Friday, June 26, 2015

Punjab's highways to death

,TNN | Jun 24, 2015

CHANDIGARH: Punjab's killer highways don't even remotely qualify for the worldwide description of 'forgiving' roads that have the capacity to condone the driver's mistakes with their impeccable engineering. On the contrary, loaded with 400 black spots, both national and state highways ensure that the driver pays with someone's life the moment he blinks for fraction of a second.

As many as 4,863 lives were lost in 6,500 road accidents in Punjab during 2013-14, as per the last National Crime Records Bureau report.

An analysis of road accidents by Punjab Governance Reforms Commission, which has finalized the Punjab state road safety policy, reveals that six major cities of Punjab — Patiala, SAS Nagar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Bathinda — account for roughly 50% of the total accidents in the state.

Death of former Indian women hockey team captain and coach Shashi Bala and three others on the killer highway Ropar-Nawanshahr-Phagwara on Sunday has again highlighted the need for addressing the problem.

Dr Kamaljit Soi, road safety expert and former vice-chairman of Punjab State Road Safety Council, said there is no justification for not treating the black spots in all these years. "In most cases, the excuse of lack of budgetary allocation does not hold water and all that is required is small changes in the alignment of roads to make an unsuspecting driver aware of a dangerous patch ahead. One tends to be less doubtful while driving on a highway," he said.

The present road fatality death rate per lakh population in Punjab is 12 compared to 12.8 of India and 24 of Haryana. Punjab has total of 62,298 kms of road network and state highways claim a high share of 46% of fatal accidents.

Harman Singh Sidhu, member of Punjab Road Safety Council, says, "It starts with lack of transport planning in the first place. New colonies are constructed, mostly by private builders and they conveniently connect the main gate to the existing highway".

"Roads like NH1 is under construction for years, there are short stretches of good road and suddenly (without any warning) a hazardous under-construction zone. The dangerous trend of constructing bypasses and then developing residential complexes along these roads is being witnessed in Zirakpur, Mohali, Kharar and Panchkula," he said.

Figures procured by road safety activists in the state reveal that the state government has not just failed in treating even the black spots identified five years ago, it has failed on the count of enforcement as well. Challaning for offences like overspeeding is limited to the two districts of Jalandhar and Ludhiana, most of the alcometers are non-functional and there are not enough cops to check traffic offences across Punjab.

"There is need to look at risky corridors instead of merely killer black spots in the state as most stretches of national and state highways need to be made safer in the state," said Navdeep Asija, who has been traffic advisor to Punjab 
government.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

PUNJAB TO ORGANISE STATE-LEVEL FUNCTIONS IN AMRITSAR, FAZILKA

The Punjab Government has decided to organise State-level functions to mark the International Day of Yoga on June 21 at Amritsar and Fazilka from 7 to 7.35 am. "Union Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani would preside over these functions at Amritsar and Fazilka respectively," said a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's office. 

Meanwhile, the State Government has issued instructions to all the Deputy Commissioners in the state to organize such functions at district, sub-division and block level in their respective districts to celebrate the International Day of Yoga on June 21.

The state Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal has asked the Deputy Commissioners to hold these functions in association with local officers of departments of Sports and Youth Services, School Education, Health and Family Welfare and Rural Development and Panchayats.

Likewise, the state government has also issued instructions to all the Heads of Departments to elicit the participation of all the officers or officials stationed at headquarters in the International Day of Yoga at Sports Complex, Sector-78, Mohali.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Appointment as Traffic Advisor by Punjab and Haryana High Court


Court on its own motion Versus State of Punjab & Ors.

CM-13783-CWP-2014 in CWP-7500-2010 (O&M);
along with CWP Nos.10655, 17530 & 18390 of 2010 (O&M)

******
Present: Ms. Reeta Kohli, Senior Advocate – Amicus Curiae with
Ms. Harpreet Athwal, Advocate
Mr. GS Wasu, Addl. AG Haryana
Mr. Aman Bahri, Addl. AG Punjab
Mr. Sanjiv Ghai, Advocate for MC Chandigarh
Mr. Aman Sharma, Advocate for PUDA
Mr. Chetan Mittal, Assistant Solicitor General with
Mr. Arun Gosain, Advocate for Union of India
Mr. Mohnish Sharma, Advocate for respondent No.17
Mr. Lokesh Sinhal, Advocate for respondent No.18
******
Having been apprised of the scope of work to be entrusted to the Traffic Advisor, even if such appointment is made in the Police Department, Mr. Asija has agreed to accept the offer made by the State of Punjab. As an abundant precaution, we clarify that assignment of Traffic Advisor given to Mr. Asija shall not remain restricted qua the activities in the Police Department only and he shall be at liberty to send recommendations/render advice to various other Departments, like the followings, who are equally involved in dealing with the cause of traffic management in the

State of Punjab:-
i. Department of Local Bodies;
ii. Department of Town & Country Planning;
iii. PUDA/GLADA;
iv. Department of Transportation;
v. Department of PWD(B&R);
vi. State Police/Punjab Police;
vii. Punjab Infrastructure Development Board;
viii. Punjab Infrastructure Regulatory Authority.

Mr. Asija may give suggestions with reference to the assignment given to him, on the next date of hearing. 

As regard Gurgaon, counsel for HUDA and learned Additional AG Haryana undertake to file additional affidavit along with site plan as well as the imagination view of the proposed 16- lane road being constructed by HUDA and DLF. Post again on 14.08.2015.

Photocopy of this order be placed on the record of other connected matters.

(Surya Kant)
Judge


(Ajay Tewari)
Judge

15.05.2015 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Have woman attendants in buses: HC

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court asked the UT administration and the Haryana government to ensure presence of a woman attendant in schools buses on Friday, three days after a private school bus conductor was arrested for molesting a five-year-old girl in Chandigarh.

The court also asked the authorities to ensure school buses have automated doors to guarantee the safety of schoolchildren.

The directions would be implemented in schools affiliated to the Central Board of School Education (CBSE).

When the matter related to unsafe school buses in the region came up for hearing before Justice Rajive Bhalla, he asked the counsels for Punjab, Haryana and UT administration about the deployment of woman attendants.

The court made these observations referring to the recent incident of molestation. Navdeep Asija, road safety expert from Punjab, had also raised the issue before the bench.

Responding to the query from the court, Punjab additional advocate general Rajinder Goyal informed Punjab already has a provision of woman attendant in its "Safe School Vahan Policy". Goyal also submitted an affidavit of state transport commissioner informing about school buses with automated doors that would move only if they were properly shut.

Justice Bhalla then asked the UT administration as well as the Haryana government to make such provisions.

The case was fixed for May 27 for further hearing.

The order has come in the wake of a suo motu cognizance taken by the high court on the accidents that were taking place in both the state owing to unsafe school buses. On January 16, the high court had directed district transport officers (DTOs) and motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs) to personally supervise/inspect school buses and issue a certificate confirming that they were as per standards set in by the Supreme Court and in 'Safe School Vahan Policy'. This certificate would be prominently displayed on school buses. The high court had also directed the states to ensure children were not transported in school buses that do not have valid school bus permit.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pb govt takes anti-waterlogging measures in Punjab

Muktsar, May 10 (PTI) The Punjab government has undertaken various remedial measures to tackle the problem of water-logging in the districts of Muktsar and Fazilka, an official said here today.

The drainage administration of Irrigation department this year has taken up anti-water-logging and flood protection work amounting to Rs 200 crore in the districts of Muktsar and Fazilka, he said.

The work includes cleaning and strengthening of drains, sub-surface drainage system, laying of lift schemes, removal of various obstructions on drains by constructing bridges, field paths and other cross-drainage works, he said.

K S Pannu, Secretary Irrigation, along with Anil Sood, Chief Engineer/Drainage and S S Grewal, Chief Engineer/Canals today reviewed the progress of anti-water-logging measures with officers of Drainage and Canal administration in Gidderbaha, he said.

During the course of review, the chief engineer/Canal was asked to remain vigilant and to take advantage of the meteorological forecast to regulate the release of water in the canals during the rainy season with a view to ensuring effective flood control measures.

The secretary irrigation informed that effective on-line monitoring system of all the work being undertaken in the department has been introduced and officers were asked to update the progress of work online on daily basis.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Gandhi, Cities and Salman...

Where there is machinery, there are large cities; and where there are large cities, there are tram-cars and railways; and there only does one see electric light. Honest physicians will tell you that where means of artificial locomotion (mainly personal motor transport vehicle) have increased, the health of the people has suffered.I cannot recall a single good point in connection with machinery. If the machinery craze grows in our country, it will become an unhappy land (1908)

The half a dozen modern cities are an excrescence and serve at the present moment the evil purpose of draining the life-blood of the villages. The cities with their insolent torts are a constant menace to the life and liberty of the villagers. (17-3-1927)

We may not be deceived by the wealth to be seen in the cities of India. It comes from the blood of the poorest. (30-6-1934)

This displacement of village labour is impoverishing the villagers and enriching the moneyed men. If the process continues sufficiently long, the villagers will be destroyed without any further effort. No Chengis Khan could devise a more ingenious or more profitable method of destroying these villages. (20-6-1936)

A nonviolent system of government is clearly impossibility so long as the wide gulf between the rich and the hungry millions persists. The contrast between the palaces of New Delhi and the miserable hovels of the poor labouring class nearby cannot last one day in a free India in which the poor will enjoy the same power as the richest in the land. A violent and bloody revolution is a certainty one day unless there is a voluntary abdication of riches and the power that riches give and sharing them for the common good.

Indian villages produced and supplied to the Indian towns and cities all their wants. India became impoverished when our cities became foreign markets and began to drain the villages dry by dumping cheap and shoddy goods from foreign lands. (27-2-1937)

Our country was never so unhappy and miserable as it is at present. In the cities people may be getting big profits and good wages but all that has become possible by sucking the blood of the villages. It is the city man who is responsible for war all over the world, never the villager. (6-12-1944)

I regard the growth of cities as an evil thing, unfortunate for mankind and the world, unfortunate for England and certainly unfortunate for India. The British have exploited India through its cities. The latter have exploited the villages. The blood of the villages is the cement with which the edifice of the cities is built. I want the blood that is today inflating the arteries of the cities to run once again in the blood vessels of the villages. (23-6-1946)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

अगर फाजिल्का में भूकंप आए तो..

डॉ. अमर लाल बाघला, फाजिल्का1
कैसे बनाएं भूकंप रहित घर 15
भारतीय मानक ब्यूरो 2002 के वर्गीकरण के अनुसार फाजिल्का भूकंप जोन तीन में आता है। फाजिल्का में आए दो भूकंपो ने मुख्य रूप से नुकसान पहुंचाया 19 फरवरी 1842 फाजिल्का के बसने से पहले जिसका1इतिहास में ज्यादा जिक्र नहीं है और 4 अप्रैल 1905 को आए भूकंप ने फाजिल्का शहर को नौ झटके दिए थे। उस समय के पोस्ट मास्टर मौला बख्श के बयान अनुसार सारी इमारतें आंधी में आए पेड़ों की तरह हिलने लगी। सिविल इंजीनियर नवदीप असीजा ने बताया कि भारतीय समय अनुसार शाम के 06:19:48 पर आए इस भूकंप का केंद्र कांगड़ा था, जिसकी रिक्टर स्केल पर तीव्रता 7.8 थी। इसमें सरकारी आंकड़ों के अनुसार पूरे उत्तर भारत में करीब एक लाख इमारतों अथवा 20 हजार से ज्यादा लोगों की जान गई थी। कांगड़ा से करीब 1000 किलोमीटर के घेरे में इसका असर देखने को मिला था। इसी साल आई बाढ़ ने फाजिल्का को तहस नहस कर दिया। भूकंप धरती के भीतर जिस बिंदु से शुरू होता है उसे फोकस कहते है और जमीन पर उसी बिंदु को एपी सेंटर कहा जाता हैं।1 फोकस और एपी सेंटर के बीच में अगर रेत है तो भूकंप की तीव्रता जमीन के सतह पर आते आते बढ़ जाती है। जबकि अगर चिकनी मिट्टी हो तो यह तीव्रता कम हो जाती हैं, क्योंकि चिकनी मिट्टी अपने अंदर भूकंप की ऊर्जा को समा लेती है। फाजिल्का की नीचे की मिट्टी सतलुज दरिया से लाई रेतीली अथवा चिकनी मिट्टी से बनी है। भूकंप आने की स्थिति में नुकसान ज्यादा होने का खतरा कैलाश नगर, मलकाना मोहल्ला, कालका मंदिर, आर्य नगर आदि को है। तंग गालियां व पार्क न होने की सूरत में लोगों के लिए खुले में बाहर भागने के लिए कोई रास्ता नहीं और न ही प्रशासन के पास कोई प्लान है।1बिना देखे समङो नक्शे हो जाते है पास1अवैध निर्माण, जरूरत से ज्यादा ऊंची इमारत न केवल खुद के लिए खतरनाक बल्कि आस पड़ोस में भी भारी नुकसान कर सकती है। आपके आसपास अवैध निर्माण हो रहा है और आप चुप है तो ध्यान रहे आपकी चुप्पी आपकी और आपके परिवार की जान भी ले सकती है। 1अवैध कॉलोनी जिसमें पार्क व खुली सड़कों की जगह भी प्लाट काट कर बेच दिए, इस पूरे मामले को और भी खतरनाक बना देती है।1 वहीं आज-कल फाजिल्का में एक नया प्रचलन शुरू हुआ है कि दुकान या घर के आगे निकलने वाले छज्जे पर पहली मंजिल की छत डाल दी जाती है। भूकंप की दृष्टि से यह सबसे खतरनाक हैं। छज्जे 4-5 व्यक्तियों के भार के लिए बनते है न कि पूरी छत का। वहीं लोगो स्वार्थ व नगर कौंसिल का गैर जिम्मेदाराना रवैया लोगों के लिए जान का दुश्मन बन सकता है।

भूकंप की तीव्रता बिल्डिंग के भार अथवा ऊंचाई से बढ़ती है। कम ऊंचाई की इमारत सबसे सेफ है। भूकंप जमीनी सतह पर सामानांतर चलता है। नींव मजबूत बनाएं और कंक्रीट का बीम जो पूरे घर के नीवों को जोड़कर जरूर डालें। एक बीम दरवाजों के लेवल करीब सात फुट पर जरूर डालें। तीन मंजिला से ऊंची इमारत ईंटों की दीवारों पर न बनाकर कंक्रीट का फ्रेम बनाकर बनाएं।
सावधानी : इतिहास से सीखने की जरूरत, प्रशासन के नहीं है कोई प्लान

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Public transport tilted in favour of private players in Punjab

Vibhor Mohan,TNN | May 2, 2015, 06.08 AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Among other things, molestation and death of a teenaged girl in Moga has brought under the scanner Punjab's public transport scenario that is strongly tilted in favour of private players. Of the total 7,078 bus permits issued in the past 25 years, 3,274 have gone to private transporters.

Little wonder, despite massive demand for public transport, state carriers continue to make losses even as the private operators are thriving. The existing fleets of state-run buses cater to only 2% of the total passenger trips in the state. Issuance of fresh permits in Punjab has been suspended for a decade now after a stay by the Supreme Court and the state transport department seems to have decided not to challenge it and allow status quo.

The two leading state-owned transport companies, PUNBUS and Punjab Roadways, showed 100.3% and 90.3% average occupancy on all their routes, says the last "performance of state road transport undertakings" report of the road transport and highways department of the Union government. However, with many of their buses off road at any given time due to poor conditions, it has created enough space for private players.

On an average, each bus in the state covers 249km and overall all the buses cover 16,43,150km to transport 12.75 Lakh passengers daily. This means out of 5.6 crore passenger trip bus-based public transport, the state government only caters 2% of the total passenger trips in Punjab. For the intercity bus transport, Punjab has about 63 buses per 10 lakh population.

Navdeep Asija, technical adviser to Punjab government, said there is approximately one bus to transport 4,200 people daily and the state government should approach the Supreme Court to get the stay on issuance of permits revoked. "Expansion of the public transport is the only way to have better connectivity in the rural areas of the state," he said.

"The public transport scenario has gone awry in the past few years. A World Bank survey in Punjab in 2008 had appreciated introduction of luxury buses for bringing down the number of cars on roads as most people seemed to have begun to switch over from their personal vehicles. However, poor enforcement of norms has emerged as an area of concern," said a retired transport department official.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HC orders audit of Gurgaon's road network

Apr 21, 2015, 02.06AM IST TNN[ Praveen Jose ]

GURGAON: The Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered the state government to conduct a technical audit of Gurgaon's 200km road network to examine if it conforms to the Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) of the district drawn up in 2010.

The high court had on its own appointed road safety expert Navdeep Asija in October 2014 to study public works under way in Gurgaon, and ordered the audit on the basis of the report he submitted this January.

One of the main objections Asija has raised in the report is about the new 16-lane high-speed road that is being built to connect HUDA sectors to the expressway. He says the new road -an upgrade of Golf Course Road and other roads that link with it - will trigger major traffic jams. The reason he gives is that it would take cars from an eight-lane road (the width of one carriageway on the new road) to a four-lane one (the width of a carriageway of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway).

The report suggests that the court stay construction of the new 16-lane road as an interim measure to prevent irreparable damage to the city like the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has.

Asija's report, in fact, suggests initiating criminal proceedings against the planners of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. It gives the example of about 300 deaths the expressway witnessed in 2014 alone to point to technical drawbacks in the design and concept of the 28km speedway. Asija cites the recent decision to build underpasses and flyovers on the expressway at an estimated cost of Rs 760 crore - information that the MCG gave the court in a separate affidavit - as a confirmation of the design flaws of the project.

"It seems that intentionally or unintentionally, at the time of construction in 2007-08, necessary infrastructure to ensure safety of pedestrians and cyclists was not built... This further investment of Rs 760 crore from public money within six years of the opening of this expressway is confirmation of the failure of the expressway project," his report notes.

The amicus curiae, after a scrutiny of Asija's report and affidavits filed in this regard by HUDA and MCG, told the court, "The court may order initiation of criminal proceedings against the officers concerned and authorities, including the concessionaire and National Highways Authority of India, for killing many innocent cyclists and pedestrians because of bad planning and execution of the project, apart from wasting public money at large."

When this correspondent contacted Asija on Monday, he said, "As per a report by the ministry of road transport and highways, the three intersections considered for improvement (IFFCO Chowk, Signature Tower and Rajiv Chowk) are the major accident black spots. In just one year, this expressway witnessed about 300 fatal deaths, mainly of pedestrians and cyclists. Most highways are planned to take on traffic for another 20 years, but this highway failed within six years of its operation."

"We have written to the chief engineer to engage an agency to carry out an audit of HUDA roads, including those that are proposed," the official said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/hc-orders-audit-of-gurgaons-road-network/articleshow/46994173.cms

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Connect Karo Awards 2015 - Ecocabs

Apr 16 2015 : The Times of India (Delhi)

Best employee-based active transport initiative | NAGARRO SOFTWARE PVT LTD

Nagarro, a software development company, set up three cycle stations for its employees in November to encourage them to cycle between its three buildings located within a radius of 3km in Sector 18, Gurgaon.The project, called Nagarro Cycle Station, was the first corporate cycle-sharing programme in DelhiNCR. Within six months, cycle use by its staff has increased by approximately 30%.

Promising Active Transport Social Entrepreneur | GRADUATES WELFARE ASSOCIATION FAZILKA & PATIALA FOUNDATION

The foundation works for improving urban mobility in Punjab using cycle rickshaws as paratransit or public transport to take the load off conventional mass transit systems. It supports 5 lakh cycle rickshaw pullers in Haryana and Punjab and has pushed for India's first non-motorized transport (NMT) Act. It has also played a role in the creation of NMT inclusive urban mobility plans for more than 200 cities.

Public Active Transport Initiative | CENTRE FOR GREEN MOBILITY AND PWD, DIU

Diu Bicycle Network Planning & Infrastructure Design is a project for creating 26km of cycle-friendly streets that connect to all the major or minor locations in Diu. It provides a safe right of way to cyclists and aims to turn Diu into India's `cycling destination'. The project has sensitized government officials to the importance of non-motorized transport.So far, 4.3km of cycle tracks with signage and parking have been started.

Promising Active Transport Social Entrepreneur | THE ATLANTA FOUNDATION

TAF has been promoting cycling in India for about six years. It helps people get cycles through its Cycle Stations and organizes cycling events called Pelotons in different cities. To ensure enthusiasts continue cycling for the long term, it provides free and regular maintenance at its Cycle Clinics. It claims that it got about 25,000 people to participate in just one year.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Another National Award to GWAF for Promoting Cycle Rickshaw

"Connect Karo Award for the year 2015" by EMBARQ India and WRI India for Promising Active Transport Social Entrepreneur in the Country Jointly to Ecocabs-India and Patiala Greencabs for the Promotion of Cycle Rickshaw in Punjab. Award by Dr Sudhir Krishna, Former Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, GoI and Actor/Director & Environmentalist Milind Soman‪ #‎CK2015‬

 

Monday, April 13, 2015

#punjabiwisdom

ਕਦੇ ਕੋਕੋ ਮੇਰੀ ਚੀਜੀ ਲੈ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਤੇ ਕਦੇ ਸਾਡੇ ਤੋ ਗਲਤੀ ਨਾਲ ਕੀੜੀ ਦਾ ਆਟਾ ਡੁੱਲ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਤੇ ਬਾਕੀ ਮਾਣੋ - ਬਿੱਲੀ ਨੇ ਵੇ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਿਚ ਬੜਾ ਖ਼ਿਆਲ ਰਖਿਆ | ਮਾਪਿਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਮਿਲ ਕੇ ਇਹ ਤਿੰਨੋ ਪਾਤਰਾ ਨੇ ਬਚਪਨ ਦੀਆਂ ਕਈ ਔਕੜਾ ਬੜੇ ਪਿਆਰ ਨਾਲ ਇੰਸਾਨੀਅਤ ਦਾ ਪਾਠ ਨਾਲ ਪੜ੍ਹਾ ਕੇ ਦੂਰ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤੀਆਂ ਸਨ |

- ਨਵਦੀਪ

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Demolition of Ram Palace in Fazilka : HC directs for maintenance of status quo

Virender Kataria, former Member of Rajya Sabha and former Governor of Pondicherry, challenges demolition

Chandigarh,April 9, 2015 : Punjab and Haryana High court has directed the Local Govt Authorities for maintenance of status quo regarding the demolition of community hall (Ram Palance) in Fazilka. In a PIL filed by Virender Kataria, former Member of Rajya Sabha and former Governor of Pondicherry, seeking the issuance of appropriate directions to the Local Government Department and Municipal Council, Fazilka, against demolition of existing community hall (Ram Palace) situated opposite District Administrative Complex at Fazilka, a Division Bench of HC comprising justice S.K. Mittal and H.S. Sidhu today issued notice of motion to the respondents for 14.5.2015 in the PIL and also directed the respondents to maintain status quo regarding the position of demolition of the said community hall till the next date of hearing. In the aforesaid PIL, the petitioner has stated that the aforesaid community hall at Fazilka was constructed in the year 1997 by utilizing the grant of Rs. 60 lakhs released by him from his MP LAD fund AS A Member of Rajya Sabha. Presently, the market value of community hall is approximately Rs. 5 crore . The community hall serves the needs of poor and common people for solemnization of various religious and social functions, including marriages and also for conducting seminars, workshops, blood donation camps, etc. at very affordable rates, as compared to marriage palaces in the city. The grievance of the petitioner ,as expressed through his Counsel before the Division Bench of HC was that the Municipal Council, Fazilka passed a resolution on 12.9.2014 for shifting the Bus Stand, which was located in the crowded area in the city, to outside city on Fazilka-Abohar Road by demolishing community hall located at the said site. The Counsel argued that there is a school namely Guru Nanak Sikh Pathshala in the vicinity of community hall under reference, and the said school has encroached upon approximately one acre municipal land. He also brought to the notice of HC that a Committee of officials headed by Special Secretary to Chief Minister and which also included the Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab had visited Fazilka on 27.3.2015, and after discussions with the President of the Municipal Council and other staff submitted its recommendations on 1.4.2015 to the effect that the new Bus Stand may be constructed without demolishing the functional community hall and that the Municipal Council, Fazilka should get the encroached land from Guru Nanak Sikh Pathshala recovered. However, the Municipal Council, Fazilka in a hot haste manner initiated the process of demolishing of the community hall building on 3.4.2015, which was apparent from photograph attached with the PIL. The Counsel apprehended that further process of demolition of community hall may take place during the coming vacation. Hes, therefore, he prayed for staying the process of demolition of community hall. The Counsel further submitted that the poor and common persons can get the community hall booked for marriages at affordable rent of Rs. 5,000/- approximately, whereas solemnization of such marriage in a marriage palace costs around Rs. 50,000/-. Thus, the poor and common people will suffer irreparable loss in case this community hall is demolished.

Monday, March 9, 2015

'Food bowl' Punjab may not achieve bumper wheat output

CHANDIGARH: Punjab, the food bowl of the country, may not achieve bumper wheat output this season, with several growing areas facing "massive" crop loss due to untimely rains accompanied by hailstorm and high velocity winds during February and this month. 

"We may not have bumper wheat production this season as rains along with hailstorm have damaged wheat crop in several parts of Punjab," Punjab Agriculture Director, Mangal Singh Sandhu told PTI. 

He said heavy rains that lashed during February 16 to 19 and a few spells of showers in the month of March have caused damage to wheat and vegetable crops in the state. 

Punjab has been eyeing bumper production this season on account of prolonged cold conditions and the absence of any widespread attack of crop disease. 

It has targeted wheat output of 168 lakh tonnes for current 2014-15 season. 

The state had logged all-time high wheat production of about 180 lakh tonnes in 2011-12 and then 176 lakh tonnes in 2013-14 helped by favourable weather conditions. 

Sandhu said Moga, Kapurthala, Gurdaspur, Mansa and Fazilka districts are among wheat growing areas which are worst affected because of rains. 

Last night as well, there were widespread rains in northern region with Punjab receiving an average of 5.8 mm of rains. 

"In Fazilka area, water has stagnated over 500-700 hectares of wheat area while Mohali, Kapurthala and Sangrur areas received maximum rainfall in the state last night," he said. 

During February 16-19 rains, wheat crops in districts including Fatehgarh Sahib, Pathankot, Kapurthala, Nawan Shahar and Tarn Taran got "flattened" because of hailstorm and strong winds. 

However, he said the assessment is being made to ascertain the exact loss of wheat crop. 

Meanwhile, Indian Institute of Wheat & Barley Research today said there is going to be 5-7 per cent damage in wheat crop because of unseasonal rains and hailstorm. 

"5-7 per cent damage will be there in wheat crop," Indian Institute of Wheat & Barley Research, Director, Indu Sharma said today. 

"If rains again lash after the wheat grain has developed, then there can be maximum crop loss," she said. 

However, she said there is no need to panic. "We have collected reports from several states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. There is no widespread damage to crop." 

She further said that there is not going to be any major loss in wheat output in Punjab and Haryana. 

"We have visited wheat areas (in Punjab, Haryana). Where the hailstorm has struck, there will be damage. Otherwise, there is not going to be any major damage," she asserted. 

Farmers should drain out excess water from wheat fields in order to protect crop from being damaged, she added. 

Haryana Agriculture department said it is in the process of assessing crop damage because of inclement weather conditions, saying that there could be damage in Gurgaon, Palwal and other southern districts. 

Punjab government had sought from Centre upward revision in compensation to farmers suffering crop loss because of rains and hailstorm.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SAD-BJP alliance sweeps MC polls in Ferozepur, Fazilka

Times of India, 26th February 2015
FEROZEPUR/FAZILKA: SAD-BJP combine won all but two municipal council seats in Ferozepur and Fazilka districts on Wednesday. BJP bagged 19 out of 31 wards while its alliance partner SAD won six seats in the Ferozepur municipal council.

Congress candidates managed to win only two wards while independent candidates bagged three. Election in ward number 14 was cancelled due to some discrepancies in the voting list.

In Fazilka, BJP got 18 seats out of 25, while SAD and Congress got one each and independent candidates won from four wards in the municipal council polls.

In Jalalabad, SAD-BJP alliance made clean sweep by winning all the 17 seats. In Abohar town of Fazilka, BJP won 12 out of 33 seats, SAD claimed 4 wards, Congress 13 and independent candidates got four seats.

Polling in these two districts remained peaceful and no incident of violence was reported.