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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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

Virbhadra, Dhumal exchange words on docsí appointment
Shimla, June 11
Heated exchanges were witnessed during question hour between the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, and the leader of the BJP legislative group, Mr P.K. Dhumal, on the issue of appointment of doctors from outside the state during the previous BJP regime.

MoU with Centre contrary to poll promises: Dhumal
Shimla, June 11
Mr P. K. Dhumal, former Chief Minister, today said that the Congress government had landed itself in a catch-22 situation by signing a memorandum of understanding with the Centre to pursue fiscal reforms the term and conditions of which were contrary to the election promises made by the party.

Vigilance raids former ministerís house
Solan, June 11
A team of about 12 state Vigilance Department men raided the residence of former BJP Minister for Town and Country Planning, H.N. Saini at Nalagarh to evaluate his properties in the region last evening.

Mother not invited to martyrís function
Kumarhatti, June 11
Even as the fourth death anniversary of Sikender, who laid down his life during Operation Rakshak while flushing out infiltrators in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, was observed with state honour at his native village, Bohali, near here, yesterday, the martyrís mother was not invited to attend the function.


YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Shimla
Nahan
Solan





EARLIER STORIES

 

Review power Act, demand board staff
Shimla, June 11
The Himachal Power Engineers Association and the State Electricity Board Employees Union have demanded the Electricity Act, 2003, should be reviewed and amended to prevent the trifurcation of the state electricity board.

Akanksha tops HP Class VIII exams
Dharamsala, June 11
It is girls all the way as 14 of them have made it to top 20 positions in the result of Class VIII examinations of Himachal Pradesh School Education Board declared today.

HPU to start five-year law course
Shimla, June 11
Himachal Pradesh University will introduce a five-year integrated law course and bachelorís degree in biotechnology from the ensuing academic session.

HPSSB ex-member gets bail in TGT case
Shimla, June 11
The HP High Court today granted bail to Mr Vidya Nath , former member of H.P. Subordinate Service Selection Board, in a case pertaining to the irregularities committed in the selection of trained graduate teacher.



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Virbhadra, Dhumal exchange words
on docsí appointment
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 11
Heated exchanges were witnessed during question hour between the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, and the leader of the BJP legislative group, Mr P.K. Dhumal, on the issue of appointment of doctors from outside the state during the previous BJP regime.

The trouble arose when Mr Virbhadra Singh intervened while the Health Minister, Mrs Chandresh Kumari, was replying to a question on the issue. He asserted that the previous BJP government had recruited doctors from outside, ignoring the passouts from stateís own medical college. Mr Dhumal objected to his statement and said his government had not ignored local doctors. However, the Chief Minister stuck to his stand, leading to heated exchanges between the two.

The matter was laid at rest after Mr Virbhadra Singh challenged Mr Dhumal to bring a privilege motion against him if what he had stated was not correct.

The Chief Minister said his government had given jobs to all doctors who qualified from medical institutions of the state and it had even deferred the process of recruitment so that the batch slated to pass out in July could also be considered for appointment.

Replying to another question, Mr Virbhadra Singh said the government had stayed the operation of the notification of the BJP government by which various district hospitals were upgraded to the zonal level. He said the issue was being reviewed. The institutions were upgraded but no additional facilities were provided and the situation was so bad that the quality services available in most of them became worse than even district-level institutions.

Besides, the concept of having three zones in the state was also distorted by the decision. The underlying idea was to somehow get the hospitals at Hamirpur, the district of the former Chief Minister, and Bilaspur, the district of the former Health Minister, upgraded. He said the harsh fact was that the government did not have the resources to have 10 zonal hospitals in the state. Mrs Chandresh Kumari informed the House that the government had appointed 138 doctors, 181 staff nurses and 63 pharmacists on contract.
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MoU with Centre contrary to poll promises: Dhumal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 11
Mr P. K. Dhumal, former Chief Minister, today said that the Congress government had landed itself in a catch-22 situation by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Centre to pursue fiscal reforms the term and conditions of which were contrary to the election promises made by the party.

Initiating the debate on the general Budget for the year 2004-05 in the state Assembly he said the long shadow of the MoU was looming large over the Budget as was evident from the fact that no relief had been provided to any section of the people.

While out of power the Congress had been opposing reforms tooth and nail but after assuming office it lost no time in signing the document. It would be worth watching how the party fulfilled the commitments made to the people and the Centre, which had serious contradictions.

For instance, the Congress had been against imposition of user charges but the MoU called for their periodic upward revision to take care of the price rise. Similarly, the state would have to set up transport regulatory authority to for determination of bus fares before June.

Instead of confronting the government on the issue he appreciated the ground reality that the situation on the financial front was grim. At the same time he also emphasised that the required corrective measures to tide over the perennial financial crisis could be put in place by only by adopting a consensual approach. He also made several constructive suggestions in this regard.

The former Chief Minister warned that his party would oppose the exercise to rationalise the educational institutions if it was used to close down schools in the constituencies of Opposition MLAs. However, if the approach was objective it would help save precious resources of the state.

He urged the government not to encourage setting up of induction furnace-based steel units in the state before ascertaining the fact that if they would help generate employment for the local people or just end up providing the benefit of cheap power to the industry.

Regarding the governmentís resolve to give more powers to the panchayati raj institutions (PRI) he said it would not make any difference so long as the PRI functionaries were victimised on political considerations. Mr Tek Chand (Congress) said despite the stateís difficult financial position the government had not put burden on any section of the society. In fact, it had been continuing with its social welfare programme and had provided old age and widow pensions to 30,000 persons taking the total number of beneficiaries to over two lakh.

Mr K.D. Dharmani (BJP) said the government did nothing accept indulging in political vendetta and targeting the BJP leaders.

Mr Harsh Wardhan (Congress) said the previous BJP regime left the state under a heavy debt and the Chief Minister had placed the facts before the people in a transparent manner through the Budget. Mr Hari Narain Singh, a former minister, alleged that he was being targeted by the Vigilance agencies for political reasons.

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Vigilance raids former ministerís house
Our Correspondent

Solan, June 11
A team of about 12 state Vigilance Department men raided the residence of former BJP Minister for Town and Country Planning, H.N. Saini at Nalagarh to evaluate his properties in the region last evening. The team assisted by as many as four assistant engineers of the Public Works Department made an estimate of his properties including a Chowkiwaal-based workshop and a palatial house at Rajpura and Kharuni.

A separate team was also sent to Panchkula to estimate the value of a house owned by the Nalagarh MLA there. Confirming the raids, the Superintendent of Police, Mr A.P. Siddique, said the Vigilance was ascertaining his propertyís worth after complaints against the former minister for amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The Central Ground Water Committee had earlier probed allegations of his having earned money worth about Rs 8.82 crore in the installing of various handpumps at Doon and Baddi for the IPH Department during the BJP regime. The Vigilance Department was looking into the allegations concerning his assets in as many as three companies where he was known to be a partner. These three companies are M/s H.N. Singh and Company, M/s Avtar Singh and Company owned by his elder brother and M/s Gurnam Singh and Company owned by his wife. The minister had reportedly received Rs 3.15 crore through 71 cheques paid to M/s H.N. Saini and Company, Rs 2.51 crore through 48 cheques which was paid to M/s Avtar Singh and Company and Rs 3.11 crore through 53 cheques to M/s Gurnam Singh and Company.

The SP said a report would be submitted within the next 10 days with regard to the raids.

Terming the allegations as politically motivated the minister said he belonged to a business family which had been in the trade since 1972. They had an annual turnover of Rs 5 crore and had purchased properties from Rajas to bail them out of the poor financial condition, he quipped.
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Mother not invited to martyrís function

Kumarhatti, June 11
Even as the fourth death anniversary of Sikender, who laid down his life during Operation Rakshak while flushing out infiltrators in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, was observed with state honour at his native village, Bohali, near here, yesterday, the martyrís mother was not invited to attend the function. Major Vijay Singh Mankotia, state Tourism Minister, was the chief guest.

Sikender, a sepoy in 10 Dogra Regiment, had died in an encounter with infiltrators on June 10, 2000. His mother Sheela Devi (48), has been separated from his father, a retiree from the Dogra Regiment for the past 28 years. Sikender had been living with his father ever since he was an infant. Sheela Devi, who got remarried, told this correspondent today that Sikender came to meet her the first time when he was 15 years old. He met her the last time after joining the Army.

Sheela Devi Could not attend his funeral as she was not informed about his death. ďI came to know of my sonís death after two days,Ē she said.

She lamented that she had never received any honour for being a martyrís mother from the civil administration or the Army.

I do not want any financial compensation. It is the desire of a mother to get due honour for having given birth to such a brave son,Ē she said.
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Review power Act, demand board staff
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 11
The Himachal Power Engineers Association and the State Electricity Board Employees Union have demanded the Electricity Act, 2003, should be reviewed and amended to prevent the trifurcation of the state electricity board.

In a joint memorandum submitted to Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, here, the two employees bodies pointed out that under the Act the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions had been given vast powers through which they would virtually govern the state utilities. The government had been reduced to a spectator and even on core issues like the formulation of electricity policy, tariff policy and rural electrification it would have only a consultative role.

They urged the Chief Minister to take up the matter with the Centre to get the Act reviewed and suitably amended to safeguard the interests of the state and the employees.

The immediate action required was to ensure continuation of the board as a transmission utility or a licensee with the mandatory consent of the centre.

Mr Sunil Grover, general secretary of the State Power Engineers Association, and Mr Chander Singh Mandyal, general secretary of the State Electricity Board Employees Union, submitted the memorandum.
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Akanksha tops HP Class VIII exams
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, June 11
It is girls all the way as 14 of them have made it to top 20 positions in the result of Class VIII examinations of Himachal Pradesh School Education Board declared today. Only six boys could make it to the merit list. Akanksha Gupta of Hamirpur got the first position, scoring 656 out of the total 700 marks.

A total of 1,16,876 students appeared for the exams, including 60,619 boys and 56,257 girls. Of these, 84,692 students passed the exams and 5,303 were awarded compartments in different subjects. The supplementary exams would be conducted in September. The students should submit their application forms, along with a fee of Rs 160 by June 30, after which a late fee of Rs 100 will be charged till July 15.

Board secretary Chaman Singh said that students seeking re-checking should submit their application forms by July 10, or by July 25 with a late fee of Rs 50, at the office of the board.

The names of students getting the top twenty positions are as follows: Akanksha Gupta, Divya Verma, Shivanjli Bhardwaj, Sumit Sharma, Nidhi Kumari, Pankil Sharma, Ankita Sareen, Rajjat Dadwal, Apurav Chandel, Kumari Kiran Devi, Rajat, Anshul Thakur, Sunidhi Sharma, Madhu Bala, Gunjan, Shubhendu Mahajan, Smarika, Nishtha Sharma, Harsh and Ekta Gupta.
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HPU to start five-year law course
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 11
Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) will introduce a five-year integrated law course and bachelorís degree in biotechnology from the ensuing academic session.

The decision to introduce these courses was taken at the academic council meeting, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof L.R. Verma, here today. The five-year BA LLB (honours) integrated course will be introduced under the self-financing programme.

The academic council has approved the setting up of a centre for performing and visual arts in which vocational/professional/hobby classes diploma and certificate courses will be offered. Special emphasis will be laid on fashion designing and painting courses. There will be no age bar for admission to this centre.

Sociology is the new subject in which masterís course will now be offered through the distance mode of education in the International Centre for Distance Education Open Learning (ICDEOL) from the coming session.

As per another decision taken by the council at todayís meeting, M. Phil in public administration and education with 50 seats each and M.Phil in Sanskrit with 30 seats through ICDEOL would be introduced from the 2005-06 session.

The council also decided to restrict the number of M.Phil seats to 50 each in English, economics, political science, commerce, history and Hindi through the ICDEOL from this session itself.

Others who attended the meeting included the Dean and chairpersons of various departments.
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HPSSB ex-member gets bail in TGT case
Our Correspondent

Shimla, June 11
The HP High Court today granted bail to Mr Vidya Nath , former member of H.P. Subordinate Service Selection Board (HPSSB), in a case pertaining to the irregularities committed in the selection of trained graduate teacher (T.G.T).

While granting bail to the petitioner, Mr Justice K.C. Sood observed that the petitioner had been in custody for a long time and from the police record it appeared that his custodial interrogation was not required. The court also imposed conditions on him, while allowing his bail plea that he would not tamper with the evidence and he would produce himself as and when required by the investigating agency.

As per the prosecution there were allegations against the petitioner that he had made changes in the record of the TGT selection as per the instruction of the Chief Ministerís office in the previous government.

The court further directed that the petitioner would be released on bail on furnishing of Rs 10,000 with one surety of like amount to the satisfaction of Session Judge, Hamirpur.
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Phone exchange stays out of order for 11 hours
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, June 11
Telecom services in the district remained paralysed for about 11 hours today due to a major fault at the local telephone exchange. Thousands of phone subscribers, those using the Internet and fax machines were the worst hit.

The exchange went out of order around 9.10 a.m. and was restored around 8.11 p.m. However, cellphone services functioned properly.

A spokesman of the Department of Telecommunication told this correspondent that the exchange would start functioning by this evening.
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Probe ordered into allotment of petrol station site
Our Correspondent

Solan, June 11
The Ministry of Petroleum today instituted an inquiry into the allotment of an Indian Oil Company (IOC) retail petrol station site at Darlaghat to Mr Aditya after it received a complaint of norms being bypassed. The complainant, Mr Yogesh Kumar, has requested withholding of the letter of allotment till the allegations were probed. Confirming the development, officials in the Union ministry said a written complaint had been received from Mr Yogesh Kumar, alleging favouritism in the allotment made on June 7.

Reacting to a news item published in The Tribune today, the officials said the matter would be probed. The complaint made a reference of various criteria, including professional qualification, ownership of the land and financial credibility, being bypassed. The letter, while claiming that three petrol stations, including a ďcompany-owned company-operatedĒ petrol station at Jarol in Mandi district and another at Darlaghat, were already being run by the same family, alleged that it was against the policy of the department to grant several petrol station sites to one family.
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Sadhuís killer identified
Our Correspondent

Nahan, June 11
Last rites of Baba Sheetlanand were performed by his disciples yesterday. He was found murdered last morning in his hut.

Police sources said that a preliminary post-mortem report confirmed the death of Baba Sheetlanand by strangulation. The police has also recovered a large number of empty bottles and pouches of wine from inside and around of his hut.

Residents of the area said many people used to offer money, articles and their services to the Baba on Wednesday evening a villager had cooked food for Baba. But a visitor arrived and Baba sent his disciple home. Villagers said they had several times, asked Baba not to allow wine to his visitors in his kutia as it hurt their religious sentiments. But Baba did not agree.

DSP (Paonta) B.S. Thakur said that person involved in this murder case had been identified. He had regularly been visiting Baba for at least past one month. On the night of murder this person was staying with the Baba.
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Mohinder is now BJP MLA

Shimla, June 11
Mr Mohinder Singh, an Independent MLA from the Dharampur Assembly constituency in Mandi district, was today formally recognised as a member of the BJP Legislature Party, raising its strength to 16 in a House of 68. ó UNI
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