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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

Houseless to get shelter: CM
Shimla, November 25
The Himachal government is planning to conduct a detailed survey to identify the houseless families in the state so that a special campaign could be carried out to provide decent shelter to them.

Metered taxis get Cabinet’s signal
Shimla, November 25
For the first time in the state metered taxi service will be available at important tourist destinations of Shimla, Kulu, Manali, Dharamsala and Dalhousie in a radius of 40 km.

Migratory birds under watch for bird flu
Shimla, November 25
Migratory birds from Central Asia and other parts of the world which throng the various water bodies during in the state during winter will be monitored for bird flu.

HRTC overcharging: commuters
Kangra, November 25
Resentment prevails among passengers here who have to pay more bus fare when these buses adopt the route via Jawalamukhi to Dehra.

Former inmate of ashram defends patron
Mandi, November 25
The case of sexual abuse and outraging the modesty of some destitute girls of the Kanya Anath Ashram being run by the Mandav Charitable Trust (MCT) took a new turn today as a former inmate of the ashram was allegedly brought forward to defend MCT’s patron and founder member Manohar Lal, the accused in the case.



YOUR TOWN
Kangra
Mandi
Shimla
Nahan
Nurpur


EARLIER STORIES



Ashram closed; charges against head to be probed
Mandi, November 25
The district administration has temporarily closed Kanya Anath Ashram here pending a magisterial and police inquiry into the affairs of the ashram. As many as 14 destitute minor and adolescent girls have levelled serious charges against the founder-president of Mandav Charitable Trust (MCT) that runs this ashram .

DAV management sues lecturers
Kangra November 25
The DAV management has moved the court against seven lecturers and three laboratory assistants, who had been agitating and demanding a merger of 50 per cent of the ADA with their basic pay for the past more than a fortnight, for allegedly disrupting the normal work and terrorising the staff.

Shimla to have heritage train, theme parks
Shimla, November 25
With the "Queen of Hills' being reduced to a weekend tourist destination, the Tourism Department will create more spots and activities around the town like heritage train ride, nature and theme parks in order to increase the stay of the visitors.

4 killed as truck falls into gorge
Nahan, November 25
Four persons were killed and one seriously injured as a truck (HP-17-6022), on way to Haryana from Rohnat village of Shillai tehsil, fell into a 300-metre deep gorge near Chillon village, about 65 km from here, late last night.

Bail for four in HPMT leak case
Shimla, November 25
Even as police teams are still looking for the remaining persons wanted in the CPMT case, the two Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) students and parents of two candidates have been granted bail by a local court.

Video
Himachal Pradesh celebrates 'Buddhi Diwali'
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Houseless to get shelter: CM
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 25
The Himachal government is planning to conduct a detailed survey to identify the houseless families in the state so that a special campaign could be carried out to provide decent shelter to them.

Stating this while presiding over the meeting of the state level planning development and 20-point programme review committee here, the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, said that the government was implementing Indira Awas Yojna and Rajeev Awas Yojna to provide housing facilities to the IRDP and eligible families below poverty line. Due to one reason or the other, some families had no housing facilities. To cover the gap, the government was planning to launch a special campaign.

He said adequate funds would be arranged on the basis of the survey report to finance the special housing programme.

The state government was committed to the welfare of the lepers of the state and proposed a housing scheme "Sarvodaya" for their rehabilitation. He said that such colonies were being developed near to the leprosy hospitals so that they could also avail of the medical facilities.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said that the government was exploring the possibilities of drawing water from the Gobind Sagar, Pong Dam, Pandoh Dam and other such hydro power dams for drinking water supply and irrigation schemes.

He said that the matter was being raised at the appropriate forum and concerted efforts made to secure the right to use water from the project dams for the benefit of the people. Water supply and irrigation schemes in some areas had become non-functional due to sub merger of the sources in which required to be compensated by making the sufficient water available to feed the drinking water supply and irrigation scheme.

He emphasized the need for speedy completion of all the development projects by curtailing formalities and simplifying tendering process. He said that no contractor should be assigned more than two government works at a time and delay in completion would be viewed seriously. He directed department to pose their projects for centrally sponsored schemes well in time so that they could be reflected in the union budget.

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Metered taxis get Cabinet’s signal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 25
For the first time in the state metered taxi service will be available at important tourist destinations of Shimla, Kulu, Manali, Dharamsala and Dalhousie in a radius of 40 km.

The Cabinet which met under Mr Virbhadra Singh here today approved the Himachal Pradesh Meter Taxi Scheme-2006. It fixed initial charges of Rs 60 for 2 km.

It fixed a minimum fare of Rs 2 with respect to passenger buses within the state. The Cabinet also decided to reserve hydel projects up to 2 MW for state entrepreneurs. Besides this, the government would give preference to unemployed Himachali youth in the execution of hydel projects up to 5 MW.

The proposal to hand rural water supply schemes to local gram panchayats on pilot basis was also okayed. Initially, 10 per cent of these schemes will be given to them. The Cabinet also decided to provide 3 per cent reservation to self-help groups of women entrepreneurs in the allotment of shops and stalls in municipalities.

The setting up of an inland container depot by the Container Corporation of India at Baddi for exporting the goods produced within the units located in the industrial hub was also approved. The setting up of a sugarcane-based unit in Una district also got nod.

The Cabinet sanctioned creation and filling of 546 posts of teaching and non-teaching categories for deployment in the 26 newly upgraded government senior secondary schools in the current financial year.

The Cabinet also granted moratorium of three years to the HRTC for repayment of principal amount and interest on a loan of Rs 67 crore.

The creation of 73 posts in the Health and Family Welfare department was also approved and 37 posts for Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh Development Authority were sanctioned.

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Migratory birds under watch for bird flu
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 25
Migratory birds from Central Asia and other parts of the world which throng the various water bodies during in the state during winter will be monitored for bird flu.

The hill state has been free from the virus and so far no such case has been recorded. However, the government is not taking any chances in view of the ever-increasing number migratory birds, which are the main carriers of the avail flu virus, visiting the state for the winter sojourn. It has decided to collect samples of fresh droppings from major water bodies like the Pong Dam reservoir, Gobind Sagar and Renuka Lake.

The exercise will be carried out twice. Teams of the wildlife department will camp at Gobind Sagar on November 25 and 26, Pong Dam from November 28 to 30 and Renuka on December 6 and 7 to collect the samples. The exercise will be repeated in February.

The sprawling Pong Dam reservoir which attracts over 1.10 lakh migratory birds of over 50 varieties but the sampling will be confined to the species known to be carriers of the dreaded virus. The species to be closely monitored include the great bar-headed geese, spot-billed duck, common pochards, large cormorants and coots. The focus will be on the bar headed-geese which come in large numbers. The Pong Dam alone records over 28,000 of bar headed geese.

Mr Vinay Tandon, Additional Principal Chief Conservator, will monitor the functioning of the teams. He said the department has identified suitable sites where the birds were concentrated for the purpose. The sample would be sent to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Jalandhar.

Suknadiyan, Ransar island, Nagrota Suriyan and Shah Nehar Barrage are some of the sites in Pong dam reservoir where teams would camp collecting samples. The Gobind Sagar attracts 10,000 to 15,000 birds which will be monitored at various sites near Bilaspur town and the Nangal Dam. The Renuka Lake, though small, has of late started attracting migratory birds. About 800 to 1000 migratory birds have been visiting the on the lake for the past couple of years and their number has bee increasing.

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HRTC overcharging: commuters
Our Correspondent

Kangra, November 25
Resentment prevails among passengers here who have to pay more bus fare when these buses adopt the route via Jawalamukhi to Dehra.

Rammurti Sharma, a resident of Dadaseba, who travels on the route almost daily, said the bus fare between Kangra and Dehra was Rs 27 but when the bus went via Jwalamukhi, the passengers had to pay Rs 35. He said the additional fare of Rs 8 for Dehra and onwards was unfortunate.

Some passengers said when they lodged a protest, HRTC officials pointed towards the private buses and asked them to catch these buses. The passengers said Haryana and Punjab Roadways buses had same bus fare for both Bankandi and Jwalamukhi routes for Dehra whereas the HRTC charged different fares for the two routes.

Mr Mohinder Singh Rana, Regional Manager, HRTC, said it had to pay more taxes on the Jwalamukhi route so the charges were higher.

The passengers demanded that the state government should keep same bus fare for the passengers for Dhera and onwards from both the routes.

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Former inmate of ashram defends patron
Tribune News Service

Mandi, November 25
The case of sexual abuse and outraging the modesty of some destitute girls of the Kanya Anath Ashram being run by the Mandav Charitable Trust (MCT) took a new turn today as a former inmate of the ashram was allegedly brought forward to defend MCT’s patron and founder member Manohar Lal, the accused in the case.

All 23 destitute girls living in the ashram were today medically examined at the Mandi Zonal Hospital. They were later shifted to government-run Nari Niketan to “ensure their safety”.

The police has registered a case against Mr Lal yesterday, but he has not been arrested so far.

The SP, Mandi, Mr M. Chander Sekhar, said the former student was questioned as some girls had made certain allegations against her. But she refuted all allegations and her statement had been recorded. “We are investigating the allegations and verifying girls’ age who alleged they worked at accused’s house as domestic servants”, he added.

Mr Lal claimed he visited the ashram. “I never use them domestic servants as he has a maid servant. We are running the ashram not only in Mandi, but also in Karsog and Vashsisht in Manali for five years and there is no complaint against him”, he claimed.

But ashram’s teacher Ms Vandana Saini told the DC she was sacked as she knew children’s abuse by Mr Lal.

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Ashram closed; charges against head to be probed
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Mandi, November 25
The district administration has temporarily closed Kanya Anath Ashram here pending a magisterial and police inquiry into the affairs of the ashram. As many as 14 destitute minor and adolescent girls have levelled serious charges against the founder-president of Mandav Charitable Trust (MCT) that runs this ashram .

Fourteen of the 23 ashram girls, accompanied by a former teacher had met the DC, Mr Subhashish Panda, and the SP on Thursda , accusing the trust’s founder-president, Mr Manohar Lal, of "sexual abuse, outraging their modesty and making obscene gestures and using them as domestic servants".

All 23 girls have been medically examined at the Zonal Hospital. The administration has shifted them to the government-run Nari Niketan to "ensure their safety".

The police has registered a case against Mr Manohar Lal, an advocate, under Sections 354 and 294, IPC, and Section 4 of the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, but he has yet to be arrested.

The SP, Mandi, said an ashram girl was questioned yesterday as some girls had made allegations against her too. She had refuted the allegations.

Mr Manohar Lal, when contacted on his mobile phone, claimed that he had sacked ashram Vandana Saini and was about to expel an ashram girl as they were “ defiant, provoking other girls against me."

But Ms Vandana Saini told the DC and SP that she was sacked as she had got to know that the girls were being sexually abused by Mr Lal.

Acting chairman of the trust Dina Nath Shashri, a former BJP MLA, said the girls had not brought the matter to his notice.

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DAV management sues lecturers
Our Correspondent

Kangra November 25
The DAV management has moved the court against seven lecturers and three laboratory assistants, who had been agitating and demanding a merger of 50 per cent of the ADA with their basic pay for the past more than a fortnight, for allegedly disrupting the normal work and terrorising the staff.

Sanjeev Dutt Sharma, advocate of the managing committee, today said a petition before the Civil Judge had been filed, saying that the lecturers were spoiling the academic atmosphere of the college by indulging in the slogan-shouting on the college campus, instigating students to indulge in strike and even terrorising staff members of the college who did not joined them.

He said the management had sought direction of the court in order to maintain the academic atmosphere of the college.

Meanwhile, the striking lecturers said the management had sent a letter for negotiations on November 17 but the Principal delivered the letter on November 21 evening just a day after moving the court. They said they had positively acted and sought time and date for the negotiations.

Mr. R.K.Ohri, Principal of the college, said the striking lecturers told him today that they would not abstain from the class and hold a dharna during the free periods only outside the college gate.

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Shimla to have heritage train, theme parks
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 25
With the "Queen of Hills' being reduced to a weekend tourist destination, the Tourism Department will create more spots and activities around the town like heritage train ride, nature and theme parks in order to increase the stay of the visitors.

It is under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) that a sum of Rs 66 crore is being sought under the tourism sector for creation of a nature park at Craignano, upgradation of the Naldehra Golf course and an international-level ice skating rink in the town.

As per a survey, almost 38 per cent of the tourists coming to the capital town are from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, resulting in a very short stay. To tide over the problem of short-duration stay, the Tourism Department will create a nature park at Craignano as the 40 bighas of land owned by the Forest Department has already been transferred to the Tourism Department.

With thrust being on conservation of endangered and rare species of Himalayan flora, the park will have an arboretum, open air amphitheatre, green houses, garden camps and picnic pavilion. The project is estimated to cost about Rs 15 crore.

Another project that the Tourism Department is keen to take up is heritage train ride from Shimla to Kanoh with activity-based tourism at Kanoh. The train journey through the foggy misty mountains is a fascinating experience. A heritage train ride would be a major attraction for tourist in the town.

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4 killed as truck falls into gorge
Our Correspondent

Nahan, November 25
Four persons were killed and one seriously injured as a truck (HP-17-6022), on way to Haryana from Rohnat village of Shillai tehsil, fell into a 300-metre deep gorge near Chillon village, about 65 km from here, late last night.

The Paonta police got information about the accident at about 1 a.m. today and rushed to the spot. The police recovered four bodies from the gorge and the critically injured driver of the ill-fated truck, Bhagat Ram, was admitted to a hospital in Dehra Dun.

The police said the truck could not negotiate a sharp curve and fall into the gorge.

Those who died on the spot include Ramesh Kumar of Rast village, Jagar Singh and Beer Singh, residents of Ghiraina village and Prem Singh of Kurukshetra.

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Bail for four in HPMT leak case
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 25
Even as police teams are still looking for the remaining persons wanted in the CPMT case, the two Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) students and parents of two candidates have been granted bail by a local court.

Dr R.K. Patyal, who was arrested from Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Tanda in Kangra, and Mr Vikram Singh Rana, arrested from Hamirpur, were produced in court. All four, including two third-year medical college students Abhinav Rana and Yashpal, were granted bail.

The name of the two medicos figured during investigation of touts and in the mobile phone details of persons involved in the case. The sister of Abhinav had cleared the Himachal Pradesh PMT test.

Meanwhile, police teams have been sent to Mandi, Hamirpur, Lucknow, Delhi and Ambala to search for the remaining accused.

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Cong govt has failed on all fronts: Dhumal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 25
Accusing the Congress regime of complete failure on all fronts, the BJP has said the Congress was trying to take credit for the achievements of the previous BJP government.

The former Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, said yesterday that the fact that Himachal had slipped to the sixth position in the health and education sector in the national scenario was indicative of the poor performance of the government.

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Panchayats oppose illegal mining

Nurpur, November 25
The people of lower and upper Khanni and Kandwal gram panchayats in the sub-division are up in arms against rampant and unscientific mining in Chakki rivulet.

The activity has been going on despite that the gram panchayats having passed resolutions against it. — OC

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