|Wednesday, March 8, 2000,
killed in HP mishap
24,068 daily wagers regularised in
Higher outlay for rail link
RSS, felling dominate debate
Tibet opera festival begins
13 hurt as bus rolls into khud
Steps to tackle tourist rush
10 killed in HP mishap
DHARAMSALA, March 7 Ten persons were killed, 29 injured, three of them critically, when a train rammed into a bus at an unmanned level crossing near Raja Ka Bagh, about 6 km from Nurpur, late this evening.
The police said the private bus (JKU 1174) was carrying a marriage party which was returning from Muthi Bhambial village in Jammu to Naghled in the Nurpur subdivision of Kangra district.
So far eight bodies (all male) have been brought to the Nurpur Civil Hospital, while efforts are on to extricate the remaining bodies. The injured have also been admitted to the hospital at Nurpur. The three critically injured were brought to Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College here, a doctor accompanying the medical team, said on reaching Nurpur.
According to injured, the bus driver despite being asked to wait for the train to pass, went ahead causing the accident.
The bus was dragged for about 25 ft before the train came to a halt. However, none of train passengers were injured as it did not get derailed.
The nearby villagers were the first to inform the police about the mishap. With Raja Ka Bagh and Naghled being quite close to the accident site the villagers immediately reached there and started rescue work. The SSP, ADM, SDM and the DSP of the area also reached the accident site. The GRPF at Kangra and Kandrori were also informed about the accident by the police.
24,068 daily wagers regularised
SHIMLA, March 7 The Himachal Government has regularised 24,068 daily wagers in various departments from 1997-98 to 1999-2000.
Stating this in the Vidhan Sabha during question hour, Mr P.K. Dhumal, the Chief Minister, said out of these 5,456 workers had put in more than 10 years, of service and 15,258 had completed 10 years, 3,283 (nine years) and 70 (eight years). He said no worker with five years service had been regularised. Only in the state electricity board 110 daily wagers had been regularised.
Replying to a question of Mrs Asha Kumari, the Chief Minister informed the House that as many as 80 Army men, four ITBP and five BSF personnel from the State were killed fighting enemy forces from April 1,1999, onwards. He said out of these 52 Army personnel were killed in operation Vijay and 28 afterwards. An ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh had been given to each of the 52 martyrs' families and Rs 3 lakh each had been disbursed to the family of 25 martyrs of other operations.
He said paramilitary forces had not been covered under these benefits except for casualities in Kargil and other related sectors. He said the government would like to pay a handsome amount to the martyrs of para-military forces but a policy would have to be evolved for it by the Centre. He said he would raise the issue in the committee set up for the purpose of which he was a member.
In a written reply Mr Dhumal informed Mr Kaul Singh that as many as 7,837 hamlets and some industrial areas were having the problem of low voltage as per a survey conducted in 1995 and Rs 500 crore were required to slove it. Efforts were being made to improve the situation as per availability of funds.
He told Mr Harsh Mahajan
that the government had decided to set up a committee
headed by the industry minister to look into the issue of
providing jobs in the NHPC to the remaining families
which were displaced due to construction of the Chamera-1
Higher outlay for rail link
SHIMLA, March 7 With substantial raise in the Railway Budget for the broad guage Kalka-Parwanoo Rail link, work on the project is expected to be expedited.
A provision of Rs four crore has been made for laying the 5.69-km-long track between Kalka and Kamli (Parwanoo) in the Railway Budget for next year. This is substantial increase over the last year's allocation when only Rs 10 lakh was earmarked for the project.
The project, which includes the construction of a railway siding at Kamli, is expected to cost Rs 23 crore. The foundation stone of the project was laid last year by the Union Railways Minister.
However, an additional grant of Rs 2 crore was provided for the project in the current year and the amount was expected to be spent by March-end.
The project for the construction of the broad gauge rail link was approved by the Centre in 1997, but work on it remained held up because of lack of funds.
The rail link will provide an independent siding to the hill state of Himachal Pradesh in the industrial town of Parwanoo. So far, the raw material for the industry has to be carried in trucks from Ambala or Kalka.
It is expected that the state might be able to develop its own terminal market for fruit and off-season vegetables at Parwanoo when the railway siding comes up there. Hundreds of trucks are hired every year to carry apples to Delhi and other markets in the country.
However, no the budgetary provision has been made for extending the broad guage line from Bhanupali in Una to Bilaspur. Successive governments have been complaining of "stepmotherly" treatment by the Centre in extending the Railway network in the state.
Only 11 km of Rail line was laid from Nangal in Punjab to Una since Independence. Himachal Pradesh has only two narrow gauge rail routes, the Kalka-Shimla and the Pathankot-Jogindernagar, which were laid during British regime.
A private company has been set up for constructing nearly 47 km rail line between Bhanupali and Bilaspur, but the work was yet to take off.
With the setting up of
big cement manufacturing plants and other industries, the
necessity for a broad gauge railway has increased in the
state. Most of the highways become choked due to traffic
generated by these industrial units.
RSS, felling dominate debate
SHIMLA, March 7 The issues relating to the RSS and green felling came up in the Vidhan Sabha during the debate on motion of thanks on the Governor's Address today.
The members stuck to party lines and references to the RSS which led to angry exchanges between the Treasury Benches and the Opposition on many occasions. The ruling party strongly defended the RSS, which was objected to by the Congress members. They said that their notice for discussion on the issue had been accepted by the Speaker.
Mr Chander Sen of the BJP lamented that the Congress was trying to run down a nationalist organisation like the RSS. Ms Sarveen Chaudhary also praised the organisation and castigated the Congress for calling Swayam Sewaks as "nikkerdharis". She was repeatedly interrupted by the Opposition members and the Speaker had to intervene more than once to restore order.
The Opposition members expressed concern over the decision to allow green felling and warned that the move could spell disaster for the ecologically fragile hills.
Mr Kaul Singh said the Congress Government had banned green felling to protect environment, but the present government had reversed the decision to tide over the financial crisis. Felling of green trees would create serious problem like soil erosion, landslides and floods. Instead of cutting trees the government should have sought funds from the Centre.
Referring to the bitumen emulsion scam he said that the Public Works Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, should have resigned in view of the findings of the inquiry conducted by the divisional commissioner which clearly held that excess and irregular purchases were made in the Mandi zone of the PWD. He said there was no mention of import of fruit under the OGL which had hit the apple growers hard.
Mr Sukh Ram of the HVC suggested that an eco-development authority be established to protect the Himalayan region. He said as per experts if effective steps were not taken to check ecological degradation, the fertile plains of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh would be transformed into desert over the next 70 to 80 years. He said he would soon come out with a plan which would not only generate employment but also help spread green cover over the hills.
The HVC leader underlined the need for coordination and proper sharing of power for smooth functioning of coalition. He said the situaition of the BJP in Haryana was the same as that of the HVC in Himachal and for the continuation of the alliance proper understanding among the partners was essential.
He said the country had entered the coalition era and Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee was doing a good job by ensuring smooth functioning at the Centre. The coalition had lasted in West Bengal for over the past 22 years only because the main party, the CPM, shared power with partners even when it had a majority of its own.
Tibet opera festival begins
DHARAMSALA, March 7 Trying to keep alive the tradition of "shoton", Mcleodganj, the headquarter of the Tibetan government-in-exile, came alive today with the annual great opera festival starting to a colourful start.
Tibetans living in and around Mcleodganj came in large numbers to enjoy the scintillating performances by the artistes from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. The five-day festival is held every year to keep alive the tradition of "shoton", which is a dying art form in Tibet because of cultural and religious repression.
Traditionally, the "shoton" festival began in Tibet on a full moon day at the beginning of the summer monastic retreat. Since monks and nuns practiced purification rituals on full moon days and ate no meat they used to be served with yoghurt and hence the name "shoton", meaning yoghurt was given to the festival.
In Tibet celebrations usually took place at Sera and Drepung monastaries near Lhasa, Potala Palace and the Norbulingka, the winter and summer residences of the Dalai Lama. Opera troupes would perform Lhama, the Tibetan Opera based on the lives of famous figures in Tibetan Buddhism and to receive the blessings of the Dalai Lama.
In Tibet, the festival used to be held in August but here in exile the Tibetans hold it in March, immediately after the Losar teachings given by the Dalai Lama.
The festival was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama. He along with the 17th Karmapa, the head of the Kagyu sect, watched the performances.
The Dalai Lama, said the 17th Karmapa's main aim was to serve the Buddha "dharma", which would not have been possible under the Chinese regime in Tibet.
He further said the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, had taken a big risk by fleeing from Tibet.
Making the Karmapa stand beside him while addressing the gathering, he said it was a matter of great pride that the head of the Kagyu sect was able to reach here safely.
The Dalai Lama said it was important for the Karmapa to concentrate on his studies for the next 10 to 15 years.
13 hurt as bus rolls into
SOLAN, March 7 Thirteen persons were injured, four of them seriously, when a bus rolled into a 300-foot khud near Gunai village on the Chadiyar-Khadeen link road at 9.30 a.m. today.
Two of the injured were rushed to the zonal hospital here and one each to the PGI, Chandigarh, and ESI, Hospital, Parwanoo.
The bus was carrying a marriage party and was on its way back to Khadeen. The driver reportedly lost control of the bus while reversing it.
Steps to tackle tourist rush
DALHOUSIE, March 7 The district police has proposed to deploy additional security personnel on the Tunnuhatti checkpoint on the Dalhousie-Pathankot highway, which is the gateway to Dalhousie, Khajjiar and Chamba, during the ensuing tourist season.
This was announced by the SP, Chamba, here today. He said the steps were being taken in order to avoid any untoward incident in the area. He said to carry out highway patrolling from Tunnuhatti to Dalhousie, a mobile vehicle with wireless and metal detector had been arranged to regulate the traffic.
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