|Thursday, April 27, 2000,
Ram explains to Dhumal
division to help Cong, says Sukhu
to sell power to Haryana
Lifting of ban
on green felling
tanks leak in Kasauli
tributes paid to Chand Mahatma
Sukh Ram explains to Dhumal
SHIMLA, April 26 The focus of activity in the strife-ridden Himachal Vikas Congress shifted to Oakover, with leaders of the rival factions calling on Mr P.K. Dhumal, the Chief Minister, to apprise him of the political developments which led to a vertical split in the party.
Mr Sukh Ram, the party supremo, arrived at the Chief Ministers residence as soon as Mr Dhumal returned from Delhi, this afternoon. During the meeting, which lasted about 45 minutes, Mr Sukh Ram gave a detailed account of the events and the circumstances which led to the expulsion of Mr Mohinder Singh, the PWD Minister, from the party. He also urged him to remove Mr Mohinder Singh from the Cabinet. Mr Sukh Ram informed Mr Dhumal that out of the total 58 delegates of state executive, the list of which was available with the election commission, 47 attended the meeting chaired by him and 11 were present at the parallel meeting held by the rival faction. Similarly, out of the 12 special invitees six were present at his meeting.
The executive committee had authorised him to take a final decision regarding the expulsion of Mr Mohinder Singh and he was to meet him after the meeting, However, the suspended leader along with Mr O.P. Rattan, Mr Ranjit Singh Verma and Mr Ramesh Wadyal, who were not invited as they had not replied to the show cause notices served on them, turned up for the meeting but were denied entry. They held a parallel meeting outside at which they split the party. This extreme step left the party with no alternative but to expel him.
Two hours later Mr Mohinder Singh along with other leaders of the splinter group met Mr Dhumal and gave their version of the events. They alleged that the adamant attitude of Mr Sukh Ram had led to the split. Mr Mohinder Singh said that he was proceeding to Mr Sukh Rams residence along with other delegates to personally handover his explanation to the show cause notice and apologise if he had committed any wrong. However, doors were shut on them and they were not allowed entry into the house or attend the meeting. Col Dhani Ram Shandil, MP, who had gone inside to persuade Mr Sukh Ram to patch up was not allowed to come out.
The expelled leader virtually handed out a charge sheet against the party supremo. He said Mr Sukh Ram had tried to create political instability at every step. When the Vajpayee government fell he announced that his party would reconsider support to the Dhumal government. He had to intervene and clarify that the alliance would continue. Similarly, during the by-election to the Solan seat, he asked Mr Heminder to file nomination papers even though it had been decided at the meeting of party office bearers that the seat would be left for the BJP.
Mr Mohinder Singh said that Mr Sukh Ram had been working on one point programme to get him removed from the Cabinet. He said all the ministers had submitted resignations to Mr Dhumal and it was his prerogative to drop or include ministers. He had not even demanded removal of Dr Ram Lal Markandey, the lone minister of the Sukh Ram faction in the Cabinet. Mr Mohinder Singh also alleged that Mr Sukh Ram was hobnobbing with Mr Virbhadra Singh.
Mr Dhumal when contacted said he would put the point of view of both the groups before the party high command for a final decision. Both the factions had pledged unconditional support to the government but the Sukh Ram faction wanted removal of Mr Mohinder Singh on the ground that he was no more a member of the HVC. A decision was likely to be taken in the next day or two.
The crisis in the HVC has put brakes on the Chief Ministers plans to revamp the council of ministers. Mr Dhumal indicated that he was not going to accept the resignation of any minister. But there could be a reshuffle of portfolios. However, he was not so categorical regarding the acceptance of resignations of vice-chairpersons of various boards and corporation and said anything could happen.
HVC division to help Cong,
HAMIRPUR, April 26 Mr Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress chief, has said that the division in the Himachal Vikas Congress will help the Congress party. He said that the Chief Minister, Prof Dhumal, engineered the division for his personal ends.
Talking with mediapersons here today, he said that whatever transpired at the HVC meeting at Shimla yesterday proved that a group in the party was after power and it had deserted the Congress party only to come to power. He however, refused to say whether the Congress leaders would approach Mr Sukh Ram. He said that it was up to the party high command to decide as it was the prerogative of the senior leaders.
He welcomed the appointment of Mr Anand Sharma as the party spokesperson.
The HP Youth Congress chief strongly condemned the hike in power tariff. It was second time in two years that power rates had been increased in the state. The new power hike would-break the backbone of the poor and the Youth Congress would launch an agitation for its withdrawal.
Mr Sukhvinder said that there was anti-government feeling in the state due to its anti-people policies. He said that it was the impression he got after visiting nine districts of the state. Two observers appointed by the national President the Youth Congress also participated in the rallies.
He announced that 500 youth Congress men from the state would take part in anti-price rally to be organised by the Youth Congress in front of Parliament on May 2. The rally would be addressed by Mr Madhav Rao Scindia, Deputy Leader of the Congress Party and Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, the All-India Youth Congress chief.
The Youth Congress leader blasted the Chief Minister show regional bias for sanctioning of funds for development schemes. He said that not to speak of other parts of the state, the Chief Minister was discriminating even with other parts of Hamirpur district minus his own assembly segment, Bamsan.
HP to sell power to Haryana
SHIMLA, April 26 Himachal Pradesh will supply 4 lakh units of electricity each day to power starved Haryana from next month
Sources said the HPSEB was preparing an agreement for being signed with the HSEB for the purpose. The power supply might begin from the first week of May.
The HPSEB supplied electricity worth Rs 24.63 crore to the HSEB in 1998-99 and worth Rs 29.98 crore during the previous year.
The HPSEB has already come to the rescue of Delhi by commencing supply of 15 lakh units of electricity daily to the Capital from April 20.
The HPSEB signed an agreement with DESU for supplying 15 lakh units per day during April, 25 lakh units per day in May, 30 lakh units per day in June and July each, 35 lakh units per day in August and 45 lakh units per day during September.
During summer Himachal supplies its surplus power to the PSEB, HSEB, UPSEB, RSEB, DESU, Chandigarh and J and K. However, during winter it imports power from these states.
But the HPSEB suffers losses because of a defective inter-state transmission system.
The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) has taken a serious view of the HPSEB having sold 604.74 million units of power to the UP State Electricity Board (UPSEB) at generation cost of 8.3 paise per unit against the average purchase price of 81.11 paise per unit resulting in a trading loss of Rs 44.03 crores due to non-completion of single circuit lines between Khodri to Majri.
Lifting of ban on green felling
KULU: The controversial decision of the Himachal Pradesh Government lifting ban on green felling to mop up finances has drawn attention of environmentalists towards serious consequences of the move on the fragile Himalayan ecology. The repercussion of the move, according to the environmentalists, will disturb the fauna, flora and ecology of the Himalayan region directly affecting the water resources. The wildlife already in danger due to contraction of the green area will be further affected.
Under silvicultural and scientific management, green felling will be allowed in those forest divisions in which Working Plan (WP) has been approved. The WP is a document for entering systematic, obligatory and mandatory regulations for continuous management of a given forest. This document is written by the Working Plan Officer (WPO) and it was learnt that according to the practice going on for years, junior officers without experience have been posted as WPOs. It was also the practice that they never involved the local people for information collection which is so important in the present day planning and management.
Forest management experts (who wanted anonymity) also alleged that the WPOs did not even ensure whether the areas under the previous WP have been regenerated before the next WP is written and put into operation.
Another reason for such faulty planning is that the WPOs were not qualified for the environment and ecology value of forests so exploited under green felling and no impact assessment for the degradation taken place is conducted by them, they alleged.
In addition, large-scale illicit felling is always under-reflected while preparing control forums which is the basis for yielding calculation and control.
Principle of sustained yield envisages that a forest should be so exploited that the annual or periodic cut does not exceed the annual or periodic growth. But, unfortunately, this principle is not followed and as a result thousands of hectares of areas felled under various felling series under the previous Working Plans are still having baron and bald land.
environmentalists, including the Chipko movement exponent
Sunderlal Bahuguna, Vandana Shiva, Medha Patekar and
others have started debating the issue and their strategy
to counter the Himachal Governments move.
Water tanks leak in Kasauli
KASAULI, April 26 Water storage tanks can be seen overflowing near the military hospital, post office and Kasauli Club. MES pipes were leaking at places, including in the Garghal town market. A storage tank of 10 lakh gallon capacity at Mashobra has been leaking since its installation two years back.
At some places of the town, including Arhat Bazaar, Mashobra, Lower Mall and Upper Mall, water is supplied only on alternate days end that too for a bare 12 to 15 minutes. At still other places water is supplied at 9.30 a.m. causing problems for office-goers.
The situation is no better in the areas around Kasauli. The demand of water is a whopping 1,88,000 litres per day, whereas only 1,00,000 litres is supplied, according to Irrigation and Public Health officials. But even this 50 per cent supply is adversely hampered with water being supplied only on alternate days. The hoteliers have to hire trucks to transport water from Parwanoo.
According to an agreement made in the year 1954, the cantonment authorities had asked the MES to supply 50,000 gallons of water per day to the civilian population residing in Kasauli. The quantity of water has not been increased, though the population has increased manifold. The agreement had stipulated that the rate of water cant be increased. Since March end villagers in nearby village have been drawing water from natural sources.
Residents allege that
various construction sites in the town were getting ample
water. Most of the hand pumps installed by the Irrigation
and Public Health Department in the town were
non-functional for want of repairs.
Rich tributes paid to Chand
MANDI, April 26 Tributes were paid to late Chander Mani Kashyap, popularly known as Chand Mahatma, who had founded the Himachal Lok Sanskriti Sansthan, at a function at Himachal Darshan Art Gallery, on Mandi-Kulu road, yesterday.
The function was held to celebrate four year of the establishment of the gallery. Mr Prabodh Saxena, Deputy Commissioner, who was also the chief guest, said Chand Mahatma was an institution and advised his admirers to mull over whether the rare collections could be banded over to government museums at Chamba or Shimla.
Lecturers boycott meeting
SHIMLA, April 26 The Association of Lecturers of Government Senior Secondary Schools boycotted the joint meeting with the authorities of the Education Department yesterday to protest against some self-styled leaders having been invited for the meeting.
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