|Friday, March 24, 2000,
hails shift in US stand
CM trying to split parties:Cong
HP compounds illicit
Cops to pay Rs 50 for free bus
Flying squad needs teeth
CPI: raw deal for deprived in HP
Move on training institute opposed
Advani hails shift in US stand
SHIMLA, March 23 Mr L.K. Advani, Union Home Minister, today said that the massacre of innocent Sikhs in Kashmir would isolate Pakistan in the international community and pointed out that the forthright stand of the US President, Mr Bill Clinton, on cross-border terrorism and need to maintain the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC) was a clear indication of it.
Addressing a press conference here, he said the present governments success in containing terrorism in the Kashmir valley gave a serious setback to the proxy war being waged by Pakistan and it resorted to the Kargil misadventure. However, its humiliating defeat in Kargil, both on the battle front and in the arena of diplomacy, forced it to concentrate on the proxy war again. The latest events in Kashmir were part of Pakistans renewed effort to escalate the proxy war.
The massacre of Sikhs would isolate Pakistan as fully on the issue of terrorism as Kargil did on the issue of armed aggression.
Welcoming Mr Clintons condemnation of crossborder terrorism, Mr Advani said this positive shift in the US position, which began with the Kargil war, had now found a more categorical expression. It was an unequivocal disapproval of Pakistans attitude. The statement signed during his current visit reflected, besides other things, the determination of the two countries to increase bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, which had emerged as a major threat to regional and global security, he added.
He asserted that the war against terrorism had to be fought by the country on its own strength and it had "the will and the means" to effectively counter this menace. He said other countries could only assist indirectly in resolving the problem, but the basic fight had to be waged by India, which had shown its resolve during the decade-long campaign against Pak-backed militancy in Punjab. It had thwarted Pakistans diabolical campaign for a separate Khalistan.
Referring to the latest massacre, the Home Minister said that the culprits behind the incident were not Kashmiris but foreign mercenaries, who were totally alien to and also opposed to the traditional culture of the valley. He claimed there was no security lapse. After having targeted the Hindu community and succeeding in driving them away from their homeland, the terrorists had now begun to target the Sikhs.
He ruled out the possibility of imposing Presidents rule in Jammu and Kashmir or handing over the valley to the Army for maintaining law and order.
Regarding the delay in bringing out a White Paper on the activities of Pakistans ISI, he said there was rethinking on it. The main issue was whether or not it would serve any purpose in combating the situation. Besides, a White Paper had to be comprehensive and the government did not want the battle against terrorism to be affected by it. A better recourse would be to take Parliament into confidence on the issue.
Mr Advani said that government was considering to supply arms to villagers in Kashmir in the wake of the latest massacre. The village defence committees (VDCs) had been in existence in the state, but they never asked for weapons earlier.
The national executive of the BJP, which is scheduled to meet on April 15 and 16 at New Delhi, would discuss the post-Kargil escalation in proxy war in Kashmir, the Indo-US relations and other allied issues.
Referring to political developments in Bihar, he claimed the people had given mandate against the Rabri Devi government, but certain parties like the Congress,who cashed in on the anti-Laloo sentiment, betrayed them by joining hands with the RJD.
Earlier, Mr Advani
inaugurated the new state BJP office building and
honoured old workers of the party at tap
vandana function. Mr P.K. Dhumal, Chief Minister,
Mr Shanta Kumar, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Mr
Narinder Modi, All-India General Secretary of the BJP,
and Mr Suresh Chandel, the state BJP President, also
addressed the gathering.
CM trying to split
SHIMLA, March 23 Mr Virbhadra Singh, Leader of the Opposition and a former Chief Minister, has accused the BJP government led by Mr P.K. Dhumal of indulging in futile attempts to break other political parties instead of paying attention to the pressing problems of the common people.
Mr Virbhadra Singh issued a statement here today on the functioning of the BJP-HVC combine government on the eve of completion of its two years in office today.
He said that instead of paying attention to the problems of the people, the government was more concerned with political machinations.
Mr Dhumal had not even spared his alliance partner, the Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) in this regard.
Mr Virbhadra Singh claimed that the performance of the Dhumal government during the past two years had been "dismal and disappointing", which had destabilised the development process and thus taken the state many steps backwards.
Mr Virbhadra Singh alleged that the Dhumal Government was conceived in sin and formed by desperate parties which had nothing in common and had fought the election against each other. They came together just to grab power by giving a go-by to all norms and this was a shining example of rank opportunism and lust for power, he alleged.
The past two years had seen a rapid degeneration of all values, norms and conventions, violation of rules and regulations and erosion of the rule of law by the government, thus converting the peaceful law-abiding state into jungle raj. Development had come to a standstill in the state except in a few areas and the government did not have funds to pay salaries to its employees, he further alleged.
Mr Virbhadra Singh alleged that the government had failed to safeguard the interests of the state in the matter of hydroelectric projects. The definition of democracy had been changed and those not belonging to the BJP or RSS were being treated as second-grade citizens. People were being harassed and victimised on political grounds and merit was being ignored in providing employment.
He alleged that the Dhumal Government was blatantly trying to saffronise educational institutions and government services. An attempt was being made to divide the people on the basis of caste and region.
The former Chief Minister alleged that the BJP-HVC combine government had failed to tackle the problem of galloping unemployment. Corruption had been institutionalised in all spheres and at all levels with tacit approval and patronage of the chief minister.
The recent imposition of
taxes had directly hit the farmers and poor sections of
society. The public distribution system in the state was
in shambles and the poor people were groaning under the
load of increase in prices of essential commodities. Law
and order had collapsed and there was an alarming
increase in crime, particularly against women, Dalits,
backward classes and other weaker sections of society.
The police had become ineffective under political
pressure, he alleged.
HP compounds illicit
SHIMLA, March 23 Instead of prosecuting those involved in illicit felling of green trees and adulteration of liquor, the authorities in Himachal Pradesh are resorting to simply compounding the cases at their own discretion which was encouraging the mafia.
Reports have been received that hardly a fraction of the cases related to illicit felling and smuggling of trees had been taken to the court for prosecution during the past three years.
The state level laboratory at Kandaghat is unable to handle the rising number of cases of food adulteration because of shortage of staff.
Of the 31 incidents of adulteration of IMFL and country liquor detected during the past two years, only one was taken to the court and the remaining 30 were compounded by the Excise Department.
It is worth mentioning that out of the 10,011 cases of illicit felling and smuggling of timber, 6,297 were compounded by the Forest Department.
Only a small number of 172 timber cases were prosecuted and only 2 of them ended with conviction.
As many as 9,588 cases of illicit felling and 423 cases of smuggling of timber were detected during the past three years in the state where the ecology had already become fragile.
It was being alleged that adulteration of liquor was also taking place in the state at an alarming scale, but the Excise Department did not have adequate staff to check these cases. Whatever cases of adulteration were detected, these were mostly compounded by the department. It had been pointed out that mostly the adulteration of the country liquor was taking place which was bottled by various private parties. Only one case of adulteration of IMFL was detected in the Solan district.
As many as 30 cases of adulteration of country liquor were detected and only one of the accused in Bilaspur district was prosecuted. Shimla and Solan districts topped in adulteration of country liquor with 10 cases having been detected in each of them. All these cases were compounded. The other districts where such cases were compounded were Sirmour (five), Chamba (two), and Bilaspur and Kinnaur one each.
Meanwhile, reports of
smuggling of khair trees for manufacture of katha have
also been received. As many as 115 cases of smuggling of
khair wood were detected this year and 212 persons were
arrested in this connection and 113 were facing trial. As
many as 99 cases were still under investigation.
Cops to pay Rs 50 for free
SHIMLA, March 23 Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Himachal Chief Minister, has said that the state government had decided to charge Rs 50 instead of Rs 100 per month for free bus travel facility from police personnel in Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses.
The Chief Minister was presiding over a meeting of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh here last evening.
The decision of the government to increase the free travel fare from Rs 20 to Rs 100 per month for police personnel came under criticism. Mr Dhumal said that his government was committed to the welfare of working class in the state and had taken various decision aimed at their uplift in the past two years. He added that rights of the working class would be protected and genuine demands thereof would always get special attention of the government.
He said that the government had set up state-level tripartite board to ensure industrial peace and cordial relations between workers and management. He added that tripartite committees had also been formed at the project-level so that meetings of state-level board could be convened well in time and orders or advice of the board enforced by the project committees accordingly. He said that medical facilities were also being ensured for industrial workers under the ESI scheme in the pradesh, which had been introduced by the Health Department. Besides, a regional committee has also been formed to look into the problems of the industrial workers. He further said that housing colonies were also being built for industrial workers in industrial areas of the state.
He said that 24,000 daily wage workers who had completed 8 years in service had been regularised, so far in the state. He also directed the boards and corporations in the state to hold meetings of the service committee regularly so that pending cases of the workers could be decided soon. He also stressed the need for proper coordination among officers, management and workers so that their demands could be sorted out and solved on priority basis.
The Chief Minister
lauded the role of working class in the development of
the state and thanked them for maintaining cordial
relations with the government. He also asked the officers
for responding promptly to the demands and problems of
the workers so that justice could be provided quickly to
Flying squad needs teeth
SHIMLA, March 23 Set up about seven years ago to check forest offences, the toothless flying squad wing of the Forest Department has failed to act as a deterrent for offenders.
Inadequate powers, lack of cooperation from the territorial staff and inability of the department to take action against culprits has rendered the squad totally ineffective in carrying out its responsibilities. It has been carrying out surprise checks to detect illicit felling of trees, smuggling of timber, utilisation of trees allotted under timber distribution and muster rolls, as a matter of routine. However, as officers of the squad do not have the power to challan or compound the cases, the offenders are seldom brought to the book.
After conducting a preliminary inquiry, the squad sends its report of the Conservator of Forests concerned and divisional forest officers (DFO), who are directly or indirectly responsible for the offences. It is hardly surprising that, these officers, instead of taking action against the guilty field staff, then try to cover up the lapses and shield the offenders. Not only that these officers also do not cooperate in investigations and more often than not even they refuse to show the records. Consequently, culprits in most of the cases go scot free and officials of the squad earn the wrath of the senior officers.
In a recent case of illicit felling in which 31 trees were axed in the Dhrui Reserve Forest in the Amb forest range, the DFO concerned, instead of helping the members of squad in investigations, threatened to book them for trespassing under the Section 26 (D) of the Indian Forest Act if they dared to enter the forest area. With senior officers adopting such a defiant posture. The squad has rather become an object of ridicule.
It is thus, no surprise that all sorts of irregularities are being committed in the department. Last month Chief Conservator (Protection), during a routine inspection, came across a blank muster roll issued for the February in Gandhawar nursery of the Una forest division. Although about 20 workers had been engaged in the nursery not a single name had been entered in the muster roll until February 17. Obviously, the intention was to misappropriate funds. No action has been taken against the guilty officials so far. The nursery is located on the main Una-Amb road through which the DFO and other officers frequently cross. It only indicates that they have not been performing their supervisory duties.
While the officials involved in such irregularities are being shielded, the department is also not maintaining a proper record of the confiscated timber. During a recent inspection the staff at Gandhawar failed to produce any record of confiscated timber kept under their charge. The seized timber is to be listed case wise but in this case the staff failed to produce any list even one month after inspection. This allows much scope for pilferage. The matter has been brought to the notice of the senior officers but to no avail.
If the government is
seriously interested in checking forest offences, it
should provide teeth to the flying squad by giving it
powers to prosecute the offenders and ensuring proper
action in all the cases detected by it.
CPI: raw deal for deprived in
SHIMLA, March 23 The state unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) has termed the two-year rule of the BJP-HVC coalition in Himachal Pradesh as a dark period during which problems of the state multiplied and the deprived sections were handed out a raw deal.
In a statement released on the completion of two years of the Dhumal government yesterday, the party pointed out that the number of unemployed increased from 7.17 lakh to 8.7 lakh exposing the claim of the government that it provided one lakh jobs. Whatever little recruitment was made in the Public Works Departments, benefited only the constituency of the minister concerned, from which over 60 per cent of the workers were given jobs as daily wagers. Contracts for executing construction works were given to supporters of the ruling party combine, it alleged.
Besides, no relief was
given to categories of employees like the anganwari
workers and helpers, van rakshaks, part-time ayurvedic
workers, panchayat chowkidars, water carriers and the
secretaries societies who were drawing less than the
minimum daily wage. it alleged that atrocities on the
Dalits; particularly women, increase, the foodgrain
production fell from 14.35 lakh tonnes in 1997-98 to
12.98 lakh tonnes in 1998-99. The financial position
further deteriorated as evident from the huge deficit;
despite having shown the loans amounting to Rs 1100 crore
as income and educational institutions were
saffronised, the party alleged.
Move on training institute
SHIMLA, March 23 The Himachal Institute of Public Administration Employees Association has opposed the governments proposal to convert the institute into a society and threatened action if the move was not dropped.
The association pointed out that it was not possible to convert training institute into a society as it was not in a position to generate income for running its activities.
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