|Friday, April 28, 2000,
to set up bio-tech dept
opposes hike in power tariff
a farce, says Virbhadra
assails meals scheme
to launch janjagran stir
to have new financial rules
returns sans bride
by postal staff
HP to set up bio-tech dept
SHIMLA, April 27 The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today decided to set up a new department of bio-technology and constitute a task force to prepare an action plan to make the state a leader in this field.
Mr P.K. Dhumal, Chief Minister, who chaired the meeting of the Cabinet, said the decision had been taken to prepare the state to meet the challenges of the new millennium. While he would head the new department, the task force would be headed by the Chief Secretary and have the vice-chancellors of the universities in the state, the Secretary (Finance), Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Secretary (Agriculture), Secretary (Horticulture) and Secretary (Information and Technology) as its members. Experts in this field from Central Government institutions and private sectors will be co-opted.
The Cabinet decided to waive the sales tax on poultry and cattle feed, chemical fertilisers, insecticides, pesticides, raw-wool and agriculture implements to provide relief to farmers.
It was also decided to exempt sales tax on wheat purchased for the ITBP personnel from the Food Corporation of India. This will provide a relief of more than Rs 1 lakh per year to the ITBP personnel.
Keeping in view the limited working season, in the Bharmour tribal area, the cabinet decided to reduce the minimum number of days of service for regularisation from 240 to 180 days.
It approved certain amendments in the Himachal Pradesh Tourist Trade Act, 1988, to provide for regulating and enforcing safety standards in the field of adventure sports. This will help instill a sense of safety and confidence in the minds of tourists and thereby help in the promotion and marketing of Himachal as destination for adventure tourism. The proposed amendment also includes broadening the scope of tourism units by, including activities like adventure sports, amusement parks, ropeways, health clubs, golf courses and tourism-related training institutions. Further, amendments also provide for the constitution of tourism development board and tourism development council.
Condolence resolutions were passed to mourn the death of those killed in a bus accident at Chaura in Kinnaur district yesterday.
The Cabinet also
approved the first jail manual of Himachal Pradesh. Till
now Punjab Manual, 1900, was being followed in the state.
The manual lays stress on reformation and rehabilitation
of prisoners and provides for enriching the job content
of the state to enable them to play a more constructive
role in the reformation and rehabilitation of the
prisoners. The manual further provides scientific
classification of different categories of prisoners so
that they can be kept in separate institutions/premises
and provide appropriate environment for reformation and
Cong opposes hike in power
DHARAMSALA, April 27 A sitting MLA and general secretary of the HPCC, Mrs Viplove Thakur, today criticised the Dhumal government for the recent hike in the power tariff.
Addressing a press conference here today, she said the hike was unjustified and anti-people. Earlier, the decision to hike in power tariff used to be passed by the state Assembly but lately the decision has been left to the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board, resulting in an exceptionally high increase in power rates she, regretted.
She said the price of kerosene had also been hiked along with the power tariff to make matters worse for those below poverty line. She expressed apprehension that the increase in kerosene prices might result in damage to forests in the state with more people opting for wood as fuel.
The Congress leader lamented that the state Budget was also anti- farmer like the Union Budget. Instead of lowering prices of items being used by farmers the government is making the cellular phones cheaper, she said.
She announced that the Congress would launch a statewide campaign to bring about awareness among the people on the issue of increase in the prices of various commodities.
She also accused the government of discriminating against certain Congress MLAs in the allotment of funds for the development of their constituencies. When asked about the praise showered by some Congress MLAs on the functioning of the Dhumal government she said it could be their personal opinion and not that of the party.
Our Correspondent from Jawalamukhi adds: The state president of the Youth Congress, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, has condemned the hike in power tariff. While talking to mediapersons here today he threatened to launch an agitation against the state government if the proposed hike was not withdrawn soon.
Mr Sukhu said the
decision had generated anti-government feeling among the
people. Mr Kewal Singh Pathania, former Transport
Minister, said the proposed hike was anti-people in
general and anti-poor in particular and demanded
immediate withdrawal of the hike. Mr Inder Mohan Walia,
block Congress president, said the hike would escalate
prices and the poor would be the worst-hit.
Ex-minister assails meals
CHAMBA, April 27 A former Education Minister and a veteran Congress leader of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Sagar Chand Nayyar, has expressed deep concern over the mismanagement of mid-day meals scheme launched in primary schools since the Congress regime owing to the half-hearted approach of the present government.
In an informal chat here today, Mr Nayyar said in fact the scheme had been launched with the sole aim of providing meals during the school time for a better health of children, but unfortunately, today the rice was being distributed to children to take it to their homes. He asserted that this scheme should be scrapped if the state government could not implement it wholeheartedly.
Mr Nayyar suggested that to strengthen the base of primary education, panchayats should be involved by entrusting them a collective responsibility and for this, a new mechanism should be evolved.
Mr Nayyar advised that there was at the moment no need of opening more educational institutions but laid stress on the strengthening of staff and equipping the institutions with exhaustive infrastructure of education. He said primary education was the formative stage of children, adding that an awareness about cleanliness must be brought amongst the children and a habit in this regard should be cultivated.
Mr Nayyar was of the opinion that higher education should be restricted to brilliant students who could prove an asset to the nation. He underlined the need for imparting qualitative and productive education.
Mr Nayyar urged the Himachal Government to include computer education as a major part of curriculum after class V to meet the challenge of current advancement in the field of information technology (IT) otherwise the state would remain backward.
Congress to launch
SHIMLA, April 27 The state unit of the Congress will launch a janjagran campaign to highlight the anti-people policies of the Dhumal government, particularly the recent unprecedented hike in power tariff, in May.
Condemning the hike, ranging from 40 to 100 per cent, the second in two years, Mr Harsh Mahajan, vice-president of the Pradesh Congress Committee, demanded immediate review of the decision to provide relief to the people who were already burdened by the sharp increase in prices of essential commodities, cooking gas, kerosene, diesel and other items.
He alleged that the policies pursued by the BJP were pro-rich, the chief beneficiaries being big business houses, middle-men and traders. The employees, the working classes, the farmers and the poor were being taxed.
The party would also
highlight the complete indifference of the BJP towards
the burning issue of unemployment, the mishandling of the
state finances and frequent changes in the administration
at the state and district levels which reflected the
inexperience and inability of the party to provide an
Panchayats to have new financial
NAHAN, April 27 New financial rules are being framed to improve the functioning of gram panchayats. Efforts are on to provide such a system to panchayats so that they may have their own office and do not require a sarpanch for cash dealing.
This was stated by Mr Tarun Kapoor, Director, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department Himachal Pradesh, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday. He said the state government had already taken a step in this regard by appointing assistants in more than 1,400 gram panchayats of the 2,922 gram panchayats of the state.
Mr Kapoor said some other amendments in the Panchayati Raj Act were under consideration to make the working of the panchayats more effective. While replying to a question he said to make minor changes in the list of IRDP families, the Deputy Commissioners of all districts had already been authorised to remove the name of undeserving persons and include the name of deserving persons after holding a brief inquiry.
He also presided over the concluding function of the three-day workshop on micro-planning of panchayats organised by the DRDA, Sirmour.
Reshuffle a farce, says Virbhadra
SHIMLA, April 27 Mr Virbhadra Singh, a former Chief Minister, has termed the minor reshuffle of portfolios effected by Mr Dhumal today as a face which has exposed the chinks in the BJP-HVC coalition.
Reacting to the reshuffle, he said the much awaited exercise turned out to to be a fiasco. It appeared that the Chief Minister had fallen into his own trap and become a prisoner of political forces beyond his control, he said.
It had been proved beyond doubt that there was turmoil and intra-party conflict within the ruling coalition, which was an indication of the growing political instability of the government. It also showed the helplessness and political impotency of the Chief Minister who had to eat an humble pie in spite of his tall claim of commanding untainted loyalty and support.
Imposter returns sans bride
NURPUR, April 27 In a bizarre incident, a bridegroom from Taragarh in Gurdaspur district in Punjab had to return to his home without solemnising his scheduled marriage to a girl at Makdoli village in Nurpur subdivision last week.
According to the police, mediator of nearby Chhattar village had arranged the marriage by showing a boy who was normal in physical appearance.
The mediator in a clandestine manner brought his handicapped brother-in-law along with a marriage party to solemnise his marriage with the girl. On April 19, family members of the bride suspected foul play when the bridegroom entered the house with a crippled movement.
On enquiry the family
members of the bridegroom pretended an injury in his leg.
However, the bride side found the truth. They refused to
oblige the handicapped bridegroom resulting in a clash
between the two parties. Villagers also thrashed the
mediator and members of the marriage party. A few village
elders then intervened and settled the dispute by
returning the gifts and money presented to the bridegroom
before the marriage.
Rally by postal staff
HAMIRPUR, April 27 Postal employees numbering about 100 and stationed here today staged a rally outside the Head Post Office and raised anti-Central Government slogans in support of their various demands. These employees are preparing themselves for the indefinite strike to be started from May 2.
The postal employees
have been demanding implementation of December 18, 1998
agreement; implementation of positive recommendations of
the Justice Talwar committee with regards to grant of
status and pension to extra-departmental employees and
upgradation of pay scales of various categories of
employees in the department.
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