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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

Land buyers to move court against Revenue Dept decision
Solan, July 20
The move of the revenue department to first grant about 2,000 bighas of government land to about 40 residents of 10 villages near Parwanoo and later roll back its decision has put property buyers in a fix. While the move was undertaken after the former BJP government in the state decided to return the shamlaat land to its original owners, it was later discovered that the land did not fit in the criteria.

State to move SC against Punjab
Shimla, July 20
In a significant decision, the Himachal Government today decided to move the Supreme Court against the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act to protect the interests of the state in Thein Dam and other projects which will be affected by the Act.

Tunnels, ropeways in decongest-Shimla plan
Shimla, July 20
Even if it sounds far-fetched, it is with the help of tunnels, ropeways, a circular rail line and by-passes till 2021 that the state government intends to decongest the hill town and safeguard the original character of the erstwhile summer capital of the British, replete with its invaluable heritage wealth.

Ex-VC held in question paper scam
Shimla, July 20
The vigilance police today arested Dr S.D. Sharma, former Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University and the main accused in the question paper scam, who had been evading arrest since May 21. A police party headed by Mr Vinod Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, arrested Dr Sharma at his residence in Karnal.


 


YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Kangra
Kulu
Shimla
Nahan
Solan


EARLIER STORIES

  Two more held for roughing up IAS officer, son
Solan, July 20
The Parwanoo police held two others — Kuldeep Singh and Malkeet Singh, from Panchkula last evening allegedly for beating up Himachal IAS officer, Balbir Tekta. DSP, Parwanoo, Surinder Verma stated this. The police was under pressure to trace the culprits.

Dharna by ABVP activists
Hamirpur, July 20
Hundreds of activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad resorted to a day-long dharna in front of the statue of Netaji Subhash Chander Bose on the Government College campus here today in support of their demands. The ABVP has been demanding an end to the anti-student stance of the HP Government.

Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad sit on dharna on the Government College campus in Hamirpur on Tuesday. — Photo by Chander Shekhar Sharma
Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad sit on dharna on the Government College campus in Hamirpur on Tuesday.


Digging for sewers inconveniences residents
Hamirpur, July 20
People and students of the Government College here were inconvenienced by a contactor digging a lane for laying sewers between Hamirpur-Anoo. The lane was dug in a haphazard manner with the help of a JCB machine.

Haphazard digging in the Hamirpur-Anoo narrow lane is causing great inconvenience to people of the ward number 1 and 2 of the town. — Photo by Chander Shekhar Sharma
Haphazard digging in the Hamirpur-Anoo narrow lane is causing great inconvenience to people of the ward number 1 and 2 of the town

Tandem pilots take up odd jobs Ashok Raina
Kangra, July 20
The state government is formulating safety rules and defining flying rules as per international standards for paragliding. It will then approach the state high court with a request to give a relief in the interim orders of the court regarding ban on paragliding in the state.

Follow rules or close shop, pvt school told
Dharamsala, July 20
The Himachal School Education Board has warned all those private schools which do not fulfil requirements regarding staff and infrastructure, to comply with the rulebook by August 31 or face disaffiliation. The schools have also been asked to send photographs of the faculty members, so that fake names are not put on the list supplied to the board.

AMO facing dept’s apathy, sans pay for 22 months
Palampur, July 20
Dr Kuldip Achraya, a brain cancer patient, working as Aryurvedic Medical Officer (AMO) at Malnoo near here, is moving from pillar to post to get his salary and medical reimbursement bills cleared for the past 22 months but to no avail.

Tribunal orders reinstatement of 43 workers
Kumarhatti, July 20
The HP Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court has ordered the reinstatement of 43 workers whose services were terminated by the management of Siddhartha Super Spinning Mills at Khera, near Nalagarh, following a dispute about eight years ago.

Two arrested in fake certificate racket
Nahan, July 20
On a report of the C.I.D., Shimla, the Paonta Sabib police last evening registered a case against three persons on the charge of preparing and selling fake matriculation certificates of the HP Board of School Education.

CAN fertiliser prices hiked
Shimla, July 20
The Himachal Government has increased the pooled prices of CAN fertiliser by 25 per cent for the Kharif season with immediate effect.    

Judicial remand for Ishita’s cousin
Shimla, July 20
Vijay Kumar Sandhu, the main accused in the Ishita acid-throwing case, was produced in a local court today and remanded to two days in judicial custody.

Brown sugar seized
Kulu, July 20
The Kulu police on Monday seized 25 gms of brown sugar and 60 gms of charas from Amar Singh, a resident of Shamshi.

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Land buyers to move court against Revenue Dept decision
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 20
The move of the revenue department to first grant about 2,000 bighas of government land to about 40 residents of 10 villages near Parwanoo and later roll back its decision has put property buyers in a fix. While the move was undertaken after the former BJP government in the state decided to return the shamlaat land to its original owners, it was later discovered that the land did not fit in the criteria.

The investors who had bought the land from locals are now contemplating moving court against the decision of the Revenue Department. Enquiries revealed that about 2,000 bighas of land falling in these 10 villages, including Taksaal, Kamli, Amota, Thero and Chaandri near Parwanoo, was identified for prospective industrial development after the announcement of the new industrial policy in the state.

This prompted owners to sell the newly acquired land at plum prices and fetch a neat profit. While defeating the very purpose of the land distribution it created contention in the about 2,000 villagers who not only met the chief minister but also the district administration to intervene and put an end to the sale of village common purpose land.

Serious objections were also put forth by the local MLA, Mr Raghu Raj, against the land sale. Objections regarding the sale of this wasteland were also raised by the Forest Department. A review of the matter was sought, revealed the divisional Forest Officer, Mr Alok Nagar.

The SDM, Mr Lokender Chauhan, said inquiries by the revenue authorities later revealed that the land given to the villagers was indeed village common purpose land which included pastures, water bodies like kuhals, nullahs, common paths, khuds,etc.

This besides being uncultivable, could not generate any revenue and hence could not be given to any individual as per the HP Village Common Land Act. The land, which was sought to be distributed to villagers, was as per the utility scheme of the Act, brought about after an appropriate amendment in the Act during the former BJP regime, observed revenue officials.

As many as 20 industrialists, seeking to set up industries around Parwanoo and have already initiated the process of buying the land a few months back have been shocked at the move of the Revenue Department to return the land to the government. Not only had some of them made advance payments worth lakhs of rupees to the owners but had entered into legal agreements and got the land deals registered. Others were in the process of getting the mutations executed in the official revenue records.

The July 16 order of the Revenue Department to annul its earlier decision of giving the land to villagers has now created panic among the investors who are contemplating to move court against the decision.

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State to move SC against Punjab
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 20
In a significant decision, the Himachal Government today decided to move the Supreme Court against the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act to protect the interests of the state in Thein Dam and other projects which will be affected by the Act.

The decision was taken by the state Cabinet which met under the chairpersonship of Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, here today. It was decided at the meeting that provisions of the Act which affected the state’s legal rights and interests should be challenged.

It also approved the new transport policy and the market intervention scheme for apple for the current harvesting season under which apple will be procured at Rs 4.25 per kg from growers.

As many as 175 collection centres will be set up in the apple belt for procurement of fruit under the market intervention scheme which will be implemented from August 1 to October 31. No fruit will be procured from contractors. Fruit below the extra small grade and having punctured skin or bird damage, infested with insects and pests, fungal diseases and subjected to ethereal spray will also not be procured.

It approved a proposal to convert government loan of Rs 120.12 crore outstanding against the HPMC into equity and waive the interest after adjusting the claim.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to the reform, operation and financial action plan of the state electricity board, which will enable it to secure financial assistance to the tune of 80 per cent of investment plan from the Power Finance Corporation. The board will utilise the funds raised from the corporation for supplying uninterrupted power to remote areas. Funds will also be available for investigation of hydel projects and implementation of power sector reforms.

It also approved the signing of a tripartite agreement with M/s A.D.Hydro Power Limited, Kulu, for the execution of the 192 MW Allain Duhangan project.

It also approved a proposal for leasing out all government land required for setting up Bus Stands to the authority concerned on a token amount of Re 1 per month. As per another decision, token tax will be imposed on recovery vans at the rates of Rs 4, 000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000 on light ,medium and heavy categories, respectively.

Other decisions included the opening of a police post at Loohri under Anni police station, reduction in sales tax on transformers and transmission conductors from 12 per cent to 4 per cent and enhancement in the income limit for the creamy layer from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.50 lakh for the benefit of other backward classes.

The Cabinet also approved the standards of weights and measures (enforcement) rules by repealing the rules framed in 1988 and amended the industrial zoning regulations in respect of the floor area ratio for various towns of the state in view of the scarcity of land and its high cost.

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Tunnels, ropeways in decongest-Shimla plan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 20
Even if it sounds far-fetched, it is with the help of tunnels, ropeways, a circular rail line and by-passes till 2021 that the state government intends to decongest the hill town and safeguard the original character of the erstwhile summer capital of the British, replete with its invaluable heritage wealth.

The Draft Development Plan of Shimla, prepared by the Town and Country Planning Department for making Shimla “a healthy, wealthy and vibrating city” has been notified and is open for objections from the public. Prior to this the Interim Development Plan had been notified in 1979.

The Draft Development Plan is for the Shimla planning area, which includes the municipal corporation portion and the five special areas of Kufri, Totu, Kasumpti-New Shimla, Shoghi and Dhalli. To ensure that the upcoming service infrastructure networks, including roads, water supply, sewerage, drainage, garbage disposal and traffic management, are strictly in accordance with the environmental and heritage imperatives is the main concern of planners.

The draft has plans for construction of three tunnels, a method found to be the most appropriate even by the British, who made 103 tunnels during the laying of the Kalka-Shimla rail line. The three tunnels will be made from the Himfed petrol pump to Snowdon (.9 km), by-pass to Dhalli (2.2 km) and from Totu to the by-pass. The plan to connect all peaks in and around Shimla like Taradevi, Kamna Devi, Grand Hotel, Jakhu, Dhingu Devi and Kufri with ropeways is with the twin objectives of promoting tourism and at the same time reducing the pressure on traffic.

To cope with the increasing local and tourist traffic, the government is toying with the idea of going in for the mass transit system through railway network, inter-connecting the surrounding tourist destinations through the proposed tunnels. “In order to reduce the traffic congestion Circular Road, three new bypasses have been proposed — a lower one on the southern face, a northern bypass and upgradation of the Mahli-Shoghi bypass,” informed an official.

In order to tide over the problems plaguing the hill town, special attention is being paid towards safeguarding the existing green cover, which is depleting very fast and to undertake mandatory plantation to enhance it. The plan also has special mention of the need for delineation and disallowing of construction activity in areas susceptible to soil erosion, and geo-hazards.

Keeping in view the financial constraints, it has been clearly stated in the plan that all this could be achieved by opening the doors to private entrepreneurs, who could invest and harness the resultant benefits.

Shimla, which was a living model of meticulous planning, heritage and development in consonance with ecological imperatives till 1947, as witnessed unprecedented degradation, with the proud heritage dwindling and the green cover being the worst hit. “Only time will tell to what extent the proposals of the development are implemented, but an endeavour has been made to tackle the problem,” admits an official.

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Ex-VC held in question paper scam
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 20
The vigilance police today arrested Dr S.D. Sharma, former Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University and the main accused in the question paper scam, who had been evading arrest since May 21.

A police party headed by Mr Vinod Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, arrested Dr Sharma at his residence in Karnal. Police parties, which had been on the look out for him for the past two months, conducted raids in several places in Kurukshetra, Karnal and Delhi but in vain.

A spokesman for the vigilance department said Dr Sharma was being brought to Shimla. He would be produced in the court here tomorrow. The other accused, P.N. Bhardwaj, Deputy Registrar, had surrendered last month.

The two have been charged with committing serious irregularities in printing of question papers. The main allegations were that the contract for printing was awarded on the basis of fake quotations at very high rates. The printer who was awarded the contract got the job done by three other units at much lower cost. In the process the university lost over Rs 45 lakh.

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Two more held for roughing up IAS officer, son
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 20
The Parwanoo police held two others — Kuldeep Singh and Malkeet Singh, from Panchkula last evening allegedly for beating up Himachal IAS officer, Balbir Tekta. DSP, Parwanoo, Surinder Verma stated this. The police was under pressure to trace the culprits.

Working as lottery agents they were held from Sector 11, Panchkula. The Ambala-based woman who was also nabbed with the three men was freed on bail by a court on Monday. Other suspect Dilbagh Singh is in police custody for seven days.

Investigations revealed that the three men including a suspended Punjab Police constable who were with the woman in the car felt that the IAS officer’s car which had stopped near their car was to distract them. This made them pick a fight with the IAS officer and his son. The two will be produced in a court this evening.

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Dharna by ABVP activists
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 20
Hundreds of activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad resorted to a day-long dharna in front of the statue of Netaji Subhash Chander Bose on the Government College campus here today in support of their demands. The ABVP has been demanding an end to the anti-student stance of the HP Government.

They raised anti-administration and anti-government slogans and held a massive demonstration.

The parishad submitted a memorandum to the Governor through the principal of the college .The memorandum states that all the three universities of the state had gone in the red due to the wrong policies of the state government and the university authorities.

The parishad threatened an agitation if the anti-student instance of the state government was not stopped.

Vikas Chagotra and Anupam Lakhanpal, president and secretary, respectively, of the local unit of the parishad, claimed that the dharna was a grand success.

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Digging for sewers inconveniences residents
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 20
People and students of the Government College here were inconvenienced by a contactor digging a lane for laying sewers between Hamirpur-Anoo. The lane was dug in a haphazard manner with the help of a JCB machine.

Over 12 persons crossing through the area fell into the ditch as they were unaware of the digging by. They were brought out from the ditch by those living on sides of the narrow lane.

The residents said it was difficult to cross the area due to wrong and haphazard cutting of the metalled lane with help of the JCB machine.

They said their protests had been ignored by the persons digging the lane.

Mr Ajmer Singh, Executive Officer, local civic body, said that the junior engineer of the civic body had visited the site after getting complaints and got the work stopped. He said under rules, this work was to be carried out with help of manual labour only and no machines were to be used.

The people have demanded action against persons responsible for this.

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Tandem pilots take up odd jobs Ashok Raina

Kangra, July 20
The state government is formulating safety rules and defining flying rules as per international standards for paragliding. It will then approach the state high court with a request to give a relief in the interim orders of the court regarding ban on paragliding in the state.

Stating this here today, Mr G.S. Bali, Transport Minister, said paragliding was a boon for the state’s economy and was a major attraction for tourists. He said the government was already claiming the right to hold World Cup Paragliding Championship at Billing. He said the government would not compromise on safety issues in paragliding and parameters would be announced soon.

He said Billing and Manali had been attracting thousands of foreigners and paragliding pilots annually and it was the responsibility of the government to introduce safety measures.

The high court had ordered the ban on paragliding after a PIL alleged that paragliding was going on without any guidelines. Many eyebrows were raised on safety measures following the mid-air accident while paragliding, leading to the death of K.K. Tandon, a banker from Chandigarh, on June 23, last.

Mr Joyti Thakur, solo and tandem pilot and vice-president of Billing Valley Adventure, ranks sixth in solo flight in the country and has welcomed the government move. He said the pilots should be given a certificate for flying by a competent authority. He said he was driving a taxi now.

Mr Raj Kumar, tandem pilot who was with K.K. Tandon expressed shock over the accident. He said it was important to lay down safety norms. He was now working as a plumber following the ban on paragliding.

Mr Eduardo Corona, a pilot from Mexico, said he had spent $ 5000 for paragliding at Billing but the ban had forced him to leave for Mexico. He said 125 persons were scheduled to reach here in October to attend the pre-world cup to be held in November at Billing.

Mr Vijay Thakur, a local resident and president of the Bir Taxi Union, said the imposition of the ban had shaken the economy of the area.

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Follow rules or close shop, pvt school told
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 20
The Himachal School Education Board has warned all those private schools which do not fulfil requirements regarding staff and infrastructure, to comply with the rulebook by August 31 or face disaffiliation. The schools have also been asked to send photographs of the faculty members, so that fake names are not put on the list supplied to the board.

There are over 1,700 private schools affiliated to the board, out of which 66 have already been served notice last year. The board will soon launch an inspection exercise of all schools next week. The process of issuing notices to the defaulting schools will begin from September 15.

Board Director B.R. Rahi said they had received reports that certain private schools were running without even the basic minimum requirements. “Computer education is being imparted without a single computer in the school and there are no laboratories for science practicals,” he said.

There had been complaints, he added, that certain schools were prescribing private books, and not those specified by the board, on their own. “The absence of a proper playground and shortage and under-qualified teaching staff is another common problem,” he said. That was the version why, the schools had been asked to furnish photographs of their teachers so that the inspection teams were able to verify the qualifications mentioned in the reports sent by the school authorities, he added.

The board, he said, had fixed August 31 as deadline for these schools to fulfil the requirements. The schools, which were found lacking would be, served notices and the process of disaffiliating them would be initiated.

It has also been decided that no school will be allowed to run only Class XI and XII. “Then these schools start functioning as mere academies and lose the character of a school. We have made it compulsory that all schools should have the lower standards as well,” he said.

“The inspection of all schools will be a mammoth exercise and vacation in some schools may cause delay. But we will try our best to complete the process by mid-September. This time, the board has resolved to make no compromises on lack of proper infrastructure in private schools,” he said.

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AMO facing dept’s apathy, sans pay for 22 months
Our Correspondent

Palampur, July 20
Dr Kuldip Achraya, a brain cancer patient, working as Aryurvedic Medical Officer (AMO) at Malnoo near here, is moving from pillar to post to get his salary and medical reimbursement bills cleared for the past 22 months but to no avail.

He had been operated upon six times for the treatment of brain tumour and spent a large amount of money by raising loans from banks and his relatives.

Dr Achraya said his another operation was due next month but he had no funds as he had not been paid his salary for the past 22 months as well as his medical reimbursement and travelling bills.

Bed-ridden Dr Achraya said his son Varun Achraya, who had left his studies midway, had approached all senior officers, ministers and MLAs of the area in this regard but no one had come to his help. He had no funds even to move out of Palampur for treatment.

He said instead of extending him any assistance his senior officers had shifted him from his present place of posting.

He said his son, on his behalf, had given a petition to the H.P. State Administrative Tribunal, for the stay of his transfer and release of salary and medical reimbursement bills, the tribunal had admitted his petition and had also passed the orders to release his salary and other due bills immediately, keeping in view his medical record and disease. But even the orders of H.P. State Administrative Tribunal were not implemented by the Ayurvedic Department to release his funds with an interest of 18 per cent.

Though his transfer orders had also been stayed by the tribunal but the DAO and SD AMO concerned were not obeying the orders. He said due to his present financial crises he could not afford to move another petition for contempt of court.

He has appealed the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, to intervene and save him as his death was imminent. He has also urged the state human rights commission to help him.

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Tribunal orders reinstatement of 43 workers
Our Correspondent

Kumarhatti, July 20
The HP Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court has ordered the reinstatement of 43 workers whose services were terminated by the management of Siddhartha Super Spinning Mills at Khera, near Nalagarh, following a dispute about eight years ago.

Mr J.C. Bhardwaj, president of state unit of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) who represented the workers’ case in the tribunal, said here yesterday that Mr D.D. Sharma, presiding judge of the tribunal, had also ordered to pay litigation charges of Rs 4,000 to each worker.

The workers were suspended by the management who had objected to the formation of a union under the banner of AITUC, said Mr Bhardwaj.

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Two arrested in fake certificate racket
Our Correspondent

Nahan, July 20
On a report of the C.I.D., Shimla, the Paonta Sabib police last evening registered a case against three persons on the charge of preparing and selling fake matriculation certificates of the HP Board of School Education.

According to information the police has arrested Virender Singh, a resident of Taruwala village and Rakesh Kumar a resident of Kishanpura in Paonta subdivision, while the third accused Dharam Singh, a resident of Haripur, Tohana village escaped.

According to police sources, the accused used to sell fake matriculation certificates at Rs 3000 to Rs 5000 each.

Dharam Singh had got a job in the Home Guards on the basis of a self-prepared fake certificate.

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CAN fertiliser prices hiked
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 20
The Himachal Government has increased the pooled prices of CAN fertiliser by 25 per cent for the Kharif season with immediate effect.

An official spokesman said that the rates had been revised because of the increase in prices announced by the National Fertilisers Limited on account or rise manufacturing cost.

He said the prices had been revised after taking into consideration the available stocks procured at old prices and the quantity to be procured on revised rates. The farmers would be supplied fertiliser on the revised pooled prices.

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Judicial remand for Ishita’s cousin

Shimla, July 20
Vijay Kumar Sandhu, the main accused in the Ishita acid-throwing case, was produced in a local court today and remanded to two days in judicial custody.

Sandhu, who is the first cousin of Ishita, was arrested from Ludhiana yesterday and brought here for remand and identification parade.

Meanwhile, the police conducted the identification parade for Daljit Singh, the other accused in the case, here today.

District police chief J.R. Thakur said that the investigations are in progress and the motive behind the attack would be known soon. — PTI

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Brown sugar seized
Our Correspondent

Kulu, July 20
The Kulu police on Monday seized 25 gms of brown sugar and 60 gms of charas from Amar Singh, a resident of Shamshi.

He was arrested under the NDPS Act. The police also recovered Rs 94, 000 from his house.

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Birth control campaign
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, July 20
The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched a project in Bilaspur district for spreading awakening and awareness among youths regarding population growth. Project Director Dr Narender Awasthi said 80 senior secondary and high schools of the district would be covered under the project.

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