SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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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

Blast rumour by China triggers flood threat
Shimla, August 4
Unconfirmed reports that China had conducted a limited blast to ensure controlled release of water from a lake formed in Tibet due to blockage of Parechu, a tributary of Sutlej, kept the people living downstream on tenterhooks and the administration on a high alert.

HP selected under Rajiv Gandhi water mission
Mandi, August 4
Armed with maps of the state’s underground water sources generated by the Remote Sensing and Space Research Hyderabad, Himachal’s Irrigation and Public Health department is sensitising its engineers to put in place a rechargeable hand-pump or a tubewell underground water system in the state under the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission.

Malaria unit working sans proper staff
Dharamsala, August 4
The transfer of technical staff has badly hit the functioning of the Zonal Malaria Office in Dharamsala, set up to formulate malaria-control strategy for the entire state. The current administrative staff is not technically qualified to carry out any research work.

IRB-2 likely to be shifted
Hamirpur, August 4
The second battalion of the Indian Reserve Force is likely to be shifted from Jangle Beri in Hamirpur district to Amtar (Nadaun) in Hamirpur district shortly, according to highly placed sources in the Police Department.



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Kangra
Mandi
Shimla
Nahan
Nurpur


EARLIER STORIES

 

6 arrested for illicit liquor trade
Kangra, August 4
The Kangra police yesterday conducted raids at several places under the Nurpur and Jawli police stations in this district and smashed a working still and seized 1,28,500 ml of illicit liquor and arrested six persons, the police said here today.

Organic farming vital for growth, says Himachal minister
Hamirpur, August 4
HP Agriculture Minister Raj Krishan Gaur has exhorted the agricultural scientists to persuade the farmers to adopt organic farming as it best suited them.

Heavy rain, but not a drop in taps
Shimla, August 4
Drinking water supply in most parts of the town remained severely affected for the third day today, as the major water works have been affected due to heavy rains.

Employee cut to pieces by train
Kangra, August 4
One person was killed on the spot when he was hit and dragged by a Pathankot bound train at Samloti in Kangra subdivision this morning and a scooterist was killed in a hit and run case at Banni, the police said here today.

Give Sanskrit its rightful place: MP
Nahan, August 4
Lok Sabha MP, Dhani Ram Shandil, today said Sanskrit was the soul of the Indian cultural heritage and it must be given its rightful place. He was speaking at the annual function of Sanskrit College, Bhurushwar Mahadev, near here.

Nabard scheme for SC, ST farmers
Shimla, August 4
Nabard has introduced a water harvesting scheme for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes farmers in the state where other irrigation measures are not feasible due to small land holdings.

Civil dispensary in dilapidated condition
Nurpur, August 4
The civil dispensary here is in a dilapidated condition due to the apathy of the Health and Family Welfare Department, which has never spent money on its repair ever since it was built.

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Blast rumour by China triggers flood threat
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 4
Unconfirmed reports that China had conducted a limited blast to ensure controlled release of water from a lake formed in Tibet due to blockage of Parechu, a tributary of Sutlej, kept the people living downstream on tenterhooks and the administration on a high alert.

Rumours were there since morning that the blockage caused by a landslide had breached the lake and that flash floods could lash the villages by the side of the river in Kinnaur district anytime. It takes only about two hours for the water from the lake site to reach the Indian territory at Sumdoh but there was no rise in the water level till noon.

However, the district administration was really alarmed when the in charge of the Indo Tibetan Border Police unit at Sumdoh informed the Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, Mr Maneesh Garg, that a limited blast had been carried out at 1.45 p.m. to release water from the lake. The report was promptly faxed to the Chief Secretary so that the necessary measures could be taken to face the likely floods in the downstream areas along the river right from Kinnaur to Bilaspur.

The water was expected to reach Sumdoh latest by 4 p.m. but river continued to flow quietly till late evening.

Inquiries made by this correspondent revealed that the ITBP report was probably based on information provided by local people who said that they had heard the sound of an explosion. The Commandant of the ITBP, based at Rekong Peo, also had no confirmed information about the limited blast. The military and Central intelligence agencies also did not have any definite information.

The unconfirmed information was taken seriously by the administration as it did not want to take any chances. More so because flash floods in Sutlej in August 2000 had caused unprecedented devastation right from Kinnaur to Sunni. Further, the possibility of the blockage giving way and keeping the people and administration on a high alert was required.

Mr Shamsher Singh, Chief Secretary, reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting which was attended by senior officers of all departments. It was underlined that though there was no immediate danger of flash floods and the flow in the river was normal at Sumdoh yet the administration must remain alert to deal with any situation.

It was informed in the meeting that adequate stock of essential commodities had been stored in the areas, likely to be affected in case of flash floods and control rooms had been set up in all four districts through which the river passes. 
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HP selected under Rajiv Gandhi water mission
Tribune News Service

Mandi, August 4
Armed with maps of the state’s underground water sources generated by the Remote Sensing and Space Research (RSSR) Hyderabad, Himachal’s Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) department is sensitising its engineers to put in place a rechargeable hand-pump or a tubewell underground water system in the state under the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission (RGDWM).

Himachal Pradesh has been chosen as one of the 10 states in the country for the RGDWM, which will tap underground water for drinking purposes, say IPH engineers.

Over 80 per cent of hand pumps in the state had run out of use over the years, but the new maps would enable the IPH engineers to select sites which are rechargeable. These hand- pumps had run dry because their catchments were not suitably recharged, informed the scientists at a recent workshop on underground water organised by the IPH in association with the RSSRI at Sundernagar.

Delivering a keynote address at the workshop, Dr Chandra Mioli, a scientist at RSSRI said that unlike in the plains, Himachal had plenty of underground water that could be tapped for drinking purpose. “To keep the underwater sources intact, the IPH engineers must ensure that the catchments should be preserved so the water pumped out is replaced”, he added.

Highlighting the findings of the remote sensing data that had been prepared after five years of research. Dr Mioli said the maps were available with the engineers who could plan better utilisation of underground water for villages and towns.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr BD Thakur, Superintending Engineer, IPH, Mandi division, said they now had complete information on underwater resources in the state.

Mr Thakur said the catchments could be recharged with check dams, ponds and other methods.

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Malaria unit working sans proper staff
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 4
The transfer of technical staff has badly hit the functioning of the Zonal Malaria Office in Dharamsala, set up to formulate malaria-control strategy for the entire state. The current administrative staff is not technically qualified to carry out any research work.

An Entomological Assistant and Insect Collector have been transferred to the Plague Surveillance Unit in Rohru, even though they are not competent enough to tackle the problem of plague. “This has affected the functioning of both Dharamsala and Rohru units,” said an employee. The Zonal Malaria Office, the only one for the entire state, was set up in 1977 under a Central Government scheme with the aim of carrying out Malaria Mosquito Study and devise malaria-control strategies by collecting data and samples from all the ten mosquito-prone districts of the state.

Both employees, who were transferred in 2002, are still drawing their salaries from the Zonal Malaria Office as no posts have been created for them in the Plague Surveillance Unit.

“Even though a Zonal Malaria Officer is still there, there is nobody to carry out surveys and research in different districts. Only clerical and helping staff is present due to which the centre has become virtually non-functional, even though the state is still not free from the problem of malaria. There is a need for the continuous sample collection and research,” said an employee on the condition of anonymity.

On the other hand, the Plague Surveillance Unit in Rohru has a total of 18 posts, including that of a microbiologist and Entomologist. “But the inclusion of people from the Malaria unit, who are not qualified to deal with plague, also puts a question mark on the effectiveness of the campaign against plague in the state,” said another employee. Dr Adarsh Sharma, Zonal Malaria Officer, said the transfers had been made before she took over. Asked if she had brought the matter to the notice of the higher authorities, she said they were already aware of this. “We cannot comment on their decisions,” she said.
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IRB-2 likely to be shifted
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 4
The second battalion of the Indian Reserve Force is likely to be shifted from Jangle Beri in Hamirpur district to Amtar (Nadaun) in Hamirpur district shortly, according to highly placed sources in the Police Department.

The battalion was opened here during the last BJP regime. The then Union Home Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, had sanctioned this battalion for Himachal Pradesh with its headquarters at Jangle Beri on the left bank of the Beas.

Sources in the Police Department told The Tribune today that a high-level team of the department had suggested its shifting from the present site to Amtar due to various reasons. The main reason was its location virtually on the bank of the Beas where water enters and area is flooded during rains.

Another reason is political. Since this battalion is located in the constituency of the former Chief Minister and senior BJP leader, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, the present Congress government is not interested to continue it at the present site. And this was indicated to the Hamirpur-based reporters by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, during his visit to Sujanpur Tihra prior to the Lok Sabha poll.

There are reports that a blueprint for the shifting of the battalion to the site and that too in Hamirpur district is being given a final shape. It will be put up before the Chief Minister in a day or two for getting the final clearance.

Meanwhile, when contacted, Mr Dhumal strongly objected to the reported move of the state government and added that the BJP would oppose it tooth and nail and even resort to an agitation.

No official comments were available on this issue as no local officer was ready to speak on this sensitive issue.
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6 arrested for illicit liquor trade
Our Correspondent

Kangra, August 4
The Kangra police yesterday conducted raids at several places under the Nurpur and Jawli police stations in this district and smashed a working still and seized 1,28,500 ml of illicit liquor and arrested six persons, the police said here today.

Kangra district police chief S.Z.H. Zaidi said the police raided Badroowa village under the Nurpur police station and arrested Gulshan alias Gurdev Singh, Baga and Mundoo all residents of the village and Ramesh Chand alias Totu of Churand village and seized 1,20,000 ml of the illicit liquor.

SSP Zaidi said the police arrested Dharampal of Naqqal village under the Jawli police station and smashed a working still and seized 4,500 ml of illicit liquor.

He said during another raid the police arrested Balak Raj of Munjgram Naggal under the Jawli police station and seized 4,000 ml of illicit liquor. He said six cases under the Excise Act were registered against them.

He said the police would continue raids in different parts of the district to check the illicit liquor trade.
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Organic farming vital for growth,
says Himachal minister
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 4
HP Agriculture Minister Raj Krishan Gaur has exhorted the agricultural scientists to persuade the farmers to adopt organic farming as it best suited them.

Addressing a meeting of agriculture officers of the district here last evening, he said the state government was committed to improve the economic status of the people of the state and especially of the farmers.

Dr J.C. Rana, Director (Agriculture), Himachal Pradesh, Dr Amar Chand Shandil, Additional Director (Agriculture) and Mr Onkar Singh Bhateria, Deputy Director (Agriculture), Hamirpur, were among those present in the meeting.

The minister said the department had earmarked Rs 88.26 lakh for land conservation in the district, out of which Rs 28 lakh had already been spent by the department. He added the area under seasonal crops was around 36,528 hectares.

He suggested the scientists to go to the farmers and prepare them for cultivating the off season vegetables, which would provide them with cash crop and was best-suited in the given climatic conditions of the Hamirpur district.

He said 17 irrigation schemes had been started in the district where the vegetable cultivation was going on at present.

Earlier, the officers of the department told the minister that the district had suffered crop losses of Rs 290.05 lakh due to the drought-like conditions prevailing in the current kharif season.
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Heavy rain, but not a drop in taps
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 4
Drinking water supply in most parts of the town remained severely affected for the third day today, as the major water works have been affected due to heavy rains.

There has been practically no water supply in Sanjauli, Raj Bhawan, Benmore, Lakkar Bazar, Lower Bazar, Mall Road, Ram Bazar, Middle Bazar, Fingask Estate, Tuti Kandi, Nabh and Bus Stand area for the last three days. While the Municipal Corporation is giving water supply to Kali Bari, Kaithu, Annadale and some other parts only on alternate days.

Officials in the MC said the water works at Gumma and Ashwani Khud had been affected due to heavy rains. “We had closed down the water works as there was heavy silt which would have blocked the entire system had we not closed it,” informed an official. It was only today that the water works at these two main points were made functional.

Similarly, the supply from Churat side still had not been restored as the pipes and the masonry work remain affected due to the rains.

Though the pipes had been repaired but it would take some more days to build the masonry work on which the pipes had been fixed, said MC officials.

As a result of the disrupted water supply, the water level in most of the reservoirs, including the one at the Ridge and Sanjauli had gone down, affecting water supply. Yesterday the level in the Ridge reservoir stood at a mere 5 feet. The situation has improved over the last 24 hours as the level at Ridge went up to 10 feet and in Sanjauli close to 6 feet.

The MC officials said efforts were being made to restore normal water supply in the town but it might take another two-three days before this could be achieved.

Meanwhile, people lined up at hand pumps at various points in the town to collect water for drinking purpose. “It is such an irony that during summers the town faces acute water shortage due to heavy tourist inflow and once again in summers we have to suffer as the water works got affected after a heavy downpour,” rued the locals.
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Employee cut to pieces by train
Our Correspondent

Kangra, August 4
One person was killed on the spot when he was hit and dragged by a Pathankot bound train at Samloti in Kangra subdivision this morning and a scooterist was killed in a hit and run case at Banni, the police said here today.

Kangra police chief Mr S.Z.H. Zaidi said Rajinder Singh, 42, of Ustaid village was employed as a chowkidar in the IPH department . In the wee hours today he was roaming on the rail track was and in an inebriated state hit by the Pathankot bound train near Samloti . He said the deceased was dragged by the train and died on the spot adding that his body parts were strewn across the accident site.

In another accident, Karam Jeet, a scooterist was killed late last evening in a hit and run case on the G.T. Road near Banni village. The victim was driving his scooter (PB 58 1021) when a vehicle hit him killing him on the spot.
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Give Sanskrit its rightful place: MP
Our Correspondent

Nahan, August 4
Lok Sabha MP, Dhani Ram Shandil, today said Sanskrit was the soul of the Indian cultural heritage and it must be given its rightful place. He was speaking at the annual function of Sanskrit College, Bhurushwar Mahadev, near here.

Paying tributes to Dr Y.S. Parmar, he said Dr Parmar was a visionary due to whom Himachal was a model hill state in the country.

He announced Rs 2 lakh for the construction of a community hall at Bhurueshwar Mahadev Complex and Rs 1 lakh for the construction of a road from Panwa to the Bhurueshwar temple.
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Nabard scheme for SC, ST farmers
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 4
Nabard has introduced a water harvesting scheme for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes farmers in the state where other irrigation measures are not feasible due to small land holdings.

The bank will advance loans for construction of 1,000 water harvesting structures during the year. The total cost will be Rs 2 crore out of which Rs 1 crore will be funded by different banks and remaining Rs 1 crore as subsidy by the Central Government through Nabard. All commercial, cooperative and regional rural banks will implement the scheme.

The bank has recommended unit costs for different models of water harvesting structures.
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Civil dispensary in dilapidated condition
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, August 4
The civil dispensary here is in a dilapidated condition due to the apathy of the Health and Family Welfare Department, which has never spent money on its repair ever since it was built. Patients visiting the dispensary have been feeling unsafe due to the poor condition of the building. The Health Department has been running the dispensary in the building of the old civil hospital which is lying vacant.

Dr Anil Mahajan, SMO and in charge of the dispensary, admitted that the dispensary was being run in an unsafe building.
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Cop beats up teacher, students block traffic
Our Correspondent

Dharamsala, August 4
A large number of tourists were stranded on the Dalhousie-Pathankot highway due to a traffic blockade by the school students and the beopar mandal of Banikhet township near here today for more than three hours.

The school students and the local traders of the beopar mandal of Banikhet blocked the traffic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in protest against the beating of Mr Trilok Sharma, a lecturer in history of the Government Senior Secondary School Banikhet by a police officer.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Police Headquarters, Chamba, Dr D.K. Choudhary, rushed to the incident site to settle the matter amicably. The traffic was later resumed.
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Portfolio changed in HP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 4
Effecting a minor modification in the allocation of portfolios, Mr Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister, today gave the charge of Forest in place of Health to Mr Ram Lal.

It is learnt that the change was made on the request of Mr Ram Lal who was not keen on the Health portfolio, which he held during his earlier stint as a minister. He will continue to hold the charge of Youth Services and Sports alongwith Elections.

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