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

HP achieves a hat-trick of apple bumper crop
Shimla, August 1
Despite an erratic monsoon the hill state is heading for a bumper apple crop for the third successive year, rather unusual as the orchards normally experience alternate bearing.

Rs 14 cr development project okayed
Chamba, August 1
The Centre has okayed ‘Green Gold Dairy Development Project’ with an outlay of Rs 14 crore for the alpine Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh.

Una blockade: some harass tourists, others come to rescue
Shimla, August 1
While the electronic media created a scare by wrongly reporting that villagers agitating for the release of Indian hostages in the Una district had hijacked the buses carrying a group of foreigners, the stranded tourists were all praise for the hospitality extended to them by the local people in a difficult situation.

BJP agitation begins today
Hamirpur, August 1
The Himachal Pradesh BJP will start its week-long protests and rallies against the Congress-led state government from tomorrow. Hamirpur has been chosen as the venue for launching the agitation.

Minister refutes BJP’s charges
Bilaspur, August 1
Himachal Industries, Youth Services and Sports and Information Technology Minister Ramlal Thakur has repudiated charges made by BJP state spokesman Randhir Sharma and MP Suresh Chandel and has denied that he was involved in the lathi charge on BMS workers at Harnora near the Kol Dam site a few days ago.






YOUR TOWN
Bilaspur
Chamba
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Kangra
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES

 

Pro-Mankotia procession on August 9
Dharamsala, August 1
To re-assure their support to Major Vijai Singh Mankotia, and demand his suitable rehabilitation in the state government, Congress workers in the district will take out a procession to welcome Major Mankotia on his first visit to Dharamsala on August 9 after his removal from the Cabinet.

Judicial probe sought into Kol Dam lathi charge
Bilaspur, August 1
Led by Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh and BJP leaders, including BJP state spokesman Randhir Sharma, hundreds of members of the BMS and oustees of the Kol Dam Project yesterday held a demonstration seeking a high-level judicial inquiry into the police lathicharge at Harnora five days ago.

Lake in Tibet may cause floods in HP
Shimla, August 1
The threat of flash floods loomed large over the people living along the Sutlej river with the formation of a huge lake in Tibet, upstream Lapcha in the Parchu nullah, a tributary of the Spiti rivers.

Minjar fair concludes amid festivities
Chamba, August 1
The week-long international Minjar fair of Chamba concluded peacefully here today amid rituals and festivities in a drizzling weather. Nearly one lakh persons, including tourists from neighbouring states, participated in the Minjar fair, which is one of the major tribal carnivals of the northwestern Himalayas.

BJYM peeved at Centre’s anti-public stance
Sundernagar, August 1
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha will organise a protest week from August 2 to 9 against the anti-public policies of the Congress-led Union Progressive Alliance government.

Ex-MP Khanoria dead
Palampur, August 1
A former MP from the Kangra-Chamba and senior BJP leader, Major D.D. Khanoria, died here last evening. He was 78. Khanoria complained of uneasiness and pain in the chest last night following which he was rushed to the Military Hospital, Hola Camp.

Youth picked up by Haryana police
Kumarhatti, August 1
A sense of fear swept across Kasauli town following picking up of Harish Kumar (28), a resident of Kashmiri Mohalla, employed in a local garment shop by two cops of the Haryana police this afternoon.

4 held for driving woman to suicide
Kangra, August 1
The police here yesterday arrested four persons of a family in connection with a suicide in Ramdoh village of this district, the police said here today. District Police Chief S. Zahoor H. Zaidi said that Chanda Singh resident of Khoha village lodged a complaint with the Nurpur police station that his daughter Veena Kumari, (35) , married at Ramdoh was allegedly tortured by her in-laws.
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HP achieves a hat-trick of apple bumper crop
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 1
Despite an erratic monsoon the hill state is heading for a bumper apple crop for the third successive year, rather unusual as the orchards normally experience alternate bearing. The dry spell during June and July is not likely to affect production, though the quality fruit in the lower hills and some pockets in the midhill pockets which were severely affected by drought, may not be all that good.

The latest assessment carried out by the Horticulture Department indicates the total outturn would be in excess of 2.25 crore boxes, the second highest after last year’s record production of 2.53 crore boxes. The production was 1.91 crore boxes in 2002 and as such the state was all set to achieve a rare hat-trick of bumper crops. The dry spell has mostly affected the lower belt, which accounts for less than 10 per cent of the total production. Harvesting of fruit has already begun and by July 30 as many as 24 lakh boxes had been exported out of the state as against 13 lakh boxes exported during the same period last year.

Inadequate and inequitable rain has indeed affected the size of the fruit and the juice content but the overall has not been affected much because the fruit setting has been very good during March, says Mr R.P. Sharma. Director of horticulture. The production could still touch the 2.40 crore mark if the region receives adequate rain during August as it would help improve the size of fruit in the mid hill and high hill areas, he maintained.

A bumper crop had been invariably followed by a lean season as the orchard had been experiencing alternate bearing. For instance the state had a bumper production 2.16 crore boxes in 1998 but the following year virtually turned out to be a zero crop year with an output of just 27 lakh boxes. The state again had bumper crop in 2000 with production reaching 2.07 crore boxes.

However, another lean season followed as the production dwindled to 99 lakh boxes in 2001. The last two years have been exceptional with the state recording a production of 1.91 crore boxes in 2002 and 2.53 boxes in 2003.

The succession of bumper crop would push up the yield, which showed a declining trend over the past two decades. it came down from 9 tonnes per hectare in the 1970’s to 6 tonnes in 1990’s. It was quite low compared to western countries where the average yield ranged from 30 to 40 tonne per hectare.
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Rs 14 cr development project okayed
Our Correspondent

Chamba, August 1
The Centre has okayed ‘Green Gold Dairy Development Project’ with an outlay of Rs 14 crore for the alpine Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh.

Addressing a gathering organised by the Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress here on Friday, Mr Harsh Mahajan, Animal Husbandry Minister, said that under the project a milk plant would be set up at Parel in the outskirts of Chamba town. The project also envisaged the sheep and wool development and integrated wool production programme.

Mr Mahajan stated that an amount of Rs 8.37 crore had been released for the implementation of the project. Besides, another Rs 2 crore integrated watershed development project had been sanctioned by the Central government for Chamba, which was also being put into operation,

Speaking about roads network expansion in the rural areas, Mr Mahajan stated that under the Prime Minister Gram Sarak Yojna (PMGSY), Rs 334 crore had so far been received from the Centre during the past one year out of which Rs 14.77 crore had been earmarked for Chamba during the current fiscal year.

He informed that a provision of Rs 80 lakh would be spent on the development of fisheries while Rs 10.60 crore had been earmarked for education.

Speaking about employment scope in the area, Mr Mahajan said that 140 para-teachers had been posted in Chamba constituency while 74 posts of para-teachers were to be filled from amongst the candidates placed on the waiting list.

In the animal husbandry department, 30 veterinary doctors and 736 veterinary pharmacists had been given appointments during the past one year.

Mr Mahajan appealed to the people to work for the development and progress of Chamba.

For providing employment to the youths, Mr Mahajan applauded the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, for formulating a policy ensuing employment.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Anoop Vij, senior vice president of Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress, highlighted the contributions of Mr Harsh Mahajan towards the masses of this area.

Earlier, Mr Harsh Mahajan, who emerged as a high-profile politician owing to his distinguished career as a leader, legislator and minister, was honoured by the youth Congress by presenting him a Himachali cap and shawl and memento. His wife Mrs Soma Mahajan was also honoured.
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Una blockade: some harass tourists, others come to rescue
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 1
While the electronic media created a scare by wrongly reporting that villagers agitating for the release of Indian hostages in the Una district had hijacked the buses carrying a group of foreigners, the stranded tourists were all praise for the hospitality extended to them by the local people in a difficult situation.

The group, before leaving left a letter thanking the people of Santokhgarh, for all they did for them during the time they were held up due to the traffic blockade. “Your overwhelming hospitality and compassion made the difficult situation a lesson in the depth of human nature. It was a complicated situation but you were able to reach out to people and help them,” the letter said.

The behaviour of the people of Una and Santokhgarh areas, to which the two hostages hailed, had been a complete contrast. While there had been violent protests and traffic jams in Una by the protestors from Dehlan, the village of Antaryami, Promila, the wife of the other hostage, Tilak Raj, and other family members kept their emotions in control and maintained that country’s honour should not be hurt in seeking his release.

The Sikh saint, Baba Sarbjot Singh and Ram Murti, father of Antaryami, also played an important role in getting the traffic blockade lifted this afternoon after 60 hours.

Mr Mukesh Agnihotri, who visited the district hospital at Una today to inquire about the well-being of Promila and Bhago Devi, the wife of Antaryami, thanked Baba Sarbjot Singh and the families of the hostages in pacifying the protestors and persuading them to lift the traffic blockade.

He condemned the action of some agitators who damaged some buses of the state road transport corporation and maintained that it was the handiwork of some vested interests. He lamented that some leaders were trying to drive political mileage out of a national crisis.
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BJP agitation begins today
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 1
The Himachal Pradesh BJP will start its week-long protests and rallies against the Congress-led state government from tomorrow. Hamirpur has been chosen as the venue for launching the agitation.

The agitation is against the “anti-people” policies of the state government and the signing of an MoU with the Central Government on fiscal reforms without taking the people of the state into confidence.

The party has started preparations for the agitation. The party plans to bring nearly 5,000 workers from all five mandals of the district to Hamirpur town to show its strength.

Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, a former Chief Minister and senior BJP leader, will be the star speaker at the rally. Mr Dhumal is in Goa to take part in the “chintan baithak” of the party. He is the lone invitee from the state.

The district BJP chief, Mr Pyare Lal Sharma, today said all workers would gather at Hospital Chowk and from there march in procession towards Gandhi Chowk, where a rally would be held. The party would stage a dharna and submit a memorandum to the Governor through the Deputy Commissioner, Hamirpur, demanding dismissal of the Congress government.

Meanwhile, the district administration has taken steps for maintaining law and order during the rally. Additional police forces have been summoned from nearby battalions.
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Minister refutes BJP’s charges
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, August 1
Himachal Industries, Youth Services and Sports and Information Technology Minister Ramlal Thakur has repudiated charges made by BJP state spokesman Randhir Sharma and MP Suresh Chandel and has denied that he was involved in the lathi charge on BMS workers at Harnora near the Kol Dam site a few days ago.

He said it was unfortunate that top BJP leaders, including former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, were trying to instigate the BMS workers to create trouble at the dam site and hamper construction.

He said on finding that the situation was tense, he had visited the area earlier and had spoken to the parties concerned.

He said they had accepted the 11-member recruitment committee headed by the SDM, Bilaspur Sadar, for making recruitment at the Kol Dam.
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Pro-Mankotia procession on August 9
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 1
To re-assure their support to Major Vijai Singh Mankotia, and demand his suitable rehabilitation in the state government, Congress workers in the district will take out a procession to welcome Major Mankotia on his first visit to Dharamsala on August 9 after his removal from the Cabinet.

Addressing a press conference here today, former Transport Minister Kewal Singh Pathania said that they wanted to tell the Congress high command that the people of Kangra were with Major Mankotia even when he was not a minister.

Soon after he enters the Kangra border, a large cavalcade of vehicles would lead Major Mankotia to Dharamsala where he would be presented with a silver torch at a public meeting.

The fact that Kangra district had been discriminated against by the removal of Major Mankotia, who was Transport Minister in the state Cabinet, was also highlighted at the conference. Mr Pathania, however, declined that the entire programme would be a show of strength to tell the high command that they would not take things lying down.
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Judicial probe sought into Kol Dam lathi charge
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, August 1
Led by Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and BJP leaders, including BJP state spokesman Randhir Sharma, hundreds of members of the BMS and oustees of the Kol Dam Project yesterday held a demonstration seeking a high-level judicial inquiry into the police lathicharge at Harnora five days ago.

Addressing a rally outside the District Collectorate here, Randhir Sharma claimed that the lathicharge was “pre-planned” and that the police did not even spare women, who had no connection with the agitation.

Narender Thakur, a BMS leader, said their strike at the dam side would continue till the Supreme Court judgement of provision of “equal pay for equal work” was not implemented by the private companies working under the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), which is constructing the dam.

MANDI: A spokesman for the NTPC yesterday said labour unrest and the alleged meddling of political parties in the affairs of workers had badly affected the progress in the work on the project. He said while efforts were being made to redress all genuine grievances of the workers, certain elements were out to retard the progress of the project. Some influential persons with vested interest were trying to draw political mileage out of the prevailing labour trouble, he added.

Meanwhile, a senior official from the NTPC headquarters has reached here to take stock of the situation. He has been sent to the dam site to take appropriate measures to defuse the situation here. — UNI
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Lake in Tibet may cause floods in HP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 1
The threat of flash floods loomed large over the people living along the Sutlej river with the formation of a huge lake in Tibet, upstream Lapcha in the Parchu nullah, a tributary of the Spiti rivers.

The state government was informed by the Union Ministry of Home about the formation of a 3500 m-long, 800 m-wide and 15 m-deep lake close to the Indo-Tibet border due to blockage of the Parchu nullah by a landslide. A flood alert was sounded in Kinnaur, Shimla, Kulu and Mandi districts last evening after water started overflowing from the lake, bringing along a lot of silt.

The abrupt rise in the level of silt forced the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam to shut down the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri project. The silt level shot up to 7,500 ppm (part per million) as against the permissible level of 5,000 ppm. The nigam has also set up an observation post at Khab to keep a close watch on the discharge of the Spiti river.

The water takes about three hours to reach Nathpa, where a diversion dam is located, from Khab and in case of flash floods in the river the authorities would have ample time to take the necessary protective measures.

A spokesperson for the Nigam said generation would be resumed as soon the silt content in the river declined.

Mr Maneesh Garg, Deputy Commissioner of Kinnaur, said the threat of flash flood would be there as long as the river remains blocked. It would all depend on whether the water impounded by the landslip leaked through slowly or the blockage gave way suddenly due to pressure. The administration was prepared for any eventuality. It was in close touch with the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) at Lapcha and Samdoh from where the river entered the Spiti valley.

Keeping in view the experience of the devastating flash floods of 2000, the Border Roads Organisation had been asked to spread its heavy machinery in the area so that in case the road network was damaged, repair work could be carried out expeditiously.

Meanwhile, the state received widespread rain over the past 24 hours. Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan, parts of Mandi, Kulu and Bilaspur were having intermittent showers since morning.
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Minjar fair concludes amid festivities
Our Correspondent

Chamba, August 1
The week-long international Minjar fair of Chamba concluded peacefully here today amid rituals and festivities in a drizzling weather.

Nearly one lakh persons, including tourists from neighbouring states, participated in the Minjar fair, which is one of the major tribal carnivals of the northwestern Himalayas.

The immersion of golden ‘minjars’ (blossoms of maize plant) with coconuts on the sacred banks of the Ravi by the Himachal Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, who was the chief guest, marked the end of the festival.

The festival symbolises blossoming of the maize crop. People pray for a good harvest.

Men, women and children sport colorful costumes having tassels of minjars’ and pray to rain god for timely rain and a bumper crop.

Earlier, a shobha yatra (holy procession) started from Akhand Chandi Place and passed through the main bazar of the town and converged on the right bank of the Ravi for the immersion ceremony.

The town’s presiding deity, Lord Raghuvira, was carried in a palanquin along with other local deities and the insignias of Manimahesh, Lakshmi Narayan and Charpat Nath.

Mr Harsh Mahajan, Animal Husbandry Minister, Mr G.S. Bali, Transport Minister, Thakur Singh Bharmouri, Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, Mr Kuldip Pathania, all MLAs, Mr S.P. Dhall, president, Municipal Council, Chamba, Mr Rahul Anand, Deputy Commissioner, Chamba, and Mr G.P. Singh, Superintendent of Police, were among those who took part in the procession.

Earlier, the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, who arrived at Chamba by a helicopter, laid the foundation stones for a Rs 5-crore bus terminus at zero point and a Rs 79-lakh shopping complex in the local market.

Besides, the Chief Minister inaugurated the administrative block of the local Bhuri Singh Museum constructed at a cost of Rs 39 lakh.
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BJYM peeved at Centre’s anti-public stance
Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, August 1
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha will organise a protest week from August 2 to 9 against the anti-public policies of the Congress-led Union Progressive Alliance government.

Announcing this, Mr Rakesh Jamwal, member of the National Executive Council of the morcha said yesterday the week-long protest would be against the issues such as dropping of the tainted ministers and an increase in the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene gas etc.

He said the current polices of both the Centre and state were against the public.

He further said the state unit of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha would hold a conference in Mandi on August 13 and 14 to chalk out a future course of action regarding the price escalation of the essential commodities.
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Ex-MP Khanoria dead
Our Correspondent

Palampur, August 1
A former MP from the Kangra-Chamba and senior BJP leader, Major D.D. Khanoria, died here last evening. He was 78.

Khanoria complained of uneasiness and pain in the chest last night following which he was rushed to the Military Hospital, Hola Camp. Later, he succumbed to a massive heart attack, his family members said. Khanoria, a close associate of Mr Shanta Kumar, was elected to the Lok Sabha twice in 1990 and in 1991 from the Kangra-Chamba Lok Sabha seat.

The mortal remains of Khanoria were consigned to the flames here this morning. Over 2000 persons from various walks of society attended the funeral. Mr Shanta Kumar and Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal have expressed profound grief over the death of Khanoria.
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Youth picked up by Haryana police

Kumarhatti, August 1
A sense of fear swept across Kasauli town following picking up of Harish Kumar (28), a resident of Kashmiri Mohalla, employed in a local garment shop by two cops of the Haryana police this afternoon. The two cops allegedly in civil dresses from Pinjore police station who came to the town in a van, called Harish outside the shop in the Mall market on the pretext of some work. They dumped him in the van and fled.

An hour later Harish’s mother approached the Kasauli police station. The police contacted Pinjore station and enquired about the incident. According to the Pinjore police, Harish was nabbed following a complaint lodged by his in-laws last night. In his complaint the father-in-law of Harish accused that he was beaten up by Harish and his two accomplices. — OC
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4 held for driving woman to suicide

Kangra, August 1
The police here yesterday arrested four persons of a family in connection with a suicide in Ramdoh village of this district, the police said here today.

District Police Chief S. Zahoor H. Zaidi said that Chanda Singh resident of Khoha village lodged a complaint with the Nurpur police station that his daughter Veena Kumari, (35) , married at Ramdoh was allegedly tortured by her in-laws. He alleged his daughter was fed up with the torture of her father-in-law Kahar Singh, mother-in-law Krishena, brother-in-law Ravinder and sister-in-law Parvesh Kumari and committed suicide by consuming poison at her home and died on July 25.

The SSP said that Chanda Singh alleged that the body of his daughter was cremated without informing him and his family. The police registered case under Section 498-A, 306,201 and 34 of the IPC and arrested all four persons in this connection.

Chanda Singh lodged the complaint on yesterday evening and the police arrested the accused, the SSP said. — OC
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