging during May with active participation of the gram panchayats, PWD (B&R), forest and irrigation departments.

Land with green cover is used by these insects to lay eggs and without fogging in the vacant areas of panchayat land and the areas adjacent to canals and roads, these insects cannot be eliminated completely," he said.



Loan waiver benefits 33,218 farmers in Fatehabad
Sushil Manav
Tribune News Service

Fatehabad, August 14
Ram Pal is a marginal farmer from Gorakhpur, the biggest village of this district. With a landholding of 18 acres, he did not have the requirement of a tractor. But, seeing other farmers of the village buying new tractors, he, too, procured a loan of Rs 2.5 lakh and brought a new tractor.

For a tractor to be economically viable machinery, it has to work for at least 1,000 hours in a year.

But with a small landholding of 18 acres, Ram Pal’s requirement was not even one tenth of that. The only other option available to him was to do some job work, i.e. to work with the tractor on the fields of some other farmers, who do not own a tractor.

But even this was not acceptable to him given the types of inflated egos villagers have in this part of Haryana.

As it happened, even after paying more than Rs 1 lakh to the bank, he owed Rs 3.97 lakh more to the bank for the tractor loan and a small loan of krishi card.

The recent loan waiver scheme came as a boon for marginal farmers like Ram Pal, whose entire loan amount has been waived by the bank. His perhaps is the biggest individual loan waiver in the district.

Krishan Kumar, another farmer from the same village has got a waiver of Rs 2.24 lakh while Tek Chand, again from Gorakhpur village got a benefit of Rs 2.60 lakh.

Gorakhpur, incidentally, is a village where 245 farmers have been benefited from the loan waiver scheme and the total amount waived by Punjab National Bank in this village is Rs 1.24 crore.

Gurmeet Singh and Mukhtaro, joint account holders of Akanwali village have also received a big waiver of Rs 3.50 lakh from the State Bank of India.

In all, 78 farmers of Akanwali village have got the benefit of loan waiver and the total loan waived in the village amounts to Rs 15 lakh.

In Nehla, another big village of the district, 100 farmers have benefited from the scheme where more than Rs 38 lakh have been waived.

“The maximum numbers of loans have been waived by Fatehabad Central Cooperative Bank Limited, which has waived an amount of Rs 51.57 crore to as many as 1,998 farmers,” informed C.G. Rajnikanthan, additional deputy commissioner, Fatehabad.

Among other banks, Allahabad Bank waived Rs 67 lakh, Canara Bank Rs 80 lakh, the Central Bank of India Rs 115 lakh, the Oriental Bank of Commerce Rs 210 lakh, Punjab National Bank Rs 435 lakh, Punjab and Sind Bank Rs 62 lakh, the State Bank of India Rs 1,113 lakh, the State Bank of Patiala Rs 287 lakh, the Union Bank of India Rs 341 lakh, United Commercial Bank Rs 228 lakh, Haryana Gramin Bank Rs 221 lakh and Prarthmik Agriculture and Rural Development Bank Rs 865 lakh.

Rajnikanthan informed that a total of 33,218 farmers had been benefited from the scheme in the district and an amount of Rs 9,181 lakh had been waived.



No hope in sight
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Since his retirement a couple of months back, visually impaired S.S. Shukla has known no rest and he does not want to rest. However, contrary to his desire to work, he is running from pillar to post chasing his file for re-employment in state government offices.

“Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had directed his officers to study my case and give me an extension or re-employment, as the rules permit. However, despite having met the Chief Minister thrice, approval for re-employment is hanging fire. While the Chief Minister has been very sympathetic and considerate, his officers have chosen to sit over my file,” remarks Shukla, who retired as assistant legal rememberancer in May this year.

A two-time state awardee, whose name has also been nominated for the national award, Shukla says his day starts with identifying offices he needs to visit. He boards a bus, reaches his destination and meets officials.

“It is very difficult for a visually impaired man to run around from office to office and table to table. However, I do this ritual, realising fully well that re-employment matters only to me and nobody else. They will not move the file till I keep coming back to find out the fate of my case,” he rues.

Maintaining that his case is pending in jail branch of the home department, Shukla says he wants to be employed to stay busy more than the money it will bring. “Both me and my wife are blind. So we understand each other’s limitations. Sadly, the world does not look at us that way or deal with our case in a way that causes least trouble. Earlier, when I attended office I had fixed timings. Now everything depends on people I have to meet and when they will be available. It causes great discomfort to think nobody cares,” remarks Shukla. He has given representations to social justice and empowerment minister Kartar Devi, but is yet to hear from her.

Instrumental in the setting up of various organisations for the visually impaired and in the forefront of many protests by them, he emphasises, “I have been fighting for other peoples’ rights and have always met with success. In my own case, I have now beginning to feel helpless. Every time I am sent away by the officers with a promise that my letter will reach me shortly. I have even told them that if there is no vacancy in the office of the LR, I am willing to be adjusted elsewhere. But nothing has happened so far.”

Shukla is hopeful that the approval will come through and the matter expedited by the social welfare department before he needs to knock on the door of the CM again.



Poet of masses Bekal Utsahi
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, August 14
“Ishert-e-husan mein masroof toh rehte ho magar, Waqt mil jaye toh ham jaise faqeeron se milo”, that is how the prominent poet Padmashree Bekal Utsahi introduced himself at the Haryana Urdu Akademy function held at Haryana Raj Bhavan recently. Eulogised as the literary exponent of peasantry and poor stratum of society, Mohd Shafi Khan popularly known as Bekal Utsahi had emerged as the poet of the masses.

Neither a romantic dreamer nor a mystic, Bekal had captured the life struggles, aspirations and woes of the masses in most of his 12 books of poetry.

The akademy, as an honour had published two of his books while Dr AR Kidwai lauding Bekal ‘s insight in to the profound depth of Urdu poetry released his book “Kuliyaat E Bekal Utsahi” here at the largely attended function.

Talking to the Tribune, Bekal maintained that no language could attain a literary temper or receptivity unless its literature is influenced with the native or folk idiom. “In a bid to emulate the great poets Firaq Gorakhpuri or to some extent Jan Nisar Akhtar Saheb, I have sculpted my literary creations in Urdu, borrowing the themes and languages from Braj bhasha, Khadi boli or Awadhi instead of coining the cumbersome complex diction of Arabic or Persian language,” said Bekal. This makes his writings close to the pulse and heartbeat of the peasants, workers or common man who identify their life struggles with it and find solace. Poetry lovers have immensely endorsed his endeavour during my recitations at mushairas in over 24 countries.

Sharing his views on the decline of Urdu language, with all its supple lucidity and emotive range, Bekal lamented that unfortunately Urdu had been largely conceived as the language of Muslim minority. Secondly, the Urdu scholars and litterateurs have not cared to enrich the language from compatible resources. But, he finds pleasure in proclaiming, “Musalmaan hoon jaat ka hoon Bharat ki dhool/ Wazoo karun ajmer main aur Kashi mein ishnaan.” Reiterates the former nominated MP citing his qalaam.

Unlike the Haryana, not all the Urdu academies and other organisations in India make concerted efforts for the promotion of Urdu, he rued.



Library plan for Beri villages
Ravinder Saini

Jhajjar, August 14
Now, residents of the Beri assembly constituency, represented in the state Vidhan Sabha by its Speaker Raghubir Singh Kadian, need not go to Jhajjar or Bhadurgarh to read newspapers, magazines and other literature.

With a view to satiating the literary hunger of the village residents, every village of the constituency will have a library under a scheme specially launched for this assembly segment.

The aim behind the scheme is not only to enhance the intellectual level of the villagers but also to make them aware of social issues and developmental activities going on in their areas and the state. On completion of this scheme, the constituency would be the first in the state to have library facility at Panchayat level in every village.

According to information, Rs 1.5 lakh would be spent for setting up each library. Besides, various newspapers and magazines, books related to history, religion, spirituality, mythology, education, social and political issues, carrier development as well as employment through educational courses would be placed in the library for the benefit of readers.

As per sources, a steering committee at panchayat level would be constituted for running the libraries with villagers as members. Apart from this, appointment of a library assistant would be made to maintain each library with a remuneration of Rs 1,000 per month.



Ambala MC wakes up to save lake
Suman Bhatnagar

Wild plants being removed from a lake in Ambala City.
Wild plants being removed from a lake in Ambala City. Photo: Kamal Sachar

Ambala, August 14
The local municipal council has launched a campaign to clean the lake of Ambala City, which has been in a state of neglect for the past several years. The entire water body is covered with wild growth and is facing extinction.

Recently, Haryana Plus highlighted the matter in its issue under the heading “century-old lake on verge of extinction”.

This is the lone artificial lake in the city where the rainwater of the city gets accumulated. A beautiful park is also situated in the mid of the lake. However, owing to official apathy, the lake has been turned into a sewerage pit. The water of the lake has become so polluted that nobody dares to go near it.

When the matter came in the notice of local MLA Venod Sharma, he directed the municipal council to remove the wild plants. Chairman of the council Harish Sashan informed that 25 labourers had been engaged for this work. He said the lake, spread over six acres, would be cleaned and the campaign would be continued till the wild plants were removed completely. Sharma said the surroundings of the lake would also be beautified.



Politicians stake claim for Palwal’s district status
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 14
A formal decision by the Haryana government to make Palwal a new district has led to a fight among individual politicians who all want to take credit for the same.

Ironically, popular opinion belies the grand claims of local politicians and attributes the government’s decision to be the personal orientation of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. It is believed that since Faridabad district had grown out of proportion, it was a simple, timely and logical decision on part of the government.

However, the battle to garner glory is on between Congress MP from Faridabad Avatar Singh Bhadana and party MLA from Palwal and chairman of administrative reforms commission Karan Singh Dalal, who belongs to the district. Both are senior and influential leaders.

And if the present trend is any indication both the leaders will slug it out to galvanise maximum participation by their supporters in the Independence Day function where Hooda will be the chief guest.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |