Wednesday, October 17, 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

BJP mega yatra from today
Shimla, October 16
The ruling BJP is all set for the “vikas yatra”, a massive fortnight-long political exercise to educate people about the achievements of the Dhumal government, to be launched from Bilaspur tomorrow.

‘Firm’ owners decamp with people’s money
Palampur, October 16
The local office of Renuka Households, a ‘firm’ offering costly goods at throwaway prices, was ransacked by angry residents as the owners of the “firm” downed the shutters and reportedly decamped with lakhs of rupees, collected from the people.

Beef up security in Chamba: HPCC
Chamba, October 16
The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) has demanded that the government should increase the security checkpoints and beef up the security in the Chamba area adjoining Jammu and Kashmir in the light of mounting pressure on the terrorists from across the borders.

Century-old gate knocked down
Shimla, October 16
The over a century-old wooden gate of the United Services Club of the British era here was knocked down by a truck of a film shooting unit yesterday evening.

Don’t ‘saffronise’ education: SFI
Shimla, October 16
Activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI) staged a dharna in front of the office of the Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University here today to protest against the alleged saffronisation of education by recruiting teachers with RSS background.



YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Kulu
Mandi
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES
 

HP plan on literacy drive
Mandi, October 16
A campaign has been launched in Himachal Pradesh to universalise the literacy movement by identifying the school dropouts and the children aged 14 or below who never went to school with the view to educating them under the “Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan” in pursuance of the education policy envisaged under Article 45 of the Constitution.

Construction of roads ‘top priority’
Mandi, October 16
Himachal Pradesh Food and Supplies Minister Mansa Ram visited Batheri, a remote village in Darang constituency, yesterday. He said the state government had given top priority to the construction of roads and it had been planned to link all villages with roads by 2007.

HP Govt inefficient, says Virbhadra
Kulu, October 16
Mr Virbhadra Singh, a former Chief Minister and leader of the Opposition, addressed a gathering at Bhuntar, about 10 km from here, today. Lashing out at the state government, Mr Virbhadra Singh said the Dhumal government had proved its inefficiency by not utilising the previous annual budget plan sanctioned by the Central Planning Commission.

Himachal fixes foodgrain target
Kangra, October 16
Himachal Pradesh has fixed a target of 7,29,000 metric tonnes for foodgrain production from 4,035,00 hectares during the current rabi season.

ABVP opposes degree fee
Solan, October 16
The ABVP is protesting against the decision of Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry to levy a fee of Rs 500 for awarding degrees from this session onwards. No convocation would be held.

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BJP mega yatra from today
Rakesh Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 16
The ruling BJP is all set for the “vikas yatra”, a massive fortnight-long political exercise to educate people about the achievements of the Dhumal government, to be launched from Bilaspur tomorrow.

Thousands of partymen, right from the Chief Minister, and Mr Shanta Kumar, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, to grassroot workers, will be involved in the yatra which is being seen as a prelude to the party’s campaign for the next Assembly election. The party will also use the yatra to blunt the Congress’ criticism of the government and had been organising “parivartan” rallies across the state.

It is for the first time in the past three years that presidents of the constituency units will get precedence over legislators. Each one of them will be presented the “yatra flag” at the grand opening function. Yatra managers are working hard for a record gathering to give a fitting reply to the Congress which held a huge rally at the same venue last month.

Mandal presidents will carry the flags to their respective constituencies to start mini yatras during which prominent party leaders will visit each polling booth. To ensure that the factional fight did not affect the yatra, the party made it a point to involve leaders of both groups. The objective of the yatra is to get first hand feedback about government policies, programmes and performance over the past three and half years, said Mr Ganesh Dutt, party spokesperson. Senior leaders would mingle with the masses and stay in villages.

The Congress has already posed a few uncomfortable questions which the party is finding difficult to answer. The failure of the legislators to declare their assets within three months of the elections, as promised in the manifesto, reluctance to order a CBI probe into the multicrore health scam or drop Mr J.P. Nadda, the minister concerned, from the Cabinet and imposition of user charges in hospitals are some of the pertinent issues raised by the Congress to embarrass the government.

The Congress had asked the party to name the leaders who had been the beneficiary of various scams. It had even gone to the extent of saying that the party high command agreed to remove Mr Modi as in-charge of party affairs only to stop dissident ministers for exposing corruption in the government. The Congress is already gearing up for the second round of campaign during which it would hold “maha panchayats”.

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‘Firm’ owners decamp with people’s money

Palampur, October 16
The local office of Renuka Households, a ‘firm’ offering costly goods at throwaway prices, was ransacked by angry residents as the owners of the “firm” downed the shutters and reportedly decamped with lakhs of rupees, collected from the people.

The “firm” purportedly owned by five persons from Tamil Nadu, opened its office at Palampur about a month and-a-half ago and lured the customers to deposit money in advance to get cheaper goods after 17 days.

It also deposited money with the Sales Tax Department to clear the tax liabilities The response of the people was lukewarm initially but more and more people started depositing money when they saw that delivery of goods had started.

However, some people got suspicious and informed the police that the firm was supplying goods at very low prices which were not sustainable and the police detained the promoters on October 11 last and registered case for verification of their antecedents.

They were presented before the Executive Magistrate and released on bail on October 12.

The Arrest and subsequent release of the five promoters namely K. Krishanan, R. Napoleon, S. Amu Rai, S. Raja and D. Kumar, from Poddukutti in Tamil Nadu further raised the credibility of the firm which was able to collect lakhs of rupees during past four days and the accused decamped with the money at midnight.

When the people came to know about their escape, they got enraged and converged on the firm, broke open the door and looted some small items lying there.

A case has been registered against the culprits under Section 420. PTI

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Beef up security in Chamba: HPCC
Our Correspondent

Chamba, October 16
The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) has demanded that the government should increase the security checkpoints and beef up the security in the Chamba area adjoining Jammu and Kashmir in the light of mounting pressure on the terrorists from across the borders.

Mr Harsh Mahajan, General Secretary of the HPCC said here today that the HPCC had asked the government that the security forces should be fully equipped with sophisticated weaponry and vigilance should be stepped up.

Mr Mahajan criticised Mr Shanta Kumar, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, and the Public Distribution System (PDS) for “lopsided” policies of distribution of foodgrains. He said there was no dearth of foodgrains in the country but starvation deaths were taking place in several states.

Ridiculing the ‘food for work’ policy of the Union Government, Mr Mahajan said when there was no work for employment of the people how they would get food.

Mr Mahajan described the ‘vikas yatra’ of the BJP-led government as ‘vinash yatra’ as alleged that development in the state had come to a halt.

Mr Mahajan said Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) supremo, Mr Sukh Ram, was also equally responsible for the corruption, bankruptcy and incompetence governance in the state as he was a coalition partner.

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Century-old gate knocked down
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 16
The over a century-old wooden gate of the United Services Club of the British era here was knocked down by a truck of a film shooting unit yesterday evening.

The gate is believed to be standing there for the past over 100 years when the bachelor accommodation for British officers, who used to come here during summer along with the Viceroy, was constructed on the hill towards Jakhoo.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr P.C. Katoch, said he had summoned producers of the film and had ordered them to get the gate reconstructed on the lines of the original architecture.

The new gate was estimated to cost about Rs 60,000, he said.

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Don’t ‘saffronise’ education: SFI
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 16
Activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI) staged a dharna in front of the office of the Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University here today to protest against the alleged saffronisation of education by recruiting teachers with RSS background.

In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the agitating SFI students demanded that saffronisation of education should be stopped immediately. They also demanded that Internet facility should be provided in the university library and the hike in tuition fee be withdrawn.

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HP plan on literacy drive
Our Correspondent

Mandi, October 16
A campaign has been launched in Himachal Pradesh to universalise the literacy movement by identifying the school dropouts and the children aged 14 or below who never went to school with the view to educating them under the “Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan” in pursuance of the education policy envisaged under Article 45 of the Constitution.

Briefing newspersons, Deputy Commissioner Jagdish Chander Sharma said the work of identifying such persons had been started by various departments and agencies. He said besides government departments, the NGOs should also come forward to ensure the success of the scheme.

He said the District Institute of Education and Training would start special training courses for this purpose.

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Construction of roads ‘top priority’
Our Correspondent

Mandi, October 16
Himachal Pradesh Food and Supplies Minister Mansa Ram visited Batheri, a remote village in Darang constituency, yesterday. He said the state government had given top priority to the construction of roads and it had been planned to link all villages with roads by 2007.

The minister said the 16-km stretch of road linking Kataula and Batheri would be metalled shortly. A sum of Rs 4 lakh had already been sanctioned for this, he said.

Mr Romesh Sharma, a member of the State Planning Board, stressed that the development of Chuhar Valley should be taken up vigorously as nearly 23,000 people of this valley were living under tough conditions.

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HP Govt inefficient, says Virbhadra
Our Correspondent

Kulu, October 16
Mr Virbhadra Singh, a former Chief Minister and leader of the Opposition, addressed a gathering at Bhuntar, about 10 km from here, today. Lashing out at the state government, Mr Virbhadra Singh said the Dhumal government had proved its inefficiency by not utilising the previous annual budget plan sanctioned by the Central Planning Commission.

Mr Virbhadra Singh condemned the BJP vikas yatra being organised in the state, stating that development was not something to be told to the people, they could see it.

He said various agreements made with the private companies for the hydel projects were made without keeping in view the interests of the state and its people. Mr Virbhadra Singh demanded a statement from the Dhumal government about the sinking of the barrage of the 86 MW Malana hydel project and the subsequent loss to the public and private properties. He demanded that the agreements with the NHPC and NTPC should be revised as far as the employment to the people of the state was concerned.

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Boars damage maize crop
Our Correspondent

Kumarhatti, October 16
More than 50 per cent maize crop in Dharampur block has been damaged by boars. According to reports, in the areas of Kuthar and the Kaushalya river the crop has virtually been wiped out by the boars. The villagers were helpless as the herds of boars generally attacked in the night. “The efforts to get the attention of the authorities concerned in this regard has failed so far despite repeated requests,” said Mr Gurdev Singh, district secretary of the CPI. Meanwhile, forest officials said anybody could kill the boars after getting prior approval from the forest officers concerned.

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Himachal fixes foodgrain target
Our Correspondent

Kangra, October 16
Himachal Pradesh has fixed a target of 7,29,000 metric tonnes for foodgrain production from 4,035,00 hectares during the current rabi season.

This was stated by the Himachal Pradesh Agriculture Minister, Mr Vidiya Sagar, here last night while addressing a press conference at the local PWD Rest House.

He said 3,67,000 hectares would be put under high-yielding varieties of wheat with an expected yield of 6,70,000 metric tonnes. Besides this, 26,000 hectares would be put under barley, 10,500 hectares under gram and other pulses and 15,500 under oilseed crops.

Special emphasis was being given to increase the production of vegetables and potatoes.

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ABVP opposes degree fee
Our Correspondent

Solan, October 16
The ABVP is protesting against the decision of Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry to levy a fee of Rs 500 for awarding degrees from this session onwards. No convocation would be held.

Justifying the levy, Vice-Chancellor R.P. Awasthi said the idea was to offset the cost of printing and stationery of degrees and for providing revenue to the university. Members of the campus unit of the ABVP in a press note have demanded that the university should rollback the decision.

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