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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

CET irregularities: students’ panel boycotts probe
Shimla, June 13
An action committee, constituting the aggrieved students and parents, has rejected the inquiry ordered by Himachal Pradesh University into the alleged irregularities in the conduct of combined entrance test for admission to medical colleges.

Falling sex ratio can upset social system: CM
Shimla, June 13
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, has called upon the heads of various religious sects, social bodies and non-governmental organisations to help the government in combating the social evils like drug addiction and female foeticide.

Two arrested for raping woman
Palampur, June 13
A newly married woman was allegedly raped by two persons in a hotel at Baijnath, near here, last night. She was abducted while waiting for a bus to go to her Tikkar village, near Panchrukhi.

Nigam chief for early nod to Khab Project
Shimla, June 13
Stressing early clearance to the 1020-MW Khab Project, Mr H.K. Sharma, Chairman-Cum Managing Director, Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, has said constructing of a dam at the confluence of the Spiti and the Sutlej is essential to protect the power projects located downstream from the twin hazards of excessive silt and flash floods.

Govt denies move to shift PTC
Palampur, June 13
The Himachal Government has denied a news item appeared in a section of the Press regarding shifting of the Police Training College at Daroh in Palampur to Sakoh, near Dharmsala.





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EARLIER STORIES



Transfer of MC’s forest wing resented
Shimla, June 13
The Municipal Workers Federation has expressed resentment over the transfer of the forest wing of the Shimla Municipal Corporation to the Forest Department without finalising the terms and conditions of the employees.

Protest by CPI, CPM against petro price hike
Mandi, June 13
The CPI and the CPM, including the Democratic Youth Federation of India, today held a protest near Gandhi Bhavan against the hike in petroleum prices and the Dakog killings in Chamba.

Tribals up in arms against liquor shop
Kafnu (Kinnaur), June 13
Villagers of this sleepy village in Bhabha valley of the tribal district of Kinnaur are up in arms against the liquor traders demanding closure of a liquor shop situated on the main road of the village.

ISRO project for Dharamsala college
Dharamsala, June 13
The Indian Space Research Organisation has sanctioned a prestigious project on the study of glaciers in the Chandra basin in Lahul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh to the Department of Geology of Government Degree College, Dharamsala.

Uniform policy on retirement age sought
Shimla, June 13
The Himachal Pradesh Employees Confederation has urged the government to raise the retirement age the state employees from 58 to 60 years. The confederation pointed out that the state followed the Central services rules and the age for Central Government employees had been raised some years ago.

Dakog killing: body of labourer found
Chamba, June 13
The body of a gurkha labourer, Dhan Singh, who was murdered in Dakog killings, was recovered from the Ravi in a mutilated condition late last night, according to official sources.

In-laws booked
Baddi, June 13
Alleging torture as the reason behind her daughter’s suicide at her in-laws house, a resident of Dograwala village falling under Barotiwala police station, Atma Ram, has complained to the police that his daughter was forced to end her life.

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CET irregularities: students’ panel boycotts probe
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 13
An action committee, constituting the aggrieved students and parents, has rejected the inquiry ordered by Himachal Pradesh University into the alleged irregularities in the conduct of combined entrance test for admission to medical colleges. It has reiterated its demand for a CBI probe, besides cancellation of the test.

The committee announced that it would boycott the inquiry maintaining that Mr A.R. Chauhan, who has been entrusted the probe, was an insider and would not be able to ensure an impartial inquiry. Mr Chauhan was a former Registrar, and the present Controller of Examination was his subordinate at one time.

The convention held by the committee to chalk out the future course of action decided to set up four panels for filing public interest litigation, taking up the matter with the coordination committee of the UPA and the President of India.

It was also decided at the convention that no aggrieved student or parent would associate with the inquiry to be conducted by Mr Chauhan.

Meanwhile, five teachers and employees bodies of the university had welcomed the inquiry instituted by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr L.R.Verma, and urged all those who were alleging leakage of question paper to come forward and place whatever information and evidence they had before inquiry officer. The facts must come out as the credibility and image of the university was at stake. The employees’ bodies included the Administrative Officers Association, the Teachers’ Association, the Non-Teaching Employees Union, the Stenographers Association and the Class IV and Technical Workers Union.

The HP University Teacher’s Welfare Association, however, rejected the inquiry and demanded a judicial probe into the alleged leakage of the question paper. It appealed to the Chancellor to intervene in the matter and put an end to the prevailing uncertainty.

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Falling sex ratio can upset social system: CM
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 13
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, has called upon the heads of various religious sects, social bodies and non-governmental organisations to help the government in combating the social evils like drug addiction and female foeticide.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the state chapter of the Ahinsa Vishwa Bharti here today, he said there was a need to change the mindset of people to arrest the declining sex ratio.

He said the world had entered the age of space, information technology and scientific advancement where men and women were working together in different fields. A majority of well-educated people were not differentiating between boy and girl, both of whom enjoyed equal rights under the law.

The declining sex ratio of girl child in the age group of zero to six yeas was an alarming development, which would upset the balance of the social system.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said his government had banned pre-natal tests in the state and a strict vigil was being kept over clinics engaged in such tests. Awareness was being created amongst masses about the fallouts of the low female ratio and the government had introduced a number of new incentive schemes to encourage families to have female child.

Those opting for permanent family planning modes after the birth of one girl were being provided an incentive of Rs 25,000.

A special programme had been launched in the blocks with low female literacy to bring them on a par with the rest of the areas. Girls were being provided education from primary to the highest level free of cost.

He also released a book entitled “unborn curse” authored by Munishree Lok Prakash Lokesh, who is also the founder of the Ahinsa Vishwa Bharti.

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Two arrested for raping woman
Our Correspondent

Palampur, June 13
A newly married woman was allegedly raped by two persons in a hotel at Baijnath, near here, last night. She was abducted while waiting for a bus to go to her Tikkar village, near Panchrukhi.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that two local youths, Arun and Surjit, offered her lift to Tikkar village and assured her told that they would leave her in the village safely. But they took her to a hotel adjoining the bus stand and raped her for about two hours.

The victim, however, managed to escape and reach her village in the morning. She informed her brother-in-law and an uncle about the incident. They immediately took her to the police post at Panchrukhi. Since the incident had occurred in the jurisdiction of Baijnath police station, they were told by the ASI on duty to lodge an FIR at Baijnath.

The victim went to Baijnath police station and narrated the incident to Mrs Shrestha Thakur, SHO, who arrested both the accused immediately.

Mrs Shrestha Thakur said that the victim was married on June 2. She had come from New Delhi to meet her relations in her native village. She was abducted and taken to a hotel adjoining the bus stand in a car where she was kept in illegal confinement and raped for two hours by Surjit and Arun.

She said the police had also identified the car used in the crime and its driver. Police parties had been sent to different directions to trace the car and arrest the driver, she added.

Mrs Thakur said a case under Sections 376 and 366 of the IPC had been registered against the culprits.

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Nigam chief for early nod to Khab Project
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 13
Stressing early clearance to the 1020-MW Khab Project, Mr H.K. Sharma, Chairman-Cum Managing Director, Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, has said constructing of a dam at the confluence of the Spiti and the Sutlej is essential to protect the power projects located downstream from the twin hazards of excessive silt and flash floods.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said since almost three-fourths of the Sutlej catchment fell in China ecological rehabilitation measures over a small portion, that fell within the country, would not help in containing silt and flash floods. The Sutlej was bringing 16 million cubic metre (MCM) of silt annually at Nathpa dam. At Khab the quantum of silt was 12 MCM, out of which 6.5 MCM was being contributed by the Spiti. A storage dam at the site would, thus, prevent 12 MCM of silt from flowing down annually.

While flash floods were causing a huge loss of life and property, excessive silt affected power generation as projects had to shutdown repeatedly during peak season. The turbines of the Nathpa Jhakri Project could withstand only 7.5 MCM of silt annually whereas the total quantity of silt flowing in the river annually was more than double the amount.

The proposed Khab dam would have a capacity of 500 MCM which would help prolong the life of projects downstream.

He said an agreement for the execution of Khab and Luri projects could not be signed because of reservation of the Centre regarding the clause making it mandatory for contractors and subcontractors to employ 70 per cent manpower from within the state. The ministry of power was examining the issue as it had to ensure that there was no clause which contravened the policy of the Centre.

Work had commenced on the Rampur project and the Uttaranchal Government had also assigned three projects with aggregate capacity of 366 MW to the Nigam.

So far it had been a good year for the Nathpa Jhakri project and already over 1800 million units, about 250 million units more than targeted, had been generated. In all 12,200 million units had been generated till date since the commissioning of the project in October, 2003.

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Govt denies move to shift PTC
Our Correspondent

Palampur, June 13
The Himachal Government has denied a news item appeared in a section of the Press regarding shifting of the Police Training College (PTC) at Daroh in Palampur to Sakoh, near Dharmsala.

An official spokesman told media persons that there was no move to shift the PTC and termed the news item appeared in a vernacular paper published from Dharmsala as baseless and misleading. He said the government had spent crores of rupees on this Police Training College, therefore, question of shifting of these institutions did not arise.

The spokesman said two days ago the Chief Minister was in the PTC and laid foundation stones for various projects and also inaugurated buildings. He said the government was committed to strengthen this institution at par with the Madhuwan centre in Haryana and Phillaur in Punjab.

He said it was on record that in past three years the state government had allocated liberal funds for this institution and in future also there would be no shortage of funds. He termed the media reports as mischievous and an attempt to defame the government.

He said it was a matter of surprise that the press report had mentioned the name of Mr Atul Verma, a senior IPS officer who was heading a committee to make recommendations for the shifting of this institution was far from truth. Mr Verma had been already on deputation with the government of India for the past three years.

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Transfer of MC’s forest wing resented
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 13
The Municipal Workers Federation has expressed resentment over the transfer of the forest wing of the Shimla Municipal Corporation to the Forest Department without finalising the terms and conditions of the employees.

A deputation of the federation, led by Mr Kishori Lal Sharma, its president, met the Municipal Commissioner and demanded immediate payment of salaries to the transferred staff and finalisation of the terms and conditions. The commissioner agreed to take up the matter with the government. The federation also resented the decision of the corporation to hand over the work of water bill preparation and distribution to private parties and demanded a review of the decision.

Mr Sharma said the Commissioner agreed in principle to grant pension from the date of appointment and not from the date of deduction of General Provident Fund. The matter would be taken up with the government for amendment to the pension rules. Similarly, the commissioner agreed to merge the dearness allowance in the basic pay and examine the payment of medical reimbursement of the retired municipal employees.

The Commissioner agreed to regularise the services of the daily wagers who had completed eight years of service as on March 31, 2004.

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Protest by CPI, CPM against petro price hike
Tribune News Service

Mandi, June 13
The CPI and the CPM, including the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), today held a protest near Gandhi Bhavan against the hike in petroleum prices and the Dakog killings in Chamba.

Addressing the activists, the CPI leader, Mr Des Raj Sharma, said the hike was unjustified and the government should roll back the price hike as it had hit the common man in the state and outside.

The CPI and DYFI leaders criticised the government for its failure to arrest the culprits involved in the killing of the three labourers in Dakog in Chamba three days ago. The Janvadi Mahila samiti of the CPM also joined the protest and raised anti-government slogans.

The leaders demanded that Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), which allegedly played a role in the Dakog labour killings incident, should be blacklisted and its agreement terminated in the interest of workers.

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Tribals up in arms against liquor shop
Tribune News Service

Kafnu (Kinnaur), June 13
Villagers of this sleepy village in Bhabha valley of the tribal district of Kinnaur are up in arms against the liquor traders demanding closure of a liquor shop situated on the main road of the village. The villagers have alleged that the consumption of liquor by the residents, particularly the teenagers, had led to disharmony in the village affecting the families.

Realising the graveness of the matter, both the panchayat and also the gram sabha had unanimously passed a resolution against the liquor shop and demanded from the district administration to ensure the closure of liquor shop, said Digvijay Singh Negi, a member of the village panchayat. He alleged that despite repeated pleas and complaints to the District Magistrate of Kinnaur, along with copy of the resolutions of the panchayat and gram sabha, any measures to close the liquor shop had not been taken. “The village panchayat and gram sabha both are statutory bodies in the Panchayati Raj system but no government machinery stands for to comply with our resolutions,” alleged a resident of the village.

Undoubtedly, many officials and the local police support the liquor mafia, spoiling the harmony and peace of the village.

Jaswant Singh, another member of the panchayat, has appealed to the District Magistrate to take immediate action to close the liquor shop as per the resolution of the panchayat and gram sabha.

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ISRO project for Dharamsala college
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, June 13
The Indian Space Research Organisation has sanctioned a prestigious project on the study of glaciers in the Chandra basin in Lahul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh to the Department of Geology of Government Degree College, Dharamsala. The project would investigate the retreat of glaciers in the Chandra basin.

Dr Narendra Awasthi, Principal of the college, said this project, worth Rs 21 lakh, would have a life of four years and faculty of the Department of Geology would carry out the project. The investigations of the retreat of the glaciers in the Chandra basin would be done under the project using the latest satellite date of the past 10 years, he said.

Retreat of Himalayan glaciers is of immense importance as glaciers feed rivers originating from the Himalayas, support large population for sustained agriculture, domestic use, hydropower and other employment generation activities downstream.

Dr Awasthi said the study under the project would be significant as the glaciers played an important role in the sustainable development of a hill state like Himachal Pradesh.

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Uniform policy on retirement age sought

Shimla, June 13
The Himachal Pradesh Employees Confederation has urged the government to raise the retirement age the state employees from 58 to 60 years.

The confederation pointed out that the state followed the Central services rules and the age for Central Government employees had been raised some years ago. The retirement age in three universities and some categories like the Class IV employees was already 60 years. The state should adopt a uniform policy for all employees and this could be achieved by raising the age to 60 for all categories. — TNS

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Dakog killing: body of labourer found
Our Correspondent

Chamba, June 13
The body of a gurkha labourer, Dhan Singh, who was murdered in Dakog killings, was recovered from the Ravi in a mutilated condition late last night, according to official sources.

Meanwhile, the body of a person identified as Jalam Singh, ex-chairman of the Bharmour Panchayat Samiti, who had been missing for the past more than 20 days, was recovered from the Chamera reservoir today. All the rituals relating to the death of the deceased had already been performed by his kin.

However, the police had registered a case in this connection, the sources said.

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In-laws booked
Our Correspondent

Baddi, June 13
Alleging torture as the reason behind her daughter’s suicide at her in-laws house, a resident of Dograwala village falling under Barotiwala police station, Atma Ram, has complained to the police that his daughter was forced to end her life. He said his daughter was harassed regularly ever since she was married to a nearby Koli Majra resident Jaswinder Singh in February this year.

The atrocities forced her to commit suicide.

Atma Ram also complained that the in-laws of her daughter refused to return gifts they gave at the time of marriage. The in-laws were now allegedly threatening to kill him if he complained to the police.

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