Wednesday, July 10, 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 Cabinet relaxes building norms
Shimla, July 9
In yet another decision which could convert the few remaining green patches in the main hill stations of the state into a concrete jungle, the Himachal Cabinet today allowed the construction of residential buildings in the banned core, restricted and other areas in main towns.

Himachalís aid for martyrsí kin best: CM
Shimla, July 9
Himachal Pradesh has provided the best economic package to the families of martyrs of Operation Vijay and other operations and spent Rs 7 crore on rehabilitation of families of the martyrs since May, 1999.

Tabo Gompa is safe, says expert
Shimla, July 9
There is no threat to the 1000-year-old Tabo Gompa due to the cracking of a wooden beam in the main prayer hall. The technical expert from the Chandigarh office of the Archaeological Survey of India, which looks after the monument, carried out an inspection of the hall and put in place temporary props to prevent any further damage to the beam. 

Anti-encroachment law to be discussed today
Dharamsala, July 9
The new encroachment regularisation law will be discussed with officials, public representatives and members of youth clubs and mahila mandals of Kangra district at a series of meetings being organised here. This was disclosed by the Revenue Minister, Dr Rajan Sushant today.

Fruit growers meet Dhumal
Shimla, July 9
Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, said today that his government had taken several steps to strengthen the economy of the fruit growers like increasing the support price of apple and other fruits, improvement of roads, setting up of regulated markets and construction of Kisan Bhavan in Delhi.

 

 

YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Dharamsala
Shimla
Solan

 

EARLIER STORIES
 

Chandresh to contest from Dharamsala
Dharamsala, July 9
The declaration by the All-India Mahila Congress President, Mrs Chandresh Kumari, that she will contest the next Vidhan Sabha elections from Dharamsala, is being vehemently opposed by many senior Congress leaders belonging to this constituency. 

Orphanage sans facilities
Chamba, July 9
The orphanage in the suburbs of Bharmour in the district is housed in a building which lacks toilets and bathrooms. The rooms and kitchenette stink. There are no facilities for indoor and outdoor games in the orphanage complex. There is no provision for imparting coaching to the inmates in any discipline.

Two killed in car accident
Dharamsala, July 9
Two youths were killed and three injured when the car in which they were travelling met with an accident late last night. The accident occurred about 70 km from here on the Pathankot-Manali highway.

HPSEB employees stage dharna
Shimla, July 9
The employees of the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board staged a dharna in front of Kumar house headquarters of the board, in protest against the failure of the management for regularising the services of the eligible daily wage workers.

School staff strike work
Kangra, July 9
More than 1,200 employees of 58 government recognised and aided schools today resorted to a pen-down strike and abstained from teaching in protest against the non-disbursement of their salaries by June 30 as was agreed upon by the government in writing during a meeting with representatives of their union on March 8 this year.

Tourists stranded in Manali
Manali, July 9
A large number of domestic and foreign tourists remained stranded here owing to the ongoing strike of taxi operators and auto-rickshaw operators which entered its third consecutive day today. The foreign tourists who had planned to leave for Leh Ladakh and the tribal belt of Lahaul and Spiti by jeeps were put to great inconvenience since the taxis remained off the roads.

Quarry threat to temple
Chamba, July 9
The Trilochen Mahadev temple complex near Dharwala, about 28 km from Chamba town, is facing a serious threat from the local slate quarry.

Himachal doctors threaten stir
Dharamsala, July 9
The Himachal Medical Officers Association has criticised the state bureaucracy of not implementing the announcement made by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal about giving additional increments to postgraduate specialist doctors.

Drivers strike work against police action
Shimla, July 9
Almost all government vehicles in the state remained off the roads today as drivers and conductors of the government and semi-government undertakings started an indefinite strike.

ICAR to set up agri-clinic in Solan
Solan, July 9
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has decided to set up an agri clinic, one of the only six such state of the art facilities proposed to be set up in the country this year, in this district. This was announced by the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, at a public meeting after laying the foundation stone of a Kisan Bhawan at Parmar Universityís Research Station at Dedgharat, about 12 km from here yesterday.

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HP Cabinet relaxes building norms
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 9
In yet another decision which could convert the few remaining green patches in the main hill stations of the state into a concrete jungle, the Himachal Cabinet today allowed the construction of residential buildings in the banned core, restricted and other areas in main towns.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet at its meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Prof P.K.Dhumal, the Chief Minister, apparently to woo the electorate. The towns in which the construction has been allowed in the banned areas are Shimla, Dharamsala, Dalhousie and Manali. Residential buildings up to two storeys would be allowed and the minimum plot in the core area shall be 250 sqm.

In the rules for restricted areas in which presently two storeys plus one visible parking floor had been allowed have now been amended to permit construction maximum of three storeys plus one visible parking floor for residential building and four storeys plus one mandatory parking floor for hotel, commercial and government/semi-government buildings. The minimum prescribed plot area for residential, hotel and commercial/government and semi-government buildings shall be 150 sq metres, 1000 sq metres and 250 sq metres, respectively.

In the other areas where presently effectively two storeys plus one visible parking floor was allowed, under the amended rules four storeys plus one visible parking floor for residential buildings and four storeys plus one mandatory parking floor for hotel/commercial/government and semi-government buildings will be permissible.

The increase in number of storeys shall be subject to fulfillment of maximum floor area ratio which would be one for core areas, 1.50 for residential buildings, 1.75 for hotels and two for commercial government and semi-government buildings in restrict area and 1.75 for residential and hotels.

Decision on the construction of buildings along national highways and state highways with elements of hill architecture, material and slopping roof has also been taken.

The Cabinet also gave approval for constituting Manikaran special area development authority under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner, Kulu for overall development of the area falling under its jurisdiction. The setting up of this authority would go a long way in systemic and planned development of Manikaran which is an important tourists and religious place.

It also gave state guarantee for the loan amounting to Rs 14.10 crore to be raised from Power Finance Corporation for providing electronics meters to consumers in the circles which could not be included under the accelerated power development programme. The division to be covered are Rampur, Rohru, Kangra, Dalhousie, Kulu, Mandi, Una and Bilaspur.

Approval was given for filling up of 15 per cent posts of constable in the Police Department, forest guard in the Forest Department and jail wardens in the Prison Department amongst the Home Guards.

The Cabinet also approved the regularisation of 43 ad hoc college lecturers by considering them as fresh appointees and placing them at the tailend of the existing seniority lit. It also approved further that the decision of the high court will be final in this matter and those lecturers who have filed appeal before the Himachal Pradesh Administrative Tribunal will withdraw their cases.

It reviewed its earlier decision regarding the allotment of hydel projects from 5 mw to 25 mw to independent power producers (IPPís) and decided to assign projects already advertised without preparation of detailed project reports (DPRís) and obtaining clearances.

It was decided that in future the IPPís would have the option to prepare the DPRís themselves. They would also be free to get the DPRís prepared and clearances obtained from the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) by paying appropriate charges. Also a part of the work could be assigned to the board like conducting surveys, preparing feasibility reports and obtaining clearances. In a nutshell, the Cabinet decided to have Flexible Approach in this regard.

Earlier it had been decided that for projects to be offered to independent power producers the DPRís and all the clearances would be obtained by HIMURJA or the board. The decision had to be reviewed due to practical problems and non-availability of resources for preparing the project reports.

The Cabinet approved the memorandum of understanding to be signed between the Managing Trustees of the Vivekanand Medical Research Trust, Palampur and the Secretary, Health, to the government of Himachal Pradesh for the transfer of an amount of Rs 4.21 crore from the old trust to new trust so that the work on this medical institute could be expedited.

It was also decided that the Health Minister and the Secretary, Health, will represent the state government on its governing body.

It also approved the signing of a protocol of intent between the state and the Canadian Government Corporation for the development of the Kashang hydel project. It was proposed to sign the protocol of intent shortly in Shimla.

The Cabinet in another decision gave approval for converting the newly established Industrial Training Institute at Banni in Hamirpur district into Army Industry Training Institute for imparting technical training to the ex-servicemen of the state. It also decided further to contribute an amount of Rs 1 crore for it in the shape of land building and equipments. An amount of Rs 2.50 crore will be provided by the Army as corpus fund for running it. However, it was further decided that admission shall be made during the current year from the civilian candidates as per the programmes already announced.

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Himachalís aid for martyrsí kin best: CM
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 9
Himachal Pradesh has provided the best economic package to the families of martyrs of Operation Vijay and other operations and spent Rs 7 crore on rehabilitation of families of the martyrs since May, 1999.

Presiding over the third meeting of the Chief Minister Sainik Welfare Fundís Management and Administration Committee here yesterday. Mr P.K. Dhumal, added that 268 soldiers were killed and 18 injured in these operations.

The Chief Ministerís Sainik Welfare Fund was created during Operation Vijay. A sum of Rs 13.35 crore has been deposited in the fund so far. Out of which Rs 7 crore has been spent on providing relief to the families of the martyrs and disabled. The balance has been deposited in the bank.

Mr Dhumal said that Himachal was the first state to provide an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the 52 families of Operation Vijay martyrs and up to Rs 2.5 lakh to those who were injured. He said that Rs 3 lakh each had been given to the families of soldiers who were killed in Operation Rakshak and Operation Parakram. A sum of Rs 1 lakh assistance had been given to the families of soldiers para-military forces who lost their lives in these operations. One dependent of each martyr of Operation Vijay has been provided employment besides free education to their children up to the graduation level. He said that 15 wounded soldiers were provided ex gratia. The government had given Rs 25,000 each to the dependents of each soldier who was killed in active service after May, 1999, due to other causes like accidents, snake bites and illness.

Lt Gen H.S. Kanwar of Western Command appreciated the efforts of the state governmentís steps had raised the morale of the soldiers.

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Tabo Gompa is safe, says expert
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 9
There is no threat to the 1000-year-old Tabo Gompa due to the cracking of a wooden beam in the main prayer hall.

The technical expert from the Chandigarh office of the Archaeological Survey of India, which looks after the monument, carried out an inspection of the hall and put in place temporary props to prevent any further damage to the beam. He has submitted his report on the basis of which the engineers plan to replace the damaged beam.

The Deputy Superintending Archaeologist said that there was no cause for worry and the monastery was safe. There was no live load on the beam and it was only supporting the roof. Moreover, Spiti was a cold desert area and there was hardly any precipitation during the monsoon to threaten the structure.

Of course, load would be there on the roof during the winter when the valley had heavy snow. However, the ASI would be losing no time in replacing the beam. It had also started searching for suitable timber for the purpose.

Efforts were being made to procure suitable timber from the Himachal State Forest Corporation. The required beam, as per the existing standards, was of unusual size. However, the engineers were sure that the corporation would be able to provide it.

Cracks first came to notice when Sonam Norbu, the Lama, heard a sound on July 2. Subsequently, cracks were observed on the beam above the idol of the presiding deity.

The monastery, which completed 1,000 years of its existence in 1996, is famous for its wall paintings and ancient idols. The state government has been trying to promote it as a Buddhist destination to attract foreign tourists.

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Anti-encroachment law to be discussed today
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, July 9
The new encroachment regularisation law will be discussed with officials, public representatives and members of youth clubs and mahila mandals of Kangra district at a series of meetings being organised here. This was disclosed by the Revenue Minister, Dr Rajan Sushant today.

According to Dr Sushant, first meeting in the district would be organised on July 10 at Nurpur in which people from Nurpur, Jwali, Indora and Fatehpur tehsils would participate. On July 11, a meeting would be organised, Shahpur and Harchakkian tehsils would take part.

The third meeting would be held at Dhaliara in which officials, public representatives and other people from Dehra, Khundian, Jaswan Kotla and Rakkar tehsils would participate. The last meeting for the residents public representation of Baijnath, Palampur, Jaisinghpur and sub-tehsils of Multhan, Dheera and Thural would be organised at Palampur on July 13, he said.

The Revenue Minister said revenue officials, forest officials and other tehsil-level officials would participate in these meetings where detailed information about the new encroachment regularisation law would be given to the people.

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Fruit growers meet Dhumal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 9
Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, said today that his government had taken several steps to strengthen the economy of the fruit growers like increasing the support price of apple and other fruits, improvement of roads, setting up of regulated markets and construction of Kisan Bhavan in Delhi.

Addressing a deputation of fruit growers from the Rohru area, led by Mr Khushi Ram Balnahta, Vice-Chairman of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation, he said the HPMC had procured 77,000 tonnes of apple through its procurement centres in 1998 when the state had a bumper crop and every penny for the apple procured was paid to the growers. He said this was for the first time that payments to the growers were made well in time. Besides cartons, fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides were being provided to the fruit growers on subsidised rates to strengthen their economy.

He lambasted the Congress for terming the enhancement in the support price as a political gimmick. He said big orchardists should see to it that the incentives meant for the small and marginal growers reached them.

The deputation thanked the Chief Minister for increasing the support price and discussed certain problems of their area.

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Chandresh to contest from Dharamsala
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, July 9
The declaration by the All-India Mahila Congress President, Mrs Chandresh Kumari, that she will contest the next Vidhan Sabha elections from Dharamsala, is being vehemently opposed by many senior Congress leaders belonging to this constituency. Mrs Chandresh Kumari made this announcement before mediapersons yesterday. Though vocal in their criticism of Mrs Chandresh Kumari, these leaders, however, did not go on record.

The Mahila Congress chief had lost the seat in 1993 by a narrow margin. Her defeat was engineered by certain influential Congress leaders who were not ready to accept her as their leader and feared that due to her proximity to Central leaders, she would call the shots. Despite her defeat, she not only was able to get a Rajya Sabha nomination in 1996, but also became the President of the All-India Mahila Congress.

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Orphanage sans facilities
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 9
The orphanage in the suburbs of Bharmour in the district is housed in a building which lacks toilets and bathrooms. The rooms and kitchenette stink. There are no facilities for indoor and outdoor games in the orphanage complex. There is no provision for imparting coaching to the inmates in any discipline.

Fiftyone inmates aged between 6 and 18 years living in the orphanage go to government schools nearby to study.

The warden of the orphanage, Mr Roshan Lal, says the building belongs to an other department and is, therefore, in a state of neglect. The orphanage gets Rs 5 lakh as earmarked budget annually from the state government.

The Resident Commissioner of Bharmour, Mr Rakesh Kanwar, maintains that Rs 3 lakh is provided every year to this orphanage as additional grant.

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Two killed in car accident
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, July 9
Two youths were killed and three injured when the car in which they were travelling met with an accident late last night. The accident occurred about 70 km from here on the Pathankot-Manali highway.

According to reports, Capt Sumeet Vaid, and his friend Sanjay Khanka were going to Manali with some others.

It is reported that the driver lost control of the car.

The injured and the bodies were brought to Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College Hospital here last night. The injured are said to be out of danger.

Transport Minister Kishan Kapoor was one of the first persons to reach the hospital. The courts suspended work today and work at the state Consumers Forum was also affected.

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HPSEB employees stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 9
The employees of the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board staged a dharna in front of Kumar house headquarters of the board, in protest against the failure of the management for regularising the services of the eligible daily wage workers.

The dharna was jointly organised by various unions affiliated to the Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh, CITU and INTUC. Mr Hira Lal, president, of the daily wage workers union, said while the BJP had promised to regularise the workers after five years of service but in the board even those who had completed eight years of service, had not be regularised. There were over 500 such workers. The protestors also demanded bonus for all categories of employees, in accordance with the judgement of the Supreme Court and regularisation of work charges for, employees. Besides, the service as daily wager should be taken into consideration for the purpose of pension after regularisation, they demanded.

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School staff strike work
Our Correspondent

Kangra, July 9
More than 1,200 employees of 58 government recognised and aided schools today resorted to a pen-down strike and abstained from teaching in protest against the non-disbursement of their salaries by June 30 as was agreed upon by the government in writing during a meeting with representatives of their union on March 8 this year.

The spokesman for the HP Government recognised and Aided School Employees Union, Mr Sanjeev Kapoor, told mediapersons here that the strike was complete and peaceful. He said the employees wore black badges and held gate meetings outside their schools during which they raised anti-government slogans.

The employees today urged the Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, to get all sanctioned posts filled in aided schools by the beginning of the session as these schools were not in a position to appoint teachers due to the paucity of funds and complications of government rules which was adversely affecting the students. Mr Kapoor threatened that if their salaries were not disbursed immediately, the employees would resort to a state-level agitation in support of their demands.

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Tourists stranded in Manali
Our Correspondent

Manali, July 9
A large number of domestic and foreign tourists remained stranded here owing to the ongoing strike of taxi operators and auto-rickshaw operators which entered its third consecutive day today. The foreign tourists who had planned to leave for Leh Ladakh and the tribal belt of Lahaul and Spiti by jeeps were put to great inconvenience since the taxis remained off the roads. A strike has also put to inconvenience a large number of domestic tourists coming from the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi who wanted to go for sight-seeing.

Meanwhile, members of Manali Hoteliersí Union, Beopar Mandal and Taxi Operators Union held a joint emergency meeting to find out an amicable solution to the problem arising out of the plying of 35-seater buses on the Manali-Rohtang road. The representatives of the Manali Hoteliersí Union and Beopar Mandal also met the SDM Manali.

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Quarry threat to temple
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 9
The Trilochen Mahadev temple complex near Dharwala, about 28 km from Chamba town, is facing a serious threat from the local slate quarry.

A large number of pilgrims visit the temple complex located on the right bank of the Ravi for taking a holy bath on the very same day as the sacred bath at the famous Manimahesh temple in Chamba district.

If some precautions are not taken to stop quarrying the hillside for slate then the process could eventually result in landslides in the days to come.

Besides this, the motorable road and the bridge across the Ravi, which connects the temple complex with the Chamba-Bharmour highway, also need urgent repair.

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Himachal doctors threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, July 9
The Himachal Medical Officers Association has criticised the state bureaucracy of not implementing the announcement made by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal about giving additional increments to postgraduate specialist doctors.

In a press note, press secretary Sushil Sharma alleged that the file was shutling between the Health Department and the Finance Department due to the ďindifferentĒ attitude of bureaucrats.

He said the doctors would launch an agitation if the allowances were not released soon.

Opposing the move to reduce the number of doctors, paramedical staff and Class IV employees of the Health Department in the garb of rationalisation, Dr Sushil Sharma said there was no need for such action.

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Drivers strike work against police action
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 9
Almost all government vehicles in the state remained off the roads today as drivers and conductors of the government and semi-government undertakings started an indefinite strike.

The call for the strike was given by the Himachal Government and Semi-government Drivers and Conductors Union in protest against police action on its members while they were staging a dharna in front of the state secretariat.

They blocked traffic on the Saketi Khad bridge in Mandi for some time. A delegation of the union held talks with the Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, in the afternoon but nothing concrete came out. Thereafter, the union announced that its strike would continue tomorrow.

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ICAR to set up agri-clinic in Solan

Solan, July 9
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has decided to set up an agri clinic, one of the only six such state of the art facilities proposed to be set up in the country this year, in this district. This was announced by the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, at a public meeting after laying the foundation stone of a Kisan Bhawan at Parmar Universityís Research Station at Dedgharat, about 12 km from here yesterday.

Himachal having limited resources for supporting urban infrastructure, could ill afford the flight of ruralites to the city. In this connection, his government planned to give an added thrust to the technological empowerment of the farming community, which constituted nearly 90 per cent of the stateís population.

Dr S.S. Negi, Vice-Chancellor, Parmar University, said that the proposed Kisan Bhawan, would have a dormitory for 36 visiting farmers, a retail shop for farm produce and inputs.

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