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H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

HP to examine presidential reference on water pacts
To seek legal remedy in state’s interests
Shimla, July 21
The Himachal government will decide legal course to protect interests of the state, following the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, after studying presidential reference being made by the Centre on the issue.
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Kidnapper held, girl recovered
Solan, July 21
A student of MN DAV Dental College, Tatul, near here, who allegedly kidnapped a 20-year-old college girl and demanded ransom of Rs 5 lakh from her parents, has been arrested.

Acid case accused in judicial custody
Shimla, July 21
The main accused in the acid throwing case, Vijay Kumar Sandhu, the first cousin of the victim, was today sent to police remand till July 26. Vijay, who allegedly threw acid on Ishita, a student of Rajkiya Kanya Mahavidyalaya on July 12, was arrested by the police from Ludhiana two days back.
Himachal Pradesh police takes away Vijay Kumar Sandhu, main accused in the Ishita acid case Himachal Pradesh police takes away Vijay Kumar Sandhu, main accused in the Ishita acid case, in Shimla on Wednesday. — Photo by Anil Dayal

Neurosurgery Dept sans Registrar; patients suffer
Shimla, July 21
All trauma patients with serious head injuries from all over the state are being referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, as the Neurosurgery Department at the Indira Gandhi Medical College here, is virtually lying closed with the Registrar being relieved without making any alternate arrangement.







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EARLIER STORIES

 

Medical college gets temporary MCI recognition
Kangra, July 21
The Medical Council of India has granted temporary recognition to Dr R.P. Government Medical College here and has paved the way for the admission of 50 aspirants of the medical profession for the first year of MBBS in this college.

Spate of transfers in Himachal
Shimla, July 21
The Himachal Government today posted Mr Yogesh Khanna, Principal Secretary with Tourism and Youth Services as Principal Secretary, Forest and Housing, relieving Mr S.C. Negi of the additional charge.

Chamba gets ready for week-long Minjar fair
Chamba, July 21
The week-long Minjar fair (now known as International Minjar fair) is being held from July 25 to August 1, here. In Himachal Pradesh, more than 100 fairs, including tribal fairs, district and state-level fairs, are organised every year.

Villagers block traffic over road obstruction
Hamirpur, July 21
Nearly 150 villagers, mostly women, of Beharar village in the Nadaun revenue subdivision, about 40 km from here, today blocked the Beharar-Jasai road and staged a dharna for more than eight hours to protest against the construction of a wall on the main road by an influential person of the area.

Digging of path: pedestrians face problem
Hamirpur, July 21
Pedestrian traffic on a narrow path linking the Hamirpur with the Anoo area of the town remained disrupted for the second day today as it was difficult to cross the area due the digging of land for laying sewerage pipes and trenches, being full of water.

Special police team to probe false licence scandal
Hamirpur, July 21
A special team has been formed by the SP, here to probe the alleged fake licence scandal which came to light recently. SDM, Hamirpur, B.R. Kaundel said here this afternoon that the fake licence matter came to light when Dinesh Kumar of Barara village of the district approached his office for the renewal of the licence.

Former HPU VC questioned
Shimla, July 21
The special investigation team of the Vigilance Department questioned Dr S.D. Sharma, former Vice-Chancellor of the Himachal Pradesh University, who was arrested from his residence at Karnal yesterday.

Financial Corporation comes out of the red
Shimla, July 21
The Himachal Pradesh Financial Corporation, which has been in the red for the past several years, has wiped out its cash losses and managed to earn an operational profit of Rs 22 lakh during 2003-04.

Proclaimed offender arrested
Nahan, July 21
The Sirmaur police arrested a proclaimed offender, Rakesh Kumar Mittal, alias Lovely, a resident of Shahajadpur in Ambala (Haryana) district, yesterday from his residence.

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HP to examine presidential reference on water pacts
To seek legal remedy in state’s interests
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 21
The Himachal government will decide legal course to protect interests of the state, following the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, after studying presidential reference being made by the Centre on the issue.

Mr Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Chief Minister, at a recent meeting with Prime Minster, Manmohan Singh, is learnt to have sounded him that the state would seek legal remedy if its rights and interests were affected following the Punjab Government abrogating all water sharing pacts. Accordingly, the state Cabinet yesterday decided to challenge the matter before appropriate forums.

However, official sources said that since there were indications that Centre was making a presidential reference the state would study the nature of opinion sought. In case an opinion was sought from the apex court on the constitutional validity of the “Punjab Termination of Agreements Act”, the state would like to be impleaded as party to put forward its case. If the reference was not on the validity of the Act then it would move the Supreme Court to get the Act declared void.

The Act passed by the Punjab government will affect the Thein dam agreement under which the state is entitled to 4.60 per cent in the power generated. It will also lead to the abrogation of the Shah Nehar agreement signed after a agitation by the people of affected villages downstream the Pong Dam. Punjab was to provide Rs 89 crore for the construction of the Rs 143 crore project under the pact. However, it has given only Rs 29 crore in the past 10 years and the delay, thus, caused in the execution of the project had increased its cost to Rs 204 crore. Punjab’s share as per the revised cost comes to over Rs 121 crore.

Mr Kaul Singh, Himachal Irrigation and Public Health Minister, lamented that the Punjab government had not been honouring bilateral agreements. The Planning Commission sanctioned funds for the Shah Nehar project to it but even then the state did release these to Himachal Pradesh which had spent Rs 80 crore on it. He said now by unilateral abrogation of all accords it had set a bad precedent, which could harm the federal set-up.

Not only that Punjab had refused to handover the Shanan Project to the state in accordance with the Punjab State Reorganisation Act. Now as all agreements had been scrapped what would be the fate of the project? he asked.

The Changer Irrigation Scheme for which Himachal is getting 25 cusecs of water from the Anandpur hydel channel will also be affected by the Act.

Officers of the state have left for Delhi to seek legal opinion for further action in the matter at the earliest.
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Kidnapper held, girl recovered
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 21
A student of MN DAV Dental College, Tatul, near here, who allegedly kidnapped a 20-year-old college girl and demanded ransom of Rs 5 lakh from her parents, has been arrested. The girl hailing from Songthong village in Kinnaur district had gone to Ambala to collect her detail marks card on July 11 from Arya College when she was reportedly kidnapped.

Investigations have, however, pointed a finger of suspicion at the girl who is reportedly a party to the whole kidnapping drama, especially after she refused to undergo a medical examination on being recovered by the local police here today. Not only this, she was seen frequently roaming about in the town, claimed some neighbours who saw her in the rented accommodation from where she was found today. It was a call from a mobile phone which traced the hideout of the kidnappers.

Information gathered from the Kinnaur police revealed that the girl’s father, who was accompanying her from Kinnaur, proceeded towards Dharamsala after dropping her at Pinjore from where she proceeded alone to Ambala on July 11. It was an unknown phone call received by her mother on July 14 which informed her family that she had been kidnapped and demanded a ransom of Rs 5 lakh for her safe release. On receiving the information, the father rushed back to Kinnaur and later lodged a complaint with the police station at Reokong Peo about her missing daughter.

The father came to Ambala to trace his daughter along with a police party. Meanwhile her mother, Ms Kanya Devi received another phone call from the kidnappers on July 19 around 6.50 pm asking them to reach Chandigarh with Rs 5 lakh by July 23. With the Ambala police failing to register a complaint, the girl’s mother lodged another complaint with the Reokong Peo police on July 20 after which a case under Section 364-A of the IPC was registered at police station there.

The Reokong Peo police then intimated the Ambala police at Bajriya to check the places from where telephone calls demanding ransom money were being made. The Kinnaur police, meanwhile, maintained a strict vigil over the residence telephone number of Ms Kanya Devi. Finally a call made from a mobile number to the girl’s residence was traced after making inquiries from the Mohali-based Airtel’s office. This gave the police some vital details about the kidnappers. Separate teams were then constituted by the Kinnaur police to nab the culprits.

Information gathered from the telephone calls traced their hideout in the Shamti area of Solan. A team of the local police arrested the accused, Kamal Kishore Rajput, resident of Dakho tehsil in Kalpa, on the basis of the phone calls. His interrogation revealed a number of startling facts and established that he along with some friends had hatched this kidnapping plot.

The Kinnaur police then took the assistance of the local police and raided the Shamti-based hideout at Solan where his co-accused Dinesh was hiding along with the girl. The Superintendent of Police, Mr Abhishek Trivedi, revealed that Dinesh was arrested late last evening and the girl recovered.

A police party of Reokong Peo later arrived here to take Dinesh and hand over the girl to her parents.
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Acid case accused in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 21
The main accused in the acid throwing case, Vijay Kumar Sandhu, the first cousin of the victim, was today sent to police remand till July 26.

Vijay, who allegedly threw acid on Ishita, a student of Rajkiya Kanya Mahavidyalaya on July 12, was arrested by the police from Ludhiana two days back. His identification parade was also undertaken at the Kanda jail today.

The co-accused in the acid throwing case, Daljit Singh, has already been sent to remand till July 26. He had accompanied Vijay on a scooter at the time of the incident, near Bishop Cotton School.
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Neurosurgery Dept sans Registrar; patients suffer
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 21
All trauma patients with serious head injuries from all over the state are being referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, as the Neurosurgery Department at the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) here, is virtually lying closed with the Registrar being relieved without making any alternate arrangement.

Ever since the lone Registrar, posted in the Neurosurgery Department for the last seven years, was relieved by the authorities earlier this month, no surgeries have been done as there is nobody to assist the Professor and Associate Professor, posted in the department.

Interestingly, in the absence of a Registrar the hospital authorities have assigned the task of taking care of neurosurgery cases, which is a super speciality, to the Casualty Department to save the patients from facing inconvenience.

“How can a simple MBBS doctor in the Casualty Department, substitute for a Registrar of the Neurosurgery Department, as this would virtually amount to risking the life of a patient,” admits a senior doctor. The patients have been facing a lot of inconvenience as practically all head injury cases have to be shifted to PGI. During the past few days there have been a lot of road accidents in the state.

Despite the fact that in case of serious head injuries, the first few hours called the “golden hours” are crucial for saving the patients life, precious time is wasted in taking the patient to the nearest medical institute PGI, Chandigarh. Moreover, the Casualty Department has been asked to contact the consultant in the Neurosurgery Department in case they face a problem treating a patient.

The Principal of the College, Dr L.S. Pal, when contacted, said that shortage of doctors in the Neurosurgery Department had been a chronic problem, as doctors who had done post-graduation in surgery did not wish to come against the post of a Registrar. “Despite placing advertisements in the newspapers time and again we have not been able to get a Registrar but seeing the inconvenience being faced by the patients we shall make the appointment shortly,” he assured.

Sources in the hospital say that the Registrar in the Neurosurgery Department, who was only an MBBS, had gained experience as he had been working here for quite some time. “Though there had been violation of rules in his continuing against the post of Registrar, which is a tenure appointment for only three years, the authorities should have at least made some other arrangement before relieving him,” reasoned out a senior Professor.

Patients admitted to the IGMC, rue that despite being the state medical college, the facilities here are badly lacking and the staff strength of qualified doctors is inadequate to treat patients, especially in case of super specialties.
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Medical college gets temporary MCI recognition
Ashok Raina

Kangra, July 21
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has granted temporary recognition to Dr R.P. Government Medical College here and has paved the way for the admission of 50 aspirants of the medical profession for the first year of MBBS in this college.

The MCI teams had raised some objections during its inspection there and had denied the temporary recognition to the college early this month leaving 50 selected medical students in trouble. Mr G.S.Bali, Transport Minister, in whose constituency the Medical College falls, was assigned the job by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, for putting the Government point of view before the MCI for temporary recognition so that the new batch of the MBBS students to first year could be admitted. Mr Bali said that some of the objections raised by the MCI were taken care of by the state Government. Feeling satisfied with the pace of development the MCI had reinspected the college and decided to grant temporary recognition.

He said that for the permanent recognition of this medical college the major stumbling block was the hospital building which would be completed by 2006. He said that work on this 500-bedded hospital building was in progress on a war footing and hoped that it would be completed within the stipulated time granted by MCI. He said that the objections raised by MCI were being cleared one by one.

According to the insiders Dr. R.P.Govt. Medical College has to remove some stumbling blocks before it gets permanent recognition. But this will leave the first batch of the doctors completing their internship by the end of this month in a lurch. The degrees of these doctors won’t be recognised by the MCI and they will not get permanent registration by the Medical Council. They will not be eligible for job out side this state and these doctors would not be allowed to compete in the All-India Entrance Examination for post graduation, M.S/M.D courses.

The first batch of the students joined this medical college in 1998. Though they have spent seven year till now in this college but their future was still in lurch for want of permanent recognition to the college.

The Medical College has no permanent Principal and an acting principal is looking after the college, which is stumbling block in the permanent recognition. As the post of the Principal was lying vacant so the Principal IGMC was summoned to act as the principal of the college on July 12, during the MCI inspection. Besides this, another objection of MCI was that there was no regular Director Medical Education and the post was lying vacant for quite some time after Dr. Suman Rao retired.

There was no regular Medical Superintendent of the Dr R.P.Govt. Medical Hospital at Dharamshala. An Assistant Professor of Radiology Department was looking after the job and Professors and Heads of the Departments were working under him which was also considered a hindrance in getting the permanent recognition of the college. There were no OPD facilities at Tanda, no Medical facilities for the employees at Tanda and it was lacking security arrangements for the girls hostel.

The college still has a lot of equipments to be to be purchased and during the recent MCI inspection dozens of equipments were brought from IGMC which included a colour doppler for Radiology, mechanical laundry, ventilators, endoscopes and other equipments.
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Spate of transfers in Himachal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 21
The Himachal Government today posted Mr Yogesh Khanna, Principal Secretary with Tourism and Youth Services as Principal Secretary, Forest and Housing, relieving Mr S.C. Negi of the additional charge.

Mr J.P. Negi, Principal Secretary, Forest, takes over as Principal Secretary, Home and Vigilance while Mr Ashok Thakur will be the new Principal Secretary, Tourism and Youth Services. He will continue to hold the additional charge of Multipurpose Projects and Power.

Mr J.P. Singh, Director, Urban Development, will hold the additional charge of Municipal Commissioner, Shimla, in absence of Mr Mohan Chauhan who has proceeded on a foreign training. Some state administrative services officers were also shifted. Mr Ashwini Shah, Sub Divisional Officer, Pangi, who was under transfer as Sub Divisional Officer, Sarkaghat, has been now posted as District Tourism Officer, Kulu.

The transfer of Mr Neeraj Kumar, Sub Divisinal Officer, Sarkaghat, has been cancelled. Mr Jitander Mohan, Registrar with State Consumer Redressal Forum, goes as Additional Magistrate, Pooh. Mr Vinod Goyal, Deputy Secretary, Other Backward Classes Commission, will hold the additional charge of Registrar, State Consumer Redressal Forum.
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Chamba gets ready for week-long Minjar fair
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 21
The week-long Minjar fair (now known as International Minjar fair) is being held from July 25 to August 1, here.

In Himachal Pradesh, more than 100 fairs, including tribal fairs, district and state-level fairs, are organised every year. Chamba is the only district where two state-level fairs are organised annually.

Chamba celebrates the week-long historic Minjar fair every year. The world “Minjar” has originated from the Sanskrit word “Minjari”, which means shoots of corn.

However, the exact origin of the fair cannot be established. The author of “Manjari Mahotsav” has, however, in his booklet, given the origin of the fair as 10th century.

The date of the fair — third Sunday of Bikrami Sawan every year — symbolises both Surajvansi clan of the age-old dynasty and worship of the sun.

Presentation of maize and paddy tentacles to the victorious king by his subjects was symbolic of the fact that Chamba was an agriculture state in the days goneby. So, the fair is believed to be held to recount those zealous moments of the king’s victory. Therefore, it is more pertinent and plausible to believe that the Minjar fair is held to worship the rain god, Lord Varuna (Khizr Khawaja in local dialect) to provide them timely rain and a bumper crop.

On the concluding day, until 1947, a buffalo used to be pushed into the Ravi and forced to cross it. If the animal returned, it was considered to be an ill-omen and was presumed that some calamity would befall the state. But this tradition of sacrificing a buffalo in order to please the rain god has been dispensed with.

Around the time of the fair, the temples are tastefully decorated and the town is spruced up. People traditionally ornate themselves by purring a Minjar (a decorative article) to their shorts and roam about in the bazaar to greet one another. On the concluding day, a colourful pageantry, including dignitaries and local people, emerge from Akhand Chandi Palace (now Government Degree College) which leads through the main bazar to the banks of the Ravi where Minjars with coconuts are immersed after performing religious rites. Sweets are distributed on the occasion.
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Villagers block traffic over road obstruction
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 21
Nearly 150 villagers, mostly women, of Beharar village in the Nadaun revenue subdivision, about 40 km from here, today blocked the Beharar-Jasai road and staged a dharna for more than eight hours to protest against the construction of a wall on the main road by an influential person of the area.

The road between Beharar and Jasai villages was opened by former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal but no bus was able to ply as the wall was creating an obstruction on the road.

The angry villagers sat on a dharna, demanding immediate removal of the obstruction on the road, which had caused inconvenience to them. The Naib Tehsildar, Nadaun, Mr Bal Krishan Sharma, reached the spot along with the police officers and other officials from Nadaun and held talks with the villagers.

The road blockade was lifted only when the Naib Tehsildar assured the villagers that the wall erected on the road would be broken and the road opened for traffic on July 26. However, a spokesman of the action committee of the villagers said they would resume their agitation if no action was taken to remove the wall.

He said it was a matter of shock and shame that the issue was hanging fire for the past six months but no action had been taken by the authorities. This, he said, had compelled the people to come on to road and protest strongly against the obstruction.
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Digging of path: pedestrians face problem
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 21
Pedestrian traffic on a narrow path linking the Hamirpur with the Anoo area of the town remained disrupted for the second day today as it was difficult to cross the area due the digging of land for laying sewerage pipes and trenches, being full of water.

A JCB machine was seen draining out the water which had entered the trenches from the nearby houses.

Mr Ajmer Singh Thakur, Executive Officer of the local civic body, visited the site last night. He told The Tribune this afternoon that he had instructed the contractor concerned to immediately fill the trenches and start the further digging work manually only in the presence of the civic body staff.

The district authorities also took notice of the situation after reading the news in The Tribune today. The Deputy Commissioner, Hamirpur, directed the Executive Officer of the civic body, to submit him a detailed report about the digging work going on in various parts of the town for laying of sewerage lines and the action taken by the civic body to repair/reconstruct the paths damaged by the digging operations.
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Special police team to probe false licence scandal
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 21
A special team has been formed by the SP, here to probe the alleged fake licence scandal which came to light recently.

SDM, Hamirpur, B.R. Kaundel said here this afternoon that the fake licence matter came to light when Dinesh Kumar of Barara village of the district approached his office for the renewal of the licence. During the process, it was found that no such licence was issued from his office. He said that one more such case was reported in his office. Both these persons are at large.

He said Dinesh Kumar told that he had deposited the money in the office through a peon of the office, who in turn had given the licence with the seal of SDM, Hamirpur. The licence had signatures of former SDM, Hamirpur, Balbir Badaliya, now Registrar NIT, Hamirpur.
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Former HPU VC questioned
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 21
The special investigation team of the Vigilance Department questioned Dr S.D. Sharma, former Vice-Chancellor of the Himachal Pradesh University, who was arrested from his residence at Karnal yesterday.

The team confronted him with the evidence of financial irregularities in printing of the question papers and the discrepancies in payments. He was asked about the end beneficiary of the question paper scam in which as per the investigation report at least Rs 40 lakh had been siphoned off.

The university paid Rs 87 lakh to the printer who was awarded the contract but he further got the job done on subcontract for which he paid only about Rs 45 lakh.

Earlier , Dr Sharma was produced before the Special Judge, Mr I.N. Sharma, who remanded him to the police custody for three days.
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Financial Corporation comes out of the red
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 21
The Himachal Pradesh Financial Corporation, which has been in the red for the past several years, has wiped out its cash losses and managed to earn an operational profit of Rs 22 lakh during 2003-04.

The efforts made by the corporation in substituting high cost debts with cheaper ones paid dividends and last year alone it saved interest to the tune of Rs 60 lakh by way of debt restructuring. It plans to replace high cost debts of Rs 38 crore during the current year which will bring down its annual interest liability by Rs 55 lakh.

It has set a target of Rs 100 crore for sanctioning new loans, Rs 62 crore for disbursement and Rs 35 crore for recovery for the current year. It has also brought down its lending rate to 9.75 per cent to attract more business.
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Proclaimed offender arrested
Our Correspondent

Nahan, July 21
The Sirmaur police arrested a proclaimed offender, Rakesh Kumar Mittal, alias Lovely, a resident of Shahajadpur in Ambala (Haryana) district, yesterday from his residence.

Mr S.R. Sharma, S.P. said here today that Rakesh Kumar was the main accused in a vehicle snatching case and was declared proclaimed offender by a Nahan court in 1995.

According to Mr Sharma, Rakesh Kumar, along with his accomplices, had hired a Maruti van (HP-02-1029) from Dharampur in Solan district to Nahan. On arrival at Nahan Do Sarka, the accused threw taxi driver Ganesh Kumar out of the vehicle and took away the van.

A case in this regard was registered at Nahan police station under sections 382, 420, 467, 468 and 471, IPC on December 13, 1992. The Maruti van was later recovered by the police but the accused was absconding.

According to the police, the accused had shifted his business to Dehra Dun.
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BJP dharna at Hamirpur on August 2
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 21
Senior BJP leader and former HP Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal today said that the party would launch a week long campaign from August 2 against the anti- people stance of the state government. The campaign would start from Hamirpur.
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