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Rs 60 crore projects for HP announced
Shimla, July 30
The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ms Meera Kumar, today announced several projects worth Rs 60 crore for various target groups, including scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST), minorities and other weaker sections in Himachal Pradesh.

Objections delay tax collection
Kumarhatti, July 30
Even as the Arki Nagar Panchayat, 50 km from here, has adopted a tough measure to recover the backlog of the house tax from residents, the objection by the District Collector’s office on a case filed by the panchayat to facilitate the recovery of tax seemed to have delayed the panchayat efforts on the matter.

Consult us before implementing VAT: traders
Shimla, July 30
The Local Beopar Mandal has urged the government to take the trading community into confidence before taking any decision regarding the implementation of the new value added tax (VAT) system in the state.

Medical college students, canteen staff clash
Kangra, July 30
Tension has been prevailing in Dr R.P. Government Medical College, Tanda, near here, since last night when students and workers of a canteen clashed following an altercation over some minor issue. The college and canteen property was damaged in the clash.

Uncertainty over Shah Nahar Project
Nurpur, July 30
The Shah Nehar Project on the foothills of Kangra district has been facing bleak prospects following the Punjab Government’s Termination of Agreements Bill, 2004, under which all inter-state agreements relating to Ravi and Beas have been annulled.


 


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EARLIER STORIES

 

Police arrests two in murder case
Solan, July 30
The Solan police claims to have solved the July 14 Nalagarh robbery and murder case, with the Ropar police arresting two accomplices of the four-member gang responsible for the crime. Though the other two continue to elude the police but the district police is hopeful of nabbing them soon.

Villagers block Kalka-Shimla rail line
Kumarhatti, July 30
Traffic on the Kalka-Shimla narrow rail section came to standstill for one and a half hours when villagers staged a dharna on the rail line at Jabli railway station, 14 km from here, today.

3 held for flesh trade
Solan, July 30
The local police arrested three persons including a women under the Immoral trafficking Act, 1956, and Section 292 of the IPC at the Deonghat area of the town last evening.

Plea seeking ban on “Chowgan” use rejected
Chamba, July 30
A petition, seeking permanent prohibitory injunction restraining the state, Himachal Pradesh from putting the “Chamba Chowgan” on commercial use during the Minjar Fair and other commercial events, was rejected today.

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Rs 60 crore projects for HP announced
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 30
The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ms Meera Kumar, today announced several projects worth Rs 60 crore for various target groups, including scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST), minorities and other weaker sections in Himachal Pradesh.

Ms Kumar, who held a series of meetings with the Chief Minister and senior government officials, announced 20 hostels for girls and boys, belonging to the schedules caste, would be opened in the state. A total of Rs 10 crore would be spent by the ministry on this project, she added.

She said on the basis of the survey conducted in six districts of the state, the highest SC population was found in Mandi with 28.98 per cent followed by Kulu with 28.28 per cent.

“These two districts will be covered under the District Credit Plan prepared by the National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporation, and financial assistance will be given under various schemes,” she said.

Rs 2 crore will be provided to the eligible backward classes for viable income generating schemes and Rs 50 lakh under micro financing schemes for the self help group in these two districts.

Ms Kumar said 12 Old Age Homes would be set up in the state, one each at every district headquarters. “Apart from the three existing counseling and drugde-addiction centres at Kulu, Una and Naha, we have decided to support setting up of three new ones at places recommended by the state government, she said. The ministry also agreed to help the state set up a vocational training centre for disabled and a special school for mentally challenged persons at Mandi.

“Out of the total 17 slots for sponsoring higher education to SC students abroad, we have decided to give two to HP,” she informed. Under this scheme entire expenditure of two students will be borne by the ministry. Two students from the state will also be sponsored fully for undergoing commercial pilot license course.

“To help children in distress we have decided to have two helplines (1098) at Shimla and Dharamsala,” she informed.

It was also decided to set up two coaching centres at Mandi and Dharamsala for the pre-entrance for medical, engineering, civil services and other competitive examinations for the people belonging to the backward classes, scheduled caste and minorities. Postmatriculation scholarships worth Rs 1 crore will be given by the ministry in BA, B.Sc. medical, engineering and other post graduate courses.

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Objections delay tax collection
Our Correspondent

Kumarhatti, July 30
Even as the Arki Nagar Panchayat, 50 km from here, has adopted a tough measure to recover the backlog of the house tax from residents, the objection by the District Collector’s office on a case filed by the panchayat to facilitate the recovery of tax seemed to have delayed the panchayat efforts on the matter.

The collector’s office has sent back the case to the panchayat received yesterday due to certain flaws. In its objection the Collector’s office has asked for complete clarity on the addresses of the violators and the copies of notices issued by the panchayat to defaulters in the past, sources in the panchayat said.

On its part the panchayat has forwarded the list of 208 defaulters to the Collector’s office a week ago. The panchayat has started to charge house tax in the financial year of 2003-2004 from residents after the state government’s order on the matter in 1997.

Interestingly amidst strong opposition from residents, the panchayat had managed to collect around Rs 30,000 as against the target of Rs 1 lakh last year and could do little to collect the arrears of the past two years.

In this financial year too, the panchayat has again failed to collect the tax as per the projection so far. The panchayat was only getting tax from those involved in new construction and a few others.

Only poor tax collection, had been achieved after the panchayat issued notices in November last year to pay the tax.

Around 15 lakh recovery cases were prepared and forwarded to the Collector’s office, said Mr Keshav Ram, secretary of the panchayat. All efforts were being made to increase the revenue from the house tax, he said. A target to collect Rs 5 lakh from the house tax had been made in the current year, he said.

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Consult us before implementing VAT: traders
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 30
The Local Beopar Mandal has urged the government to take the trading community into confidence before taking any decision regarding the implementation of the new value added tax (VAT) system in the state.

A deputation of the mandal led by its president, Mr Ashok Sood, met Mr Rangila Rao, Excise and Taxation Minister , and impressed upon him that hasty switch over to the new system would create problems for the traders as they were completely in the dark about it. The state had mostly small and marginal traders who must be educated about the new system.

They pointed out that the tax revenue of the fund-starved Himachal Pradesh ,which was a terminal state ,would be adversely affected by the implementation of the VAT system. The deputation drew the attention of the minister towards the loss being suffered by the registered traders and the government due to direct sales, network marketing, sales carried out in the garb of exhibitions and unauthorised use of CSD facilities by civilians. It urged the minister to review the decision of penalty at the rate of Rs 50 per day for late filing of sales tax returns as it was creating unnecessary problems to registered dealers.

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Medical college students, canteen staff clash
Our Correspondent

Kangra, July 30
Tension has been prevailing in Dr R.P. Government Medical College, Tanda, near here, since last night when students and workers of a canteen clashed following an altercation over some minor issue. The college and canteen property was damaged in the clash.

According to the police, at 11 pm last night two second year students came to the canteen and asked for dinner but canteen employees told them that dinner was finished. The students demanded some other eatables but the employees refused to serve them, which resulted in an altercation and exchange of blows.

Mr Naresh Soni, owner of the canteen, said today that after the altercation between the students and his staff more than half a dozen students reached the canteen and attacked his workers leaving his two workers Vinod Kumar and Sucha Singh injured. He said one of the canteen workers lost four teeth.

Dr Suresh Sankyan, Principal of the college , said he was informed by the canteen owner about the incident in the night. During a visit to the college he found large scale damage to the Para Clinic and Anatomy Department windowpanes, notice boards and glass doors were found broken. He said the canteen workers who chased the students away allegedly did the damage to the college property, with iron rods.

Dr Sankiyian said the students, who were disturbed and provoked by the damage to the college property, damaged the counter of the canteen in retaliation in his presence. The Principal said that the canteen workers were allegedly under the influence of the liquor when they damaged the college property. During the clash no student was, however, injured.

Station House Officer, Kangra Police Station Mr Sanjeev Chauhan, who was present in the college today, said a case under Section 147, 148, 149, 323 and 451 of the IPC was registered. He said seven college students figured in the FIR. No arrests had been made so far the SHO said.

Meanwhile, employees of the college abstained from work today demanding stringent action by the college authorities against the guilty.

Mr Ajay Khata, spokesman for the Non-Gazetted Employees Federation, Kangra district, today told mediapersons that the general secretary of the federation, Mr T.C. Koundal, along with other leaders met the Principal and demanded a high-level inquiry into the last night incident. Following the intervention by the federation, the employees resumed work in the afternoon. Mr Khata expressed concern over the damage to the Government property.

Dr Sankiyan said those students found guilty in the police investigation would be expelled from hostels and temporarily from the classes and disciplinary action would be taken against them. He said if the canteen people were found guilty the canteen would be closed down.

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Uncertainty over Shah Nahar Project
Rajiv Mahajan

Nurpur, July 30
The Shah Nehar Project on the foothills of Kangra district has been facing bleak prospects following the Punjab Government’s Termination of Agreements Bill, 2004, under which all inter-state agreements relating to Ravi and Beas have been annulled. The move is likely to hit the ongoing project, the cost of which is being borne by Himachal Pradesh (54.83 crore) and Punjab (88.49 crore).

The project was initiated following an agreement between the two state governments. The agreement was entered in to on August 4, 1983, following an agitation by farmers and residents living in the border areas of the state.

The agitation began when the Punjab Government constructed the Shah Nehar barrage by diverting the water of the Beas. There was resentment among affected farmers of Himachal Pradesh residing on the Punjab border as their fertile land turned barren following the construction of the barrage.

The approval of the project took 14 years. It was approved in 1997. It was estimated to cost Rs 143.32 crore. The Punjab Government did not release any instalment of its share even after five years of its approval. But then it released Rs 29.50 crore. However, no further funds have been released by the Punjab Government thereafter.

Now, the project has landed into a controversy following the annulment of water agreements by the Punjab Government.

The project was to benefit 93 villages by providing irrigation facilities to 37,000 hectares. The construction cost is likely to touch Rs 203.84 crore now.

Meanwhile, the local MLA and former minister, Mr sujan Singh Pathania, has termed the annulment of water agreements by the Punjab Government as unfortunate. He said the Himachal Pradesh Government should consider to drain out Pong Dam and the Bhakra Dam reservoirs and restore the land to the oustees who had been uprooted in the national interest.

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Police arrests two in murder case
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 30
The Solan police claims to have solved the July 14 Nalagarh robbery and murder case, with the Ropar police arresting two accomplices of the four-member gang responsible for the crime. Though the other two continue to elude the police but the district police is hopeful of nabbing them soon.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Abhishek Trivedi, told mediapersons here today that a scooter, a Maruti Zen and a pistol, used in the crime, had been recovered by the police. The incident, in which Rs 5.90 lakh was looted from a postal employee, had created panic in the area.

Mr Trivedi said the Ropar police had arrested Satnam Singh and Sukhwinder Singh, who were part of the four-member gang which had masterminded the robbery.

Mr Trivedi said, besides the Nalagarh robbery, the gang members hailing from Ludhiana, had also committed seven other similar crime of looting and murder. However, Mr Trivedi refused to divulge the names of the absconding criminals, saying that would hamper the ongoing police proceedings.

The SP said not only had the gang collected vital details, such as the time when cash was to be deposited with the local bank from the post office but also visited the place at least twice before committing the crime.

The gang members, three of whom came in a Zen car and another in a scooter met at Phillaur bus stand where two of them headed for Nalagarh in the scooter with the other two waiting for them on the New Nalagarh road. After committing the crime, three escaped in the Zen while the fourth managed to travel in the scooter which was later deserted some distance away. They distributed the cash among themselves at Anandpur Sahib and then left for different destinations.

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Villagers block Kalka-Shimla rail line
Our Correspondent

Kumarhatti, July 30
Traffic on the Kalka-Shimla narrow rail section came to standstill for one and a half hours when villagers staged a dharna on the rail line at Jabli railway station, 14 km from here, today. As many as 60 villagers led by Jabli panchayat uppradhan Ganesh Dutt blocked the track between 10 am and 11.30 a.m. to express their resentment against the Railway’s failure to provide basic facilities at Jabli station.

The station was reopened last month after remaining closed for years due to commercial unavailability. The irate villagers held up the 251 Kalka-Shimla passengers train and a parcel Kalka-Shimla train. While the 251 train was allowed to go after 20 minutes, the parcel train could start its journey after a Sectional Traffic Inspector (STI) from Solan reached the spot and assured the villagers to forward their complaints to the authorities.

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3 held for flesh trade
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 30
The local police arrested three persons including a women under the Immoral trafficking Act, 1956, and Section 292 of the IPC at the Deonghat area of the town last evening.

A police party led by the SHO, Ms Babita Pal raided the rented premises of a Ludhiana resident, Rajesh Bansal, and nabbed him and his accomplice Prem Gupta of Yamunanagar along with a woman hailing from Rajgarh tehsil of Sirmaur district.

Police officials stated that girls were being frequently brought at the house from outside. The police confiscated 20 indecent CDs, two indecent books, seven mobile phone sets, two packets of contraceptives, four sim cards, CD player and television set from the house.

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Plea seeking ban on “Chowgan” use rejected

Chamba, July 30
A petition, seeking permanent prohibitory injunction restraining the state, Himachal Pradesh from putting the “Chamba Chowgan” on commercial use during the Minjar Fair and other commercial events, was rejected today.

The petition was filed by Mr Devinder Singh and Mr Jatinder Singh Bakshi Mr Justice L.R. Sharma, rejected the petition on the plea that proper notice under Section 80 of the civil procedure code (CPC) had not been issued. — OC

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Bail denied in PWD cement scam

Palampur, July 30
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Dharamsala, today refused to grant anticipatory bail to Mr Arun Kumar, contractor, prime accused in the PWD cement scam. The police had recovered 130 bags of government cement from three different places which were allegedly sold by Mr Arun Kumar. However, the court granted interim bail to all the three PWD officials till August 2. — OC

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VHP procession

Palampur, July 30
Over 200 workers of the Vishva Hindu Parishad today held a procession here demanding immediate release of Indian hostages in Iraq. They raised anti-Iraq and anti-Indian Government slogans. Later a rally was held where VHP leaders said that the Indian Government had done nothing for the release of the three hostages. — OC

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