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

Tibetans returning from India detained in China
Dharamsala, August 15
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in McLeodganj, here, has alleged that the Chinese authorities in Tibet have arbitrarily detained and slapped heavy fine on Tibetan returnees from exile in India, without any formal political charges.

Payment of 2 pc ADA from October
Shimla, August 15
The state government has decided to release two per cent additional dearness allowance to its employees, due from January 1. This was announced by Mr Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister, while presiding over the state-level Independence Day function in the tribal area of Bharmour in Chamba district today.

Apple growers hit by flood threat
Tapri (Kinnaur), August 15
It is not just the threat of flood in the Sutlej that continues to haunt the people of Rampur and adjoining areas but the apple growers in this belt are likely to face huge losses in case the uncertainty continues for few more days.

Reliving flood phobia
KARHAI GHARAAT (SOLAN): The five families here are reliving the flood nightmare that had washed away their houses on August 1, 2000. Endangering their life, is not only flood from the Satluj, but also the landslide uphill this month.

Work on Parbati project to begin in 2 months
Chandigarh, August 15
The schedule for completion of the Parbati hydel project in Himachal Pradesh, where work had to be suspended after heavy slush blocked tunnels and washed away machinery and labour camps, is expected to slip by a few months.

Helplines for women soon
Dharamsala, August 15
To establish if two children living with a Junior Engineer in Kangra district are his offspring from a women he calls his domestic help, the State Commission for Women has decided to go in for their DNA test.

Hostage’s family makes renewed appeal to captors
Una, August 15
On the 58th Independence Day, the family members of Antaryami, one of the three Indians held hostage in Iraq, have made a renewed appeal to the abductors for their release.



A woman along with her child witnessing the Independence Day celebrations in Rampur, Himachal Pradesh, on Sunday. The town is under threat of flash floods due to formation of an artificial lake in Tibet. — PTI photo

YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Shimla
Nurpur
Solan
Una


EARLIER STORIES

 

Nation page: Hostages: no negotiator appointed

Minister blasts previous govt
Solan, August 15
Showing concern over the nearly 1,500 hectares of government land encroached upon during the reign of the previous BJP government in the district, the Revenue Minister, Mr Sat Mahajan, said that the Revenue Department had been derailed due to the wrong policies of the outgoing government.

Noble gesture by unemployed lecturers
Nurpur, August 15
The shortage of teaching staff in the local Arya Government College, which had been affecting its smooth functioning, was solved by two unemployed lecturers of the town. The college has six sanctioned posts of lecturer.

Fish poaching on rise in Beas
Hamirpur, August 15
Fish poaching is on the rise in the river Beas and its tributaries, despite a ban on its killing during the months of July and August, these months are the breeding months.

War memorial in state of neglect
Hamirpur, August 15
A war memorial, at Jangel village of the district constructed in memory of 121 soldiers of the area who had taken part in the 1914-19 war, is in a utter state of neglect.



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Tibetans returning from India detained in China
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 15
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in McLeodganj, here, has alleged that the Chinese authorities in Tibet have arbitrarily detained and slapped heavy fine on Tibetan returnees from exile in India, without any formal political charges.

The latest information indicates that Tibetan monks, returning to Tibet upon completion of their studies in monasteries, face arbitrary detention and monetary fine without any formal political charges by the Chinese authorities, says Ms Norzin, director of the centre.

This, she claims, contravenes Article 9 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” Also, Article 13(2) of the same declaration states that everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. China being a permanent member of the United Nations is obligated to respect the rights of Tibetans, she maintains.

According to the centre, Jamphel Gyatso, a monk of Jadel Khangtsen of Sera Jhe Monastery in South India, had returned to Tibet after completing studies in February. Similarly, Gedun Tsundue, a monk of Ragya Monastery in the Qinghai Province, escaped into exile and joined the Kirti monastery, Dharamsala.

“According to confirmed information received by the centre, both were reported to be arbitrarily detained for four months before being handed over to the Chinese authorities in the Golog area and fined 4,500 Yuan each,” said Ms Norzin.

In another instance of arbitrary detention, she added, it was reported that two monks of Ragya Monastery, Gedun Rabgyal and Woeser Thaye, came into exile and studied at Jadel Khangtsen, Sera Jhe monastery, in south India. On their return, were detained for four months along with four other persons and a group of monks before being handed over to the authorities of their respective places and were fined 4,000 Yuan each by the Chinese authorities.

Similarly, she said, Sherab, a monk of Jadel Khangtsen in Sera Jhe Monastery came into exile in 2003. On his return journey to his native place in Tibet June this year, Sherab was detained at Dram, Nepal-Tibet border.

She said that Tibetan returnees from India were invariably seen as ‘splittist’ and ‘politically suspect’. Parents were threatened with punitive measures, including sanctions, and expulsion from jobs.

“The anti-Dalai Lama campaign involves ban on portraits and celebration of the Dalai Lama’s birthday, severe sentences and punishments for expressing faith and support for the Dalai Lama. The campaign is aimed to minimise the influence of Dalai Lama as Beijing authorities link Tibetan Buddhism with Tibetan nationalism. In that context, the Tibetan exile returnees are viewed with suspicion,” she said.
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Payment of 2 pc ADA from October
Tribune Reporters

Shimla, August 15
The state government has decided to release two per cent additional dearness allowance to its employees, due from January 1. This was announced by Mr Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister, while presiding over the state-level Independence Day function in the tribal area of Bharmour in Chamba district today. He said the instalment of additional dearness allowance would be paid in cash from October, and the arrears would be credited to the general provident fund of the employees. He lauded the contribution of employees in the development of the state and said the government was committed to their welfare.

The hill state had made rapid strides in every sphere of development since it came into being in 1948 and today, it was being seen as a model of hill development, he said. The per capita income had increased from Rs 240 to Rs 24,800 over this period, literacy rate from 8 per cent to 77.4 per cent, foodgrain production from two lakh tonnes to 17 lakh tonnes and fruit production from 7,000 tonnes to 5.50 lakh tonnes, he said.

All census villages in the state had electricity and drinking water facility, he said. He said the social sector had been given top priority by successive Congress governments and in the current year’s Budget, 48 per cent of the funds had been allocated to this sector. As many as 28,481 new eligible persons had been granted social security pension, taking the total number of such beneficiaries to two lakh, he said. An amount of Rs 50 crore was being spent annually for the purpose, he added.

The Chief Minister said the government was committed to providing a clean and efficient administration to the people. A drive had been launched to root out corruption and an independent Department of Public Grievances Redressal had been set up to ensure speedy action on the complaints of the people, he said.

He said 8,000 MW additional power would be generated by 2008. He said five more projects with aggregate generation capacity of 249 MW had been awarded recently for execution. The state was getting a revenue of about Rs 200 crore from the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri project and the 300 MW Baspa project, which were commissioned last year, he said.

The Chief Minister also announced the opening of a degree college at Bharmour and said classes would be started from the current academic session. He gave the Guarav Puraskar to Dr Ram Lal Sharma, Medical Officer, Rohru, for services rendered in combating plague during 2002, Dr M.P. Singhal, a private medical practitioner of Solan, for the work in diagnosis of typhus fever in 2003 and Mr Naresh Kumar, warden of the Kanda jail, for the courage shown by him in fighting absconding inmates.

A colourful cultural programme was also presented. Ms Asha Kumari, Education Minister, Mr Harsh Mahajan, Animal Husbandry Minister, Mr Mukesh Agnihotri, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, and Ms Pratibha Singh, MP, were present.

Patriotic fervour and gaiety marked Independence Day celebrations throughout the state. Colourful functions were organised at all district, subdivisional and tehsil headquarters. Enthusiastic crowds turned out in strength to witness the celebrations.

In Shimla, Ms Vidya Stokes, Power Minister, unfurled the National Flag and took salute at the district-level function. Addressing the gathering, she said the government had given top priority to hydel power generation and out of the total 20,376 MW of identified potential so far, 6060 MW had been harnessed. Projects with aggregate capacity of 8000 MW were under execution and they were likely to be commissioned within the next four years, she said.

BILASPUR: The Himachal Pradesh Government has succeeded in attracting 2,954 new industrial units with an investment of Rs 5,736 crore and an employment potential of 1,10,000 a month during the past one year in the state. This was stated by Industries and Cooperatives Minister Kuldeep Kumar while addressing the district-level Independence Day function here today after unfurling the National Flag and taking salute from contingents of the police, the Home Guard and the NCC.

Mr Kuldeep Kumar said in Bilaspur district a total of 2,257 industrial units were functioning with an investment of Rs 283.92 crore and these industries were providing employment to 10,383 persons. He said apart from this, two cement plants at Barmana, near here, with an investment of Rs 519 crore had provided direct employment to 792 persons and indirect employment to at least 30,000 persons. He said Industrial Area here had 69 plots and nine sheds where industries were already functioning while an Industrial Growth Centre was being developed at Gwalthai near Bhakra.

DHARAMSALA: Paying homage to those who fought for the freedom of the country, Transport and Tourism Minister G.S. Bali congratulated the people on the occasion of Independence Day at the district-level function held here today. He said Himachal Pradesh was ranked as the third best state in the country and the top state when it came to social service. He said the present government was working out a host of policies for the welfare of the people, which included ensuring a better life for the families of freedom fighters from the state. Due to the efforts of the government, he claimed, the per capita income of people had risen to Rs 24,800 from a mere Rs 240 in 1948.

To fulfil shortage of teachers at different levels, the state government was in the process of appointing 3,833 teachers, besides spending Rs 532 crore on “sarv shiksha abhiyan”. Special emphasis was being laid on education for the girl child, he said.

Earlier, he unfurled the Tricolour at the Police Grounds and gave away awards to those who took part in the parade and march-past.

HAMIRPUR: Two functions were held here to observe Independence Day at the district level. While Forest Minister Ram Lal Thakur presided over a function at Hamirpur, former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chaired the function at Barohra village, located on the outskirts of Hamirpur.

Mr Thakur unfurled the Nation Flag and took salute from the contingents of the police, the Home Guard and the NCC.

Mr Thakur paid rich tributes to those who had laid down their lives during the freedom struggle. He said Himachal Pradesh had made many sacrifices during the freedom struggle and the coming generations would always remember such persons.

Mr Thakur gave details of development activities being undertaken in the district and added that the day was not when Hamirpur would become number one in the state. He honoured Ms Alka Sharma of Jansooh village in the district, who had saved her friend from drown. The Indian Government had decided to give Jeevan Raksha Padak to her.

At Barohra, Mr Dhumal paid rich tributes to freedom fighters and others who had made supreme sacrifices for the nation during the freedom struggle. He honoured Army officer Rakesh Kumar for scaling Mt Everest, athletics coach Bhupinder Singh and one of his trainees.

MANDI: Presiding over the Independence Day function here today, Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Gangu Ram Musafir urged the residents to remember the sacrifices of Dr Y.S. Parmar. Mr Musafir said the government would work for the welfare of weaker sections of society, for which the government was spending Rs 4 crore for the development of backward panchayats in the state. Mr Musafir gave away 40 prizes to persons for doing exemplary work. Schoolchildren presented a colourful dance and took out a march-past.

NAHAN: The district-level Independence Day function was held here today, in which Deputy Speaker Dharm Pal Thakur hoisted the national flag and took salute at the march-past. Addressing the gathering, he said the state had made rapid strides in the field of development over the years, making Himachal Pradesh a model state in the country.

SOLAN: Mr Sat Mahajan, Minister for Panchayati Raj and Revenue, hoisted the national flag here today. An impressive parade was presented by a contingent of the police, the Home Guards and the NCC. The Revenue Minister said with a view to facilitating the public all revenue records at the district, subdivision, tehsil, subtehsil levels would be computerised from October 2 this year.
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Apple growers hit by flood threat
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Tapri (Kinnaur), August 15
It is not just the threat of flood in the Sutlej that continues to haunt the people of Rampur and adjoining areas but the apple growers in this belt are likely to face huge losses in case the uncertainty continues for few more days.

The formation of the Parchu Lake in Tibet has led to fear among the truckers, who are rather reluctant to send their vehicles for transporting the apple to the market. There are large number of apple orchards in Gaura, Mashno, Sarahan, Barabish, Narainbali and Nankhari areas around Rampur.

Though apple from the upper belts of Kinnaur will be plucked by the end of this month, it is the growers in and around Rampur, Tapri and other lower parts of Kinnaur and Ani subdivision of the Kullu district, who have been hit by this threat looming large over the areas along the Sutlej.

“We are finding it difficult to get trucks for sending the apples to the markets and the few who are willing to take the risk are demanding very high transportation charges,” said Mr Kanan Singh Negi, a resident of Tapri in Kinnaur. Other areas of Kinnaur where there are apple orchards include Nichar, Sungra, Bhaba, Bari, Taranda, Paunda and Kilba.

Though large amount of apple from the Rampur and nearby areas have already been transported to the markets in Chandigarh and Delhi, growers have stopped plucking the remaining produce as they fear in case of a flood it will rot here only. “If earlier on, trucks were charging Rs 25 per box as transportation charges now they are demanding anywhere between Rs 30 to Rs 35,” said Mr Bhag Chand of Rampur.

The growers point out that drivers are not willing to go to orchards located in the remote areas connected by link roads as they fear in case of flood they would be stranded there. Furthermore, extensive media coverage of the flooding of the Sutlej and possible washing out of the national highway has made the truckers more cautious.

Since the apple growing belt of Ani subdivision of Kullu, located two km from Rampur, sends its produce through Shimla, the growers there have also been affected. The areas of Kullu district which send apple from Rampur side includes Bagi Pul, Arsu, Sarahan, Nithar and Chowar.

In case the uncertainty regarding the exact situation at the Parchu Lake does not get sorted out fast, the apple growing areas located in higher reaches of Kinnaur will also be affected as their season will start towards end of August or first week of September. “Right now the flood threat is not affecting us but in case the uncertainty continues, we will be badly hit even though this year we had a good crop,” says a worried Ramesh Kumar from Sangla.
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Reliving flood phobia
Tribune News Service

KARHAI GHARAAT (SOLAN): The five families here are reliving the flood nightmare that had washed away their houses on August 1, 2000. Endangering their life, is not only flood from the Satluj, but also the landslide uphill this month.

This village is in the flood warning danger zone list issued by the state government recently, and is situated just few metres above the Satluj water level.

The villagers, all members of the backward castes, have rebuilt their houses at the same danger site because they don’t have enough to build at safer reaches. Their children go to Government High School, Kasol, through a narrow track overlooking the Satluj, in Bilaspur district. This village falls in Arki tehsil in Solan district located 5 kms from the roadhead of Kasol in Bilaspur Sadar. The villagers who lost everything in the last flood include Changi Devi, Changu Ram, Mangat Ram, Masadi Ram, Kesho Ram and Sher Singh.

The residents have pitched tents in higher areas of the village and shifted their belongings to their relatives. BBMB people have alerted us about the flood threat, but the water is flowing at the same level here, informed Sher Singh. Nobody warned us then. We ran for safety as water entered from the upper side slowly. Now we do not know when the China lake will burst and water reach here”.

The village, including its upperside neighbouring villages of Kasol, Kasol Gharaat, Harnoda, and Bahaut, have been acquired by the National Thermal Power Corporation for the construction of the 800 MW Kol Dam project as the entire area fall in its catchment.

Another village in the danger zone is Kasol Gharat, facing the Kol dam tunnel. “We have shifted our luggage to higher places, but when the flood will come is not clear”, said Mangat Ram. Pardhan BR Kaundal, Kasol Panchayat in Bilapsur Sadar said : “We fall in Arki tehsil, but are linked to this panchyat for all purposes.” The Kol Dam authorities have yet to resettle them as their land has been acquired. Few police or Home Guards personnel march in the village.

Bipul Mehta, who runs a dhaba at Salaparh bridge rued that nobody has alerted the five families at Narti village in Kandror in Bilaspur district. “Five houses lie near the Satluj bank. “We spent sleepless night fearing the flood from the Tibet lake”, he said.
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Work on Parbati project to begin in 2 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
The schedule for completion of the Parbati hydel project in Himachal Pradesh, where work had to be suspended after heavy slush blocked tunnels and washed away machinery and labour camps, is expected to slip by a few months.

"We expect to resume work at the site in two-three months," Executive Director of the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), Mr Parminder Singh, said. "The contractor has lost a lot of material and it could take him six to eight months to replace some heavy duty equipment," he added. This, of course, would affect the progress of the work.

The 800 MW Stage-II of the three-phase 2050 MW project was earlier scheduled to be complete in July, 2007.

On the night of August 7, without any warning huge quantities of slush and debris, resulting from a cloudburst near Kullu, flowed down and blocked a tunnel being excavated at Pulga village. The slush swept through the area, washing away hutments, vehicles and heavy machinery as well as trapping 20 persons inside the tunnel for 33 hours.
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Helplines for women soon
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 15
To establish if two children living with a Junior Engineer in Kangra district are his offspring from a women he calls his domestic help, the State Commission for Women has decided to go in for their DNA test. According to a complaint lodged by his first wife, the children are from his second wife, a charge that he denies claiming that she is just a servant.

This is just one of the various strange cases coming before the Commission, which is now planning to start helplines in every district of the state so that round-the-clock help can be made available to women in need. A parallel line will be connected to the office of the Superintendent of Police. Active citizens, social workers and those trained to give first aid will also be involved to provide instant help to women in need.

Stating this, Ms Viplove Thakur, chairperson of the commission, said the number of cases coming to the commission had gone up in view of increasing awareness among women. “Interestingly, we are also receiving cases where men are at the receiving end and seek help from us. In one such case, the husband of a woman constable came to us alleging that his wife bullied him,” she said.

Contrary to general belief, she added, it was not that domestic disputes were more common among lower strata of society. “In three similar cases where men have moved on to second women, they belong to well-off families. In fact, one of them even waited for his retirement from a government job to show his true colours,” she said.

Asked if the commission was a mere recommending body, Ms Thakur emphasised that it did have powers to direct the arrest of an accused after proper investigation. The commission was also authorised to take suo motu notice on the basis of news reports. “Counselling also plays an important role but we ensure that the couple actually prove their resolve to stay together again. The effort is to ensure that the mindset of the party at fault is changed so that there are no problems in future,” she said.
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Hostage’s family makes renewed appeal to captors

Una, August 15
On the 58th Independence Day, the family members of Antaryami, one of the three Indians held hostage in Iraq, have made a renewed appeal to the abductors for their release.

“We had planned to celebrate Independence Day with pomp and fervour, had our son been released by the Iraqi abductors,” said Mr Ram Murti, father of Antaryami.

Congratulating fellow countrymen on the occasion of the Independence Day, he said, “With Antaryami in captivity, the 57th anniversary of our freedom had only brought sorrow to our family, though like all other Indians, we all too have a sense of pride and respect for our nation.”

Mr Murti said he had hoped that his son would be released on Independence Day since the day was synonymous with freedom in the country and he had expected the Indian government to step up efforts for their release. On the occasion, he reiterated his appeal to the militant group “Holders of the Black Banners” to release all the hostages. The family members were worried as they had not received any telephone call from the Centre since for the past two days.

Meanwhile, the fast by Antaryami’s relatives and friends at his Dehlan residence entered its third day today. — UNI
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Minister blasts previous govt
Our Correspondent

Solan, August 15
Showing concern over the nearly 1,500 hectares of government land encroached upon during the reign of the previous BJP government in the district, the Revenue Minister, Mr Sat Mahajan, said that the Revenue Department had been derailed due to the wrong policies of the outgoing government. As many as 8,177 cases of regularising encroachments had come up in Solan alone.

It was a matter of concern that 4,000 bighas of land worth Rs 10 crore had been encroached upon in Nalagarh alone”, he said and added, “Granting land to IRDP families and other landless classes would be the government’s priority and the erring officials found guilty of conniving with encroachers would be strictly dealt with.”

Addressing mediapersons here today, he said an inquiry would be lauched in this regard. About 70,000 encroachments had been effected overnight across the state during the BJP’s regime after policy of their regularisation. While admitting that revenue officials themselves facilitated fraudulent land deals, he said the government was aware of the scam.
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Noble gesture by unemployed lecturers
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, August 15
The shortage of teaching staff in the local Arya Government College, which had been affecting its smooth functioning, was solved by two unemployed lecturers of the town. The college has six sanctioned posts of lecturer. The college had been facing a shortage of teaching staff as well as infrastructure ever since it was taken over by the state government in 2002 and given Government College status. The posts of lecturer in political science and history were lying vacant.

Mr Narinder Kumar and Ms Uma Devi came forward and set an example by offering their services to the college without any remuneration. They have started teaching political science and history. They thought it was better to serve society and impart free education than to sit idle.

The posts of lecturer had been lying vacant since the last academic session. The college administration had arranged for temporary lecturers but following an injunction order from the Himachal Pradesh High Court against appointing temporary lecturers, the services of the hired lecturers were terminated.
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Fish poaching on rise in Beas

Hamirpur, August 15
Fish poaching is on the rise in the river Beas and its tributaries, despite a ban on its killing during the months of July and August, these months are the breeding months.

A visit to different parts of the district connected to the Beas, it was found that were being netted unabated for food. Mahasheer, Singhara and Dhambar are the different varieties that are found in the river water these days.

There was a heavy rush of fish buyers in the Badaur Shahar, which is located on the banks of the Beas. This area is popularly called Sandole Pattan. OC
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War memorial in state of neglect
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 15
A war memorial, at Jangel village of the district constructed in memory of 121 soldiers of the area who had taken part in the 1914-19 war, is in a utter state of neglect. The state government and the Department of Sainik Welfare had not taken any steps for its upkeep.

A solar tube installed by the Department of Him Urja atop the statue does not function. Repeated letters to the Him Urja and the district authorities either to repair or replace the tube have failed, sources, said.

Eight jawans of the area had laid down their lives in the 1914-19 war. This area is known as the nursery of jawans for the Army.


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B.D. Chaudhary

Dharamsala, August 15
Mr B.D. Chaudhary, an advocate of Kangra, has been nominated as a member of the Himachal Pradesh Sanstha Salahkar Samiti. The nomination has been made with the concurrence of the All-India Congress Committee President Sonia Gandhi and the sanstha chief Sunil Dutt.
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