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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Houses declared unsafe, people shifted

Shimla, August 3
Monsoon remained active throughout the state for the past 24 hours. Heavy rain lashed the state last night and heavy showers are still continuing, affecting normal life.

A scene of Scandal Point, Shimla, on Tuesday
ON RAINING DAY: A scene of Scandal Point, Shimla, on Tuesday.
— Photo by Anil Dayal

Families evacuated as lake may
overflow soon
Shimla, August 3
The lake formed due to the blockade of the Parechu, a tributary of Sutlej, in Tibet is rising by 80 cm every day and may start overflowing over the next 24 to 48 hours. Satellite imageries have revealed that the river has been blocked at a distance of about 60 km from the Indo-Tibet border and the size of the lake is growing at an alarming pace.

Dropped ministers’ portfolios allocated
Shimla, August 3
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Chief Minister, today reallocated portfolios of three ministers, who were dropped during the downsizing process, and also effected minor reshuffle shifting Mr Ram Lal Thakur from Industries to Health.



YOUR TOWN
Kangra
Shimla
Solan


EARLIER STORIES

 

NSUI campaign against BJP from Aug 5
Shimla, August 3
State unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) will launch a state wide campaign from August 5 to counter the false propaganda of the BJP and the ABVP on the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the government to pursue fiscal reforms.

Row over lodging of FIR
Kangra, August 3
Dr R.P. Government Medical College, Kangra, and the Kangra police have locked horns over not registering an FIR lodged by the Principal of the Medical College regarding damage to medical college property on Thursday and wrongful confinement of seven medical college students and their arrest.

Farm varsity to start helpline for farmers
Palampur, August 3
Expert information about agriculture, livestock and home science is now only a phone call away for farmers in Himachal Pradesh.

Earlier plans of laying rail tracks ‘better’
Solan, August 3
Even as the Union Railways Minister, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, has announced a survey for laying a new railway track between Parwanoo and Darlaghat in the railway Budget not much enthusiasm is seen in the railway officials for the proposal.

Counselling, awareness campaign by police
Shimla, August 3
Being at the receiving end over the sudden spurt in crime against women, the Himachal police has decided to launch an awareness campaign and counselling sessions for students in colleges and universities so that the vindictive tendency exhibited by some youths can be curbed.

Doctor held for woman’s death
Solan, August 3
Guddi Devi (35), of Bangala community living on the Nalagarh Ramshahar died within minutes of being given an injection by a doctor of a nursing home here last evening. She had come to get operated on for piles from Dr Chunni Lal’s Nalagarh Nursing Home on the Nalagarh Ropar road.

Increase in tourists to HP
Shimla, August 3
Despite the return of near-normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, there has been an increase in tourists, both domestic and foreign, in Himachal.

Notices to Centre, HP on dumping of silt
Shimla, August 3
The Himachal High Court has issued notices to the Centre as well as the state government on the issue of unscientific and unplanned dumping of silt in the Suketi Khud of Mandi.

One killed in accident
Kangra, August 3
One person was killed on the spot and five others were injured, three of them seriously, when the van in which they were travelling hit a tree when hit by a truck at Ranital this afternoon, the police said here today. 

Two bodies found
Kangra, August 3
The Kangra police today recovered two bodies from Banner Khad near Ghat at Purana Kangra, the police said here today.
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Houses declared unsafe, people shifted
Tribune Reporters and PTI

Shimla, August 3
Monsoon remained active throughout the state for the past 24 hours. Heavy rain lashed the state last night and heavy showers are still continuing, affecting normal life. Shimla and the interior areas of the district were also hit by continuous rains since last night which affected transportation of apple boxes.

Meanwhile, widespread damage has been caused to kutcha houses and land due to heavy rains lashing various parts of Hamirpur district since last evening.

Reports from interiors of the district say that nearly two dozen houses were damaged due to rains and landslides. Traffic was disrupted at several places.

Another report says that Bagloo village of the district was in danger as it is on a hillock and the land beneath the houses has started sliding. Five houses have been declared unsafe and people living there have been shifted to safer places.

The Hindustan-Tibet road was blocked at Tapri and a landslip near Dhalli blocked a link road. The Junga road, which was also blocked by a landslide, was opened to traffic by the evening. Traffic in the interior of Shimla was hit as some link roads were blocked.

SOLAN: An alert has been sounded in 15 revenue villages lying between Deerowal and Kishanpura in Nalagarh subdivision after the Sarsa river was found flowing about 20 feet above normal. A team of officials led by the SDM visited the area and found that water had entered nearby fields. The local police, Home Guard personnel and fire brigade had been put on high alert to deal with emergency.

Arrangements have been made to evacuate about 200 people staying in the area if the water level rose further.

Instructions had been issued to the police to ensure no commuters crossed the small bridges lying across river bodies in the area.

The district has recorded the highest rain of 177.6 mm throughout the state in the last 48 hours.

Today’s rain fall has been the highest in the past 20 years, Ms Parvinder Baweja, a scientist at Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, said.

NAHAN: Police officials rushed to Badag village on Tuesday evening after receiving information regarding the washing away of a person in the Badag khud.

Mr S.R. Sharma, SP (Sirmaur), said Rattan Singh (36) of Badag, was washed away when he slipped on the bank of the khud.

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Families evacuated as lake may overflow soon
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 3
The lake formed due to the blockade of the Parechu, a tributary of Sutlej, in Tibet is rising by 80 cm every day and may start overflowing over the next 24 to 48 hours.

Satellite imageries have revealed that the river has been blocked at a distance of about 60 km from the Indo-Tibet border and the size of the lake is growing at an alarming pace. The surface area of the lake was 123 hectare on July 16. It increased to 137 hectare on July 21 and to 140 hectare on July 26.

The satellite pictures for August were not available yet but the scientists maintain that the surface area might have reached 150 hectare today.

The Kinnaur district authorities evacuated some families and labourers living in the low-lying areas of Leo and Reta Khan in view of the reports that water might start overflowing over the next two days.

According to Mr Maneesh Garg, Deputy Commissioner, about 40 families had been shifted to the upper areas in government buildings at Leo and over 100 workers at Reta Khan had been moved to safer places and lodged in tents. The Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police units stationed in the area had also been alerted.

The local villagers who remain in touch with the people across the border had also gathered information that the blockade had been caused by heavy boulders and might not give way easily. The blockade was already one-month old.

The authorities feel if the water starts overflowing the blockade would start eroding from the top and in that eventuality there is a little likelihood of flash floods though the water level may rise appreciably. Serious problems will arise only if the blockade gives way suddenly.

As the level of water and silt content are both expected to rise significantly once the lake starts overflowing, the Nathpa Jhakri project authorities have been asked to take all required precautionary measures. The 1500 MW project had been shut down thrice over the past fortnight due to a sudden rise in the silt level.

Even today only four out of the six 250 MW units are in operation. The Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam has established an observation post at Khab where the Spiti river joins the Sutlej to monitor the flow.

In case of any abnormal increase in the discharge or the silt content the project authorities would have enough time to take protective measures as it takes about three hours for water to reach Nathpa, the dam site, from Khab.

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Dropped ministers’ portfolios allocated
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 3
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Chief Minister, today reallocated portfolios of three ministers, who were dropped during the downsizing process, and also effected minor reshuffle shifting Mr Ram Lal Thakur from Industries to Health.

Almost all ministers, except Mrs Vidya Stokes Power Minister, got additional departments as Mr Virbhadra Singh also allocated some important portfolios, which had been retained by him. However, Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Minister for Cooperation who got Industries portfolio in Addition, and Mr G.S. Bali, who has been given Tourism in addition to his Transport portfolio, were gainers in the exercise.

Mr Sat Mahajan, Rural Development Minister got the charge of Revenue but he was divested of Labour and Employment, which has been allocated now to Mr Raj Krishan Gaur, Agriculture Minister. Mr Kaul Singh, Irrigation and Public Health Minister, has been given the additional charge of Urban Development and Law. Mr Rangila Ram Rao, Excise and Taxation Minister, will also look after Social Justice and Empowerment, while Mr Ram Lal Thakur who has been given the charge of Health in place of Industries will continue to hold Elections, Youth Services and Sports Departments. Mrs Asha Kumari, Education Minister, will also hold the charge of Technical Education, while Mr Singhi Ram, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies will look after Horticulture in addition.

Mr Harsh Mahajan , Minister for Animal Husbandry, has got additional charge of Printing and Stationery. The Forest portfolio, which was held by Mr Chander Kumar, who was elected to the Lok Sabha, has been retained by Mr Virbhadra Singh along with General Administration, Personnel, Home, forest, Finance, Planning and Public Works Department.

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NSUI campaign against BJP from Aug 5
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 3
State unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) will launch a state wide campaign from August 5 to counter the false propaganda of the BJP and the ABVP on the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the government to pursue fiscal reforms.

Mr Kewal Pathania, president of the union, said the Dhumal government, which also started its implementation, signed the MoU but to mislead the people the BJP and its student front was now organising protests against the MoU. The fact was that the present regime only modified the agreement to get some of the harsh conditions of the MoU, particularly the clauses pertaining to employment, relaxed.

He said the union would also apprise youths of the steps taken to provide jobs in the government and industrial sector. While a large number of posts in the education, health and other departments had been filled, the process to admit new batches to JBT, nursing and other paramedical courses was underway.

He said the union had prepared a charter of demands, which would be highlighted through various modes. The main demands included introduction of job-oriented courses in colleges, law course at Mandi, establishment of a technical university in Hamirpur, strengthening of the regional centre at Dharamsala, effective implementation of environment protection measures in hydroelectric projects.

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Row over lodging of FIR
Our Correspondent

Kangra, August 3
Dr R.P. Government Medical College, Kangra, and the Kangra police have locked horns over not registering an FIR lodged by the Principal of the Medical College regarding damage to medical college property on Thursday and wrongful confinement of seven medical college students and their arrest.

The Principal of the college, Dr Suresh Sankayan, said the Kangra police did not register his FIR regarding damage to the college property allegedly by workers of the canteen on July 29.

He said he informed the SHO, Kangra police station, at 1 am that the property of the college was damaged following a clash between the students and the canteen workers.

He said a police party headed by the Additional SHO, Mr Prem Chand, visited the scene and recorded the statements of the students but the FIR was not registered.

He said on July 30 again the police was informed in writing regarding the FIR but till date the police was silent over the issue.

He said contrary to this, the police registered an FIR of the canteen owners, took seven medical college students for questioning to Kangra police station in Medical College vehicle and allegedly kept them in wrongful confinement for more than 24 hours.

When contacted, Kangra district police chief S.Z.H. Zaidi said the Principal, Dr Shankayan, had informed him about this and he had directed the DSP (HQ) to hold investigation.

Meanwhile, the students of the medical college boycotted their classes and held a procession in the college campus raising slogans against the Kangra police.

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Farm varsity to start helpline for farmers
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Palampur, August 3
Expert information about agriculture, livestock and home science is now only a phone call away for farmers in Himachal Pradesh. Taking the lead in the region, the CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur, has decided to start telephonic helpline for farmers in the state so that they could directly seek help from scientists.

All the eight farm science centres located in different districts of the state will provide this service to the farmers. The scientists will attend to queries between 11 am and 1 pm on every Monday.

Dr Jagmohan Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said that he had already issued instructions that the facility be started with immediate effect at all the centres. “In case a scientist in unable to give a satisfactory answer over the phone, he would take down the address of the farmer and mail him a detailed reply after consulting his fellow scientists or experts on the university campus,” he said.

This facility would be in addition to the Agriculture Technology Information Centre of the university located in Palampur where information about the latest research and farm activities is given to general public. “But ours will be the first university in northern India to start this helpline. Considering the tough terrain of the state and the fact that farming is done in far-flung areas, this facility would be of great help,” said Dr Singh.

To publicise this new facility, the university is in the process of informing panchayats, offices of the Deputy Directors of Agriculture and Block Development Officers throughout the state. “The facility will be available at the regular numbers of the farm science centres, which would now be extensively circulated in the official magazines and newsletters of the university,” added Dr Singh.

The helpline, he said, was part of the university’s attempts to quickly and effectively transfer relevant technology to farmers in the state, most of whom are unable to personally come to the university campus to get themselves updated. The attempt is also to provide information in simple, and not technical, language so that farmer can actually translate the research into results on the fields.

Meanwhile, Mr Raj Krishan Gaur, Agriculture Minister, has asked the CSK HP Agricultural University, to put forth a concrete proposal for starting postgraduate programme in need-based disciplines in the College of Basic Sciences. He was chairing a meeting to deliberate upon restructuring this college in the university yesterday.

The minister said that the contribution of the state government for making operational the envisaged programmes should also be clearly and precisely spelt out.

Later, he visited the Centre for Geo-infomatics Research and Training, the Bamboo Development and Research Centre, the newly developed 40 hectares of pasture land adjoining the dairy, dairy farm and veterinary clinics.

While interacting with the scientists and senior officers of the university, he advised the university to make efforts to transfer the scientific technologies to the farmers of the state in an effective manner. He said that farmers of Changar areas should be made aware of the improved grasses as fodder scarcity was the main problem of livestock keepers. He appreciated the veterinary scientists of the university for attending to the problems of farmers not only at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences but also in the far-flung areas of the state.

Dr Jagmohan Singh, assured the minister to take all possible steps to transfer technology to the farming community of the state.

He said that already steps had been taken to strengthen the extension services of the state.

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Earlier plans of laying rail tracks ‘better’
Our Correspondent

Solan, August 3
Even as the Union Railways Minister, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, has announced a survey for laying a new railway track between Parwanoo and Darlaghat in the railway Budget not much enthusiasm is seen in the railway officials for the proposal. While asserting the need for laying a new rail track from Baddi to Chandigarh, the officials opined it could, besides fetching the much-needed revenue facilitate the industrialists investing in Baddi-Barotiwala after the announcement of the new industrial policy.

The state has received very little since independence as far as railway expansion is concerned. While a mere 18-km rail track was laid between Nangal to Una some time back another stretch of 18-20 km track laid further up to Talerala is the only other development in this direction. This track is part of a 75 km rail track to be laid between Una and Talwara, which is yet to be completed.

An earlier proposal of the Railways to lay a broad- gauge track at a stretch of about 5-7 km between Kamli and Kalka extension stations could not materialise despite laying of a foundation stone by the then Union Railways Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, in 1999. This is despite the fact that a budgetary provision of Rs 40 crore had been made for it. It was later found that the proposal would merely save the Parwanoo-based industrialists their octroi duty at the state’s barrier.

Investors and railway officials are of the unanimous opinion that an earlier survey carried out to lay a rail track from Bhanupalli near Anandpur Sahib through Bilaspur to Rampur Bushair covering about 180 km will prove more beneficial. The survey was conducted by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, during his earlier tenure.

Another proposal to link the industrial town of Baddi to Chandigarh while reducing its distance by as many as 20 km to facilitate the industrialists was also mooted some time back. It is learnt that a railway land located on the Bharatgarh-Nalagarh road which was earlier used to carry stones can be put to use in case this proposal is considered. While linking Baddi to Nalagarh as well as to Bilaspur, the earlier proposal can also fetch the railways a handsome profit with industrial growth in the region. The fact that an LPG filling plant existed at Baddi, the new track can prove profitable for the Railways.

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Counselling, awareness campaign by police
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 3
Being at the receiving end over the sudden spurt in crime against women, the Himachal police has decided to launch an awareness campaign and counselling sessions for students in colleges and universities so that the vindictive tendency exhibited by some youths can be curbed.

In the recent past some of the jilted youths have gone to the extent of throwing acid or creating a bomb scare in retaliation. The awareness camps, more on the lines of moral policing, will be organised in colleges and universities, involving students, teachers and parents so that such tendencies of hitting back against women on being spurned can be checked.

“It is on seeing the reckless, vindictive and irresponsible behaviour of some youths, who after being spurned by women, tried to harm them, that the police felt the need for such awareness camps,” said a police official. The case of 19-year-old Ishita, a student of the local Government College, becoming a victim of an acid attack shook the entire state.

The campaign initially to be launched in colleges in the state capital only, would be extended to other parts of the state later. To check incidents of eve-teasing, women cops in plain clothes will be deputed in local buses in the town. “The police patrol parties have been given the registration numbers of those vehicles which are frequently seen loitering around girls’ colleges so that a check can be kept on such elements,” informed police sources.

He said “Vishwas yojna” where schoolchildren are taken to police stations to familiarise them with the atmosphere and functioning of the police stations have been going on in the state for some time. “As an extension of this scheme, we will educate the girl students in schools and colleges about the various legal provisions so that they are more aware and confident,” he said.

The police after interacting with the teachers of St. Bede’s College and Rajkiya Kanya Mahavidyalaya chalked out this programme. As a self-defence and confidence-building measure, 10 police teams are already giving training in martial arts to girl students all over the state.

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Doctor held for woman’s death
Our Correspondent

Solan, August 3
Guddi Devi (35), of Bangala community living on the Nalagarh Ramshahar died within minutes of being given an injection by a doctor of a nursing home here last evening.

She had come to get operated on for piles from Dr Chunni Lal’s Nalagarh Nursing Home on the Nalagarh Ropar road.

The doctor and his staff fled the nursing home. Members of the Bangala community, including husband of the deceased, Faili Ram gheraoed the nursing home and raised slogans against the doctor. The police registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC and arrested the doctor.

Body of the woman has been sent to IGMC Shimla for a post-mortem examination today.

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Increase in tourists to HP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 3
Despite the return of near-normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, there has been an increase in tourists, both domestic and foreign, in Himachal.

The Tourism Department which was apprehending that with the situation in J and K normalising, the tourist inflow in Himachal would be hit, is relieved. As compared to last year when over 22.28 lakh tourists visited Himachal till May, this time the figure is almost 30.41 lakh.

Kulu-Manali remains the favourite destination with tourists. The Kulu-Manali and Shimla circuit even though saturated, followed by Kangra valley, draws the largest number of visitors.

During the first five months, a total of 6.44 lakh Indians and 17,367 foreigners had visited various places like Manikaran, Naggar, Vashist and Solang in Kulu district. This figure is higher than last year. The Kangra valley and Mcleodganj attract the second-highest number of visitors with 9.97 lakh Indians and 11.113 foreigners till May. Shimla on the other hand had 5.7 lakh Indians and 13,136 foreigners visiting the district.

“June to August is off-season for the Indian tourists but the highest number of foreigners come to the state in these months and we already have good bookings till October,” a tourism official said, adding that holding of a bird watching event at Pong Dam in Kangra and angling competition would be some of the attractions lined up for autumn.

Places like the Sangla valley in Kinnaur and the Buddhist circuit of Tabo monastery in Spiti are emerging as popular spots even with the Indian tourists,” a travel agent says.

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Notices to Centre, HP on dumping of silt
Legal Correspondent

Shimla, August 3
The Himachal High Court has issued notices to the Centre as well as the state government on the issue of unscientific and unplanned dumping of silt in the Suketi Khud of Mandi.

The notices were issued on a letter written by the Citizens’ Council, a social organisation of Mandi, to the Chief Justice of the High Court with a prayer that the Bhakra Beas Management Board might be restrained from throwing silt in the Suketi Khud from the hydel channel which was leading to water pollution and degradation of environment, particularly in Mandi town.

The organisation further prayed that a direction might be given to the BBMB to undertake adequate steps to avoid soil erosion by planting and maintaining tress along the banks of the Beas and its catchment areas. They also prayed that the Centre and the BBMB be directed to give free of cost 12.5 per cent of power generated from the Beas water to the state of Himachal as royalty.

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One killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Kangra, August 3
One person was killed on the spot and five others were injured, three of them seriously, when the van in which they were travelling hit a tree when hit by a truck at Ranital this afternoon, the police said here today. Kangra District police chief S. Zahoor H. Zaidi said a Maruti van was parked by the roadside, when a truck coming from Kangra hit the van and crushed it against a tree. The deceased has been identified as Pardeep Kumar of Paraidi village of Hamirpur district. The police has registered a case and arrested the truck driver, Nasib Ali, of Gangth.

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Two bodies found
Our Correspondent

Kangra, August 3
The Kangra police today recovered two bodies from Banner Khad near Ghat at Purana Kangra, the police said here today.

Kangra district police chief S.Z.H. Zaidi said one of the dead bodies was of Sanjay Kumar (30), a resident of Sukot village, who had drowned while taking bath in the Banner Khad two days back.

He said the another body was of an unidentified sadhu who was also recovered from the Banner Khad at the same spot today.

Both bodies were sent for the autopsy.

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