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.

7 ducks, 10 crows found dead in Fazilka village

ABOHAR: As many as 37 ducks and 10 crows were found dead under mysterious circumstances in a village pond near Sitto Guno village, falling under Asia's largest open wildlife sanctuary area in Faziilka district on Friday. 

Animal husbandry officials have sent their swab samples to Regional Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar in view of the recent death of geese owing to bird flu in Chandigarh. 

Dr PS Danewalia, senior official of Animal Husbandry said he was informed by villagers about the birds. A team of veterinarians was rushed to the spot. None of the dead birds were migratory. 

He added that prima-facie it seems that birds have died due to some poison, but as precautionary measures the swab samples of the dead birds were sent to the laboratory. Earlier, on seeing the dead birds, villagers and activists of Jeev Raksha Bishnoi Sabha blocked the Sitto-Dabwali road for couple of hours. They alleged that the post of veterinary doctor in the Asia's largest open area wildlife sanctuary was lying vacant since long. The dharna was lifted only when Jaspal Singh Brar, Tehsildar, Abohar reached the spot and called veterinary doctors to examine the dead birds. 

Manjit Singh Brar, Fazilka deputy commissioner, said administration had alerted officials to keep a watch on the birds. All residents in villages in the open wildlife sanctuary had been asked to report any such incident to them. 

Meanwhile, wildlife authorities have lifted temporary ban on the entry of visitors and bird watchers to the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary. The ban was imposed in December as precautionary measures in view of the bird flu scare in Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

नेता प्रतिपक्ष सुनील जाखड़ ने रेलमंत्री सुरेश प्रभाकर प्रभु से मुलाकात

जाखड़ ने आगामी रेल बजट में श्रीगंगानगर से वाया अबोहर, फाजिल्का, फिरोजपुर, जालंधर, डेरा ब्यास, अमृतसर होते हुए जम्मू कटरा तक नई सुपर फास्ट ट्रेन चलाने, प्रस्तावित फिरोजपुर-चंडीगढ़ इंटरसिटी ट्रेन को शीघ्र चलाने के साथ ही इसे अबोहर तक बढ़ाए जाने की माग की। अंबाला डिवीजन द्वारा वर्ष 2013-14 में मंजूर किए अबोहर मेंश्रीगंगानगर रोड रेलवे क्रॉसिंग पर अंडर ब्रिज बनाने के प्रस्ताव को आने वाले रेल बजट में डालने की भी मांग की गई।

पंजाब सरकार द्वारा दिए गए फंड से रेलवे की जगह पर बनने वाले स्टील ब्रिज का निर्माण शीघ्र शुरू करवाने तथा इसमें आ रही बाधाएं को दूर करने की माग करते हुए जाखड़ ने रेल मंत्री से इस काम के लिए शीघ्र अबोहर आ कर इसके लिए नींव पत्थर रखने के कार्यक्रम के लिए न्योता भी दिया। जाखड़ ने रेलमंत्री को बताया कि पाकिस्तान सीमा के साथ लगते जिलों फाजिल्का, फिरोजपुर में रेल सेवाओं के प्रसार की अति आवश्यक्ता है।