|Monday, January 31, 2000,
Sofat loyalists agitated
HP docs to go on pen-down
labourers buried alive
Sofat loyalists agitated
SOLAN, Jan 30 At least 250 workers, including almost the executive bodies of various frontal organisations of the BJP in Solan city, and rural 'mandals', held a meeting at the local P.W.D. Circuit House and decided to resign enmasse in case the party ticket for the forthcoming Solan byelection was not allotted to Mr Mohinder Nath Sofat in place of the officially declared candidate, Mr Rajiv Bindal, by tomorrow the last date for filing nominations.
They faxed messages to the President of the Himachal BJP, Mr Suresh Chandel, informing him about their decision and urging him to rise above "petty factionalism" and intervene personally "to deliver justice in the best tradition of the BJP".
The message was signed by 88 BJP workers, including Mr Rajinder Singh and Mr Jia Lal, President and General Secretary, of the Solan (Urban) BJP, Mr Ved Prakash and Mr Nand Kishore, President and General Secretary of the rural 'mandal', Mahila Morcha Urban President Usha Thakur, Mahila Morcha (Rural) President Ahilya Sharma, Kisan Morcha President Khiali Ram, Mr Fateh Singh Mr Devendra Verma and Mr Dharmendra Thakur, President and General Secretary, respectively of the District Yuva Morcha.
The meeting where Mr Sofat was present, saw emotional outbursts by his loyalists who minced no words in denouncing the BJP central high command's decision to field Mr Bindal only because he was a Dhumal man.
Mr Sofat was defeated by the Congress candidate by 26 votes in the last General Election. Initially, he was declared winner by one vote. Two recounts at the request of the candidates later resulted in the Congress victory. Mr Sofat alleged 'official bungling' in the counting process and approached the High Court.
His petition was accepted by the High Court and the Supreme Court following which the Congress candidate was unseated and the byelection ordered. This triggered off an intense fight between the Dhumal and Shanta Kumar factions over the allotment of the party ticket. Mr Dhumal pressed for the candidature of Mr Rajiv Bindal, President of the Solan Municipal Council, and succeeded.
Sources in the BJP said Mr Dhumal tried to assuage the feelings of Mr Sofat by offering him the plum post of Chairman of the State electricity board. The Chairman of the board enjoys the status of Cabinet Minister. However, Mr Sofat declined the offer.
When contacted, Mr Sofat said his supporters wanted him to file his nominations as an Independent in case the party did not rescind the decision to allot the ticket to Mr Bindal by tomorrow.
He, however, made it clear that 'being a loyal party worker and having spent almost the whole of his life struggling for the cause of the BJP, he could not even think of not abiding by the party high command's decision."
He said though he had expressed his "full cooperation" for Mr Bindal immediately after the party announced his candidature in New Delhi, unfortunately the latter had not cared to contact him so far.
Wildlife management poor
SHIMLA, Jan 30 Despite a vast network of sanctuaries, zoological parks and mini zoos, the management of the ever-dwindling wildlife reserves in Himachal Pradesh continues to be in a state of neglect.
Irrational and inadequate set-up of the wildlife wing coupled with the shortage of funds and trained manpower are coming in the way of the effective management of wildlife. There are only four wildlife divisions in the state to look after 32 sanctuaries, two national parks and about a dozen mini zoological parks. While the Centre has been insisting that each state should have an independent set-up for the proper management of wildlife, in Himachal the control of many sanctuaries remains with the territorial wing. In fact, the Kugti and Tandah sanctuaries in Chamba were transferred from the wildlife wing to the territorial wing only two years ago. The Centre has now made it clear to the state that it will not give any funds for the sanctuaries which were managed by the territorial wing. Besides these two, control of the Dhauladhar and Sechu Nullah sanctuaries, the park of the Kalatop-Khajjiar sanctuary, Gopalpur Nature Park, Kalapul Deer Park and part of the Great Himalayan National Park is with the territorial wing. Such a set-up is not conducive to the effective preservation of fauna and the management of wildlife reserves on scientific lines, senior officers of the department point out.
Chamba is one of the few districts in the state which have a wildlife division but the control of three sanctuaries in the district has been given to the territorial wing. On the contrary the Pong Dam sanctuary in Kangra district, located about 150 km away, is being looked after by the DFO (Wildlife), Chamba.
There are 11 sanctuaries under the Shimla wildlife division. These include the Naina Devi and Gobind Sagar sanctuaries located about 180 km away. Besides, the far-off Renuka and Shillai sanctuaries in Sirmaur district are also being looked after by the DFO (Wildlife), Shimla. It is physically impossible to exercise any kind of control over the sanctuaries located so far off.
According to senior officers a minimum of eight wildlife divisions are required for the effective management of wildlife. New wildlife divisions should be set up at Dehra to take care of the sprawling Pong Dam sanctuary in Bilaspur district and for the Naina Devi and Gobind Sagar sanctuaries. Besides, all sanctuaries should be put under the control of the wildlife wing so that there is no problem in getting funds from the Centre.
There is also a feeling in the department that far too many sanctuaries have been set up which the fund-starved state is not in a position to manage effectively. Many of these were opened on political considerations and serve no purpose as far as the preservation of fauna is concerned. In fact, some of the well-protected forests have more wildlife than the sanctuaries.
The officers say it is high time that the government reviews the whole set-up and retains only the "feasible" sanctuaries. Instead of frittering away the meagre funds available on a large number of sanctuaries, the department should concentrate on a few and go in for proper wildlife management.
Resentment against Health Dept's
KANGRA, Jan 30 The deterioration in the working of the Health Department has started affecting the national programme of health and family welfare planning in the district. Women interested in undergoing family planning operations, have expressed resentment over the department's working.
More than 70 such women, who had reached the Kangra subdivisional hospital here yesterday from far flung areas of Lunj Balogulah, Gheen, Jendrah, Rajiana, Kholi,Geerbhala and Teiara had to return back without undergoing these operations as the family planning camp was cancelled at the last moment. According to health workers who motivated the patients for undergoing these operations, these camps were held at the hospital on all Saturdays for the past 10 years, but the department decided not to hold these camps here on two Saturdays, January 15 and 22, without any reason.
On January 8 also the patients had to wait for four hours outside the hospital because of the Agriculture Minister's programme on the hospital premises. Later on only 20 operations were performed after 2.30 P.M. and 50 patients had to go back without operations.
Tension prevailed today at the hospital when the hospital authorities received a message from the CMO office that the camp had been cancelled. About 35 cases had already been registered.
Ayurvedic hospital inaugurated
HAMIRPUR, Jan 30 Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, today asked the youth not to hanker after white collar jobs due to their limited number and instead start their own small industrial units to earn their livelihood. He said the state government was setting up a number of industrial training institutes so that education was linked to jobs.
Addressing a gathering at Kadhyar village in this district today, he said his government was committed to providing a network of roads, better health services and education. People should start small cottage industries like food processing units for increasing their income.
Earlier, he inaugurated a 10-beded ayurvedic hospital in a private building and also laid the foundation stone of the new complex of the hospital. A sum of Rs 84 lakh will be spent on its construction. Houses for doctors would be provided in the complex, the Chief Minister said.
He said a Rs 5 crore plan had been sanctioned by the central government for the development of the catchment area of the Salasi Khad in Hamirpur district under the DRDA programme. A sum of Rs 75 lakh had already been sanctioned under the project.
The Chief Minister said a Rs 4.40 crore scheme had been prepared for lifting water from the Beas to meet the needs of residents of Hamirpur.
Mr Mohan Lal, Minister of State for Ayurveda, said an X-ray plant would be installed at the newly inaugurated hospital before March 31.
HP docs to go on pen-down strike
HAMIRPUR, Jan 30 Medical officers of the Department of Health and Family Welfare will go on a pen-down strike from February 1 in protest against the state government's decision to appoint a bureaucrat as Additional Director of Health.
Dr Des Raj Sharma, press
secretary of the district unit of the HP Medical Officers
Association, said here today that the pen-down strike
would be from 9.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. every day till
February 11. If the government took no action, the
medical officers would not undertake emergency duties and
boycott all national programmes from February 12.
Strike decision endorsed
KANGRA, Jan 30 The Himachal Medical Officers Association (HMOA) yesterday endorsed the decision of the Central Executive Committee of Associate Doctors in Himachal Pradesh to go on a pen-down strike for two hours daily from 9.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. from February 1 in protest against the alleged "callous" attitude of the state government towards their demands.
In a statement here, Dr
Susheel Sharma, press secretary, HMOA, said they
regretted the inconvenience the public would face due to
the strike. The HMOA strongly condemned the posting of an
HAS officer as Additional Director, Health, and demanded
his immediate removal.
Two labourers buried alive
PALAMPUR, Jan 30 (PTI) Two labourers were buried alive when a slate quarry caved in near Nagoni Hullah in Khaniara panchayat, reports reaching here said.
The deceased had been identified as Aati (35) and Ishroo (34).
Both of them went to forest for collecting wood but did not return. Both of them were found buried under a hill, close to a slate quarry.
Meanwhile, one person died on the spot when his scooter dashed against the roadside parapet on the Dehra-Ranital section of the Una-Kangra road, 50-km from Palampur today.
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