|Sunday, May 28, 2000,
for BJP chiefs post hots up
Mohinder for debate with Sukh Ram
Tap hydel power potential: CS
Traders observe bandh
Order on filling vacancies
Farmers urge govt to
Rain washes out summer festival
Shimla imposes parking fee
Race for BJP chiefs
post hots up
SHIMLA, May 27 Caste and regional factors are coming to the fore as the race for the presidentship of the state BJP is hotting up with three candidates emerging as front-runners.
While the incumbent, Mr Suresh Chandel, is all set to seek a second term, the names of Mr Maheshwar Singh, a former President and MP, and Mr Jaikrishan Sharma, a hardcore RSS member, have also come up for the coveted post.
The warring Dhumal and Shanta factions are making all-out efforts to get the person of their choice installed as he will have a three-year term and the next assembly election in the state will be held during his tenure.
The political equations in the party have undergone a sea change since the last organisational poll which culminated in the unsavoury Jawalamukhi episode without completing the election process. Mr P. K. Dhumal, after becoming the Chief Minister, got his protege, Mr Chandel, installed as President.
However, the two have been drifting apart ever since and the flashpoint came during the allotment of the party ticket for the Solan by-election when Mr Chandel backed the candidature of Mr Mohinder Sofat, a staunch Shanta loyalist. The Dhumal group now seems determined to deny him a second term, whereas the Shanta camp is backing him to the hilt.
The Dhumal group is using the caste factor against Mr Chandel. Since the Chief Minister is a Rajput, the president should be a Brahmin, it argues. It wants Mr Jaikrishan to succeed Mr Chandel. However, the rival camp ridicules the argument on the plea that the same situation existed when Mr Chandel was made the president two years ago. Moreover, in the BJP, the caste factor has never been given weightage, it points out.
The Shanta camp is playing up the regional factor to neutralise the caste card of the Dhumal camp. It is emphasising the fact that the Chief Minister and the party chief should not be from the same region. Since Mr Dhumal comes from the merged areas, the president should be from old Himachal, it pleads. And if the next party chief has to be a Brahmin, then the candidature of Mr Khushi Ram Balnatah, party general secretary, and Mr Radha Raman Shastri should be considered.
Initially, the Dhumal camp had projected Mr Maheshwar Singh as its candidate for the post. However, later it brought in Mr Jaikrishan to use the caste card and his RSS background to pip Mr Chandel at the post.
Meanwhile, efforts are
on to elect the next president by a consensus. Senior
party leaders, including Mr Dhumal, Mr Shanta Kumar and
Mr Kishori Lal, met in the presence of a senior RSS
functionary, Mr Chet Ram, at Nurpur on Wednesday. The
meeting was inconclusive as the two camps failed to agree
on a common candidate.
Mohinder for debate with Sukh Ram
SHIMLA, May 27 Facing pressure from a cross-section of residents of Mandi district for a patch up between the two breakaway groups of the Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC), Mr Mohinder Singh, PWD Minister, today suggested a public debate between him and Mr Sukh Ram to identify who was responsible for the split in the party.
Mr Mohinder Singh, who returned here yesterday after touring various parts of Mandi and addressing a rally of the HVC at Una, said that the intelligentsia of Mandi should judge which of the two leaders was in the wrong.
The minister claimed that he never wanted a split in the party and made efforts to prevent it until the end, but Mr Sukh Ram was not keen on settling differences and created hurdles in a patch up.
Mr Mohinder Singh alleged that Mr Sukh Ram neither had the welfare of Mandi district nor the HVC at heart and was a "self-centered" person who did not see beyond himself and his family. He treated the HVC as his personal property and behaved like a dictator, he said.
He pointed out that right from the beginning Mr Sukh Ram never allowed any other leader to rise in Mandi. He created hurdles in the way of those leaders who tried to grow, he said.
Mr Sukh Ram sided with Dr I.S. Parmar in 1962 when there were clear chances of Thakur Karam Singh of Mandi becoming Chief Minister.
Tap hydel power potential:
SHIMLA, May 27 Mr A.K. Goswami, Chief Secretary, has said that the Power Trading Corporation (PTC) had agreed in principle to purchase power from HPs small power projects with capacity of 50 mw to 75 mw.
Speaking at the meeting of the Chief Secretaries on the theme "Power and tourism: accelerating development in northern region" organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here (PHDCCI) today, Mr Goswami said the hydroelectric stations were a renewable, economic, environment-friendly source of energy.
He said the northern states and the PHDCCI had constituted an inter-state talk force which would meet at Delhi on June 16 to discuss how private projects and other inter-state problems related to transmission could be resolved. He said there was need to promote the use of hydroelectric power to its full potential which could be in the government, private or joint sector.
Mr Goswami said the distribution system of power should be sub-divided into a number of distribution zones and each such zone should be considered at separate "zonal profit centre" to monitor the energy received and supplied from various 33 kv sub-stations. It would help in ascertaining areas in which theft of power was being committed on a large scale, so that necessary steps could be taken to control the menace of power theft and transmission and distribution losses.
Mr R.S. Verma, Chief Secretary, Haryana, said Haryana had achieved uniform taxation base. He said the state had set up two committees to check power theft. He added that small-scale units have to play significant role not only in development of economical growth but to meet the challenge posed by unemployment.
Mr K.S. Mehta, president, PHDCCI, in his keynote address said industrial and agricultural development was not possible without power. He emphasised that it had become essential to facilitate more productive role for the private sector by linking generation to distribution rights in a particular area and thereby enabling financial closure of projects. Mr Mehta said the northern region had tremendous potential for development of small and micro hydel projects.
All participating states said they would welcome to purchase power from independent power projects. It was agreed that investment by private parties in power and tourism sector should be welcomed.
Mr Ajay Prasad,
Financial Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Tourism offered new
private participation related to waterbodies, ropeways,
airports and air travels, development of lakes, amusement
parks, ski resorts and golf courses.
Political differences stall
PALAMPUR: Finally the Apollo Group of Hospitals has expressed its inability to set up a Apollo Hospital (Vivekanand Medical College and Research Institute) here. Sources close to the State Government say that recently Mr C. Parkash Reddy, one of the directors of the Apollo Group, conveyed its decision to the Himachal Pradesh Government. It is also revealed that Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal Chief Minister has contacted another party of Bombay to come forward to take up this project.
Mr Shanta Kumar, Union Minister for Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs ,is still making efforts to persuade the Apollo group to reconsider its decision, the sources say. The proposal to set up this superspeciality institution was made by Mr Shanta Kumar in 1992, when he was the Chief Minister of the State. The foundation stone of this institution was laid on November 15, 1992, by Mr Shanta Kumar. It was decided that this project would be ready within two years. Mr Shanta Kumar had persuaded number of industrial houses like the Jai Parkash Industries and ACC Cement Ltd for liberal donations to the project.
The construction of local bus stand here has come to standstill for the past two years. The foundation stone of this bus stand was laid in 1991, by the then Chief Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar. It was announced that this bus stand would be completed in a period of two years. After the dismissal of the Shanta Kumar Government, the then Chief Minister, Mr Vir Bhadara Singh, shifted an independent construction division for the execution of this project from Kulu. During Congress regime over one crore was spent on this project. A building was also raised up to the first floor. But in 1998,the BJP Government assumed power in the State, since then not even a single rupee has been sanctioned for the bus stand.
The Transport Minister, Mr Krishan Kapoor, hails from this district. He belongs to the Shanta Kumar faction.
Yet in another case, the construction of PWD rest house is also going on snails pace. There is no budget for this building. The construction of this building was also taken up during the Congress regime.
Mr Virbhadra Singh laid the foundation stone of this project in 1995. So long the Congress was in power over Rs 20 lakh were sanctioned for this project. The BJP-led government has not sanctioned funds for the project. The contractor who had executed the works has been moving from pillar to post for the payments of his bills.
There is another important project which has not been completed. Vikram Batra Government Degree College was opened here in 1995 by the Congress Government.
At present the college is functioning in a building which is too small to accommodate over 2000 students. Though there is adequate land available in Khaler village for the building of this college complex, but in the absence of political will this project is hanging fire.
Traders observe bandh
SHIMLA, May 27 A complete bandh was observed by traders of The Mall and Lower Bazar here today in protest against the district authorities allowing organising of exhibitions by outside businessmen.
The bandh was organised by the local Beopar Mandal which claimed that their business was adversely affected due to such exhibitions.
The irate local traders locked the gates of Rani Jhansi Park where a handicraft exhibition is being held. Mr Ashok Khanna, President of the Beopar Mandal, alleged that some of the stall holders in the exhibition were not genuine handicraftsmen.
They sat on dharna in Rani Jhansi Park throughout the day and said that they would leave only when the district authorities ordered closure of such stalls.
The Deputy Commissioner, later, set up a committee to identity the genuine stall holders in the exhibition. The others will be asked to wind up.
Order on filling vacancies
SHIMLA, May 27 The Himachal Pradesh Government has ordered all departments, public sector undertakings, boards, corporations and urban local bodies to fill their vacancies only through the employment exchanges.
According to an official spokesman, it has been made mandatory that all employers, including the universities, will notify vacancies to the employment exchange on the prescribed proforma.
In addition to this, the employer should also invite open applications by making adequate publicity.
Farmers urge govt to provide
SHIMLA, May 27 The Himachal Pradesh Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association has urged the government to immediately assess the extensive loss to the apple crop due to the recent hailstorm.
In a statement here yesterday, Mr Lekh Raj Chauhan, president of the association, said the damage was extensive in Kumarsain, Kotgarh, Rohroo, Chopal, Kotkhai and Theog tehsils. The growers lamented that the government had not quantified the damage so far.
They also expressed concern about the overestimates of crop being made by some people. The hailstorm and the spell of draught at intervals had made the prospects of the crop bleak.
The growers urged the government to provide necessary relief to farmers who were in distress due to successive failure of the crop during the past three to four years. It was demanded that the recovery of government and bank loans should be deferred. The growers whose damage was total might be provided with foodgrain to tide over the distress.
They regretted that in spite of the fact that the Delhi Government had published a notification to the effect that commission for the sale of agricultural and horticultural produce at the Azadpur market in Delhi would be payable by the buyers, it was not being implemented and the commission was still being charged from the producers.
Rain washes out summer
SHIMLA, May 27 Rain and a thunderstorm played spoilsport for the five-day annual Shimla Summer Festival on its opening day here today.
It started raining heavily shortly before 8 p.m. when U.P. Governor, Suraj Bhan, was to inaugurate the festival at the ice skating rink.
The Himachal Governor,
Vishnu Kant Shastri and Chief Minister, P.K. Dhumal, who
were the chief guest and the guest of honour respectively
could not reach the venue of the festival until filing of
the report in the evening. The skating rink turned into a
pool of water within minutes and the sound system
Shimla imposes parking fee
SHIMLA, May 27 The Shimla Municipal Corporation has decided to impose a fee ranging between Rs 5 to Rs 30 on vehicles parked on the roadside here.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the general house meeting of the corporation here today.
Animal health camp
UNA, May 27 The
Department of Animal Husbandry organised an animal health
camp at Dera Baba Rudsu village, 10 km from here, and at
Prem Ashram here on Wednesday to treat complicated cases
of infectious and surgical ailments. A team of veterinary
specialists from Una and Veterinary Policlinic, Shahpur
district, Kangra, examined and treated 87 sick animals.
Cable operators protest
SHIMLA, May 27
Cable operators throughout Himachal Pradesh today
indefinitely suspended their transmission to protest
against the decision of the government to impose a 20 per
cent entertainment tax on them.
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