B.Ed colleges mushroom, flout norms
Manage affiliation despite negative reports by inspecting teams
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, September 22
During the past few years, education has become a big business (read racket), particularly in the state. A mere glance at the recent spurt in the number of B.Ed colleges all over Haryana is good enough to demonstrate this. Thanks to this flood of colleges in the state, which had only a handful of B.Ed colleges till a few years ago, now has nearly 400 such colleges.

Interestingly, most of these colleges, established under the aegis of non-profit organisations like educational trusts or societies, are being run with the sole objective of making money. Every B.Ed college has 100 to 200 seats, which generate huge fees and funds.

These colleges flout the norms and rules laid down to govern their functioning; apart from indulging in large-scale irregularities. Many such colleges lack the required infrastructure, duly appointed teachers, proper library and laboratory facilities and other such things mandatory for the running of these institutions.

According to sources, several such colleges "share" one principal. They pay salary to their teachers in cash and not by cheque as required. More often than not, lecturers are not duly appointed, but "arranged" on cash payment as and when required. The exploitation of teachers and fleecing of students are also rampant.

Strangely enough, the teams sent by the state universities to inspect these colleges for granting affiliation do submit negative reports many a time. However, the adverse comments of the members of inspection teams notwithstanding, affiliation is still granted to these colleges.

"What is the purpose of sending inspection teams to the colleges if their reports do not carry any weight whatsoever," asks Dr Rajinder Chaudhary, a former president of the Maharshi Dayanand University Teachers Association.

Another university teacher says a big B.Ed racket is thriving in the state, adding that most self-financing B.Ed colleges in the state do not fulfill the mandatory conditions. The university and other authorities concerned do not dare to act against these colleges as the persons running these are politically well-connected or otherwise influential.

"The most unfortunate part in the whole matter is that these colleges are supposed to produce teachers, who, in turn would be entrusted with the sensitive task of educating children," observes Dr Chaudhary.

Going by the approach adopted by the managements of these colleges so far, the kind of future the state is shaping for itself is anybody's guess.

B.Ed = Business of Education

n Nearly 400 B.Ed colleges are operational in the state
n Most of these, established under the aegis of non-profit organisations, are being run with the sole objective of making money
n These institutions flout norms and rules, besides indulging in large-scale irregularities
n Many such colleges lack the required infrastructure, staff, library and laboratory facilities
n Several colleges "share" one principal and pay salary to teachers in cash 



Institutions cut fee as aspirants shy away
Ravinder Saini

Jhajjar, September 22
Having won the battle for approval of running one-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) course on regular basis from the National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) and the University concerned, managements of the self-financing institutions in the state have joined race for filling the seats.

Due to declining number of aspirants and rapidly growing B.Ed colleges in the state, a significant number of seats are vacant in many self-financing colleges at the end of first counselling for admission in the course. This situation is apparently more damaging for those colleges that are located in the remote areas and devoid of conveyance facilities.

But, managements of these institutions have evolved a formula to deal with this situation. They have decided to charge less than prescribed fees from the students to make admissions.

Though the authority has prescribed Rs 38,500 as annual fee for running the B.Ed course, these colleges have reduced the fee to Rs 13,000 to Rs 18,000 to lure as many aspirants as possible.

With a view to publicise this, these institutions have inserted advertisements in newspapers in this regard.

Interestingly, some colleges have invited such aspirants also who did not appear in the state-level entrance examination.

It may be pertinent to mention here that nearly 400 government-aided and self-financing B.Ed colleges, including many of newly approved ones, are operational in the state and all colleges have at least 100 seats each, while some of them even have up to 200 seats.

On the other hand, subsidised fee has caused confusion among those aspirants who prefer lesser fee than facilities and fame of the institution. These aspirants are busy in making inquiries about the institutions and their fees but are not able to take final decision.

Many of the aspirants are following wait and watch policy as they are of the opinion that fee would be more cut further.

It may be recalled that the Association of Educational Colleges (self-financing) of Haryana has warned the managements against charging lesser than prescribed fee at a meeting held in Rohtak recently. The association office-bearers have also decided not only to expel such colleges from the association but also not to allow them to make admissions in the said course.



Forestry project transforms lives in rural areas
European Commission hails community participation
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The state government has received laurels from the European Commission for the successful implementation of the Haryana Community Forestry Project (HCFP). The final report of the project assessment, submitted by the three member consultant group recently, says that the project has managed to fulfill its objective of improving natural environment of the state through sustainable management of natural resources, besides enhancing rural livelihoods.

This project, which ended last year, has proven to be a unique example of participatory project planning, implementation and monitoring by involving the entire village community. This has also transformed lives of thousands of villagers living on the fringes of forest areas in Haryana.

Supported by the European Union, the HCFP has been hailed as one of the most successful examples of community involvement in forestry activities, while at the same time changing the socio- economic milieu of 338 villages through computer-aided literacy programs, income generating activities with increased participation of women, besides helping them in water and soil conservation for sustainable agriculture.

With the entire focus on initiating a process of self-directed development through the socially disadvantaged groups, especially women, the HCFP spread its activities in 338 villages of 11 districts in Haryana. This programme is now being seen by foresters across the globe as a success for initiating sustainable participatory community forestry activities, and removing the backwardness of villages.

The three-member Agrifor Consortium, consisting of Patrick Hanmer, Indu K. Murthy and Dr Abhash Panda, while drawing the final project report on behalf of the European Commission and the state government, have said that cost effectiveness of this 30.1 million euro project was high and represented good value for money as funds were largely spent on fulfilling the objectives of the project that resulted in wide array of benefits in the area that it was implemented.

“In qualitative terms, the project enabled considerable empowerment, especially of disadvantaged women; had considerable impact; and, produced assets that will be of high value, possibly greater in value than the EC grant”.

What started with a goal of sustainable management of natural resources has not just increased the tree cover in the state (32,000 hectares of new forested land brought into production), thus helping to meet the energy requirements (fuel wood). This project later took the role of a mass awareness, educational and socio-economic welfare programme.

The project can be credited with successfully organising rural women so that they can become economically independent.

These self-help groups (SHGs) of women as well as village resource management committees (VRMC) have also taken up various social causes life female foeticide, women literacy and doing away with the practice of dowry.

The afforestation is a laudable achievement as land is in short supply and Haryana has one of the lowest proportions of land covered by trees in India. As against 19 per cent of total land under tree cover in India, only 6.71 per cent land in Haryana is under tree cover.

The state also has a heavy dependence on firewood as fuel with an average daily household consumption of 20 kg of firewood. There is a need to increase the tree cover by over 10 times in order to meet the firewood requirement of the state.

Thus, under this project, the natural resource management activities included establishing village woodlots on community land, establishment of village tree groves for improving environment, encouraging farmers to take up farm forestry, besides water resources harvesting and conservation projects.

The project also laid an equal emphasis on teaching villagers about energy conservation by encouraging the use of smokeless chullahs and energy efficient crematoria.

As many as 8,000 smokeless chullahs have been installed in 250 villages while energy efficient crematoria have been set up in six villages.

S.K. Dhar, former project director of the HCFP, says during the course of this nine year project, they were successful in surpassing the targets.

“Inspite of substantial increase in dependence on fuel wood, the increase in green cover by incorporating tree farming into the economic and social environment of the village communities, has helped solve this requirement. But the most remarkable achievement continues to be the involvement of disadvantaged sections in community building – be it through the income generation activities; creating awareness against social evils; or, creating 19 water harvesting structures for soil and water conservation in lower Shivaliks (Panchkula and Yamunanagar), and the rehabilitation of johads (village ponds) in 30 villages of Hisar, Bhiwani, Sirsa and Fatehabad,” he says.

All 180 SHGs formed as part of the project are now involved income generating micro-activities like vermin-composting, pickle making, dairying, organic farming and sweet box making, and have together earned Rs 2.35 crore (each of the SHGs were given Rs 2,500 as matching grant for starting any activity).

This project also ensured in reducing fodder problem, tackling the issue of issue of encroachment on common land, solving grazing problems, besides tackling water problems.



Kalka girl in Geneva for atom test
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, September 22
Natasha Sharma, a resident of Kalka city, has brought laurels not only to her small town but to the entire country by becoming part of a team of scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) for the world's largest atom-smasher test which started in Geneva recently.

Devinder Sharma, Natasha’s father, and a resident of Lower Kurari, Devi Dass Road here, told Haryana Plus that Natasha (24), who was pursuing Phd in Physics from Panjab University, was among the team of the scientists selected by the department of atomic energy for deputation to the CERN, Geneva, under DAE-CERN collaboration for ALICE experiment recently.

Natasha has set an example for others to follow and the residents of Kalka are proud of our granddaughter, said Bimla Devi, her grandmother.

Natasha is a product of Sophia School, Kalka. She did her 10+2 from Chaman lal DAV School, Chandigarh, and BSc form MCM DAV College, Chandigarh.



For parties, it’s time to flex muscles
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, September 22
The “eye for an eye” politics has resumed in the state with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) organising a rally in Bhiwani on September 25 and the Congress planning a show of strength in Rohtak on October 5 in the form of the “Backward Classes Kranti Rally”.

Ever since the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government came to power in 2005, the two parties have been engaged in such political battles to demonstrate their popularity. The “eye for an eye” approach to rallies began in late 2006 when INLD supremo Om Parkash Chautala returned from his long sabbatical abroad in September that year to address a rally on Devi Lal’s birth anniversary.

The party followed it up with a rally at Sampla near Rohtak on November 3, 2006. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda responded with a massive rally at Sampla itself exactly 11 days later. The massive crowd at this rally surprised even the close associates of Hooda.

Last year, the INLD staged a rally in Ambala on September 25 once again. The rally was heralded as the beginning of the party’s resurrection in the state after the 2005 assembly poll debacle.

Not be left behind Hooda organised a bijli rally at Jhadli near Jhajjar on October 7. The rally was addressed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The massive turnout catapulted Hooda’s son and Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda to the centre stage of state politics as he was the main force behind that rally.

Since then the two parties have been holding sporadic rallies or public meetings, but not at the state level. The two have locked horns again at that level after a year.

The INLD is organising a sammaan rally on September 25 in Bhiwani on Devi Lal’s birth anniversary. The entire INLD hierarchy has been deputed to mobilise support and crowds for the rally. Rajya Sabha member Ajay Chautala has been camping in Bhiwani for the past week or so to personally oversee the arrangements.

As usual the INLD rally will have three daises. The main in the centre will be for star speakers. The left stage will be for a musical party to entertain the crowd. The right side stage will be for mediapersons. Noted singer Vandana Vajpayee, an all-time INLD favourite, will sing paeans for the party and its past, present and future leaders.

Two 15 x 15 ft television screens will be put up for the benefit of the backbenchers among the crowd in the pandal which has been divided into 22 wards. Helicopters will be deployed to shower petals on the crowd and to give a view from the sky to chosen mediapersons.

The Congress’ BC kranti rally in Rohtak on October 5 will be a sedate affair. But that is where the comparisons end. Crowd-wise, the Congress will leave no stone unturned to project it as much bigger than the INLD’s Bhiwani show.

The party has carefully chosen the venue. Rohtak being Hooda’s hometown is expected to give the desired numbers to the rally. Deepender Hooda who is continuously touring his constituency will also ensure that Rohtak and Jhajjar respond well.

These innocuous looking battles are expected to become more frequent in the coming months as the state prepares for the Lok Sabha polls.



Green building coming up in Panchkula
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
It is as green as a building can get and it is certain to make its neighbours envy. The eco-friendly office of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA), the Akshay Urja Bhawan, coming up in Sector 17, Panchkula is all set to change the way the public perceives renewable energy devices and will have an ecological footprint all over it.

Being constructed on solar passive design techniques having building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system of 30 KW capacity, a solar chimney, evaporative cooling, cavity walls, the building will be made out of fly ash-based bricks. The building will have a provision for water recycling and will use energy efficient lighting.

“The incorporation of these features will result in achieving an internal temperature of about 28 degree centigrade without any air conditioning. The energy consumption in this building is estimated to be about 30 kWhr/m2/year in comparison to the consumption of about 200 kWhr/m2/year for the existing air-conditioned buildings,” explains HAREDA director Sumita Misra.

The HAREDA building, to be ready in 18 months from now, will not require municipal water supply after the first monsoon. It has been built with a seven-lakh litre underground tank that has been optimised for rainwater harvesting and consumption pattern of the building.

While an environment-friendly building, which showcases technology, has been on the anvil for sometime, the challenges came right at the conception stage. For Misra, who understands the nuances of renewable energy and has a three-year stint in the department behind her, this was just one more issue that needed handling.

“We needed a plot which was free from any building controls. This is why we could not be accommodated in the row of Haryana government offices in Sector 2 or 5 though we had to have an institutional plot. Finally, we zeroed in on a one-acre plot in Sector 17. That’s when our plans really got rolling. Work has begun on the project and we are hopeful our demo building will be ready by March 2009,” she maintains.

This building will be one of its kind in the country in having energy autonomy by incorporating the latest and futuristic energy efficient concepts. It shall be the first building in the government sector, which is being constructed in compliance with the energy conservation building codes (ECBC).

Moreover, this building will also comply with the five-star rating, which is the highest rating of GRIHA rating systems for green buildings of the government of India. The building will have a covered area of about 55,000 sq ft and will be constructed at a cost of over Rs 5 crore.



Providing succour to poor patients
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, September 22
With the provision of medical-cum-pathological facilities, Hari Om Aggarsen Laboratory and Hospital (HOALH), a charitable institute, has proved to be a boon to poor patients of Rewari.

It is located on the Circular Road near the Kanod Gate. It was launched under the auspices of the Seth Girdhari Lal Shyam Lal Charitable Trust, a voluntary organisation.

The laboratory-cum-hospital is perhaps the solitary allopathic charitable medical institute in south Haryana that comprises of four OPD rooms, a 20-bed indoor wing and a well-equipped pathology laboratory.

The medical staff of the HOALH includes three lady gynaecologists, six physicians, one paediatrician, one ENT specialist, three technicians and six nurses.

Deliveries of pregnant women, all pathological tests and 80 per cent of the medicines are supplied to the patients free of cost. Only 20 per cent expensive medicines are given to them at discounted prices.

On an average 500 patients visit the hospital daily. The patients, who generally come from the town as well as numerous surrounding villages, mostly belong to the economically weaker sections of the society.



Karnal MP ups ante against Hooda
Faces disciplinary action
Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Karnal, September 22
A general grouse among the electorate is that their representatives do not heed them once they are elected. But in the case of Karnal MP Arvind Sharma, it is the other way round.

The indomitable Lok Sabha member narrates his tale of woes to his voters, telling them how he is being persistently “ignored and humiliated and made powerless”. Seeking support of his constituents for “empowerment”, he is promising them “moon” if given a chance to run the affairs of the state for three months.

Sharma, who was in the thick of controversy during the trust vote by the UPA government on July 22, had raised a banner of revolt against Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and openly accused him of discrimination in development works and recruitment in government jobs.

He is neither leaving the party nor stopping his tirade against the Chief Minister, creating conditions for his unceremonious exit from the party. The Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) has already recommended disciplinary action against him to the high command.

The workers meetings being held by him in different parts of the constituency was an attempt to demonstrate his support among the Congress workers and his covert threat that the fate of the Congress would be sealed if he was denied party ticket, was a part of his long drawn strategy to build pressure on the high command and buy time before taking any precipitate action.

Sharma is sore over the fact that his arc rival, Kuldeep Sharma, who unsuccessfully contested last Lok Sabha elections against him and was expelled from the party, has not only been readmitted but also made working president of the state Congress. The party circles were agog with rumours that Sharma would be denied the Congress ticket but he was adopting wait and watch policy and keeping his cards closed to the chest.

His supporters were eagerly waiting some announcement about his future plans at the Karnal rally but he disappointed them by announcing that a mahapanchayat of all castes would be held in Karnal on November 30, giving enough hint that he would not quit the party on his own before the fateful day.

The decision to hold the rally after two and a half months appeared to be motivated by the fact that the elections to five state assemblies, including BJP ruled states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, would be over by November end and he would be able to feel the pulse of the people.

Supporters of Sharma are confident about his victory and spare no words in announcing that “ticket or no ticket their leader would contest the election and win”. The political situation is in a state of flux and the INDL and the BJP were making efforts to forge an alliance while the BSP and Janhit Party of former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal were looking for electoral allies.

There are speculations that Sharma might contest as an independent candidate or join the BSP, if denied party ticket but in fact battle lines had been drawn within the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha and assembly elections.



Shefali set for a comeback
Sushil Manav
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, September 22
Shefali Jariwala, the kanta laga-fame girl would soon be seen in lead roles in movies.

This is what Shefali said while talking to Haryana Plus during a recent interview here at local JCD Vidyapeeth.

“I got several offers to act in films but I was busy in my studies. I have now completed my engineering course and now I am ready to take up new assignments,” said Shefali.

She says she did “Kanta Laga” out of hobby and had never thought it would be such a big hit.

The showgirl, however, says whatever she becomes in life she would always like to be addressed as “kanta laga” girl as “this remix not only gave me recognition but established me in the tough and competitive world of glamour”.

Shefali feels that talent search programmes and reality shows have thrown open a lot of opportunities for budding talents.

She says earlier people from small towns did not have a platform to exhibit their talent and remained behind the screens. But now they have the opportunities to compete with those coming from metros or even overseas, she concludes.



Rise in robbery cases
Install CCTV cameras, banks told
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, September 22
The district administration has asked banks and other financial institutions in the district to install CCTV camera on their premise and maintain the recordings of the cameras so that it could be used in preventing anti-social activities.

In an ordered passed here, deputy commissioner Vijay Singh Dahiya stated that CCTV camera would have a deterring effect on those who intend to rob people withdrawing huge cash from banks by keeping a close watch on the banks.

Besides, the DC has also asked these institutions to install security equipments and sirens on their premises. The banks are directed to get connected with the nearest police stations through hotline phone connections.

The orders came after the district police recently cracked four major robbery cases in the district worth Rs 60 lakh. Accused used to keep a watch on banks and other financial institutions and whenever someone withdrew a huge amount of money from there, they used to follow their target and loot him on getting the first opportunity. Following the same modus operandi, these miscreants have not only looted Rs 36.83 lakh from an accountant working with one of the companies at the IOC’s Panipat refinery, but also shot him dead.

The DC said the banks should install chest alarm systems and should ensure deployment of a regular security guard. He said the financial institutions have been asked to implement the orders with immediate effect and any lapse in execution of the same would call for a strict action against the banks as per the law.

Earlier, the district administration has passed an order making it mandatory for the owners of the cyber cafes to put-up CCTV cameras and to maintain a record of all those visiting the cafes and using the internet. This has also been done to deter anti-social activities.  



Rural Lok Adalat
Justice at your doorsteps
D.R. Vij

Kurukshetra, September 22
As many as 239 pending cases of villages were settled at the 15th Rural Lok Adalat organised by the District Legal Service Authority and presided over by its president and district and sessions judge R.C. Bansal, at Kaulapur village, 15 km from here, recently.

Settled cases included a land dispute in Kaulapur village that was lying pending in the court for the past eight years. The gram panchayat allotted the land of a village resident, Pritam Singh, and others among the poor people of the village while Pritam got the possession of a part of panchayat land.

Another long-pending case regarding the digging of a pond in Kasithal village was also settled. According to the judgement, the gram panchayat could not dig out earth from a pond without passing a resolution.

While addressing the gathering, Bansal called upon the rural people to settle their disputes amicably at the panchayat level instead of going to the courts or to the police. The Rural Lok Adalat played an important role in maintaining brotherhood in the villages as the cases were settled with the mutual consent of both parties, he added.

According to DLSA secretary-cum-chief judicial magistrate Naresh Kumar Singhal, through lok adalats cases were being settled at the doorsteps of the people. He said people with an income of less than Rs 50,000 per annum, were eligible for free legal assistance. As many as 1,137 cases had been settled in 14 Rural Lok Adalats held so far and a sum of Rs 5.12 lakh had been compensated in claims, he said, adding that no appeal could be made against the Rural Lok Adalat decisions.

Singhal said the main objective of the DLSA was to settle disputes between parties in an amicable manner and any eligible person from the public could approach the Lok Adalat before going to the court without paying any charges.

Disputes related to property, family, recovery of loans, labour problem, claim petitions, compoundable criminal matters could be brought to the Lok Adalat for settlement, he added. 



Power dues
Officials to meet defaulters

Sonepat, September 22
In order to make non-paying consumers aware of their obligation to pay electricity bills, subdivisional officers of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam would personally contact 6,000 defaulters of their respective subdivisions every month.

Each subdivisional officer would contact 50 major non-payers and pursue them to make payment of their outstanding dues. The officers would also give a feedback to the higher authorities and the progress will be reviewed every month.

Though the nigam has targeted to disconnect over four lakh connections of non-payers during the current fiscal, personal persuasion has been considered as a better option that would help change the mindset of the non-payers.

The nigam may consider accepting payment of the outstanding amount in installments.

However, the ongoing campaign to disconnect supply of non-payers would also continue, sources said.

In order to ensure safety of the general public, the nigam would replace all bare high tension (HT) and low tension (LT) wires with HT/LT aerial bunched cable (ABC) passing over the public parks.

The wires would be replaced at the nigam’s cost for which necessary instructions have been issued to field offices. It has also been decided that the nigam would avoid erecting lines over the public parks in future to ensure safety. In case it is found unavoidable, HT or LT ABC will be provided for crossing over.

A campaign on safety in use of electricity for consumers and precautions while working on the system for employees would be launched shortly in the nigam’s jurisdiction in which experts of the subject, public opinion makers, students of industrial training institutes and vocational training institutes and electrical contractors would be associated.



Haryana Review aims at creating better 
informed society

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
With the revival of Haryana Review, a journal of the state information and public relations department, the government intends to strengthen communication between the people and the government.

Haryana Review along with Samvad and Krishi Samvad, monthly magazines in Hindi, aims at providing important information to the public.

Speaking at the launch function here recently, the Chief Minister said, "Haryana Review, which makes its debut after a lapse of nearly 20 years, is delighted to be back with its readers. The government has created a separate society, Sambad, to manage its media on more professional lines".

He said, "Haryana Review shall endeavor to record the momentous changes taking place in Haryanvi society. It shall present through well-researched articles on political, economic, social and cultural themes a picture as complete as possible. It proposes to cultivate close relations with its readers".

In this issue, Haryana Review focuses on Gurgaon in its cover story by magazine's consulting editor Gobind Thukral. It tells an inclusive story not only about the unrivaled economic development and the prospect Gurgaon holds for Haryana and the country, but about social, cultural and lifestyle changes taking place. The issue includes places of tourist interest and a bit of its history.

The Chief Minister in an interview tells how much he has achieved for his state and what dreams he has to build a modern Haryana. He says politically, Haryana has passed through some trials and tabulations and is now maturing into a vibrant democratic society. This political stability is having a strong impact on economic and social life of its over 2 crore and 40 lakh citizens, he adds.

Yet Haryana is not without its burden of problems. There is still a mismatch between a fast pace economic development and social cohesion, education and enlightenment.

"Haryana Review intends to create a better informed society and bridge some of the gaps that exist between the people and the government through investigated information," Hooda says.



Widow welfare high on samiti’s agenda
Beneficiaries to get monthly pension
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, September 22
The Maharaja Aggarsen Seva Samiti (MASS), an associated voluntary organisation of the Haryana Pradesh Aggarwal Sammelan, has devised a comprehensive project to provide financial assistance to widows of the Vaish Samaj in the state.

Each of these widows, whose monthly income from all sources is less than Rs 2,000, will be given a monthly pension of Rs 300.

The project was formally launched by the samiti at a state-level function held at Narnaul recently where nearly 1,100 such widows from various parts of the state were presented with cheques for Rs 1,200 each (monthly pension from August to November). State education and transport minister Mange Ram Gupta and minister of state for revenue Savitri Jindal distributed the cheques.

Gopal Sharan Garg, state president of both societies, informed that buoyed up by the enthusiasm of philanthropists of the Vaish Samaj on the one hand and the keenness exhibited by the pensioners on the other hand, six other such functions were held in August in Rewari, Panchkula, Pehowa, Ladwa, Kurukshetra and Mahendergarh where pension cheques for Rs 1,200 each presented to over 500 widows.

Garg went on to say that they had already received applications from over 1,000 such widows and the samiti would organise more such functions in Jind (September 28), Hisar (September 30), Hathin (October 2), Hailey Mandi (October 4) and Faridabad (October 4) to facilitate the disbursement of pension.

Seeking inspiration from Maharaja Aggarsen, who had provided shelter to thousands of homeless people of his kingdom through voluntary donation of “one brick, one gold mohur” to them by affluent families of his kingdom, the samiti recently conducted a survey in which it was found that nearly 15,000 widows of the Vaish Samaj, who were living in dire straits, over 50 per cent of whom were in the age group of 25- 35 years, urgently needed financial aid.

Though collecting an amount of Rs 5 crore annually for the implementation of the pension scheme was a Herculean task, the Samiti had started constituting district committees, each comprising of 1,000 members who would voluntarily donate Rs 100 per month for the scheme. Simultaneously, a state-level committee was also constituted on a similar pattern, Garg added.

Garg also informed that several valuable projects to provide training and other allied means to these widows for self-employment ventures were also on the anvil.



Kalka bank waives Rs 46.56 lakh farm loan
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, September 22
Paploha Co-operative Society Bank, Kalka, has exempted 140 loan holders from paying the debt under the agricultural loan waiver scheme of the central government.

Official sources reveal that the society was to recover Rs 1.54 crore as loan amount from as many as 809 farmers.

Out of this, as many as 140 farmers who were defaulters and having land less than 5 acre of land and have not made any transactions in the bank between 1-4-1997 and 31-12-2007, have been exempted from the loan amount of Rs 46.56 lakh.

The sources say earlier under the one-time settlement (OTS) interest relief scheme of state government, the interest amount of Rs 26.82 lakh was exempted up to 31-3-2006.

The society, at present, has 2,124 agricultural and non-agricultural loan holders and the bank has to recover Rs 2.82 crore as loan amount.

On the other hand, hundreds of the debtors, who have always kept their loan accounts update and have deposited the interest and principal amount in time, have resentment towards the government over the biased treatment on loan waiver.

They allege the government has exempted the defaulters from their loans while, “We are being made to pay the outstanding loan”.

Small farmers with updated accounts have urged the government that keeping in view their pitiable condition, they also should be exempted from paying their debts.



Blood donation camp in Sirsa
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, September 22
A local Congress leader has set an example by celebrating her 33rd birthday by arranging a blood donation camp in which 33 donors, mostly women, donated blood.

District president of the Haryana Pradesh Mahila Congress Shilpa Verma organised a blood donation camp on her birthday at Government Senior Secondary School, Khairpur.

ADC Yudhvir Singh Khayalia lauded the efforts of the leader in mobilising women for blood donation.

He said she had set an example for others to follow and added that hosting expensive parties on such occasion did not benefit anyone but blood donation would serve a lot.

Shilpa Verma also heads an NGO Parivartan that has been organising blood donation camps and awareness camps on female foeticide and HIV/AIDS. 



Power supply set to improve in Kaithal
Satish Seth

Kaithal, September 22
Kaithal would soon have a minishakti bhawan from where almost all power board offices would function. Keeping in view the increase in power consumption during the next 10 years, a sum of Rs 9 crore would be spent to improve power supply system in the town.

Power minister Randeep Singh Surjewala while addressing a press conference at Geong village near here recently, said work on the project had already been started.

He said in the urban areas capacity would be increased from the existing 40.6 MVA to 80.3 MVA and similarly in the rural areas power capacity would be increased from 78 MVA to 180 MVA. He said this task would be accomplished in about one and half years.

He further said a minishakti bhawan at a cost of Rs 7 crore would be constructed at the local Pehowa chowk powerhouse so that all power utility offices could function from one place.

He said Rs 150 crore was spent to improve the prevailing power system in the Kaithal assembly constituency. He assured that the problems faced by the consumers would be solved after the completion of projects under execution.

Senior congress leader and local MLA Shamsher Singh Surjewala said new projects when completed would go a long way in solving the power-related problems of the people who had been suffering for the past about 40 years. He also informed that a most sophisticated equipment would be installed at the under-construction powerhouse in the Patti Afgan area of this city.

Randhir Rana, secretary, HPCC, Dilbagh Mor, organising secretary, HPCC, and Kavi Raj Sharma, president, DCC, and Dr Sham Shawney, district media adviser, were among those present on this occasion.



Training course on prawn farming
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, September 22
A short-term training course on scampi hatchery management using underground sub-saline water commenced at the Rohtak centre of the Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE) at Lahli village, near here recently.

“The underlying idea is to popularise freshwater prawn farming in the non-conventional states,” said Dr V.K. Sharma, CIFE officer-in-charge.

Fisheries officers, researchers and entrepreneurs from Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat are attending the 10-day short-term training programme.

The Rohtak centre of the CIFE has developed a new technology for production of prawn seed by using inland underground saline water and has been supplying the seed to the neighbouring states for the last about four years.





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