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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Sewerage board, corporation at loggerheads
Bathinda, August 24
Principal Secretary, Local Bodies Department, Suresh Kumar today pulled up the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) for being an underachiever, as far as the implementation of sewer and water supply projects in Bathinda city was concerned.
Principal Secretary, Local Bodies Department, Suresh Kumar, holds a meeting with officials of the municipal corporation and PWSSB, in Bathinda on Friday. Principal Secretary, Local Bodies Department, Suresh Kumar, holds a meeting with officials of the municipal corporation and PWSSB, in Bathinda on Friday. Photo: Bhupinder Dhilon

Rain brings some respite from heat
Bathinda, August 24
Bathinda city today witnessed showers in the evening that lit up the faces of the people who had been battling heat and humidity for several days now.


EARLIER STORIES



Residents oppose sale of park land
Sahibzada Ajit Singh park in street number 17 of Ajit road is in the eye of a storm over the proposal to sell a portion of it to a private person.Bathinda, August 24
Residents of Ajit Road and adjoining areas have opposed the efforts of the Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCB) to sell off 450 square yards of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Park, located in street number 17 of the locality.

Sahibzada Ajit Singh park in street number 17 of Ajit road is in the eye of a storm over the proposal to sell a portion of it to a private person. Photos: Bhupinder dhillon

Bathinda on firm footing
Bathinda, August 24
Bathinda is in a commanding position with a score of 519 for eight wickets against Sangrur on the inaugural day of the Punjab State Inter District match for Katoch Shield of Plate Group played at the grounds of Police Public School here.

Beauty clinic to come up in city
Dr GS Nagpal addressing a press conference in Bathinda on Thursday evening.Bathinda, August 24
As a part of the wellness venture, the Nagpal group is on Sunday launching infra-red bath, medispa and a package of beauty techniques.




Dr GS Nagpal addressing a press conference in Bathinda on Thursday evening. A tribune photograph

Lecture on energy efficient buildings held
Bathinda, August 24
Jeet Kumar Gupta, vice-president of the Indian Institute of Architects, Mumbai, and a former director of the College of Architecture, IET Bhadal, delivered an expert lecture on energy efficient buildings and cities in India at the Department of Architecture, Punjab Technical University Giani Zail Singh Campus.

Four college students suspended for eve-teasing
Bathinda, August 24
Taking serious note of eve-teasing and breaking discipline, four students of BA-second year were placed under suspension at Government Rajindra College.

Washer flees with Veer Colony residentís car
Bathinda, August 24
The police has booked a man for stealing a car on the pretext of washing it outside the house of the car owner.





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Sewerage board, corporation at loggerheads
Corporation picks holes in PWSSB figures; MCB accused of not making payments on time; Principal Secy takes officials to task
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
Principal Secretary, Local Bodies Department, Suresh Kumar today pulled up the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) for being an underachiever, as far as the implementation of sewer and water supply projects in Bathinda city was concerned.

The meeting witnessed several twists and turns as the officials of the Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCP) kept contradicting the figures and claims of the PWSSB officials of keeping the city clean and providing adequate water supply.

Sewer projects

Speaking about the sewer treatment plant (STP) being set up on Mansa road, MCB Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta claimed the plant would be ready by September 30. However, Managing Director, PWSSB, Sat Pal Angurala said the plant cannot be ready before December 31.

"Though 70 per cent of the work is complete, there are issues with the funds in completing the rest of the work. When the work was awarded to us, we were asked to get it done within a span of six months, which is impossible. No STP can be commissioned within such a short span of time," he said. Suresh Kumar assured that funds would be made available for the STP.

On the Rs 46 crore sewerage project being laid in Paras Ram Nagar, the MCB Commissioner said the disposal site has been identified and the land would soon be transferred from the Bathinda Development Authority (BDA) to the PWSSB. MD Angurala, however, added that it would take another 18 months for the project to get completed.

"The major bottleneck is that of sewer lines that are to run beneath the three railway crossings. During the meeting held at Chandigarh, the Municipal Commissioner had claimed that the corporation had deposited Rs 71 lakhs with the railways as per the specification, but no such amount has been deposited," Angurala added. He repeatedly raised the issue of the corporation not making payments on time.

Earlier, the MCB Commissioner had claimed that a plan worth Rs 119 crore has been prepared to provide sewer facility in areas along the Sirhind canal, Bangi Nagar and some other parts of the city. However, MD Angurala and XEN Daljit Singh punched holes in the claim saying the Board has not undertaken any feasibility study of the project.

The PWSSB claimed covering 85 per cent of the area "efficiently" under the sewer services. But the MCB Commissioner said 60 to 70 per cent of this sewer is choked. "Sewer is poorly maintained in the city. We had to rope in private firms to clear the blockage," he said.

Senior Deputy Mayor Tarsem Goyal said the PWSSB had neither the technique nor the plan or schedule to clean the sewer. "We have to face embarrassment in public because of it," he added.

Taking a serious view, Suresh Kumar asked the PWSSB to justify its lack of efficiency. MD Angurala said the main sewer in the city was deep, around 35 feet under the ground. "It is very difficult to clean such sewers. Moreover, the screening chambers installed in the sewer are also out of order and broken, which allows the garbage to reach the main sewer, thereby blocking it," he said.

Angurala accepted that the matter of broken chambers has never been reported to the corporation in writing. Suresh Kumar directed that in the next two months, a detailed project report (DPR) be prepared for laying the sewer in the remaining areas of the city.

Suresh Kumar suggested a four-point agenda to deal with the sewer problems:

(a) Mapping of 85 per cent area in the city that has sewer.

(b) Checking the existing pipelines, chambers, manholes for restoration and rehabilitation.

(c) Preparing of maintenance and operation charter and period of work.

(d) Completing the feasibility study for the Rs 119 crore project in three weeks.

Drinking water supply

PWSSB claimed to cover 90 per cent of the population under the drinking water project, while the corporation said the figure was at 45 per cent. Corporation officials said of the 65,000 households in the city, only 28,238 had water connections.

During the meeting, it came to notice that more than 50 per cent water connections in the city were illegal and of this, only five per cent were paying taxes.

MCB Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta said a special campaign was launched to motivate people to get their connections regularized but only 1600 had availed of the facility. Now, four teams have been formed that have collected a penalty of Rs 1 lakh so far. "We will not be able to meet the Rs 7 lakh target set for collecting revenue through this," added Gupta. Suresh Kumar pulled up the MC officials saying it was lack of enforcement that has resulted in people not paying taxes.

The Senior Deputy Mayor and the Municipal Commissioner pointed there were distribution problems owing to the topography of the city. PWSSB had demanded Rs 22.87 crore for providing water supply to these areas also, which Suresh Kumar said, will be granted.

Replying to Suresh Kumar's query on providing 100 per cent water supply, MD Angurala said it could be done in the next two years. PWSSB was directed to prepare a mega water project that could provide city water round-the-clock for the next 20 years. The Board has been asked to submit the feasibility report by September 15.

Solid waste management

Poor collection of garbage remained a bone of contention between the JITF Urban Waster Management and MCB officials. The Municipal Commissioner said garbage littered outside the bins was not being picked up.

JITF officials reasoned that as per the agreement, the company was supposed to pick garbage littered outside the bins after every three days. "However, we are doing this daily," he claimed, showing photos of the bins with garbage littered around.

However, JITF officials claimed they have improved the collection system and are now collecting 140 tonnes of garbage as compared to 87 tonnes collected a few months ago.

JITF official said the corporation was not providing them with a route map to collect the garbage with which they could synchronize their garbage lifting procedure. "We have been repeatedly demanding data for bins distributed in various wards, but there is no word. There is no set pattern in assigning work to the garbage collectors. At one point, one garbage collector has been assigned 50 houses and in another area, the number is much more. Rationalization is urgently needed," Gupta pointed out.

Suresh Kumar directed that the timing of dumping garbage by the corporation should be synchronized with its picking up by the JITF officials. 

Quotable quotes of Suresh Kumar

Bathinde waleyan nu kamm karan di aadat nahin, while discussing the city development plan (CDP).

System is capable of delivering but we are not doing it.

For heaven's sake, stop being corrupt. No one should be harassed over petty issues like water and sewer connections, passing map, birth and death certificates.

I don't want anyone to compel me to take action for indulging in corruption.

No violation of Right to Service Act would be allowed.

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Rain brings some respite from heat
Tribune News Service

A car makes its way through the accumulated rainwater on Goniana road in Bathinda on Friday.
A car makes its way through the accumulated rainwater on Goniana road in Bathinda on Friday. Tribune photos: Pawan Sharma

A woman tries to shield herself from the rain even as her co-passenger gets wet in the shower.
A woman tries to shield herself from the rain even as her co-passenger gets wet in the shower. Tribune photos: Pawan Sharma

Bathinda, August 24
Bathinda city today witnessed showers in the evening that lit up the faces of the people who had been battling heat and humidity for several days now. Though rains were reported from several parts of Punjab, Bathinda and its adjoining areas were mostly dry barring a few scattered spells of showers.

Some villages in the nearby areas of Goniana and Bhagta Bhaika, however, did not receive the showers and regretted that their areas had remained dry. Villages near Bhucho Mandi received rainfall for over an hour leading to accumulation of water on some link roads.

Villagers in the surrounding areas said they got respite from the high temperature as the cool breeze without the rains rendered a soothing effect on the people and was good for their crops and vegetables.

Farmers said rains are good for all crops for the next one week but after that, it may start harming the paddy crop which will reach a flowering stage within the next few days or so.

While low-lying areas in the city witnessed accumulation of water, children were seen drenched in the rain, enjoying themselves in the puddles that had formed outside their homes.

However, because of the less quantum of rainfall in the city, the waterlogging of streets has so far not disrupted traffic to a great extent.

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Residents oppose sale of park land
Councillor says the issue has to be first approved by the general house of MCB
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Residents of Ajit road  meet Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary, Local Bodies, for the redressal of their grievance.
Residents of Ajit road  meet Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary, Local Bodies, for the redressal of their grievance. Photos: Bhupinder dhillon

Bathinda, August 24
Residents of Ajit Road and adjoining areas have opposed the efforts of the Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCB) to sell off 450 square yards of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Park, located in street number 17 of the locality.

Irate residents met Mayor Baljit Singh Birbehman today demanding that the park (2000 square yards), which has been there for the last 25 years, should not be handed over to private parties. The park is the only means of recreation for around 15,000 people living in the area.

As per the records of the department, a resident, Sukhpal Singh, had given an application stating that when the land was acquired for the park, his 450 square yards was wrongly included in it.

He moved an application claiming back his land first in 2007 and again in December 2011. The matter has been pending with XEN Tirath Ram.

On Thursday, Municipal Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta pulled up XEN Tirath Ram for not disposing of the matter in favour of the applicant. Irate over this, Tirath Ram applied for long leave protesting against the municipal commissioner's behaviour and said he cannot dispose of the matter till it is passed in the general house meeting of the corporation.

He also reasoned that the boundary walls of the park cannot be demolished without an estimate being prepared.

Sources said the land has even been demarcated on the municipal commissioner's order. "He is no one to adjudicate in the demarcation as it can be done only by the revenue officials or on the orders of the civil court. This was being done silently without taking anyone else into confidence," he added.

A local resident, Bagga Singh, alleged that even the Mayor, local councillor and other municipal officials were not aware of the municipal commissioner giving away prime land to private persons.

Sources added that the said piece of land was bought in 1977. The present claimant of the land took the mukhtiarnama (power of attorney) in 2007 and moved an application before the commissioner on its basis.

"The matter has to be first brought in the general house before initiating any such step. None of us were informed about this," said the municipal councillor of the area, Harmandar Singh.

A delegation of the residents met the Principal Secretary, Local Bodies Department, Suresh Kumar, who was in the city to attend a meeting. The residents demanded that matter should be enquired into and the guilty official be taken to task.

Fact file

The Municipal Corporation plans to sell off 450 square yards of the 2000 square yard Sahibzada Ajit Singh Park, located in street number 17 of Ajit road.

As per the records, a resident, Sukhpal Singh, had stated that when the land was acquired for the park, his 450 square yards was wrongly included in it.

He moved an application claiming back his land first in 2007 and again in December 2011.

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Bathinda on firm footing
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
Bathinda is in a commanding position with a score of 519 for eight wickets against Sangrur on the inaugural day of the Punjab State Inter District match for Katoch Shield of Plate Group played at the grounds of Police Public School here.

A partnership of 315 runs between Manil Bajaj (165) and captain Maninder Singh (140) helped Bathinda reach the commanding position.

Parminder Walia scored 81 runs off 52 balls. Harpreet scored 55 runs while Gurjant Singh chipped in with a knock of 37.

Muzamil and Harvinder took two wickets each for 91 runs and 63 runs, respectively. Azam, Amandeep and Ygkaran took one wicket each by conceding 65, 85 and 117 runs, respectively.

OD Sharma, who is convener of the tournament for plate group, said 14 districts of Punjab were participating in the tournament.

Districts have been divided into two groups. Group A comprises Bathinda, Sangrur, Mansa, Barnala, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar districts while Group B has Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthla, Navashahar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Moga and Ropar districts. The winners of two pools would clash for the final.

Players of any age can play in this tournament provided they fulfill the conditions laid down by the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) to represent a district.

Bathinda shall be hosting three matches.

The other two matches will be played against Mansa on August 26 and August 27. Barnala and Bathinda will clash on August 29 and August 30.

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Beauty clinic to come up in city
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
As a part of the wellness venture, the Nagpal group is on Sunday launching infra-red bath, medispa and a package of beauty techniques.

According to Dr TS Nagpal, the concept offers a holistic service taking care of beauty, hair, health, mind and body under one roof.

The launching would be marked with a beauty art show for which participants are being sculptured in the beauty center.

Nagpal said that latest techniques would be applied to provide quality services of international standards to the clients.

The unit has a slimming zone, medispa zone, anti-ageing club, health care zone and bridal make-up, he added.

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Lecture on energy efficient buildings held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
Jeet Kumar Gupta, vice-president of the Indian Institute of Architects, Mumbai, and a former director of the College of Architecture, IET Bhadal, delivered an expert lecture on energy efficient buildings and cities in India at the Department of Architecture, Punjab Technical University Giani Zail Singh Campus.

He elaborated on the role of sustainable cities in modern India and emphasised on developing green buildings to make cities more sustainable. He discussed the main features of green buildings in the world and their role in environment.

Gupta said there was a dire need to preserve the environment and natural resources for future generations. The role of architects and planners in buildings and city planning was stressed upon.

Campus director Dr JS Hundal appreciated the efforts of students in organising expert lectures.

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Four college students suspended for eve-teasing
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
Taking serious note of eve-teasing and breaking discipline, four students of BA-second year were placed under suspension at Government Rajindra College.

The students, Paramjit Singh, Jagjit, Sanjeev and Jaswant were suspended for teasing some girls in the college.

College principal Vijay Goyal said the boys were suspended on the complaint of a girl student of the college.

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Washer flees with Veer Colony residentís car
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
The police has booked a man for stealing a car on the pretext of washing it outside the house of the car owner.

In a complaint to the police, Vijay Kumar of Veer Colony said he had hired the accused, Vikas of Gopal Nagar, as driver but he left the job few months ago. However, he returned one day and offered to do car washing, for which he would charge Rs 300 per month.

Vijay agreed to the offer. But one day, he was shocked to find both the washer and the car missing. The matter was brought to the notice of the police.

A case was registered under Section 379 of the IPC at the Kotwali police station against the accused for stealing the Maruti car bearing the registration number of Mansa.

Motorcycle stolen

A resident of Badal village in Muktsar has lodged a complaint with the police that unidentified persons stole his bike from outside the sports stadium, Bathinda.

The complainant, Hardeep Singh, said the approximate worth of his bike was Rs 30,000.

A case has been registered.

Wheat stolen from Nehianwala godown

In a complaint to the police, one Hardeep Singh of Ganga village stated that thieves took away 62 bags of wheat worth Rs 30,000 lying in the Nehianwala godown after breaking the iron grill of the godown. A case has been registered.

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