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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

McLeodganj — a haven for impersonators
Dharamsala, June 13
McLeodganj, the favoured spot of foreign tourists, has become a virtual haven for impersonators with fake passports, in search of a place to get stolen traveller’s cheques encashed. Within a month, the police has arrested two such persons with stolen traveller’s cheques. Both had fake passports to prove themselves as foreigners.

Plastic bag ban comes in force from today
Shimla, June 13
The defiling of the verdant hills by non-biodegradable plastic bags will be checked to a great extent with the ban on the use of polythene carrybags of small sizes and thickness less than 70 microns from June 14.

Getting HP board results made easier
Dharamsala, June 13
The Himachal Pradesh School Education Board has taken a lead in the region by making its results available through eight different channels, the latest addition this year being getting the results by sending an SMS, dial up Interactive Voice Response System and on touch screens.

Probe sought into death of monkeys
Shimla, June 13
Nature Watch India suspects foul play behind the large-scale mortality of monkeys in the Jakhoo area over the past few months and has demanded a magisterial inquiry to ascertain the cause of the mysterious deaths of simians and also the failure of government agencies to take prompt action in this regard.



YOUR TOWN
Bilaspur
Chamba
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES

 

Baba Balak Nath temple to be beautified
Hamirpur, June 13
The Sidh Baba Balak Nath Trust has planned widening of roads between Deotsidh and Shah Talai and Deotsidh and Salauni and more facilities to pilgrims.

Laying of sewerage pipes disrupts traffic
Hamirpur, June 13
The Hamirpur nagar parishad and the Department of Irrigation and public health of the district are at loggerheads over the way the sewerage pipes are being laid in the town. It has become difficult for the people to commute through such areas, especially in the lanes and by- lanes of the town where the work is in progress. 

BJP flays signing of MoU on fiscal reforms
Hamirpur, June 13
The Himachal Pradesh BJP joint media in charge, Mr Rajendra Rana, today ciriticised the state government for signing an MoU on fiscal reforms without taking the state Assembly and people of the state into the confidence.

Travelling atop buses goes unchecked
Hamirpur, June 13
Contrary to government instructions, travelling on roofs of government and private buses has been going on in the district. The situation is alarming during the peak hours when people go to work and return.

45 injured as two buses collide
Shimla, June 13
As many as 45 persons were injured, five of them seriously, when a Haryana Roadways bus and a private bus collided head on at Sarog Gali, near Theog, about 25 km from here, this afternoon.

4 killed in accident
Chamba, June 13
Four persons were killed and three others were seriously wounded when a private jeep number (HP-01-2841) veered off the road and rolled about 500 metres down the hill near Bhanjraru, about 65 km from the district headquarters town of Chamba last evening.

Illegal mining: 12 tractor-trailers impounded
Palampur, June 13
The Administration here in a drive to check illegal mining and quarrying in the Palampur region has raided various places and impounded 12 tractor-trailers used for ferrying stone and sand from different khuds.

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McLeodganj — a haven for impersonators
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, June 13
McLeodganj, the favoured spot of foreign tourists, has become a virtual haven for impersonators with fake passports, in search of a place to get stolen traveller’s cheques encashed. Within a month, the police has arrested two such persons with stolen traveller’s cheques. Both had fake passports to prove themselves as foreigners.

In both these cases, the suspects were from the Chaura Chandpur area in Manipur and had replaced the photographs of foreigners with their own on the passports, which had either been stolen or bought. The police arrested them while they were in the process of getting the stolen traveller’s cheques encashed.

Since youth from this area had Mongolian features, they were lured into the trade for a sum of a few thousands, said the Superintendent of Police, Kangra, Mr S.Zahur Haider Zaidi, during an interview with The Tribune. “It seems to be an organised and big racket, the first step being stealing a passport or buying it from a tourist who has run out of money and is on his way back. Such tourists can always go to their Embassy and get a duplicate passport issued,’’he said.

The picture on the passport was replaced with that of a Manipuri youth, who was sent to this area with stolen traveller’s cheques to get them encashed. In both these cases, the suspects were carrying traveller’s cheques worth US$ 500, which had been stolen from London and a bank in Mumbai.

While the first suspect was impersonating as a Malaysian citizen, the second one claimed that he was a tourist from Korea. “During investigation, he could not even name two cities of Korea, what to talk of writing in Korean. Within minutes, he was talking in fluent Hindi,’’said Mr Zaidi.

Such suspects do not spend much time in McLeodganj and leave as soon as they get cash in their hands. “They arrive here in the morning and try to leave by afternoon, the moment they are through with the transaction. They prefer McLeodganj as it is easier to get lost in the crowd of Tibetans and foreign tourists,’’says Mr Zaidi.

Considering the numerous links involved in the racket, the local police has sought help from the Delhi police.
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Plastic bag ban comes in force from today
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 13
The defiling of the verdant hills by non-biodegradable plastic bags will be checked to a great extent with the ban on the use of polythene carrybags of small sizes and thickness less than 70 microns from June 14.

Polythene bags have in recent years become a big nuisance in the hill state as these not only pollute the environment but also create a variety of other problems. Carelessly dumped on the slopes, the polythene bags marr the scenic beauty of the hills. These are an eyesore and, being non-biodegradable, are ultimately washed into drains and nullahs, which often got choked.

The state government has been trying to contain the nuisance for the past decade. It enacted the Himachal Pradesh Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act,1995. Initially it banned the use of coloured carrybags made from recycled material from January 1,1999. A complete ban was not possible as it involved inter-state trade and commerce, which was a Central subject. Moreover, it was also impracticable as a host of items like milk and potato chips were marketed in non-biodegradable packaging.

The centre not only appreciated the effort of the state in this regard but also took the initiative of banning plastic carrybags of thickness less than 20 microns and measuring less than 8”x12” last year under the Recycled Plastic Manufacture and Usage Rules. However, given the magnitude of the problem, these measures proved insufficient to rid the hills of the nuisance.

Under the latest decision, carrybags made of non-biodegradable materials and of size smaller than 12”x18” and thickness less than 70 microns have been banned under Section 7(h) of the State Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Rules. Distributors, stockists, retailers, etc, could be fined upto Rs 25,000 for violating the ban .The minimum fine is Rs 500.

The government hopes that the step will prove effective in checking pollution in the hills. Its optimism is based on the findings of a survey that revealed that smaller and thin plastic bags accounted for over 70 per cent of the non bio-degradable garbage. Thus, if the smaller bags, which cost 3 to 5 paise each, could be eliminated, the problem could be contained. Bigger bags, with thickness in excess of 70 microns, cost about Rs 6; thus these are recycled.Top


Review ban on polythene, say traders
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, June 13
The Himachal Pradesh State Beopar Mandal urged the Himachal Chief Minister to reconsider ban on polythene bags from June 14.

Addressing mediapersons here on Friday along with some traders, Beopar Mandal president Hem Chand Sood expressed resentment against this order as it would affect thousands of traders and shopkeepers. The government should have taken the mandal into confidence before the ban as the order would cause traders a loss of lakhs.

Mr Sood urged the Chief Minister that this ban should be enforced in phases.
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Getting HP board results made easier
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, June 13
The Himachal Pradesh School Education Board has taken a lead in the region by making its results available through eight different channels, the latest addition this year being getting the results by sending an SMS, dial up Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) and on touch screens.

All it takes is sending an SMS to specified numbers on the BSNL, Reliance and Airtel mobile connections after writing the class and roll number. The students can also dial the computerised IVRS number (95-177-2621642) to hear their results after feeding in their roll numbers. Eight lines have been made available on the IVRS system located in Shimla. The SMS facility is available in Kangra, Hamirpur and Una.

Board Chairman B.R. Rahi said the facilities were part of reforms in the functioning of the board. The results could also be got by sending an e-mail at [email protected] The board staff would immediate mail back the result. The results were also made available on the board website http://hpeducationboard.nic.in on the date of declaration itself.

For the students residing in Hamirpur, “Lokmitra” software had been introduced by the board, which had the results of all students feeded in it. The touch screen facility was being made available at different locations in Una and Kangra, including the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Dharamsala, he said.

“We have deployed special staff to ensure smooth declaration of results through all these channels. More than five lakh students appear for different examinations conducted by the board every year. It is important that they get to know their correct result in time so that they can apply for re-checking or take admission in the next class. Ours is probably the only board in the country which is providing the result through all these variety of sources,” said Mr Rahi.

The board had also issued instructions that no other website would be allowed to put the board’s results on the Internet. Those getting the entire result on floppy disks from the board office had also been asked not to pre-empt the board in declaring the result of different classes.

Mr Rahi said the official website of the board developed accessibility problems twice when the results of Class X were declared earlier this month. “So, while the students were not able to access our site, some other sites were making hay by attracting all students who would have otherwise hit our site,” he said.

Our correspondent from Hamirpur adds: Mr Rahi, said the result of the JBT entrance test would be declared by the month end. The evaluation work would start on Monday, as the first priority of the board was to declare the results of various classes.

Mr Rahi said nearly 1,12,000 candidates had appeared for the JBT entrance test and out of that 9,525 would be selected on the basis of merit. He said in all 1,905 vacancies of the JBT teacher would be filled in various JBT schools.

A three-member committee headed by the SDMs of the respective areas would do the final selection of the candidates. Other members of the committee would be the District Primary Education Officer of the district concerned and a representative of the board.

Mr Rahi said the board was contemplating many changes in the examination pattern to prepare students for the competitive examinations. He said the board proposed to introduce objective-type-question papers rather than subjective-type question papers, as prevalent these days. The board was preparing guidelines in this respect and these would be placed before the state government for final approval.

The board was also going to introduce pre-board examinations for the plus-two students from the current academic session. The board would prepare question papers and send to various schools to conduct the pre-board examinations.

The Chairman said the board was finalising the lists of those who would be given awards for performing well to check copying during the last board examinations. A function would be held and presided over by the Chief Minister, where these persons would be honoured.
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Probe sought into death of monkeys
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 13
Nature Watch India (NWI) suspects foul play behind the large-scale mortality of monkeys in the Jakhoo area over the past few months and has demanded a magisterial inquiry to ascertain the cause of the mysterious deaths of simians and also the failure of government agencies to take prompt action in this regard.

Mr Rajeshwar Negi, convener of the NWI, claimed that over 100 monkeys had died in the Jakhoo area where the famous Hanuman temple is located but the authorities concerned had not made any serious effort to know the cause of the mortality. He said it was an emotional issue involving the religious sentiments of the people which could not be handled in a casual manner. The monkeys were the integral part of the temple environment and enjoyed the blessings of the devotees of Lord Hanuman.

He said a team of the NWI, which visited the temple and nearby forest area, found that the symptoms of the affected monkeys resembled more like of poisoning and not gastroenteritis as declared by veterinary scientists. Bloody stools, vomiting, suffocation and frothing from the mouth preceded the death. The scientists arrived at a conclusion without detailed investigations and officials of the Forest Department started treatment without actually ascertaining the efficacy of drugs.

Moreover, the simians were being administered drugs unhygienically. The result was that the animals were not responding to the treatment. The fact that the deaths were confined to a limited area and also no other animal species had been affected strongly indicated that the death could be the result of poisoning.

He said an inquiry could reveal the truth. The inquiry should be time bound and the report be submitted within 15 days so that action could be taken against those responsible. Further, the entire operation to treat the monkeys should be monitored by a committee headed by the district magistrate and having environmentalists, animal rights activists and forest and police officials as members. The area should be patrolled and all eatables given to monkeys by devotees and tourists be checked.

Monkeys were covered under the Schedule II-17-A of the Wildlife Protection Act and as such the state was obliged to safeguard them. He also decried the move to sterilise male monkeys under a pilot project and said such a programme could not be started without the approval of the national animal welfare board and taking clearances from other agencies concerned.
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Baba Balak Nath temple to be beautified
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, June 13
The Sidh Baba Balak Nath Trust has planned widening of roads between Deotsidh and Shah Talai and Deotsidh and Salauni and more facilities to pilgrims. Hamirpur Deputy Commissioner, Devesh Kumar, who is the commissioner of the temple under the HP Religious Places Endowment Act said here yesterday that the trust would construct hostel for girl students of Sanskrit College, Chakmoh and an examination hall.

The trust will also build houses for its staff.

He said that a waste plant for the disposal of temple garbage.

He said that the trust had also sent the case of granting status of Vice-Chairman to Mahant Rajinder Gir of the Deotsidh Temple. He would replace his Guru Late Mahant Shiv Gir. Former Mahant died a few months ago.

Mr B.S. Dehal, SDM, Barsar, who is also Chairman of the Temple trust said yesterday that the trust would also install glow signboards for the convenience of the pilgrims.
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Laying of sewerage pipes disrupts traffic
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, June 13
The Hamirpur nagar parishad and the Department of Irrigation and public health of the district are at loggerheads over the way the sewerage pipes are being laid in the town. It has become difficult for the people to commute through such areas, especially in the lanes and by- lanes of the town where the work is in progress. 

The laying of the pipes has been going on in a haphazard manner. The earth that has been dug to lay pipes is not removed, obstructing the free flow of traffic.

Ajmer Singh Thakur, Executive Officer of the nagar parishad, visited various parts of the town recently following complaints by the residents over the improper digging of earth for laying pipes. Thakur told officials of the Department of Irrigation and Public Health to ensure that the work did not hamper the movement of the people

Mr O.P. Chauhan, Executive Engineer of the Irrigation-cum-Public Health Department, on being contacted, said the department had instructed the contractors to ensure that the work should not obstruct the traffic.

He said it was the duty of the nagar parishad to re-metal the lanes for which money was being given to the parishad. However, no one from the parishad had so far approached the department to take the payment through crossed cheque.

The foundation stone of the Hamirpur sewerage was laid in 1998 by the then Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh. However, Rs 10 crore was sanctioned for the project by the previous BJP government.
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BJP flays signing of MoU on fiscal reforms
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, June 13
The Himachal Pradesh BJP joint media in charge, Mr Rajendra Rana, today ciriticised the state government for signing an MoU on fiscal reforms without taking the state Assembly and people of the state into the confidence. In a statement here today, he described this action of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as a sell-out of the state interests to the Central Government.

Mr Rana alleged that the feudal ideology of the Chief Minister was compelling him time and again to take anti-people steps. However, the BJP would not tolerate this and resort to agitational approach.

Mr Rana said the signing of the MoU would result in a sharp cut in jobs for youth and user charges for various items would increase. Mr Rana termed the state budget as nothing but a step to befool the people of the state.
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Travelling atop buses goes unchecked
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, June 13
Contrary to government instructions, travelling on roofs of government and private buses has been going on in the district. The situation is alarming during the peak hours when people go to work and return. A heavy rush of passengers is seen on the Hamirpur-Barsar, the Hamirpur-Awah Devi, the Hamirpur-Sujanpur Tihra and the Hamirpur-Galore routes. 

Those who fail to get seats rush to roofs risking their lives. There is no shortage of buses in the district and HRTC and private buses ply on all routes.

To reach the destination on time, everyone tries to board a bus. A spokesman of the police department said travelling on the roofs of buses would not be allowed and action against the bus drivers and the passengers found guilty of the offence would be taken. 
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45 injured as two buses collide
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 13
As many as 45 persons were injured, five of them seriously, when a Haryana Roadways bus and a private bus collided head on at Sarog Gali, near Theog, about 25 km from here, this afternoon.

While the Haryana Roadways bus was on its way from Rampur to Yamunanagar , the private bus was going from here to Chirgaon.

Mr Harnam Singh and Mr Dhian Chand, driver and conductor, respectively, of the Harayan Raodways bus, and Mr Roop Lal and Mr Arun Kumar, driver and owner, respectively, of the private vehicle were among those seriously injured. The injured were hospitalised at Shimla and Theog.
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4 killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Chamba, June 13
Four persons were killed and three others were seriously wounded when a private jeep number (HP-01-2841) veered off the road and rolled about 500 metres down the hill near Bhanjraru, about 65 km from the district headquarters town of Chamba last evening. The driver of the jeep was still missing. The jeep was on its way from Bhanjraru to Chamba.

The four who succumbed to their injuries at Tissa civil hospital had been identified as Nanak Chand, Amar Singh, Pratap Singh and Bhagi Rath residents of adjoining villages of Tissa. Their bodies have been handed over to their relatives after post-mortem.

The three injured — Mahender Singh, Raj Kumar and Hari Singh — had been admitted to Civil Hospital.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Churah subdivision Sanjeev Pathania informed that an immediate relief of Rs 3,000 to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 1,000 each to the injured had been disbursed.

A case has been registered with the police.
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Illegal mining: 12 tractor-trailers impounded
Our Correspondent

Palampur, June 13
The Administration here in a drive to check illegal mining and quarrying in the Palampur region has raided various places and impounded 12 tractor-trailers used for ferrying stone and sand from different khuds. A high-level team comprising Palampur SDM, SDM Baijnath Sanjiv Kumar and officials of the Mining Department oversaw the raids.

Briefing newsmen Mr K.C. Shaman said penal provisions would be invoked if defaulters failed to follow the orders of the government.

He said most of the tractor-trailers used for mining and quarrying were registered only for agriculture use and these could not be used for transportation of sand and stones from the khuds. The administration will impound these vehicles and impose heavy penalties.
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