New pay scales
Panel’s report leaves many unhappy
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government in Haryana had hoped to win the goodwill of employees when it decided to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission from the New Year. It held a special Cabinet meeting on December 29 last to approve the report of what has come to be known as the Dharam Vir committee so that the new pay scales could be granted from January 1.

The committee was constituted under the chairmanship of chief secretary Dharam Vir to study the pay commission report and adopt it to the state conditions. The committee’s recommendations have left several sections of the employees sour. However, JBT teachers are happy with their pay scales. But not certain other sections of the teaching community.

The post to which the JBT teachers are promoted has been given a pay scale which is lower than that of a JBT teacher.

Some of the recommendations of the committee are bordering on the bizarre. It has reduced the pay scales of private assistants to the Chief Minister, ministers and senior officers.

Though it protected their existing salary, it recommended that their future annual increments would be adjusted against the “excess” salary they were drawing.

Doctors, who were earlier promised by the Chief Minister better scales than their counterparts in Punjab, have been left in the lurch by the committee, which has left Hooda in an embarrassing position. Dental surgeons are unhappy because they have not been given the non-practicing allowance (NPA) equal to medical doctors, though in the past, there was a parity between them. District attorneys say they have not been treated on a par with other professionals like doctors and engineers. Engineers say they have not been given their due. Veterinary surgeons, too, have rejected the new pay scales.

The opposition was quick to make a kill. INLD chief promised that if his party came to power, he would implement the pay panel report on the pattern of the central government. The BJP, the BSP and the Haryana Janhit Congress, too, expressed their sympathies with the employees.

Acting quickly to control the situation, Hooda held a meeting with representatives of various employee organisations at his residence and immediately accepted two of their demands, which would benefit all employees. The house rent allowance was doubled and education allowance was introduced, which would be paid at the rate of Rs 500 per month per child (maximum for two children). The two concessions satisfied a large majority of the Class IV and Class III employees.

Hooda also announced the setting up of a pay anomaly committee with the chief secretary as its chairman and finance secretary and legal remembrencer as its members. The committee has been given a target date for submitting its report by March 15. The employees have been asked to submit their representations by February 15. Employees blame two members of the Dharam Vir committee for its “anti-employee” recommendations. They say they knew from the very beginning that with “Rahu and Ketu” on the committee, its recommendations could never be pro-employee.



Revised pay scales
Biologists allege discrimination
BS Malik

Sonepat, January 12
Biologists of the state health department are disappointed with the initial pay scales and allowances announced by the Sixth Pay Commission. They claim that these are much lower in comparison to the pay scales of biologists and biomedical scientists of the central government.

In its plea to the chairman of the Haryana Sixth Pay Commission Anomalies Removal Committee, the Haryana State Biologists Association explained the matter citing the reports of the earlier pay commissions. The biologists said they had been downgraded three steps lower than the scientists of the central, UT and various state universities. They regretted that the state government had ignored the biologist/biomedical scientist cadre again while implementing the pay commission’s report.

“It appears that no logical criterion has been followed and the decisions are completely arbitrary, unjustified and devoid of genuine and real substance,” the association opined and added that it would protest against this anomaly prevailing for the past 20 years.

According to the association, this cadre of biologists/biomedical scientists was created in 1977, when the occurrence of malaria was on the rise and the death toll was higher due to the disease. A centrally sponsored programme named the Urban Malaria Scheme was implemented in the state. The post of biologist was created to head the operations.

The post was placed in the highest direct recruit initial scale of Rs 400-1,100 through the Haryana Public Service Commission at that time. Subsequently, in the third and fourth pay commissions, these biomedical scientists were put in equivalent revised scales of Rs 900-1,700 and Rs 2,000-3,500, respectively, with other scientists of the state, central and various universities.

They said the downgrading of these biomedical scientists started from May 1989, when the revised order of the Fourth Pay Commission ignored them in comparison with other equivalent scientists. All posts of this cadre had been revised with the initial scale of Rs 2,200-4,000 with the time scale of Rs 3,000-4,500 and Rs 4,100-5,300 after five years and 12 years. However, these scientists were kept in the same scale of Rs 2,000-3,500 and this downfall continued.

The biologists said in the Fifth Pay Commission, they were again put in stagnated scale of Rs 6,500-10,500 instead of the initial scale of Rs 8,000-13,500 and time scales of Rs 10,000-13,900 and Rs 12,000-16,500 after five and 12 years of service, respectively.

The association alleged that the injustice continued in the Sixth Pay Commission even after several representations to the state government.

The director-general, health services, had also recommended the initial scale of Rs 8,000-13,500 with five year and 11 year time scales justifying scientific nature and work of these scientists. “Despite this, the commission committee has not provided justice to the biologists, who are struggling for the past 20 years, and were put in the lower initial scale of Rs 7,450-11,500,” they said.

“The committee has put them in the lower pay scale of Rs 9,300-34,800 with pay band of Rs 4,600 while scientists with similar jobs in the UT, Chandigarh, and central and other state health institutions have been provided the initial scale of Rs 15,600-39,100 with pay band of Rs 5,400,” they claimed.

The scientists are also deprived of higher allowance (four increments for Ph.D and one for M.Phil), book allowance, academic allowance, and risk allowance (for dealing with toxic and lethal insecticides).

The association has decided that the biologists of the state will protest by wearing black badges, although the Chief Minister has assured that justice will be done by March 15.



Elderly feel unsafe
Suman Bhatnagar

Ambala, January 12
Elderly persons are feeling unsafe here in the wake of the recent spate of murders, snatchings and thefts these days.

The murder of Indira Manocha, an elderly woman in broad daylight around two weeks ago, in Ambala city has shaken the confidence of the senior citizens. In fact, they have been living in terror.

A few months ago, a motorcycle- borne youth robbed a senior citizen of his pension in the Model Town area when the latter was on his way back home after withdrawing the money from bank. The chain of an elderly woman was snatched when she was going to a temple early in the morning.

Recently,at a meeting of the Senior Citizens Welfare Council,the matter came up. The council also submitted a memorandum to Superintendent of Police Y Puran Kumar.It expressed concern over the increase in the incidents of crime in the city and the cantonment.

It also complained that police officials did not respond favourably when informed about crimes.Kumar assured the council members that he would ensure their safety and asked them to contact him on his mobile phone if they did not get a favourable response.

It is pertinent to mention here that a few years ago, the then SP of Ambala Rajbir Deswal had formed a special cell in his office for hearing the grievances of the elderly.Police officials known for their polite behaviour were deputed there.

A number of disputes of elderly persons relating to their families and otherwise were amicably settled by officials posted in the cell.

Chairman of Senior Citizens Welfare Council C R Nagpal is of the view that a special police station should be set up where senior citizens can bring to the notice of the police their problems.

He said that a representative of the senior citizens should be included in the district grievances committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner.



Cops to reward those helping mishap victims
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, January 12
In a move to save the lives of road accident victims, the district police has decided to reward those who help the victims and admit them to hospitals.

A decision in this regard was taken in view of the high number of accidents due to heavy traffic on the national highway-73, 73-A, state highways and also on internal roads every year. Many times it came to light that the accident victims lost their lives as no passerby was ready to take them to hospital due to fear of the police and legal formalities.

Giving the details, SP Vikas Arora said orders in this regard had been sent to all police stations. Besides, the orders were also sent to all schools and colleges and also government and private hospitals.

“The Supreme Court in its order of 1994 had ruled that it was the primary responsibility of the doctors to first save the lives of the accident victims. Many people are afraid of taking the victims to the hospitals in order to avoid questing”, he said.

“We wanted to ensure that if anyone can save the lives of the accident victims, he or she will get a reward. To develop a sense of security and confidence among the people of the districts, we will be soon organise seminars in different places. Meetings with prominent citizens, including principals, doctors, councils members and members of the political parties, would be held”, he added. The SP further said those who helped accident victims would be given certificates.



Surajkund mela to have global participation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The Surajkund Crafts Mela organised in Faridabad district will attain the status of an international event this year with the participation of Egypt, Thailand, Brazil, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Haryana Minister of State for Tourism and Forests Kiran Choudhry said the 23rd Surajkund Crafts Mela, to be held from February 1 to February 15, would be a special event with the participation of these countries.

President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil will inaugurate the mela and Union Minister of Tourism Ambika Soni, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and dignitaries of other states will accompany her.

Choudhry said 10 stalls of Egypt with their craftsmen would exhibit various decoration items of the ancient country, including Egyptian statues. A folk troupe of Ismailia comprising 12 Egyptians artistes would give their performance during the inauguration ceremony in coordination with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). A small group of day performers would give stage performances. A stall of Egyptian cuisine would also be put in the food court.

Craftspeople from SAARC countries, Thailand, Brazil and other neighbouring countries would participate in the mela. Cultural programmes had been planned through the North Zone Culture Centre, Patiala.

Madhya Pradesh has been selected as the theme state this year for the second consecutive time. Craftsmen from the state will display silk and cotton blended sarees, block printed fabrics, stuffed leather toys, floor coverings, folk paintings, bamboo, cane, jute, woodcraft, stonecraft, ironcraft, metalcraft, terra-cotta, zari work, ornaments, dolls and many more hand-crafted products.

“Surajkund is just 8 km from South Delhi and it is an ideal place for small entrepreneurs and artists to showcase their products during the mela. It is also a perfect location for holding corporate meets, marriages and parties,” said Choudhry.



Park to don new look
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, January 12
In yet another attempt to spruce up the Hali park that has been lying in a state of neglect since long, the district administration has chalked out a plan to rope in private parties to give it a new look.

The park that is spread over 29 acres and is located in the heart of the city, was constructed by the Panipat Municipal Committee in memory of the famous Urdu poet, Altaf Hussain Hali , about 27 years ago.

The park was popular among children and elders alike as it had a lake with boating facilities. It even housed a mini zoo.

The lake was constructed in about 13 acres. However, for the past 11 years the lake almost vanished as dirty water from several dyeing units flowed into it. The lack of the upkeep also led to the drying up of the lake.

Similar was the fate of the park that lost its glory over the period of time. The mini zoo also perished with the time. Unfortunately, some portion of the park was sold to the nearby factory owners to overcome the financial crunch faced by the municipal council.

It was in the year 2000 that the IOC agreed to adopt the park for its integrated development. However, this failed to yield any positive results. Even the business community did not show any interest in developing the park.

In 2003, the district administration undertook a project to revive the park and the lake. But till date, they both continue to be in poor condition.

Now, following an initiative taken by the district administration, some of the private sector companies have come forward to restore the glory of the park. According to Deputy Commissioner Vijay Singh Dahiya, Tata Mobile, Punjab National Bank and Cooperative Bank had agreed to adopt certain parts of the park and to revive these. He said some voluntary organisations had also extended their support to the administration to restore the park.

Vijay said a plan had been envisaged to plant flower saplings, trees and to repair the jogger’s track at the park. Besides, floodlights and other lights would also be installed at the park. The park would have a “bal vatika” (children’s park), fountains, swings and a snacks bar. Vijay said the administration was also working on a plan through which funds for the proper upkeep of the park could be generated once the park was redeveloped completely.



Criminals for society, role models for kids
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January 12
On Sunday morning when most residents of this millennium city were basking in the sun at their homes , hundreds, including small children, women and the elderly, were being shoved out from a vacant site meant for a government school in Sector 10, which had been their abode for some time.

As the police arrived on the scene, many of them hurriedly started picking up their belongings and loading these onto vehicles called for the purpose. Others pleaded with the police officials and Residents Welfare Association (RWA) office-bearers present there to give them some more time to make the necessary arrangements.

Oblivious of the gravity of the situation, a number of scantily- clad children covered with dirt, some of them carrying their younger siblings, approached The Tribune team with requests to click their pictures.

Many of them posed for group photographs, happily smiling to get good photos, only the photographer "uncle" would not know where to deliver the prints.

Even while their belongings were being loaded onto the trucks and the hutments were being removed, most did not know what would be their next destination. "We have been living here for long, but these people now want us to leave and we have no option," said Maruti, an elderly man originally hailing from Maharashtra.The hutments also had nomadic people from Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

"Don't pity these people...most of them are criminals and mischief-makers," said Shammi Ahlawat, vice-president of the RWA, Sector 10, who was also present there. Her views were echoed by RWA president Joginder Sandhu and general secretary Yogesh Kaushik, who asserted that these "illegal occupants" had become a source of nuisance and their removal was must.

"But these are also human beings, and residents of our own country...", this correspondent tries to reason out, but is abruptly cut by local SHO Dhan Singh, who maintains that they are a bunch of rogues running all sorts of illegal activities.

However, one question to which nobody had an appropriate reply was: What is the fault of the children of "these people", who see their parents as their role models.



Rewari railway station to be modernised
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, January 12
The North Western Railways has devised a project for the expansion-cum-modernisation of the Rewari railway station, which was once the most prestigious and largest junction (station) of the metre gauge railways in India, nay the Asian continent.

Work on this project, which will cost over Rs 55 crore, has been going on for the past some time.

The Rewari station, which is one of the few oldest railway stations of the country, came into existence in 1880s under the aegis of the then Bombay Baroda and Central India Railways.

With railway lines proceeding from Rewari in five different directions i.e. Jaipur-Ahmedabad, Sadalpur-Bikaner, Reengas-Phulera, Hisar-Bathinda and Delhi, the Rewari junction remained the largest station of the metre gauge section of the Indian Railways for about a century till the conversion of its metre gauge system into the broad gauge system started in 1990.

The number of incoming as well as outgoing passenger trains, which currently stood at 68, will witness a fair hike soon after the commencement of passenger traffic on the Rewari-Reengas railway line, whose conversion into broad gauge is nearing completion.

With the addition of one more railway line from Rewari to Rohtak, the work on which is in progress currently, the pressure of passenger traffic on the Rewari junction will rise further.

A senior railway official said thus there was urgency for the expeditious accomplishment of the re-modelling project to ensure hassle-free flow of all these passenger trains.

As per the project, two new railway lines will be laid at the place where now stands the century-old main building of the Rewari station.

Meanwhile, the Rewari chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has taken up the cudgels against the demolition of this historical structure, which it asserts is a piece of heritage.

Sudhir Bhargava, convener of the Rewari chapter of INTACH, has written to the Union Railways Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, chairman of the Railway Board, and the Union Minister of State for Defence Production and local MP Rao Inderjit Singh, seeking stay on the ongoing demolition process.

Denouncing the proposal, Bhargava said it would be agonising for the people of the region if this heritage structure, which could be modified to create requisite space for the project without tampering with the main structure, was dismantled.



‘Extend HUDA's self-certification policy to MC’
CD Verma

The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has formulated an innovative people-friendly policy of "self-certification" for the sanction of building plans and the approval of completion/ occupation certificates. As a parallel system to facilitate the construction of houses in the urban estates in Haryana, the premiere housing agency of the state has done away with the cumbersome procedures of getting building plans sanctioned from babus, seeking DPC certificates, and the physical checking of the constructed dwelling at the time of procuring completion/occupation certificates.

The new policy envisages certification by architects and structural engineers who have been empowered to certify that the building has been planned and constructed according to rules and building bylaws. The erring architects and structural engineers will lose their licences, if found guilty of any contraption and contravention. The details of the said policy have been posted on the HUDA website.

The policy aims to minimise the rampant corruption prevalent in HUDA offices. But there is a little snag. Since the policy involves too much of paper work, it is likely to make the empowered architects and structural engineers rather pusillanimous and hesitant to do certifications open-handed. That is why the old system continues to be followed and the implementation of the parallel policy of "self-certification" is getting jeopardised to the detriment of the good intentions of its founding fathers.

It would be appropriate if the government revisits the policy, further simplifies the procedures, and reduces the paper work to the minimum essential.

Further, it is also enjoined on the government to extend the policy of "self-certification" to the municipal corporations as well because there cannot be two sets of building regulations for the same town, one to be followed HUDA sectors, and the other to be followed by the plot-holders in the areas falling under the corporations.

The civic bodies have not yet taken any cue from the policy of "self-certification", and continue to follow the same old procedures.

Everybody has a lifetime wish to have a dwelling of his own. But in the corridors of the civic bodies, the house-builders have to undergo harrowing experience.

Paradoxically, in the building regulations of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, there is no mention that the building inspectors/JEs/SDOs will scrutinise the building plans and approve them. Nor are they qualified for that. The Act does not empower them to examine and issue occupation/completion certificates. It is only the commissioner of the corporation who is authorised to sanction building plans and issue completion/occupation certificates. The practice in vogue is certainly a travesty of the statutory provisions. The modus operandi the unscrupulous officials follow is that they conjure up imaginary violations of the non-existing building bylaws, propose inflated penalties to coerce the house-builders for bargaining/settlement to obtain the occupation certificates.

It is high time the government took cognisance of the abysmally dismal ground realities and extended the people-friendly policy of "self-certification" to the civic bodies/corporations.



Exhibition focuses on inner self
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January 12
Most of us usually crave for love, beauty, peace and happiness during the course of our life. In our quest to get these, we keep on running after material or mortal things, failing to realise that all these are present within ourselves’ in our inner self.

It was with a purpose to propagate this theme that noted artist-painter Ragini Sinha organised an exhibition of her latest paintings at the epicentre of Apparel House here from January 7 to January 11.

Aptly titled Eternal Journey-II, the exhibition showcased the gifted artist’s soulful creations highlighting the spiritual significance of one’s journey to oneself.

“I have always thought that instead of running after superficial things, we should try to turn our senses inwards ‘towards our inner self’ to experience eternal bliss,” she said.

A graduate in fine arts from Patna University, Ragini has held a number of solo as well as group shows of her paintings in different parts of the country. She has also been awarded for her contributions to the field of art at various platforms. No wonder, hence, that her paintings do take a sensitive person onto an eternal journey.



Postage stamps fascinate ITBP inspector
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 12
Krishan Kumar, an ITBP inspector and resident of sector 14 here, is dedicated and passionate about stamp collection. He started collecting stamps in 1980, and gets new stamps through a philatelic account with Dak Bhawan in New Delhi. Now, he has more than 2,000 Indian stamps, which he has arranged chronologically in two albums.

For him, it is a fascinating hobby, as stamps come in many themes. There are a series of stamps on endangered species, freedom fighters, flora and fauna, art, painting, sculpture, India's space mission, Olympics, Asian and other games, Children's Day, Indian places listed with world heritage etc.

Besides stamps in the honour of ancient sages, there are many on educational institutions, scholars, social reformers, religious places and dances. He also has books on information relating to stamps. According to him, all Indian stamps are accompanied by "information sheets" by the department of posts when a stamp is released.

In his collection, one can see triangular stamps issued in 1985 on the Border Road Organisation and in 1990, on The Bombay Sappers, two hexagon-shaped stamps on Aldabra giant tortoise released in 2008, stamps with fragrance of sandalwood (2004), rose (2007) and Jasmine (2008). Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Maxim Gorky, Beethoven, Graham Bell, Carl Marx, Louis Pasteur, Yuri Gagarin and some other foreign nationals can be seen on Indian stamps.

To him, it is much more than a hobby. “Stamp collection is also a form of education, good time pass and also helps in relieving stress. I got fascinated when I met a few collectors in the remote areas of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh during my postings there. I discuss with people about places, personalities etc of that particular areas whose stamps I possess,” he said.



Norms eased for scribes’ accreditation
Sushil Manav
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, January 12
The rules and conditions for the grant of accreditation to journalists of the state have been made more flexible. KK Khandelwal, additional principal secretary to Chief Minister, and commissioner and director, information and public relations, informed this while interacting with mediapersons here recently.

He said after the announcement of the new media policy, as many as 570 reporters had been granted accreditation which would remain applicable till December 31, 2009.

Different types of accreditation cards would be provided to reporters at the state, district and subdivision levels. Similarly, electronic media reporters would be given different accreditation cards.

Khandelwal said earlier accreditation was granted only to the reporters serving at the headquarters but now reporters at the district as well as subdivision levels were also provided the facility by amending the policy. Block-level reporters would also be able to get accredited and this policy would soon become effective.

Khandelwal urged the reporters to give more prominence to constructive stories based on culture, development and art in their writings with positive thinking. The government had also started award scheme for the journalists for their innovative thinking and highlighting social issues, he said, adding that as many as 158 different awards would be given this year.

The Chief Minister would present the awards at a state-level function in Chandigarh by the end of this month or the first week of February. The print and electronic media had been kept in separate categories so that maximum number of reporters could be felicitated.

He said it was equally essential in a democratic set up for the reporters to strongly portray the true scenario of society through their writings and the present government was committed to provide such an atmosphere so that they could write fearlessly on the topics of social welfare. The free travel facility of 4,000 km provided to the accredited reporters would be increased, he added.



Media coordinators are not VIPs
Sushil Manav
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, January 12
Media coordinators appointed by the Haryana government at the administrative division level do not enjoy the VIP status.

A recent letter issued by the commissioner and secretary of the information and public relations department has clarified that the media coordinators have not been provided the VIP status and hence they cannot be given facilities provided to the VIPs.

The state government has appointed media coordinators at Hisar, Rohtak, Gurgaon and Ambala with an aim to improve relations with the media and propagate government’s policies in a better way.

The question arose when a media coordinator appointed in one of the four divisions demanded security cover for him. The security was, however, denied to him on the plea that he was not entitled to security by virtue of his post.





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