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%.


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


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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

One Mardaani isn't enough'

Meeran Chadha Borwankar is known as Maharashtra's tough and rough supercop, but tales of minor girls forced to sell their bodies to fulfill others' greed tear her apart. "The story of each minor girl rescued from flesh trade is so poignant, it would sometimes become difficult to stay in the right frame of mind," says she, who sealed 22 brothels during her tenure as Pune police commissioner from 2010 to 2012.

Born and raised in Punjab, Meeran was inspiration behind Rani Mukerjee starrer 2014 Hindi film 'Mardaani' on the sensitive subject. However, she refuses to take credit.

"I cannot say if 'Mardaani' was inspired by me or not, but Rani and the director of the movie did meet me," she says.

She also refuses to take credit for sealing the brothels. "It is true that I had sealed 22 brothels under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) as police commissioner Pune, but it was only possible because I had a very committed team that felt very strongly against forced prostitution, especially of minors. My team included inspector Bhanupratap Barge and API Vimal Bidve. And we took active help of local NGOs, informers and interested citizens as the issue is very serious and can't be dealt with single-handedly," says Meeran.

It hurt her to see little girls mired in flesh trade. "Most stories could be traced to poverty, ignorance and greed of a few. A well-coordinated and sustained action plan by different agencies is needed if we want to go beyond talking. And one 'mardani' is not enough," she adds.

Born in Gurdaspur, she studied all over the state. "My father was in Punjab Police and later joined the Border Security Force. We travelled with him all over the state during his postings," she recalls. She studied in Fazilka for five years and also in Ferozepur and Faridkot. She graduated from Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar and pursued MA from DAV Jalandhar.

Having left Punjab many years ago, she still feels a proud Punjaban. "Recently, when a friend's son gave me a T shirt with 'Main Punjaban' written on it, it brought back fond memories of my younger years," she says and adds that if it wasn't for her lecturers in Khalsa College, she wouldn't have been an IPS officer too.

"My ambitious father and disciplinary mother encouraged me and my sister to study hard and go in for civil services. Today, my sister, Anita Kapur, is chairperson of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), but my lecturers in Khalsa College decided that IPS was a good career for me and I didn't want to disappoint them," she says.

Fazilka, the town where she spent most of her growing up years, celebrates her achievements. "She has done us proud and in Fazilka, which had the distinction of the first only-girls school, many young girls aspire to follow in her footsteps," said Navdeep Asija, who runs an NGO to promote the culture of the city.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Solar park inaugurated in Fazilka

TNN | Feb 8, 2015, 01.25 AM IST

FAZILKA: A solar park set up by French company was inaugurated in a village of Fazilka district on Saturday. French minister Segolene Royal inaugurated the park, using a remote control from New Delhi, which is developed by Soaliredirect at Muradwala Dal Singh village.

The solar park - spread across 40 hectares - has a capacity of 21 MW and will generate 39 GWh per annum, a consumption equivalent to 44,000 residents. French minister for ecology, sustainable development and energy Royal, who is in India for Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, unveiled the project using a remote control.

When contacted, Gaurav Sood, managing director, Solairedirect said construction of the park was started in 2014 and handled by the company's Indian and French teams. The park contains a sub-station which elevates voltage from 11 kV to 66 kV.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Man of one Coat - Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.

""Nanak nanhe ho raho, jaise nanhi doob,

Aur ghaas jar jaye hai, doob khoob ki khoob"

Foundation of this country is laid by the great leaders who exhibited both their values and their ethics in their leadership style and actions. Here, I am talking about man of the highest integrity,our second Prime Minister Late Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. Man who impressed global leaders with his "Simple Living and High Thinking" approach .He impressed his Soviet Union counterpart with his coat but in a different way..I am sharing two incidents from his life, i think important to read by all. It has a great connection with our great but self obsessed leadership of present time.

First Incident
Once Lal Bahadur Shashtri was sent to Kashmir by Nehru to help resolve the theft in the Hazaratbal shrine. Nehru asked him whether he had enough woolens for the trip. "Are you aware Kashmir must be having snowfall at this time?" asked Nehru.
Shastri Ji showed him his only jacket he was wearing and Nehru immediately gave his own mink overcoat. Shastri Ji was short in stature so he told Nehru the coat was quite long. But Nehru said woolen overcoats were always longer. That no one would know it was a borrowed one. On his return from Kashmir Shashtri Ji went to him to return the overcoat, Nehru asked him to keep it and but he refused.

Second Indecent
When Shastri left or Tashkent on January 3, 1966 for his meeting with Pakistan President Gen Ayub Khan, it was very cold and he was only carrying his usual khadi woollen coat, the book says.
Kosygin then Soviet Union counterpart realized that the coat Shastri wore was not warm enough to ward off the snowy winter winds of central Asia and wanted to present him a Russian overcoat but was not sure how to do so, it says.
"Finally at a function, he presented a Russian coat as a gift to the Prime Minister hoping that he would wear it in Tashkent. Next morning, Kosygin noticed that Shastriji was still wearing the khadi coat which he had brought from Delhi.
Hesitantly, he asked the Prime Minister whether he liked the overcoat which he gave to him," the authors say.
"Shastriji replied in the affirmative and said, 'It is really warm and very comfortable for me. However, I have lent it to one of my staff members who was not carrying a good woolen coat to wear in this severe winter. I will surely use your gift during my future trips to cold countries'," they wrote. Kosygin narrated this incident during his welcome address at a cultural programme organised in honour of Shastri and Khan.
He remarked, "We are Communists but Prime Minister Shastri is a super Communist."

Jai Hind

Navdeep Asija


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Expert to HC: Design flaw killed 300 on Gurgaon expressway in 2014

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Posted: January 24, 2015

The 28-km Delhi-Gurgaon expressway witnessed 300 accident-related deaths last year due to a flawed design that has compromised safety on the highway, a road safety expert told the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday.

Safety expert Navdeep Kumar Asija was quoting from figures with the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. A majority of the deaths were of pedestrians and cyclists, he said.

A special division bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and Ajay Tewari then directed the Haryana government to file its reply on the issue by February 27.

The High Court had sought Asija's help after taking suo motu notice of the issue of developing vehicle-free zones in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. On Friday, Asija told the court that when the expressway was built in 2007-08, necessary infrastructure to ensure safety of pedestrians and cyclists was not built, allegedly to profit the concessionaire.

Asija requested the High Court to start criminal proceedings against the officers and authorities concerned, including the concessionaire and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Asija further told the court that the expressway had been designed for a 35-year period when it was opened on January 23, 2008.

However, within six years, there is now a proposal to further develop the expressway at a cost of Rs 760 crore.

He said this work is being undertaken jointly by the Gurgaon Municipal Corporation and NHAI.

- See more at:

PS : Small correction, 300 are the total deaths during period of study by Ministry and not in 2014 alone.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cost of Governance paid by each Punjabi....

Cost of Governance we Pay..

Total earnings Including Central Share in Punjab for the year 2013-14 was Rs 54212.47 Crore. Out of that expenditure on Salaries, Pensions and Interest on debt were Rs 28907.26 Crore, which is 53.32% of the total state's earnings. The present estimated population of Punjab about 2.89 crore, this makes at average Rs 10,000/- per Punjabi is paying annually to the government in the form of direct and indirect taxes as a Cost of Governance. This is highest cost of Governance paid by citizen compared with any other state of Punjab. This is the annual fee which every citizen pays to government in order to get better services like Health, Police, Transportation, Water, Sanitation and Electricity.  Burden of Salary bill which is 53.32% leave almost minimum money with the state government, out of which majority of the chunk goes into Debt repayment and Electricity subsidy (5500 crore).  Heavy cost of governance due to mismanagement left only Rs 700 crore as a budget for all municipal local bodies i.e. for 180 small town and cities within the state. This is not enough money to run a proper sanitation drive and pay electricity bill for a year for all these cities, leave apart street lights, repair of streets, and maintenance of Parks etc.

Right to Service act is a welcoming step in order to assure services to the citizen for which citizen are paying since long.  Now, in order to get these services, we are bound to pay more and with that money state government is hiring the contractual employees in order to save the grace of these white elephant institutes.  This was government part; now let's talk about citizen side and take the example of Education Department.  In a survey we found that 90% of Government School teacher taught their kids in Private school, in which a teacher is getting 1/5th of the salary compared with government teacher and giving better result. Except few, none of the government teacher trusts the ability of the other government teachers in the same community. Fact is they are not delivering for those are paid. We always blame government for not giving us good services, but fact is as a citizen are we discharging out duties honestly.  Take the other example from Police, In Ludhiana district, formally or informally almost 20% of the total district police work for few VVIP's of Ludhiana. The deployment on 100 VVIP is almost double the total manpower deployed by Ludhiana police to manage traffic for entire district. Now, who is at fault, government or "we" as a citizen. Kindly note when you see any stupid VVIP showing high security, don't mind asking them, I am the one who is paying for your showoff and because of you people are getting killed on roads every day.  On similar ground, we can examine all Government institutes like Pollution Control, PWD, and Irrigation etc, who runs on our money and when we approach them for services, citizen are treated badly as if we are their slaves. It is because of government's mismanagement and silence of hopeful citizen.

When government do any strictness or impose new taxes, protest starts, so  In order to cut this heavy cost of governance, In this democratic setup, I feel government left with no choice than following model of Privatization. Blaming government alone won't work. In Simpler words, the salary, which each government employee is getting is our money. Either let's start working together with government by way of ask the accountability of Government servants to make our government institution effective, Inclusive, corruption free and effective else get ready to pay more taxes. 

Navdeep Asija

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fazilka's 14 accident black spots claim a life every 5th day

CHANDIGARH: There is an urgent need to tackle 14 accident black spots in Fazilka district, which claim a life every fifth day. According to "Road Safety Report And Action Plan 2015" for Fazilka, prepared as part of the ongoing Road Safety Week, there are about 400 accident black spots in Punjab, and 14 fall in Fazilka district.

An accident black spot is a place where road traffic accidents have historically been concentrated. Driver visibility, road signage and marking, faulty intersection design are the key reason for the accidents at these locations.

On an average, five to six people die in road accidents in Fazilka district every month. The past three year trend is such that more road accidents and deaths happen in the months of May, June, November and December as compared to other months of the year, says the document prepared by Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka.

As per the Punjab traffic police, Fazilka has 14 accident prone areas.

A majority of them are on the national and state highways. In post-crash scenario, the entire district has only three primary trauma care centres and three community health centres. The nearest referral secondary trauma care centre is at Faridkot. 108 Ambulance Service is very popular and showed significant impact in post-accident care.

In 2014, 108 ambulance service provided relief in 528 cases, out of which 510 were taken to the nearest hospital and in 18 cases, basic first aid was given, Out of 528 cases, 633 road accident victims (613 hospital and 20 with basic first aid) were provided relief, says the report.

Nearly 3.7% of Punjab's total population lives in district Fazilka. Road fatalities wise it contribute 1 to 1.5% in the total state's accident fatalities. Fazilka district has 1787 km of road network, which includes 113km of National Highway (NH-7) and 247km of State Highways. 80-85% of the accident took place on this core network of National and State Highways, it adds.

There are about 101 types of offences prescribed in motor vehicle act 1988 and rules 1989, four major types of moving violations have serious direct impact on road safety mainly 'drink and drive' and 'over speeding', District police has booked almost 0.1% percentages of vehicles under these categories. This makes overall  traffic enforcement ineffective, points out the report.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Basic Road Transport and Accident Statistics of Fazilka District

         i.            As per the available registered motor vehicle data available with State Transport Commissioner Punjab, for the year 2012-13, an estimated 19,486 motor vehicle registered in Fazilka district signifies about 54 new motor vehicle added in Fazilka district daily. Present estimate about 60-65 vehicle daily added to Fazilka district roads.

       ii.            After every fifth day one person die due to road accident in Fazilka. In Punjab daily average 14 people lose their lives due to road accidents. Average daily two people met with serious accident daily in Fazilka.

     iii.            Population wise 3.7% of the total Punjab state population lives in district Fazilka. Road fatalities wise it contribute 1 to 1.5% in the total state's accident fatalities.

     iv.            Per month average 5 to 6 people die due to road accidents in Fazilka district.

       v.            Last three year trends of road accident shows in the month of May, June, November and December more road accidents and death took place compared to other months of the year.

     vi.            Comparing health burden of traffic fatalities on per million populations (10 lakh), death rate of Fazilka district is about 69 per million populations. From risk point of view Fazilka ranked at 21 positions out of 22 districts in the year 2013 compared to 19th ranking in the year 2012. This is a good indication; however this ranking is changed in 2014 with 72 deaths till November 2014. Fazilka is below state average and considered as safest district, however even a single death is a loss.

   vii.            Fazilka district has 1787 km of road network, which includes 113km of National Highway (NH-7) and 247km of State Highways.  80-85% of the accident took place on this core network of National and State Highways.

 viii.            As per the Traffic Police Punjab, Fazilka district has 14 accident Prone areas. Details of the same are given in next section of the report. Majority of them are on National Highway and State Highway.

     ix.            In Post Crash scenario entire district has only three Primary Trauma care centre and three CHC. Nearest referral secondary trauma care centre is at Faridkot. 108 Ambulance Service is very popular and showed significant impact in Post accident care.

       x.            In the year 2014, 108 ambulance service provided relief to 528 accident cases out of which 510 were taken to nearest hospital and 18 cases basic first aid was given, Out of 528 cases 633 road accident victims ( 613 hospital + 20 with basic first aid) were provided with the relief. On an average two people in Fazilka district meet with serious accidents.

     xi.            Fazilka district has 10 Police station and 1 Police Chowki, none is equipped with proper traffic enforcement instruments like alcometers to detect drink and drive and speed guns to check over speeding.

   xii.            Fazilka district Red Cross society has 67 members who can play an import role in road safety awareness, pre hospital care in order to treat road accidents victims.

 xiii.            No local bodies Municipalities spent any money on Road Safety.

 xiv.            Average 40-45 vehicles are challaned by Traffic Police in district Fazilka daily. This is insignificant compared to state's average of 2775 challan daily with regards to vehicle and population size of the district.

   xv.            There are about 101 types of offences prescribed in motor vehicle act 1988 and rules 1989, four major types of moving violations have serious direct impact on road safety mainly 'drink and drive' and 'over speeding', District police has booked almost 0.1% percentages of vehicles under these categories. This makes overall traffic enforcement ineffective.  Required better strategy.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Army holds free medical camp for border villagers

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ferozpur, January 11, 2015

The Fazilka Brigade of the army organised medical and veterinary camps for residents of border areas at border village of Alamshah in Fazilka district on Sunday.

The medical camp brought multiple specialists for eyes, dental problems and chronic diseases under one roof. Both the army and the district administration pooled their resources to organise the camps. Free medicines were provided by the army, the Red Cross Society, the administration and the NGOs.

The smiling faces of villagers, especially the elderly and the women, were indicative of the much-needed healing touch brought by the effort of the Fazilka Brigade.  

"I was suffering from toothache for the last one year, but did not have the money for treatment.  Finally, I am relieved of this constant pain, courtesy the army," said a visibly relieved Ishwar Chand from Muazzam village.

There were also long queues of the villagers with their animals at the veterinary camp for treatment of ailing animals.

On the occasion, 31 war widows from Fazilka district were also given sewing machines by the Red Cross Society of Fazilka.

Speaking on the occasion, Brigadier VK Sharma, commander, Fazilka Brigade, said that the army "is your army and will work in coordination with the civil administration for upliftment of the local community."

He also urged ex-servicemen to be the representatives of the army in respective villagers and work for development of the border area.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mechanised cotton farming boosts crop productivity, farmers’ income

Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, January 10, 2015

Punjab has become the first state in the country to adopt mechanisation in cotton farming as a pilot project.

According to government officials, the move has led to an increase in the yield as well as farmers' income, besides resolving the problem of labour shortage this kharif season that ended in December 2014.

About 1,500 acres were brought under "complete mechanisation" in selected villages of Fazilka, Muktsar and Bathinda districts through seed planters and cotton-picking machines imported from China. These were given to farmers on custom-hire basis through cooperative societies.

"There has been 11 to 18% increase in the farmers' overall income through mechanisation. We still have a long way to go in the entire cotton belt of southern Punjab," financial commissioner development (FCD) Suresh Kumar told HT.

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, would be roped in "to improve the packages and practices" required for cotton cultivation under the new mechanised production regime, he added.

Five hydraulic seed planters were provided to farmers at a hiring price of Rs. 4,000 per acre, along with growth chemicals, with a view to fix the plant height at 4.5 ft to suit plucking machines for easy harvesting.

Of the 1,452 acres targeted under the project, 975 were covered in Fazilka district, 375 in Muktsar and 102 in Bathinda.

A maximum of 274 acres were covered in Dutarawali village of Fazilka, where farmers having less than 5 acres' land were also involved, said Umesh Patil, regional executive of the US-based John Deere Tractors, which has been instrumental in the supply of cotton farm machinery manufactured and assembled in China.

A cotton dryer plant has been installed at the grain market in Malout (Muktsar) so as to facilitate farmers and purchasing agencies in speedy procurement of cotton arrivals.

"Although the weather remained inclement, the experiment was successful, leading to a 25% increase in the yield," said Punjab Agro Industries Corporation managing director Kahan Singh Pannu, who drafted the pilot project during his tenure as secretary, agriculture.

Pannu ruled out that mechanisation would hit the interests of the landless peasantry, mainly cotton-plucking women.

Gain time

The mechanisation has led to an increase of Rs. 4,000 per acre in the farmers' overall income, as per a study report of the pilot project that has been submitted to the state government. The study was conducted by PAU and John Deere officials. The crop yield, which is 6-7 quintals per acre through manual farming, has risen to 9-9.5 quintals through mechanisation.