Monday, April 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Sukh Ram, CM meet to mend ties
SHIMLA, April 23 — Mr Sukh Ram, the HVC supremo, today held a prolonged meeting with Mr P.K. Dhumal, the Chief Minister, to remove irritants between the BJP and HVC which have brought the alliance under considerable strain, particularly after the suspension of Mr Mohinder Singh, the PWD Minister, from the party.

Kandha Pattan project to cost 200 cr
HAMIRPUR, April 23 — The Himachal Government has decided to launch a Kandha Pattan water supply scheme costing Rs 200 crore to provide water in the scarcity-hit areas of the Bamsan, Mewa and Sandhole Vidhan Sabha areas of Hamirpur and Mandi district, respectively. The work on this project would start soon according to Mr Ishwar Dass Dhiman, Himachal Education Minister.

HVC defends dissolution
UNA, April 23 — Mr O.P. Rattan, state general secretary of the HVC, in a signed statement issued here today criticised the statement of former CM Virbhadra Singh that the resignation of all the ministers in the BJP-HVC combine government reflected the crisis in the alliance.

Himachal police transfers
SHIMLA, April 23 — In a reshuffle in the Police Department, the SPs of Hamirpur, Kinnaur and Sirmour districts were transferred by the Himachal Pradesh Government yesterday.

Encroachers eat up Chaugan Maidan
SUJANPUR TIRA (Hamirpur), April 23 — The historic Chaugan Maidan, spread over an area of about 1,050 kanals here is “shrinking” thanks to the indifferent attitude of the state government and the local people.

Bypass remains a far cry
HAMIRPUR: The proposed bypass for Hamirpur town is a non-starter, if the allocation of funds for it are taken into consideration. The 6.50 km long road was to be constructed to ease the traffic congestion here. A sum of Rs 2 lakh has been sanctioned for this ambitious project that was to be completed by April, as promised by the Chief Minister.



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Mandi
Shimla
Nahan
Una


EARLIER STORIES
  DYFI concerned over outsiders’ employment
SHIMLA, April 23 — The state committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India has expressed concern over the recruitment of outsiders by certain companies engaged in the execution of the Natpha-Jhakri project and urged the government to take action against them.

Shimla lashed by rain
CHANDIGARH, April 23 — The North West plains today remained mainly dry with no major change in day temperatures and such weather conditions would continue to prevail in the region during next 24 hours.

Controlled burning lowers fire risk
DHARAMSALA, April 23 — The forest authorities are wary but thankful that there has not been a single forest fire in this region thus far despite the mercury soaring high. In contrast the situation was very bad by this time last year. This year January and February controlled burning and clearing of fire lines was undertaken.

Nagar parishad to fill khud
MANDI, April 23 — The President of the local Nagar Parishad, Mr Pushp Raj Sharma, said here today that a Rs 2.5 crore self-financing project had been drawn up to cover and channelise the Skedhi khud that passes through the town. As many as 500 shops would be constructed here.

Demand to restore promotion quota
SHIMLA, April 23 — The Himachal Diploma Engineers Association has urged Mr PK Dhumal, Chief Minister, to restore the promotion quota of diploma engineers up to the level of superintending engineer.

Major forest fire in Nahan area
NAHAN, April 23 — Officials of the Forest and Wild Life Department had to struggle the whole day to put out a fire in the reserve forest of Kata Pathar in Majra forest range under Paonta Forest Division.

Rain in Hamirpur
HAMIRPUR, April 23 — Hamirpur and the surrounding areas received light to medium rain this afternoon. As a result temperature fell down sharply. It provided relief from the scorching heat.
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Sukh Ram, CM meet to mend ties
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, April 23 — Mr Sukh Ram, the HVC supremo, today held a prolonged meeting with Mr P.K. Dhumal, the Chief Minister, to remove irritants between the BJP and HVC which have brought the alliance under considerable strain, particularly after the suspension of Mr Mohinder Singh, the PWD Minister, from the party.

The two leaders were closeted together for over two hours during which they discussed not only the Mohinder Singh issue but also the resignations of the ministers. Mr Sukh Ram reportedly told Mr Dhumal that the show of strength by Mr Mohinder Singh on March 1 and his subsequent state wide tour during which he openly criticised him had only worsened the crisis in the HVC. Since the suspended leader claimed that he had the backing of Mr Dhumal, an impression had gone around that he was acting at the behest of the Chief Minister. Even Mr Virbhadra Singh, leader of the Congress Legislative Party, had stated in the Assembly that the Chief Minister was trying to split the HVC. The entire episode had left a bad taste and embittered the relationship between the two parties. He felt that the Chief Minister should have intervened and restrained him from such defiance.

Mr Dhumal, it is learnt, denied having any role in the matter which, he termed, was an internal affair of the party. He told Mr Sukh Ram that he could not stop a minister from touring the state. He also expressed unhappiness over the criticism of the government by Mr Chaman Lal Gachali, a senior HVC leader and Chairman of the State Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation.

Mr Sukh Ram, however, informed the Chief Minister that Mr Gachali was upset over the failure of the government to withdraw the false and politically motivated cases registered against him during the previous Virbhadra Singh regime.

Mr Sukh Ram, however, maintained that he had not asked Mr Dhumal to drop Mr Mohinder Singh during the reconstitution of his ministry. He said the issue would come only after a final decision over his continuation in the party was taken by state executive committee of the HVC due to meet on April 25. He said the decision of the committee, to which all members except those who had been suspended and had not replied to the show-cause notice had been invited, would be a binding on him.

The HVC supremo is also learnt to have cautioned the Chief Minister, that dropping any minister could undermine the stability of the coalition.

Regarding Mr Dhumal’s statement that he would not be re-inducted in the ministry, Mr Sukh Ram said he had repeatedly emphasised that he would not join the ministry till he was cleared of charges by the court. However, he said that now he would not do so even if he got a clean chit from the court.

He maintained that coalition culture was not being followed in letter and spirit and an unequal sharing of power had created an imbalance.

In another important development Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Ramesh Dhawala, the Irrigation and Public Health Minister, also met the Chief Minister separately.

Meanwhile, Mr Dhumal left for New Delhi this evening to consult the central leadership of the BJP regarding the reconstitution of his ministry. Sources said it might take sometime to carry out the exercise during which portfolios of most of the ministers were likely to be shuffled and a few might be elevated.Top

 

Kandha Pattan project to cost 200 cr
From Our Correspondent

HAMIRPUR, April 23 — The Himachal Government has decided to launch a Kandha Pattan water supply scheme costing Rs 200 crore to provide water in the scarcity-hit areas of the Bamsan, Mewa and Sandhole Vidhan Sabha areas of Hamirpur and Mandi district, respectively. The work on this project would start soon according to Mr Ishwar Dass Dhiman, Himachal Education Minister.

Addressing a public meeting at Draundla village of the district after inaugurating the first building of Government Primary School under the Saraswati Bal Vikas Yojna, he said the main aim of the state government was to help maximum people by providing them the facilities needed by them. He assured that the people that no one would be allowed to suffer due to shortage of drinking water.

He claimed that the Mewa area of the district had seen heights of development after the BJP government came to power. The road density in the area was highest in the state.

A cultural programme was also presented on this occasion and the minister announced a grant of Rs 2000 to the participant children.Top

 

HVC defends dissolution
From Our Correspondent

UNA, April 23 — Mr O.P. Rattan, state general secretary of the HVC, in a signed statement issued here today criticised the statement of former CM Virbhadra Singh that the resignation of all the ministers in the BJP-HVC combine government reflected the crisis in the alliance.

Mr Rattan said instead of worrying about the BJP-HVC alliance Mr Singh should find out why Congress MLAs had cross voted in the Rajya Sabha election.

He said there was no crisis in the HVC-BJP government and it was for Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal to decide what and when he wanted to do about his Cabinet.
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Himachal police transfers
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, April 23 — In a reshuffle in the Police Department, the SPs of Hamirpur, Kinnaur and Sirmour districts were transferred by the Himachal Pradesh Government yesterday.

Mr Venugopal, SP, Kinnaur, has been shifted to Hamirpur in place of Mr Saddiqui who goes on UN deputation.

Mr Ajay Yadav, ASP, Mandi, has been sent to Kinnaur as SP.

Mr Prithvi Raj, SP, Sirmour, has been appointed as AIG (R&T) in place of Mr Pradeep Kumar, who goes on UN deputation.

Mr Abhishek Trivedi, ASP, Shimla has been appointed as ADC to the Governor.

Mr Prem Singh, IG (SSB) on return from central deputation, has been appointed IG, Railway and Traffic, relieving Mr Ashwani Kumar of the additional charge.

Mr Ravinder Kumar, DIG, Prisons, has been shifted to the police headquarters.

Mr Ram Kumar, ASP, Bilaspur, has been appointed as SP, Security , Shimla.Top

 

Encroachers eat up Chaugan Maidan
From Our Correspondent

SUJANPUR TIRA (Hamirpur), April 23 — The historic Chaugan Maidan, spread over an area of about 1,050 kanals here is “shrinking” thanks to the indifferent attitude of the state government and the local people. The maidan used to be the parade ground of Katoch rulers of the erstwhile Kangra hills. The Katoch kings used to see the daily parade of their army from the Tira forts located atop the Tira hills.

Presently, the sole sainik school of the state stands on one side of the ground while the local people have encroached upon its other sides. Owners of cars, two wheelers and other vehicles often use this maidan as a car park and training ground.

Stray cattle can be seen roaming the grounds to forage on its rich grass. The grass was imported by Raja Sansarchand from England.

No concrete effort has been made by the rulers to save the maidan on which games are organised by schools, colleges and at the state level each year. The ground hosted a match between HP Eleven and the North Zone under 22 Eleven a few years ago when Himachal Pradesh was given affiliation to the Board of Cricket Control of India.

The previous Congress government had plans to fence the maidan but the plan could not materialise due to local politics. The local nagar panchayat is the custodian of the maidan at present and charges money from those who set up stalls here during the weeklong Holi mela organised here every year. However, even the gram panchayat does little for the upkeep or maintenance of the ground.

There is a demand for opening a sports college at Sujanpur Tira and to convert Chaugan Maidan into multipurpose stadium but little has been done towards this end.Top

 

Bypass remains a far cry
From Chander Shekhar Sharma

HAMIRPUR: The proposed bypass for Hamirpur town is a non-starter, if the allocation of funds for it are taken into consideration. The 6.50 km long road was to be constructed to ease the traffic congestion here. A sum of Rs 2 lakh has been sanctioned for this ambitious project that was to be completed by April, as promised by the Chief Minister.

At present, all buses to Shimla and Dharamsala cross through the only state highways that falls within this town’s limits. This leads to traffic congestion and on several occasions accidents take place in this highway.

A proposal was mooted during the present BJP regime and an estimate of Rs 3.15 crore was prepared for the proposed bypass that was to divert traffic without entering into Hamirpur from Mattensidh side. It was to meet the state highways near the Krishnanagar area. The budget estimates includes the cost of land, digging and metalling of land to make it a double-laned road, etc.

Official sources told this reporter that land acquisition work has already started. A notification to acquire land has been issued by the Hamirpur PWD division.

However, sources in the PWD say that not even a single paisa has been spent on this project till the end of March. This project was made a part of the budget in the 1997-98 fiscal year but no money was sanctioned to start work. According to sources, the state government has now decided to take loans from Nabard as well as listing this project under the national highways scheme linking Shimla with Kangra via Hamirpur.

These sources also point out that as the bypass crosses forest land, this is another hurdle for not starting of the work for the project. The Department of Forests is reported to have sent through the government a detailed report to the Union Environment Ministry about the number of “chir” trees that would be axed in the construction of this road over forest land. Under the forest rules, no non-forestry work can be undertaken on forest land without getting clearance from the ministry under the Indian Forest Conservation Act.

The people of Hamirpur town in general and those of other parts of the district in particular are waiting for the day when the commitment made by Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal, who belongs to this district, materialises and the bypass becomes a reality.

They are highly upset over the reports that only a petty amount Rs 2 lakh had been sanctioned for this project in this year’s budget. Will the state government take steps on a war footing to get more funds from the central government to complete this project?Top

 

DYFI concerned over outsiders’ employment
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, April 23 — The state committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India has expressed concern over the recruitment of outsiders by certain companies engaged in the execution of the Natpha-Jhakri project and urged the government to take action against them.

Mr Tikender Singh, secretary of the federation, said Indian Hume Pipe Limited had recruited more than 70 unskilled workers from Orissa, in contravention of the Compulsory Notification of Vacancies Act. He demanded that vacant posts first be advertised and then recruitment made on preferential basis to the local youth.
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Controlled burning lowers fire risk
Tribune News Service

DHARAMSALA, April 23 — The forest authorities are wary but thankful that there has not been a single forest fire in this region thus far despite the mercury soaring high. In contrast the situation was very bad by this time last year. This year January and February controlled burning and clearing of fire lines was undertaken.

The Divisional Forest Officer, Dharamsala, Mr Rakesh Sharma, said two watch towers at Lilidhar near Kangra and Tahla Mata near Shahpur, were being manned round the clock for forest fire. “Majority of the forest ranges in the area are visible from these two towers, and wireless and walkie-talkies have been provided”, he said. A record number of forest fires had taken place last year. In Dharamsala Division itself a total of 527 forest fires were reported with 1806.65 hectares of forest ravaged.

The Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, has issued orders for patrol parties (thikri pehras) under the HP Village and Small Towns Patrol Act, 1964. Under the HP Fire Rules-1999, nobody can kindle a fire within 100 meters of a forest or camp there without prior permission.Top

 

Nagar parishad to fill khud
From Our Correspondent

MANDI, April 23 — The President of the local Nagar Parishad, Mr Pushp Raj Sharma, said here today that a Rs 2.5 crore self-financing project had been drawn up to cover and channelise the Skedhi khud that passes through the town. As many as 500 shops would be constructed here.

He said the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, had agreed to give approval to the new project. The parishad has also planned to carve out a big parking area beneath the mini secretariat.

The parishad has urged the government to construct a bridge connecting Jalpa temples of Purani mandi and Padal. Mr Sharma has also urged the Chief Minister to hand over the sunken garden marketing complex to the parishad at the earliest.Top

Demand to restore promotion quota
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, April 23 — The Himachal Diploma Engineers Association has urged Mr PK Dhumal, Chief Minister, to restore the promotion quota of diploma engineers up to the level of superintending engineer.

The association at a general body meeting here today also urged the management of the state electricity board to release time-bound promotional scale to all eligible diploma engineers who have completed nine and 16 years of service. It also demanded regularisation of the services of 50 ad hoc assistant engineers.

Meanwhile, the following office-bearers were elected: president — Mr SK Kaul, vice-president — Mr N.K. Vyas, general secretary — Mr N.C. Sharma and Mr G.S. Chaudhary and finance secretary — Mr R.K. Vaidya.
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Major forest fire in Nahan area
From Our Correspondent

NAHAN, April 23 — Officials of the Forest and Wild Life Department had to struggle the whole day to put out a fire in the reserve forest of Kata Pathar in Majra forest range under Paonta Forest Division.

The fire along the Simblewada wild life sanctuary was first noticed on Friday morning. Mr A.R.M. Reddy, Divisional Forest Officer of Paonta Sahib, said the fire was brought under control by the evening.
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Rain in Hamirpur
From Our Correspondent

HAMIRPUR, April 23 — Hamirpur and the surrounding areas received light to medium rain this afternoon. As a result temperature fell down sharply. It provided relief from the scorching heat.

This rain is, however, considered harmful to the Rabi crops. Many farmers who have harvested their crops and kept them in the fields for harvesting fear their crops will be damaged badly.
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Shimla lashed by rain

CHANDIGARH, April 23 (UNI) — The North West plains today remained mainly dry with no major change in day temperatures and such weather conditions would continue to prevail in the region during next 24 hours.

The city and its surrounding areas had 35.8C as maximum temperature, a degree above normal. The temperature, has, however, dipped from yesterday’s 37C.There were no reports of any rise in day temperatures from any part of Haryana and Punjab.

A report from Shimla said the capital town and its surroundings were lashed by rain, accompanied by lightning and thunder, giving respite to the people from rising temperatures. The rain caused drastic fall in the temperature. The Mall Road and the Ridge Maidan, gave a deserted look due to heavy rainfall. Upper areas of Shimla district, including tourists resorts of Wildflower Hall, Naldehra and Kufri also had rain.

The weather office here has forecast light to moderate rain likely at isolated places in Himachal Pradesh in the next 48 hours. The weather will remain mainly dry in Haryana and Punjab.Top

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