THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Vigilance may send team to Haryana to quiz VC
Shimla, November 30
The vigilance department plans to send a team to Haryana to interrogate the elusive Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.D. Sharma, who has been out of town for the past almost a fortnight.

BJP levelling false charges: Thakur
Shimla, November 30
Mr Ram Lal Thakur, Industries Minister, today denied that he had received a questionnaire from the Director of Vigilance and said the Lokayukta had exonerated him of the charges concerning property and loans while adjudicating a complaint against him.

2 panchayat presidents suspended
Nahan, November 30
The Deputy Commissioner, Sirmaur, Mr M.L. Sharma, has placed under suspension two Panchayat Presidents on the charge of misappropriation of funds and has issued show-cause notices to five Panchayat Presidents and a Panchayat Secretary.

531 HIV positive cases in HP
Kangra, November 30
Himachal Pradesh has more than 11,000 estimated HIV positive cases out of which 531 were confirmed and 143 full blown, according to the National Aids Control Organisation.

Hundreds attend medical camp

Hamirpur, November 30
At least 400 persons of both sexes suffering from various ailments were examined and given medicines during a daylong free medical camp organised at Jandroo village of the district today.

People wait for their turn at a free medical camp organised by the Hamirpur District Chemists and Druggists Association and the Rotary Club, at Jandroo village in Hamirpur on Sunday.
People wait for their turn at a free medical camp organised by the Hamirpur District Chemists and Druggists Association and the Rotary Club, at Jandroo village in Hamirpur on Sunday. ó Tribune photo by Chander Shekhar Sharma

 

 

 

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EARLIER STORIES
 

Unemployment worries varsity scholars
Solan, November 30
Even as the Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry at Nauni celebrates its eighteenth foundation day tomorrow, the increasing problem of unemployment has become a major cause of concern for its qualified scholars.

NHPC finalises contract for Sewa project
Dalhousie, November 30
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) today said it had signed a Rs 196.5 crore contract with Gammon India for executing works pertaining to the dam and related works for the 120-mw Sewa Hydroelectric project (Stage-II), located in Basholi tehsil of Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Fortis facilities for govt staff
Shimla, November 30
Employees of the Himachal Government will be able to avail of the advanced medical treatment at Fortis Heart Institute, Mohali, soon.

Relief eludes martyrís widow
Palampur, November 30
Monika Pathania, widow of martyr Bhagwan Singh, belonging to Malag village, in the district, has been running from pillar to post to get financial assistance for the past ten months. Her husband, who was serving in the Army was killed in Srinagar fighting militants in December, 2002.

Big turnout at job rally
Sujanpur Tihra (Hamirpur), November 30
Nearly 5,000 youths from various parts of the district thronged the chowgan here for the third day today to take part in a recruitment rally of the Army.

Video
Around 40,000 migratory birds of 60 different species have started flocking to the Pong lake in Dharamsala.
(28k, 56k)


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Vigilance may send team to Haryana to quiz VC
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 30
The vigilance department plans to send a team to Haryana to interrogate the elusive Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.D. Sharma, who has been out of town for the past almost a fortnight.

The special investigating team had been waiting for the return of Dr Sharma so that it could confront him with evidence it had gathered after conducted raids at various places in Delhi, where the question papers had been printed. However, Dr Sharma has extended leave time and again.

He even failed to turn up for his scheduled meeting with the Governor, Mr V.S. Kokje, on November 27. He has now extended leave up to December 3 on medical grounds.

The investigation into the question paper scam is in the final stage and the department is keen on finalising the inquiry so that a challan may be presented in court at the earliest. The special investigating team questioned Dr Sharma thrice in September in connection with the award of contract for printing of the question papers. However, he maintained that he had no knowledge of the matter, which was dealt by the secrecy officer.

However, inquiries made by the team in Delhi revealed the involvement of Dr Sharma and it was established that printing was not done by the printing unit to which the contract was awarded. The unit entered into an arrangement with another printer to get the job done, which was the main reason for the unprecedented mistakes in the question papers and abnormally high cost of printing.

It is being ascertained whether the printing unit was approved as per the norms for undertaking such secrecy work.

The special audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor-General had indicted Dr Sharma, indicating his direct involvement in the scam.

Armed with the incriminating material, the team wanted to confront Dr Sharma and wanted his version before taking the matter to court. However, with no definite indication regarding his return to the city, the department has decided to send a team to Haryana.

It may leave in a day or two.

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BJP levelling false charges: Thakur
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 30
Mr Ram Lal Thakur, Industries Minister, today denied that he had received a questionnaire from the Director of Vigilance and said the Lokayukta had exonerated him of the charges concerning property and loans while adjudicating a complaint against him.

He alleged that the Dhumal regime tried its best to implicate him in false cases and conducted eight inquiries on flimsy grounds but did not succeed in its motive.

The fact that the questionnaire was reportedly sent to him on the eve of the Assembly elections reached Mr Randhir Sharma, spokesperson of the BJP who unsuccessfully contested against him, made the nexus obvious. He said the reality was that some BJP leaders had submitted a complaint to the Vigilance Department and the DIG concerned even contacted him in this regard. However, none of the complainants came forward to give statement or provide any material to support the charges. Further, the Law Department had also given an opinion that no case was made out.

He said such allegations were being made against him since long and the Lokayukta had given him a clean chit in 1993-94 still the issue was being raised by his adversaries time and again.

He said it was surprising that even after conducting so many inquiries the BJP government remained unaware of the fact he had been regularly filing income tax returns since 1982.

His son and wife were also income tax payers. BJP leaders had not learnt any lesson from their defeat in the elections and they were still banking on the politics of fraud and misinformation, he alleged.

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2 panchayat presidents suspended
Our Correspondent

Nahan, November 30
The Deputy Commissioner, Sirmaur, Mr M.L. Sharma, has placed under suspension two Panchayat Presidents on the charge of misappropriation of funds and has issued show-cause notices to five Panchayat Presidents and a Panchayat Secretary.

Ms Meenu Purushottam, President, Gram Panchayat, Nahan, has been suspended for alleged misappropriation of Rs 1.5 lakh from the M.P. Local Area Fund released for the construction of a link road from Talon to Kanyon.

This fund was allegedly used for the repair of Nahan Talon road. She was suspended after an inquiry.

Ms Prasanni Devi, President, Gram Panchayat, Deedag, has been placed under suspension on the charge of misappropriation of government funds and alteration in the Karwahi register of the panchayat.

The Deputy Commissioner has also issued show-cause notices to Mr Kuldeep Singh, Panchayat Secretary posted in the Rajgarh Development Block and Presidents of the Gram Panchayats of Bhuria, Dimber and Nehar Pab in Rajgarh block and Sahria and Lana Baka in Pacchad block on charges of misappropriation of funds and not maintaining panchayat records properly.

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531 HIV positive cases in HP
Our Correspondent

Kangra, November 30
Himachal Pradesh has more than 11,000 estimated HIV positive cases out of which 531 were confirmed and 143 full blown, according to the National Aids Control Organisation.

Dr T.D. Sharma, Principal, Health and Family Welfare Training Centre, here today said 1,017 teachers, 553 students and 35 parent teacher members from 390 schools from Kangra, Chamba, Una, Bilaspur and Hamirpur districts had been trained as resource persons. He said under a school AIDS education programme from each school, a Principal or headmaster, two teachers and four students were being imparted training in the institute. They act as resource persons for carrying out AIDS awareness activities in the schools and the community.

Dr Sharma said a four-day training programme had been reshaped to the stateís needs by the HP State AIDS Control Society in collaboration with the SCRT.

He said the feedback from these camps was highly encouraging but the programme was receiving a setback because of the indifferent attitude of the education authorities. Education Department had not realised the magnitude of the AIDS problem and its impact. It had robbed the affected countries of its resources and capacities on which human security and development depend.

Dr Sharma said the lack of interest of the education authorities was evident from the participation of the schools in such a vital programme. He said for each course 25 schools were invited but on an average seven to eight schools participated.

He informed that out of estimated 5 million people infected this year in the world, 700,000 of them were children. He warned that if the educational authorities fail to rise to the occasion the situation might take a ugly turn. At least 20 million people had died of AIDS since 1981.

This year AIDS claimed a 3 million lives and estimated 5 million people acquired HIV.

In Himachal Pradesh, the first case of HIV positive was detected in Hamirpur in 1993 and more than 20 had died of the disease so far.

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Hundreds attend medical camp
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, November 30
At least 400 persons of both sexes suffering from various ailments were examined and given medicines during a daylong free medical camp organised at Jandroo village of the district today.

The camp was jointly organised by the Rotary Club, Hamirpur, and the Hamirpur district Chemists and Druggists Association.

People welcomed the doctors when they reached the village.

Mr M.S. Rana, a local resident, thanked the organisations for their decision to organise the camp at Jandroo and hoped that this process would continue in future also.

Dr Vinod Sharma, president of the Rotary Club, was happy to see such a turnout at the camp. He said such camps would be held in other parts of the district as well.

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Unemployment worries varsity scholars
Our Correspondent

Solan, November 30
Even as the Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry at Nauni celebrates its eighteenth foundation day tomorrow, the increasing problem of unemployment has become a major cause of concern for its qualified scholars.

Having achieved little success in finding regular employment even after a doctorate, 80 such candidates fear of losing even the few chances which exist if the new ICAR decision is implemented by the state government.

As per a recent decision of the ICAR, the retirement age of scientists has been enhanced from 60 to 62. Though the state government is yet to take a decision whether or not to implement this decision, it is learnt that senior scientists, especially those due to retire next year, were pressuring the authorities to seek the state governmentís consent on the matter.

With 15-20 scientists likely to retire in the near future and no regular appointments having been made since the past six years, it would mean the government would have to appoint more scientists. The fear of the implementation of this ICAR decision will spell doom for the young scholars, who if not appointed soon, may cross the employment age.

It is pointed out that implementation of this decision will further burden the cash-strapped university in the form of hefty pay packages and other retirement benefits.

The state government had earlier, too, struck down the demand for age enhancement in 1996 when the last pay commission had suggested it.

Moreover, it is being pointed out that it is not mandatory for a state government to implement any ICAR decision since its financial implications have to be borne by the state.

The case of Kerala is being cited which has maintained the retirement age at 58, despite the ICAR decision. It is also being felt that if the services of senior scientists are required, they can be posted as Emeritus Scientist, a policy already existing in the university.

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NHPC finalises contract for Sewa project

Dalhousie, November 30
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) today said it had signed a Rs 196.5 crore contract with Gammon India for executing works pertaining to the dam and related works for the 120-mw Sewa Hydroelectric project (Stage-II), located in Basholi tehsil of Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

According to an official communique issued here by NHPC Chairman and Managing-Director Yogendra Prasad, the corporation had signed an agreement with Patel Engineering at a cost of Rs 100.20 crore for executing powerhouse and related works.

The project was proposed to be executed on the river Sewa.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had already accorded environment clearance to the project during April this year.

The project envisaged construction of 48 m-high concrete gravity dam at Gatti village, a 10-km long headrace tunnel, steel-lined penstocks and underground powerhouse with three units of 40 mw each at Mashka village. It would have a 780 m-long tailrace tunnel.

The Sewa-II project of 120 mw is situated on the right side of the Sewa river just in front of Chamera Stage-I power station. ó UNI

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Fortis facilities for govt staff
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 30
Employees of the Himachal Government will be able to avail of the advanced medical treatment at Fortis Heart Institute, Mohali, soon.

Stating this here today, Dr Achintya Moulick, Chairman of the Cardiovascular Sciences Department of the Institute, said the government had agreed to empanel the institute for the purpose of medical reimbursement on the pattern of the Batra and other hospitals in Delhi.

He said the issue had been finalised after a series of meetings at various levels. A memorandum of understanding in this regard would be signed soon.

He said treatment, not available within the state, could be availed at the institute by the employees at approved rates.

Dr Moulick said the hill state would immensely benefit from the institute as contrary to the general impression, the incidence of heart disease in the state was high.

Cases of valve defect were almost 50 per cent more than in other states, which could be because of rheumatic fever and malnourishment.

The institute had been holding free medical camps in the region to create awareness on cardiovascular ailments.

Most people were unaware of the symptoms and the need for regular check-up to monitor the heart condition, as a result of which they were not able to get treatment at the right time.

He was in the city along with a team of doctors for a two-day free medical camp.

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Relief eludes martyrís widow
Our Correspondent

Palampur, November 30
Monika Pathania, widow of martyr Bhagwan Singh, belonging to Malag village, in the district, has been running from pillar to post to get financial assistance for the past ten months. Her husband, who was serving in the Army was killed in Srinagar fighting militants in December, 2002. Despite her efforts, she has not received any financial assistance from the state or Central governments.

She told mediapersons that her requests to the state government and the district administration had yielded no result. It has become very difficult for her meet day-to-day expenses and bring up her two children. She said even her family pension had not been sanctioned.

She has written a number of letters to the authorities concerned for immediate release of provident fund and gratuity of her husband but to no avail.

Monika, who is a matriculate, is not eligible for the job of clerk, but her request to be posted as a Class IV employee in a school near her village was also turned down by the government.

Monika and her father-in-law, Karam Chand, have called on various ministers, MLAs, the Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, and the SDM, Palampur, in this regard but they have expressed their inability to provide her financial assistance or a government job.

The Rehabilitation Wing of the Army has also turned down her request for a job.

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Big turnout at job rally
Our Correspondent

Sujanpur Tihra (Hamirpur), November 30
Nearly 5,000 youths from various parts of the district thronged the chowgan here for the third day today to take part in a recruitment rally of the Army.

The Army authorities conducted physical fitness tests of the youths today. The selected youths will undergo medical tests tomorrow. A spokesman for the Army said there was a heavy rush of youths in todayís rally.

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