Monday, October 15, 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

15 leaders of NSUI resign
Bilaspur, October 14
Fifteen leaders of the Bilaspur district “NSUI” here along with their 200 supporters today left the NSUI and submitted resignations to state NSUI president Kewal Singh Pathania in protest against, what they called “conspiracy” of some Congress leaders here resulting in the expulsion from the Congress party of their district president Madhu Sudan, district senior vice-president Vivek Kumar and district general secretary and also Students Central Association president of local government post-graduate college Sunil Kumar.

Hops production doubles
Shimla ,October 14
The setting up of a palletising plant in the joint sector at Baddi has stemmed the declining trend in hops production which has more than doubled in the very first season after its commissioning. As many as 39 tonnes of hops has been produced in the cold desert of Lahaul-Spiti this season as against last year’s 17 tonnes.

Govt decision to hit contractors: union
Mandi, October 14
The Himachal Pradesh Contractors Association has described the recent decision of the government of not supplying material to the contractors as “counter-productive”, which will not only affect the contractors but also cause loss of several crores to the exchequer because the cost of various projects was bound to escalate.

CM lauds military school’s role
Solan, October 14
Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal presided over the valedictory function of the platinum jubilee celebrations of Military School, Chail, today. He lauded the contribution made by the school by providing disciplined and patriotic education to students since it’s inception in 1925.



YOUR TOWN
Bilaspur
Mandi
Shimla
Solan


EARLIER STORIES
 

Novel forest plan launched 
Shimla,October 14
Realising, though belatedly, that no afforestation programme could be successful without the people’s participation, the Himachal Government has launched the “Parishkrit Sanjhi Yojna”, a novel scheme, to re-establish community’s traditional relationship with the forests.

A mine of old books
Shimla
The shop “Maria Brothers” on the Mall here is a repository of antique books, maps and manuscripts with a collection of about 8,000 rare books. The shop is visited by a large number of foreign tourists. The owner of the shop, Mr Rajiv Sud, says that hardly any local or domestic tourist comes there.

Remove Nadda, insists HVC
Shimla,October 14
The district unit of the Himachal Vikas Congress has urged Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, to hold a proper inquiry into the medical purchase scam and irregularities in appointment of doctors to dispel misgivings in the mind of the public.

Morcha to fight ‘repression’of Dalits
Shimla, October 14
Various left organisations have joined hands under the “Daman Virodhi Morcha” to fight the “reign of repression” let loose by the Dhumal government.

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15 leaders of NSUI resign
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, October 14
Fifteen leaders of the Bilaspur district “NSUI” here along with their 200 supporters today left the NSUI and submitted resignations to state NSUI president Kewal Singh Pathania in protest against, what they called “conspiracy” of some Congress leaders here resulting in the expulsion from the Congress party of their district president Madhu Sudan, district senior vice-president Vivek Kumar and district general secretary and also Students Central Association president of local government post-graduate college Sunil Kumar.

In a signed statement to the Press here today the leaders and also college campus president Sunil Kumar, campus vice-president Basudev and Yogesh Thakur, district joint secretary Parveen Kumar (one) and Praveen Kumar (two), class representatives Vinod Kumar, Ajay Garg, Sanjeev Kumar, district vice-president Naresh Mahajan, campus press secretary Kamal Kishore, campus general-secretary Subhash Chand and prominent leaders Kulbhushan Gautam, Naveen Chand, Ashraf Mohammed and Subhash Chand named Bilaspur sadar state Congress delegate and youth leader Bambar Thakur, responsible for expulsion of their three leaders last week by the Bilaspur Sadar Congress party.

They said that expulsion was wrong, ill-advised and an act of mischief and that they had resigned in protest.

Earlier the Congress party here had charged these expelled three NSUI leaders with “conspiracy” to remove large number of NSUI members from here to Shimla under an excuse of a “dharna” outside the HP university on the day when district Congress Committee here organised a rally addressed by state congress president Mrs Vidya Stokes on September 28.

Congress leaders had pointed an accusing finger towards senior Congress leader Ramlal Thakur, who is a strong supporter of Mr Virbhadra Singh. He manipulated and financed this trip to Shimla, thus attempting to “sabotage” Congress party rally.


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Hops production doubles
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla,October 14
The setting up of a palletising plant in the joint sector at Baddi has stemmed the declining trend in hops production which has more than doubled in the very first season after its commissioning.

As many as 39 tonnes of hops has been produced in the cold desert of Lahaul-Spiti this season as against last year’s 17 tonnes. This is ,however, still far less than the production of 130 tonnes recorded a decade ago. The area under the perennial vine, which yields lupin(used for flavouring beer) has been dwindling for the past few years, mainly due to the shrinking market of dried hops in the country.

Breweries, the sole utiliser of hops, are no more interested in buying the dried hops as these are getting its pallets and oil extract at cheaper rates.

The lifting of the trade restrictions under the WTO agreement has only

made things worse for tribesmen as there has been virtually no takers for

their produce eversince. They had to dispose of 153 tonnes of unsold stocks at throwaway prices two years ago. Many of them uprooted vines to make way for cultivation of peas and other crops as they saw no hope for what had been once their most remunerative cash crop. Consequently, the production plunged to a meagre 17 tonnes last year.

The government then refused to accept their demand for announcing a support price of Rs 130 per kg, but came out with a plan to set up a palletising unit in the joint sector to find a lasting solution to the marketing problem. Accordingly, Aromatix Flora, in which the private promoter, State Agro Industries Corporation and the growers have 66 per cent, 26 per cent and seven per cent equity, respectively, established a palletising plant. It was commissioned last year after the hops season was over.

The company will purchase hops from the Lahaul Hops Growers Cooperative Society at the rate of Rs 130 per kg. In fact, it will cost the company only Rs 115 per kg as the government will provide susbsidy at the rate of Rs 15 per kg. The subsidy is being gradually phased out. Last year it was Rs 25 per kg and there will be no subsidy next season. The Company will have to pay the full cost for procuring its requirement.

In the next phase the company plans to produce oil extract which

would fetch a higher price than pallets. However, this will be possible only after the production increases to a reasonable level. The plant has a capacity of 500 tonnes. The government plans to bring about 100 hectares under hops in the first phase. In all, the tribal areas of the state have a potential to produce 1000 tonnes of hops annually which, if achieved, can give the much-needed boost to local economy.

Traditional agriculture in the hostile desert climate is an uneconomical proposition.

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Govt decision to hit contractors: union
Our Correspondent

Mandi, October 14
The Himachal Pradesh Contractors Association has described the recent decision of the government of not supplying material to the contractors as “counter-productive”, which will not only affect the contractors but also cause loss of several crores to the exchequer because the cost of various projects was bound to escalate.

A spokesman of the union said here today that the cement supplied to the contractors by the government was cheaper by Rs 30 per bag under an agreement by the government with the cement plants in the state.

Besides this, other material purchased in bulk by the government departments under rate contract from the manufacturers and wholesale dealers was also much cheaper as compared to the market rate.

The spokesman said the new orders issued by the Financial Commissioner-cum-Secretary, PWD, through letter dated July 2 had come like a bolt from blue for the self-employed youths, mostly unemployed engineers working as contractors. It would be impossible for them to take contracts if material was not supplied by the government due to the meager resources.

Asked whether there was a “shady deal” behind the decision, the spokesman refused to be drawn into an unnecessary controversy, but added that the decision was unwise and not in the interest of the state.

He said if the decision was not reversed without further delay even the big contractors would refrain from executing government works in the wake of the fact that it had withheld the payments of the contractors amounting to over Rs 100 crores.

He added that the decision was a departure from the practice prevailing all over the country. 

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CM lauds military school’s role
Our Correspondent

Solan, October 14
Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal presided over the valedictory function of the platinum jubilee celebrations of Military School, Chail, today.

He lauded the contribution made by the school by providing disciplined and patriotic education to students since it’s inception in 1925.

Emphasising the need for looking after the needs of serving soldiers and their families, Mr Dhumal said his government had extended a package of meaningful assistance to the next of kin of Kargil Martyrs. He said his government had given a cash assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the family of each soldier who laid down his life during the “operation Vijay” besides providing a government job to a member of such families.

He said Himachal’s example in this regard was later followed by almost all other states in the country.

The Chief Minister called upon the students not to be misled by the meaning of the term “secularism”. He interpreted secularism as to be tolerant to all religions and faiths and not as something sans religion.

He also cautioned against using religion in a narrow and dogmatic sense. Terrorism born out of religious fanaticism that had plagued India for long and had now bared it’s fangs in the USA. It had no place in a civilised society and must be dealt with a strong hand everywhere.

He complimented the schoolchildren for presenting a cultural programme that celebrated the spirit of patriotism and “show-cased” the country’s diverse cultural heritage. He announced a grant of Rs 20,000 for promotion of cultural activities to the school.

Mr Dhumal assured the school management that he would explore the possibility of providing a modern gymnasium to the school with the help of the Central Government, referring to the other demands of water scarcity and irregular power supply to the school, he said that he had directed the IPH Department to study the feasibility of providing a deep bore well in the school, adding that the HPSEB would ensure that power supplies were improved at the earliest.

Mr Dhumal also released an Army postal cover and souvenir brought out by the school on the occasion.

Lieut-Gen R.S. Dyal (retd), said that the school was founded during the post World War I period and was shifted to Chail in 1960. It had produced a number of Army Generals, Brigadiers, Governors and civil servants.

The Principal, Mr T.S. Panwar, read the school’s annual report. The local MLA, Dr Rajiv Bindal, and chairman of the state marketing board, Mr Virendra Kashyap were amongst those present. 

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Novel forest plan launched 
Tribune News Service

Shimla,October 14
Realising, though belatedly, that no afforestation programme could be successful without the people’s participation, the Himachal Government has launched the “Parishkrit Sanjhi Yojna”, a novel scheme, to re-establish community’s traditional relationship with the forests.

The scheme, which is an improvement over the “Sanjhi Van Yojna”, envisages regeneration of degraded forest areas and creation of assets for the benefit of masses. Village forest development societies have been set up for raising plantations and the revenue earned will be shared in the ratio of 75 to 25 by the societies and the local panchayats. As many as 364 societies have been set up so far in addition to the 153 societies formed earlier in Kulu and Mandi district.

The Forest Department is providing free spalings besides monetary grants for protection and management of forest to the societies. A society comprises 100 households with at least one representatives from each family. Inclusion of migratory Gujjars and Gaddis, below poverty line families and women has been made mandatory.

The creation of assets and income from forests will help create a sense of ownership among the the people. The societies will prepare well-documented micro plans for the development of forests with the help of the Forest Department, which will be approved by at least 60 per cent quorum before final approval by the Divisional Forest Officer.

After approval of the scheme, the societies will be given 85 per cent of the funds required for implementation by the department and the remaining cost will have to be borne by the members. The people can contribute their share by way of “shramdan”or cash.

The societies could also take up maintenance of water resources and create irrigational facilities by raising water harvesting structures. The plan, the government, hopes will provide a new impetus to the afforestation programme in the state and made it a peoples’ movement.

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A mine of old books
Ranjna Sharma

Shimla
The shop “Maria Brothers” on the Mall here is a repository of antique books, maps and manuscripts with a collection of about 8,000 rare books.

The shop is visited by a large number of foreign tourists. The owner of the shop, Mr Rajiv Sud, says that hardly any local or domestic tourist comes there.

The oldest book dates back to 1750, part of a Dutch collection, describes the voyages of the Mughal emperors. The 1894 edition of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Regained”, illustrated by Gustaue Dore, is also available here.

“Heart of Continent” by Francis Younghusband, “Through Asia” by Swan Hedin (1882 edition), a Sanskrit-English dictionary by Munier Willian (1899 edition), a 10-volume English translation of “Katha Sarit Sangar” (1940 edition) are some of the rare books.

The shop, set up in 1946 by the late O.C. Sud, also has a history of Persian kings which was printed in 1850 for their Dutch counterparts.

It also displays the Ramayana in Persian, 16 volumes of the Arabian Nights published in 1880 by Sir Richard Buron. Antique steel engravings, Himalayan Painting by Capt. G.F. White (1860) and the original Danille Prints — water colours by Willians and Thomas Danielle.

The exclusive map collection includes a map of Rangoon (1910) and an archaic map of India (1931). The shop has several issues of “Young India” edited by Mahatma Gandhi, published in 1926.

The price for the books is high. The 1894 edition “India and its Prices” by M. Griffth costs Rs 18,000.

Mr Sud says that June to September fetches more buyers due to the foreigners holidaying there. During the off-season there is no sale for days.

He said Benazir Bhutto during the Shimla summit and Sir Edmund Hillary visited the shop and browsed through the books.

The shop also has antique folk instrument like Kashmiri sarangi and a Tibetan “damyan”.

Special care is given for visitors. A few old books have been stolen from the shop. Recalling an incident he said a foreigners’ group stole two valuable books based on travel in Tibet.

The books are preserved by sprinkling a dash of tobacco on the shelves.


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Remove Nadda, insists HVC
Tribune News Service

Shimla,October 14
The district unit of the Himachal Vikas Congress has urged Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, to hold a proper inquiry into the medical purchase scam and irregularities in appointment of doctors to dispel misgivings in the mind of the public.

Mr J.P. Nadda, Health Minister, should be asked to resign to ensure an impartial probe into the scam.

Mr Rajpal Chauhan, president of the party, in a letter to Mr Dhumal said, the health scam had led to a negative propaganda against the government and it was essential to take corrective measures to contain the damage being caused to the image of the government.

He said alternately the inquiry could be entrusted to the CBI as state agencies would not be able to do justice in the case so long as the minister concerned was in office.

Referring to the Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Programme, he said funds should not be allowed to be utilised to please political leaders and priority should be accorded to the need of the people.

He also called for speeding up work on the 66 kv substation at Kotkhai which had been under construction since 1989. Similarly, work on the Sawra-Kuddu hydel project had also not been started so far. It should be immediately handed over to the state electricity board which had the necessary expertise to execute it.

He also drew the attention of Mr Dhumal towards the shortage of staff in health and educational institutions in far-flung areas of the district.

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Morcha to fight ‘repression’of Dalits
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 14
Various left organisations have joined hands under the “Daman Virodhi Morcha” to fight the “reign of repression” let loose by the Dhumal government.

The morcha has decided to organise a protest rally at Theog on October 19 against the night raids being conducted by the police in the houses of leaders of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the Students Federation of India and other organisations.

The houses of Mr Balkrishan Bali, district DYFI president, and Mr Sohan Thakur, another leader, have been continuously raided for the past several days.

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