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Raze MC structure, says High Court
Palampur, January 29
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has ordered the dismantling of a half-built structure of an administrative block-cum-shopping complex being constructed by the local municipal council in the heart of the town, stating that this building has been constructed in gross violation of the rules.

Real estate prices touch new peak at auction
Baddi, January 29
Real estate prices reached at all-time high here today, with the Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority auctioning its three commercial sites for Rs 12.19 crore.

Parked trucks add to traffic chaos
Parwanoo, January 29
The haphazard parking of trucks along the Kalka-Shimla national highway here continues to prove a major hurdle in smooth passage of traffic from the town. Almost half of the national highway crossing through the town leading from the Parwanoo barrier to Timber Trail remains occupied by a long queues of parked trucks.

HP school board den of corruption: BJP leader
Nurpur, January 29
Former minister and senior BJP leader Kishan Kapoor has alleged that the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education had become a den of corruption.



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EARLIER STORIES

 

Govt to initiate move to check weeds
Shimla, January 29
The state government will initiate environment-friendly steps to eradicate unwanted lantana, parthenium and blue flower weeds which are causing immense damage to crops on cultivable land.

40 villages to get solar lights, courtesy Himurja
Mandi, January 29
Himurja will set up solar light units in over 40 villages under a special scheme in the district. It will also be responsible for their maintenance.



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Raze MC structure, says High Court
Our Correspondent

Palampur, January 29
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has ordered the dismantling of a half-built structure of an administrative block-cum-shopping complex being constructed by the local municipal council in the heart of the town, stating that this building has been constructed in gross violation of the rules.

The construction of this complex was taken up in 2002 by the municipal council. Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that officials of the council deviated from the original plan approved by the Town and Country Planning Department and laid RCC pillars for the construction of a dozen shops in the basement. However, as per the plan approved, there was a provision only for the construction of parking space in the basement.

Residents of the town moved the high court challenging the illegal deviation made in the plan of this building by the municipal council. They urged the court that the provision for parking space made in the original plan should not be scrapped. While accepting their PIL, the high court issued notices to the state government and the Town and Country Planning Department asking for their replies.

The District Town Planning Officer, Kangra, who appeared in person before the high court corroborated the claim of the residents. He alleged that officials of the council who were executing this project had tampered with the original plan approved by him and laid RCC pillars for the construction of shops which was in gross violation of the rules.

After going through the reply filed by the District Town Planning Officer and arguments placed by the residents, a Bench of the high court stayed the construction of this building. Later, the high court, while passing its final verdict, ordered the dismantling of the half-built structure and directed the Town and Country Planning Department to ensure that if a new complex was constructed at this site, it should be in conformity with the rules.

The dismantling of this building would result in a net loss of over Rs 25 lakh to the council. A senior officer of the Local Self-Government Department from Shimla told The Tribune that the department would conduct a probe into the matter and fix responsibility.

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Real estate prices touch new peak at auction
Ambika Sharma

Baddi, January 29
Real estate prices reached at all-time high here today, with the Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) auctioning its three commercial sites for Rs 12.19 crore.

A total of 86 bidders participated in the auction and real-estate dealers from Chandigarh dominated the proceedings.

HIMUDA officials said it was the highest-ever auction amount fetched.

A 375 sq m shop-cum-office site received an opening bid of Rs 85 lakh. It finally fetched Rs 1.1 crore. The reserve price was Rs 16 lakh.

A 750 sq m hotel site got an opening bid of Rs 1.5 crore. It finally went for Rs. 3.31 crore. The reserve price was Rs 32.42 lakh.

Bidding for a 4,636 sq m multiplex site began with Rs 2.5 crore. It finally fetched Rs 7.78 crore. The reserve price was Rs 1 crore.

A section of real estate sellers opined that a reduction in floor area ratio from 2 to 1.6 restricted the auction rate to less than Rs 8 crore, though it was slated to touch the Rs 10-crore mark.

Local agriculturists who had surrendered their land at low rates rued that they had been meted out a raw deal.

Colonisers constructing in the region said they were optimistic of making handsome gains.

HIMUDA officials said 21,000 sq m had been reserved for developing facilities like bank, police station, club house and community hall.

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Parked trucks add to traffic chaos
Our Correspondent

Parwanoo, January 29
The haphazard parking of trucks along the Kalka-Shimla national highway here continues to prove a major hurdle in smooth passage of traffic from the town. Almost half of the national highway crossing through the town leading from the Parwanoo barrier to Timber Trail remains occupied by a long queues of parked trucks.

The other half of the road has to take the load of vehicles going in both directions. Hence, it becomes hazardous and even proves fatal whenever any vehicle tries to overtake another vehicle.

The trouble starts from multi-purpose barrier. Long traffic jams have become a regular feature with vehicles lined on either side of barrier to pay taxes. The situation turns worse in morning and evening hours that witness peak traffic rush due to crossing of office goers from Kalka, Pinjore and Chandigarh. This time the traffic virtual remains held up. Moreover repair of trucks on the national highway further adds to problem.

The basic reason of traffic hold-ups here is attributed to wrong alignment of the highway crossing through Kalka bazaar. Both sides of the Kalka bazaar have been encroached upon by rehriwallas, vegetable sellers and parked vehicles, leaving hardly any space for the traffic to move near Kali Mai Temple, which narrow highway forces vehicles to cross at a snail’s pace.

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HP school board den of corruption: BJP leader
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, January 29
Former minister and senior BJP leader Kishan Kapoor has alleged that the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education (HPBSE) had become a den of corruption.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Kapoor accused Mr B.R. Rahi, Chairman of the board, of giving extension in the services to a Deputy Secretary by flouting all norms and service rules. “In the re-appointment of the official on a sensitive post, no approval of the state Finance Department as well as Cabinet was sought”, he alleged. Mr Kapoor said even the secretary of the board had been changed five times during two-and-half years of the present Congress regime. He alleged misuse of board’s funds for publicity of the ruling party and added that the BJP after coming to power would hold an inquiry to expose corrupt elements in the HPBSE.

Mr Kapoor said there was something fishy about the recent revocation of affiliation of 65 private schools in the state for not adhering to set norms of the board and their re-affiliation after holding a meeting with the chairman of the board. Mr Kapoor was here to mobilize BJP workers for the civic reception being accorded to the former Union Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, on February 1 at Kangra in the wake of his nomination as national vice-president of the BJP.

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Govt to initiate move to check weeds
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 29
The state government will initiate environment-friendly steps to eradicate unwanted lantana, parthenium and blue flower weeds which are causing immense damage to crops on cultivable land.

Announcing this while speaking at a meeting convened to discuss MLAs’ priorities for the annual plan 2006-07 here yesterday, the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, said the problem of weeds like congress grass had become acute as this had led to shrinking of farms apart from affecting the crops.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said the PWD, Forest and Agriculture Departments should work in close coordination to find out remedial measures to eliminate the problem while protecting the environment. University scientists were also trying to find effective ways to check the growth of these weeds, he added.

The Chief Minister said rationalisation of the existing wildlife sanctuaries in the state was being carried out. The government would be examine and consider proposals to make unscientific and illegal mining a penal offence, he added.

Commenting on the problem of stray animals he said enumeration of all domestic animals and pets with identifiable tags would be undertaken and if any one was found abandoned, the owner would be penalized.

He also denied that there was any proposal to close down or merge schools though efforts were afoot to upgrade high schools to the ten plus two level.

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40 villages to get solar lights, courtesy Himurja

Mandi, January 29
Himurja will set up solar light units in over 40 villages under a special scheme in the district. It will also be responsible for their maintenance.

Only villages, having over 50 per cent Schedule Caste population qualified for the Himurja scheme, revealed officials. “As many as 40 villages will be chosen for the scheme this year”, they added.

“Each solar unit will cost Rs 23, 500 and is cent percent subsidised. The government has sanctioned Rs 9.50 lakh,” they informed.

Himurja would install the solar units and maintain them with the help of villagers. This was being done to promote the use of less expensive and non-conventional sources of energy in the state, said a Himurja official. — TNS

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