Thursday, October 18, 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

Yatra showcases Dhumal govt’s achievements
Shimla, October 17
The fortnight-long “vikas yatra” of the ruling BJP to highlight achievements of the Dhumal government in Himachal was inaugurated by Union Minister, Shanta Kumar, at Bilaspur today.

BJP’s ‘Vikas yatra’ a joke on people: Virbhadra 
Mandi, October 17
Former Chief Minister and Himachal Congress Legislature Party leader, Virbhadra Singh today described the ongoing Vikas Yatra of the BJP as a joke with the people of Himachal as all development works in the state had come to a halt. The people of the state are disillusioned with the BJP-HVC rule as its election promises of development and employment to the youth had proved hollow.

State to explore market for herbs
Shimla, October 17
Dr Rajan Sushant, Minister for Bio-technology, said the Himachal Pradesh government will make all out efforts to explore the international market for its herbal products and would also encourage the cultivation of medicinal plants.

Students resent discontinuation of subject
Shimla, October 17
Resentment prevails among students of public administration over the issue of discontinuation of the subject in degree colleges of the state. Students of various colleges have been boycotting classes and raising slogans against the government. A dharna was also staged by the Students Association recently to press for their demand.



YOUR TOWN
Mandi
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES
 

HPSEB’s assurance
Shimla, October 17
The Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board has asserted that there will be no shortage of power supply in the state during the ensuing winter months. A spokesman of the board said here yesterday that all outstanding dues to the National Thermal Power Corporation, except the disputed bills pertaining to surcharge amounting to Rs 12.47 crore, had been cleared. 

HRTC ‘surviving on’ workers’ PF 
Kangra, October 17
The Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) is in a pathetic condition and incurring an annual loss of Rs 82 crore. It is allegedly surviving on the provident fund of the corporation employees.

Recreated Chamba “rumals” on display
Shimla, October 17
The Delhi Crafts Council yesterday started a nine-day exhibition on recreated Chamba “rumals” here. As many as two dozen such “rumals” recreated from the originals in various museums in the country and abroad will be on display.

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Yatra showcases Dhumal govt’s achievements
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 17
The fortnight-long “vikas yatra” of the ruling BJP to highlight achievements of the Dhumal government in Himachal was inaugurated by Union Minister, Shanta Kumar, at Bilaspur today.

BJP office-bearers from all 68 Assembly constituencies participated in the inaugural function. Mr Dhumal and Mr Shanta Kumar shared the stage to give the message that there were no dissensions in the party.

The CLP leader and a former Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, was the target of almost all BJP leaders who spoke on the occasion.

Mr Dhumal enumerated achievements of BJP government and ridiculed Mr Virbhadra Singh for all Financial ills and creating a wedge between people of different areas of the state.

He ridiculed Mr Virbhadra Singh also for calling the “vikas yatra” as the farewell yatra of the BJP government.

Mr Dhumal said that the ownership of shamlat land which was vested in the government in the year 1974 has been given back to the farmers. He said that similarly the ownership of trees grown on private land had also been given to the people by deleting the entry of Khudro Drakhatan Malkiyiat Sarkar from the revenue record, which had benefited the people of the state. He said the government would soon take a decision regarding “kharyatar” to benefit the people of Bilaspur.

Referring to the welfare of youth, Mr Dhumal said that the maximum age to enter the government service has been enhanced from 35 years to 45 years besides creating employment opportunities in various sectors like industries, information technology and biotechnology. He said that the government aimed at providing gainful employment to the youth of the state by ensuring for them self-employment opportunities.

Mr Dhumal said that development in the state had been equitable in all areas and the bogey of regionalism buried once for all.

He said that to raise the resources of the state work on hydel power projects having generation capacity of 7155 MW had been started which involved investment of Rs 40,000 crore. The government try to get work started on all identified hydel potential projects. It would involve investment of Rs 1,00,000 crore.

The Chief Minister said that work on the 2051 MW Parvati Hydel Project on which the agreement was signed in 1992 was put to doldrums by the previous Congress government otherwise this project would have been near completion. Work on this project, had been taken in hand by the present government last year and this was likely to be completed in next seven-eight years.

He said almost all promises of the government had been fulfilled in right earnest. Referring to development of Bilaspur district, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal said that the solution of the problems of Bhakra dam oustee had been given added attention and said that the land identified to rehabilitate the leftout oustees. He said that some of the plots would be given to them soon.

Referring to the Kol dam oustees Mr Dhumal said that rehabilitation package agreed to was one of the best and said that besides providing land for rehabilitation basic amenities like education and health were also taken care of. Mr Shanta Kumar listed various schemes which the BJP-led government at the Centre had launched for the welfare of the common people. As many as 11,000 tonnes of rice had been allotted to Himachal under the food-for-work programme and as 70,000 families in the state had been benefited under the Antodaya Ann Yojana under which the poorest of the poor were being given 25 kg of ration at a nominal price.

Mr Shanta Kumar said that Himachal was provided with liberal financial assistance by the present government at the Centre and against Rs 2.26 lakh crore provided during the Congress regime, a sum of Rs 4.64 lakh crore has been provided by the present government.

Mr J.P. Nadda, Health Minister, Mr Parveen Sharma, Excise Minister, Mr Suresh Chandel, Mr Maheshwar Singh, Mr Kripal Parmar (all MPs) and the state BJP chief, Mr Jai Kishen Sharma, also spoke on the occasion.

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BJP’s ‘Vikas yatra’ a joke on people: Virbhadra 
Our Correspondent

Mandi, October 17
Former Chief Minister and Himachal Congress Legislature Party leader, Virbhadra Singh today described the ongoing Vikas Yatra of the BJP as a joke with the people of Himachal as all development works in the state had come to a halt. The people of the state are disillusioned with the BJP-HVC rule as its election promises of development and employment to the youth had proved hollow.

He lamented that the plan size of the government had shrunk due to the failure of the government to mobilise resources. The allocation last year was Rs 1720 crore on which a cut of Rs 336 crore had been slapped. He said the allocation this year again had been pegged at Rs 1720 crore though development cost had increased because of price escalation.

Addressing reporters at the Circuit House here today, Mr Virbhadra Singh castigated the government for bringing the state to the brink of bankruptcy. Poor financial management had placed the state under huge debt of Rs 2200 crore, he said.

Former Chief Minister alleged corruption in the BJP-HVC rule had assumed alarming proportions. Corruption was rampant in almost all departments under patronage from the top. This was unfortunate in a state like Himachal Pradesh where people were, by and large, were honest, he added. He said under the BJP rule forest, liquor, mines and other mafias had become active and added that development and corruption could not go together.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said there-induction of George Fernandes as Defence Minister before the findings of the Inquiry Commission had tarnished the image of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who had been projected by the BJP as an honest person.

He announced that Congress on coming to power would modify all the MoUs of hydel power projects where the interests of Himachalis had not been safeguarded.

Replying to a question he said the Congress was not averse to setting up cement plants in the state.

There were vast lime deposits in the state and dozens of cement plants could be set up, but our policy was to set up these plants in areas far way from human habitations so that no pollution was caused.

Replying to another question he said the coming elections would be fought under the leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi who was our sole leader. The Congress in Himachal was united and poised to throw out the present government stay of which in power even for a day was dangerous for the state.

Decrying the government decision to lease out thousands of hectares of prime land to some capitalists of eastern state former Chief Minister alleged that it was a big scam and the Congress government would reverse the decision on coming to power. He alleged that government was accommodating those who were in panic there due to prevailing terrorism.

In answering another question Mr Virbhadra said he had no lust for Chief Ministership where he remained for nearly twelve years. His main aim is to uproot the ruling BJP government and none else, he said.

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State to explore market for herbs
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 17
Dr Rajan Sushant, Minister for Bio-technology, said the Himachal Pradesh government will make all out efforts to explore the international market for its herbal products and would also encourage the cultivation of medicinal plants.

He was presiding over the concluding session of the workshop on Bio-technology with special reference to medicinal plants used by Ayurvedic industry in the state yesterday. He said a board comprising experts from Ayurveda department, Horticulture and Agriculture Universities, Ayurveda Research College, Paprola and Herbal Garden, Joginder Nagar, would be constituted shortly.

Dr Sushant said that the department of Bio-technology and Ayurveda would make collective efforts to commercialise the indigenous potential of the state in the field of herbal and aromatic plants. He pointed out that there were about 20 herbal plant species, which have extensive habitats in the state.

He further said the department would soon identify 20 development blocks in different districts where units of bio-fertilizers and herbal cultivation areas would be set up. The government would provide free soil-testing facility, besides subsidy on bio-fertilizers and free seeds.

Dr P.K. Khosla, Senior Scientific Advisor, Bio-technology Himachal Pradesh stressed on the need to convert immense bio-resources in the state into to a viable industry. As many as 60 scientists from all over the state participated in the workshop, besides representatives from various non-governmental organisations. 

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Students resent discontinuation of subject
Our Correspondent

Shimla, October 17
Resentment prevails among students of public administration over the issue of discontinuation of the subject in degree colleges of the state. Students of various colleges have been boycotting classes and raising slogans against the government. A dharna was also staged by the Students Association recently to press for their demand.

The students are demanding the withdrawal of Tegta Committee report, which had recommended the discontinuation of the subject at the plus-two level.

They pointed out that nearly 8,000 to 10,000 students were willing to opt for the subject. Further, Punjab and Haryana have also included the subject in their curriculum.

The committee had suggested the discontinuation of the subject at the plus-two level only because students opting for the subject were very less, they alleged. The state government had also not included the subject in the state level eligibility test (SET). There are nearly 80 PhD, 200 M.Phil and 1,000 M.A degrees in the subject in the state.

The students have met the Education Minister, Mr I.D.Dhiman, who assured to look into their demands.

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HPSEB’s assurance
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 17
The Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board has asserted that there will be no shortage of power supply in the state during the ensuing winter months.

A spokesman of the board said here yesterday that all outstanding dues to the National Thermal Power Corporation, except the disputed bills pertaining to surcharge amounting to Rs 12.47 crore, had been cleared. The disputed income tax bills of Rs 11.40 crore have also been cleared and nothing is due, he added.

He said the outstanding of the board prior to February 28,2001, would be settled as per the recommendations of the expert group set up by the Union government.

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HRTC ‘surviving on’ workers’ PF 
Our Correspondent

Kangra, October 17
The Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) is in a pathetic condition and incurring an annual loss of Rs 82 crore. It is allegedly surviving on the provident fund of the corporation employees.

This was stated by Mr Rajnesh Kumar Sharma, general secretary, Indian Trade Union Congress (INTUC), at a press conference here today.

He said the HRTC was plying buses on 900 uneconomical routes in the state putting it to an annual loss of Rs 40 crore. It was suffering an annual loss of Rs 52 crore on account of concessions being provided to various categories, including handicapped people, freedom fighters and students, he added.

He said corporation employees were denied leaves contrary to the fact that each employee had 150 earned leaves at his disposal. None of the employees had availed leave travel concession due to the workload.

Mr Sharma threatened to launch an agitation against the anti-employee policies of the state government in December this year. The INTUC would start a two-week rally against the anti-people policies of the Dhumal government in Kulu on November 11, he added.

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Recreated Chamba “rumals” on display
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 17
The Delhi Crafts Council yesterday started a nine-day exhibition on recreated Chamba “rumals” here. As many as two dozen such “rumals” recreated from the originals in various museums in the country and abroad will be on display.

The crafts council has held a series of exhibitions at different places, including Mumbai and Hyderabad, in a bid to revive the over 300-year-old art of the jumbo size embroidered “rumals”.

Mr K.R. Bharti, Director of Language, Art and Culture Department, said efforts were being made to revive the arts and crafts of Chamba.

He appreciated the efforts of the Delhi Craft Council for organising such exhibitions and said that the quality of the “rumal” had deteriorated over the years.

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189 cr for wasteland projects in Himachal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
The Centre has released Rs 189 crore for the implementation of seven wasteland development projects in Himachal Pradesh.

The projects will be implemented in seven districts of the state — Chamba (Rs 28.09 lakh), Hamirpur (Rs 28.12 lakh), Solan (Rs 27.49 lakh), Shimla (Rs 27.95 lakh), Sirmour (Rs 26.98 lakh), Kulu (Rs 22.99 lakh) and Kangra (27.85 lakh).

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IAF recruitment rally 
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 17
The Indian Air Force ( IAF) plans to conduct the second recruitment rally (Non- technical trades), for the benefit of youth of Himachal Pradesh, during the current year.

The rally is proposed to be conducted at Kala Kendra, Dhalpur, district Kulu on December 4 and 5. The districts intended to be covered are Kulu, Lahaul and Spiti, Shimla and Bilaspur.
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