|Thursday, June 8, 2000,
PMs visit a boon for HP
PMs poetry elicits applause
HVC (M) may seek freezing of
BJP govt has soldout
Sukh Ram warns Mohinder Singh
Anguish over drivers death
Cycle expedition to Siachen
PMs visit a boon for
SHIMLA, June 7 The 12-day visit of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the longest ever by any Prime Minister, has turned out to be a boon for Himachal with the sanctioning of the Rs 500 crore tunnel under the 13,000-ft Rohtang Pass and the laying of the foundation stone for a Rs 5,000-crore Kol Dam at Kangoo in Mandi.
The two projects had been hanging fire for the past over two decades. While successive governments at the Centre realised the strategic importance of the Manali-Leh road from the defence point of view and economic development of the land-locked tribal areas, they did precious little of fulfil the demand for a tunnel. The matter was taken up with all Prime Ministers during this period but their consideration was confined to lip sympathy.
However, Mr Vajpayee, who is only the second Prime Minister to visit the tribal Lahaul valley after Mrs Indira Gandhi. He not only accepted the demand for construction of a tunnel but also made an announcement to this effect amongst the tribesmen who will be the beneficiary of the new gateway. The tunnel, to be completed within seven years, will provide an all-weather link to the Lahaul and Pangi areas. It will be the first step towards providing a reliable road link to Leh.
The tribesmen have been demanding a tunnel since long but it came up for serious consideration only when Mrs Indira Gandhi visited the Lahaul valley in August, 1984. However, no headway was made as Mrs Gandhi died within three months of her visit to the valley. It was, however, the Kargil conflict which highlighted the need for an alternative road link to Leh as the Srinagar-Leh road was well within the Pakistani firing range.
After securing a special financial assistance of Rs 700 crore and getting work started on 2051-MW Parbati and 300 MW Chamera-II schemes, the twin projects have once again proved the clout of Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal with the Centre and his rapport with the Prime Minister.
Mr Vajpayee made a special reference to the efforts made by Mr Dhumal in getting the projects through while addressing a public meeting at Kangoo. Mr Dhumal, he said, always came to Delhi with some demand or the other and never returned empty-handed.
Vajpayee, who considers Himachal as his second home, has
been more than generous in helping the state. However, he
pointed out that Himachal, a border state, needed all
possible support to harness its vast natural resources.
PMs poetry elicits
MANALI, June 7 A kavi sammelan was organised at the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports auditorium here last evening by the Department of Art, Language and Culture. The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, inaugurated the kavi sammelan by lighting a candle. Mr Vajpayee was accompanied by the state Governor, Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, and the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal.
The Prime Minister, who was the chief guest and is a poet of calibre, presented his choicest poems out of his poetry collection titled Meri Ikyawan Kavitaen. Seven Hindi poets drawn from Himachal Pradesh took part in the kavi sammelan. Keshav Narayan, Anil Rakeshi, Rekha Sharma, Avtar Moudgil, Om Prakash Saraswat, Sunder Lohia and Satyen Sharma presented their selected poems.
Mr Vajpayee said that during his past visits to Manali he had written many poems but during the present trip he had been unable to write because he was concerned about the political situation facing Sri Lanka and the trouble-torn Fiji Islands. Mr Vajpayee said he had been here for the past more than a week but could not spare time for poetry.
Before reading out his poems the Prime Minister made it clear that poetry and politics could hardly move together. He said when he did not remain a politician he would continue to be a kavya premi (lover of poetry). The poems presented by the Prime Minister were the main attraction at the kavi sammelan. During his visit many years back he had written Unchaee (height) at the local circuit house here. The verses of the poem are like this merey prabhu mujhe itnee unchaee kabhi naa dena, gairon sey gale naa miloon, itnee rukhaee kabhi naa denaa.
While highlighting the lack of basic amenities at Manali many years ago Mr Vajpayee had written a couplet: Manali mat jaiyo gori raja kay raaj mein, jaiyo to jaiyo udd kay naa jaiyo. Another poem written during his vacation here when he was not the Prime Minister goes like this: Asman mein bijli zayada, ghar main bijli kum, telephone ghumate jaao zayadatar gumsum, bulati tumhen Manali, bulatee tumhen Manali. In this coulet Mr Vajpayee while bemoaning the poor supply of power and erratic communication system has lauded the beauty and splendour of the picturesque hill station of Manali.
The Governor who presided over the sammelan also regaled the audience with poems written by renowned Hindi poets Dr Shiv Mangal Singh Suman and Bhakti Prasad Misra. The poems written by Mr Narendra Modi, national general secretary of the BJP, recalling the sacrifice made by patriots were presented at the kavi sammelan and elicited applause.
Sudershan Vashisht, noted litterateur, of Himachal Pradesh and the Director of Art, Language and Culture Department, presented a poem titled Atithi aur Auraten which was commended by the audience.
Earlier, the Chief
Minister presented a Kulu cap and shawl each to the Prime
Minister, the Governor and Mr Modi. Besides, Mrs Sheela
Dhumal also presented a shawl to Ms Navita Bhattacharya,
the adopted daughter of Mr Vajpayee.
HVC (M) may seek freezing of
SHIMLA, June 7 The Mohinder Singh faction of the HVC might seek freezing of the election symbol of the party in case the Election Commission decided to allow the other faction led by Mr Sukh Ram to retain it.
Both factions were staking claim to the election symbol of telephone given to the party when it was united.
It is learnt that the HVC (M) has decided to file an application for freezing of the symbol in case they were denied it.
The HVC (M)has constituted a three-member committee with Mr Baldev Sharma as chairman and Mr Kewal Ram Chauhan and Mr Bhagat Ram Chauhan as its members to plead the partys case for being allotted the telephone.
However, some senior functionaries of the HVC (M) were not very hopeful of their faction getting the symbol as the Sukh Ram faction had the advantage of two MPs and two MLAs at its back, whereas Mr Mohinder Singh was the lone legislator in the other group. the HVC (M) was claiming that the leaders in its fold had polled a larger number of votes in the assembly elections than those supporting the HVC (S).
Mr Baldev Sharma told TNS that the HVC (M) had sought an extension from the Election Commission for filling its objections on the symbol issue.
The Election Commission had sought objections from the HVC (M) till May 31 and had also forwarded a bunch of papers which Mr Sukh Ram had submitted in support of his claim to the telephone symbol. However, the letter of the Election Commission was received by the HVC (M) office here on June 2, Mr Sharma said.
Leaders of both factions had recently met the Chief Election Commissioner, Dr M.S. Gill, staking claim to the election symbol.
A letter to Dr Gill dated April 29 purported to have been signed by Mr Dhani Ram Shandil, MP, had demanded that the telephone symbol should be allotted to the Mohinder Singh faction which had reconstituted the party. However, later he announced that he was with the Sukh Ram faction.
Both factions were claiming that each enjoyed majority support of the members of the executive of the party. Mr Sharma claimed that out of 42 members of the executive, 32 had come out in support of Mr Mohinder Singh when he organised a rally here on April 1.
He claimed that the representation of Mr Sukh Ram to the Election Commission was self contradictory on various points.
Mr Sharma said the Election Commission had already been informed that Mr Sukh Ram ceased to be President of the HVC on July 6, 1999, when he completed two years on the post without holding further organisational elections. The HVC Constitution provides that the new President and the executive should be elected on completion of their two years term. Mr Sukh Ram had been holding the post without fresh elections since July 6, 1997, when the party was set up.
Mr Sharma claimed that there was no resolution authorising Mr Sukh Ram to continue as President. In case there was any such resolution, Mr Sukh Ram should not hesitate to produce it. He said the HVC (M) had already started the process of holding the organisational elections whereas the Sukh Ram faction was sleeping over the matter.
BJP govt has soldout
MANDI, June 7 Former Vidhan Sabha Speaker and Congress leader Thakur Kaul Singh yesterday came down heavily on the BJP-HVC Government for selling out the interests of Himachal while entering into agreements on the Parbati and Kol Dam hydel projects.
There was no clause providing for guarantee of employment for jobless engineers of Himachal. There was no provision for employment of other ranks either. There was no provision for Himachalis in the management of these projects. The question of 12 per cent free power had been decided during the time of Mr Rajiv Gandhi.
It was paramount that Himachal should have a share in power projects however small it might be. Selling Himachals resources for all times to come was a betrayal with the people of Himachal, he said.
The potential of the HPSEB, which had 5,000 engineers and 30,000 other employees should have been exploited to the maximum by entrusting all good projects to the board. He lamented that the HPSEB potential was not being harnessed while the state exchequer was paying a monthly salary of Rs 132 crore to the board employees.
It was the obligation of the centre to provide funds to Himachal for harnessing its vast hydel potential instead of exploiting it by giving it a mere 12 per cent share. The Bhakra and Beas projects were built with central funds but Himachal, where these were built, was deprived of any share in these projects. In the BSL project Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan were the beneficiary states and shareholders in the gigantic project but Himachal got nothing except sufferings.
The BSL project was yielding income worth crores of rupees to the beneficiary states but it had spelt disaster in Mandi and Bilaspur districts where it was constructed. People rendered homeless decades ago had not been rehabilitated so far.
The fertile Balh valley had been converted into a veritable desert. Despite repeated request by the people and the government, the BBMB had been evading the issue of constructing a lined channel for silt to flow back into the Beas.
Sukh Ram warns Mohinder Singh
CHAMBA, June 7 The Sukh Ram-led Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) has warned the Himachal Public Works Department Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, of gherao unless he desists from uttering indiscreet remarks against Mr Sukh Ram and other leaders of the party.
Mr P.C. Oberoy, and Mr D.P. Malhotra, President and General Secretary, respectively of the Chamba district unit of the Sukh Ram-led HVC, stated that the BJP-led coalition government in Himachal Pradesh still relied on Mr Sukh Ram and his HVC. They further pointed out that the party had been demanding the resignation of Mr Mohinder Singh from the Cabinet.
They made it clear that it might have been some compulsion on the part of the state Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, to retain Mr Mohinder Singh in the Cabinet.
They denied reports
about Mr Sukh Ram joining the Congress terming it as some
kind of a conspiracy asserting that the
original HVC was the one which was being led by Mr Sukh
Ram, the founder leader of the party.
Anguish over drivers death
JAWALAMUKHI, June 7 Resentment prevails among drivers of the Dehra depot of the HRTC following the death of Mr Bahadur Singh, a driver, who died on duty yesterday.
According to Mr Trilok Singh, general secretary of the Drivers-Conductors Union, overwork was allegedly the cause of the drivers death. Drivers of the depot criticised the authorities concerned for making them discharge duty for days on end without any rest.
Meanwhile, the Regional
Manager, HRTC, Dehra, stated that it was the job of the
Traffic Manager to control the schedules of buses. He
claimed that no complaint of injustice had been brought
to his notice but he would certainly take stern action.
If any case pertaining to discrimination with employees
of the Dehra depot was reported.
Cycle expedition to Siachen
SHIMLA, June 7 A group of six students of Himachal Pradesh University on Monday set off from here on bicycles to conquer the worlds highest battle field, Siachen.
The 2700-km millennium cycle safari will pass through the highest motorable pass, the Khardang La, on way to Leh from Manali. Led by Nitish Dhiman, the team, comprising Shakun Sood, Amit Negi, Sandeep Dadwal, Shiv Prasad and Saurabh Khanna, is hopeful of reaching Siachen and pay tributes to the Kargil martyrs.
The safari will touch Bilaspur, Mandi, Manali, Rohtang Pass, Baralacha Pass, Sarchu Khardang La, Leh Siachen and return through the cold desert of Spiti, Kinnaur, and Rampur. It will take 30 to 35 days to complete the journey.
Colonel Commandants rank
conferred on VC
SHIMLA, June 7 Lt-Gen A.S. Rao, Director-General of National Cadets Corps, has awarded the honorary rank of Colonel Commandant of the NCC to Dr S.K. Gupta, Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University.
The rank was formally
conferred on Dr Gupta by the Chief Minister, Mr P.K.
Dhumal, at the pipping ceremony held here today. Dr Gupta
will enjoy the rank till he remains Vice-Chancellor. It
also marked the conclusion of 21-day trekking expedition
in which 1000 girl cadets from all over the country
Handloom staff appeal to CM
SHIMLA, June 7 The HP state Handicrafts and Handloom Corporation Workers and Employees Union has urged the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, not to close down the activities of the corporation for retrenching the staff.
In a statement here
yesterday, Mr P.S. Chauhan, President of the Union and Mr
B.D. Verma, General Secretary, have claimed that the
Board of Directors of the Corporation, which recently met
under the chairmanship of the Minister of Industries, Mr
Kishori Lal, had decided to close down the production
units and other activities of the organisation and
retrench class III and class IV employees.
Himachal lashed by heavy rain
SHIMLA, June 7 (PTI) The hills and valleys of Himachal Pradesh were lashed by heavy showers throughout the day today.
The rain affected normal life and disrupted air services.
SHIMLA, June 7
NCC cadets of Himachal Pradesh have contributed Rs 51,000
to the Chief Ministers Relief Fund. A cheque for
this amount was presented to the Chief Minister by Col
Randhir Singh, Group Commandant, NCC headquarters, at the
concluding function of all-India girls trekking
expedition here yesterday.
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