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

Manikaran faces flood threat
Manikaran, August 11
The pilgrimage centre faces a flash flood threat as more than 12 nullahs, which feed the Parbati river are carrying loads of debris, boulders and logs, posing a threat to low-lying houses, shops and gurdwara complex. The surging river rushes down through the middle of the temple town.

Control room set up to help people
Dharamsala, August 11
The district administration today decided to set up a control room in the Police Lines, Dharamsala, to deal with any disasters due to the heavy rains in the area. Rescue and relief teams have been deployed there, which would be rushed out after receiving any information regarding incidents of flood, landslide or house collapse in the district.

Expert stresses better power project designs
Shimla, August 11
Frequent flash floods, mostly attributed to cloudbursts, massive landslides and now freak happenings like creation of huge water bodies in the higher reaches of Sutlej catchment have put a question mark on the future of mega hydroelectric projects, already commissioned or coming up on the river.

Doctors to decide on strike today
Dharamsala, August 11
The controversy over the registration of police cases against seven students of Dr Rajinder Prasad Medical College, Tanda, is still on and patients are suffering as the Resident Doctors Association has been on a strike for two hours daily during this week.


 


YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Shimla
Nurpur
Solan


EARLIER STORIES

 

Cong has failed to protect HP’s interests: BJP
Shimla, August 11
Accusing the government of failing to protect the interest of the state, the spokesperson of the state BJP and MLA, Dr Rajiv Bindal, today said that efforts should be made to ensure that Himachal got its share in the various power projects.

Demands for Himachal’s share in Chandigarh
Hamirpur, August 11
HP Jan Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti general secretary Bishen Dutt Lakhanpal today demanded review of the Indus Water Treaty signed on September 19, 1960, to solve the water issue of India.

SC’s directive on fee structure draws flak
Solan, August 11
Even as the Himachal Pradesh University notified a new fee structure for the four private/unaided dental colleges, following the Supreme Court instructions, the move has drawn a flak from the meritorious students and their parents, who feel the fee pattern, applicable for all students, had made their high rankings in the PMT of little significance.

Demand to revoke para-teacher system
Nurpur, August 11
The Himachal Pradesh Unemployed Trained Graduate Teachers Association has given an ultimatum to the state government to revoke the system of appointing para-teachers by August 14, otherwise the association would launch a statewide agitation from Kangra district on August 16.

Action sought against deemed varsities
Shimla, August 11
The state government has urged the Centre to take action against deemed universities which are authorising extension centres in other states to start diploma and other courses without proper infrastructure and teaching faculty.

Wall poses threat to residents
Hamirpur, August 11
Residents of Ward No.-5, here are a harassed lot. A crumbling wall, part of late Onkar Walia’s collapsed house poses threat to the passers-bys of the lane, adjacent to the wall. No effort has been made by the local civic body to demolish the wall to prevent any mishap.

Ensure labourers’ safety at power projects: CITU
Hamirpur, August 11
Himachal unit CITU general secretary Kashmir Singh Thakur has criticised the state government for overlooking safety measures for the labourers working on hydroelectric projects.

2 arrested from hotel
Solan, August 11
A woman in her twenties and a middle-aged man were arrested from a hotel at Jabli on the National Highway No. 22 last evening.

Students end fast
Kumarhatti, August 11
The three-day-long fast by the NSUI affiliated students of Government Degree College, Arki, 50 km from here came to an end this evening following the Forest Minister, Mr Ram Lal Thakur’s assurance to fill the vacant posts of lecturer in the college soon.

Mukesh Agnihotri
Top





 

 

 

 

Manikaran faces flood threat
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Manikaran, August 11
The pilgrimage centre faces a flash flood threat as more than 12 nullahs, which feed the Parbati river are carrying loads of debris, boulders and logs, posing a threat to low-lying houses, shops and gurdwara complex. The surging river rushes down through the middle of the temple town.

If the level of the Parbati rises by another five to seven feet, there will be a threat to these houses and buildings as these lie in what earlier used to be the flood plain of the river. At risk are the houses located in the Ward No. 5 of the Manikaran Notified Area Committee. The Dara Bairh and Soura Bairh areas in ward lie in the ‘flood plain of the river’. The river flow is checked by big boulders near the bridge and if these are washed away, town will be flooded,” said Mr Gopal Verma, a local shop owner.

Raising their fear are the recurring floods in the nullahs that feed the Parbati. The Brahm nullah washed away four houses, a temple, and around 12 ‘gharaats,’ water-run floor mills, last year. Villagers complained that the Kulu administration cared more for National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and private companies than about the local people, who were the actual sufferers of floods in the long run.

“Nobody came to help me last year when Brahm nullah water washed away my gharaat, my sole source of income” rued Mr Uday Ram, a villager. “Nobody cares for poor villagers. The government wakes up only when the entire village is washed away”, he added.

Though the NHPC and private companies had donated Rs 1.2 crore to construct 100 m protection wall along the river banks in the town, the wall’s height is 7 m whereas it should have been at least 9 metre, added Mr Devan Khampa, a local resident, whose house was damaged by flash flood in Brahm nullah last year.

“We had taken up the matter with the Mandi MP, Ms Pratibha Singh, when she last visited the place, but the district administration officials did not bother to visit the place when the nullah flooded again on August 8 this year,” he added.

However, Mr H.R. Chouhan, ADM, Kulu, said there was no flood report as regards Brahm nullah this year.
Top

 

Control room set up to help people
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 11
The district administration today decided to set up a control room in the Police Lines, Dharamsala, to deal with any disasters due to the heavy rains in the area. Rescue and relief teams have been deployed there, which would be rushed out after receiving any information regarding incidents of flood, landslide or house collapse in the district.

Giving details of the facility, Deputy Commissioner Shrikant Baldi said that anyone in need could dial (01892) 224967, 224905 and 223318 to contact the control room and seek help. He said that the rescue teams would be available round the clock throughout the week. The teams have been provided with adequate vehicles to cover distances.

On a suggestion from the Department of Irrigation and Public Health, it has also been decided to make electronic axes at all subdivisional levels so that the problem of road blockades due to falling of trees is solved.

The administration has also asked the police to be in a state of readiness to deal with any eventuality related to floods and landslides in the area. The Subdivisional Magistrates (SDMs) have been asked to take the help of the police and Home Guards in the case of any natural calamity.
Top

 

Expert stresses better power project designs
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 11
Frequent flash floods, mostly attributed to cloudbursts, massive landslides and now freak happenings like creation of huge water bodies in the higher reaches of Sutlej catchment have put a question mark on the future of mega hydroelectric projects, already commissioned or coming up on the river.

It is becoming increasingly evident that scientific investigations, technical expertise and the meticulous planning, which go into the making of projects, are not enough to ensure their safety. Obviously the hydropower engineers have not taken into consideration such unforeseen factors into consideration while designing projects like the 1,500 MW Nathpa-Jhakri Project, country's biggest hydroelectric venture to date, which is seriously threatened by the impending flash flood.

The hydro-electric projects are generally designed for the highest flood probability of 100 to 1,000 years. However, the engineers took extra care in the case of Nathpa-Jhakri Project keeping in view the turbulent nature of the river and also the fact that most of its catchment area fell in the seismic zone. The project was designed for a flood probability of one in 10,000 years. In such an eventuality the discharge in the river worked out to 5,650 cumecs (cubic metre per second).

However, the extra precautions taken by the technocrats in designing the country's largest hydroelectric venture failed to ensure the safety of project as the improbable happened. A flood, the probability of which was estimated to be one in 61,000 years, devastated the project in August 1,2000, even before it was commissioned. The discharge in the river surged to 6,500 cumecs which was 850 cumecs more than the highest water level for which the project was designed. Prior to that, the maximum discharge of 3053 cumecs was recorded in 1963 and 2,740 cumecs in 1979.

Within four years, the spectre of yet another devastating flood, which should have occurred once only in 61,000 years, is looming large over the project again following creation of a huge lake in Tibet due to the blockage of the Parchu, a tributary of the Sutlej.

This time, a lake has actually come up in Tibet close to the Indian territory due to blockage of the Parchu. The possibility of the blockade giving way anytime and causing August, 2000-like situation has forced the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam to shut down the project. In the last flood, the river had surged up to 12 m at Nathpa, the dam site, and 16 m at Jhakri, where the powerhouse is located. The capacity of the sluice gates of the dam is 5,650 cumecs and the water up to 35 m height can pass safely. The entry to power house is at a height of 30 m from the riverbed and the project authorities have raised a 3 m wall to prevent entry of water.

The engineers believe that the water level could rise up to 23 m if the discharge during floods increases to 15,000 cumecs, two-and-half-time that of the discharge recorded in August, 2000. In that eventuality the project would be safe.

Mr Ranjodh Singh, an authority in hydroelectric project designing, who has been associated with most of the projects, including the Nathpa-Jhakri, says changes will have to be made in the designs of projects to ensure their safety in such freak situations. 
Top

 

Doctors to decide on strike today
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 11
The controversy over the registration of police cases against seven students of Dr Rajinder Prasad Medical College, Tanda, is still on and patients are suffering as the Resident Doctors Association has been on a strike for two hours daily during this week.

The outcome to the issue depends on the general body meeting of the association which is to be held tomorrow. It will decide whether to declare complete strike in the hospital or seek an assurance of the Administration that it would examine the charge of damage to public property against the medical students.

“We have been on token strike to seek the attention of the administration as no officer has met us till yesterday. The Deputy Commissioner and the SP met our delegation today and gave us some assurance, which would be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting,” Dr Praladh Duggal, president of the association, said.

The Medical Superintendent, Dr J.R. Azad, admitted that the strike had been affecting the functioning in the hospital. “After today’s meeting with the Administration, the doctors are expected to withdraw their strike from tomorrow and work regularly so that general public is not put to inconvenience,” he said.

Police sources, however, denied that the Administration had given any categorical assurance regarding the withdrawal of the case. “The Administration has only said that it would examine the case. The charges in any case cannot be dropped until challans are produced in the court by the police,” said a police official.

Dr Munish Saroch, secretary, said the authorities would be responsible for any harassment to the public. “It has also been felt during the entire episode that the police has some vested interests or is working under pressure,” he alleged.

Negotiations were on between the Administration and the Students Central Association and the Resident Doctors Association and the future course of action would be decided at tomorrow’s meeting, he added.

The controversy kicked off when the students of the medical college allegedly beat up employees of the college canteen after they refused to serve them dinner. The college authorities have been claiming that the employees were drunk and they were the ones who damaged property of the college. “Even our request for an FIR against the canteen employees was rejected by the police and instead the complaint by the contractor was registered and the students arrested,” said a spokesman for the Students Central Association.
Top

 

Cong has failed to protect HP’s interests: BJP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 11
Accusing the government of failing to protect the interest of the state, the spokesperson of the state BJP and MLA, Dr Rajiv Bindal, today said that efforts should be made to ensure that Himachal got its share in the various power projects.

In a statement issued here today, Dr Bindal said the claims being made by Congress ministers about the number of jobs given in the state since their party came to power and the figure stated by the Chief Minister did not tally. “While Mr Virbhadra Singh, in the assembly had informed that 3,167 jobs had been given to the youths so far, his ministerial colleagues, Mr Ram Lal Thakur and Mr G.S. Bali, have stated that 20,000 jobs have been provided so far,” he said.

Dr Bindal, said the signing of an MoU on fiscal reforms had further closed down all avenues of jobs and while many posts had been abolished, the vacant posts were not being filled. “Now that the government has been completely exposed as far as the MoU is concerned, the congress leaders are trying to mislead the public,” he alleged.
Top

 

Demands for Himachal’s share in Chandigarh
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 11
HP Jan Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti general secretary Bishen Dutt Lakhanpal today demanded review of the Indus Water Treaty signed on September 19, 1960, to solve the water issue of India. He said that there was a need to sign a new treaty on the basis of determining India’s share of 47 per cent and that of Pakistan 53 per cent.

Talking to The Tribune here this afternoon, Mr Dutt said that the water problem could be solved but no sincere efforts had been taken for this. He demanded that the engineering skill should be tapped to construct the Chenab-Ravi link channel to join the Ravi near Madhopur to meet the partial requirements of Indian part of the Indus basins areas for irrigation and other purposes. According to him, the unused share of waters of the Ravi and the Beas, which was in the ownership of India, flows to Pakistan ahead of the border. In lieu of this the share of waters of the Chenab could be utilised by India for its needs.

The former Congress MLA said that the people of Himachal Pradesh had been demanding since long its share on the water reservoirs situated on its land, which at present were being utilised by Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh and Rajasthan. He said that even the Chief Minister of Haryana had accepted the ownership rights of Himachal Pradesh on the Indus basin and also by Mr H.S. Hanspal, president of the Punjab Congress Committee.

He suggested that a water grid of the Indus basin states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi was constituted under the provision of law.

Lakhanpal also demanded Himachal Pradesh’s share in Chandigarh on the basis of Punjab reorganisation Act, 1966, before handing over Chandigarh to Punjab or Haryana. He said that the people of Himachal would resort to an agitation if its share in Chandigarh was not given to it.
Top

 

SC’s directive on fee structure draws flak
Ambika Sharma

Solan, August 11
Even as the Himachal Pradesh University notified a new fee structure for the four private/unaided dental colleges, following the Supreme Court instructions, the move has drawn a flak from the meritorious students and their parents, who feel the fee pattern, applicable for all students, had made their high rankings in the PMT of little significance.

The aggrieved students contended that the fee structure committee headed by Justice V. P. Bhatnagar had overlooked the crucial criterion of the rankings in the PMT. The new decision would mean that all students would have to pay the fee between Rs 85,000 and Rs 1 lakh, irrespective of their rankings on the merit list.

The four colleges, Bhojia College, Nalagarh, Himachal Dental College, Sundernagar, Himachal Institute of Dental Sciences, Paonta Sahib, and MN DAV Dental College, Tatul (Solan), have now been directed to charge a fee of Rs 85,000, Rs 85,000, Rs 90,000 and Rs 1 lakh, respectively. Each college earlier had 50 per cent paid and 50 per cent non-paid seats, allowing the students ranking high on the merit list to pay as less as Rs 32,000 to Rs 40,000 each.

While the new criterion had given merit a goby, the parents contend that the new fee structure would strain their pockets heavily. In a letter to the Chief Minister the parents had appealed to give consideration to merit and allow some fee reduction for the meritorious students.

The officials of Bhojia Dental College, while expressing displeasure at the new fee structure, said they had apprised the Chief Minister of the problem. A fourtier fee structure where fee ranging from Rs 25,000, Rs 75,000, Rs 1.50 lakh and Rs 2.50 had been proposed as per the PMT ranking by the colleges to the committee. But with the strict instructions from the Supreme Court to restructure the fee for the private dental colleges, the government appears helpless to revise the notified fee, observed sources in Himachal University.
Top

 

Demand to revoke para-teacher system
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, August 11
The Himachal Pradesh Unemployed Trained Graduate Teachers Association has given an ultimatum to the state government to revoke the system of appointing para-teachers by August 14, otherwise the association would launch a statewide agitation from Kangra district on August 16.

Mr Sushil Sharma and Mr Pankaj Puri, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, said in a press conference here yesterday that the state government had been misleading trained graduates by announcing the filling of 3,833 vacant posts.

They said 1,492 posts out of those announced were scheduled to be filled through departmental promotions. They also opposed the proposed filling of 1,597 posts by appointing para-teachers, notwithstanding interim injunction by the High Court.

They said only 744 out of 3,833 posts were being filled through the Subordinate Services Selection Board (SSSB).

They said the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, had said this was a temporary arrangement, but now the government was trying to continue it. They said the government should stop further appointments of para-teachers in the larger interest of unemployed youths. They demanded that the old policy of appointing teachers under the ‘Recruitment and Promotion Rules’ be continued.
Top

 

Action sought against deemed varsities

Shimla, August 11
The state government has urged the Centre to take action against deemed universities which are authorising extension centres in other states to start diploma and other courses without proper infrastructure and teaching faculty.

Mrs Asha Kumari, Education Minister, said the state had been flooded with extension centres of deemed universities which had started diploma courses like arts and craft and other disciplines without obtaining the requisite no-objection certificate from the state government and seeking permission of the UGC. They were only franchises as the deemed universities were not directly managing or controlling them and even the diploma awarded did not mention the name of the extension centre. She urged the UGC to take action against such universities. — OC 
Top

 

Wall poses threat to residents
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 11
Residents of Ward No.-5, here are a harassed lot. A crumbling wall, part of late Onkar Walia’s collapsed house poses threat to the passers-bys of the lane, adjacent to the wall. No effort has been made by the local civic body to demolish the wall to prevent any mishap.

Mr Nitin Dogra, Mr Sanjiv Verma and Mr Rajiv Verma, residents of the ward told The Tribune that they had met the local civic body officials and also the district administration to apprise them of the situation. However, nothing has been done so far.
Top

 

Ensure labourers’ safety at power projects: CITU
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 11
Himachal unit CITU general secretary Kashmir Singh Thakur has criticised the state government for overlooking safety measures for the labourers working on hydroelectric projects.

Talking to reporters here last evening, Comrade Thakur demanded compensation for those who were trapped in a tunnel recently and for those forced to leave their hutments in view of the monsoon. He further said the Barasaini incident was an eye opener for the government.

Comrade Thakur hit out at the construction companies for not preparing lists of labourers working with them.

He demanded construction of houses at safer places for all labourers working on various projects, granting them special allowances and preparing their inventories.

The CITU leader warned the state government and the power project authorities that work would be stopped from August 14 if no action was taken for their proper rehabilitation and settlement. He also demanded scrapping of the MoU signed by the state government with the Central Government on fiscal reforms, dubbing it to be anti-people.
Top

 

2 arrested from hotel

Solan, August 11
A woman in her twenties and a middle-aged man were arrested from a hotel at Jabli on the National Highway No. 22 last evening.

A police party carried out surprise checks at various hotels located along the highway till late in the evening. The duo was nabbed while trying to conceal identify when questioned by the police. They were arrested under Section 41 (2) and 109 of the CrPC. — OC
Top

 

Students end fast
Our Correspondent

Kumarhatti, August 11
The three-day-long fast by the NSUI affiliated students of Government Degree College, Arki, 50 km from here came to an end this evening following the Forest Minister, Mr Ram Lal Thakur’s assurance to fill the vacant posts of lecturer in the college soon.

The minister along with Mr Dharampal Thakur, Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, was in the college to attend a vanamahotsava programme. He gave his assurance through a letter, saying the three posts out of the five vacant posts would be filled soon.
Top

 

Mukesh Agnihotri

Shimla, August 11
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, has attached Mr Mukesh Agnihotri, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, for the health portfolio in place of housing. He will continue to look after the PR Department. — TNS
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 |