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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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

IGMC to directly procure medicines
for kala azar

Shimla, July 1
In view of the difficulty being faced in getting medicines for the treatment of kala azar, cases of which have been on the rise in the recent past, the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital has decided to procure the drugs directly from pharmaceutical companies in Kolkata and Bihar.

Doctors demand restoration of increments
Mandi, July 1
The Himachal Medical Officers’ Association, today urged the government to restore the increments for post-graduate doctors, which were withdrawn in 1998. It demanded that the doctors should be involved in decision making bodies.

Garbage control Bill introduced
Shimla, July 1
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, today introduced the Himachal Pradesh Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Amendment Bill in the Vidhan Sabha seeking to enlarge its scope and make the law more stringent to effectively regulate the use of non-biodegradable material.

Poverty line survey complete: Mahajan
Shimla, July 1
Mr Sat Mahajan, Rural Development Minister, today informed the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha that the survey of families living below the poverty line has been completed but the final list would be released only after the Supreme Court vacated the stay granted by it in this regard.



YOUR TOWN
Dharamsala
Mandi
Shimla
Nahan


EARLIER STORIES

 

Shiksha Board staff oppose govt decision
Dharamsala, July 1
The decision of the state government to delink the Takniki Shikhsa Board from the School Education Board, and shift it to Sundernagar from Dharamsala, has come as a bolt from the blue for the staff and authorities of the shiksha board alike.

High Court directive to govt on MRI machine
Shimla, July 1
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the state government to either finalise the purchase of a Rs 7 crore MRI machine or utilise the money to upgrade the basic infrastructure in two medical institutions of the state within three months.

No anaesthetist at zonal hospital
Mandi, July 1
The life of 12-year-old girl, Bobby who met with an accident and was taken to hospital here yesterday could have been saved had there been a casualty equipped with anaesthetist to do the surgery.

Meeting to check water-borne diseases
Nahan, July 1
To prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases during rainy season in Sirmaur district, a meeting of officers of various departments was convened by DC M.L. Sharma.

DYFI and CITU activists hold a dharna in front of the Vidhan Sabha in Shimla Procession, rally against MoU
Shimla, July 1
The state units of the CITU, the DYFI, the SFI and Janwadi Mahila sammelan today organised a procession and a rally outside the Vidhan Sabha to oppose the memorandum of understanding signed by the state government for mid term fiscal reforms.

DYFI and CITU activists hold a dharna in front of the Vidhan Sabha in Shimla on Thursday. — Photo by Anil Dayal

HC directive on anti-pollution steps in Manali
Shimla, July 1
The Himachal Pradesh High Court today directed the state pollution control board to inform the court regarding the steps taken to control air pollution in Manali town during tourist season.

1 hurt in clash over parking of scooter
Palampur, July 1
A woman was seriously injured and a scooter set on fire in the heart of the town last night when two youths clashed over a petty issue of parking a scooter, Police sources said Ashok Katoch and Dipu, exchanged hot words on the issue of parking the scooter that resulted in a clash.

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IGMC to directly procure medicines for kala azar
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 1
In view of the difficulty being faced in getting medicines for the treatment of kala azar, cases of which have been on the rise in the recent past, the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMC) has decided to procure the drugs directly from pharmaceutical companies in Kolkata and Bihar.

“Since we have been facing a lot of difficulty in finding medicines locally, we have decided to keep a ready stock to meet any eventuality by getting these directly from the companies,” informed Prof L.S. Pal, Principal, IGMC. He said since there had been an increase in the number of kala azar cases during the past three years, the IGMC was gearing up to tackle the situation.

Professor Pal said since the disease was more common in Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and the areas bordering Nepal, the medicines and the injections were not readily available even in Delhi. These, he added, would have to be procured from Kolkata and Patna.

He said the doctors were concerned over the increase in the number of cases, but the team specially constituted to look into the factors for this unusual trend was collecting all relevant data to ascertain the cause. “Out of the two types of kala azar, the number of cases of oriental sore (skin infection) is higher than the visceral type, which involved multi-body organs,” he explained.

The cases of kala azar pouring into the IGMC till now were mainly from Kinnaur and Rampur areas. The visceral kala azar type is more serious as it affects various vital organs. During the past 10 days there had been two cases of the visceral type at the IGMC.

Professor Pal said the diagnosis of the disease had been done with the help of a simple blood test but the samples would be sent to the London School of Tropical Medicines and Hygiene.

The Head of Dermatology, Dr N.L. Sharma, said the samples of sand fly, causing the disease, would be later sent to London.
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Doctors demand restoration of increments
Tribune News Service

Mandi, July 1
The Himachal Medical Officers’ Association (HMOA), today urged the government to restore the increments for post-graduate doctors, which were withdrawn in 1998. It demanded that the doctors should be involved in decision making bodies.

Talking to reporters on the occasion of the Doctors’ Day today here, Dr Jiwa Nand Chauhan, general secretary, HMOA, said that the association opposed the bifurcation of the cadre and demanded that the seniority in case of all doctors should be decided on the basis of the joining date and not otherwise.

Highlighting the pathetic working conditions in the hospitals, the members said that the government must give power to the health directors, considering the specific needs of the patients and hospitals. “The doctors do round the clock duties, but 10 per cent house rent allowance was withdrawn by the previous government. Even the present government has not restored the facility so far despite a promise”.

The doctors in Punjab were given 6 per cent rural allowance to work in the rural areas, but it was withdrawn in the state. “The working conditions for the doctors have worsened, hitting patient care. The cost of living has increased, but surprisingly their allowances are being curtailed”, added Dr Amit Joshi, district general secretary, HMOA.

Pointing out the minutes of the HMOA’s meeting with Health Secretary P.C. Kapoor held on November 14, 2003, the members rued that the government had agreed to their demands and the Health Minister had promised to implement the decision, but nothing concrete had been done so far.
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Garbage control Bill introduced
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 1
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, today introduced the Himachal Pradesh Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Amendment Bill in the Vidhan Sabha seeking to enlarge its scope and make the law more stringent to effectively regulate the use of non-biodegradable material.

The existing Act only empowers the government to prevent haphazard throwing of non-biodegradable garbage and since it is very difficult to detect the offence of improper disposal the agencies have been finding it difficult to enforce it. The amendment will enable the government to impose restrictions on the use of the non-biodegradable material.

The quantum of penalty for offence under the Act is proposed to be increased. The period of maximum imprisonment is proposed to be increased from one to three months and the maximum fine from Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000. The discretion for compounding of offence is to be done away with and the fee to be charged in this regard will be specified by the government.

The amendment will also empower the government to authorise officers to get the non-biodegradable material recovered, removed and disposed of. Under the existing Act only a local authority is competent to do so.

Mr Sat Mahajan, Rural Development Minister, introduced the Himachal Pradesh Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Bill. It seeks to increase the validity of the registration certificate from the existing one year to five years for the convenience of the commercial establishments and also to reduce the workload of the department concerned. To make the law stringent the quantum of penalty for contravention of the provisions of the Act is proposed to be enhanced.

At present no offence under the Act is compoundable. The amendment seeks to make all offences, except those committed under sub-section (7) of Section 20, compoundable by an officer not below the rank of Chief Inspector of Shops and Commercial Establishments.
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Poverty line survey complete: Mahajan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 1
Mr Sat Mahajan, Rural Development Minister, today informed the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha that the survey of families living below the poverty line (BPL) has been completed but the final list would be released only after the Supreme Court vacated the stay granted by it in this regard.

Answering a volley of questions from members on the issue he said door-to-door survey had been completed but the final determination of the BPL families would be done after the approval of the gram sabhas. The state government had to decide a cut-off score after which lists would be displayed in the gram panchayats for verification. The cut-off score could be uniform or vary from district to district ,block to block and village to village in the state keeping in view the ground realities. The Centre had fixed a ceiling of 2.86 lakh families for the state.

The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, told the house that as many as 207 schemes involving an expenditure of Rs 161 crore were sanctioned by NABARD for the state for 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Answering another question he said as many as 66 roads had been taken up under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna and 26 under the rural infrastructure development fund of NABARD in Chamba district.

In a written reply the Chief Minister said from 1999 to 2004 period as many as 13,780 cases of illicit felling were reported in which 4887.69 cubic metre of timber was confiscated. About 531 cases took place in Kangra followed by 504 in Mandi and 430 in Sirmour district. While 10,820 cases were compounded, 104 were pending with the courts and 174 were under investigation. The process to compound the offences was underway in 2,623 cases.

Replying to and her question concerning regularisation of daily wagers he said there were 11,632 workers in the PWD, Irrigation, Public Health and Forest Departments who had completed 10 years of service and ,thus, eligible for regularisation.

They could be regularised only against vacant posts, which were not available. Further, it would put an additional burden of Rs 30 crore on the state exchequer annually.
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Shiksha Board staff oppose govt decision
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 1
The decision of the state government to delink the Takniki Shikhsa Board from the School Education Board, and shift it to Sundernagar from Dharamsala, has come as a bolt from the blue for the staff and authorities of the shiksha board alike. A notification in this regard, issued by the Department of Technical Education, was communicated to the Director, Technical Education, earlier this week.

Although expansion of its departments and improvement of the financial health of the Takniki Shikhsa Board are being cited as the reasons behind the move, the board staff is not willing to buy these arguments. Those opposing the notification feel that the board already has a well-knit structure in Dharamsala and shifting it to Sudernagar, which is quite a distance from here, won’t be a wise move.

Set up in 1986, the shiksha board is the regulatory body for 52 IITs and seven polytechnics, besides institutes running ayurvedic pharmacy courses in the state.

As per the notification, “The proposal to delink the Takniki Shiksha Board from the School Education Board and making it to function as an independent entity as per the provisions of the Himachal Pradesh Takniki Shiksha Board act, 1986, has been approved by the government and necessary notification for reconstitution of the Shiksha Board stands issued separately. The office of the board will now be located in the Directorate of Technical Education.”

“The shiksha board is doing quite well in Dharamsala and there is nothing like paucity of funds. The building has required infrastructure and equipment for its smooth functioning. Nobody had ever imagined that such a step would be taken to completely uproot the board from here,” said an employee.

Besides objections to relocate the Takniki Shiksha Board, the staff is apprehensive that its autonomy is at stake as it might eventually be merged with the Directorate of Technical education, a step that would go against the interests of the board.

Till now, the chairman and the Secretary of the School Education Board held the additional charge of the Takniki Shiksha Board. Following the notification, the charges have been given to the Principal Secretary.

A section of the Takniki Shiksha Board staff also has objections to the proposal that only a technocrat should be appointed the secretary of the board. “When the entire job profile is administrative in nature, where is the need for the secretary to have any technical qualification,” said a board staffer.

“The gram panchayat had given land for the construction of the present office with the hope that the board would bring employment to the local residents but shifting of the board to Sundernagar would now go against this,” said another employee.
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High Court directive to govt on MRI machine
Our Legal Correspondent

Shimla, July 1
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the state government to either finalise the purchase of a Rs 7 crore MRI machine or utilise the money to upgrade the basic infrastructure in two medical institutions of the state within three months.

While issuing these directions a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice V.K. Gupta and Mr Justice M.R. Verma observed that it was entirely for the state government to either purchase the MRI machine and postpone improvements in the infrastructure facilities, or bring about the improvements in the infrastructure by spending the money earmarked for the purchase of the machine in the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC).

The court further observed that the reply filed by the Principal, IGMC, Shimla was an eye opener. It revealed that there was no ICU in this premier medical institution of the state and the two medical institutions IGMC, Shimla, and Dr R.P. Medical College, Tanda were lacking in basic medical facilities.

The court gave the direction on a petition filed by advocate Trisha Sharma, wherein she had alleged that the medical institution was suffering on account of infrastructure shortcomings.
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No anaesthetist at zonal hospital
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Mandi, July 1
The life of 12-year-old girl, Bobby who met with an accident and was taken to hospital here yesterday could have been saved had there been a casualty equipped with anaesthetist to do the surgery.

Bobby is not alone who succumbed to her injuries. There are many accident victims like her who are taken to this zonal hospital everyday, but most of them are either referred to the PGI or Indira Gandhi Medical College for treatment. The hospital has no casualty services. Many accident victims succumb to their injuries on their way to the PGI or the IGMC, rued attendants.

Though the zonal hospital needs at least three anaesthetists, but it has none for the job. Doctors are doing anaesthesia at their own risk, The Himachal Medical Officers’ Association has pleaded several times to the successive state governments to appoint anaesthetists and start casualty services, but it all fell on deaf ears.

A casualty ward at the hospital was sanctioned on November 17, 1979, but the file is gathering dust in the Secretariat.

The Director, Health Services, Dr J. Pal Nadda said they had appointed an anaesthetist for Mandi zonal hospital recently but there was no proposal for other zonal hospital so far. “The file for the casualty ward is lying with the government”, he added.
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Meeting to check water-borne diseases
Our Correspondent

Nahan, July 1
To prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases during rainy season in Sirmaur district, a meeting of officers of various departments was convened by DC M.L. Sharma.

Addressing the meeting he said that people living on slopes of hills in rural areas were more likely to get contaminated water in rainy season as human excreta with rainwater gets mixed with water sources. In such cases, people of the areas should come forward to mobilise people for change in habits and use toilets in the houses. BDOs can be contacted for the construction of toilets.

IPH officials said there was sufficient stock of bleaching powder for the chlorination of water sources.

The CMO, Dr Sneh Gupta, said sufficient stock of medicines was available in the district and chlorine tablets worth Rs 6 lakh had been distributed in the district.
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Procession, rally against MoU

Shimla, July 1
The state units of the CITU, the DYFI, the SFI and Janwadi Mahila sammelan today organised a procession and a rally outside the Vidhan Sabha to oppose the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the state government for mid term fiscal reforms.

The speakers at the rally criticised the government for continuing the economic reforms which led to the ouster of the NDA government and demanded that the conditions imposed in the MoU should be withdrawn and replaced by suitable policies in tune with the common minimum programme, to safeguard the interests of unemployed youth, labour and students.

They alleged that by signing the MoU, the state government had betrayed the people as it would bind the government to reduce 2 per cent jobs every year abolish 4500 posts vacant for past three years, stop fresh recruitment to class-III and class-IV posts and phase out subsidy in farm sector.

The number of unemployed youth was 10-lakh as per live registers of employment exchanges and the conditions imposed in the MoU would aggravate the problems, the speakers added.

They demanded special economic package for Himachal, compensation of Rs 400 crore for protecting the forests and 25 per cent free power as royalty in hydro-power projects instead of 12 per cent at present. — PTI
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HC directive on anti-pollution steps in Manali
Our Correspondent

Shimla, July 1
The Himachal Pradesh High Court today directed the state pollution control board to inform the court regarding the steps taken to control air pollution in Manali town during tourist season.

Dealing with a Public Interest Litigation plea a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice L.S. Panta and Mr. Jutice R.L. Khurana observed that it was not clear from the reply of the board what preventive measures it had initiated to check air pollution by passenger vehicles in the town.

It was alleged in the petition that the state government was not taking steps to control pollution, and ecology of Manali town had been imbalanced.

The petitioner had submitted that in 1980, only 80 taxis plied. In 2004, more than 750 taxis were being plied.

This letter was written by a Delhi-based advocate Nirmal Chopra to the Chief Justice of the High Court. Treating this letter as Public Interest litigation, plea, the court passed the aforesaid order and directed the board to file its supplementary affidavit before the court within four weeks.
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1 hurt in clash over parking of scooter
Our Correspondent

Palampur, July 1
A woman was seriously injured and a scooter set on fire in the heart of the town last night when two youths clashed over a petty issue of parking a scooter,

Police sources said Ashok Katoch and Dipu, exchanged hot words on the issue of parking the scooter that resulted in a clash. Dipu, a local resident, took a sharp-edged weapon from an adjoining shop and tried to attack Ashok. Meanwhile, Ranjna, wife of Dipu, who was travelling with him, came forward to defuse the tension and received a cut on her hand. She was admitted to a local Civil Hospital.

Later, a scooter was set on fire by some miscreants. The police has registered a case under different Sections of IPC. One person has been arrested and more arrests are likely to be made in this connection.
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Meeting to review transfer policy tomorrow

Shimla, July 1
A meeting of the Sub-Committee set up by the Government to review the present transfer policy will be held on July 3.

An official release here today said the meeting would be held in the Chief Secretary’s Committee room of the H.P. Secretariat here.

The meeting will be presided over by Irrigation and Public Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur, who heads the Sub-Committee. — UNI
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Ban on govt vehicles takes effect from July 5

Shimla, July 1
The ban on the plying of government vehicles in the state on Mondays, enforced as a cost-cutting measure, would come into effect from July 5.

The government had taken an decision on the issue last month but a formal notification on it was issued today.

The ban was to come into force after the current Budget session ending tomorrow and the first Monday, which would see government vehicles, except those deployed on law and order and other emergency duties, falls on July 5.

The government has a fleet of over 1500 vehicles including vehicles belonging to boards and corporations and government hoped to save Rs 3 crore annually by this decision. — PTI
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Two die in freak mishap

Shimla, July 1
Two teenagers were buried alive and a woman and a man injured when a private bus rammed into the wall of a house at the Rampur bus stand in this district today.

A police report here said the mishap occurred when the driver of the bus started the vehicle. He, however, lost control and the bus rammed into the wall of a nearby house.

The wall collapsed as a result of which Seera (16) and Feroz (18) were buried in the debris and injured seriously. The duo died at the Rampur government hospital. — UNI

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Sadhu jailed for 10 years
Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, July 1
A court at Mandi yesterday convicted a sadhu, Pritamgir of Hardwar, for possessing 1.5 kg of charas and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

The convict was nabbed on February 5, 2003 at Chalagi Nullah by the police. He was coming from the Balichowki side.

Seeing the police, he started moving in the opposite direction. A search of his bag led to the recovery of charas.

The prosecution examined nine witnesses. The court held the sadhu guilty of possessing commercial quantity of charas.
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JBT entrance test result declared
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 1
Result of the JBT entrance test conducted on April 18 by the Himachal Pradesh School Education Board, was declared today. A total of 1,31,381 candidates had applied for the test and 1,12,002 appeared for it. The result is available at the board’s website: hpeducationboard.nic.in.
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India impresses Bangladeshi family
Our Correspondent

Kumarhatti, July 1
“India is like our own home and we don’t feel any difference between our country and India.” These were the views of a Dhaka-based Bangladeshi Hindu family on a visit to Shimla yesterday. The five-member family found Himachal Pradesh a “Land of God”. They said they were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Himachali people.

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Rotary president installed
Tribune News Service

Nalagarh, July 1
Rotarian I.J.S. Sethi was today installed as president of the Rotary Club, Nalagarh, at a simple ceremony.

The new team installed besides Mr Sethi included vice-president A.K. Madan; secretary U.S. Bhatia; and treasurer K.K. Gupta. The other office-bearers are the chairmen vocational services, Mr Shaji John; community services, Mr Y. S. Guleria; and international services Mr Ajya Chopra.
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