|H I M A C H A L
P R A D E S H
Thursday, February 25, 1999
factions quarrel over poll
apple products on growers
plan chief warns officers
to shift office decried
visit 'historic', says HP Speaker
DHARAMSALA: Instead of combating militancy, which is trying to spread its tentacles in the peaceful environs of Himachal Pradesh, leaders of various political parties are trying to politicise the issue.
Immediately after the massacre of 35 persons at Kala Ban and Satrundi in the Tissa area of Chamba on August 2 last year, both the BJP as well as the Congress did not miss out on an opportunity to blame each other for the incident. The Congress drew pleasure in the fact that the biggest carnage in Himachal by the militants took place during the BJP regime. On the other hand BJP leaders said it was due to inadequate security measures taken by the Congress that resulted in the biggest-ever strike by Jammu and Kashmir militants in the state.
One of the alleged abettors in the massacre, Sharif Muhammad, who is lodged in a Chamba jail, was labelled a Congressman by some, while others called him pro-BJP. Sharif, a resident of Jalla village in the Kehar area, had gone back with the militants to Jammu and Kashmir, and had returned later. Since then he has been in custody, but political leaders continue to encash the issue by linking him to a particular party.
The Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr Sat Mahajan, has raked up a fresh controversy by alleging that BJP men in Chamba were giving protection to those who were helping the militants. Mr Mahajan, when contacted, said he stood by what he had said, but at the same time demanded a probe by an independent agency like the Intelligence Bureau. "I will prove what I have said by placing the facts before the IB," he said. Mr Mahajan said he had said this on the basis of the information supplied to him by his workers.
On the other hand, the state BJP President, Mr Suresh Chandel, reacting sharply to the allegations of Mr Mahajan criticised him for levelling such wild charges. He demanded that Mr Mahajan should come out with the names of those who were involved in the heinous crime of helping the militants.
After the massacre it was suspected that Gujjars of Tissa and Kehar acted as local guides and informers to the militants. The Gujjars, who apart from the Gaddis, are the only ones to roam the area where militants come searching for safe hideouts. They were even accused of supplying ration and information about the movement of the police. In fact, the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, had said that involvement of some of the local Gujjars in the massacre had been established.
However, it is being felt that a sensitive issue like militancy should not be politicised by leaders for their vested interests. On the contrary, rising above political considerations, the leaders of the state should demand more funds and equipment from the Centre for crushing the spread of militancy in Himachal.
factions quarrel over poll
SHIMLA, Feb 24 In a surprise move the dominant faction of the H.P. Non-gazetted Employees Federation led by Mr Gopal Dass Verma, has fixed organisational elections for April 21 to be held at Bilaspur.
Mr Verma, who is president of the federation, had earlier said in the court that the elections would be held before May 3.
Mr M.R. Sangroli, secretary general of the federation, issued a notification today fixing a meeting of the general council for April 20 and 21 at Bilaspur. This will be followed by organisational elections.
Mr Verma made it clear that certain elements were trying to mislead delegates by claiming that the election will be held as per the previous schedule on February 26 and 27.
Mr Ganga Singh, president of the Shimla unit of the federation, has however claimed that elections to the state body will be held as per the previously fixed schedule on February 26 and 27 at Bilaspur.
In a related development the Himachal Pradesh Urban Local Bodies Employees Federation has expressed concern at intensification of the factional fight in the non-gazetted services federation and warned the warring leaders that the employees would not spare those who sabotaged their cause.
Mr Kishori Lal Sharma, chairman of the federation, said representatives of the employees had not been performing their duty towards the employees nor functioning in accordance with the constitution of the federation. He said increasing differences among the leaders were mainly responsible for the non-release of financial benefits to the employees running into lakhs of rupees.
"foisting" apple products on growers
KUMARSAIN, Feb 24 The Pragateesheel Kisan Sangh, here has criticised the Himachal Government for backing out from its decision of giving full payment to apple growers. Due to a bad crop this year most of the ungradable apple was procured by the government under the market intervention scheme.
Mr Jai Chand Singha, general secretary of the sangh disclosed that now the government was forcing growers to buy by-products of apple, like juice, jam and wine etc. manufactured by the HPMC. Every grower has to buy, the products of at least three per cent of his payment.
Himfed, one procuring agency is giving cheques for full payments to growers but taking three per cent of it in cash from them. Another agency HPMC has accounted for three per cent of the payment in cheques itself.
This payment for the culled fruit is coming for August. Already but by delayed payments the growers are now forced to take this though there is great resentment among them.
Mr Jai Chand, and some other growers have given notice to these agencies and after the ultimatum they are moving the consumer court. Poor growers are dependent on this payment alone as they had to repay bank loans and by the orchard inputs. They have sold their entire produce to the government this year.
Even big growers do not want the juice and wine as they crush fresh fruit for this. The government should sell the juice in the open market instead of forcing it on poor growers, he says.
The government has not
started making payment at places like Chopal which
remains under snow for a long time and growers here have
no money for stocking rations and other needed goods,
says Sohan Singh, a farmer from Chopal.
CHAMBA, Feb 24 Laxity in the implementation of 20-point economic programme will not be tolerated and the government officials and employees found wanting in the execution of this programme would be made accountable.
Addressing reporters at Chamba yesterday, Mr K.D. Dharmani, vice-chairman of the 20-point programme implementation committee of Himachal warned that the officers and employees with poor performance in achieving targets of the programme would be dealt with sternly.
Mr Dharmani stated the state-level committee would review the progress of the programme at the panchayat-level. The programme was launched for the uplift of the down-trodden and uneligible beneficiaries would be struck off from the list.
Mr Dharmani said certain departments of Chamba district such as Horticulture, Health Department and Irrigation-cum-Public Health Department have been found to be lax in the implementation of the programme.
He informed that Rs 2.26 crore were being spent on the construction of 1101 houses under Gandhi Kutir Yojana and 214 houses under Indira Awas Yojna to be completed by March 31.
Mr Dharmani added that
during this year 30,000 Scheduled Caste and 4250
Scheduled tribe families would be benefited in the state,
30,000 hectare of land would be brought under
afforestation, 37,500 slums would be improved, 4600
anganwari centres be opened and 1.42 lakh children
shift office decried
DHARAMSALA, Feb 24 A former IPH minister and MLA from Guler, Mr Chander Kumar, today accused the BJP government of trying to appease the party MLAs without bothering about the financial implications and inconvenience being caused to the public.
Addressing a press conference here today, he alleged that all the government was doing inaugurating incomplete schemes and shifting offices from one place to another. "If they cannot open new schemes, at least they should not shift offices from one place to another," he said. He claimed that the Chief Minister had inaugurated the incomplete building of Jwali police station and hospital, whereas at one time the BJP had accused the Congress of doing so.
He criticised the government's decision of shifting the office of the DC, Relief and Rehabilitation (Pong Dam) and the Land Acquisition Office from Talwara to Raja ka Talab as it would not only cause a lot of inconvenience to the public, but also put a financial burden on the government. Earlier, the BBMB was bearing the entire establishment cost of these offices, but after being shifted, the financial burden would have to be borne by the state government, he added.
The Congress leader said the future of the 50 students in Tanda Medical College was uncertain and the government was silent on the issue. He accused the BJP government of not pleading the case properly with the Centre.
'historic', says HP Speaker
MANDI, Feb 24 The Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Gulab Singh, today described the visit of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to Pakistan as "historic" and expressed confidence that it would usher in a new era of "friendship and mutual goodwill" between the two countries which had been hostile to each other since partition.
Mr Gulab Singh, this evening said here today that the visit had exposed the "real secular image" of the Prime Minister to the outside world.
He said the Lahore summit had proved that the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan were capable of solving their problems without any third-party intervention.
He added that friendship between the two countries would prove a big boon for the two which were at present spending huge amounts on defence. He said barring some fundamental elements in both countries, the vast majority of people wanted peace and friendship.
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