R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S


Woman duped: Sheenu Gupta was duped of her jewellery by three persons impersonating as astrologers at Gharsana township in neighbouring Sriganganagar on Saturday. According to her, she was somehow convinced by the “astrologers” on Thursday that her husband faced severe danger to his life. When she asked for a remedy, they told her to bring Rs 21,000 in cash and gold ornaments for astrological treatment. Sheenu arranged Rs 15,000 in cash, a gold chain, a bracelet and some rings and went to them on Friday and handed over the bag to the astrologers. The astrologer asked her to keep her eyes closed for five minutes so that the cash and jewellery could be treated to save her husband. The astrologer reportedly advised her to open the bag only on Saturday. When she opened the bag on Saturday she found pieces of dry fruits and flour-made pedas in the bag. The police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC. 

Journalist bereaved
: Talwinder Kaur, wife of Dilbagh Singh Gill, a correspondent of the Punjabi Tribune, died in Chandigarh on Saturday. She was suffering from cancer. She is survived by two sons. The staff of The Tribune, at Amritsar and the Amritsar Working Journalists Association expressed their condolences.

Development scheme
: Under the barren land development scheme, about 5,000 hectares of land falling in 48 villages would be fertilised in the district. Giving details, Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, said the Central Government has released a sum of Rs 41.25 lakh as first instalment for the purpose. In the first step, small check dams on the choes in the Shivalik hills in 16 villages out of the 48 villages brought under the scheme, are being constructed for preservation of the soil and irrigation water resources. 



Prize distribution
: The Haryana School Education Board has decided to hold its annual prize distribution function at Ambala to honour those students who have got first and second position in the examinations conducted by the Board in the state for the year 2005.

Couple booked for cheating
: The police has booked a couple for cheating a person of Rs 8 lakh on the pretext of sending him to a foreign country. According to information, Mr Bakshish Singh, a resident of Salimpur of this district, lodged a complaint with the police that he had paid Rs 8 lakh to Dalbir Singh and his wife Manjeet Kaur on April 30, 2001 as they had promised to send him to England. But when they failed to keep their promise, he asked them to return his money. The complainant has alleged that whenever he went to the couple, they threatened him with dire consequences. The police has registered a case and started investigation.

Dowry cases registered: The police has registered two cases under the Anti-Dowry Act on the directions of the court . Nine persons, including four women have been booked in these cases. In the first case Raj Rani of Simla village filed a complaint in the court that she was married to Surinder of Sherdha village on March 8, 1996. But some time after the marriage, her in-laws started harassing her for want of more dowry. After failing to get a positive response from the police, the complainant filed a complaint in the court and following the directions of court, the police registered a case against her husband and her in-laws. In another case, Ms Asha Rani of Teek village filed a complaint against her husband Roshan, father-in-law Chander Bhan, mother-in-law Bohti Devi, all residents of Gogria village of Karnal district and alleged that she was being harassed by them for want of more dowry. The police has registered a case. 

Donation for quake-hit
: The students and staff of Guru Nanak Khalsa College here have donated Rs 21,000 to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the earthquake victims in Jammu and Kashmir in response to an appeal by The Tribune.

Panchayat byelection
: Byelections to the vacant posts of seven panches — two of the Shahbazpur Khalsa village panchayat and one each of the Bharampur Bharangi, Chita Doongra, Zainabad, Mamaria Asampur and Pithrawas villages as well as for the vacant posts of Sarpanch in Balwari village and the members of Ward 21 of the block panchayat samiti of Jatusana will be held on December 18, according to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Returning Officer (Panchayat elections), Mr Mahender Kumar.

: Chemicals worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a devastating fire which broke out in a chemical factory on the Kharkhauda-Delhi road near Saidpur village, about 25 km from here, on Saturday. According to a report, the fire was brought under control by fire brigade personnel within two hours. However, no loss of life was reported in the factory.

Cables stolen: At least 6,400-metre-long power cable was stolen from the Kharkhauda and Jharot feeders on Saturday. Mr Dharamvir, SDO, UHBVN, has lodged a complaint with the Kharkhauda police station in this regard.

Farmers’ grievances: Mr Suresh Kumar, Tehsildar of Ganaur, visited Pabnera village along the Yamuna, about 25 km from here, on Sunday and heard the grievances of the farmers in connection with the dispute over the agricultural land with the farmers of Kutana village in Uttar Pradesh. According to a report, the Tehsildar, who was accompanied by the officials of the Revenue Department, including Kanoongo and Patwari, demarcated the disputed land and found that the owners of the land had sown wheat crop on it. He directed the farmers not to occupy the land which is in possession of the UP farmers. He assured the farmers of Pabnera village that the dispute would be resolved before February 26 next year as directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The farmers of UP have alleged that the farmers of Haryana had illegally occupied 178 acres of agricultural land owned by them.

BKU holds panchayat: The district unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) organised a panchayat at Sewli village, about15km from here, on Sunday to air the grievences of the farmers against the acquisition of land at low price by the state government for the development of Sectors 65, 66, 67 and 68, besides Rajiv Gandhi Education City near Kundli village along the National Highway No 1 passing through the district. The meeting of the Panchayat adopted a resolution urging the state government to grant the compensation of Rs 50 lakh per acre for the land to be acquired by it, as the private builders had been offering Rs 1 crore per acre of land to the farmers. 

Minor gangraped: A 15-year-old girl was gangraped near Bahalgarh village, about 10 km from here, today. The girl belonged to Liwaspur village and was forcibly taken away and gangraped by a group of youths. The police has registered a case and the girl was medically examined at the Civil Hospital, Sonepat. The police has launched a massive hunt to apprehend the culprits.



Report sought
: The government has directed the Department of Town and Country Planning to prepare a draft on Dalhousie’s heritage so that old structures of architectural and historical value could be preserved, an official spokesman said here today. The listing of ancient buildings and the process to identify the buildings was under way.

CM’s decision hailed
: NSUI state president Kewal Singh Pathania on Sunday welcomed the decision of the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, to hold the winter session of the Vidhan Sabha in Dharamsala. Addressing a press conference, he said the decision proved that the Chief Minister was committed to uniform development of the state.

Doctor awarded
: Dr Prem Deep Lal was conferred with the National Achievement Award for Health Excellence 2005 in New Delhi on December 1. Mr M.B. Rajeshvaran, Union Planning Minister, Dr GVG Krishnamurthi, Chief Election Commissioner, and a former Governor Mr Bhisham Narayan Singh jointly presented this award to Dr Lal along with 21 other doctors from all over the country.



Beckoning Bollywood

The Baragarh Estate in the heart of Naggar in Kulu valley is no ordinary farm. It is a favourite haunt of not only filmstars but also top politicians from Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh.

Owned by the Khullars, the estate commands a view of 14 snow-capped peaks. The Khullars are promoting Kulu valley as an ideal shooting location for Bollywood.  

Among the stars who have visited the estate are Priyanka Chopra, Hrithik Roshan, and his father-director Rakesh Roshan, who has shot ‘Kkrish’, a sequel of ‘Koi Mil Gaya’, in the valley.

The other stars who visited the estate this year included Dharmendra, and his sons, Sunny Deol and Bobby. Director Yash Chopra and actor Manoj Bajpai have also been the Khullars’ guests.

Nakul Khullar, owner of the estate and a leading orchardist of the valley, says that even the local Pahari artists shoot their folk albums in the terraced garden of the estate.

Rohaan, the five-year-old son of the Khullars, receives the filmstars as if they are next-door friends. He seeks no autographs, but, yes, loves to receive toys from his friend Hrithik.

“My parents came here in 1885, and developed the farm subsequently”, says Nakul, who takes up the problems of the local villagers with the authorities from time to time. 

For the Khullars it has become a way of life to play host to the stars. “It is a pleasure to have the film stars over whenever they are shooting in the valley”, says Smita, Nakul’s wife.  This close contact with Bollywood stars even landed Nakul the role of a doctor in the film ‘Daraar’, a remake of ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ directed by Abbas Mustan in 1995.

But more than making inroads into Bollywood, Nakul is interested that the film industry gets connected to the valley through proper roads and better air links.

Pahari pakwaan

‘Siddoos’, a traditional Pahari steamed dish, is fast losing its popular appeal and the few public occasions where it makes an appearance are the Kulu Dasehra, Red Cross
melas and the like. But in recent times, ‘siddoos’, owing to its nutritive value in withstanding the hilly winter, has caught the fancy of festival organisers who are trying to popularise it.

Tara Chand, who has put this dish on his tourist menu at his resort near Katrain, in Kulu valley, claims to have got a good response. “I have already made sales worth Rs. 9000 this time, whereas during last year’s festival season, I sold ‘siddoos’ worth Rs 1.5 lakh.”

“This time, both the foreign and domestic tourists visiting Kulu in the festive season tried out this steamed pahari specialty,” he says.

“The ‘siddoos’ are eaten either with desi ghee or chutney”, adds his daughter-in-law, Rajni, who prepares and serves the dish fresh from the oven to the customers.

Sadly, while Punjabi and South Indian cuisines have come to occupy a dominant place on popular Indian menus, traditional Himachali dishes still lag behind. Earlier, the locals used to serve ‘siddoos’ along with ghee during marriages and important festivals, but not any longer. “Even the locals are forgetting their rich cuisine,” laments Rajni.

Dam(n) interesting

Even 42 years after it started functioning, the Bhakra Dam continues to attract a steady stream of visitors. An average of 2.5 lakh persons, including about 500 foreigners, come every year to see India’s first major hydro-electric project.

While the dam inspires awe, some facts about it evoke surprise among the visitors. Like the fact that though the Bhakra Dam is known to be situated at Nangal in Punjab, on one side it touches Bilaspur district of Himachal, while on the other side is the hilly state’s Una district. The dam, which is situated about 8 km from Nangal, derives its name from Bhakra village in Bilaspur district.

Besides, the lift that takes the tourists down 740 feet to 10 turbines is said to have been the fastest in Asia when the dam came into being. It has the capacity to carry 53 persons, the same as any roadways bus, and takes 58 seconds to cover the 740-feet distance to where the turbines are placed.

The quantity of concrete used for the construction of the dam is sufficient to build an 8- feet-wide road around the earth at the Equator.

These are some interesting points that visitors can ponder over as they go round this technological marvel. —Contributed by Kuldeep Chauhan and Kiran Deep


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