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H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Rain wreaks havoc in Shimla, Sirmaur
Shimla, July 23
A private truck and five “gharats” (watermills) were washed away near Janog in Chopal following a cloudburst as heavy rain affected normal life in parts of Sirmaur and Shimla districts today.

Rainwater damages finished goods
Parwanoo, July 23
Continuous heavy downpour since last night has left a trail of destruction with damaging industrial finished goods, household items and blocking some roads in this industrial township. No loss of life was reported as yet.

State to be made knowledge hub
Shimla, July 23
With a vast network of 16,000 schools, 62 colleges and four universities already in place, the Himachal Government is now focusing on strengthening of the infrastructure. The objective is to make the hill state a knowledge hub of the country.

Minister inaugurates Minjar Fair
Chamba, July 23
The Animal Husbandry and Urban Development Minister, Mr Harsh Mahajan today inaugurated the eight-day-long Minjar Fair of Chamba by hoisting the National Flag in the Chowgan of Chamba.

Industrial plots lying unused since 1976
Parwanoo, July 23
Around 42,453 square metres (56.45 bighas) of prime land comprising four industrial plots at Parwanoo continue to remain unutilised for one reason or another. Little progress has been made to ensure the optimum use of land for industrial purpose.

School board allows girl to change name after sex change
Dharamsala, July 23
The Himachal Pradesh School Education Board has allowed a Chamba-based girl, to change name who recently got her sex changed from PGI, Chandigarh.






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EARLIER STORIES


Three arrested in Dakog killing case
Chamba, July 23
The Himachal Pradesh police has arrested three persons wanted in connection with the Dakog killings in which three CITU leaders were murdered on June 11 at the construction site of the Chamera hydroelectric project, stage-III.

 


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Rain wreaks havoc in Shimla, Sirmaur
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 23
A private truck and five “gharats” (watermills) were washed away near Janog in Chopal following a cloudburst as heavy rain affected normal life in parts of Sirmaur and Shimla districts today.

No loss of life has been reported so far from Janog. However, the gushing water of Sangroti nullah downstream caused some damage to the bridge on the Nerwa road, but it was still open to traffic.

All tributaries of the Yamuna were in spate following heavy rain in the catchment areas. The river was flowing above the danger mark near Paonta. The swirling water of Bata river caused extensive damage to Bata-Panota road, which had to be closed for traffic last night. However, movement of light vehicles was allowed this afternoon.

The Sangrah -Nahan road had been blocked due to landslides.

Vast stretches of fertile land were washed away in the Paonta area and some houses were flooded.

According to the reports, Dharamsala, Palampur, Nagrota Suriyan and Berthin had experienced heavy rain. A delayed report from Rampur said three watermills were washed away in the Pandrah-Beesh area and some houses damaged.

Chandigarh: Moderate rain lashed Himachal Pradesh overnight, bringing a considerable fall in the temperature and triggering fresh landslides in mid hills in the state even as monsoon played truant in the plains of Punjab and Haryana on Sunday.

All rivers, including the Sutlej and the Beas, flowing through the state were in spate.

Naudan in Hamirpur district was the wettest place recording 26 mm rainfall till this morning. Guler recorded 10.5 mm rain, followed by Sundernagar in Mandi district 8.2 mm and Sujanpur Tira in Kangra district 6.7. Other areas, including Nagrota Surian, Kahu, Pandoh and Kasol also had downpour.

Rain also lashed Shimla and tourist places of Wildflower Hall, Kufri, and Narkanda in Shimla district. The capital town received 1.3 mm rainfall till morning.

Except Nangal Dam in Punjab and Ambala in Haryana, which respectively received 29.0 mm and 5.2 mm rain, the twin states went dry without any rain. Hot and humid weather conditions persisted in the plains in these states.

Five villages, which fall in the Chachhrauli area of Yamunanagar district, were inundated following a sudden rise in water level in the Yamuna. However, no loss of life has been reported from anywhere from the affected areas though there has been a loss to property and crops.

Humid weather conditions also prevailed in Chandigarh even though the city had been lashed by intermittent rain since last night. The city recorded 3.2 mm rainfall till this morning.

The Met Office has predicted moderate to rather heavy rain or thundershowers at many places in Himachal Pradesh and few places in Haryana and Punjab during the next 24 hours. — UNI 

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Rainwater damages finished goods
Tribune Reporters

Parwanoo, July 23
Continuous heavy downpour since last night has left a trail of destruction with damaging industrial finished goods, household items and blocking some roads in this industrial township. No loss of life was reported as yet.

The rainwater entered stores, godowns and manufacturing units this submerging finished and raw material causing huge losses to their proprietors.

Ayurvedic drugs and other finished products worth crores of rupees were damaged when rainwater flooded a store and a manufacturing unit of Bekson Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Private Limited this morning.

The unit located in Sector 1 was flooded with almost one-and-a-half feet deep water causing huge damages to the packed drugs.

Similar was the condition of Adhunik Pack, another industrial unit in same locality where the rainwater damaged the good and other belongings. The owners had to press labour and submersible pumps to flush out the rainwater.

Flooding streets and roads also put scores of residents and jhugi dwellers to great hardship by submerging their household goods. Some to the residents staying along a seasonal rivulet had to take shelter at safer places.

Mr Rajiv, manager of Bekson Drugs, said that his labour took at least 3 to 4 hours flush out the rainwater and that too after the rains stopped. “The rain also caused widespread damage to the manufacturing unit housing sophisticated machines”, he claimed.

Vehicular traffic on the Ambota Marg has also been disrupted for long hours because of the land-sliding and uprooting of tree here.

The motorists had to take alternate routs to reach their destination.

The condition of roads was so deplorable that cars and two wheelers were found submerged in the gushing water. 

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State to be made knowledge hub
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 23
With a vast network of 16,000 schools, 62 colleges and four universities already in place, the Himachal Government is now focusing on strengthening of the infrastructure. The objective is to make the hill state a knowledge hub of the country.

The rapid expansion of educational institutions has created problems like paucity of classrooms and teachers. As many as 3,682 primary schools have only two classrooms, while 5,303 middle schools were doing with just three rooms.

The government has decided to construct 10,527 additional rooms.

In all 6,60,960 students — 3,46,208 boys and 3,14,752 girls — were enrolled in primary schools, while 4,10,860 students — 2,16,202 boys and 1,94,698 girls — were enrolled in upper primary schools.

The dropout rate in the primary and upper primary levels was 0.9 per cent and 1.33 per cent but the dropout rate of girls was lower at 0.68 per cent and 0.99 per cent at primary and upper primary levels, respectively.

The teacher-student ratio in primary schools was 1:21, while it was 1:19 in upper primary schools, which was one of the highest in the country. There were 25,346 primary and 18,557 upper primary teachers in government schools, while 1,629 vidya upasaks and 3,410 para primary assistant teachers had been appointed and computer education programme had been introduced in 282 schools.

The government had already passed the Himachal Pradesh private universities (establishment and regulation) Act, 2006, to pave the way for setting up universities in the private sector.

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Minister inaugurates Minjar Fair
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 23
The Animal Husbandry and Urban Development Minister, Mr Harsh Mahajan today inaugurated the eight-day-long Minjar Fair of Chamba by hoisting the National Flag in the Chowgan of Chamba.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mahajan said the fairs and festivals of Himachal Pradesh were an inseparable part of its varied cultural heritage. Chamba, being the oldest hill town, is known for its distinct culture all over India and abroad.

Mr Mahajan said the Minjar Fair was still maintaining the prominence of unique and age-old traditions of the fairs and festivals of the hill state. He said Himachal Pradesh was rated as a “model state”.

He announced that 52 bighas of land had been acquired at Bhanauta for setting up a government millennium polytechnic institute from the next session.

Mr Mahajan declared Minjar sports tournaments open amidst singing of “Kunjari Malhaar” (seasonal folk songs of this alpine region). Later, Mr Mahajan inaugurated an exhibition on development activities.

Earlier, Mr Puspendra Rajput, Deputy Commissioner, who is the chairman of the International Minjar Fair celebration committee, offered minjars at the Lakshmi Narayan and Raghuvira temples.

The Minjar Fair is held in the month of Sawan, which herald the beginning of “Kunjadi Malhaar” folk songs, praying to the rain god Varuna for heavy rains for a good harvest of their khariff crops. The fair would conclude on July 30 with the immersion of minjars in the Ravi. The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, is expected to preside over the concluding ceremony.

More than one lakh visitors, including tourists from home and aboard, are expected to participate in the eight-day-long fair.

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Industrial plots lying unused since 1976
Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

Parwanoo, July 23
Around 42,453 square metres (56.45 bighas) of prime land comprising four industrial plots at Parwanoo continue to remain unutilised for one reason or another. Little progress has been made to ensure the optimum use of land for industrial purpose.

A plot spread over 16,500 square metres (21.94 bighas) allotted to Him Process, a public sector undertaking, had been lying unutilised since 1976, the year when the plot was leased out to it for Rs 20 square per square metre. It may be mentioned here the current rate is Rs 3,000 per square metre. Him Process had constructed eight sheds covering less than half of the plot area. It rented out these sheds.

Ironically, the remaining portion had gradually developed into a parking place for trucks. As per Him Process, it could not make the optimum use of the plot due to financial crunch. Moreover, HIMUDA, the lessor of the plot, had raised the backlog of Rs 61 lakh towards Him Process against the recovery of development charges borne by the former while leasing out the plot to it.

Inquiries showed that HIMUDA had incurred the development charges of Rs 80 per square metre on the plot. Now, HIMUDA was seeking payment at the rate of Rs 120 per square metre. The backlog claim included a huge amount of penal interest. At the rate of Rs 120 per square metre the recovery amount works out to Rs 16 lakh, pointed out Mr Kameshwar Singh Dhaulta, MD, Him Process. It was totally illogical to seek Rs 61 lakh recovery, he maintained. “We have made a request to the government to sort out the matter. Moreover, it was also planned to further lease out the half portion of the plot to which again HIMUDA had objected. HIMUDA was asking to deposit Rs 90 lakh with it before leasing out the half portion,” he said.

“There was a plan to start Rs 3 crore project on the plot, but we were awaiting some final outcome on the backlog issue,” added Mr Dhaulta.

Another plot measuring 16,150 square metres (21.50 bighas) allotted to the Small Scale Industries Export Corporation (SSIEC) in 1976 had also been lying unused since long. The SSIEC manufactured electric poles from this plot. The project was closed down about 15 years back and since then the plot had remained unutilised. Mr Sanjay Gupta, MD, SSIEC, while admitting the non-utilisation of the plot said there was a plan to set up stockyards of the Steel Authority of India on the plot. Interestingly, Mr Y.R. Sharma, CEO of HIMUDA, said a decision had been taken to resume around 10,000 square metres from the SSIEC plot. A plot measuring over 5,603 square metres allotted to M/s Banta Industrial and Engineering Corporation in 1979 was a virtual slum now. The Department of Industries had recommended the cancellation of the allotment of this plot to HIMUDA, but the party filed a petition in the high court. Similarly, a plot measuring over 4,000 square metres allotted to the State Electricity Corporation had also not been used for a long time.

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School board allows girl to change
name after sex change

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 23
The Himachal Pradesh School Education Board has allowed a Chamba-based girl, to change name who recently got her sex changed from PGI, Chandigarh. Soon after receiving an application from Shreshta Kumari changing name to Shreshth Kumar in all certificates issued to her so far following her changed sex, the board wrote to 20 other school boards in the country to seek opinion in the case.

All school boards contacted in this regard reportedly said in reply that they had not come across any such case and it was unprecedented but recommended that the student be allowed to change the name if it was a genuine case.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the board this weak and it was decided to allow the girl-turned boy Shreshth Kumar so that the student did not have any contradictions in certificates.

Sources in the board said the student had already cleared Class VIII, X and XI from Banikhet school in 2000, 2002 respectively and certificates now would be issued afresh with the new name.

Following a demand from the board, a team of surgeons from PGI Chandigarh issued a certificate confirming the change of sex to support te applicant’s case.

Incidentally, the Board had taken another interesting decision when it allowed child prodigy, 11-year-old Akrit Jaswal of Nurpur, to sit for class XII examination after he produced certificates from different international agencies that his brain was as developed as some of the best known scientists.

He had moved a application that he be allowed to jump classes as the wanted to take up research projects to do research on AIDS and cancer.

He eventually cleared the examination with 76 per cent marks. It was for the first time that a relaxation had been given to any student from the state.

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Three arrested in Dakog killing case
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 23
The Himachal Pradesh police has arrested three persons wanted in connection with the Dakog killings in which three CITU leaders were murdered on June 11 at the construction site of the Chamera hydroelectric project, stage-III.

According to police sources, the arrested persons were Brijveer, Jain and Dhillon who had fled immediately after the carnage. They were nabbed by the police in Pathankot (Punjab) on July 20.

The sources said these persons were allegedly stated to have been involved in masterminding the conspiracy of murdering three activists of CITU.

Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) was executing the project.

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