|H I M A C H A L
P R A D E S H
Sunday, April 11, 1999
Bungling led to
civic body losses
Mankotia flays Centre
Implement report on temples: Swami
Federation plea to CM
Mayor welcomes inquiry into MC
DCC's concern over water shortage
Bungling led to civic body
SHIMLA, April 10 The local Municipal Corporation has suffered losses running into lakhs of rupees on account of irregular and arbitrary allotment of shops and injudicious expenditure.
Giving details of the irregularities during the past five years, Mr Kishori Lal, Industries Minister, and Mr Roop Das Kashyap, Minister for Urban Development, said the corporation had suffered a loss of Rs 24.44 lakh in leasing out an ice cream parlour on the Ridge as it ignored the highest bid of Rs 9000 per month and gave it at the rate of Rs 5000 per month.
The ministers said due to irregular and arbitrarily allotment of shops between January, 1993 and March, 1997, the corporation had suffered a loss of Rs 10.32 lakh as 16 shops and stalls were allotted on the recommendations of the then Chief Minister, ministers and the Mayor in which neither offers were invited nor proper rent accrued. These shops and stalls located at prime sites were allotted at throwaway prices.
They said that injudicious expenditure on a corner house also led to a heavy loss to the corporation.
Against the original estimate of Rs 8.38 lakh, an expenditure of Rs 26.01 lakh was incurred without any budgetary provision which was a grave misuse of public money.
The corporation allotted work for the construction of a parking place in the reserve forest without entering into any agreement and also without the approval of the state government and the Centre.
The ministers alleged that the decision to recall the Commissioner had been taken at the meeting of the District Congress Committee by issuing a whip. The move was an excuse to divert the attention of people from the infighting among the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and Councillors of the corporation.
This was also clear from the fact that neither had the Commissioner been asked to explain the lapses, if any, nor was it brought to the notice of the government that the conduct of the Commissioner was not satisfactory.
Besides, they also feared the exposure of the irregularities committed during the Congress regime.
In view of these facts, the government was not bound to accept the resolution, especially, when it was not in public interest.
Senior Congress leaders held
SOLAN, April 10 Senior Congress leaders, including former minister Vijendra Singh, Jagmohan Malhotra, General Secretary of the District Congress Committee (DCC), and Asim Sharma, President of the District Youth Congress, were arrested yesterday on a charge of obstructing traffic at Nalagarh on March 1.
The DCC had organised rallies on that day as part of their state-level programme of protests against the recent hike in electricity tariffs and deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
Mr Jagmohan Malhotra
told mediapersons here today that the police arrested
them after nearly 40 days of the so-called offence of
blocking traffic during his party's peaceful protest. He
said all leaders were released after each one of them
furnished a surety bond of Rs 5,000.
Mankotia flays Centre
DHARAMSALA, April 10 Former Tourism Minister Vijai Singh Mankotia, who is also the state president of the Ex-servicemen's League, today criticised the Centre for having politicised the Bhagwat issue.
Addressing a district-level meeting of the league here today, he said it was unfortunate that instead of dealing with the issue of the dismissal of Admiral Bhagwat as per the defence rules, the government chose to politicise it. "The government should never interfere in defence matters and if at all the need arises there are methods like a court martial" he pointed out.
Mr Mankotia announced that members of the league would meet again on May 1 to adopt a resolution in favour of Admiral Bhagwat. The resolution criticising the government action, shall be sent to the President one through the Governor.
Mr Mankotia demanded the
implementation of the principle of one rank one pension.
He said all those ex-servicemen who were being given
medical allowance should be entitled to avail OPD
facilities at military hospitals. He further demanded
that there should be a special budgetary provision for
providing medical facilities to the ex-servicemen, along
with free treatment for their families at civil
Chalk out plan for HP's share:
SOLAN, April 10 The state unit of the Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) has asked the Himachal Pradesh Government to convene an all-party meeting to chalk out a joint strategy for securing its "due share in Chandigarh and some power projects like Bhakra Nangal under the relevant provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966."
The Senior Vice-President of the SJP here, Mr Kul Rakesh Pant, told mediapersons here today that such a step would be in conformity with the spirit of the resolution moved in this connection by the late Y.S. Parmar in the Vidhan Sabha on February 19,1970, and which was unanimously adopted.
Mr Pant took this opportunity to chide Mr Suresh Chandel, President of the state unit of the BJP, who had recently claimed that his party was the first to have staked the state's claim in Chandigarh and certain power projects that were operative in undivided Punjab.
Putting the records straight, Mr Pant said that it was his party that had launched a movement for securing Himachal's rights before anybody else.
He added that he in his
capacity as the state president of the Yuva Janata then
had convened an all-party meeting for this specific
purpose on January 1, 1986, when it had been decided that
Chandigarh would be handed over to Punjab. Mr Pant said
is was still not too late to wage a common struggle for
securing the state's rights and suggested that all
parties should join hands for the purpose.
13 houses gutted
CHAMBA, April 10 Thirteen houses were burnt to ashes and six livestock perished in a fire which broke out in Dhanala village, 28 km from Killar, in this district on April 7.
Giving this information today, Mr RD Nazeen, Resident Commissioner of Pangi, said loss of about Rs 13 lakh had been estimated and that a team of revenue officials led by the local Subdivisional Magistrate visited the site and distributed an immediate relief of Rs 1500 each among 13 families.
Implement report on temples: Swami
SHIMLA, April 10 Swami Krishnanand, President of the Hindu Mahasangh, has demanded the implementation of the report regarding the streamlining of temples in Himachal Pradesh which was prepared by the former Lokayukata, Mr Justice P.C. Balakrishna Menon.
Swami Krishnanand yesterday said the functioning in the temples, which were taken over by the government, was going from bad to worse.
He urged the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, to order a special audit of the accounts of the temples, particularly the shrines at Jawalamukhi, Chintpurni, Baba Balaknath and Chamunda Devi where the offerings were in lakhs of rupees.
He demanded a complete ban on meat and fish in the temple areas.
Federation plea to CM
KULU, April 10 The Himachal Pradesh Timber Extraction Federation has decided not to file tenders for the labour supply to the Forest Corporation in the state until the Government accepts their demands.
The federation president, Mr Jog Dhiman, warned the Government that the commercial and fuel wood cutting work would be stopped if the Government did not consider their demands. Their demands include the employees provident fund for casual labour and stipulation of 2 per cent penalty on the delayed work.
Mayor welcomes inquiry into MC
SHIMLA, April 10 The tussle between the Congress-controlled Shimla Municipal Corporation and the BJP government took a new turn yesterday with the Mayor, Mr Manoj Kumar, asking the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, not to be misled by certain officers regarding the functioning of the elected civic body.
In a statement here yesterday, Mr Manoj Kumar said that he would welcome an inquiry by a sitting judge of the high court into the functioning of the municipal corporation to set the misgivings to rest.
He said that he and other elected councillors would fully cooperate with such an inquiry.
The mayor alleged that the commissioner of the municipal Corporation, whose recall has been demanded by the councillors through a resolution, was trying to mislead the Chief Minister.
He said that the remarks of the Chief Minister pointing out irregularities in the municipal corporation were politically motivated.
He denied any irregularities in the corporation saying an attempt was being made to politicise the demand for removal of the commissioner of the municipal corporation.
The mayor alleged that the commissioner had not sought the approval of the house to spend a grant of Rs 7.50 crores provided by the NORAD project for development of the town.
He stressed that removal of the commissioner was mandatory for the government.
DCC's concern over water
HAMIRPUR, April 10 The District Congress Committee (DCC) has expressed its concern over the shortage of drinking water in various parts of the area. People are facing an acute water shortage but the administration and the state government is sleeping over it, Mr Suresh Kumar, DCC chief, said.
He was talking to reporters here today after the meeting of the DCC. He said the members were of the view that the water shortage was due to the mismanagement on part of the state government to handle the water supply schemes. The party sought timely efforts to be started.
They asked the Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, to clarify why less posts of vidya upasaks were being created for Hamirpur district as compared to other districts of the state. They added that the new government had announced filling up of 104 posts of vidya upasaks from Hamirpur and 700 from Mandi district.
It was the first meeting of the newly constituted DCC.
He called upon the party cadre to expose the ruling party for its failure to deliver goods to the people of the state.
Joshi's death mourned
BILASPUR, April 10
The Himachal Pradesh State Journalists Federation
has mourned the death of veteran journalist R.C. Joshi of
Nahan. It paid tributes to his fearlessness, commitment
towards society and persistent spirit to fight against
17 houses gutted by fire
KANGRA, April 10 Seventeen houses were gutted in a devastating fire in Malan Lohardi village of Baijnath sub-division of this district on Wednesday last, according to a delayed police report received here yesterday.
A fire in a local forest near Malan Lohardi village engulfed houses of the village leaving at least 17 of them burnt to ashes.
Three head of cattle also perished in the fire.
Senior officer reached the spot and distributed Rs 2000 as ex gratia relief to the each of the fire victim's family.
The number of the forest
fires in this district were alarmingly increasing
endangering residential areas. In Kangra town, Mandir
Mohalla was saved twice by the residents this week from
getting into the flames.
Watchman denied salary
BILASPUR, April 10 Mr Chatar Singh, a chowkidar in the Irrigation-cum-Public Health Department, at Ghumarwin, near here, has not been paid salary for the past even months and his family is virtually on the verge of starvation.
In a detailed representation given to the Chief Minister, Mr Chatar Singh has demanded an inquiry into the withholding of his salary and suitable action against persons responsible for this.
Mr Chatar Singh said he
was being victimised because he had repeatedly demanded
that his government quarter should be handed over to him
which had been unauthorisedly occupied by the Office
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