|Thursday, February 3, 2000,
observe 2-hr pen-down strike
Plea to restrict resin
Docs observe 2-hr pen-down
SHIMLA, Feb 2 Resident doctors of Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital, here observed a two-hour pen-down strike today in support of their demands.
However, emergency services were exempted from the strike. The call for the strike was given by the Himachal Medical Officers Association, which is demanding implementation of revised pay scales.
MANDI: The district unit of the Himachal Pradesh Medical Officers Association has intensified its struggle against the appointment of a bureaucrat as the Additional Director, Health Services.
Doctors in the district observed a pen-down strike for the second day on Wednesday from 9.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. The entire work in the hospitals and health centres came to a standstill causing a lot of hardship to patients.
However, the association has issued a directive to the doctors to attend to emergency duties. The association has resented the withdrawal of the 10 per cent house rent allowance given to them in lieu of their emergency duties.
The medical officers
lament that the grant of the 4-tier pay scales with
effect from January 1, 1996, was suddenly withdrawn on
October 6, 1998, on the pretext that it had been withheld
to issue fresh guidelines. "No such guidelines have
came so far", they said.
KANGRA: The two-hour pen-down strike by more than 1,500 medical officers in Himachal Pradesh entered the second day on Wednesday.
Disclosing this here, a spokesman of the Himachal Medical Officers Association, Dr Susheel Sharma, described the strike as complete.
Dr Sharma said the doctors were forced to go on strike because of the "callous attitude" of the government towards their demands.
Dr Sharma condemned the posting of an HAS officer as the Additional Director of the Health Department and demanded his immediate removal.
He demanded that the posts of the Registrars in the IGMC and Tanda Medical College be filled immediately for which interviews were held two moths ago.
Dr Sharma said the two-hour pen-down strike would continue till their demands were met.
Tibetan minister rushes to Delhi
DHARAMSALA, Feb 2 The Minister for Religion and Culture in the Tibetan government-in-exile, Mr Tashi Wangdi, has rushed to Delhi in a bid to sort out the stalemate, over the issue of granting political asylum to the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorjee.
Mr Wangdi's sudden departure to Delhi, assumes significance, in light of the visit of the former Foreign Secretary, Mr A.P. Venkateshwaran to Dharamsala.
It is learnt that Mr Venkateshwaran, a former Ambassador to China, came here as the special emissary of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. He had a one-hour-long meeting with the Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader, the Dalai Lama, at his palace in McLeodganj, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. It is learnt that it was during this meeting, on January 18, that the Dalai Lama, stated that even a refugee status for the Karmapa would be acceptable to him.
Even after almost one month since the arrival of the Karmapa, in McLeodganj, the Indian Government has not decided upon his status. During this period several senior officials from RAW. IB and the Minister of External Affairs made frequent trips to Dharamsala, to obtain all the details that compelled the Karmapa to flee from Tibet.
Despite the Dalai Lama, being in the retreat, a period when he does not meet anyone, the Karmapa issue has compelled him to come out and see not only the Karmapa, but even the former Foreign Secretary and important regents of the Kagyu sect, who had assembled here from Nepal, Sikkim, Varanasi and other parts of India.
With the Dalai Lama, whose word is the law for all Tibetans hinting that he was in favour of the Indian Government giving protection to the 17th Karmapa, it is felt that a solution may be found out to the stalemate. Being a very sensitive issue, the Indian Government, is being very cautious in its approach, so as to avoid straining relations with China any further.
Meanwhile, the Karmapa remains housed at the Gyuto Tantrik Monastery in Sidhbari, along with his elder sister and five others, who formed part of the escape party, from Lhasa. Though the Karmapa, is most of the time busy studying religious scriptures, but no decision has been taken regarding his formal education, Regents and senior monks of the Kagyu sect have been making a beeline for the monastery, to seek his blessings.
The Deputy Secretary in
the department of Religion and Culture of the Tibetan
government-in exile, Ms Tse Ringyang Kyi, said a senior-
level delegation from Delhi had come here to discuss the
issue of granting political asylum to the Karmapa.
Cong MLA seeks check on
DHARAMSALA, Feb 2 A sitting MLA and General Secretary of the HPCC, Mr G.S. Bali, said here today that the Supreme Court should take action against the state government for violating its orders regarding illegal mining.
Addressing a press conference here today, he said that despite a ban on quarrying in the forest area illegal mining was being carried on in the Khaniyara, Yol and Bhagsu areas. "It is because of lack of political will on the part of the government that there is no check on illegal mining, which is causing immense ecological degradation in the area," he said.
He sought clarification from the government about the action taken by it in the 60 cases of illegal mining detected by the Forest Department. He added that the matter was very serious as it amounted to the contempt of court.
He alleged that illegal mining was going on under the protection of the local politicians. He demanded an inquiry into the death of two persons, who had been buried under debris in mining area.
The Congress leader said since the livelihood of thousands of people of the area depended on mining the government should take steps to undertake mining on scientific lines. He said a task force comprising personnel of forest, mining, police departments along with the local panchayat representatives, be constituted to tackle the problem.
He suggested that a cooperative should be formed so that the benefit does not go to a selected few.
Mr Bali, also expressed surprise over the indecisiveness of the Centre regarding the grant of political asylum to the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorjee.
Regarding the Solan Assembly byelection, Mr Bali said the Congress had proved that it was united under the leadership of Mr Virbhadra Singh and all were working for the victory of the party candidate. "The BJP is plagued with internal bickering and infighting, which is affecting the normal functioning of the government," he said.
Bankmen stage dharna
SHIMLA, Feb 2 Members of the Himachal Bank Employees Federation staged a "dharna" to demand effective steps to restore health to the ailing banking industry.
The employees are demanding that wilful default of bank loans be made a criminal offence and special courts be set up to effect recovery of bad loans. Besides, the Banking Regulation Act be amended to delete the secrecy clause so that list of defaulters could be made public.
The federation condemned the M.S. Verma report and the Confederation of Indian Industries for making workers the scapegoats for the ills plaguing the banking industry.
HAMIRPUR: (FOC), Local bank employees on Wednesday held a demonstration outside the premises of Punjab National Bank demanding publication of a list of bank defaulters in the country and registration of criminal cases against them.
Mr R.L. Chauhan, additional general secretary of the Himachal Bank Employees Federation, said here that as per notification issued by the Reserve Bank of India, Rs 58,000 crore were due from big business houses but the Central Government had taken no action against them yet.
to campaign for Bindal
SHIMLA, Feb 2 The PWD Minister and Vice-President, Himachal Vikas Congress, (HVC), Mr Mohinder Singh, today said he would campaign for the BJP nominee for Solan seat, Mr Rajeev Bindal, instead of his own party candidate.
Mr Mohinder Singh told newsmen that he would start campaigning on February 6. He will address up to 10 election meetings daily in the constituency.
He said Mr Dhani Ram Shandil, Lok Sabha member of the HVC, will also join him in the campaign.
He ridiculed the HVC leadership for having fielded Mr Haminder Thakur in the election although, he claimed,that it was decided at the party meeting here last week that the HVC will support the candidate of its coalition partner of the BJP.
Mr Mohinder Singh along with Mr Shandil had visited Solan on Monday evening and made it clear to the party workers that they did not endorse the nomination of Mr Haminder Thakur and urged him to withdraw from the contest. However, Mr Thakur was not traceable.
Referring to the reported threat of the HVC chief, Mr Sukh Ram, that the ministers belonging to the HVC might resign in case the seat was not left by the BJP for his party to contest, Mr Mohinder Singh said he would not submit his resignation on the issue.
He said during his campaign he would highlight the development of the area and construction of new roads that has been done under the BJP regime.
Meanwhile, there were indications that Mr Sukh Ram might take a final decision on the issue of his candidate contesting the byelection by this evening when he was expected to call on the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.
When contacted on the telephone, Mr Sukh Ram said he would apprise Mr Vajpayee about the scenario of the Solan seat where he claimed that the HVC candidate, Mr Haminder Thakur, was stronger than Mr Bindal. Moreover, the BJP was divided over its own candidature.
He said his aim was that either of the coalition partner should win the seat.
Mr Sukh Ram made it clear that he would abide by the decision of the Prime Minister on the issue. There was no rift among the coalition partners of the BJP, he claimed.
On the other hand, the Congress party was closely watching the developments among the ruling alliance. The CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh along with the PCC chief, Mr Sat Mahajan, visited Solan yesterday and assigned the campaign duties for their candidate, Ms Krishna Mohini, to various party leaders.
Meanwhile, Mr Suresh Chandel, the state BJP chief and MP has called upon the rank and file of the party to sink their differences and work for the success of the party candidate.
He said that every party worker had the right to seek the party ticket for any election, but there should be no bickerings once the matter was decided by the high command. He appreciated the decision of Mr Mohinder Nath Sofat, the other claimant for the ticket, to campaign for Mr Bindal.
The Industries Minister, Mr Kishori Lal, in a statement denied any differences between the BJP and the HVC on the issue of byelection for the Solan Assembly seat. The coalition was functioning smoothly, he claimed.
He hoped that the HVC candidate will withdraw from the contest and both parties will jointly campaign for Mr Bindal.
HVC may withdraw candidate
SHIMLA, Feb 2 The Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) is likely to withdraw its candidate, Mr Haminder Thakur, from the contest for the Solan Assembly seat and support Mr Rajeev Bindal, who is the nominee of the BJP, its coalition partner.
An indication to this effect was given by the HVC chief, Mr Sukh Ram, when he said that he would abide by the decision of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, on the issue.
Mr Sukh Ram is scheduled to meet the Prime Minister late in the evening today to discuss the issue.
Mr Sukh Ram said the claim of the HVC for contesting the seat was genuine as its candidate was stronger than that of the BJP which is divided over the allotment of the ticket to Mr Bindal.
He, however, made it clear that he would appraise Mr Vajpayee about the electoral scene in Solan and abide by his decision.
He said he would not take any step which would weaken the BJP-HVC alliance.
Plea to restrict resin import
SHIMLA, Feb 2 The Himachal Pradesh Resin Producers Union has expressed concern over the unrestricted import of resin and has urged the government to give support price to resin producers on the pattern of apples.
The union has said the purchase price of resin should be increased from Rs 1,517 to Rs 2,000. It urged the government to convene a meeting of the Resin Advisory Committee in this regard.
It claimed that the imported resin was inferior as compared to the domestic produce as foreign companies exported it only after extracting turpentine oil.
Extension to SE condemned
SHIMLA, Feb 2 The Himachal Power Engineers Association has expressed resentment over the decision of the state electricity board to grant six months' extension in service to Mr K. Kapoor, Superintending Engineer (Electrical), who was to retire on January 31 last.
Condemning the decision, the association urged the Chief Minister to direct the board to withdraw these orders.
Mr Suneel Grover, general secretary of the association, said power engineers were already facing stagnation. Graduate electrical engineers who joined the board 30 years ago were still awaiting promotion.
"Revoke" order to disband offices
MANDI, Feb 2 Mr R.S. Verma, general secretary of the joint action committee of employees of the offices of the Divisional Commissioner at Shimla, Mandi and Dharamsala said here yesterday that the government should revoke its decision to wind up these offices.
He said work in offices of the Divisional Commissioner had come to a halt in view of the prevailing uncertainty.
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