|H I M A C H A L
P R A D E S H
Sunday, July 25, 1999
|BJP recommends names for LS poll
NURPUR, July 24 The BJP has recommended the names of three party candidates for Kangra, Mandi and Hamirpur and left the party option opened for Shimla parliamentary constituency for the Lok Sabha elections.
Dhumal advocates proxy voting
NURPUR, July 24 Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal has strongly advocated the right to proxy vote for Army personnel. He made a plea to the Election Commission to allow the Army personnel to use their franchise in the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll.
Shimla seat for HVC near certain
SHIMLA, July 24 The Himachal Vikas Congress of Mr Sukh Ram which is almost certain to contest the Shimla (reserve) Lok Sabha seat in alliance with the ruling BJP, is facing the problem of finding a suitable candidate.
project pact a sellout, says Mahajan
of Dalai Lama reviewed
kosh grants Rs 65-cr loans
of Governors' Addresses released
to remove stagnation sought
of ex-MLA revoked
BJP recommends names for LS
NURPUR, July 24 The Himachal Pradesh BJP has recommended the names of three party candidates for Kangra, Mandi and Hamirpur and left the party option opened for Shimla parliamentary constituency for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The state party election committee held its meeting here today at the PWD Rest House which was presided over by the state BJP President, Mr Suresh Chandel. Eight out of nine members were present at the meeting. Mr Chandel told the mediapersons that a committee comprising two members, Mr Suresh Chandel and Mr Khushi Ram Balnatha had been formed to talk to Mr Sukh Ram, HVC supremo, regarding the candidate for the Shimla parliamentary constituency. Mr Chandel also presided over the meeting of the state party's office-bearers held at the same venue in which Mr Narinder Modi, central in charge of the party's affairs for Himachal Pradesh, and All-India General Secretary of the BJP, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, and Mr Shanta Kumar, ex M.P., were the special invitees.
Mr Chandel stated that after the meeting the party had decided to form three committees in view of the coming Lok Sabha poll. He added that an Election Campaign Committee headed by the Chief Minister, Election Managing Committee headed by Mr Suresh Bhardwaj ex MLA and the Election Campaign Extension Committee headed by Mr Mohinder Sofat, party MLA, had been formed. He added that the issues relating to the launch of an election campaign was discussed in detail. The party also decided to mobilise the party workers at mandal level for their active participation.
He further said a separate campaign to collect funds for the party would be started next month in which Rs 50,000 would be collected from each Assembly segment.
The party office-bearers in the beginning of the meeting paid tributes to the martyrs of Operation Vijay and observed two minutes' silence for the departed souls.
Dhumal advocates proxy voting
NURPUR, July 24 Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, has strongly advocated the right to proxy vote for the serving Army personnel. While addressing a press conference here today, Mr Dhumal made a plea to the Election Commission of India to allow the Army personnel to use their franchise in the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll.
The existing postal ballot system takes a lot of time in transit and this deprives the Army personnel of their right to vote.
Mr Dhumal flayed the Congress for opposing his demand for proxy votes of Army men. He lauded the victory of the Indian Army in throwing out Pakistan-backed intruders from the Kargil sector.
Mr Dhumal said senior Congress leaders did not want to contest the Lok Sabha poll as they knew that the National Democratic Alliance headed by Mr Vajpayee would win the elections.
While commenting on the statement of the former Chief Minister and CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh, that the BJP had violated the model code of conduct by criticising Mr Vajpayee's rally at Kulu, Mr Dhumal came down heavily on Mr Virbhadra Singh and said that the latter had lost his patience and was frustrated after losing power. He ridiculed Mr Virbhadra Singh's decision regarding his refusal to contest Lok Sabha elections on poor health grounds.
Mr Dhumal categorically denied any differences within the party in Kangra district and added that the party would contest the Lok Sabha poll unitedly. Mr Vajpayee's leadership and his government's performance in the state would be the main poll issues.
The Chief Minister also
visited the families of Jagjeet Singh Pathania, Jawan
Santokh Singh and Havildar Surinder Singh, at their
native village Jatoli, Kotpelahni and Dhann,
respectively. He gave cheques for Rs 2 lakh each to their
JKLF threatens politicians
DHARAMSALA, July 24 The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a militant outfit, has issued threats to politicians in Chamba district not to speak against their cause, failing which they would be eliminated.
It is for the first time in Himachal Pradesh that politicians have been threatened by militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir. The threatening letters have been sent to the Industries Minister, Mr Kishori Lal, who represents the Bhattiyat constituency of Chamba district and the Congress MLA from Chamba, Mr Harsh Mahajan.
The letters have warned the politicians not to give statement against their cause. The brief letter signed by the JKLF, was received by these politicians recently. After the copies of the letter were handed over to the police, all ministers and MLAs in Chamba district have been provided with security guards.
The Superintendent of Police, Chamba, Mr R.M. Sharma, while confirming the issuing of such letters by the militants, said the police was not willing to take any chances and all prominent politicians had been provided with personal gunmen. "These letters appear to be more of a mischief, as the JKLF outfit is almost defunct in Jammu and Kashmir," he said. He admitted that keeping in view the intelligence reports about the possibility of militants sneaking into Himachal Pradesh, anything was possible.
The police is taking all precautionary measures when the politicians will be extensively touring the border areas of Chamba, adjoining the militancy-infested state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The police has stepped up vigil in the border areas. The intelligence reports too have hinted that the militants would try create trouble as most of the forces had been shifted to the borders.
The SP, said with the deployment of the ITBP, the IRB and Himachal police all vulnerable and the strategically important points had been plugged. However, with the militants becoming very active in the Doda the Kistwar areas, closer to the Kohar sector of Chamba, the risk of militants striking was high.
The Director-General of
Police, Mr T.R. Mahajan, made an extensive tour of the
border areas of Chamba during the past five days, along
with senior police officials. With a complete ban on the
movement of gujjars and gaddis in the border areas the
police has tried to curtail all local contacts for the
militants and keep strict vigil.
Shimla seat for HVC near
SHIMLA, July 24 The Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) of Mr Sukh Ram which is almost certain to contest the Shimla (reserve) Lok Sabha seat in alliance with the ruling BJP, is facing the problem of finding a suitable candidate.
There are indications that the BJP has almost made up its mind to let the HVC contest the seat despite strong resistance of its own partymen.
Senior leaders of the BJP claim that the HVC does not have any potential candidate for the seat, whereas the Congress would have faced problems had Mr Sukh Ram left the seat to the BJP.
There are reports that the HVC leaders, including Mr Sukh Ram, all making efforts to persuade Mr Chiranji Lal, a former Congress MLA, to contest the Lok Sabha seat on their symbol. However, Mr Chiranji Lal has so far refused to accept the offer.
Although about eight HVC activists all reportedly in the run for the party ticket but serious among them are Mr Chaman Lal Ghachli and Mr Tarsem Bharti.
BJP activists claim that the performance of the HVC in the last year's Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the Shimla (reserve) parliamentary constituency was extremely poor. They had recently protested against the seat being given to the HVC.
They point out that in the simultaneous Lok Sabha elections in February last year, the HVC polled only 26,981 of the total 6,34,280 votes cast and their candidate, Mr Madan Lal Tomar, lost his security deposit.
The HVC fielded its candidates in 14 of the 17 assembly segments falling in the Shimla (reserve) Lok Sabha constituency and polled only 26,111 votes. Of these 11 HVC candidates forfeited their security deposit.
Mr Chaman Lal Ghachli and Mr Tarsem Bharti, who contested the assembly elections from Kasauli and Kasumpti (both reserve seats) were defeated.
The performance of the HVC in the Lok Sabha was extremely poor in the interior areas of Shimla district. It polled only 143 votes in Rohru, 507 in Jubbal-Kotkhai, 464 in Theog and 956 in the Shimla segments.
However, the HVC has been making all out efforts to make a dent particularly in Shimla and Sirmour districts where its ministers and Mr Sukh Ram himself have been touring frequently.
An HVC activist claimed
that the party had contested the last Lok Sabha poll and
the assembly elections with electoral pact with any
party. This time the party was enjoying power by
supporting the BJP government.
Bewitching meadows of Jot
DALHOUSIE: Originally a sleepy hamlet of shepherds, about 32 km from here, Jot with its majestic deodars and high meadows looking upon the snowy ranges holds untold attractions for the tourists lucky enough to explore its deodar, spruce and fir-covered mountains.
Jot is a charming place at an altitude of about 2,200 metres. The literal meaning of Jot is pass to cross over the top of the hill which is inaccessible due to its being high and snow-bound. Jot is also one of the passes which provides way from Chamba and Khajjiar to Bhattiyat. It provides the shortest route for the tourists to Chamba and Khajjiar from Pathankot railhead via Nurpur and Chowari. It also provides an itinerary to the trekkers from Chowari to Khajjiar and Chamba.
With its luxuriant forest growth and attractive location, Jot offers a great attraction for the tourists. Sturdy tourists can climb to bewitching meadows and pastures at greater heights. The terraced fields spread all over the slopes of the hills display a charming panorama.
The top of the hill is covered with dense deodar trees and the western aspect of Jot with rosebay (rhododendron). From December to March, the tourists can enjoy snow at Jot. During March-April, the beauty of the rosebay (rhododendron) trumpet-shaped red or pink flowers can only be imagined.
During summer and autumn, the climate of this beauty spot is not only suitable but also salubrious to the tourists.
Wildlife is another attraction for researchers and tourists. Surrounding hills of Jot have been identified by experts as the ideal site for paragliding towards Chowari, the subdivisional headquarters of Bhattiyat in Chamba district.
The state government's Tourism Department has already selected this spot as the nucleus for the development of a tourist complex. With this in view, a proposal has been drawn to determine the vast potential for tourism development in Jot on both the eastern and the western slopes stretching for about 5 km.
Chamera project pact a sellout,
CHAMBA, July 24 Mr Sat Mahajan, president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), has criticised the BJP-led government for assigning the work on the 300-mw Chamera hydroelectric project (stage-II) to Jai Parkash Associates (JP) on turnkey basis in a hush-hush manner. He described it is a sellout of the interests of Himachal. He said the project costing about Rs 1700 crore, which was a goldmine for the people of state had now become a curse.
Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Mahajan said the JPs work was not satisfactory in the Baspa hydel project where this project was behind schedule. He said the turnkey basis agreement of Chamera had deprived local people of their legitimate right of employment. Even the power purchase agreement of the project had not so far been made public.
Mr Mahajan asserted that if and when the Congress was voted to power at the Centre, it would rescind this agreement with JP Associates for welfare of the state.
Mr Mahajan said the
ruling BJP-led government could not escape from its
accountability of security lapses which led to the Kargil
war. He also accused the BJP government of failure in
maintaining law and order in Jammu and Kashmir.
Security of Dalai Lama reviewed
DHARAMSALA, July 24 The Director-General of Police, Mr T.R. Mahajan, reviewed the security arrangements for the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, at McLeodganj here today.
He visited the palace of the Dalai Lama and personally inspected the security arrangements for the Tibetan leader. He also interacted with police personnel deployed for his security. The DGP also called on the Dalai Lama personally.
Ever since the threat to the Dalai Lama, especially from the Shugden followers, the security has been beefed up at his palace. Sophisticated equipment, including x-ray scanners and explosive detector, were set up for the security of the Tibetan leader. A nine-foot wall was especially being raised around the palace for his security.
Mahila kosh grants Rs 65-cr
SHIMLA, July 24 The Rashtriya Mahila Kosh has provided loans amounting to Rs 65 crore in 21 states of the country.
Mr Pulok Chatterji, Executive Director of the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, said here yesterday that the main aim of the organisation was to cater to the credit needs of poor women, particularly those in the unorganised sector, so as to take up income-generating activities.
Addressing officers of
the Social Welfare Department, the Himachal Pradesh
Mahila Vikas Nigam and representatives of NGOs, Mr
Chatterji said the organisation had provided Rs 65 crore
loans to women in 21 states and about 3.15 lakh women had
benefited from this scheme from 1993-94 till today. As
many as 425 NGOs were linked with this scheme which
provided loans up to Rs 5,000 under short term and up to
Rs 7,500 as medium-term loans per beneficiary at the rate
of 8 per cent per annum.
Compilation of Governors' Addresses
SHIMLA, July 24 Mrs V.S. Rama Devi, Governor of Himachal, released a compilation of Addresses of Lieutenant-Governors and Governors of Himachal in the Legislative Assembly from 1963 till now at a simple function at Raj Bhavan here yesterday. Mr Gulab Singh Thakur, Speaker of the HP Vidhan Sabha, presented the first copy of the publication to the Governor.
Lauding the Vidhan Sabha
Secretariat for bringing out such a publication, Mrs Rama
Devi said it would help people know about the programmes
and policies of the government from time to time. It
would also present a vivid picture of the development
endeavours and the results thereof, besides putting forth
the emphasis and policies of various governments. The
book would be useful for research scholars and students
of political science and allied subjects.
Steps to remove stagnation
SHIMLA, July 24 The Himachal Power Engineers Association has urged the government to take immediate steps to end stagnation in the engineering cadre of the state electricity board.
The association lamented that the board, which was considered to be the one of the best in the country, was also the most neglected one. Engineers, responsible for the board's good performance, had been awaiting their first promotion even after putting 16 years of service. As many as 172 engineers were eligible for promotion as Executive Engineers and 68 as Superintending Engineers.
The demands already
accepted like cadre review and redesignation of posts on
the pattern of the PSEB to remove stagnation had not been
implemented despite repeated assurances. Among the other
demands are immediate recruitment of assistant engineers,
adequate funds for voltage improvement schemes,
arrangements for drawing the state's share of power from
the Nathpa-Jhakri, Baspa and various central sector
projects, implementation of power sector reforms, the
creation of an operation circle at Palampur and
upgradation of the post of Chief Engineer to that of
Expulsion of ex-MLA revoked
Shimla, July 24 In a bid to muster support for his Lok Sabha election from the Kangra constituency, Mr Sat Mahajan, PCC President, has revoked the expulsion of Mr Nand Kumar Chauhan from the Chamba District Congress Committee.
Mr Chauhan's expulsion
was revoked today when Mr Majahan visited the Rajnagar
area of Chamba. Mr Chauhan is a former MLA of the area
and was expelled from the party because of his anti-party
activities in the last elections.
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