Tuesday, May 24, 2016

CM clears site plan for Nature-cum-Monument at village sitogunno in Fazilka district

  • UNIQUE PROJECT A REAL TRIBUTE TO NATURE LOVER AMRITA DEVI AND BISHNOI COMMUNITY
  • 363 JAND TREES TO BE PLANTED IN NAME OF EACH BISHNOI WHO SACRIFICED HIS LIFE FOR THIS NOBLE CAUSE
  • 363 ft. TALL MINARET TO ALSO BE INSTALLED IN THE NATURE PARK

Chandigarh, May 24: The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today approved the site plan of the nature park-cum-monument to come up over an area of five acres in village Sitogunno (Abohar) in district Fazilka in the fond memory of legendary nature lover Amrita Devi Bishnoi and 363 other residents from Bishnoi community.

Presiding over a meeting to develop the nature park-cum-monument, the Chief Minister asked the Financial Commissioner (Forests) to complete the entire project within four months. The Chief Minister also decided to plant 363 Jand trees also known as Khejri (Prosopis Cineraria) in the upcoming nature park with the inscription of their names on each tree to eulogize the supreme sacrifice of Bishnoi community for saving trees. He also gave a nod to install 363 ft. tall minaret (minar) in memory of these passionate lovers of nature.

It may be recalled that the nature lover Amrita Devi Bishnoi sacrificed her life along with her three daughters' viz. Asu, Ratni and Bhagu in the year 1730 to save green tress being felled by the Maharaja of Jodhpur at a place known as Khejarli in Marwar, Rajasthan, where all the 363 persons laid down their lives in order to protect trees.

The Chief Minister also directed the Technical Advisor Lt. Gen. (retd.) BS Dhaliwal, to visit the site along with the officials of Departments of Architecture and Forests, to chalk out the modalities for execution of this prestigious project within the stipulated time frame.

Briefing the Chief Minister about the project, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests said that the village panchayats of Sitogunno would soon transfer the requisite land for this purpose to the Forest Department to initiate the project forthwith. He also informed Mr. Badal that the department had already obtained the list of the members of bishnoi community, who sacrificed their lives for this noble cause so as to enable us to inscribe their names on the plates to be fixed along with the planting of jand saplings.

Prominent amongst others who attended the meeting included Financial Commissioner Forests Mr. Viswajeet Khanna, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Mr. Kuldeep Kumar, Joint Additional Principal Secretary to CM Mr. Kumar Amit, Technical Advisor to Punjab Government Lt. Gen (retd.) BS Dhaliwal and Senior Architect (East) Mrs. Abha J Sharma.

http://punjabtribune.com/cm-clears-site-plan-for-nature-cum-monument-at-village-sitogunno-in-fazilka-district.html

Monday, May 23, 2016

400 trees axed for raising PUDA colony in Fazilka

Praful Chander Nagpal
Fazilka, May 22



At least 400 trees planted during the British era in the eco-sensitive zone of Fazilka town adjoining extinct Badha Lake have been axed for constructing the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) colony.

The cutting of trees and the construction of the colony is in progress, even though the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently ordered that not a single tree would be axed in the state without its permission.

The state government had transferred 5.5 acres in favour of PUDA under the optimum utilisation of vacant government land scheme in 2011 at meagre amount of Rs 2 crore.

The PUDA decided to raise a colony and allotted 56 freehold residential plots. Residents of Fazilka opposed the proposal tooth and nail. They also launched the Chipko movement (embrace the trees campaign) to save the rare varieties of trees planted more than a century ago during the British regime. The trees were providing a natural shelter to the Fazilka wildlife and also home to national bird peacock.

Following the eco-fragile zone, Vans Pat Agnew, the first British Officer stationed in the area selected this place for setting up surveillance station of East India Company in 1844 and built a bungalow on the banks of the horseshoe lake of Badha on the outskirts of Fazilka town due to beautiful flora and fauna. The bungalow still exists and is currently the official residence of the Deputy Commissioner, Fazilka.

The residents alleged that the impact on the ecology of the town had not been redressed while carving out the colony.

"Fazilka already has less than 1 percent area under forestation and cutting of old trees has further worsened the situation. The PUDA should plant new saplings in Fazilka to compensate for the loss," said Navdeep Asija, General Secretary of a leading NGO, Graduates Welfare Association, Fazilka.

On May 19, the NGT had asked the government to produce original records pertaining to permission for felling trees, particularly in Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts. It directed that a senior officer be present on the next date of hearing on July 8 and an affidavit be filed by the Principal Secretary of the department concerned.

Monday, May 16, 2016

E-rickshaws okayed for city as fleet - Chandigarh E-Rickshaw

Deepak Yadav
Chandigarh: Times of India, Page 1 16th May 2016

The State Transport Authority (STA) has finally prepared the e-rickshaw policy following a detailed study by Navdeep Asija -a national awardee of excellence, and founder of Dial-aCycle Rickshaw. The policy suggests that e-rickshaws should largely provide connectivity from within the sectors to the main roads. The policy -which is going to be submitted to senior UT officials for implementation -also speaks about a proper system for registration of vehicles and distribution of licences.
As connectivity from sectors to main roads is one of the key points in policy , the focus will be to avoid e-rickshaws in large numbers on main roads.Moreover, experts suggest handing out e-rickshaws as a fleet to entrepreneurs and companies, instead of individuals. Availability of proper recharging stations for e-rickshaws is also one of the crucial elements of the policy .

The policy also speaks of providing proper registration cards (RCs) and licences for these e-rickshaws. The e-rickshaws also need to be technically approved as per the guidelines of the central government. Then, there are issues related to their power capacity and certification. Once the policy is notified, the number of e-rickshaws introduced in the first phase will be decided.As introducing e-rickshaws is one of the prime projects to strengthen the city's transport system, the administration has been working on it for several months. Sources confirmed once the policy is notified, people will get better transport for shorter distances. Asija said: "Chandigarh is an ideal place to introduce e-rickshaws, but it should be introduced as a fleet, and not to individuals, keeping financial viability in mind.There is a need for multi-modal integration of transport, proper connectivity , and backup infrastructure. Some people have the wrong impression that e-rickshaws are a replacement for cycle rickshaws, but the fact is they will replace auto-rickshaws."




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Untreated sewage flowing into drain causing havoc in Fazilka

Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar, Hindustan Times, Ferozepur
 |  Updated: May 11, 2016 14:42 IST

A drain conceptualised and constructed to tackle the problem of waterlogging in Muktsar, the home district of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, is causing havoc with soil, groundwater, and health of inhabitants of the villages situated along the drain in Fazilka district.
"Untreated sewage water from areas of various municipal councils is being thrown into Abul Khurana and Asspal drains, whose water further flows into a drain, which carries water to Pakistan," said Boota Singh, who owns 50-acre land at Odian, one of the affected villages, situated along the drain.
Following the flow of untreated sewage flowing into the non-concrete drain, it has become a stinking zone for the adjoining areas during the past two years, he rued.
"Untreated water had not only polluted all the bore wells, but also hand pumps all along the drain. While the worst-affected villages include Mohar Jamsher, Mohar Kheewa, Mauzam, Kotha, Salemshah, Alamshah, Awa, Karnikhera, Kerian and Odian and many more up to Abohar, a subdivision of Fazilka district," said Pargat Singh of Kotha village, tiling 57 acre land.
"Water in hand pumps had turned green and stinky and various test reports of water have proved that it has not only polluted the soil of more than three dozen villages, resulting in drastic fall in the crop yields, but also adversely affected the health of villagers. It has also led to increase water-borne diseases. It is a clear-cut case of man-made disaster causing socio-economic crisis," he lamented.
"It's our basic right to have clean water, soil and air, but the same is being denied following apathetic attitude of the authorities. It's high time that no untreated waste is thrown into the drain and water does not remain stagnant due to faulty design or silt deposits," demanded Sulkhan Singh, another farmer.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

यह इंजीनियर दिलों को जोड़ता है - Navdeep Asija

यह इंजीनियर दिलों को जोड़ता है

Dainik Jagran, Ferozpur Edition, Page 3

अमृत सचदेवा, फाजिल्का 1 May : कोई इंजीनियर मशीनें जोड़ता है तो कोई इमारतें बनाता है। लेकिन, फाजिल्का में एक ऐसा इंजीनियर है जो दिलों को जोड़ने का काम करता है। हम उस इंजीनियर की बात कर रहे हैं जो जन्मे और पले बढ़े तो फाजिल्का में हैं और अब चंडीगढ़ में रह अपनी काबलियत से पूरे पंजाब को लाभ पहुंचा रहे हैं। लेकिन, जब भी फाजिल्का के लोगों को एक साथ जोड़ने, उनमें एकता के बीज अंकुरित करने और सभी को एक मंच पर इकट्ठा करने की बात आती है तो यह इंजीनियर अपने सभी काम धंधे छोड़ फाजिल्का पहुंच जाते हैं। 1यह इंजीनियर हैं ग्रेजुएट्स वेलफेयर एसोसिएशन के महासचिव सिविल इंजीनियर नवदीप असीजा। वह पिछले 10 साल से लगातार फाजिल्का में विरासत मेले का आयोजन करते आ रहे हैं। अब यह विरासत मेला पूरे पंजाब में फाजिल्का की शान बन चुका है। क्योंकि आयोजन में लगातार आ रहे निखार के चलते पंजाब के पर्यटन विभाग ने इसे पंजाब के मुख्य विरासत मेलों की सूची में शामिल कर लिया है। 1इसलिए खास है मेला1इंजीनियर असीजा के अनुसार यह मेला उन्होंने लाहौर की विश्व प्रसिद्ध फूड स्ट्रीट की थीम पर शुरू किया था। लेकिन, इसका उससे अलग और ज्यादा अच्छा स्वरूप सामने आया है। मेले का उद्देश्य शहर को जोड़ना है। उन्हें खुशी तब होती है जब लोग कहते हैं कि अपना मेला कब है। कोई ये नहीं कहता कि आप का मेला कब है। इस मेले में वार्षिक तौर पर यहां की कला, खानपान व संस्कृति के रंगों को उभारा जाता है। विरासत मेले के 10 साल के सफर में असीजा का साथ निभाते आ रहे लोगों में समाजसेवी राकेश नागपाल, मनीष भठेजा, पंकज धमीजा, रवि खुराना, संदीप अबरोल, भूपिंदर सिंह, नितिन सेतिया, एडवोकेट उमेश कुक्कड़, मनोज नारंग आदि शामिल हैं।अमृत सचदेवा, फाजिल्का 1कोई इंजीनियर मशीनें जोड़ता है तो कोई इमारतें बनाता है। लेकिन, फाजिल्का में एक ऐसा इंजीनियर है जो दिलों को जोड़ने का काम करता है। हम उस इंजीनियर की बात कर रहे हैं जो जन्मे और पले बढ़े तो फाजिल्का में हैं और अब चंडीगढ़ में रह अपनी काबलियत से पूरे पंजाब को लाभ पहुंचा रहे हैं। लेकिन, जब भी फाजिल्का के लोगों को एक साथ जोड़ने, उनमें एकता के बीज अंकुरित करने और सभी को एक मंच पर इकट्ठा करने की बात आती है तो यह इंजीनियर अपने सभी काम धंधे छोड़ फाजिल्का पहुंच जाते हैं। 1यह इंजीनियर हैं ग्रेजुएट्स वेलफेयर एसोसिएशन के महासचिव सिविल इंजीनियर नवदीप असीजा। वह पिछले 10 साल से लगातार फाजिल्का में विरासत मेले का आयोजन करते आ रहे हैं। अब यह विरासत मेला पूरे पंजाब में फाजिल्का की शान बन चुका है। क्योंकि आयोजन में लगातार आ रहे निखार के चलते पंजाब के पर्यटन विभाग ने इसे पंजाब के मुख्य विरासत मेलों की सूची में शामिल कर लिया है। 1इसलिए खास है मेला1इंजीनियर असीजा के अनुसार यह मेला उन्होंने लाहौर की विश्व प्रसिद्ध फूड स्ट्रीट की थीम पर शुरू किया था। लेकिन, इसका उससे अलग और ज्यादा अच्छा स्वरूप सामने आया है। मेले का उद्देश्य शहर को जोड़ना है। उन्हें खुशी तब होती है जब लोग कहते हैं कि अपना मेला कब है। कोई ये नहीं कहता कि आप का मेला कब है। इस मेले में वार्षिक तौर पर यहां की कला, खानपान व संस्कृति के रंगों को उभारा जाता है। विरासत मेले के 10 साल के सफर में असीजा का साथ निभाते आ रहे लोगों में समाजसेवी राकेश नागपाल, मनीष भठेजा, पंकज धमीजा, रवि खुराना, संदीप अबरोल, भूपिंदर सिंह, नितिन सेतिया, एडवोकेट उमेश कुक्कड़, मनोज नारंग आदि शामिल हैं।

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fazilka admin awaits funds for heritage buildings

A dilapidated building of Raghuvar Bhawan in Fazilka

Praful Chander Nagpal, The Tribune

Fazilka, April 17

After Fazilka residents held several agitations to save the ancient monuments of the town, the state government had granted the "heritage" status to three buildings by issuing separate notifications in October 2014.

The Culture Affairs, Archaeology, and Museum Department (CAAMD), Punjab, had granted heritage status to Raghuvar Bhawan, the Goal Kothi and the Bangla.

It seems that the heritage status was accorded only on paper. "The CAAMD has failed to restore the structures and the government did not provide any amount for the maintenance of these buildings. The condition of the already dilapidated Raghuvar Bhawan is deteriorating day after day as most of its part has already collapsed," said a local historian Lachhman Dost, who had spearheaded the agitation to get the heritage status for the buildings.

Raghuvar Bhawan, which was constructed in 1901 by a local philanthropist Seth Sunder Mal Bansal, is now on the verge of collapse. At present, the Raghuvar Bhawan is located on the Freedom Fighter Road and is a part of the Improvement Trust colony. Goal Kothi, also known as Bosworth Smith Recreation Club, at the local Government Senior Secondary School for Boys, was constructed during the British regime in 1913. The British officers including women used to carry out recreation activities in Goal Kothi. At present, the office of the District Education Officer (DEO) is being run in this building.

Historical building Bangla (bungalow) was constructed at the behest of British officer Vans Agnew in 1844 on the banks of the Sutlej river and the Badha Lake in lush green area of the town to keep vigil on various kingdoms under the British regime.

The bungalow was later on converted into the Deputy Commissioner's residence. It is a well-maintained building as the then Deputy Commissioner Basant Garg had spent a hefty amount for the renovation of the building in 2012.

Deputy Commissioner, Fazilka, Isha Kalia said no funds had been received for the upkeep of the buildings.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/community/fazilka-admn-awaits-funds-for-heritage-buildings/223895.html
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Farm equipment to be a call away Farmers can rent tractors, other implements over the phone


 0 1 0 0Print This Pageshare

e-way to prosperity

  • NABARD has launched a pilot project in Fazilka and Muktsar districts wherein farm machinery will be a call away from the farmers who can't afford to purchase expensive farm implements
  • The rent charged from farmers will be divided between drivers of the equipment and the trust
  • Drivers will pay part of their income to the trust in the form of monthly instalment to settle the cost of equipment so that they ultimately get the ownership of the implement

Maninder Pal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13

Farmers having marginal landholdings will soon be able to hire tractors and other agricultural implements much similar the way urbanites hire cabs in cities.

Unlike cabs, where the ownership of the vehicle remains with the original owner, the new arrangement entails the transfer of ownership rights of equipment to the drivers, who will be selected from among landless farmers of various villages.

This would be a step ahead compared to similar such centres being run by cooperative societies, where the ownership of implements remain with the society.

In a first-ever government-sponsored initiative, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has launched a pilot project in Fazilka and Muktsar districts, wherein farm machinery will be just a call away from the farmers who can't afford to purchase expensive farm implements.

The bank plans to replicate the project in other districts and has decided to launch it in Faridkot, Ferozpur and Moga districts this year.

"These services will be available on quite a similar mechanism as is the case with taxi services such as Ola cabs. NABARD has associated with Fazilka-based Jawala Bhai Nathu Ram Trust and sanctioned Rs 25 lakh budget for the project. The trust will purchase pre-owned implements worth Rs 22 lakh. The remaining Rs 3 lakh will be in the form of grant to be used to train drivers," said Dr PM Ghole, Chief General Manager (CGM), Punjab Regional Office, NABARD.

Gohle said: "The trust is already running such services in the Fazilka area for some years and got a good response. NABARD wishes to replicate it in other pockets of Punjab."

The CGM said the trust had contact details of around 3,000 farmers. "Needy farmers can make a call to the trust's call centre and avail themselves of the services," he said.

Another salient feature of the project is the transfer of ownership of the implements to drivers. "Rent charged from farmers will be divided between drivers and the trust. However, drivers will pay part of their income to the trust in the form of monthly instalment to settle the cost of equipment. This will facilitate the transfer of ownership to the driver," Gohle said.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Abohar Centre demarcates eco-sensitive zone, lauds local Bishnois for preserving area - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/abohar-centre-demarcates-eco-sensitive-zone-lauds-local-bishnois-for-preserving-area/#sthash.T1WUQAWm.dpuf

The local Bishnoi community was credited by the government with respect to its immense contribution towards maintaining the area spread over 13 villages of Abohar

Lauding the efforts of the Bishnoi community in Abohar in Fazilka district, the Centre on Friday declared an 186 so km of private and open wildlife sanctuary as the eco-sensitive zone. Notification to this effect has been done under environment protection act-1986, informed DC Fazilka Isha Kalia.
The local Bishnoi community was credited by the government with respect to its immense contribution towards maintaining the area spread over 13 villages of Abohar. The village residents protect the wildlife from poachers and participate in its upkeep.

"With the area declared eco-sensitive, there will be no mining in this area and within 100 metres radius of this sanctuary," said district forest officer Charanjeet Singh. "No new industry that can deplete water quality or cause any type of pollution will be allowed to be established in this area and around."
An Eco-tourism master plan will, however, be made according to which people will be encouraged to visit the sanctuary. "But at the same time, the ecosystem will be preserved and efforts will be made to not encourage hotels and related industry. Tourism will be controlled," he added.

The wildlife sanctuary has over 3500 black bucks, Neel Gai and other wild animals also roam around freely in this private wild life sanctuary.
A private monitoring committee will be made to look into irregularities if any and also to increase the wildlife in this sanctuary, informed DC Kalia.

The area residents have expressed happiness over the Centre's announcement

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Benefits of TAPI Gas Pipeline to Fazilka, Punjab

Delhi 
The Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today that the on 13th December 2015, the Ground Breaking ceremony to start the work on the Turkmen leg of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline was held at Mary, Turkmenistan. Earlier in November 2014, the Pipeline Consortium, TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL) was incorporated in Isle of Man, a British Crown dependency. The Share Holders Agreement of TPCL was also signed on 13th December 2015. The shareholding percentage in the TPCL would be Turkmenistan 85%, India 5%, Pakistan 5% and Afghanistan 5%. 

With the Ground Breaking Ceremony on 13th December, 2015 work has begun on the Turkmen leg of the pipeline. The technical study of the TAPI project has estimated an overall project duration of 6? years from the start of the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) process till handing over of the pipeline for commercial operation. 

The Pipeline will enter India at Fazilka, Punjab. The gas available from the project is expected to boost development of industrial and commercial activities in Fazilka district, including start of CNG and City gas distribution and associated employment generation.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sangat Darshan: Punjab govt offers Rs 16-crore grant to Fazilka villages

summary: Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal distributed grants worth Rs 16 crore in 57 Fazilka villages in his day-long Sangat Darshan. This was the deputy CM's first Sangat Darshan in the constituency of a BJP MLA. Fazilka is the constituency of BJP MLA and state Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani. Talking with mediapersons, Sukhbir said that state government has waived almost Rs 6,000 from power bills of farmers. Farmers have become a focal point for almost all political parties in Punjab.

Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal distributed grants worth Rs 16 crore in 57 Fazilka villages in his day-long Sangat Darshan. This was the deputy CM's first Sangat Darshan in the constituency of a BJP MLA. Fazilka is the constituency of BJP MLA and state Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani. At the event, Sukhbir said his government always stood for the implementation of Swaminathan Commission for permanent solution of agrarian crisis and wants minimum support price of crops to be linked with wholesale price index. He also said that the government is leaving no stone unturned to make it a profitable venture. Farmers have become a focal point for almost all political parties in Punjab. The Congress began its farmer outreach campaign Pagri Sambhaal Kisana, while AAP's national convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal will meet with farmers soon. Talking with mediapersons, Sukhbir said that state government has waived almost Rs 6,000 from power bills of farmers.

He also said that state government is connecting farmers with cashless health insurance scheme under which families engaged in farming would be able to avail free treatment upto Rs 50,000 annually from designated hospitals and its premium would be paid by government. "The state government is giving subsidy to tune of 33 per cent to make available tractors and other agricultural implements to farmers in order to mitigate rising cost of agriculture," he said.. . .

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/sangat-darshan-punjab-govt-offers-rs-16-crore-grant-to-fazilka-villages/

Friday, December 25, 2015

Ludhiana ELEVATED HIGHWAY PROJECT : High Court issues notice to NHAI

Told to reply on suggestions made by Punjab Traffic Adviser regarding shortcomings in the project


Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, December 24

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to file a reply to the suggestions made by Punjab Traffic Adviser Navdeep Asija regarding the shortcomings in the upcoming Elevated Highway Project in Ludhiana.
The orders were issued by Justice Surya Kant and Justice Ajay Tewari on December 18. Navdeep Asija had filed in the court that the proposal of constructing nearly 10 km elevated highway starting from Samrala Chowk to NH-95 section passing through the city was in violation of the approved mobility plan for the city of Ludhiana. Upon request, the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) and NHAI, ACP, provided the copy of their evaluation of the scheme.
Richa Agnihotri, ACP (Traffic), Ludhiana, had categorically informed about the wrong design of the elevated highway crossing right from the middle of the city to facilitate bypass traffic, which she said would not only create further problems due to limited space, but would add more traffic chaos. Three flyovers on this particular stretch have already added chaos to the situation, the ACP said.
This stretch was chosen for public transport system and bus rapid transport. The elevated corridor will simply restrict any kind of further planning of public transport and the local traffic underneath will face logjam on a day-to-day basis.
Asija pointed out that no developed city of any developed nation had built any elevated highway or expressway right from the middle of the city.
"One elevated highway from Chaura Bazar has already worsened the traffic situation in Ludhiana. In the case of Ludhiana, this ill-conceived proposal will not only add to traffic chaos but will create more health hazard and noise pollution," Asija said.
The Gurgaon-Delhi expressway is an example of a bad design which divided the city into two and increased pollution and road deaths manyfold, he said. Delhi was a recent example, where the National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court of India gave several directions to stop or discourage heavy commercial vehicles of bypass traffic crossing from the city.
"The present proposal of NHAI to build 10km elevated highways at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore from the middle of Ludhiana city has to be inspected from a design point of view," said Asija. The issue was highlighted by an RTI activist Kuldeep Khaira through Navdeep Asija in the High Court.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Amogh Division commemorates Fazilka Vijay Diwas

ANI  |  Fazilka (Punjab) December 16, 2015 Last Updated at 13:27 IST

The border town of Fazilka, Punjab, held a ceremony in remembrance of the heroism and valour of the brave soldiers who laid down their lives fighting for the motherland there during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.

The "Saviours of Fazilka" fought the Battle of Beriwala, which raged on uninterrupted for 14 days from December 3, 1971 onwards. It was undoubtedly one of the fiercest actions of the 1971 Indo - Pak war.

In this epic battle, 11 officers, 10 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and 185 soldiers embraced martyrdom while 19 officers, 11 JCOs and 334 soldiers were wounded on the battlefield. For displaying conspicuous gallantry, a total of one Mahavir Chakra, six Vir Chakras and four mention-in-dispatches were awarded.

The ceremony organised by the Amogh Division of the Indian Army witnessed active participation by the general public. The civil administration came forward to assist the Army in organising and actively participating in the event which also witnessed active participation by the general public .

Due respect was paid to the martyrs by laying of Wreatha at the Fazilka war Memorial. A 'Marathon' was organised wherein people participated with a lot of enthusiasm despite the chilly weather.

Prizes were given out for various categories to the participants of the marathon.

To remember the heroic act and valour of the martyrs, the children of Fazilka put up a mesmerising cultural programme which filled everyone's heart with patriotism.

Events such as painting, debate and various other activities were organised in Schools across Fazilka on the eve of Vijay Diwas and the winners were felicitated.

The General Officer Commanding of the Amogh Division, Major General Bipin Bakshi exhorted all ranks of the division to rededicate themselves to the service of the nation and emulate the devotion of war veterans and martyrs.

The event was also graced by Mrs Santosh Rana w/o Late Major K S Rana of 15 RAJPUT who attained martyrdom during the operations in Fazilka and many war heroes and Veer Naris (War Widows). The mere presence of these 'Veer Naris' and war veterans was a source of great inspiration for the people of Fazilka.

Monday, December 14, 2015

TAPI Gas Pipeline - Congratulations to All

15th November 2004, that was my first small write-up about Fazilka in my city's first Hindi daily news paper Sarhad Kesri on TAPI Gas Pipeline. Almost after 11 years, the historic day arrived when which much awaited pact of TAPI Gas Pipeline was signed between four nations and construction work started. We will be the Future Energy Hub.....The city got solar, energy from waste water, co-generation electricity generation at Sugar mill, the best practice of agro waste/straw management and production of electricity, solid waste management.Gowshalla, promotion of cycle rickshaw, car-free zone are the few other good examples of energy conservation and management...think of any source of renewable energy and we have it in Fazilka. Probably it is going to be the first Carbon Neutral city of the country, which produce more energy from its renewable resources than consumption. Entry of this Gas Pipeline at Fazilka would justify of claim "India begins here". Hope this energy connection will bring peace and prosperity in this sub-continent
Congratulations to All ...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Patiala peg putting drivers in peril

26 Nov 2015
Hindustan Times (Chandigarh)
HT Correspondent letterschd@hindustantimes.com

UNSAFE Drunk driving kills 23 persons on Punjab roads every month; offenders have a field day due to gross shortage of alcometers and traffic police personnel

CHANDIGARH: In the state that takes pride in its "Patiala peg", drunk driving kills almost 23 persons every month. Drunk driving offences, however, remain grossly underreported in Punjab. Reason: Lack of equipment and shortage of traffic cops.

In Punjab, there are eight traffic police personnel per lakh population.

For around 40 lakh vehicles plying on state's roads daily, the traffic police have just 125 alcometers or breath-analysers.

According to government data, drunk driving resulted in 442 road crashes, leaving 277 persons dead in 2014. Similarly, in 2013, of 4,588 road crash fatalities reported, 1,711 (37%) were either due to drunk driving or speeding. Police, however, booked only 0.6% of violators for these two offences.

"Actually, not even one person per district is booked/challaned for drunk driving or speeding in the state," claims Navdeep Asija, Punjab's traffic adviser appointed by the high court.

Police, on the other hand, claim that tipsy drivers were on their radar. "Traffic cops are working with dedication during night hours. Special nakas are set up to check drunk drivers and strict action is taken against the offenders," claims Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh.

According to doctors and experts, alcohol affects you in a way that changes your judgment, depth of perception, as well as vital motor skills required to drive safely.

A study conducted by University of Texas, San Antonio, reveals that people who have been drinking respond between 15% and 25% slower than when they are sober. This slowed reaction time is often the cause of accidents. Judgment is also quickly affected by alcohol. Even a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.02% can impair a person's judgment.

Apart from lack of alcometers, the state is also grappling with shortage of traffic police personnel. In Punjab, there are eight traffic police personnel per lakh population in sharp contrast to about 60 traffic police personnel deployed against per lakh population in Chandigarh.

HIGHWAY VENDS MAJOR PROBLEM

The cash-strapped state heavily depends on revenue from the booming liquor business.

Liquor vends along national highways in the state have been blamed for most accidents.

The matter is under scanner of the Punjab and Haryana high court after a petition was filed by a Chandigarh-based NGO Arrive Safe Society.

"Liquor vends along highways do booming business. Strangely, the state government, in its affidavit, has claimed that none of the 386 vends along national highways were visible and accessible from the road," says Harman Singh Sidhu, president of Arrive Safe.