|H I M A C H A L
P R A D E S H
Sunday, February 7, 1999
Uniformity in deputation
yew drying up
to visit Delhi
course starts in Lahaul district
secretary flays district administration
in deputation policy demanded
SHIMLA, Feb 6 The Himachal State Electricity Board Project Engineers Association has urged the power board authorities to adopt uniformity in the deputation policy and resolve the issues concerning service conditions before considering applications for sending engineers on deputation to the National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC) for the execution of the Parbati project.
The association expressed surprise that while on the one hand the engineers, who had been selected for deputation in the Tala Project in Bhutan were not being relieved on the other applications had to be invited for deputation to the Parbati project.
It also expressed resentment over the terms of agreement under which all three stages of the Parbati project, including uninvestigated and incomplete investigated stages were to be entrusted to the NHPC for execution which was against the guidelines of the Government of India.
It demanded a clear-cut settlement of issues like equivalence between deputed board employees and the NHPC staff, waiving of ceiling on deputation, reversion and replacement policy to include the means of quick exchange of personnel and the formulation of transparent selection criteria.
Meanwhile, the Himachal Power Engineers Association has expressed concern over the government failure to create the necessary infrastructure for execution of electrical works in the Larji hydel project.
It pointed out that so far even the electrical construction circle for the project, which was stated to be completed by 2002, had not been set up. Any further delay in the matter would affect the commissioning of the project on schedule. It urged the Chief Minister to direct the state power board to depute the necessary staff to carry out construction activity on the electrical side.
The association also expressed concern over the non filling of vacant posts in the electrical engineers cadre. A post each of Chief Engineer and Superintending Engineer and several slots of Executive Engineer and Assistant Engineers had been vacant for quite some time now. Even posts in the NJPC which had to be filled on a secondment basis had been lying vacant. The association apprehended that if the vacant posts were not filled forthwith, the NJPC might abolish them.
The cadre of electrical
engineers was facing acute stagnation and Executive
Engineers with 28 years of service were still awaiting
promotion. Any delay in filling of posts would further
yew drying up
SHIMLA, Feb 6 The Himachal Government's decision to allow the collection and export of leaves of Himalayan yew, which is being exploited by pharmaceutical companies to manufacture medicines for treating cancer, has proved fatal for endangered species.
Over the past three years, thousands of yew trees have dried up in various parts of the state. For instance, over 920 trees have dried up in a 5 km stretch along the Khirki-Chopal road. The local Divisional Manager of the Forest Corporation has brought this to the notice of the high-ups in the Forest Department. According to officials, several trees have dried in the higher ranges of Chopal, Khara-Pathar, Khadrala and Rohru areas which have the maximum concentration of yew. Such reports have also come from higher reaches of Karsog in Mandi and areas like Jalori in Kulu district.
The government had in 1995 announced that it would not give permission for the exploitation of endangered species like dioscorea and Himalayan yew. However, it reversed the decision and allowed the collection and export of yew leaves the following year.
Although the government imposed certain restrictions and conditions which stipulated that the leaves would be collected from the trees which were more than a metre in girth and that the plucking be confined to lower one-thirds of the crown. Besides, the leaves were to be plucked without causing any damage to branches. In case a branch had to be cut on silvicultural considerations, its thickness should not exceed that of a finger.
However, as there were very few trees with a 1 metre girth, younger trees were subjected to intensive lopping, causing much damage to them.
Since the natural reserves of medium-sized trees are found at an altitude of 8,000 to 11,000 feet in secluded interior pockets, the forest officials are in no position to exercise control over the operations.
Although the government did not permit further exploitation of yew trees this season, irreparable damage had already been done.
"Taxus baccata" to botanists, the Himalayan yew has been in great demand as it yields "taxol", an anti-cancer agent which is highly effective in treating the cancer of breast and uterus. The leaves of the plant were traditionally used for medicinal purposes but it never faced extinction. The situation changed in recent years after the multinational companies, which have already exhausted the reserves of "taxus brivifolia" (American yew), started using Himalayan yew to extract "taxol".
As compared to American yew, which has 0.006 per cent of taxol", the Himalayan yew has only 0.001 per cent. Consequently, the natural reserves of this species are depleting at an alarming rate.
feature is that the natural regeneration of this
slow-growing species is poor. While scientists at the
G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment at Almora
have used tissue culture methods to produce saplings,
replenishing the depleted reserves in the high altitude
areas is difficult.
needs telecom centre
KANGRA: Kangra, a famous pilgrimage, tourist, business and educational centre, is craving for a telecom centre.
Lakhs of pilgrims who visit famous Bajreshwari temple, one of the 52 shaktipeeths, national and international tourists who visit tourist resorts in and around Kangra, government officials suffer for want of a telecom centre. There is a telegraph centre manned by two postal employees with telecom equipment of the Telecommunication Department. The two employees are under the control of the Postal Department but the equipment and machinery is looked after by the Telecom Department.
Lack of coordination most of the time between the postal employees running the telegraph centre and telecommunication department officials puts the common man in the dock. Once at the time of power failure the generator was not used for nearly four years under the pretext that it was not working. The generator was replaced within no time by the telecom authorities when they were approached by mediapersons. But it was not being used for want of kerosene.
Former Communications Minister Sukh Ram announced to set up a telecom centre for this town but nearly five years have passed but the orders have not been implemented.
The telegraph centre is open on Sundays and holidays between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. whereas the telecom centre has to remain open up to 3 p.m.
General Manager (Telecommunications) OP Shika when contacted said it was for want of adequate staff that the telecom centre couldn't be set up here and assured that in case of urgency the department would set up one.
The Vivekananda Kendra, a spiritually-oriented service mission with headquarters at Kanyakumari, recently organised free coaching classes for plus one and plus two students in Kangra town for more than two months. They were taught by 18 professors of the local DAV college.
Kendra's Kangra branch got a blood donors directory 'released by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr BK Agrawal, on the occasion of the Vivekananda Jayanti. Nearly 400 blood donors have registered their names in this directory.
The kendra is setting up a library in the town to inculcate moral values among the younger generation.
More than 1100 private and government buses pass through this pilgrim town daily. Besides, nearly 900 light vehicles and trucks and goods carriers enter this town but there is no parking place.
No parking place has so far been identified, thus tourists, pilgrims and residents suffer for want of a parking place. Pilgrims and tourists leave their vehicles parked outside the municipal stadium and municipality office near Nehru Chowk resulting in traffic jams.
A piece of land which was earlier identified for the construction of an auditorium and a shopping complex was later on converted into a turning point for Pathankot buses, it is now being used as a parking place by taxis, auto-rickshaws and a few private visitors. The pilgrims visit the town throughout the year but during "navratras" parking of vehicles becomes impossible because of heavy rush.
The local Rotary Club
which adopted a school on the outskirts of the town got a
latrine constructed with the help of a nationalised bank.
The club organised a medical camp at Bagli and Galian and
distributed blankets among the poor at Palampur.
SHIMLA, Feb 6 (PTI) The Himachal Pradesh Government today clarified that the revised pay role saving scheme was neither new nor mandatory and was started by the Union Government in 1977.
In a statement issued here today, the Director of Small Savings, Mr Nand Lal Sharma, said the main objective of the scheme was to enable the employees to deposit a fixed amount in the small savings without any inconvenience.
He said the scheme was voluntary and the employees of the state government, public undertakings and private sector could opt for the scheme and allow deduction of a fixed amount every month from their salary at the source.
SHIMLA, Feb 6 Mr J.P. Nadda, Health Minister, will visit Delhi on February 8 to take up the issue of the grant of recognition to the local Government Dental College with the Union Ministry of Health.
The Health Minister urged the students to give up the course of agitation and assured them that the government would make all efforts to get recognition for the college at the earliest.
He said the previous Congress government had played a fraud on students by opening Dental College and Tanda Medical College without securing the mandatory approval of the Centre.
course starts in Lahaul district
SHIMLA, Feb 6 A seven-day skiing course was started at Shakas nullah today in the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti.
This course was introduced by the Great Himalayan Adventure Sports Association, Sumnam.
As many as 20 youth are participating in the course which has been sponsored by the Nehru Yuvak Kendra.
secretary flays district administration
MANDI, Feb 6 Mr Ashok Vaidya, district Secretary and state member of the CPM, today alleged that a politician of the district was exercising "undue influence" on the district administration and forcing it to take decisions which were "not in public interest".
Talking to the mediapersons he said Rs 12 lakh had been earmarked for the beautification of the historic Sunken Garden where a fountain was to be installed. He regretted that the proposed venue of the fountain had been shifted. This had led to road congestion near the premises of the Seri Pavilion.
The loading and unloading of the trucks near the hotel of the politician concerned had been shifted to Seri Manch, despite public protests.
He said the condition of the local regional hospital had worsened for want of doctors and staff. Roads of the town were in bad shape and the new sewerage system was not satisfactory.
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