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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Panel suggests changes in pond land use
Bathinda, August 27
The pond located behind the DAV College where rainwater accumulates. The sub-committee of the general house of the Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCB), formed to discuss the fate of the pond located behind the DAV College, where rainwater from various parts of the city accumulates, met today

The pond located behind the DAV College where rainwater accumulates. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Revised licence fee list passed 
Bathinda, August 27
The sub-committee, constituted by the Municipal Corporation Bathinda to decide the licence fees for various commercial establishments in the city, has passed the revised list.

Youth Cong leader held with illegal arms
Bathinda, August 27
The Canal Colony police today claimed to have arrested five persons with illegal weapons. The accused have been identified as Kulvir Singh of Naruana who is the president of the Youth Congress (Rural), Amandeep of Ubba village, Jagmeet of Ghudda village and two persons from Kotshamir village, both named Paramjit.


EARLIER STORIES



Poor groundwater quality affecting soil health, crops
Bathinda, August 27
The poor quality of groundwater is adversely affecting the soil health as well as the crops in the district. As per the details provided by the agricultural experts and scientists, the badly affected fields are mostly in the villages falling under the Sangat, Talwandi Sabo and Bathinda blocks.

A rice plant affected by the leaf folder bug. Leaf folder bug bugs paddy farmers
Bathinda, August 27
Leaf folder bug has intensified its attack on paddy crop in the fields that failed to witness rains. The attack has led to rise in the input cost of farming as paddy growers are shelling out more money on buying and spraying pesticides.

A rice plant affected by the leaf folder bug. A file photo

Nirogi scheme open to yellow card holders
Bathinda, August 27
The yellow card-holder below poverty line (BPL) families can now avail of benefits to the tune of Rs 1.50 lakh, under the Nirogi Scheme of the state government.

Food & supplies pensioners meet
Bathinda, August 27
A meeting of the Food and Supplies Pensioners Welfare Association was held today wherein members of the body highlighted their various pending demands.

Going the wrong way

Throwing traffic rules to the wind, five young boys ride a bike near Hanuman Chowk in Bathinda on Monday. The politically-active city is no stranger to such violations.
Throwing traffic rules to the wind, five young boys ride a bike near Hanuman Chowk in Bathinda on Monday. The politically-active city is no stranger to such violations. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

40 students get aid under govts book grant scheme
Bathinda, August 27
Students of the Government Polytechnic College were distributed cheques under the book grant scheme. The principal of the college, Yadwinder Singh, distributed the cheques to enable students to read and learn more. He said every year, the Punjab State Technical Education Board gives book grant to meritorious students.

Ex-servicemen to support BKUs rail roko stir
Bathinda, August 27
The Ex-servicemen Welfare Union, Punjab, today announced to extend support to the rail roko agitations to be held by 17 farmer and labourer unions across Punjab on September 5.

Three of family booked for demanding dowry
Bathinda, August 27
Three members of a family have been charged with demanding dowry. In a complaint to the police, Sukhdeep Kaur of Lehra Mohabbat village accused her in-laws of demanding dowry from her. She alleged that the family members harassed her for not bringing enough dowry.

Three booked in Goniana rape case
Bathinda, August 27
Police have booked three persons including an unidentified man for raping a minor belonging to Guru Nanak Nagar, Goniana. The accused Gora and Charanjit, both residents of Balar Mehma village, besides an unidentified person, have been accused of kidnapping the girl and keeping her at a farmhouse for two days since Saturday. The girl's father alleged she was kidnapped from outside her house and raped at the farm.

Three held for eve-teasing
Bathinda, August 27
Cantonment police arrested two boys for eve-teasing outside a private school in the Model Town area. A man who was aiding the boys was also arrested by the police. Cantonment SHO Kuldeep Singh said the boys were found teasing the girls outside the school. The boys realized their mistake and gave in writing to the police that if caught the next time, a case may be registered against them.


Covered in cloud

A panoramic view of the city from the historic Bathinda Fort. Though the city did not experience rains on Monday, the sun continued to play hide and seek. The clouds wafting in the sky added to the pleasant weather.
A panoramic view of the city from the historic Bathinda Fort. Though the city did not experience rains on Monday, the sun continued to play hide and seek. The clouds wafting in the sky added to the pleasant weather. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma







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Panel suggests changes in pond land use
 MCB sub-committee discusses proposal for residential-cum commercial venture in the area; seeks clarity in technical details
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
The sub-committee of the general house of the Municipal Corporation Bathinda (MCB), formed to discuss the fate of the pond located behind the DAV College, where rainwater from various parts of the city accumulates, met today

The sub-committee was to deliberate on the plans of the Improvement Trust to convert the 11.78 acres of pond land into a residential-cum-commercial venture, the proposal for which was passed in principle during a meeting of the general house convened on July 9. The officials of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) had stated in their report that the water in the pond's catchment area could be diverted into a collection tank built over an acre of land. This water can then be siphoned off into the main sewer using pumps.

However, many members of the general house of the MCB had voiced their concern over containing the water spread over 11.78 acres of land on to a mere one acre. Thereafter, the sub-committee was formed to look into the technical details.

The sub-committee at its meeting today, called the XEN, PWSSB and the XEN, Improvement Trust, to present a detailed report. "The XEN, Improvement Trust, was asked to appear with the resolution that was passed by the Trust for acquiring the pond land as well as the proposal under which it plans to develop such a large portion of land," said Senior Deputy Mayor Tarsem Goyal.

The members of the sub-committee proposed that the area of the collection tank be increased to two acres from one acre and an additional acre be given for seepage purposes that could be developed as green belt.

Members of the MCB general house had said that besides the park and the community centre included in the scheme, a senior citizens' home should also come up on the said piece of land. Meanwhile, the XEN, PWSSB, has been asked to collect the data of rainfall in the last ten years and calculate the volume of water that accumulates in the pond on an annual basis. "The volume of water collected would be studied vis--vis the capacity of the motors to pump it and the time it would take to do so," said another member. The XEN has also been asked to mention the dimensions of the tank that the PWSSB has planned to construct on the land. The next meeting of the sub-committee has been tentatively planned for September 3.

The sub-committee comprises Mayor Baljit Singh Birbehman as the chairman besides Senior Deputy Mayor Tarsem Goyal and municipal councillors Gurinder Kaur Mangat, Iqbal S Dhillon, Harmandar Singh, Inder Lal, Mithu Ram Gupta and Gurinder Kaur. Municipal Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta and Assistant Commissioner Kamal Kant were also present at the meeting.

Fact file

* The pond is around 15 feet deep and is 50-60 years old.

* Rainwater from nearby areas, having a population of 25,000, accumulates in this pond as the area does not have any other alternative arrangement for draining out the rainwater.

* In his letter written to the Collector, Bathinda, on June 13, the XEN, PWSSB had stated that the entire water of the catchment area could be accumulated in a collection tank spread over an acre of land. The XEN stated that the PWSSB has no objections to developing a residential-cum-commercial area on this land provided one acre of land is left for the tank.

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Revised licence fee list passed 
 Banks, units dealing in items like sugar, tobacco, alcohol to pay more
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
The sub-committee, constituted by the Municipal Corporation Bathinda to decide the licence fees for various commercial establishments in the city, has passed the revised list.
Mayor Baljit Singh Birbehman chairs a meeting of the MCB panel.
Mayor Baljit Singh Birbehman chairs a meeting of the MCB panel. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma 

The sub-committee increased the fees for money minting units that deal in items like sugar, alcohol, tobacco, sanitary fittings and ghee etc. At the same time, the fees for smaller units like blacksmith shops were reduced.

The meeting of the sub-committee was presided over by Mayor Baljit Singh Birbehman. Other members of the committee included municipal councillors Rajinder Mittal, Nirmal Sandhu, Rajinder Sidhu, Anjana Rani, Municipal Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kamal Kant, the legal advisor to the Corporation and the licence superintendent, among others.

During the meeting, the councillors asked the officials of the corporation to ensure that members of the public do not face any harassment in getting the licences prepared and renewed.

Officials of the Corporation said the issue is not to collect revenue. The licence fees are so minimal that it would not amount to any major revenue inflow for the Corporation, they added.

The maximum licence fees of Rs 1,000 has been imposed on the banks in the city. All smaller units are to be charged Rs 100 to Rs 500 per year.

"Enlisting all traders together will go a long way in using the consolidated data for planning purposes. At times, there are schemes of the state and central governments that are given on the basis of particular number of industrial and occupational units," said Municipal Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta.

The members of the sub-committee also discussed appointing more employees in the Corporation to deal with the licensing work. "Licensing would involve a lot of field work and survey. After all, one person can deal with a maximum of ten licences a day," reasoned a committee member.

The Municipal Commissioner said as of now, there were no plans to recruit more people. "The government is recruiting and we hope to get a handful of employees," he added.

Licensing units have been categorised as per the places where work is done like packing, cleaning, bottling, polishing, processing of different products and the industrial units of various sizes.

Fact file
Applications for new licences or renewal of the existing ones would be accepted from March 1 to March 15 every year.

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Youth Cong leader held with illegal arms
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
The Canal Colony police today claimed to have arrested five persons with illegal weapons. The accused have been identified as Kulvir Singh of Naruana who is the president of the Youth Congress (Rural), Amandeep of Ubba village, Jagmeet of Ghudda village and two persons from Kotshamir village, both named Paramjit.

Canal police station in-charge UC Chawla said a revolver, five cartridges and a Bolero jeep have been recovered from the possession of the accused.

Chawla said the accused are farmers and possess land for farming. They were found carrying the weapons without any valid documents or authority. They were arrested during patrolling by the policemen in their area.

The SHO said the accused are facing various criminal charges including a case of 307 under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) registered against them. 

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Poor groundwater quality affecting soil health, crops
 Sangat, Talwandi Sabo & Bathinda blocks bear the brunt; experts say grow crops that need less water
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Too much of sodium chloride and sulphate in the groundwater is affecting the paddy crop in the district.
Too much of sodium chloride and sulphate in the groundwater is affecting the paddy crop in the district. Photo by writer

Bathinda, August 27
The poor quality of groundwater is adversely affecting the soil health as well as the crops in the district. As per the details provided by the agricultural experts and scientists, the badly affected fields are mostly in the villages falling under the Sangat, Talwandi Sabo and Bathinda blocks.

"We call it sodic problem as there is an excess of sodium carbonate and bi-carbonate in the groundwater of these villages. Villages in Nathana, Rampura and Phul blocks have sodium chloride and sulphate in abundance which is creating problems for the soil," said Jatinder Brar, in-charge of the Farm Advisory Service Scheme (FASS).

Brar said water is the major input for enhancing crop productivity and the contaminated water is the main hurdle in growing vegetables, fruits and various crops in the area these days. He said the absence of groundwater recharging and its excessive use has lead to the depletion of the water table at an alarming rate.

Farmers in villages adjoining Bathinda said the effect of salt accumulation is witnessed in the standing paddy crop. "The leaves of the paddy crop are turning black and dry from the top due to the accumulation of salt. The high concentration of salt does not allow the plant to grow and it reduces the per acre yield from 15 to 20 per cent," said a progressive farmer, Jagtar Brar, near Goniana.

Brar said repeated attempts to get rid of the problem by using various agro-chemicals failed to help them. "The only way out is to use the canal water or to change over to other crops that need less water instead of paddy," Jagtar Brar said. He said the insufficient uptake of nutrients in the presence of the salty groundwater has affected the overall productivity of the crops as most of the soil is irrigated with brackish water. Continuous use of poor groundwater to irrigate the fields has resulted in a decline in soil quality in the area.

However, experts say farmers may overcome the problem by applying green manure or farmyard manure and by incorporating the paddy residues of paddy. "Till now, we have no satisfactory machine to incorporate the crop residue in the fields, compelling the farmers to burn the paddy stubble. Farmers are advised to follow the instructions on the Leaf Colour Chart, which can prove instrumental in ascertaining the quantity of fertilizers," said Jatinder Brar.

Experts said brackish water is used for irrigation due to lack of adequate canal water and most of the farmers have to depend upon the groundwater which is pumped out to irrigate their fields.

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Leaf folder bug bugs paddy farmers
Fields that received scanty rainfall under attack; farmers spending more on pesticides
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
Leaf folder bug has intensified its attack on paddy crop in the fields that failed to witness rains. The attack has led to rise in the input cost of farming as paddy growers are shelling out more money on buying and spraying pesticides.

Villages near Goniana Mandi, Beerbehman, Behman Diwana, Mehma Sawai and others did not experience rains and the rise in humidity provided favourable condition for the growth of the bug.

The bug enters the leaf of the plant and starts eating it. It otherwise fell off the plant during rains.

Farmers can get rid of the bug in the beginning by spraying pesticides, but it becomes quite difficult to control when it multiplies on getting favourable weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Chief Agriculture Officer Rajinder Brar said farmers should not panic in the areas where healthy rain had been witnessed as it helped in getting rid of the leaf folder bug on paddy crop as well as white fly on the cotton crop.

"Crops in villages that received scanty or no rainfall are being attacked. However, farmers could restrain the attack by using chlorpyrifos and quinalphos pesticides on the crops after consulting farming experts," Brar said.

A farmer at Beerbehman village, Bhupinder Sidhu, said 80 per cent of crop on his 50 acres was under the leaf folder attack. He said the affect of the bug was more on the early sown varieties as compared to the late-sown ones.

"While PAU-recommended pesticides fail to kill the bug, it was controlled to a great extent by a costly agro-chemical available in the market," Bhupinder said. He added that the farm input cost had increased by nearly Rs 450 per acre as farmers sprayed pesticides to get rid of the bug.

A labourer was charging Rs 150 for spraying pesticide on an acre. He said the problem aggravated during the past one week.

A farmer from Mehma Sawai village, Harmeet Singh, who has 32 acres of agricultural land, said he managed to control the bug at the early stage by spraying pesticides. Otherwise, he could have suffered a loss of 15 to 25 per cent yield per acre.

He said problem aggravates if not controlled at its initial stage.

Agriculture experts have suggested farmers to consult the experts to deal with the bug attack.

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Nirogi scheme open to yellow card holders
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
The yellow card-holder below poverty line (BPL) families can now avail of benefits to the tune of Rs 1.50 lakh, under the Nirogi Scheme of the state government.

In a press release issued here today, Civil Surgeon Dr Ajay Sahni said the scheme covered treatment for heart ailments, cancer, kidney problems, AIDS, brain tumour, thalassaemia, heart surgery and dialysis besides major surgery of bone or artificial limb fixation, and bone marrow transplant.

Further, the Civil Surgeon said even diagnostic tests like ultrasound, Doppler, CT Scan, angiography and MRI could be covered under the scheme.

Patients could also claim benefit under the scheme in the cases of medicines for ailments like tuberculosis; burn injuries; blood and blood components.

The beneficiary can show a copy of the yellow card or the ration card issued to his family or his Voter ID card at the place where he or she wants to avail of the facility and obtain an estimate form from doctors at the medical institution.

The Civil Surgeon added that a complete case file could be submitted to the deputy medical commissioner, room number 209, second floor, new OPD, Civil Hospital. To get further information, patients can contact on the phone number 0164-2217180, the Civil Surgeon said.

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Food & supplies pensioners meet
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
A meeting of the Food and Supplies Pensioners Welfare Association was held today wherein members of the body highlighted their various pending demands.

They demanded implementation of pay grade from January 1, 2006, instead of October 1, 2011; monthly meeting of the pensioners should be convened by the District Food Supplies Controller; and that deduction on medical bills should be stopped.

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40 students get aid under govts book grant scheme
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
Students of the Government Polytechnic College were distributed cheques under the book grant scheme. The principal of the college, Yadwinder Singh, distributed the cheques to enable students to read and learn more. He said every year, the Punjab State Technical Education Board gives book grant to meritorious students.

At Bathinda college, 40 meritorious students were given the grant.

He added that under the state government's scheme, 31 students of institute were given a waiver of tution fees amounting to Rs 22,000 while 35 were given a waiver of Rs 11000.

Yadwinder said the students from scheduled caste section, whose parents' annual income is below Rs 1 lakh, were given post matric scholarship under which they get 100 per cent fee waiver.

Similar provisions are also available for students from backward classes. 

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agitation across punjab on Sept 5
Ex-servicemen to support BKUs rail roko stir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
The Ex-servicemen Welfare Union, Punjab, today announced to extend support to the rail roko agitations to be held by 17 farmer and labourer unions across Punjab on September 5.

In a press release issued here, the president of the union, Bhagwant Singh, said the union was joining hands with kisans and mazdoors in the rail roko agitation to be held for three hours between 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm.

The main stations where trains would be stopped in Punjab are Rajpura, Phillaur, Chhanjali (Sangrur), Barnala, Mansa, Rampura, Gidderbaha, Fazilka, Moga and Patti (Amritsar). The places in Gurdaspur and Ferozepur are yet to be decided.

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Library opened
Bathinda, August 27
DC KK Yadav inaugurated the new building of the Lala Sant Ram Memorial Library near Tehsil complex here today. Prominent city residents and local politicians were present. TNS

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Three of family booked for demanding dowry
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
Three members of a family have been charged with demanding dowry. In a complaint to the police, Sukhdeep Kaur of Lehra Mohabbat village accused her in-laws of demanding dowry from her. She alleged that the family members harassed her for not bringing enough dowry.

The police has booked Talwinder Singh, his mother Manjeet Kaur, and sister Gurpal Kaur, all residents of Chak Fateh Singh Wala. A case under Sections 498-A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against the accused at the woman police station.

Two booked for beating

Two persons have been booked for beating up a resident of Rampura village over a land dispute.

In a complaint to the police, one Sukhdev Singh stated that he was attacked by Avtar Singh and Harpal Singh, who were brothers and residents of Mandi Kalan village.

The complainant stated that the accused attacked him following a dispute over a piece of land.

A case under Sections 325, 323 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against the accused at the Balianwali police station.

Two killed in accident

Two persons lost their lives in an accident occurred near Bhai Bakhtaur village.

The victims, identified as Jeewan Kumar and Salim Khan, were riding a bike that was hit by a speeding school van. They were rushed to a nearby hospital where doctors declared them dead.

Jeewan's father Satpal, the complainant in the case, said his son along with his friend were on the way to Bathinda from Mansa when the school van hit their motorcycle.

A case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against the unidentified driver of the school van at the Maur Mandi police station.

Woman booked for cheating

The police has booked Jaspal Kaur, a resident of Nathana, for duping a resident of Dhipali village of Rs 5 lakh.

In a complaint to the police, Devinder Singh said the accused cheated his daughter-in-law over the pretext of sending her to New Zealand and pocketed Rs 5 lakh.

He said the accused was the aunt of his daughter-in-law and instead of sending her to New Zealand, she sent her to Cyprus.

The police has arrested the accused and a case under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered at the Nathana police station.

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Three booked in Goniana rape case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
Police have booked three persons including an unidentified man for raping a minor belonging to Guru Nanak Nagar, Goniana. The accused Gora and Charanjit, both residents of Balar Mehma village, besides an unidentified person, have been accused of kidnapping the girl and keeping her at a farmhouse for two days since Saturday. The girl's father alleged she was kidnapped from outside her house and raped at the farm.

A case has been registered by the police after getting the medical examination of the girl conducted.

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Three held for eve-teasing

Bathinda, August 27
Cantonment police arrested two boys for eve-teasing outside a private school in the Model Town area. A man who was aiding the boys was also arrested by the police. Cantonment SHO Kuldeep Singh said the boys were found teasing the girls outside the school. The boys realized their mistake and gave in writing to the police that if caught the next time, a case may be registered against them.

It may be mentioned that Punjab Education Minister Sikandar Singh Maluka has already instructed the authorities to keep a tab on unscrupulous elements roaming around the schools and teasing girls. TNS

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