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32 in race for posts in power panel
Shimla, January 9
Several serving and retired officers, including six senior engineers of the state power board, are in race for the coveted posts of Chairperson and members of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, which is being reconstituted.

Cong wins ZP poll in Shimla, Chamba
Shimla, January 9
The Congress retained its hold over the Shimla, Chamba and Sirmaur Zila Parishads for which elections were held today. The BJP which bagged the Hamirpur Zila Parishad, alleged that the elections in Kangra, Mandi, Kullu and Kinnaur were postponed as the Congress feared that their candidates would not be able to register victory.

Develop Pong reservoir for sports: Kokje
Kangra, January 9
Himachal Governor V.S. Kokje favoured developing Pong reservoir by creating international-level water sports facilities to boost tourism in the area.

Mr G.V.G. Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner, presents the Mother Teresa Excellence Award to Dr Virender Kumar Vats, eye specialist of Pragpar in Kangra district, for his services to people Mr G.V.G. Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner, presents the Mother Teresa Excellence Award to Dr Virender Kumar Vats, eye specialist of Pragpar in Kangra district, for his services to people.







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32 in race for posts in power panel
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 9
Several serving and retired officers, including six senior engineers of the state power board, are in race for the coveted posts of Chairperson and members of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, which is being reconstituted.

As many as 32 applications here already been received by the three-member selection committee, which is scheduled to meet on January 12. Headed by Mr Justice Roop Singh Thakur (retd), the committee has the Chief Secretary to the state government and Chairman of the Central Electricity Authority as members.

The committee will recommend six names, two for each post, to the government. In case a serving or retired judge figures in the recommended list clearance will have to be obtained from the High Court.

The government had recently decided to convert one-member commission into a three-member body.

Mr H.S. Thakur, a former member of the state electricity board, Mr P.T. Singla, adviser to the board, Mr I.C. Sharma and Mr D.N. Bansal, both members of the board, are among the engineers who are in the fray.

Mr S.K. Garg of the Indian Economic Service, and some other middle rung officers are also in the race. So far no senior bureaucrat from the state has applied but reports are in circulation that the post of the Chairman may go to a bureaucrat.

The government had been locked in a protracted legal battle with Mr S.S. Gupta, who was initially appointed a member and later made the Chairman of the one-member commission. His appointment as the Chairperson of the commission was quashed by the state High Court. However, Mr Gupta challenged the order in the Supreme Court, which stayed its operation. Mr Gupta’s term as Chairman was to expire on July 12, 2006 but the government retired him on January 5,2006, the day when his term as member expired. The Supreme Court allowed the government to reconstitute the commission and fixed the case for January 13. The meeting of the selection committee is taking place a day before the court hearing.

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Cong wins ZP poll in Shimla, Chamba
Tribune Reporters

Shimla, January 9
The Congress retained its hold over the Shimla, Chamba and Sirmaur Zila Parishads for which elections were held today.

The BJP which bagged the Hamirpur Zila Parishad, alleged that the elections in Kangra, Mandi, Kullu and Kinnaur were postponed as the Congress feared that their candidates would not be able to register victory.

In Shimla district, Mrs Chanderprabha Negi, who had won the election from Sarahan ward in Rampur, defeated Mr Lal Chand for the post of chairperson. Mrs Negi secured 17 votes, while the remaining six went to Mr Lal Chand. Mr Satyadev Sharma, representing Anandpur ward of Shimla, was unanimously elected as vice-chairperson.

Senior Congress leaders, including Food and Supplies Minister, Singhi Ram, and Mr Rohit Thakur, Mr Rakesh Verma, Mr Sohan Lal and Mr Subhash Manglet, all legislators, were present on the occasion.

Hamirpur, the BJP member, Mrs Suniat Dhiman, was elected chairperson. The post of vice-chairman went to the BJP member, Mr Sandeep Chauhan.

Meanwhile, the BJP alleged that elections to many of the zila parishads were postponed by the administration under pressure from the political bosses as the Congress feared that it would lose the elections.

CHAMBA: The Congress continued to hold its sway in the Zila Parishad elections as well as to the posts of chairman and vice-chairman for the third consecutive term.

Mr Tilak Raj of Jiunta ward was elected chairman and Mr Dharam Singh Pathania of Snooh ward vice-chairman of the Zila Parishad, Chamba, here today.

The Animal Husbandry and Urban Development Minister, Mr Harsh Mahajan, expressed his happiness over winning both the posts of chairman and vice-chairman of the Zila Parishad by the Congress.

Meanwhile, in the Salooni Panchayat Samiti, Mr Nek Ram and Ms Kamla Thakur, both Congress-supported candidates, were elected chairman and vice-chairperson, respectively, as claimed by Mrs Asha Kumari, MLA from Banikhet.

In the Bhattiyat Panchayat Samiti, the post of chairperson was bagged by the Congress-supported candidate, Ms Pawna Devi, while the post of vice-chairman was won by the BJP-supported candidate, Mr Narinder Singh, BJP sources said.

However, the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the Panchayat Samitis of Chamba, Mehla, Bharmour and Tissa could not be elected for lack of quorum and the elections had to be put off till January 14.

NAHAN: Ms Manju Sharma of the Congress was elected chairperson of the Zila Parishad, Sirmaur, unopposed here on Monday.

Over the election of vice-chairman, the Congress members split in two groups. In a close contest Mr Amar Singh was declared winner by three votes.

A political drama had been going on for the past three days here as three Congress groups were lobbying for the post of chairperson of the Zila Parishad. Among three Mahila Congress leaders, Ms Pariksha Chauhan was the front-runner. She defeated the wife of former chairman and BJP leader Chander Mohan Thakur in Shilanji ward.

Mr Durga Singh Thakur, Congress leader from Rajgarh, was lobbying for his wife, Uma Thakur, and Congress leaders of Nahan and Renuka were lobbying for Ms Manju Sharma, who was elected from Dadahu ward. Members of the Shillai area were demanding vice-chairmanship in lieu of their support for the post of chairperson to either group.

After several meetings of the groups here, leaders could only convince Ms Uma Thakur to withdraw from the race. As per party sources, when the issue of chairmanship could not be resolved between Ms Pariksha Chauhan and Ms Manju Sharma, the Congress high command had to intervene and matter was decided in favour of Ms Manju Sharma.

DHARAMSALA: The ruling Congress Party on Monday suffered a jolt when its desperate attempts to have its nominee elected as chairman of the Zila Parishad failed to materialise. This was despite the fact that the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, has been camping here and had assigned this task to two senior party leaders from the region, Mr Sat Mahajan and Mr G.S. Bali.

The meeting today had to be postponed to January 16 because of lack of quorum. Though the elections were not fought on party symbols, a total of 33 Zila Parishad members turned up at the meeting of the BJP camp. However, the BJP failed to achieve the figure of 38 to have the quorum out of the total seats of 56 in the district. On the other hand, the Congress had only 23 members.

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Develop Pong reservoir for sports: Kokje
Our Correspondent

Kangra, January 9
Himachal Governor V.S. Kokje favoured developing Pong reservoir by creating international-level water sports facilities to boost tourism in the area. He said that there was vast scope for water sports in Pong reservoir and Gobind Sagar and plans for their development should be prepared for the purpose.

The Governor was interacting with officers of the Regional Water Sports Centre after visiting Pong reservoir in Kangra district today. He also interacted with the trainees undergoing training in water sports.

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