Thursday, December 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India




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HP says no to Punjabi in schools
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 12
The Himachal Pradesh government today rejected the recommendation of the National Commission for Minorities to introduce Punjabi as a subject from class VI in all government schools in the state.

The decision was reportedly taken at a meeting of the state Cabinet held here under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal.

The Cabinet is also learnt to have rejected the commissionís order for reserving 1 per cent seats for Kashmiri migrants in professional institutions and universities.

The orders of the commission had reportedly come following representations from various social and religious groups.

It is learnt that it has been decided to refer these issues to the Assembly in its coming winter session as only the House is competent to finally reject the orders of the commission.

The commission had reportedly recommended that instead of teaching Punjabi as an elective subject in classes IX and X, the state government should start teaching the subject from class VI.

The state government was already teaching Punjabi in schools adjoining Punjab and had decided to provide teachers in such schools at other places where at least 20 students came forward to learn the subject. A scheme was under way to start teaching Punjabi in 150 schools in a phased manner, sources said.

It is learnt that the government has taken the plea that introducing Punjabi as an additional subject from classes VI to VIII would not only put additional burden of about Rs 2.50 crore on the exchequer, but also create heartburn among other minorities as already there was pressure for introducing Bhoti and Urdu in a similar manner in schools.

Sanskrit was being taught as the third language in schools after Hindi and English.

An official spokesman said the Cabinet decided to extend for three years the financial assistance scheme for the hop growers so as to ensure a minimum level of price for their produce. The scheme was introduced in 1998 and was to expire this year. It had now been extended till 2004.

A minimum price of Rs 130 per kg of dried hops would be paid till 2002 and thereafter it would be increased to Rs 142 per kg in 2003 and Rs 150 per kg in 2004. The scheme will be implemented by the state government in collaboration with the Delhi-based messers, Aromatrix Flora Ltd.

The spokesman said the decision would go a long way in reviving the hop industry and would benefit about 800 hop growers The production of hops is expected to increase to 120 tonnes in 2004-05 from 39 tonnes at present.

The Cabinet decided that all shops and stalls constructed by the municipalities would be auctioned for a period not exceeding 25 years in the first instance. The rent would be increased by 10 per cent of the amount charged at the time of signing the lease after every five years

The Cabinet approved the Municipal (1st amendment) Bill, 2001, to cover various aspects which have since been adopted in the Panchayati Raj Act and the Municipal Act and also cover the latest electoral practices with reference to conduct of elections to various bodies. The post of Divisional Commissioner has been abolished.Back

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