|Wednesday, January 19, 2000,
HVC panel for talks with BJP top
Differences in HP ministry denied
Irregularities alleged in voter
Scrap ACR system: HP staff body
HPSEB engineers start work to rule
Abolition of posts decried
Staff shortage cripples
6 held on charge of poaching
Postal staff stage rally
Stenos seek creation of post in
Himachal to cut special road tax
Senior citizens sore over cut in
for talks with BJP top brass
SHIMLA, Jan 18 The Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) today constituted a three-member committee to hold talks with the BJP high command to end the deadlock over the Solan assembly seat, where byelection is scheduled for February 17.
The decision to take up the issue direct with the high command was taken at the meeting of the party office-bearers held at New Delhi under the chairmanship of Mr Sukh Ram, party president. To be headed by Mr Sukh Ram, the committee will have Mr D.R. Shandil and Mr Anil Sharma, both MPs, as members.
After prolonged discussions, the party not only decided to force its claim on the seat and but also asserted that it would field a candidate even if the BJP refused to leave the seat for it.
Soon after the meeting,
Mr Sukh Ram and other party leaders met Mr P.K. Dhumal,
Chief Minister, and apprised him of the decision to
contest the seat in any eventuality. They underscored the
fact that out of the five assembly seats for which
election had been held since the coming together of the
two parties, the HVC had been given only the Lahaul-Spiti
seat, which the BJP had never won.
The party would again meet on January 28 after holding talks with the senior BJP leaders, including Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mr L.K. Advani and Mr Kushabhau Thakre.
Meanwhile, the nominee
for the Congress ticket for the Solan seat could not be
decided today as Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the party president,
was out of the national Capital. Senior party leaders
from the state, including Mr Virbhadra Singh and Mr Sat
Mahajan, are camping in Delhi for the high command
decision. The state Election Committee of the party had a
list of 13 candidates, including Ms Krishna Mohini, whose
election was quashed by court.
in HP ministry denied
DHARAMSALA, Jan 18 The Transport Minister, Mr Kishan Kapoor, today said there were no differences in the state ministry.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Kapoor, said one should not categorise ministers into hailing from old or new Himachal. He was reacting to query why, Mr J.P. Nadda, who hails from Bilaspur, presided over the meeting held for chalking out the Chief Minister's winter sojourn in Kangra?
Mr Kapoor, said Mr Nadda had come here to see the work on Tanda Medical College. Party workers in Kangra took exception to his presiding over the meeting when there were many senior ministers in the district.
He gave details of progress on the various projects started during the Chief Minister's winter stay, last year. "We have selected the land for setting up the regional centre of the university and we are hopeful that the complex will come up soon", he said. He added the buildings of the Horticulture Department and the Consumer Forum, were nearing completion. He said that the work on the mini-secretariat had been delayed.
alleged in voter list
SOLAN, Jan 18 The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee Vice-President, Mr Ram Lal Thakur, and its General Secretary, Ms Asha Kumari, who addressed a joint press conference here today charged the BJP-led state government with committing fraud in the voter list for the Solan byelection.
They said that the recently released voter list showed 61,885 voters as against 55,805 listed in 1998. They claimed that the increase of 6,080 voters in less than 22 months was not in keeping with the general trend in increase of the electorate in the Solan constituency during the last two decades.
The two Congress leaders said that the PCC had decided to constitute a three-member enquiry committee to probe what they called "grave irregularities" in the current voters list.
They declared that the PCC would strongly oppose the imposition of so-called uniform sales tax in the state as it would result in a sharp increase in the prices of petrol and diesel as Himachal Pradesh had only a skeletal network of Railways and its people largely depended upon road transport for their supplies of essential commodities. Any increase in the prices of diesel and petrol would result in higher prices of items of everyday consumption thereby imposing a heavy burden on the common man.
system: HP staff body
NURPUR, Jan 18 The Himachal Pradesh Employees Confederation has demanded the scrapping of the system of annual confidential report (ACR) in government service.
Mr Rajnish Sharma, the state secretary of the confederation, and Mr Sushil Sharma, the president of its local unit, in a joint statement issued here yesterday raised this demand and alleged that the A.C.R. system had promoted corruption in government departments. They claimed that senior bureaucrats, who had to file the ACRs of their subordinates, forced the latter to adopt corrupt ways to please their bosses.
The leaders criticised the state government for neither announcing nor releasing the instalment of dearness allowance (DA) due to the employees since July, 1999. They said that the Central Government had announced five per cent DA in July last year and allocated requisite funds to the Himachal Pradesh Government for the same purpose.
They also demanded increase in fixed medical allowance to the employees on the Punjab pattern. The Punjab Government had revised this allowance to Rs 250 per month in 1996, but the Himachal Government had been giving only Rs 40, they added.
They also demanded an amendment to the existing recruitment and promotion rules in the state.
They categorically denied the allegations levelled by certain employee leaders, published in a section of the Press, that the confederation had been functioning at the instance of a political leader. They alleged that some self-styled employee leaders were trying to create a wedge between the government and the confederation.
Earlier, the local unit
of the confederation held a gate meeting here in the
morning on a call given by its state unit. At the
meeting, the employees leaders highlighted the
confederations long-standing demands.
engineers start work to rule
SHIMLA, Jan 18 The engineers of the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) today started "work to rule" in support of the striking engineers of Uttar Pradesh.
According to Mr K.K. Vaidya, President of the Project Engineers Association and Mr Suneel Grover, General Secretary of the Power Engineers Association, engineers of both associations had started the protest.
They announced that the engineers in Himachal Pradesh would observe a strike and hold rallies on January 21.
They alleged that the U.P. Government was misleading the people regarding the so-called "reforms" comprising the trifurcation of the board. The ill-effects of such disintegration had already resulted in further deterioration as was evident in Orissa and Haryana.
They said both associations had urged the Union Minister of Power and the Chief Minister of UP to settle the issues through dialogue and stop repression by using draconian measures.
Meanwhile, the HPSEB
Employees' Union has condemned the repressive measures
adopted by the UP Government against the agitating power
workers and engineers.
of posts decried
MANDI, Jan 18 The secretary HPCC, Thakur Kaul Singh, said here today the decision of abolishing the posts of the divisional commissioners had exposed the "bankruptcy of common sense" of the Dhumal Government.
He said the State Government was not even competent to take such a decision. The decision if implemented would necessitate amendment of at least 25 Acts, including the Central Acts. This post was an indispensable cadre post in all the States of the country, he added.
Mr Singh, who was talking to the mediapersons, said there was a single post of divisional commissioner in the State till 1979 when the then Janata Government created another post at Dharamsala to deliver justice to the rural poor at their door-step. As the work load of the revenue appeals swelled another office of the divisional commissioner was set up at Mandi.
He lashed out at the
government for paying huge salary to five senior IAS
officers of the rank of commissioner-cum-secretary
without assigning them any work. He demanded that an
administrative reforms committee should be constituted to
prune the top heavy administration. He said services of
surplus officers should be placed at the disposal of the
shortage cripples health centres
CHAMBA: The Himachal Governments claim of providing better health services in remote areas like Chamba district notwithstanding, the people there live at Gods mercy. The people of this district are lagging far behind and health care is declining. But nobody bothers about the unkempt health services and orphaned health institutions functioning in the area, some of which have already been locked up owing to dearth of staff.
The primary health centres (PHCs) especially in the far-flung corners of the district such as Shakti Dehra, Kohladi, and Dhulara have been locked up due to staff shortage. The PHCs at Diur, Nakrot, Dhulara(Choori), Manota, Chaned, Mehla and Manodha (Bharmour) are either run by health workers or even peons. Such is the deteriorating state of health services in rural areas which is very shameful for people representing the area.
The woes of patients do not end with this. The rural hospitals and dispensaries are without mobile vans for emergencies. These hospitals are functioning without surgeons and specialists. Referral and community health centres are there in name only.
The vacancy position of physicians and paramedical staff in the health institutions all over the district is deplorable. At present, 55 doctors are working against a sanctioned strength of 105 in the district. Likewise, 28 vacancies of pharmacist, 11 of laboratory technician and five of lab attendants have not been filled.
Worse is the situation at Chambas District Hospital, a 200-bed hospital, requiring 29 doctors to man its various wards as the average number of patients varies from 500 to 700 in the outdoor patients department.
With the coming up of the Chamera Hydroelectric Project (Stage-II) near Chamba, a load of over 5,000 population has been added to the District Hospital. At the moment 11 doctors are working against a sanctioned strength of 22. There is an urgent need of posting an anaesthetist, a skin specialist, a dental surgeon, a psychiatrist and a dietician in the district with immediate effect. Moreover, there is a no waiting hall or space for patients to wait for their turn.
The building of the Tuberculosis Hospital is in a dilapidated state. The wooden roof is decaying and rain water trickles from the roof. The walls of the building are crumbling and electricity fittings have gone haywire. The bed and clothes of TB patients remain filthy. A visit to this crumbling building shows the insanitary living conditions of TB patients. The collapse of the building is imminent if the government does not undertake repairs forthwith.
The irony of fate is that the district has not been covered under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), though the number of TB patients are increasing rapidly in Chamba.
The silence zone at the District Hospital becomes a cacophony of noise due to its location in a congested area. Despite repeated reminders to the local administration, the problem persists as the civic body has failed to divert traffic away from it.
According to Dr R.P. Kaushal, Chief Medical Officer(CMO), Chamba, government programmes on medical care and family welfare have been crippled by an acute shortage of physicians, surgeons and paramedical staff. Lack of paramedical staff hampers the working.
In spite of the sincere endeavours by local representatives in the state Assembly, doctors do not want to go to distant places as they are not provided residential accommodation. Many health centres are devoid of residential quarters, which keeps away doctors and other para-medical staff from serving in such areas.
Doctors are not provided with rent-free accommodation in such remote areas. There is no phone and vehicle facility for them which can be an incentive to work harder. Otherwise, there is no reason not to serve in the interior pockets of a remote region like Chamba.
6 held on
charge of poaching
CHAMBA, Jan 18 Six persons have been arrested on a charge of poaching in the Sahoo forest range of the district during the past one week. The poachers allegedly shot at two wild animals.
Giving this information here today, Mr Mohinder Paul, Conservator of Forests, said because of the heavy snowfall on high altitude forest ranges of the district wild beasts come down to the low-lying pockets and people there were taking advantage of the situation by killing them clandestinely.
He said people had been issued arms licences "indiscriminately" in the wake of terrorist activities, adding that they were misusing these for poaching.
He said in order to curb the incidents of poaching, the forest department had constituted flying squads which would keep tabs on poachers. He said the department had also set up check-posts on the main roads for the purpose.
He said the arrested
were being interrogated by the police under the wildlife
conservation rules. He urged the people to cooperate with
the departments wildlife wing and said the
offenders would be strictly dealt with.
staff stage rally
SHIMLA, Jan 18 Members of the All-India Extra-Departmental Postal Employees Union today held a rally at Ganahatti near here in support of their demands.
The main demands of the employees include implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Talwar committee and settlement of the issues raised by them during the July 1999 strike.
seek creation of post in PWD
BILASPUR, Jan 18 The Himachal Pradesh PWD Stenographers Association has demanded the creation of the post of Personal Assistant with Chief Engineers and also filling up of all vacant posts in the PWD.
The general house
meeting held yesterday and presided over by the president
of the association, Mr Kashmir Singh Thakur, also adopted
a resolution criticising the inordinate delay by the
department in obeying and implementing the orders of the
HP Administrative Tribunal regarding them though as many
as five months had lapsed. State general secretary B.P.
Sharma said here today the house also resolved to
participate in the elections of the newly formed HP PWD
to cut special road tax
DHARAMSALA, Jan 18 The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to reduce the special Road Tax in the plains, in line with the lower fare and tax structure.
An official spokesman said the reduced rates would be Rs 4.92 per seat per kilometre for the inter-state National Highways route Rs 3.70 per seat per kilometre for state highways, Rs 3.08 per seat per kilometre for rural roads and Rs 2.71 per seat per kilometre for local and mini buses plying within a radius of 30 kilometre.
Senior citizens sore over
cut in interest rate
KUMARHATTI, Jan 18 The Senior Citizens Welfare Society, Parwanoo, today criticised the Central Government 's decision to reduce the interest rate on various small saving schemes of post offices.
Mr O.D. Pathak, president of the society, said the cut in the interest rate on small saving schemes came as a bolt from the blue for the senior citizens, who depended on the interest from their hard-earned savings. He said in spite of the fact that the year 1999 was declared as the "year of senior citizens", the government had first cut the interest rate on post office schemes at the beginning of 1999 and now again had cut the interest rate.
Mr J.L.Kaul, member, Municipal Committee, Parwanoo, and adviser to the society, asserted that the decision to cut the interest rate may encourage the salary class , particularly the senior citizens, with meagre income to invest in private financial companies, which initially lure investors with attractive interest rates and latter disappear with the principal amount.
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