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H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Guler poll: BJP meeting to decide nominee
Shimla, August 26
The district Kangra BJP will hold a meeting of party workers from the Guler Assembly segment to decide the name of the candidate to be fielded in the by-election which will be held on October 13 following Mr Chander Kumar’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections.

CM assures panic-stricken fruit growers
Kulu, August 26
Panic has gripped fruit growers in the district as the trucker’s strike is getting prolonged. Mohinder Upadhayaye, president, Upper Kulu Fruit Growers Association, said the growers were becoming restless as the dropping of apples had started and the fruit had to be plucked within a week in the lower region.

Centre, HP Govt sign MoU on fiscal reforms
Hamirpur, August 26
The MoU signed between the Himachal Pradesh government and the Central Government, on fiscal reforms, may hit employees of the state government if its recent order is taken into consideration.

Prime Minister’s behaviour shocking,
says Dhumal

Hamirpur, August 26
The Himachal Pradesh BJP leader and former Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal today expressed anguish over the impolite behaviour of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh with the senior NDA leaders, who had gone to call on him in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Amend criminal law for uniform justice: Dhumal



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Kulu
Mandi
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Solan


EARLIER STORIES
  Three killed, 24 injured in bus accident
The ill-fated bus lies by the side of a school building at Touni Devi in Hamirpur districtHamirpur, August 26
Three persons were killed and 24 others injured, five seriously, when a private bus, travelling from Hamirpur to Awah Devi, fell down at Touni Devi, about 15km from here this afternoon. The bus was carrying about 45 passengers. While two persons, who were trapped under the rear tyre of the bus, died on the spot, the third person lost his life at the Touni Devi hospital.


The ill-fated bus lies by the side of a school building at Touni Devi in Hamirpur district on Thursday. — Photo by Chander Shekhar Sharma

Villagers seek release of Indian hostages
Una, August 26
More than 400 men, women and youths belonging to Dehlan village, 10 km from here, along with pradhans of Gram Panchayats of Upper Dehlan, Lower Dehlan, Behdala, Jakhera, Vangarh, Bharolian Kalan, Bharolian Khurd and Badhar took out a protest march in Una today.

Badaur Shahar passed by
Badaur Shahar, August 26
Once the main trading centre for the interiors areas of Kangra and Mandi district Badaur Shahar is crying for attention.

Ropeway: HC notices to Chief Secretary, 2 others
Shimla, August 26
The Himachal High Court yesterday issued notices to the Chief Secretary, the Secretary (Tourism) and the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, on a petition filed by a local resident, Mr Raj Chauhan, for the construction of a ropeway from Hotel Shivalik to Jakhoo temple.

New road link to Kinnaur, Spiti planned
Shimla, August 26
With the August 2000-like flash floods in the highly turbulent Sutlej becoming a distinct possibility, the state government is working on a long-term strategy to prevent the tribal areas of Kinnaur and Spiti from being cut off in such an eventuality.

Woman flees in-laws, reaches parents
Mandi, August 26
To escape torture by her in-laws, Kamlesh Kumari, 26, fled home on August 7 but was identified by the Mandi police and restored to her parents here today. Kamlesh’s reunion with her parents ended a 17 days long search by her parents. The family had almost exhausted its resources to locate her or her body.

Boy buried in mudslide near Basaal 
Solan, August 26
Mohal Lal(12) A student of Class IV of Government Primary School, Saproon, was buried alive in a mudslide near the debris dumping site of Gram Panchayat, Basaal, Subzi Mandi area, here today.

Murder accused sentenced for life
Sundernagar, August 26
The Fast-Track Judge, Mandi, Mr S.C. Kainthala, has convicted Ghanshyam Dass of Chullah village for murdering Janki Dass of Ropri village in 1997. He was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life and levied a fine of Rs 5,000.

Shimla to celebrate 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib
Shimla, August 26
A two-day function will be organised at The Ridge on September 11 and 12 to mark the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib. The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, here today. Celebrations will also be held at the local gurdwara by the Singh Sabha on September 1.

One dies of fever
Shimla, August 26
Though not a confirmed scrub typhus case, Som Dutt, a patient suffering from fever died at the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), here last night. Basically a tuberculosis patient, Som Dutt, hailing from Badsar in Hamirpur district, had been admitted to the IGMC for fever treatment.

Man crushed to death
Solan, August 26
A Yamunanagar resident, Ramswarup, was killed when a truck (Pb-13-M-1634) crushed him to death last night on the Mall road here. The driver, who fled from the spot, was nabbed at Dharampur. The truck was impounded by the police later.

Three killed in road mishap
Kulu, August 26
Three persons were killed and one was injured when a mini truck HP-49-0262, in which they were travelling, rolled down into a gorge on Wednesday evening at Jaan village about 20 km from here. Two of them died on the spot, whereas another succumbed to his injuries at the zonal hospital here.

Accident victim’s body found
Mandi, August 26
A body, identified as Chanden Singh, a resident of Nanglu Bor, Ferozabad, Uttar Pradesh, was recovered from the Pandoh dam on the Beas today, says the police. The body was handed over to his relative.

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Guler poll: BJP meeting to decide nominee
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 26
The district Kangra BJP will hold a meeting of party workers from the Guler Assembly segment to decide the name of the candidate to be fielded in the by-election which will be held on October 13 following Mr Chander Kumar’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections.

Former minister and BJP leader Shanta Kumar who had lost the Lok Sabha election to Mr Chander Kumar, who was the Forest minister, has already toured Guler and is expected to lead the party campaign here. “We are fully prepared to take on the Congress and the party candidate will be decided only after consulting booth-level party workers on August, 27,” said former minister Kishan Kapoor.

With the announcement of the election date, activity has picked up and both the Congress as well as the BJP are working out strategies to ensure their victory.

The BJP meeting will be held at Guler and will be presided over by the district chief and former IPH minister, Mr Ramesh Dhwala. Others who are expected to attend the meeting include Mr Kishan Kapoor and former MLA Vipin Parmar.

After the raw deal meted out to Kangra in the downsizing of the Cabinet, the BJP is in an upbeat mood and will make this its main plank. All three ministers, including Mr Vijai Singh Mankotia, Mrs Chandresh Kumari and Mr B.B.L. Butail, who were dropped, were from Kangra.

However, the dilemma being faced by the BJP this time is the absence of a formidable candidate who can take on the ruling party. “Mr Harbans Rana, a former minister, who has represented Guler twice has expressed his reluctance to contest the election for personal reasons. So, we are on the lookout for a new face,” said Mr Kapoor.

With the possibility of the Congress fielding either Mr Chander Kumar’s wife or son, the BJP will be in for a tough battle as he is well entrenched in Guler politics, having represented the constituency six times.

In the BJP those being considered for the party ticket are Mr Surinder Sharma, Kangra Kisan Morcha president, Mr Yog Raj, panchayat pradhan from Kotla, and the BJP mandal chief. The name of a practicing doctor is also being circulated in party circles.

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CM assures panic-stricken fruit growers
Our Correspondent

Kulu, August 26
Panic has gripped fruit growers in the district as the trucker’s strike is getting prolonged. Mohinder Upadhayaye, president, Upper Kulu Fruit Growers Association, said the growers were becoming restless as the dropping of apples had started and the fruit had to be plucked within a week in the lower region. He said a delegation of the growers had met the Chief Minister in Shimla on Tuesday and he had assured them all possible help for the transportation of their produce to the markets in the big cities.

The Chief Minister has also directed all Deputy Commissioners in the state to assure the safety of the trucks carrying fruits to Delhi and other cities and had requested the governments of Punjab and Haryana to cooperate in safeguarding the fruit-loaded trucks passing through these states.

Mr Upadhayaye informed about 30 per cent crop had been transported so far and the remaining 70 per cent had to be cleared within the next one month.

He thanked the truck unions of the district for their cooperation and told that on an average 60 to 70 trucks were being provided everyday for carrying the fruits during the past three days.aMeanwhile, the prices of vegetables in the district have shot up. Mandis where there is no check on the price control by the administration. A housewife told this correspondent that the vegetable which was costing Rs 10 per kg a week ago was now costing Rs 20 per kg today. She further said that no vegetable was available for less than Rs 14 a kilogram whereas at this time of the year the vegetables, usually were very cheap. The wholesalers at the mandis, however, said the truckers strike had led to the price rise as they had to send the vegetables on jeeps which was much more costlier. The District Food Controller (DFC) said the department would take action if prices of vegetables were increased enormously.

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Centre, HP Govt sign MoU on fiscal reforms
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 26
The MoU signed between the Himachal Pradesh government and the Central Government, on fiscal reforms, may hit employees of the state government if its recent order is taken into consideration.

Sources told The Tribune here this afternoon that the state government was planning to retire all those employees who had either completed 33 years in government service or attained the age of 58 years. An order to this effect might be issued any time.

Employees and officers were shocked to know about the state government’s new move for retiring them by January 1, 2005.

There was utter confusion in offices of the Police, Revenue and Forest Department when they were made aware of the state government’s new move. Incidentally, majority of the employees of these departments had joined the government services in 1971 and under the new order they were to be retired by January 1.

The source said all those who were likely to be affected by the state government’s proposed move were holding negotiations among themselves. Some of them were even planning to move the Himachal Pradesh High Court to preempt the proposed move of the state government.

No senior district-level officer was ready to comment on the issue. However, one of them admitted that the state government had sought the names and details of those who were completing 58 years of age on January 1, 2005, or had served the state government for 33 years.

At least 2,000 posts lying vacant for the past three years were to be scrapped by August 31. Besides this 2 per cent more posts were to be abolished by January 1 each year as per the conditions laid down in the MoU.

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Prime Minister’s behaviour shocking, says Dhumal
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 26
The Himachal Pradesh BJP leader and former Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal today expressed anguish over the impolite behaviour of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh with the senior NDA leaders, who had gone to call on him in New Delhi on Wednesday.

He said such a treatment from a person like Dr Manmohan Singh shocking.

Talking with The Tribune here this morning, he said the PM was working under pressure from the Congress and the Left parties and as such he was not behaving like a true democrat.

Mr Dhumal said the way the UPA leaders were behaving proved that they were all set to harm the cause of democratic norms in India.

The HP BJP leader said the party leaders and workers would resort to a nation-wide agitation to expose the real face of the UPA leaders, especially the Congress party leaders.

Mr Dhumal warned the people against the evil designs of the UPA, adding that they were creating 1975 like situation, when emergency had been declared in India by late Ms Indira Gandhi.

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Amend criminal law for uniform justice: Dhumal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 26
Demanding an amendment to the criminal law for ensuring uniform justice to all, former Chief Minister and BJP leader P.K. Dhumal yesterday said all cases of rioting, including the 1984 Sikh riot cases, the Mumbai blasts and insurgency-related cases in Jammu and Kashmir should be reopened as had been done in case of Gujarat.

In a statement issued here yesterday, Mr Dhumal said in case the amendment was not made, people would have the impression that a separate criminal law was followed when the victim was a Muslim and in case of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and others it was different.

He added that after the landmark judgements given by the Supreme Court and the observations made by the Human Rights Commission in case of Godhra and communal riots in Gujarat, including the Best Bakery case, the need for an amendment to the criminal law was being felt.

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Three killed, 24 injured in bus accident
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, August 26
Three persons were killed and 24 others injured, five seriously, when a private bus, travelling from Hamirpur to Awah Devi, fell down at Touni Devi, about 15km from here this afternoon.

The bus was carrying about 45 passengers. While two persons, who were trapped under the rear tyre of the bus, died on the spot, the third person lost his life at the Touni Devi hospital.

Eye witnesses said the accident took place as the driver lost control while negotiating a curve and the bus rolled down.

The deceased were identified as Ashok and Rattan from Akhnoor district in Jammu and Kashmir and Narain Singh of Hamirpur district.

All injured were admitted to Touni Devi Hospital. However, five persons who sustained serious injuries, were later shifted to Hamirpur Hospital.

The SDM, Mr Narendra Sharma and the DSP, Mr Krishan Gopal Kapoor, were among those who reached the spot along with teams of the Department of Health, Home Guards and the police to take part in the rescue and relief operations.

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Villagers seek release of Indian hostages
Our correspondent

Una, August 26
More than 400 men, women and youths belonging to Dehlan village, 10 km from here, along with pradhans of Gram Panchayats of Upper Dehlan, Lower Dehlan, Behdala, Jakhera, Vangarh, Bharolian Kalan, Bharolian Khurd and Badhar took out a protest march in Una today. They were protesting against delay in the release of three Indian drivers kept hostage in Iraq. Two of the hostages — Antaryami and Tilak Raj belong to villages in Una district.

A memorandum signed by the Gram Panchayat pradhan was presented to the Deputy Commissioner, Una, Mr Rajneesh Kumar. It will be forwarded to Foreign Minister, Home Minister and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

According to the memorandum the Central Government had not taken adequate measures to secure the release of the hostages. The protesters requested the Centre to take immediate steps in this regard.

However, no slogans were raised by the protesters keeping in view of the death of six youths of Una in an accident yesterday.

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Badaur Shahar passed by
Chander Shekhar Sharma

Badaur Shahar, August 26
Once the main trading centre for the interiors areas of Kangra and Mandi district Badaur Shahar is crying for attention.

Located on the left bank of the Beas, residents of the small town hope that it will again attract the attention of the people crossing through the area to Hamirpur, Joginder Nagar and Palampur.

There was a time when the means of communication in the area were poor and people had to cross the river with the help of boats. At that time, business used to flourish here and this area was the main market for the Sandhole area of Sarkaghat subdivision of Mandi district and most parts of Hamirpur district adjoining the belt between Touni Devi to Kakker and from here to Sujanpur Tihra.

However, after the road network was completed, the focus shifted to nearby Sandhole. People now prefer Sandhole for getting the items of their daily needs, most houses and shops located in the small town area a shambles.

However, this area is still known for fish food due to its location on the bank of the Beas. There are more than 36 licence-holders who catch fish from the river.

Suresh Kumar, Bhoori Singh and Vijay Kumar, who run small halwais shops and hotels, told The Tribune that people visit the area in the evening and the morning for getting fish. They mainly relish mahasheer, sighara, saloi and dhamber varieties found in the Beas waters.

The residents are hopeful that with the construction of a high-level bridge nearby, their business will again flourish and they will not have to sit idle.

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Ropeway: HC notices to Chief Secretary, 2 others
Our Legal Correspondent

Shimla, August 26
The Himachal High Court yesterday issued notices to the Chief Secretary, the Secretary (Tourism) and the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, on a petition filed by a local resident, Mr Raj Chauhan, for the construction of a ropeway from Hotel Shivalik to Jakhoo temple.

While issuing the notices, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice V.K. Gupta and Mr Justice M.R. Verma further directed the respondents to file their replies within 10 days.

The petitioner alleged the state government was not starting those projects and schemes which had been framed to provide the best facilities to the tourists visiting Shimla.

The petitioner further alleged that even the Government of India had accorded environmental clearance for the construction of the ropeway and the Infrastructure Development Board had also granted approval for this project.

Moreover, the Government of India had also released Rs 3 crore for this purpose. Despite the clearance of the project by the state government till now nothing had been done. The petitioner prayed that the state government be directed to start the construction of this ropeway immediately.

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New road link to Kinnaur, Spiti planned
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 26
With the August 2000-like flash floods in the highly turbulent Sutlej becoming a distinct possibility, the state government is working on a long-term strategy to prevent the tribal areas of Kinnaur and Spiti from being cut off in such an eventuality.

The existing National Highway 22, which provides the only road link to these areas, is highly prone to damage due to floods. It runs close to the river and crosses it six times between Wangtu and Khab. Its vulnerability was exposed during the August 2000 floods, when 18 bridges on the river and stretches of the road, totalling about 20 km, were washed away. Consequently, large parts of the tribal belt remained cut off for almost a year.

The flood threat in the wake of the formation of a lake in Tibet due to the blockage of Parchu, a tributary of the Sutlej, has awakened the government to the need of constructing an alternative road, particularly for the 100 km stretch from Wangtu to Khab. There is hardly any population along the river in Spiti and Kinnaur as most of the villages are located high on the hill slopes. The main concern is the highway which is well within the flood zone. It has bridges over the Sutlej at Wangtu, Karcham, Shong Tong, Riba, Khadra and Khab, all of which were wiped out in the August 2000 floods.

The government has decided to build on priority an alternative road that would not only avoid crossing the river but also help link some major villages. The road will bifurcate from the existing highway after the Wangtu bridge and pass through Karcham, Peo, Pangi, Thopan, Rarang and Kirang Khad on the right bank before rejoining it. The 40 km parallel road will be mostly aligned along the abandoned old Hindustan-Tibet Road.

Mr Subhash Negi, Principal Secretary, PWD, say the new road would cost about Rs 20 crore. Some portions of the old Hindustan-Tibet Road were made traffic worthy after the August 2000 floods, but now the entire road would be completed in the shortest possible time to provide a reliable link.

The government also plans to build an alternative road to bypass the treacherous hill terrain around the Malling Nullah, which has been constantly on the slide for the past about seven years. The road remains blocked due to unending landslips for months together.

The Border Road Organisation, which maintains the highway beyond Wangtu, has decided to change the alignment and take the road high over the hill from Nako to Chango to circumvent the Malling Nullah.

The new alignment will make the road much longer and take it far from the existing one. 

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Woman flees in-laws, reaches parents
Tribune News Service

Mandi, August 26
To escape torture by her in-laws, Kamlesh Kumari, 26, fled home on August 7 but was identified by the Mandi police and restored to her parents here today. Kamlesh’s reunion with her parents ended a 17 days long search by her parents. The family had almost exhausted its resources to locate her or her body.

Narrating her tale of woes, Kamlesh said she fled her in-laws home to escape torture and boarded a Sundarnagar bound bus. As she was not having any money the lady sitting next to her bought her a ticket. Kamlesh reached Mandi at night and approached Ms Sunita who runs a dhaba in town and narrated her tale of woes. She wanted to end her life as she was tortured by her in-laws including husband Surinder Kumar of Ghumarwein in Bilaspur district.

While her parents kept in searching for her Kamlesh went underground with Sunita.

The SHO, Mandi, Sadar, Mr Naresh Sharma said Kamlesh must have nursed suicidal tendency and was terrified till today. But she was comforted by the woman who disclosed the address of her parents yesterday and informed the police as well.

Meanwhile, the Ghumarwein police has already registered a case of kidnapping under Section 364 of the IPC on the complaint of Kamlesh’s father, Mr K.L. Vohra on August 9, when she disappeared from her in-laws’ house.

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Boy buried in mudslide near Basaal 
Our Correspondent

Solan, August 26
Mohal Lal(12) A student of Class IV of Government Primary School, Saproon, was buried alive in a mudslide near the debris dumping site of Gram Panchayat, Basaal, Subzi Mandi area, here today.

The incident took place at 8-30 am when Mohan Lal along with his younger brother, Kalu and a friend were going to the school.

Kalu and their friend escaped as they were over 20 to 30 feet behind Mohan Lal.

He saw a huge chunk of mud breaking loose and falling on his brother. Another eyewitness claimed that he had seen Mohan Lal being buried neck deep in the mass of mud when another chunk of the hill broke loose and hurled the boy towards the khud.

The hue and cry raised by Kalu and eyewitness attracted the attention of the locals who informed the police and the zonal hospital authorities immediately .

Dr. R.P. Sahni and Mr Rajesh Kashyap of the zonal hospital were first to reach the spot. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rajesh Kumar, immediately informed the police, the Homeguard and fire brigade personnel. An Army unit rushed 60 jawans to strengthen the rescue operations.

The amount of the mudslide was so huge that 350 fully trained Army and paramilitary personnel could not clear it even after six hours of organised digging.

The Deputy Commi-ssioner announced an exgratia payment of Rs 10,000 to Mr Dhani Ram, father of Mohan Lal. 

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Murder accused sentenced for life
Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, August 26
The Fast-Track Judge, Mandi, Mr S.C. Kainthala, has convicted Ghanshyam Dass of Chullah village for murdering Janki Dass of Ropri village in 1997. He was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life and levied a fine of Rs 5,000.

The court, however, acquitted four other persons, Tara Chand, Kaura Devi, Rattan Chand and Kishori Lal, all residents of Chullah village.

The prosecution mainly relied upon the dying declaration and other circumstantial evidence to prove its case and examined 17 witnesses.

The court held that the prosecution was able to prove the case against the convict. However, the case against the other accused was not proved due to lack of 
evidence.

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Shimla to celebrate 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 26
A two-day function will be organised at The Ridge on September 11 and 12 to mark the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib.

The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, here today. Celebrations will also be held at the local gurdwara by the Singh Sabha on September 1.

The Chief Minister directed the authorities to illuminate the Municipal Corporation building where the function would be organised and make proper arrangements, including maintenance of cleanliness, for the celebrations.

A subcommittee, comprising the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, the Municipal Commissioner and other officers, was set up to oversee the arrangements.

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One dies of fever
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 26
Though not a confirmed scrub typhus case, Som Dutt, a patient suffering from fever died at the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), here last night. Basically a tuberculosis patient, Som Dutt, hailing from Badsar in Hamirpur district, had been admitted to the IGMC for fever treatment. “No doubt he was suffering from fever but it cannot be labeled as a scrub typhus death as his Weil Felix test had come negative,” explained Prof L.S. Pal, Principal, IGMC.

Prof Pal, however, added that while 50 per cent of the patients test posivite for the Weil Felix test in the second week of the disease, the other 50 per cent might give a negative reading even when they have acquired the infection.

Prof Pal, said during the past 24 hours, five new fever cases had been admitted to the IGMC. Out of these, while two each are from Solan and Shimla, one belongs to Kullu.

Doctors at the IGMC said majority of the patients were responding well to the anti-biotic treatment being given to all the scrub typhus and fever cases.

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Man crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Solan, August 26
A Yamunanagar resident, Ramswarup, was killed when a truck (Pb-13-M-1634) crushed him to death last night on the Mall road here. The driver, who fled from the spot, was nabbed at Dharampur. The truck was impounded by the police later.

The truck driver, Darshan Singh, a resident of Sangrur was arrested and a case under Sections 304-A and 279 of the IPC and 187 of the Motor Vehicles Act was registered against him.

The body of the deceased was sent for a post-mortem to the local district hospital.

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Three killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Kulu, August 26
Three persons were killed and one was injured when a mini truck HP-49-0262, in which they were travelling, rolled down into a gorge on Wednesday evening at Jaan village about 20 km from here. Two of them died on the spot, whereas another succumbed to his injuries at the zonal hospital here.

The dead were identified as Dina Nath (34) of Jagatsukh village, Chaman Lal (17) and Tara Chand, both of Bagianda village. The condition of the injured Puran Chand was reported to be critical.

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Accident victim’s body found
Tribune News Service

Mandi, August 26
A body, identified as Chanden Singh, a resident of Nanglu Bor, Ferozabad, Uttar Pradesh, was recovered from the Pandoh dam on the Beas today, says the police. The body was handed over to his relative .

The deceased was one of those 16 persons who were feared killed in the bus accident last week after the private bus fell into the Beas river. Five bodies were recovered while rest of them were feared washed away.

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