Thursday, January 28, 2010
Muktsar has 'least number of fatal road mishaps'
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 16
In the year gone by, Ludhiana topped the list of districts for the highest number of fatal road accidents followed by Patiala. On the other hand, Muktsar recorded the least number of road accidents in 2009 followed by Faridkot.
Contrary to popular belief that almost every district in Punjab was equally unsafe, the latest report of the Punjab Governance Reform Commission (PGRC) has suggested a huge variation in road traffic across the state with districts like Ludhiana recording almost seven times more fatal accidents as compared to Muktsar.
According to the report, five districts of Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar, Patiala and Barnala were highly prone to fatal accidents.
Incidentally, Kapurthala topped the "road accident per one lakh population", only to be followed by Mohali and Fatehgarh Sahib - otherwise known to be small and peaceful districts. Traffic management has been put as one of the major challenges before the government as the "existing infrastructure has become dysfunctional leading to the widespread violation of traffic rules".
According to the data provided by the PGRC of the first three quarters (from January 1, 2009, to September 30, 2009), Ludhiana recorded 604 fatal accidents in 2009, followed by Patiala that had 500, Kapurthala and Gurdaspur reported 347 and 304 accidents. In all, the state had 4,652 cases of fatal accidents till the end of September, which would had further gone up by another 25 per cent by the end of the fourth quarter i.e. December 31.
The PGRC Chairman, Dr Parmod Kumar, said the main reason for the high rate of accidents was due to "increased reliance of the people on personalised transport modes such as cars, two-wheelers and non-motorised transport modes such as bicycles. Along with this, there has been a preponderance of the private transport modes such as tricycles, auto-rickshaws, tempos, and negligible presence of public transport within the cities".
A large number of drivers of motorised vehicles are untrained. This gets compounded by the large number of illiterate drivers.
All this produces anarchy on the roads, the report reads.
Further, the high accidental casualties have been attributed to driving vehicles under the influence of alcohol and drugs, rash driving and the lack of medical facilities along the highways.
The report mentions that enforcement of traffic rules and road-safety norms were compromised. These include not wearing seat belts, violation of traffic signals etc.
With increased mobility, road users like cyclists, motorcyclists were compromised. Also, pedestrians proved to be more prone to injuries as compared to four-wheeler owners.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"नाईटमेरिश नोट" कहानी की नायिका सुषमा का ऑस्ट्रेलिया के रहने वाले और भारत के दौरे पर किसी सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रम में भाग लेने के लिए आये अमीर युवक से बिना सोचे विचारे मित्रता करने की सनक उसे अंत में हताशा व भ्रम के अँधेरे की ओर ले जाती है. लेखक सुषमा के चरित्र के माध्यम से यह दिखाना चाहता है कि विदेशियों के प्रति हमारा अन्धमोह ठीक नहीं |
एक अन्य कहानी "आई एम सॉरी सिस्टर" में एक नयी बनी गली में रहने वाले विभिन्न परिवारों में छोटे छोटे मुद्दों लेकर होने वाली आपकी कलह का वर्णन हुआ है | इस कहानी के माध्यम से अश्विनी आहूजा यह कहना चाहते हैं कि मात्र चंद रूपये बचाने के लिए हम कई बार अपने विश्वसनीय नौकर को बदलकर अपनी बेटियों की जिन्दगी दावं पर लगा देते हैं | यह कहानी सन्देश देती है कि बेटियों के माता पिता को हर कदम सोच समझकर उठाना चाहिए. लेखक का कहना है |
"आर्टिस्ट इन कन्फ्यूजन" वर्तमान समाज में आपसी संबंधों को लेकर चल रहे तनाव व कलह को दूर करने में मरहम का काम करेगी | मुंबई से छपने वाली अंग्रेजी पत्रिका "ग्लिटरिंग इंडिया" के संपादक संजीव महेश्वरी ने इस पुस्तक के बारे में कहा है कि इस पुस्तक में लेखक ने एक ही समाज व परिवार में रहने वाले लोगों के बीच कीतुच्छ मानसकिता को जिस प्रभावशाली तरीके से दिखाया है व काबिलेतारीफ़ है | लेखक यह सन्देश देता है कि बेहतर संबंधों के स्थायित्व पर ही हमारे समाज की नींव टिकी है |
ऑक्सफोर्ड यूनिवर्सिटी के अंग्रेजी लेखक आशीष जायसवाल का कहना है अश्विनी आहूजा ने "आर्टिस्ट इन कन्फ्यूजन" किताब में "संबंधों की मर्मस्पर्शी यात्राओं का स्केच खींचा है. लगभग दौ सौ पृष्ठों की इस पुस्तक में बीस रोचक व मर्मस्पर्शी कहानियां संकलित की गयी हैं. अश्विनी बताते हैं कि उन्हें इस पुस्तक को पूरा करने में लगभग चार वर्ष का समय लगा है | फिक्शन के इलावा अश्विनी आहूजा स्वास्थ्य, शिक्षा, रिलेशनशिप व समसामयिक विषयों पर भी लिखते हैं और इस साल के अंत तक वह एक और किताब लिखने का दावा करते हैं
Monday, January 25, 2010
सारे जहाँ से अच्छा हिन्दोस्तान हमारा
घुर्बत मे हो अगर हम रहता है दिल वतन मे
परबत वो सब से ऊंचा हमसाय आसमाँ का
गोदी मे खेलती है इसकी हजारो नदिया
गुलशन है जिनके दम से रश्क-ए-जना हमारा ।३॥
ए अब रौद गंगा वो दिन है याद तुझको
मझहब नही सिखाता आपस मे बैर रखना
हिंदी है हम वतन है हिन्दोस्तान हमारा ॥५॥
युनान-ओ-मिस्र-ओ-रोमा सब मिल गये जहाँ से
कुछ बात है की हस्ती मिटती नही हमारी
इक़्बाल कोइ मेहरम अपना नही जहाँ मे
Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan;
Though in foreign lands we may reside, with our homeland our hearts abide,
That mountain most high, neighbor to the skies;
In the lap of whose, play thousands of rivers;
gardens they sustain; the envy-of-the-heavens of ours
O waters of the Ganga mighty, do you recall the day
when on your banks, did land the caravan of ours
Religion does not teach us to harbour grudges between us
Indians we all are; India, our motherland
While Greece, Egypt , Rome have all been wiped out
Something there is that keeps us,our entity from being eroded
Iqbal! Is there no soul that could
गणतंत्र दिवस की शुभ-कामनाए
Happy Republic Day
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Dr. Rajneesh Arora
Vice Chancellor, Punjab Technical University
Dr. Rajneesh Arora was born on 17 January 1958 at Fazilka, Distt. Ferozepur, Punjab. His Father Sh. Mathura Das Arora is a well Known educationist and social –worker in Amritsar. Dr Rajneesh, a Product of DAV School, Amritsar has an unbeaten record of winning Gold Medals in Matric as well as Higher Secondary of Punjab School Education Board Examination to his credit. Dr. Rajneesh Arora is currently Vice Chancellor Punjab Technical University Jalandhar.
Dr. Rajneesh Arora attained B.Tech in Electrical Engineering in 1979 and Ph.D. in 1989, both from prestigious IIT Delhi. His research work was on" Integrated Energy System" under the guidance of Prof. P.S.Satsangi, an internationally renowned expert on System Engineering.
Dr. Rajneesh Arora is member of Board of Governor IIT Delhi, Punjab State Council of Science & Technology, Board of Governor National Institute of Technical Teacher Training, Chandigarh, Punjab School Education Board, Mohali, Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Chandigarh and Member Governing Body, Pushpa Gujral Science City, Chandigarh.
In 1982 he went to the tribal area of Bihar (now Jharkhand) and started a voluntary organization, Vikas Bharti, Bishunupur (Distt. Gumla) for application of Science and Technology for the development of tribal people .Here he successfully implemented many projects of Department of Science & Technology (DST) ,Ministry of non –Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Council for Advanced People's Action and Rural Technology ( CAPART) and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) as Coordinator.
For ten long years he along with his family, lived in a tribal village where there was no electricity and the nearest petrol pump was 60 kms away. In 1987, he went to the Netherlands on a Dutch Scholarship for advanced research. In 1994,he as Deputy General Manager , revived and rejuvenated a four-year-sick Sugar Mill in Khalilabad (Distt. Basti, Eastern UP).
Dr. Rajneesh Arora began teaching in Department of Electronics at GNDU, Amritsar in 1997. He was instrumental in establishing the Department of Placement in 1998 and was appointed its first Placement Officer. As a result of his tireless efforts, he has been successful in bringing many National and International Companies to the G.N.D.U Campus for the placement of students. Under his dynamic working the Placement Department played key role in getting five Star statuses for the G.N.D.U, Amritsar by NAAC. Later he worked as Director, Placement and took care of Placements for the student of all the three G.N.D.U campuses at Amritsar, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur. He was appointed as First Dean, Alumni at GND University in March 2007. He started organized old students of the University working in different parts of the country and world. GNDU alumni started contributing towards the development of the University.
Dr.Arora was nominated as member of National Standard Committee of Rural Technology and Chairman of Regional Committee, North Zone of CAPART (Council for people's Action and Rural Technology) by Ministry of Rural Development, Govt.of India, New Delhi.
He worked as Principal Amritsar College of Engineering & Technology from March 2008 to December 2008. He joined as Vice chancellor, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar on 24 December 2008. We the Graduates of Fazilka congratulates him for his outstanding achievements and pray for his long and quality life Ahead.
Reference : Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar
Friday, January 15, 2010
फाजिल्का-हरियाणा राजस्थान की सीमा से सटे फिरोजपुर के गाव खुईखेड़ा में रविवार को स्वास्थ्य मंत्री लक्ष्मीकाता चावला को सुनने आई गाव की महिलाओ के लिए बड़ी विकट स्थिति पैदा हो गई। बागड़ी गाव होने से समारोह में उपस्थित महिलाएं घूंघट निकाल सेहत मंत्री का भाषण सुन रहीं थीं। सेहत मंत्री तो आई थीं अस्पताल के भवन का उद्घाटन करने लेकिन उन्होंने घूंघट पर ही हल्ला बोल दिया। अपनी चिरपरिचित शैली में सेहत मंत्री ने दहेज प्रथा, भ्रूण हत्या व घूंघट प्रथा पर अपने भाषण में ऐसी चोट की कि भाषण की समाप्ति पर महिलाओं ने कहा कि वह बहन जी से मिलना चाहती है। सेहत मंत्री भी ठहरीं अपनी धुन की पक्की। उन्होंने कहा कि अगर घूंघट उठाकर मिलोगी तो मैं मिलने को तैयार हूं। शायद ये सेहत मंत्री के जोरदार भाषण का ही असर था कि कुछ देर पहले तक डेढ़ फुट लंबा घूंघट निकाले बैठी ये महिलाएं घूंघट उतारकर न केवल मंत्री से मिलीं बल्कि उनके साथ उतरे हुए घूंघट में फोटो भी खिंचवाई। इससे पहले समारोह में सेहत मंत्री ने घूंघट प्रथा पर हैरानी जताते हुए कहा कि एक तरफ तो महिलाएं हाथ में हथियार लिए सीमा पर तैनात हो रही है, देश के राष्ट्रपति भवन में आसीन हो रही है और वहीं पंजाब के इस इलाके में अभी भी यह कुप्रथा जारी है। उन्होंने कहा कि मुंह वह छिपाता है, जिसने गलत काम किया हो, तो महिलाएं मुंह क्यों छिपाएं। उन्होंने सीता माता का उदाहरण देते हुए कहा कि क्या किसी मंदिर में सीता माता की घूघट ओढ़े फोटो है, अगर नहीं तो हमें भी घूंघट नहीं निकालना चाहिए। इसके अलावा चावला ने भू्रण हत्या पर कड़े प्रहार करते हुए कहा कि सर्पिणी ही अपने बच्चों को खाती है, इसके अलावा प्रकृति में कोई ऐसा जीव नहीं है जो अपने बच्चों को मारता हो, तो भू्रण हत्या करने वाले साप से भी गए बीते है। उन्होंने पंजाब में लड़कियों की जन्म दर की हालत सुधरने पर खुशी भी जताई। उनका कहना था कि सरकार का कार्यकाल शुरू होते वक्त पंजाब में प्रति एक हजार लड़कों के पीछे 798 लड़कियों की औसत थी जो अब 838 तक पहुच गई है।
Monday, January 11, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Tobha that stands in testimony to a visit by Guru Nanak, the first
Sikh Guru. While travelling to Multan, now in Pakistan, the Sikh Guru
came here with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana and rested under a Beri Tree
near Tobha or a pond for nine days. Since then the frail and sick have
been coming here to take a holy dip in the pond that is believed to
have the power to cure.
"Dhan Dhan Guru Guru Nanak Dev ji stayed here for sometime on his way
to Multanpur. He took rest with his followers under a beri tree near a
tobha (pond) and since then the gurudwara was named as Gurudwara Shri
Nanaksar Tobha. His visit here made this land sacred," said Hardeep
Singh, head Granthi.
Hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib captivate the visitors, who come to
the Sanctum . There is a feeling of humility and submission to the
great Guru, and everyone recalls the times when the first Guru of the
Sikhs had walked in this very place. The experience of immersing
oneself in devotion and prayer here, away from the hustle and bustle
of life and daily routine, lifts the soul and the spirit.
"People have great belief in this gurudwara. All wishes get fulfilled
here. The sangat comes with great faith. This gurudwara gives peace of
mind. We get our wishes fulfilled," a visitor said.The wholehearted
spirit of humanity lives on- true picture of Sikhism- the spirit of
selfless service to mankind. People have an ardent belief in all holy
places visited by the ten Sikh gurus, and the calm and serene
Gurudwara Nanaksar Tobha welcomes every passerby.
By Avtar Singh (ANI)
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Despite the dubious distinction of having the highest road crash fatalities in the world, little has been done to check this menace in our country, writes Rupinder Singh
GLOBALLY, 1.3 million people are killed and at least 50 million injured in road accidents. India holds the dubious distinction of having the highest road crash fatalities in the world. With 1 per cent of the world's vehicular population, the country accounts for 10 per cent of the fatalities. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, as many as 1,15,000 Indians died in road crashes in 2007. This means every 13 Indian is lost to road crash every hour.
According to the Planning Commission of India, for every fatality there are 15 serious life-altering injuries. More than 1.5 million Indians and their families suffered due to road traffic injuries in 2007 alone. Statistically, 2008 was an exceptional year when accident rates fell but this was attributed to high fuel prices, because of which people made fewer trips and were less exposed to traffic. Research says that with an increase of 10 per cent in fuel prices, fatalities are reduced by 2.3 per cent. In 2008, Chandigarh had 146 fatalities and till November 23, 2009, there were 147 fatalities. With about 300 Indians dying everyday on roads, it is like a 26/11 happening every 15 hours. The annual human loss is like that of a medium scale war and still nothing much is being done. An army officer, in a conversation, regretted that in the last two years, we lost more jawans to road crashes than to terrorism. Why is that headlines about terror attack, H1N1, etc. shock us more than that of road accidents?
Stalin once said "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic". It's high time we moved beyond the statistics and focussed on the tragedies that hits families. I and my family could have been a statistic on October 31 when on our way to Delhi to attend a wedding we met with an accident. I was driving a Safari when I saw a calf crossing the median on the highway. I slowed down. After crossing half the way, it turned back. I had no choice but to slow down further. As I was slowing down, I saw in the rear view mirror a bus approaching us. I alerted my family as I wasn't sure if the driver would manage to stop. Not unexpectedly, the bus banged into our vehicle. Luckily, we all survived. I got down and realised that the bus that was following us had almost managed to stop but, another one following it couldn't, and hit it. The bus behind us hit our vehicle due to the impact. All three vehicles got damaged and some bus passengers got bruises. A major tragedy was averted but all attempts to convince the second bus driver about over-speeding got negated by his experience of more than two decades and this being the very first incident.
Similarly, the traffic in Delhi was maddening as ever. Beginning from a traffic point, we got the scare of our life when we realised that the truck next to us was laden with big boulders and the road was uneven. One boulder would have been enough to convert all of us into statistics.
On our journey back to Chandigarh on December 1, right after the toll plaza of Panipat, there was a traffic jam up till Karnal. All along we were moved in the left lane as the right lane had been occupied by buses and trucks. Motorists were meandering left, right and every inch of the road space was being fought for. The sight was so intimidating for my daughter that for the first time she said "Papa, let's move to New Zealand". I'm a resident of New Zealand and have made a conscious decision to be here and work on road safety.
We came back traumatised but safe and sound. A Panchkula family wasn't lucky enough that very day. Madhavi, a class 12 student lost her parents, brother (Dhruv) and a cousin (Archit) to recklessness of a truck driver. Madhavi's life and dreams changed forever. Later, media reported attending of kirya ceremony by three beneficiaries of Dhruv and Archit's eyes. Did a family that can be so benevolent even during the worst of a trauma deserve to suffer at the hands of an indifferent driver and callous emergency evacuation system (they were attended after two hours)? Would it have been anymore traumatic for Aggarwals if they had suffered at the hands of somebody driven by ideology rather than somebody driven by ignorance, arrogance and indifference? This indifference terrorises us all, on all roads and at all times.
Over the past five years, the annual increase in road traffic fatalities has been around 8 per cent as compared to 5 per cent earlier. During this same era, India witnessed the highest rate of urbanisation and motorisation. This raises a very pertinent question here: Can India be a developed nation and have such high road crash fatalities? The answer is 'No' as all developed nations have substantially reduced road crash fatalities by designing safe road systems for all road users and inculcating and enforcing sensible driving behaviour. India cannot be an exception — developed yet chaotic. Urbansiation is unavoidable for 21st century India and it poses a Herculean challenge to check this chaos on roads.
Since, road crashes are causative in nature and are preventable thus all deaths and injuries are unacceptable. The pandemic warrants a holistic approach and a comprehensive road safety strategy must have 4E's — Engineering, Education, Enforcement, and Emergency.
Enforcement by police is an integral component but in India we regard it as the panacea. Drunken driving needs to be tackled through zero tolerance but it would be unfair to expect the police to ensure it, when faced by mushrooming of temporary liquor vends and aahtas as a consequence of the liberal excise policy along roads and highways. Few years back Chandigarh permitted temporary vends and aahtas on V3 (main road dividing sectors) in pursuance of revenue. This was a shocking deviation as the administration otherwise doesn't allow any direct excess to V3 road from any property nor lets any vendor be on these roads. Also, it's too much for a city that prides itself in being the first no smoking city of India. It takes years of being a passive smoker to suffer the ill-effects of smoking but one could suffer any moment due to a drunk driver on the road.
Chandigarh, which defines urban planning, has equally neglected the needs of vulnerable road users (VRU's) — cyclists, pedestrians, rickshaw puller and passengers. Though it has compulsory cycle and rickshaw tracks, the non-provision of lighting has made these unworthy of use during night. Also, they are confined to a few roads and have not been provided at high cycle rider density areas like Industrial Area 1, Ram Darbar, colony number 4 and 5. Non-existence of footpaths on V2, V3 and V5 roads compromise pedestrian safety. The footpaths too have been encroached upon by car owners or not maintained thus, leaving pedestrians no choice but to share the road with motorised traffic. In case of a collision, impact is almost always borne by VRU's and out of the current 147 fatality in Chandigarh, almost 50 per cent are VRU's — 46 pedestrians, 22 cyclists and 3 rickshawpullers or passengers. Thus, engineering has the potential to reduce fatalities by designing structure that segregates the VRU's from motorised traffic. The Central Government, through its National Urban Renewal Mission (NURM), has given priority to the setting up of cycle tracks and pedestrian paths, but, if a city like Chandigarh that also aspires to be environment friendly-solar city lacks them, where else can they be expected?
Chandigarh's wide roads have two or three lanes, but the lanes vanish near roundabouts. This shows engineering deficiency. Further, traffic lights negate the 'Right of way' of those negotiating the roundabout. Most city roads don't have signs and markings to enforce "Give Way" — making it 'Might of Way' rather than 'Right of way'. All this calls for immediate attention.
Education is the key as the best of the roads and the safest of cars won't reduce fatalities if we continue to have skill-deficient drivers. Developed nations have moved to a graduated licencing system and it takes at least two years for drivers to drive independently. We need to ensure that drivers with certain acceptable skill level are only allowed on the road. Driving should be a citizen's privilege not a right. Emotive and appealing communication rather than ineffective slogans should be undertaken on a sustained basis, and traffic safety education should be introduced in schools not only to prepare the next generation road users but also reverse-train their parents. Similarly, a certification system that ascertains vehicular health over and above the pollution checks should be introduced at the earliest for all the vehicles.
Death of political leaders like Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Sahib Singh Verma, Rajesh Pilot and others convey the vulnerability of us all. The challenge is to change the mindset. Sooner or later, we will have to if we want India to be counted as a developed nation. For our own good, let us begin by realising that challan is not the only consequence of speeding, drunken driving, mobile usage, non-usage of seat belts or helmet, driving skill deficiency.
In this war on roads, let us wish none of us becomes a killer or an innocent victim. Wishing you a safe journey called life.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Dated: December 3, 2009
Centre for Active Transport (CAT) with the generous support of DIMTS, iTRANS and TI Cycles facilitated a community dialog on "Status of Non-Motorised Transport in India" at the Urban Mobility India 2009 Conference and Exhibition at the India Habitat Centre during December 3-5, 2009. This event was organized by The Institute of Urban Transport, India, and sponsored by Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD) as envisaged in the National Urban Transport Policy, 2006.
Centre for Active Transport created a coalition with multiple agencies representing the government, business and civil societies for the Urban Mobility India 2009. These include Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi Integrated Multi- Modal Transit System Ltd (DIMTS), EcoMove Solutions, Goa Cycle Club (GCC), Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF), Innovative Transport Solutions Pvt. Ltd (iTrans), Interface for Cycling Expertise (I-CE), Institute of Democracy and Sustainability (IDS), Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), I-Initiate, Khar Bandra Santa Cruz Foundation (KBSF), MOZAIC Design, Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates (PSDA), Pune Traffic and Transportation Forum (PTTF), Ride A Cycle Foundation (RACF), Sandeep Gandhi Architects (SGA), TI Cycles, Transport Research and Injury Prevention Programme (TRIPP) and United Traffic and Transport Infrastructure Planning and Engineering Centre (UTTIPEC).CAT coordinated a community voice on non-motorized transport in India at the common exposition space where all friends of non-motorized transport were invited to contribute their message in the form of posters and audio visuals or by just being in the space and engaging the conference participants in a dialogue on the importance of non-motorized transport
The focus of iTrans is NMV inclusive planning and design and believe a good plan can be created only with community engagement" said Dr. Anvita Arora, Director, iTrans, Resident Representative, I-CE. Ti Cycles believes in selling "cycling" before selling cycle and we pleased to support this community dialog" said Vikas Jain, Marketing Manager, TI Cycles.India's National Urban Transport Policy (2006) vision is to move people and not vehicles. According to a study by TRIPP, IIT Delhi, Bicycle ownership by households in medium and large Indian cities ranges between 35-60%. The policy still remains on paper, therefore, the coalition of friends of active transport have gathered here to create a critical mass of voices for on the ground change. CAT is grateful to iTrans, Ti Cycles and DIMTS for sponsoring this initiative" said Seema Tiwari, Managing Trustee, CAT.