|Tuesday, July 11, 2000,
Cabinets nod for SERC
PU writers home at Andretta
Cut down tours: Dhumal
ABVP celebrates foundation day
Shanta loyalists meet Dhumal
Virbhadra flays govt for
Epidemic threat in
Gang targeting government employees?
One held; 4 kg of opium seized
HP Cabinets nod for
SHIMLA, July 10 Justice A.L. Vaidya, a retired judge of the high court, is likely to be appointed chairman of the three-member Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), the setting up of which was cleared by the state Cabinet here today.
It is reliably learnt that the name of Justice Vaidaya was discussed by the Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal.
Earlier, in September 1998, the Cabinet had decided to set up a single-member SERC, but at todays meeting the earlier decision was reviewed and it was decided to enlarge it to a strength of three members with a view to having more transparency in its functioning.
Other members of the commission will be the Chief Secretary and a senior representative from the HPSEB, sources said.
Himachal Pradesh had so far been delaying setting up of the commission because HPSEB employees unions were opposing the move. However, the Centre had repeatedly been asking the state government to constitute the commission as various incentives in the power sector were linked with setting up of the SERC.
Besides other functions, the commission will fix the power tariff from time to time.
Sometime ago, the state government had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Mr Justice R.K. Mahajan to recommend members for the commission.
The Cabinet is learnt to have exempted the presiding officer of the sales tax tribunal, Dharamsala, from the economy measures on undertaking tours and limit on consumption of fuel for his vehicle.
The sources said that the Cabinet gave approval for releasing the full and final payment of Rs 28.93 lakh to Messers Mesco Airlines, from whom the state government has hired a MI-172 helicopter on lease. The payment pertains to the period between March, 1998, and July, 1998, when a smaller Ecureuil helicopter was kept at the disposal of the state government as the bigger one was grounded for being overhauled. A sum of over Rs 2.76 crore was also paid to the Indian Air Force for their helicopters which were hired during the absence of the Mescos helicopter.
An official spokesman said that the Cabinet decided to alter the pattern of the combined examination for the Himachal Pradesh Administrative Service (HPAS) examination by the state public service commission. The concept of preliminary examination as a screening test on the pattern of IAS has been introduced. The candidates who qualify in the preliminary test will be eligible to appear in the main examination.
With a view to granting greater autonomy to the Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration (HIPA), the Cabinet decided to convert it into a registered society. Interests of government employees working in HIPA will be protected.
The Cabinet approved the implementation agreement for execution of six small hydroelectric projects up to 3 mw capacity. These projects are: Lingti (400 kws), Kothi (200 kws), Jathed (100 kw), Ruskat (800 kws), Solang (100 kw) and Titang (100 kw). The first three projects are being constructed by the Himurja, while the others are being executed by the private sector.
The Cabinet approved a fertiliser subsidy amounting to Rs 9.37 crore for the current financial year. The rate of subsidy on urea can and ammonium sulphate will continue at the rate of Rs 405 per metric tonne, 100 per cent subsidy on transportation of fertilisers will also continue.
It was also decided to continue the existing subsidy on fertilisers for tea gardens up to 8 hectares.
The Cabinet approved the scheme to treat the vocational tailoring teachers in the panchayats as employees of the respective panchayats the government would provide grant-in-aid for salaries of these teachers. Preference for employment will be given to those candidates whose no family member is employed.
It was decided to convert the state cadre of gram panchayat vikas adhikaris into district cadre.
The Cabinet approved
government guarantee for a loan of Rs 1.28 crore to be
raised by the HPSEB from the Power Finance Corporation
for installation of a transformer at Kala Amb to improve
power supply in the area.
PU writers home at
CHANDIGARH, July 10 A letter from the Himachal Chief Minister to the state authorities concerned has come as a ray of hope for the proposed Writers Home of Panjab University at Andretta.
The hamlet is famous as the workplace of Sobha Singh, the noted painter, and Norah Richards, the grandmother of Punjabi theatre. The grandmothers mud house history continues to linger through stories of the locals.
Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, has responded quickly to a letter asking for some place in the lap of nature. The letter says he has requested the Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, to take up the matter.
Dr Deepak Manmohan, Dean, College Development Council, said he had forwarded a letter in June this year. The reply had been very quick. "When we visited the area in the lap of nature earlier this year, it was found to be a peaceful abode. Besides Sobha Singh the area has been the venue for various other artists, past and present.", Dr Manmohan said.
Dr Manmohan said the site also suited a perfect site for a holiday home and a centre for students and teachers who wanted respite from the routine. A committee has been constituted by the university to oversee the developmental work on the project, if any.
A former MLA, Dr Shiv Kumar, from the area responded giving options that the government was building a beautiful housing colony near Palampur at Bindraban village. It will be slightly difficult to purchase land in Andretta as "outsiders cannot purchase land in Himachal".
The university authorities however feel that the writers home was not a personal property case. The HP Government should manage ways to give allocation to the university because the beneficiaries included a massive student community of the state in colleges and the university.
Among the land holders at Andretta features noted film personality Shashi Kapoor, who has been requested to make possible "for us to use your land in the said area either by way of donation or at a price that the university can afford".
The local tehsildar is set on the job to identify any suitable land in the area.
Dr Manmohan said the university expected a quick reply from the quarters concerned in Himachal Pradesh at the earliest. The letter says: "The place with its cultural milieu and aesthetic and serene attraction is all the more conducive for realising our dreams of setting up a university centre at the foothills in Andretta".
Ministers response has been seen as a positive step
in this direction. "The Deputy Commissioner should
take the role of Panjab University in educating students
of the state into consideration. Even now colleges and
the university show a big inflow of students from
Himachal. A university venue in the state will only be a
positive step in the interest of academics.
Cut down tours: Dhumal
SHIMLA, July 10 Annoyed at the absence of his ministerial colleagues from their offices for most of the time, Chief Minister, P.K. Dhumal today asked them not to move out on tours so frequently and make them available to the visiting public in the secretariat.
It is reliably learnt that Mr Dhumal made this observation during an informal discussion with the ministers after a Cabinet meeting this afternoon.
Sources said Mr Dhumal, who was visibly upset over the defiance of his repeated requests to the ministers not to proceed on tours frequently, reiterated his desire at the todays Cabinet meeting.
It is learnt that Mr Dhumal also directed the ministers to go on tours outside the state only after informing him as during their visits they could take up other pending matters of Himachal Pradesh with the states they were touring.
Mr Dhumal has time and again asked his ministers to curtail their tours also due to bad financial position of the state government. However, his orders have, so far, been observed mostly in defiance as on several days hardly any minister was available in the Secretariat.
Sometime ago, Mr Dhumal had asked the ministers to tour only during one week in a month and remain in the secretariat for rest of the time. Later, it was also decided that the ministers will stay here for five days in a week, but this also did not work.
Several lakhs of rupees were claimed as travelling allowance by the ministers even while the government was borrowing money from various boards and corporations to run its day-to-day affairs.
Moreover, in the wake of groupism in the ruling BJP, most of the ministers have remained on tour of the Kangra district during the past few days.
ABVP celebrates foundation
SHIMLA, July 10The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad organised functions all over the state to mark its 53rd foundation day.
Besides, the Himachal Pradesh University campus here, functions were held at various degree colleges in Rampur, Bilaspur, Rekong Peo, Kotshera, Solan, Nalagarh, Nahan, Paonta, Mandi, Paprola, Dharamsala, Kulu and other places. The students vowed to fight for the restoration of their democratic right by forcing the university authorities to hold elections to the Central Students Association during the current academic session.
Presiding over the main function at the university here Mr Mohinder Pandey, convener of the Vikas Panchayat of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, said the parishad was the biggest student organisation in world with a membership of over nine lakh.
The following new
office-bearers of the parishads university unit
were also announced: president Mr Rajesh Kumar,
vice-presidents Mr Lekh Raj Mr Om Parkash and Mr Kishori
Lal and secretary Mr Surinder Sharma.
Shanta loyalists meet Dhumal
SHIMLA, July 10 Six Shanta loyalists who met Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal last week, denied reports of factionalism in party.
In a joint statement here today, Mr Krishan Kapoor, Transport Minister, Mr Ramesh Dhawala, the Irrigation and Public Health Minister, Mr Hari Narain Singh, Town and Country Planning Minister, Mr Dulo Ram, Mr Desh Raj and Mrs Nirmala Devi expressed full confidence in the leadership of Mr Dhumal and asserted that the entire legislative party was solidly behind him.
They discounted reports
published in a section of the press that they had given
any ultimatum to the Chief Minister. Only developmental
problems pertaining to their respective constituencies
were discussed during the meeting with Mr Dhumal, they
Virbhadra flays govt for
HAMIRPUR, July 10 Mr Virbhadra Singh, a former Chief Minister and a senior Congress leader, criticised the state government for not effectively tackling the unemployment problem in the state. He said the unemployment figure was rising every year and the government was sleeping over it. He alleged that the government was providing jobs to those who had close links with the BJP and its allies. The state government was playing with the career of youths and if they came on roads, it would be difficult to control them, he added.
Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, he hit out at the Himachal Pradesh State Subordinate Selection Board for adopting pick and choose policy with regards to employment being given to the youths. He said the board had lost its credibility and become a puppet in the hands of the government.
He said the board had become a political organisation. The Congress would launch an agitation to expose the anti-youth policies of the boards management.
Mr Singh demanded that the record of all appointments made by the board should be put before the state Assembly so that elected representatives could come to know about its functioning. He said by denying the chance to appear in the examination, to about 500 science graduates without informing them, the board had done injustice with them. It was ridiculous to inform them about the decision of the board at the time when they had come to appear in the examination.
The former Chief Minister said the same was in case of appointments of Pharmacists in the Department of Animal Husbandry. The state government was holding personal interview for 200 vacant post of pharmacists from among 70,000 youth. It was a matter of concern that no written test was held and selection would be done only through personal interviews and that too under the guidance from those in power.
Mr Virbhadra Singh demanded a state-wide debate to discuss the proposal of the Union Government for the formation of a national water authority. He said no such policy could be decided without taking the people into confidence.
The Congress leader said
water was a vital issue and the state government should
not announce its stand without taking all political
parties and people into confidence. He suggested that a
debate to this effect should be held inside and outside
the state Assembly to know the viewpoint of the people.
He said Himachal Pradesh had vast water resources but
those should not be put at the disposal of any other
government. The water was badly needed in the state to
generate hydro-electricity and for drinking and
Epidemic threat in Dharara
SHIMLA, July 10 The Forum for Rural Empowerment and Social Help (FRESH) has cautioned the State Government against the possible outbreak of cholera and gastroenteritis in the Dharara area of Rohru tehsil. Heaps of rotting fruit, like plums, apricots and peaches, are proving to be breeding ground of flies and mosquitoes.
In a letter addressed to
the State Health Minister, Mr J.P.Nadda, Ms Shashi
Kamalta, Executive Director, FRESH, has lamented the
failure of the government to post a doctor at the Dharara
dispensary over the past one year. The absence of a
doctor, coupled with the shortage of water and medicines
had rendered the dispensary useless, she said Patients
had to go for treatment to Rohru, 20 km from the villages
served by the dispensary, she added.
Gang targeting government
NURPUR, July 10 The murders of two daily wage government employees in Rehan area of this sub-division has created panic.
On July 5, Deepak Sharma (26) a daily wage employee of the Telecommunication Department and resident of nearby Chhattar Bassa village died in mysterious circumstances and his body was found in the forest.
Earlier, the body of Onkar Singh, a resident of Nanooh village and a daily wage employee of the Irrigation-cum-Public Health (IPH) Department was found in the - near Narooh rivulet.
Villagers and daily wage workers of the IPH Department held a demonstration and blocked traffic against the failure of the police to nab the culprits but till now no clue has been found.
One held; 4 kg of opium
SUNDERNAGAR, July 10 The Aut police has arrested Pardeep Kumar of Nauli Sainj village Kulu district, for possessing 4 kg of opium.
According to the police,
the accused was nabbed near Aut of Mandi district and the
contraband seized. A case has been registered under
Section 20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychtropic
Substances Act. The accused has been remanded in police
custody till July 12.
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