Tuesday, December 31, 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

Cong not to project CM: Mohsina
Hamirpur, December 30
The Congress General Secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, today clarified that the party would contest the coming Assembly elections in the state without projecting any one as Chief Minister.
AICC General Secretary Mohsina Kidwai addresses a press conference at Hamirpur.
AICC General Secretary Mohsina Kidwai (third from left) addresses a press conference at Hamirpur.

CM lambasts Virbhadra’s remarks
Mandi, December 30
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today came down heavily on CLP leader Virbhadra Singh for his reported remarks that the Congress would reverse what he called the anti-people decisions of the BJP government if voted to power.

Modi card won’t work in HP: Cong
Shimla, December 30
Mr S.R. Singla, a senior Congress leader and party observer for Himachal Pradesh, today said that "modism" and gimmicks like "Vishwas Yatra" would not be able to save the Dhumal government in the state. He said the outcome of the Himachal Assembly poll would prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the NDA government at the Centre.

Hike in daily wages meagre: Congress
Shimla, December 30
Mr Virbhadra Singh, leader of the Opposition, has termed the meagre increase of Rs 4.50 in the daily wages as an insult to the poor workers and said the minimum daily wages should have been raised to Rs 75.



YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Hamirpur
Mandi
Shimla
Una


EARLIER STORIES
 

HC notices to Chief Secy, Secy (Home)
Shimla, December 30
The HP High Court today issued notices to the Chief Secretary of the state and the Secretary (Home) of India on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mr Kewal Ram Chauhan, a former Congress legislator, wherein he has alleged that earstwhile ruler of Bhusher state Virbhadra Singh continues to be in possession of all land which has vested in the state since January 26, 1955, under the HP Big Landed Estates Abolition Act.

3 cr package for land oustees: NHPC
Chamba, December 30
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) today announced a financial package of more than Rs 3 crore to the land oustees of Karian village in this district.

5-day winter carnival from January 2
Manali, December 30
The stage is set for the five-day annual winter-cum-all-India Youth festival which will commence on January 2. It will begin after the worship of goddess Hadimba at Sungri temple near here.

Hydel unit’s trial run successful
Shimla, December 30
The trial run of the first generating unit of 250 MW in the Nathpa Jhakri Project (NJP) was successful today. The 1500 MW project has six units of 250 MW each which are scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2003 in a phased manner.

Silent procession by press workers
Shimla, December 30
Employees of the local Government of India press along with members of their families held a silent procession in protest against the decision of the Centre to close down the press.

Faulty water meters to be replaced: MC
Shimla, December 30
The General House of the Municipal Corporation, which met here today, witnessed noisy scenes when the councillors expressed displeasure over the working of the civic body.

Minister ‘biased against bus operators’
Shimla, December 30
The Himachal Private Bus Operator’s Union has taken exception to the “biased attitude” of Mr Kishan Kapoor, Himachal Transport Minister, against private transporters on the special road tax issue.

Ekta manch to merge with NCP
Una, December 30
Lt-Gen R.S. Dyal (retd) Chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Ekta Manch, talking to mediapersons here, said the manch had been formed to bring together ex-servicemen and redress their grievances. 

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Cong not to project CM: Mohsina
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, December 30
The Congress General Secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, today clarified that the party would contest the coming Assembly elections in the state without projecting any one as Chief Minister. Ms Vidya Stokes and Mr Virbhadra Singh would jointly lead the party campaign, she told media persons at a press conference, here.

Ms Kidwai said the pro-Congress wave was sweeping across the state. The selection of party candidates for the elections would be done shortly.

She said by and large sitting legislators would be given ticket. However, winability and loyalty towards the party would be main criterion for allotting ticket.

The main plank of the party would be the removal of un-employment and corruption besides providing maximum help to the farming community, women and the youth.

She criticised the BJP for playing with sentiments of the people of the state. The BJP government awarded hydroelectrical projects to private parties by selling out state interests. If the Congress came to power, it would review all agreements, she said.

The Congress leader said the Gujarat elections would not have any impact on elections in Himachal Pradesh. The Modi card would not click in the state.

She said all senior party leaders would visit the state to campaign for party nominees.

Ms Kidwai came down heavily on the Central Government for its failure on all fronts. She said it had failed on foreign as well as internal policies.

Ms Kidwai said the recommendations of the Kelkar panel regarding the farming community were anti-people and would not be accepted at any cost. The party would oppose such anti-farmer move.

She blasted the state government for adopting anti-people measures. People of the state were fed up with this government and would oust it the coming elections.

She said the manifesto of the party would be finalised soon and a committee, headed by former minister, Sat Mahajan, had been formed in this respect.

Ms Kidwai parried questions on the reported move of the party high command to replace her as the party in charge for Himachal Pradesh affairs.

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CM lambasts Virbhadra’s remarks
Our Correspondent

Mandi, December 30
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today came down heavily on CLP leader Virbhadra Singh for his reported remarks that the Congress would reverse what he called the anti-people decisions of the BJP government if voted to power.

Professor Dhumal was addressing a gathering at Kotli, the stronghold of HVC leader and former Union Minister, Mr Sukh Ram, during the second phase of the ongoing ‘Vishwas yatra.’

Reacting to the allegations at public meetings by Ms Mohsina, Kidwai, AICC general secretary and in charge of Himachal, he said all problems facing the state were the reaction of the Congress when Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were the Prime Ministers.

Regarding the alleged atrocities against women in Himachal, he said Ms Kidwai seemed to be oblivious of the Tandoor murder case in which some Congress leaders were involved.

He wondered why the hydel power potential of Himachal had not been harnessed over the past 55 years. He said there would have been no unemployment if power projects had been executed earlier.

He said the Prime Minister, had paid special attention to the infrastructure in the rural areas and launched a massive Rs 60,000 crore road project.

He said during the tenure of the previous Congress government when all 10 MLAs of Mandi district belonged to the Congress, only Rs 85 lakh had been spent on development through NABARD while during the BJP rule, Rs 73 crore was spent through NABARD on the district. 

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Modi card won’t work in HP: Cong
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 30
Mr S.R. Singla, a senior Congress leader and party observer for Himachal Pradesh, today said that "modism" and gimmicks like "Vishwas Yatra" would not be able to save the Dhumal government in the state. He said the outcome of the Himachal Assembly poll would prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the NDA government at the Centre.

Addressing a press conference, after touring the interior areas of Shimla district, he said here today that there was widespread resentment among people against the government and they were waiting for the elections to throw out the “corrupt” regime. There was a general feeling that over the past five years the financial health of the state had deteriorated, corruption and nepotism had become an integral part of government's functioning, the problem of unemployment had further aggravated and the administration had virtually collapsed. In such a situation like this "Vishwas yatra" would take the BJP nowhere. It was a colossal waste of government funds and a blatant violation of the code of conduct for elections.

He said the façade of unity put up by the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal and Union Minister for Rural Development, Mr Shanta Kumar, who had been at loggerheads for the past five years, would not save the sinking ship of the BJP. Mr Shanta Kumar, he said, knew that his party would be doomed at the hustings and precisely for this reason he was repeatedly saying that the elections would be contested under the leadership of Mr Dhumal. He did not want to own the responsibility for the impending electoral debacle.

He said senior leaders were deserting the BJP as evident from the recent resignation of Mr Rakesh Verma, who had decided to contest as an Independent. The BJP tag had become a liability. The Shanta Kumar loyalists were organising "mitra milans" to ensure the defeat of the Dhumal government.

Referring to the BJP plan to use the Modi card in Himachal he said it was an admission of the fact that the Dhumal government had failed on the development front and the party had to fall back on its communal agenda to win elections. However, situation was different in the hill state and any attempt to create social tension in the state would boomerang. The Modi factor would not work as the Shanta Kumar faction was against him. In fact, Mr Shanta Kumar got Mr Modi removed as in charge of the party affairs in Himachal Pradesh.

He said the defeat of the BJP in Himachal Pradesh would set in motion the process of NDAs disintegration. The BJP and its allies had lost in all states, except Gujarat where elections were held in an unusual situation. It would meet the same fate in the hill state. The defeat would have far-reaching implications for the NDA government which has to seek fresh mandate in 2004.

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Hike in daily wages meagre: Congress
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 30
Mr Virbhadra Singh, leader of the Opposition, has termed the meagre increase of Rs 4.50 in the daily wages as an insult to the poor workers and said the minimum daily wages should have been raised to Rs 75.

In a statement issued here today he said while the allowances of ministers had been hiked by nearly 100 per cent during the past five years, the increase in daily wages was just 32 per cent.

He said the Dhumal government had been only doing a lip service to the workers and it was the previous Congress government which had provided tangible benefits to them. The hike was a cruel joke on the workers in view of the fact that the prices of essential commodities had increased substantially over the period.

The former chief minister maintained that the Dhumal government had not only ignored the interests of the workers but also given a raw deal to the employees. The previous Congress government had given additional benefits to the tune of Rs 550 crore to the employees.

Much was done for the farmers, particularly the fruit growers, in the shape of subsidy. Over 2,200 hectare of additional area was brought under fruit cultivation and Malta, Kinnow, Galgal and other fruits were brought under the market intervention scheme.

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HC notices to Chief Secy, Secy (Home)
Our Legal Correspondent

Shimla, December 30
The HP High Court today issued notices to the Chief Secretary of the state and the Secretary (Home) of India on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mr Kewal Ram Chauhan, a former Congress legislator, wherein he has alleged that earstwhile ruler of Bhusher state Virbhadra Singh continues to be in possession of all land which has vested in the state since January 26, 1955, under the HP Big Landed Estates Abolition Act.

The petitioner has further alleged that Mr Virbhadra Singh continues to profit, reap benefits and gains out of the large tracts of land which include thousands of bighas of forest land and orchards. Mr Virbhadra Singh could manage all this with the connivance of government officials, he has alleged.

The petitioner prayed before the court to direct the government to place on record the documents or details of the land surrendered by Mr Virbhadra Singh or vested in the state under Section 27 of the Abolition Act. and the extent of compensation received by Mr Virbhadra. He also submitted to direct the state government to fix responsibility on the persons and officials responsible in this connection.

Issuing notices, a Division Bench comprising Ms Justice Kamlesh Sharma and Mr Justice K.C. Sood further directed the respondents to file reply before January, 9.

In another PIL filed by Mr Swatantra Nand Sankhyan, the High Court issued notices to the Secretary (Home), the Additional Commissioner (Appeal), the ADGP (Enforcement) and the SP (Enforcement). The petitioner has alleged that officers concerned are not performing their duties in registering FIRs against the offenders of the HP Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act.

He has further alleged that despite such legislation Mr Virbhadra Singh is said to have exerted his influence over officers of the Forest and Revenue Departments. The petitioner prayed before the court to direct the government to register FIRs against all offenders of the Act.
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3 cr package for land oustees: NHPC
Our Correspondent

Chamba, December 30
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) today announced a financial package of more than Rs 3 crore to the land oustees of Karian village in this district.

Chamera Hydroelectric Project General Manager Parminder Singh said in stage II of the Chamera Project, the NHPC had provided employment to eight land oustees of Rajera village and the case of providing employment to 16 land oustees in Mahal Taggi in Bagga belt was already in the pipeline.

He, however, maintained that there was no provision in the Relief and Rehabilitation Plan (RRP) or any agreement to provide land to the land oustees. The land oustees had been paid landless grant and provided employment under the policy formulated by the state government.

He stated that the land was being acquired by the NHPC under the normal procedures laid down in the Himachal Pradesh Land Acquisition Act. Under this actual cost was assessed plus 30 per cent prevailing average revenue land cost and 12 per cent interest was to be paid to the land oustees as cost of the land besides other benefits provided in the RRP framed by the state government. UNI

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5-day winter carnival from January 2
Our Correspondent

Manali, December 30
The stage is set for the five-day annual winter-cum-all-India Youth festival which will commence on January 2. It will begin after the worship of goddess Hadimba at Sungri temple near here. A cultural procession by the participating teams from different states will start from the Hadimba Devi temple in the morning and terminate at Nehru park, popularly known as the Ram bagh.

The Union Minister for Tourism, Mr Jag Mohan, will inaugurate the carnival. Mr Maheshwar Singh, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, will preside over the function while Mr Kirpal Parmar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, will preside over the valeditory function.

According to Mr Parveen Fakay, Chairman, winter carnival committee, about 27 teams from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, are likely to perform at the carnival. The carnival is expected to boost tourism in Kulu-Manali during the winter months.

The highlights of the carnival would be folk dances, film and folk songs, personality contests, skits, fancy dress competitions, fashion shows, streetplay, classical dance, rangoli, jhanki (cultural procession), etc. However, the main attraction of the carnival will be the selection of “winter queen”.

Popular gazal singer, Penaz Masani, would enthral the audience on the opening day.

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Hydel unit’s trial run successful
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 30
The trial run of the first generating unit of 250 MW in the Nathpa Jhakri Project (NJP) was successful today. The 1500 MW project has six units of 250 MW each which are scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2003 in a phased manner.

Mr H.N. Appa Rao, chairman-cum-Managing director, commenced the trial run by opening the main inlet valve. The first spinning trial run lasted for about an hour during which various instruments were tested. The trial run was smooth and followed all safeguards and procedures.

Another unit of 250 MW is scheduled to commence spinning operations for trial run in February 2003. The commercial generation will start in March 2003 for which the company has already started signing power purchase agreements with various states.

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Silent procession by press workers
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 30
Employees of the local Government of India press along with members of their families held a silent procession in protest against the decision of the Centre to close down the press.

Activists of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the state Non-Gazetted Services Federation and various trade unions of the LIC, banks, boards and corporations also joined the march. The procession was later converted into a rally at which speakers condemned the decision to close down a profit-earning unit.

The government, they said, was adamant on winding up the press and even efforts of MPs who raised the matter in Parliament had failed to yield any result. The employees threatened to oppose the ruling party openly in the coming elections if the decision was not reversed.

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Faulty water meters to be replaced: MC
Our Correspondent

Shimla, December 30
The General House of the Municipal Corporation, which met here today, witnessed noisy scenes when the councillors expressed displeasure over the working of the civic body.

The house decided that the MC will not provide water for the construction of houses to areas outside the limit of the civic body. A decision to replace the faulty water meters of the consumers was also taken, but whether the same were to be provided by the corporation or to be purchased by the consumers directly was yet to be taken.

One of the councillors, Ms Mala Singh, pointed out that Rs 14 lakh were spent on the construction of a public toilet.

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Minister ‘biased against bus operators’
Our Correspondent

Shimla, December 30
The Himachal Private Bus Operator’s Union has taken exception to the “biased attitude” of Mr Kishan Kapoor, Himachal Transport Minister, against private transporters on the special road tax issue.

The union said it was surprising that the minister was not even aware of the committee set up by the government to look into the road tax issue, when union representatives met him regarding bus operators’ problems. Private bus operators met under the chairmanship of Mr Dev Raj Sharma.

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Ekta manch to merge with NCP
Our Correspondent

Una, December 30
Lt-Gen R.S. Dyal (retd) Chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Ekta Manch, talking to mediapersons here, said the manch had been formed to bring together ex-servicemen and redress their grievances. The manch would now be merged with the NCP headed by Mr Sharad Pawar. He said the formal announcement of the merger would be made on January 3 at Santoshgarh. Mr P.S. Sangma, former Lok Sabha Speaker and NCP leader would address the rally.

After the merger, the NCP would contest the elections to be held next year.

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Medicinal plant board constituted

Shimla, December 30
Acting on the instructions of the Union Government, the Himachal Pradesh Government has constituted the State Medicinal Plant Board under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal to encourage the plantation of herbs under the aegis of the Directorate of Ayurveda. The Union Government is providing financial help through the board to help farmers, according to Ayurveda Director R.L. Mohal. UNI

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Freedom fighter dead
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, December 30
Gangaram Bhardwaj, a prominent freedom fighter of the “praja mandal movement”, died at his home in the Lakhanpur sector here today following a brief illeness. He was 86.

His funeral on the banks of Gobindsagar was largely attended. Various leaders paid tributes to the departed soul.

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