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Parliamentary secys’ induction my prerogative: CM
Shimla, July 15
The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today asserted that induction of chief parliamentary secretaries and parliamentary secretaries was his prerogative as the Head of the Government and challenged Mr P.K. Dhumal, a former Chief Minister, to move any court, including the International Court of Justice against it.

Govt studying Punjab Act’s implications
Shimla, July 15
The Himachal Government is studying the Bill passed by the Punjab Assembly terminating the water sharing accords with neighbouring states to ascertain if it will have any implication for the Shah Nehar pact and certain other agreements signed between the two states.

High Court imposes ban on paragliding
Mandi, July 15
Despite the ban imposed on paragliding by the High Court the local pilots continued to fly paragliders in the Marhi and Solang valley till afternoon today.

Spurt in constructions makes a mockery of bylaws

Shimla, July 15
Having gobbled up vast stretches of greens in and around the capital town the concrete structures are now spreading beyond the peripheral localities.

Construction of buildings in progress near Bharadi along the road to Puabo in Himachal Pradesh.
Construction of buildings in progress near Bharadi along the road to Puabo in Himachal Pradesh. — Photo by Anil Dayal

 




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EARLIER STORIES

  No headway in acid attack case
Shimla, July 15
Investigations into the acid attack case failed to make any headway even as students continued its protests for the third consecutive day today.

Punjab page: Acid attack accused nabbed in Muktsar

National Commission for Women chairperson Purnima Adwani talks to Ishita, who sustained injuries after acid was thrown on her face by two boys, in Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, on Thursday. — Photo by Anil Dayal
National Commission for Women chairperson Purnima Adwani talks to Ishita, who sustained injuries after acid was thrown on her face by two boys, in Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, on Thursday.

Marriage Registration Act safeguards women’s right: CM
Shimla, July 15
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said today that the State Marriage Registration Act which came into force this week would go a long way in safeguarding the rights of women.

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Parliamentary secys’ induction my prerogative: CM
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 15
The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today asserted that induction of chief parliamentary secretaries and parliamentary secretaries was his prerogative as the Head of the Government and challenged Mr P.K. Dhumal, a former Chief Minister, to move any court, including the International Court of Justice against it.

Reacting sharply to the statement of Mr Dhumal that his party would take legal action if parliamentary secretaries were inducted against the spirit of the law to limit the size of ministry, he said the BJP leader was free to do anything and added that he was least bothered by the threat handed out by him. He said Mr Dhumal had been raising such issues out of frustration as he had yet not reconciled to the fact that he was no more the Chief Minister.

Launching a scathing attack on Mr Dhumal for accusing him of discriminating against Kangra, Mr Virbhadra Singh said during his rule the district suffered so much that his own ministers were forced to raise a banner of revolt against him. He said it was the BJP which had been raising the bogey of regionalism time and again to drive political mileage. The Congress had been committed to balanced and equitable development of all areas. Not only that Mr Shanta Kumar was dropped from Union Cabinet without any rhyme or reason. The tussle between Mr Dhumal and Mr Shanta Kumar cost the people of Kangra dearly as development activities came to a grinding halt.

Replying to a question he said he had urged the Prime Minister to give representation to the hill state in the Union Cabinet.

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Govt studying Punjab Act’s implications
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 15
The Himachal Government is studying the Bill passed by the Punjab Assembly terminating the water sharing accords with neighbouring states to ascertain if it will have any implication for the Shah Nehar pact and certain other agreements signed between the two states.

Besides the Shah Nehar agreement, under which Punjab committed to bear 60 per cent of the cost of the Rs 143 crore project, the state had signed accords for the release of water for irrigation schemes from the BBMB projects. The state is entitled to 20 cusecs of water for the Balh irrigation scheme and 25 cusecs from the Anandpur hydel channel for another scheme.

Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, said that in case the interests of the state were hit due to the Bill the government would take appropriate action. He said the Punjab Government had not released its full share of funds for the Shan Nehar projects as a result of which work on it had been delayed, leading to cost escalation. He lamented that the state had not released even the funds allocated by the Planning Commission to it specifically for the purpose. The Himachal Pradesh Government had urged the commission to allot funds directly to it but it did not agree to it. He said the matter would be raised again with the Punjab Government.

He said the inter-state agreements had some sanctity, which should be maintained. The Punjab Government had not done the right thing by unilaterally abrogating the pacts, whatever might be its compulsions in doing so. Any changes in the agreements could have been effected through negotiations instead of setting up such an unhealthy precedent, which could lead to chaos.

The cost of the Shah Nehar project has increased to Rs 203 crore from Rs 143 crore and the Punjab Government has released only Rs 29.50 crore to the state, against its revised share of Rs 123 crore. The state government has already spent Rs 79 crore on the project.

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High Court imposes ban on paragliding
Tribune News Service

Mandi, July 15
Despite the ban imposed on paragliding by the High Court the local pilots continued to fly paragliders in the Marhi and Solang valley till afternoon today. They blamed the government for depriving the tourists and adventure sports-lovers of having an ‘experience of a lifetime’, and pilots of earning their ‘seasonal bread and butter’.

The pilots blamed the government for not framing rules to run the aerosports in the state that in turn has hit them badly as over 100 pilots earn their livelihood from seasonal tourists and adventure sports lovers every year.

Local pilots unmindful of the High Courts ban flew gliders at Marhi since morning and till the late afternoon as tourists scanned the lush green environs of the Rohtang range at Marhi, 50 kms from Manali.

In fact, the gaps in adventure sports have been highlighted by The Tribune last month, exposing the lack of regulations and recurring accidents that made the basis for the PIL.

The pilots disclosed that the paragliding and hang-gliding had become a free run even for the travel agents as most flying schools, pilots or associations had not got formal certificates because government had no aerosports body recognised by the Federation International Aeronautics (FIA), an international body, that governs aerosports around the world, for the purpose in the state.

Pointing out government’s apathy, members of the Indian Paragliding Association, Manali, said they had approached the government several times to issue licenses and register clubs but nothing concrete had come out so far.

Admitting that the state has not recognised aerosports training body the Principal Secretary Tourism, Mr Yogesh Khana, said the government would publish a set of rules and safety measures within three or four days. It would also request the court to lift the ban on paragliding.

The Deputy Commissioner, Kullu Mr R.D. Nazeem, said he had asked the SDM Manali, to ensure that no paragliding take place till the High Court order was in place.

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Spurt in constructions makes a mockery of bylaws
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 15
Having gobbled up vast stretches of greens in and around the capital town the concrete structures are now spreading beyond the peripheral localities.

Over the past two years, a large number of structures have come up in violation of the provision of the Town and Country Planning Act in the adjoining villages of Puabo, Dudhli, Bhatta Kufer, Baragaon, Lower Tutu, Chaili and Pantha Ghati. Many more are coming up and it is evident from the ongoing construction activity all over the hill slopes, some of which are very steep. Some big structures are also coming up in the nearby Kufri and Shogi which have also been brought under the Shimla planning area recently.

Information available from the Town Planning Department indicates that almost half of the underconstruction structures were unauthorised. While the department granted permission in 584 cases since February last, it issued notices in another 589 structures, which were coming up in violation of the planning Act. Not only that over the past two years as many as 1321 illegal structures had been regularised under the retention policy. While 516 were regularised upto March 2003, the remaining 805 were regularised subsequently. A maximum number of 671 structures was regularised in Kusumpti, followed by 445 in Dhalli and 154 in Tutu.

There has been a spurt in illegal constructions in the suburban areas ever since the government excluded the Dhalli, Kusumpti and Tutu Nagar panchayats from the ambit of municipal corporation in 2002. The retention policy to regularise illegal structures announced on the eve of the Assembly election made things worse as builders and residents in a bid to take advantage of the policy constructed buildings overnight. The retention policy virtually made a mockery of the town planning Act as it facilitated regularisation of the structures constructed without approval of the building plans.

Despite repeated assertions of successive governments that construction activity will be regulated and the “pristine glory” of the erstwhile British summer capital will be restored, the proud heritage is fast dwindling. The reasons are not far to seek. Instead of taking steps to enforce the law to effectively regulate the construction activity, they have been coming out with policies to provide reprieve to the offenders and in the process encouraging illegal constructions. Not only that building bylaws have been changed frequently to arbitrarily increase the maximum number of permissible storeys in different areas disturbing the floor- area ratio. The green cover over the ecologically fragile hills has been the main casualty of unregulated construction activity.

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No headway in acid attack case
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 15
Investigations into the acid attack case failed to make any headway even as students continued its protests for the third consecutive day today, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.

Students and staff of the local St. Bede’s College today went to the house of the victim in a silent procession. The protesters were carrying placards demanding the immediate arrest of the two boys who threw acid on the girl.

The activists of the Students Federation of India also held a protest rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner.

The police, which has been groping in the dark so far, claimed to have found some clues to the identity of the culprits from two residents of the new Shimla area. They gave identical description of the suspects who could be involved in the attack. Both of them came across the suspects in the Malyana area. One of them informed the police that he saw two boys riding a scooter and the hands of both appeared to have been burnt. The second resident met them when they were looking for water. The scooter was parked by the roadside. He also said that a hand of one of the two boys was burnt.

Mr Yog Raj Thakur, district police chief, said that the special investigation team was working on these clues and it had also contacted friends and classmates of the victim both at Shimla and Chandigarh, where he had gone for coaching. A similar acid attack was made on her in Chandigarh by two boys, but she escaped with minor injuries. Her parents brought her back to Shimla after the incident and did not lodge any complaint with the police.

He said that a team was camping in Chandigarh to gather information pertaining the previous incident, which could help establish the identity of the culprits.

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Marriage Registration Act safeguards women’s right: CM
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 15
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said today that the State Marriage Registration Act which came into force this week would go a long way in safeguarding the rights of women.

Inaugurating a state-level conference on “Status of women in Himachal Pradesh”, organised jointly by the National Women Commission and the State Women Commission, the CM said that the act had provisions to check the exploitation of married women at the hands of their in-laws. The magistrates had been directed to ensure that all marriages in their jurisdiction were registered.

Dr Purnima Advani, Chairperson of the National Women Commission, stressed on the need to check age-old practices like polyandry, polygamy and dowry system.

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Manipuri youth held for impersonation
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 15
The Kangra police yesterday arrested a Manipuri youth, Rangsui Halkha, with a fake passport from McLeodganj. He was impersonating as a Malaysian citizen and was in the process of getting travellers cheques worth $ 300 encashed when the police nabbed him. The case is being investigated.

This was the third such case where a Manipuri youth had come all the way to McLeodganj to get travellers cheques, usually stolen, encashed. 

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30 injured in road accident
Our Correspondent

Palampur, July 15
At least 30 persons were injured, four of them seriously, when a private bus met with an accident near Balakrupee last evening. Among the injured were students returning home from school.

The injured have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Sujanpur, while the seriously injured have been shifted to the Zonal Hospital, Hamiprur.

Mr Ravinder Thakur, local BJP MLA supervised the relief and rescue operations.

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CSK varsity’s new service

Palampur, July 15
Chaudhary Sarvan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, here, will soon provide consultancy to private firms. Resource generation through sale of quality seed, plant material, farm and dairy produce will get priority. More research projects would be submitted to funding agencies like the Indian council of Agricultural Research, Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology. — TNS

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Leopard dead

Hamirpur, July 15
A male leopard was found dead in the forests of Umar, near Bharari town, of Hamirpur district today. A post-mortem examination of the leopard was also conducted and it was found that the leopard was shot at as it bore bullet marks in the stomach. —OC

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Dam walls being repaired
Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, July 15
Stone-pitching work has started on the damaged protection walls of the Kol Dam project which leaked muck and silt into the Sutlej. This problem was highlighted in these columns on July 12, 2004. Stone-pitching work will also be done in the outlet tunnels on the banks. This information has been given by the project General Manager, Mr T.K. Chatterjee.

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