Thursday, November 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India




National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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

Will REC, Hamirpur, become deemed varsity?
Hamirpur, November 28
All eyes are set on the crucial meeting of the board of governors of the regional engineering college here tomorrow. The meeting is likely to be a lively one in view of the reported move of the Central Government to give deemed university status to the college.

No food security in country: Ajit
Dharamsala, November 28
The Union Minister for Agriculture, Mr Ajit Singh, today said that despite achieving self-sufficiency in foodgrain production, India had failed to provide food security to every household, resulting in crores of people going hungry everyday.

Stamp on Sobha Singh to be released today
Shimla, November 28
The release of a commemorative stamp to mark the birth centenary of Sobha Singh here tomorrow will be a fitting tribute to the legendary artist and a recognition of his contribution to the field of art.

 

World famous painting of "Sohini Mahiwal" done by the renowned artist Sobha Singh.

Sohini Mahiwal

Rs 40-cr housing project for Dalits
Mandi, November 28
A Rs 40-crore housing project for Dalits has been approved by the Union Ministry of Urban Development under which 10,000 houses for them would be constructed in the state. Stating this here yesterday, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Union Urban Development Minister Anant Kumar had assured that the project would be cleared shortly for Himachal Pradesh under a centrally sponsored scheme, “Baba Ambedkar Bhavan Nirman Yojna.”



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Mandi
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES

 

Row over closure of DCM unit
Baddi, November 28
Uncertainty looms large over the fate of a number of DCM employees who will face retrenchment as the company management has notified December 22 as the date of closure of its Baddi tools and dyes unit about 40 km from here.

Probe VC’s death, says Professor
Shimla, November 28
A veteran historian, Prof S.R. Mehrotra, has demanded an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of Mr S.K. Gupta, the late Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University on September 10.

HPU criticised for starting new courses
Shimla, November 28
The state unit of the Student Federation of India has criticised the fund-starved Himachal Pradesh University for introducing courses on “jyotish shastra” and “karam kand”.

Private security for IGMC
Shimla, November 28
The deployment of private security network at Indira Gandhi Medical College  here and in district hospitals next month is expected to regulate the patient inflow and provide safety to the staff and equipment.

Traffic case: Chief Secy asked to form panel
Shimla, November 28
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the Chief Secretary of the state, to constitute a committee comprising 10 members to be headed by the Chief Secretary or his nominee but not below the rank of Financial Commissioner, in a public interest litigation filed by the Citizen Rights Protection Forum regarding the smooth flow of traffic.

One killed as van falls into gorge
Dalhousie, November 28
A woman died on the spot while two others were seriously wounded when the van in which they were travelling overturned and fell into a deep gorge at Balera, about 10 km from Dalhousie, last evening, according to a delayed report here today.

Murder accused get judicial remand
Shimla, November 28
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr A.S. Jaswal, today remanded Shyamal Rao and Deep Ram, accused in a double murder case, in judicial custody for 14 days.
Both were allegedly involved in the murder of 32-year-old owner of Oaksland Hotel, Sandeep Sood, and his mother in the Lakkar Bazar area.

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Will REC, Hamirpur, become deemed varsity?
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, November 28
All eyes are set on the crucial meeting of the board of governors of the regional engineering college here tomorrow. The meeting is likely to be a lively one in view of the reported move of the Central Government to give deemed university status to the college.

The Himachal Pradesh Government is double-minded on the issue. The government neither wants to lose its control over the college activities nor is against converting the college into a full-fledged university.

Since the HP Minister of State will chair the meeting for Technical Education, Mr Ravinder Ravi, the decision of the meeting would be binding for all. If the college is given the status of deemed university, not only the state control over the college will come to an end but also its share of 50 per cent seats to the Himachali students will be stopped completely. Under the new conditions, the Himachali students will have to fight on the All-India basis to get admission in their own college.

There are reports that the Governments of Punjab and Haryana have reportedly refused to give its accent to the Central Government decision to give deemed university status to the regional engineering colleges located at Jalandhar and Kurukshetra. Both these governments are reported to have told the Central Government that they are satisfied with the present status of their colleges.

When contacted, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal told this reporter on phone that the state government would not allow the state interests to suffer. He said the government would ensure that in case the college was to be given the status of a deemed university its control should remain with the state government and 50 per cent of the seats of students filled up every year should go to Himachali students on previous pattern.

Sources said the Technical Education ministers of various states have sought reports from their other counterparts in this respect as they were also apprehensive that once they gave in writing they would lose entire control over the colleges. One of such letters had been received by the HP Technical Education Minister from his Rajasthan counterpart.

The State Technical Education Minister might speak to the Chief minister and seek his guidance before taking part in the meeting at here on November 29.

The college teaching staff on the other hand is also upset over the failure of the college management to give them promotions on basis of the career advancement scheme released for them by the All-India Council of Technical Education. About 40 of the 70 teachers would be benefited if the new scheme was implemented.

A number of college teachers waiting for promotions have urged the Chief minister to stop direct recruitments for various posts in the college since the new scheme was implemented.
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No food security in country: Ajit
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, November 28
The Union Minister for Agriculture, Mr Ajit Singh, today said that despite achieving self-sufficiency in foodgrain production, India had failed to provide food security to every household, resulting in crores of people going hungry everyday.

Mr Ajit Singh was speaking on the occasion of a convocation of Chaudhary Shravan Kumar HP Agriculture University at Palampur, held after seven years. “Even though our godowns are overflowing with 61 million tonnes of rice and wheat, it was unfortunate that there were many who were going hungry,” he said. Though we were in a position to export foodgrain, but we were faced with a challenge of diversifying and increasing production, he said.

“We are faced with the challenge of land holdings becoming smaller and the farmer becoming relatively poorer as his share in the GDP has gone down further,” he stated, stressing the need for diversifying and increasing production with the use of improved seeds and fertilisers and latest technology.

The minister was, however, critical of the extension work as he felt that research in laboratories was not being transferred to the fields for the benefit of the farming community.

Commenting on the provisions of the WTO, he said at the time of the signing of the agreement, it was not thought that it would affect us adversely. He said we need to remember this was the age of competition and we had to excel in our work. He said diversification was the only answer with attention being paid to marketing.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal said the challenge before scientists and students was human resource development, research and extension for the farmers of the state where 70 per cent of the land was marginal.

“Technology transfer must be based on needs of agro ecological settings, resource endowments and agro production of farm households,” he stressed.

The Chancellor of the university and Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, conferred 91 doctorate degrees, 268 masters degrees and 594 bachelors degrees on the students of the four constituent colleges of the university. He also awarded 80 gold medals and certificates of honour.

Mr Ajit Singh announced that a Rs 10,000 award would be instituted in the name of the Kisan Trust for the best agriculture graduate in the memory of his father Chaudhary Charan Singh.

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Stamp on Sobha Singh to be released today
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 28
The release of a commemorative stamp to mark the birth centenary of Sobha Singh here tomorrow will be a fitting tribute to the legendary artist and a recognition of his contribution to the field of art.

This will be the inaugural event of the year, which is being celebrated as the birth centenary year of the great artist.

Born on November 29, 1901, Sobha Singh started his career as a draughtsman in the Army at the age of 18. He later shifted to Lahore to realise his “artistic dream”. Lahore was then the centre of education and art. It was here that Sobha Singh established the “Echo School of Arts” to embark on his journey into the world of arts.

Subsequently, he set up his studio in Delhi. With sheer dent of hard work and dedication, he not only established himself as a successful artist but also earned critical acclaim. But the hectic city life did not hold his fascination and he went back to Lahore.

However, Partition brought him to India and he stayed at Ambala for some time. His search for serene natural surroundings ended when he saw the Kangra valley. The enchanting beauty and idyllic charm of snow-clad mountains and the sprawling valley left him spellbound and he decided to settle there.

He made the tiny nondescript village of Andretta as his permanent abode in the valley.

Most of his masterpieces like “Sohini Mahiwal”, “ Her Grace the Gaddan” and “Kangra Bride” were created in Andretta. He painted more than 1,400 paintings here, which depicted the rich cultural heritage and natural scenic beauty of Himachal Pradesh.

He also focused on the Sikh Gurus. He held Guru Nanak as the manifestation of his meditation. He painted Hindu Gods and Goddesses with equal reverence, zeal and perfection. The painting of “Murli Manohar”, signifying Lord Krishna, and the portrayal of “Lord Rama with Bow and Arrows” are considered masterpieces. In addition, he also painted Buddha and Christ, indicating that he respected all religions. “My art is my religion and my duty is to transform the invisible to visible,” he used to say.

The works made Sobha Singh famous. Although, he did not learn painting from any school, his inner creative self was his greatest teacher and critic. He always believed that to attain success in life, one has to be honest, sincere and hardworking.

A voracious reader, Sobha Singh had a rich personal library with books of the world’s renowned authors.

He used to study literature regarding the subject of his painting before actually settling down to paint. He never used a model to draw a painting. All the historic, mythological and personality painting came of his deep study on the subject. He was conferred the Padam Shri in 1983. A year later, the BBC made a documentary on him.
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Rs 40-cr housing project for Dalits
Our Correspondent

Mandi, November 28
A Rs 40-crore housing project for Dalits has been approved by the Union Ministry of Urban Development under which 10,000 houses for them would be constructed in the state. Stating this here yesterday, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Union Urban Development Minister Anant Kumar had assured that the project would be cleared shortly for Himachal Pradesh under a centrally sponsored scheme, “Baba Ambedkar Bhavan Nirman Yojna.”

He said these houses would be built in places where there was a presence of Valmiki community, including Mandi town.

Earlier, Mr Dhumal inaugurated Vipasha Sadan, built at an estimated cost of Rs 80 lakh.

The Chief Minister said adequate funds would be provided for the early completion of the regional hospital, the construction of which has been delayed. He said the private companies working in the region were also being requested to donate money for the hospital. A cheque for Rs 5 lakh had been received by him from the Continental Construction working at Larji project. He added that the work on Suketi bridge would also be taken up shortly with the financial assistance of HUDCO. When it was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister by a BJP activist that the work on Mandi drinking water augmentation project had been held up due to petty allocation in the budget, the Chief Minister called the Chief Engineer and S.E. of the IPH Department, who briefed him in this regard. He gave an assurance that the augmentation work would be completed soon. He described the allegations against the HVC supremo, Mr Sukh Ram, that he was the stumbling block in the development of Mandi as “baseless and absurd”, adding that Mr Sukh Ram had been pleading for the development of Mandi.

He announced that the law classes would shortly be started at the postgraduate college here along with additional faculties.

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Row over closure of DCM unit
Ambika Sharma

Baddi, November 28
Uncertainty looms large over the fate of a number of DCM employees who will face retrenchment as the company management has notified December 22 as the date of closure of its Baddi tools and dyes unit about 40 km from here.

The dispute which arose following October 23 notification of the company management, has not been solved despite intervention of the Labour Officer. The management contends that there are less than 100 employees working in the said unit and hence no permission is required for closure. It is adamant on its stand of not revising its decision. The affected employees on the other hand point out that the company’s PF and ESI records show that as many as 137 employees were working with the unit in the current year and therefore the closure move without seeking the relevant permission was unauthorised.

At the time of setting up of this unit in 1995 the management had transferred 83 employees to this unit from its Punjab unit. Some of these employees had put in 15 to 20 years of service but now even they had been served retrenchment notices. A few of them were transferred back to the Punjab unit a few months back. The union demands that these employees should be transferred back to their parent unit. The plea of incessant losses incurred by the unit due to market recession has also been rejected by the employees who contend that the current year’s balance sheet of the DCM unit shows a profit of Rs 3 crore. Moreover, senior employees of the Punjab unit have been given a pay enhancement of 23 to 27 per cent a few months ago which contradicts recession plea put forth by the management.

The union has alleged that despite utilising the subsidies provided by the state government, including a loan of Rs 30 crore and allotment of about 240 bighas of land at a marginal cost, the management was projecting losses as the reason for closing down the unit. Only about 30 bighas of land have been used for setting up the unit and the remaining will yield lakhs to the management if sold. The union of the Punjab unit has also lent support to these employees.

The management has not so far made clear its stand on closure benefits despite holding meetings on the issue. Officials of the Labour Department have also expressed apprehensions about the sequence of events as the retrenchment of employees, shifting of machinery and losses have been projected right after the expiry of five-year tax holiday. The Labour Officer stated if no agreement could be arrived at in the meetings between the employees and the DCM officials, the matter was likely to be referred to the Labour Commissioner, Shimla. The employees’ union of the Punjab unit has also submitted a representation to the Labour Commissioner for the early settlement of the dispute.
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Probe VC’s death, says Professor
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 28
A veteran historian, Prof S.R. Mehrotra, has demanded an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of Mr S.K. Gupta, the late Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University on September 10.

Prof Mehrotra in a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof S.D. Sharma, yesterday said that the “controversy” on the death of Mr Gupta should be settled by getting the issue inquired by some competent person.

Prof Mehrotra, who is a former Head of the History Department, said the letter was being written by him with the approval of Mrs Vinod Gupta, wife of Mr Gupta, with the sole objective of putting an end to the unseemly controversy.

He has sent copies of the letter to the Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan and the Chief Minister, P.K. Dhumal.
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HPU criticised for starting new courses
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 28
The state unit of the Student Federation of India (SFI) has criticised the fund-starved Himachal Pradesh University for introducing courses on “jyotish shastra” and “karam kand”.

The SFI, which organised a 24-hour dharna along with the Democratic Youth Federation of India in protest against the communalisation of education by the BJP-led government, said it was surprising that the university which had been crying for funds had made separate allocation of funds for these courses.

The youth bodies demanded the immediate withdrawal of fee hike which had made higher education out of reach for the common students. In the non-subsidised category, seats were being virtually sold out, they alleged. A seat in the MBA course cost Rs 21 lakh, while in the MBBS course it cost Rs 47 lakh. The government was gradually withdrawing financial support to the education sector, they said.
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Private security for IGMC
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 28
The deployment of private security network at Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) here and in district hospitals next month is expected to regulate the patient inflow and provide safety to the staff and equipment.

The government has on an experimental basis decided to introduce the concept of private security network at IGMC and the zonal hospitals at Mandi, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Dharamsala from December 1. The decision has been criticised by a section of employees. Officials say that deployment of private security guards will not affect the existing staff.

Maj P.C. Thakur (Retd), vice-president of Trig Detective, to which the contract for security has been awarded, says the company covers insurance up to Rs 1 crore for the losses caused to the hospital due to the fault of the security staff. The professionally managed Mumbai-based company will deploy ex-servicemen with radio networking for effective supervision.

Mr Thakur says the company, which is providing a security cover to others will explore the potential clientele to expand its functioning in this part of the country.
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Traffic case: Chief Secy asked to form panel
Our Legal Correspondent

Shimla, November 28
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the Chief Secretary of the state, to constitute a committee comprising 10 members to be headed by the Chief Secretary or his nominee but not below the rank of Financial Commissioner, in a public interest litigation filed by the Citizen Rights Protection Forum regarding the smooth flow of traffic.

This order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice C.K. Thakker and Mr Justice Kamlesh Sharma. The court further directed the Chief Secretary to convene a meeting of this committee within three weeks and invite suggestions of the members and later submit the report to the court by March, 18.

The other members of this committee would include the Advocate-General, and Deputy Commissioner and S.P. sharma.
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One killed as van falls into gorge
Our Correspondent

Dalhousie, November 28
A woman died on the spot while two others were seriously wounded when the van in which they were travelling overturned and fell into a deep gorge at Balera, about 10 km from Dalhousie, last evening, according to a delayed report here today.

According to official sources, the deceased has been identified as Darshana Devi of Tharogi village whose body was handed over to her kin after a post-mortem examination. The injured, Parveen Kumar, driver of the vehicle, and Suman Kumari of the same area, have been referred to Chandigarh for treatment.

A case has been registered.
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Murder accused get judicial remand
Our Legal Correspondent

Shimla, November 28
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr A.S. Jaswal, today remanded Shyamal Rao and Deep Ram, accused in a double murder case, in judicial custody for 14 days.

Both were allegedly involved in the murder of 32-year-old owner of Oaksland Hotel, Sandeep Sood, and his mother in the Lakkar Bazar area.

According to the prosecution, the police arrested the accused, Shyamal Rao, the manager, and Deep Ram, the cook of the hotel, from Sirmour district. They were earlier in police remand.
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