|Sunday, June 25, 2000,
approves storage policy
Shanta camp honours rebel
Modern, yet inadequate
Cong flays BJP on
Hospital staff continue strike
Karmapas birthday tomorrow
Shanta granted exemption in case
HP to promote adventure sports
BJP chief denies factionalism
PWD urged to repair Circular Road
HP to chlorinate water sources
Centre approves storage policy
SHIMLA, June 24 The Centre has approved the national storage policy to involve the private sector for creating countrywide infrastructure for storing foodgrains procured by the Food Corporation of India (FCI). This was announced by Mr Shanta Kumar, Minister for Consumer Affairs, at a news conference here today.
Mr Shanta Kumar said the Centre had also decided to grant the status of infrastructure to the privately constructed godowns for foodgrains to enable the owners to avail various incentives and bank loans. Concessions under the income tax law would also be admissible to those who construct the godowns. Foreign investment would also be invited for the purpose.
He said the godowns would be got constructed in a scientific manner with modern technology so that the foodgrains were not damaged. At present foodgrains worth about Rs 7,200 crore get destroyed as about 66 lakh tonnes are stacked in the open.
Mr Shanta Kumar said 20 places would be identified for the construction of such godowns in the country. Proper storage and maintenance of these godowns would be the responsibility of the private parties which construct them.
He said against the total storage capacity of 231.15 lakh tonnes, about 400 lakh tonnes of foodgrains have been stored in the country. The buffer norms provide that 240 lakh tonnes of foodgrains could be stored, but at present the storage was about 160 lakh tonnes over and above the norms.
He added that the government would no more construct any godown and now the responsibility of creating the infrastructure would be on the private sector from whom these would be taken on rent for at least 10 years. Preference would also be given to the unemployed youth.
Mr Shanta Kumar said it had been decided to immediately release 50 lakh tonnes of wheat in the open market so as to create space for fresh procurements.
He said the Centre had created a level playfield for the domestic producers of sugar and importers who were enjoying concessions at the cost of the local manufacturers.
The steps taken for bringing the domestic sugar industry out of the red are: reduction of levy sugar quota to 30 per cent from the earlier 40 per cent, increase of import duty on sugar so as to discourage its import and application of restrictions of providing 30 per cent of imported sugar in the levy quota as was mandatory for the domestic producers.
This time the country had a record production of 175 lakh tonnes of sugar against the total annual consumption of 151 lakh tonnes. About 60 lakh tonnes produced last year was also lying surplus.
Shanta camp honours rebel
DHARAMSALA, June 24 Battlelines are being drawn between Shanta and Dhumal factions in the state BJP, with the two factions holding separate functions in the area in a show of strength.
Two days after Ganggath MLA, Mr Des Raj, was presented with a vehicle by party workers, in the presence of Mr Shanta Kumar, the Dhumal camp held a similar function at Nagani Mandir near Nurpur yesterday, to honour Nurpur BJP Mandal President, Mr Surjeet Kumar who was given a scooter by party workers.
At yesterdays function staunch Dhumal loyalists like the Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, Revenue Minister, Mr Rajan Sushant, Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Praveen Sharma and the Rajya Sabha member, Mr Kripal Parmar were present. The Nurpur assembly segment is represented by Mr Rakesh Pathania, vice-chairman of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
Interestingly, no minister or MLA who attended one function attended the other clearly indicating faction lines.
In the function at Ganggath on June 21, Shanta supporters from all over the state were present, but despite invitations the Dhumal camp stayed away. Ganggath MLA, Mr Des Raj, who recently resigned as chairman in protest against "injustice" by the Chief Minister, was presented a "Toyota Qualis".
In his speech at Ganggath, Mr Shanta Kumar, expressed displeasure at senior party leaders being ignored and sidelined by the government. He said he had nurtured the party for over four decades but today those people who had helped the party come to power were being ignored.
On the other hand Dhumal loyalists say Mr Des Raj was being rewarded for revolting against the Chief Minister and the party high command. They point out that in the past "Tata Sumo" jeeps were provided to Mr Dhumal and Mr Suresh Chandel, in their capacity as state BJP president by party workers, but presenting a vehicle to Mr Des Raj was "strange".
District Kangra, being the home district of Mr Shanta Kumar and politically significant has again become the battleground for the two factions.
It was with great difficulty that the Union Minister could manage to get his loyalist and Baijnath MLA, Mr Dulo Ram the two camps have been elected as district chief and in conflict on most issues. Kangra has 16 assembly segments.
Cong flays BJP on autonomy
KANGRA, June 24 The Himachal Pradesh Congress today condemned the "double standards" adopted by the BJP on the Jammu and Kashmir autonomy issue. It said while the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP was protesting against granting autonomy to the state, Home Minister L.K. Advani had announced that the Central Government was in favour of granting autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir.
Stating this, Mr G.S. Bali, General Secretary of the HPCC and a sitting MLA from Nagrota Bagwan, told a press conference here today that grant of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir would lead to the disintegration of the country.
Mr Bali said the
Congress welcomed the establishment to Apollo Hospital at
Palampur and added that the super specialty hospital had
become a bone of contention for the Shanta Kumar and P.K.
Dhumal factions. He was critical of the BJP government
which, according to him, was planning to disinvest the
Tourism Corporation in the state. He demanded
transparency in the appointments of unemployed youths in
different departments. He blamed the BJP-HVC for flouting
the rules and regulations of the Finance Department while
making appointments in the HRTC and PWD.
Hospital staff continue strike
SHIMLA, June 24 The functioning in the Indira Gandhi Medical College and its hospital came to a standstill today with the paramedical staff continuing their strike to protest against the beating up of a nurse by the attendants of a patient yesterday.
The emergency wing of the hospital and the operating theatre remained closed.
The efforts of the district authorities to sort out the issue failed in the evening as the striking employees made more demands to end the strike. Although the authorities had accepted the demand for providing security at the hospital and filling 40 vacant posts of Class IV, the employees refused to resume work.
Attendants of patients also gathered in the hospital compound and protested against the callous attitude of the striking employees.
The paramedical staff and Class IV employees had gone on a lightning strike yesterday when attendants of a patient manhandled a nurse.
Meanwhile, the State
Human Rights Commission has sought a report from the
Superintendent of Police, Shimla, about the incident.
Taking suo-motu notice of the incident the commission has
asked the hospital authorities to fix visiting hours for
attendants of patients to prevent recurrence of such
Karmapas birthday tomorrow
DHARAMSALA, June 24 Even as the status of the 17th Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorjee, who fled from Tibet to arrive here on January 5, remains undecided, elaborate arrangements are being made to celebrate his birthday on June 26 when he turns 15.
The birthday celebrations will be held at the Gyuto monastery at Sidhbari on the outskirts of the town where the Karmapa has been housed ever since his arrival here almost six months ago. With his entire family and relatives being in Tibet, only his elder sister, Ngodup Palzon, who accompanied him to India will be present on the occasion.
The celebrations will begin on June 26 with a religious ceremony early in the morning. This will be followed by day-long cultural programmes. Apart from the local Tibetan population, a large number of people belonging to the Kagyu sect will arrive from outside. Some of the followers of the Karmapa from the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim are also expected to take part in the celebrations.
The Minister for Religion and Culture in the Tibetan government in-exile, Mr Tashi Wangdi, said all kalons (ministers) of the government will also be present on the occasion.
The Karmapa was born on
June 26, 1985, in the Kham Lhatok region of eastern
Tibet. His recognition as the 17th Karmapa was confirmed
by the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, on June 3,
1992. He was finally enthroned on June 27, 1992, at the
Tsurphu monastery in Tibet, which is the main seat of all
the Gyalwa Karmapas.
Shanta granted exemption in
SHIMLA, June 24 The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Shimla, Mr J.C. Sood has exempted Mr Shanta Kumar from personal appearance in a defamation suit filed by Mr Virbhadra Singh and listed the matter for November 18 for evidence of the parties.
It may be recalled that
former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had filed a
criminal complaint against Mr Shanta Kumar, on the basis
of a report published in a section of the press on
February 25, 1996. In December 1997 Chief Judicial
Magistrate, Shimla dismissed the application of Mr Shanta
Kumar wherein he sought the summoning of some government
records Mr Shanta Kumar then moved a criminal revision
before the High Court which was also dismissed on
December 16, 1998. On 18-12-1999 Mr Shanta Kumar moved an application for personal exemption, which was allowed.
The counsel for Mr Shanta Kumar, Mr Rajinder Kishore
Sharma argued that the respondent Mr Shanta Kumar is
presently a union minister and was busy in official work
and be exempted from personal appearance. Mr Virbhadra
Singh has already been granted exemption from personal
Modern, yet inadequate
KULU: The three main towns of this district, Kulu, Manali and Bhunter, can boast of ultra modern telephone exchanges. According to the Telecom District Manager, Mr Gurbux Singh, the three exchanges cater to a total of 16,889 telephone connections. Yet an analysis of complaints made with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) reveals that on an average 250 telephones in the area remain out of order every day.
Subscribers of Bhunter, which is the worst affected in this respect, allege that their complaints are seldom attended to unless the men concerned are suitably appeased. The complaints of those who ignore this aspect remain unattended.
Manikaran valley, which falls in Bhunter sub-division, remained cut off for two months and the telecom link was restored only when the Malana Hydel project held a function at Jari which was attended by some VIPs.
Not to speak of long distance calls, even a local call sometimes becomes hard to get in Bhunter. Internet subscribers find access to this facility extremely difficult. They allege that either the system is faulty or the men manning it lack the necessary expertise. The DTM says with the installation of synchronisers by the end of this month, the system will improve. But the equipment is yet to arrive.
The multi-crore Earth Satellite Station (ESS) installed here in 1991, has been lying idle, although the full complement of staff has been posted there. This facility can be useful in providing better service to Internet subscribers. Mr Gurbux Singh, however, says ESS is an obsolete equipment and is being removed from here.
Senior telecom authorities, however, accept that human failure is a major factor in their inability to provide satisfactory service to the subscribers. Recently the staff at Bhunter was reshuffled. But political interference came in the way. The transfers could not be effected as most of the men managed not go get releaved on one pretext or the other.
HP to promote adventure
KULU, June 24 The second national invitation river rafting and kyaking competition was inaugurated by Anil Khachi, Director, Tourism and Civil Aviation, on Thursday at Pirdi near here.
Addressing a gathering Mr Khachi said the government had planned to give priority to adventure sports in the state. This would not only provide additional attraction to the tourists but would generate employment opportunities for the locals.
The Director, Tourism and Civil Aviation said the resource crunch in the state had proved to be a big constraint for the development of adventure sports. He called upon private entrepreneurs to participate in this field.
Avinash Kohli, President, National Kayaking and Cannoeing Association said, it was unfortunate that there is very little participation of women in the adventure sports.
BJP chief denies
NURPUR, June 24 Mr Jai Kishan Sharma, the newly elected President of the state BJP said Mr Shanta Kumar, the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution could not be ignored and BJP. He and Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, had made a great contribution in strengthening the party. Talking to the media persons here last evening he denied reports of factionalism.
Reacting to allegation of sex exploitation against Mr Babu Ram Mandyal, BJP MLA, levelled by his two maid servants, Mr Sharma said the police was investigating the issue.
Commenting on the
resignation of Mr Des Raj, the MLA of Gangath Assembly
constituency from the chairmanship of the State Finance
Commission, the BJP chief said he was a dedicated and
responsible party worker and denied reports that he was
sidelined by the party. But his recent actions seemed to
be an act of indiscipline. He claimed the problem would
shortly be sorted out.
DHARAMSALA, June 24 The police has arrested Suresh Kumar of Kaphara village under Haripur police station for allegedly raping a 17-year-old mentally challenged dumb girl of the same village.
According to the SP, Mr Prithvi Raj, the girl was lured by Suresh Kumar and raped while her father was watching television at a neighbours house.
PWD urged to repair Circular
SHIMLA, June 24 The district unit of the Himachal Vikas Congress has expressed concern over the failure to restore the landslide damaged Circular Road, which had disrupted vehicular traffic in the town, causing much inconvenience to the commuters.
The party which met here yesterday urged the Public Works Department to carry out repair work on a war footing so that the road could be opened to traffic at the earliest.
It urged the government not to increase the price of apple packing cartons as the growers whose crop had been damaged by hailstorms, were financially in a bad shape.
HP to chlorinate water
SHIMLA, June 24 A state-wide cleanliness campaign will be launched to clean drinking water sources across the state. The chlorination of water sources including lift drinking water schemes and traditional water sources in rural and urban areas will be carried out by the Departments of Irrigation and Public Health and Department of Health Services with the co-operation of field officials. This was stated in a state level meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Mr A.K. Goswami, Chief Secretary of control of water-borne diseases.
The Chief Secretary called upon the Department of Health to ensure availability of anti-diarrhoeal drugs in health institutions across the state.
SHIMLA, June 24 The Himachal Pradesh High Court yesterday exempted Mr P.C. Katoch, D.C, Mr H.N. Kashyap, A.D.M, Shimla and Mr Manoj Kumar, Municipal Commissioner, from personal appearance in a contempt petition on misuse of local ladies park for commercial purposes.
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