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

Flood threat looms large over state
Shimla, August 5
A high alert was sounded along the banks of Sutlej river from Sumdoh downstream in the wake of the reports that a controlled blast to remove the blockade, which formed a 150 hectare lake in Tibet, could raise the water level in the river up to 75 feet.

DC seeks 47 crore as drought relief
Solan, August 5
The rather long drought in the district has taken a heavy toll on the cash crops like maize, tomato, capsicum, ginger and paddy. According to a survey by the district administration to evaluate the loss, the damage to these crops, cultivated in 35,525 hectares, crops in at least 28,528 hectares were affected and loss was estimated at Rs 46.03 crore.

BJP raises tempo on HP’s water rights
Mandi, August 5
The Dharampur BJP MLA and former PWD Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Thakur, today threatened the HP Government with an agitation from August 9 if it fail to call a 2-day long emergency session of the state Assembly soon to safeguard the riparian interests of Himachal Pradesh, given the effects of the Termination of Agreements Act.

Dismiss HP Govt, demands BJP
Dalhousie, August 5
The Himachal Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sought the dismissal of the Congress government in the state for putting the development of the state on a very low pace and on the grounds of deterioration of law and order and steep rise in prices.

BJP workers stage dharna
Nahan, August 5
BJP workers today tookout a procession against an MoU signed by the state government with the Union Government.

Govt indifferent towards apple growers: BJP
Shimla, August 5
Accusing the government of being indifferent towards the problems of the apple growers, a former minister and BJP leader, Mr Narender Bragta, today said the market had crashed as the collection centres had still not been opened.

HP gears up to tackle unfamiliar kala azaar
Shimla, August 5
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will soon be setting up a control cell in Himachal Pradesh to monitor occurrence and further incidence of kala azaar, cases of which have been reported from the Kinnaur area in the recent past.



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Mandi
Shimla
Nahan
Solan

Three-foot-four-inch-long Bihari Lal Sharma dances at a function
Three-foot-four-inch-long Bihari Lal Sharma dances at a function in Shimla on Wednesday night . — Photo by Anil Dayal

EARLIER STORIES

 
Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan at Wood Villa Palace
Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan at Wood Villa Palace in Shimla on Thursday. — Photo by Anil Dayal

Rohtang tunnel: HC tells Centre, HP to clarify
Shimla, August 5
The Himachal High Court has directed the Centre and the state government to clarify on the construction of Rohtang Tunnel connecting Kulu valley with Lahaul Spiti by September 15, 2004.

Nathpa-Jhakri project hit by silt problem
Shimla, August 5
The abnormally high level of silt content in the Satluj river is affecting the smooth functioning of the 1500 MW Nathpa-Jhakri project.

Offer still open for dropped ministers: CM
Shimla, August 5
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said today that the offer for accommodating the three ministers, dropped in the downsizing exercise, was still open.

Uncertainty over new recruitments
Hamirpur, August 5
Uncertainty prevails in the state over the recent announcement of the state government to fill more than 3,000 posts of Class III employees, especially in view of the MoU on fiscal reforms signed by the state government with the Central Government in May.

SC approval must for non-forestry measures
Dalhousie, August 5
The Central Empowered Committee, constituted by the Supreme Court of India, has prohibited the removal of dead, dying and diseased trees, etc from any national park and sanctuary (protected areas).

6 make it to Miss Tibet final
Dharamsala, August 5
Over six girls from different parts of India and Nepal will vie for the Miss Tibet crown as shortlisting for the three-day contest, scheduled to be held from October 8, reaches the final stage.

Ex-servicemen hold a procession in support of their demands in Hamirpur on Thursday.Protest rally by ex-servicemen
Hamirpur, August 5
Hundreds of ex-servicemen drawn from various parts of Hamirpur town took out a massive procession here this afternoon in support of their demands. They were led by Sq. Ldr Brij Lal Dhiman, president, HP Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association.

Ex-servicemen hold a procession in support of their demands in Hamirpur on Thursday. — Photo by Chander Shekhar Sharma

HP yet to merge 50 pc DA with basic pay: Rana
Chandigarh, August 5
Mr Rajinder Rana, joint media in charge of the BJP, said in a statement here today that the HP Government was yet to include 50 per cent of the DA with the basic pay of employees.

Chaudhary is Chamba Additional DC
Shimla, August 5
In a minor administrative reshuffle, the Himachal Government today posted Mr Sunil Chaudhary, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Chamba, as Secretary, State Board of School Education, Dharamsala, vice Mr Tek Chand, who takes over as Assistant Settlement Officer, Dharamsala.

Industry pitches for VAT
Shimla, August 5
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the state government to cover all the state taxes , including sales tax, turnover tax, works contract tax and entry tax, under one value added tax regime.

Main accused in robbery case held
Nahan, August 5
Mr S.R. Sharma, SP, Sirmour, said here today that the Paonta police had arrested Nayamat of Birariwala village from Dehra Dun yesterday.

Flesh trade: 2 more arrested
Solan, August 5
The police arrested two persons including a London-based NRI, and a local girl under the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act after their bail plea was rejected by a local court today.
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Flood threat looms large over state
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 5
A high alert was sounded along the banks of Sutlej river from Sumdoh downstream in the wake of the reports that a controlled blast to remove the blockade, which formed a 150 hectare lake in Tibet, could raise the water level in the river up to 75 feet.

A high-level meeting held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Mr Shamsher Singh reviewed the situation on the basis of the information provided by the Centre regarding the status of the lake and the efforts being made to get the impounded water released.

The quantity of water had been estimated at 22 to 25 million cubic metres and the possibility of an overflow during the controlled blast could not be ruled out. In the worst scenario, the water level in the river could swell by 23 metres over and above the existing level.

The Deputy Commissioners of Kinnaur, Shimla, Mandi and Bilaspur were asked to ensure that people living along the banks of the river, particularly the workers engaged by different construction companies, be shifted to safer places.

The Chief Secretary stressed that wireless network of the Police Department should be strengthened right down to the grassroots so that communication could be maintained in case of a breakdown of the telecommunication system. It was informed that a high frequency wireless centre had been established at Sumdoh to provide links all over the Kinnaur district.

The Kinnaur district authorities have already shifted about 1000 persons, mostly construction workers from Chango, Sholtu, Nathpa, Shalkar, Tapri, Leo and Reta Khan and some other low-lying villages along the banks of Sutlej over the past three days as a precautionary measure.

There has been no abnormal increase in the discharge in the river, though that water in Parechu turned muddy for some time last night. The discharge at Khab, where the Spiti river joins Sutlej, was 213 cusecs, out of which the Spiti contributed 99 cusecs.
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DC seeks 47 crore as drought relief
Our Correspondent

Solan, August 5
The rather long drought in the district has taken a heavy toll on the cash crops like maize, tomato, capsicum, ginger and paddy. According to a survey by the district administration to evaluate the loss, the damage to these crops, cultivated in 35,525 hectares, crops in at least 28,528 hectares were affected and loss was estimated at Rs 46.03 crore. Nearly 80 per cent cash crops perished in the dry spell this year. In fact, the recent heavy downpour brought little relief to offer to the already-panicked farmers, said agriculture experts.

The Solan Deputy Commissioner, Rajesh Kumar said as a relief measure, the district authorities had sought a relief of Rs 47 crore from the state government. The worst-hit had been the maize crop, which registered a loss in 18,220 hectares of land, against the total cultivable land of 22,499 hectares in the district. Next was the paddy crop which got damaged in 4,751 hectares against the cultivable land of 5,355 hectares. Tomato cash crop was damaged by 80 per cent.
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BJP raises tempo on HP’s water rights
Tribune News Service

Mandi, August 5
The Dharampur BJP MLA and former PWD Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Thakur, today threatened the HP Government with an agitation from August 9 if it fail to call a 2-day long emergency session of the state Assembly soon to safeguard the riparian interests of Himachal Pradesh, given the effects of the Termination of Agreements Act.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Thakur said the Punjab had no rights over the 100 MW Shanan project as per the agreement between the British and the then raja of Mandi, Joginder Sen, because Punjab had not spent even a pie on the project, but had taken it under its control. “Mandi people were supposed to get free power from the project that was completed in 1932, but after the independence Punjab took control of the project, giving nothing to locals,” he claimed.

Mr Thakur warned that if the state government failed to claim control of the project immediately, BJP would force the closure of the project and would launch a mass campaign in Mandi on August 9.

Referring to the Punjab Government’s move to annul all water agreements with the partner states, Mr Thakur alleged that the HP Government, instead of calling an immediate session of the state Assembly, was busy in ‘benami deals in the Parbati, Larji and other projects, ignoring the state’s interests.

“The state is preserving its forests, rivers and hydro projects are also located here, but the Centre has failed to compensate the state for its contribution in preservation of the ecology”, he added.

Mr Thakur said the Central government should chart a national policy on river waters so that people got rights over the rivers they had been preserving for centuries.

Mr Thakur alleged that certain ministers in the Congress government were promoting the ‘van mafia raj’ in the district, and were involved in the illicit felling of trees. “The government is harassing poor villagers and small-time encroachers, while the ministers and big encroachers are having free run in the state”, he alleged.

“Moreover, I have sanctioned a fishery project worth Rs. 4 crore for the Dharampur block during my tenure as a minister, but the Congress government is trying to kill the project, denying unemployed youth an opportunity to get work,” he claimed.
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Dismiss HP Govt, demands BJP
Our Correspondent

Dalhousie, August 5
The Himachal Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sought the dismissal of the Congress government in the state for putting the development of the state on a very low pace and on the grounds of deterioration of law and order and steep rise in prices.

In a memorandum submitted to Mr V.S. Kokje, Governor, Mrs Renu Chadha, district president of the BJP, described the Congress government as anti-poor, anti-farmer and anti-employee. The government was taking away development rather than making Himachal Pradesh a progressive state. Besides, unemployment was increasing, Mrs Chadha said.

Mrs Chadha alleged that the suspension of panchayat pradhans had become a weapon with which the Congress government had been threatening the existence of duly elected representatives of the Panchayati Raj institutions.

Mrs Chadha charged the state government with collapse of law and order in the state where the women were being treated with extreme callousness. Even in Chamba district, thefts were so common that people were spending sleepless nights guarding their workplace and feeling insecure, Mrs Chadha alleged.

She expressed concern over the skyrocketing prices of cooking gas and the constant hike on petrol and diesel prices was making it impossible for the people to make both ends meet.
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BJP workers stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Nahan, August 5
BJP workers today tookout a procession against an MoU signed by the state government with the Union Government.

They raised slogans against the state and Central governments, and sat in dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Sirmour.

Party workers, led by state secretaries Balbir Singh and Baldev Singh Bhandari, and a former minister, Kumari Shyama Sharma, submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner. The procession started from the Circuit House and ended at the office of the Deputy Commissioner.

The memorandum, addressed to the Governor, alleges that by signing the MoU with the Union Government, the state government had played a cruel joke with lakhs of unemployed youths of the state as thousands of jobs in the government and semi-government sectors would be abolished as per the provisions of the MoU.

Earlier, addressing a press conference at the Circuit House, Kumari Shyama Sharma, Mr Balbir Singh and Mr Baldev Singh Bhandari charged the state government with working against the interests of the state.

They said the government had failed to get any special package for the state from the Manmohan Singh government. They alleged that the law and order situation was deteriorating. 
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Govt indifferent towards apple growers: BJP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 5
Accusing the government of being indifferent towards the problems of the apple growers, a former minister and BJP leader, Mr Narender Bragta, today said the market had crashed as the collection centres had still not been opened.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said that while during the BJP regime 279 collection centres were set up all over the state, the government this time had failed to open them. “Since no collection centres had been set up till now all the grade-C fruit has flooded the market, leading to a fall in prices” he said.

He said the growers were facing a shortage of packaging material and there were insufficient vehicles for transporting the boxes to the market. “In order to avoid giving of subsidy on packing material, the government has itself reduced the production of cartons and trays, which is creating problems for the growers,” he alleged.

Mr Bragta also lashed out at the false claims being made by the government that only 6 per cent commission was being charged in Delhi markets. “As per my information even now 8 per cent is being charged and it is for this very purpose that a team from the Delhi Government was arriving here tomorrow to sort out the matter,” he said.

While claiming that during the BJP regime the Delhi Government had agreed to implement the notification regarding charging 6 per cent commission from the purchasers, he said it was at the behest of the Congress leaders from Himachal Pradesh that it was not implemented.

He also accused the government of showing disinterest in the setting up of two wine making units in Kullu and Shimla worth Rs 30 crore, simply for the reason that they were cleared during BJP rule.
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HP gears up to tackle unfamiliar kala azaar
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 5
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will soon be setting up a control cell in Himachal Pradesh to monitor occurrence and further incidence of kala azaar, cases of which have been reported from the Kinnaur area in the recent past.

According to sources in the ministry, even now the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) was keeping a close watch on the occurrence of the disease.

“They are still trying to find out the cause for occurrence of a disease like kala azaar whose parasite, the sand fly, is not known to exist in Himachal Pradesh,” said a health official.

He informed that the financial help and logistic support required for setting up the control cell would be provided by the ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Regular reports about the number of cases of kala azaar, the specific areas from where the patients were coming and the climatic conditions in that region, were being sent to the NICD and National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.

“Since the sand fly is not known to exist in climatic conditions existing in Kinnaur and Shimla area, there has to be some reason for its occurrence which experts are trying to find out,” informed an official. A team of doctors from the Dermatology Department at Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), which had visited the affected area for clinical examination, were also trying to study its cause.

The hospital was still not equipped to tackle the disease in case of a future outbreak. Though there had been sporadic cases of kala azaar from Kinnaur district but this year the disease resurfaced in a big way and many people were affected by it. “Since the vector borne disease is rather unknown to the state we are not prepared to tackle the situation in case of an outbreak,” admitted a Health Department official.

The IGMC authorities had encountered difficulty treating the kala azaar cases as even the injections and medicines required for its treatment were not available in the state. The government had then got in touch with pharmaceutical industries in Calcutta for procuring medicines as the disease is more common in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Majority of the cases of kala azaar in Kinnuar were of cutaneous type affecting the skin and not of visceral type, which affects various vital organs of the body and is much more serious in nature. There had been almost 40 case of kala azaar from Kinnuar and Shimla during June.
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Rohtang tunnel: HC tells Centre, HP to clarify
Our Correspondent

Shimla, August 5
The Himachal High Court has directed the Centre and the state government to clarify on the construction of Rohtang Tunnel connecting Kulu valley with Lahaul Spiti by September 15, 2004.

This direction was issued by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice V.K. Gupta and Mr Justice M.R. Verma on a public interest plea filed by lawyer Trisha Sharma. She has prayed that the tunnel below the Rohtang Pass be completed within a fixed timeframe as it will promote economic interests of the Schedule Tribes residing in far-flung areas of the state.

The petitioner mentioned that after the completion of this tunnel it would be all-weather road and regular supply of essential items to residents of tribal area and the troops, posted in the strategic state of Jammu & Kashmir, could be ensured.

The petitioner has also raised the issue of global tenders for the purpose of digging the tunnel and its upkeep but till date the process has not been completed. Dilly-dallying on the part of the respondents will increase the cost of construction.

Officials of Deepak Project informed that the Centre had sanctioned Rs 30 crore in which construction of approach roads, installation of transformers, etc had been carried out and the balance was awaited. The total estimated cost is Rs 998 crore and it would take seven years for completion and the construction work would be carried out by the international company having experience in this field.

Apart from the Centre and state, the petitioner has also impleaded Chief Engineer, Deepak Project, Director General B.R.O as parties.
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Nathpa-Jhakri project hit by silt problem
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 5
The abnormally high level of silt content in the Satluj river is affecting the smooth functioning of the 1500 MW Nathpa-Jhakri project.

The metal parts of the turbines are eroding at a rapid pace due to the corrosion caused by the silt-laden water. The engineers are facing difficulties in restarting the units after shutdowns because of the abrupt rise in the silt content.

The project became fully operational in May and the rate at which the parts were corroding they may have to be replaced very soon.

The Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam has already contacted the General Electric Hydro, the Norway based multinational company which supplied the turbines, and requested it to send experts to assess the problem and recommend necessary remedial measures.

The project was designed for a silt load of 5,000 ppm (parts per million) but the level of silt content has been varying frequently and once it even touched the 16,000 ppm mark, forcing the nigam to shut down the project.

It has also installed plasma-nitride coated parts in two of the six units to ascertain if a tougher material could help increase life of the machinery.

Another solution is to replace the parts during the lean winter season when water is available only for running two out of the six units. The Nigam will have to spend Rs 40 crore annually if it chooses to replace the worn out parts.
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Offer still open for dropped ministers: CM
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 5
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said today that the offer for accommodating the three ministers, dropped in the downsizing exercise, was still open.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he said while former tourism minister, Vijai Singh Mankotia had turned down the offer, Mrs Chandresh Kumari and Mr B.B.L. Butail had said they would consider it and let him know about their decision. “Though there is no binding from the high court side as far as appointment of the Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) and Parliamentary Secretaries (PS) is concerned but we will wait till the matter is cleared by the court,” he said.

“It was on the request of Mr Ram Lal Thakur, that he was relieved of the Industries portfolio and given Health but later he was allotted Forest,” said Mr Virbhadra Singh. 
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Uncertainty over new recruitments
Chander Shekhar Sharma

Hamirpur, August 5
Uncertainty prevails in the state over the recent announcement of the state government to fill more than 3,000 posts of Class III employees, especially in view of the MoU on fiscal reforms signed by the state government with the Central Government in May.

Under the expenditure of the state government listed in the MoU, the main endeavour of the state government would be to bring down the number of government and para government employees by 2 per cent annually and in order to achieve this, it would not create any new position in government, government-owned or funded organisations.

It has been clearly mentioned in the document that all new requirements, at any level and however essential, shall be met through redeployment of existing personnel. The blanket ban on recruitment shall, however, not be applicable in case of certain functional departments.

Moreover, the state government will abolish all posts lying vacant for the past three years and issue detailed consolidated orders, department and category wise, by January 1 each year, abolishing a minimum of 2,000 posts. The first order is likely be issued on August 31.

The document also clarifies that the government shall not, at its level, fill any vacancy at the Class III and IV levels by fresh recruitments. All vacancies shall be filled either by redeployment or in essential areas like education and health on a contract basis preferably by the local or autonomous bodies concerned.

Similarly, the existing policy of compassionate employment to kin of state government employees shall be amended to provide alternatives like one-time compensation and enhanced family pension. The state government will fix a ceiling of hiring not more than 300 persons in a calendar year by the end of the current financial year.

The state government had already authorised the HP State Subordinate Services Selection Board to fill all Class III posts by seeking vacancy reports from various departments. Accordingly, the board had written to all departments to send their replies so that the process of interviews could be started by inserting advertisements in newspapers.

Sources in the board said so far not even a single department had sent its requisition letter to the board, as it had been clarified in the MoU on fiscal reforms that if any recruitment was made in any department without permission of the state government, it would be the personal responsibility of the officer concerned and he would be dealt with according to law.
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SC approval must for non-forestry measures
Our Correspondent

Dalhousie, August 5
The Central Empowered Committee, constituted by the Supreme Court of India, has prohibited the removal of dead, dying and diseased trees, etc from any national park and sanctuary (protected areas).

Even the removal of grass from national parks and sanctuaries has been prohibited.

Any non-forestry activity like the felling of trees, bamboo, removal of biomass and miscellaneous construction activities in the protected area, would not be allowed without the prior permission of the Supreme Court, said the committee.

In the orders issued on July 2, Mr M.K. Jiwrajka, member secretary of the Central Empowered Committee, said a number of instances had come to the notice of the Central Empowered Committee where felling of trees, bamboos, digging of canals, mining, underground mining, collection of sand, laying of transmission lines, optical fiber cable, and other prohibited activities had been allowed in the protected areas without the permission of the Supreme Court on the plea that these activities were part of the management plans.

The committee had directed the authorities concerned to ensure a strict compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders so as to quell the prohibited activities in the protected areas.

If for the better management of the protected area, such activities were necessary by the project authorities or the forest department, prior permission of the Supreme Court should be obtained, the member secretary emphasised. 
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6 make it to Miss Tibet final
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 5
Over six girls from different parts of India and Nepal will vie for the Miss Tibet crown as shortlisting for the three-day contest, scheduled to be held from October 8, reaches the final stage.

Despite disapproval from key officials of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, including the Prime Minister, this would be the third year of the contest. A total of 19 applications were received this time by the organisers. Applicants were invited from any girl with Tibetan citizenship.

Lobsang Wangyal, producer-director of the contest, says that the shortlisted girls includes two from Nepal, one each from McLeodganj, Bylakuete (Tibetan settlement near Bangalore) and Dehradun. The age limit for participation was 18 to 26 years and the applicants were required to have their taxes updated.

“The final reviews of the contestants are going on and they would soon be called here for training in body fitness, make-up, hair care and styling, catwalk, stage craft, and, orientation on Tibetan history, culture and current affairs, before the contest. All applicants are amateurs and have never done much modelling before,” he says.

About resistance from the government-in-exile, he says, “It is the personal view of the Prime Minister that he feels such pageants are a part of the Western tradition and he does not approve of it. The Dalai Lama has said that he feels inner beauty of a person is more important.”

The winner of the title, he adds, will get a chance to take part in international pageants to be held in Malasia and Maxico. “That is why this time we have got a much better response and scores of people have hit our website,” says Mr Wangyal.

“The only problem is that of finding sponsors as otherwise we will have to fund the entire show ourselves. Such contests are accepted everywhere in the world and I do not think we are doing anything unusual,” he said.

Moreover, he added, there have been news reports that even Tibet is now holding a beauty pageant for promotion of tourism. This points to the growing popularity of such contests among people, he said.

Last year, Tsering Kyi, the sole contestant in the second Miss Tibet pageant, was declared the unopposed winner of the second Miss Tibet pageant. She was the only contestant from initial 10 applicants to arrive for the contest. The rest of the contestants dropped out for one reason or the other. 
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Protest rally by ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 5
Hundreds of ex-servicemen drawn from various parts of Hamirpur town took out a massive procession here this afternoon in support of their demands. They were led by Sq. Ldr Brij Lal Dhiman, president, HP Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association.

Carrying placards and banners in their hands, they also raised anti-Central Government slogans for not accepting their long-standing demands. They handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in support of their demands.

In the memorandum, they demanded shifting of the DPDO office to a suitable building, construction of a sainik rest house at Sujanpur Tira, ending shortage of staff in the office of the District Sainik Welfare Board, provision of more facilities at the para clinic, forming of vigilance committees for examining the demands and their implementation of the ex-servicemen and free utilisation of Bhachat Bhavan by the ex-servicemen for holding functions.

They also organised a rally at Bachat Bhavan, where they criticised the government for it indifferent attitude towards their problems.

Sq. Ldr, Brij Lal Dhiman called upon the Central and state government to give priority to the demands of the ex-servicemen and their families.

He stressed the need for implementation of one-rank, one pension demand which was a long-pending demand.
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HP yet to merge 50 pc DA with basic pay: Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Mr Rajinder Rana, joint media in charge of the BJP, said in a statement here today that the HP Government was yet to include 50 per cent of the DA with the basic pay of employees. Though Mr Virbhadra Singh had announced before the Lok Sabha elections and promised that the day the Punjab Government issued a notification to this effect, the Himachal Pradesh Government would also do so, it had not been done.

The Punjab Government issued a notification in this connection on June 1, but the HP Government was yet to do so, causing a financial loss to HP employees.

Moreover, the Virbhadra Government had not yet released the DA instalment that became due to its employees in January. The next DA instalment had also become due in July, Mr Rana contended.
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Chaudhary is Chamba Additional DC
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 5
In a minor administrative reshuffle, the Himachal Government today posted Mr Sunil Chaudhary, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Chamba, as Secretary, State Board of School Education, Dharamsala, vice Mr Tek Chand, who takes over as Assistant Settlement Officer, Dharamsala.

Mr B.S. Attri, Subdivisional Officer (Civil) Dehra, as Regional Transport Officer, Mandi, relieves Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, of the additional charge.

Ms Bhuvneshwari Vohra, Land Acquisition Officer, Chamera Project, goes as Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner (Leave Reserve), Chamba.

Mr Shiv Lal Saini, Regional Transport Officer, Kullu, has been posted as Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner, Kangra.
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Industry pitches for VAT
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 5
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the state government to cover all the state taxes , including sales tax, turnover tax, works contract tax and entry tax, under one value added tax regime.

The issue was discussed at an interactive workshop on “demystifying VAT” organised here by the Chamber, last evening, which was attended by senior officers of the state. The Chamber stressed that inter-state levy must go once VAT was introduced and sought a uniform and logical classification of goods and products in all the states.

Mr T.G. Negi, Principal Secretary, Excise and Taxation, said the government would take into consideration all the 25 parameters identified by the empowered committee of state finance ministers and the suggestions of the Chamber to ensure smooth transition to the new tax regime.

He said the proposed value added tax bill would be finalised soon by the government. Mr Narinder Chauhan, the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, said under the new regime the existing incentives to industrial units would be converted into “deferment for the un-expired period”.
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Main accused in robbery case held
Our Correspondent

Nahan, August 5
Mr S.R. Sharma, SP, Sirmour, said here today that the Paonta police had arrested Nayamat of Birariwala village from Dehra Dun yesterday.

He said Nayamat was the main accused in robbery in the house of Mr Anil Kumar Bansal at Dhanulan Kuan, about 25 km from here, on July 27. Three others were wanted in this case. Police parties had raided several places in Uttaranchal in search of these accused during the last one week.

Mr Sharma said the police had arrested Amit Kumar of Uttaranchal at presently residing at Paonta, on the next day of the incident. He said the robbery had been planned by Amit Kumar and Nayamat when they met in the court compound at Paonta about a month back.
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Flesh trade: 2 more arrested
Our Correspondent

Solan, August 5
The police arrested two persons including a London-based NRI, and a local girl under the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act after their bail plea was rejected by a local court today. The two had earlier applied for an anticipatory bail on Tuesday after their names were revealed by other gang members arrested by the police on last Friday.

The two were found to be conniving with an inter-state flesh trade gang, whose three members were arrested by the police last Friday.
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