|H I M A C H A L
P R A D E S H
Monday, September 27, 1999
Few takers for HP plan
Destroy polythene poll material,
Migrant labour unable to
of temple staff
Few takers for HP plan
SHIMLA, Sept 26 The Himachal Governments move to recruit exservicemen as special police officers (SPOs) to guard its sensitive border with border with militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir has run into rough weather because of lack of response from exservicemen.
As per the proposal as many as 300 exservicemen were to be recruited to meet the immediate requirement of security personnel which had gone up significantly due to spilling over of militancy into Chamba district which borders the troubled Doda area of Jammu and Kashmir. The state exservicemen cell sponsored over 600 ex-army personnel for recruitment but only 40 turned up. Out of these only seven were actually selected.
According to a senior police officer, the main reason for indifferent response was that the exservicemen were not willing to carry out duty far away from their homes at a low remuneration of Rs 2000 per month. It was barely enough to meet their own expenses. They might come forward for recruitment if the remuneration was increased substantially, he observed.
However, the expenditure on SPOs is to be borne by the Centre on the pattern of Jammu and Kashmir and it was unlikely to increase the remuneration for Himachal.
Mr T.R. Mahajan, DGP, said the poor response from exservicemen had forced the police to have second thoughts on going ahead with the proposal. It had taken up the matter with the government and urged it to increase the remuneration to Rs 4,000 per month. While the Centre would reimburse Rs 2000 per month, the rest could be given by the state. If the proposal was turned down, civilians would be recruited.
Under the central scheme, SPOs recruited from among civilians are paid Rs 1,500 per month. However, they would have to be provided training which required time.
The proposal to utilise the services of exservicemen was mooted as the Centre was not in a position to spare central security forces to meet the requirements of the state fully. It had asked for four battalion whereas the Centre provided only one battalion and one company of the ITBP. It was thus forced to put the Una-based India Reserve Battalion and the two state battalions on duty to guard the 40 checkposts set up along the 216-km Chamba-Doda border. In all 1,2000 security personnel have been deployed.
The state was finding it difficult to manage the forces as it did not have spare police personnel to give rest to those deployed on the border. Some of them are located in high-altitude areas over 10,000 ft.
The setting up a large
number of posts along with the restrictions imposed on
movement of gujjars to high-altitude areas beyond these
posts had helped in effectively preventing militants from
sneaking into the state, Mr Mahajan feels. The advent of
the winter would considerably reduce the possibility of
militants making forays into Himachal as the high
mountain ranges dividing the two states would be soon
covered with snow. The state now had ample time to review
the proposal for recruiting SPOs and effectively seal its
borders next summer, he added.
Low turnout in Shimla
worries ruling combine
SHIMLA, Sept 26 The low percentage of polling in the urban segments of Shimla and Kasumpti in the Shimla (reserved) Lok Sabha constituency is worrying the ruling BJP-HVC combine.
Polling here was held yesterday alongwith the three other Lok Sabha constituencies of the state. The detailed segment wise percentage of polling was available here today.
The seat was allocated to the HVC which fielded Lt-Col Dhani Ram Shandil (retd).
The leadership of the ruling combine appears worried with the Shimla and Kasumpti segments recording the lowest percentage of 39.75 and 45.86 respectively. These two segments are considered as sympathisers of the BJP. This was the lowest turnout in any of the 17 assembly segments of the constituency. Both these segments are represented by the BJP in the assembly.
The ruling combine circles are also upset with the high turnout of 68.21 per cent in the Pachhad segment in Sirmour district and 62.95 per cent in the Rohroo segment of Shimla district. The Congress candidate, Mr Gangu Ram Musafir, belongs to the Pachhad area and represents segment in the Assembly. Mr Virbhadra Singh, CLP leader and a former Chief Minister, who had handpicked Mr Musafir to contest the Lok Sabha elections, represents the Rohroo segment.
The ruling combine is satisfied with the moderately high polling of 54.21 per cent in the Solan segment, 57.91 per cent in Poanta Sahib and about 55 per cent in the Chopal segment.
Both the BJP-HVC combine and the Congress are reading the trend of the turnout in polling in their own ways, claiming that it was in their favour. Congress circles are also upset with the low polling in Shimla and Kasumpti which, they fear, might harm them.
BJP circles claimed that the low turnout in Shimla and Kasumpti might have been because of the reason that these areas were dominated by government employees most of whom had probably proceeded to their villages because of the holidays on Saturday and Sunday.
The main parties were not satisfied with the low turnout of 47.68 per cent in the Nahan segment. The HVC had put in all its available resources in Sirmour district during the campaign.
Of the three districts of Shimla, Solan and Sirmour falling in the Shimla Lok Sabha constituency, Sirmour, which is the home district of Mr Musafir, recorded the highest percentage of 57.13, followed by 52.20 and 52 per cent in Solan and Shimla districts respectively.
Reports indicate that
the percentage of polling in other segments was: Arki
(49.81) Doon (52.02) Nalagarh (50.68) Kasauli (54.09)
Renuka (57.11) Shillai (54.84) Jubbal-Kotkhai (58.87)
Kumarsein 51.88 and Theog (57.19).
Destroy polythene poll material,
SHIMLA, Sept 26 Irked at the use of recycled polythene election material by various political parties in the Lok Sabha elections here in violation of the instructions of the Election Commission, the returning officer of the Shimla (reserved) constituency, Mr Ram Subhag Singh, has ordered them to get it destroyed within 10 days.
Mr Ram Subhag Singh today wrote letters to the main candidates, Lt.-Col. Dhani Ram Shandil (retd) of the BJP-HVC combine and Mr Gangu Ram Musafir of the congress, asking them not only to get the polythene-made election material removed from various places in the town,but also get it destroyed.
In violation of the instructions of the Election Commission, these parties had put up flags and other election material made of recycled polythene.
The Returning Officer has made it clear that the use of such material was not only a violation of the instructions of the Election Commission, but also of the H.P. Non-Biodegradable Garbage Control Act.
He has pointed out that the use of polythene bags and other material has already damaged the scenic beauty of the tourist area.
Mr Ram Subhag Singh has also pointed out that at a meeting with the political parties shortly before the elections,it was decided that recycled polythene material would not be used in electioneering.
However, most of the parties bought election material made of polythene which costs less as compared to the paper posters and flags made of cloth.
However, none of the
main parties adhered to the directions of the Election
Commission. Election posters were also pasted on the
walls of the town, particularly government buildings, in
total violation of the defacement law. The BJP-HVC
combine was a step ahead in violating these directions.
Migrant labour unable to vote
SOLAN: Forced out of their poverty-ridden native places, an estimated 20,000 migrant construction and factory workers in this district alone could not take part in the democratic process of electing their own government even as millions of their more privileged fellow countrymen did on Saturday.
These workers hailed mainly from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. These states have a total population of 33.55 crore, out of which 26.96 core in villages. Migrant workers here say lack of opportunities at home had, on an average, forced at least one member of each rural family from those four states to seek employment in places far away from their homes.
Labour leaders estimated that about 80 lakh ruralites from these areas at present were at work in comparatively more prosperous states like Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. While exact figures were not available, these leaders opined that upward of 60 lakh of such workers would not be able to vote simple because they did not have the kind of money to go back to their homes to savour the luxury of voting.
A quick survey made by this correspondent revealed that only a microscopic percentage of migrant workers like those who had managed to get a permanent job here had been listed in the electoral rolls courtesy those politicians who specialised in "creating" their own vote banks.
Almost all of those who were not as lucky as their vote-wielding brethren felt unhappy over their forced disenfranchisement. While a majority of migrants did not freely answer questions those who did could be broadly divided into three categories.
There were the likes of Kishan Lal hailing from Gauri Jagdish village in Kusinagar district of Uttar Pradesh, who missed the revelry, the "dhol dhamaka", associated with electioneering in their part of the country.
There were also educated persons like Ram Lakhan Singh of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, who strongly felt that when it came to electing the central government every eligible Indian should be enabled to vote even when he or she had migrated to some other places from their native ones. "Yeh toh sarkar ko dekhna chahiyae!" he said.
Finally, there were persons who, being largely preoccupied with the job of eking out a living for themselves and their families, seemed resigned to their lot and didn't give a damn to "whosoever ruled the country". Men like Baleshar of Sunhat village, Samistipur, Bihar, appeared to be nursing the feeling that all political parties were basically the same. The name of the game was "grabbing the kursi" so why bother about elections", he queried.
Masih (not his real name) a mason from Rani Hingartola in Ranchi district said he had left "home" when he was barely 14 and had been moving from one place to another ever since. His longest stay at one particular town was at Barotiwala where he stayed for over four years. When he tried to get himself registered as a voter there he "baboo" told him to go back to wherever he had come from. Having furnished that much information, he moved aside and spat out a copious volume of "khaini" juice, which was probably his way of conveying that the interview session was over.
When this correspondent
tried to elicit opinions on their forced
disenfranchisement Sumta Devi of Begusaria (Bihar), who
gave the impression of being a no-nonsense person, asked
whether one's first need was "roti" or
"haq" meaning the right to vote. Sensing that
this correspondent felt stumped, she said. "Agar
dono mil jayen to koi bura nahin". Can the migrant
workers not be enabled to cast their votes by post, like
Woes of temple staff
JAWALAMUKHI, Sept 26 Resentment prevails among the employees of the Jawalamukhi temple about their pay-scales.
Mr Shailender Kumar,
President, Temple Employees Union, said here today that
since by-laws for governing temple affairs have not been
framed, the 100-odd temple employees have been deprived
of service benefits. Pay-scales on a par with state
employees have been given to Naina Devi, Baba Deotsidh
and Chintpurni temples, but these have not been extended
to employees of the Jawalamukhi temple.
CHAMBA, Sept 26 (UNI) The electorate of Teh Ghatta polling station in the Rajnagar Assembly constituency of Chamba district yesterday boycotted the Lok Sabha elections in protest against the non-acceptance of their local demands, a delayed report received here today said.
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