06 May 2010

08 April 2010

Complete bandh in Fazilka, residents demand district status

Raakhi JaggaTags : protestFazilkaPosted: Friday , Apr 09, 2010 at 2321 hrsFazilka:

Normal life was thrown out of gear in the Fazilka tehsil on Thursday after hundreds of residents sat in a dharna to protest the delimitation of police stations. Traffic was blocked and trains were stopped in their tracks by the residents who were unhappy after 48 villages were attached to the Arniwala sub-tehsil and Abohar tehsil.

Apart from the opposition leaders, ruling party MLA Surjit Singh Jayani and SAD leaders also protested against the new policy. No train was allowed to enter or leave the Fazilka railway station. A passenger train coming from Ferozepur was stopped 18 km before this tehsil at Laduka. The protestors also stopped buses at Malaut road. All markets were also closed down. Bar association members of Fazilka lead the protest, along with the residents.

Sushil Gumber, president of the association, and Rajesh Kasricha, media advisor said, "The residents have been demanding that Fazilka be declared a separate district for the last many years, but not we are struggling to save it as a tehsil."

According to the information available, 48 villages have been shifted to Arniwala sub-tehsil and Abohar tehsil.

BJP MLA Surjit Singh Jayani said, "The villagers will have to submit their documents, after travelling 21 kilometres, to the Arniwal SHO. In case he is not available, they will have travel another 25-30 kilometres to meet the DSP in Abohar. Earlier, all the work was carried on in Fazilka tehsil."

SAD leader Mohinder Singh Khalsa said, "After independence, Fazilka was the largest tehsil in Punjab. It has gradually been reduced by shifting villages to other areas

Jayani said,"We want the area to be declared as a district and want the 48 villages back, or the protest will continue."

To pacify the protestors, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal addressed the masses through his mobile phone, after MLA Jayani called him up. Badal assured that he will resolve the issue and a delegation has been called on April 10 in Chandigarh.

In a written representation to the state government, the residents of Fazilka have demanded a district status. The total population of the area is around 1.5 lakh.

It has been argued that a lot of time is wasted to get any work done as the district headquarters are in Ferozepur. If Fazilka is declared a district, tehsils of Abohar and Jalalabad will also benefit, said Jayani.


26 March 2010

4th Fazilka Heritage Festival 2010-Invitation, 1-4th April 2010

India's smallest big town, inviting people across the country and continent to come and discover the rich heritage and culture of Fazilka
Fazilka Heritage Festival 2010
With Support of Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board
Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka
Fazilka Heritage Festival 2010
Annual art, food and cultural festival of Fazilka region
1st-4th April 2010

Venue: Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Park (Pratap Bagh) and Clock Tower Car Free Zone, Fazilka
Theme: Water and Sustainability
Theme Partner: Indian Youth Climate Network

Fazilka Heritage Festival is an annual feature ornamenting the fair face of the city of Fazilka. Fazilka Heritage Festival is an offering sublime not just for the music and art lovers of Fazilka but also for those of the entire state of Punjab and region put together. Conceived and planned as a cultural event showcasing the various aspects of art, music and food culture of the erstwhile Fazilka with a view to injecting a fresh lease of life into them, the Festival is literally an art and cultural extravaganza. Fazilka Heritage Festival 2009 bring out this very spirit alive in the shape of a mega cultural fest where cultures unite evolves creating a joint and everlasting euphemism. The season is all set and the mood is like never before. Fazilka Heritage Festival 2009 promises to be a much bigger, broader and better affair that will go down the memories as a sophisticated as well as enjoyable event - the basic essence of this festival. The main aim of this heritage festival is to promote Fazilka's rich culture and heritage worldwide. This event will not only promote the vibrancy of Fazilka's culture and Punjabiat in the border region of Punjab but also will help to establish Fazilka as a Brand city. This branding will directly or indirectly support the local handicraft, workers, sweet makers and this will generate employment opportunity through tourism in the region for many.


 You all along with your family and friends are invited for this big mega event of Fazilka. Block your dates from 1-4th April 2010 now.

The main highlights of the events are:

Hamare Adarsh Jai Jawan, Jai Kissan Women of Fazilka Youth Fazilka
1st April 2010
"Hamare Adarsh"

A evening dedicated to the senior citizen of Fazilka.

2nd April 2010
"Jai Jawan, Jai Kissan"

An evening dedicated to our brave soldiers and the progressive farmers of Fazilka region. Would also feature a mini Kissan mela.
3rd April 2010
"Women of Fazilka"

An evening dedicated to women achievers of Fazilka region.

4th April 2010
"Youth Fazilka"

An evening dedicate to the youth of Fazilka, how they are helping to shape up the future of this small town...A night to remember

Other event attractions would be;

  • Sufiyana - Live musical performances and live shows in front of Fazilka's historic building Clock Tower. Live DJ performances…
  • Food Zone: A dedicated zone will demonstrate the famous Fazilka recipe and Street Food made by known chefs of the area, just to retune your taste buds. The main idea behind Food Zone is to promote organic food. Many activists and volunteer organizations working in this field are likely to participate in the same
  • Art and Craft Zone- Artist's corner, where local artist will display their products related to handicrafts and traditional fine arts.
  • Paridhan- An ethnic fashion event based upon the theme Fazilka revisited in support from country's biggest garment manufacturer "Orient Craft Limited"
  • Exhibition Area: In this section you will discover the exhibition by various state and central government run project for the welfare of citizen like NAREGA, National Rural Healthcare, PEDA, PCRA and Punjab Agro.

 Fazilka Heritage Festival is first of its kind festival based upon scientific theme. This year festival theme is "Water and Sustainability". Under this theme we are undertaking various activities to save water. Our theme partner for this year festival is "Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN)"

  • As a part of our theme, we are going to launch our "Fazilka Nano", a new Fazilka rickshaw under the Ecocab Project to make your ride in Fazilka more comfortable.
  • "My Fazilka Bag": As you all are aware that, Fazilka is the first city to ban polythene in Punjab. Now it's our responsibility to take this ecological cause forward. You will be provided a new attractive "My Fazilka Bag", made from cotton by local women self help group. We are sure you would love to carry the same, while going for shopping next time.
  • In the nearby sub urban localities of Fazilka, municipality supplies water through one water connection in each house. In a survey we have found that majority of these connection are without taps. We, with the help of volunteers, would be installing PVC taps on these connections, saving about 30,000 litres of fresh water on daily basis.


 So tighten up your belt to fly with us on a journey called Fazilka Heritage Festival 2010

Team Fazilka Heritage Festival


Our Associates:
PCRA        PEDA IYCN Zamindara Farmsolutions Orient Craft NASA AGRO

If you have any query, or you would like to support us or associate with us for the Fazilka Heritage Festival, please fill in the following form


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18 March 2010

Fazilka: Come Without Your Car-Carbuster

Fazilka: Come Without Your Car

fazilkaFazilka is a small, 162 year old town on the India-Pakistan border. Its unkempt, garbage-strewn congested streets with small, bustling shops are nothing out of the ordinary. But this town of about 68,000 people – and about 45,000 vehicles on its narrow lanes – has removed one source of congestion: cars.

On November 21, 2008, the city made history, when it became the first in the region to implement the "Carfree City" concept. The main market area around the Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) was declared a "Car Free Zone" – the entry of cars was banned between 10am, when most shops open, and 7pm, when the shopkeepers head home – despite initial opposition, especially from shopkeepers who feared losing clientele. Only two wheelers (bikes and motorbikes) are allowed, but the town plans to remove them gradually.

Fazilka continues to build on its carfree success, by placing special emphasis on traffic calming devices and installing permanent barriers in a few locations, in addition to the introduction of other alternative ways of getting from A to B (such as "Ecocabs" or dial-a-rickshaw service), all helping to make the city centre more sustainable, pedestrian and cycle friendly.

Fazilka Finding its Feet

Fazilka's unusual story began with a festival in 2006. In the last week of March that year, a citizens' group of about 250 people, called the Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF) organised the Fazilka Heritage Festival. A stretch of 300 metres on the Sadhu Ashram Road, not far from the current carfree zone, was converted into a pedestrian street. GWAF used this event as a case study to conduct an experiment to keep the same city central zone as a carfree zone. By remaining free of cars, the study revealed not just an improvement in the quality of social life, but also in the law and order, environment through less air pollution from car emissions, economy and road safety of the residents.

"The festival was a success," said Bhupender Singh, a retired professor of mechanical engineering and an architect of this project. "Without cars, there was a lot of road space for everybody. There were stalls selling everything from food to handicrafts and people danced on the streets without the fear of being run over," he added.

The festival was held again next year, though at a different location: the Salem Shah East West Corridor, which crosses the Ghanta Ghar. This time, the carfree zone extended about a kilometre. Again, the festival was well received by residents and set the tone for a dedicated carfree zone.

"It is only logical that first the most congested area of the town should be freed from traffic," said Navdeep Asija, project manager of the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board. Asija had been studying the town's traffic problems since 2006. "Fazilka is approximately 10.29 sq km big with each side spanning just a little over three kilometres. It can easily become a pedestrian city, with motorised vehicles used primarily for transportation of goods."

Market Matters

Festivals can change cities. However, these festivals alone did not ensure a permanent carfree zone. GWAF was trying to convince the municipality to designate a carfree zone. This did not come up without initial resistance. Initially, shopkeepers were not too keen on the idea as they thought it would drive away customers, said Asija, adding that the municipality feared protests.

The stalemate continued until September 2008, when Anil Sethi took over as the president of the municipal committee. A trader himself, Sethi heard GWAF's idea of a carfree zone, became interested, and set about implementing it. He considered such a scheme beneficial to Ghanta Ghar shopkeepers because it would decongest the area. Sethi's influence among the traders helped him convince them, through several meetings with traders and their associations in order to create consensus.

The Ghanta Ghar market has three roads jutting out of it in three different directions. The lane encircling the Ghanta Ghar is about 200 metres long and is now free of traffic, as the three roads were barricaded. A further 800 metres of the road connecting the Hotel Bazar in the north to Wool Bazar in the south has been blocked. Another 400 metres of road in the east has been barricaded, and a stretch of road in the west has been blocked by a temple.

Once apprehensive, the shopkeepers in the Ghanta Ghar market are now happy with the ban. There is no official monitoring of pollution in Fazilka, but shopkeepers claim the air is cleaner. "I used to keep a jug of water for my staff and customers. Before the car ban, I had to change the water every hour as it would turn dirty," said Vicky Chabbra, owner of a local utensils shop. "Now, it remains in the jug for an entire day and still looks clear." Chabbra said sales in his shop have increased 25 per cent since the ban.

Roshan Lal, who sells chaat (North Indian street food) a few metres away from the utensils shop. "People have more time now. They come and enjoy their food without being hassled about whether their cars are blocking the road," Lal said. Vikram Ahuja, another local shopkeeper, wants the concept replicated in other parts of the town. "Fazilka is small; one can easily walk from one corner to the other," he said.

The carfree zone has spurred many an ambitious dream. There are talks of converting the Ghanta Ghar market into a pedestrian mall, with brightly coloured shops selling everything from cotton handkerchiefs to LCD televisions.

Rickshaw Resurgence

GWAF went further than simply introducing a cafree zone. Recognising peoples need to be on the move and get somewhere fast, a popular dial-a-rickshaw service was initiated. The rickshaws, called "Ecocabs", were introduced as a new form of public transportation using intelligent transport tools, arriving at residents doorsteps following a phone call. The city has been divided into five zones and each has a different phone number.

"We didn't want the rickshaws to be considered a poor man's transport, therefore the name Ecocabs," explains Navneet Asija, a Delhi graduate. Initially, the scheme got a lukewarm response, but picked up when residents understood the utility. It's not just residents, even the rickshaw-pullers have benefited from fixed rates, which means their earnings have gone up.

Profits Following a Car Ban

Mayor Sethi plans to free most of the city of cars eventually. Sethi sees the carfree zone as a way to promote non-motorised transport and to build connections between the wealthy parts of town and the poorer parts. "The aim to create a car free zone and also to promote non-motorised modes of transport within the city is to build bridges between the prosperous sections of society in the city and the less well-off," said Sethi. He opposes the construction of new overpasses within the city, which is a courageous position in Indian politics today.

Fazilka has seen a change not just in the improved quality of social life and road safety for its people, but also in improved law and order, local economy and environment from reduced air pollution.

The successful projects making the city centre carfree have been beneficial in many ways, not simply by decongesting the market. With the carfree zone and the Ecocab initiative, Fazilka is perhaps the only Indian town with such simple yet effective schemes. And it is clear that with public transportation alternatives such as these, along with the introduction of carfree spaces, communities benefit from feeling safer and healthier, when free from cars. Fazilka can proudly show a new way to the rest of the country.

This is an updated and edited version of Fazilka: Come without your Car by Arnab Pratim Dutta available atwww.downtoearth.org


17 March 2010

1st Fazilka Indo Farm Heritage Sports Festival

Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sports Club (Regd) Fazilka
1st Fazilka Indo Farm Heritage Sports Festival
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਫਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ ਦਾ ਇੰਡੋ-ਫਾਰਮ ਵਿਰਾਸਤੀ ਖੇਡ ਮੇਲਾ 
पहला फाजिल्का का इंडो फार्म विरासती खेल महोत्सव 
19-20 March 2010
Venue : M.R. Govt. College Stadium, Fazilka