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HP board selections mired in controversy
Solan, December 12
Even as the suspended HP Subordinate Service Selection Board Chairman, S.M Katwal, has released audio tapes containing controversial conversation between him and Congress politicians, a case of contempt of court pending against him has brought into sharp focus the erosion of the board’s credibility.

Thyroid patients face hardship
Kangra, December 12
Resentment prevails among patients suffering from thyroid disease in Kangra valley as the Dr R.P. Government Medical College Tanda has withdrawn the facility of T3 and T4 thyroid testing and putting the patients to hardship as private clinical laboratories charge excessively.

5 PWD officials booked for favouring contractors
Mandi, December 12
The Vigilance Department has registered a case against seven persons of Sarkaghat including five officials of the Public Works Department. 

Police ‘presenting murders as suicides’
Dharamsala, December 12
Mr Sanjay Sharma a Bharatiya Janat Yuva Morcha leader blamed the Congress government in the state for politicing the vigilance directorate.

Stir in front of Sonia’s house tomorrow
Hamirpur, December 12
Thousands of activists of the All-India Confedration of SC, BC and ST organisations and Dr Ambedkar Mission Club will stage a dharna in front of the residence of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the AICC, New Delhi, on December 14 against the Punjab Government’s failure to honour its poll promise on Dalit agenda.


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EARLIER STORIES

 

L.R. Verma Acting V-C of HP varsity
Shimla, December 12
Dr L.R. Verma, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Himachal Pradesh University, has been made its Acting Vice-Chancellor.

Police ‘presenting murders as suicides’
Dharamsala, December 12
Mr Sanjay Sharma, a Bharatiya Janat Yuva Morcha leader, blamed the Congress government in the state for politicing the vigilance directorate.

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HP board selections mired in controversy
Ambika Sharma

Solan, December 12
Even as the suspended HP Subordinate Service Selection Board Chairman, S.M Katwal, has released audio tapes containing controversial conversation between him and Congress politicians, a case of contempt of court pending against him has brought into sharp focus the erosion of the board’s credibility.

Not only has the working of the board been put at stake, it has also exposed the political high-handedness in selections where merit has been given the goby. The manner in which the suspended board Chairman has been accused of having made two politically motivated appointments in this case and later his refusal to comply with tribunal directions of contempt point towards lack of accountability of the board’s working.

The case pertains to the appointment of two scientific assistants (ayurveda) by the board in 1999. Documents available with The Tribune reveal that the board had advertised two posts of scientific assistants on December 27 and December 30 ,1998 and had invited applications from candidates having a bachelors degree in pharmacy and five-year experience in a reputed pharmaceutical firm. Eleven candidates were called for an interview on February 24, 1999. Though only one candidate — Umesh Kumar of Poanta — had the relevant experience, he was not selected. Instead, two other candidates were appointed.

These two candidates who belonged to Bilaspur were allegedly appointed on the recommendation of the then Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda. Following this, Umesh Kumar filed a petition in the HP Administrative Tribunal which then stayed the appointment of the two candidates on March 21, 1999. A show-cause notice was also served to the board secretary, as well as officials of the Ayurveda Department, including its secretary and director. They were directed to file their replies by April 12 in the matter.

Giving due consideration to the arguments put forth by the aggrieved Umesh Kumar, the tribunal had quashed the appointments on June 27, 2001 and directed the board to consider his candidature within six weeks. Despite this, no heed was paid by the board to the court orders. This led the respondent Umesh Kumar to file a contempt case in the tribunal. Taking a serious view of the wilful non-compliance of tribunal orders, Chairman S.M. Katwal was given a notice in this regard on June 21 this year. Despite this, he chose not to appear in the contempt case which is pending before the HP tribunal.

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Thyroid patients face hardship
Ashok Raina

Kangra, December 12
Resentment prevails among patients suffering from thyroid disease in Kangra valley as the Dr R.P. Government Medical College Tanda has withdrawn the facility of T3 and T4 thyroid testing and putting the patients to hardship as private clinical laboratories charge excessively.

Kangra valley is prone to thyroid disease, which is caused by iodine deficiency leads to mental retardation and swelling on the face, feet, hands and neck. The valley has thousands of such patients. Dr R.P. Government Medical College started thyroid tests four years back and more than 5000 patients were tested for the disease in this period but following some controversies the facility of T3 and T4 tests for this disease was stopped. Only T Sh is performed in the college now.

According to the Biochemistry department sources of the college where the test was carried out, Rs 125 pre patient were charged for this test and the college earned Rs 25,000 per month. The sources said that on one hand the income to the college has been stopped and on the other hand the patients were deprived of the facility and had to pay Rs 500 to Rs 600 to private clinical laboratories for this test.

The entire Kangra valley is prone to this disease due to iodine deficiency in the hilly area and because of this Dr Rama Linga Swami, former Director-General Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) selected Kangra valley in 1906 for his work on this disease. Dr Swami had worked on the project for controlling the disease by providing iodised salt. It was after gap of 93 years Dr R. Yadav Head of the Department Biochemistry, Dr R.P. Government Medical College along with his team started work on identification and treatment of thyroid patients. He said that in the past four years nearly 50 thyroid patients suffering from mental retardation reported in the college. He said that women were more affected thyroid and in hilly areas 80 per cent thyroid patients were women who were more prone to the disease at the time of puberty and after the delivery of a child baby. He said that from Kangra town alone more than 100 patients were being tested regularly in the college and they were under treatment of his department.

Three months back the Principal of the college directed Dr Yadav to stop the T3 and T4 tests of thyroid in the college putting patients to inconvenience. The order also directed the HOD of the Biochemistry Department not to treat the thyroid patients because to treat patients was not within his purview.

The doctors of the Biochemistry Department said that although they were registered with the MCI and competent to treat the thyroid patient the orders from the Principal were against the interests of thyroid patients. They claimed that there was no doctor in Himachal who had specialised in Endocrinology so any medical graduate could treat thyroid patients.

Dr L.S. Lal, Principal of Dr R.P. Government Medical College said that he had issued instructions to the department to start the thyroid tests but the Biochemistry Department sources said that they were awaiting notification from the state government regarding the thyroid clinic before starting tests in the college. This correspondent visited the Medical College and found a number of thyroid patients going back without testing and when visited the Principal’s chamber two thyroid patients who had got tests done from private agencies were seeking his help for the treatment.

The patients sought intervention of the state government in this regard.

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5 PWD officials booked for favouring contractors
Our Correspondent

Mandi, December 12
The Vigilance Department has registered a case against seven persons of Sarkaghat including five officials of the Public Works Department. Those booked include Suresh Kumar, brother-in-law of the former PWD Minister in the previous BJP-HVC government, Mr Mahinder Singh and Mr K.L. Rana, chief of the Dharampur Lok Tantrik Morcha. Both contractors implicated by the Vigilance Bureau have reportedly obtained anticipatory bails from the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

An official of the Vigilance Department confided that sufficient evidence had been gathered against the accused persons who had been awarded contracts by flouting all rules and regulations. One of the contractors had allegedly diverted the Bhur Chandgal road funds for his house thereby not earning huge profit, and also depriving people of other villages of the facility of a road.

The Vigilance Department has allegedly detected large-scale irregularities in the construction of the National Highway-70 and found that the contract of a stretch between Longni and Chalal had allegedly been awarded at a very high bid to benefit a contractor. In Dharampur alone, the Vigilance official said, contracts worth crores had been awarded. An FIR against five PWD officials and two others has been lodged at Mandi. The officials concerned were posted in Sarkaghat during the tenure of the then PWD Minister, Mr Mahinder Singh. The official said similar irregularities had been detected in the adjoining Bilaspur district and action had been initiated.

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Police ‘presenting murders as suicides’
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, December 12
Mr Sanjay Sharma a Bharatiya Janat Yuva Morcha leader blamed the Congress government in the state for politicing the vigilance directorate.

Talking to reporters here yesterday Mr Sanjay Sharma said that in past eight months of the Congress rule, Kangra witnessed spate of murders many of which had been termed suicides by the police. He said this rise in crime had created insecurity amongst people particularly women. He said the Chief Minister had not taken senior police officials to task for it. He alleged that vigilance and enforcement directorates were working as agencies of the Congress led to a sense of distrust amongst people. He added that lack of co-ordination believe amongst the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues was sending wrong signals and hampering development.

The BJYM leader also criticised the recent cabinet decision on lottery tickets as anti-poor and said that it would again lead to financial ruin which had resulted in many suicides.

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Stir in front of Sonia’s house tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, December 12
Thousands of activists of the All-India Confedration of SC, BC and ST organisations and Dr Ambedkar Mission Club will stage a dharna in front of the residence of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the AICC, New Delhi, on December 14 against the Punjab Government’s failure to honour its poll promise on Dalit agenda.

According to a press note issued by Mr Jasbir Singh Pal, state president of the confedration and principal Chaman Lal, president of the club, here today, protesters will flay the government for not implementing the 85th Constitutional Amendment benefiting the SC and BC employees, not clearing the backlog of 1.5 lakh jobs and not issuing the stipend to scheduled Castes and backward class students.

They alleged that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was ignoring the Dalit agenda.

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L.R. Verma Acting V-C of HP varsity
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 12
Dr L.R. Verma, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Himachal Pradesh University, has been made its Acting Vice-Chancellor.

The post of the Vice-Chancellor fell vacant following the resignation of Dr S.D. Sharma, early this week. The government repatriated Mr R.D. Panwar, an administrative officer, whose appointment as Registrar had been challenged in the High Court. Mr K.P. Dogar, Controller of Examination, has been given the additional charge of the Registrar on ad hoc basis.

Meanwhile, a deputation of the state unit of the BJP met Mr V.S. Kokje, Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the university, and submitted a memorandum drawing his attention to attempts being made by the government to undermine the autonomy of the institution. It alleged that Mr Virbhadra Singh was treating the university like any other government department while making recommendations for appointment to key posts.
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Police ‘presenting murders as suicides’
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, December 12
Mr Sanjay Sharma, a Bharatiya Janat Yuva Morcha leader, blamed the Congress government in the state for politicing the vigilance directorate.

Talking to reporters here yesterday Mr Sanjay Sharma said that in past eight months of the Congress rule, Kangra witnessed spate of murders many of which had been termed suicides by the police. He said this rise in crime had created insecurity amongst people particularly women. He said the Chief Minister had not taken senior police officials to task for it. He alleged that vigilance and enforcement directorates were working as agencies of the Congress led to a sense of distrust amongst people. He added that lack of co-ordination believe amongst the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues was sending wrong signals and hampering development.

The BJYM leader also criticised the recent cabinet decision on lottery tickets as anti-poor and said that it would again lead to financial ruin which had resulted in many suicides.

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