Saturday, June 2, 2007

IIT-ians steer Fazilka's 160th year fest: Times of India, Chandigarh Edition: 13th April, 2007

Anilesh S Mahajan TNN
Fazilka: From April 15, there would be celebrations of the 160th year of Fazilka's establishment. Brainchild of a 28-year-old IIT Delhi alumnus, Navdeep Asija, these celebrations would be organised for the first time. The origin of the town dates back to April 1847. It is believed that the town was established by Oliver and paid Rs 144 to the original owner of the land, Mian Fazil Watoo. The present name was derived from there only. Dr Harpal Singh, HoD of department of electronics and communication, Wayne State University (US), Dr Bhupinder Singh, former teacher at IIT Rorkee, Surinder Ahuja, pioneer of contract farming in the state, and Gurbachan Singh Brar, former captain of Indian hockey team, are also part of Asija's NGO, Graduates' Welfare Association of Fazilka (GWAF), and are playing their part. ''It was my childhood dream to bring the town together, and this would turn it on,'' said Asija. He is working with a UK-based MNC and believes the economy of smaller towns like Fazilka could boom if tourism input increases with such projects. ''The local authorities are not taking any interest in that,'' he laments. The celebrations would start with a cycle rally on April 15, where senior citizens would ride bicycles between two historical points in the town.
''They are the best carriers of the message,'' said Surinder Ahuja. It would be followed with lectures of Dr Bhupinder on energy conservation. The month-long celebrations would include a food festival of traditional Fazilka cuisines and a film festival.

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