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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

All homeless will be given land: Virbhadra
Nahan, January 25
The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today promised to give land to all the homeless in the state. He announced that special powers would be given to the Deputy Commissioners of the state to enable them to grant two biswa of government land to the homeless to construct their own houses.

Agitators stop construction work at power project
Karcham (Kinnaur), January 25 Heeding the demand of local people, the Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corporation Limited has, for the time being, stopped construction work on the controversial 7,760-crore 1000-MW Karcham-Wangtoo- Hydroelectric Power Project, the largest private venture in hydroelectric power generation on the Sutlej.

Restoration of phone, power services sought
Kulu, January 25
Even after two weeks of snowfall electricity and telephone services in several villages in the Lug valley of this district have not been restored. The newly elected panches and sarpanches met the authorities concerned here yesterday demanding an early restoration of these essential services.

Snow, avalanches damage apple trees
Reckong Peo, January 25
There has been extensive damage to apple and other fruit trees in the mountainous areas of Kinnaur district due to the recent snowfall, landslides and avalanches.


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Rs 84 lakh for 8 pilot sites in Chamba dist
Chamba, January 25
Himachal Government has earmarked Rs 84 lakh for eight pilot sites in Chamba district identified under a four-year HP Forest Sector Reforms Project during the current year. The project has been launched by the Department for International Development of United Kingdom in partnership with Government of India and Government of Himachal with an outlay of $ 8.247 millions.


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All homeless will be given land: Virbhadra
Our Correspondent

Nahan, January 25
The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today promised to give land to all the homeless in the state. He announced that special powers would be given to the Deputy Commissioners of the state to enable them to grant two biswa of government land to the homeless to construct their own houses.

The Chief Minister was addressing a mammoth public gathering on the occasion of the 36th statehood day function organised at the Municipal ground, Paonta Sahib, in the Sirmour district.

He lambasted the BJP for encouraging people to grab government land in the state. He said no responsible political party should take such steps which create law and order problem in the state.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said names of the genuine homeless persons, who don't have their own land to construct a house, would be decided by the local panchayats by calling Gram Sabha meetings. Such names would be forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner of the district who will allot two biswa of land to each of such needy persons without any undue favour to anybody.

He said while adopting the process of picking up the names of genuine families the panchayats should have to rise above the ‘political or factional considerations’, and their recommendations must be fair and impartial’, the CM stressed.

Mr Virbhadra Singh discussed in detail the development programmes being pursued by his government in the state. He said the state was marching ahead on the path of development on all fronts.

He said that all the hydro-electric projects in the state would be cleared by the state government within the next four months with a condition to give 70 per cent jobs to Himachalis in these projects.

The CM said the government was spending Rs 200 crore on providing road link to all the 240 panchayats of the state which were still waiting for a road link. With Rs 500 crore Central assistance, the government was going ahead with the project to provide drinking water to all 6,000 identified habitations in the state. He said the state was on the path to achieving 100 per cent literacy rate in the state which at present was over 71 per cent. Till date, the state government had opened over 15,000 education institutions in the state.

The Chief Minister announced that a polytechnic college would be opened in the Sirmour district. He added that the polytechnic would be functional from the next academic session. He said keeping in view the industrial growth in the district such an institute had become the need of the hour.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said one ITI would be opened in every Assembly constituency in a phased manner to impart technical education to unemployed youth of the state to enable them to earn their own livelihood in the government or private sector.

Earlier, the Chief Minister unfurled the national flag at the Municipal ground and took the salute of an impressive march past by the jawans of the Himachal Police, Home Guards, NCC and Scout cadets, led by DSP Arvind Negi. A colourful cultural programme was also presented on this occasion.

Mr G.R. Musafir, Speaker, HP Vidhan Sabha, Harsh Chauhan, Sukh Ram Chaudhry, Prem Singh, all MLAs, Kush Parmar, Ajay Bhahadur Singh (both ex-MLAs) and Rattan Singh ex-Parliament Secretary and district Congress president were also present at the function.

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Agitators stop construction work at power project
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Karcham (Kinnaur), January 25
Heeding the demand of local people, the Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corporation Limited has, for the time being, stopped construction work on the controversial 7,760-crore 1000-MW Karcham-Wangtoo- Hydroelectric Power Project, the largest private venture in hydroelectric power generation on the Sutlej.

People of adjoining villages have been protesting against the hydroelectric power project ever since Jaypees began construction work in December, last year. They were on a hunger strike for the past two weeks.

Last evening taking a tough stand, hundreds of people marched towards the construction site to forcibly stop construction work but before the agitated people reached the site, Jaypees packed up their machinery and asked the engineers and work force to stop the construction work.

The Tribune tried to contact the local officials of Jaypees for their version on this issue but no one came forward to record their statement without assigning any reason.

Meanwhile, the ongoing agitation against the Japyees is being closely monitored by the district administration of Kinnuar. “The administration sent the local Sub Divisional Magistrate to meet local leaders on a number of occasions to solve the matter but the agitated people were adamant to stop construction work on this project”, said Dr Amandeep Garg, District Magistrate, Kinnaur.

On the other hand, the local unit of the state intelligence has also been sending a day-to-day detailed report of the agitation against Jaypees to the state government. However, no special force has been deployed by the police authorities in the area to avoid any untoward incident.

It may be mentioned that during last month, people of Pooh had ransacked the office and machinery of Sutlej Jal Vidhyut Nigam (SJVN) and held captive the then officiating DM of Kinnaur, Captain JM Pathania, for many hours. Ultimately, the district administration was forced to call the Army to free the then officiating DM.

The people of Pooh are also protesting against the Khab-Shasho Hydropower Project being commissioned by the SJVN in their area rasing concerns over the environmental hazards.

Interestingly agitating people of Pooh and Karcham areas have recently joined hands to constitute a stronger pressure group in order to further strengthen their campaign against such hydro-power projects that, according to them, were ignoring environmental issues.

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Restoration of phone, power services sought
Our Correspondent

Kulu, January 25
Even after two weeks of snowfall electricity and telephone services in several villages in the Lug valley of this district have not been restored. The newly elected panches and sarpanches met the authorities concerned here yesterday demanding an early restoration of these essential services.

Mr Harish Thakur, pradhan, Bhaliyani Gram Panchayat, Mr Sunder Thakur, pradhan Dugilug Gram Panchayat, and many others told this correspondent that BSNL and HPSEB had been working at a snail’s pace and the people of the areas, particularly students, who have their final examinations in February, were facing problems. They revealed that more than 75 per cent of the landline telephones were not working.

Similarly, areas in the Dugilug Panchayat, Jathani, Gata-aage, Chchorpin, Liyani, Flan-I and Flan-II had been without electricity for the past two weeks. People of the areas said the power service lines and telephone cables had messed up and many poles had been broken. They had approached the departments concerned but to no avail. BSNL sources disclosed that the restoration work was being done on a war footing and telephone services would be restored in a day or so.

The HPSEB authorities said many villages were restored power supply within two days of disruption and the remaining villages would get regular power supply within two-three days.

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Snow, avalanches damage apple trees
Tribune News Service

Reckong Peo, January 25
There has been extensive damage to apple and other fruit trees in the mountainous areas of Kinnaur district due to the recent snowfall, landslides and avalanches.

Reports of damage to apple orchards and other fruit trees have come from the villages of Kafnu and Yangpa in Nichar subdivision, Sangla valley, Pangi, and a few villages in Kalpa subdivision besides a few areas of Pooh division in the district.

“There has also been a permanent loss of plant assets that will have to be rebuilt,” said Mrs Meena Kumari Negi, a newly elected member of the Zila Parishad.

Giving details of losses in her village, Pangi, she said snow and avalanches had destroyed at least 400 fruit-yielding apple trees besides damaging new plantations.

When contacted, the District Magistrate of Kinnaur, Dr Amandeep Garg, admitted that there had been reports of losses to apple and other fruit trees and said that revenue officials were assessing the loss.

However, he denied that there was any proposal under consideration to conduct a special ‘girdawari’ in this regard.

The newly-elected chairperson of the Kinnaur Zila Parishad, Mrs Chander Mani, has sought a special package from the government in the form of sprays, plant replacement, strengthening of nurseries and irrigation infrastructure in the prime areas.

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Rs 84 lakh for 8 pilot sites in Chamba dist
Our Correspondent

Chamba, January 25
Himachal Government has earmarked Rs 84 lakh for eight pilot sites in Chamba district identified under a four-year HP Forest Sector Reforms Project during the current year. The project has been launched by the Department for International Development of United Kingdom in partnership with Government of India and Government of Himachal with an outlay of $ 8.247 millions.

Addressing a meeting of circle-level consultative forum here today, Mr Avtar Singh, Conservator of Forests said that the eight pilot sites included Rajera, Chanju, Kundi, Kainthly, Dand, Gulei, Sahan and Mindhal where the execution of different activities under the micro plans of these sites would be carried out with the participation of local people.

The unique project envisaged establishing and implementing cost-effective strategy for sustainable forest management and enhanced livelihood of the poorest forest dependents in the state, the Conservator of Forests apprised the participants comprising various departments.

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R.K. Mahajan elected MC chief
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, January 25
Mr R.K. Mahajan, a Congress-supported candidate was elected president of the Municipal Council (MC) Nurpur, unopposed in the MC office today. His name was proposed by Ms Asha Devi and seconded by Ms Shashi Mahajan, elected members of the MC.

Mr Yash Pal Soga was also declared elected vice-president unopposed. All newly elected nine members of the MC participated in the election. There are seven Congress supported and two BJP supported members in the MC.

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Assailants not arrested
Our Correspondent

Chamba, January 25
The police has not been able to arrest Mehboob Khan and his two accomplices who had fled after allegedly shooting at Vipin Rana, a client of a lawyer, Mr K K Gupta, in his office.

The incident took place on Sunday night at about 9p.m.

Old rivalry between two groups was said to be the cause behind the incident.

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