Vishal Rambani

A special correspondent, Vishal Rambani is the bureau chief at Patiala. He covers politics, crime, power sector, environment and socio-economic issues, with several investigative stories to his credit.

Articles by Vishal Rambani

Punjab has 80% of stubble burning cases in North India: Central body

With the spike in farm fires, the air quality index of the state has also started deteriorating.

Smoke billows from the burning paddy stubble at a field in Jalandhar on Saturday. (PTI)
Updated on Oct 30, 2022 06:47 AM IST
By, Patiala

At 2,067, stubble fires double in a day in Punjab

In a major spike in the stubble burning, Punjab recorded 2,067 farm fires on Friday, which is not only the highest of this season so far but is almost double the previous day’s figures

Commuters make their way past the burnt fields on the outskirts of Jalandhar on Friday. (ANI)
Updated on Oct 29, 2022 05:07 AM IST

Farm fires: Punjab surpasses last year’s figures

On Thursday, Punjab recorded 1,111 farm fires, taking the number of stubble-burning incidents to 8,147. So far, the majority of the farm fires have been reported from Majha districts

With the paddy harvest going on in full swing in Punjab, the number of farm fires has started increasing and is likely to peak by the next week. (AFP File Photo)
Published on Oct 28, 2022 02:13 AM IST
ByVishal Rambani & Anil Sharma, Patiala/tarn Taran

Farm fires in Punjab pick up as harvest winds up

Farm fires are expected to get more intense now with the farmers wrapping up harvest late this year due to heavy rains in September. The late surge, however, provided the much needed relief to Delhi-NCR where air quality on Diwali remained relatively cleaner both because of amenable weather conditions as well as lower contribution of farm fires to air pollution

A farmer in Ghaziabad sets fire to his crop. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
Published on Oct 27, 2022 12:16 AM IST

Punjab saw 55% of this season’s farm fires in last 5 days

Satellites of Punjab Remote Sensing Centre on Wednesday detected 1,238 active fires in the state; on October 26 last year, there were just 329 active fire events while in 2020, 2,047 incidents were captured

A farmer burns paddy stubble on the outskirts of Jalandhar in Punjab. (PTI)
Updated on Oct 26, 2022 09:03 PM IST
By, Patiala

Guidelines go up in smoke, air quality dips in Punjab post-Diwali

Though the govt claimed a reduction in pollution vis-à-vis the previous Diwali, Punjab’s air quality index dropped from 153 (moderate) to 224 (poor) in a day

A family watches fireworks on the occasion of Diwali in Amritsar on Monday. (Sameer Sehgal /HT)
Published on Oct 26, 2022 12:51 AM IST

Diwali cracker guidelines go up in smoke, air quality dips in Punjab

Diwali night witnessed the highest number of farm fires of this season as 1,019 incidents were reported from Punjab. Tarn Taran, Patiala and Gurdaspur districts recorded over 100 farm fires each

Diwali night witnessed the highest number of farm fires of the season as 1,019 incidents were reported from Punjab. Tarn Taran, Patiala and Gurdaspur districts recorded more than 100 farm fires each. (HT file photo)
Updated on Oct 25, 2022 03:36 PM IST

Unlicensed firecracker sales rule the roost in Punjab, ‘green cracker’ shoppers disappointed

The shops, stalls selling crackers without following the guidelines could be seen in most of the localities including those markets which are not accessible to the fire tenders.

Administration and police had already designated some particular locations for the sale of crackers but this has been violated. (HT file photo)
Updated on Oct 23, 2022 10:57 PM IST
ByVishal Rambani/Anil Sharma, Patiala/amritsar/jalandhar

At 582, farm fires in Punjab jump to daily high, but no drastic drop in air quality

Apart from Mandi Gobindgarh, where the air quality index jumped to 226, considered “poor”, the air quality in most of Punjab was within “moderate” or “satisfactory” levels

The total number of farm fires in Punjab so far this year has reached 3,696, which is still lower than 5,438 cases in the same period last year. (AFP)
Published on Oct 23, 2022 01:16 AM IST
By, Patiala

Freebies’ fiscal cost: Punjab doles out 50-cr daily power subsidy

State’s subsidy bill has reached to whopping ₹24,865 crore, including arrears of ₹9,020 crore, for providing free electricity but state has managed to pay only ₹8,611 crore.

Around 80% consumers are benefitting from the free power scheme of Punjab government. (Representational image)
Updated on Oct 20, 2022 11:22 PM IST
By, Patiala

70% stubble burning cases in Punjab from Majha alone

Of the total 2,625 stubble burning cases reported in Punjab so far this year, 1,823 cropped up in Majha region alone

AAs per government data, in Majha region, Tarn Taran leads with 807 cases so far, followed by Amritsar with 788 and Gurdaspur with 228. (AFP)
Published on Oct 20, 2022 01:01 AM IST
By, Patiala

Punjab sees two-fold jump in farm fires in a day

Another highest-single day spike as 403 incidents reported on Monday, Tarn Taran tops state with 170 cases

Farm fires are raging on in Punjab, with the state on Monday witnessing 403 incidents --- the highest single-day spike this season. (ANI file photo)
Published on Oct 18, 2022 12:13 AM IST
By, Patiala

Punjab allows use of green crackers for 2 hours on Diwali, Gurpurb

The order says that on Diwali (October 24) and Gurpurb (November 8), green crackers can be burst from 8 pm to 10 pm and in two shifts from 4 am to 5 pm and 9 pm to 10 pm respectively

Citing better AQI, the Punjab government announced its decision allows the use of green crackers for 2 hours on Diwali and Gurpurb. (HT File)
Published on Oct 13, 2022 03:25 AM IST
By, Patiala

Punjab | Farm fires likely to rebound as rain delays paddy harvesting

With the region witnessing overcast skies and a temperature dip in the midst of the paddy harvest season, worries of the Punjab agriculture department pertaining to farm fires have increased manifold. Experts say farmers are more likely to burn stubble to make up for the lost time and quickly prepare their fields for the next crop

Though the farm fire count till now this year is comparatively lower in Punjab, experts say that it may go up to around 3,000-4,000 by late October and early November. (HT Photo)
Published on Oct 11, 2022 01:58 AM IST
ByGurpreet Singh Nibber & Vishal Rambani, Chandigarh/patiala

‘UDAN’ fails to take-off in Punjab; Incurs 3.45-cr losses to state

The scheme failed to take-off in Ludhiana, Pathankot, Adampur (Jalandhar) and Bathinda airports, while most of these stations as per officials have a vast scope for air traffic.

During the checking of records of Civil Aviation, Punjab, it was seen that an amount of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>3.45 crore was paid to Air India as 20% share of the state on account of VGF. (HT file photo)
Published on Oct 06, 2022 10:52 PM IST
By, Patiala

Stubble burning cases see a spike in Punjab, 350 cases recorded so far

As per the data provided by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), with 284 cases, Amritsar has reported the maximum number of farm fires so far while Tarn Taran, with 39 cases, stands at the second place. On Monday alone, the state witnessed 75 cases out of which 54 were reported from Amritsar and 12 from Tarn Taran. Ferozepur, Patiala and Gurdaspur districts reported two cases each on the day.

A farmer burning paddy straw in his field at Jandiala Guru near Amritsar in Punjab. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
Published on Oct 04, 2022 02:08 AM IST
By, Patiala

Sidhu begins 9-day ‘maun vrat’ during navratras

The former cricketer’s wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who is using his twitter handle, tweeted that Sidhu will not meet anyone for the next nine days and observe silence

Sidhu begins 9-day ‘maun vrat’ during navratras
Published on Sep 27, 2022 02:25 AM IST
By, Patiala

Within 6 days of paddy harvest season kicking off, Punjab sees over 100 stubble burning cases

With 119 cases, Amritsar has reported the maximum number of stubble burning cases in Punjab so far. On Thursday alone, the district had 29 cases, while the day before, the count stood at 49; paddy harvesting starts early in Majha area of Punjab, which comprises Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Pathankot and Gurdaspur districts.

Just six days into the paddy harvest season, Punjab has already recorded 136 stubble burning cases across the state. (HT File/Representational image)
Published on Sep 22, 2022 11:12 PM IST
By, Patiala

Freebies working against future of Punjab: Union power minister RK Singh

While addressing members of Patiala Industrial Association here, Union power minister RK Singh said that the financial situation of Punjab was deteriorating due to the state government’s free electricity promise

Union power minister RK Singh addressing members of Patiala Industrial Association on Monday. (@RajKSinghIndia/Twitter)
Updated on Sep 19, 2022 07:40 PM IST
By, Patiala

VB issues look-out circular against 2 ex-ministers, 3 former IAS officers

The Punjab VB will probe the role of former ministers, former chief secretary, and former irrigation secretaries for their alleged role in omission and commission of the scam

The Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) has issued a look-out circular (LOC) against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders and ex-ministers and three former IAS officers in the alleged <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1,000-crore irrigation scam after a getting a nod from chief minister Bhagwant Mann. (Image for representational purpose)
Updated on Sep 19, 2022 12:28 AM IST
By, Chandigarh/patiala

Five-star resort, plush apartments, prime properties: Punjab motor vehicle inspector lived life king-size

Kaler, who has a diploma in mechanical engineering, also owned luxury vehicles, costly watches, perfumes, and several imported gadgets

Representational image
Published on Sep 15, 2022 01:24 AM IST

After top excise officials, ED raids properties of Punjab MLA Jaswant Singh

While the residences of top Punjab excise officials in connection to the alleged Delhi liquor scam, the ED searched Punjab MLA Jaswant Singh’s properties over allegations of ₹40.92 crore bank fraud

Punjab’s AAP MLA from Aramgarh constituency Jaswant Singh is being investigated in connection to a <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>40.92 crore bank fraud case. (Twitter/Jaswant Singh Gajjan Majra)
Updated on Sep 08, 2022 04:36 PM IST
By, Patiala

PSPCL witnesses peak power demand even in September

Due to increase in temperature, demand of power in Punjab has increased unprecedentedly not only during March to April but persistent dry weather in August and September is not letting the demand come down and peak demand in last four months

The climate change has altered the pattern of power consumption in the state and also let the power corporation in tizzy. (Image for representational purpose)
Published on Sep 08, 2022 06:08 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Free travel for women in Punjab costs PRTC dear

According to official records, the PRTC on an average records a daily receipt of ₹ 2.2 crore, but almost ₹ 1.2 crore goes as free travel, cutting short the revenue of the state transport and making it fully dependent on the government. The previous Captain Amarinder Singh-led government had last year launched the scheme of free travel for women in government-run buses.

Overall, the PRTC has outsanding liability of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span> 250 crore, out of which <span class='webrupee'>₹</span> 149 crores are for the free travel facility. (HT File)
Published on Aug 31, 2022 03:36 AM IST
By, Patiala

Sangrur RTA scam: Officials issued vehicle fitness certificate in 60 seconds

Officials in connivance with agents and middlemen were blatantly issuing fitness certificates without any physical verification of vehicles in lieu of bribes ranging from ₹2,800 to ₹1,000 per vehicle depending on the model

The Punjab vigilance bureau team at the regional transport authority (RTA) office in Sangrur. (HT Photo)
Published on Aug 22, 2022 12:58 AM IST

Ailing Punjab govt hospitals: Understaffed, overburdened Patiala medical college turns men into machines

Doctors at breaking point as staff crunch bites at Patiala medical college; super specialty wing with 14 new departments a non-starter due to lack of specialists, technicians; hygiene another big concern

The Patiala medical college is struggling to deliver quality healthcare to patients due to acute staff crunch. (HT photo)
Published on Aug 20, 2022 01:26 AM IST
By, Patiala

Seven former Punjabi varsity officials under VB scanner for various scams

As per information, the office of the assistant inspector general of vigilance bureau (AIG) flying squad, Mohali has asked the Punjabi University registrar to ensure presence of the officials for the inquiry

Seven former Punjabi varsity officials under VB scanner for various scams
Published on Aug 19, 2022 01:49 AM IST
By, Patiala

Financial bunglings: ED seeks FIR details, to initiate probe

The ED will initiate a probe into the alleged financial dealings of chairmen of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) and Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) in which the Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) has registered first information reports

While the Amritsar Improvement Trust chairman Dinesh Bassi was arrested, LIT chairman is on the run.
Published on Aug 17, 2022 01:18 AM IST

Inmate escapes Patiala Central jail by scaling wall

Patiala Central jail officials found out about the escape almost five hours later; the inmate has been identified as undertrial Maninder Singh alias Mani of Lubana Karmu village, falling under Bakshiwala police station, and was brought to the jail about a week ago in connection with a theft and dacoity case

Patiala jail officials found out about his escape only five hours later when they tried to locate him so as to take him for his court hearing. (HT File)
Published on Aug 13, 2022 03:52 AM IST
By, Patiala

Punjab | Vigilance unearths 4.8 crore ‘scam’ in land purchase

An FIR has been registered on the basis of the vigilance inquiry. The inquiry hinted at the role of former minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and his aides is also under scanner, vigilance officials revealed. The land purchased was used for compensatory plantation in lieu of deforestation in for various projects in the state.

The vigilance bureau has arrested naib tehsildar Raghbir Singh, posted at Anandpur Sahib, who had allegedly registered land measuring about 54 acres in Karura village of Rupnagar district, in connivance with some private individuals. (HT File/Representational image)
Published on Aug 11, 2022 03:06 AM IST
By, Rupnagar
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