Friday, February 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Potato sowing hit in HP
SHIMLA, Feb 17 — An acute shortage of seed potato has affected potato sowing during the current rabi season in most parts of the state.

Monumental neglect of fort
KANGRA Fort, the archaeological pride of Himachal Pradesh overlooking the picturesque Kangra valley, is on the verge of collapse due to the apathy and negligence of the authorities.

New Land Revenue Act on anvil
SHIMLA, Feb 17 — The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to organise special training courses and workshops for revenue officers so that revenue laws can be implemented effectively.

HAS officer's posting as ADHS resented
HAMIRPUR, Feb 17 — The HP Medical Officers Association has warned the state government of going on strike from February 28 again if it failed to remove an HAS officers from the post of Additional Director of Health Services, Himachal.

Pathania alleges police harassment
SOLAN, Feb 17 — Mr Rakesh Pathania, president of the Himachal NSUI, alleged yesterday that the local police and a BJP MLA along with a former president of the Himachal ABVP visited a hostel of Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, near here, on Tuesday evening and ordered certain NSUI activists to vacate the hostel or face "action".

‘Implement’ decision on HPU centres
SHIMLA, Feb 17 — Mr Waryam Singh, general secretary of the state INTUC and a member of the Himachal Pradesh University Court, has urged Dr S.K. Gupta, Vice-Chancellor, to implement the decision to set up regional centres of the university at Nahan and Mandi.

Teleconferencing programme held
NAHAN, Feb 17 — A two-day teleconferencing programme to train cluster and block co-ordinators of the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) was organised in collaboration with IGNOU, Delhi on February 16 and 17.

Schools closed
SHIMLA, Feb 17 — All schools in the landlocked Dodra Kawar area of this district have been closed up to February 25 in view of the heavy snow over the past few days.

One killed, 3 hurt in accident
MANDI, Feb 17 — One person was killed and three others were injured in an accident near Ghatasani, 40km from here, on Mandi-Jogindernagar road today. The taxi in which they were travelling was coming from Shimla and was on way to Jogindernagar.

2 cops held, released
KANGRA, Feb 17 — The Kangra Police yesterday arrested two traffic police officials for allegedly beating a driver who, according to the police, had hit his scooter at Gaggal two days back. Later on, they were released on bail.

Youths enter house, rob woman
SHIMLA, Feb 17 — Two unidentified youths entered a house in Kusumpti and robbed a woman occupant of a gold chain, watch and Rs 6,000 at gun point.



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Potato sowing hit in HP
From Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Feb 17 — An acute shortage of seed potato has affected potato sowing during the current rabi season in most parts of the state.

Shimla district is the worst hit as the Agriculture Department could supply only about 3000 bags of seed potato as against the demand for 6000 bags. Similarly, only 20,000 bags of seed potato were supplied to growers in Kangra against a requirement of 30,000 bags.

Inquiries revealed that wide fluctuations in prices and demand for seed potato led to the shortage. There was a bumper crop in Lahaul-Spiti, the main producer of seed potato during last season and over two lakh bags were produced. However, there was no demand from states like Gujarat and Maharashtra which purchase bulk of the produce every year, in the beginning of the season. Consequently, the Lahaul and Spiti Potato Society agreed to supply seed potato to the department at the rate of Rs 288 a bag as against over Rs 700 a bag last year. The department procured 31,000 bags and supplied it to farmers at a rate of Rs 303 per bag, almost Rs 600 a bag lower than last year. The extremely low rates led to a sharp increase in the demand as the farmers who have been usually procuring their requirement from private suppliers made a beeline to the department.

The initial demand was of 29,000 bags. It shot up to 36000 bags as the sowing season started and kept increasing.

In the meantime there was a demand from other states too and the Lahual-Spiti Potato Society lost no time in meeting the demand. The entire stock with the society was exhausted and the department could not procure additional quantity to meet the increased demand.

The situation turned worse as the department could not make any procurement from Shimla district as the growers felt that the price was too low. Against a target of 6800 bags, not a single bag was procured. The belated decision of the department to increase the procurement price from Rs 288 per bag to Rs 435 also did not help. The growers supplied the seed to farmers outside the state at a higher price.

In all, about 65,000 bags of seed potato are required for rabi sowing. The department has been supplying about half of it and the rest of the requirement was being met by private suppliers. This year the department supplied about 32,500 bags but it proved inadequate in view of the increased demand. Farmers in areas like Suni, Kumarsen and Nagrota were the worst sufferers.

Mr J.C. Rana, Director Agriculture Department, however, feels that the overall area under the crop may not decrease significantly as the farmers who could not get seed from the department mostly got their requirement from the private suppliers. In Shimla district the farmers, instead of supplying seed to the department exchanged it among themselves.Top

 

Monumental neglect of fort
By Bipin Bhardwaj

KANGRA Fort, the archaeological pride of Himachal Pradesh overlooking the picturesque Kangra valley, is on the verge of collapse due to the apathy and negligence of the authorities.

Situated to the south-west of the old Kangra town, the fort, is also known as the Nagarkot or Kot Kangra and is located atop a steep hill on the confluence of the Banganga and Patal Ganga rivers, which also serve as its moat.

The condition of the fort is so bad that the 1.5-metre thick fortification walls have developed huge cracks, while some portions of the walls have crumbled. The north entrance, known as the ‘‘Andheri Darwaza’’, is also severely damaged.

The walls and ceilings of a ‘‘sarai’’ within the fort have also developed cracks. The Kapoor Sagar tank is in a pitiable state with an overgrowth of weeds giving it a shabby look. The mosque within the fort, built during the reign of Jahangir, is crying for care. The paintings on the ceiling of Laxminarayan and Sitla temples, remarkable for their elaborate decoration, are in deplorable condition. These temples are considered the fort's most significant monuments.

Archaeological officials at the Chandigarh Circle, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, say that large portions of the Sheesh Mahal and the monastery of Nagarkot fort have suffered extensive damage over the years. The major damage occurred during the 1905 earthquake, when these architecturally important structures virtually collapsed.

It was captured by Muhammad Tughlaq in 1337 and in 1351 by his successor, Feroz Shah, but it did not fall into Mughal hands until 1621, when it was conquered by Jehangir.

The surrounding states, however, remained in the hands of the Katoch Rajas, and in 1786 Raja Sansar Chand succeeded in recovering the fort. But by carrying his ambitious design he came into conflict with the neighbouring hill chiefs and then with the Gurkhas of Nepal under Amar Singh Thapa and finally with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, to whom he was compelled to surrender the fort in 1809.

The fort remained in the hands of the Sikhs till 1846 when it was taken over by the British Government along with the hill state as far as the Ravi.

The project for the conservation work on the Kangra Fort has already been sent to the ASI Headquarters and permission is awaited, say officials at Chandigarh. The conservation work is expected to cost Rs 7 lakh.

The ridge on which the fort is situated separates the rivers and has narrowed to about 50 metres, across which is a deep ditch.

The conservation work includes filling of cracks, replacing stones as well as carrying out flooring work. Conservation work was also carried out earlier and illumination of the fort done by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.Top

 

New Land Revenue Act on anvil
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Feb 17 — The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to organise special training courses and workshops for revenue officers so that revenue laws can be implemented effectively.

Stating this while presiding over the meeting of a high-powered committee on amendment of land laws Dr Rajan Sushant, the Revenue Minister, said effective steps would be taken to remove unauthorised encroachments.

The new state Land Revenue Bill was given final shape in the meeting. It has been framed with the objective of delivering speedy justice to the public and removing obstacles. The bill will be introduced in the Vidhan Sabha during the budget session.

The second report of the sub-committee on State Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972 and village Common Land (vesting and utilisation) Act, 1974 was also presented before the high-powered committee.Top

 

Another spell of snow in Shimla

SHIMLA, Feb 17 (UNI, PTI) — Shimla and higher reaches in Himachal Pradesh had another spell of snow today, plummeting the temperature and renewing cold wave in the region.

Shimla and its surrounding areas experienced fresh snow for a brief period in the afternoon. Icy-cold winds swept across the town bringing a sharp fall in the temperature.

The town recorded the minimum temperature at 0.4C.

Upper areas of Shimla district, including tourist resorts of Wildflower Hall, Kufri, Naldehra and Narkanda, also experienced snow.

High-altitude areas in tribal districts of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur and Pangi and Bharmour areas in Chamba district had moderate to heavy snow aggravating cold wave in the tribal areas.

The 13,050-foot high Rohtang Pass, gateway to Lahaul-Spiti district, and the Dhauladhar mountain ranges, facing the Kangra valley, also had snow.Top

 

HAS officer's posting as ADHS resented
From Our Correspondent

HAMIRPUR, Feb 17 — The HP Medical Officers Association has warned the state government of going on strike from February 28 again if it failed to remove an HAS officers from the post of Additional Director of Health Services, Himachal.

Dr S.K. Soni, Secretary of the district unit of the association, in a statement expressed concern over the failure of the state government to appoint a medico as the Additional Director of Health. He also suggested the shifting of services of MPWs in the department to ICDS projects in the state so that their desire of having an IAS officer as Director of the department is fulfilled.Top

 

Pathania alleges police harassment
From Our Correspondent

SOLAN, Feb 17 — Mr Rakesh Pathania, president of the Himachal NSUI, alleged yesterday that the local police and a BJP MLA along with a former president of the Himachal ABVP visited a hostel of Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, near here, on Tuesday evening and ordered certain NSUI activists to vacate the hostel or face "action".

He alleged these police officials and politicians threatened that in case their instructions were not followed certain old cases pertaining to campus incidents would be reopened.

However, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, SP, denied that any police officer had visited the campus.Top

 

Implement’ decision on HPU centres
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Feb 17 — Mr Waryam Singh, general secretary of the state INTUC and a member of the Himachal Pradesh University Court, has urged Dr S.K. Gupta, Vice-Chancellor, to implement the decision to set up regional centres of the university at Nahan and Mandi.

In a statement issued here yesterday he said a resolution for opening new centres was passed at a meeting of the university court last year but no follow-up action had been taken so far. He also demanded strengthening of the regional centre at Dharmsala by creating posts of Assistant Registrar and other supporting staff. He lamented that the centre set up in 1992 lacked the basic infrastructural facilities like buildings and staff.

He said the administrative block for the regional centre should be constructed without delay and more land should be acquired for the future growth the centre.

He urged the Chief Minister to take interest in the affairs of the university and give liberal financial assistance to it.
Top

 

Teleconferencing programme held
From Our Correspondent

NAHAN, Feb 17 — A two-day teleconferencing programme to train cluster and block co-ordinators of the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) was organised in collaboration with IGNOU, Delhi on February 16 and 17.

The programme was organised at the district office here in which questions were asked by primary teachers and answers were given by the experts conducting this live television programme at Delhi.

As many as 90 Centre Resource Co-ordinators (CRCO) and Block Resource Cluster Co-ordinators (BRCC) participated from Sirmour district. The programme was delayed through satellite in 300 centres all over India including the four DPEP district of Himachal Pradesh. Top

 

Schools closed
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Feb 17 — All schools in the landlocked Dodra Kawar area of this district have been closed up to February 25 in view of the heavy snow over the past few days.

An official order issued by the Director of Education in this regard here today said it was not possible for students and teachers to attend the schools due to heavy snow.Top

 

One killed, 3 hurt in accident
From Our Correspondent

MANDI, Feb 17 — One person was killed and three others were injured in an accident near Ghatasani, 40km from here, on Mandi-Jogindernagar road today. The taxi in which they were travelling was coming from Shimla and was on way to Jogindernagar.

The deceased has been identified as Dheeraj Thakur of Theog. The injured are out of danger.

The cause of accident could not be known immediately.

The SDM has given Rs 10,000 as ex gratia to the next of kin of the deceased.Top

 

2 cops held, released
From Our Correspondent

KANGRA, Feb 17 — The Kangra Police yesterday arrested two traffic police officials for allegedly beating a driver who, according to the police, had hit his scooter at Gaggal two days back. Later on, they were released on bail.

According to members of the Gaggal Mahala Mandal, the driver of a jeep, Mr Rakesh Kumar, was publicly beaten up by the two police personnel and was left injured. The mandal members today met the district police chief, Mr K.C.Sadiyal and demanded action against them.

Meanwhile, Mr Sadiyal said a case under Section 341, 323 of the IPC had been registered against Head Constable Ramesh and Constable Raj Kumar.Top

 

Youths enter house, rob woman
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Feb 17 — Two unidentified youths entered a house in Kusumpti and robbed a woman occupant of a gold chain, watch and Rs 6,000 at gun point.

The intruders reportedly beat up the woman who was alone in the house until she fell unconscious. On regaining consciousness, she found that they had escaped with the valuables. Mrs Kamaljit, whose husband has gone abroad, was living alone in the house.

A case has been registered under Sections 394 and 506, IPC.Top

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