Cotton yield likely to fall
Area under cultivation declines sharply
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The highest ever yield of Bt cotton in Haryana notwithstanding, the cotton production in the state is expected to come down by 8 to 10 per cent. The reason — area under cotton production has decreased by 66,000 hectares.

Officials in the agriculture department informed that 85 per cent of the 4.17 lakh hectare area under cotton cultivation this year is under Bt cotton.

As a result, the yield is expected to go up from 663 kg lint per hectare last year to 700 kg lint per hectare now. Last year, of the 4.83 lakh hectare area under cotton, only 2.60 lakh hectare area was under Bt cotton.

“Though high productivity is a reason to cheer, but the reduction in area under cotton cultivation this year will lead to less production. As against 18.85 lakh bales of cotton produced in the state last year, we are expecting the total production to be around 17.50 lakh bales,” said additional director, agriculture, B.S. Duggal.

He said the area under cotton had been reduced in the entire cotton belt – comprising districts of Sirsa, Fatehabad, Hisar, Bhiwani and Jind.

It was because of intermittent rains throughout the cotton-sowing period that forced farmers not to sow the crop. Though initially, a majority of farmers had sown cotton seeds (mainly Bt cotton) in their fields, several spells of intermittent rains led to crust formation on the seeds, and these had to be replanted. “Since the Bt cotton hybrid is expensive, farmers in this area shifted to guar sowing in their fields. As a result, the area under guar crop has increased from 3.40 lakh hectares last year to 4 lakh hectares this year,” said Duggal.

It may be noted that the cost of cultivating Bt cotton hybrid per acre of land is around Rs 1,750. As compared to this, the cost of cultivation of desi cotton per acre was Rs 100 and of other hybrids Rs 1,000 per acre. While 1.2 kg to 1.5 kg of hybrid cottonseed was required per acre, only 450 gm of Bt cottonseed along with 120 gm of normal hybrids seed (without the Bt injection to act as refuge belt around the Bt cotton) is required.

The high incidence of mealy bug attack on the cotton crop this year, too, will contribute to the decline in cotton production.

“Though Bt cotton is immune to attack from American Bollworm, it is falling prey to mealy bug attack. In fact, the incidence of mealy bug attack has been increasing over the past three years,” said Duggal.



Politics of Iftaar parties
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The month of Ramzan is the time for Iftaar politics by political parties. Haryana is no exception. Almost all major parties in the state organize Iftaar parties. Of course, the BJP is an exception. The reason for the BJP not organising an Iftaar party is obvious.

The trend got prominence during the INLD regime when for the first time an Iftaar party was organized in the Muslim-dominated Mewat area by the ruling party. Since the host was the ruling party, the involvement of official machinery was bound to be there. In the first year, the party was organized with great enthusiasm and the then Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala was the chief host. After that the trend picked up. The Congress, too, started organising Iftaar parties, though on a smaller scale.

On the face of it, the purpose behind hosting the Iftaar parties is communal harmony and participation of people belonging to one religion in the festivals of another religion. A noble cause indeed! But the hidden purpose is too obvious to escape people’s attention.

The political parties, of course, do it for catering to the vote banks. Initially, the Iftaar parties by the political parties used to be held in the Mewat area only. However, now the parties are held in various Muslim-dominated areas like Panipat and Yamunanagar, besides Mewat.

This year, too, various political parties played the “politics of Iftaar”. If Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda hosted an Iftaar party in Mewat, besides participating in one at Panipat, Chautala will host a similar party at Buria in Yamunanagar district today, a day before the last Roza. Haryana Janhit Congress president Kuldeep Bishnoi hosted an Iftaar party at Jagadhari on September 27.

Since the chief hosts of are themselves vegetarian, they serve only vegetarian fare at the Iftaar parties, though the guest for whom these parties are organized are non-vegetarian. The menu of these parties, an organizer says, is kept vegetarian so that the sentiments of the majority of the Haryanavis are not hurt.  



Since 1975, this govt employee gets Rs 100 pm
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, September 29
Despite the fact that the state government employees have availed the benefits of the recommendations of at least three pay commissions after 1975, this nursing helper in a government primary school continues to draw Rs 100 since 1975.

Prem Kaur of Salimsar Majra village was appointed as a nursery helper in Government Primary School in the village in 1975 at a monthly remuneration of Rs 100.

She continued to serve on the same post and at the same salary till January 2004, when after she got some health problem, and her daughter-in-law Sunita Devi was appointed on the same post by the school headmistress on the recommendation of the block education officer (BEO) concerned, but for the same remuneration.

On the plea of Sunita Devi, the school headmistress wrote to the BEO on February 6, 2006, recommending remuneration at DC’s rates.

A copy of this was forwarded to the district primary education officer as well. She also approached the deputy commissioner, but no action was taken by the higher authorities to increase the remuneration. In the hope to get some decision in her favour, Sunita, a 10+2 and NTT diploma holder, approached Haryana labour commissioner for giving her the minimum wages fixed by the state government. The labour commissioner asked the labour and reconciliation officer, Sonepat, for inquiry and the LCO replied that she should get minimum wages.

Then a case under the authority of the Payment of Wages Act was filed in the court of the LCO, Sonepat. In his judgment, he observed, “The claim of the applicant is not maintainable as the authority has no jurisdiction to decide the rate of wages as claimed by the applicant. However, she is at liberty to raise her claim before the appropriate forum if she so desires”.

Shradha Nand Solanki raised the matter in a meeting of the minimum wages advisory board, as he is its member. Today, Sunita is a disappointed lot, but she keeps her hopes alive. 



Sainik School Kunjpura
A kindergarten for budding soldiers
Bhanu P. Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Students at the library in Sainik School Kunjpura, Karnal.
PREPARING TO TAKE CHARGE: Students at the library in Sainik School Kunjpura, Karnal. — Tribune photo by Ravi Kumar

Karnal, September 29
Sainik School Kunjpura (SSK), located on the outskirts of Karnal has rightly acquired sobriquet of modern gurukul. One of the pioneer institute established in 1961, the school is keeping pace with modernisation and yet maintaining its glorious traditions.

With pride of having alumni as Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the school has achieved singular distinction of sending 595 cadets to the NDA, Khadakvasala, and an equal number through direct entry into the IMA, OTA (Officers Training Academy), AFA (Air Force Academy) and NA (Naval Academy).

SSK sent a record number of 24 cadets to the NDA in 2007-08, and also held the envious record of winning the Raksha Mantri Trophy seven times in a row for sending highest number of cadets to the NDA.

Spread over an area of 276 acre, the school has grown into a kindergarten for budding soldiers, raring to get into the armed forces.

“Pursuing the mission of education for excellence, we have drawn an ambitious revival and modernisation plan for strengthening the infrastructure. Rs 2-crore NDA block has come up recently while the swimming pool is being revamped”, said principal of the school Col Arun Datta (retd.).

An automation drive has been introduced in all training programmes and administrative functions besides providing state-of-the-art multimedia classrooms, language lab, hostels and an attractive reception, he added.

Over a period of time, a number of facilities such as junior block, infirmary, cadets’ mess, an auditorium, a squash court and a swimming pool have been added.

But the 108-year-old main building, a unique specimen of Mougal architecture housing the administrative block still remains the nerve centre.

The cadets’ mess with capacity to cater 650 persons at a time is a magnificent building depicting an aeroplane while the adjacent Manekshaw auditorium of the same capacity is designed like a blue whale or a rocket.

Candidates are admitted to the school in classes VI and IX only on the basis of joint merit list and 67 per cent seats are reserved for Haryana domicile students and 25 per cent for wards of defence personnel and ex-servicemen. The annual fee is Rs 59,000 that includes all charges.

The ministry of defence awards scholarships depending on the student’s academic performance and income of parents.

Almost all the deserving students get some scholarship, thus reducing the cost of studies.

The diet money for the cadets has been raised from Rs 40 to Rs 60 per day and the additional burden is borne by the Haryana government.

Haryana being the land of soldiers and large number of youth are keen to join the Army, the defence ministry has sanctioned another sainik school for the state at the request of the state government.



Once majestic, Rani Talab loses charm
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Jind, September 29
Rani Talaab known as the most prominent place of this historical town is fast losing its identity. Thanks to the indifferent attitude towards its upkeep and maintenance by the authorities.

The place has a temple named Bhuteshwar Mandir, and a pond built in 1884. All the efforts in the past several years to revive its glory and develop it as an important tourist spot in the district have failed so far.

This spot boasts of having one of the two largest Shiv Lingams in North India and which were built by erstwhile king of the Jind estate about 124 years ago.

Raghunath Mandir in Jammu is the other shiv lingam of 3 feet height. According to historians, the spot was raised and developed during the reign of the erstwhile ruler of the Jind estate Maharaja Ranbir Singh between 1880 and 1885.

It is stated that the king wasinspired to build this place after he had visited the famous Golden Temple complex Amritsar during his reign.

It is claimed that the pond and the temple were complimentary and meant exclusively for queens who used to take bath and pay their obeisance at the temple.

An underground tunnel had also been constructed to link this spot with the palace and was used by queens and other members of the royal family.

But the work of upkeep of this place came to a standstill after the death of the last ruler of Jind in 1952. The hopes of revival of this spot got revived when the Haryana state came into being in 1966 and Jind was declared as a district, claims a local resident, M.L. Verma. But the authorities failed to chalk out any plan to ensure its maintenance and revive its glory, he added.

Verma claims that no authorised body was set up till 2006, when the district administration announced to form a Bhuteshwar mandir vikas samiti having about 21 members.

“It is headed by the SDM, but it appears that the existence of this body is only on papers, as nobody knows who collects donations for the temple and rent of the shops on its premises”.

There is also confusion over the ownership of the land of about 11 acre located in the heart of the city. The inflow of pilgrims and tourists has been on the decline due to the lack of proper upkeep and failure of the management to clean the water at regular intervals. In fact it is revealed that there is no system to clean water with filters or replace it with fresh water.

The move to hand over the talaab to the Kurukshetra Vikas Board also proved futile, said a member of the Mandir Vikas Samiti.

Though donations keep pouring in from time to time, no development work has ever been undertaken. In 1983, the then President of India, Giani Zail Singh, gave an amount of Rs 1 lakh. Pravin Kumar, who played the character of Bhim in Mahabharata, gave Rs 3 lakh in 2006, while the present Lok Sabha member from the region recently gave Rs 5 lakh.

Unfortunately, there is no change in the condition of the pond, which still has a kutcha base, although its sides were brick-lined a few years ago. The last time water was replaced here was about two years ago. The proposal to develop a herbal park and provision of covered bathing ghats is still in the pipeline.



NGO redefines service to elders
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
In a world where non-government organisations are aplenty, some working towards a better society and others just living off society, but when Dr Sanjiv Trehan of Panchkula was searching the internet for NGOs serving the cause of senior citizens, he could find only a few names.

That clinched the idea for Dr Trehan, a practicing surgeon at Panchkula’s General Hospital. An urge to do something beyond the confines of his profession prompted him to float an NGO to provide medical services for the elderly in the remote areas, who are deprived of quality services and sometimes unwilling to travel distances for aid.

Called SMS (Senior Medical Services), the NGO organised its first camp in Rattewali recently where various investigations, including ECG, ultrasound, audiometery, refraction, uroflowmetry were made available and medicines were distributed free of cost to patients. A panel of 20 doctors drawn from different specialisations offered their services at the camp, which elicited a good response from the elders of six villages in the vicinity. The NGO also prepared health cards of the villagers for record.

“I wanted to do something more for the society and I pondered over starting a health bulletin to joining an NGO. A casual search on the Internet for activities of NGOs showed that there were very few working for senior citizens and hardly any in the remote areas. This is primarily because the government at the central or state levels does not have any funds for senior citizens. No money means no interest for most NGOs. This prompted me to put my project on fast-track,” explains Dr Trehan, president of SMS.

And, he set up SMS. However, to give it a distinct identity, Dr Trehan plans to make his camps a completely cashless exercise. “We were not too keen on handling money which comes as voluntary donations. As a way out of this, we decided that everything at our camps would be sponsored right from medicines to tests to machines and manpower required for the tests. Consequently, we had MNCs and various associations lend a helping hand at the camps. They gave us material and manpower for the camps,” he says.

While he has organised a follow-up exercise in the village, he has more plans for the elderly in the urban areas, visiting hospitals. “We don’t want the senior citizens to wait for hours for their turn. I am thinking of setting up a counter at the general hospital, engage volunteers to take senior citizens to the doctors concerned and have them attended to on priority,” he maintains.

Hopefully, SMS will change the way the elderly are “treated” in hospitals and elsewhere.



Fatehabad girl sails through tough times
Sushil Manav
Tribune News Service

Fatehabad, September 29
Sonu, a local girl, has braved all deprivations and poverty to carve a niche for herself in water sports.

She has won a bronze medal in the inter-varsity canoeing championship held in Karnal recently. She also represented India in the world dragon boating championship held at Pennang in Malaysia this year.

She secured sixth position in the championship and has qualified for the Asian championship to be held in China in 2010.

Sonu is a daughter of a labourer who ekes out his living by doing menial jobs.

She was a sportsperson since her college days at Manohar Memorial College here.

Presently, she is doing her postgraduate diploma in computer application (PGDCA) from a Yamunanagar college.

“The college has always extended its support to me. When I was a student of this college, the MM College management exempted my fees, provided books and gave financial help for moving ahead in sports activities,” says Sonu.

“Even now, when I am no more a student of the college, they contributed towards a part of the expenditure of Rs 50,000 that was required for my journey and stay in Malaysia to participate in the world dragon boating championship,” she adds.

She says local MLA and parliamentary secretary Dura Ram had also helped in collecting a major portion of the expenditure.

Dragon boating is a water sports in which 12 participants, six men and six women row a boat made of fibre, says Sonu.

She was attracted to water sports after she worked under a district coach Parveen Kumar Tiger in Yamunanagar. Sonu is now preparing for the Asian championship to be held in China in 2010. 



Flood threat in villages along Yamuna
Admn steps up precautionary measures
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 29
With the discharge of additional water from Okhla barrage into the Yamuna, the authorities have intensified precautionary measures to meet the possible challenge of flood in the villages along the river.

Faridabad deputy commissioner Brijendra Singh held a series of meetings with officials to monitor the progress of flood control measures. He visited vulnerable villages for inspection.

After his field visit, Brijendra Singh claimed that things were under control despite water from the river spilling over to a couple of villages like Dungarpur and Rajpura.

The administration has repaired the breaches along the 14-km long embankment from Basantpur to Mohabatpur. The breaches have been caused at five places by people and anti- social elements to make a thoroughfare from embankments to the villages to take out sand from the riverbanks.

Moreover, unauthorised colonies have come up in Agwanpur and Ismailpur villages. A large number of migrant labourers and economically lower class people reside in these colonies.

A senior officer of the irrigation department, who is part of flood control preparations and disaster management plan, lamented that these unauthorised colonies could spell havoc in the eventuality of flood. There are 24 villages located along the river in this district. Faridabad and Ballabgarh subdivisions have about 12 villages each.

The alarm was raised a couple of days back when there were reports of more than 4 lakh cusec of water being released into the Yamuna from Tajewala overhead.

The high water level in the river leads to floods in some pockets in Delhi. Additional water released from Tajewala overhead in Haryana passes through Okhla barrage in Delhi. The water released from Tajewala overhead takes from 36-72 hours to reach Okhla.

The areas of Faridabad are affected only when the water is released from Okhla barrage. Generally, the amount of water released from Tajewala overhead dissipates into the Yamuna. However, the situation gets alarming with rainfall.

The deputy commissioner said the expectation was that the water level released from Okhla barrage would touch about 1 lakh cusec in the scoming days. Even in that eventuality there was no cause for alarm in Faridabad, he added.

The villages in the two subdivisions have been divided into clusters and put under the charge of senior officers. The officials have been assigned round-the-clock duties in each of the villages.



Farmers to get more relief
Land for education city
B.S. Malik

Sonepat, September 29
Good news for those whose land has been acquired for setting up Rajiv Gandhi Education City near Rai in Sonepat district. The beneficiaries of this new initiative of the state government and the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) would be farmers of Sewli, Asawarpur, Patla, Orangabad, Khewra and Bahalgarh villages in the Rai region.

According to the new scheme, farmers whose five acres and more land has been acquired would be entitled for two plots of 5,000 sq yd each and residential plot of 500 sq yd each will be given to owners of one to five acres of acquired land.

Similarly, plots measuring 14 marla, eight marla, six marla, four marla and three marla each would be allotted to those whose land measuring between 3/4th to one acre, 1/2 to 3/4 acre, 1,000 sq yd to 1/2 acre, 500 sq yd to 1,000 sq yd and 100 to 500 sq yd, respectively, has been acquired for this city.

Two zones in the city have been reserved to meet the residential requirements of the affected farmers of these villages and residents would have the option to make choice of the zone. The local authorities have already sent the letters to the farmers asking their options.

District town planner Narender Solanki informed that the government had acquired 2007 acre of land in these villages for setting up the education city.



Kalka-Shimla Rail Section
A peep into the past
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, September 29
Rail motorcars plying on the Kalka–Shimla rail section since more than 80 years are the first choice of tourists from India and abroad.

After the commencement of the Kalka–Shimla rail section in 1903, rare 14 rail railcars manufactured by a British company, GM Motors, arrived in Kalka in 1924, and started plying in this section from 1927.

Former charge-man of the rail motorcar shed Surjit Singh Thakur says the rail cars have always been the first choice of Bollywood producers and politicians.

Periodic overhauling of these railcars earlier used to be carried out at Mughalpura workshop in Lahore Pakistan, but after the Partition, out of 14 railcars, eight were left in Pakistan and the overhauling work was started in Kalka. In the very beginning, six railcars were started, which used to run with petrol and start manually with a handle installed at the front, recalls Thakur.

Satpal and Hardev Singh, both mechanics, at the railcar shed say earlier these railcars were used to take mail from Kalka to Shimla especially for the Western Command unit in Shimla, which was later shifted to Chandimandir. These railcars used to run with American engines. In 1960, these engines were replaced by indigenous diesel engines of 110 and 135 horsepower turbo engines. After 1970, two railcars were shifted to the northern railway museum.

At present, the overhauling work is carried out after 7,500-km run, which takes around two and a half years. Five mechanics have been deployed for this work.

Out of four railcars currently available at the rail motor shed, one plies on the Kalka–Shimla section on demand. The roof of these railcars is made of transparent fibreglass and is decorated with chair cars. An inverter with 220-V capacity has also been installed for the convenience of the passengers.



Turning Rao Lal’s vision into reality
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, September 29
With achievements in academics, sports and other allied activities, Rao Lal Singh Public School, Sidhrawali, has emerged as a premier educational institution of south Haryana.

Established in April 1980 amid sylvan surroundings at Sidhrawali, 24 km from Rewari, in the memory of late Rao Lal Singh, an educationist of the Ahirwal region. The school has carved out a niche for itself among residents of Rewari, Dharuhera, Pataudi, Taoru, Sohna, Manesar, Gurgaon, and Jhajjar (all in Haryana), Delhi and Bhiwadi (a neighbouring industrial town of Alwar district of Rajasthan) during the past about three decades.

Rao Lal Singh (1908-1970), a celebrated son of the Ahirwal region, actively participated in the freedom movement and played a leading role in maintaining social and communal harmony among the people of Ahirwal and Mewat regions during the Partition of the country.

While he was elected as a member of legislative council in 1950s, he also became the first chairman of the Haryana State Co-operative Land Mortgage Bank Ltd, Chandigarh.

He also established several educational institutions in the Rewari region, most of which were later taken over by the state government.

After his demise in 1970, his followers and admirers constituted Rao Lal Singh Shiksha Parishad (a voluntary organistaion), Sidhrawali, in July 1973.

To provide a practical shape to his dreams in the sphere of education, the parishad started Rao Lal Singh College of Education in July 1974, while Rao Lal Singh Public School was opened in April 1980.

The school, which is an English medium residential co-educational institute affiliated to the CBSE, has undergone radical transformation under the stewardship of Maj Ashok Yadav (retd), grandson of Rao Lal Singh, who has been at the helm of affairs as president of the school managing committee since 1996.

Furnishing details of achievement of the school, principal Bimal Kumar informed that while the students had consistently shown good results in senior secondary and matriculation examinations of the CBSE, sportspersons and athletes of the school, too, had performed creditably in CBSE cluster games at the state and national levels.

While special emphasis is being given on grooming of the girl child and uplift of rural children, there are now 365 girls among 1,226 students in the school.

Provision of hostel facilities for both boys and girls was also proving an additional asset for this countryside school which was fast gaining popularity among people in Delhi, Najafgarh, Jhajjar, Sohna, Gurgaon and other neighbouring urban areas.

Kumar said it was a matter of satisfaction that with a hefty inflow of students from neighbouring areas, where there was no dearth of good public schools.

Recently, as part of birth centenary celebrations of Rao Lal Singh, Major Yadav announced that entire expenses on education of 10 economically weak girl students from nursery to class XII would be borne by the school while toppers of primary, middle and secondary wings would be awarded Rao Lal Singh scholarships.

Mathematics competition for class XII students would be held soon. The first three winners would be given cash rewards of Rs 51,000, Rs 21,000 and Rs 11,000, respectively. 



Inside Babudom
All set for administrative reshuffle
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
With the embargo imposed by the Election Commission ends tomorrow, the deck will be cleared for an over-due administrative reshuffle in Haryana.

The commission had asked the state government not to transfer field officers associated with the revision of electoral rolls till September 30.

Though the electoral rolls had been revised in January last, which is an annual exercise, the process had to be undertaken again in view of the delimitation of the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha constituencies.

This had held up the administrative reshuffle, the Chief Minister had planned long ago.

There is at least one district, which does not have a full-fledged deputy commission. The charge of the senior-most post in a district has been given to an officer posted as such in an adjoining district.

At senior level also many officers are holding additional charges of more than one post.

This has naturally affected the efficiency because many officers holding key posts are overworked while others are under-worked.

With the speculation of early Lok Sabha elections, which may be called after the country signs the nuclear deal with the US, there is an urgent need to shift key officers posted in the districts to meet with the norms fixed by the Election Commission.

The norms say that any officer, once removed by the EC from the election duty, can never be put on a similar duty in future also.

Similarly, an officer dealing with the election work should not have remained posted in the same place for more than three years. Nor any such officer be posted in his home district.

Though for the Lok Sabha elections, it is the deputy commissioner who is the returning officer of a constituency, the SDMs posted at district headquarters work as assistant returning officers.

Naturally, the ruling parties like to have “convenient” officers posted as returning and assistant officers during the elections.

It is not that the reshuffle would be ordered immediately after the expiry of the embargo imposed by the commission.

Informed sources say the powers that be may take a fortnight to work out nitty-gritty of the reshuffle.

There would be pressure on them to keep the reshuffle in abeyance till the festival season is over for obvious reasons.

Will the Congress government yield to the pressure, is to be seen. Interestingly, it was almost a practice with the previous government to order administrative reshuffle just before every festival season.



Rs 130 cr to light up Gurgaon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has chalked out a Rs 130-crore plan to strengthen the power distribution system in Gurgaon. The project will be funded by World Bank.

Under this comprehensive plan, the DHBVN would bifurcate 40 feeders of 11 KV, extend the existing 11 KV lines and replace the old conductors on lines. Aerial bunched cable (ABC) would be used for safety where the right of way for overhead conductor is not available.

The nigam proposes to convert 13 feeders of 11 KV high voltage distribution system (HVDS). While laying HVDS, complete system of the feeders, right from their emanating point to the consumers end, would be renovated and additional transformers would also be installed as per requirement.

Customer care centres would be set up in the millennium city to give single window service to the customers. The centres will be supported with latest information technology.

Energy Meters will be installed at all distribution transformers for accurate accounting of energy flow down the transformers. This will give a useful data to the officials about transformers’ loading and load balancing which would help minimising problems of tripping and low voltage.



Kalka MC in dire straits
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, September 29
The Municipal Committee, Kalka, which is one of the oldest committees of the state, is going through tough times these days, states Mohini Nanda, president of the committee.

She says due to the abolishment of the house tax and octroi collection by the state government, the financial condition of the committee has become pitiable.

S.S. Nanada, councillor, and husband of Mohini Nanda, says the committee is on the verge of becoming insolvent, as the committee does not even have funds to pay salaries to its staff. The government is not providing any help since last couple of years. He further says due to the slow pace of the development of new colonies, the number of applications for approval of house plans has come down, which also affected income of the MC.

The committee is also facing the problem of staff shortage. Against 68 sanctioned posts only 41 safai karamcharies are available. The committee has to depute 10 more safai karamcharies on contact basis in the rainy season, which puts additional financial burden. Three posts of clerk, one sanitary inspector and one of gardener are lying vacant since past couple of years. A proposal in this regard has already been sent to the higher authorities, but the district administration paid no attention.

On the other hand, official sources say due to the lethargic attitude of the authorities of the Muncipal Committee, house tax dues to the tune of several lakhs are yet to be collected from commercial offices and organisations.



Politics of alliance grips BJP
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, September 29
Having informally finalised an alliance with the INLD in the next Lok Sabha elections, the BJP leadership finds itself stranded at the crossroads.

The party now faces the prospects of alienating its grassroots workers who had been drumming support for the party for over four years promising voters that their party would not align with the INLD under any circumstances. Now, they find it hard to do a volte-face.

As a result, a significant number of party loyalists at the bottom of the ladder are looking for other alternatives. For them, the choice will be between the Congress or Kuldeep Bishnoi’s Haryana Janhit Congress since the BSP is ruled out because of caste factors.

Most of these workers come from the urban areas and the so-called upper castes. So, ideologically, they find themselves closer to the Congress or the HJC rather than the BSP despite Mayawati’s so-called social engineering that swept her to power in Uttar Pradesh.

Even if these cadres were to stay in the BJP for some reason, the party will surely face a situation where its own loyalists will actually work against the INLD candidates even though they may campaign for the BJP nominees. If this happens, the very purpose of an alliance will be defeated and the benefits will go to the Congress and the HJC depending which party’s nominee is stronger in a particular constituency.

Although historically the INLD and the BJP have been natural allies, the relationship between the two has been under strain after the death of Devi Lal. So long as the INLD patriarch was alive, he always ensured an equal and cordial relationship with the BJP. But, under his successor Om Parkash Chautala, this relationship has always been far from cordial.

After the BJP broke off with the INLD in humiliating circumstances in the run to the 2005 assembly poll, the grassroots party workers have been bitterly opposed to having any truck with the Chautalas. Senior state party leaders too encouraged party cadres to toe an extremely anti-INLD line.

But these very leaders opted for an alliance with the INLD ignoring the fact that this would never be acceptable to the grassroots party workers. Under the circumstances, there is a lull before the storm situation in the state unit of the party.

This is why the party has not formally announced the alliance as yet. Unless, the party leadership is able to convince its workers, a revolt can break out the moment the decision is formalised.



Seminar on role of women writers
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, September 29
A two-day seminar on feminist perspective in Indian English novel organised at C.M.K. National P.G. Girls College here recently provided an opportunity to teachers of the region to share a platform with leading industrialists like Dr Bhim Singh Dahiya and Dr R.W. Desai.

Around 30 delegates read out their papers in different sessions of the seminar.
After its inauguration by state finance minister Birender Singh, principal of the college Bhim Singh Dahiya gave an inaugural address.

Lauding the role of women writers, he said they had made a lot of contribution to our literature in English by exposing the mythical, historical and social practices related to or against women.

Quoting Meenakshi Mukherjee, who characterised the Indian English novel as “twice-born fiction”, Dahiya said it would be appropriate to designate the feminist perspective in Indian English novels as “twice-born perspective”.

A professor from Jammu University, Garima Gupta, delivered her lecture on assaulting the darkness, a feminist critique of Anita Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, Anu Shukla of Chaudhary Devi Lal University, Sirsa, spoke on “juxtaposing myth and reality: The thousand faces of night” and Kshamata Chaudhary, assistant professor, Vardhman Mahaveer Open University, Kota, delved upon “Quest for identity: A study of selected women Indian English writers”.

Tejinder Kaur of Punjabi University, Patiala, Amrita Sharma of BPC Women University, Khanpur Kalan, and Anupama Vohra of Jammu University also delivered their lectures.

Among others who presented papers included Sunita Dhankar (Rajiv Gandhi College, Uchana), Mukesh Beniwal (Janata Girls College, Ellenabad), Jyoti (SD Mahila College, Narwana), Anshu Uppal, Amandeep, Arvind Ahlawat and Poonam Chauhan (CMK National PG Girls College, Sirsa), Sujata Rana (CRM Jat PG College, Hisar), Raman Sharma (Janata Girls College, Ellenabad), Neha Khurana (Veta Institute, Ludhiana), Jyoti Maheshwari (Janata Girls College, Ellenabad), Priyanka and Shalini (JMIT Radaur), Rohit Phutela (JCD Polytechnic, Sirsa), Tejinder Jit Kaur (Government National PG Girls College), Shilpi Ahuja (Arya Girls College, Ambala Cantt), Smitak (Government PG College, Jind), Divijay Kumari (Government PG College, Safidon) and Dr S Gupta (LDMA National College of Education Sirsa).

Pragya, the annual magazine of the college, and a souvenir were also released on this occasion.

Dr Anupama Vohra’s book “Post-modern Feminism in the Fiction of Audrey Thomas” was also released by Dr R.W. Desai, a former professor of Delhi University.

In all 94 delegates from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir participated in this UGC-sponsored seminar.





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