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

Centre releases revenue-deficit grant
Shimla, July 26
The fund-starved state has got the much-needed reprieve with the Centre releasing the withheld revenue-deficit grant for the year 2001-02 and allowing it more time to achieve the benchmarks fixed in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pursue fiscal reforms.

Pressure to allow construction in green area
Shimla, July 26
Will the government succumb to public pressure for allowing construction activity in the green area as almost 70 per cent of the objections elicited against the draft development plan of Shimla notified earlier have sought relaxation in this regard.

Set up hill development council: CM
Shimla, July 26
The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today stressed the need for setting up of a separate hill development council for the hill states in the country as the development cost in such difficult terrains was higher.

Kargil Divas: Hamirpur forgets its heroes
Hamirpur, July 26
Hamirpur district known as the land of martyrs, forgot to remember its heroes who had laid down their lives during the 1999 Kargil operation.

Left parties defrauded electorate, alleges BJP leader
Shimla, July 26
Mr Ganesh Dutt, a senior BJP leader, said here yesterday that the Left parties were playing a fraud on the electorate by supporting the anti-people policies of the UPA government, which they opposed earlier.


 


YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Hamirpur
Shimla
Nahan
Solan


EARLIER STORIES

 
Punjab page
Hostages in Iraq: prayers in HP, roads blocked in Punjab

Una/Ropar, July 26
The family of Antaryami today performed ‘puja’ and people of Dehlan in Una district of Himachal Pradesh organised ‘ardas’ (prayer) for the safe return of Indian hostages held captive in Iraq by an Iraqi insurgent group, Black Flag, since July 21.

Declare HP drought-hit, says BJP
Shimla, July 26
The state BJP chief and Rajya Sabha member, Mr Suresh Bhardwaj, today demanded that the state government should declare Himachal Pradesh as drought-hit and seek special financial assistance from the Centre to provide compensation to the farmers and fruit growers.

3 killed, 2 hurt in accident
Chamba, July 26
Three persons were killed and two others were seriously injured when a Maruti van (HP-01-3144) coming from Kangra to Chamba veered off the road and rolled 250 m down the hillock at Bhanera, about 8 km from here this afternoon. The five occupants of the van, including a computer engineer were coming to see the ongoing Minjar Fair being held here.

Student bodies protest against house tax
Nahan, July 26
A district-level convention, organised by the SFI and the DYFI to protest against the implementation of an MoU signed with the Union Government by the state government to reduce the number of employees in government and semi-government sector and to fight against the imposition of house tax in the town, was held at the Hindu Ashram here today.

Industrialists encroach upon govt land
Solan, July 26
With industrialists indulging in large-scale encroachment of prime industrial land at Chambaghat here, the District Industries Centre (DIC) is having a tough time in maintaining the open green space. Despite serving a number of notices on these industrialists to vacate the land, not much success could be achieved in curbing the menace, said a DIC official.

Anti-encroachment drive launched amid protest
Hamirpur, July 26
A team of the Nadaun administration led by Mr Rakesh Dhiman, SDM and assisted by the police launched the eviction campaign amid protests by the people, and removed encroachments on government land at the main bus-stand in Nadaun.

Amitabh disappoints fans
Shimla, July 26
Fans of the Big “B”, Amitabh Bachchan, who is here in connection with the shooting of “Black” had to return disappointed as tight security prevented the local residents as well as tourists from getting anywhere near the shooting venue at Hotel Woodville Palace where Amitabh Bachchan shot for the film today.

BDS degree given recognition
Shimla, July 26
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in consultation with the Dental Council of India, has granted recognition to the dental qualification of students passing out from the Bhojia Dental College and Hospital in Nalagarh.

Top






 

Centre releases revenue-deficit grant
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 26
The fund-starved state has got the much-needed reprieve with the Centre releasing the withheld revenue-deficit grant for the year 2001-02 and allowing it more time to achieve the benchmarks fixed in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pursue fiscal reforms.

The reform-linked revenue-deficit grant of Rs 156 crore has been released after the state signed an MoU to pursue reforms in a time bound manner. The Centre had withheld grants of 518 crore, for the 2000-05 period, as the state failed to pursue the reforms in the right earnest. In fact, the grant for the year 2000-01 was released on an ad hoc basis. However, for subsequent years it was withheld as the government, not only abstained from implementing the reforms, but also rolled back some of the measures.

The state was left with no option and the signing of the MoU was made a pre-condition for the release of the withheld grant amounting to over Rs 518 crore. The Centre also made it clear that it would not approve any externally aided-project for states which failed to carry out reforms.

The Centre has provided time upto March 2005 to the state the measures which as per the MoU were to be carried out by August 31, 2004. These include enactment of legislations to put a cap on government borrowings, ensure effective implementation of the ban on recruitments and pursue other fiscal reforms to get the withheld revenue deficit grant released. Sources revealed that the fiscal responsibility bill to limit the government loans and the amount of guarantees it could provide for loans to be raised by the public sector undertakings was likely to be passed in October or November. The other important legislation providing for criminal action against officers making recruitments in violation of the ban would also be passed along with it. These two important measures are part of the MoU.

With the Centre giving more time, the state has got an opportunity to get the withheld grant for atleast two out of the three years released. Senior officers said that there was little hope for the year 2002-03, during which the Dhumal government in view of the impending assembly elections reversed most of the reforms. However, now that the MoU had been signed, the state could get the reform-linked grants for 2003-04 and the current financial year by achieving the benchmarks.

Top

 

Pressure to allow construction in green area
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 26
Will the government succumb to public pressure for allowing construction activity in the green area as almost 70 per cent of the objections elicited against the draft development plan of Shimla notified earlier have sought relaxation in this regard.

The government had imposed a complete ban on any construction activity in the highly fragile green area of the hill town, which has degraded and shrunk over the years. “In response to the public objections invited against the draft development plan, the people whose prime chunks of land are lying idle in the green area, due to the ban, are trying to mount pressure on the government to show some kind of relaxation,” disclosed sources in the Town and Country Planning Department.

Interestingly, in the draft development plan, the authorities have coined a new terminology “natural heritage” for the green areas, stressing the need for preserving them as it was very much part of the rich heritage from the British time. At present only minor reconstruction is allowed in the green area, with the committee concerned taking a practical viewpoint of the request.

Another area where pressure is being mounted on the government is to increase the slope allowed for construction from 45 degrees to 65 degrees. Contrary to this, the town planners and architects have suggested that even a 45-degree slope was too much as large portion of the town is susceptible to earthquakes and it must be reduced to at least 40 degrees. “Even a 45-degree slope is more as in order to cope with the gravity of geo hazards like earthquakes, landslides and dislocation the slope should be less,” says an engineer.

In order to regulate construction activity, especially in the heritage zone, green area and core area of the town, all applications for allowing construction activity or even minor reconstruction are routed through the cabinet sub-committee, with the Cabinet being the final approval authority. In the case of permission for reconstruction in the heritage zone, the case is first examined by the Heritage Conservation Advisory Committee headed by the Town and Country Planning. “There is no question of lifting the ban on construction activity in the green area, as it will create havoc as the demand is not from a large section of people but from only handful of people who have bought land in the green area and have been unable to undertake construction,” remarked a senior official.

The other objections being filed by people includes permission for changing land use from residential to commercial or to institutional use. Once the objections, including suggestion for improvement, are given by the public, the final Development Plan of Shimla, will take shape.

Top

 

Set up hill development council: CM
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 26
The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today stressed the need for setting up of a separate hill development council for the hill states in the country as the development cost in such difficult terrains was higher.

Mr Virbhadra Singh, who discussed the matter with the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Mr Pawan Chamling, here today said there was also need for a separate cell in the Planning Commission for formulating specific plans for the hill states keeping in view their different priorities and needs for development.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said Himachal Pradesh had since long been raising the demand for the creation of hill development council to take care of the needs of the hill states.

He demanded that the industrial package announced for the hill states should have been applicable to Himachal, Sikkim and Uttaranchal for 10 years rather than up till March, 2007. “The decision must be reviewed so that these three states get benefits at par with the remaining north-eastern states,” he said. He added that the package should have also included providing of infrastructure development in tourism, besides other industries.

Mr Virbhadra Singh, while supporting the inclusion of the Bhoti language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, informed Mr Chamling that the language was being taught in the tribal districts of Himachal Pradesh.

The Sikkim Chief Minister expressed willingness for inter-cultural exchange between both the states. The two Chief Ministers also discussed the possibility of exploitation of tourism potential. The Sikkim Tourism, Industries and Commerce Minister, Mr R.B. Subba, was also present on the occasion.

Top

 

Kargil Divas: Hamirpur forgets its heroes
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 26
Hamirpur district known as the land of martyrs, forgot to remember its heroes who had laid down their lives during the 1999 Kargil operation.

It was on this day that the Indian forces had completed the Operation Vijay with success. Functions were held after the 1999 war all over the state to honour the families of the war heroes. However, one wonders why no one remembered them today for their contribution in the Kargil war.

No function was held today in any part of the district to observe the Kargil victory. When contacted, Devesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Hamirpur said he had no information from the government regarding the celebration of Kargil Vijay Divas. He, however, said people of Himachal Pradesh in general and Hamirpur district in particular would be recognised for the contributions made by its officers and jawans while fighting with the Pakistanis during the Kargil war.

The district had lost eight of its jawans during the Kargil war and the first casualty of the district was sepoy Dinesh Kumar of Andral village followed by Havaldar Raj Kumar of Bagloo and havaldar Raj Kumar of Uhal village.

Others who had laid down their lives in the Kargil were sepoy Sunil Kumar, havaldar Swami Ram Chandel, sepoy Rakesh Kumar, rifleman Praveen Kumar and rifleman Deep Chand.

The district boasts of its contribution to the Indian Army and there are 24,470 serving soldiers from the district in the Indian Army at present. There are 16,389 ex-servicemen, 157 war widows and 5,508 widows of other soldiers.

Top

 

Left parties defrauded electorate,
alleges BJP leader

Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 26
Mr Ganesh Dutt, a senior BJP leader, said here yesterday that the Left parties were playing a fraud on the electorate by supporting the anti-people policies of the UPA government, which they opposed earlier.

He said the Left parties were in principle opposed to disinvestment in public sector undertakings and had promised to enhance rate of interest on small savings and provident fund. However, the UPA government had been pursuing the disinvestment policy of the previous regime and was also opposed to increasing the interest rates on small savings. The Left parties were making a hue and cry just to save their face, he said.

He said if these parties were opposed to the policies of the UPA government they should withdraw support to it. It was an act of political dishonesty to seek votes by misleading the electorate, he alleged.

The UPA regime had become a laughing stock due to the manner in which Union Minister Shibu Soren went into hiding and later submitted his resignation through his son. The Left parties’ stand on this issue had also been ambiguous.

He said the clean image of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken a beating in the unsavory episode as also by his failure to sack the tainted ministers.

Top

 

Declare HP drought-hit, says BJP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 26
The state BJP chief and Rajya Sabha member, Mr Suresh Bhardwaj, today demanded that the state government should declare Himachal Pradesh as drought-hit and seek special financial assistance from the Centre to provide compensation to the farmers and fruit growers.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Bhardwaj said the BJP was willing to extend all cooperation to the government to deal with the drought-like situation due to the failure of the monsoon. “Drought is a natural calamity for which nobody can be blamed, but the government must take timely steps to ensure that the farmers and growers do not suffer and get help from the government,” he said.

The BJP leader further demanded that the government must announce an increase in the support price for apple as due to less rain the crop was very poor as the fruit was very small in size. “Since even the farmers have been severely hit due to failure of the kharif crop, the government must take immediate steps to provide adequate compensation to the affected persons,” he said.

Expressing concern over the acute water shortage that could arise in the coming days due to poor rains, Mr Bhardwaj demanded that the government must be prepared to tide over this water crisis. He said that failure of the rains could also affect power generation as there is inadequate water.

Top

 

3 killed, 2 hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Chamba, July 26
Three persons were killed and two others were seriously injured when a Maruti van (HP-01-3144) coming from Kangra to Chamba veered off the road and rolled 250 m down the hillock at Bhanera, about 8 km from here this afternoon. The five occupants of the van, including a computer engineer were coming to see the ongoing Minjar Fair being held here.

Dr D.K. Choudhary, DSP, said two deceased had been identified as Kiranjeet, a resident of Mashrey, and Vikas, a resident of Gihana Khurd, Dharamsala. The third deceased could not been identified yet. Efforts were on to hand over the bodies of the deceased to their families after a post-mortem examination.

The injured, Mr Vir Singh, a resident of Gallu, and Nagnu Ram, a resident of Ghatashnu, both of Jogindernagar, Mandi, were admitted to the Zonal Hospital, Chamba.

A case has been registered.

Meanwhile, an official spokesman and a relief of Rs 25,000 each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 8,000 each to the injured had been sanctioned. An immediate relief of Rs 2,000 each was distributed on the spot.

Top

 

Student bodies protest against house tax
Our Correspondent

Nahan, July 26
A district-level convention, organised by the SFI and the DYFI to protest against the implementation of an MoU signed with the Union Government by the state government to reduce the number of employees in government and semi-government sector and to fight against the imposition of house tax in the town, was held at the Hindu Ashram here today. It was presided over by senior youth leader Digvijay Singh, while state general secretary of the DYFI Tikender Singh was the chief guest.

A large number of residents of the town also participated in the convention. The issue of implementation of house tax in the town was raised by the two student unions.

While addressing the participants, Tikender Singh and Digvijay Singh demanded total abolition of house tax. They said it was an irony that the BJP won the local municipal elections on the assurance of abolition of house tax and the same leaders were pressing the residents of the town to pay the tax. They said house tax bills for the past three years had been raised by the Municipal Council and needy persons were being denied building, water and electricity NOCs in case they didn’t pay the house tax. They announced the launch of an agitation against the issue in the town from next month.

The leaders also opposed the implementation of the MoU signed by the state government with the Union Government to get an allocation of Rs 527 crore. They said on one hand the Congress had promised the people of the state to generate employment avenues for the unemployed youth, on the other hand the Congress government had signed an agreement with the Centre that would abolish thousands of jobs in government and semi-government sector. They termed the MoU as anti-people and said his implementation would lead to exploitation of unemployed youth of the state.

Top

 

Industrialists encroach upon govt land
Ambika Sharma

Solan, July 26
With industrialists indulging in large-scale encroachment of prime industrial land at Chambaghat here, the District Industries Centre (DIC) is having a tough time in maintaining the open green space. Despite serving a number of notices on these industrialists to vacate the land, not much success could be achieved in curbing the menace, said a DIC official.

Due to the fact that these industrialists wield a lot of influence in the government, the attempts of the DIC to get the encroachments removed have yielded little results. A vigilance inquiry has been going on against Basant Pipes that reportedly constructed an unauthorised hall on the land adjoining their plot in the Chambaghat area.

A perusal of the records of the DIC revealed the said industrialist is also a defaulter of the DIC on account of non-payment of rentals.

The SDM, Mr Lokender Chauhan, who holds the additional charge of General Manager, DIC, said while a report had already been sent to the Vigilance Department, willful non-payment of rent, despite a number of notices, had forced the department to take a legal recourse to sort out the matter. The case had also been sent to the municipal committee, but it had done nothing to dismantle the unauthorised construction.

The owner of Basant Pipes, Mr Gurdial Sharma, however, denied the charge of non-payment of dues. He said he had been allotted 450.58 sq.mt land by the DIC itself and he had made a payment of about Rs 1.13 lakh to it in this connection.

Enquiries, however, revealed that a higher purchase scheme was launched by the DIC for the long-time lease of land last year and advance money was collected from investors. Since the scheme did not materialise, the money was returned. Mr Gurdial, while agreeing that he had occupied the land, took the plea that at least 10 other industrialists had done the same in Chambaghat. This was permissible, he said.

DIC officials said the trend was acting as a deterrent to check encroachments. A number of other industrialists, like the owners of M/s Jyoti Udyog, had also converted a part of their industrial shed into residential accommodations in violation of norms. Officials said such people encouraged others to bypass laws. Attempts of M/s Exicom, situated in the nearby electronic complex, to encroach upon the adjoining land were timely checked. An encroachment by Amar Promoters was removed by the municipal committee some time back.

Top

 

Anti-encroachment drive launched amid protest
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 26
A team of the Nadaun administration led by Mr Rakesh Dhiman, SDM and assisted by the police launched the eviction campaign amid protests by the people, and removed encroachments on government land at the main bus-stand in Nadaun.

The campaign passed off peacefully and all encroachments were removed as per the wishes the administration.

The shops in the bus-stand complex were closed as a mark of protest and slogans were raised against the administration. Traders alleged that the administration was adopting pick and choose policy.

Mr Dhiman said the shopkeepers in the area had encroached upon the government land and there was resentment among the people who were facing problems in every day life.

Top

 

Amitabh disappoints fans
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 26
Fans of the Big “B”, Amitabh Bachchan, who is here in connection with the shooting of “Black” had to return disappointed as tight security prevented the local residents as well as tourists from getting anywhere near the shooting venue at Hotel Woodville Palace where Amitabh Bachchan shot for the film today.

Despite waiting outside the shooting venue for several hours, the fans were not allowed to view the shooting from a distance. Security men deputed at all the gates of the hotel did not let the fans enter.

Rani Mukherjee, the female lead in the movie directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, did not turn up.

Top

 

BDS degree given recognition
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 26
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in consultation with the Dental Council of India, has granted recognition to the dental qualification of students passing out from the Bhojia Dental College and Hospital in Nalagarh.

The recognition in this regard was granted by Mr A.K. Singh, Under Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, on July 21.

Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |