THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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

War of words over order on CMís land
Shimla, October 21
The order of the Financial Commissioner allowing Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, to retain 81 of the 161 bighas inherited from his mother has triggered off a war of words between the ruling Congress and the main Opposition, the BJP.

CBI probe into JBT teachersí selection sought
Shimla, October 21
The state unit of the BJP has demanded a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the selection of JBT teachers and asserted that its leaders would not be cowed down by the threat of legal action handed out by Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, in this regard.

Four held for rape
Hamirpur, October 21
The police today arrested four persons allegedly for raping a girl (19) of Sai village of the Hamirpur district inside a bus at the Bus-stand here last night. Arrested persons have been identified as Suresh, Balbir, Vinod and Madan. Fifth person said to be involved in the crime was still at large.

Man behind Shimla rail line to get his due
Shimla, October 21
The centenary celebrations of the Kalka-Shimla rail line will bring well-deserved recognition to Bhalku, an illiterate labourer, who proved his mettle by achieving what British engineers failed to accomplish. It was this shabby yet enigmatic character who laid the alignment of the toughest and most expensive rail project of its times.



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES

 

PWD officials fuelling losses
Palampur, October 21
Even as the HP Public Works Department has made special arrangements for the supply of diesel and petrol to its vehicles on concessional rates at its mechanical workshop, a majority of the officials have been buying fuel from private retail outlets, causing a net loss of 1.69 per litre to the state exchequer.

Tributes paid to police martyrs
Shimla, October 21
A special commemoration parade was held at the Bharari police grounds here as a tribute to the policemen who laid down their lives while performing their duty. The Director-General of Police, Mr A.K. Puri, read out the names of the policemen who died on duty during the past one year. ó PTI
Policemen pay tributes to police martyrs at the Police Commemoration Day parade in Shimla on Tuesday. ó Photo by Anil Dayal

Policemen pay tributes to police martyrs at the Police Commemoration Day parade in Shimla

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War of words over order on CMís land
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 21
The order of the Financial Commissioner allowing Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, to retain 81 of the 161 bighas inherited from his mother has triggered off a war of words between the ruling Congress and the main Opposition, the BJP.

Mr Virbhadra Singh is claiming that he did not possess any land in excess of what he was entitled to under the Land Ceiling Act, and that he had himself filed an application in the court of the Financial Commissioner for vesting the surplus land in the government when he came to know that the entire land of his mother Shanti Devi, who died intestate (without leaving a will) had been transferred in his name as the only legal heir.

Mr P.K. Dhumal, a former Chief Minister, and other BJP leaders are demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister on the grounds that he had illegally retained 161 bighas of land, which should have been vested in the government after the death of his mother.

Over the past one week, a number of ministers and BJP leaders have issued statements, making allegations and counter-allegations against one another on the issue. Mr Kaul Singh and Mr Harsh Mahajan, both ministers, along with Mr Mukesh Agnihottari, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, joined issue today with Mr Dhumal, calling his statement a bundle of lies.

They stated that Mr Virbhadra Singh did not possess even an inch of land over and above the ceiling limit, and that he had not acquired any land ever since he joined politics in 1962. The matter in question pertained to the ancestral property of the Chief Minister, whereas Mr Dhumal was trying to mislead the people by terming it as a land-grab case. On the contrary, he had surrendered thousands of bighas, which had valuable deodar trees.

The Financial Commissioner had allowed Mr Virbhadra Singh to retain 81 of the 161 bighas he inherited from his mother as the only legal heir. This clearly indicated that he possessed 80 bighas less than the ceiling limit. They alleged that Mr Dhumal was unnecessarily casting aspersions on the verdict of the court by making such false and frivolous statements.

The ministers alleged that during his five-year rule, Mr Dhumal shuffled the bureaucracy like a pack of cards and used officers for petty political gains. Those who obliged by becoming a tool for wreaking political vendetta were given plum postings.
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CBI probe into JBT teachersí selection sought
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 21
The state unit of the BJP has demanded a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the selection of JBT teachers and asserted that its leaders would not be cowed down by the threat of legal action handed out by Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, in this regard.

Mr Ganesh Dut, party spokesperson, said here today, that it was the duty of the Opposition to raise important issue affecting the people and the BJP had done that only by bringing to the notice of the government the complaints and apprehension of the candidates who had appeared in the JBT selection test. He said the entire process involving scrutiny of applications of over 1.5 lakh candidates, conducting written tests and declaration of results, was completed within 10 days, which was practically impossible.

He said instead of threatening legal action, Mr Virbhadra Singh should order an inquiry and place the facts before the people. He alleged that the entire selection exercise was a farce and there was no transparency. The only objective was to give jobs to favourites. The contract appointments were being used to give job through the backdoor.

Mr Dut also lamented that the government had not released the instalment of additional dearness allowance to the employees which became due in July. The Punjab Government had already released the instalment to its employees.

He alleged that the funds being received by the state under Centrally-sponsored schemes were being diverted for other purposes. The Public Works Department was not following the parameters laid down for the construction of roads under the Prime Ministerís Rural Road Scheme, he further alleged.
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Four held for rape
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, October 21
The police today arrested four persons allegedly for raping a girl (19) of Sai village of the Hamirpur district inside a bus at the Bus-stand here last night. Arrested persons have been identified as Suresh, Balbir, Vinod and Madan. Fifth person said to be involved in the crime was still at large.

An official spokesman said today that the girl was going to meet her relatives living in the town in the last evening, when she was lured by members of a bus crew. Who took her inside the bus and raped her. The girl was again raped in the same area by taxi drivers standing in the bus-stand area and kept the girl in their custody till morning.

The spokesman said that the matter became public when the girl came out of the bus and the police was informed. The police recorded her statement and took the accused into custody. The report of Medical Officer on girls examination was awaited.

The police has registered a case under Section 376 of the IPC.
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Man behind Shimla rail line to get his due
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 21
The centenary celebrations of the Kalka-Shimla rail line will bring well-deserved recognition to Bhalku, an illiterate labourer, who proved his mettle by achieving what British engineers failed to accomplish. It was this shabby yet enigmatic character who laid the alignment of the toughest and most expensive rail project of its times. The installation of a bust of Bhalku at his native village of Jhazza, near Chail, will be a fitting tribute to the "engineering genius" who made it possible for the British to execute their dream project.

There are numerous tales about Bhalku that have over the years become part of the folklore. According to one, he used to walk with a staff in his own inimitable style and abruptly stop to indicate to the British engineers the exact points where a tunnel or bridge was required. People attributed his skills to supernatural powers he possessed with the blessings of his village "devta". The rail track was built on the line traced by Bhalku. 
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PWD officials fuelling losses
Our Correspondent

Palampur, October 21
Even as the HP Public Works Department has made special arrangements for the supply of diesel and petrol to its vehicles on concessional rates at its mechanical workshop, a majority of the officials have been buying fuel from private retail outlets, causing a net loss of 1.69 per litre to the state exchequer.

Official sources said here today that under the economy drive launched by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, in the state, the Indian Oil Corporation had set up a special fuel outlet under the control of Executive Engineer Mechanical at Dharmsala for the official vehicles of the Public Works Department. a notification to this effect had been circulate to all executive engineers in the district.

However, a majority of the executive engineers have flouted this notification and have been buying fuel from the open market at higher rates, causing a loss of around Rs 20 lakh per month to the state exchequer.
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