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Punjab Govt
February 10, 2008




In a significant move to ensure clean and pollution free environment, the Punjab government today sought technical support and know how from the Vetiver Network International through an NGO 'Earthizens' committed to create awareness amongst the masses about the balanced eco system and the cleaning of water bodies.

This move comes in the wake of a high level meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal with the delegation of Vetiver Network International led by its chairman Richard Grimshaw here this morning.

Taking part in deliberations Mr.Badal asked the Secretary Environment Science & Technology to launch a pilot project for the plantation of vetiver grass on the experimental basis over 2 acres of water logged land in Malwa belt, 1 KM stretch alongwith Buddha Nulla in Ludhiana and 4 to 5 water ponds in the state. He also asked the Forest department to grant permission for its plantation in the state after consulting the experts of Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana. He however, said that if this experiment proved to be successful it could be replicated in other parts of the state to check the menace of river pollution caused by the industrial effluents and soil erosion besides using this technique for bio-engineering for the stabilization and protection of roads, rail tracks, building sites and bridges.

Earlier, Mr. Grimshaw informed the Chief Minister that the use of vetiver grass has been found successful world over to control the problems related to agriculture, energy, fuel, waster and contaminated water treatment, soil erosion and disaster management. He said that the vetiver international through its proven technology had successfully implement its projects in Thailand, China, Vietnam, Australia, Kuwait, South Africa, Central America and United States. He said that now vetiver international has commenced its operations in India through launching its project in Kerala, Goa and some other southern states. He urged the Chief Minister to send a team of officers to visit these states to have first hand information about the concept and technical viability of the project.

Meanwhile Dr. Paul Truong, Director of Vetiver International gave a power point presentation on the plantation of vetiver grass. He said that it could reclaim soils and increase site productivity in places that had become unproductive previously. Apart from this the vetiver grass could tolerate high level of toxic metals viz. aluminum, manganese, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, copper, lead, mercury and zinc.

Prominent amongst others who were present in the meeting included Forest & Medical Research Minister Tikshan Sud, Principal Secretary Rural Development & Panchayats GS Sandhu Director & General Secretary Village Life Improvement Foundation of Earthizens Geetika Kalha, Consultant of Earthizens MP Singh, Secretary Science, Technology & Environment AS Chhatwal, Executive Director Punjab State Council for Science & Technology NS Tiwana, Chairman Punjab Pollution Control Board Yogesh Goel and Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Ajay Mahajan.



Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today expressed profound grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Veteran Journalist, Tribhuvan Nath who died at Panchkula here today.

Tribhuvan Nath, 86, is survived by his two daughters, one of his daughter namely Tripti Nath is a Principal Correspondent with the Tribune, the other, Preeti Nath is working as a Lecturer at Government Collage, Panchkula.

In a condolence message Mr. Badal said that Tribhuvan Nath, Former Special Correspondent of the Times of India had served the Times of India for more than three decades at various news centers, the last being in Chandigarh. The Chief Minister described him as a seasoned and fearless journalist who would be long remembered for his objective writings.

Mr. Badal expressed his heartfelt sympathies with the members of the bereaved family and prayed to the Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul and give strength to them to bear this irreparable loss.

Meanwhile, Member Parliament and President Shiromani Akali Dal Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal deeply mourned the death of Tribhuvan Nath. Information & Public Relations Minister Mr.Bikram Singh Majithia also shared his condolences with the bereaved family. Media Advisor to the Chief Minister Harcharan Bains, Principal Secretary, Information & Public Relations, DS Jaspal and Mr. Tejveer Singh, Director, Information & Public Relations Department also mourned the death of Tribhuvan Nath.


Chandigarh February 18.2008

Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal today inaugurated the community based Reverse Osmosis Safe Drinking Water Scheme at cost of Rs. 3.22 crore at village Kauni near Gidderbaha (Muktsar).

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Badal said that the scheme was a part of the memorandum of understanding signed with Naandi Foundation for supply of potable water in Gidderbaha area. He pointed out that the Naandi Foundation was a Hyderabad based reputed Non-Government Organization (NGO) which was already working in eight states on public-private partership basis on issues related to poverty eradication and community development.

Mr. Badal further said that the state government had already inked an agreement with World Bank for Rs. 1280 crore for Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project. The project is duly financed by the World Bank to the extent of Rs. 751 crore. Governemnt of Punjab Rs. 245 crore, Government of India Rs. 207 crore and community contribution of Rs. 77 crore. The Project was aimed at to cover 2124 "Not Covered Villages". 920 "Partially Covered villages," improve the existing water supply schemes in 1600 villages, provide small bore sewer in 100 villages besides the renovation ponds in 1000 villages of the state.

The Chief Minister appealed to the village panchayats to come forward to convince the people to contribute their respective shares of 10% and 5% for the World Bank's drinking water and sewerage schemes respectively.

He categorically said that the state government alone come not implement these schemes on its own due to certain inbuilt terms and conditions where the monetary participation of the people was mandatory.

The Chief Minister also mentioned that quality of drinking water in the Malwa belt was relatively very poor and causing skin disorders and Cancer. The participation of people in these schemes of basic civic amenities would not only improve their quality of life but also save them from the possible deadly diseases.

Referring to the modernization and upgradation of Canal network in the Malwa belt which was very old, Mr. Badal stated the state irrigation and drainage department had undertaken a massive programme at a cost of Rs. 3250 crore for the de-silting and lining of the canals and water courses to enhance the intake capacity of water for irrigation purposes by atleast 25% -30% especially at the tail ends in this region.

In his address Finance Minister Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal said that Naandi Foundation was managed by corporate leaders and academicians Dr. Kanji Reddy. Mr. Anand Mahindra, Mr. Ramalinga Raju and Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia. He said that the foundation would set up 53 Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants in district Muktsar with output capacity of 1500/1000/500 liters per hour. It will supply water @10 paise per liter to the domestic users. Each RO plant of 500 liter per hour would cost Rs. 5 lac and 1000 liter per hour would cost Rs. 6 lac.

Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal hoped that the initiative of the Punjab Government with Naandi Foundation would go a long way in improving the quality of drinking water in Malwa belt in general and the areas of Gidderbaha in particular.

Earlier, the Chief Minister also launched the community based drinking water scheme at village Kot Ablu in Gidderbaha.

Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included S. Gurdas Singh Badal former MP, Sh. Amit Jain National Director Naandi Gram Organisation, Sh. Vikas Garg Deputy Commissioner Muktsar, Mr. R.P. Mittal DIG Ferozepur, Sh. Gurpreet Singh Gill, SSP Muktsar, Mr. Rishi Pal Singh SDM Gidderbaha and S. Navtej Singh Kauni Member SGPC were also present on the occasion.



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