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Sunday, November 7, 1999
BJP mismanaging PDS: Cong
Quota house for
Bee-keeping camp concludes
State welcome to Pope resented
BJP mismanaging PDS: Cong
SOLAN, Nov 6 The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Sat Mahajan, today voiced his concern over what he called gross mismanagement of the public distribution system, reckless expenditure on luxuries, politically motivated transfers and favouritism in the allotment of PWD tenders by the state government.
Mr Mahajan, who addressed a press conference here, charged the state government with making a mess of the public distribution system 'so painstakingly built by the previous Congress governments'. He said prices of essential commodities like wheat flour and rice under the PDS higher than those prevailing in the open market.
This has put burden on the common man.
On top of it the BJP-led Union Government was talking of discontinuing food subsidies and delisting several commodities from the PDS and that too amid reports of passing of fiscal benefits to the tune of Rs 2,200 crore to the sugar lobby".
He accused the present Dhumal government of leading the state towards financial bankruptcy. On one hand it was crying hoarse over the financial crunch 'inherited' by it from the previous government and on the other it was spending crores of rupees in buying new cars for it's functionaries and needlessly transferring thousand of employees to distant places causing avoidable expenditure.
The government's recent proposal to shift a large number of public sector corporations to other towns would also entail heavy, avoidable expenditure.
The government's decision to tide over its current financial crunch by borrowing over Rs 600 crore from banks and similar institutions would only add to its financial problems.
Expressing fears of the state being led to 'financial liquidation', Mr Mahajan called for an all party effort at hammering out a joint strategy aimed at solving the state's financial crunch. Such a move could be taken up on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha. He said the Congress was all in favour of tapping the state's hydel power potential.
The HPCC chief alleged that the government had practically discontinued the policy of maintaining transparency in the allotment of tenders against the proposed public works and government purchases. He said most of the government works were being allotted to BJP men through the channel of underhand, "so called negotiations".
Mr Mahajan also charged the Dhumal government with promoting 'a new culture of encroachments of public lands. Already lands valued at crores of rupees had been encroached upon in and around Shimla and it was feared that all such cases would be regularised soon.
Himachal introduces crop insurance
SHIMLA, Nov 6 (UNI) The Himachal government has introduced national agriculture crop insurance scheme in the state from rabi 1999-2000 to provide insurance coverage to farmers in the event of failure of crops as a result of natural calamities, pests and diseases.
Under this insurance scheme, crops viz wheat, barley in rabi season and maize, paddy and potato in kharif season would be covered according to a spokesman of the Agriculture Department here today.
The premium of crop insurance in respect of small and marginal farmers had been subsidised to 50 per cent. The scheme is compulsory for the crop loanee farmers but optional for the non-loanee farmers.
The premium in respect of wheat crop would be 1.5 per cent of the sum insured.
The spokesman said in order to operationalise the scheme, a meeting of the state-level co-ordination committee on crop insurance had been conducted under the chairmanship of Financial Commissioner-cum-Secretary (Agriculture) Dev Swaroop, in which representative from the General Insurance Corporation and administrative departments concerned and institutions participated.
The insurance scheme would be implemented by the General Insurance Corporation in collaboration with the financial institutions like state co-operative banks and other nationalised banks.
The spokesman said that this crop insurance scheme would encourage farmers to adopt progressive farming practices, high value inputs and higher technology in agriculture besides stabilising farm incomes particularly in disaster years.
HP Raj Bhavan opens to
SHIMLA, Nov 6 Raj Bhavan here was thrown open to the public today when the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, inaugurate "Himachal Darshan" exhibition and Mr B.K. Nehru, a former Governor, opened, a Red Cross mela on its premises.
The idea behind opening Raj Bhavan for the public was that of the Governor, Mrs V.S. Rama Devi.
An exhibition on Kargil action and Pakistan weapons recovered by Indian soldiers was also organised.
The Chief Justice of the High Court, Mr Justice D. Raju, Lieut Gen H.B. Kala, GOC-in-C, Army Training command, the Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, the PWD Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, and the Forest Minister, Mr Roop Singh, on the occasion.
Officers of the 5 Dogra Regiment, who put up the exhibition, conducted visitors around the Kargil gallery where automatic grenade launchers captured from Pakistanis at Tiger Hill and machine guns seized at Tololing Hill were exhibited.
Excerpts from the personal diary of Lt Mohammad Muazullah Khan Sumbal of 8 northern Light (Pak) Infantry which was recovered from point 4812 in the Batalik sector were also displayed.
Quota house for martyrs father
SHIMLA, Nov 6 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Housing Board has decided to allot a house, at Concessional rates at Palampur in Kangra district, to Mr G L Batra, father of late Captain Vikram Batra who sacrificed his life fighting Pakistani intruders in Kargil.
This decision was taken at a board meeting held here yesterday, which was presided by its Chairman R D Kashyap and attended among others by Vice-Chairman Ganesh Dutt.
The Board also decided to give gratuity to its work-charged employees.
It approved to raise Rs 7.03 crore loan for the construction housing colony at Nalagarh and Rs 45 crore for the construction of housing colony at Basal in Solan district, from the National Housing Bank.
The board also approved the proposals to raise a loan of Rs 30 crore from HUDCO for construction of rental housing at sub divisional headquarters for government employees.
For creation of land Bank, the board approved the proposals for purchase of land at Shimla, Parwanoo, Hamirpur and Una. It approved the proposal for the construction of 95 houses at Nalagarh at a cost of Rs 6.83 crore.
The chairman stressed the need for quality control and timely completion of the projects so that there was no increase in the cost of construction.
Bee-keeping camp concludes
KULU, Nov 6 Bee-keeping was not only the source of honey but also provides the best polliniser of the farmers in general and the orchardists, in particular. This was stated by Dr R.C. Mishra, Project Coordinator, All-India Coordinated Research Project (Honeybees), Hisar, while presiding over the 10-day Beekeeping training camp concluding function.
He said Rs 21 crore had been remarked for bee-keeping in the Ninth Five Yeae plan. Himachal Pradesh could be allocated Rs 2 crore provided the Department of Horticulture made efforts to utilise the funds and submit detailed plans.
Dr J.R. Thakur, Associate Director, Regional Horticulture Research Station, Bajaura, said the excessive spraying of fruit bearing trees in the region had made extensive damage to bees during the past five years. He said this aspect of danger has to be considered seriously.
State welcome to Pope resented
SOLAN, Nov 6 Shri Jagatguru Shankracharya of Madhwashram Jyotishpithadhishwar in Uttar Pradesh said here yesterday that the red carpet welcome and state honours that would be accorded by the union government to the Pope was tantamount to negation of secularism, a basic tenent of our Constitution.
The Shankracharya , who made a brief halt here on his way to Kandaghat told newspersons that he felt it was wrong for a government to receive the head of a particular religion in this manner.
He said he would not have objected had the Pope chosen to visit India in his religious capacity.
Asked whether it was not
a fact that the Pope besides being a religious leader was
also the head of the state of Vatican and as such
deserved welcome due to a visiting head of state, he said
the Pope had not come here to discuss state matters.
"His visit is basically aimed at giving a boost to
Christianity", he said adding that it was not the
first visit of a Pope to India. He was not given a state
welcome on his earlier visit.
Kangra experiences snowfall
KANGRA, Nov 6 Heavy rain lashed the Kangra valley and the Dhauladar ranges experienced the reason's first heavy snowfall today, dropping down the temperature.
Dhauladhar ranges have
been experiencing snowfall since last evening and
intermittently today. The cold winds with high velocity
were experienced in the valley but the cold weather did
not dampen the enthusiasm of the people for the
preparations for Divali.
8 gamblers arrested
KANGRA, Nov 6 The police today arrested eight gamblers during a raid conducted on a gambling den at Nagrota Surian and seized Rs 16,460.
Saach Pass closed till May
CHAMBA, Nov 6 Saach Pass at an altitude of 4,390 metres in this district has been closed for pedestrians following heavy snowfall.
According to sources, the pass will remain closed till May.
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