|Saturday, July 8, 2000,
Battlelines in HVC drawn
Mohinder: Sukh Ram brought
Shanta loyalists meet Dhumal
Raids on Nalagarh quarries
HP to sell wheat for Rs 7.50
HPs kharif target for 2000
2 workers robbed of
Villager beaten up by
Rain in HP brings relief
Need for awareness on nutrition
Rich tributes paid to Hindi author
Battlelines in HVC drawn
SHIMLA, July 7 With the two rival groups of the Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) led by Mr Sukh Ram and the PWD Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, having washed their dirty linen in public at their respective rallies yesterday, the battlelines between the two are drawn which might create problems for the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal.
Both groups came out against each other at the rallies which were organised at Mandi and Poanta Sahib by Mr Sukh Ram and Mr Mohinder Singh, respectively.
While Mr Sukh Ram reiterated his demand for the removal of Mr Mohinder Singh from the Cabinet and moved a resolution targeting him for corruption Mr Mohinder Singh accused Mr Sukh Ram of functioning like a dictator and protecting the interests of his family members alone. It has been Mr Sukh Rams condition that Mr Mohinder Singh was inducted into the ministry as a representative of the HVC and should be dropped as he has now been expelled from the party.
With yesterdays rallies, which were organised to mark the fourth foundation day of the HVC, the possibility of a patch-up between the two groups for the time-being is almost rare. The HVC(M) directly holds Mr Sukh Ram responsible for the failure of unity efforts because of his "adamant" behaviour.
The Sukh Ram faction claims that Mr Mohinder Singh misused his official position to make his rally at Poanta Sahib successful. On the other hand, supporters of Mr Mohindeer Singh point out that Mr Sukh Ram was never sure of good attendance at his rally in Mandi because of which he had planned a delegates conference only. However, he converted it into a public meeting when his supporters, mainly from Mandi, converged at the Town hall.
Yesterdays developments indicate that Mr Dhumal may no more afford to be an idle spectator to the happenings in the HVC which he has so far been.
While Mr Mohinder Singh has supported Mr Dhumal open-heartedly after the split in the HVC Mr Sukh Ram has been issuing veiled threats to the Chief Minister on one or the other issue.
However, what is being seen Mr Sukh Rams strong point by his men is the support he enjoys of an elected member of the Lok Sabha and the assembly. Besides, his son, Mr Anil Sharma, is a member of the Rajya Sabha. Mr Sukh Ram himself is an MLA.
Mohinder: Sukh Ram brought
MANDI, July 7 Criticising Mr Sukh Ram for levelling charges of corruption against him yesterday on the occasion of the third foundation day of the HVC at the Town Hall, the Himachal PWD Minister said it was an irony that the person who involved from "head to toe" in corruption cases was throwing mud at him. He alleged that Mr Sukh Ram brought shame to India in general and Himachal in particular. He had no moral right to accuse anyone of corruption, he said.
Mr Mohinder Singh who was addressing a news conference in the Circuit House this evening said to keep anyone as minister or not was the prerogative of the Chief Minister and Mr Sukh Ram was exceeding limits by dictating to the Chief Minister that "I should be removed from the ministry."
He said the tenure of the executive committee nominated by Mr Sukh Ram had expired on June 6 last year. That body had no legal sanction, "Ours is the real HVC which has completed the election process right from the mandal level to the state level. The ego of Sukh Ram would explode when the decision of the Election Commission will set the controversy at rest" he said. He disclosed that a sub-committee headed by Mr O.P. Rattan would soon meet the Chief Election Commission with all facts and figures of the democratically held election. He said the designs of the people who made abortive attempts to hijack the party had been frustrated as they had violated the Constitution.
Mr Mohinder Singh claimed that the foundation day of the HVC(M) held at Paonta Sahib away from his district was historic as more than 25000 persons had come to attend it. In sharp contrast less than 8000 people attended the function organised by Mr Sukh Ram and his son by spending huge money at their home town and home district. It was a clear signal to Mr Sukh Ram that his image was eroding even in the home district despite the fact that he was in politics for more than four decades. Besides the MPs fund was misused for collecting crowd.
The minister took a serious note of how the district authorities allowed Mr Sukh Ram to hold the conference in the Town Hall still under construction and in some parts of the building shuttering had been done. A major tragedy had been averted because the building could have collapsed with the pressure of huge load on it, he said.
When a correspondent
pointed out that Mr Sukh Ram yesterday alleged that the
PWD Ministers white robes were having spots of
bitumen (referring indirectly to bitumen scandal) Mr
Mohinder Singh retorted that it did not behove Mr Sukh
Ram to utter such words as "I brought him from Tihar
jail to Mandi when he was stinking with the mire of many
scams. We washed his body and presented his new image to
the people of the state who brought about the telecom
revolution. But the truth was otherwise", he
Shanta loyalists meet Dhumal
SHIMLA, July 7 Much political significance is being attached to the meeting of six Shanta loyalists with the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, here yesterday.
It was for the first time eversince the coalition assumed office that legislators identified with the Shanta camp have met the Chief Minister as part of a group. The six leaders Mr Krishan Kapoor, Transport Minister, Mr Ramesh Dhawala, Irrigation and Public Health Minister, Mr Hari Narain Singh, Town and Country Planning Minister, Mr Des Raj, Mrs Nirmala Devi and Mr Dulo Ram maintained that they only discussed development issues pertaining to their respective constituencies but political observers see the emergence of a pressure group within the BJP which could change equations drastically in the days to come.
After lying low for the past over two years the Shanta loyalists who felt ignored have become vocal and assertive.
Dissidence in the party came to the fore for the first time during the recent organisational poll when Mr Des Raj, Chairman of the state Finance Commission, resigned in protest against interference in the poll process by Mr Kirpal Parmar, party general secretary. He had also criticised Mr Dhumals style of functioning and accused him of sidelining the Shanta loyalists.
The inclusion of Mr Parmar in the team of office-bearers despite objection from the Shanta camp made things worse and forced the dissidents to put up a united front to face the onslaught of the Dhumal faction.
The dissidents publicly demonstrated their solidarity by their presence at the function held in Indora last month at which a car was presented to Mr Des Raj that the keys of the car were handed over by none other than Mr Shanta Kumar, Union Minister from Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, clearly indicated the motive behind the function.
Mr Jaikrishan Sharma, party president, had termed the outburst of Mr Des Raj as indiscipline and warned all partymen against airing their grievances publicly. He had also held a meeting with Mr Des Raj and discussed the issue.
By acting unitedly the dissidents have also tried to pre-empt any possibility of a disciplinary action against Mr Des Raj. Instead of raising issues in public they have tried to focus attention on the discontent prevailing in the party by meeting the Chief Minister collectively.
The partymen, however,
are not alarmed at the developments and feel an open
discussion of grievances with the Chief Minister could
help in removing irritants. It could well ensure a fair
deal to the dissidents and at the same time an
opportunity to the Chief Minister to pacify them.
Raids on Nalagarh quarries
SOLAN, July 7 A team of policemen and district administration officials led by SDM, Nalagarh, Mr K.C. Chaman, and the DSP, Mr Prem Thakur, conducted several raids on river bed quarries on hills streams in Nalagarh subdivision of this district yesterday and today.
As many as 19 tractor-trailers two tipper trucks and a JCB machine (mobile heavy duty shovel) were impounded during the raids, which were carried out under instructions of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sanjay Murthy. The impounded vehicles were found transporting illegally extracted river bed stones from the Balag, Dabhota, Baroon and Loon hill streams.
The JCB machine was impounded as its use in quarrying of river bed stones is banned. The current mining laws permit a maximum of three feet-deep digging for extracting minor mineral. The JCB machine was employed to dig much deeper pits, in some cases up to 20 feet deep.
Such deep fissures on hill stream beds were bound to play havoc with the topographical environment of the areas situated along them by drastically altering the river bed gradients. The steeper beds tended to increase the momentum of waters hurtling down the streams, thereby creating serious soil erosion problems. Faster flow would also affect the water table of the area.
This particular issue of illegal mining of river bed stones, allegedly being carried out under the patronage of powerful political lobbies of both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress, had been heatedly discussed in various district grievances committee meetings for sometime past.
The Deputy Commissioner personally inspected the Nalagarh area early this week and immediately instructed the District Mining Officer and SDM, Nalagarh, to conduct raids to bring the guilty to book.
Interestingly, maximum illegal quarrying was detected on the Dabotha Khud at spots situated a few kilometres away from the Nayagaon mining barrier, which was set up only last month.
A total of 10 tractor-trailers were impounded at Dabhota, six at the Loon khud and three at Barrona khud. Two trippers and the JCB machine were impounded on the Balag khud near Biddiy. All these vehicles were released after the realisation of a total fine of Rs 90,000. This had caused considerable heartburn among environmentalists who wanted some deterrent punishment to be meted out to the stone smugglers.
It has been learnt that
the district administration is contemplating suspension
of lease licences of all those quarries found indulging
in unscientific and illegal quarrying of stones.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner has ordered the
District Mining Officer to survey the damage caused to
river beds by deep and unauthorised extraction of stones.
As the use of tractors was limited to agricultural
operations under the existing Motor Vehicles Act heavy
fines seemed to be on the cards for use of
tractor-trailers for transporting goods other than
HP to sell wheat for Rs
KULU, July 7 The government has decided to sell the wheat stocked in FCI godowns in the country in the open market at the rate of Rs 7.50 per kg.
This was stated by Mr Ram Chauhan, Minister of State for Public Distribution and Civil Supplies, Government of India, here today while addressing a press conference at the HPTDCs Hotel Sarwari.
The minister accepted that due to the new policy the difference in the rate of the goods being sold through the public distribution system and in the open market was minimal. Hence the stocks of many items could not be lifted from the government depots. The surplus stocks would be sold in the open market to avoid national loss so that the goods did not in the godowns.
In reply to a question about the new policy for the public distribution system (PDS), he said that the government had divided the people in two categories one, those below the poverty line (BPL) and the other, those above the poverty line. Distribution through the PDS would not be available for the income tax payees in the country. This would keep a check on the village fair price shops.
The minister said that the storage capacity in Himachal Pradesh was less and the state would be provided three additional godowns at Shimla, Chamba and Kelong with a capacity of 10,000 metric tonnes each, raising the total capacity to 56,000 metric tonnes.
The government had also decided to invite private entrepreneurs to come forward and stock foodgrains by building their own godowns. At present, there were only 14 distribution centres in Himachal Pradesh and the Union Government had decided to have 16 more such centres.
Evading reply to a
question about the autonomy resolution of the Jammu and
Kashmir assembly, he said the RSS had been fighting for
the unity and integrity of the nation and "I, being
a man from the RSS, condemn that resolution".
HPs kharif target for 2000
SHIMLA, July 7 The kharif target for 2000 has been fixed at 10.14 lakh tonnes. This was decided at a meeting of controlling officers of kharif campaign in Himachal, held here under the chairmanship of State Agriculture Minister Vidya Sagar Chaudhary.
The total foodgrains production target for 2000-2001 was fixed at 17.47 lakh tonnes and crop prospects were bright because of timely monsoon rains in the state.
During kharif 2000, 2065 MT of high yielding varieties seed would be distributed. The target of pesticides distribution for kharif-2000 had been fixed as 150 mts and an area of 2,25000 hectares would be brought under plant protection coverage. The target of 19,200 tonnes of chemical fertilisers had been fixed for kharif this year.
Mr Vidya Sagar Chaudhary said that in order to break stagnation in agriculture production, a special maize production programme had been prepared this year under which 25 percent of maize area in the state would be brought under high yielding hybrids so as to increase the production of maize crop. To popularise the Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojna, 15 farmers of each block would be motivated through extension agencies of the department.
Mr Chaudhary further said that the government were concerned about marketing problems of potato in view of tough competition created as a result of production of seed potato in the plains through seed plot technique. A new potato production policy had been introduced under which marketing of potatoes as table potatoes, production of certified seed potato only at or above 7000 ft.
Above sea level and
diversification towards peas crop in Lahaul valley would
be done. He said that the state government had sanctioned
a sum of Rs 13.68 lakh to organise farmers training camps
during this year. Four camps in each block would be
organised and in each camp 100 farmers would be given a
day-long training regarding scientific farming. As many
as 70,000 soil samples would be analysed in 11 soil
testing laboratories in various districts of the state.
Two fully equipped mobile soil testing laboratories had
already been pressed into service for timely soil
analysis. The minister said that soil health cards would
be provided to the farmers to keep the record of
fertility status of their soil in long-terms basis.
Cutting hill slopes on whim
SHIMLA: A retired Chief Conservator of Forests is running form pillar to post these days seeking remedial measures to save his residential house at Kaithu here which is facing danger from five green trees which are leaning from an adjoining plot whose owner has haphazardly cut the hill slope for constructing a house.
Mr R.C. Sharma has written to the Municipal Corporation and forest officials about his plight, but no action has been taken so far by any of these departments.
Anyone damaging standing green trees is liable to imprisonment of three months.
Mr Sharma alleged that the roots of these trees had been purposely exposed by the plot owner so as to ensure that these fell during the rains. Sewer pipes had also got exposed due to the digging work.
Mr Sharma said the main electricity line between lower and upper Kaithu was also likely to get damaged if any of these trees fell. Three are deodar trees and two kail.
Many other residents of the town, too, are facing a similar problem at the hands of influential land owners.
A recent landslide wrecked a residential house near the bus stand on Cart Road as the Municipal Corporation and other authorities slept over the complaints of the house owner about the haphazard digging that was being done by a plot holder for constructing a hotel.
At least four houses in the Khaleni area are also in danger because of a landslide caused due to cutting of a hill slope for the construction of a house.
2 workers robbed of
PARWANOO, July 7 Five persons, one of them arming a dagger, waylaid two factory workers on the Parwanoo- Tipra road, 3 km from Parwanoo, and snatched cash, a watch and some other valuables at about 3.30 p.m. today.
Villager beaten up by
KANGRA, July 7 Ramesh Kumar, a 39-year-old resident of Nathered village near here, has demanded action against those police officials who allegedly beat him up when he had gone to Lakha Mandal village on July 2.
In a complaint to the district police chief, he said that he had gone to Lakha Mandal, near Pathiar, to have darshan of the Nag Devta which had reportedly appeared in the house of Panchayat member Ramesh Chand.
He said that after the darshan, he was caught and beaten up by police officials who were telling people that Ramesh Chand was allegedly cheating them by exploiting their religious sentiments and they should avoid visiting his house. Ramesh Kumar, who born marks of the beating on his body, requested for the registration of a case against the guilty.
He said that he would be able to identify them if they were paraded before him.
In the absence of the
SSP, Mr Prathviraj, Additional Superintendent of Police
N.D. Sareen said that if there was any such complaint,
law would take its course and appropriate action would be
taken against the guilty.
Rain in HP brings relief
SHIMLA, July 7 (UNI) Shimla and its surrounding areas were lashed by sharp monsoon rain this afternoon, plummeting the temperature considerably in the region.
The rain, which was preceded and followed by a dense fog, forced pedestrians to run for shelter. The Ridge and the fashionable Mall Road wore a deserted look due to the rain.
Upper areas of Shimla district, including the tourist places of Wildflower Hall, Kufri, Naldehra and Narkanda, also had rain.
A report from Hamirpur said life came to a near standstill in various parts of Hamirpur district this afternoon following heavy rains that lashed the area for more than three hours. The rain brought down the temperature which was high in the morning.
Power supply and telecom services remained paralysed in Hamirpur town for three hours. Reports of heavy rain were received from catchment areas of the river Beas.
Incessant rain during the past 24 hours caused widespread damage to crops, particularly off-season vegetables, in Chachiot valley of Mandi district, a report from Mandi said.
Need for awareness on
SHIMLA, July 7 The Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary, Mr A.K. Goswami, has stressed the need for creating awareness among women and children about their nutritional needs by organising awareness campaign in remote areas of the state.
Presiding over an inter-departmental coordination committee meeting for implementation of special nutrition programme here yesterday, the Chief Secretary expressed satisfaction that the programme was being implemented in the state through 7,123 anganwaris. He said the food required was being provided under the National Nutrition Policy to the children in the anganwaris, besides implementing effectively the health care programme.
He said that the medical officers should visit anganwaris frequently for health check-up of children, which he added was important component of ICDS programme.
Rich tributes paid to Hindi
SOLAN, July 7 The State Department of Art, Language and Culture organised a function to mark the anniversary of Chandra Dhar Sharma Guleri, noted Hindi litterateur universally acclaimed for his short story, "Us Ne Kaha Tha", here today.
The Governor, Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, who was the chief guest, started the days proceedings by lighting a lamp in front of a portrait of Guleri. He also released a book published by the department on the life and works of the author.
Paying rich tributes to Guleri, he said that the author was a learned yet a simple person. His works were relished by common men and scholars alike.
Mr Shastri said that Guleris works brought fame not only to the author but also helped place Hindi short stories on the map of world literature.
Referring to Guleris attempts at viewing Indian traditions from a modern perspective, he said that such an approach was the need of the hour today.
While emphasising that the nation should continue to absorb whatever was good in western culture, he laid stress on "not losing sight of our own time tested values". He also stressed upon the need to review ancient knowledge in the light of modern day developments in the scientific and social fields.
The Governor also
presented prizes to the winners of a short story contest.
The prizes went to Kanhiya Nand Lal for his story
entitled" Mar Gaya Ek Nagrik", Arun Bharti for
his story "Anaar", Rajkumar Kamal for his piece
entitled "Jang" and Narendra Seth for his story
entitled "Qatra Qatra Zindgi".
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