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

PARBATI TUNNEL MISHAP
NHPC, firm ignored safety norms

Barshaini (Kulu), August 10
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, which is executing the 2050 MW Parbati Project, and Patel Engineering, a company engaged in the construction of the 800-MW stage II on the project on contract, reportedly ignored the safety of their workers and machinery despite timely flood warning reported by The Tribune on July 20.

BBMB sleepless over Dehar plant’s safety
Sundernagar, August 10
Due to the formation of a lake at Parchu the Bhakra Beas Board Management is worried over the safety of the 990 MW Dehar power house, situated on the right bank of the Sutlej at Slapper on the border of Mandi and Bilaspur districts. According to a source from the Dehar power house if the water level goes up by 58 feet it can pose danger to the plant.

New weather forecast system in HP
Dharamsala, August 10
Extensive weather forecasts will now be available for the entire state as the Department of Agro-Meteorological Studies, CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur, in collaboration with the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, Noida, has increased its area of study from three specific locations to seven full districts across the state.

Dhumal claims state’s share in Chandigarh
Hamirpur, August 10
Reacting to the demands of the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana for the transfer of Chandigarh to their states, senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has said that the issue could not be settled till the Himachal Pradesh’s share of 7.19 per cent of the city was given to it as per the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966.


YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Kulu
Shimla
Solan


EARLIER STORIES

 

BJP criticises state government’s policies
Palampur, August 10
Numerous workers and leaders of the BJP today took out a procession in the town in protest against the alleged anti-people and anti-state policies of the ruling Congress government in the state.

BJP agitation on reforms a gimmick: Cong
Shimla, August 10
The Congress ministers in the Virbhadra regime have termed the BJP agitation against the signing of the MoU on fiscal reforms as a political gimmickry for their survival.

Drive against forest land encroachment soon
Shimla, August 10
The Himachal Government has decided to launch a special drive to remove 45,000 encroachments on forest land regarding which affidavits had been filed by illegal occupants for its regularisation.

Parwanoo road to go dry
Solan, August 10
To check drinking on the highway, the district magistrate, Mr Rajesh Kumar, issued a notification today prohibiting open consumption of liquor from Parwanoo to Shalaghat on the National Highway No. 22. With the enforcement of this ban the district police was directed to book those violating the order.

CM sheds four departments
Shimla, August 10
In a minor reshuffle of portfolios, Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, today shed four departments and took away the charge of law from Mr Kaul Singh, Irrigation and Public Health Minister .

NCC cadets of Hamirpur College remove bhang plants on the college campus on Tuesday. Bhang plants destroyed
Hamirpur, August 10
NCC cadets of Hamirpur College today removed bhang (cannabis) plants growing inside and outside the college campus. Later the plants were destroyed. The cadets were led by senior sergeant, Vikas Dhiman. He said that the cadets took this step to save society from becoming addict to bhang, the main ingredient of charas and opium.


NCC cadets of Hamirpur College remove bhang (cannabis) plants on the college campus on Tuesday. — Photo by Chander Shekhar Sharma

Girl falls from hotel window, dies
Shimla, August 10
A three-year-old girl, Sapna Aggrawal, who came for a holiday with her parents, died after she accidentally fell from the fourth floor of Hotel Holiday Home here yesterday.

Rs 167 cr sought for infrastructure development
Shimla, August 10
The Himachal Government has sought Central assistance of Rs 167 crore to develop infrastructure, manpower and material resources for secondary education development.

P.C. Kanwar dead
Dharamsala, August 10
Renowned psychologist, philosopher, poet and painter P.C.Kanwar, died here today. Staff of the District Public Relations Department paid tributes to him.

One more arrested in fake driving licence scandal
Hamirpur, August 10
The police today made a major breakthrough in the fake driving licence scandal with the arrest of Jagdev Singh, the peon-cum-chowkidar, working in the office of the SDM, Hamirpur. He had procured anticipatory bail earlier. Earlier, three clerks of the SDM court had been arrested and placed under suspension in the case.

Dharamsala rocked
Dharamsala, August 10
Dharamsala and its surrounding areas were rocked by an earthquake this morning. The tremors, which occurred at 7.19 am, measured 5.5 on the Richter Scale. The epicentre of the quake was somewhere in north-west in the Hindukush region, according to the observers at the Wadia Institute at Naddi, near here.
Top










 

PARBATI TUNNEL MISHAP
NHPC, firm ignored safety norms
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Barshaini (Kullu), August 10
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), which is executing the 2050 MW Parbati Project, and Patel Engineering, a company engaged in the construction of the 800-MW stage II on the project on contract, reportedly ignored the safety of their workers and machinery despite timely flood warning reported by The Tribune on July 20.

Labour camps and machinery, including boomers, heavy-duty trucks, stone crushers, worth crores of rupees that were washed away by the flood here were located on the flood plain that once used to be the course of Jhigrai nullah that created havoc on the left bank of the Parbati on the night of August 8.

Even the district administration had warned the NHPC and the company to shift their labour camps to a safer area but they ignored the warning, claimed Additional Divisional Magistrate, Kullu Mr Hans Raj. “Only legal action can be taken against them through court, as we had alerted them in advance”.

Also, lack of proper knowledge of hydrology and behaviour of the rivers and nullahs on part of the private company, which is working on its first project in the fragile Parbati valley, has come to light, revealed sources.

Without learning lesson from flash floods that killed over 80 workers in the Kullu valley last year, the NHPC and the firm turned a blind eye to the safety norms.

At the construction site, the offices are located at a safe height, but the labour camps are situated right in the flood plain where the threat of flood in monsoon is real, thus jeopardising the lives of the workers.

Labourers told The Tribune that they had asked the company and the NHPC to shift their camps to a higher place as they were aware of the flood threat, but to no avail.

It was due to sheer presence of mind and nerves of steel that 20 workers trapped inside the tunnel without safety tools were able to walk out of the jaws of death. “We have only one flashlight. The tunnel has no communication link to the ground office. The tunnels have no safety gates to block the flow of flood water into them”, said survivors, adding that they would not work until the company ensured them safety.

Blaming safety lapses on part of the state government, which failed to shift the workers to safety, BJP leader and former minister J.P. Nadda, who visited the site yesterday, said the safety of workers was ignored by the company and the state government despite flash floods last year. “Had the labourers not been alerted in the midnight, they would have been washed away along with their belongings.”
Top

 

BBMB sleepless over Dehar plant’s safety
Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, August 10
Due to the formation of a lake at Parchu the Bhakra Beas Board Management (BBMS) is worried over the safety of the 990 MW Dehar power house, situated on the right bank of the Sutlej at Slapper on the border of Mandi and Bilaspur districts. According to a source from the Dehar power house if the water level goes up by 58 feet it can pose danger to the plant.

The power house is part of the Beas-Sutlej Link Project, which is situated at Slapper, about 20 km from here at this place the Beas meets the Sutlej after producing 990 MW of electricity. The level of the power house is not so high and the water released is at the same level as that of the Sutlej in to which it falls.

When enquired about the danger an official source from the power house told the correspondent that at present the level of the Bhakra reservoir was 1,557 feet white that of the Sutlej at the power house is 1,637. The power house could be damaged if the water level rise up to 1,695 feet.

The BBMB authorities claimed that the structure of the power house was strong enough to face any kind of eventuality. When asked about the expected flood it stated that if the water comes with high velocity and the level of water rises and remains such for a long time then if could certainly damage the power house. Moreover, if the banks of river get damaged or the river changes direction then the damage could be more.

As a remedial measure in a flood-like situation all 12 gates of the house will be closed and power generation stopped. An observatory at Rampur is constantly keeping an eye on the level of the Sutlej. In case in water level rises, officials here will get information immediately. Water will take eight hours to reach here. In order to prevent damage to the power house hundreds of bags of sand had been kept ready to create a temporary blockade.

None of officials concerned were ready to speak on record, as according to the Chief Engineer, BBMB, the power house falls under the jurisdiction of the Chief Engineer, BBMB, Nangal, and according to SE (power house), Dehar, he was not authorised to speak on the issue.

Meanwhile, local residents state that the BBMB officials have not taken necessary precautionary measures in this regard.
Top

 

New weather forecast system in HP
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 10
Extensive weather forecasts will now be available for the entire state as the Department of Agro-Meteorological Studies, CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur, in collaboration with the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, Noida, has increased its area of study from three specific locations to seven full districts across the state.

According to the first set of predictions worked out for the next few days, Mandi is likely to have the highest amount of rainfall (50 mm), followed by Chamba (43 mm), Kangra (42.4 mm), Shimla (30 mm), Solan (25.8 mm), Bilaspur (24.7 mm) and Una (15.5 mm).

Dr Rajinder Prasad of the agro-meteorological section of the Department of Agronomy, said earlier the predictions were made for only specific locations in Kangra, Solan and Kullu.

“But now the weather conditions of nearly the entire state can be worked out, that too at the district levels, which is more useful to study the weather conditions and overall climatic changes,” he said.

“We are sending daily inputs from the state to the Centre and the worked-out information is then forwarded to us twice a week.

Although it is at present being done on an experimental basis, the new system has certainly made weather forecasting more meaningful in the state,” he said.

The Centre has last week expanded its area of research to 82 locations as part of a Central government policy, by collaborating with the local universities in most states, so that more accurate and comprehensive predictions could be made about conditions of drought or floods.

“This year, there has been a drop in the total rainfall,” he said. He said the deficit had been to the tune of 53 per cent in this season from June 1 to July 28 as only 165 mm rainfall was received against the normal figure of 349 mm.
Top

 

Dhumal claims state’s share in Chandigarh
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 10
Reacting to the demands of the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana for the transfer of Chandigarh to their states, senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has said that the issue could not be settled till the Himachal Pradesh’s share of 7.19 per cent of the city was given to it as per the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966. Moreover, there was a need to solve the issue of transferring Shanan Hydel Power Project and other such projects to the state as they were located there.

Talking to The Tribune here this afternoon, Prof Dhumal exhorted Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to take up these issues with the Central Government and assured BJP support to the state government on this. He said since the state had been peaceful even during period of crisis, including militancy, and its people had given supreme sacrifices for the nation, it was the primary duty of the Central Government to give its share on the basis of the Act.

Prof Dhumal expressed regret at the Congress-led state government’s failure to take an initiative to get its share from the Central Government. However, there was a need on the part of Centre as well as the neighbouring states to help the state to get its share, he added.

The BJP leader said the party had taken up these issues with the previous NDA government but the government was voted out of power.

Prof Dhumal appealed the people of the state to remain united and force the state government to pursue the matter with Central Government for the state’s interests.
Top

 

BJP criticises state government’s policies
Our Correspondent

Palampur, August 10
Numerous workers and leaders of the BJP today took out a procession in the town in protest against the alleged anti-people and anti-state policies of the ruling Congress government in the state.

The BJP workers from different parts of the region assembled near the Irrigation and Public Health rest house, they then marched in the streets raising anti-government and anti-Chief Minister slogans. Capt Atma Ram, BJP MLA from Rajgir, Mr Vipan Parmar, former MLA, Mr Parveen Sharma, BJP Yuva Morcha chief, and various other senior leaders of the party led the procession.

Later a rally was held where various speakers criticised the state government for extending step-motherly treatment to Kangra district. They said since the Congress had assumed power in the state all development activities had come to a standstill. Besides, no due representation had been given to the district in the state cabinet. The Chief Minister while forming his Cabinet had ignored the OBCs and Rajputs, the two major communities of the district, they said. Referring to the signing of MoU with the Government of India by the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Capt Atma Ram, Mr Vipan Parmar and Mr Parveen Sharma said Chief Minister had failed to protect the interests of the state and this step would result in large-scale unemployment in the state. They said as per the terms and conditions of the MoU no fresh recruitment would be made in the state. The government could not even appoint daily wagers.

Referring to the law and order situation, the BJP leaders said there had been rise in the cases of murder, theft and other crimes in past one and half years.
Top

 

BJP agitation on reforms a gimmick: Cong
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 10
The Congress ministers in the Virbhadra regime have termed the BJP agitation against the signing of the MoU on fiscal reforms as a political gimmickry for their survival.

In a statement issued here today, Forest Minister Ram Lal Thakur and Transport Minister G.S. Bali said the so-called agitation was uncalled for as during their own regime the BJP did not do anything to generate employment.

“During the five-year BJP regime only those people had benefited who were influential and that too at the cost of the deserving candidates,” they alleged.

They said the much hyped BJP agitation against the signing of the MoU with the Centre was an attempt to divert the attention of the public from their misdeeds and to remain politically alive in the absence of any issue.

They said the BJP had even agreed to abolish more than 1,000 posts in various departments apart from agreeing to not creating any post and not filling the functional posts. “Our government has even succeeded in getting relaxation in the harsh and anti-employee provisions of the BJP government and now all functional posts will be filled,” said Mr Bali.

The ministers said providing employment to 20,000 persons in the state during a short tenure of 16 months speak of the commitment of the government towards creating job opportunities.

They added the government had given permission for filling of 3833 posts of teachers and enhancement of daily wages from Rs 60 to Rs 65.

“It is very unfortunate that a man of the stature of a former Chief Minister is threatening officials whereas he should know that the duty of the government machinery is to implement the policies and programmes of the present regime,” they regretted.

They said it would be better if the BJP instead of trying to politicise hostage crisis and the flood situation would play the role of a constructive Opposition and extend support to the government in tackling such situations.
Top

 

Drive against forest land encroachment soon
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 10
The Himachal Government has decided to launch a special drive to remove 45,000 encroachments on forest land regarding which affidavits had been filed by illegal occupants for its regularisation.

Stating this at a press conference here today, Mr Sat Mahajan, Revenue Minister, said in the first phase the encroachments in the reserve forests would be removed. Thereafter the drive would be carried out in the demarcated and non-demarcated protected forests.

Under the BJP government the number of encroachments shot up from about 1 lakh to 1.70 lakh overnight after the regularisation policy was announced, he said. The affidavits filed by encroachers to get the illegally occupied land regularised landed some of them in trouble. Some panchayat pradhans were sacked on the basis of the affidavits filed by them claiming that they were possessing land illegally, he added.

The maximum number of 41,000 encroachment cases were reported from Kangra, followed by Mandi (33,000) and Shimla (18,000). The total area encroached upon was over 25,000 hectares with Shimla accounting for 5,303 hectares and Kangra 4,520 hectares.

Mr Mahajan said the government proposed to revise the relief manual which had not be amended since 1993. It had been decided in principle that to have a policy for reviewing the relief manual every five years so that people affected by natural calamities could be provided succour. He said during the current year the government had released Rs 11 crore to deal with the drought-like situation.
Top

 

Parwanoo road to go dry
Our Correspondent

Solan, August 10
To check drinking on the highway, the district magistrate, Mr Rajesh Kumar, issued a notification today prohibiting open consumption of liquor from Parwanoo to Shalaghat on the National Highway No. 22. With the enforcement of this ban the district police was directed to book those violating the order.

Special instructions were issued by the state home department to check hooliganism on the roadside. The area between Parwanoo to Dharampur as well as the cantonment town of Kasauli including the Jangeshu Road, popular destinations of tourists, are being particularly monitored by police patrolling.

The SP, Mr Abhishek Trivedi, said they had demanded an alcoholmeter and an exclusive vehicle for effectively patrolling the highway. The recent reduction in the petrol quota was however a major impediment in patrolling the entire area, he said. He said care was taken that tourists were not harassed.

Meanwhile, the Parwanoo DSP, Mr Surinder Verma, said the police has challaned as many as 1393 persons under the Motor Vehicles Act and collected an amount of Rs 1.6 3700 lakh in the current financial year till date on the Kalka-Shimla highway.
Top

 

CM sheds four departments
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 10
In a minor reshuffle of portfolios, Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, today shed four departments and took away the charge of law from Mr Kaul Singh, Irrigation and Public Health Minister .

Mr Rangila Ram Rao, Excise and Taxation Minister, was allocated the Town and Country Planning portfolio, while Mr Harsh Mahajan, Animal Husbandry Minister, got the charge of Housing.

Ms Asha Kumari, Minister for Higher Education has been given the charge of Vocational and Industrial Training and Mr G.S. Bali, Minister for Transport and Tourism, will also look after Civil Aviation.

Mr Kaul Singh will continue to hold the charge of Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs in addition to Irrigation and Public Health.
Top

 

Girl falls from hotel window, dies
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 10
A three-year-old girl, Sapna Aggrawal, who came for a holiday with her parents, died after she accidentally fell from the fourth floor of Hotel Holiday Home here yesterday.

According to the Deputy General Manager, Hotel Holiday Home, Mr Y. P. Behl, the mishap took place at about 8.30 a.m yesterday when Sapna, while playing, fell from the window of the fourth floor room. Her father, Mr Vishal Aggrawal, hailing from Ghaziabad, and his wife were in the room when the accident took place.

Though Sapna was conscious when she was taken to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), she died before medical aid could be given to her.
Top

 

Rs 167 cr sought for infrastructure development
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 10
The Himachal Government has sought Central assistance of Rs 167 crore to develop infrastructure, manpower and material resources for secondary education development.

Education Minister Asha Kumari, addressing a Central Advisory Board meeting at New Delhi, sought assistance for implementation of Rs 130 crore meal scheme up to the high school level.

She also requested the Centre to open three new Kendriya Vidyalayas in the state as a large number of defence and Central government employees and their wards were living here. The existing 15 schools were insufficient to meet the requirement.

She also sought additional budget of Rs 1 lakh per school for construction of kitchen, drinking water, sewerage facility and for launching the mid-day meal.
Top

 

P.C. Kanwar dead
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 10
Renowned psychologist, philosopher, poet and painter P.C.Kanwar, died here today. Staff of the District Public Relations Department paid tributes to him.

Besides achieving distinction in the field of psychology, Kanwar was also a devoted social work. He also took out a magazine, “Psycho-digest”, to highlight the problems of the common man.
Top

 

One more arrested in fake driving licence scandal
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 10
The police today made a major breakthrough in the fake driving licence scandal with the arrest of Jagdev Singh, the peon-cum-chowkidar, working in the office of the SDM, Hamirpur. He had procured anticipatory bail earlier. Earlier, three clerks of the SDM court had been arrested and placed under suspension in the case.

The SP, Mr P.L. Thakur, told The Tribune that Jagdev Singh was taken into custody after he was denied bail by the court.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner has sent a report to the state government in connection with the scandal. The report is based on the preliminary findings of the ADM, who was appointed inquiry officer by the Deputy Commissioner.
Top

 

Dharamsala rocked

Dharamsala, August 10
Dharamsala and its surrounding areas were rocked by an earthquake this morning. The tremors, which occurred at 7.19 am, measured 5.5 on the Richter Scale. The epicentre of the quake was somewhere in north-west in the Hindukush region, according to the observers at the Wadia Institute at Naddi, near here.

No report of loss of life or property had been received so far. — PTI
Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |