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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

Fuel price hike to burden HRTC with Rs 10.5 cr
Solan, September 7
With the Ministry of Petroleum announcing a hike of Rs 2 and Rs 3 respectively in the prices of diesel and petrol the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) will face an annual burden of Rs 10.5 crore if there is no increase in bus fares.

Tourists stranded due to slow repair work
Mandi, September 7
Though the district administration, Lahaul-Spiti today installed the jhula across the Chandra river to facilitate the movement of the stranded passengers at Koksar in the valley, over 200-300 domestic and foreign tourists remained stranded at the damaged bridge for the third day today.

Teachers submit charter of demands
Shimla, September 7
Office-bearers of the Himachal Pradesh University Teachers Welfare Association today met the Vice-Chancellor, Dr L.R. Verma, and presented him a memorandum containing the long-pending demands of the teachers.

State gets exotic tree from China
Shimla, September 7
The Himalayan Forest Research Institute has introduced Paulownia fortunei, a fast growing exotic agro forestry species from China, in the hills of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Dewatering operation at Nathpa project
Shimla, September 7
Dewatering operations are on in the underground power house of the 1500-MW Nathpa-Jhakri Power Project, lower levels of which were submerged due to bursting of a lybrinth pipe of a generating unit.



YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Dharamsala
Mandi
Shimla
Solan


EARLIER STORIES
 

Youth dupes traders of Rs 3 lakh
Dharampur, September 7
A local youth had allegedly gone underground after getting over Rs 3 lakh from traders here. Raj Kumar (32) is alleged to have defrauded the traders on the pretext of returning them the money after getting his lottery money of Rs 60 lakh. He claimed to have won Rakhi Bumper lottery.

HPERC issues notice to power board
Parwanoo, September 7
The HP Electricity Regulatory Commission (HPERC) has issued a suo motu notice to the HP State Electricity Board over charging augmentation charges on new and extended power load here . The notice was issued for contravention of Sections 45, 46 and 47 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

Villager electrocuted
Kangra, September 7
A 35-year-old villager was electrocuted in Bhalol village in Badoh tehsil of this subdivision on Monday night, police said here yesterday.

Hike in water charges criticised
Chamba, September 7
The Chamba Citizens Progressive Council has criticised the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Minister, Mr Kaul Singh Thakur, for the recent unwarranted and unjustified enhancement of the water and sewerage charges.

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Fuel price hike to burden HRTC with Rs 10.5 cr
Ambika Sharma

Solan, September 7
With the Ministry of Petroleum announcing a hike of Rs 2 and Rs 3 respectively in the prices of diesel and petrol the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) will face an annual burden of Rs 10.5 crore if there is no increase in bus fares.

HRTCís MD Diljeet Dogra, said there was no proposal to hike bus fares at the moment. Expressing concern at the sharp hike in the diesel prices he said the 1,700 buses of the HRTC would face an annual burden of Rs 10.5 crore. With as many as 85 per cent buses plying in the non-profitable routes the HRTC was slated to face the maximum onslaught of this hike. This was done in view of the social obligations of the government to ply buses even on non-profitable routes where no private bus operator ventured to operate. The cumulative losses of the HRTC presently stood at Rs 350 crore. Mr G.S.Bali, Transport Minister was not available for comments.

Highly placed sources in the Transport Department said the total hike in diesel prices had gone up to Rs 2.65 in this month alone. A hike of Re 0.48 had been effected from September 1 and now another hike of Rs 2.17 was made by the Union Ministry. The operational cost of the HRTC was Rs 21.50 per km. The increase in rates of diesel since April 2003, when the fares were last revised, had put an additional burden of Rs 27 crore on the corporation. The officials of the Transport Department said efforts were being made to reduce expenditure by ensuring better fuel efficiency. Further as many as 95 employees had opted for voluntary retirement. The decision of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation to merge 50 per cent dearness allowance with the basic salary of employees had further entailed a burden of Rs 22 lakh per month on the corporation.

A section of private transporters said that the state government should constitute a committee comprising officials of the Transport Department, private bus as well as truck operators and they should review fares each time such hikes are brought about. Special road tax at the rate of Rs 6.70, Rs 5.75 and Rs 4.79 per km was charged respectively for the national highways, state highways and rural roads in the state from the private bus operators. An added 5 per cent tax on occupancy was further levied some time ago.

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Tourists stranded due to slow repair work
Tribune News Service

Mandi, September 7
Though the district administration, Lahaul-Spiti today installed the jhula across the Chandra river to facilitate the movement of the stranded passengers at Koksar in the valley, over 200-300 domestic and foreign tourists remained stranded at the damaged bridge for the third day today.

Reports from Koksar revealed here that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) stopped all the movements across the damaged bridge today when the two BRO labourers fell from the bridge and sustained serious injuries. Both have been referred to Keylong for treatment.

Expressing concern over the slow pace of repair work of the bridge, Mr Mittal, a tourist from Delhi, told this correspondent on phone from Lahaul that the BRO would take another week to repair the bridge. The sources from Keylong told The Tribune that most of the tourists have taken shelter in their vehicles or makeshifts dhabhas and private guest houses between Sissu and Koksar. These passengers have come from Leh and were their way to Delhi on their private or hired vehicles, they added.

The reports disclosed that the over 500 vehicles are stranded at Koksar from Keylong side, while over 50-100 vehicles are struck between Koksar and Gramphu from the Manali side.

The sources from Lahaul said that a team of army from Pathankot reached Koksar and decided to the stop the movement of people across the bridge.

Though the BRO, Commander, Mr K. B. Raju, BRO sources disclosed that the BRO did not have enough equipment to repair the bridge. Equipments was being procured from outside.

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Teachers submit charter of demands
Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 7
Office-bearers of the Himachal Pradesh University Teachers Welfare Association today met the Vice-Chancellor, Dr L.R. Verma, and presented him a memorandum containing the long-pending demands of the teachers.

According to Dr Sunil Gupta, general secretary of the association the vice-chancellor assured them that a case for review of the termination of three teachers would be put before the executive council and no transfer of teachers from one wing to another would be made till a clearcut policy was framed in his regard.

Regarding facilities to chairpersons, adjustment of advances and enhancement of research grants, the Vice-Chancellor said that a proposal would be sent to the Chancellor for streamlining the finances of the university. No contractual appointments would be made against the regular vacancies and all cases under the career advancement schemes would be cleared,

The Vice-Chancellor also informed the association that the two doctors for the university dispensary were being recruited immediately and one of them would be given earmarked accommodation on the campus.

It drew the attention of the vice-chancellor towards the poor maintenance of the teachersí houses.

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State gets exotic tree from China
Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 7
The Himalayan Forest Research Institute has introduced Paulownia fortunei, a fast growing exotic agro forestry species from China, in the hills of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The institute supplied quality seedlings of silver fir, spruce and deodar to the state Forest Department for field plantation. All these conifers are excellent timber species. It also planted 1000 seedlings of silver fir and spruce raised in root trainers, at Shilaroo in Shimla to evaluate their performance in forestry plantations for further recommendations to the forest departments.

Mr Surinder Kumar, Director of the institute, said here yesterday that about 500 quality seedlings of paulownia fortunei in the two states had been supplied to the Forest Department. It would help supplement the wood requirements for making boxes for fruits and vegetables besides providing fuel and fodder in future. Over 50 seedlings of the species were planted in the fields at Baragaon in Shimla district.

The institute also planted 25,000 quality seedlings of jatropha curcas, a bio-diesel yielding forestry species, to evaluate its performance in grassland, degraded land, bunds of agriculture fields and open forests of lower and mid Himalayan regions of Himachal Pradesh. Nursery and planting techniques would be demonstrated to the end users through these plantations to motivate the rural people in exploring the species for commercial purposes. Similarly, 1500 seedlings of wild apricot, chulli-oil yielding variety had been planted in the field to establish model plantations and extend nursery and plantation techniques of wild apricot to local communities in Himachal Pradesh.

To optimize the productivity and augement rural income, the institute has established different inter-cropping models of commercially important medicinal plants like aconitum heterophyllum (patish), useful in many stomach problems, angelica glauca (chora), picrorhiza kurooa (karu) and polygonatum verticillatum (salam mishri). 

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Dewatering operation at Nathpa project
Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 7
Dewatering operations are on in the underground power house of the 1500-MW Nathpa-Jhakri Power Project, lower levels of which were submerged due to bursting of a lybrinth pipe of a generating unit.

The level of water is receding gradually, while several more pumps are in the process of being put in operation.

A four-member team of experts, comprising Mr S.K. Dodeja, Managing Director, Narmada Hydro Development Corporation, Mr V.K. Abbey, Executive Director, and Mr S.K. Aggarwal, General Manager of the NHPC, and Mr P.C. Kureel, Deputy Director, Central Electricity Authority, had a detailed study of the power house today.

The team also had discussions with the Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Mr H.K. Sharma, and other senior officials of the project. A presentation on the technical details of the power house was made during the meeting.

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Youth dupes traders of Rs 3 lakh
Our Correspondent

Dharampur, September 7
A local youth had allegedly gone underground after getting over Rs 3 lakh from traders here. Raj Kumar (32) is alleged to have defrauded the traders on the pretext of returning them the money after getting his lottery money of Rs 60 lakh. He claimed to have won Rakhi Bumper lottery.

Out of the loan amount, he financed two Boleros from Chandigarh financers. He assured the financers to pay the first instalment on 1st of this month. However, on the same day he went missing. The financers, who reached the town to get money, have taken back vehicles after failing to find Raj Kumar.

On September 4, Raj Kumarís wife had lodged a complaint with police that her husband was missing. She has expressed doubt that traders were behind her husbandís disappearance. The three traders have approached the police on the matter.

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HPERC issues notice to power board
Our Correspondent

Parwanoo, September 7
The HP Electricity Regulatory Commission (HPERC) has issued a suo motu notice to the HP State Electricity Board over charging augmentation charges on new and extended power load here . The notice was issued for contravention of Sections 45, 46 and 47 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

A notice has also been served under Section 142 of the Act to the local industries association to attend the hearing listed for September 15. The notices were followed by the associationís correspondence with the HPERC over continuation of augmentation charges by the local Electricity Department .

In its plea to the commission, the association has expressed its displeasure over charging of augmentation charges by the Electricity Department over the new and extended power load. The HPERC (Recovery of expenditure for supply of electricity) Regulations, 2005, clearly specifies the nature and extent of the expenditure that a licencee can recover from a consumer.

However, nowhere in this regulation the recovery of augmentation charges has been allowed. This notification was already effective from this fiscal but the board at Parwanoo was still demanding augmentation charges at the rate of Rs 9,400 per 10 kw of new or extended load. The industrialists here were also not satisfied with following the new HPERC security deposit regulations by the board office here. 

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Villager electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Kangra, September 7
A 35-year-old villager was electrocuted in Bhalol village in Badoh tehsil of this subdivision on Monday night, police said here yesterday.

Kangra district police chief S.P. Singh said Madan Lal, 35, was trapped in a live wire accidentally and he died on the spot. He said the police recovered the body of the deceased and sent it for post mortem to Dr R.P. Government Medical College Hospital, Dharamsala.

He said investigation was in progress. Meanwhile, residents of the village demanded adequate compensation to the next kin of the deceased, as he was the only bread earner of the family. 

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Hike in water charges criticised
Our Correspondent

Chamba, September 7
The Chamba Citizens Progressive Council has criticised the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Minister, Mr Kaul Singh Thakur, for the recent unwarranted and unjustified enhancement of the water and sewerage charges.

In a press statement released here today, Mr D.N. Pardesi, president of the Chamba Citizens Progressive Council, regretted that such an exorbitant and abnormal increase in the taxation chapter, especially on the drinking water, they had never seen or heard even in the times of British rule in India.

As 50 times increase in the installation charges of sewerage and 10 times more increase in the monthly rental of sewerage, besides more than double the charges of monthly water supply and compulsorily getting the water meters fixed by each consumer, have hit the common man badly, Mr Pardesi alleged.

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