SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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

Chautala wants rivers nationalised
Shimla, July 18
Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Haryana Chief Minister, today urged the Centre to nationalise rivers and other water resources as had been done in the case of mineral resources to help strengthen the national fabric of the country.

BJP for resolution on river waters issue
Shimla, July 18
The BJP today demanded convening of a special Vidhan Sabha session so that a resolution can be passed safeguarding the interests of Himachal Pradesh in the wake of the annulling of the all water-sharing agreements by Punjab.

Kangra getting its due, says Virbhadra
Palampur, July 18
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, has refuted the charge of BJP leaders that his government was extending a stepmotherly treatment to Kangra district and discriminating against its matters of development.

Govt refuses to pay power panel bills
Shimla, July 18
The State Electricity Regulatory Commission has plunged into a statutory crisis with the government Treasury refusing to pass its bills.
The commission has been caught in an unsavoury controversy with the government over the appointment of its Secretary for the past about six months.

Acid attack: absconding accused victim’s relative
Shimla, July 18
The much publicised acid burning case, which led to state-wide protests and dharnas, has taken an interesting turn with the revelation that one of culprits, still at large, is a blood relation of the victim, Ishita.


 


YOUR TOWN
Bilaspur
Hamirpur
Shimla
Solan


EARLIER STORIES

 

Palampur varsity to absorb postgraduates
Palampur, July 18
Post-graduates from CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur, have a reason to cheer. The varsity authorities would soon initiate steps to absorb them in its various departments, including the research stations located in tribal areas.

Trader robbed at gunpoint
Hamirpur, July 18
Mr Mukesh Kumar, a trader of Yamunanagar area of Delhi, was robbed of Rs 1.25 lakh at gunpoint by two persons in a bus at Kaloha village. The bus was on its way from Palampur to Delhi. Mr Kumar received injuries on his right arm when he tried to prevent the accused from snatching his bag.

Cop missing since August, wife cries foul
Solan, July 18
With no clue of her husband Roop Singh posted as a head constable with the state’s third battalion at Pandoh near Mandi, his wife Reeta Devi living at her native Hudag village in Kasauli tehsil is still hopeful of his return. She is astonished at the police for its failure in tracing its own man who has been missing since August.

Girl goes missing
Kumarhatti, July 18
Mamta Kumari (22) of Than village under Mamleeg panchayat, about 20 km from Subathu has reportedly gone missing from her home on Friday.
Mamta, who had appeared for final semester of M.Sc. at HP University, Shimla, had left to her father at Darlaghat who was employed as postal assistant in a post office there.

IAS officer, son beaten up
Solan, July 18
A Himachal cadre IAS officer, Mr Balbir Tekta, MD State Cooperative Bank, Shimla, and his son were allegedly not only beaten up by a suspended Punjab policemen and two others, but also his son was thrown from a hillside near a resort near Parwanoo late last evening.

10-year RI for double murder
Hamirpur, July 18
The Sessions Judge, Hamirpur, has sentenced Rakesh, alias Ganga, to undergo 10 years’ RI and a fine of Rs 10,000 under Section 304 and one year’s RI and a fine of Rs 1,000 for the murder of two persons at Jalari on December 7, 2003.

Police employee commits suicide
Shimla, July 18
Parminder Singh, an employee of the Police Department, posted at the interstate wireless section in the Secretariat, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree last night.

1 killed as truck falls into gorge
Solan, July 18
Geeta Ram, a resident of Tatta Pani, Shimla, was killed and two others seriously injured when a Canter (HP-03-3790), they were travelling by, rolled down a 150 feet deep gorge near Sanwara on the Kalka-Shimla highway late last night.

Panches quit in protest
Bilaspur, July 18
Four out of total seven members of Gram Panchayat Tanbol near here in the Kotkehloor Constituency of the district have resigned in protest against ‘despotic’ attitude of the Panchayat President, Ms Bimladevi, Ramjidas (Ward Dhanswai), Harisharn Parmar (Ward Nera Kund), Urmiladevi (Ward Cheli) and Sushmadevi (Ward Naal) gave their resignations to the Deputy Commissioner Subhasheesh Panda here last evening.
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Chautala wants rivers nationalised
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 18
Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Haryana Chief Minister, today urged the Centre to nationalise rivers and other water resources as had been done in the case of mineral resources to help strengthen the national fabric of the country.

Mr Chautala, who was on a visit to the 300 MW Baspa Project at Kuppa in the tribal Kinnaur district, executed by the M/s J.P. Industries, said if the natural resources of Himachal Pradesh and other states were utilised to the optimum, the Indian economy, which was predominantly agricultural, would progress speedily.

He was of the view that water, which was one of the most critical resources of the present millennium, should be treated as a national asset for its equitable distribution and optimum management.

He termed the action of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in terminating the water-sharing accords as undemocratic and disastrous for the country. The economic consequences would be ruinous as the entire financial and credit system, which was based on trust and covenants, would collapse. He said if Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal refused to give water to other states, a chaoatic situation would be created in the country. Similarly, if Haryana terminated the Yamuna accord, under which water was supplied to Delhi, what would happen to the people living there?

He said the Centre should either rein in the Punjab Government or dismiss it, otherwise the country would face disintegration. He lamented that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, instead of pulling up his party government in Punjab, moved the Supreme court for seeking further directions. He said if the verdict of the highest court were not implemented, where would one go for getting justice.

Mr Chautala said the resignations submitted by the Congress legislators on the SYL issue was a drama to gain political mileage. He said Members of Parliament from the state, including two ministers, did not utter a word on this vital issue. Moreover, the resignations had been submitted to the Congress President and not to the Speaker.

The Haryana Congress, which was now stressing for an all-party meeting, had earlier boycotted two such meetings convened by the government. It also walked out of the special session convened to discuss the issue.

He said the motive of the Punjab Government to create a law and order problem by annulling the inter-state-water-sharing accords had been defeated by the peace-loving people of Haryana, who refused to get provocated by its action.

Mr Manoj Gaur and Mr Sunil Sharma, both Managing Directors of the JP Group of Industries, took Mr Chautala around the project.
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BJP for resolution on river waters issue
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 18
The BJP today demanded convening of a special Vidhan Sabha session so that a resolution can be passed safeguarding the interests of Himachal Pradesh in the wake of the annulling of the all water-sharing agreements by Punjab.

The decision was taken at a state executive meeting of the BJP here, which was attended by state BJP chief, Suresh Bhardwaj, former Union minister Shanta Kumar and former Chief Minister, P.K. Dhumal.

“In the interest of the state the BJP would wholeheartedly support the stand taken by the Virbhadra Singh government by rising above political considerations as the move by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was against the federal structure of the country,” remarked Mr Bhardwaj.

The state executive of the BJP also passed a resolution in this regard. In case the Congress fails to take appropriate steps to protect the rights of Himachal Pradesh, the BJP will launch a statewide agitation and take the issue to the masses, said Mr Bhardwaj.

“We accuse the Congress-led regime at the Centre of shielding the Punjab Chief Minister in taking such a decision as it is not possible that Capt Amarinder Singh could have done it without the knowledge of the Centre and party high command,” remarked the BJP chief. He demanded that as per the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, Himachal Pradesh should have got 7.19 per cent share on all assets but the Congress failed to plead the state’s case.

It was the Janata Party government in 1977 which managed to secure HP’s share on an ad hoc basis in the Bhakra Nangal Dam and later 12 per cent as royalty in all power projects executed after 1991, added Mr Bhardwaj.

The BJP executive also passed two other resolutions, one expressing concern on the deteriorating law and order situation and the other on the MoU signed by the state government with the Centre on fiscal reforms.
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Kangra getting its due, says Virbhadra
Our Correspondent

Palampur, July 18
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, has refuted the charge of BJP leaders that his government was extending a stepmotherly treatment to Kangra district and discriminating against its matters of development.

Talking to members of the Palampur Union of Journalists at his residence in Shimla last evening, he said the charge levelled against his government by BJP leaders, including former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, was baseless.

He said the government had done a lot for Kangra during the past one and a half years. He said the budgetary allocations were sufficient evidence to prove that the government had taken care of the interests of Kangra district.

To a question, he said the Congress government had shifted at least 12 state-level offices from Shimla to Dharamsala.

He said he had made Dharamsala the winter capital of the state.

He alleged that during the BJP regime, Kangra district remained neglected because of sharp differences between Mr Dhumal and former Union Minister Shanta Kumar. No funds were given for the district by Mr Dhumal to settle political scores with Mr Shanta Kumar.

The Chief Minister said the present exercise of downsizing the state Cabinet was his constitutional compulsion and all efforts were being made to induct one or two more ministers from Kangra.
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Govt refuses to pay power panel bills
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 18
The State Electricity Regulatory Commission has plunged into a statutory crisis with the government Treasury refusing to pass its bills.

The commission has been caught in an unsavoury controversy with the government over the appointment of its Secretary for the past about six months. However, the row took an ugly turn after the Chief Secretary wrote a letter, dated June 18,2004, stating that the post of the Secretary could be held only by an officer of the State Administrative Service and that the charge given to Director (Technical) was illegal. A copy of the letter was forwarded to the Treasury Department, which stopped passing the bills of the commission on its basis. Consequently no bills have been paid over the past fortnight and the functioning of the commission has virtually come to a standstill.

The Chairman of the commission has taken up the matter with government. He has written to the Chief Secretary to withdraw the letter so as to avert the statutory crisis as it could have serious consequences not only for the quasi-judicial regulatory body but also for the power sector as a whole. The process of reforms will also be impeded if the crisis is not diffused immediately.

The row started in January after the commission sought to repatriate Mr Akshaya Sood , the then Secretary, back to the government. Instead of recalling the Secretary, the government transferred him but gave him additional charge of the Secretary to the commission. Subsequently, the commission sent him back unilaterally on the plea that it was a full-time job and that it was empowered under Section 191(1) of the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act to appoint the Secretary.

The charge of the Secretary was then given to Director (Technical). An anomalous situation was created where two different persons, one posted by the government and the other by the commission, held the charge of Secretary.

Subsequently, the commission proceeded against the Secretary for interfering in its working and held it guilty for contravention of its directions. He was given a final opportunity to explain his position before determination extent and nature of contravention for imposition of penalty. In between the Chief Secretary shot a letter which created a statutory crisis.
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Acid attack: absconding accused victim’s relative
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 18
The much publicised acid burning case, which led to state-wide protests and dharnas, has taken an interesting turn with the revelation that one of culprits, still at large, is a blood relation of the victim, Ishita.

The fact that one of the accused is a close blood relation of the victim, was not disclosed to the police either by Ishita or her family members after the acid throwing case on July 12. “Even if it was embarrassing for the family to make this disclosure, they could have taken the police into confidence and at least revealed the identity of the culprits, which would have saved a lot of trouble to everybody,” remarked an official.

This close relative of Ishita works as a customs agent and lives in the Tagore Nagar area of Ludhiana. Though both the Director General of Police, Mr A.K. Puri, and the Superintendent of Police, Mr J.R. Thakur, denied the involvement of any local youth, they also refrained from making any disclosure about one of the accused being related to Ishita’a family.

However, Mr Puri, had yesterday stated that the police was virtually groping in the dark as no vital clues or information about the culprits came from the victim or her family. On the other hand, Ishita and her family did name some people whom they were suspicious about though they knew for sure as to who was behind the acid attack, said police sources.

Meanwhile, the police after obtaining transit remand for one of the accused Daljit Singh, is bringing him here. “The medical examination of Daljit Singh conducted at Ludhiana last night has confirmed acid burns on his arms,” informed Mr Thakur. Regarding the other accused, he said the police had established his identity but since he was still at large, police teams were searching for him.

Interestingly, after her meeting with Ishita, even the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Dr Purnima Advani, too had criticised the police for suspecting Ishita of not coming out with complete information about the identity of the culprits. The police, on the other hand, did not make disclosure of the fact that one of the accused was a close relative of the victim to save the family from the embarrassment.
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Palampur varsity to absorb postgraduates
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Palampur, July 18
Post-graduates from CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur, have a reason to cheer. The varsity authorities would soon initiate steps to absorb them in its various departments, including the research stations located in tribal areas. The placement cell is also being revamped.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Jagmohan Singh said that a move was already on to ensure better placements of those passing out from the varsity by having a full-fledged placement cell. Also, he informed, they have written to the state Education Department that they be allowed to absorb the PhD holders in the research stations of the varsity. “But to start with, the appointments would be on contract basis,” he said.

A senior professor said that the posts of Technical Assistants had not been filled for the last seven years on the campus and at the research stations even though other varsities had been advertising posts on a regular basis even if on contract basis. Making the placement cell active would also help easy placement of the passouts, he said.

Another reason for the vacant posts is that the scientists working under state schemes had been shifted to other schemes, which had resulted in creation of more vacant posts. As per a government policy, any post lying vacant for three years consecutively stands abolished.

It had been a long-pending demand of the passouts that they be recruited in the varsity. In a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor last week, they had pointed out the problems being faced by them.

Naval Kishore, member, Agriculture Post Graduate Welfare Association, said that they had pointed out to the authorities that all other varsities in the region give preference to their own passouts. “No fresh appointments of Assistant Scientists and assistant Professors have been made since 1998 despite nearly 70 posts lying vacant,’’ he said.

“The PhD holders appearing for interviews at other varsities are humiliated in one way or the other and the local students there are given undue preference. In some cases, even MSc degree holders have been preferred over us,’’ said another passout.

“We want that the authorities should review the various vacant posts so that the matter could be taken up with the state government and preference be given to passouts from this varsity,” he added.
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Trader robbed at gunpoint
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 18
Mr Mukesh Kumar, a trader of Yamunanagar area of Delhi, was robbed of Rs 1.25 lakh at gunpoint by two persons in a bus at Kaloha village. The bus was on its way from Palampur to Delhi. Mr Kumar received injuries on his right arm when he tried to prevent the accused from snatching his bag. Another person standing outside the bus fired at him with a country-made revolver.

The SP, Mr P.L. Thakur, said the police had been alerted at Hamirpur, Una and Kangra.

Mr Kumar had visited Nadaun last night and had collected money from his customers. The SP said after getting the money, he boarded the bus from Nadaun, however, when the bus reached Kaloha, one of the accused snatched the bag and the other one who was standing outside the bus fired at Mr Kumar.

The SP said after the bus driver and the victim failed to nab the robbers, the driver took the bus to Amb and provided medical treatment to Mr Kumar. The driver also informed the Amb police and a naka was set up.

He was brought to Nadaun the morning and many youths were paraded before him for identification. A case has been registered.
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Cop missing since August, wife cries foul
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 18
With no clue of her husband Roop Singh posted as a head constable with the state’s third battalion at Pandoh near Mandi, his wife Reeta Devi living at her native Hudag village in Kasauli tehsil is still hopeful of his return. She is astonished at the police for its failure in tracing its own man who has been missing since August.

The DIG, Mandi, Mr O.C. Thakur who first expressed ignorance about the case on the plea of having resumed charge a fortnight ago, later said a case had been duly registered and the DSP (headquarters), Mandi, was investigating the case.

He said despite best efforts no breakthrough could be achieved. The ADGP ( CID), Mr B.S. Thind, was ignorant of the matter.

Narrating her woes, Reeta Devi said despite having made a number of representations to senior police officials, including Mr Thind, no information had been received about her husband.

She said her husband was posted at Pandoh after being transferred from the first battalion at Junga here. Expressing displeasure at the manner in which some police officials had been alleging that he was mentally deranged and could have left for an unknown destination, she said he was physically and mentally fit when he left Solan in August 2003. Mother of three children, Reeta Devi said her husband was the sole bread-earner of the family and feared that her husband was being injected some intoxicant-laced injections and being kept in hiding by some policemen at Pandoh.

It was on August 20 that she received a call from a constable at Pandoh who inquired if her husband had come home after having gone missing on August 16. Her efforts to trace Roop Singh among their relatives yielded no results.

Expressing shock at the police failure in tracing him she said though a complaint was lodged on August 29 no serious efforts were made to trace her husband.
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Girl goes missing
Our Correspondent

Kumarhatti, July 18
Mamta Kumari (22) of Than village under Mamleeg panchayat, about 20 km from Subathu has reportedly gone missing from her home on Friday.

Mamta, who had appeared for final semester of M.Sc. at HP University, Shimla, had left to her father at Darlaghat who was employed as postal assistant in a post office there.

However she could not reach Darlaghat. Mr Raghuvir Singh, her father who could not contact his native place as the telephone was out of order home, came to know yesterday when his younger daughter, who was doing B.Ed at Shimla, informed him that Mamta had also not reached Shimla. Mr Raghuvir Singh registered an FIR at Seri police chowki today. He also received a phone call around 11 am today but due to poor signal, he could not talk. The caller was a male and was calling from the Sarkaghat area, he said. “I have noted the number appeared on my cell phone and tried to contact at that number but failed”, he said.
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IAS officer, son beaten up
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 18
A Himachal cadre IAS officer, Mr Balbir Tekta, MD State Cooperative Bank, Shimla, and his son were allegedly not only beaten up by a suspended Punjab policemen and two others, but also his son was thrown from a hillside near a resort near Parwanoo late last evening. The incident occurred while the IAS officer was travelling back to Shimla from Chandigarh in his car with his son and driver Amar Nath.

They briefly halted near the resort to buy some eatables from a road side vendor and saw three-persons sitting on the roadside parapet near an Indica car bearing a Chandigarh number. One of them attacked the father and son without any provocation and incited those with him to throw them from the hill.

Mr Tekta’s son got caught in the bushes and was saved. They later reported the matter to the Parwanoo police.

The police managed to nab one of the accused who came to the Parwanoo barrier driving the Indica in an inebriated condition.

He has been identified as Dilbag Singh of Manimajra. The DSP Parwanoo, Mr Surinder Verma, said the police on being informed about the incident impounded the car and arrested Dilbag Singh.

A case under Sections 308, 341, 506, 336 and 34, IPC, and Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, has been registered.

A woman accompanying the accused has also been arrested and a case has been registered.
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10-year RI for double murder
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 18
The Sessions Judge, Hamirpur, has sentenced Rakesh, alias Ganga, to undergo 10 years’ RI and a fine of Rs 10,000 under Section 304 and one year’s RI and a fine of Rs 1,000 for the murder of two persons at Jalari on December 7, 2003.

The judge has also sentenced Ajay, Rakesh Kumar and Rajesh Kumar to undergo 10 months’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,500 each for abetting the crime.

Kushal Singh, District Attorney, represented the state government in the case.
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Police employee commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 18
Parminder Singh, an employee of the Police Department, posted at the interstate wireless section in the Secretariat, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree last night.

According to the police, the deceased, who lived alone here, had been on medical leave for the past many days. His body was found hanging from a tree 50 yards from his house in the Kotshera locality.

His wife and children lived in his village in Hoshiarpur and one of his daughters is settled in Canada. The exact cause of death would be known after post-mortem which would be conducted after the arrival of the family members.
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1 killed as truck falls into gorge
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 18
Geeta Ram, a resident of Tatta Pani, Shimla, was killed and two others seriously injured when a Canter (HP-03-3790), they were travelling by, rolled down a 150 feet deep gorge near Sanwara on the Kalka-Shimla highway late last night.

The two other occupants of the Canter, carrying apples and coming to Chandigarh, received serious injuries.

The police has registered a case of rash and negligent driving against its driver Dushyant Kumar under Sections 279, 337 and 304 A of the IPC.
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Panches quit in protest
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, July 18
Four out of total seven members of Gram Panchayat Tanbol near here in the Kotkehloor Constituency of the district have resigned in protest against ‘despotic’ attitude of the Panchayat President, Ms Bimladevi, Ramjidas (Ward Dhanswai), Harisharn Parmar (Ward Nera Kund), Urmiladevi (Ward Cheli) and Sushmadevi (Ward Naal) gave their resignations to the Deputy Commissioner Subhasheesh Panda here last evening. They also submitted a memorandum demanding high-level inquiry into the functioning of the President and all construction works, launched during her tenure.

They alleged that they were never taken into confidence regarding development works. At panchayat meetings most decisions were never got approved from majority of Panchayat members, they alleged.
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