SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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

Organic fertilisers come under scanner
Agro Dept asks PSUs to stop procurement
Shimla, April 24
Perturbed over the large-scale distribution of spurious organic fertilisers in the hill state, the state Agriculture Department has asked various public sector undertakings to stop the procurement and supply of such fertilisers with immediate effect.

China to control release of Parechu water
Shimla, April 24
China has agreed to undertake controlled release of water from the artificial lake formed on the river Parechu river once the area becomes accessible after the snow starts melting in June following a request made by India.

HP seeks Central help for share in power projects
Chandigarh, April 24
To get its due share from three power projects of the Bhakra Beas Management Board in Himachal Pradesh, the state government has requested the Central Government to intervene.

Disease surveillance project launched
Shimla, April 24
The Rs 9.32 crore Central Government-aided Integrated Disease Surveillance Project launched recently with World Bank assistance will go a long way in timely detection of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the hill-state.

Rs 10 crore project for rehabilitation of fishermen
Shimla, April 24
The Himachal Government has submitted a Rs 10-crore project for the economic rehabilitation of fishermen. This was stated by Mr Ram Lal Thakur, Forest Minister, while presiding over the prize distribution function of angling competition jointly organised by the Fisheries and Tourism Departments at Bhakra today.





YOUR TOWN
Shimla
Solan
Una



EARLIER STORIES

 

Irregularities in road construction
Solan, April 24
Serious irregularities have been found in the construction of the Kumarhatti-Sultanpur-Ooachghat road in an inquiry conducted by the Public Works Department. The inquiry was initiated after Mr K.D. Sultanpuri, Chairman, 20-point programme, had pointed out that the road had damaged within a short span of its completion.

Lenka manhandled by irate Cong men
Shimla, April 24
Mr K.C. Lenka, chairman of the state election authority for the Congress organisational poll, was today manhandled by irate party workers in front of Congress Bhavan here today.

Strike at Havellís India: GM meets CM
Baddi, April 24
Taking a serious view of the three-day long strike at the Havellís India here, the Chief Minister today directed the Principal Secretary to hold talks with the INTUC leaders to end the strike.

Gorkha Rifles celebrates raising day
Solan, April 24
The 1 Gorkha Rifles celebrated its 189th raising day at 14 Gorkha Training Centre, Subathu, today. The ceremony started with Col R.S. Jasrotia, officiating commander, paying tributes to the soldiers of the regiment at the war memorial. Raised on April 24, 1815, the 1 Gorkha Rifles completed 189 years today.

Thunderstorm hits HP areas
Shimla, April 24
Thunderstorm followed by rain and snow hit many areas in Himachal Pradesh today. There were reports of light to moderate rain in the hill areas, while some areas experience hailstorm.

30 huts gutted in fire
Una, April 24
As many as 30 huts of migratory labourers were gutted in fire at Lal Singh village near here, today. Almost all the adult members of the families were away for work, while a few children were at home.

225 donate blood
Shimla, April 24
As many as 225 persons donated blood at a camp organised by the Sant Nirankari Mission here today. Inaugurating the camp, Mr Harbhajan Singh Bhajji, Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Technical Education), stressed the importance of blood donation in cementing the basic bonds of humanity.

Liquor seized
Baddi, April 24
The Barotiwala police today arrested a shopkeeper Rajesh Kumar for illegally selling liquor in his shop. As many as 15 bottles of country-made liquor were recovered from a scooter which he had used to transport liquor.
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Organic fertilisers come under scanner
Agro Dept asks PSUs to stop procurement
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 24
Perturbed over the large-scale distribution of spurious organic fertilisers in the hill state, the state Agriculture Department has asked various public sector undertakings (PSUs) to stop the procurement and supply of such fertilisers with immediate effect.

The department pointed out that as no standards had been laid down so far for organic fertilisers it was not possible to ascertain or monitor the quality of products being marketed by various private companies. It had advised the state agencies, engaged in the supply of farm inputs, to encourage only the vermin-composted fertilisers until norms were set for testing and certification of organic fertilisers.

Over the past one year private companies had flooded the state with all kinds of organic fertilisers. The state-owned Agro-Industries Corporation, the HPMC and Himachal Cooperative Marketing and Consumers Federation (HMFED), which procured farm inputs in bulk, also supplied thousands of tonnes of organic fertilisers. The farmers, particularly the apple growers, who had switched over from chemical fertilisers to the environment-friendly organic farming in a big way, complained that the organic fertiliser being supplied was of poor quality.

Some growers felt that private companies had taken the farmers for a ride and alleged that city waste from plains was being marketed as organic fertiliser in the hills. They wanted that at least the nodal agencies like the HPMC should supply only the manures of proven quality.

Mr C.R.B. Lalit Managing Director of the HMPC, agreed that a number of new brands of organic fertilisers had surfaced in rural markets. These brands could pose a serious threat to fruit plants. However, he said that the corporation was vigilant on this front and had decided to supply only the organic fertilisers recommended by the scientists of the Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry. These brands were being widely used across the country.

Dr S.P. Bhardwaj, scientist in charge of the fruit research station of the university at Mashobra, confirmed that organic fertilisers manufactured by Growmore, Karishma, Neemala, Som and Kohinoor were under evaluation since the past one year. However, the exercise would take at least three years to complete. Samples were being analysed not only for ascertaining the level of nutrients but also for the presence of undesirable heavy metal and other foreign material.

Besides, the impact on growth of plants, quality and shelf life of fruit and the ability to retain soil moisture were also being evaluated. Most of these parameters were being evaluated in comparison to farmyard manure. For instance, the ability to retain moisture for various fertilisers under evaluation ranged from 24 to 33 per cent as against about 22 per cent for farm-yard manure.

Mr J.C. Rana, Director of Agriculture, was of the view that evaluation being carried out by the university would be a futile exercise until the Government of India sets the standards on the basis of which the fertilisers could be tested and certified. It was essential to know the ingredients, the material and process used for making the organic fertilisers. Indiscriminate use of uncertified organic fertilisers would make the soil vulnerable to bacterial infections, which could in turn lead to outbreak of crop diseases.

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China to control release of Parechu water
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 24
China has agreed to undertake controlled release of water from the artificial lake formed on the river Parechu river once the area becomes accessible after the snow starts melting in June following a request made by India.

As part of the agreement between the two countries, exchange of information between China and India on the size and dimensions of the artificial lake on the Parechu river will begin by May 20 this year. The hydrological stations to be set up on both sides of the border will be in place by mid-May, before the snow starts melting in the area which is still snowbound and inaccessible.

According to the information provided by China during the recent visit of the high-level Indian delegation that visited Beijing recently, the lake, under normal conditions, was stable and it was only in case of abnormal disturbances that there could be trouble. While China has already set up one hydrological station very close to the dam site, the other will be set up about 120 km downstream by May 20. With the hydrological station to be set up on the Indian side where the Parechu originates and then flows into Tibet, also coming up around the same time, India will have exact details of the Parechu regularly.

Regular information about the dimensions of the lake will be flashed directly to the Central Water Commission office at Shimla from China once the exchange of information starts by mid-May, before the onset of monsoon. All information on the Chinese side is likely to be flashed to Ladakh as the Parechu Lake falls in Tibet.

ďAt present the volume of the water in the Parechu lake is 19 million cubic metres, as compared to 25 million cubic metres on August 20, last year,Ē informed highly placed sources. On the basis of the details provided by China about the lake, both India and China undertook stability analysis, which indicated that the lake was stable at present.

The latest data provided by China reveals the maximum water spread area of the lake is 210 hectares, with the height of the landslide dam on the right bank being 75 mts and on the left bank being 50 mts.The length of the blockade along the river is 280 mts, the width being 116 mts and the top width measures 48 mts.

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HP seeks Central help for share in power projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
To get its due share from three power projects of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) in Himachal Pradesh, the state government has requested the Central Government to intervene.

This was stated by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, who was in the city today to preside over a function of the The Tribune Employees HP Helpline Cultural and Welfare Society.

He has also urged the Punjab Government to cooperate in this matter so that the state gets its allocated share from these three projects.

He said the three power projects of the BBMB in Himachal included the Beas Satluj Link Project (BSLP), the Pong Dam and the Bhakra Dam. ďAs per the reorganisation of states in 1966, Himachal is to get 7.19 per cent share of the total power production in each of these three projects, but this has not happened till date,Ē he said.

He said the state was getting 2.5 per cent power from the Bhakra project, 15 MW from the Bhakra-Satluj Link Project (BSLP) and nothing from the Pong Dam, even as 35,000 families were uprooted in the state for the construction of these projects. The matter was subjudice in the Supreme Court, he added.

On being asked about the 7.19 per cent land share of Himachal in Chandigarh, he said, ďI consider Chandigarh to be a part of Himachal Pradesh, but raking up the issue would only lead to a controversy. Instead of focussing on this, we will seek the appointment of administrative officers from the Himachal cadre in Chandigarh as was the case with Punjab and Haryana and the same was being discussed.Ē

Clarifying on the controversy that has arisen out on the Sports Bill recently introduced in the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, he said the same had not been brought forth to target any particular person, but to streamline the functioning of various sports organisations.

He said the case pertaining to massive appointments of chief parliamentary and parliamentary secretaries in the state had not been filed by the BJP in the HP High Court, but by the former Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal at his own level.

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Disease surveillance project launched
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 24
The Rs 9.32 crore Central Government-aided Integrated Disease Surveillance Project launched recently with World Bank assistance will go a long way in timely detection of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the hill-state.

Himachal Pradesh is the first state in North India to implement the project. The project, will not only enhance the capacity to detect early warning signals of impending outbreak of such diseases, but also help put in place an effective system to tackle the problem.

It would generate essential data to monitor various diseases, and help in prudent allocation of resources. The project would enable the government to keep a vigil on epidemic-prone diseases and provide information about trends on non-communicable diseases.

The main objective of the project would be to establish a decentralised system of surveillance for communicable diseases so that timely and effective public health measures are initiated in response to health challenges at the state and national level.

It will also improve the efficiency of existing surveillance activities of disease control programmes and facilitate sharing of relevant information with the health administration, the community and other stakeholders for timely detection of diseases.

The specific objective is to establish a system for data collection, reporting, analysis and feedback using the information technology. It will also improve laboratory support for disease surveillance and develop human resources for disease surveillance action.

The project activities include upgradation of laboratories like renovation and furnishing of labs, and supply of lab equipment and software for surveillance.

Diseases or conditions covered under the project are malaria, cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, measles, polio, the plague, encephalitis, distress hemorrhagic fevers and other undiagnosed conditions.

The function of the district surveillance unit (DSU) would be collection and analysis of data received from all reporting units and transmitting the same to the state surveillance unit which will send it to the central surveillance unit.

In addition, it would constitute rapid response teams and depute them wherever needed for monitoring project activities. The teams will coordinate with public health laboratories, medical colleges, NGOs and the private sector and send regular feedback to the reporting units on data analysis.

Rapid urbanisation industrialisation, developmental activities, ecological changes as well as travel have increased the risk of transmission of diseases.

Similarly, changes in life style are accompanied by increased risk of certain non-communicable diseases. On the other hand, inadequate drinking water facilities and poor sanitary conditions pose a risk in communicable diseases.

Information technology will be used on a large scale by providing servers and computers to all districts for connectivity and developing user-friendly software that can trigger a situation where the outbreak can be forecast.

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Rs 10 crore project for rehabilitation of fishermen
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 24
The Himachal Government has submitted a Rs 10-crore project for the economic rehabilitation of fishermen.

This was stated by Mr Ram Lal Thakur, Forest Minister, while presiding over the prize distribution function of angling competition jointly organised by the Fisheries and Tourism Departments at Bhakra today.

He said the government had received Rs 3 crore which would be distributed among eligible fishermen under the rehabilitation project.

He said that the Pong reservoir was being developed from tourism point of view and acitivties like angling and water sports were being encouraged.

Mr Thakur said that work on a motorable road and 45 ghats on the banks of Gobind Sagar would be started with the assistance of the BBMB. Tourism activities would get a big boost with the completion of the Babkhal bridge, he added.

Mr B.D. Sharma, Director Fisheries, briefed about the various activities of the department.

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Irregularities in road construction
Our Correspondent

Solan, April 24
Serious irregularities have been found in the construction of the Kumarhatti-Sultanpur-Ooachghat road in an inquiry conducted by the Public Works Department. The inquiry was initiated after Mr K.D. Sultanpuri, Chairman, 20-point programme, had pointed out that the road had damaged within a short span of its completion.

Information gathered from the PWD office here revealed that the 14.125-km-long road had been completed at Rs 2.93 crore in March, 2003. The road had no drainage and parapets resulting in serious damage after the rains.

The road constructed by the Kasauli division has been found to be of poor quality while the remaining portion constructed by the Solan division was found alright.

Notices have already been issued to the Executive Engineer concerned by the department, said Superintending Engineer D.P. Sharma.

The Engineer-in-Chief, Mr S.S. Kalra, said the report had been sent to the government and further instructions were awaited. The department had, however, initiated patch work on the damaged surface and the works would have to be undertaken to improve the condition of the road.

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Lenka manhandled by irate Cong men
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 24
Mr K.C. Lenka, chairman of the state election authority for the Congress organisational poll, was today manhandled by irate party workers in front of Congress Bhavan here today.

The unsavoury incident took place at the conclusion of a meeting of senior leaders convened by Mr Lenka. While the meeting passed off peacefully, groups of agitated partymen gheraoed Mr Lenka as soon as he came out of the party office.

They raised slogans against him and in the melee, he was roughed up. They wanted Mr Lenka to listen to their point of view. Mr Lenka was heard saying he would not tolerate rowdyism.

An angry Mr Lenka went straight to Peterhof, the state guest house, and left for Delhi in a huff. Attempts by Mr G.S. Bali, Transport Minister, to pacify him went in vain.

The incident occurred in full public view on The Mall, causing much embarrassment to the party. The workers, mostly from the Shimla (Urban) and Mewa constituencies were protesting against the alleged irregularities in the elections.

Mr Lenka had only three days ago warned warring party leaders that none would be allowed to keep the party under his of her thumb. Any mischievous attempt to monopolise the party organisation would be curbed, he had said.

The ongoing organisation poll has created a vertical division in the party.

Mr Lenka had postponed the elections to the District Congress Committee from April 25 to 30 and convened a meeting of senior leaders today to seek their cooperation for carrying out the exercise in an orderly and peaceful manner.

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Strike at Havellís India: GM meets CM
Our Correspondent

Baddi, April 24
Taking a serious view of the three-day long strike at the Havellís India here, the Chief Minister today directed the Principal Secretary to hold talks with the INTUC leaders to end the strike.

The GM of Havellís India Limited, who met the Chief Minister today, said the Chief Minister took a serious view of the strike and assured the management that such unruly behaviour would not be tolerated.

He told Chandigarh Tribune that the situation was going from bad to worse as the agitating workers who had sat on a dharna outside the unit were now intimidating the workers who had not joined them.

He said two workers had been beaten up by the agitating workers and it was further vitiating work atmosphere at the unit.

The matter was already coming up for a conciliatory hearing before the Labour Officer tomorrow.

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Gorkha Rifles celebrates raising day
Our Correspondent

Solan, April 24
The 1 Gorkha Rifles celebrated its 189th raising day at 14 Gorkha Training Centre, Subathu, today. The ceremony started with Col R.S. Jasrotia, officiating commander, paying tributes to the soldiers of the regiment at the war memorial. Raised on April 24, 1815, the 1 Gorkha Rifles completed 189 years today.

A wreath was placed by the Colonel of the regiment at the war memorial as a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives for the country.

The regiment had come into existence following a treaty signed between the British and Gen Amar Singh Thapa, who represented India.

The regiment has participated in World Wars I and II and has to its credit three battle honours.

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Thunderstorm hits HP areas

Shimla, April 24
Thunderstorm followed by rain and snow hit many areas in Himachal Pradesh today.

There were reports of light to moderate rain in the hill areas, while some areas experience hailstorm.

High hills, including the 13050-foot Rohtang Pass received fresh snow. Manali, Kullu and Mandi received showers.

The capital town of Shimla also received showers this afternoon, bringing down the day temperature. ó UNI

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30 huts gutted in fire
Our Correspondent

Una, April 24
As many as 30 huts of migratory labourers were gutted in fire at Lal Singh village near here, today. Almost all the adult members of the families were away for work, while a few children were at home.

Immediately fire engines reached the spot and controlled the fire.

Mr Rajneesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, visited the spot. The Deputy Commissioner said that Rs 500 each was given as immediate relief to the affected families. Ration was also provided to them.

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225 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 24
As many as 225 persons donated blood at a camp organised by the Sant Nirankari Mission here today.

Inaugurating the camp, Mr Harbhajan Singh Bhajji, Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Technical Education), stressed the importance of blood donation in cementing the basic bonds of humanity. Praising the role of Sant Nirankari Mission in the field of social welfare, he said, besides spiritual development, it was deeply involved in the service of mankind through its philanthropic activities.

Mrs Rajwant Kaur, zonal in charge of the mission, said that the mission was purely a spiritual movement, though the mission believed that social welfare and spiritual growth went hand in hand.

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Liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Baddi, April 24
The Barotiwala police today arrested a shopkeeper Rajesh Kumar for illegally selling liquor in his shop. As many as 15 bottles of country-made liquor were recovered from a scooter which he had used to transport liquor. A case under Sections 61/1/14 of the Excise Act had been registered against him.

He hails from Billawalli where he had been selling liquor after purchasing it from the local liquor vends, said police officials.

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