|Saturday, March 4, 2000,
Himachal House adjourned
CM, Sukh Ram meet, resolve
Horticulture station soon in
All work on Parbati plan at same
Phone services in bad shape
Remarks by Dhumal refuted
Governor opens Shivratri fair
Karmapa presented with Opel Astra
10 injured in clash
Himachal House adjourned
SHIMLA, March 3 Amidst unruly scenes and slogans on the RSS issue by the Opposition Congress and counter-slogans by the Treasury Benches, the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha was adjourned today by the Speaker, Thakur Gulab Singh.
The ministers of the ruling BJP joined the party members in raising "RSS zindabad" slogans in retaliation to the slogans against the outfit by the Congress legislators.
The House was adjourned for 30 minutes earlier in the noon when the Congress members trooped into the well of the House and tried to block the proceedings by raising slogans against the RSS. They continued to remain in the well until the House was adjourned for the day as acrimonious scenes continued when it reassembled after the lunch break.
The Congress members were on their feet soon after question hour protesting against rejection of the adjournment notice on the RSS issue which was moved by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Virbhadra Singh and Thakur Kaul Singh (Cong).
The two ministers of the Himachal Vikas Congress, Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Ram Lal Markandey, also joined the BJP members in shouting down the protesting Congress legislators.
The Congress members were not satisfied with the ruling of the Speaker that there was no justification for allowing the adjournment motion in view of the clarification of the government that the ban on participation of officials in activities of the RSS continues in the State.
Mr Kaul Singh (Congress) claimed that the clarification of the government was contrary to various newspaper reports which had quoted the Chief Minister on the issue.
Mr Virbhadra Singh alleged that certain ministers and officers were participating in the activities of the RSS in violation of the Central Services (Conduct) Rules.
There were noisy scenes when Mr Dhumal said the RSS was a nationalist organisation and three Congress governments headed by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Mr Narasimha Rao had to lift the ban on RSS after imposing it.
He pointed out that the RSS has done an appreciable job in rehabilitating the cyclone victims of Orissa.
Mr J.B.L. Khachi, a senior Congress legislator, took exception to certain remarks of Mr Dhumal and said that instead of trying to cool the tempers he was provoking the opposition members.
Mr Dhumal said there was no cause of anxiety for the Congress members as the issue of RSS has been settled following the statement of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, that there was no move to lift the ban on the government servants taking part in RSS activities. Subsequently, the state government had also made it clear that it did not intend to lift the restrictions.
There was slogan shouting by both sides and nothing was audible in the din when certain Congress members referred to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
There were heated arguments between the Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, and the Congress members when the former urged them to patiently listen to what the Chief Minister was saying.
The Congress members raised slogans of "nikkar-danda nahin chalega" and "hidden agenda band karo".
The BJP members retaliated by chanting "videshi mahila nahin chalege".
There was a pandemonium when the House reassembled after the lunch break and the Congress members took their position in the well of the House.
Mr Nadda urged them to allow the proceedings of the House to be held peacefully. He said sufficient opportunity would be given to members to express their views on the RSS during the debate on the motion of thanks to Governor's Address.
The Speaker finally adjourned the House amidst raising of slogans by both sides.
Outside the House, Mr Virbhadra Singh told newsmen that the Congress wanted to discuss the entire issue of RSS activities and involvement of certain senior government officers in the organisation.
He said that although
the government was claiming that the ban on government
servants participating in the activities of RSS continues
in the State, but certain ministers were also taking part
in the RSS drills. Government buildings and school
grounds were being misused for RSS activities, he
CM, Sukh Ram meet, resolve
SHIMLA, March 3 The crisis in the ruling BJP-HVC alliance has blown over following an hour-long meeting between the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, and the HVC chief, Mr Sukh Ram, here today.
The closed-door meeting was held in the Chief Minister's chamber in the Vidhan Sabha complex this afternoon. This was the first meeting between the two leaders after differences cropped up between them on the issue of the Solan Assembly seat and subsequent suspension of the PWD Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh.
Mr Dhumal told mediapersons that the meeting was "satisfactory" and there was no crisis.
He said Mr Sukh Ram was upset over the supporters of Mr Mohinder Singh having stretched the differences too far by holding a convention, which he described as illegal, had revoking the suspension of Mr Mohinder Singh.
Mr Sukh Ram alleged that the Sports Minister, Mr Parveen Sharma, had backed the organisers in the show of strength against him. However, Mr Dhumal clarified that Mr Sharma had been out of Shimla for the past many days.
Mr Dhumal said he had sought a report from the public works department on the complaint of Mr Sukh Ram that vehicles of the department had been misused by the minister to bring his supporters here from various parts of the state for participating in the convention.
Horticulture station soon in Hamirpur
HAMIRPUR, March 3 A Rs 10 crore horticulture-cum-forestry research station will be set up in Hamirpur district. Land for the proposed project has been selected at two sites, at Neri and Ghataun (Bhota), according to official sources.
While 610 kanals had been sanctioned at Neri, 133 kanals had been acquired at Ghataun village near Bhota. The two pieces of land had been transferred to HP University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, on a 99 year lease, the sources said.
Research on chir trees would be undertaken on 87 kanals of land in Ghataun village as sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Environment. However, no pine trees would be felled.
Instead, the emphasis would be an dwarf variety of pine. In the adjoining 46 kanals, forest-based fruits would be developed in nurseries and distributed among farmers of various parts of the state on an experimental of basis.
A sum of Rs 1.12 crore had been sanctioned for infrastructure facilities for the proposed station for the current fiscal year.
The university proposed to do research work in harar, behra, amla, jamun and other citrus fruits to make these popular in lower hill areas, especially the districts of Hamirpur Una and Bilaspur.
It is worth mentioning
here that Hamirpur district has remained neglected in the
field of horticulture since it became a district on
September 1, 1972. The initiative for a
horticulture-cum-forestry research station has been taken
by the present BJP government.
All work on Parbati plan at
same time: CM
SHIMLA, March 3 The National Hydel Power Corporation will start work on all three stages of the 2051 mw Parbati project simultaneously.
This was announced in the Vidhan Sabha by Mr P.K. Dhumal, Chief Minister, while replying to a supplementary of Mr Virbhadra Singh during the question hour today. He said initially the corporation planned to execute the stage-II, followed by stage- III and stage-I. This way it would have taken a long time to complete the project. However, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, who was taking a personal interest in the execution of the mega project directed the corporation to complete it in the shortage possible time.
Mr Dhumal said that the chairman of the corporation met him recently and informed him that execution of all three stages would be taken up simultaneously to ensure early completion of the project. He said as such the question of shortage of funds for the project did not arise.
He also informed Mr Kaul Singh that techno-economic clearance for the UHL-III project was expected in April, 2000. At present, the state electricity board was executing seven projects with aggregate generation capacity of 269.5 mw and four projects with 4651 mw capacity were being executed by Central agencies the NHPC, NTPC and NJPC.
Mr Dhumal also refuted the charge that name of Mr Shanta Kumar, Union Consumer Affairs and Civil Supplies Minister, was removed from the foundation stone of the Neugal project at his instance. He said the Congress was raising this issue with a view to creating differences in the BJP.
In a written reply, the Chief Minister informed Mr Harsh Mahajan that the land of 339 families was being acquired for the Chamera-II project. Besides, 13 non-occupancy tenants of the acquired land in Mohal Karian and seven persons who were in possession of government land and recorded as encroachments in the revenue records in Mohal Tagi were also likely to be affected due to proposed acquisition of land.
Mr Dhumal also presented the final batch of supplementary demands totalling Rs 386.13 crore for 1999-2000. He said a provision of Rs 142.24 crore had been made for state plan schemes to take care of budgetary commitments and inter-sectoral adjustments made in the course of the year. The major items for which enhanced plan provisions had been sought included Rs 29.91 crore for the Saraswati Bal Vidya Sankalap Yojana, Rs 15 crore each for house building advance to government servants and maintenance of rural water supply schemes, Rs 12.60 crore for air strips and Rs 9.41 crore for police housing to complete works under the 10th Finance Commission award.
A sum of Rs 91.17 crore was being provided to regulate expenditure under various centrally sponsored schemes. Most of these were ongoing schemes for which allocations beyond Budget projections had been received from the Government of India during the year. A provision of Rs 34.55 crore had been made under the accelerated rural water supply programme and of Rs 30.03 crore for the central transport subsidy to industries. Apart from smaller amounts for a host of schemes, Rs 2.97 crore related to soil conservation, Rs 2.77 crore to District Institutes of Education Training (DIETs,) and Rs 3.06 crore for schemes in tribal areas.
demands for non-plan expenditure were pegged at Rs 152.72
crore. The bulk of this amount pertained to committed
items. A sum of Rs 62.00 crore had been kept for pension
payments to retirees due to the impact of arrear payment
consequent to the revision effected from January 1, 1996,
last year. A sum of Rs 38.04 crore had been provided for
the payments of salaries mostly to primary school
teachers, Rs 23.00 crore for irrigation and public health
department for maintenance of irrigation and water supply
schemes, out of which Rs 15 crore had been set apart for
Phone services in bad shape
SHIMLA, March 3 The much publicised high-tech telephone services here are in a bad shape and the subscribers are crying because of the unattended faults.
The number of telephone faults are increasing day by day and the mechanical staff is inadequate to handle the situation. It is alleged that the line staff is not adequately trained in certain areas. They would rectify the fault of some important telephone and make "dead" some other line.
Subscribers complain that senior officers of the department hardly respond to their grievances when they are approached. Divisional engineers and sub-divisional officers are rarely available in their offices.
It becomes a problem for rectifying a fault as electronic exchanges close at 5 p.m. and reopen only at 10 a.m. the next day. A drizzle makes many phones "dead" in the town.
Although the officers claim that every fault is rectified within four to six hours of registering of the complaint, in reality the situation is very different as telephones remain out of order for days together.
The computerised "198" complaint booking itself does not respond most of the times.
The STD services are also in a mess and it has become a problem to contact subscribers in many areas of the state.
A subscriber of the Jaisinghpur area of Kangra district complained that the telephone exchange equipment was lying uninstalled.
Desilting kills 80 pc of trout
SUNDERNAGAR: Brot, the main tourist attraction near Jogindernagar, is situated 70 km from the district headquarters of Mandi, and 95 km from here. It is situated on the banks of the Uhl, a tributary of the Beas, and is surrounded by the Dhauladhar range. Many tourists from India and abroad come to this place to do trekking, and in addition enjoy angling in the cold waters of the Uhl.
At Brot there are two important places worth seeing. One is the PSEB reservoir and the other is a trout fish farm, both established in 1932. Here the waters of the Uhl are collected in two reservoirs and then diverted through pipelines to the Shanan power-house at Jogindernagar, where electricity is produced by the PSEB.
The other place a trout fish farm is the only farm in this district which produces three varieties of trout. The farm produces 5 lakh eggs per year, of which about 4 lakh are supplied to farms throughout the country.
But for the past several years the production of trout in rivers has been reduced to one-fourth of its natural capacity. The number of licences which the Fisheries Department issues for angling has also been reduced considerably. In 1991-92 the number of licensees were 800 but this was reduced to 100 in 1996-97 as per the Fisheries Department records.
The PSEB repairs and desilts the two reservoirs annually. This operation starts in October and continues till March. In this operation the silt is flushed out of the river due to which fish stock in 15 tributaries of the Beas is affected badly. Every year up to 70 to 80 per cent of the marine life is destroyed due to desilting.
Officials of the Fisheries Department say that they face a peculiar problem if they stock the fish in PSEB reservoirs, these go into reservoirs where the PSEB staff does not allow them access to the reservoirs due to "security reasons". And if they stock it below the reservoirs then they are destroyed by desilting.
When the PSEB officials were asked about it, they said desilting could not be stopped as it would hamper power generation at Shanan.
But the reality somewhat different. Every year when the reservoirs are drained out for desilting, trout die in tonnes and PSEB officials supply them to their superiors. Sometimes the quantity is so large that it is sent to Punjab.
According to local residents, a few years back the fish were taken to Punjab in a truck. The trout is costly and is sold at Rs 120 per kg at the farm itself. This loss is in addition to the loss caused by the destruction of fish seed in streams. The PSEB staff give only security as the reason for not allowing the representatives of Fisheries Department to supervise the marine life during desilting. But local residents confirm that the PSEB staff even do fishing in the reservoirs and serve the trout to their near and dear ones.
As per the notification of the department on February 1985, which was issued under the Fisheries Act: "The waters of the Uhl and its tributaries in Mandi and Kangra districts including balancing reservoirs and the feeder channel at Brot were declared general water and the Fisheries Rules, 1979, and the Fisheries Act apply to it."
As such PSEB officials were committing an offence under the Fisheries Act, punishable under Sections 6 and 7 of the Act which provides for rigorous imprisonment up to three years and a fine of Rs 5000 and in case of transportation of fish without permission a fine of Rs 4000.
But it seems that the
department is unaware of these laws as no official has
been booked under these provisions and marine life worth
crores of rupees is being destroyed as well as
misappropriated. The most serious aspect of the problem
is that one of the rare species of trout is on the verge
of extinction. The attitude of the PSEB staff and
ignorance of Fisheries Department officials have caused a
huge loss to the state's endangered marine life as a
whole and trout in particular.
Remarks by Dhumal refuted
SHIMLA, March 3 A spokesman of the government has denied that the Chief Minster, Mr P.K. Dhumal, made any remarks against the Union Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, at a rally at Solan on Wednesday last.
The spokesman said that
the news was totally wrong, mischievous and a figment of
the imagination as Mr Dhumal did not utter any word
mentioning the name of Mr Shanta Kumar in his speech or
even making any hint towards him. To twist the speech of
the Chief Minister was unfortunate and against the ethics
of journalism, he added.
Governor opens Shivratri fair
DHARAMSALA, March 3 The Himachal Pradesh Governor, Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, today inaugurated the three-day district-level Shivratri fair at the Kathgarh Temple in Nurpur subdivision.
Addressing those present on the occasion, the Governor, said that doing noble deeds and being good to one's fellow beings was the true form of worship. He said that the Kathgarh Temple was a historic place and credit goes to its management for keeping it clean and well maintained.
Karmapa presented with Opel
DHARMSHALA, March 3 The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, has been presented an Opel Astra car by the Runtek monastery of Sikkim.
The Karmapa, who had recently fled here from Chinese-occupied Tibet, was these days moving out more frequently from his abode, the Gyuto Monastery near here.
He heads the Kagyu sect of Tibetans which has its headquarters in Sikkim.
10 injured in clash
KUMARHATTI, March 3 Ten persons were seriously injured in a clash between two groups near here this evening.
The incident took place
when a van carrying a marriage party stopped for tea and
snacks at a dhabha on the Kalka-Shimla national highway.
There were some heated arguments between the dhabhawala
and baratis which soon turned into a physical
fight. A nearby shopkeeper rushed to help of the
dhabawala. The situation became worse when a bus carrying
another marriage party arrived. The local residents also
rushed to the spot. The baratis allegedly
threw stones on the locals and later fled the scene.
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