|Sunday, March 5, 2000,
men's behaviour uncalled for: CM
Governor, not Cong to be
Devotees throng Shiva temples
HP ministers' TA bills for 5
Farmers must get research benefit,
Info-tech course approved
Award for former farm varsity VC
2 martyrs cremated
Woman forest guard foils
1 killed, 4 hurt in clash
2 truck-loads of rum gifted to
Cong men's behaviour uncalled
DHARAMSALA, March 4 The Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, today said the poor performance of the Congress during the recent assembly elections was an indication of the country's oldest party becoming irrelevant and getting disintegrated.
Talking to newspersons at Baijnath today, he said those advocating the two-party system in a democracy were unhappy at the way the Congress was getting divided.
The Chief Minister also inaugurated the state-level Shivratri fair.
"Dejected by its leadership and the failure of the Gandhi-Nehru charisma to woo the voters, a number of young Congress leaders are in touch with the BJP", he stated. He said the Congress leaders were responsible for the present condition of the party.
Condemning the behaviour of the Congress leaders in the assembly and the manner in which they raised slogans against the Governor, the Chief Minister said it did not behove them to act in such an irresponsible manner. There will be 26 sittings of the assembly this time, providing the Congress ample time to raise various issues. So there is no need for them to behave in such an undignified manner", he remarked.
Clarifying the stand on the RSS controversy in Himachal, he said the state government had not taken any new decision in this regard. He said the RSS chief, Prof Rajender Singh, had already stated that the RSS did not need patronage from the government.
When asked if the party was contemplating disciplinary action against those indulging in anti-party activities during the Solan byelection, Mr Dhumal said all this was in the notice of the state party president and it was for him to take action.
Regarding the crisis in the Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC), the Chief Minister said he had discussed the matter with Mr Sukh Ram. He clarified that the HVC chief had never asked him to remove PWD minister, Mohinder Singh, from the Cabinet.
Mr Dhumal stated that in order to give a boost to tourism in Kangra and Chamba district, permission had been granted for landing of civil planes at the Pathankot airfield. So far only small planes could land at the Gaggal airport, near here. He said Rs 1.64 crore had been sanctioned for the Baijnath-Holi road.
Governor, not Cong to be
SHIMLA, March 4 Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee today said the Congress could not be blamed for installation of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government headed by Mr Nitish Kumar in Bihar by having delayed its decision on extending support to the RJD of Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav.
Mr Mukherjee told mediapersons here today that the Governor, Mr Vinod Chandra Pande, acted in "haste" and installed Mr Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister without going through the process of political consultation.
The AICC treasurer, Mr Ahmed Patel, the CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh, and the PCC chief, Mr Sat Mahajan, accompanied Mr Mukherjee.
Mr Mukherjee said the Governor should have set a deadline to satisfy himself about the respective strength of each party in view of the fractured mandate. Moreover, the Governor was on record having said that he would not invite anyone to form government until he received a list of legislators supporting each party.
He was hopeful that Mr Nitish Kumar would be defeated on the floor of the House during the trial of strength for which the Governor had given 10 days.
Mr Mukherjee said the Governor did not follow convention and invite the single largest party to form the government.
Mr Mukherjee was here to mobilise the party rank and file for participating in the Congress rally being held at Delhi on March 6 against the policies of the government.
He said the protest rally would focus on the "undue haste" shown by the Bihar Governor in installing a minority government.
He said the rally had been organised to highlight the "communal approach" of the central government and other BJP-ruled states. The lifting of ban on government employees for participating in the activities of the RSS in Gujarat would be one of the issues.
Mr Mukherjee said the Vajpayee government had failed to clarify the objective of setting up the constitutional review committee. The terms of reference of the committee had also not been announced.
He apprehended that the exercise was to tamper with the secular character of the Constitution. It would be a futile exercise to review the Constitution as the BJP government with an insufficient strength in Parliament would not be able to undertake any constitutional amendment.
Referring to the protests in Parliament on the RSS issue by the Congress, Mr Mukherjee clarified that the party did not want to discuss the role of the Gujarat Government, but the failure of the Centre in protecting secularism.
Devotees throng Shiva temples
SHIMLA, Mar 4 Shivratri was celebrated with great religious fervour and devotion throughout Himachal Pradesh today.
Devout Hindus observed fast, performed worship, took bath in holy lakes and rivers and made a beeline to the famous Shiva temples which were illuminated and tastefully decorated.
The Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal inaugurated the Shivratri festival at Shiva Temple at Baijnath in Kangra district, while the eight-day long international Shivratri festival would commence tomorrow at Mandi, known as "mini Kashi for its 81 Shiva temples.
People thronged Kaleswar Temple at Kangra, Shiva Temples at Baijauri and Bijili Mahadev Temple at Mandi, Mau Nag Temple at Karsog and Triloknath Temple at Sirmaur.
HAMIRPUR: Shivratri was celebrated throughout the district with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm. Thousands of Shiva devotees thronged the Shiva Temples located in various parts of the district, offered puja and paid their obeisance to Lord Shiva.
The main function was held at Gasoteshwara Temple, 7 km, from here where Shiva devotees lined up since early morning to offer 'bilpatri' and 'doodh lassi' on the ancient Shiva idol. The temple was beautifully decorated and devotees were singing religious songs to please Lord Shiva.
Migratory birds reach Pong
DHARAMSALA, March 4 In search of a destination for winter a record number of migratory birds, descended on the Pong Dam wetland area, this winter.
The number of these "winter guests", who come from as far as Siberia, China, Russia, Australia and Nepal crossed 70,000 this year. As per the census conducted by the Wildlife authorities, there has been a definite increase not only in the number of birds but also in their diversity.
The vast stretch of open deep water is of great importance and it was here at the Pong, that the Red-necked Grebe, was spotted for the first time in India. Earlier, it had been seen only in lakes upto Pakistan. The black-headed Gull and Herring Gull species, which are fairly uncommon in India, away from the coast visit the reservoir each winter.
Though the number of the migratory birds coming here for the winter sojourn is on the rise, a number of problems like poaching and disturbance due to fishing at Pong Dam, are a hindrance. "Though there has been a considerable check on poaching as the needs of the water birds and the local people come into direct conflict, there is some problem", commented Mr R.C. Bergaal, Conservator Wildlife.
A large number of migratory birds get trapped in fishing nets laid by fishermen in the dam. Though the times for fishing have been fixed, these not being followed strictly, a large number of birds get trapped and killed.
However, the fact remains that a large number of families from the adjoining areas, are solely dependent for a living on fishing.
A large number of people, who were displaced due to the construction of the dam, continue to live in the fringe areas and undertake cultivation, as the water line recedes. Apart from this, in the 5-km periphery area of the dam, there is extensive damage to crops by the migratory birds. Since about 100 villages are affected, the birds are bound to be killed by the farmers, as they feed on freshly sprouted crops.
Though there have been efforts by the government to promote the concept of developing "feeding centres" in the area to minimise damage to the crops, due to lack of funds it could not be sustained. Since 1997, no funds are being given for buying feed for the migratory birds. Now efforts are being made to restart the scheme as it was helpful, not only in minimising the damage to crops but also was proving to be useful in attracting more birds.
Mr Bergaal said their efforts were to improve the bird habitat in the islands of Railser, Karu and Jatta Da Kalan, so that more and more birds were attracted to the place. The efforts of the department would be directed towards improving vegetation and checking soil erosion in the wetland area.
The mudflats and mudpits
formed along the receding shore-line from October
onwards, attract birds of various species like Pin Tails,
Coats, Poachards, Mallard, Eagrets, Shoveller, Sarus
Crane, Tufted Duck, Cormorants and Bar-headed Geese. It
is only once when the weather starts getting warmer by
March, that these birds start their journey homewards.
HP ministers' TA bills for
SHIMLA, March 4 Members of the Himachal Council of Ministers claimed Rs 6.57 lakh as travelling allowance in a period from March 1 to July 31, 1999.
Mr Mohinder Singh, Himachal PWD Minister, who drew the highest amount of Rs 53,122, remained on tour for 88 days and stayed at the headquarters only for 40 days and partially for 25 days.
Mr Ram Lal Markanda, Rural Development Minister, toured for the maximum number of 97 days and remained in the state capital for 50 days fully and six days partially. However, his TA bill was just Rs 22,050.
The Revenue Minister, Dr
Rajan Sushant, did minimum touring and stayed in Shimla
for a maximum of 106 days fully and three days partially.
He drew Rs 20,305 as travelling allowance. Mr P.K.
Dhumal, the Chief Minister, remained in the capital for
72 full days and 55 days partially. His TA bill amounted
to Rs 27,424, Mr Kishori Lal, Industries Minister, drew
the minimum amount of Rs 19,250 as TA during the period.
Farmers must get research
benefit, says Governor
DHARAMSALA, March 4 The Himachal Governor, Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, today exhorted scientists to lay special emphasis on transfer of research from the laboratory to the fields for the betterment of the farming community.
Chairing the tenth Senate meeting of Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University at Palampur, he said with the land holdings getting smaller and population explosion, there was a bigger responsibility on the scientists to boost production with the help of latest techniques and fertilisers.
He said after seeing the climatic and soil conditions and irrigation facilities, the farmers must take to diversification of crops in order to supplement their income. He felt that farmers must be taken into confidence before making any research so that the time, energy and money spent on it did no go waste.
The Governor said there should be better coordination between the university and the various departments of the state government for better results. He suggested that training camps and seminars must be held at the village level.
Mandi decked up for Shivratri
MANDI: The week-long Shivratri Fair is celebrated in a unique manner in this town of temple, which is also known as the Kashi of Himachal Pradesh. Hundreds of hill gods and goddesses converge on this holy town on the eve of Shivratri. They pay obeisance to Madho Rai, the presiding deity of Mandi State, in keeping with the centuries-old tradition. Even after Independence, Madho Rai is held in the same high esteem by the elected government as was done during the days of the Mandi rulers. The Raja is now represented by the elected representative Chief Minister or the Governor who perform prayer in front of Madho Rai before the start of the Shobha Yatra.
Although Shivratri is celebrated all over the country, it assumes special significance for this town where week-long celebrations are held amidst colourful festivities.
Shivratri used to be an occasion for big royal celebrations marked with religious fervour and gaiety during the days of royalty. The former Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, himself a former ruler, restored the ancient glory to this fair by declaring it a state fair. Later its status was elevated to "international carnival". Mandi and other hill rulers were devotees of Lord Shiva. Of the many Shiva shrines here the temples of Bhutnath, Trilokinath, Panchvaktra and Ardhnarishwar are the most important.
Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, will formally inaugurate the fair on March 5. He will perform pooja at the seat of Madho Rai in the Damdama Palace of the ancient kings.
A grand Shobha Yatra will start from here in which besides the Chief Minister a galaxy of hill deities accompanied by thousands of devotees in their colourful best, officials, elite of the town wearing colourful turbans, contingents of mounted police, homeguards and NCC will follow the Rath of Madho Rai. Earlier prayers are offered to Lord Shiva at the temple of Bhutnath, the most popular shrine of the present Mandi town, the foundation of which was laid simultaneously by Raja Ajber Sen in 1526. Prior to that Mandi town was located on the right bank of the Beas and palaces of the kings were at Bhiuli where a big but unplanned residential colony has come up now.
The evening cultural programmes at the historic Seri Pavilion are the biggest attraction of the fairs. At times the police has to face a tough time controlling the huge crowd which converges to see the performance of top artists of the country. At times artists from other countries are also invited.
Mr Prabodh Saxena, Deputy Commissioner and chairman, Mela Committee, says for the first time no film personality form Bombay has been invited to participate in the fairs.
This year the internationally famed Shri Ram Bhartiya Kala Kendra will regale the people. Besides artists from other states have been given preference.
The star attraction of the fair in the sprawling Padal Ground will be Gramshri Mela organised by Council for Advancement of Police Action in which artisans from different parts of the country will exhibit their products. Ten stalls have also been given to local artisans in the Gramshri Mela. Shivratri sports and various other programmes are held on Padal.
Elaborate traffic and security arrangements have been made to avoid untoward incidents, says Mr O. C. Thakur, SP.
About Rs 30 lakh is spent on the fairs. Of this about Rs 7 lakh is consumed for the arrangements for devtas and about Rs 8 lakh is disbursed for cultural programmes.
Info-tech course approved
SHIMLA, March 4 The Executive Council of Himachal Pradesh University has approved a five-year integrated course in information technology.
The meeting of the council was held here today. The Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.K. Gupta, presided.
The Executive Council decided to review the increase in the re-evaluation fee for which the ABVP and the SFI had submitted memoranda.
The council permanently debarred three students of Government College, Seema, for impersonation. The students are Ranjit Singh, BA (Part III), Mukesh Kumar, and Dinesh Kumar.
The council approved affiliation to five Sanskrit colleges. Their case will now be sent for UGC assistance.
The council also approved computerisation of PMT and B.Ed. entrance examinations, evaluation through optical mark reader (OMR) and one combined question paper instead of three for PMT students.
A committee to look into the affairs of the IITT College of Engineering, Kala Amb, was constituted.
The recommendations of the recruitment and promotion committee were approved by the Executive Council, promoting regularising and confirming the services of 30 section officers, 18 assistant registrars and eight deputy registrars, four SPs, five PSs, two editors and a deputy librarian.
Award for former farm varsity
SHIMLA, March 4 The Asian Apicultural Association, Tokyo, has conferred its "award for excellence" on Prof L.R. Verma, a scientist and former Vice-Chancellor of the Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.
The award is being given to Dr Verma in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the science of bees and development of apiculture in Asia. The Queen of Thailand will present the award during the Bee World Expo to be held from March 19 to March 25 at Chiang Mai in Thailand.
An alumnus of Guelph University, Canada, and Goethe University, Germany, Professor Verma has been providing apiculture and pollination technology advisory services to several developing countries, including the FAO of the United Nations. He was the first Asian to be awarded the honorary membership of "Apimondia", a Rome-based federation comprising bee-keeping associations of 120 countries.
2 martyrs cremated
SOLAN, March 4 Bodies of Lance Naik Ghanshyam, 22 and Rifleman Uttar Ram Gurung, 20 were cremated with full military and state honours at Subathu, 20 km from here today.
Both belonged to the 1 Gorkha Rifles and laid down their lives in Jammu & Kashmir on March 1.
The Additional District Magistrate, Mr L. R. Chauhan, laid wreaths on behalf of the Governor, Mr Vishnu Kant Shashtri, and Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Madhusudan did likewise on behalf of Chief Minister, Mr P. K. Dhumal.
Brigadier Kamal Sood, Commandant 14 Gurkha Training Centre, laid wreaths on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the Army and Deputy Commandant, Col K. G. Chatterji, did so on behalf of the 14 GTC .
Woman forest guard foils
MANDI, March 4 Woman forest guard Devindra Devi, assisted by two forest workers, did not allow four Maruti vans carrying contraband timber to cross the forest barrier at Kawand in Kataula despite intimidation bid by smugglers.
Lauding the courage exhibited by her, Mr Vineet Kumar, DFO, said the forest staff had identified the vehicles. The persons involved in the crime had been involved in several forest offences, he said.
1 killed, 4 hurt in clash
PALAMPUR, March 4 One person was stabbed to death and four were injured in a clash between members of two marriage parties at Thural village last night.
According to reports available here, the clash occurred near a liquor shop. One of the marriage party had come from Baggi village. The deceased has been identified as Man Chand, a resident of Thural village.
Later, residents of nearby villages staged a dharna on the Palampur-Hamirpur highway and blocked traffic for nearly six hours. They were protesting against the deteriorating law and order situation.
2 truck-loads of rum
gifted to Army
UNA, March 4 Thakur Mohinder Singh, PWD and Excise Minister, Himachal Pradesh, today flagged off two truck-loads of complimentary rum consisting of 1200 cases worth Rs 15 lakh presented by M/s Ranger Breweries Ltd, Mehatpur, for army jawans and officers stationed at Kargil area.
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