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Colourful functions mark R-Day
Shimla, January 27
Republic Day was celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour throughout the State yesterday. Colourful functions were held at the state, district, sub-divisional and tehsil levels on the occasion. Mr V.S.Kokje, Governor, unfurled the national flag at the historic Ridge where the state-level function was organised.

Virbhadra stresses on external funding
Shimla, January 27
Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh today emphasised the need for exploring the possibility of getting maximum external funds and sponsored schemes keeping in view the fiscal stress being faced by the state.

BJP-backed candidates win Nagar Panchayat elections
Nurpur, January 27
The BJP-supported candidates won election to the posts of president and vice-president of Dehra Nagar Panchayat in the native Assembly segment of the PCC chief, Ms Vipolve Thakur, on Wednesday.

Attack on journalist, revenue officer decried
Shimla, January 27
The Press Club of Shimla demanded an inquiry into the incident in which Mr Rattan Chauhan, a journalist, and a revenue officer were attacked at Rohru on January 24. The club office-bearers condemned the attack and urged the government to take action against the culprits.


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Colourful functions mark R-Day
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 27
Republic Day was celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour throughout the State yesterday. Colourful functions were held at the state, district, sub-divisional and tehsil levels on the occasion.

Mr V.S.Kokje, Governor, unfurled the national flag at the historic Ridge where the state-level function was organised. Addressing the gathering he spoke at length about the achievement made by the state on the development front. Himachal Pradesh had emerged as a model state for hill development and had done exceptionally well in the education, health and social sectors.

Paying tributes to the war heroes, martyrs and other who made sacrifices for the cause of the nation, he called upon the people to do their bit for maintaining the unity and integrity of the country. Earlier, the Governor took the salute at an impressive march-past by the contingents of the police, ITBP, Home Guards, Army regiments, NCC and ex-servicemen. Mr Sandeep Dhawal, Deputy Superintendent of Police, commanded the parade.

Tableaux exhibiting achievements of various departments and public sector undertakings were the main attractions of the programme. A colourful cultural programme was also presented on the occasion.

Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, Mrs Pratibha Singh, M.P., Mr Dharam Pal Thakur, Deputy Speaker, Mr Harbhahjan Singh Bhajji, Mr Kuldeep Singh Pathania and Mr Raghubir Singh, all MLAs, Mr Sohan Lal, Mayor of the local Municipal Committee, Mr Ajit Narain, Director General of Police, freedom fighters, and senior military and civil officers were among those present.

Mr G.R. Musafir, Speaker, presided over the district-level function at Solan. Speaking on the occasion he said the country opted for parliamentary democracy which enabled it take rapid strides on the road to development.

Solan district is emerging as the hub of industries in north India and after receiving the new industrial packages. Over 453 new industries had been set up over the past three years with a total investment of Rs 5339 crore and potential to provide employment to over 11,000 persons.

Presiding over the district-level function at Bilaspur, Mrs Vidya Stokes, power minister, said Rs 135 crore was being spent under the accelerated power development programme in the state during current financial year out of which of Rs 16 crore would be spent in Bilaspur district. She said the local Luhnu ground would be developed as a sports centre with facilities to hold international tournaments.

She further said that Rs 3.32 crore would be spent under the rural sanitation programme in the district to construct 50,000 toilets.

The Irrigation and Public Health Minister, Thakur Kaul Singh, while presiding over the district level function at Dharamsala said that the Congress government had created history by holding the winter session of the state legislative Assembly, here. It reflected the government’s concern for the development of lower hill areas of the state.

He said the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, dedicated projects of more than Rs 24 crore and laid foundation stones of projects worth Rs 800 lakh during the first phase of the winter sojourn in lower hills. He said that PWD was spending about Rs 36,97 crore on construction of roads and 24 new bridges to connect 83 villages.

He said sewerage schemes for Dharamshala and Jwalamukhi were in the final stage of completion and the work on schemes for Kangra and Nagrota Bagwan were under in progress.

Earlier, he visited War Memorial at Dharamshala and paid tributes to those martyrs, who laid their lives in the wars. and operation after Independence. He also honoured traffic constable, Yashpal for meritorious services.

Speaking at a function at Nahan Mr Sat Mahajan, Revenue Minister, said Himachal Pradesh had emerged as a premier state in the country in social service sector and it was spending 48 per cent of the total plan outlay. He said the subsidy on house construction to the houseless persons had been enhanced from Rs 10,000 to Rs 22,000 and for repair to Rs 10,000. He said Rs 25.92 lakh was being spent under the slum improvement scheme in Sirmour and Rs 11 crore under the Scheduled Caste Special Component Scheme.

Mr Rangila Ram Rao, Excise and Taxation Minister, unfurled the national flag at Kulu. He said the government was determined to ensure speedy development of the backward and far-flung areas. He said the government had initiated many poverty alleviation schemes and programmes for uplift of the weaker sections.

Presiding over the function at Hamirpur, Mr Ram Lal Thakur, Forest Minister, said the state had made spectacular progress in various spheres of development. He said all the census villages had already been electrified and the focus was on improving the health services .All the villages would connected by roads in phased manner.

At Chamba Mr Raj Krishan Gaur, Agricultural Minister, unfurled the national flag and took the salute. He said the government had enhanced the pension of freedom fighters and their widows from Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 per month. To sort out the problems of pensioners, the government had also constituted a joint consultative committee. He further said that emphasis was being laid on expansion of technical education and the government had decided to open an industrial training institute in each assembly constituency to encourage self-employment amongst educated youth.

Presiding over the district-level function at Mandi, Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Industries Minister, said about 1,000 weavers would be covered under the Mahatma Gandhi Weaver Scheme during the current financial year in the district. He said Rs 80,000 would be given in case of death of the weaver and Rs. 50,000 on disability due to any accident under the scheme.

He said investment of Rs 17,500 crore had been attracted by the state which would help create employment avenues for 2.25 lakh persons.

He honoured Mr Virender Modgi, a student of Central School, for outstanding performance in badminton at the national-level and Mr Naresh Kumar for best performance in football.

At Una Mr G.S. Bali, Transport Minister, while presiding over the function said that the percapita income increased to Rs 24,903 which was more than the national per capita income. He said the government had sanctioned special economic zones for Una and Kangra districts under which all basic facilities would be provided to the investors and investment of Rs 5047 crore would be made.

He said that it had also been decided to set up an international airport in Una district in the private sector along with an Express Highway to connect Una and Dharamsala.

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Virbhadra stresses on external funding
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 27
Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh today emphasised the need for exploring the possibility of getting maximum external funds and sponsored schemes keeping in view the fiscal stress being faced by the state.

During his inaugural address on the first day of discussion with MLAs to discuss priorities for next years annual plan, he said the priorities of the MLA’s in development works would be fulfilled by seeking funds from external agencies. The priorities for districts of Shimla, Solan, Sirmour, Mandi, Chamba and Bilaspur were held here today.

“The fiscal stress being faced by the state was a matter of great concern and needed to be viewed seriously so that remedial steps can be taken to challenge this problem,” he said, adding that one of the solution to the fiscal stress was through well-informed expenditure compression measures.

He also announced to include three schemes each in roads, bridges and minor irrigation and water supply schemes prioritised by the MLA’s in the annual plan for the year 2006-07. “Funds were being sought for such priorities under various Central schemes like Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Yojna and others.

He said various departments must submit their detailed project report (DPR) for external funding to the concerned agencies, so that the matter can be expedited and funds sought in the minimum possible time.

He said a total of 551 projects and schemes worth Rs 406 crore had been sanctioned by NABARD upto December 31, 2005. “Out of the total of 955 DPRs submitted by the state government to NABARD, 60 per cent of the proposals valued at Rs 604 crore had already been sanctioned.

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BJP-backed candidates win Nagar Panchayat elections
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, January 27
The BJP-supported candidates won election to the posts of president and vice-president of Dehra Nagar Panchayat in the native Assembly segment of the PCC chief, Ms Vipolve Thakur, on Wednesday.

The election to these posts was deferred on Monday due to lack of quorum and was re-scheduled on January 25. Neelam Chauhan and Reena Devi of the BJP filed their nomination papers for the posts of president and vice-president, respectively, before the SDM-cum-Returning Officer, Mr M.L. Sharma. Whereas, Kiran Devi and Babu Roshan Lal of the Congress filed their nominations for the posts of president and vice-president. Neelam Chauhan and Reena Devi, BJP-supported candidates, were elected president and vice-president, respectively.

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Attack on journalist, revenue officer decried
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 27
The Press Club of Shimla demanded an inquiry into the incident in which Mr Rattan Chauhan, a journalist, and a revenue officer were attacked at Rohru on January 24. The club office-bearers condemned the attack and urged the government to take action against the culprits.

Mr Randhir Sharma, a BJP leader also condemned the incident.

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