|H I M A C H A L
P R A D E S H
Monday, September 20, 1999
Insects problem in Shimla
Cong speaking Pak
IYC seeks probe into sugar import
Shanta questions Sonia's
Dhumal accepts challenge
Cop washed away in flashflood
Dhumal failed to take up
issues with Punjab
'Bid to sabotage' Sonia's rally
"No rift" in HP BJP
Sukh Rams charge against
Sonia to visit Shimla today
Changer belt "ignored"
Insects problem in Shimla
SHIMLA, Sept 19 Residents here are these days faced with the unprecedented problem of insects which have swarmed most parts of the town.
The most affected areas are the Ridge, the Mall, Lower bazar and Lakkar Bazar, which are the hub of activity here.
These insects have invaded the historic church and the fashionable Mall in particular. they swarm around the lights in the evening.
The walls of the church are covered with the insects during the day and they start flying around after the sunset. It has become impossible to walk outside the church as the insects, which look like small butterflies, virtually stick to one's clothes.
Inmates of Snowdon Hospital are also troubled by the insects which enter the wards when lights are switched on.
The road outside the church has turned grey with hundreds of the insects getting crushed every day. Show windows of the shops on the Mall and Lower Bazar are full of these insects.
Oldtimers say such insects are seen only during the rainy season, but this time they have come out in large numbers. The insects keep flying in the areas, particularly where mercury lamps have been installed.
Modis posers to Sonia
SHIMLA, Sept 19 Mr Narinder Modi, General Secretary of the BJP, has posed four questions to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, on the eve of her visit to the state for campaigning.
Mr Modi said the Congress President must tell the people that having spent two-thirds of her life as an Italian citizen whether or not she loved Italy, if not, why?
The second question pertained to Mrs Gandhis reported statement that she would die in India and her body would be taken to Italy. Mr Modi asked Mrs Gandhi to give reasons why she wanted her body to be taken to Italy?
He said the criticism of Mrs Gandhi on various counts by political parties was being termed as an insult to the women of the country by Congressmen. It was time Mrs Gandhi made her views on the incidents like the alleged rape of a Dalit woman at the Congress office in Lucknow and the burning of Naina Sahni in a Tandoor by a Congress leader, he said.
Finally, he asked her what was the Congress government doing when arms were dropped at Puralia.
Mr Modi alleged that successive Congress governments compromised on the countrys security and slashed the defence budget under pressure from the International Monetary fund (IMF) ignoring the warnings of experts.
He said from 1991 to 1996, the defence sector had been the main casualty of the lopsided policies of the Congress government which gave an undertaking to the IMF to cut down the defence expenditure and treat it as a non-crucial sector. Consequently, the security forces were starved of arms and equipment.
He said the negative stand of the Congress during the Kargil war demoralised the armed forces and served the interests of Pakistan.
Mr Modi reminded that it
was the Congress which gave back the strategic heights
captured by Indian jawans in Kargil in 1965 and 1971. It
also surrendered 83,100 sq km of territory to Pakistan in
1948 and 38,000 sq km to China in 1962.
BJP pursuing hidden agenda:
SHIMLA, Sept 19 The AICC General Secretary, Mr R.K. Dhawan, has said the BJP was pursuing a "hidden" agenda after having completely dropped its manifesto under the pressure of its allies.
Mr Dhawan, who was talking to mediapersons here today, said the electorate was aware that the BJP had been changing its agenda in every election and dropping the issues raised in the previous election. The BJP never fulfilled its election promises he alleged.
He said the BJP did not knew the art of governance and had provided the most unstable government during the past 15 months. He claimed that the Congress would form the government at the Centre as the people were fed up with the BJP.
Mr Dhawan alleged that the BJP government had been functioning under the constant pressure of its allies. The budget proposals and several cabinet decision were changed due to pressure of its allies.
He said the ruling BJP had been caught in its own web on the issue of importing sugar from Pakistan. He alleged that the BJP leaders, including the Prime Minister, were giving conflicting statements on the issue. Initially, Mr Vajpayee denied any import of sugar and later claimed that not a grain was imported during the Kargil conflict. However, the Railway Minister of Pakistan told the parliament of his country that sugar was exported to India till June.
He denied that the Congress had compromised on the issue of corruption by entering into alliance with Ms Jayalalitha.
Replying to a question why the Congress expelled Mr Sukh Ram from the party without waiting for the court verdict, Mr Dhawan said there was a public outcry against him. Moreover, the BJP has to explain to the people as to why it joined hands with Mr Sukh Ram.
He said the Congress could consider the return of Mr Sukh Ram in the party provided he applied for the same.
Cong speaking Pak language:
SHIMLA, Sept 19 Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has accused the Congress of hobnobbing with Pakistan to achieve the common objective of preventing the BJP from returning to power.
In a statement here today he said the Congress was speaking the language of Pakistan and had fuelled the anti-India propaganda machines of Pakistan during Kargil operations. He said the statements of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and other leaders were highlighted by the Pakistan media.
Mr Dhumal said the Congress and Pakistan reciprocated each other's gestures by believing each other's allegations directed against the Government of India and the BJP. The latest instance was the reaction of the Congress to the statement of Mr Niaz Naik, a former Pakistan Foreign Secretary, that the Vajpayee government was planning to enter into a secret understanding over Kashmir by saying that this could happen if the BJP returned to power.
Mr Dhumal alleged that
having turned nervous by the opinion poll and media
reports of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance
heading for a landslide victory in the elections, Mr Naik
had give this statement just to help the Congress and
harm the Vajpayee government.
IYC seeks probe into sugar
SHIMLA, Sept 19 Mr Munish Tiwari, President of the Indian Youth Congress, has demanded that the government order an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the controversial import of sugar from Pakistan by the BJP government during the Kargil conflict.
Talking to newspersons here today, he said the issue which involved the sensitive question of Pakistani beneficiaries of having utilised the foreign exchange earned by the export for beefing up the armed forces against India.
He said the truth should come out as the beneficiaries were directly connected with the ISI which was fomenting terrorism in Kashmir, Punjab and other parts of the country.
He said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee should not hesitate in ordering the inquiry if he believed that the hands of his government were clean.
Mr Tiwari said it was unfortunate that the government was making contradictory claims. While the government had claimed that the import of sugar was stopped on April 6 when the intrusion of Pakistanis came to the notice of the government, the Railways Minister of Pakistan told the Senate of his country that the sugar was despatched to India till may 18.
He said the letter of credit for the import of sugar was on the name of an agency which was being run by the ISI.
He said it was intriguing as to why the BJP government at the Centre chose to import sugar from Pakistan at a higher rate rather than exporting huge stocks available within the country.
Mr Tiwari who was here
to campaign for Congress candidates, said he had sent a
letter to the Election Commission, identifying various
polling booths in Uttar Pradesh where the Congress feared
that the ruling BJP might indulge in rigging.
Shanta questions Sonia's
SHIMLA, Sept 19 Mr Shanta Kumar, a former Chief Minister has questioned the patriotism of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and wondered how a person with her credentials can aspire to become the Prime Minister of the country.
In a statement here yesterday, he said Mrs Gandhi gave ample proof of her 'patriotism' and her resolve to live and die for India when she fled the country along with her husband, late Mr Rajiv Gandhi, and her family to Italy during the 1971 war and returned to India a fortnight after the ceasefire.
Mr Shanta Kumar wanted Mrs Gandhi to explain to the people why she did not renounce her Italian citizenship and adopt the Indian one immediately after her marriage to Mr Rajiv Gandhi if she was so much in love with India.
Mr Shanta Kumar reminded the people that a Bengali actress Sonali married an Italian film producer and acquired Italian citizenship. But when Sonali wanted to contest elections for a municipal councillor seat there, her nomination papers were rejected on the ground that Sonali was not an Italian by birth. But, on the contrary, Mrs Sonia Gandhi was trying to become the Prime Minister of India.
The BJP leader said Mrs Sonia Gandhi even today continued to be as much an Italian as an Indian and she could at any time at will demand and and get an Italian passport and could fight elections in Italy, as confirmed by the Italian Embassy in various newspaper reports.
He said it was time,
like the USA and other countries, necessary amendment was
made in the Constitution of India to provide that only a
person of Indian origin could be eligible to hold the
highest constitutional posts of President, Vice-President
and Prime Minister.
Dhumal accepts challenge
SHIMLA, Sept 19 Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has accepted the challenge of Congress leader Virbhadra Singh on any issue, including development of the hill state.
In a statement here today, he said the Congress should not raise the issue of corruption as the Shukla Committee report had already indicted the Virbhadra government for granting jobs to favourites in violation of the rules.
He ridiculed the statements of Congress leaders expressing apprehension of rigging in the Lok Sabha poll and said it was nothing but an expression of their frustration having seen the writing on the wall.
The BJP, he said, had always gone to the polls as an Opposition. It was the first time that it was in power during election and it was neither conversant with foul means nor would adopt such means ever.
Mr Dhumal said their had been tremendous achievements during the BJP rule in the state. He said besides securing Rs 300 crore from the Centre as special assistance, four new national highways and railway lines Una-Talwara and Kalka-Parwanoo were also sanctioned.
Cop washed away in flashflood
SHIMLA, Sept 19 (UNI) A police Head Constable and arms and ammunition of 20 other policemen were washed away in flashflood caused by a cloudburst at Hillotowan near Saiju Nullah in the interior of the tribal Pangi valley in Chamba district on Friday , a delayed police report said today.
The deceased was identified as Fauja Singh, Head Constable in the India Reserve Battalion.
The police personnel, who formed part of the security set up in the border area of Chamba district, adjoining Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, were stationed at a forest house which was damaged in the cloudburst.
Dhumal failed to take up issues
DHARAMSALA, Sept 19 A former MP and senior Vice-President of the Punjab Congress Committee, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, has accused the Dhumal government of failing to resolve the inter-state disputes with Punjab, despite the BJP being in power in the two states.
"Despite a number of issues pending between Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, Chief Minister, P.K. Dhumal has not taken the initiative to resolve them with his counterpart, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he said addressing a press conference here today.
Mr Brar, in charge of the rally of Mrs Sonia Gandhi at Nagrota tomorrow, demanded that the quota system in the Army for Himachal should be raised to at least 30 per cent. "It is on the basis of the contribution and sacrifices that a state has made, that its quota in recruitment should be fixed," he said. "It is a great injustice with the people of Himachal that their quota in the Army is fixed on the basis of their population, whereas the economy of Kangra and Hamirpur areas is called "money order", keeping in view the large number of people from the area in the armed forces," he added.
Commenting on the cancellation of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayees visit to the state, he said the BJPs internal politics and infighting was responsible for the cancellation.
He took strong exception to the statement of Mr Narinder Modi that the Congress was left with neither any issue nor dead leaders to gain sympathy. "It is a pity that instead of dwelling on serious issues like unemployment, development of tourism and preservation of forest and environment, the BJP is making mockery of the sacrifices made by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, he said.
Mr Brar said the BJP in
Himachal was a divided house and the Chief Minister was
working overtime only to ensure the victory of
"selective candidates". "It is for this
reason that some of the partymen in Kangra tried to
sabotage the election meetings of the Chief
Minister," he alleged.
'Bid to sabotage' Sonia's
DHARAMSALA, Sept 19 The sitting MLA and General Secretary of the HPCC, Mr G.S. Bali, today alleged that the government was trying to sabotage the election rally of Ms Sonia Gandhi at Nagrota by pressurising private bus operators not to provide buses to the Congress.
He said bus operators were being threatened that their permits would be cancelled if they did so. "The BJP is misusing government machinery to intimidate people," he alleged.
"No rift" in HP BJP
DHARAMSALA, Sept 19 Senior BJP ministers from Kangra today claimed that there were no differences between the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal and the party candidate, Mr Shanta Kumar, and all were working unitedly for his victory.
In a statement here today, the ministers, Mr Vidyasagar, Mr Kishan Kapoor, Mr Rajan Sushant and Mr Ravinder Ravi, refuted reports that there was a rift in the party over the Kangra Lok Sabha constituency. They said that both the Chief Minister as well as Mr Shanta Kumar had jointly held election meetings and press conferences.
Sukh Rams charge
JAWALAMUKHI, Sept 19 The Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) chief, Mr Sukh Ram, today accused the Congress candidate from Shimla, Mr Gangu Ram Mushafir, of failure on all fronts to solve problems of the people of Shimla.
Talking to reporters here, Mr Sukh Ram said the Congress leader had failed to contribute to the development of the area. Even Mr Krishan Dutt Sultanpuri had failed to deliver the goods despite having won the seat six times.
The HVC leader said the union government had planned to set up a rail link from Dehradun to Chandigarh via Paonta Sahib Kala Amb-Narayangarh but work had not started on it. He promised that the project would be executed if BJP-HVC candidate Mr Dhani Ram Shandil, was elected.
Mr Sukh Ram ridiculed
the claim of Mr Virbhadra Singh, leader of the
Legislature Congress Party in the HP Assembly that
political developments at the Centre would have a serious
fallout in Himachal Pradesh.
Sonia to visit Shimla today
SHIMLA, Sept 19 The Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, will address an election rally at The Ridge here tomorrow.
Changer belt "ignored"
JAWALAMUKHI, Sept 19 Senior BJP-leader Rana Kashmir Singh at an election meeting at Khundian village today said that no one should take it for granted that he was politically inactive.
The meeting was held in connection with the campaign of Mr Suresh Chandel.
Rana Kashmir Singh said the Changer belt of Jawalamukhi had been neglected as far as integrated development was concerned during the past 18 months. He said the Changer area, which had been the traditional strong hold of the BJP in the past, was being ignored.
The IPH Minister, Mr Ramesh Chaudhary, while trying to pacify him, threw light on the performance of the BJP government, instead of initiating an open debate on the issues raised by Rana Kashmir Singh.
Examinees spend night in open
HAMIRPUR, Sept 19 Unemployed youth who had come from various parts of the state had to spend the night in the open yesterday due to inadequate accommodation available here. They had come to appear in the clerk-grade examination being conducted by the Himachal Pradesh Subordinate Selection Board, Hamirpur.
The shortage of accommodation in this small town increased their miseries and forced them to raise slogans against the state government and the board authorities. It was impossible for the local hoteliers to accommodate thousands of persons as they had limited accommodation. People were even ready to pay even higher rates.
Many persons hired taxis and other vehicles and went to nearby places to spend the night there. The hotel owners, taxi owners and tea-stall owners had a field day today and yesterday as they charged exorbitant rates for their products and accommodation. Mr Ramsingh from Chamba who accompanied his daughter for the examination blamed the board authorities for the mess as the test could be held at all the district headquarters of the state. He said the board authorities chose only Hamirpur for this purpose as it suited them and didnt care for the candidates and their guardians who came from different parts of the state.
Mrs Nirmla Devi from Shimla district lamented that the worst sufferers were the girls and the female guardians who escorted them. She said it was a horrible experience for them to spend a night in the open and that too under tension when one had to appear for the examination next day.
However, a number of candidates from Hamirpur and Kangra districts expressed their happiness over the venue of the test as they came in the morning and left in the evening for their respective homes after taking the examination.
Almost all persons whom this reporter met complained about the poor sitting arrangements inside the examination halls. They lamented that it was not possible for them to sit and give the paper properly.
When contacted, a spokesman of the board said the decision of the board to have examination at Hamirpur was a right-step. He said this step was taken to check copying.
Moreover, the traffic police found it difficult to control the movement of buses and other vehicles that came here from all parts of the state for the examination. Pushpa Devi was killed in an accident near Rangas village today when the motor cycle on which she was travelling collided with a truck. A case had been registered.
BILASPUR, Sept 19 Rumours do have an important role in elections. This was amply revealed when hundreds of villagers who had assembled to welcome Mr Sukh Ram, HVC President, mistook Mr Shivram Sharma, a prominent HVC leader, as Mr Sukh Ram and started touching his feet and expressed gratitude for installing a telephone exchange in this backward area.
As soon as the HVC and BJP leaders, led by Mr Shivram Sharma, reached Baga village, somebody in the area spread the news that Mr Sukh Ram was coming. Seeing the vehicles the villagers thought that Mr Sukh Ram had arrived.
Rain in Shimla
SHIMLA, Sept 19 (UNI) Shimla and its adjoining areas were lashed by moderate intermittent rain today, bringing considerable fall in the temperature in the town.
The rain was preceded
and followed by a dense fog. Upper areas of Shimla
district, including tourist places of Wildflower Hall,
Kufri, Naldehra and Narkanda, also had rainfall. Kulu
valley also experienced rain.
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