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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

Drive against encroachments on
Widening of Pathankot-Mandi national highway
Dharamsala, June 9
For the widening of the Pathankot-Mandi national highway an anti-encroachment drive is on in the Kangra sub-division and illegal structures on both sides of the road are being removed.

Villagers allege Duhangan pollution, forest law violation
Jagatsukh (Kulu), June 9
The Bhilwara group, which is executing the 192 mw Alian-Duhangan project in the district, is not only dumping muck and debris at the non-designated sites, causing pollution of the Duhangan river, but the company has also erected labour tents and other godowns on forest land not approved by the Forest Department.

Land owners will have to furnish original revenue papers
Shimla, June 9
Land owners will have to furnish original revenue documents for seeking various permissions and approvals from the Town and Country Planning Department pertaining to building plans, subdivision of land and change of land use.

Mass death of fish; poisoning suspected
Mandi, June 9
Over 1200 fish have died, while others were dying under the nose of the Fisheries Department in what locally is worshipped as the pilgrim centre of Chhoti Machial on the Sukud khad in Jogindernagar subdivision. Villagers and senior citizens have demanded a probe into the death of fish.

Minor raped on way to school
Kangra, June 9
A 12-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a youth at Maangarh in Dehra subdivision yesterday when she was on her way to the school, the police said here today.






YOUR TOWN
Baddi
Dharamsala
Kangra
Kulu
Mandi
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES



Minorities demand ‘quota within quota’
Shimla, June 9
Even as the controversy over the increase in reservation for OBCs remains unsettled, a demand for “reservation within reservation” has come up from the five religious and linguistic minorities in the state, who already fall under the category of OBCs.

Industrial units accused of flouting ESIC, EPF norms
Baddi, June 9
Thirty local industrial units here have been accused of violating the ESIC and EPF Acts with 3,000 workers employed in these units being deprived of the benefits of the ESIC and the EPF.

VC denies bungling in pre-medical test
Shimla, June 9
The Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University, Dr L.R. Verma, today denied that there had been any bungling in the pre-medical test (PMT) as the entire record had been examined in view of the allegations of irregularities by some parents.

Apricot prices shoot up
Parwanoo, June 9
Finally, fruit growers in region have something to cheer about. Apricot prices have skyrocketed giving growers some sort of relief. The low production has led to steep hike in apricot prices. Unfriendly conditions have wreaked havoc on stone production crops this year.

Shreya Ghosal to perform in Shoolini fair
Parwanoo, June 9
The ‘Devdas’ fame playback singer, Shreya Ghosal, will perform at the state level Shoolini fair at Solan. The fail will be organised from June 23 to June 25.


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Drive against encroachments on
Widening of Pathankot-Mandi national highway
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, June 9
For the widening of the Pathankot-Mandi national highway an anti-encroachment drive is on in the Kangra sub-division and illegal structures on both sides of the road are being removed.

An official of the National Highways Authority of India said nearly 650 notices had been served on encroachers on the stretch from Kotla to Mataur, which is part of the NH-20, and these illegal structures were now being brought down.

After the anti-encroachment drive in Kangra sub-division is over, illegal structures on the stretch from Gaggal to Draman in Dharamsala and Kotla area in Jwali and later Nurpur sub-division would also be razed.

So far, nearly 20 illegal structures, including shops and kiosks, have been demolished in the Kangra sub-division.

Ms M. Sudha Devi, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Kangra said most of the people had been removing illegal structures on their own.

As part of the drive, by the PWD and local administration, five shops were razed and illegal portions of nearly 20 shops brought down in the Mataur Chowk.

The removal of encroachments along the Gaggal Chowk and Mataur Chowk would also make room for the beautification of the key cross-roads in the Dharamsala tourism circuit.

Encroachers were seen removing encroachments to avoid damage to the structures.

The proposal is to two-lane the entire stretch of the Pathankot Mandi highway, which is still single lane at some places due to widespread encroachments.

In and around Dharamsala, notices have been served on 64 encroachers under the Roadside Land Control Act but none of them has come forward with documents to prove legal possession of the land.

Total illegal structures identified by the PWD in the Sidhbari area are 14, 10 each in Shila and Tang areas and six in Fatehpur.

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Villagers allege Duhangan pollution, forest law violation
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Jagatsukh (Kulu), June 9
The Bhilwara group, which is executing the 192 mw Alian-Duhangan project in the district, is not only dumping muck and debris at the non-designated sites, causing pollution of the Duhangan river, but the company has also erected labour tents and other godowns on forest land not approved by the Forest Department.

According to villagers, the company has been dumping the debris at these sites right under the nose of the Forest Department. Moreover, the labourers are defecating in the open, polluting the water supply, villages rued.

The road constructed by the PWD leading to the project site has also damaged the water supply that has dried up the paddy seed farms being raised for cultivation, said Mr Vidya P. Bhardwaj, a resident of Jagatsukh. “We have written to the Deputy Commissioner, Kulu, several times, but proper pipes and pump have not been installed,” he complained.

The Duhangan river is not only a source of water for residents living downstream in Jagatsukh and other villages, but the lifeline for the paddy growing area downstream.

The Divisional Forest Officer, Kulu, Mr Kunal Satyarthi, said the department had issued the notice to the company and damages worth Rs 60 lakh had been slapped on the company for not dumping debris at the approved sites.

Meanwhile, the deputy general manager, Bhilwara group, Mr Shiv Kumar claimed that they were dumping the debris at the approved sites and had erected tents on private land or approved sites. There might be some cases, but the company would take remedial measures, he claimed.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Chamel Singh, said he had issued direction to instal the pump to restore water to the supply line. “We will take action against the company if they were found dumping at the non-approved sites”, he added.

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Land owners will have to furnish original revenue papers
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 9
Land owners will have to furnish original revenue documents for seeking various permissions and approvals from the Town and Country Planning Department pertaining to building plans, subdivision of land and change of land use.

Taking serious note of cheating, forgery and other foul means being used by the land owners, the department has made it mandatory to submit “jamabandi” (record of rights), “tatima” (site map) and “khasra” numbers in original with the application.

The department has issued instructions to the authorities concerned for 22 planning areas, comprising 24 towns and 35 special areas which are covered under the Town and Country Planning Act, not to entertain applications with attested photocopies of documents. Besides land documents, various affidavits to be filed by the land owners will also have to be submitted in original.

Officers of the department point out that the major drawback of photocopies was that red entries in the record, which reflect the provisional status, could not be distinguished as these copies are in black and white.

There had been numerous instances of applicants submitting forged photocopies which did not reflect the true status of the land and site, particularly regarding common paths and dimensions of the plot.

This left scope for the land owners to obtain permission through fraud which in turn led to endless disputes and haphazard construction.

The department has also advised the land owners to take advantage of the land pooling and reconstitution scheme to save wastage of land and carve out plots of proper dimensions. It would not only enable the local authorities to provide various services and civic amenities without hindrance, but also increase the value of the land. 

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Mass death of fish; poisoning suspected
Tribune News Service

Mandi, June 9
Over 1200 fish have died, while others were dying under the nose of the Fisheries Department in what locally is worshipped as the pilgrim centre of Chhoti Machial on the Sukud khad in Jogindernagar subdivision. Villagers and senior citizens have demanded a probe into the death of fish.

Veterinarian Dr Ajay Masand, who reached the spot and did post-mortem examination of some dead fish said today liver and lungs of the fish were damaged, while stomaches were empty. “Over 80 per cent of fish were affected or dead in the fish sanctuary or some of these are still dying”.

Though Fisheries officials are yet to ascertain the cause of mass death, but veterinarians suspect it be a case of poisoning in the Sukud khad.

Expressing concern over mass death of fish in Chhoti Machial, former Vidhan Sabha Speaker and former BJP Jogindernagar MLA Gulab Singh Thakur said the department should probe mass death of fish as Chhoti Machial symbolised religious sentiments of people. “The fish are worshiped here by residents and are symbol of conservation, he added. The experts suspect either the poisoning has taken place upstream of the khad or due to ‘atta’ dropped by the pilgrims that caused overfeeding and lack of oxygen in the reservoir. “Pilgrims gathered at Chhoti Machial for a mela there for the past two days, who might feed the fish due to religious sentiments”.

But Dr Masand disagreed the mass death could be due to overfeeding, stating that the fish upstream the Chhoti Machial reservoir had also died. The atta feeding is banned and reservoir did not carry atta remnants. Moreover, stomach of dead fish examined was empty, he added.

The samples have been sent for medical examination to the laboratory at the Department of Fisheries, Agriculture University, Palampur. The report is awaited Dr Masand said. “We have asked the villagers to shift the surviving to safer reservoir”.

Assistant Director, Fisheries Mahesh Kumar said they had sent staff to the field and they have yet to give the report. The samples have been sent to the Palampur laboratory for examination, he added.

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Minor raped on way to school
Our Correspondent

Kangra, June 9
A 12-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a youth at Maangarh in Dehra subdivision yesterday when she was on her way to the school, the police said here today.

Ms Bindoo Sachdeva, DSP, Dehra, told The Tribune that a Class VII student, resident of Maangarh, was on the way to her school yesterday morning when Babloo (23), a son of Nanak Chand of Thathland, working as a labourer in a welding shop, took her forcibly to an isolated place and allegedly raped her.

The DSP said that as the mother of the victim was a working woman, she was informed about the incident by the girl when she returned home from work. The parents informed the police late in the evening and the girl was sent for a medical examination, which confirmed the rape. The DSP said the police registered a case under Section 376, IPC, and arrested the accused this morning. 

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Minorities demand ‘quota within quota’

Shimla, June 9
Even as the controversy over the increase in reservation for OBCs remains unsettled, a demand for “reservation within reservation” has come up from the five religious and linguistic minorities in the state, who already fall under the category of OBCs.

The demand for a separate quota within the reservation quota was raised by representatives of various communities and NGOs before the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which interacted with senior government functionaries and NGOs here today.

Talking to newspersons, the Chairman of the commission, Justice Ranganath Misra, said the main terms of reference of the commission was to suggest criteria for the identification of socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities.

The commission would also recommend welfare measures in this regard. “Those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and who have converted to Christianity or Islam, raised the issue of continuation of facilities and benefits that they were getting from the government, though they felt there was no justification for caste status,” said Ms Asha Dass, member secretary of the commission. — TNS

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Industrial units accused of flouting ESIC, EPF norms
Our Correspondent

Baddi, June 9
Thirty local industrial units here have been accused of violating the ESIC and EPF Acts with 3,000 workers employed in these units being deprived of the benefits of the ESIC and the EPF.

Levelling these allegations, AITUC state unit president Jagdish Bhardwaj today said most of these units were violating provisions of the ESIC Act, 1948.

Ironically, these units had been set up in the state under a special package that provided benefits to the units.

Mr Bhardwaj said the AITUC had prepared a list of such units. Also, a list of the 3,000 industrial workers was submitted to the Regional Director of the ESIC Regional Office at Parwanoo some time ago but action was still awaited.

Highlighting the plight of workers in state industry, particularly in the Baddi-Barotiwala belt, the AITUC alleged that hiring of “benami” labourers had been going on unabated.

It alleged that law enforcing agencies were hand in glove with managements.

Also, the law of minimum wages was not being followed in industries here, he added.

Regional Director, ESIC, P.K.N. Namboodiri said notices to all violators mentioned in the list had been sent. Around 50 per cent of these had responded, he added.

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VC denies bungling in pre-medical test
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 9
The Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University, Dr L.R. Verma, today denied that there had been any bungling in the pre-medical test (PMT) as the entire record had been examined in view of the allegations of irregularities by some parents.

With allegations of irregularities and “sale of seats” in the HP pre-medical test being made by the parents of some unsuccessful students under the banner of the Action Committee of Aggrieved Students and Parents, the university authorities had got the whole issue examined.

“In case any person has any material to convey, he should come forward and his identity and documents forwarded would be kept secret,” said Dr Verma. He said in case the information provided warranted an inquiry, it would be ordered promptly.

Meanwhile, the Action Committee of Aggrieved Students and Parents today demanded that the government should make public the name of the agency entrusted with the task of holding an inquiry. They took strong exception to the statements of Dr Verma that there was no need for an inquiry.

The president of the committee, Dr Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, said the committee would hold its district-level meeting on June 11 and a state -level meeting on June 13 to decide the future course of action. He made an appeal to various NGOs and other responsible citizens to extend their cooperation on the issue.

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Apricot prices shoot up
Our Correspondent

Parwanoo, June 9
Finally, fruit growers in region have something to cheer about. Apricot prices have skyrocketed giving growers some sort of relief. The low production has led to steep hike in apricot prices. Unfriendly conditions have wreaked havoc on stone production crops this year.

As per estimates over 80 per cent crops were damaged in certain pockets of Solan district. As per inputs from Solan the arrivals of apricot in the mandi were one fourth as compared to the figures last year.

The wholesale price per kg of apricot nowadays is between Rs. 20-25 per kg. The prices are expected to soar further keeping in view the poor arrivals.

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Shreya Ghosal to perform in Shoolini fair
Our Correspondent

Parwanoo, June 9
The ‘Devdas’ fame playback singer, Shreya Ghosal, will perform at the state level Shoolini fair at Solan. The fail will be organised from June 23 to June 25.

Shreya will set the ball rolling on the first night of the fair. On the second night, the Indian Idol fame, Anuj Sharma, will take hold of the stage followed by a performance by famous Punjabi pop singer Mika on the concluding night. Besides, the local artistes and dancers from all over the state will add colour to the cultural activities of the fair.

The fair will start after prayers before the palanquin of Goddess Shoolini, after whom the town has been named. Later a shobha yatra will be organised. During the fair various sports like volleyball, badminton, lawn tennis, baby show, flower show and wrestling will be organised. Reputed wrestlers from north India will participate. 

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