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Wednesday, December 30, 1998
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HP releases Rs 6 crore for apple growers
SHIMLA, Dec 29 — The Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal today announced the release of Rs 6 crore for making payments to apple growers whose fruit was procured under the market intervention scheme early this year.

Shimla skating rink shrinking
SHIMLA, Dec 29 — Rising population, urbanisation, environment pollution and shrinking green cover are threatening South Asia’s only open air natural skating rink in the hill resort of Shimla.

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HP minimum wage Rs 51
SHIMLA, Dec 29 — The Himachal Pradesh State Minimum Wages Advisory Board today recommended increase in daily wages of unskilled workers from Rs 42 to Rs 51, equivalent to Rs 1530 per month.
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More powers sought for Panchayati Raj bodies
MANDI, Dec 29 — Mr D.D. Thakur, Chairman, Zila Parishad, today said that vested interests were not allowing the Panchayati Raj Institutions to function in accordance with the Article 243(G) of the Constitution

BJP 'using' CBI to harass political opponents
KANGRA, Dec. 29 — Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee Secretary and coordination committee member G S Bali alleged yesterday that the BJP Government was using the CBI as a tool to settle old scores with its political opponents.

Unidentified object sighted?
HAMIRPUR, Dec 29 — A comet-like glowing object came crashing from the sky and hit a plastic box in Mulana village of Hamirpur district last evening.This was stated here today by Mr Ajit Ram Sharma, who was a witness to the incident.

Plea to induct Virbhadra into CWC
MANDI, Dec 29 — The state conference of the Congress Seva Dal held here today decried the "vile attempts" being made by the BJP-HVC government to tarnish the image of the former Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh.

Recognition of college: MCI team in Kangra
KANGRA, Dec 29 — A team of the Medical Council of India (MCI) arrived here today to inspect Dr Rajinder Prasad Government Medical College, Tanda, tomorrow for its recognition.

Shanta denies factions in BJP
CHAMBA, Dec 29 — There are no factions in the Himachal unit of the BJP. Answering reporters' queries here today, Mr Shanta Kumar, MP, said: "I have no political interest in Himachal politics and I have already opted for the Centre".

 
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HP releases Rs 6 crore for apple growers
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Dec 29 — The Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal today announced the release of Rs 6 crore for making payments to apple growers whose fruit was procured under the market intervention scheme early this year.

The announcement was made at a rally organised by the growers of Shimla district at Kotkhai to thank the government for making adequate work arrangements for packing, transportation for marketing of apples during the season.

He said payment for apple procured in July and also dues pending since last year had already been settled. The arrears would be cleared now.

The Chief Minister assured that the government would make endeavour to set up apple based industries in the state to ensure remunerative price for growers and create employment opportunities for the youth.

He said the area under apple and other fruit cultivation had gone up in the past few years but the production had not increased proportionately which was a matter of concern. He said the government would ask scientists of Horticulture and Forestry University to study the problem and recommend appropriate steps to solve it.

Mr Dhumal alleged that the Congress government had played with the sentiments of the apple growers and did nothing for them. He said the release of the amount would also expose the disinformation campaign launched by some Congress leaders that the present government would not make payment for the apple procured.

The Chief Minister said his government had started work on the construction of a Kisan Bhavan at Delhi for the convenience of the fruit and vegetable growers on which Rs 1.81 crore would be spent.

Mr Dhumal urged the apple growers to diversify to avoid dependence only on one crop which could at time put them to hardships.

The Chief Minister said his government had given special attention to the construction of roads in the state and earmarked Rs 165 crore for the purpose.

He announced that the Gumma-Baggi road would be constructed under the rural infrastructure development fund scheme and added that more roads would be included under this scheme for the benefit of the apple growers.

Mr Narinder Bragta, Minister of State for Horticulture said it was for the first time that procurement centres were opened in time and cartons made available in plenty. He thanked the Chief Minister for granting Rs 3.05 crore for the revamp the HP Agro Packaging Industries. Which helped in the production of 44 lakh cartons this year. top


 

Shimla skating rink shrinking

SHIMLA, Dec 29 (ANI) — Rising population, urbanisation, environment pollution and shrinking green cover are threatening South Asia’s only open air natural skating rink in the hill resort of Shimla.

Shimla has been recording an average temperature of 15C in December, which experts say is very unusual. As a result, ice is melting, shrinking the area of the ice field in the rink.

Mr Balwan Singh, who has been associated with the ice-skating rink for nearly three decades, says the freezing process has been badly hampered due to a rise in the temperature.

"Earlier it was easy to maintain ice at the rink but now it is difficult with the cutting of trees and an increase in the number of people coming for skating and other games", Mr Balwan Singh says.

The ice-skating period has been reduced considerably since the nineties as there is not enough ice in the rink.

As against mid-November, the season now starts late in December.

The Himachal Pradesh Government is equally concerned over the rink which was established by the British in 1920.

The state government is planning to form a new sports policy under which it plans to have another rink and upgrade the existing one.

"Our priority is to being Himachal on a par with world standards in ice skating and skiing. We are also forming a new sports policy in this direction", says Praveen Sharma, Minister of Sports.

The ice-skating rink is one of the major tourists attractions to this state.top


 

More powers sought for Panchayati Raj bodies
From Our Correspondent

MANDI, Dec 29 — Mr D.D. Thakur, Chairman, Zila Parishad, today said that vested interests were not allowing the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to function in accordance with the Article 243(G) of the Constitution.

He said the 73rd Amendment had paved the way for the devolution of powers to the PRIs and the state governments had to make necessary provisions in this regard.

Mr Thakur, talking to mediapersons, alleged the politicians and bureaucrats were reluctant to hand over powers to the elected representatives of the PRIs.

He said despite the fact that the 11th Schedule of the Constitution had enlisted 29 items, which should be entrusted to the PRIs, only a few "unimportant" matters had been given, making a mockery of the Constitution. The prime objective of the people's participation in all development activities had, therefore, been betrayed, he said.

He called upon the Himachal Pradesh Government to follow the example of West Bengal where 50 per cent of the plan allocation had been handed over to the PRIs even before the 73rd Amendment. Another significant feature there was that the DRDA was headed by the Chairman of the Zila Parishad, he said.

Earlier, at a meeting of the Zila Parishad, members demanded that PRIs should be opened in the central zone also, as is in two other zones.top


 

Unidentified object sighted?
From Our Correspondent

HAMIRPUR, Dec 29 — A comet-like glowing object came crashing from the sky and hit a plastic box in Mulana village of Hamirpur district last evening. This was stated here today by Mr Ajit Ram Sharma, who was a witness to the incident.

He told mediapersons that he along with some members of his family were standing in front of their house, when they saw an unidentified object fall from the sky. He said the object was like a burning ball and came down at "supersonic speed" and fell into the plastic box which split into two. Ash of the object were found in the box. He showed the ash, which was grey in colour and looked like the ash offered by saints, to the reporters.

The incident has created curiosity as well as panic among people.top


 

HP minimum wage Rs 51
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Dec 29 — The Himachal Pradesh State Minimum Wages Advisory Board today recommended increase in daily wages of unskilled workers from Rs 42 to Rs 51, equivalent to Rs 1530 per month.

Mr Kishori Lal, Industries Minister, who presided over the meeting of the board, said the revised wages would be applicable to workers in 24 scheduled employments including agriculture and tea plantation, covered under the minimum wages. The enhanced wages act would come into effect from the new year and workers in tribal areas will get 25 per cent more.top


 

BJP 'using' CBI to harass political opponents
From Our Correspondent

KANGRA, Dec. 29 — Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee Secretary and coordination committee member G S Bali alleged yesterday that the BJP Government was using the CBI as a tool to settle old scores with its political opponents.

Addressing newspersons here he said that by initiating an inquiry and collecting evidence in 11 of the 43 cases against former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the CBI was committing contempt of court as most of the cases had already been settled by different courts while a few were pending disposal.

Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal has allegedly surrendered to his coalition partner, HVC chief Sukh Ram. Mr Dhumal had initiated inquiries against Mr Virbhadra Singh in order to save his government.

Mr Bali alleged that Congress leaders and workers were being harassed and forced to defect to the BJP.

He criticised the government for collecting Rs 100 each from 88,000 unemployed youths in the state for 150 posts lying vacant in Kangra Central Cooperative Bank.

He threatened of launching an agitation before the winter session if the government failed to control law and order and terrorism in the state.top


 

Plea to induct Virbhadra into CWC
From Our Correspondent

MANDI, Dec 29 — The state conference of the Congress Seva Dal held here today decried the "vile attempts" being made by the BJP-HVC government to tarnish the image of the former Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh.

Briefing newspersons, chief organiser, Baldev Thakur expressed surprise that HVC supremo, Sukh Ram who was involved in a number of corruption cases, was spearheading the demand for a CBI inquiry against Mr Virbhadra Singh.

By a resolution, the Seva Dal called upon Congress President Sonia Gandhi to induct Mr Virbhadra Singh into the Congress Working Committee. It also welcomed the decision to give 33 per cent representation to women.

Members also held a demonstration and a rally.top


 

Recognition of college: MCI team in Kangra
From Our Correspondent

KANGRA, Dec 29 — A team of the Medical Council of India (MCI) arrived here today to inspect Dr Rajinder Prasad Government Medical College, Tanda, tomorrow for its recognition.

Himachal Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda also arrived here today and visited the college along with Health Secretary Mukesh Khanna.

He said the government was committed to set up an Apollo Hospital at Palampur.

Mr Nadda said the Health Department was eager to consolidate the present health care network rather than expand it.

He said all Chief Medical Officers, had been asked to submit reports regarding the requirements to consolidate health Institutions.top


 

Shanta denies factions in BJP
From Our Correspondent

CHAMBA, Dec 29 — There are no factions in the Himachal unit of the BJP. Answering reporters' queries here today, Mr Shanta Kumar, MP, said: "I have no political interest in Himachal politics and I have already opted for the Centre".

Mr Shanta Kumar further said the BJP-led coalition government in Himachal is ours and I have no clash with Dhumal over any issue. Reports appearing in a section of the Press were imaginary, he added.

Mr Shanta Kumar said a legislation about a broad consensus on the issue of stability of Lok Sabha for its five-year term was expected to be tabled in Parliament in the next session.top


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