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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

New Year eve hooliganism claims 2 lives
Shimla, January 1
Two persons died and many had to spend the night behind bars for creating hooliganism and vandalism on the New Year eve. Despite heavy deployment of police in every part of the town, a large number of revellers in a drunken state created ruckus, forcing the cops to put them behind bars in various police stations.

Mandi municipal poll may witness cross-voting
Mandi, January 1
With the Congress and the BJP lacking a majority in the 13-member house of the Mandi Municipal Council here, the four main contenders for the MMC’s top post have increased the chances of cross-voting whenever the councillors meet here to elect the new president and vice-president.

Literacy mission office inaugurated
Mandi, January 1
The general secretary of the NGO, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Dr Kuldip Singh Tanwar, today said that the BGVS would act as a bridge between the government extension agencies and the common man to achieve the targets of total sanitation and the National Rural Health Mission and literacy missions in the state and the country.

Artistes, writers to be honoured
Shimla, January 1
The Himachal Academy of Art, Culture and Languages has decided to honour Mr Het Ram Tanwar, an artiste from Kunihar in folk music, and a local classical dancer, Mrs Ila Pande.


YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Mandi
Shimla
Sundernagar


EARLIER STORIES

 
Tibet campaign may boil over after Dalai Lama.

(28k, 56k)

Lakes declared Ramsar sites
Shimla, January 1
The Renuka and Chandertal lakes have been declared as Ramsar sites, making the two wetlands eligible for international funding under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Gurdaspur residents convicted
Chamba, January 1
Mr J.S. Mahanta, Sessions Judge, Chamba, has convicted Dheeraj Verma and Deepak Verma of Gurdaspur for murdering Kamni Verma and her maternal uncle Rakesh Kumar on July 28, 2003, in Chamba.

Blood donated for 140th time
Chamba, January 1
An eminent blood donor of the Chamba region, Mr Abdul Ghani, today donated blood to the local blood bank in the Zonal Hospital for the 140th time. Fifty-one-year old Ghani set a record of donating blood, measuring 49,000 milliliters, during a period of 25 years.

Samiti members take oath
Sundernagar, January 1
The newly elected members of the Panchayat Samiti, Sundernagar, were administered the oath of office at the BDO office here yesterday. Mr Pannkaj Rai, SDM, administered the oath to all 27 newly elected members in a simple function held at the BDO office.
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New Year eve hooliganism claims 2 lives
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 1
Two persons died and many had to spend the night behind bars for creating hooliganism and vandalism on the New Year eve.

Despite heavy deployment of police in every part of the town, a large number of revellers in a drunken state created ruckus, forcing the cops to put them behind bars in various police stations.

Bihari labourer, Suresh Kumar died after he fell off from a building in an inebriated condition in Kasumpti while the police is trying to identify the body of a person who fell and died in the Talland area, near Chhotta Shimla.

The police which found the address of a person from Rampur in his pocket is trying to establish contact so that the deceased can be identified.

Nearly 50 persons, mostly young, had to spend night in the lock-up at Chhotta Shimla, Boileauganj and Sadar police stations. The police however, let them off in the morning without registering cases as all of them were from outside places.

The crowd, which had assembled at the Ridge too created a lot of problem as a drunk youth from Punjab got on to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

The police pulled him down but a large number of youth present there got into a scuffle with the police and tried to save the youth.

The police was able to control the situation and took the youth in custody. He has been booked under Sections 7 and 51 of the IPC.

Many were stranded due to haphazard parking of vehicles. Celebrations in most of the hotels passed off peacefully as artistes from Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh regaled the revellers.

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Mandi municipal poll may witness cross-voting
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Mandi, January 1
With the Congress and the BJP lacking a majority in the 13-member house of the Mandi Municipal Council (MMC) here, the four main contenders for the MMC’s top post have increased the chances of cross-voting whenever the councillors meet here to elect the new president and vice-president.

But this time, the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, has stakes as he would ensure that “his men “ hold key posts to set up the “right pitch” for the next Assembly elections in 2007-08.

“More so, his wife Mrs Pratibha Singh is the Lok Sabha MP from Mandi,” revealed insiders.

Even the IPH Minister, Mr Kaul Singh Thakur, and the former Telecom Minister and Mandi Sadar MLA, Mr Sukh Ram, both local residents, but political rivals, are out to lobby for their own “loyalists”.

The Congress, which claims seven councillors, the BJP, which claims six face factionalism that has increased the chances of cross-voting whenever the house sits to elect its new office-bearers.

Since the BJP has no majority in the house, it is exploiting rival groups within the pro-Congress councillors - one group headed by Mr Anand Behal, a pro-Virbhadra supporter and another headed by Ms Sushila Sonkhla, the former MMC President, who is pro-Sukh Ram.

The former MMC president, Mr Pushp Raj, a pro-Congress councillor is trying to woo three new councillors to capture the top post.

But the Ms Sonkhla group that also includes a pro-BJP councillor Mr HR Vaidya, the former vice-president is tooth and nail against him.

The BJP can all but bargain for the vice-president’s post as it has as many as four councillors toeing the party line.

Mr Vaidya and Mr Anil Kapur are rivals within the BJP, which has enhanced the chances of cross-voting, revealed insiders.

But Mr Sukh Ram is opposing Mr Raj and wants his supporter, Ms Sonkhla at the post. At this Mr Behal may emerge as a “non-controversial choice within the Congress,” revealed insiders.

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Literacy mission office inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Mandi, January 1
The general secretary of the NGO, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS), Dr Kuldip Singh Tanwar, today said that the BGVS would act as a bridge between the government extension agencies and the common man to achieve the targets of total sanitation and the National Rural Health Mission and literacy missions in the state and the country.

Talking to reporters after the inauguration of the Saksharta Samiti Office here today by Deputy Commissioner Subhashis Panda, Dr Tanwar said the BGVS had taken up the pending project of continuing education (CE) with both the state government and the HRD Ministry. “The Chief Minister is positive and ready to raise its share to get this money lest it gets lapsed. Most states have got the CE funds,” he added.

Dr Tanwar said the BGVS would do the pilot study to develop a framework for creating the right atmosphere to implement the National Rural Health Mission and Total Sanitation programmes in the state, for which the Himachal Gyan Vigyan Samiti(HGVS), an NGO, was working with the district administration.

Mr Subhashis Panda said the Sakasharta Samiti would work in unison with the government agencies to achieve the targets of health, literacy and other sanitation missions in the district.

When asked how the BGVS would take science to the common man, Dr Tanwar said small scientific inputs helped grow off-season vegetables and encouraged animal husbandry. The HGVS would provide a sustained flow of input from its SRC experts — be it sanitation or national health mission, as the government extension agencies were a failure in doing that, he claimed.

He said the World Bank and the IMF were encouraging the shutting down of the extension services, as most of the government posts were not being filled. “With its over two lakh volunteers, the BGVS is active in 20 states doing what government agencies have failed to do — providing critical inputs to farmers, gram panchayats and other Panchyati Raj institutions,” he said.

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Artistes, writers to be honoured
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 1
The Himachal Academy of Art, Culture and Languages has decided to honour Mr Het Ram Tanwar, an artiste from Kunihar in folk music, and a local classical dancer, Mrs Ila Pande.

The secretary, Mr Sudershan Vashishth, said the academy conferred “Kala Samman” in the field of performing art and fine art and “Sahitya Samman” to writers on the basis of their books published in the past three years.

Mr Prakash Chand Anand from Chamba will be honoured for traditional sculpture for the year 2002 and Mr Sukhdas, a painter from tribal area of Lahaul, will be given an award for painting.

The “Sahitya Samman” for the category of Pahari poetry for the year 1999 will be conferred on Mrs Sudershan Dogra (Parwanoo) for her poetry collection, “Sooraje Ri Pehli Kiran”. Under the category for Hindi poetry, Dr Om Prakash Saraswat will be honoured for his poetry collection, “Din Gulab Hone Do” for the year 1999.

Mr Sansar Chand Prabhakar (Fatehpur-Kangra) will be honoured for his poetry collection “Pralay Khand” for the year 2000. Dr Sushil Kumar Phull (Palampur) will be awarded in the category of Hindi novel/story/play for his book, “U Singh Lapata Hai” for the year 2000. Mr Rajkumar Rakesh (Mandi) will be awarded for his novel “Haveli Se Bahar”, for the year 2001.

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Lakes declared Ramsar sites
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 1
The Renuka and Chandertal lakes have been declared as Ramsar sites, making the two wetlands eligible for international funding under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Stating this here yesterday, Mr Prabodh Saxena, Member Secretary, State Council for Science Technology and Environment Protection, said the government had formulated proposals for declaring important lakes as wetlands of national importance. “Initially, the three lakes — Renuka, Chandertal and Pong have been declared wetlands of national importance,” he informed.

He said that Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an inter-governmental treaty, which provides framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Mr Saxena said this is the only treaty which deals with a particular eco-system and the convention’s member countries cover all geographical regions of the planet.

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Gurdaspur residents convicted
Our Correspondent

Chamba, January 1
Mr J.S. Mahanta, Sessions Judge, Chamba, has convicted Dheeraj Verma and Deepak Verma of Gurdaspur for murdering Kamni Verma and her maternal uncle Rakesh Kumar on July 28, 2003, in Chamba.

The court on December 30 sentenced the convicts to life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000.

According to the prosecution, on July 28 the accused visited the house of victims. As Kamni came out of the room Dheeraj fired at her. On hearing the noise, her maternal uncle came out of the room. He again fired at him and at Kamni.

While Rakesh Kumar died at a local hospital, Kamni Verma was taken to Amritsar where she died on August 1.

The charges against the convicts were that Dheeraj wanted to marry Kamni but her parents and Rakesh Kumar refused his proposal. In order to take revenge, both the convicts murdered them.

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Blood donated for 140th time
Our Correspondent

Chamba, January 1
An eminent blood donor of the Chamba region, Mr Abdul Ghani, today donated blood to the local blood bank in the Zonal Hospital for the 140th time.

Fifty-one-year old Ghani set a record of donating blood, measuring 49,000 milliliters, during a period of 25 years.

Mr Ghani has been honoured for his services by various state and national-level non-government organisations on several occasions. He has also been honoured by Himachal Pradesh Governor Vishnu Kant Verma.

Mr Ghani, who is honorary secretary of the District Blood Donors Council, is also working as a volunteer for bringing awareness amongst the masses of this region about the health and environment programmes launched by the government. He appealed to the youth to come forward and join hands for bringing succour to the sick and helpless.

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Samiti members take oath

Sundernagar, January 1
The newly elected members of the Panchayat Samiti, Sundernagar, were administered the oath of office at the BDO office here yesterday.

Mr Pannkaj Rai, SDM, administered the oath to all 27 newly elected members in a simple function held at the BDO office.

At Mandi Mr P.R. Verma, SDM, administered the oath to all 33 newly elected members of the Panchayat Samiti , Mandi Sadar.

The elections of chairman and vice-chairman of different panchayat samitis would be held on January 7 at different blocks. — OC

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