Sunday, December 2, 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

Karmapa refutes reports
Not to return to Tibet without Dalai Lama
Dharamsala, December 1
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, today decided to set aside speculation about his intentions to return to Tibet by saying that he had no plans to go back to his homeland and would do so only when the Dalai Lama goes back.

Sabha meetings fail to draw villagers
Kumarhatti
Gram sabha meetings, a forum for people to redress their grievances, seem to have lost their importance if the attendance at the recently held third quarterly meetings is any indication.

MP to work for regional cooperation
Chandigarh, December 1
Mr Suresh Chandel is as unusual a character as are his ideas. Though from the next-door neighbourhood, he is not the typical type-caste politician, neither boisterous nor bloated with self-conscious air.

Probe sought into doc’s ‘misbehaviour’
Bilaspur, December 1
Mr Harish Kumar Sharma, a trader of the Raura sector in a representation to the Health and Family Welfare Minister, has urged him to order an inquiry into the incident in which a doctor of the regional hospital here allegedly insulted and humiliated him and his wife who is a patient here in the hospital yesterday.

Women to fight AIDS
Shimla, December 1
Mahila mandals in Himachal Pradesh will be provided with condoms in a bid to involve women in fight against AIDS which has gripped at least 4,000 persons, including 9 children, in the state.



YOUR TOWN
Bilaspur
Chamba
Dharamsala
Mandi
Shimla
Nahan


EARLIER STORIES
 

Society to oversee upkeep of War Memorial
Dharamsala, December 1
With the formation of the War Memorial Service and Development Society, the War Memorial here, neglected till now, may get a face-lift.The War Memorial also known as the Martyrs’ Memorial was dedicated to the people in 1977 but its upkeep was ignored.

Irregularities in food distribution
Nalagarh, December 1
A case of irregularities in the distribution of nutritious diet to expectant mothers and small children through government-run agencies has come to light in the Ramshahr area of this tehsil.

5 houses gutted in Sarkaghat
Mandi, December 1
Four persons received serious burn injuries as five houses were reduced to ashes in a devastating fire in Rihali Tanda village in Sarkaghat subdivision of this district last year.



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Karmapa refutes reports
Not to return to Tibet without Dalai Lama
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, December 1
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, today decided to set aside speculation about his intentions to return to Tibet by saying that he had no plans to go back to his homeland and would do so only when the Dalai Lama goes back.

The 17-year-old Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu sect, took the world by surprise when he fled from Lhasa to McLeodganj, the headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, in 2000.

It was only recently that a reluctant Indian Government granted him refugee status but held back the permission to let him proceed to the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the seat of the Kagyu sect.

Perturbed over media reports that he was planning to return to Tibet, after collecting the “black crown”, from Rumtek, a spokesperson for the Karmapa, Tenzing Namgyal, said before carrying such reports, the facts should be checked.

“As stated earlier by the Karmapa, he fled Tibet to visit sacred Buddhist places in India and to complete his spiritual education and training in accordance with the unique Kagyu tradition,” he said adding that the Karmapa had made it clear that he would return to Tibet only with the Dalai Lama.

Regarding the contents of the letter left behind by the Karmapa in Lhasa, Mr Namgyal said the head of the Kagyu sect was aware of what he had written. He had written that since he had been refused permission for international travel, he was left with no option but to flee.

“Why would I want to retrieve the “black crown” from India and bring it back to China? The only purpose that would accomplish by doing so would be to place the black hat on Jiang Zemin’s head,” the Karmapa, had stated in his first interview. Making reference to the reports regarding the alleged attempt of the Karmapa to escape from the Gyutio Monastery, his spokesperson said Tibetan officials had already made a clarification and set the record straight. 

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Sabha meetings fail to draw villagers
Jagmeet Singh

Kumarhatti
Gram sabha meetings, a forum for people to redress their grievances, seem to have lost their importance if the attendance at the recently held third quarterly meetings is any indication.

Information available from 37 panchayats in Dharampur block and some nearby panchayats in Solan block indicates that in every second panchayat the quorum was incomplete. The quorum is essential to approve various activities in the panchayat like the allocation of government funds for projects besides informing villagers about matters relating to the implementation of resolutions passed at the previous meeting, approval of expenditure, pension cases, verification of work handed over to the panchayat, etc.

In Dharampur block, the quorum was complete in only 18 of the 37 panchayats. The gatherings were reported to be poor in the rest of the panchayats despite the presence of some senior officials of the district administration.

At the last meeting in July the quorum was complete in only nine panchayats in Dharampur block. Interestingly, even the presence of the Deputy Commissioner, Solan, in the Hudang (Kanda) panchayat did not help attract villagers. There was a similar situation at the Barog gram sabha meeting where the SDM, Solan, was also present. However, in the Nalka panchayat, one of the most backward panchayats in Dharampur block, nearly 110 villagers attended largely due to the efforts of a Dharampur block sub-inspector, who launched a door-to-door drive to bring them to the meeting.

The lack of adequate publicity regarding meetings, indifference of the government officials concerned and the vested interests of panchayat pradhans are among the reasons that keep villagers away from gram sabha meetings.

An official said, on condition of anonymity, that most of the pradhans are reluctant to reply to questions from villagers. If the quorum is not complete, the necessary approval for a piece of work is taken at the next meeting at which only one-fourth of the representatives of the registered families are needed to complete the quorum.

These days those who attend meetings usually have personal matters to settle, maintains a panchayat secretary. The holding of four meetings annually rather than two is the main reason for the poor attendance, say most of the panchayat pradhans. There is need to make participation compulsory by experts from government departments like Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Forests and Horticulture. Most of the problems of villagers relate to these departments and the presence of the experts may draw more persons to the meetings, says an official.

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MP to work for regional cooperation
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Mr Suresh Chandel is as unusual a character as are his ideas. Though from the next-door neighbourhood, he is not the typical type-caste politician, neither boisterous nor bloated with self-conscious air. Having risen from the grassroots, he occupies a bench in the Lok Sabha.

Not much may be known about him outside BJP circles, but he exudes confidence as he unfolds his plans. He represents the Hamirpur Parliamentary constituency of Himachal Pradesh.

Mr Chandel, 41, is a cut above the stereotyped politicians. More than party affiliations, it is the political networking that attracts him. His interest is to transgress geopolitical boundaries as well as mindset to initiate regional cooperation by involving neighbouring states, Punjab, Haryana and J and K in taking up both intra-state as well as bi-lateral development projects with Himachal Pradesh.

In an interview to TNS today, Mr Chandel said his experience was that villages and towns along the common boundaries of the states were the most ignored and neglected. The conditions there were pitiable. Those areas were like a no-man’s land. This called for a joint effort on the part of all states to care for the people of the border belt.

Likewise, to promote inter-state economic cooperation, joint projects must be taken up in such areas as hydel power generation, joint security, mutually beneficial infrastructural development schemes in terms of a common market for agricultural and horticultural produce, highways, bridges, rail links etc. Such ventures would be cost-effective and mutually beneficial to the people of the region, he explains.

“If the European Union can work in harmony, why cannot the states having common problems and needs pool in their resources and work for the common good of the region and the people?” he asks, adding, “We shall have to form pressure groups, approach the Centre for support and cut across political lines to draw up a regional, economic and development map for equitable socio-economic prosperity and progress’’. Therefore, Mr Chandel proposes to shortly convene a meeting of the MPs from these states and discuss his ideas. To him what is important is progress. Once a common mini-action plan is agreed upon, no matter which political party wins an election, the agenda to be pursued in the interest of the constituents would remain the same, he says.

Mr Chandel is optimistic that such a political venture would reduce political acrimony and set healthy political trends rather than MPS getting entangled in a web of allegations and accusations.

He reeled off statistics to show how he had used the MP Local Area Development Fund at his disposal. He has, thus far, sanctioned schemes worth Rs 6.10 crore. He also recounted his contribution to the undertaking of major hydro-power projects, his days as a student leader and later as an active worker of the BJP and how he rose to be the BJP President in Himachal Pradesh.

Having worked in the BJP organisational wing and now gaining experience in the legislative wing, Mr Chandel proposes to launch an “abhiyan’’ in his constituency to ensure all 634 panchayats had one or the other development project in hand, may it be a school, hospital, drinking water, link road, community centre, computerisation etc.

He has made it to the Lok Sabha twice, once in 1998 winning the seat from the Congress defeating Major-Gen Bikramjit Singh by 77,909 votes, and again in 1999 when he won by defeating the Congress candidate, Mr Ram Lal Thakur, by 1.29 lakh votes.

Unlike other MPs, Mr Chandel is worried today over the poor standard and quality of education and health care available to the people. As a disciplined party soldier, he denies any attempts at the “saffronisation” of education and justifies the deletion of objectionable portions from the history textbooks by the NCERT.

In the same breath, he strongly demands that New Delhi must take up with Dhaka the issue of migration of one lakh Hindus from Bangladesh into India. This is a major issue that merits attention because almost 5,000 Hindus trek into West Bengal every day, he adds.

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Probe sought into doc’s ‘misbehaviour’
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, December 1
Mr Harish Kumar Sharma, a trader of the Raura sector in a representation to the Health and Family Welfare Minister, has urged him to order an inquiry into the incident in which a doctor of the regional hospital here allegedly insulted and humiliated him and his wife who is a patient here in the hospital yesterday.

Mr Harish Kumar alleged that he had been going to the hospital continuously for the past seven days to meet the doctor for the check-up of his wife, Usha Devi. But every time he was told that either the doctor was “not in the hospital” or was “very busy” or was “very tired”.

Yesterday he found the doctor in the OPD examining patients. When the turn of his wife came the doctor lost his temper and threw the registration slip of his wife and her other papers. The doctor refused to see her and told them to get examined by some other doctor, Mr Harish Kumar alleged.

But when Mr Harish Kumar insisted that he should atleast see her the doctor asked both of them to get out of the room. Mr Harish Kumar further alleged that this doctor had misbehaved with many patients earlier also.

Mr Harish Kumar urged the Health Minister to investigate into the misbehaviour and ensure that such doctors do not misbehave with patients.

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Women to fight AIDS
Tribune News Service and Reporters

Shimla, December 1
Mahila mandals in Himachal Pradesh will be provided with condoms in a bid to involve women in fight against AIDS which has gripped at least 4,000 persons, including 9 children, in the state.

As many as 329 cases of the HIV have been identified, including, 91 with full-blown AIDS. Over 80 per cent HIV positive cases are in districts of Hamirpur, Kangra, Shimla, Bilaspur and Mandi.

AIDS has started spreading its tentacles even in the tribal area of Kinnaur where 4 patients have so far been identified.

Hamirpur and Bilaspur districts top the list with 87 and 52 AIDS cases respectively.

Presiding over the World AIDS Day function here today, the Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, said 43 HIV patients had been identified in Mandi district, while 41 each were identified in Shimla and Kangra districts. Solan and Una districts had 22 and 15 AIDS patients respectively. Kulu, Sirmour and Chamba districts had 9, 8 and 7 HIV patients respectively.

He said voluntary counselling and testing facilities for AIDS would be provided in all districts by the next year.

The Health Secretary, Mr Vineet Chaudhary, while replying to queries of participants said the suggestion for making available condoms in the mahila mandals was made by women representatives at a recently held conference of panchayat pradhans.

Mr Choudhary said many women panchayat members were of the opinion that women were hesitant to purchase condoms. They might be able to obtain these from the mahila mandals without hesitation, he added.

He said the state was not free from commercial sex as studies had revealed that the sex trade was going on along highways. There was a need for making people aware of safe sex.

Representatives of the military and various social organisations participated in the function.

KANGRA: World AIDS Day was observed by the local unit of the Rotary Club in collaboration with the Hargovind Khurana Biological Society at MCMDAV College on Saturday. Prof K.C. Gupta, president of the club, said multiple choice question test regarding awareness about AIDS was held.

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Society to oversee upkeep of War Memorial
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, December 1
With the formation of the War Memorial Service and Development Society, the War Memorial here, neglected till now, may get a face-lift.

The War Memorial also known as the Martyrs’ Memorial was dedicated to the people in 1977 but its upkeep was ignored. The names of 1680 martyrs, who sacrificed their lives during the Pakistani aggression in 1947-48, Sino-India war in 1962 and wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, are engraved on three-curved black marble walls in the centre of the memorial. The walls also bear the names of the 52 gallant martyrs of the Kargil operation.

The society, with district administration’s support, has been making efforts to improve maintenance of the memorial. “The formation of the society, is a humble beginning towards promotion, preservation and development of the memorial with certain conditions of upkeep and maintenance,” said Mr Prabodh Saxena, Deputy Commissioner, Kangra. He said no structural changes would be made inside the premises of the park, also receiving financial assistance.

The three black marble walls, rising from the circular pool, represent the three wings of the armed forces. The society will ensure that supreme sacrifices of the war heroes are not forgotten. The society also aims at organising seminars, lectures, conferences and publications to inculcate gallantry, and devotion to duty.

The Chairman of the society, Col M.G. Sharma, said that the War Memorial was in a state of neglect and hurting feelings of the people. We have tried to give it a face-lift and raise funds by charging an entrance ticket of Rs two. Fencing and lighting of the monument has been done after demarcating the land, with a beautification plan on the anvil, he added.

Col Sharma informed that the names of the 1680 martyrs were being repainted in golden letters as they had faded and were not legible. He said that the development and beautification plan includes rejuvenation of the models displayed, improving landscaping, adding more benches and providing desilting measures to keep water in the bowl clean. 

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Irregularities in food distribution
Ambika Sharma

Nalagarh, December 1
A case of irregularities in the distribution of nutritious diet to expectant mothers and small children through government-run agencies has come to light in the Ramshahr area of this tehsil.

It is being alleged that two women workers responsible for the distribution of nutritious diet to expectant mothers and small children in Baayla village of this tehsil were transporting the foodstuff provided to their respective homes in addition to providing only raw diet instead of the prescribed cooked one. The alleged irregularity came to light on November 21 with the recovery of two bags containing about 45 kg of rice stocked in the house of one villager, Devi Dayal, by the two workers. These bags bearing the seal of the government department concerned, were later consfiscated by the panchayat. It was learnt that the stocked rice was to be transported to the homes of the two workers.

The villagers also alleged that the two workers had been drawing foodstuff in excess of the required quota by projecting an increased number of beneficiaries. These irregularities had been pointed out by the panchayat time and again but the concerned department had been turning a deaf ear to the complaints. In the absence of any concrete evidence, the panchayat was unable to take any action against them. But the recovery of these two bags had lent support to the irregularities which had been pointed out time and again by various people.

The panchayat, while condemning this act in its November 27 meeting, has demanded an inquiry into the entire episode by the SDM or a magistrate. The guilty workers have been summoned by the panchayat on December 12.

Meanwhile, the departmental officials, on condition of anonymity, stated that there was a shortage of supervisors in the department who were supposed to keep a check on these workers and it was in their absence that these irregularities were being committed.

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5 houses gutted in Sarkaghat
Our Correspondent

Mandi, December 1
Four persons received serious burn injuries as five houses were reduced to ashes in a devastating fire in Rihali Tanda village in Sarkaghat subdivision of this district last year.

The houses belonged to Sukh Ram, Ranjit Singh, Nanak Chand, Lekh Ram and Munshi Ram. A loss of about Rs 15 lakh has been estimated.

By the time fire tenders reached the scene from Mandi and Hamirpur, the flames had consumed all houses.

The injured were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Bilaspur, from where they were referred to Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital, Shimla. The condition of three injured was said to be critical.

Eyewitnesses said the fire started from the kitchen and spread fast when the gas cylinder burst.

The local MLA, Mr Rangila Ram Rao, visited the village and gave Rs 3,000 to the victims. The district administration also disbursed Rs 2,000 each to the affected families.

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Accused in rape case denied bail
Our Correspondent

Chamba, December 1
Mr D.D. Sharma, Sessions Judge, here has reject the bail application of Baldev Singh superintendent of the Bal Ashram at Chilli in Churah tehsil in the district.

The police had arrested Baldev Singh under Sections 363, 366 and 376 of the IPC and under Section 14 of the Child Labour Act for allegedly raping an inmate of the orphan age school at Chilli where the accused was the Superintendent.

Other allegations included students being taken to his residential house at Supanpur village, Churah tehsil, and making them do his domestic work.

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9569 drivers challaned
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 1
As many as 9,569 drivers have been challaned for not using the dipper and other violations of the Motor Vehicles Act during the past eight days.

A spokesman of the police said a special campaign was launched in the state between November 22 to 30 against offences under Motor Vehicle Act. As may as1124 drivers were challaned for using pressure horns. A sum of Rs 5.12 lakh was realized as fine. He said the second phase of the campaign would be launched from December 25 to 31.

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Poll rolls ready for inspection
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, December 1
District Assistant Electoral Officer and Subdivisional Magistrate Rakesh Dhiman said electrol rolls for Kotkehloor and Bilaspur Sadar constituencies are ready at all polling stations and other offices concerned. Objections or complaints in respect thereof would be entertained in the same offices or office of Assitant Electoral Officer (Tehsildar) or S.D.M.’s office upto December 10. Objections and applications will be heard and disposed of on December 18. He added those who attained 18 years till January 1, 2002 can get themselves registered. Final lists of voters would be published on January 31, 2002, he added.

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10-year jail for possessing charas
Our Correspondent

Chamba, December 1
Mr D.D. Sharma, Sessions Judge, Chamba convicted Shamshad resident of Drebad village Jassourgarh in Pargna Churah tehsil of Chamba district for possessing 4 kg 270 gms charas. In another case Sunil Kumar resident of Ludhiana (Punjab) was convicted for possessing 2 kg charas. In another similar case, Jagdish Nath a sadhu was also convicted for possessing 250 grams of charas.

In all three separate cases, the Judge convicted the accused under Section-20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and sentenced them to 10 years and fined themselves Rs one lakh.

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Renuka Fair concludes
Our Correspondent

Nahan, December 1
The state-level Renuka Fair concluded after the traditional immersion of the palanquin of Lord Parshuram by thousands of devotees in Renuka Lake yesterday evening.

State Health Minister J.P. Nadda paid his obeisance to Lord Parshuram and Bhagwati Renuka.

During the six-day fair, no untoward incident was reported. Lakhs of people took a holy dip in the lake on the occasion of “Devothan Ekadeshi” on November 26th and on purnima on November 30.

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Hepatitis-B vaccination camp
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, December 1
Red Cross Society will organise special “Hepatitis-B” vaccination camps on December 16 and January 13 at Kisan Bhawan here. Concessional charge Rs 100 for children and Rs 150 for adults will be payable. Chief Medical Officer Doctor M.L. Mahajan said here yesterday. Those interested may get registered up to December 11 at Family Planning Bureau Raura and Diara dispensaries, boys and girls government senior secondary schools and also at Red Cross Bhawan in town here.

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