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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Emergency health services hit
Bathinda, December 12
Following a call given by the Medical Laboratory Technicians Association, Punjab, the laboratory technicians in all parts of the district today started a pen-down strike from 9 am for 48 hours.
Medical laboratory technicians stage dharna on the Civil Hospital premises on Monday. Medical laboratory technicians stage dharna on the Civil Hospital premises on Monday. A Tribune photograph

BDA postpones draw of lots for phase IV, V
Bathinda, December 12
The draw for the phase IV and phase V of the Bathinda Development Authority (BDA) has been postponed. Earlier, the draws for 220 plots in the newly developed areas were scheduled for December 16.

Residents want Army to make up for restrictions
Bathinda, December 12
A delegation of residents from the Bhai Mati Dass Nagar, Joga Nagar and Nachhattar Nagar today demanded that the Army should compensate them for the depreciating value of their property situated within a 1000 metre area of the ammunition depot.




EARLIER STORIES



Detonators given to stations as Rlys gear up to tackle foggy weather conditions 
Bathinda, December 12
When the object after 150 metres becomes blurred, foggy condition is declared by the railways. Fog has always been harsh to the railways. As the railway cancels the trains considering the safety of the passengers because of the low visibility, the passengers, sometimes, unknowingly blame it for their inconvenience which is in fact caused by the vagaries of the weather.

When the object after 150 metres becomes blurred, foggy condition is declared by the railways. A Tribune file photo

Winter sets in as mercury takes the plunge 
Bathinda, December 12
After playing truant for nearly a fortnight, the winter, typical for the second week of December, finally gave the signs of its arrival in the region on Monday.

Pharmacists go on leave for five days 
Members of the district unit of the Punjab State Pharmacists Associsation stage a dharna on the premises of the Civil Hospital in Bathinda on Monday.Bathinda, December 12
As the pharmacists under the banner of the Sangharsh Committee Punjab State Pharmacists Association today went on mass leave for five days, the health services in the hospitals and health centres in the district was affected.

Members of the district unit of the Punjab State Pharmacists Associsation stage a dharna on the premises of the Civil Hospital in Bathinda on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Short-term course begins at GZSCET
Bathinda, December 12
A one-week short-term course started at the Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology (Bathinda), today. National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTR) Chandigarh is a course on the Geographical Information System (GIS) applications in engineering and sciences.

Draughtsmen stage dharna outside Mini-secretariat
Draughtsmen raising slogans in support of their demands in Bathinda on Monday.Bathinda, December 12
To pressurise the state government to accept their demands, the draughtsmen from six districts, Bathinda, Mansa, Moga, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar, today staged a dharna and held a rally outside the Mini-secretariat here.

Draughtsmen raising slogans in support of their demands in Bathinda on Monday. A Tribune photograph

In-laws booked for demanding dowry 
Bathinda, December 12
A couple and their son have been booked by the police for demanding dowry. The complainant, Kiranjit Kaur of Seego village in Bathinda, alleged that her husband and in-laws had been demanding dowry and were also harassing her. A case was registered at the woman police station in this regard. No arrest has been made so far.

Vegetables jewellery competition 
Ramandeep Kaur, Sarbjeet Kaur share top position
Students of the Baba Farid Senior Secondary School preparing jewellery from vegetables during a competition in Bathinda on Monday.Bathinda, December 12
Baba Farid Senior Secondary School organised a competition on making jewellery with vegetables and flower bouquets.




Students of the Baba Farid Senior Secondary School preparing jewellery from vegetables during a competition in Bathinda on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Talent hunt held for kids
Bathinda, December 12
To provide a platform for children to show their talent in the co-curricular areas, the Zee Learn Ltd. organised a 'Talent Hunt' for the children in the age-group of 3 to 12 years on the campus of the Mount Litera Zee School in Bathinda on Sunday.





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Emergency health services hit
Laboratory technicians in the district go on 48-hour pen-down strike
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
Following a call given by the Medical Laboratory Technicians Association, Punjab, the laboratory technicians in all parts of the district today started a pen-down strike from 9 am for 48 hours. Due to the pen-down strike the emergency services in the hospitals and health centres, including the Bathinda Civil Hospital were affected adversely.

The laboratory technicians, after marking their attendance on the registers, gathered on the premises of the Civil Hospital here and staged a dharna there.

On the other hand, several patients returned from the laboratories, situated in the new OPD block of the Civil Hospital here, without getting their tests conducted.

Some patients also criticised the state government for not making alternative arrangements in advance, saying it was already in the notice of the government but it had not initiated the required steps for the convenience of the patients.

District general secretary of the association, Resham Singh Jalal, said they were not fond of observing pen-down strike, but it was the government that was not doing justice to them.

He said they were agitating for the past several months but the government was not paying heed to it.

Jalal claimed that as all the 35 regular laboratory technicians and 15 contractual laboratory technicians were on pen-down strike for 48 hours in the district, the emergency services in the hospitals and the community health centres (CHCs) had received a setback.

The demands of the protesters include a hike in grade pay, risk allowance, free accommodation, regularisation of the services of contractual laboratory technicians and re-designation of the post of senior medical laboratory technician as laboratory officer.

The leaders of the association said though the Director, Health, had recommended to the cabinet sub-committee a grade pay of Rs 4,200 for the laboratory technician grade II, Rs 5,400 for the grade-I laboratory technician and Rs 6,600 for the senior laboratory technician, the government had issued a notification fixing Rs 3,600 as grade pay for laboratory technician grade II, Rs 4,200 for grade I and Rs 4,800 for senior laboratory technician.

Due to this, the technicians had not got any major financial benefit, he added.

The leaders also said no letter had also been issued by the government for the regularisation of services of the contractual laboratory technicians against the 390 posts, for which the government had already issued advertisement. However, no initiative had also been taken by the government to re-designate the senior laboratory technician as laboratory officer.

Among others who were present at the site of the dharna included the district president of the association Harcharan Singh, senior vice-president Baldev Singh Romana, general secretary Resham Singh Jalal, advisor Nanak Neer and cashier Baljit Singh Jalal. 

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BDA postpones draw of lots for phase IV, V
Farmers knock SC door, hearing on January 2 
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
The draw for the phase IV and phase V of the Bathinda Development Authority (BDA) has been postponed. Earlier, the draws for 220 plots in the newly developed areas were scheduled for December 16.

BDA Estate Officer Jeet Ram said the postponement comes in the wake of a petition filed in the Supreme Court. "The next date for the draw can be decided only after the Supreme Court hearing," he said.

Meanwhile, a group of farmers, whose land was acquired for the project, has moved the Supreme Court against the BDA and the Punjab government. One of the farmers, Randeep Singh, said the Supreme Court has fixed January 2, 2012 as the next date of hearing.

The agitating farmers are unhappy with the rates given to them at the time of the acquisition of land as well as on the issue of 47 acres of land being arbitrarily left out of the acquisition process.

The BDA first issued a notification on October 11, 2004, wherein it stated that 240 acres of land would be acquired for the project. "We were awarded a mere Rs 600 per yard whereas the BDA is now selling it at Rs 1300 per yard. This is unfair," said one the farmers. Though the notification, issued in 2004, mentioned the project spread over 240 acres of land, another notification issued on March 9, 2005 stated that 47 acres of land had been left out of the project.

"This 47 acres of land is useless, whereas the rest of the land acquired has houses of farmers," pointed out another farmer.

Raising these objections, the farmers went to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, but lost the case. Now, the farmers have approached the Supreme Court. Around 50 to 60 acres of land is under consideration before the court now.

Earlier, on August 19, the BDA had acquired 43 acres of land and flattened 16 acres of cotton crop amidst protest by the farmers at the BDA enclave. Some unscrupulous elements even fired gunshots amidst police security.

Around 14, 500 forms were sold across different banks in Punjab for the 220 plots marked under the project. The Bathinda Development Authority had also earlier floated 800 plots in the same phases.

However, only 10,000 application forms were sold. Out of a total of 226 plots, 112 plots measure 100 square yards each while 35 plots are of 200 square yards, 22 plots of 300 sq yards and 57 plots of 400 square yards each.

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Residents want Army to make up for restrictions
Restraint on construction in area near ammo depot causing decline in the value of property
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
A delegation of residents from the Bhai Mati Dass Nagar, Joga Nagar and Nachhattar Nagar today demanded that the Army should compensate them for the depreciating value of their property situated within a 1000 metre area of the ammunition depot.

Restrictions have been imposed on the fresh construction of buildings within this 1000 metre area. Even the municipal corporation does not pass building plans in the area leading to a steep fall in the market rate of property.

"When Bhai Mati Dass Nagar is compared with Ganesh Nagar, which are at the same distance from the main bus stand and the district headquarters, the rate of plots in Ganesh Nagar is Rs 30,000 per square yards, while that at Bhai Mati Dass Nagar is a mere Rs 3,000 per square yards," said Col JS Mann (retd) who led the delegation and met Deputy Commissioner KK Yadav today.

Col HS Mavi (retd) said that the Army acquired 25 square miles of rich agricultural land east of Bathinda city, while the ammunition depot came up later. In the years 1979, 2001 and 2005, notifications were issued under the Works of Defence Act, 1903, imposing restrictions on land use outside the outer fence of this depot, affecting 1000 acres of land wherein 250 acres is urban land within the municipal limits.

In the representation, the residents recommended that the area affected by the restrictions imposed on the ground of threat to security must be removed. They alleged that the authorities have adopted a confiscatory attitude, which is against all the tenets of law because of the wrongly interpreted Works of Defence Act, 1903.

They requested the Deputy Commissioner that the case be taken up simultaneously with the Army authorities, the Government of Punjab and the Government of India so that people are given relief.

The residents of these areas had earlier approached the then Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari in 2006 who had even written to the then Colonel of the Headquarter, 81 sub-area, to intimate whether it would be possible for the Army authorities to shift the ammunition depot elsewhere and to ensure whether the Army has enough funds for providing compensation if the restrictions are enforced.

Later, Tewari took up the matter about the illegal construction within the notified area under the Works of Defence Act. He stated that the Act makes it clear that imposing of restrictions in the notified area is coterminous with providing adequate compensation.

"As per the Act, the Central Government should have appointed a collector for performing the whole function related to the compensation. From our record, it is clear that the Army authorities have never intimated the administration in this regard as to who has been appointed as the collector and what action was taken to conduct survey and determine compensation to be paid in lieu of the restrictions," he had stated.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner KK Yadav said he has received the representation and will take up matter with the Army authorities. "A lot of legal issues are involved in it. I will definitely take up the case," he said.

What admn stated...

n Section 9 of the Works of Defence Act, 1903, lays down a period in which the procedure of survey and compensation is to be completed. In this case, the period has expired for all three notifications. If provisions of section 9 are not complied with, then no notification can stand the test of law because section 9 has co-terminus provisions to be followed before the imposition of restrictions vide a notification.

n The onus of documenting and identifying existing structures is on the collector designated by the Central Government. Without the survey and determination of compensation, restrictions cannot be imposed. But these links are missing in this case and it is very difficult to satisfy people on this account as they are vehemently contesting that no restrictions whatsoever can be imposed on them until the provisions of section 8 to 13 of the Act are complied with.

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Detonators given to stations as Rlys gear up to tackle foggy weather conditions 
Sudhanshu Verma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
Fog has always been harsh to the railways. As the railway cancels the trains considering the safety of the passengers because of the low visibility, the passengers, sometimes, unknowingly blame it for their inconvenience which is in fact caused by the vagaries of the weather.

Like every year, the railways have geared up for the foggy weather conditions that normally engulf the region during the peak of winter.

"Like every year, the action plan is ready and will be implemented when required," said a senior railway official in Bathinda. The official said that the railway decides to cancel trains as a last resort because of near nil visibility as the safety of passengers is always accorded top priority.

Sources in the railways said that there was a mechanism to decide the visibility level. "When the object after 150 meters become blurred, foggy conditions is declared," sources said, adding that then, the drivers had been given standing instructions to run the train at a slow speed so that the signal could be noticed.

Sources further added that the colour lights now being used in signals help the drivers as it is easily detected by them. However, in case of intense fog, extra precautions are taken while running the trains.

When the visibility tracing object (VTO), installed by the railway as a parameter to assess the level of fog, becomes unnoticeable, all the rail workers concerned, including the fog signal men, are alerted and the preparation for fixing detonators on the tracks on both the sides of the signal is commenced.

The official said that detonators are fixed on tracks 270 meters away from the signals.

The official said that the purpose of fixing detonators is to alert the drivers sending the message that a signal is ahead. "When the train runs over the detonators, the blast like sound draw the attention of the drivers alerting that the train is approaching a signal," he added.

The assistant station master or other rail staff is given the detonators, sources said, adding that the number of detonators varies from station to station and from area to area considering the history of the fog in that particular region. However, when required, more number of detonators is supplied to the station concerned.

Besides the fog, cracks on tracks, particularly welding cracks, is also witnessed during the winter. For that, permanent way inspector (PWI) and gangmen have been given instructions to remain vigilant.

Extra alertness on the part of the railway is expected during the foggy weather conditions in the Malwa region as it is prone to prolonged spells of dense fog and accidents at unmanned crossings keep occurring during the winter. 

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Winter sets in as mercury takes the plunge 
Minimum temperature falls to 3.6 degrees, good news for wheat growers 
Sudhanshu Verma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
After playing truant for nearly a fortnight, the winter, typical for the second week of December, finally gave the signs of its arrival in the region on Monday.

The mercury, which has been hovering well above the normal for over last 10 days, took a plunge on Sunday to settle near the normal and dipped further on Monday to record 3.6 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature recorded so far in this season, as per the agri-met department of the PAU regional centre, Bathinda.

Agricultural scientists, welcoming the mercury's move, termed the weather conditions as beneficial for the wheat growers.

Today's maximum temperature was 23.4 degrees Celsius which was almost near the normal.

As far as the mood of mercury in the region during the last fortnight is concerned, it hovered above the normal both at the minimum and the maximum levels. While the maximum temperature remained slightly high or near to normal at 25-26 degrees Celsius the normal at higher level for the current period is considered as 23 degrees Celsius, the mercury at minimum level hovered well above the normal.

While the normal at minimum level is around 6 degrees Celsius, the mercury maintained a double-digit figure to remain around 12-14 degrees Celsius.

However, the weathermen said that it was a single day observation and not sufficient to be the basis for forecast and generalisation. They added that conditions during the next few days would be significant in predicting the weather's mood.

The agricultural scientists, however, appeared to be satisfied to some extent over the timing of the mercury's dip as the time finally came for the wheat cultivators to cheer up about the prospect of their crops.

Director of the PAU regional centre, Bathinda, Dr VP Mittal told The Tribune on Monday that the low temperature was beneficial for the branching of wheat crop.

He said the mercury should have behaved like this sometime around November 20-25, though it was not late and the farmers could utilise the "present conducive conditions" for their benefit. 

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Pharmacists go on leave for five days 
Mass leave taken by staff adversely affects services in the hospitals and health centres
Sushil Goyal
Tribune news Service

Bathinda, December 12
As the pharmacists under the banner of the Sangharsh Committee Punjab State Pharmacists Association today went on mass leave for five days, the health services in the hospitals and health centres in the district was affected.

They have gone on mass leave as the state government has not accepted their demands so far.

District president of the association Ravinder Goyal said due to their mass leave, the distribution of medicines in the OPDs of the hospitals and the health centres remained paralysed.

Besides, emergency services, especially night duty services, would also be affected in the rural area health centres. There are 130 pharmacists, working in the hospitals and health centres, at Bathinda, Sangat, Goniana, Bhagta, Nathana, Ballianwali, Rampura and Talwandi Sabo.

Meanwhile, the pharmacists today also staged a dharna on the premises of the Civil Hospital here. They also raised slogans in favour of their demands and against the state government for not accepting and implementing their demands.

They were led by secretary of the association Sukhwinderjit Singh and cashier Janta Singh. The protesters were addressed by some speakers, who appealed to the state government to accept their demands, including pay-scale of Rs 10,300-34,800 with a grade pay of Rs 4,800 for pharmacist, Rs 15,600-39,100 with Rs 5,400 grade pay for chief pharmacist-grade-II and Rs 15,600-39,100 with Rs 6,600 grade pay for chief pharmacist grade-I, 25 per cent of the basic pay as non-dispensing allowance, Rs 500 per month as academic allowance and Rs 1,000 per month as patient care allowance.

They were also demanding senior pharmacy officer designation for grade-II chief pharmacist, chief pharmacy officer designation for grade-I chief pharmacist and pharmacy officer designation for pharmacist.

The leaders of the union also said that it seemed the government is not concerned about the health of the people as it has been adopting indifferent attitude towards their demands for a long. 

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Short-term course begins at GZSCET
Tribune News Service

The course would deliberate upon the importance and use of geographical information system (GIS) in science and engineering.
The course would deliberate upon the importance and use of geographical information system (GIS) in science and engineering. A Tribune photograph

Bathinda, December 12
A one-week short-term course started at the Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology (Bathinda), today. National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTR) Chandigarh is a course on the Geographical Information System (GIS) applications in engineering and sciences.

Prof Darshan Singh Sidhu, principal of the institute, inaugurated the course today. Around 60 faculty members of various engineering colleges of the region are participating in it. The course faculty includes experts from the NITTR, Chandigarh, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Panjab University (Chandigarh) and Deen Bandhu University of Science and Technology, Murthal (Sonepat).

The importance and use of the GIS in science and engineering would be deliberated upon during the course.

The GIS is a kind of database system used for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analysing and displaying data, which are spatially reference to the earth.

Local course coordinator of the short-term course Dr Manjeet Bansal said the short-term course would be of immense benefit to the participants in gaining more knowledge about the technology.

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Draughtsmen stage dharna outside Mini-secretariat
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
To pressurise the state government to accept their demands, the draughtsmen from six districts, Bathinda, Mansa, Moga, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar, today staged a dharna and held a rally outside the Mini-secretariat here.

The draughtsmen today began their agitation again by taking mass leave for three days more from today to December 14. Earlier, the draughtsmen had gone on mass leave from December 7-9. Resentment against the state government has been prevailing among them since the government has increased the grade pay of junior engineers (JEs) from Rs 3,800 to Rs 4,800 recently. They are now saying that the government has broken the parity between the pay-scales of the JEs and the draughtsmen by doing so.

The main demand of the draughtsmen is that the pay parity between the draughtsmen and the JEs should be revived immediately. Besides, other demands of the draughtsmen include: revival of three per cent SDO quota for circle head draughtsman, conveyance allowance, and special allowance. Talking to the TNS here today, president of the Bathinda district unit of the Punjab Draftsmen Association Baljit Singh Virk said, A member of the Cabinet Sub-committee and Finance Minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur on December 8 at Kapurthala had assured the association leaders that she would recommend their demand to the Cabinet Sub-committee to maintain the pay parity between the JEs and the draughtsmen.

Virk also claimed that even two other members of the Cabinet Sub-committee Adesh Partap Singh Kairon and Tikshan Sood, both ministers, had also given an assurance to the association in this regard. He said the same would now be discussed at the Cabinet Sub-committee meeting to be held on December 14.

The speakers warned the government that if nothing was done at the Cabinet Sub-committee to be held on December 14, the draughtsmen would be compelled to adopt some harsh action.

Among others who were present or spoke on the occasion included Baljit Singh Virk, Faridkot district president of the association KP Singh Sra, Muktsar district president Chand Singh Dhillon, Ferozepur district president Bhupinder Pal Singh, Moga district general secretary Pardeep Kumar, and state auditor Manjit. 

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In-laws booked for demanding dowry 

Bathinda, December 12
A couple and their son have been booked by the police for demanding dowry. The complainant, Kiranjit Kaur of Seego village in Bathinda, alleged that her husband and in-laws had been demanding dowry and were also harassing her. A case was registered at the woman police station in this regard. No arrest has been made so far.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested a resident of the Teachers Colony with a product used to manufacture liquor. The accused has been identified as Vijay Kumar.

He wads booked under Sections 21, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act at the Canal Colony police station. TNS

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Vegetables jewellery competition 
Ramandeep Kaur, Sarbjeet Kaur share top position
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
Baba Farid Senior Secondary School organised a competition on making jewellery with vegetables and flower bouquets.

Around 70 students participated in the event. The students presented whimsical pieces of artwork on jewellery with vegetables only.

They used different vegetables like carrots, radish, onions, lemons, lady fingers and peas to make creative and unique ornaments such as necklaces, earrings, broaches, bracelets and traditional ornaments. BD Sharma, head, Department of Career Guidance and Counselling and Ranvir Kaur, head, Computer Department, were the judges for the competition.

In the jewellery making competition, Ramandeep Kaur and Sarbjeet Kaur from class XI (non-medical) got the first prize. Ravneet Kaur and Ramandeep Kaur from plus two, MCQ medical, stood second. Ramandeep Kaur, Rupinder Kaur and Nirmal Kaur got the third position.

On the other hand, Gurpreet Kaur and Rashpinder, plus two, Arts, won the bouquet making competition. Gurmeet Singh Dhaliwal, Managing Director, BFGI, congratulated the students and said the jewelry making is a great, lucrative and relaxing hobby, and it is a good idea to make amazing jewellery gifts for friends and family members with the affordable raw material like vegetables and fruits.

Principal Baljinder Singh and vice-principal Navider Kaur appreciated the efforts of the students.

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Talent hunt held for kids
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
To provide a platform for children to show their talent in the co-curricular areas, the Zee Learn Ltd. organised a 'Talent Hunt' for the children in the age-group of 3 to 12 years on the campus of the Mount Litera Zee School in Bathinda on Sunday.

Over 220 children participated in it. It was accompanied by a seminar for parents on 'How to prepare your child for the 21st century'. The seminar was conducted by Sumeet Mehta, CEO, Zee Learn Ltd. and Leena Pimpley, head, Academics for Mount Litera Zee Schools. Children from Bathinda, Mansa, Malout, Budhlada and Ludhiana also participated in the event.

The Zee Learn Ltd. is an education company that is a part of the Essel Group. 

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