Friday, November 30, 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

Cong to oppose move on casino in HP
Dharamsala, November 29
Former minister and Senior Vice-President of the HPCC, Mr Vijai Mankotia, today said that the state government had not only failed in preventing Manali and McLeodganj from becoming centres of drug trafficking and crime but was paving the way for the entry of gambling mafias into the state with the proposal of opening a casino.

Nod to amendment to goods taxation Act
Shimla, November 29
The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet at its meeting held here today decided to give the licence to the fruit-based wine manufacturing factory at Nagwain in Mandi district. This will be put up by Himachal Indage Ltd, in a joint venture with the Himachal Pradesh Produce and Marketing Corporation.

Councillors order stopping of “illegal” construction
Shimla, November 29
Taking serious note of the construction of a multi-storeyed building in the heritage zone on The Mall here by an influential person, councillors of the Shimla Municipal Corporation, in an unprecedented move, yesterday adjourned the meeting of the general house midway and visited the spot, where they ordered the stopping of further construction.

Dhumal releases stamp on Sobha Singh
Shimla, November 29
A postage stamp on Sobha Singh was released by the Chief Minister Prof P.K. Dhumal, to mark his birth centenary celebrations, here today. The stamp of Rs 4 denomination carries the portrait of the artist who had settled in Andretta village of Kangra district



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Shimla
Nahan


EARLIER STORIES

 

Power tariff to be implemented
Shimla, November 29
There will reportedly be no change in the power tariff order passed by the HP Electricity Regulatory Commission. The state power board, which initially planned to file a review petition before the commission to seek an upward revision of tariff, has finally decided to implement the order as it is.

NJPC chief blames delay on CEA, CWC
Shimla, November 29
The controversial Nathpa Jhakri Power project, which is one of the biggest hydroelectric projects in the country, has once again come into focus with the chairman of the NJPC and the NHPC, Mr Yogendera Prasad, accusing the Central Electricity Authority and the Central Water Commission of being responsible for delay in the completion of the project which has resultantly pushed up its cost by Rs 5,988 crore.

‘Govt not to act in haste on REC issue’
Hamirpur, November 29
Mr Ravinder Ravi, the HP Minister of State for Technical Education, said here today that the interests of the people of the state would be fully protected while taking a final decision regarding the status of deemed university for REC, Hamirpur. He said the government would seek reports from all state governments where RECs were located, study the reports and then take a final decision.

ITI Principal booked
Nahan, November 29
A case under Section 354 of the IPC has been registered by the Nahan police against the Principal of Industrial Training Institute, here on the complaint of a student, who has levelled molestation charges against the Principal. Deputy Commissioner, Sirmour, Rakesh Kaushal, has ordered a magistrial inquiry into the charges levelled by the students against the Principal.

Special cell to contain drug addiction
Shimla, November 29
The district police has set up a special cell in the city to contain the growing menace of drug addiction among youth. The special cell, headed by an Inspector will keep a constant watch on drug addicts and their sources of drug supply.

Processions taken out on Gurpurab eve

Top







 

Cong to oppose move on casino in HP
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, November 29
Former minister and Senior Vice-President of the HPCC, Mr Vijai Mankotia, today said that the state government had not only failed in preventing Manali and McLeodganj from becoming centres of drug trafficking and crime but was paving the way for the entry of gambling mafias into the state with the proposal of opening a casino.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said despite media reports of Manali becoming one of the biggest drug centres in the world and mafias having links with Mumbai underworld operating there, the government had failed to take any legal action. “The situation is so grim that some foreign Embassies are advising their nationals against visiting Manali, following a number of cases of foreigners going missing in the valley,” he stated.

Mr Mankotia lashed out at the government for its latest proposal to open a casino at Parwanoo, the gateway of Himachal. “It is surprising that a party which talks of constructing the Ram temple at Ayodhya, will welcome tourists with gambling dens, which is against the social fabric and our Indian culture,” he observed.

He said in his capacity as Tourism Minister, he had studied the merits and demerits of opening of casinos and had decided against it. He said many states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, Goa, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh had failed to get the legislation passed in the Assembly for opening a casino.

Mr Mankotia said the Congress would oppose tooth and nail the opening of the casino as it would bring with it a number of vices. “It appears that the alleged kickback and commission given by those interested in opening a casino is very appealing to some politicians and bureaucrats,” he said.

Mr Mankotia, while accusing the Dhumal government of having a lopsided tourism policy and complete lack of vision, said instead of promoting winter sports, aerosports, adventure tourism and temple tourism, the government was bringing in the vice of a casino. “The need of the hour is to have an international airport, aerial ropeways, four-lane national highways, broad gauge railway and better roads, he said.

Mr Mankotia said the government had completely failed both in the power and tourism sector. “Not only has the government failed in starting new projects but they have also not taken forward the works started during the Congress regime,” he said.
Top

 

Nod to amendment to goods taxation Act
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 29
The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet at its meeting held here today decided to give the licence to the fruit-based wine manufacturing factory at Nagwain in Mandi district. This will be put up by Himachal Indage Ltd, in a joint venture with the Himachal Pradesh Produce and Marketing Corporation (HPMC). The Cabinet had earlier approved the setting up of a similar factory at Pragtinagar in Shimla district. This would help in getting remunerative prices for apple and other fruit growers in the state. Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal presided over the meeting.

The Cabinet has approved the amendment in the Himachal Pradesh Taxation of Certain Goods Act exempting the goods carried by road by human beings or on animals. The liability to pay tax has been put on the persons selling or despatching the goods.

The Cabinet in order to rationalise the working of the Himachal Pradesh Electronics Corporation and the Information Technology Department decided that henceforth the Himachal Pradesh Electronics Corporation will be under the administrative control of the Information and Technology Department and the Managing Director of the corporation will also function as Director, Information Technology. The Cabinet approved the rates of forest produce purchased by the state forest corporation at enhanced rates for the current year.

The Cabinet decided to introduce single window system under the Town and Country Planning Act for Solan, Bilaspur and Nalagarh town in addition to nine towns where such a system already existed. Under the system the powers of the Director, Town and Country Planning, have been delegated to the urban local bodies concerned. In order to meet the functional requirements of institutional buildings, the Cabinet gave approval for the construction of four storeys for institutional buildings as per the approved norms with one additional level of parking which is compulsory for such buildings.

The Cabinet also approved the extension of the Kufri Special Development Area.
Top

 

Councillors order stopping of “illegal” construction
Ranjna Sharma

Shimla, November 29
Taking serious note of the construction of a multi-storeyed building in the heritage zone on The Mall here by an influential person, councillors of the Shimla Municipal Corporation, in an unprecedented move, yesterday adjourned the meeting of the general house midway and visited the spot, where they ordered the stopping of further construction.

Earlier, during the meeting of the general house, irate councillors took exception to the Cabinet directly approving the building plan in violation of the municipal bylaws.

They said that even though the government was stressing on the preservation of the town’s heritage, construction of multi-storeyed concrete buildings was being allowed without proper permission.

The councillors, led by the Mayor, Ms Jenny Prem, went to the building site and expressed concern over the Cabinet having allowed the owner to construct a parking lot for 30 cars on one of the floors which was approachable from The Mall, where the plying of vehicles is banned. A BJP councillor, Mr Deepak Sharma, accompanied the Congress councillors.

The question regarding the illegal buildings was tabled by Mr D.S. Verma of the Congress. Mr Verma and Mr Ashok Sood said permission for constructing only four storeys was granted to the owner, but six storeys, including the attic, had been constructed.

They said the municipal bylaws had restricted the height of buildings to 14.5 metres, but the owner of this building had constructed it to a height of 16.5 metres. The height of the attic was restricted to 2.20 metres under the municipal bylaws, but in this case, it was 3.50 metres, they alleged.

The councillors alleged that not only the bylaws, but also other rules for orderly construction had been violated by the government.

The corporation authorities, in reply to Mr Verma’s question, said the place was not declared a “core” area, but it was a heritage zone and construction was banned there. Therefore, the case was referred to the government for approval, the authorities said.

In reply to another question of Mr Verma, the corporation authorities admitted that an unauthorised four-storeyed building had come up in the US Club area. The owner of the structure in the “core” zone, Mr Dharam Pal Khanna, did not seek the corporation’s permission for constructing the building.

The councillors also took objection to the construction of a hotel within the limits of the corporation near Kachhi Ghati on Shimla-Kalka highway.
Top

 

Dhumal releases stamp on Sobha Singh
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 29
A postage stamp on Sobha Singh was released by the Chief Minister Prof P.K. Dhumal, to mark his birth centenary celebrations, here today. The stamp of Rs 4 denomination carries the portrait of the artist who had settled in Andretta village of Kangra district

A first day cover depicting the Kangra bride painted by Sobha Singh was also released on the occasion. At least 4 lakh stamps of Sobha Singh have been issued by the Department of Post and Telegraphs.

Prof Dhumal said an annual award named after Sobha Singh would be introduced by the Himachal Pradesh Academy of Language, Art and Culture for painters. He said the Cabinet had decided to name the road between the tea factory and Sobha Singh’s art gallery after him and the Government High School at Andretta would also be renamed as Sardar Sobha Singh High School.

The Chief Secretary, Mr Harsh Gupta, and Mr Vijay Bhushan, Chief Post Master General, also spoke on the occasion.

Mr Dhumal honoured Mr Hridey Pal Singh, grandson of Sobha Singh. The Transport Minister, Mr K.K. Kapoor, was also present.
Top

 

Power tariff to be implemented
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 29
There will reportedly be no change in the power tariff order passed by the HP Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The state power board, which initially planned to file a review petition before the commission to seek an upward revision of tariff, has finally decided to implement the order as it is. The engineers of the board and various categories of consumers are unhappy with the order as they feel that the commission has granted concession to industrial consumers at the cost of domestic consumers. After studying the implications of the order in detail the board has decided to see its impact on revenue for some time.

Under the commission Act the order passed by it can be challenged in the high court by the board, the government and the consumers. The order was passed on October 29 and the one month time allowed under the limitation Act for filing a review period petition is over. While the government has made it clear that it will not challenge the order, no other party has taken initiative to move the high court.

The board had sought an increase in its revenue by Rs 277 crore but the commission only provide Rs 77 crore. This included Rs 25 crore on account of winter surcharge, which would be applicable only up to March 31. The board felt the order was unjust as it had increased the burden on the domestic consumers and provided relief to big industrial consumers. This impression was created due to the introduction of kvah (kilo volt ampere hour)-based tariff for large industrial consumers in place of the kwh (kilo watt hour).

The board apprehends that the flexibility in the industrial tariff structure may not lead to the projected increase in revenue and benefit industrial consumers at its cost. The commission, however, maintains that the board will actually get some additional revenue over the past year, even though the tariff for the big industrial consumers has been designed to be revenue neutral.

The board, the commission points out, has not studied the implication of the kvah-based tariff, which depends on power and load factors. The stipulated power factor of 0.9 (minus.9) will not be easy to maintain for most industrial units as they will be required to install new equipment and revamp the entire electrical system. A power factor lower than 0.9 and a load factor of less than 50 per cent will significantly increase the tariff. In certain cases it could be as high as Rs 7 per unit. However, if the units improve their electrical systems and attain the prescribed level of efficiency in energy utilisation, the board stood to gain the form of reduction in distribution losses. It will also ensure better quality of power to consumers by eliminating fluctuations at villages.

The board has now decided to assess the impact by implementing the order. This means that modification in the tariff order, if required, will be taken care of only in the next tariff application. The commission has in its order advised the board to file a fresh application in November, if it wants a new tariff for the next financial year. The commission requires a minimum of three months to take a decision on the application.
Top

 

NJPC chief blames delay on CEA, CWC
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 29
The controversial Nathpa Jhakri Power project, which is one of the biggest hydroelectric projects in the country, has once again come into focus with the chairman of the NJPC and the NHPC, Mr Yogendera Prasad, accusing the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and the Central Water Commission (CWC) of being responsible for delay in the completion of the project which has resultantly pushed up its cost by Rs 5,988 crore.

In a recent letter to the Power Ministry, Mr Prasad is learnt to have pointed out that although the project had suffered time overrun of more than 5 years, certain designs were not completed by these two organisations according to the schedule. The NJPC had engaged the CEA and the CWC as principal consultants for the execution of the project.

He claimed that the work on the project was suffering because of improper and unsuitable designs, inability to provide solutions to technical problems arising during construction, and not according priority to this prestigious project.

He said the NHPC, which was recently entrusted with the consultancy services as a replacement of the CEA and the CWC, had come up with quick and correct solutions and was in the process of completing the designs and specifications expeditiously.

Mr Prasad pointed out that the original estimated cost of the project was Rs 1678.02 crore in 1989, which was for the first time revised to Rs 4337.05 crore in 1993. The second revision of the cost was done in 1997 when it was estimated to cost Rs 7666.31 crore.

Another revised cost estimate was being shortly submitted to the Power Ministry as the cost of the project was continuously rising. Efforts are being made to complete the project by 2003, he said.

He blamed the CEA and the CWC for the cost and time overrun of the project and said that an investigation by the standing committee of the ministry could fix the responsibility.

Mr Prasad pointed out that the project had suffered massive landslides of about 13 lakh cubic metres at the dam site even before the first blast. Both these organisations could not provide solutions to geological and geohydraulic problems and did not design correctly some of the structures like desilting, silt flushing, etc, he added.
Top

 

Govt not to act in haste on REC issue’
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, November 29
Mr Ravinder Ravi, the HP Minister of State for Technical Education, said here today that the interests of the people of the state would be fully protected while taking a final decision regarding the status of deemed university for REC, Hamirpur. He said the government would seek reports from all state governments where RECs were located, study the reports and then take a final decision.

Talking to reporters after the meeting of the board of governors of the Regional Engineering College here today, he said the decision of the state government would be conveyed to the Central Government within two months. He said the government would not act in a haste.

Mr Ravi said the interview for the posts of senior faculty member would be conducted as per schedule. Dr D.K. Sharma, Human Resource Ministry and one of the members of the board, told reporters that the existing system of reserving 50 per cent seats for the Himachali students in the college would continue.
Top

 

ITI Principal booked
Our Correspondent

Nahan, November 29
A case under Section 354 of the IPC has been registered by the Nahan police against the Principal of Industrial Training Institute (ITI), here on the complaint of a student, who has levelled molestation charges against the Principal. Deputy Commissioner, Sirmour, Rakesh Kaushal, has ordered a magistrial inquiry into the charges levelled by the students against the Principal.

Mr Rakesh Sharma, SDM, Nahan, has been asked to inquire into the matter and submit the report within 15 days. The SP, Sirmour, has also ordered a separate inquiry into the charges of beating up of students by the Principal of the ITI.

Students boycotted their classes today and staged a dharna on the ITI premises and in front of the DC office. They took out a march and blocked traffic on the Nahan-Shimla road, which was restored after the intervention of the police and administration officials.

The agitating students were demanding action against the Principal for his alleged misconduct.

When contacted, the Principal of the ITI refused the charges and said it was the conspiracy of some members of his staff.
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Special cell to contain drug addiction
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 29
The district police has set up a special cell in the city to contain the growing menace of drug addiction among youth.

The special cell, headed by an Inspector will keep a constant watch on drug addicts and their sources of drug supply. Of late the youth, particularly school and college-going students, have been making an increased use of charas, ganza and other psychotropic substances. The increasing use of calmpose, cough syrups and other medicines has added to the problem of drug addiction.

Over the past three years, 18 youth had died after consuming large quantities of such substances.

The police has identified about 100 addicts whose activities will be kept under a strict vigil. The police is also on the look-out for suppliers of drugs who move around with bags posing as medical representatives. Two such persons were arrested in Mashobra, near here, early this month.

The police has also identified certain places used by drug addicts in the Sanjauli, Lakkar Bazar, Mall and Tutu areas, besides, plainclothesmen have been deployed outside schools and colleges to keep watch on drug-traffickers who specially target students.
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Processions taken out on Gurpurab eve

PAONTA SAHIB: The local Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee organised a fair on the eve of Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary. A “nagar kirtan” procession was taken out on the occasion. Several schoolchildren participated in dance, karate and PT shows.Top

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