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CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Dhumal blasts UPA, Cong on Uma episode
Hamirpur, August 25
Senior BJP leader and former HP Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has blasted the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for taking action against Ms Uma Bharti, the democratically elected Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.

Govt sets up control room to monitor truckers’ strike
Shimla, August 25
Sensing the strike of truck operators may be prolonged, the Himachal Pradesh Government today set up a control room in the Directorate of Transport to monitor the situation.

Third suspected death due to scrub typhus
Shimla, August 25
A 47-year-old woman, Sushila from the Sanjauli area of the town, suspected to be suffering from scrub typhus died at Indira Gandhi Medical College here today, taking the total number of deaths to three during the past 10 days.


Rare Tragopans breed successfully in captivity but still face extinction.
(28k, 56k)

Poor road upkeep led to mishap near Thain
Hamirpur, August 25
A three-member inquiry committee appointed by the Deputy Commissioner to probe into the cause that led to the bus accident near Thain da more in the district on July 14, has blamed the poor road condition for the accident. It has, however, absolved the driver of the ill-fated bus from the charges of negligent driving.

Govt criticised for not filling vacancies
Mandi, August 25
The government came under fire from district Congress workers for not filling over 20 posts of doctor at Mandi Zonal Hospital and primary health centres (PHCs) in the backward areas in the district, leaving patients to fend for themselves.



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Kangra
Mandi
Shimla
Nurpur


EARLIER STORIES

 

HP gears up for Roerich centenary celebrations
Shimla, August 25
The International Roerich Memorial Trust will organise a series of activities in collaboration with the state government to mark the centenary of Svetoslav Roerich, the great Russian artist who made Naggar in Kulu his home.

Enforce Minimum Wages Act, says Himachal CM
Shimla, August 25
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, has underlined the need for enforcement of labour laws including enforcement of the Minimum Wages Act, effectively and directed the authorities concerned to ensure that the Working Journalists Act which provided for minimum wages be implemented in letter and spirit.

Scooter company told to pay compensation
Nurpur, August 25
After a five-year-long legal battle, Mr Joginder Kumar, a resident of Ward No 2, got justice from the Kangra District Consumer Redressal Forum at a camp here yesterday.

Agitating staff restore water supply
Kangra, August 25
The police has succumbed to the pressure of the agitating IPH employees who disrupted water supply of this temple town yesterday in protest against the alleged police atrocities on four of their colleagues during police interrogation at Kangra police station in connection with a theft case and held protest demonstrations.

Negligence led to Reddy's escape, says police report
Shimla, August 25
Negligence in duty and lack of supervision by the jail authorities are the main reasons pointed out in the police report which looted into the circumstances that led to the escape of Shyamal Rao Reddy, prime accused in a double murder case, from the Nahan jail.

Fall in number of Tibetan visitors to McLeodganj
Dharamsala, August 25
The number of Tibetans going to McLeodganj and other Tibetan settlements in India has declined. With foreign tourists also not visiting the town the streets of McLeodganj wear a deserted look after dusk these days.

Fifth units of Nathpa project closed
Shimla, August 25
The Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) was forced to close the fifth 250 MW unit of the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Project as the discharge in Sutlej further came down to 319 cumecs this morning.

Polytechnic students intensify stir
Kangra, August 25
Hundreds of students of the local Polytechnic College today switched from boycotting their classes on the sixth day to a general strike and a dharna and a demonstration. They raised slogans in support of their demand for a golden chance for the detained students.
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Dhumal blasts UPA, Cong on Uma episode
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 25
Senior BJP leader and former HP Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has blasted the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for taking action against Ms Uma Bharti, the democratically elected Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. The action of the Congress-led Karnataka Government, he said, proved that the Congress had lost all democratic norms and was all set to harm the cause of the BJP and other NDA partners.

In a statement here today, Mr Dhumal said that Ms Uma Bharti had committed no crime for which she was to be arrested. However, the way, the Congress government had re-opened a closed case was a shocking one and highly disgusting. He said that BJP workers all over India were fully behind Ms Uma Bharti and her cause to take out the Tricolour yatra from Hubli.

The BJP leader said that India had not seen such a weak government like that of UPA since freedom. This government was working against the people and had lost faith of the Indian public.

Mr Dhumal came down heavily on the UPA government for brining down the EPF rate and removing Governors.

He said that India was facing a piquant situation these days as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was working under pressure from the Left parties on one hand and the Congress on other.

Mr Dhumal said during the 100 days of the UPA government, there was rise in the number of strikes and that was due to the wrong decisions taken by the government. The recent strike by the truck operators all over India was an eye opener and it must be stopped by providing relief to the truck owners as per their demand.

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Govt sets up control room to monitor truckers’ strike
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 25
Sensing the strike of truck operators may be prolonged, the Himachal Pradesh Government today set up a control room in the Directorate of Transport to monitor the situation.

The government maintained that there was no impact of the strike in the state so far but the apple growers were worried as they were not able to send their produce to the market.

A delegation of Kulu Fruit Growers Association led by Mr Raj Krishan Gour, Agriculture Minister, met Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, here today and apprised him of the difficulties being faced by growers of the Kulu area in transportation of apples due to the on-going truckers’ strike.

The Chief Minister assured that the government would take necessary steps to ensure smooth transportation of fruits from the state as and when the need arose.

After reviewing the supply of essential commodities and transportation of apples at a high-level meeting Mr Singhi Ram, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, said truckers’ strike had not effected supply of essential commodities so far and regular consignments were coming from the Food Corporation of India, besides Punjab and Haryana. As many as 45,000 metric tonnes of foodgrains were available in the state.

It was decided that the police protection be provided to the convoys carrying apples from Parwanoo and Nalagarh. A representative of the Horticulture Department, an Assistant Commissioner and the DSP, Parwanoo, will coordinate at Jabli for convenience of truckers and a similar arrangement will be made at Swarghat.

The tax collection will also be done at Jabli and Swarghat barriers. Truckers and horticulturists who wanted to avail this facility could contact the officials concerned at two places as this facility will be in addition to the normal plying of trucks and optional.

The meeting took note of the fact there was no held up in the movement of trucks and over 1.16 lakh boxes were sent out yesterday itself to restore confidence amongst the apple growers. Police officers will interact with their counterparts in New Delhi, Panipat and Chandigarh.

Sufficient space was available in cold storages within and outside the state, including in and around Chandigarh. Six cold storages in Himachal Pradesh alone had the capacity of 1.50 lakh boxes.

So far 80 lakh boxes had been sent out of the state and another 85 lakh were yet to be transported.

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Third suspected death due to scrub typhus
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 25
A 47-year-old woman, Sushila from the Sanjauli area of the town, suspected to be suffering from scrub typhus died at Indira Gandhi Medical College here today, taking the total number of deaths to three during the past 10 days.

According to the Principal of the IGMC, Prof L.S. Pal, the victim was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition yesterday. “She is yet to be confirmed as a scrub typhus case as her weil-felix report is still awaited,” he added.

This is the third suspected death due to the high grade fever during the past 10 days, since the virtual outbreak of the disease, especially in the lower parts of the state, including Bilaspur, Mandi, Hamirpur and Solan. Last year alone 25 persons died due to scrub typhus, which is a recognised cause of obscure tropical fevers.

Prof Pal said during the past 24 hours seven persons suffering from this fever had been admitted to the IGMC and their blood samples had been sent for weil felix test, which would confirm the disease. The blood samples of five more patients were tested positive for scrub typhus, taking the total number of patients suffering from the disease to 20.

The seven new patients who have been admitted to the hospital are from Shimla and Mandi (two each) and one each from Hamirpur and Bilaspur. It is during September and October that cases of scrub typhus start pouring in every year.

The Department of Health Services has already sent the detail about the disease to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). A team from the NICD had visited the IGMC and some other affected parts of the state after almost 100 persons were taken ill by the disease.

Medical experts point out that the disease is transmitted from rats to humans by mite larval bite. It is more common in areas having heavy scrub vegetation and strikes during the monsoons when the mites lay eggs.

As preventive measures against scrub typhus doctors advice the use of insecticides to control vectors, reduce rodent population, avoid overcrowding, wear protective clothing and good personal hygiene by frequent bathing. An inactivated R. prowazekii vaccine is available and the vaccinated people are likely to suffer from only a mild form of scrub typhus. Timely treatment with antibiotics can control the disease.

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Poor road upkeep led to mishap near Thain
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 25
A three-member inquiry committee appointed by the Deputy Commissioner to probe into the cause that led to the bus accident near Thain da more in the district on July 14, has blamed the poor road condition for the accident. It has, however, absolved the driver of the ill-fated bus from the charges of negligent driving.

Eleven persons were killed and 29 injured in this accident. The bus was going from Rampur in Shimla to Katra in Jammu and Kashmir.

The committee headed by the SDM, Nadaun, Mr Rakesh Dhiman. Other members are the Executive Engineer, HPPWD, Mr B.S. Bhardwaj, and the Mechanical Engineer, Mr P.C.Sharma. They visited the spot and held talks with passengers and other witnesses and submitted the report to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Devesh Kumar, here today.

Sources in the district administration told The Tribune today that the committee had found that the condition of the road at the accident site was not conducive for plying the vehicle during the rain.

The committee found that the driver had tried to save the bus from following into the ditch but failed to do so as he was busy cleaning the windscreen.

The committee recommended that action should be taken against those who had declared that portion of road fit for driving. It stressed on the need to conduct refresher course for drivers, ban drinking and provide glow-sign boards and para pits at the places which were accident prone.

The committee also recommended that the buses should not be overcrowded. The buses should be completely scanned by the chief mechanic of the area before putting these on long or short route duties.

A spokesman of the district administration refused to comment on the receipt of the report saying that it was an internal matter of the administration. Moreover, this report would also be sent to the state government for further action.

The report has also absolved the driver, who was blamed for the accident by the Transport Minister, Mr G.S. Bali.

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Govt criticised for not filling vacancies
Tribune News Service

Mandi, August 25
The government came under fire from district Congress workers for not filling over 20 posts of doctor at Mandi Zonal Hospital and primary health centres (PHCs) in the backward areas in the district, leaving patients to fend for themselves.

Airing their grievances at the review meeting of the 20-Point Programme and its performance in the district, which was chaired by Mr K.D. Sultanpuri, president of the programme, here today, the representatives pointed out that the patients at the hospital were suffering as there was one surgeon, one physician, while the over 700 patients report daily for treatment.

Even patients in the remote areas in the district are suffering as there is no doctor at a PHC at Sudhar, a backward area. “Even the sub-centres meant for immunisation of children have no health workers,” rued the representatives.

Responding to the demands of the Congress workers and NGOs from the district, Mr Sultanpuri asked the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Mandi to get a detailed report of the vacancies.

Meanwhile, sources in the 300-bed Zonal Hospital disclosed that the hospital had 28 doctors, including non-clinicians, while it has a sanctioned strength of over 48 posts. “When the doctors have to attend the accident cases or VVIPs or the medico-legal cases, the OPDs are canceled, leaving the patients unattended”.

Answering a question, the health official said that the doctor was under transfer and the new one is coming from Una. “But I will send the details of the vacancies after the meeting”, the official said.

The meeting was attended by the ADC, Mr R.S. Gupta, and other officials from the police, education, IPH, PWD, Social Welfare and other departments.

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HP gears up for Roerich centenary celebrations
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 25
The International Roerich Memorial Trust will organise a series of activities in collaboration with the state government to mark the centenary of Svetoslav Roerich, the great Russian artist who made Naggar in Kulu his home.

The celebrations will be held in Bangalore, Delhi and at Naggar. The main function will be held at Naggar on October 30 and 31.

The highlight of the celebrations will be a seminar on the life and art of Roerich in which eminent scholars will participate. Besides, cultural programme by Russian and Indian artistes, exhibition displaying works of Roerich, will also be organised.

The programme for centenary celebration was finalised at a meeting presided over by Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, which was also attended by members of Russian delegation comprising Mr Nkaiav, Mr Fydor Rozovshiv, Mr A. Adamkova and Mr Mukhail Chiryatyav.

The Chief Minister said the celebrations would be the befitting tribute to the great artist and his contributions for the promotion of art in the country in general and Himachal Pradesh in particular .

He said the Roerich International College of Fine Arts would be set up at Kulu to mark the occasion. The matter for its funding would be taken up with the Government of India. He said the premises housing the Roerich Art Gallery at Naggar had become a place of historical attractions.

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Enforce Minimum Wages Act, says Himachal CM
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 25
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, has underlined the need for enforcement of labour laws including enforcement of the Minimum Wages Act, effectively and directed the authorities concerned to ensure that the Working Journalists Act which provided for minimum wages be implemented in letter and spirit.

Reviewing the working of the Labour Department, he also stressed that labourers working in hydel projects, industries and other projects within the state of Himachal Pradesh be registered as a measure to safeguard their interests. The department was directed to carry out the exercise expeditiously.

He directed the authorities to get the permanent addresses of the labourers with complete family details so that their identity could be ascertained.

He said identity cards should not only be made mandatory for projects and industrial units but also for those employed in the government, public and other organised sectors to ascertain how many workers had been employed from within the state. He said violation of laws would be viewed seriously and action would be taken against the violators which could also lead to imprisonment.

The Chief Minister said counselling centres would be set up in universities and colleges the placement in different organisations. He said the existing teaching staff could be provided necessary training for the purpose by organising workshops.

Stressing on the need to redesign the existing training courses in technical and vocational institutions, he said industrial training institutes should put up proposals accordingly at the earliest. The Chief Minister also called for streamlining of licensing and registration of factories and amendments in Himachal Pradesh factory rules and computerisation of all types of statistics by the department. 

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Scooter company told to pay compensation
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, August 25
After a five-year-long legal battle, Mr Joginder Kumar, a resident of Ward No 2, got justice from the Kangra District Consumer Redressal Forum at a camp here yesterday. While disposing of a complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, the forum directed Bajaj Auto Ltd, Pune, and its local dealer, Sangam Auto Sales, to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Mr Joginder Kumar along with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing the complaint.

Mr Joginder Kumar had filed a complaint before the forum in August, 1999, alleging that the company had sold him a defective Bajaj Chetak scooter on April 14, 1999. On April 20, 1999, the complainant met with an accident due to the broken hub of the scooter.

The complainant sustained head injuries. He claimed a compensation to the tune of Rs 5.30 lakh from the scooter company.

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Agitating staff restore water supply
Our Correspondent

Kangra, August 25
The police has succumbed to the pressure of the agitating IPH employees who disrupted water supply of this temple town yesterday in protest against the alleged police atrocities on four of their colleagues during police interrogation at Kangra police station in connection with a theft case and held protest demonstrations.

The SDM, Mr R. Selvam, last evening held a meeting with Deputy Superintendent of Police Virender Thakur, the SHO, the Executive Engineer and the SDO, IPH, in his office to defuse the situation and persuaded the agitating IPH employees to restore water supply, to the town in view of the Navaratras.

The SDM said that water supply was restored in the morning and the memorandum levelling charges of torture against the police was forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner for further action.

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Negligence led to Reddy's escape, says police report
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 25
Negligence in duty and lack of supervision by the jail authorities are the main reasons pointed out in the police report which looted into the circumstances that led to the escape of Shyamal Rao Reddy, prime accused in a double murder case, from the Nahan jail.

According to sources, the report prepared by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Prisons), points out negligence as one of the main reasons leading to the escape of Reddy, who had appealed in the High Court against the death sentence awarded to him. It was due to negligence that he got a file blade with which he cut the iron bars of the cell in which he was lodged. The report has questioned how a file could be possessed by an inmate without the jail authorities getting to know about it?

The second main reason pointed out in the report is the lack of supervision by the jail authorities as there was no lock on the smaller wicket cell through which he slipped out on August 16. Sources said the report mentions that the lock on the door of the wicket cell had rusted and no one had bothered to replace it.

Three persons, including the Assistant Superintendent, Senior Warden and Warden have been placed under suspension following Reddy's escape from jail.

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Fall in number of Tibetan visitors to McLeodganj
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, August 25
The number of Tibetans going to McLeodganj and other Tibetan settlements in India has declined. With foreign tourists also not visiting the town the streets of McLeodganj wear a deserted look after dusk these days.

Talking to TNS, a spokesman of the reception office of the Tibetan government-in-exile said they had also received reports that a large groups of Tibetans were putting up in Nepal, waiting for the issuance of special permits. “In some cases it has been more than two months. That is why a large number of Tibetans have not been seen in recent months. Otherwise, around 15 permits are issued per day on an average from Nepal to India,” he said.

An official of the Department of Information and International Relations said many Tibetans waited for winter so that they could easily cross over to Nepal as police deployment in the hill areas was less between October and March every year. “The number is expected to swell only after the winter sets in and the Tibetans find it easier to cross over to Nepal,” he said.

Mr Dorje, in-charge of the reception office said most of the Tibetans visited India to either seek the blessings of the Dalai Lama or to admit their wards in Tibetan schools here. “Also, there are others who come to meet their relatives staying in Tibetan settlements,” he said.

Meanwhile, the final integrated development plan for the period 2004-2007 of the Tibetan government-in-exile was presented on Monday at an executive meeting of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). It took over 13 months since its pronouncement on July 10 last year when the background and the guidelines to this plan were released.

The plan had come at a time when the Tibetan population in exile was undergoing a major demographic, socio-cultural and economic and political change, said an official.

Mr Tashi Phuntsok, ex-secretary of the administrative division of the Department of Security was appointed Election Commissioner and Public Service Commissioner of the Central Tibetan Administration. Mr Kargyu Dhondup, formerly secretary of the Audit Office, was appointed Auditor-General.

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Fifth units of Nathpa project closed
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 25
The Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) was forced to close the fifth 250 MW unit of the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Project as the discharge in Sutlej further came down to 319 cumecs this morning.

The nigam has been operating only five units since generation was re-started after an 11-day shut down forced by flood threat because of inadequate discharge. However, one 250 MW unit had to be closed today as the discharge further dwindled.

For generating electricity at full capacity a minimum of 450 cumecs of discharge is required. However, it was 392 cumecs on August 23 and 319 this morning. It had increased to 357 cumecs by the evening and the nigam hoped to restart generation from the fifth unit if there was no decline.

Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary, Mr Shamsher Singh, reviewed the arrangements made to deal with flood in the wake of formation a lake in Tibet due to blockage of Parchu, a tributary of Sutlej, at a high level meeting. He said there was no change in the situation but the administration would remain on an alert.

As many as 29 control rooms have been set up along the Sutlej and helplines have been established to warn the people in case of any abnormal rise in the level of water.

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Polytechnic students intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Kangra, August 25
Hundreds of students of the local Polytechnic College today switched from boycotting their classes on the sixth day to a general strike and a dharna and a demonstration. They raised slogans in support of their demand for a golden chance for the detained students.

The students boycotted their classes on the sixth day today and held a demonstration in front of the college auditorium. They carried placards and raised slogans in support of their demand.

Student leaders declared that from today a general strike in the college had been launched. They said that the strike would continue till their demands were met.

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