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Monday, August 16, 1999
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Job letters given to kin of 19 martyrs
SHIMLA, Aug 15 — Patriotic fervour and gaiety marked the Independence Day celebrations in Himachal Pradesh. Unfurling of national flag, impressive parades and colourful cultural programmes were the main highlights of the celebrations.

Captain Batra's father honoured
SHIMLA, Aug 15 — The awarding of the country’s highest gallantry award, Param Vir Chakra, posthumously to Capt Vikram Batra, has made his father, Mr Girdhari Lal Batra, feel "proud".

 

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Apple issue to figure in Session
SHIMLA, Aug 15 — Faced with opposition to the import of apples under open general licence, the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh is expected to move a resolution in the coming monsoon session of the Assembly to seek its deletion from the OGL list.
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Tomato crop rots despite high prices
NAHAN, Aug 15 — Mrs Prem Lata Sharma, president Gram Panchyat Lana Pallar in Sangrah tehsil has alleged that the government was totally ignoring Pallar valley comprising of about 13 panchyats.

HVC’s student wing launched
SOLAN, Aug 15 — Mr Anil Dogra, General Secretary of Yuva Vikas Congress, a frontal organisation of Mr Sukh Ram’s Himachal Vikas Congress, formally launched the students’ wing of the party, Himachal Vikas Chhatra Sangathan, by holding a meeting and appointing office-bearers of the district unit here yesterday.

 

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Job letters given to kin of 19 martyrs
From Tribune Reporters

SHIMLA, Aug 15 — Patriotic fervour and gaiety marked the Independence Day celebrations in Himachal Pradesh. Unfurling of national flag, impressive parades and colourful cultural programmes were the main highlights of the celebrations.

Thousands turned up at the state-level function held at the historic Ridge, here, where Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, took salute from the contingents of police, Home Guards and NCC.

Mr Dhumal handed over appointment letters to one person each from families of 19 martyrs, who laid down their lives during "Operation Vijay" on the occasion. He also gave commitment letters to family of 16 martyrs, these persons would be given jobs after the completion of education. Mr Dhumal said the government had already provided jobs to members of seven such families.

He also honoured Mr G L Batra, father of the Kargil hero Captain Vikram Batra, who has been awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously.

Paying rich tributes to the martyrs Mr Dhumal said the valiant soldiers had kept the state’s tradation of bravery and sacrifice during the Kargil conflict. As many as 52 jawans made the supreme sacrifice and contributed significantly to the success of Operation Vijay. Their contribution had been recognised by the government with the grant of one Param Vir Chakra and five Mahavir Chakras to these solders.

The Chief Minister said though the state accounted for only per cent of the country’s population, the number of those who made the supreme sacrifice from the state was one-tenth of the total number of martyrs, which was a matter of pride. He said the jawans had done their bit and it was now the duty of the government and the society to ensure that the families of the martyrs led a dignified life.

The government has already disbursed over Rs 2.50 crore to the families of martyrs and besides giving job to one member. It had also decided to provide free education up to graduation-level to their children.

He announced that these families would also be provided medical insurance cover for which premium would be paid from the Sainik Welfare Fund.

The Chief Minister said the government had urged the Centre to review the policy of making recruitment to the armed forces from various states on the basis of population. He said the recruitment should be done keeping in view the physical fitness and the sacrifices made by the jawans of a state.

He said the Vajpayee government had faced all challenges successfully. It had achieved victory on the battle front as well as on the diplomatic front in the wake of Kargil intrusion. Along with this it had taken the bold decision to undertake nuclear tests to declare the country’s might.

The country had also registered a record agricultural production and the economic growth rate had reached an impressive 6.8 per cent, as against the global rate of 2 per cent, despite worldwide recession.

He said the government had lived up to its slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan and Jai Vigyan" as evident from its spectacular achievements on the battle front, agriculture sector and the nuclear field.

Mr Narinder Bragta, Minister of State for Horticulture, Mr Roop Dass Kashyap, Minister of State for Urban Development, Mr Rikhi Ram Kaundal, Minister of State for Cooperation, Mr Manoj Kumar, Mayor, Shimla Municipal Corporation, and Mr A K Goswami, Chief Secretary and other civilians officers were among those present on the occasion.top



 

Captain Batra's father honoured
From S.P.Sharma
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Aug 15 — The awarding of the country’s highest gallantry award, Param Vir Chakra, posthumously to Capt Vikram Batra, has made his father, Mr Girdhari Lal Batra, feel "proud".

Mr Batra was honoured by the Governor, Mrs Rama Devi, at a function at the Raj Bhavan here this evening.

Mr Batra, who is principal of a government school near Palampur in Kangra district, told the TNS that his son, who laid his life while fighting the Pakistanis in the Dras sector of Kargil, had made him feel proud.

The guests at the function cheered with applause when the Governor presented a shawl to Mr Batra.

Captain Batra of the 13th JAK Rifles trapped the enemy at point 5140 on June 20 and recaptured the strategic position even after having been wounded seriously. He succumbed inspiring his troops to fall upon the enemy and recapture the position.

The Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Virbhadra Singh, the GOC-in-C of the ARTRAC, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi and senior civil and military officers were among those present on the occasion.

Major S.S. Jamwal, who is recipient of gallantry award, was also honoured on the occasion.

Major Jamwal, who is also from the 13th JAK Rifles recalled that Captain Batra bravely fought the enemy till his last breath.

Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, who is the lone surviving recipient of Param Vir Chakra, belongs to the Bilaspur area of Himachal Pradesh.

Of the four Army personnel awarded the country’s highest gallantry award, two of them, Captain Batra and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, are from Himachal Pradesh.

The Governor also honoured parents and close relatives of the 53 soldiers of Himachal Pradesh who laid their lives in the Kargil conflict.

The Governor presented commendation to the 86-year old Capt Ram Singh for his distinguished service in the Indian National Army (INA).

Capt Ram Singh, who was born in the Chilgarhi area of Dharamsala, came personally to receive the award.

He formed the INA orchestra and composed and also played the marching song of the INA "kadam kadam badhaye jaa" and "subh sukh chain ki varsha barse" which were played before Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on October 21,1943. He played the national anthem on August 1947 when the Indian Tricolour was hoisted for the first time at the Red Fort.top


 

Captain Batra does Kangra proud again
Tribune News Service

DHARAMSALA, Aug 15 — Capt Vikram Batra, who has been awarded the ParamVir Chakra posthumously is the third officer from Kangra district, to have been honoured with the country’s highest gallantry award.

It was Major Som Nath Sharma, who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, first of all in the year 1948. His brother, General V.N. Sharma, later rose to the position of the Chief of Army Staff. Later, during the Chinese aggression in 1962, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, also from Kangra, was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Mr G.L. Batra, father of Captain Batra, is a proud man, as his son has not only brought honour to the family, but to the entire state. As the news of Captain Batra, being awarded the PVC broke, people in the town gathered at his house to congratulate his parents. Captain Batra, was the only officer, whose name was recommended for both the Param Vir Chakra as well as the Maha Vir Chakra.

The 25-year-old Captain, nicknamed as "Shershah" by Pakistani infiltrators lived up to the name and led his men to victory, before laying down his life, in the Dras sector, on July, 8. His bravery and leadership qualities had led to his promotion from a Lieutenant to Captain, while fighting in Kargil. He made every mission that he was a part, a success, with undaunting courage he and his men moved ahead with "Yeh Dil Mange More" in their lips. He was given the PVC, for the examplary courage he showed, while capturing point 5140 on June, 20.

The face of the young officer was still fresh in the minds of the people, when the news of his death arrived, as he had featured on the Star News, for two consecutive days. "A cheerful young officer, who was fully composed and in command, even during such a crisis, is how we remember of Captain Batra", is how people of Palampur town remember the hero.

Captain Batra, after finishing his schooling from the Central School, Palampur, joined the DAV College, Chandigarh. Having been selected for the Merchant Navy, he preferred to join the Army. It was in June,1996 that he joined the IMA and passed out in December,1997.

Army officers and the men of 13 J&K Rifles, to which Captain Batra, belonged, also praise him for the valour he showed in capturing Point 5140. Infact, Point 4875 has now been named after the brave soldier as Batra Top, as he died while capturing it. Man in his unit say that but for the bravery and military skill of Captain Batra, it would capturing Tiger Hill, would have been a difficult task.

This son of Kangra a district which is known for sending the meximum number of men in the armed forces, has once again brought homour to the state.top


 

Apple issue to figure in Session
From S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Aug 15 — Faced with opposition to the import of apples under open general licence, the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh is expected to move a resolution in the coming monsoon session of the Assembly to seek its deletion from the OGL list.

Apple imports have generated criticism, particularly from growers and the opposition parties and the BJP has taken up the issue with the central government.

This and other issues are expected to make the four-day monsoon session which begins here on August 17 quite lovely.

The session, which comes a couple of days before electioneering for the Lok Sabha picks up, is expected to generate heat on many issues which could then become the talking points of the campaign.

The Congress is expected to highlight its allegation of ‘saffronisation’ of educational institutions and rising corruption.

The Kargil issue too might figure in the House with the government moving a resolution to commend the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, for his effective handling of the conflict. The resolution will also express its gratitude to Kargil martyrs.

The Speaker, Mr Gulab Singh, has admitted notices on the issues of Kargil, exclusion of apple from the OGL and increase in quota in Army recruitment for Himachalis.

The Himachal Pradesh Government has for a long time been asking the Centre to restore its previous quota for recruitment of Himachalis to the Army.

A motion under Rule 117 urging the government to bring a legislation for compulsory disclosure of assets and liabilities by elected legislators has also been admitted by the Speaker.

Four private members resolutions have also been admitted. These include one seeking permanent validity of the certificates of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs, crop insurance for horticulture, channelisation of the Swan river and representation for the Himachal Pradesh Government on all hydroelectric projects being executed in the state.

235 questions have been received by the assembly secretariat from the legislators.

The Congress will make all out efforts to put the government on the mat by allegations of violation of the model code of conduct during the Lok Sabha elections and irregularities in recruitments.

The Congress, which had so far been on the defensive on the issue of raising loans from private parties during its regime, is expected to criticise the BJP government for having initiated a move to follow in its footsteps.

The issue of the government ordering a judicial probe into the incidents of alleged lawlessness in and around here on March 5, when a Congress government was reinstalled for a few days, might also be discussed.

The Congress is also likely to ask the government to name the nearly 3000 persons whom an official committee identified as having been recruited irregularly to government jobs during the Congress regime. The committee was appointed by the BJP government soon after coming into power.

The issue of alleged irregularities in recruitments in the Kangra Cooperative Bank is also likely to come up during the session. The session will also provide an opportunity to the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, to highlight achievements of his government.top


 

Tomato crop rots despite high prices
From Our Correspondent

NAHAN, Aug 15 — Mrs Prem Lata Sharma, president Gram Panchyat Lana Pallar in Sangrah tehsil has alleged that the government was totally ignoring Pallar valley comprising of about 13 panchyats.

In a statement Mrs Prem Lata asserted that the people of the area were economically vulnerable as ginger, their only cash crop had been destroyed by an unidentified disease almost continuously in the past 20 years. This year farmers had chosen tomato as a possible alternative and hoped to get good returns by selling their out of season tomato in the markets of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi. But the main road link of the area the ‘Sangrah-Lana-Pallar-Padiya-Dhar road’ which links the area to the rest of the country, has been blocked by heavy landslides for the past more than one month and the tomato crop is rotting in farmers' fields in the absence of an alternative road or facility.

She said that due to the blocked roads even seriously ill patients had to be carried out in ‘kiltas’ and bamboo ‘khaps’ to Sangrah hospital after covering a distance of more than 20 km on foot. The situation was further complicated in the case of antenatal women if complications developed during labour.

Mrs Prem Lata alleged that because of official neglect the Education Department was playing with the future of the students of Lana Pallar high school with only four teachers posted to it against the sanctioned strength of 12 teachers. The department did not even depute teachers for many important subjects. A lift irrigation scheme has been "under construction" at Lana Pallar for the past 15 years with more than 50 per cent of the work still to be done.

Ironically, during construction of the Sangrah-Lana-Pallar road the area's three irrigation channels namely — Dhaian to Pallar, Pallar to Nargwari and Jager to Dimber were badly damaged and almost totally blocked due to which more than 200 bighas of land irrigated by them have become barren. The local gram panchyat has sent many resolutions for repair and reconstruction of these kuhls. top



 

HVC’s student wing launched
From Our Correspondent

SOLAN, Aug 15 — Mr Anil Dogra, General Secretary of Yuva Vikas Congress, a frontal organisation of Mr Sukh Ram’s Himachal Vikas Congress, formally launched the students’ wing of the party, Himachal Vikas Chhatra Sangathan, by holding a meeting and appointing office-bearers of the district unit here yesterday.

He appointed Mr Nitin, Mr Sumesh and Mr Bhagwan Dass as Convener, Secretary and treasurer, respectively.

While addressing mediapersons he said all rumours to the effect that BJP workers would not work effectively for the HVC’s candidate for the ensuing Lok Sabha poll were false and motivated.

He added that Mr Sukh Ram and Mr Dhumal, who had met in Shimla last week had already issued directives to the district units emphasising the need of supporting each party’s candidates for the Mandi and Shimla (R) constituencies.top



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