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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

47 primary schools closed down
Shimla, September 13
Despite resistance from local politicians the Himachal Government has finally closed down 47 primary schools opened in violation of norms under the rationalisation exercise.

Regular teachers will be appointed by HPSC: CM
Dharamsala, September 13
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here today said the controversy over the appointment of teachers under the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) scheme was just a temporary arrangement till regular teachers were appointed through the HPSC.

PTAs’ appointments ‘mockery of unemployed youths’
Nurpur, September 13
The Himachal Pradesh State Unemployed Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs) Association has taken strong exception to making temporary appointments of TGTs in government schools through funds of the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) by state government.

BSP threatens stir over PTA teachers’ appointments
Kangra, September 13
The Himachal Pradesh Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has criticised the state government for appointing PTA teachers in schools in violation of rules and described the move as anti-Dalit and anti-people.

Modern education to be introduced in madarsas
Mandi, September 13
New state president of the Congress Minority Cell Rahmat Ali Khan today said he would work so that “madarasa” function along lines of modern education system so that Muslim girls get more education in the state.







YOUR TOWN
Dharamsala
Kangra
Mandi
Shimla
Solan
Sundernagar
Nurpur



EARLIER STORIES

 



Dehar Power House still closed
Sundarnagar, September 13
Even after 17 days, the BBMB is not in a position to start electricity generation in the 990-MW Dehar Power House situated on the border of Mandi and Bilaspur Districts.

Villagers urge President to annul township project
Solan, September 13
Peeved at being rendered homeless following a mass land acquisition by the Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) villagers of the twin gram panchayats of Vakna and Chausa have now appealed to the President of India to get this decision rescinded.

Power disconnected on ‘erroneous’ report, not restored
Solan, September 13
Baddi-based Pioneer Pesticides has to bear the brunt of a decision of the Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board with the officials first disconnecting its power supply due to an ‘erroneous’ report and later refusing to restore it.

HC removes Ashwini as Director (Prosecution)
Shimla, September 13
The Himachal Pradesh High Court today removed Mr Ashwini Kumar (IAS) as Director (prosecution) as his appointment is not in accordance with law.

BJP appoints poll observers
Shimla, September 13
The BJP today appointed observers in the Kulu and Pachhad constituencies to ensure smooth conduct of party elections after there have been complaints and resentment over appointment of returning officers.

Wooden houses gutted
Reckong Peo, September 13
Two traditional wooden houses were gutted when a fire broke out in the Dutrang area, near Kafnu village in the Bhaba valley in Nichar subdivision of Kinnaur district last evening.

Naib Tehsildar held for graft
Shimla, September 13
Surinder Thakur, Naib Tehsildar, Jhanduta, was caught while taking a bribe of Rs 500 from a land owner of Gochar village for demarcation of his land.

 

 

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47 primary schools closed down
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 13
Despite resistance from local politicians the Himachal Government has finally closed down 47 primary schools opened in violation of norms under the rationalisation exercise.

The committee set up for the purpose on the direction of the high court had .in fact, identified 799 schools, opened in violation of norms as per which a new school could be opened only if there is none within a radius of 1.5 km in hilly area and 2.5 km in plains. After taking into consideration all the factors, including natural barriers like nullahs and streams, into consideration, the Education Department has taken a decision to close 128 such schools.

However, the decision could not be implemented because of opposition from local politicians. After a review the government brought down the number of school proposed to be merged to 50. Even this did not satisfy politicians who alleged that the department had ignored ground realities while identifying such schools. Mr Virbhadra Singh , Chief Minister , ordered another review to be carried out by the deputy commissioners who were asked to ascertain if the closure of the schools was justified.

On the basis of the reports submitted by the Deputy Commissioners 47 primary schools have been finally closed and merged with the nearest institutions. These schools were located within a radius of one km from another school and had less than 30 students on rolls. With this the total number of functional primary schools has come down to 10,576.

Far too many schools than actually required have been opened as evident from the fact that the teacher student ratio was one to 22 in 2004-05 further improved to one to 20 as against the norm of one to 40 in government schools. In case of the tribal Lahaul-Spiti district there was a teacher for every six students, while the highest ratio of 26 students per teacher was in the Una district. To rectify the situation the government had initiated comprehensive rationalisation to bring the number of schools two years ago but it could not be completed due to political résistance. 

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Regular teachers will be appointed by HPSC: CM
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, September 13
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here today said the controversy over the appointment of teachers under the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) scheme was just a temporary arrangement till regular teachers were appointed through the HPSC.

He also clarified that there was no move to have a Deputy Chief Minister in the state. Talking to mediapersons, Mr Virbhadra Singh, who was here to chair a meeting of the District Congress Committee, said even though appointments under the PTA scheme was a stop-gap arrangement, that did not mean that all such teachers would be removed on the appointment of regular staff. He felt that the need for teachers would only increase in future.

He said the remarks of BJP leaders, terming PTA appointments as the biggest scandal, would harm the party's own political fortunes.

Dismissing the talk of the possibility of appointing a Deputy Chief Minister, he said there was no justification for the post in a small state like Himachal Pradesh.

Elaborating on the proposed visit of Congress President Sonia Gandhi to Dharamsala and Paprola in October, he said she would unveil a statue of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at the Government Ayurvedic Hospital in Paprola and would also address a public meeting in Dharamsala.

The Chief Minister also paid a surprise visit to the Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Hospital and asked the hospital authorities to make the premises more hygienic.

The Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of augmented Ram Nagar-Sham Nagar Drinking Water supply scheme at Dharamsala to be constructed at a cost of Rs 190.07 lakh. The scheme will cater to the need of about 20,000 population. The scheme will be completed by March 2008.

Mr Sat Mahajan, Revenue Minister, Mr G.S. Bali, Transport and Tourism Minister, Mr Chander Kumar, MP and Ms Chandresh Kumari, MLA, were also present on the occasion.

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PTAs’ appointments ‘mockery of unemployed youths’
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, September 13
The Himachal Pradesh State Unemployed Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs) Association has taken strong exception to making temporary appointments of TGTs in government schools through funds of the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) by state government. Mr Sushil Kaushal, state president of the association, in a statement here yesterday said that such appointments were a mockery not only of the unemployed youths but also people as these were being made through backdoor by the PTA presidents and secretaries. “Such appointments, being made following the recommendations of politicians are devoid of merit or “criterion,” he added. He apprehended that such appointments would deteriorate the quality of education in government schools which were already facing a stiff competition by the private schools.

He lamented that the state government was claiming these postings as temporary appointments but the Education Department had issued directions in which it had been stated that the PTA appointees would not be removed or transferred even if regular appointments were made against these vacant posts in backward areas. He said that 714 TGTs, who had cleared the test of the state subordinate commission, were posted in remote areas of Kinnaur, Shimla and Chamba districts against vacant posts but they were not allowed to join there. “There are as may as 6,000 vacant posts of TGTs in government schools throughout the state but the government has sanctioned only 714 regular posts and rest of the vacant posts are being filled with PTA fund appointees through backdoor,” he rued.

He urged the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, to scrap the ongoing system of appointing PTA fund teachers to maintain quality education in government schools. He said the public interest litigation had been filed in the high court for scraping ongoing PTA appointments.

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BSP threatens stir over PTA teachers’ appointments
Our Correspondent

Kangra, September 13
The Himachal Pradesh Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has criticised the state government for appointing PTA teachers in schools in violation of rules and described the move as anti-Dalit and anti-people.

Mr Prakash Chand Saniyal, state secretary of the BSP, today told The Tribune here that it was unfortunate that PTA teachers were being appointed allegedly in order to accommodate the blue-eyed boys of politicians.

He said these appointments were being made through panchayat pradhans and at majority of the places the appointing authorities were far less qualified than required and at places they were even illiterates.

Mr Saniyal said more than 8,000 PTA teachers were appointed leaving well-educated trained teachers in lurch for want of a political push.

He said this entire process would ultimately affect the future of this state and the standard of the education would drop down.

Mr Sanyal said it was surprising that those regular and trained teachers who had served in the tribal and remote areas for five years were transferred to their native districts, but most of these teachers could not join their respective posts as PTA teachers had already joined against their posts.

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Modern education to be introduced in madarsas
Tribune News Service

Mandi, September 13
New state president of the Congress Minority Cell Rahmat Ali Khan today said he would work so that “madarasa” function along lines of modern education system so that Muslim girls get more education in the state.

Talking to reporters here today Mr Khan, who took over from Mr Liakat Ali Khan, said he was appointed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and would work to solve problems of the minorities including the Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Jains in the state as promised in the Congress manifesto.

He said the Muslim girls faced problems of education in the poor families as they stick to traditional system and “madaras” education was available in three centres. “The number of madarassas were being increased and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had constituted separate Waqf Board in the state that has given a lot of impetus in this regard”.

He added the Minority Finance Corporation would help provide loans and other facilities to the communities in self-employment programme. Poverty is the main reason for educational backwardness for the Muslims, he said.

On religious conversion in Mandi district Mr Khan said no case had been brought to his notice so far but he would look into the matter.

Settlement of Gujjars and other issues would be taken after he constituted the executive committee after consulting senior Congress leaders in the state on September 20 , he added.

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Dehar Power House still closed
Our Correspondent

Sundarnagar, September 13
Even after 17 days, the BBMB is not in a position to start electricity generation in the 990-MW Dehar Power House situated on the border of Mandi and Bilaspur Districts.

The water entered the Dehar Power House on August 27 and the generation of electricity was stopped. All six turbines of the power house are submerged in water and are non-functional till now.

Many officials of the BBMB has termed the whole episode as a case of negligence due to which the BBMB is suffering a loss of more than Rs 3-crore per day .

On anonymity, they said the top management was not projecting the real picture either before the public or before the government.

In 1977 that the power house was commissioned and It was for the first time that it was not producing electricity for such a long duration.

As per the information, on August 27, shaft gland seal of unit number six burst due to which the water began entering the power house. The level of water had gone up to 34 feet inside the power house, due to which the power generation was stopped.

According to senior officials of the BBMB, the accident occurred due to mechanical failure. The BBMB has already ordered an inquiry in to the mater .

The BBMB did not allow media persons to visit the Dehar Power House. Top officials of the BBMB posted at Dehar and Sundernagar were all tight lipped over the matter. According to them, they were not authorised to speak on the matter.

Although the BBMB has authorised the Senior Executive-Engineer, Dehar Power House, to provide information under the Right to Information Act , but he too is not answering to telephone calls or meeting anyone.

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Villagers urge President to annul township project
Our Correspondent

Solan, September 13
Peeved at being rendered homeless following a mass land acquisition by the Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) villagers of the twin gram panchayats of Vakna and Chausa have now appealed to the President of India to get this decision rescinded.

The land is being acquired for setting up a new satellite township for a population of 30,000. Despite stiff opposition from the villagers the Secretary, Housing, issued a notification on July 26 under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1994, to begin this process.

The villagers pleaded that despite taking up the issue several times with the Chief Minister, the government had failed to find reason with their genuine cause.

This acquisition will affect a population of 1,136 in the twin gram panchayats with as many as 296 families being rendered homeless.

As much as 3,222 bighas of village private land is being proposed to be acquired for this township.

The villagers contend that since they had been residing there for generations together, they were opposed to the idea of surrendering their land.

They have now requested the President to get this township project transferred to some other place and rescind this notification notifying the land acquisition.

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Power disconnected on ‘erroneous’ report,
not restored

Our Correspondent

Solan, September 13
Baddi-based Pioneer Pesticides has to bear the brunt of a decision of the Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board with the officials first disconnecting its power supply due to an ‘erroneous’ report and later refusing to restore it.

Power supply was disconnected on the basis of a report sent by the regional officer of the board on August 31. The report while holding the unit responsible for large-scale fish mortality had also mentioned certain witnesses who had seen employees of Pioneer Pesticides dump untreated effluents into the river.

An analysis of the water samples collected from the site established no role of the said unit. Member-Secretary of the board S. P. Vasudeva then directed the regional officer to send a fresh report in the matter on September 8. Power connection was to be restored after the receipt of this report. Unit officials have been making efforts since Friday to get the power connection restored. But the regional officer has shown no interest in doing so. The member secretary was not available for comment.

Unit officials while ruing harassment said since the unit was without power for 11 days they had incurred a loss of Rs 60 lakh to 65 lakh. The production process had come to a halt. Their unit was ISO 9001 1401 certified by the board. This has also thrown about 45 employees out of work for 11 days.

The board, however , ordered disconnection of power supply of at least four other units of Baddi on Friday for not running requisite effluent treatment plants after conducting an inspection last week.

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HC removes Ashwini as Director (Prosecution)
Our Legal Correspondent

Shimla, September 13
The Himachal Pradesh High Court today removed Mr Ashwini Kumar (IAS) as Director (prosecution) as his appointment is not in accordance with law.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vinod Kumar Gupta and Mr Justice Surjit Singh ordered that Mr Ashwini Kumar would cease to function as Director (prosecution) with immediate effect. While passing this order, the court further directed the Advocate-General to note down the gist of the order for its immediate implementation.

This order came on a petition filed by Mr Jeevan Lal, Joint Director (prosecution), alleging that the appointment of an IAS officer on the post of Director has not been made in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C). It may be mentioned here that the government has appointed the IAS officer on this post. The CrPC provides that only an advocate having 10-year practice can be appointed as Director (prosecution).

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BJP appoints poll observers

Shimla, September 13
The BJP today appointed observers in the Kulu and Pachhad constituencies to ensure smooth conduct of party elections after there have been complaints and resentment over appointment of returning officers.

The state election office of the BJP today appointed Mr Harbans Rana, MLA, and Mr Ashok Sharma, convener of the state BJP Legal Cell, observers for the Kulu constituency.

In case of the Pachhad constituency in Sirmaur district, the appointment of the previous observers have been cancelled and Mr Rakesh Garg, convener of the district BJP Beopar Cell, has been assigned the task of conducting the party elections. — TNS

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Wooden houses gutted
Tribune News Service

Reckong Peo, September 13
Two traditional wooden houses were gutted when a fire broke out in the Dutrang area, near Kafnu village in the Bhaba valley in Nichar subdivision of Kinnaur district last evening.

Revealing this to The Tribune, Dr Amandeep Garg, District Magistrate of Kinnaur, said there was no report of any loss of life. “I have asked the local administration of Nichar subdivision to visit the spot and provide immediate relief to the affected families,” he said.

Mr Arun Kumar Subdivisional Magistrate, and Mr Meenu Dhiman, Tehsildar of Nichar, who visited the spot this morning, provided an immediate relief of Rs 10,000 each to the affected five families which were rendered homeless after the fire incident.

The total loss to the private property as per the preliminary assessment has been estimated at Rs 4 lakh.

The exact cause of the fire was not immediately known.

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Naib Tehsildar held for graft

Shimla, September 13
Surinder Thakur, Naib Tehsildar, Jhanduta, was caught while taking a bribe of Rs 500 from a land owner of Gochar village for demarcation of his land.

Thakur had allegedly demanded Rs 2,500 from Mr Mohar Singh when he applied for the demarcation of his land. While Rs 500 was to be paid as advance, the rest was to be given after completion of the job.

He brought the matter to the notice of the Vigilance Department which laid a trap to nab the official. A police team headed by Mr J.C. Katna, Deputy Superintendent of Police, accompanied the complainant and caught him. — TNS

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