Thursday, December 6, 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

HC quashes PMT merit list
Shimla, December 5
The Himachal Pradesh High Court today quashed the merit list of the PMT entrance test for admission to MBBS/BDS for 2001-2002 session and directed the HP University to prepare the merit list afresh. 

Mr. Ashok Prohit, working President of Bhartiya Majdur Sangh addressing a press Conference
Mr Ashok Purohit, working president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, addressing a Press conference at Shimla on Wednesday. 
— photo by Anil Dayal

Sack minister, say HRTC staff
Shimla, December 5
Mr Ashok Purohit, working president of the state unit of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, who is spearheading the agitation of the HRTC employees, said today that his removal from the Board of Directors of the corporation had exposed the anti- employee face of the Dhumal government.

PIL moved over immolation threat
Kangra, December 5
The Himachal Pradesh Unemployed Junior Engineers Association has moved a public interest petition in the H.P. High Court through fax seeking justice for a member of the association, Mr A.B. Rajbansh, who has threatened to immolate himself along with his wife and two minor children on December 6, 2001 outside Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, if justice is not given to him.


YOUR TOWN
Bilaspur
Chamba
Dharamsala
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES
 

Hydel power policy a sellout: CPM
Shimla, December 5
The 11th state conference of the CPM has termed the Dhumal government’s hydel power policy as a sellout of the state’s economic interest and demanded that all hydel projects up to 1000 mw capacity should be executed through the Himachal State Electricity Board.

Chamba border areas neglected: HVC
Chamba, December 5
Mr Shiv Sharma, a leader of the Himachal Vikas Congress from the Banikhet Assembly constituency in the district, has held the Congress responsible for the growing unemployment in border areas of the district.

Dam oustees await rehabilitation
Bilaspur December 5
The general secretary of the Bhakra Dam Oustees’ Rights Protection committee, Mr Jai Kumar, while addressing media persons here today said steps should be taken to accept their demands at the earliest.

Set up camps for Bangladesh Hindus: RSS
Shimla, December 5
Activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other organisations today staged a protest against the atrocities being committed on the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh.

Sagnam-Mud road opened
Shimla, December 5
Mud, the last village in the Pin valley in the cold desert of Spiti was connected with the rest of the world today with the construction of the Sagnam-Mud road and a bridge over the Pin river at Sagnam which were inaugurated by Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal today.

Antyodaya scheme a success: Shanta
Palampur, December 5
The Union Minister for Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Mr Shanta Kumar, today disclosed that 27 states had already implemented the Antyodaya Scheme launched by the Centre under which foodgrains at subsidised rates were being made available to those living below the poverty line.

MC-HPSEB tussle hits streetlighting
Shimla, December 5
The streetlights in the city are in an urgent need of maintenance. A lack of coordination between the Municipal Corporation and the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board is said to be the reason behind this mismanagement.

IWDPS projects get Rs 200 cr
Chamba, December 5
The Centre has sanctioned Rs 200 crore for the Integrated Watershed Development Projects in Himachal Pradesh while projects worth Rs 80 crore were in the pipeline and likely to be cleared soon.

Association seeks better medicare
Dharamsala, December 5
The public awareness and Anti-Corruption Association, Kangra, has demanded better health facilities at the Community Health Centre, Jwali, as the people of the area were facing hardships due to the absence of medical staff.
Top







 

HC quashes PMT merit list
Legal Correspondent

Shimla, December 5
The Himachal Pradesh High Court today quashed the merit list of the PMT entrance test for admission to MBBS/BDS for 2001-2002 session and directed the HP University to prepare the merit list afresh. The directions were given by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice C.K. Thakker and Mr Justice M.R. Verma on a petition filed by Pradeep Kumar and four others.

In their petition, the petitioners contended that the university conducted the combined pre-medical entrance test for admission to MBBS/BDS degree courses. This test consisted of an objective type and a written examination in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The result was declared on September 15 and Pradeep Kumar was shown to have secured 125 out of 150 marks.

After declaration of this result, another result was declared by the university on September 27 in which the petitioner was shown to have secured 124 marks.

The petitioner alleged that no opportunity was given to him before changing the merit list. The petitioner filed a representation before the Controller of Examinations bringing all facts to his notice, but no response was given by the university.

In its reply, the university stated that the answer to question No. 60 was suggested as A by the paper setter and as C by the two committees constituted by the university. The court held that the benefit of doubt should be given to all candidates who had opted for A and C.

Admission set aside:

A Division Bench of the HP High Court comprising Chief Justice C.K. Thakker and Mr Justice R.L. Khurana today quashed the provision of reservation for the students who have passed plus two examination from the rural area schools for taking admission to the BVSc and Animal Husbandry course in Agricultural University, Palampur, and directed the university to prepare a fresh merit list.

The academic council of the university had introduced the provision of 60 per cent reservation for admission to the BVSc and AH course for those who had passed their plus two examination from the rural area schools. The petitioner alleged that he had secured more marks than the students admitted on the basis of this reservation but he was denied admission because he had passed his plus two examination from the urban area school.

He further alleged that the reservation on the basis of having passed the plus two examination from the rural area was totally arbitrary and ultra vires the provisions of the Constitution. He further alleged that the term ‘rural area’ had not been defined in the prospectus.

The court held that the provision of reservation must be within a reasonable limit. The distinction between the rural and urban areas is totally discriminatory and against the provisions of the Constitution, the court observed. The court further directed the university to set aside the admission given on the basis of this reservation provision and to make a fresh merit list in accordance with law.Top

 

Sack minister, say HRTC staff
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 5
Mr Ashok Purohit, working president of the state unit of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, who is spearheading the agitation of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation employees, said today that his removal from the Board of Directors of the corporation had exposed the anti- employee face of the Dhumal government. He demanded immediate sacking of the Transport Minister, and the Vice-Chairperson of the corporation besides prosecution of the official members of the Board of Directors who were responsible for the “misutilisation” of the employees’ provident fund.

Addressing a press conference here today he said the management of the corporation had committed a grave irregularity by not depositing the provident fund deducted from the salaries and utilising it to run the corporation. It attracted punitive action under the law. He said in all an amount of Rs 19.55 crore was not deposited up to August, 2001.

He claimed that he was removed from the Board of Directors only after he raised the issue and urged the management to convene an emergency meeting of the Board to discuss the issue. He said the government’s policy of privatisation of passenger transport services and reduction in grants had paralysed the corporation. While the corporation was losing about Rs 75 crore annually for plying buses on uneconomical routes and providing free and concessional travel facility to various sections of society, it was being given only Rs 27 crore as grant-in-aid.

He said the Joint Action Committee of the employees held several rounds of talks with the Managing Director, Vice-Chairman, minister, and the Chief Minister but to no avail. The Chief Secretary who held negotiations with the action committee on the direction of the Chief Minister had assured it to settle the demands by November but nothing was done.

He blamed the Transport Minister for the strike and said that corporation was not getting enough funds from the government due to his failure to convince the Chief Minister.

He said a vast majority of the employees was supporting the one-day strike of employees on December 7. He even claimed that some private transporters had also decided to back the strike. Mr Purohit appealed to all employees unions to join the strike irrespective of the ideological differences as the cause of the workers was supreme.
Top

Gear up for HRTC strike, schools told
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 5
The Transport Department has requested the managements of the educational institutions to make their own arrangements for ferrying students on December 7 to avoid inconvenience in view of the call for a strike given by the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) Employees Union.

A spokesman for the department said the government had made adequate arrangements to ensure that the passengers did not face any inconvenience. Educational institutions, which had a tie-up with the HRTC, should however, make their own arrangements, he said.Top

 

HRTC refutes staff charge
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 5
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation has denied the allegation of the agitating employees that their provident fund was not being deposited with the provident fund trust.

A spokesman for the corporation said a sum of Rs 23.74 crore had been withdrawn by employees from April to November this year and they were not facing any difficulty in withdrawals. He said the annual wage bill of the corporation had increased from Rs 60 to Rs 108 crore following the implementation of the revised pay scales and the corporation had been managing the situation despite financial restraints.

He appealed to the employees to desist from the proposed strike on December 7 as it would cause loss to the corporation and inconvenience to the people.Top

 

PIL moved over immolation threat
Our Correspondent

Kangra, December 5
The Himachal Pradesh Unemployed Junior Engineers Association has moved a public interest petition in the H.P. High Court through fax seeking justice for a member of the association, Mr A.B. Rajbansh, who has threatened to immolate himself along with his wife and two minor children on December 6, 2001 outside Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, if justice is not given to him.

The petition filed by Mr Dashnesh Talwar, Kangra district president of the association, is addressed to the Chief Justice of the high court. Mr A.B. Rajbansh, diploma engineer aged 41, belonging to the Scheduled Caste. IRDP, landless and antodya family and son of an ex-service man, says that he has failed to get a job despite having the required qualification and merit.

Mr Talwar in his petition has said that Mr Rajbansh, whose family is starving, has a disqualification that he does not have a political push.

Mr Rajbansh has communicated his decision of resorting to self-immolation to the Governor, Chief Minister, Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, and the National Commission for Sheduled Castes and Sheduled Tribes but not got any positive feedback.

Mr Talwar has sought the court intervention as a young man was resorting to immolation along with his family in the absence of justice.

Meanwhile, the association has approached Mr Rajbansh to defer the date of self-immolation and wait till the verdict of the high court.

Mr Rajbansh has decided to defer the self-immolation date.
Top

 

Hydel power policy a sellout: CPM
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 5
The 11th state conference of the CPM has termed the Dhumal government’s hydel power policy as a sellout of the state’s economic interest and demanded that all hydel projects up to 1000 mw capacity should be executed through the Himachal State Electricity Board.

The conference took notice of the fact that the government was pursuing the policy of privatisation and economic reforms under the dictates of international funding institutions like the World Bank and the IMF, which benefitted multinational companies. The resolutions passed at the conference held in Kulu were released here today. In the resolution on hydel power policy, the government was urged to ensure a minimum share of 25 per cent in all hydel projects being set up in the state.

The principle of 12 per cent free power to the state as royalty should also be applied to the projects executed before 1990, besides securing 7.19 per cent share in the BBMB projects to which the state was legally entitled. The political resolution debunked the “vikas yatra” as a fraud on people and it was decided to provide an alternative model for the development of the hill state.

The conference expressed concern over the “communalisation of education” and alleged that the higher education was being commercialised in the name of privatisation.

The new economic policy, it observed, had spelt doom for industries and over 6 lakh units had closed down in the country. In Himachal alone, almost 50 per cent of the units had gone sick. 
Top

 

Chamba border areas neglected: HVC
Our Correspondent

Chamba, December 5
Mr Shiv Sharma, a leader of the Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) from the Banikhet Assembly constituency in the district, has held the Congress responsible for the growing unemployment in border areas of the district.

Launching a mass awareness campaign of the HVC, Mr Sharma said the Congress leaders, who ruled the state for about 45 years, failed to wipe out poverty in this distant and backward region of the state.

He said residents of this belt had been deprived of their traditional avocation of medicinal herb extraction for the fear of militancy as these areas touched the border of the militancy-infested zone of Jammu and Kashmir. The government had done nothing to revive their livelihood, he added.

Mr Sharma said since the Banikhet area was 500 km away from Shimla the previous Congress governments had failed to develop this backward area. Residents of the area still lived in mudhouses and slept in rooms where the livestock was kept.

He criticised the previous governments for misguiding the youth of the area with hollow promises for a long time. A number of schools and dispensaries had been opened but there was a death of staff there, he added.

Mr Sharma said under the mass awareness campaign of the HVC, more than 150 villages had so far been covered and committees comprising 20 members of HVC activists each had been constituted at polling station-level with a view to strengthening the forthcoming Assembly election campaign in the constituency.
Top

 

Dam oustees await rehabilitation
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur December 5
The general secretary of the Bhakra Dam Oustees’ Rights Protection committee, Mr Jai Kumar, while addressing media persons here today said steps should be taken to accept their demands at the earliest. In another resolution he demanded that the list containing the addresses of all 784 oustees, which according to the government still remains to be rehabilitated, should be published.

He agreed that the actual number of such families was several times more than those identified by the district administration. The meeting was attended among others by prominent leaders of all political parties and senior citizen , including the HVC district president, Major Shivram Sharma, the President of the city unit of the BJP, Mr Ramlal Pundir, a former Nagar Parishad President, Mr Gopal Sharma, the Bilaspur Nagar Vikas Sabha convener, Mr A.K. Sharma, the Senior Citizens’ Association senior vice-president, Mr J.K.Nadda, the district Beopar Mandal President , Mr Rajpal Sankhyayan, and Mr Rajender Pal Dass of the BJP. Top

 

Set up camps for Bangladesh Hindus: RSS
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 5
Activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other organisations today staged a protest against the atrocities being committed on the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh.

Hundreds of protestors marched through Lower Bazar raising slogans against the Khalida Zia regime in Bangladesh and the West Bengal government. Later, they held a rally at which the speakers criticised the Khalida Zia Government which had let loose a reign of terror on Hindus. They said the Hindus were either being forced to flee the country or convert to Islam. The government was hand in glove with the Islamic fundamentalists, they alleged.

The West Bengal Government was treating the Hindu refugees as infiltrators and forcibly preventing these hapless people from entering the country. The security forces even opened fire on them resulting in the death of a girl, they said. They alleged that the West Bengal Government was enlisting muslim refugees as voters and discriminating against the Hindus.

Earlier, these organisations submitted a memorandum to the Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, urging the Centre to take immediate steps to protect Hindus in Bangladesh. The memorandum urged the Centre to set up camps to provide food and shelter to the refugees.

The issue should be taken up with the Bangladesh Government with all force to ensure the return of refugees to their motherland, they urged.Top

 

Sagnam-Mud road opened
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 5
Mud, the last village in the Pin valley in the cold desert of Spiti was connected with the rest of the world today with the construction of the Sagnam-Mud road and a bridge over the Pin river at Sagnam which were inaugurated by Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal today.

The project has been completed at a cost of Rs 4.15 crore.

Addressing a gathering at Sagnam, Mr Dhumal reiterated his government’s resolve to speed development in tribal areas and said Mud village had been connected by road four years ahead of schedule. The Chief Minister said the Sagnam-Mud road would be connected with Bhawa ultimately which would reduce the distance to Shimla by 90 km. People in far flung areas would be able to transport their cash crops to markets to secure remunerative prices.

He also dedicated various schemes to the people of Spiti. These included Yashwant Gurukul Awas at Dankar and Sagnam, Primary Health Centre building at Sagnam and inauguration of additional accommodation in Senior Secondary School, Sagnam.

He said Rs 2.56 crore had been spent in Spiti area on construction

of accommodation under Yashwant Guru Kul Awas Yojna, which envisaged construction of semi-furnished accommodation for teachers. He inaugurated six houses constructed at a cost of Rs 30 lakh at Dankar and eight houses constructed at a cost of Rs 38.40 lakh at Sagnam.

He said with the construction of accommodation in Spiti area, teachers serving there would not face any inconvenience these houses had been constructed with solar passive technology and the design blended well with the local architecture conducive to local environment conditions.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated the Primary Health Centre building at Sagnam to the people constructed at a cost of Rs 38 lakh.Top

 

Antyodaya scheme a success: Shanta
Our Correspondent

Palampur, December 5
The Union Minister for Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Mr Shanta Kumar, today disclosed that 27 states had already implemented the Antyodaya Scheme launched by the Centre under which foodgrains at subsidised rates were being made available to those living below the poverty line (BPL).

Talking to this correspondent here today, the minister said the remaining eight states would adopt the scheme before December 31.

The minister said he was satisfied with the implementation of the programme and the results his ministry had received in the past six months. The states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and a few southern states had done well in this regard and their fair price shops had adequate quantity of subsidised foodgrains stocked with them.
Top

 

MC-HPSEB tussle hits streetlighting
Our Correspondent

Shimla, December 5
The streetlights in the city are in an urgent need of maintenance. A lack of coordination between the Municipal Corporation (MC) and the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) is said to be the reason behind this mismanagement.

The HPSEB claims that the MC has not been paying the board fully for the job. This has led to a tug-of-war between the two, the result of which is being borne by the residents. It may be mentioned that for the maintenance of the streetlights the MC has to depend completely on the HPSEB as it does not have an electricity wing. Though a post of a junior engineer had been created to solve this problem but due to certain reasons it is still lying vacant.

The Sanjauli, Chakar, Totu, Dhalli and Summer hill areas in the suburbs also have very few streetlights.
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IWDPS projects get Rs 200 cr

Chamba, December 5
The Centre has sanctioned Rs 200 crore for the Integrated Watershed Development Projects (IWDPs) in Himachal Pradesh while projects worth Rs 80 crore were in the pipeline and likely to be cleared soon.

Mr Tarun Kapoor, Director, Rural Development and Panchayati raj, said today in addition to this, the Union Government had given the nod to 80 projects costing Rs 2 crore under the Desert Development Programme (DDP), which included 35 watershed schemes for Kaza, 35 for Pooh and 10 for Lahaul tribal areas.

He said Una, Bilaspur and Solan districts had been identified for the Drought-Prone Area Development Programme (DADP). Mr Kapoor said four integrated water development projects with an outlay of Rs 30 crore had been allotted for Chamba district

A group of 30 farmers of Chamba district in this connection had been selected for training at Ralegaon in Pune, he added. PTI
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Association seeks better medicare
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, December 5
The public awareness and Anti-Corruption Association, Kangra, has demanded better health facilities at the Community Health Centre, Jwali, as the people of the area were facing hardships due to the absence of medical staff.

The president of the association, Mr Shishu Pal, said the association passed a resolution, urging the Chief Minister and the Health Minister, to direct the staff to attend to the patients. He added that emergency cases were not being attended by the staff and patients had to go to private doctors for treatment.
Top

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