|Tuesday, April 18, 2000,
Revenue Act (Amend) Bill passed
Ads worth 16 lakh issued to BJP
PCC members resent Ram Lals
How old is the Karmapa?
Encroachers have field day
Rushdies date with literary
14 injured as bus overturns
Land Revenue Act (Amend) Bill
SHIMLA, April 17 The Himachal Assembly today passed the State Land Revenue Act (Amendment) Bill after Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, the Chief Minister, rejected the Oppositions demand for referring it to a select committee of the House.
He said the Bill to replace the over century old Act had been drafted on the recommendations of the high powered committee comprising legal and revenue experts, political persons and representatives of people. Moreover, select committee was not a forum to discuss the Bill, it should be deliberated upon in the House. He said the Bill was circulated 10 days ago and the members had ample time to study it.
Mr Dhumal allayed the fears of the Congress that the blanket power to regularise encroachments could be misused. He said while framing rules the government would see to it that interests of the poor were protected.
He said he was of the view that even the poor should acquire land legally instead of encroaching upon the government land.
The main objective was to update the obsolete Act by deleting the provisions which had become irrelevant, check the menace of encroachment and ensure speedy justice.
Earlier, Mr Virbhadra Singh, the Leader of Opposition said that the Bill which would effect sweeping changes in the land revenue law should not be passed in haste and instead be referred to a select committee. The new legislation would have far-reaching implications and it would disturb an established system which had been in vogue for over a century. He said acquiring blanket powers to regularise encroachments was fraught with danger. The Bill should specify guidelines and lay down the extent to which encroachments would be regularised to prevent misuse of the provision.
Mrs Viplove Thakur said such a large number of amendments were being effected in one go and it would be prudent to have a threadbare discussion before passing the Bill.
Replying to the debate Dr Rajan Sushant, the Revenue Minister, said large number of amendments were inevitable as 130-year-old Act was being updated. He said besides penal action against encroacher there was also a provision to acquire the encroached land which would certainly deter offenders. He said land owners would be able to file objections during land revenue settlement relating to record or rights in the revenue officer and the appeal against the order of assistant collector would lie with the district judge which would considerably speed up the disposal of cases. The Act when implemented would reduce pendency of cases by ensuring guide disposal of matters pertaining to partition of land, demarcation and correction.
The House also passed the State Fire Fighting Service (Amendment) Bill which makes it mandatory for the authority in charge of water supply to ensure that fire hydrants remained functional round the clock and to identify more points for installing new hydrants. It also provides for more stringent penalties against those willfully obstructing fire fighting operations.
Earlier, Mr Hari Narayan Singh, the Town and Country Planning Minister, introduced the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Act (Amendment) Bill to provide for composition of offences.
Mr Mohinder Singh, the PWD Minister, introduced the Himachal Pradesh Motor Spirit (Taxation of Sales) Repeating Bill seeking the rationalise sales tax law relating to levying of tax on sale of motor spirit in the state and to eliminate duality of provisions and to assign the administration of the taxes to a singular hierarchy of authorities.
Ads worth 16 lakh issued to
SHIMLA, April 17 Advertisements worth Rs 16.58 lakh has been issued by the Himachal Pradesh Government to various organisations and periodicals related to the ruling BJP and the RSS.
These advertisements have been issued during the past two years to the ABVP, which is the student wing of the BJP, Panchjanya, which is considered as the mouthpiece of the RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Matrivandana, a periodical.
This was stated by the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, in a written reply to a question of Mr Ram Lal Thakur (Cong), in the Vidhan Sabha today.
These advertisements were issued by various boards, corporations and government departments.
The Matrivandana was issued advertisements worth Rs 6,85,594, the ABVP was given advertisements of Rs 5.99 lakh for its souvenir, the Panchjanaya got advertisements worth Rs 3,69,553 lakh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for Rs 4000 for its souvenir.
The highest value of advertisements worth Rs 1.14 lakh were issued to the Panchjanya by the Directorate of Tourism. The director, tourism also released advertisements of Rs 85,000 to the ABVP. The HRTC gave advertisements of worth Rs 58,500 to the Panchjanya.
Among the Deputy Commissioners, that of Hamirpur topped the list by issuing Rs 80,000 worth advertisements to the Matrivandana followed by Rs 75,000 advertisements by the Deputy Commissioners of Mandi and Bilaspur, Rs 35,000 each by the Deputy Commissioners of Sirmour and Una and advertisement worth Rs 20,000 by the Deputy Commissioner, Chamba.
The Congress members, including Mr Virbhadra Singh and Mr J.B.L. Khachi, expressed concern over non-functional street lights in many areas of Shimla.
The question regarding the street lights was tabled by Mr Kuldeep Kumar (Cong). In reply to his question, the Minister of State for Urban Development, Mr Roop Dass Kashyap, said that 19 street light points were faulty between Longwood and Kelti. About 1000 tubelight points out of a total number of 5496 within the jurisdiction of the Shimla Municipal Corporation were lying faulty.
Intervening, the Chief Minister, Mr Dhumal, said that the faulty points will be replaced as the material has been purchased by the HPSEB following release of Rs 3 lakh by the Municipal Corporation.
In reply to a question of Mr Kaul Singh and Mrs Viplove Thakur (Cong), Mr Dhumal informed the House that the Centre has sanctioned raising of an India reserve batallion and has also released Rs 13 crore for the purpose.
Replying to a supplementary of Mr Khachi, the Chief Minister said that the state government has adopted a three pronged strategy to check terrorism in the Chamba area bordering Jammu and Kashmir. This includes equipping the police with high frequency wireless system, modern arms and ammunition and reliable communication.
Mr Dhumal said that a perspective plan of Rs 253 crore has been prepared for upgrading the police force and revamping the intelligence machinery.
The Minister of State for Technical Education, Mr Ravinder Singh Ravi, in reply to a question of Mr Vipin Singh Parmar (BJP), said that many shortcomings have been detected by an inquiry committee in the privately run engineering college at Kala Amb in Sirmour district. Action will be taken to get these shortcomings removed.
Mr Ravi said that infrastructure was lacking in the college and a six-member committee under the chairmanship of the vice-chancellor has been set up to examine the fee pattern of the institute. The college has been establised on 24 bigha land on which an industrial unit was proposed to be set up initially.
The Minister of State
for Town and Country Planning, Mr Hari Narayan Singh,
informed the House that a complete ban has been imposed
on constructions in the heritage zone of Shimla. No cases
for approval of building plans in the area will be sent
to the Cabinet for approval. He was replying to a
question of Mr Ram Lal Thakur (Cong).
PCC members resent Ram
SHIMLA, April 17 Several office-bearers of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) today expressed resentment over the "laudatory" remarks which a senior party leader, Thakur Ram Lal, made for the BJP government of Mr P.K. Dhumal at a public function here recently.
It is learnt that some PCC members took the opportunity to raise the issue at the meeting of office-bearers held under the chairmanship of the state Congress chief, Mr Sat Mahajan. Several senior leaders, including Mr Virbhadra Singh, CLP leader, Mrs Vidya Stokes and Mr J.B.L. Khachi, were present.
Thakur Ram Lal was not present.
Sources said that a senior functionary wanted to know what action the party proposed to take against Thakur Ram Lal. However, Mr Mahajan is believed to have refused to comment as the meeting was convened for gearing up the organisation against issues like the price rise and review of the Constitution being done by the BJP.
Thakur Ram Lal has come under criticism within the organisation for having lauded the steps which Mr Dhumal and the Minister for Horticulture. Mr Narendera Bragta, have taken for prosperity of the apple and other fruit growers.
His detractors allege that he went out of the way to shower praises on the BJP government which claim has embarassed the Congress leadership.
However, sympathisers of Thakur Ram Lal claim that he did nothing wrong by making free and frank observations regarding the steps which the government has taken for promotion of horticulture.
How old is the Karmapa?
DHARAMSALA, April 17 Suspicion over the actual age of the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee which were allegedly raised by PGI doctors are being dismissed as speculation by Karma Kagyu monks.
According to Lama Phuntsok, a main priest of Rumtek Monastery, of Sikkim, "Doctors are free to make their opinion, however, the fact remains that the Karmapa was born on June 26, 1985, making him 14 years of age".
He said that the observation made by the doctors that the age of the Karmapa is between 21 and 24, is simply not true.
The controversy about the age of the Karmapa cropped up following reports quoting doctors of the PGI that the 15 year old Karmapa appeared to be an "adult", above the age of 21. This observation was made by the doctors on the basis of a series of medical tests the Karmapa underwent, when he was admitted to the PGI recently.
If by the observation of the PGI doctors is accurate the Karmapa would have been born prior to the death of the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorjee, who died on November 5, 1981, in the USA and this cannot be his reincarnation. This will give grist to the Shamar Rimpoches mill and intensify the succession row for the coveted Rumtek throne. Where, Shamar Rimpoche has installed a rival claimant Thaye Dorji.
Lama Phuntsok, said that the Karmapas elder sister, who accompanied him from Tibet, had already refuted reports that the Karmapa was 21 years of age.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Religion and Culture in the Tibetan Government in Exile, Mr Tashi Wangdi, said that according to the Tibetan calendar the Karmapas age is 16 while as per the western calendar he will turn 15 on June 26. Mr Wangdi, said that there should be no controversy in this regard as the date of birth of the Karmapa is June 26, 1985.
But given the dissensions within the Kagyu sect over the Karmapa, the latest controversy might add to the problems of Ogyen Trinley Dorjee who has still not been given political asylum or refugee status by the Indian Government.
Encroachers have field day
NURPUR, April 17 The Chaugan area of this historical town has become a heaven for land grabbers and encroachers. Encroachments have scarred the beauty of its vast ground where the state government had proposed a stadium in 1990. The stadium has been hanging fire since then and the prime land in and around the ground has either been grabbed or encroached upon thanks to the apathy of the government agencies.
The land grabbers have even grabbed public utility places like public urinals and water tanks.
Residents have submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal in this connection, but in vain.
It is pertinent to
mention that the local municipal council had also served
notices on a few land encroachers for stopping illegal
constructions, but a number of holidays have proved a
boon to the encroachers who have raised structures on the
government and municipal lands by carrying out
construction work during holidays.
Rushdies date with literary
KASAULI, April 17 "He came, ate, when recognised smiled obliged with autographs and won the heart of the dhaba staff," says the proud owner of Shaam-e-Himachal near Dharampur, 15 km from here.
Salman Rushdie, took the dhaba staff by surprise when he decided to halt for dinner at the dhaba on the evening of April, 13. According to the dhaba owner, Samrat, a convoy of black Mercedes halted in front of his dhaba at around 10 p.m. A gentleman, later identified as Salman Rushdies attorney Vijay K.T. Shankardass, alighted from one of the Mercedes and enquired if they could be served a decent meal. The waiter promptly replied "we serve food that is a gourmets delight and often receive VVIPs like you". Little did the waiter realize though that soon he would be serving Salman Rushdie, his son, attorney and a posse of security personnel.
Attired in a cream coloured kurta and white pyjama with a straw hat, Rushdie spoke in English and Urdu.
Initially when the staff tried to enquire about his identity from his security men, they refused to say answer saying that they were entrusted with the VVIPs security but had no idea who he was.
Rushdie who ordered Punjabi food seemed to enjoy it and spent over an hour at the place.
"It is so cool and
lovely here" the writer said, recalls the dhaba
owner. Rushdie was overwhelmed when the dhaba staff
finally recognized him and complimented him on his
literary skills. It was more than Rushdie had expected
from the staff of a small roadside dhaba. Before leaving
he shook hands with the staff and obliged them with
14 injured as bus overturns
NAHAN, April 17 As many as 14 persons were injured, four of them seriously, when a private bus on way from Kala-Amb to Paonta Sahib overturned near Moginand village, 15 k.m. from here, today. About 30 persons were travelling in the bus.
The injured were rushed to the local Civil Hospital.
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