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Residents aid in polluting sirhind canal 
Bathinda, August 20
A man dumps garbage in the Sirhind canal in Bathinda unaware of the damage it is causing to the water body. The canal had been cleaned recently at a huge cost. The vast sum spent on cleaning the Sirhind canal passing through the city has gone down the drain with city residents polluting the water by dumping their waste into it.

A man dumps garbage in the Sirhind canal in Bathinda unaware of the damage it is causing to the water body. The canal had been cleaned recently at a huge cost. A Tribune photograph

School students held for lifting bikes to buy drugs 
Bathinda, August 20
The anti-narcotic cell of the Bathinda Police has arrested four teenagers in the age-group of 14 to 18 years for stealing motorbikes to fulfill their monetary requirement for buying drugs. Despite their tender age, the boys had got hooked to drugs like smack, tablets, capsules and cough syrups.


EARLIER STORIES



Waste management plant hangs fire
The waste of 17 municipal bodies would be dumped if the solid waste management plant comes up at its designated site in Bathinda. Bathinda, August 20
With the State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority delaying the meeting on solid waste management plant supposed to come up on 36 acres of land in ward number 29 of the city, the project now hangs fire.


The waste of 17 municipal bodies would be dumped if the solid waste management plant comes up at its designated site in Bathinda. A Tribune photograph

RTI query hints at flaw in fountain operations
No person has allegedly been appointed to operate the fountain installed at Paras Ram Nagar. Bathinda, August 20
A query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, asking for details regarding the outsourcing of operations of the fountain installed at Paras Ram Nagar, has smelt a rat in the entire procedure.The Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCB) had floated tenders on February 28, 2011, stating that a company was required to take care of the fountain installed at Paras Ram Nagar Chowk.

No person has allegedly been appointed to operate the fountain installed at Paras Ram Nagar. A Tribune photograph

Use of standard sprayers suggested
Bathinda, August 20
Demanding subsidy on standard chemical spraying guns, farmers of Bathinda today said use of substandard guns had led to excessive dispensation of chemicals, which not only was harmful to human and animal health but also added to the input cost of farming.

Speed post hub system flayed
Bathinda, August 20
The Speed Post Hub System adopted by the Indian Postal Department wherein the delivery of postal articles from Bathinda are routed through the hub centre at Ludhiana, has started drawing criticism.

Experts dwell on advances in eye care
Bathinda, August 20
Biodegradable intra-vitreal steroid implants have come as a boon for patients who experience sudden loss of vision due to retinal vein occlusions. This was stated by Dr Indu Singh of Dr Daljit Singh Eye Hospital, Amritsar, while delivering a lecture at a scientific programme organised by the Bathinda Ophthalmological Society on Sunday.

Woman among two booked for cheating foreign aspirant
Bathinda, August 20
The police has booked a resident of Mohali and a woman from Talwandi Sabo for duping a resident of Jagaram Tirath village.


United in prayer

Muslims offer prayers on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr at the Eidgah in Bathinda on Monday.
Muslims offer prayers on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr at the Eidgah in Bathinda on Monday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Eid Mubarak!

Devotees throng the Saheed Peer Baba Dargah in the Railway Colony on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday.
Devotees throng the Saheed Peer Baba Dargah in the Railway Colony on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday. A Tribune photograph







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Residents aid in polluting sirhind canal 
 By dumping garbage in the water, people in the city are choking the canal that was cleaned only recently
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
The vast sum spent on cleaning the Sirhind canal passing through the city has gone down the drain with city residents polluting the water by dumping their waste into it.

The shops, eateries and green grocers near the canal dump the waste and refuse in the canal after darkness descends or early in the morning.

Instead of dumping the refuse at the designated sites, these people prefer to walk just a few yards and throw the entire waste into the water flowing in the canal that feeds the water works of many villages where the same water is used for drinking and irrigation purposes.

Added to this, people bound by superstition, dump a lot of material which could otherwise be used to feed the poor and hungry. "We have often seen people throwing bananas, lemons, coconuts and a lot of other eatables in the water saying it would bring them good luck. Though all these items are perishable and biodegradable, still these can be used for some better purpose," added the employees of the forest department, whose office and vast nursery lies on the bank of the canal.

They pointed out that besides eatables, people often dump plastic bags, cement polybags and even bricks in the canal.

"Once we caught a couple throwing bricks in the water. We told them that the same bricks could have been given to a needy person but they refused. People are too confident and know that no action could be taken against them. At times, we become just mute spectators," said an irrigation department official.

It is pertinent to mention here that the portion of the canal passing through the city was de-silted from April 10 to April 30. For the first time ever, the bed of the canal was cleaned after spending lakhs.

Filled with garbage, the canal had lost its capacity to hold water. It would not have been able to hold the 700 cusecs of water it was meant for. Instead, during the monsoon, there was the danger of the canal's banks getting breached and flooding the nearby areas.

Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) engineer Nazar Singh Manshahia said earlier, the district magistrate had imposed section 144 of the CrPC prohibiting anyone from polluting the water body.

"The section was imposed a couple of times but it did nothing to deter people from polluting it. People should be responsible enough not to indulge in such practices that harm those who consume the contaminated water," he said.

Meanwhile, XEN irrigation, Rakesh Garg, was not available for comments.

Fact file

The canal supplies water to the Teona feeder system that includes Doomwali minor, Kot Guru minor, Mithri minor, Killianwali minor, Badal minor and Ghamyara minor. Similarly, distributaries originating from Rai Ka feeder system such as Lambi distributary, Mann minor, Lal Bai distributary, Sukhchain minor, Jangi Rana distributary, Teori distributary and Jangi Rana minor too get water from it.

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School students held for lifting bikes to buy drugs 
 Second instance of students involved in crime in last 10 days
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
The anti-narcotic cell of the Bathinda Police has arrested four teenagers in the age-group of 14 to 18 years for stealing motorbikes to fulfill their monetary requirement for buying drugs. Despite their tender age, the boys had got hooked to drugs like smack, tablets, capsules and cough syrups.

Two of the arrested boys are students of class VI and XII while the other two recently discontinued their studies while in class XII. The arrested boys belong to poor families who eke their livelihood by working as truck drivers, mechanic and bus conductor. The families of the arrested boys live in Partap Nagar, SAS Nagar and on Surkhpir road.

This is the second arrest of students in the last ten days. Earlier, the Civil Lines police had arrested a class XII student for snatching mobile phones in Bathinda. Unlike the poor background of the four boys arrested today, the class XII student held for snatching mobiles, belonged to a well to do family of arhtiyas.

The investigating officer in the case, Kirpal Singh, said the four arrested boys were hooked to all kinds of drugs including medicinal drugs and smack. They admitted purchasing drugs from medical shops and from die-hard addicts. They also visited the adjoining towns of Haryana to purchase drugs. Efforts are being made by the police to trace those who sold drugs to these schoolchildren.

Police said the boys found it easy to steal motorbikes using the matching keys of motorbikes of various manufacturers. At times, they stole the motorbikes of people who forgot the keys in their vehicles. They stole a bike from Rampura and another from outside a mall in as well as from Gol Diggi.

The boys had formed a gang to steal the motorbikes and sell them to the local buyers. The money earned from the sale of bikes was used to purchase drugs. The boys used to swap the number plate of the bikes and then find buyers to sell them. They were caught while searching for buyers and targets near Multania road.

Initially, a case under sections 379 and 411 was registered against the boys but when the owner of a motorbike revealed to the police that the number plate of his bike had been swapped with a fake one, and then sections 420 and 473 of the IPC were also added to the case registered at the Canal Colony police station.

Police said the accused would be produced before the magistrate and in all likelihood, sent to a juvenile home.

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Waste management plant hangs fire
 Objections from residents in adjoining areas & delay in environmental clearance keep the project pending
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
With the State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority delaying the meeting on solid waste management plant supposed to come up on 36 acres of land in ward number 29 of the city, the project now hangs fire.

The committee met on August 17 to decide the future course of action but no final decision could be taken. The matter was put up before the Authority for granting environmental clearance to the project that has been kept pending because of the proposed plant's proximity to the residential areas.

"Besides the plant's proximity, there are other constraints which are being considered. All the aspects are under examination," said the chairman of committee, AS Dogra. He added that a decision is expected in the next few days.

With the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordering a CBI inquiry into the procedure by which land was acquired for the filling site at Mandi Khurd, the project is expected to get delayed even further. The next date of hearing in the High Court is August 22.

Earlier, during the public hearing held on July 25 last year, local residents had raised serious objections over the project. The 36 acres of land, on which existed the Roshan Lal Mill, is surrounded by residential areas. Residents of ward numbers 29 and 30 have objected to the setting up of the plant.

Councillor of ward 29, Rajbinder Singh said, "For the last ten years, the waste of Bathinda municipal body is being dumped here. But if the plant comes up, waste from 17 local bodies would be dumped here leading to problems for all of us living around."

People have even stated that the garbage plant lies on the bank of Sirhind feeder passing through the city and the garbage collected here inevitably finds it way into the water, which gets contaminated.

The Congress has been opposing the project stating that the movement of heavy vehicles and dumpers from other urban bodies will create traffic chaos in an already overcrowded city. "The Mansa railway overbridge is the only road connecting the entire city with other parts such as Talwandi, Mansa and Dabwali. With increased traffic, heavy vehicles will have to take a U-turn to reach the garbage treatment plant, which is not good for the city's traffic health," said Congress councillor Jagroop Singh Gill.

An employee of the Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCB) said it was suggested that the land for setting up the plant be bought near the Mandi Khurd landfill site itself. "Buying more land at Mandi Khurd would have saved a lot of inconvenience to the public. Moreover, the cost of transporting 25 per cent of inert waste produced to Mandi Khurd could also have been saved," he remarked.

Currently, no deadline for the project has been set. A deadline for the project will be fixed only after it gets the environmental clearance. Till then, door-to-door garbage collection has been started, which is proving to be woefully inadequate in meeting the demands of the city. The status of garbage collection is even worse than in the other 17 urban bodies whose garbage is to be processed at Bathinda plant.

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RTI query hints at flaw in fountain operations
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
A query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, asking for details regarding the outsourcing of operations of the fountain installed at Paras Ram Nagar, has smelt a rat in the entire procedure.

The Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCB) had floated tenders on February 28, 2011, stating that a company was required to take care of the fountain installed at Paras Ram Nagar Chowk.

The MCB had laid conditions that the beldar appointed had to perform eight hours of work and was supposed to switch on and switch off the fountain twice every day. The work was allotted to Jai Hind Cooperative Society, Bathinda, for Rs 53,003.

"But we have never seen any person deployed for operating this fountain. It has never worked in the morning hours, while some of us have operated it in the evening," said a local resident Pradeep Kumar.

Intrigued by the information that a special beldar has been outsourced to operate it, Pradeep Kumar sent an RTI query seeking details. However, replying to his query, the MCB stated that no person has been appointed here and the attendance record could not be given.

"This shows that the municipal corporation did not bother to ascertain whether the work awarded was executed or not. The corporation has duly made a payment of Rs 53,003 in four installments. The last installment was given just two months ago, but the whereabouts of the firm awarded the work are not known," he added.

Pradeep said it was not clear whether the corporation floated the tenders for operating this fountain only or for some other fountains in the city as well.

"In either case, the entire procedure appears to be faulty. No work was done and no person was ever appointed but money has been given," he said.

Meanwhile, Municipal Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta said he would look into the matter.

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Use of standard sprayers suggested
Cheaper substandard spray gun releases more chemical than needed, poses risk to human, animal health
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
Demanding subsidy on standard chemical spraying guns, farmers of Bathinda today said use of substandard guns had led to excessive dispensation of chemicals, which not only was harmful to human and animal health but also added to the input cost of farming.
A farmer spraying pesticide in his agricultural fields
A farmer spraying pesticide in his agricultural fields. 

While the price of substandard spraying guns available in the market starts from Rs 400, the standard ones cost between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,500.

The cost of imported guns increases due to import duty and taxes.

Agriculture experts said the substandard spray guns release the chemical in excess and are hence, dangerous. The extra chemical settles on vegetables and fodder consumed by human and milch cattle.

A progressive farmer from Mehma Sarja village, Jagtar Brar, said there were many advantages of using standard spraying guns. "The size of droplet dispensed from a substandard nozzle is quite big. On the contrary, the standard guns spray chemical that is adequate to kill insects or pests," Brar said.

He added that the extra chemical sprayed through substandard gun dribbles down from the plants or leaves and usually gets mixed with soil, resulting in soil contamination.

On the other hand, the droplets of agro-chemicals released from a standard nozzle stick to the leaves. The droplets even slide down on the lower portion of the leaves and kill the insects hidden there, Brar said.

Farmers usually shirk away from purchasing standard guns as these are not readily available in the market and can be obtained on order only.

Agriculture experts said spraying with the help of substandard instrument results in wastage of more than 50 per cent of the chemical, which adds to the fiscal burden of farmers. Since the chemicals sprayed trickle down the leaves of a crop, farmers are forced to spray again and again to get rid of bugs or insects.

The experts said 20 to 30 droplets of insecticide were required to be sprayed on an area of a square centimetre. The amount of herbicide required to be sprayed was also the same. However, 50 to 70 droplets of fungicides should be sprayed on an area of one square centimetre.

Unaware of the importance of consistency, labourers engaged to spray chemicals use the same spraying kit for all kinds of insecticides and pesticides.

A labourer hired to spray chemical charges Rs 15 to Rs 20 per spray pump having a standard size of 16 litres. Without noticing the size of the nozzle, labourers exhaust the chemicals in haste to finish their work at the earliest.

Also the tractor-mounted pumps rain chemical on the crop and most of the sprayed quantity fails to stick to the leaves, leaving little impact on the insects and pests.

While the progressive farmers are using spray guns imported from Italy or the USA by placing orders, poor farmers are still making use of substandard spraying guns.

The excessive use of chemicals on fruits and vegetables does more harm to human health, the farmers said.

The associate director of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Dr Jagdish Kumar Grover, while admitting the problem of excessive spraying by substandard guns, said during every training camp organised by the KVK, the farmers were advised to purchase standard equipment.

"Though standard spray guns are costly, they aim at target area. They do not harm the crop and affect insects or pests only. Farmers are also advised not to spray during afternoon or when temperature is high as bugs hide themselves inside the leave folds," Grover said. He said the agriculture department had received some spraying guns, which were likely to be provided to farmers in the coming days.

He advised the farmers to learn the techniques of spraying chemicals from progressive farmers or the KVK before picking up the spray gun.

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Speed post hub system flayed
 Even local articles being routed through Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
The Speed Post Hub System adopted by the Indian Postal Department wherein the delivery of postal articles from Bathinda are routed through the hub centre at Ludhiana, has started drawing criticism.

A city resident, Jagdish Singh Ghai, has written a letter to the Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal stating that even the articles for local delivery were being routed through Ludhiana thereby causing great inconvenience to the addressees as parcels usually got late by more than two to three days.

Ghai wrote that the Railway Mail Service, a wing of the Postal Department, prepares direct bags for about 30 nearby and main cities so as to deliver the same to the addressee the next day. But with the launch of the hub system, the articles were being delayed. In the age of computers, such inefficiency was unwelcoming, he added.

Ghai stated the system was causing economic loss to the department, promoting private courier agencies and harassing the public.

The employees of the postal department expressed their helplessness in dealing with the problem as the system has been adopted on the orders of the senior functionaries of the department.

With the introduction of the new system, the postal article is handled four times - by booking office, hub centre, main post office and the delivery office.

Ghai remarked that such anti-people policies bring a bad name to the government and the postal department.

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Experts dwell on advances in eye care

Bathinda, August 20
Biodegradable intra-vitreal steroid implants have come as a boon for patients who experience sudden loss of vision due to retinal vein occlusions. This was stated by Dr Indu Singh of Dr Daljit Singh Eye Hospital, Amritsar, while delivering a lecture at a scientific programme organised by the Bathinda Ophthalmological Society on Sunday.

An opthalmologist speaks at a scientific programme organised in Bathinda on Sunday
An opthalmologist speaks at a scientific programme organised in Bathinda on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

He highlighted the recent developments in the treatment of the common retinal pathologies, including posterior uveitis, macular edema and retinal vein occlusion which lead to great visual morbidity in the elderly. These implants have negligible side effects as compared to topical and systemic steroids, Dr Singh informed.

Dr Ravijit Singh, from the same institute, dwelt on the difficulties in the surgery of congenital cataracts. Many infants born with cataract tend to lose vision permanently if the surgery is delayed or is not meticulous. Intra-ocular lens implants in children need special modifications for optimum visual results, Dr Ravijit Singh said.

As many as 55 eye surgeons of the area actively participated in the discussions.

Prof SP Singh of GGS Medical College, Faridkot, and vice-president of Punjab Ophthalmological Society, was the chief guest. Three new members of the Society were welcomed by Dr Amrit Sethi, president of the Society. The Punjab Medical Council granted one hour study credit for the programme. TNS

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Woman among two booked for cheating foreign aspirant
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
The police has booked a resident of Mohali and a woman from Talwandi Sabo for duping a resident of Jagaram Tirath village.

In a complaint to the police, one Surinder Singh complained that the accused persons had promised to send his son abroad and took Rs 4.5 lakh from him. The accused, however, did not send his son abroad nor did they return the money.

The police has booked Parwinderjit Singh of Mohali and Jaswinder Kaur of Mohali for cheating the villager. A case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against the accused persons at Talwandi Sabo police station.

No arrest has been made so far.

Three booked for beating

The police has booked three persons for beating up a man and his son, residents of Parasram Nagar.

In a complaint to the police, one Avtar Singh said three unidentified persons attacked him and his father and inflicted injuries on them. The victims had undergone treatment at the local Civil Hospital and a case was registered after recording the statements and considering the medico-legal report.

The unidentified persons have been booked under Sections 324, 323 and 34 of the IPC at the Canal Colony police station.

One booked for flouting DC orders

The police has arrested Goldy Gupta, a resident of Bibi Wala Road, for taking inadequate safety measures at his godown in the nearby Gill Patti village.

The complainant-cum-investigating officer in the case Jaswinder Kaur stated that a case under Section 188 of the IPC has been registered in this connection for flouting the orders issued by the deputy commissioner-cum-district magistrate of Bathinda.

Cash stolen

A resident of Bhucho Mandi has reported theft of Rs 2.6 lakh in cash from his house.

The complainant, Ashok Kumar of Ward No. 3, said the thieves attacked his residence while the family members were away to Chintpurni on August 18 night.

The polcie has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC at Nathana police station.

One arrested with 10 kg poppy husk

The police has arrested a resident of Kotli Kalan village for possessing 10 kg of poppy husk.

The accused had kept the contraband in Pathrala village, which the police recovered following a tip-off.

The accused, Tarsem Singh, is booked under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Villager booked for beating

One Chhinda Singh, a resident of Ablu village, has been booked for beating Sudagar Singh of the same village.

Sudagar, in his complaint to the police,stated that the accused attacked him and inflicted injuries upon him over a trivial issue. A case under Section 325 of the IPC has been registered against the accused at Nehianwala police station.

Four arrested for gambling

The police has arrested four persons for gambling and recovered an amount of Rs 19,700 from their possession.

The accused, identified as Jagannath, Darshan Kumar, Bhajan Kumar and Sundri Singh, have been booked under Sections 13-A, 3, 67 of the Gambling Act at the City Rampura police station.

Woman arrested for selling capsules

The police has arrested a woman, Jasvir Kaur, for illegally selling capsules laced with intoxicants. As many as 160 capsules were recovered from her possession.

A case under Sections 420 of the IPC and 15 of the Indian Medical Act has been registered against her at Rampura City police station.

In another case, a resident of Raiyan village, Dharma Singh, has been arrested by the Phul police for possessing seven intoxicating vials and 2,100 tablets without having any license or prescription.

A case under Sections 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused at the Phul police station.

One booked for beating

The police has booked one Sewak Singh of Sangat Khurd village for beating another village resident Pargat Singh.

A complaint was lodged with the police by Pargat Singh, who accused Sewak of beating him. He alleged that the accused owed him some money.

The police has registered a case under Section 324 of the IPC at the Talwandi Sabo police station.

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