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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

Fraud case: Rs 21 lakh recovered
Mandi, April 28
The Kangra Central Cooperative Bank has recovered Rs 18 lakh from five employees of its Bhuntar branch in the Rs 21 lakh fraud case. The manager of the HP State Cooperative Bank, Nagwani branch, Mr Akash Kapur, who released the payment to the fake beneficiary, was remanded in judicial custody till May 6.

Former CPSs, PSs appear before CEC
Shimla, April 28
The 11 former Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries in the Virbhadra Singh government, whose disqualification had been sought by the BJP, today appeared before the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr B.B. Tandon, at Delhi along with their counsel.

Govt not in favour of ad hoc judges
Shimla, April 28
The Himachal Pradesh Government, which had reservations over the panel recommended for appointment as regular judges, does not see eye to eye with the High Court on the issue of engaging retired judges on ad hoc basis to ease the problem of pending cases.

UPA govt has failed on all fronts: BJP chief
Baijnath, (Palampur) April 28
BJP President Raj Nath Singh has said that the UPA government has failed on all fronts in the past two years. He blamed the government for faulty planning and anti-people policies.

WB project for watershed development
Kullu, April 28
The World Bank had sponsored a Rs 365-crore project for the watershed development in 10 districts of Himachal Pradesh. A team of the World Bank had visited this district to participate in a two-day workshop at Manali that ended yesterday. Mr Ram Lal Thakur, Forest Minister, was the chief guest at the function.





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Dharamsala
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EARLIER STORIES

 

Haphazard construction unchecked
Palampur, April 28
Despite the fact that this district is among the most sensitive earthquake prone areas of the country, haphazard and unplanned construction of houses and other buildings is going on unchecked. In the past five years, Kangra district, particularly Palampur, Baijnath, Kangra, Maclogunj and Dharmsala towns have turned into a concrete jungles.

Telephone cable theft cases on rise
Parwanoo, April 28
An alarming rise in cable theft cases in the area has made the matters worst for the BSNL. A high number of theft cases in region is not only affecting the BSNL services but also depleting its cable stock.

CM attends ‘kirya’ of Brijendra Singh
Chamba, April 28
The Himachal Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today attended the “rasam kirya” ritual and expressed commiseration to the bereaved family members on the death of the scion of Chamba royal family Brijendra Singh. Brijendra Singh, who died on April 16 due to cardiac arrest in New Delhi, was the husband of Mrs Asha Kumari, MLA from Banikhet.

Work to restore highway starts
Chamba, April 28
The work to restore the Chamba-Killar highway, one of the highest highways in the country, has been undertaken on a priority basis, an official spokesperson said here today.

Shifting of hospital delayed by two months
Kangra, April 28
The shifting of the Dr R.P. Government Medical College Hospital, which was scheduled to be shifted to its campus at Tanda by the end of next month, has got delayed by two months for want of clearance by some government departments and for want of getting it furnished and equipped. The college is currently working at Dharamsala

Doctors flay reservation policy
Shimla, April 28
Students of Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) today sent a memorandum to the President of India, condemning the proposed reservation policy.

Rally by medical students
Dharamsala, April 28
Students of the Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, along with the internees, here today held a rally and submitted a memorandum to the district administration against the proposal of the Central Government to increase reservation in different medical colleges for post-graduate courses.

Board refuses to amend affiliation rules
Kangra, April 28
The Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education has ruled out any possibility of making any change in the set affiliation rules for the private schools in the state. However, the board extended the date of submitting the no-objection certificates from the Education Department to these schools from May 10 to May 31.

School board extends deadline for NOCs
Dharamsala, April 28
The HP Board of School Education yesterday extended the last date for seeking no-objection certificate (NOC) by private schools in the state from April 30 to May 31.


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Fraud case: Rs 21 lakh recovered
Tribune News Service

Mandi, April 28
The Kangra Central Cooperative Bank (KCCB) has recovered Rs 18 lakh from five employees of its Bhuntar branch in the Rs 21 lakh fraud case. The manager of the HP State Cooperative Bank, Nagwani branch, Mr Akash Kapur, who released the payment to the fake beneficiary, was remanded in judicial custody till May 6.

The Kulu police is investigating another Rs 44.12 lakh fraud case of the KCCB that involves a junior clerk, who is still in police remand.

Talking to The Tribune KCCB’s, Managing Director, Mr Subhash Kalsotra, who inspected the Bhuntar branch of the bank yesterday said, the entire staff of the bank from the peon to the branch manager was found committing irregularities to the tune of Rs 21 lakh. “We have recovered Rs 18 lakh so far and efforts to recover the rest of the amount are on”, he said.

Mr Kalsotra said the zonal manger of KCCB would hold a departmental inquiry into the case and submit the report within a couple of weeks. “The bank employees, if found guilty, would be charge-sheeted and penal action under the rules would be taken against them”, he claimed.

Meanwhile, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kulu, yesterday sent Mr Kapur to judicial remand till May 6. Mr Ravi Kant is in police custody as his bail was rejected by the CJM.

The KCCB clarified that the police had seized some documents from the bank in another fraud case amounting to Rs 32.2 lakh. “They have to ascertain the exact amount involved in all the cases”, the bank official added.

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Former CPSs, PSs appear before CEC
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 28
The 11 former Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPSs) and Parliamentary Secretaries (PSs) in the Virbhadra Singh government, whose disqualification had been sought by the BJP, today appeared before the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr B.B. Tandon, at Delhi along with their counsel.

Mr Tandon, while keeping the judgment reserved, has given one week’s time to the Congress legislators to file their arguments or any other document supporting their case. The two other members of the commission, Mr Gopalaswamy and Mr Naveen Chawla, were also present during the hearing.

Barring the MLA from Hamirpur, Mrs Anita Verma, all the other 11 legislators were present. They were Mr Harbhajan Singh Bhajji, Mr Harshwardhan Singh, Mr Tek Chand Dogra, Mr Thakur Singh Bharmouri, Mr Lajja Ram, Mr Mukesh Agnihotri, Dr Prem, Mr Sudhir Sharma, Mr Jagat Singh Negi, Mr Surinder Kaku and Mr Raghubir Singh.

The Chief Whip of the BJP, Mr Ravinder Ravi, had sought the disqualification of these MLAs from the Assembly for holding offices of profit while they were CPSs and PSs through a petition filed before the Governor, Mr V.S. Kokje. The Governor after seeking the reply of the 12 legislators had forwarded them to the CEC who will take the final decision in the matter.

Appearing on behalf of the BJP, Mr Satpal Jain said the High Court had already termed the appointment of the CPSs and the PSs illegal, following which they had resigned from the posts. He further said that while holding these posts the 12 MLAs had accepted salary and enjoyed other perks from the government exchequer.

Appearing on behalf of the Congress legislators, Mr Rajeev Atmaram said the matter was sub-judice as the state government had filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the decision of the High Court. He said the final decision in the matter was still awaited.

He contended that the office of the CPS and the PS was covered under 3(d) of the HP Legislative Assembly Member (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1971, and, therefore, the holder of such office was protected by the statutory provisions. He further pleaded that the posts of CPS and PS did not fall in the category of ministers.

After today’s hearing it is being expected that the final judgment in the case would be given by the Election Commission within a month’s time. The decision of the Election Commission could have far-reaching effects in the entire country as many other states like Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan have CPSs and PSs.

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Govt not in favour of ad hoc judges
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 28
The Himachal Pradesh Government, which had reservations over the panel recommended for appointment as regular judges, does not see eye to eye with the High Court on the issue of engaging retired judges on ad hoc basis to ease the problem of pending cases.

According to sources the High Court had recently recommended the names of two retired judges for appointment as ad hoc judges for clearing the pending cases. One of the judges had retired from the state High Court last year and the other was reportedly from Chandigarh. However, the proposal has not found favour with the government, which considers it too early to go for ad hoc judges without first filling up the vacancies.

The total strength of judges in the High Court is nine but at present as many as six posts are vacant. The government’s view is that the vacant posts should be filled up first so that a correct assessment of pending cases could be made. In case, there was pendency even after filling all vacancies then the option of appointing ad hoc judges could be considered.

Meanwhile, the state High Court Bar Association has also opposed the move to appoint ad hoc judges and passed a resolution to this effect.

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UPA govt has failed on all fronts: BJP chief
Tribune Reporters

Baijnath, (Palampur) April 28
BJP President Raj Nath Singh has said that the UPA government has failed on all fronts in the past two years. He blamed the government for faulty planning and anti-people policies.

Addressing a gathering here this afternoon as part of his ongoing “Bharat Suraksha Yatra”, Mr Singh said because of faulty economic policies of the government the prices of essential commodities had gone up making things difficult for the common man. The BJP supremo claimed that when the NDA was in power the prices of all essential commodities remained under control. Constant efforts were made to provide food grains at cheaper rates though PDS system.

Mr Singh said deteriorating law and order situation in the country had become a matter of serious concern. The situation in metropolitan cities was quite alarming where crime was on the rise.

Mr Singh said the recent securities scam unearthed by the SEBI was a slur on the face of the government which had cheated lakhs of shareholders.

Mr Shanta Kumar and Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, both former Chief Ministers, also addressed the gathering and criticised the state government for its “failure” to safeguard the interests of the people. Both leaders said corruption was rampant in the state.

Mandi: Meanwhile, addressing a public meeting here, the BJP chief continued attack on the Congress-led UPA government and said India should scrap the nuclear agreement signed with the USA. He said the BJP objected to USA’s diktat on the nuclear sovereignty of India as it would compromise on national security and lower its prestige.

Mr Singh, who also paid homage to Kargil martyrs at Seri Manch here, made populist promise that if the BJP came to power in the state it would fill 40,000 posts lying vacant in the state.

He charged the government was dividing the country on the basis religion by providing reservation to Muslims in Andhra Pradesh. “The BJP supports reservation on the basis of economic backwardness for all communities, but not on religion”, he added.

Mr Shanta Kumar, Mr P.K. Dhumal and Mr Suresh Chandel, state BJP chief, also spoke on the occasion.

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WB project for watershed development
Our Correspondent

Kullu, April 28
The World Bank had sponsored a Rs 365-crore project for the watershed development in 10 districts of Himachal Pradesh. A team of the World Bank had visited this district to participate in a two-day workshop at Manali that ended yesterday. Mr Ram Lal Thakur, Forest Minister, was the chief guest at the function.

Mr Thakur said the project was started to conserve the natural resources and generate self-employment among the rural population. He said the project was started in 598 Panchayats of the 42 Development Blocks in 10 districts.

He said the Himachal Pradesh Government had signed an MoU vide which Rs 270 crore had been sanctioned. Amounts of Rs 67.50 crore and Rs 27.50 crore had been earmarked for the government and the beneficiary villages, respectively.

Earlier Dr Deniel Sellen, team manager, Dr T.C. Jain, consultant, Mr Samik Sunder Dass, Mr Ashok Thakur and Mr Mam Chand from the bank visited the District Watershed Development Project at Nathan and interacted with the local community. The team had appreciated the active participation of the villagers.

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Haphazard construction unchecked
Our Correspondent

Palampur, April 28
Despite the fact that this district is among the most sensitive earthquake prone areas of the country, haphazard and unplanned construction of houses and other buildings is going on unchecked. In the past five years, Kangra district, particularly Palampur, Baijnath, Kangra, Maclogunj and Dharmsala towns have turned into a concrete jungles.

After the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, the government of Himachal Pradesh took various measures to regulate construction activities in this region and also brought all important towns of Kangra district within the purview of Town and Country Planning Act to regulate construction activities. But it is surprising that a number of buildings, including residential houses, hotels and multi storeyed complexes in the district have come up without the approval of the town and country planning authorities.

It seems that there is no one to check such illegal construction which is an open invitation to a major disaster. Not only private parties but semi-government and government agencies have also not followed the norms laid down for construction.

A number of buildings constructed by municipal councils and Public Works Department and other government agencies in the district openly flout the norms laid down by the Town and Country Planning Department.

The entire Dhauladhar ranges in Himachal Pradesh fall in zone five. Experts of the Seismology Department of Roorkee University have recommended earthquake proof construction for this region. But neither the town and country planning authorities nor the state government have followed these recommendations. Most of the maps approved by the Town and Country Planning Department particularly for Palampur, Kangra and Dharmsala towns violate the norms.

Towers constructed by cellular telephone companies on roofs of buildings in various parts of the district are examples of violation of norms fixed by the Town and Country Planning Department. No action has been initiated against these companies.

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Telephone cable theft cases on rise
Our Correspondent

Parwanoo, April 28
An alarming rise in cable theft cases in the area has made the matters worst for the BSNL. A high number of theft cases in region is not only affecting the BSNL services but also depleting its cable stock.

Out of 15 telecom subdivisions under Solan division over half of dozen telecom subdivisions are facing hardship because of theft cases. Fed up with the problem the BSNL field officers blame the police failure to check the menace.

The problem is more severe in remote areas. The high rise in theft cases has virtually crippled the services of BSNL in certain areas causing a major commercial setback to department.

The 14 subscribers at Nabhon village under Pratha panchayat in Dharampur block have failed to avail the phone services after cable to this village was stolen around three weeks back. For want of adequate infrastructure the BSNL had to route its cable through trees. This made it easier for thieves.

A large number of migrant labourers in area were main reason behind problem. However, BSNL officers did not rule out possibility of involvement of locals also.

Earlier the thefts were restricted to remote areas. However, now cases were also being reported from residential areas.

The cable could not be laid underground in rural areas due to cost factor. In scattered hamlets the BSNL had to use aerial route to install cable.

The police has failed to check the thefts. However, police officials put the blame on BSNL for not installing the cable properly. Many times BSNL was asked to put up joint nakas to nab the culprits but of no avail, claimed police officials. Without the help of BSNL it was impossible to check the thefts in remote area, they maintained. The lack of staff was another reason for police to intensify the patrolling in affected area, said police officials.

Interestingly four theft cases were reported from one place just half a km from Dharampur police station.

Mr Tejinder Kumar, General Manager, Solan could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.

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CM attends ‘kirya’ of Brijendra Singh
Our Correspondent

Chamba, April 28
The Himachal Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today attended the “rasam kirya” ritual and expressed commiseration to the bereaved family members on the death of the scion of Chamba royal family Brijendra Singh. Brijendra Singh, who died on April 16 due to cardiac arrest in New Delhi, was the husband of Mrs Asha Kumari, MLA from Banikhet.

The Chief Minister arrived here for a few hours and after a brief stay with the bereaved family, he left for Shimla. He was accompanied by Mrs Vidya Stokes, Power Minister, Mr Sat Mahajan, Rural Development Minister, Mr Dharam Pal, Deputy Speaker, Mr Kewal Singh Pathania, president, National Students Union of India, and other dignitaries. Besides the members of the royal family of Chhattisgarh, Mr A.S. Deo and others also attended the “kirya” ceremony. 

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Work to restore highway starts
Our Correspondent

Chamba, April 28
The work to restore the Chamba-Killar highway, one of the highest highways in the country, has been undertaken on a priority basis, an official spokesperson said here today.

The highway was blocked due to heavy snowfall during the winter. Efforts were on to resume vehicular traffic on the highway as early as possible, the spokesperson said.

The 180-km highway is a shortcut between the tribal Pangi valley and the rest of Chamba district via Saach Pass at an altitude of 4800 m. The Saach is one of the few high-altitude passes in Himachal Pradesh, which links the valley having a population of 17,591.

The highway is the shortest route not only to the Pangwalas (residents of Pangi) but also to tourists and trekkers. Earlier, people of the valley had to take a route of about 700 km via Pathankot, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Manali, Rohtang Pass, Keylong and Udaipur in Himachal Pradesh or via Batot and Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir to reah Killar.

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Shifting of hospital delayed by two months
Our Correspondent

Kangra, April 28
The shifting of the Dr R.P. Government Medical College Hospital, which was scheduled to be shifted to its campus at Tanda by the end of next month, has got delayed by two months for want of clearance by some government departments and for want of getting it furnished and equipped. The college is currently working at Dharamsala

Ms M. Suda Devi, SDM, Kangra, who chaired the meeting in the medical college today, said in view of the delay in the supply of the basic furniture and other equipment supposed to be supplied by the HSCC had resulted in the delay of the shifting of the hospital to Tanda by two months. Ms Suda Devi said: “We can’t complete the work within the deadline of May 30 so it was decided to delay the shifting of the hospital by two months.”

Dr N.K. Kaushak, Principal of the medical college, told The Tribune that the HSCC, the construction agency, was yet to hand over the possession of the hospital building to the college management for want of the clearance certificates.

Dr Kaushak said it was decided to expedite the process so that the hospital was shifted by the new deadline of July 31.

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Doctors flay reservation policy
Tribune Reporters

Shimla, April 28
Students of Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) today sent a memorandum to the President of India, condemning the proposed reservation policy.

A total of 300 out of 325 students in the college, while condemning the proposed move of the government, said admission to a professional college should be strictly on merit, and caste or community should not be a consideration.

Seeking the intervention of the President on the issue, they said reservation on the basis of caste or community would only result in producing incompetent professionals.

Meanwhile, the Resident Doctors Association of the IGMC also strongly condemned the proposal of the Centre to increase the quota for OBCs. The president of the association, Dr Rajesh Sood, said it was high time that reservation should be done away with.

“We are not opposed to giving financial help and other facilities to the SC, ST and OBC students, but giving them reservation forever is wrong,” he said.

Condemning the manhandling of doctors and medical students in Delhi, the Association said that the benefit of reservation is getting confined to only a few influential families. They appealed to other social organizations to oppose any move by the centre to enhance reservation for the OBC’s.

KANGRA: The Himachal Pradesh Other backward Classes (OBC) Youth organisation on Friday denounced the agitation of the medical students and the Resident doctors of different medical colleges and hospitals of Delhi against the proposal of the Human Resource development Ministry to provide reservation to OBC students in professional colleges.

Mr Ram Lal Choudary, former president of organisation, in a statement here said that a resolution in support of the proposal was passed in the meeting of the OBC youths and a copy was faxed to Mr Arjun Singh, Human Resource Development Minister. Mr Choudary said that doctors agitation in Delhi was unjustified and devoid of reason.

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Rally by medical students
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, April 28
Students of the Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, along with the internees, here today held a rally and submitted a memorandum to the district administration against the proposal of the Central Government to increase reservation in different medical colleges for post-graduate courses.

The students began a token strike yesterday, which would continue till May 11. If by then the proposal is not withdrawn, the medical students threatened to go on an indefinite strike.

Abhishek Thakur, president of the Students’ Central Association, said students of other medical colleges had expressed solidarity with their strike.

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Board refuses to amend affiliation rules
Our Correspondent

Kangra, April 28
The Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education has ruled out any possibility of making any change in the set affiliation rules for the private schools in the state. However, the board extended the date of submitting the no-objection certificates from the Education Department to these schools from May 10 to May 31.

Disclosing this here today, the board chairman, Mr B.R. Rahi, told The Tribune that this was conveyed to the representatives of the management’s and the principals of the private schools who held a meeting with him in the board office yesterday.

Mr Rahi said it was made clear to the school representatives that the board had framed 35 rules of affiliation with student interest and for imparting quality education. He said: “The education board can not compromise on any of these conditions.”

He said the board had, however, given these schools relaxation in submitting their NOCs by May 31 instead of May 10. He said the documents for the affiliation should reach the board office without late fee by April 30 and with a late fee of Rs 100 by May 10. He said the affiliation of those schools would be rejected which failed to submit their NOCs by May 30.

He said the school representatives stressed for reconsideration of the certain condition, which the board denied. He said the education board had made it clear to them that there should be same school timings and vacation schedule as was in the government schools and the payments to the staff and for other transactions should be made through cheques and the commercialisation of the private schools should be stopped.

Mr Rahi, however, told them that the private schools working for the quality education and for the student interests would be encouraged.

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School board extends deadline for NOCs
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, April 28
The HP Board of School Education yesterday extended the last date for seeking no-objection certificate (NOC) by private schools in the state from April 30 to May 31.

The decision was taken after a meeting of representatives of managing committees of private schools with the board Chairman, Mr B.R. Rahi.

Mr Rahi told The Tribune that even though the deadline for NOCs had been postponed, the other 34 conditions fixed by the board for seeking affiliation would have to be met by April 30.

In case the private schools did not comply with the conditions by due dates, they would not be granted affiliation, said Rahi.

The board had sent instructions to private schools, saying that the affiliation rules and regulations had been amended and it had been made compulsory for all schools, whether applying for new affiliation or its renewal, to obtain a no-objection certificate from the education department.

The managing committees of private schools argued that the deadline for seeking NOC was too short and hardly 5 per cent of the private schools had got the NOC.

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