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

Snow melting slowly, power generation hit
Shimla, July 25
While crops have been affected by deficient rains, the power generation in hydroelectric projects in the hill state has declined more due to an unusual “slowdown” in the melting of snow deposits in the high mountain ranges.

Govt ready to combat drought situation: CM
Nurpur, July 25
The Himachal Pradesh Government is aware of the miseries and hardships of farmers in the wake of failure of monsoon and has been gearing up to combat the drought situation which is likely to hit the hill state.

Poor rainfall hits kharif crops in Hamirpur

Hostage’s wife admitted to hospital
Una, July 25
Promila, wife of Tilak Raj who has been abducted in Iraq by some militants, had been admitted to Zonal Hospital at Una. she was in a state of acute depression. Cooperation Minister Kuldeep Kumar and former Youth Congress President Maninderjit Singh Bitta also met the families of the hostages and consoled them. Additional District Magistrate, Amitabh Awasthi of Una has sanctioned immediate relief of Rs 5000 to each family. — PTI

Amitabh in Shimla
Shimla, July 25
Amitabh Bachchan, better known as the Big “B” of the silver screen, arrived at Hotel Wild Flower Hall, near here, today for the shooting of “Black”, the latest venture of noted film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Minjar fair begins on colourful note
Chamba, July 25
The week-long international Minjar Fair, one of the major tribal carnivals of the region, got off to a colourful start here today.




YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Hamirpur
Kulu
Shimla
Nurpur
Solan


EARLIER STORIES

 

Four truckloads of waste cleared from Rohtang
Kullu, July 25
Waking up to the environmental hazards posed by the trash left behind by hordes of tourists in the Rohtang area, about 90 km from here, as highlighted by a recent report in The Tribune, the Manali administration swung into action and collected four truckloads of waste from the valley’s most popular and highest tourist spot.

Plan to develop more townships
Shimla, July 25
The Himachal Pradesh Urban Development Authority has decided to develop new townships to decongest the existing towns of Shimla, Dharamsala and Mandi. According to proposals drawn up by the authority, the new townships will be established between Shimla and Solan, Mandi and Sundernagar and Dharamsala and Palampur.

New list for aid to Chamera oustees
Chamba, July 25
On the issue of providing financial package of Rs 3 lakh to each of the 192 ousted families affected by the Chamera hydroelectric project (stage-I) in the district, the district administration has again prepared a draft list of 192 genuine ousted persons. Besides this, another draft list of left-out 114 more persons, whose land measuring one to nine bighas was acquired for the purpose of project, has also been prepared.

Student falls to death from hostel balcony
Solan, July 25
Mystery shrouds the death of Deepak Pathania, a second-year student of the IEET, an engineering institute located about 4 km from the industrial township of Baddi on the Nalagarh highway.

20 more bags of cement recovered
Palampur, July 25
The local police today recovered 20 more bags of cement that were lifted from a PWD store and sold in the open market by a contractor. With this, the police has so far recovered 120 bags of cement meant for government supply.

Sainj project to go to HPSEB
Hamirpur, July 25
Mrs Rashmi Gupta, Member, Administration, of the HP State Electricity Board (HPSEB), announced here today that the proposed 100-MW Sainj power project would be executed by the state power board.

2 killed as car falls into river
Kullu, July 25
Two persons were killed and five injured while the car in which they were travelling rolled down into the Parvati river, near Manikaran, about 30 km from here, this morning.

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Snow melting slowly, power generation hit
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 25
While crops have been affected by deficient rains, the power generation in hydroelectric projects in the hill state has declined more due to an unusual “slowdown” in the melting of snow deposits in the high mountain ranges.

The erratic monsoon has not only resulted in inadequate and inequitable precipitation in the region but also affected the melting of snow, leading to erratic discharge in the snow-fed rivers like the Satluj, Ravi and Beas. Normally, the discharge in these rivers starts increasing in March as snow begins to melt and reaches its maximum towards the end of June when the summer is at its peak.

The flow declines sharply from September onwards and during the lean winter months the otherwise surplus state is forced to purchase power to meet its requirement.

The water flow in Satluj, 74 per cent of which is contributed by melting glaciers, has been most erratic. The Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam was forced to stop operation of the sixth 250 mw unit of its 1500 mw Nathpa Jhakri project yesterday as discharge plunged to less than 400 cumecs (cubic metre per second). Consequently, the generation has come down by about 19 lakh units per day. Over the past one month the discharge has hovered between 450 to over 1200 cumecs, creating problems in the smooth operation of the project.

The sudden rise in water level and silt content four weeks ago interrupted generation as the authorities were forced to shut down the project. The shutdown cost the nigam about Rs 7 crore.

The silt content had increased to over 16,000 ppm (parts per million) as against the permissible 5,000 ppm. The abnormal increase was caused due to rain in the cold desert area of Spiti. The area of late has started getting some rains as a result of which the Spiti river, a tributary of Satluj, brings along a lot of silt.

The normal discharge in the Satluj during this period is around 750 cumecs but it has come down by 50 percent due to inadequate melting of snow. A minimum discharge of 380 cumecs is required to run all the six 250 mw units of the Nathpa Jhakri project. Mr Ranjot Singh, an authority on designing of hydroelectric project, who has been associated with most of the projects in the state, maintains that the changing behaviour of the monsoon in recent years has been largely responsible for the erratic discharge in snow-fed rivers. For instance, this year the region had some rains in June signalling the arrival of monsoon but July has gone dry.

However, the high mountain ranges have remained enveloped by clouds as a result of which snow has been melting at a much slower rate, affecting the discharge in the rivers, Mr Ranjot Singh, who was awarded the honour of Satluj Shree by the Nigam, explains.

The flow in the Ravi and Satluj rivers is entirely dependent on melting of snow, particularly in the upper region.

The situation is not so bad if there is dry spell sans the cloud cover as in that eventuality due to Sun, the snow deposits melt away.

Meanwhile, power generation in the various projects of the board has also declined by over 10 per cent as compared to last year. The overall generation has come down by over 6 lakh units.

The board is also getting about 25 lakh units electricity less from central sector projects due to fall in generation.

However, there is no cause of alarm as the generation is more than sufficient to meet the state’s own requirements. The state is surplus during summer and it sells most of the power to the neighbouring states like Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
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Govt ready to combat drought situation: CM
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, July 25
The Himachal Pradesh Government is aware of the miseries and hardships of farmers in the wake of failure of monsoon and has been gearing up to combat the drought situation which is likely to hit the hill state, Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, said while presiding over a state-level vanamahotsava function at Sadwan, near here, last evening. He said the government would provide all possible relief to the farmers like foodgrain, fodder and water.

Expressing concern over the felling of trees in the state, notwithstanding a complete ban on felling, the Chief Minister exhorted the people to protect forests and promote afforestation. He warned those who had encroached upon forest land, particularly protected forests, either to vacate the land and hand it over to the Forest Department or face stern action. He said in order to maintain environment a hill state was required to have 60 per cent green cover, but Himachal Pradesh had only 35 per cent green cover.

Launching an attack on the BJP, Mr Virbhadra Singh alleged that BJP leaders had only one point programme to divide people on religion and caste lines. Upset over the charge of the BJP leaders that Kangra district was being given step-motherly treatment, the Chief Minister said after losing the assembly and parliamentary elections, the BJP leaders were politically frustrated and added that their statements published had no effect on him.

Following a public demand, the Chief Minister announced a 33-KV power substation at Sadwan. The public meeting was also addressed by the Rural Development Minister and local MLA, Mr Sat Mahajan, the Transport Minister, Mr G.S. Bali and the MP from Kangra, Mr Chander Kumar.
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Poor rainfall hits kharif crops in Hamirpur
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 25
Scanty rainfall during the monsoon has hit the kharif crops in Hamirpur district. Farmers in the district have already faced losses in the cultivation of rabi crops, due to poor rain.

Kharif crops have been sown on 40,000 hectares in the district. Lack of irrigational facilities in the district has led to a drought-like situation and the farmers feel that if there are no rains in the coming days, the crops will be badly hit.

In Hamirpur district the sowing of the kharif crops, especially of maize, was done immediately after the harvesting of rabi crops in April and May. The Department of Agriculture had warned farmers that they should not sow their crops in a hurry.

Farmers in the district mainly depend upon rain for irrigation, as other facilities are not available. Of the total 1,19,940 hectares comprising the district only 3,292 hectares is under irrigation. And as such only a few areas get irrigational facilities and farmers of these areas prefer to cultivate vegetables and other crops to earn more money.

A visit to various parts of the district showed that maize crop was the worst-affected. Farmers of Bhoranj tehsil in the district say that if the monsoon didn’t arrive in a couple of days they would lose two successive crops.

Meanwhile, the Hamirpur district administration has instructed its field agencies of the Revenue Department to visit their respective areas and submit a detailed report on the losses.
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Amitabh in Shimla
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 25
Amitabh Bachchan, better known as the Big “B” of the silver screen, arrived at Hotel Wild Flower Hall, near here, today for the shooting of “Black”, the latest venture of noted film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

It is his first visit to the “queen of hills”, though he had been to Manali early this year. The Bollywood star has a busy schedule and he will be shooting at various locations for the film during his week-long stay. Rani Mukerejee, who is playing the lead role in the story, depicting the life struggle of a blind girl, has also arrived.

Besides, hotel Woodville Palace, the base of the unit, Bachchan is to shoot on The Ridge, in the Viceregal Lodge complex and Gorton Castle.

SOLAN: Amitabh enthralled the local people by his impressive personality during his brief visit to the town. A large crowd of people gathered around Hotel Himani where Big “B” halted for lunch. The crowd went ecstatic as the super star waved at them.

Looking impressive in his French cut grey beard and white kurta Amitabh savored ‘litchi juice’ on his arrival. The hotel prepared his favourite dishes, including paneer makhani, bharwa bhindi and arhar dal. The super star also enjoyed a “pahari bhutta” after the sumptuous meal. His short visit, however, disappointed eager autograph seekers and mediapersons, who had to be contend with just a fleeting glimpse. His security men, ensured that no mediaperson or over enthusiastic fans troubled the actor during his short visit to the town.
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Minjar fair begins on colourful note
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 25
The week-long international Minjar Fair, one of the major tribal carnivals of the region, got off to a colourful start here today. Holy minjars (golden hue of maize blossoms) were offered at the local historic Lakshmi Narayan and Raghuvira temples by Mr Rahul Anand, Chairman of the International Minjar Fair Celebration Committee. Other officials, dignitaries and citizens of Chamba, were also present.

Later the procession arrived in the historic Chowgan and the Deputy Commissioner declared the Minjar Fair open by hoisting the National Flag.

The Deputy Commissioner also inaugurated the Minjar sports tournaments in which hockey, football, volleyball, basketball, kabaddi and wrestling teams from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh are participating.

Prayers are offered to the rain God, Varuna, for bumper harvest of their kharif crops. The fair would conclude on August 1 with the immersion of minjars on the holy banks the Ravi river.

More than one lakh visitors, including tourists from home and aboard, are expected to take part in the weeklong fair. Temples in the town have been tastefully decorated.

According to a legend, the Minjar fair dates to the 10th century. It marks the victory of King Sahil Verman over the King of Kangra. The defeated king presented blossoms of maize and paddy to King Sahil Verman.

Another legend is it that a sage in the Champavati temple on the bank of the Ravi performed a yajna that changed the course of the river. This enabled the people to visit Hari Rai temple across the Ravi.

Renowned playback singers of the cine world, including Udit Narayan, Sadhna Sargam, Shreya Gosaal, Ahsaan Bharti and Bhupinder Bhupi (Punjabi singer) would perform during the cultural nights.

The Himachal Governor, Mr V.S. Kokje, who arrived here to attend the International Minjar Fair, as a chief guest inaugurated the Minjar exhibition this evening.

The Governor visited the exhibition, installed by various government departments and other agencies in the historic Chowgan.

On this occasion, the Governor said this exhibition would go a long way in guiding and motivating the local people and farmers to know about the new techniques and developments taking place all around in different spheres.
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Four truckloads of waste cleared from Rohtang
Tribune News Service

Kullu, July 25
Waking up to the environmental hazards posed by the trash left behind by hordes of tourists in the Rohtang area, about 90 km from here, as highlighted by a recent report in The Tribune, the Manali administration swung into action and collected four truckloads of waste from the valley’s most popular and highest tourist spot. Led by the Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Rameshwar Sharma, over 150 volunteers, including local NGOs, the Nagar Panchayat, the school eco-club, dhaba owners of Marhi and the makeshift dhaba owners of Rohtang joined hands this week, cleaning the junk and trash from the area. “More of such campaigns are needed to make Solang and Rohtang clean and green”, said the resolved volunteers.

We have collected four truckloads of waste from the Rohtang area in a single day and we are asking the dhaba-owners and tourists to bring back the trash when they come back in the evening to dispose it off safely at Manali, said Mr Sharma. “We will organise more such campaigns in the near future as well”.

Environmentalists reveal that on an average a tourist produces up to 300 gm of waste everyday and most of it ends up at the Rohtang or other spots. Though polythene is banned in the state, the packagings and other leftovers are left behind, littering the snow point. This waste gets washed in the nullahs, feeding the Beas”, they added.

In fact, the district administration has created Special Area Development Agency (SADA) to keep the Rohtang and Solang valley, the launching pad for paragliding, “clean and green”. “The SADA charges Rs 10 from each tourist vehicle that goes to Rohtang and Solang and is given an empty bag to bring the waste they produce while eating there back to the SADA barrier, say SADA agents. 
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Plan to develop more townships
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 25
The Himachal Pradesh Urban Development Authority has decided to develop new townships to decongest the existing towns of Shimla, Dharamsala and Mandi.

According to proposals drawn up by the authority, the new townships will be established between Shimla and Solan, Mandi and Sundernagar and Dharamsala and Palampur. It has also decided to construct commercial complexes at most of the district headquarters.

It has also decided to acquire 201 bighas of land to build housing colonies in Dharamsala and Shimla.

A proposal to raise a loan Rs 9.90 crore from HUDCO for acquisition of land in Bhatolikalan in Una and construction of a colony at Sanyardi in Mandi and development of an industrial township at Baddi has also been cleared.

It has initiated a move to convert the leasehold rights into freehold in respect of the residential properties of the erstwhile Himachal Nagar Vikas Pradhikaran. Besides developing housing colonies and industrial townships, the authority has also been taking up construction projects of various departments.

The authority has approved a budget of Rs 37.81crore for the current year as against the revised budget of Rs 36.63 for the year 2003-04.
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New list for aid to Chamera oustees
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 25
On the issue of providing financial package of Rs 3 lakh to each of the 192 ousted families affected by the Chamera hydroelectric project (stage-I) in the district, the district administration has again prepared a draft list of 192 genuine ousted persons. Besides this, another draft list of left-out 114 more persons, whose land measuring one to nine bighas was acquired for the purpose of project, has also been prepared.

According to official sources, these genuine persons had been identified on the basis of spot survey and the records available.

The copies of both these lists were available on the notice boards of the offices of Deputy Commissioner, Relief and Rehabilitation Officer, Chamba and the respective patwarkhanas and panchayatghars for the information of the general public.

If any ousted person had any objection to any of the identified persons or if the name of any genuine person had not been included in the list, he could file his objection or claim to the Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Chamba before July 31.

After hearing the objections and claims of persons concerned the final list of 192 identified families would be prepared on the basis of their genuineness.

Meanwhile, the ousted families of Chamera project stage-I have filed objections against names of two dead persons added in the list and four persons who have already been given employment in the Chamera project besides the members of one family shown separately in the list. The dead persons had died about 15 years ago.

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Student falls to death from hostel balcony
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 25
Mystery shrouds the death of Deepak Pathania, a second-year student of the IEET, an engineering institute located about 4 km from the industrial township of Baddi on the Nalagarh highway.

The body of Deepak was lying below the second floor balcony of the institute’s hostel. The death seemed to have occurred instantaneously, as the body’s neck was found broken.

The report about the incident was first lodged at the Baddi police post by hostel watchman Sarwan around 5.30 am.

According to DSP Gurmeet Singh the watchman had seen Deepak in the hostel balcony. Moments later, he saw Deepak falling down. His head hit the water mains, resulting in fatal neck and head injuries.

Mr Gurmeet Singh ruled out any foul play. A vial of Eraz-Ex was recovered from the person of the deceased, he added. Eraz-Ex is a fluid commonly used for making corrections in typed documents. When smelled, it induces intoxication. It is used by many drug addicts.

While the police ruled out any foul play in the incident, a student said some intoxicated had quarrelled in the institute hostel on Friday. Deepak was seen trying to mediate and help end the quarrel. He was believed to have even secured a written apology from the erring students.

While admitting that there had been a violent quarrel on the campus, the institute Principal, Dr R.C. Behal, said such quarrels were common among hostellers.

Hostel warden Manjinder Singh said he was busy attending to a police party that visited the hostel.
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20 more bags of cement recovered
Our Correspondent

Palampur, July 25
The local police today recovered 20 more bags of cement that were lifted from a PWD store and sold in the open market by a contractor. With this, the police has so far recovered 120 bags of cement meant for government supply.

Stating this to mediapersons here this morning, Mr Sanjiv Gandhi, DSP, who is supervising the operation, said on a tip-off the police raided a house at Ghuggar village and found 20 bags of cement bearing “HP Government supply only” marking. Two persons have been arrested under different Sections of the Indian Penal Code. More arrests were likely to be made in this case, he added.

Mr Gandhi said one of the arrested persons admitted that he had purchased the cement from the PWD contractor, who is absconding, last week.

Meanwhile, police investigation revealed that the cement issued to the contractor that did not land in his store at the construction site was sold in the open market. An official of the PWD also told the police that when a junior engineer inspected the store of the contractor, not even a single bag was found there. The engineer had reported the matter to his seniors, who were also investigating the matter.
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Sainj project to go to HPSEB
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 25
Mrs Rashmi Gupta, Member, Administration, of the HP State Electricity Board (HPSEB), announced here today that the proposed 100-MW Sainj power project would be executed by the state power board.

Addressing a day-long convention of the drivers and auto technical persons of the board, she said that the work on the execution of Larji, Uhal-3, Khauli, Kashnag, Holi and Bhaba projects was in the final stages and with their completion the state would generate 322 MW more power. He said that the state had the capacity to generate 20,376 MW of power.

Mrs Gupta said the board had taken many steps for the welfare of the employees of the board and Rs 48.66 lakh was given as matching grant to employees for their welfare-activities. In addition, Rs 39.08 lakh was also given as financial assistance to them.
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2 killed as car falls into river
Our Correspondent

Kullu, July 25
Two persons were killed and five injured while the car in which they were travelling rolled down into the Parvati river, near Manikaran, about 30 km from here, this morning.

The pilgrims were on the way to Manikaran from a village, near Jalandhar, in Punjab.

The dead were identified as Mahesh (20), driver of the vehicle, and Onkar (24).

The injured were admitted to the community health centre at Jari and the dead were brought to the Zonal Hospital here for a post-mortem examination.
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Two women electrocuted

Shimla, July 25
Two women died due to electrocution at Amarkot village, 12 km from Paonta Sahib in Sirmour district, today.

The deceased were identified as Babli(35) and Kamla Devi (65).

Babli was washing clothes when she suffered an electric shock following short circuit. Kamla Devi was electrocuted while she was trying to save Babli. — UNI
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