Sunday, October 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Ticket allotment as per rules: Virbhadra
Shimla, October 6
The CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today said the Congress ticket for the next Assembly elections would be allotted by the party high command as per the procedure and not the whims of some individual leaders of the state.

Lack of funds stalls bridge work
Kulu
The suspension bridge project at Pirdi, 3 km from the district headquarters, has been awaiting funds for its completion since 1999. The old bridge near this site was washed away in floods in 1995. It took the authorities about two years to draw up plans for a new bridge and another two years to construct a part of it.

HP allows pvt power meters
Kangra, October 6
Himachal Pradesh has decided to allow power consumers to install private electricity meters after getting these checked by the Meter Department of the power board. These consumers would not be charged the meter rent, which is Rs 4 per month.

Workshop for forum on women’s studies
Shimla, October 6
Setting up of a forum for women’s studies in India as an effective network for exchange of ideas on a variety of issues has been recommended by a three-day national workshop on women’s studies and curriculum which concluded here today.

No foul play in death of VC, says SP
Shimla, October 6
The Superintendent of Police, Mr Pradeep Kumar, today ruled out any foul play in the death of the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.K.Gupta, and said that he had died due to cardiac arrest.




YOUR TOWN
Dharamsala
Kulu
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES
 

Refresher course in history
Shimla, October 6
Prof V.C. Srivastava, Director, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, at a three-week refresher course in history organised by the Academic Staff College, H.P. University, said here today that a historian viewed history from his own point of view and this may and does vary from historian to historian.

43 pc dearness relief for HP pensioners
Shimla, October 6
Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to give dearness relief to its pensioners and family pensioners at the rate of 43 per cent from January 1 last to compensate them for rise in the cost of living.

Two monks held in Tibet
Dharamsala, October 6
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy today said there had been no let-up in repression in the monasteries in Tibet and as part of the latest crackdown, a 26-year-old monk, Jampel Gyatso, had been arrested for listening to audio-tapes of the Dalai Lama.

Dalits allege repression by upper caste families
Nurpur, October 6
The Himachal Pradesh Dalit Kranti Morcha is up in arms against the atrocities allegedly being committed on the Dalit poor by families of upper caste at Darini village of Darini-Larath gram panchayat of Nurpur subdivision.

State convention on human rights
Shimla, October 6
Mr Justice Ranga Nath Misra, former Chief Justice of India, today stressed the need for setting up human rights clubs in educational institutions to make the students aware of their rights.

MLA’s interference in panchayat work alleged
Jaisinghpur, October 6
A meeting of the Association of Gram Panchayat Pardhans Lambagaon block, was held here in the local PWD Rest House. Nearly 30 pardhans attended the meeting.

No paramedical council: govt
Shimla, October 6
The government has said it has not established any paramedical council of India here and the advertisements regarding this are misleading.

Indefinite fast by workers’ union
Parwanoo, October 6
The indefinite fast which was started here by members of the Gabriel Employees’ Union of Engine Bearing Division of Parwanoo has entered its third day today.
According to the spokesman, the union had given a charter of demands about three months back as the tripartite agreement between the management and the union had expired in June 2001.

Visually impaired approach panel
Shimla, October 6
The visually impaired blocked traffic outside the Himachal Pradesh secretariat today and complained to the Human Rights Commission on non-implementation of the reservation quota for them in jobs by the government.

Kulu shopkeepers observe bandh
Kulu, October 6
A complete market bandh was observed here today in protest against the deteriorating law and order situation in the district. The bandh call was given by the Ashoka Yuva Mandal, a local youth organisation. All business establishments remained closed.

Balmiki Jayanti holiday in HP
Shimla, October 6
The Balmiki Jayanti which falls on November 1 will be a gazetted holiday in Himachal Pradesh, the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, announced here today.

Students boycott classes, stage dharna
Shimla, October 6
Students at many places in the state yesterday boycotted their classes in protest against the police firing on agitating students at Theog. Activists of the SFI staged a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner here. They boycotted classes in the university and colleges at various places.

Workshop on STD concludes
Shimla, October 6
A three-day workshop on information, education communication (IEC) strategy formulation on sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and HIV/AIDS concluded here today.



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Ticket allotment as per rules: Virbhadra
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 6
The CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today said the Congress ticket for the next Assembly elections would be allotted by the party high command as per the procedure and not the whims of some individual leaders of the state.

In a statement after returning from his weeklong tour of the tribal areas of Kinnaur and Spiti, Mr Virbhadra Singh said some persons claiming to be close to Mrs Sonia Gandhi were trying to create an impression as if the ticket would be given according to their wishes.

It was unfortunate that the name of Mrs Gandhi was being dragged into the matter in order to bolster their own position which amounted to gross indiscipline.

The party ticket was not given according to the whims and fancy of any individual, but on the basis of laid down norms which included loyalty, dedication and winability of prospective candidates.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said Mrs Gandhi was the supreme leader of the Congress and all party workers holding office in all states, either in government or in the organisation, were doing so with her approval and blessings. He said instead of issuing statements which weakened the party, Congress activists should fight the ruling BJP to severe the party and the people.

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Lack of funds stalls bridge work
Subhash Sharma

Kulu
The suspension bridge project at Pirdi, 3 km from the district headquarters, has been awaiting funds for its completion since 1999.

The old bridge near this site was washed away in floods in 1995. It took the authorities about two years to draw up plans for a new bridge and another two years to construct a part of it (see photograph). PWD officials here lament that despite their repeated requests, adequate funds have not been released for completing the work.

The bridge will be a lifeline to the Seogi, Chansari and parts of Jia panchayat areas. It will also link the Kulu town bypass with the National Highway (under construction) on the left bank of the Beas.

Villagers say they had approached the officials concerned of the PWD, politicians and senior administrators for funds for the bridge but to no avail.

They say in the absence of the bridge, people have to walk 5 km to 10 km to reach the district headquarters. Though there is a rope bridge, old and sick persons cannot avail themselves of the facility. Besides, farmers have to bear additional expenditure while transporting their fruits and vegetables to the market.

The incomplete bridge is situated near the starting point of river rafting and areas across the river are an added attraction for tourists. All-India river rafting competitions are also held here.

A former up-pradhan of the Seogi panchayat says it seems funds will be released for the project just before the next assembly elections in a bid to woo voters in the area. 

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HP allows pvt power meters
Our Correspondent

Kangra, October 6
Himachal Pradesh has decided to allow power consumers to install private electricity meters after getting these checked by the Meter Department of the power board. These consumers would not be charged the meter rent, which is Rs 4 per month.

Announcing this, the Minister for Power and Technical Education, Thakur Ravinder Ravi presiding over a state-level “bijlee adalat here today, said those consumers who had old meters of the HPSEB could also go in for this change and use private meters. He said 26,000 dead and defective meters were replaced in Kangra district alone during the past three years.

Mr Ravi said the government was contemplating measures to soften rules for fresh power connections, particularly regarding the no objection certificate from panchayats, municipalities or the Town Planning Department. He said till the amendments were made, ‘nagar niyojan” committees would be set up at the panchayat and town level to sort out issues with the Town Planning Department regarding the certificate for connection.

He said due to paucity of funds, it was not possible to give power connection to prospective consumers and to overcome this, the HPSEB had introduced the “own your connection scheme” and the consumer would be given connection on priority after depositing Rs 1850 which would be refunded through future bills.

He said 21,098 villages in the state were electrified by the end of March, 2000, by raising funds from the Rural Electrification Corporation.

To a question, he said the government was facing a burden of Rs 31 crore annually as 3500 employees of the construction wing of the HPSEB who had practically no work to do as work on power projects was being carried out by private contractors.

The minister directed the Chief Engineer, Operations to, take action against those HPSEB officers found in nexus with power thieves. He said 2347 km high-tension lone and 44811 km low-tension lines had been laid in the state.

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Workshop for forum on women’s studies
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 6
Setting up of a forum for women’s studies in India as an effective network for exchange of ideas on a variety of issues has been recommended by a three-day national workshop on women’s studies and curriculum which concluded here today.

The workshop was held at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) in which wide-ranging deliberations on various aspects of women’s studies were analysed through research papers and outlines of curriculum.

The workshop made 10 recommendations which include establishing of women’s studies as a separate discipline and the integration of women’s studies components in mainstream disciplines in the university system.

It recommended that a national level women’s studies resource centre should be established with adequate grant and organisational support for high quality sustainable programmes for materials collection, research and activities.

Curriculum design should be supported by a publication programme for Indian contexts of women’s studies so that appropriate teaching material was available. The teaching material should be translated in regional languages.

A website for the women’s studies centres and other institutes and individuals contributing to the development of women’s studies and research should be set up.

The workshop recommended that the IIAS should encourage women’s studies through fellowships and by holding regular workshops and conferences, promote gender sensitisation through modules in the IUC programme and disseminate information about its extensive library holdings in gender studies.

It urged the UGC Standing Committee for Women’s Studies to convene regular meetings of directors of centres and cells and enhance the grant support in the 10th plan.

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No foul play in death of VC, says SP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 6
The Superintendent of Police, Mr Pradeep Kumar, today ruled out any foul play in the death of the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.K.Gupta, and said that he had died due to cardiac arrest.

The SP’s clarification came in view of a report in a Hindi daily claiming that there were some wounds on the body of Gupta when he was found dead recently.

Mr Pradeep Kumar said that Gupta was asthmatic and the doctor attending on him conducted tractomy when he had a breathing problem, but subsequently he died because of cardiac arrest. A post-mortem was conducted and no foul play detected.

He said that the police would organise an open house in which people would be free to ask any questions about the functioning of the police and also bring their problems to the notice of the high-ups.

The DGP would be present at the meeting.

He said that all senior citizens above the age of 65 were being identified in the town so that the police could take special care of them.

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Refresher course in history
Our Correspondent

Shimla, October 6
Prof V.C. Srivastava, Director, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, at a three-week refresher course in history organised by the Academic Staff College, H.P. University, said here today that a historian viewed history from his own point of view and this may and does vary from historian to historian.

The historian’s notion of “truth” was based on contemporary circumstances and he was influenced by these. He further said India represented a beautiful example of unity in diversity. The Historian should not forget the lesson of “unity in diversity” and “diversity in unity” in India. Regional history, therefore, was an important necessity.

Prof Yoginder Verma, Director, Academic Staff College, H.P. University, said the purpose of the refresher course was to improve the knowledge and skills of teachers Prof Verma was of the view that the purpose of education was not information alone but transformation, not just instruction but construction.

Dr Abha Malhotra, Chairperson of the History Department and course

coordinator, talked of the feedback received from participants.

Dr Kulwant Pathania, Deputy Director, Academic Staff College, H.P. University, said refresher courses were an attempt at improving teaching skills, instilling confidence among teachers and inculcating professionalism among them. As many as 45 teachers participated from Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, Punjab, M.P., M.S., U.P., Rajasthan, Assam and Kerala.
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43 pc dearness relief for HP pensioners

Shimla, October 6
Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to give dearness relief to its pensioners and family pensioners at the rate of 43 per cent from January 1 last to compensate them for rise in the cost of living.

Directions to this effect have already been issued to all departments concerned, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said here today.

All-India services pensioners of Himachal cadre will be entitled to dearness relief at the rates contained in the Government of India, (Department of Pension) order of April 11 last.

The Chief Minister said the government was committed to the welfare of pensioners an other elder citizens and had taken effective steps from time to time in this regard.

He said the government had spent Rs 391 crore on pension disbursement during the past financial year as against pension bill of Rs 165 crores in 1997-98 when the present government took over. UNI
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Two monks held in Tibet
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, October 6
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) today said there had been no let-up in repression in the monasteries in Tibet and as part of the latest crackdown, a 26-year-old monk, Jampel Gyatso, had been arrested for listening to audio-tapes of the Dalai Lama.

A patrol officer, he said, overheard the tapes being played in the monks room in the Sera Monastery. The officer ransacked his room for further incriminating evidence and found the audio-tapes containing the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

He was immediately arrested and detained at the Gutsa detention centre. His family and friends were not being allowed to visit him.

Another monk had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in political activities. His whereabouts were unknown.

The Sera Monastery had 580 registered monks and 200 unregistered monks. The unregistered ones are prohibited from attending the monastic gathering. Since 1996, every monastic institution has a democratic management committee.

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Dalits allege repression by upper caste families
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, October 6
The Himachal Pradesh Dalit Kranti Morcha is up in arms against the atrocities allegedly being committed on the Dalit poor by families of upper caste at Darini village of Darini-Larath gram panchayat of Nurpur subdivision.

As many as 13 Dalit families, headed by Mr Sham Lal and Mr Lekh Raj, president and vice-president of the morcha, respectively, yesterday met the local Subdivisional Magistrate and submitted a memorandum narrating their tale of woes.

They revealed that members of the upper caste were rancorous against Dalit families who had been earning their livelihood by farming on the agricultural land allotted to them by the state government in the shape of ‘pattas’.

They alleged that village’s upper caste persons had been destroying their crops and fencing, thrashing them and intimidating them to leave the possession of the allotted agricultural land.

The Dalits apprehend risk to their lives due to the persistent feeling of hatred against them by the upper caste people in the village. The morcha has urged the state government to instil a sense of security in the families of Dalits in the village. The Dalits have also submitted the memorandum to the Chief Minister and the Governor of Himachal Pradesh.
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State convention on human rights
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 6
Mr Justice Ranga Nath Misra, former Chief Justice of India, today stressed the need for setting up human rights clubs in educational institutions to make the students aware of their rights.

Mr Justice Misra was inaugurating the first state convention on human rights organised by the Human Rights Department of the Congress.

He said education was the most important aspect for removing the menace of human rights violation. Girls were still being discriminated against male children in most of the families, he added.

The CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh, said the democracy had no meaning without the strict observation of human rights. Economic equality was necessary for preventing discrimination among the society.

Among others who spoke were, Mr I.D. Bali, Mr Devanand Mishra, Mr Ajay Goel, Kanwar Chirag Bhanu and Mr M.L. Chauhan.

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MLA’s interference in panchayat work alleged
Our Correspondent

Jaisinghpur, October 6
A meeting of the Association of Gram Panchayat Pardhans Lambagaon block, was held here in the local PWD Rest House. Nearly 30 pardhans attended the meeting.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, the president of the association, Mr Jagdish Spehia, accused the state government of politicising Panchayati Raj institutions. He said on the one hand the Central Government had been making plans to strengthen the institutions but on the other the authorities concerned had been making every possible effort to weaken these.

He accused the local MLA of interfering in the functioning of the local self-government institutions. He demanded that the grant for ‘sulabh sauchalaya’ be increased to Rs 2000 from present Rs 500. All pardhans unanimously supported an amendment to the Himachal Panchayati Raj (General) Act, 1997, Rule 137, under which close relatives of panchayat members are forbidden from holding any profitable posts in Panchayats concerned.

They also demanded that the honorarium to the members be paid on a par with their counterparts in Punjab.
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No paramedical council: govt
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 6
The government has said it has not established any paramedical council of India here and the advertisements regarding this are misleading.

A state government spokesman said here today that the Guru Nanak Dev Institute of Paramedical Science and Research had issued advertisement wherein Rajasthan Vidyapeeth (deemed university), Udaipur, was stated to have entered into a MoU with the Paramedical Council of India, Karnal, which was stated to have its offices at Pathangathi, near IAS colony, Shimla.

He said the Government of India had not yet established any council by the name of the Paramedical Council of India, as the name suggests. Such names are usually given by the government to the councils established by it to regulate the education and professions in that particular field, he added.

He said the name Paramedical Council of India, adopted by a private organisation, was misleading as neither the state government nor the Government of India had recognised any such institution in the state yet.
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Indefinite fast by workers’ union
Our Correspondent

Parwanoo, October 6
The indefinite fast which was started here by members of the Gabriel Employees’ Union of Engine Bearing Division of Parwanoo has entered its third day today.

According to the spokesman, the union had given a charter of demands about three months back as the tripartite agreement between the management and the union had expired in June 2001. The spokesman said there were two unions in the company and the management had suggested to both the unions to form a Joint Action Committee so that the demand charter could be discussed jointly.

The spokesman added that when the representatives of the union were entering into the company premises on the invitation of the management, the general secretary of the union was stopped at the gate and was allowed to enter only after showing the letter from the management. The management suspended two security guards for this faux pas. The spokesman said the union had already informed the labour authorities about this. The spokesman said if the management does not take the decision immediately, then the union would intensify the stir.

On the other hand the management of the engine bearing division of M/s Gabriel India Limited when contacted asserted that the indefinite fast by the workers was illegal and unjustified as the suspended workers were not on the permanent rolls of the company but were the employees of the contractor.

The spokesman for the management said the company was one of the best paymasters in the area and the average cost per worker was around Rs 11,000.

The spokesman alleged that the existence of two rival workers’ unions in the factory was hampering the decision making process. He added that the company could only survive in an atmosphere of reciprocity, which could only be possible if both the unions agreed to form a Joint Action Committee and came forward for some fruitful long-term agreement.
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Visually impaired approach panel
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 6
The visually impaired blocked traffic outside the Himachal Pradesh secretariat today and complained to the Human Rights Commission on non-implementation of the reservation quota for them in jobs by the government.

The commission has sought a report from the police regarding the use of force during their demonstration on Thursday.
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Kulu shopkeepers observe bandh
Our Correspondent

Kulu, October 6
A complete market bandh was observed here today in protest against the deteriorating law and order situation in the district. The bandh call was given by the Ashoka Yuva Mandal, a local youth organisation. All business establishments remained closed.

A delegation of the organisation met the SSP and apprised him of the inaction or delayed action of the police in many cases, including the alleged abduction case of a minor girl. They said the crime had increased in the district and “the police treat complainants with indifference”. At times, even the complaints were not registered, they added.
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Balmiki Jayanti holiday in HP

Shimla, October 6
The Balmiki Jayanti which falls on November 1 will be a gazetted holiday in Himachal Pradesh, the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, announced here today.

He told a delegation of Balmikis, led by state Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta that the government had decided to declare the day as a gazetted holiday.

The notification in this regard would be issued well in time, he added.

The government had decided to declare Balmiki Jayanti a closed holiday at the last minute in 2000, leading to ugly protests. PTI
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Students boycott classes, stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 6
Students at many places in the state yesterday boycotted their classes in protest against the police firing on agitating students at Theog.

Activists of the SFI staged a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner here. They boycotted classes in the university and colleges at various places.

Mr Vijender Mehra, president, SFI, said a fact-finding committee under the chairmanship of Mr Subodh Rai, MP, would visit Theog.

He said students boycotted their classes in the colleges at Hamirpur, Sujanpur, Chamba, Thural, Palampur, Kulu, Theog, Chopal, Kotkhai and other places.

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Workshop on STD concludes
Our Correspondent

Shimla, October 6
A three-day workshop on information, education communication (IEC) strategy formulation on sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and HIV/AIDS concluded here today.

The workshop identified 11 groups, which required specific IEC strategies. Truck drivers, migrant labourers, Tibetan personnel, industrial workers, jail inmates, non-resident youths were among the identified specific groups.

As many as 32 participants comprising doctors, IEC experts, health workers, administrators and members of NGOs participated in the workshop.

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