Tuesday, November 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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

Govt misusing funds: Virbhadra
Mandi, November 19
Former Chief Minister and CLP leader Virbhadra Singh has criticised the BJP government for indulging in extravagance and misusing public funds during the so-called ‘vikas yatra’ while the state was reeling under a financial crisis. He questioned the use of helicopter for bringing Mr Narender Modi to Himachal in connection with the vikas yatra.

Declare open war on Pak, says Mankotia
Dharamsala, November 19
Accusing the Vajpayee government of total failure in containing cross-border terrorism, a former minister and senior vice-president of the HPCC, Mr Vijai Mankotia, said today it was better to declare an open war on Pakistan than to lose soldiers everyday in proxy war.

Conference of revenue officers opens
Shimla, November 19
The Himachal Pradesh Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, today asked the revenue officers to adopt a cordial and helpful attitude towards the problems of people and dispose all matters without delay.

Audit fee for women co-ops to go
Hamirpur, November 19
The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to abolish the audit fee in the case of the women co-operative societies functioning in the state. This is one of the many important decisions taken by the government to improve and strengthen the functioning of the co-ops in the state, said Mr Rikhi Ram Kaundel, HP Co-operation Minister, at a function held at Bani village in the district last evening.

HPSCW extends help to rural women
Nurpur, November 19
The Himachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (HPSCW) has started functioning as Regional Conference for Northern states like Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, Ms Malvika Pathania chairpersons of the HPSCW said today the state commission had initiated interaction with the women’s commissions of neighbouring states for better functioning of commission.

Ice-skating rink past its glory
Shimla, November 19
With the mercury plunging to the freezing point, groundsmen have started preparing Asia’s only natural ice-skating rink here for the ensuing season.



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Kulu
Mandi
Shimla


 

EARLIER STORIES
 

Cong against cement units near town
Sundernagar, November 19
Former Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh opposed the setting up of cement factory at Sundernagar. Addressing mediapersons here he said that the present government had shifted the site of cement factory which is very near to Sundernagar town and a factory at this place thousands of bighas of farm land and thousands of houses will be destroyed.

HP panel on crop insurance set up
Shimla, November 19
The Himachal Pradesh Government has set up a state-level coordination committee on crop insurance for the implementation of the Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojana (RKBY).

CPI dharna at Kasauli on December 3
Kumarhatti, November19
The Kasauli tehsil unit of the CPI has decided to observe a dharna in front of the Kasauli tehsil office on December 3 in protest against the failure of the government to provide compensation to the farmers whose maize crop has been damaged due to boar attack.

Dharna against tariff hike
Hamirpur, November 19
Left party activists today organised a dharna outside the district courts here today in protest against the recent hike in power tariff. They held a demonstration and raised slogans against the state government.

Govt apathy towards tribal areas deplored
Kulu, November 19
Mr A.N. Vidyarthi, former Chief Secretary and member of the AICC executive committee, has deplored the lack of concern shown by the state government for the tribal areas of Lahaul and Pangi in the statement issued by a government spokesman regarding regular bus service to Lahaul.

Tourism promoter honoured
Parwanoo
Mr R.K. Garg, the promoter of Timber Trail resort, has been conferred the honour of “Himachal Ratna” for his contribution to tourism in Himachal Pradesh. He received the award from the Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, at a ceremony held in Raj Bhawan at Shimla.

BADDI DAIRY
Shopping complex draws flak
Baddi
The plan to construct a multi-storey shopping complex at Nalagarh has come in for criticism by a section of the people. While the municipal officials maintain that it is a government project which will benefit the people, the residents contend that a park, which was the only open space for the old people to relax and school children to play, has been eaten up by the project.

Forest staff hold protest rally
Dharamsala, November 19
The Forest Corporation Employees Union today held a protest rally demanding the implementation of the 27-point demand charter accepted by the government last year.

CM lays college stone
Kulu, November 19
The Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, said hydel projects involving Rs 18,000 crore investment were under execution in the district.

Two promoted
Shimla, November 19
Mr R.A. Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests, was today promoted as the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests by the Himachal Pradesh Government.

Tributes paid to Indira Gandhi
Shimla, November 19
The Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, Horticulture Minister, Mr Narendera Bragta and senior Congress leaders participated in the 84th birth anniversary function of Indira Gandhi here today.
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Govt misusing funds: Virbhadra
Our Correspondent

Mandi, November 19
Former Chief Minister and CLP leader Virbhadra Singh has criticised the BJP government for indulging in extravagance and misusing public funds during the so-called ‘vikas yatra’ while the state was reeling under a financial crisis. He questioned the use of helicopter for bringing Mr Narender Modi to Himachal in connection with the vikas yatra.

Addressing a rally held under the auspices of the Youth Congress and the Congress Seva Dal at Kansa Chowk in the Balh valley of the district last evening, he alleged there was no justification for burdening the state exchequer for promoting the party, adding that the amount so spent should be deposited in the government account failing which the Congress government would recover it on coming to power.

He challenged Mr Dhumal to hold elections to judge his popularity, saying that he was harbouring a misunderstanding about his government with which the people were fed up. He wondered how the BJP was boasting of progress when all development works had come to a halt.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said the Congress was ready to face elections and defeat the BJP. He said had the BJP done something to fulfil its election promises there would have been no need for holding vikas yatra to befool the people.

He alleged that during its short tenure of three and a half years, the BJP-HVC government has done only two things — inaugurations of works done by the Congress government and large-scale politically motivated transfers. As many as 1.75 lakh employees were made the “rolling stones” by the BJP, he said.

The Congress leader said the government was implicating the Opposition leaders in false cases and warned that they would reap what they were sowing. He said efforts were being made to implicate him in false cases and even when the CBI had given him a clean chit, the Dhumal government was conspiring against him.

A large number of leaders from all parts of the state, including Thakur Kaul Singh, former Vidhan Sabha Speaker and MLA, Ms Asha Kumari, MLA from Chamba, Mr Brij Behari Lal Butel, MLA from Palampur, Mr Tek Chand Dogra and Mr Ishwar Dass, both MLAs, and several former MLAs attended the rally.
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Declare open war on Pak, says Mankotia
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, November 19
Accusing the Vajpayee government of total failure in containing cross-border terrorism, a former minister and senior vice-president of the HPCC, Mr Vijai Mankotia, said today it was better to declare an open war on Pakistan than to lose soldiers everyday in proxy war.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Mankotia said till date India had lost over 30,000 soldiers and civilians in the proxy war in the Kashmir valley. “It is the lack of a positive and aggressive policy on cross-border terrorism which has resulted in bodies of soldiers and innocent civilians being sent home everyday,” he regretted.

He said it was due to the “passive policy” on national defence that India did not avail the golden opportunity of launching an offensive across the Line of Control to destroy the ISI-sponsored terrorist training camps in Pakistan while the USA was bombing Afghanistan. He added that the security and safety of the nation had been jeopardised under Mr Vajpayee, who, according to him, was a captive in the hands of the coterie surrounding him. “The return of Mr George Fernandes as Defence Minister is a signal of the helplessness the Prime Minister is facing,” he said.

Lashing out at the Vajpayee government for bringing in POTO, Mr Mankotia said this, too, was part of the hidden agenda of the BJP to settle a score with its political opponents and stifle the voice of the media. “While the government has completely failed to curb identified terrorism, it has brought an ordinance from the back door without consulting other political parties,” he said.

Mr Mankotia alleged that there was rampant corruption in the state with senior ministers and BJP functionaries themselves pointing fingers at their own men. “In Himachal, postings and transfers of government employees has become a flourishing business with up to Rs 15,000 being demanded openly for adjustments,” he alleged. He said the common man was being burdened by the hike in power, water, medical charges, cooking gas, kerosene, fertilisers, petrol and diesel rates.

“I would term this back-breaking price hike of practically all essential commodities nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism as the common man has been rendered virtually helpless,” he observed.

Mr Mankotia said unemployment had reached a critical point in the state as the number of jobless people had more than doubled from 4.30 lakh in 1998 to 10.70 lakh solely due to the poor management by the present regime.
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Conference of revenue officers opens
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 19
The Himachal Pradesh Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, today asked the revenue officers to adopt a cordial and helpful attitude towards the problems of people and dispose all matters without delay.

Dr Suraj Bhan was inaugurating the first two-day state-level conference of revenue officers.

The Governor stressed upon the need of creating work culture besides a policy of rewards and punishments.

He said that good work should be rewarded while people not doing good work be punished.

He said that delay in work brought corruption and this tendency should be shunned. He also stressed upon transparency in the working of the revenue administration.

Describing revenue as an integral part of the administration, he said that better revenue administration could streamline the process of welfare schemes.

Dr Rajan Sushant, Revenue Minister, said work of distribution of Kisan passbooks had been taken up on a large scale throughout the state and urged the revenue officers to expedite this work.
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Audit fee for women co-ops to go
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, November 19
The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to abolish the audit fee in the case of the women co-operative societies functioning in the state. This is one of the many important decisions taken by the government to improve and strengthen the functioning of the co-ops in the state, said Mr Rikhi Ram Kaundel, HP Co-operation Minister, at a function held at Bani village in the district last evening.

He said in future the term of the office-bearers of the co-op managements would be raised from two years to five years to allow them to keep with them the 50 per cent of education funds collected by them from their working.

Mr Kaundel informed the audience that the Central Government had given grants to the tune of Rs 60 crore during the past three and half years, whereas only Rs 38 crore had been received from the Centre during the past 20 years of the Congress rule.

He instructed the president of the HP Co-operative Societies Employees’ Sangh to educate the members about the new service rules framed by the government for them.

The minister on the occasion gave away prizes to three best cooperative societies of the district. The first and second prizes went to the Bhira and Bara cooperative societies.
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HPSCW extends help to rural women
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, November 19
The Himachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (HPSCW) has started functioning as Regional Conference for Northern states like Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, Ms Malvika Pathania chairpersons of the HPSCW said today the state commission had initiated interaction with the women’s commissions of neighbouring states for better functioning of commission. Chairpersons of women’s commissions of adjoining states recently visited the HPSCW Shimla Ms Pathania stated that the commission had been meetings in rural areas of the state to educate rural women about commission’s functioning. The commission also had five district-level administrative meetings at district headquarters. The commission would fulfil its commitment of reaching the womenfolk at their door steps in rural areas via such programmes.

She pointed out that main objective of the commission was to provide instant justice to aggrieved women and for thus the commission recently started hearing women’s grievances from Nurpur.
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Ice-skating rink past its glory
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 19
With the mercury plunging to the freezing point, groundsmen have started preparing Asia’s only natural ice-skating rink here for the ensuing season.

Freezing water under the sky is an art mastered by Garhwali highlanders who have been performing the job ever since the rink came into existence over 75 years ago. They are busy these days levelling the rink, which is now being used for exhibitions, festivals and other activities during the rest of the year. After levelling water is sprayed over the rink in a controlled manner several times a day. Initially it is soaked into the dry earth . Once it is saturated with water and cooled sufficiently, a thin layer of ice appears on the surface which grows thicker as more and more water is sprayed on the rink.

With skies without a trace of cloud and temperature dipping sharply over the past one week, the ice may be formed during the next week and the season could get underway by November 25, says Mr Bhuvanesh Banga, general secretary of the rink. In any case regular sessions start on December 1 every year.

With snow becoming increasingly scarce, ice-skating is the only attraction for the tourists who throng the queen of hills in large numbers every winter to celebrate the Christmas holidays and the New Year. Clear weather is ideal for ice-skating as the mercury dips to sub-zero temperatures during the nights, which is essential for freezing of water.

The pervasive degradation of environment and cutting of trees on the hillside of the rink, which provided shade from the sun, has over the years severely curtailed the duration of the ice-skating season. The setting up of a bus stand and construction of numerous buildings in the area has only made things worse. A large part of the rink has now been exposed to the sun rays after its effective area, which was equal to five tennis courts, has been almost reduced to half. The net result of the environmental changes is an overall increase in the average temperature which makes it difficult for water to freeze naturally and much, therefore, depends on the weather. Earlier, the temperature even dipped upto 13°C but now it seldom touches — 3°C.

There was a time when the season extended up to 15 weeks and as many as 165 sessions were possible, but nowadays the season at best lasts for only about eight to nine weeks. Moreover two sessions are possible only for about six weeks. Of late the recurring dry spells during winter have been proving a boon for the ice skaters. The rink has crossed one hundred session marks twice during the past five years.

The club has increased the membership fee by Rs 50 this season, which had become essential to meet the increasing cost of operations. The centre has sanctioned a Rs 50-lakh scheme for the improvement of the rink and construction of stands. However, the scheme can be implemented only if the state government provides its share of Rs 13 lakh.
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Cong against cement units near town
Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, November 19
Former Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh opposed the setting up of cement factory at Sundernagar. Addressing mediapersons here he said that the present government had shifted the site of cement factory which is very near to Sundernagar town and a factory at this place thousands of bighas of farm land and thousands of houses will be destroyed.

He said that the previous Congress government had only sanctioned the cement industries at places which were far from the population and the land was of barren nature. He said indiscriminate setting up of cement units in the hill state would degrade the environment of the state.

He criticised government decision on a cement factory in Bhambi. Khatrwari area which is very near Sundernagar. He added that land of some BJP leaders was situated at the present site of factory and to oblige these leaders the site had been shifted to the present place.

Opposing the ‘P.O.T.O.’ Bill he said existing laws were sufficient to deal with terrorism.

In Himachal the Chief Minister has joined hands with the forest mafia because the persons facing trials for forest offence were given importance by the government to benefit them. Furthermore the Chief Minister’s office is dominated by different mafias and corruption has overpowered the C.M. office and all the corrupt persons were getting protection.
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HP panel on crop insurance set up
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 19
The Himachal Pradesh Government has set up a state-level coordination committee on crop insurance for the implementation of the Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojana (RKBY).

The state government has further decided to implement the yojana for the rabi 2001-2002 season for wheat and barley. The scheme has been made compulsory for loanee farmers availing seasonal and agricultural operation loans from various financial institutions in the state and will be optional for non-loanee farmers. The indemnity for both the wheat and barley crops has been fixed at 80 per cent of the guaranteed yield. The small and marginal farmers will be entitled for 40 per cent government subsidy on total premium.

The cut-off dates for accepting the crop insurance proposals from loanees and non-loanee farmers has been fixed as May 31, 2003, and January 31, 2002, respectively.
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CPI dharna at Kasauli on December 3
Our Correspondent

Kumarhatti, November19
The Kasauli tehsil unit of the CPI has decided to observe a dharna in front of the Kasauli tehsil office on December 3 in protest against the failure of the government to provide compensation to the farmers whose maize crop has been damaged due to boar attack. A meeting of the party was held at Dharampur, 4 km from here, yesterday. The party expressed concern over in fall the production of maize and demanded adequate compensation for the affected farmers.

The farmers are finding it hard to earn their livelihood, said Mr Gurdev Singh, district secretary of the CPI. The unprecedented boar attack has virtually wiped out the standing maize crop in some pockets of Kasauli, he added.

He said the fall in the production of other crops and also the depression in the market prices in the past few years had badly affected the economic condition of the farmers of the area. The party came down heavily on the state government for burdening the public with the recent hike in electricity charges. 
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Dharna against tariff hike
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, November 19
Left party activists today organised a dharna outside the district courts here today in protest against the recent hike in power tariff. They held a demonstration and raised slogans against the state government.

They also submitted a memorandum to the government in support of their demands, including immediate withdrawal of the recent hike.

The Left party activists led by their leaders held a procession through the main bazaar. Mr Kashmir Singh Thakur of the CPM, Mr Mukesh Kumar of the CPI and Ms Satya Galodha, general secretary of the Mahila Janwadi Morcha took part in the procession.

Addressing a rally outside the mini-secretariat, the leaders blasted the government for taking anti-people decisions. They said the government had broken the backbone of the poor and middle classes.

They threatened to intensify their agitation if their demand for the immediate withdrawal of the hike was not fulfilled. They would go to masses and expose the real face of the government, they said.
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Govt apathy towards tribal areas deplored
Our Correspondent

Kulu, November 19
Mr A.N. Vidyarthi, former Chief Secretary and member of the AICC executive committee, has deplored the lack of concern shown by the state government for the tribal areas of Lahaul and Pangi in the statement issued by a government spokesman regarding regular bus service to Lahaul.

The clarification issued by the government, according to Mr Vidyarthi, appeared to have been issued without verifying the factual position and appreciating the real hardship and consequential resentment of the tribal people and government employees.

The spokesman should have known that the movement of traffic, including the HRTC buses, has more to do with the prevailing weather conditions rather than an arbitrary date fixed for the closure of Rohtang Pass by the authorities as per the past practices, Mr Vidyarthi added.
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Tourism promoter honoured
M. M. Bhandari

Parwanoo
Mr R.K. Garg, the promoter of Timber Trail resort, has been conferred the honour of “Himachal Ratna” for his contribution to tourism in Himachal Pradesh. He received the award from the Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, at a ceremony held in Raj Bhawan at Shimla.

Mr Garg is known in tourism circles as a visionary. He promoted Asia Resorts in 1980 and despite discouraging remarks from everywhere he developed a life-style resort at Parwanoo in 1982 and gave it the name Timber Trail. The idea was derided as building a castle in thin air, but he stood by his instincts. The resort gained popularity and today it is looked upon as a landmark on the tourism map of Himachal Pradesh. Encouraged by the success of the Timber Trail, Mr Garg started another resort in Manali in 1998, under the same name. He introduced the Timber Trail cable car — a unique service in the history of tourism. Before this, cable cars were used only at places of pilgrimage. The Timber Trail cable car joins two sections of Timber Trail, 2000 feet apart.

Mr Garg has recently promoted a new company, Asia Greens Ltd., to set up golf-cum-convention resorts in Haryana in collaboration with Mr Gary Player, the famous golf course designer, and the Radisson group of hotels.

* * * *

Almost half the width of the National Highway from the Parwanoo barrier to Timber Trail remains occupied most of the time by a long line of parked trucks. Only one-half width of the road is left for vehicles moving in both directions. There is traffic chaos when the vehicles try to overtake others which often leads to accidents. The confusion starts at the Parwanoo barrier where most of the trucks have to halt for hours to get excise and sales tax clearance.

Traffic jams have become common on either side of the barrier which separates Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The morning and evening hours are the worst as a number of persons commute to Parwanoo from Kalka, Pinjore and Chandigarh.

Traffic from Shimla and Kalka has to cope with several traffic hold-ups in the town. Roadside workshops for the repair of trucks add to the confusion. With trucks parked on the roadside, pedestrians, particularly women, face a difficult situation as they become the targets of the truck-drivers’ remarks.

Parwanoo needs a by-pass in view of the large number of heavy vehicles that pass through the town, especially vehicles carrying heavy machinery for hydro-electric projects in Himachal Pradesh. In the absence of a proper bus stand buses also halt on the roadside, adding to the chaos.
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BADDI DAIRY
Shopping complex draws flak
Ambika Sharma

Baddi
The plan to construct a multi-storey shopping complex at Nalagarh has come in for criticism by a section of the people. While the municipal officials maintain that it is a government project which will benefit the people, the residents contend that a park, which was the only open space for the old people to relax and school children to play, has been eaten up by the project. Despite a number of representations made to the authorities concerned, the municipality is keen to complete the project within a year.

* * * *

Most of the offices in the town wore a deserted look throughout the last week on account of divali and subsequent local holidays. Though Saturday was a working day, yet hardly any officer was available in his office. A stock reply greeted the visitor that the ‘sahib’ would return on Monday. Attendance in offices was thin as most of the employees hailing from far off places had gone home for the break. A heavy rush of passengers was noticed at the bus stop.

* * * *

The festival of divali saw, the workers of at least two industrial units including DCM Tools and Dies, and Winsome Textiles protesting against the policies of their managements. While the DCM unit has retrenched 60 employees, the management of Winsome has failed to meet the demands of the employees. The workers were seen agitating even on the Divali day to press their demands.

* * * *

Despite industrial development of the area, roads here are in a dismal condition. The town, which is often visited by foreign dignitaries as well as VIPs from Himachal Pradesh and the Centre, is marred by filth and garbage thrown around callously.

The PWD did repair some roads after the rainy season but in doing so the department adopted a policy of pick and choose. The upper bazaar presents a deplorable sight where dirty water from the drains flows on the roads. There are no side drains along the roads. Digging work has been done at a number of places and the debris has been piled on the roads.

Plastic bags are strewn all over, particularly on garbage heaps. Stray animals rummage through the garbage and spread the filth all around. Some time ago one ox was reported to have died after consuming plastic waste. The road berms have worn out and no repair has been done to prevent further damage.

A number of trucks remain parked on both sides of the roads, particularly at the bus stop and movement of traffic becomes a problem, especially in the evening. A number of auto repair workshops have sprung up on the highway leading to the town. These have become a permanent obstruction to traffic with vehicles parked haphazardly. Accidents are frequent on this section of the highway.

* * * *

The residents of the Housing Board Colony here complain of poor maintenance of civic facilities. Poor lighting of the roads has not been looked into despite repeated complaints. The parks are neglected and often stray animals are seen roaming there are spreading filth. General cleanliness of the colony is also poor and the residents have been demanding more sweepers to look after the colony.

The recent hike in the water tariff from the existing Re 0.60 paise per unit to Rs 5 per unit has come in for heavy criticism. This has increased the water bills of the residents manifold, which has become a cause of worry for them.

The authorities maintain that the hike has been done according to the guidelines of the government. The tariff, they says, has been revised after a long time.
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Forest staff hold protest rally
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, November 19
The Forest Corporation Employees Union today held a protest rally demanding the implementation of the 27-point demand charter accepted by the government last year.

Employees of the Forest Corporation from all over Kangra district, under the banner of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, organised a protest rally from the War Memorial to the office of the Deputy Commissioners. They were joined by PWD, IPH and HRTC employees and the Hotel Employees Union.

The employees of the corporation, said despite accepting their demands last year, the government had still not implemented these. They would gherao the office of the corporation at Shimla on December 7, they added.
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CM lays college stone
Our Correspondent

Kulu, November 19
The Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, said hydel projects involving Rs 18,000 crore investment were under execution in the district. It had created employment opportunities for thousands of persons and triggered economic activity in the area, said Mr Dhumal, while addressing a gathering at Banjar in the district today. He also laid the foundation stone of a college at Banjar to be constructed at the cost of Rs 4.25 crore, Kundan bridge and a bus stand.

Mr Dhumal said resource generation within the state had been given priority. He said the 86 MW Malana hydel project had been completed in less than three years’ time and had started generating an annual income of Rs 18 crore.
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Two promoted
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 19
Mr R.A. Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests, was today promoted as the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests by the Himachal Pradesh Government.

Mr Pankaj Khullar, the seniormost officer in the department, and Additional Principal Chief Conservator, has also been promoted and appointed as the PCCF of the newly created wildlife wing.

In a bid to accommodate both Mr Khullar and Mr R.A. Singh, the state government had recently split the Forest Department and created a separate Wildlife Department. 
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Tributes paid to Indira Gandhi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 19
The Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, Horticulture Minister, Mr Narendera Bragta and senior Congress leaders participated in the 84th birth anniversary function of Indira Gandhi here today.

Floral tributes were paid to the former Prime Minister at an official function held near her statue on The Ridge. Mr Bragta, the PCC chief, Ms Vidya Stokes, a senior Congress leader and MLA, Mr J.B.L. Khachi and the Mayor, Ms Jenny Prem, among others, participated in the function. A separate function was held at the PCC headquarters.
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