Saturday, May 13, 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

Ultimatum to motorists on red lights
SHIMLA, May 12 — A week-long ultimatum has been given by the district administration of Shimla to motorists for removal of unauthorised red lights, flag rods and designation plates from their vehicles.

Power improvement: HP for easing loan norms
SHIMLA, May 12 — The Himachal Government will seek relaxation in norms for the grant of loans for power distribution management from the Power Finance Corporation which is holding its seventh meeting with chairpersons of the various state electricity boards and senior power officials here on Saturday.

China warns Karmapa’s kin
DHARAMSALA, May 12 — “The Chinese have threatened to retaliate against our parents, relatives and followers unless we return to Tibet” says by 24 year-old Ngodup Palzom, elder sister of the 17th Karmapa, who fled for India along with her brother in January, this year.

Resentment brews among CRI staff
KASAULI, May 12 — The employees association of the Central Research Institute (CRI) is irate at the callous attitude adopted by the Director, Dr Usha Soren Singh, towards the demands of the group C and D employees of the institute.

Vacation of 6 buildings ordered
SHIMLA, May 12 — The authorities concerned have ordered the immediate vacation of six buildings which have been declared unsafe with cracks appearing in them in the Theisl Bank area here where a double-storeyed house collapsed yesterday because of a landslide.

Congress to hold rallies in HP
SHIMLA, May 12 — The CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh, and the state Congress chief, Mr Sat Mahajan, have decided to organise rallies in all district headquarters of the state in protest against the rising prices, and increasing “lawlessness and corruption” in Himachal Pradesh.

Youths at recruitment rally cane-charged
DHARAMSALA, May 12 —Youths, who had come here for BSF recruitment, were cane charged by the BSF amid total chaos at the police ground where they had assembled for registration.



YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Dharamsala
Kangra
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES
 
Road barriers irk commuters
PARWANOO May 12 — The unmanned barriers on the national highway between old Panchkula and Surajpur are major hurdles in the free flow of traffic. Besides, these endanger human lives. The commuters from Chandigarh to this industrial area say that these barriers cause heavy loss of national resources like and petrol diesel. Sometimes it takes about 40 to 50 minutes for vehicles to cross this area. They add that during peak hours the commuters like employees and school children get late.
A road barrier on the Old Panchkula Surajpur national highway which is a traffic hindrance
A road barrier on the Old Panchkula Surajpur national highway which is a traffic hindrance

Hailstorm in Shimla as Hisar sizzles
CHANDIGARH, May 12 — The upper air cyclonic circulation over north-west Rajasthan brought a pleasant respite to the people in and around Shimla, cooling rising temperatures following hailstorms and rain while elsewhere, the people in the north-west region simmered under torrid humid conditions.


First Chairman of HAT dead
SHIMLA, May 12 — First Chairman of the Himachal Administrative Tribunal (HAT) and a former high court judge H.S. Thakur died here yesterday.


Teachers’ union threatens stir
KANGRA, May 12 — The Himachal Pradesh Sanskrit Shikshak Parishad yesterday threatened to launch an agitation in the state if the government failed to implement the decision taken by it regarding the giving the status of trained graduate teachers (TGT) to Sanskrit teachers serving in the state Education Department within 15 days.


Chamera oustees block traffic
CHAMBA, May 12 — The Chamera oustees of Chamba district today blocked traffic on the Chamba-Bharmour highway in protest against the “indifferent attitude” of the government towards them.

Drivers to get free spectacles
HAMIRPUR, May 12 — The Department of Police and the Rotary Club here will provide spectacles to drivers, who have poor vision, free of cost. This was stated by Mr N. Venugopal, district police chief, here today.


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Ultimatum to motorists on red lights
From S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, May 12 — A week-long ultimatum has been given by the district administration of Shimla to motorists for removal of unauthorised red lights, flag rods and designation plates from their vehicles.

The ultimatum was issued today when the authorities suspended their drive against these unauthorised fixtures on vehicles following a protest by certain senior ruling BJP activists. The authorities had earlier started removing these fixtures in surprise raids. A senior officer denied that the administration had succumbed to political pressure.

However, the traffic police has been given specially printed warning slips for pasting these on vehicles on which the unauthorised fixtures are detected. The police has also been provided the list of dignitaries who were entitled for putting red lights and flag rods on their vehicles.

It has been made clear that no vehicle would be allowed to carry designation plates of the officers. Even after a two-day drive against such fixtures, many officers, particularly of the district administration and PWD, were still carrying designation plates.

Many motorists have complained that the officers who were forcibly removing these from private and government vehicles, have themselves installed designation plates on their vehicles. Vehicles of most of the deputy commissioners, who had come here for attending a meeting of the Red Cross, were displaying the designation plates on their vehicles along with the registration numbers.

Reports were received that the Sub-Divisional Magistrates, Assistant Commissioners, Additional District Magistrates, Deputy Superintendents of Police and other functionaries responsible for enforcing the Motor Vehicles Act where themselves violating it by putting red lights on their vehicles.

Under the rules, only Deputy Commissioners and SPs were entitled to put red lights. There were also reports that almost all SDMs in the state have also installed designation plates in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Many of the IAS, IPS and HAS cadre officers working in the secretariat and other offices have also put red lights on their vehicles which has become a status symbol here.

The Chief Secretary had repeatedly been sending circulars to offices against misuse of red lights, but these were being observed in total defiance.

Despite the campaign of the authorities, many political appointees of the BJP-HVC combine were continuing to violate the motor vehicles rules.
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Power improvement: HP for easing loan norms
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, May 12 — The Himachal Government will seek relaxation in norms for the grant of loans for power distribution management from the Power Finance Corporation which is holding its seventh meeting with chairpersons of the various state electricity boards and senior power officials here on Saturday.

At present the corporation gives loans for improving the electricity distribution system in town which have a minimum of one lakh consumers. As such in a hill state like Himachal with a small population no town is eligible to get financial assistance under the scheme. The number of consumers in the state capital, the biggest township, is just around 34,000. In most of the other towns the number of consumer is 15,000 or even less.

The government will urge the corporation to relax the condition for hill states and reduce the minimum number of consumers from one lakh to 15,000 so that loans were available for improvement of distribution system in hill towns.

The state electricity board, which has been facing an acute resource crisis has also decided to seek soft loans from the corporation for investigation of new hydel projects. Since it takes a long time to investigate a project and finally assign it for execution, there is no return on the funds invested in investigation loans at a high rate of interest is not feasible.

At present projects with estimated generation capacity of 8000 mw were yet to be investigated for which over Rs 300 crore was required. Since investigation of these projects will be undertaken in a phased manner over the next 10 years, the board will ask for soft loan of Rs 30 crore to Rs 40 crore annually from the corporation. The PFC has already given Rs 398 crore for the 126mw Larji project and Rs 100 crore for the 22.5 mw Ghanvi project.

The meeting, which will be presided over by Mr P.R. Kumarmangalam, the Union Minister for Power will evolve common strategy to reorient the operations of the corporation to suit the requirements of the various state power boards. It will also discuss bottlenecks in improving the performance of state power utilities and measures to remove them. Besides operational policies, procedures, new areas of operations, and role of state governments will also be thoroughly analysed to identify problem areas. The corporation recorded a growth of 81 per cent with sanctions increasing from Rs 3569 crore in 1998-99 to Rs 6492 crore in the last financial year. The disbursement increased by 26 per cent. The recovery rate was as high as 99.8 per cent with his non-performing assets.
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China warns Karmapa’s kin
Tribune News Service

DHARAMSALA, May 12 — “The Chinese have threatened to retaliate against our parents, relatives and followers unless we return to Tibet” says by 24 year-old Ngodup Palzom, elder sister of the 17th Karmapa, who fled for India along with her brother in January, this year.

The Chinese threat was conveyed to Palzom by her maternal uncle, Namgyal Gompo, who recently made a second unsuccessful attempt to see the Karmapa.

After failing to obtain permission from Tibetan officials and security agencies to meet the Karmapa, Gompo who has been sent by the Chinese authorities, met his niece at Gyuto Monastery, in Sidhbari, for half an hour on the morning of May 7.

Talking to TNS, Palzom who is also a nun said, ‘‘Uncle, warned us that in case we do not return on our own, China will pressurise our parents to make an appeal to the international community to get their son back as he is a minor and was influenced by certain elements to flee Tibet”.

She added that according to her uncle China had not caused any harm to her parents, relatives, followers and the monasteries of the Karma Kagyu sect thus far as it was hopeful that the Karmapa would return to Tibet.

“I told my uncle that while getting my parents to appeal under pressure was no big thing, the entire world was aware of the circumstances which compelled Ogyen to flee ”. When asked what prompted the Karmapa to flee, she said, ‘‘for him simply holding the title of the ‘‘Karmapa’’ was not enough. The more important aspect of learning the transmission of the tradition from the spiritual gurus was far more important. And for this he had no option but to flee to India, as all the gurus of the sect are here’’.

Relating her conversation with her uncle she said, ‘‘I asked him why my parents should suffer since they had no inkling of the Karmapa’s decision to flee. She said her uncle told her that as he was a minor, it was not the Karmapa’s decision to flee Tibet.

He warned her that if China mounted pressure, even India would be compelled to return the Karmapa, as he was a minor.

Palzom said her uncle claimed that after meeting key Chinese officials in Beijing, he got in touch with a joint secretary level officer of the Ministry of External Affairs at New Delhi who told him that India had not invited the Karmapa and had no objection if he wished to return to Tibet.
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Resentment brews among CRI staff
From Our Correspondent

KASAULI, May 12 — The employees association of the Central Research Institute (CRI) is irate at the callous attitude adopted by the Director, Dr Usha Soren Singh, towards the demands of the group C and D employees of the institute. Their demands include removing pay anomalies as sanctioned, curbing wasteful expenditure and giving proper representation to other genuine demands.

A rally was organised last week by the employees comprising 90 per cent of the staff.

The association president, Mr Sanjay Maheshwari, alleged that the institute had registered a decline in the production of major vaccines. It is noteworthy to mention that the CRI is the only institute in the country manufacturing majority of these products.

It was aimed to produce 220 lakh, 270 lakh and 180 lakh doses of DPT, TT and DT vaccines, respectively, during 1999-2000. Whereas only 123, 100 and 120 lakh dozes of DPT, TT and DT respectively, were produced.

The association also alleged that lakhs of rupees were spent on buying new computers which went out of orders within three months only.

Another hefty amount of Rs 65 lakh was spent on purchasing three incinerators in 1999. The machinery has been lying virtually unused, though another similar amount was spent on its installation. Interestingly, the Pollution Control Board had pressurised the institute to buy the machinery. But after the deal the board too has been sitting pretty over its working

The association president stated that the Director refused to hold a meeting with the association to chalk out a solution. He stated that all policies were aimed at privatising the institute which would lead to downsizing of group C and D staff.

The Director declined to comment on all issues.
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Vacation of 6 buildings ordered
From S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, May 12 — The authorities concerned have ordered the immediate vacation of six buildings which have been declared unsafe with cracks appearing in them in the Theisl Bank area here where a double-storeyed house collapsed yesterday because of a landslide.

These orders were issued today following the receipt of a four-member technical committee headed by the SDM, Mr Amitabh Awasthi, which inspected the area today and accused the builder of gross negligence and haphazard digging of the hill to clear it for constructing his hotel which triggered the landslide.

The report of the committee has blamed the hotel builder for the damage to other buildings because of the “haphazard manner” in which he carried out digging of the hill.

Interestingly, the construction of the hotel was allowed by the state government in the “banned area” where constructions were normally not allowed.

The report has pointed out that the other buildings in the area are in the danger of collapsing.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr P.C. Katoch, accepted the report and ordered that immediate measures be taken to evacuate the families and offices from there.

The committee, which included Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Executive Engineer, Mr H.S. Kaushal, Architect Planner, and Mr Rajesh Sharma, DFO of the Shimla Municipal Corporation, has recommended that further construction activity in the area should be banned to protect other houses.

Dayanand School has been asked to vacate the portion where its Class IX and canteen were located as the landslide has eroded the soil from there.

The building housing the land acquisition office and Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board has also been ordered to be vacated as a portion of its plinth has got exposed due to the landslip.


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Congress to hold rallies in HP
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, May 12 — The CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh, and the state Congress chief, Mr Sat Mahajan, have decided to organise rallies in all district headquarters of the state in protest against the rising prices, and increasing “lawlessness and corruption” in Himachal Pradesh.

The first rally will be held in Chamba on May 15.The district Congress committees have been asked to send reports regarding the rallies in their respective areas to Mr Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary of the AICC, in Delhi. Mr Vora is the in charge of the party affairs for Himachal.The Congress has so far failed to mobilise people against the increase in prices and has not been able to hold large public meetings against it in the districts although the party leadership was supposed to have started the agitation on May 3.

However, Mr Virbhadra Singh was single-handedly touring various area of the state and addressing rallies. So far he has visited the Sirmour, Kulu and interior areas of Shimla district.It is learnt that the AICC leadership has been informed by certain party leaders that the agitation was being half-heartedly organised by partymen who were assigned the task.Senior AICC leaders, including Mr Vora, Mr Pranab Mukherjee and Mr Ahmed Patel had come here recently to mobilise the Congress leadership for organising such rallies. However, a majority of the local leaders hardly responded to the directives of the AICC. Some of them pointed out that with none of the senior party leaders sitting at the headquarters here to guide them, the programme for the protest rallies had failed to take off.

It is being said that the agitational programme had virtually fizzled out as instead of organising spontaneous rallies, Mr Mahajan issued a long ultimatum to the government for rolling back the prices.
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Youths at recruitment rally cane-charged
Tribune News Service

DHARAMSALA, May 12 —Youths, who had come here for BSF recruitment, were cane charged by the BSF amid total chaos at the police ground where they had assembled for registration.

The youths, who had come from all over the state, alleged that the BSF authorities were to blame as they did not disclose the number of recruitments to be made. “It was only after coming here that I got to know that only 50 constables were to be recruited, whereas we came here under the impression that there were many more posts,” lamented Ashok Kumar, who came from Solan.

Shopkeepers in the town also did not hesitate from fleecing them. The rates of eatables cold drinks and tariff of hotel rooms and sarais were hiked.

Moreover, there was no provision of drinking water for the youths.
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Hailstorm in Shimla as Hisar sizzles

CHANDIGARH, May 12 (UNI) — The upper air cyclonic circulation over north-west Rajasthan brought a pleasant respite to the people in and around Shimla, cooling rising temperatures following hailstorms and rain while elsewhere, the people in the north-west region simmered under torrid humid conditions.

Hisar (Haryana) and Amritsar (Punjab) stayed hottest with mercury hovering around 43.5 and 42.5 degrees celsius, five and two degrees, respectively, above normal.Weather forecasters, however, did not give up hope of some respite over the next two days. Besides forecasting light to moderate rain at isolated places in Himachal Pradesh, they have warned of thunder squalls of speeds exceeding 45 km per hour at some places in the state.

Dust and thunderstorms warnings have been given to people in isolated places of Punjab and Haryana during this period.Meanwhile, the people, specially the tourists thronging Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir were a horrified lot as day temperatures soared to 32.8 C, nine degrees above normal.

Shimla and its suburbs were pleasantly cooled after being lashed by hailstorms, high velocity winds and rain. These brought the much needed respite from rising temperatures hovering around 27 celsius. However, Una was the hottest place in Himachal Pradesh with mercury rising to 39.5 C, followed by Sundernagar (36.6 C).

Ludhiana and Patiala were other hotter stations in Punjab as maximums there stayed put at 39.1C and 39.2C.

Reports here said people in the national capital sweated under 40.8C at Safdarjung and 41.9 at Palam maximum temperatures.


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First Chairman of HAT dead

SHIMLA, May 12 (PTI) — First Chairman of the Himachal Administrative Tribunal (HAT) and a former high court judge H.S. Thakur died here yesterday.

Thakur (75) is survived by his wife, four daughters and two sons, family sources said.

He had served as a judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court for nearly eight years before being appointed the first Chairman of the tribunal in 1986.

He was cremated this afternoon. A large number of people included members of judiciary, advocates, officers and prominent citizens attended the funeral.


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Teachers’ union threatens stir
From Our Correspondent

KANGRA, May 12 — The Himachal Pradesh Sanskrit Shikshak Parishad yesterday threatened to launch an agitation in the state if the government failed to implement the decision taken by it regarding the giving the status of trained graduate teachers (TGT) to Sanskrit teachers serving in the state Education Department within 15 days.

The parishad members said the state government on May 18, last year had decided to give Sanskrit teachers the status of TGT and other benefits. The announcement to this effect was made by the Education Minister, Mr I.D. Dhiman, on May 25, last year.

They further said the minister had announced that the Sanskrit teachers would be entitled to promotions as headmasters and principals of high and senior secondary school, respectively, and lecturership in schools having plus 2 classes.
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Chamera oustees block traffic
From Our Correspondent

CHAMBA, May 12 — The Chamera oustees of Chamba district today blocked traffic on the Chamba-Bharmour highway in protest against the “indifferent attitude” of the government towards them.

The Additional District Magistrate, Chamba, Mr Ajay Sharma, said traffic was restored on the highway with the intervention of the district administration. A memorandum was submitted by the oustees to the state government.

The demands of the oustees include compensation for their land, jobs to one member of each affected family and their rehabilitation.
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Road barriers irk commuters
From M.M. Bhandari

PARWANOO May 12 — The unmanned barriers on the national highway between old Panchkula and Surajpur are major hurdles in the free flow of traffic. Besides, these endanger human lives.

The commuters from Chandigarh to this industrial area say that these barriers cause heavy loss of national resources like and petrol diesel. Sometimes it takes about 40 to 50 minutes for vehicles to cross this area. They add that during peak hours the commuters like employees and school children get late.

Commuters say that to check and maintain the flow of traffic on this route the controlling agencies must have some mechanism, but one fails to understand how these unmanned barriers help the same.

Commuters say that these barriers have already led to a number of fatal accidents due to poor visibility at night. In the past there had been no barrier on this road. People fail to understand the sudden necessity of these barriers on the national highway.

Commuters urge the civil administration and the Army authorities to take appropriate steps to save precious national resourses and human lives by removing these death-traps.
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Drivers to get free spectacles
From Our Correspondent

HAMIRPUR, May 12 — The Department of Police and the Rotary Club here will provide spectacles to drivers, who have poor vision, free of cost. This was stated by Mr N. Venugopal, district police chief, here today.

Mr Venugopal said 100 drivers were found having poor vision after their eyes were examined. He added that the spectacles would be given on June 1.

The district police chief further said the police would also launch a campaign to arrest drunken drivers.
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