|Thursday, August 31, 2000,
Cut in funds hits anti- AIDS plan
PM assures more flood relief to HP
Centre to implement biodiversity plan
HP DGP all praise for forces, locals
Sushant should go, demand lawyers
Dhumal inaugurates school
Tourists killing: 3 Nepalese
3 killed as bus falls into khud
Winter supplies for Kinnaur ensured
Ban order hits Tibetan kids
DHARAMSALA, Aug 30 The latest Chinese order, banning government officials in Tibet from educating their children in Tibetan schools in India, has put a question mark on the future of thousands of Tibetan children studying in India.
A latest order by the Chinese Government in Tibet has instructed all Tibetans to withdraw their children from the Tibetan schools being run by the exiled government headed by the Dalai Lama in India. In order to have access to proper education, especially Tibetan and English, a large number of Tibetans send their children from Tibet to the schools being run by the Tibetan Government-in-exile in India.
The latest order, though encompassing all Tibetans, is especially hard on all those working in government offices in Tibet as they would be fired from their jobs apart from being denied benefits like pension. At present, thousands of children, whose parents are back in Tibet, are studying in the Tibetan Children Village (TCV) schools and other schools of the Central Tibetan Administration. The TCV school in Naddi, a part of upper Dharamsala, alone has a strength of more than 800 students.
Expressing helplessness of the Tibetan Government on the issue, the Secretary in the Department of Information and International Relations, Mr Thubten Samphell, said they had no authority on the matter except urging the international community to intervene in the matter. Though this is not a fresh order, as a similar instruction had been issued by the Chinese even in 1993, this time it is being implemented with greater severity, stated Mr Samphell.
Though there were quite a few cases of government officials from Tibet withdrawing their children from the Tibetan schools in India, the response to the order was not overwhelming, as expected by the Communist authorities, revealed Mr Samphell. He admitted that this time too there could be cases of withdrawals from schools.
Mr Samphell said the efforts of the Tibetan Government would be to urge the international community to engage the Chinese in dialogue so that a solution could be found to the Tibetan crisis. He said the situation was worsening in Tibet day by day as there was increased repression by the Chinese authorities.
It is school going children who constitute the maximum percentage of Tibetan refugees who illegally cross into India via Nepal every year in search of better educational opportunities. After reaching McLeodganj, the headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, these children are sent to various schools being run by the exiled government all over India.
In search of better
education, the parents back in Tibet take the risk of
sending their children with other groups across the
snow-clad mountains, at times resulting in the death of
some young ones. There has been a continuous increase in
this trend of sending their children to study in the
Tibetan schools in India, thereby evoking a strong
reaction from the Chinese in the form of the latest
Cut in funds hits anti- AIDS plan
SHIMLA, Aug 30 Although the number of AIDS patients is fast multiplying in Himachal Pradesh, the scheme to bring the disease under control has suffered a severe setback with the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) substantially cutting the annual grant and allocating a paltry Rs 2 crore for the purpose to the state.
It is reliably learnt that the H.P. AIDS Control Society (HPACS), which is managing various programmes for the control of the disease, had sought a grant of Rs 11.5 crore but what it got from NACO was just a little over Rs 2 crore.
Sources said even last year the HPACS was initially granted Rs 10 crore, but later a cut of Rs 3 crore was imposed, upsetting the targets.
The Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, is expected to take up the issue with NACO and other Central Government authorities during his Delhi visit on Thursday.
According to the Director of Health Services, Dr S.R. Chauhan, who is also chairman of the HPACS, 84 full-blown cases of AIDS had been detected in the state. Twelve had already died. At least 13 women were having AIDS.
The number of HIV positive patients had grown to 277 this year against 197 last year.
The Rs 53 crore AIDS control programme, which was launched last year was to be completed within five years. However, the paucity of grants was bound to upset the targets and force the authorities to abandon various schemes for the awareness drive.
The AIDS control programme was started by the state government on its own in 1987 under which screening of suspected patients was done. However, the screening laboratory has remained confined to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) here although the government had planned to open such laboratories initially in each district hospital.
Sources said the programme had failed to take off in a big way because of want of major equipment which was to be supplied by the NACO.
It is being alleged that the NACO did not release the funds on time and peacemeal allocations were being done.
Certain doctors involved in the programme said the number of identified HIV positive cases might be just the tip of the iceberg and at least 4000 persons might be suffering from the disease at the moment. However, their hands were tied because of paucity of funds due to which they had not been able to identify the patients in a big way.
The number of HIV
positive patients was high in the districts of Hamirpur,
Bilaspur, Kangra and Mandi. It was also growing in Shimla
and Sirmaur districts. Most of them had reportedly
acquired the infection through sexual modes.
PM assures more flood relief to HP
NEW DELHI, Aug 30 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has assured to consider sympathetically Himachal Pradeshs demand for central assistance for expediting relief work in the areas affected by flash floods in Kinnaur, Kulu and Shimla districts.
The assurance was given to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal who requested the Prime Minister for more funds to overcome the situation arising out of floods.
Mr Dhumal also met Union Home Minister L. K. Advani this morning discussed with him security situation in the state in the wake of recent killing of foreign tourists. The state government has already initiated steps to prevent such incidents in the future.
According to an official spokesman, the Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister of the massive loss caused due to floods, which initial estimates had put at Rs 1,400 crore.
Mr Dhumal also stressed the need of procuring apple crop in Kinnaur where communication link had collapsed. He informed that the state government had pressed into service four helicopters, three of which have been hired from the Indian Air Force.
Besides stocking rations
in the affected areas for winters, helicopters were also
being used for lifting heavy equipment for use in repair
work. The Chief Minister said that the restoration work
would take long time in view of the difficult
Centre to implement biodiversity
SHIMLA, Aug 30 In a major initiative to conserve the countrys dwindling biological resources and eco-system, the Centre has decided to implement a national biodiversity strategy and action plan.
Stating this here yesterday Mr R.H. Khwaja, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry for Environment and Forests and National Project Director for the plan, said under the scheme each state would prepare its own action plan to preserve the biodiversity in a holistic way. He said the states had been asked to finalise the draft plan by March next and get them approved by June.
Each state would be required to notify a nodal agency and a steering committee for the preparation and implementation of the action plan. The states would outline their priorities after preparing detailed reports on the status of biodiversity. The plan would focus on the root causes of the loss of biodiversity and suggest measures to bridge the gaps in policy and legal structure to ensure sustainable use of bioresources.
Development activities would have to be carried out in planned manner. To begin with the state should ensure that environment impact assessment was carried out for all road and hydel power projects so that remedial measures could be taken simultaneously. It would certainly increase the cost of project, but spending a little more now would be worthwhile in view of the long term gains, he said.
The project would be
implemented by a technical and policy core group,
consisting of experts from various fields with the
assistance of Kalpvriksha, a non-government organisation
and Biotech Consortium India Limited. The global
environmental facility and the UNDP were extending
limited financial support for the project.
HP DGP all praise for forces, locals
CHAMBA, Aug 30 The Director-General of Police (DGP), Himachal Pradesh, Mr A.K. Puri, said that the security forces, including the Himachal Pradesh police and Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP), deserved praise for their success in curbing militancy and infiltration on the borders of Chamba district in HP adjoining Jammu and Kashmir, during the past two years. The local residents also deserved praise.
While talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Puri said that he would visit the border terrain to take stock of the situation and ascertain the ground realities after having interaction with the security forces jawans and the local public.
He stated that the security forces were keeping strict vigil in the border area stretching for about 215 km, adjacent to J&K. He said that out of this distance, 70 km of the area was being looked after by the Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) and the rest of the border was being guarded by the Himachal Pradesh Police Forces. He said that each company of the security forces has been covering three posts.
The DGP said that the check-points of the security forces were located at altitude ranging from 2000 to 6000 metres in the forest area in the border region of Chamba district.
The DGP informed that at present 159 village defence committees (VDCs) having 1441 members were functioning and assisting the security forces in the borderland of Chamba district. Out of 1441 members of the VDCs, rifles to 435 members had been issued, the DGP added. He said that 446 special police officers (SPOs) had been deployed along with the security forces on the borders who had been recruited from among the local youths.
The DGP said during the Manimahesh pilgrimage, security had been intensified. The pilgrims hailing from Jammu and Kashmir were being given proper security cover, adding that so far about 850 pilgrims from J&K reached and were on way to Manimahesh.
Replying to a question, the DGP pointed out that six Himachalis who had been kept as hostages by ultras during Kalaban-Satrundi carnages were not alive as had been presumed from the intelligence inputs received from the J&K side.
Mr Puri also withdrew the controversial letter issued by the Superintendent of Police, Chamba, Mr R.M. Sharma to Chamba-based mediapersons imposing restrictions on the reporters not to publish any news item about the border related issues, issued by the Commandant of Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP).
The DGP categorically stated that he had withdrawn this letter on behalf of the SP, Chamba, to maintain healthy relations between police and the Press.
Sushant should go, demand lawyers
DHARAMSALA, Aug 30 Alleging political interference in the functioning of the revenue courts, the Kangra District Bar Association today demanded the resignation of the Revenue Minister, Mr Rajan Sushant, from the state Cabinet.
Addressing a press conference here today, the President of the association, Mr S.K. Soni, said the apprehension of the lawyers that the recent amendment would lead to political interference in the functioning of the revenue courts had been proved right. Distributing copies of a letter written by an office-bearer of the Vishawa Hindu Parishad to the Revenue Minister, in which Mr Sushant had made a noting asking the Settlement Officer, Kangra, to take immediate action, members of the Bar association said that had the matter been before a judicial court there would have been no scope of political interference.
Mr Soni, said that as soon as the Settlement Officer, received the letter from the Revenue Minister, the date for issuing the order was fixed without summoning and hearing the other party. On getting to know about this the party concerned immediately took a stay from the court of the Sub Judge, Baijnath, he stated.
Mr Soni, said that if this was the way the government intended giving justice to the people, then only those having political say would get justice. He added that the Revenue Officers being government employees were helpless before their political bosses.
SHIMLA: The State unit of the BJP has criticised the agitation launched by advocates against amendments in the state Land Revenue Act.
The amendments were carried out after consultations and on the recommendations of a high power committee, comprising experts, a press note issued by the party said.
Many clauses of the 113-year-old Act had become irrelevant and required delition and several new provisions were needed to cut down delays and simplify procedures. As such it was essential to amend the Act.
Meanwhile, the HP Administrative Tribunal Bar Association held a meeting on Wednesday and it was unanimously resolved by the House that the HP Administrative Tribunal Bar Association should abstain from court work up to September 2 in protest against the amendment to the HP Land Revenue Act. It was disclosed by Mr Virender Verma, Secretary, HP Administrative Tribunal Bar Association.
He further said that the association had also condemned the notification dated August 5, 2000 by the state government in which corporations and boards were withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the HP Administrative Tribunal. The Vice-President of Administrative Tribunal Bar Association, Mr D.K. Khanna, said that the joint action committee formed by the Bar Association in HP should be requested to agitate about the above notification and this demand be included in the agenda that this notification be scrapped. And it was earnestly hoped by the House that the other Bar Associations will support the HP Administrative Tribunal Bar Association and condemned this notification.
In an another statement Mr Ashwani Pathak, President of the HP High Court Bar Association, said that a meeting of all Bar Associations member of the state would be convened here on September 2 to chalk out further course of action.
under the Manali subdivision of Kulu district have
intensified their strike in protest against the fresh
amendments in the Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act. They
observed strike here for the third consecutive day on
Wednesday on a call by the lawyers state body in
solidarity with the Bar Associations all over Himachal
Pradesh. Manali lawyers are on strike till August 31 next
to protest the alleged anti-farmer amendment brought in
the state Land Revenue Act. At a meeting of the Manali
Bar Association held here, the members unanimously passed
a resolution criticising the government for making fresh
amendments in the Act without taking the lawyers
fraternity into confidence.
Dhumal inaugurates school building
SOLAN, Aug 30 The Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, today called for an in-depth analysis of causes that had prevented the eradication of poverty from the country.
Mr Dhumal, who was speaking at a public meeting held at Chamian, near Kasauli, lamented that a sizeable section of our society continued to live below the poverty line and youth was being denied elementary opportunities of education and meaningful employment. He also inaugurated the new building of Government High School, Chamian.
He said population explosion was known to be a key factor behind the failure of various development plans in ameliorating the lot of have-nots. His government, in order to discourage inordinate growth in population, had recently debarred all those who had more than two children from contesting elections to the panchayati raj institutions. He urged upon the Centre to initiate similar steps at the national level.
Mr Dhumal said paucity of institutions of higher education could also be a factor in the countrys inability to provide a better deal to the poor.
The Himachal Pradesh government, on its part had decided to give an added thrust to start quality educational institutions, particularly in the information technology sector.
He said an advanced institute of information & technology was being set up at Vaknaghat in this district with the collaboration of the University of California, Barkley, USA . This project envisaged an investment of Rs 30 crore.
He said the state
government has also decided to invite private sector
entrepreneurs to set up professional institutions in
Himachal. The government was approaching NRIs in this
connection. Hopefully, these efforts would bear fruit
soon and Himachali youth would be able to get higher
education in their state. The government has also
initiated steps to strengthen educational infrastructure,
particularly for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe
Tourists killing: 3 Nepalese
SHIMLA, Aug 30 After four days of intensive search and combing operations in the high reaches of Parbati valley, the police today found certain vital clues which could lead to the culprits involved in the brutal murder of a Spanish tourist and her son. Three Nepalese were being interrogated.
A search party found currency notes amounting to Rs 6,800 in the vicinity of the camping site at Tundaghosh where Ms Maqueles Gronis and her son, Christ (15) were clubbed to death on August 26. Besides, three lathis, suspected to be used in the crime were also found on the track leading to Mantalai from Tundaghosh.
A senior officer said the police had got some evidence which involve the suspects in the case.
The crime was not linked with drug trafficking and the motive appeared to be robbery. The deceased were robbed of about Rs 18,000, out of which Rs 6800, camera and other valuables had been recovered.
Mr Anurag Garg, the Superintendent of Police, Kulu, who is heading the special investigation team, comprising an Additional Superintendent of Police and two DSPs, is camping at the site. In all over 100 policemen had been engaged in combing operations in the Kheer Ganga range.
The police has also set up a wireless network in the area to coordinate operations in the inaccessible mountain ranges.
Meanwhile, Mr Martin
Young, a British national, who was injured in the attack,
has been hospitalised in Delhi. Mr P.K. Dhumal, the Chief
Minister, has directed senior government officers to
inquire about his welfare.
3 killed as bus falls into khud
PALAMPUR, Aug 30 At least three persons were killed, 30 injured, 10 of them seriously, when a private bus belonging to the Kailash Giri Bus Service fell into a 100-feet deep khud near Bal Bhurian village this morning.
The bus was on its way to Palampur from Alampur. When it reached near Bal Bhurian village, the driver lost control while negotiating a sharp curve. The bus rolled down into the khud. Two persons died on the spot, while one person died at the Civil Hospital, Thural. The bus was over crowded with daily commuters.
All the injured were brought to the Civil Hospital, Thural. There was no doctor to attend the victims. A private doctor attended the victims. The only doctor posted in the hospital had left for Shimla yesterday. All the injured have been referred to the Civil Hospital, Palampur.
Later, over 1000 residents of adjoining villages assembled in front of the Civil Hospital and protested against the poor medical facilities. They forced the shop-keepers to down shutters and sat on a dharna on the Palampur-Hamirpur highway. The angry villagers damaged the hospital gate.
Traffic on the Palampur-Hamirpur highway also remained suspended for five hours as villagers blocked the highway.
Till 10 a.m. there was none from the district administration to defuse the situation.
The angry villagers later stoned a police party at Bal Bhurian village in which four policemen were injured. The injured policemen have been identified Naratu Ram, ASI, Uttam, Babu Ram, both constables and Home Guard Swami Ram.
One of the deceased has been identified as Ravi Kumar, JE in The HPSEB. The conductor of the bus was also killed in the mishap.
Six idols stolen
SHIMLA, Aug 30 Six valuable idols, including one of gold, have been stolen from an ancient temple at Suralh Bhatori village in the Pangi tribal area.
According to Mr Ajeet Kumar, president of the Pangi Students Welfare Union, the theft of these idols was detected on August 14.
Revolt against HP NSUI chief
DHARAMSALA, Aug 30 In a major revolt against the leadership of the state NSUI president, Mr Kewal Pathania, the district Kangra body and office-bearers from the district in the state body today tendered their resignation to the all-India chief.
Addressing a press conference here today, members of the district body of the NSUI said they had been compelled to tender their resignation because of the dictatorial attitude of Mr Pathania. Instead of focusing on organisational matters, Mr Pathania is more keen on protecting the interests of certain political leaders, they alleged.
Interestingly, Kangra happens to be the home district of the state president of the National Students Union of India, Mr Kewal Pathania. The office-bearers said there was no internal democracy in the organisation and opportunists were having a field day. They added that being dedicated members of the NSUI they had been left with no other option but to resign from their posts.
Those who demanded the
removal of Mr Pathania from the post of state president,
NSUI, include Mr Rohit Thakur and Mr Sunil Sharma,
district president and joint secretary of the Kangra
body, and Mr Sunil Balouria and Mr Lokesh Nandan, both
state office-bearers. They demanded the removal of Mr
Pathania was must to strengthen the organisation.
Merger justified, says housing body
SHIMLA, Aug 30 The Himachal Pradesh Housing Board Employees Association has expressed concern over the inordinate delay in implementing the decision to merge the Housing Board and the state Urban Development Authority.
Mr Rameshwar Gupta, general secretary of the association, said it was the right decision as both public undertakings were engaged in similar functions and their merger would help reduce unproductive expenditure considerably.
He alleged that the stir launched by the state Urban Development Authority Workers Union against the merger was politically motivated. It was being supported by top leaders of various political parties, including the BJP. He said the interests of the employees as well as the daily-wage workers of the authority had been fully protected and there was no plausible reason for opposing the merger.
Timber seized in Chamba
CHAMBA, Aug 30 In a special operation carried out jointly by the Forest Department and the Enforcement Department in forests of the lower Chamba range, 74 sleepers of deodar which were likely to be smuggled out of the district have been seized.
Giving this information here yesterday, Mrs Anu Nagar, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Chamba, said raids had been conducted under the supervision of Mr Chaman Lal, Range Forest Officer, in the belts of the Kidi forest beat in Saho block.
Winter supplies for Kinnaur ensured
SHIMLA, Aug 30 Mr A.K. Goswami, Himachal Chief Secretary, has said steps were being taken to ensure essential commodities are stocked in time in Kinnaur district for the winter.
Presiding over a meeting of the crisis management committee here yesterday, the Chief Secretary said the Food and Supplies Department had decided to despatch truck loads of essential commodities via Kunzam Pass and on mules and head load via Bhabanagar. He said transportation rates of trucks via Kunzam Pass had been finalised and 7800 quintals of rice and levy sugar has already been despatched.
He said in view of limited working season and constraint in arranging supplies through mules, the department had decided to despatch essential commodities for Kinnaur through Tapri, Sangla, Kalpa, Peo, Yangthang, Chango, Pooh and Peo, Kalpa centres.
Mr Goswami said the LPG requirement for Kinnaur district would be arranged through approved distributorship at Bhabhnagar, Peo and Pooh. He said kerosene would be made available to Pooh sub-division through its normal distribution channels as soon as road at Malling and Khab was re-opened for heavy vehicles.
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