Tuesday, July 2, 2002, 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

HP raises support price of apple, mango
Shimla, July 1
The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today enhanced the support price of apple and mango from Rs 3.75 per kg to Rs 4 per Kg respectively under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) to benefit fruit growers in the state in the current year.

2 Principals at REC create confusion
Hamirpur, July 1
A piquant situation has developed at the local Regional Engineering College over two persons functioning as Principals of the college. 

Chamba region sans professional colleges
Chamba, July 1
A concrete proposal put forward by the Himachal Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, while answering queries of reporters during his recent visit to Chamba district that his government was open to the private sector starting professional colleges in the far-flung district of Chamba and would provide all possible help in the setting up of such professional institutions, has raised hopes of students and parents of this difficult alpine region.

HP to encourage vocational training
Hamirpur, July 1
The Himachal Pradesh Government is providing all possible help to encourage the setting up of educational institutions to provide vocational training in different trades in the state. 

Teachersí boycott hits admission work
Dharamsala, July 1
Admissions in GGDSD College Baijnath were hit today as teachers and staff boycotted work. They are protesting against the non-payment of salary for the past four months.



YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Shimla




EARLIER STORIES
 

Harrowing journey by HRTC bus
Dharamsala, July 1
Passengers travelling yesterday by Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus number HP-39-3499 from Delhi to Dharamsala had a traumatic experience when they were forced to walk more than a kilometre on the highway near Ropar. The bus belongs to the Dharamsala region which is the home town of the state Transport Minister, Mr Kishan Kapoor.

House panel visits HP
Shimla, July 1
A team of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Targeted Public Distribution System headed by Mr D.P. Yadav reviewed the implementation of Public Distribution System and other welfare schemes in the state at a meeting, here today.

Kin of missing govt employees to get grant
Shimla, July 1
The Himachal Government has extended the facility of ex gratia grant to the family members of those government employees who are reported missing. To avail the grant the family must lodge an FIR with the police station concerned and obtain a report that the person could not be traced. 

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HP raises support price of apple, mango
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 1
The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today enhanced the support price of apple and mango from Rs 3.75 per kg to Rs 4 per Kg respectively under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) to benefit fruit growers in the state in the current year.

Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal, presided over the meeting. Giving details of the cabinet decisions, Chief Secretary, Harsh Gupta, said that the scheme for apple would be implemented from July 20 to November 15 and fruit collection centres would be set up in the apple-producing areas in different district.

He said for mango the scheme would be implemented from July 1 to August 15 and fruit collection centres would be opened in different mango-growing areas of the state.

The Chief secretary said the procurement of apple and mango would be made only from those orchardists who possess horticulture card and no fruit would be procured from the contractors and other involved in the trade. Apple will be procured in gunny bags at various apple collection centres and mango will be procured only in baskets and crates having capacity of 12 kg. and 5 per cent extra fruit would be procured from the growers to meet the evaporation and transportation losses for both apple and mango.

The procurement of processing grade apples and mangoes under the scheme will be done under the control and supervision of HIMFED and H.P. Agro Industries Corporation through their staff as well as the staff of Horticulture Department.

The Chief Secretary said that the cabinet gave approval for the opening of six Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) at Shalai, Sainj, Kumarsain, Bani, Bagana and Dhamatta from the academic session commencing from August 2002 with a view to meeting the growing demand of skilled manpower in the industrial and hydro power sectors in the state thereby ensuring job opportunities to the youth in the state. He said it was expected that with the opening of these ITI s in the remote and backward areas of the state the long felt need of the local people to acquire technical skills at affordable costs and to extend their job opportunities will be met to a large extent.

The cabinet approved opening of nine new Ayurvedic Health Centres at Kotpalai in district Kangra, in the memory of Shaheed, Jagjit Singh, at Pandal district Solan in memory of Shaheed Pradeep Kumar Kaushal, at Bauhat-Kasol in district Bilaspur, at Rora-Dhati district Kangra, at Tikru district Mandi, at Kasheri in district Kullu, at Rampur in old hospital building in Shimla district, at Anji district Solan and at Bari-Razadian in Bilaspur district. The cabinet also approved creation of 36 posts of various categories including nine Ayurvedic Medical Officers for these institutions.

The cabinet also gave approval for creation and filling of posts of 231 anganwari workers and 231 anganwari helpers for opening 231 anganwari centres in 33 towns of the state under the ICDS programme of the social, women and schedule castes welfare department as approved by the Government of India within the ambit of the 100 per cent centrally sponsored scheme.

The cabinet also approved the proposal for carrying out amendments in Section 3 of the Himachal Pradesh Courts Act, 1970 (No.23 of 1976) by promulgation of an ordinance as the state Legislative Assembly is not in session in order to implement the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of India in this respect. On the promulgation of the said ordinance the classes of the subordinate courts in the state shall be 1. The court of district, 2 the court of civil judge (Senior Division), and 3 the court of civil judge (junior division).

The cabinet approved grant of non-practicing allowance (NPA) @ 25 per cent of basic pay to ayurvedic doctors of all categories from April 1st 2002 who were in receipt of fixed NPA. This would put additional financial burden of Rs 3.75 crores on state exchequer annually. The ayurvedic doctors in receipt of fixed NPA ranging from Rs 400 to Rs 600 per month earlier.

The cabinet also approved issuance of an ordinance for making amendments to the Himachal Pradesh Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, `1972 to stop the illegal operation of personal motor vehicles as commercial vehicle by proposing patently of Rs 2000 per seat subject to a maximum of Rs 30,000 for first offence and Rs 4000 per seat subject to a maximum of Rs 50,000 for subsequent offence. This has been done in the light of increasing practice of using personal motorcars on commercial basis without having the relevant permits, registrations etc. to ply vehicles as taxis.

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2 Principals at REC create confusion
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 1
A piquant situation has developed at the local Regional Engineering College over two persons functioning as Principals of the college.

Dr R.C.Sharma was appointed as the Principal of the college on a regular basis last year. However, after the decision of the Union Human Resources Ministry to convert the college into a deemed university, Dr Sharma sent his resignation to the state government on June 30 last year with one monthís notice and proceeded on leave. The resignation has been accepted by the government for long.

In his absence, the state government through a notification dated June 25/26,2002 appointed Dr S.K.Bhowmik, senior most Professor of the college, as the acting Principal of the college as Dr Sharma didnít join duty long time after vacations.

However, in the last week of June 2002, Dr Sharma resumed duty as the Principal of the college and was still signing the important college documents as the Principal of the college. He had a long meeting with the faculty members of the college as well as officers of other wings of the college.

Dr Bhowmik today met Dr Sharma to take over as the Principal. However, Dr Sharma told him to wait for a few more days.

The college staff is helplessly watching the situation. One of them said when Dr Sharma had submitted his resignation and the state government had accepted it, there was no reason for him to still continue in the office. Moreover, under the rules, the finance bills and other important documents would be signed by Dr Bhowmik and not by Dr Sharma as per the notification of the state government.

However, others say that Dr Sharma can hold this post till July 10, when his one-month notice to leave the job expires.

The state government is upset over the latest developments in the college which would become a National Institute of Technology from August this year. A director will then head the institute and not the Principal. That was the reason that Dr Sharma was compelled to leave the college and go back to IIT, Kanpur, as Professor in the Material Science Department.

Incidentally, instead of the college authorities, the Central Government organised the entrance test for the college this year through the CBSE.

Dr Sharma was not available for comments as he shunned the Press.

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Chamba region sans professional colleges
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 1
A concrete proposal put forward by the Himachal Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, while answering queries of reporters during his recent visit to Chamba district that his government was open to the private sector starting professional colleges in the far-flung district of Chamba and would provide all possible help in the setting up of such professional institutions, has raised hopes of students and parents of this difficult alpine region.

In the past over 50 years, a lot of progress has been made in the region in the form of infrastructure, hydroelectric projects, road, bridges etc., but as far as education is concerned little seems to have done.

Chamba is rated among the most backward area in the field of education and it has the lowest literacy rate among all other districts of Himachal.

People having reasonable experience in professional fields, opine that there is a lack of awareness among the majority of people, including students and the parents, regarding professional education.

There is a lack of information and communication in this regard. Many people do not even know how to apply for these professional courses. The reason for this is that there is no professional institutions in the region.

The nearest institutions of these disciplines are in Kangra and Hamirpur districts which are almost more than 250 km away from most of the parts of Chamba district. During occasional visits to interior-most parts of Himachal Pradesh, this reporter came across many good and brilliant students who totally didnít even know how to get admission in professional institutions.

Taking into account the tough geographical conditions of the district, there is an urgent need to set up a professional institutions like engineering college or at least a polytechnic and a medical institution in the Chamba region.

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HP to encourage vocational training
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 1
The Himachal Pradesh Government is providing all possible help to encourage the setting up of educational institutions to provide vocational training in different trades in the state. †Chief Minister,†Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, said this while addressing a massive rural crowd at Tarkwari village of Hamirpur district last evening.

The Chief Minister earlier inaugurated a new complex of the Swami Vivekananda College of Education building constructed at a cost of Rs 52 lakh. He said in the past four years of the present state government regime stress was laid on giving preference to educational institutions to provide various vocational courses to the youth of the state so that they could get employment opportunities and also start their own ventures.

He said International Institute of Information Technology would be inaugurated by next month to provide admission to students in information technology of international standard which would be functioning under the private sector.

He said four dental colleges had been opened in the state besides efforts were afoot to increase seats of Shimla Dental College from 65 to 100. He said matter regarding Kala Amb Engineering College was also being pursued for getting it settled early so that students from Himachal did not have to go outside the state for getting admission in engineering.

Mr Dhumal said REC at Hamirpur had been upgraded to National Institute of Technology and would be one of 14 institutes in the country imparting training in various courses. The Chief Minister said the budget of education related activities had been increased from Rs 356 crore to Rs 960 crore for the current financial year. He said Rs 495 crore was being spent on the construction of roads and bridges in the state, which included Rs 150 crore under PMGSY.

Criticising the previous government for discriminating lower areas in the matter of development, Mr Dhumal said most of the lower areas of the state were not provided adequate funds for carrying out development activities. He said his government had succeeded in bridging the gap of lower and upper areas and uniform development was ensured.

The Chief Minister warned the people against the false propaganda being made by various political parties and said they should compare the development, which their areas witnessed during past four years as compared to 47 years of the previous government.

Mr I.D. Dhiman, Education Minister said the Government was committed to providing people of the state quality education for which it had framed a comprehensive policy adding that a number of scholarships were being provided to the students by spending Rs 9 crore under various such schemes, besides, providing financial help to students of weaker sections of the society.

Dr Vinod Sharma, Chairman, Swami Vivekananda Educational Society welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries and also detailed the activities of the college.

Urmil Thakur, Parliamentary Secretary and Ms Malvika Pathania, chairperson, HP State Women Commission were also present.

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Teachersí boycott hits admission work
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, July 1
Admissions in GGDSD College Baijnath were hit today as teachers and staff boycotted work. They are protesting against the non-payment of salary for the past four months. Today was the first day of admissions for new academic session.

The teachers have been agitating since several years as the college management had failed to pay them salaries regularly. The college is on the list of educational institutions which get 95 per cent aid from the state government but due to financial irregularities in the past, the aid has not been forthcoming on regular basis. The teachers and the staff had served notice on the management that in case the salaries for past four months were not paid by July 1, they will not attend to admission work. The students seeking admission faced difficulty as there was no one to guide or help them. Principal, D.C. Prashar himself accepted admission forms but could not attend to the large number. This led to sharp fall in number of students admitted today.

In another development, the president of the GGDSD Lecturers Association has served a legal notice on the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Shimla and the Principal of GGDSD College Baijnath for failing to fulfil the agreement made in March 2001 about regularisation of staff Provident Fund so that updated statement could be issued informing the employees of the money deposited in their P.F. accounts.

The notice states that as per agreement of March 23, 2001, the college authorities were to finalise the accounts pertaining to years 1982-1993. Neither the college has done so, nor the RPF Commissioner has initiated any action against the college for default.

When contacted, Principal, D.C. Prashar said the matter had been taken up and he expects the release of aid from government within few days. He said that salary arrears will be cleared when the funds were received and he had intimated this fact to the agitating teachers also.

Mr Prashar said that the matter regarding financial irregularities had been blown out of proportion. ďThere are procedural lapses and no financial irregularities, he added. He said auditors are again going through the records to set things right.
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Harrowing journey by HRTC bus
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, July 1
Passengers travelling yesterday by Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus number HP-39-3499 from Delhi to Dharamsala had a traumatic experience when they were forced to walk more than a kilometre on the highway near Ropar. The bus belongs to the Dharamsala region which is the home town of the state Transport Minister, Mr Kishan Kapoor.

According to passengers, the problem developed soon after the bus left the Chandigarh bus stand at 12 noon. The tyres of the bus, which were in bad shape, started leaking air at regular intervals. The spare tyre, which is a must on all long route buses, was already punctured. No sooner had the bus driver got one tyre repaired then another developed a puncture. Both rear tyres got punctured near Ropar and the passengers, including women and children, were forced to walk more than a kilometre in the hot sun. Somehow the bus reached Dehra after covering 200 km in more than eight hours. Dehra is the headquarters of the HRTC depot and the driver requested the officials there for a spare tyre explaining his problem. However, he was flatly refused any help. Somehow the bus covered a distance of about 20 km till Ranital. Sorely tired and irritated passengers tried to contact the Regional Manager, HRTC, at Dharamsala who was not available. The officials at the bus stand advised the driver to somehow bring the bus to Dharamsala. A normal bus journey from Chandigarh to Kangra takes less than seven hours but this bus covered the distance in almost 11 hours.

According to passengers, not only were they made to suffer due to the dilapidated condition of the bus but the inordinate delay resulted in their missing connecting buses forcing them to cancel further journey. The situation was all the more grim for unescorted woman who had to catch buses for onward journey. As mid-night was approaching, most local buses had already left. According to a woman passenger, they were asked by the driver to shift to another bus coming to Dharamsala from Shimla but this bus also had a similar problem on the way forcing them to again shift to the first bus. She said the HRTC was playing with the lives of the passengers by making such buses ply on long routes, particularly the national highway, where a burst tyre can result in a serious accident.

When contacted, the Regional Manager, HRTC, Mr R.S. Thapa, instead of owning responsibility for the bad state of buses under his charge laid the blame at the doors of higher officials. Mr Thapa said the entire HRTC fleet was facing problems due to a shortage of tyres. According to him, the company which supplies tyres to the corporation is not able to meet the demand leading to this situation. He could not give any reasonable explanation as to why the buses were not carrying spare tyres.

Some passengers have threatened to take the HRTC, Dharamsala, to court seeking compensation for the harassment and failure of services after it charged them.
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House panel visits HP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 1
A team of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Targeted Public Distribution System headed by Mr D.P. Yadav reviewed the implementation of Public Distribution System and other welfare schemes in the state at a meeting, here today.

The committee will also prepare a report after completion of its tour. On its way to Shimla the committee visited the Central Ware House Corporation Godown at Solan yesterday.

It has appreciated the efforts of state government in providing foodgrains to the poor in every nook and corner of the state.

Mr Harsh Gupta, the Chief Secretary, detailed various activities being undertaken to ensure proper and adequate supply of foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System, especially to the poor.

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Kin of missing govt employees to get grant
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 1
The Himachal Government has extended the facility of ex gratia grant to the family members of those government employees who are reported missing.

To avail the grant the family must lodge an FIR with the police station concerned and obtain a report that the person could not be traced. It would also have to furnish an Indemnity Bond stating that the grant payment would be adjusted against the payments due to the employee in case he appeared and made a claim, an official release said.

The family could apply to the government for the grant after one year from the date of disappearance in accordance with the prescribed procedure for the sanction of the grant.

Only cases of disappearance under normal circumstances would be entertained and not those where officials disappeared after committing fraud. The date of disappearance of the employee would be reckoned from the date of the FIR and after one year from this date the benefits of the grant would be reckoned, it added.

The government has also enhanced the permissible amount of expenditure incurred on obsequies or transportation of the body of the deceased to Rs 5,000 or actual expenditure incurred. Instructions in this respect have been issued to all departments.

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Dhumal hails Advaniís elevation
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 1
Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Himachal Chief Minister, has congratulated Mr L.K. Advani on his elevation to the post of Deputy Prime Minister of India. In a message sent to Mr Advani, he said that country would immensely benefit from his vast experience and statesmanship.

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Body with face burnt found
Our Correspondent

Nahan, July 1
The Paonta police today found a body with a burnt face from a house in Sataun village, 60 km from here.

Mr S.P.S. Verma, SP, Sirmaur, has left for the spot to take the stock of situation. Saying that it was a case of murder, he added that the body has been wrapped in plastic cover and the face burnt so much that it was difficult to recognise the body.

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13 sacked for flouting 2-child norm
Our Correspondent

Nahan, July 1
Mr Onkar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Sirmaur, today dismissed 13 Panchayati Raj representatives of the district under Section 122 (1) of the Panchayati Raj Act, Himachal Pradesh, and declare the posts vacant.

Under the Section, the Deputy Commissioner can dismiss any Panchayati Raj representative if it is proved that he/she has fathered or mothered more than two children after June 1, 2001. The dismissed representatives include a president, four vice-presidents and eight ward memebrs of panchayats. 

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