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NHPC pays Rs 16.04 cr to PWD for widening road
Chamba, December 8
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has made advance payment of Rs 16.04 crore to the Himachal Government’s Public Works Department (PWD) for the widening of 46-km-long Jarangala-Kharamukh tribal road to facilitate traffic of pilgrims and tourists visiting the famous holy place of Manimahesh every year.

Key bus stops to have toilets, waiting rooms
Kangra, December 8
The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to construct buildings under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) programme at important bus stops on the national highway. The authorities concerned have been directed to identify these bus stops.

Youth body keeping watch on hydro projects
To file PILs against eco norms violators
Dalhousie, December 8
In order to cope with global warming, the Himachal Pradesh Youth Development Federation has mapped out a strategy to wage war against private hydropower enterprises.

‘Literature has become casualty to market forces’
Mandi, December 8
The country’s top Hindi writers and critics expressed concern that journalism and literature were wrestling with a “crisis of credibility” as the forces of commercialisation were giving them shape today.

Hike in pension sought
Kangra, December 8
The president of the local unit of the Himachal Pradesh Pensioners Sangh, Mr P.R. Agnihotri, said today that they would urge the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, to the increase their pension by 5 to 10 per cent on attaining the age of 65 and 75 years, respectively.









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EARLIER STORIES



Body of missing woman found, 2 held
Nurpur, December 8
The mystery surrounding the disappearance of a 55 year-old woman, Shakuntla Devi of Laholli village, who was reportedly missing since last Saturday was solved today. The police exhumed the body from the bank of the Beas near Bhogrwan.

Two commit suicide
Baddi, December 8
Two persons committed suicide here today. Manoj Kumar from Uttaranchal was found hanging in his room. Manoj Kumar who had come here last month was last seen three days ago. He was engaged in a unit here and was residing in a rented accommodation.

 

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NHPC pays Rs 16.04 cr to PWD for widening road
Our Correspondent

Chamba, December 8
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has made advance payment of Rs 16.04 crore to the Himachal Government’s Public Works Department (PWD) for the widening of 46-km-long Jarangala-Kharamukh tribal road to facilitate traffic of pilgrims and tourists visiting the famous holy place of Manimahesh every year. Since the highway connects the famous tribal township of Bharmour in Chamba district, it will provide easy access to the pilgrims, tourists and the locals from their destinations in the length and breadth of the country.

Revealing this here today, Mr K. K. Joshi, Chief Engineer (In charge), Chamera Hydroelectric Project (Stage-III), said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed on November 25 between the NHPC and the state PWD for widening and improvement of Jarangla- Kharamukh highway. Besides this, the existing bridges at Kalsuin and Jarangla would also be strengthened and a bridge would be constructed at Gehra for which the HP PWD had agreed to complete all these assigned works within the prescribed timeframe, Mr Joshi stated.

Mr Joshi said it was also decided to review the progress of works by holding quarterly meetings with the Chief Engineer (North) of the HP PWD, Dharamsala, and the authorities concerned of the NHPC. With the widening of this highway, construction of new bridges and strengthening of existing bridges, the residents of the difficult tribal region of Bharmour would get a big boost to revitalizing their economy thereby paving the pay for undergoing a major upliftment, Mr Joshi claimed.

Apart from this, Mr Joshi mentioned three steel truss bridges had been constructed by the Chamera projects on the Ravi at Dunali, Gehra and Durgathi along with a number of link roads had also been constructed by the NHPC incurring an expenditure of more than Rs 20 crore on the widening of Chamba-Bharmour highway. This had facilitated to link about 50 villages falling in Bharian Kothi, Lech, Batote, Khundel, Auraphati belts located on the hill slopes across the Ravi with the outer world, Mr Joshi further affirmed, adding that these areas were now ushering in a new era of prosperity.

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Key bus stops to have toilets, waiting rooms
Our Correspondent

Kangra, December 8
The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to construct buildings under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) programme at important bus stops on the national highway. The authorities concerned have been directed to identify these bus stops.

Transport and Tourism Minister G.S. Bali today stated this while addressing a function organised in connection with the 20-point public grievances and redressal programme in the polytechnic college auditorium here.

He said that these buildings would have toilets and waiting rooms. The Tourism Department too would join hands in this venture. He announced Rs 1.5 lakh for the construction of a toilet at Gurkhari.

Regarding the public grievance for the delay in the distribution of power bills, Mr Bali said that the Cabinet has already directed the HPSEB to provide adequate power billing staff. Till these appointments are made, the HPSEB should appoint persons on contract basis for this purpose.

He asked SDM Kangra to inquire into the allegations of farmers regarding the distribution of substandard agricultural seeds, which had adversely affected their produce.

Mr Bali warned officers who were not taking the 20-point programme seriously and were not attending its meetings. He said that such officers would be transferred.

The meetings of the 20-point programme are scheduled after every three months but today’s meeting, which was chaired by Mr G.S. Bali, evoked a poor response from the public and officers. The meeting was held after a gap of five months.

The fact that mediapersons were not invited to the meeting showed the lack of seriousness on the part of officers towards the programme.

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Youth body keeping watch on hydro projects
To file PILs against eco norms violators
Our Correspondent

Dalhousie, December 8
In order to cope with global warming, the Himachal Pradesh Youth Development Federation has mapped out a strategy to wage war against private hydropower enterprises.

These enterprises are recklessly digging, excavating and hollowing out the green hills of the alpine region of Chamba district in the name of ‘power generation’ in connivance with environment officials by interpreting laws pertaining to the conservation and preservation of the environment of the area according to their own discretion and suitability.

Environmentalist Dr Ajit S. Bhardwaj, who is also the state president of the federation, today expressed deep concern over the denuded and degenerated hills as a result of excavation of tunnels for hydropower projects.

Mentioning the names of a few hydroelectric projects such as the 5 MW Tarella hydroelectric project, 5 MW Sahoo hydroelectric project and 70 MW Budhil hydroelectric project, he said that the federation was watching the activities of private enterprises engaged in these projects and compiling information on the basis of complaints of local residents.

“The federation is also keeping a watch on the implementation of environment management plans (EMPs) and catchment area treatment (CAT) plans launched by the companies with funding through the Forest Department,” Dr Bhardwaj said.

Dr Bhardwaj warned that those companies found neglecting environmental concerns while constructing their projects in Tarela, Chamba and Bharmour areas would be taken to task.

The federation will seek judicial remedy and file public interest litigations (PILs) in these cases.

“Our organisation has come forward to protect the environment, to value and preserve the rich heritage of the area, to promote harmony and the spirit of brotherhood and to perform other fundamental duties,” Dr Bhardwaj said.

He said that he had received complaints about the hydropower enterprises of Him Kailash, Coastal, Lanco as well the hydropower company undertaking the projects at Tarella on the border area of Chamba district adjacent to Jammu and Kashmir.

“The state government should formulate a master plan for the conservation of the areas which will be affected by the construction of hydropower projects all over the state and especially in Chamba district, so that verdant hills are conserved,” he added.

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‘Literature has become casualty to market forces’
Tribune News Service

Mandi, December 8
The country’s top Hindi writers and critics expressed concern that journalism and literature were wrestling with a “crisis of credibility” as the forces of commercialisation were giving them shape today.

Presiding over a session on “Interrelation of journalism and literature” at the All-India Shikhar Writers’ Conference here today, writer and Sahitya Akadami Award winner, Mr Kamleshwar, said, “The impact of market forces on both was so profound that literature has become its casualty.”

Mr Kamleshwar said that journalism and literature are the products of society and both complement and supplement each other. “The journalist faces work pressure and stress, so is the case with a struggling writer. Both struggle to get their alms, which they are forced to accept.”

He underscored the need for greater cultural exchange of writers on the international arena in this era of globalisation. “The writers discern “reality more deeply” as compared to television journalists,” he added.

Mr Gobind Singh, Associate Editor, Amar Ujala, New Delhi, said that Hindi journalism has witnessed a boom and this has led to the democratisation of news which involves the views of the common man and the villagers.

Mr Bal Ram, Ms Chitra Mudgil, a member of Prasar Bharti, Mr Sushil Kumar Phull, a writer from Himachal, Mr Prabhakar Shrotya, Mr Rajinder Prasad Pandey, Mr Lavan Thakur, Raj Kumar Gautam and Raj Kumar participated in the debate.

Though the writers described the conference as a successful one, it evoked little response from the writers of the state as not more than seven writers participated in it.

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Hike in pension sought
Our Correspondent

Kangra, December 8
The president of the local unit of the Himachal Pradesh Pensioners Sangh, Mr P.R. Agnihotri, said today that they would urge the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, to the increase their pension by 5 to 10 per cent on attaining the age of 65 and 75 years, respectively. They would also seek travel concession equivalent to their one month pension after every two years block, he added.

He said these demands would be placed before the Chief Minister when he visits the local polytechnic college on December 17. The Chief Minister has already accepted their major demand for revising the pension of all pre-1996 pensioners, he added.

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Body of missing woman found, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, December 8
The mystery surrounding the disappearance of a 55 year-old woman, Shakuntla Devi of Laholli village, who was reportedly missing since last Saturday was solved today. The police exhumed the body from the bank of the Beas near Bhogrwan.

Shakuntla Devi went missing while she was returning home from Rehan town. Her family members searched all over the area but failed to trace her. However, they were able to find pearls of her necklace on the Rehan - Mangdiyal link road on Wednesday. They reported the matter to the police. A case under sections 302,201 and 34 of the IPC was registered. The police took the help of a dog squad and local villagers to trace her. Preliminary investigations revealed that the three brothers Prabhat, Swaran Singh and Rajinder of Loholli village were involved in the case. Prabhat and Swaran were arrested today whereas Rajinder was still at large.

According to the DSP, those arrested have confessed their crime. He said the accused believed that Shakuntla Devi was behind the death of one of their brothers who had died a few months ago. They allegedly hit the woman, while she was returning to her home, with their jeep, packed her body in gunny bag and buried it on the bank of Beas.

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Two commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Baddi, December 8
Two persons committed suicide here today. Manoj Kumar from Uttaranchal was found hanging in his room. Manoj Kumar who had come here last month was last seen three days ago. He was engaged in a unit here and was residing in a rented accommodation.

Abbu Khan, his landlord, got suspicious when he saw Manoj’s door closed with lights on. He tried to sneak into the room after noticing foul smell coming out of room. He informed the police who opened the door.

In another case, a migrant labourer from Nepal committed suicide after he had a fight with his wife last night. Bhim Bahadur hanged himself in his jhuggi.

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