If only the chief minister was born in this part of Haryana!

GURGAON: Last month, Rohtak hit the headlines again. The city, that is being projected by the state government as the 'heart of Haryana', became home to a brand-new industrial township, attracting six big-ticket industrial projects worth over Rs 3,400 crore. Already an 'education hub' - the Rohtak IIM began in 2010 - the district is now being projected as the future 'industrial hub' and an FDI goldmine.

All thanks to chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda whose focus on his native place hasn't so much as wavered ever since he took charge in 2005. Some in the political class say that Hooda's Rohtak fixation comes at the cost of balanced development in the state, and add that it will end up making the growth patterns in Haryana highly disproportionate.

According to Anant Ram Tanwar, Gurgaon vice-president of the state's main opposition party, Indian National Lok Dal, the chief minister needs to look away from Rohtak to more deserving cities. "This is the first time I have seen a chief minister focusing on only one district in the entire state," said Tanwar. "Even if you talk of focusing on underdeveloped regions, the state should look at Mewat and Mahendragarh," Tanwar added.

Recently, automobile major Maruti Suzuki had announced investments to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore in Hooda's district, saying that Rohtak will soon be among the global auto hubs. The state administration is of the opinion that a city like Gurgaon, which generates 60% of Haryana's revenues, has reached saturation point in terms of industry. It doesn't have much to lose to Rohtak.

But industrialists here still believe that some political representation could've done Gurgaon good. "Why is Rohtak seeing so much of money, so many new projects? Because it has political currency. In the past five years, everything from roads to electricity supply has improved over there. In Gurgaon, even the basic infrastructure is in tatters," said an industrialist in Udyog Vihar.

Instead of focusing on Rohtak alone, industrialists say the state should have focused on developing the 'greater Gurgaon region' - townships like Roz Ka Meo within a 25-km radius of the main city. "These small townships need a lot of support. While development in Rohtak is more than welcome, the government needs to think more about this region, and the small-scale manufacturers there," said another industrialist.

The state's logic is that taking development to places like Rohtak is the natural course to take, going outward from Gurgaon and Manesar, a view many industrialists also concur with. "I don't think there is any competition to Gurgaon from Rohtak. Actually, taking new industries there takes the load off Gurgaon and spreads development to the periphery," said P K Jain, founder president, Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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  • Memorial to CM’s father: HC puts state on notice
    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, April 23
    The Punjab and Haryana High Court today put the State of Haryana on notice on a petition filed in public interest against the transfer of around 42 acres in Rohtak district for Savindhan Sthala. It is being built in memory of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's father Ranbir Singh Hooda.

    The notice was issued on a petition filed by Sunil Kumar and 11 others of Garhi Bohar village in Rohtak district. This is the second petition to be filed in the high court on the issue. In October 2011, a similar petition was filed but was withdrawn about a month back by the petitioners with the liberty to file it afresh.

    The petitioners argued that the state had issued a notification in 2008 and in 2009 to acquire around 42 acres in their village. The land was to be acquired originally by the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation for developing an industrial township, but it was later transferred arbitrarily for the Savindhan Sthala.

    Dubbing the action of transferring land as illegal, the petitioners contended it was done without following the procedure. They added that public land cannot be transferred for building memorials of private persons and, that too, on 42 acres.
    1,000 buses bypass NCR
    Transport Dept suffers loss of Rs 50 lakh
    Bijendra Ahlawat
    Tribune News Service

    Rohtak,June 15

    Thousands of commuters of the Haryana Roadways faced a tough time today as no bus entered the National Capital Region (NCR) following a protest against the alleged ‘highhandedness’ of the Delhi Police to issue challans of the buses in an indiscriminate manner.

    While around 1,000 buses cut short their route till borders or bypassed Delhi, the Transport Department is reported to have suffered a loss of around Rs 50 lakh due to this move.

    "We had stationed our employees at all four main entrances with Delhi and none of the bus emanating from the state reached the national capital today in a view of the protest lodged by the staff on a call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Haryana Roadways Workers Union," claimed Jagmohan Antil, a senior leader of the committee.

    He said while a majority of drivers and conductors of the Haryana Roadways had voluntarily halted the buses at the border, the passengers were informed in advance about the plan. He said passengers cooperated with the department in this protest.

    Antil said the Transport Department had failed to resolve the issue that was lingering on for the past many years in which drivers and conductors of the Haryana Roadways had to pay the challan fee from their pocket for no fault on their part. Some of the staff plying on the Delhi route had to bear a financial loss of Rs 10,000-12,000 every month on the account of challans issued by the Delhi Police and it was sometimes higher than their monthly wages, claimed Dharambir Hooda, president, Haryana Roadways Workers Union.

    He said the challans were mainly issued after the staff disallowed the Delhi Police from travelling free on their buses while commuting in Delhi.

    Blaming the officials concerned for the inconvenience caused to the commuters, he said the JAC would lay a siege to the Haryana Roadways Director General's office at Chandigarh on June 28, if the issue was not resolved by then. "I took the private bus to reach Rohtak from Delhi as no bus was available today," said Rajiv, a local resident. "The local depot has a total of about 190 buses at present and all odd 12 buses engaged on the Rohtak- Delhi route plied till Bahadurgarh bus stand only," said Sumer Singh, Duty Inspector at the local bus depot.
  • One held taking bribe for Town and Country Planning Dept’s clerk
    Money demanded for land registration NOC
    Tribune News Service

    Rohtak, June 24

    A team of the Vigilance Department today arrested a person for accepting a bribe of Rs 12,000 for issuing an NOC by an employee of the Town and Country Planning Department here. The person had allegedly been deputed by a clerk of the department to accept the money on his behalf.

    Officials of the State Vigilance Bureau (SVB) said Hitesh Kumar, a clerk in the department, had demanded the money to release the NOC for the registration of two kanals of land of complainant Sumesh Kumar, a resident of Samargopalpur village in the district. Sumesh was asked to hand over the money to Krishan Kumar, who earlier used to work as a computer operator on a contract basis.

    A trap was laid by the Vigilance Department and Krishan Kumar was arrested as soon as he took the powdered money from the complainant this morning. A case under the Prevention of the Corruption Act has been registered in this regard. The department has released toll-free number 18001802022 and two other helpline numbers --- 97299-90006 and 9050910570-- to make complaints regarding corruption.
  • Fasting villagers lathi-charged
    Protest led by Cong sarpanch against land-grab continues

    Tribune News Service

    Rohtak, February 16

    Rudkee village sarpanch Sudhir and his supporters, who have been sitting on a fast since February 10 for the removal of encroachments from panchayat land, were lathi-charged late last night. While some fasting villagers were injured in the lathicharge, some of them, including Ashok, Dharamraj, Praveen, Sonu, Amit and Ram Niwas, were taken away by the police.

    Tension prevailed in the village today against the police action and callous attitude of the district and state authorities. Villagers maintain that more than 100 police personnel lathi-charged the protesters.

    “How can the police use force on the sarpanch and others who were holding a peaceful demonstration to register their protest against unlawful activities going on in the village?” questioned Praveen, a protester.

    A team of district officials led by Rohtak Additional Deputy Commissioner RC Bidhan visited the village to convince the sarpanch and his supporters to end the fast. The protesters maintained that the fast and demonstration would continue till the initiation of concrete action against the land-grabbers.

    The ADC formed a committee under the local District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) to resolve the issue.

    A medical team which examined the protesters found that their health was deteriorating.

    Significantly, the sarpanch, Sudhir, owes allegiance to the Congress, the ruling party, and the village is located in the vicinity of Kiloi, which happens to be the constituency of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

    “We have been sitting on fast since February 10. We want to get the village panchayat land freed from encroachments, but our repeated pleas in this regard have fallen on deaf ears. On the contrary, peacefully protesting villagers were lathi-chargedlast night. We have resolved to continue our fast till some plausible action is taken to settle the issue,” Sudhir told The Tribune.
  • Village land freed from grabbers
    Sarpanch’s fast enters 10th day

    Sunit Dhawan
    Tribune News Service

    Rohtak, February 19

    The determination of Rudkee sarpanch and his supporters forced the local administration to get some panchayat land freed from encroachers who had grabbed it decades ago.

    Fed up with the authorities’ failure to act against the land-grabbers despite several representations, Rudkee sarpanch Sudhir began an indefinite fast at the village on February 10 along with his supporters Bhupender, Maha Singh, Dharamraj, Ashok and Sant Ram.

    The district authorities first tried to ignore the fasting villagers. When the fast-cum-protest demonstration continued for a week, a massive police team was sent to the village in the middle of the night in a bid to end the fast.

    The police party lathi-charged the protesters to force them to call off their agitation. However, the residents of not only Rudkee village but also several nearby villages stood by the protesters and supported their concern. Finally, on the ninth day of the fast, some encroachments on village land were removed yesterday. Following that, four of the six protesters whose condition had become critical ended their fast.

    However, sarpanch Sudhir and his supporter Bhupender are still on fast.Their protest demonstration-cum-fast entered the 10th day today.