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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

Electricity is likely to be cheaper
Shimla, June 26
Power tariff is likely to come down in Himachal Pradesh for the first time ever since the inception of the Electricity Regulatory Commission in 2001. The commission has already completed the exercise for determining the tariff for the year 2006-07 and the order is likely to be issued within this month.

Sectoral plans not enforced
Shimla, June 26
Even as the Town and Country Planning (TCP) Department is engaged in preparing sectoral plans, the lack of an effective implementing agency has made the entire effort futile. No improvement had been brought about in infrastructure in these areas so far.

Modelling show at Shoolini Mela
Solan, June 26
Not caring two hoots for the religious sentiments of the people, the Shoolini Mela committee transformed the age-old traditional religious state-level fair into a modelling show. Not only the semi-clad models, who walked on the ramp, but also the brazen neglect of the traditional values of the fair, mad public angry.

High Court for computers in police station
Shimla, June 26
To change the age-old system of writing the FIRís, recording of statements by the police and submission of final report in the court, the Himachal High Court today proposed to the state government to consider to provide computers in police stations.

CM announces eight new colleges
Sundernagar, June 26
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, today announced the opening of a new government degree college at Narla and the upgradation of Government Middle School, Nasloh, to Government High School in the Drang constituency of Mandi district.






YOUR TOWN
Mandi
Shimla
Solan
Sundernagar


EARLIER STORIES



3 killed as car plunges into Beas
Mandi, June 26
Three persons were killed and two injured when the car in which they were travelling veered off the road and plunged into the Beas near the Hanogi Mata Temple, 30 km from here, on the Kullu-Mandi national highway this morning, police sources said.

DFO killed in accident
Solan, June 26
A Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) posted at Nalagarh Mr R.L. Thakur, was killed when the official gypsy (HP-24-A-0716) that he was driving fell in a gorge after he lost control over it near Padotha village near Kandhaghat late last evening.

36 pilgrims injured as truck overturns
Mandi, June 26
At least 36 pilgrims were injured, three of them seriously, after a truck they were travelling in overturned at Slapper, near here, on National Highway-21 of Himachal Pradesh last night, the police said today.

Kaithal resident drowned in Manali
Kullu, June 26
A tourist, Raj Kumar Puhal (33) from Kaithal in Haryana, was drowned in the Beas near Manali today. He was playing near the river with seven friends when his foot slipped on a rock and he was washed away by the river.

Counsel appointed



 


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Electricity is likely to be cheaper
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 26
Power tariff is likely to come down in Himachal Pradesh for the first time ever since the inception of the Electricity Regulatory Commission in 2001.
The commission has already completed the exercise for determining the tariff for the year 2006-07 and the order is likely to be issued within this month. According to sources, tariff for all categories of consumers will be reduced by 5 to 10 per cent, provided the government subsidy is maintained at the last year's level of Rs 100 crore.

The small hotels, which are being charged at commercial rates, are likely to get much relief as a new category is proposed to be introduced. They will be spared of fat power bills. Schools, hospitals, hostels, orphanages and charitable institutions are also proposed to be charged at domestic rates. The relief for industrial consumers will be less as compared to the domestic and other consumers.

The main reason for the decline in the tariff is a projected increase in the board's own generation with the commissioning of the 126-MW Larji project. About 400 million additional units of electricity would be available during the year. This will fetch an additional Rs 120 crore to the board.

The total availability of power has been put at 6140 million units, including the board's own generation of 1721 million units. The requirement within the state is projected at 4973 million units.

With the prices of power registering a sharp increase and the board deciding to sell its surplus power through the Power Trading Corporation, the revenue from power trading will increase by over Rs 100 crore.

Consequently, the average cost of supplying power will decline from Rs 3.14 per unit in 2005-06 to about Rs 2.95 per unit in 2006-07. The consumption within the state has also increased by about 20 per cent as a result of which the employee cost will come down from Rs 1.34 per unit to Rs 1.25 per unit which was still almost four times the national average cost.

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Sectoral plans not enforced
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 26
Even as the Town and Country Planning (TCP) Department is engaged in preparing sectoral plans, the lack of an effective implementing agency has made the entire effort futile. No improvement had been brought about in infrastructure in these areas so far.

The TCP notified the sectoral plan for Sain Bari, on the outskirts of Mandi, for which the development plan has already been approved. Public objections and suggestions have been invited for the sectoral plan, which will help in detailing the development map by undertaking physical changes like the creation of roads, electrification, sewerage and water supply.

The sectoral plan for Sain Bari, which was notified last week, is the sixth one in the state so far.

It was almost a decade ago that the two sectoral plans of Jakhoo and Cemetery were notified in Shimla.

After this sectoral plans of Hiragana in Hairpin and Jagatkhana in Rampur were approved. The sectoral plan prepared for Bamta in Bilaspur district could not be approved as there were too many objections from the public who were more keen on the place being developed as a model village.

Unfortunately the very purpose behind having a sectoral plan is defeated in the absence of an implementing agency. ďThe TCP notifies the sectoral plan but there is lack of implementation as there is no particular agency which can translate into reality,Ē admitted a senior official.

The five areas for which sectoral plans have been approved several years ago have failed to come up as planned towns. An example in this regard is the Cemetery area in Sanjauli, which is a concrete jungle.

The sectoral plan for this was approved almost a decade ago yet it is one of the most over-saturated area where haphazard and unregulated constructions have taken place.

Even though some of the officials point out that it is the Himachal Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA), which is responsible for implementing the sectoral plan but the fact remains that they do not have the power to do so.

As such it is being felt that either a separate authority should be created to ensure that the sectoral plan is implemented or HIMUDA is empowered to implement the TCP Act.

In fact, Section 40 of the Town and Country Development Authority provide for some authority which ensures creation of service land in consonance with the demand of the public. As such the creation of sectoral plans remains only on paper and there is no proper authority to implement this. 

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Modelling show at Shoolini Mela
Our Correspondent

Solan, June 26
Not caring two hoots for the religious sentiments of the people, the Shoolini Mela committee transformed the age-old traditional religious state-level fair into a modelling show. Not only the semi-clad models, who walked on the ramp, but also the brazen neglect of the traditional values of the fair, mad public angry.

It was perhaps for the first time that models were made part of a religious mela. This was not the only flaw that invited flak from the audience. A host of pahari singers, including renowned singer Vicky Chauhan, rued that they were barely given a few minutes to sing.

While the administration lamented fund paucity for not giving them adequate remuneration, Chauhan said, ďI was not even given a room to change clothes and I spent time waiting in my vehicle. Not only was I made to sing in daytime but also the near empty chairs made me boycott the show on the second day.

When Punjabi singers could be given lakhs of rupees for their performances why they were given just a few hundredsĒ, he asked.

The BJPís election cell convener, Mr H.N. Kashyap, and the partyís district president, Dr Shrikant Sharma, while terming it as a blatant attack on the traditional values and culture, asked what religious purpose had the modelling show served. 

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High Court for computers in police station
Our Correspondent

Shimla, June 26
To change the age-old system of writing the FIRís, recording of statements by the police and submission of final report in the court, the Himachal High Court today proposed to the state government to consider to provide computers in police stations. The court also directed the Principal Secretary Home, the DGP and the police officers, who are computer savvy to have a meeting in two weeks from today to consider this proposal as how computers can be installed in the police stations and printed copies of these documents provided to public.

Chief Justice Vinod Kumar Gupta also said the state government would take a policy decision in this regard in the public interest and if some amendment is required for the implementation of this proposal, the same may be carried out.

The Chief Justice, while passing the order observed that when the state was progressing on a par with other states, it was the need of the hour that the police stations of the state must have the electronic tools particularly computers and printers.

The Chief Justice said it was time to change the old and inconvenient system of writing the FIRís so that copies of the first information reports, statements recorded by the police and the final reports can be made available to the persons concerned.

Earlier on March 24 this year the court took suo motu notice and directed the state to evolve a system to provide the legible copies of the documents to the accused and other concerned. The court had also constituted a committee to take steps for the implementation of that order. The committee held its meeting on April 10, where the Director-General of Police had stated the reasons for providing illegible copies of the documents.

The DGP said sometimes the FIRís were reduced in to writing in difficult circumstances and persons writing the FIR were in a hurry. He also added that poor standard of education of persons writing FIRís creates such problems. The DGP had suggested that the police be allowed get a photocopy of the FIR rather than having third or fourth carbon copy. The DGP also said directions had been passed to all concerned to provide legible copies of such documents.

The court also asked Deputy Advocate General Chirag Bhanu Singh to attend meetings of committee and provide suggestions for the implementation of this proposal. By way of the Information Technology Act 2000 special provisions as to evidence relating to electronic record have been made.

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CM announces eight new colleges
Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, June 26
Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, today announced the opening of a new government degree college at Narla and the upgradation of Government Middle School, Nasloh, to Government High School in the Drang constituency of Mandi district.

Making the announcement at Mandi today, he said both these institutions would be made functional with immediate effect and requisite staff and infrastructure would be provided on priority. A government degree college would also be opened at Baijnath in Kangra district, he added.

Mr Virbhadra Singh was addressing a public meeting after dedicating IPH Rest House, constructed at a cost of Rs 57.65 lakh at Bijni near Mandi, to the people of the area today.

The Chief Minister said the government would introduce professional courses in all government degree colleges in the state so that students could acquire professional skills.

The Chief Minister said eight new degree colleges would be opened during the current financial year. More vocational institutions were proposed to be opened in the government and private sectors.

He added that the state government was also exploring the possibility of setting up a medical college in Mandi district. He said a 300-bedded hospital would also be dedicated to the people of Mandi soon.

Mr Virbhadra Singh claimed that qualitative improvement was being made in water supply, health, education and other sectors. The system improvement programme in power supply was being implemented in the state which would ensure that people get improved power supply.

The Chief Minister said a new engineering college would start functioning at Sundernagar from the current academic session where mechanical and textile engineering courses would be started.

He said the NIT, Hamirpur, had been recognised as a deemed university. A barrage would soon be constructed near Mandi on the Beas river on priority.

Ms Pratibha Singh, MP, assured the gathering that more funds would be procured from the Centre for the development of the Mandi area.

Mr Kaul Singh Thakur, Irrigation and Public Health Minister, urged the Chief Minister to provide panchayat bhavan to the local Panchayat of Bijni at Mandi.

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3 killed as car plunges into Beas

Mandi, June 26
Three persons were killed and two injured when the car in which they were travelling veered off the road and plunged into the Beas near the Hanogi Mata Temple, 30 km from here, on the Kullu-Mandi national highway this morning, police sources said.

The bodies of the victims were yet to be recovered and the car was being located in gushing waters of the Beas. The rescue parties were searching the bodies in a 10 km stretch from the Hanogi Temple to the Pandoh Dam with the help of divers.

The ill-fated vehicle was on its way from Mandi Gobindgarh in Punjab to Manali when the tragedy struck. The injured persons were rushed to hospital at Pandoh for treatment.

An eyewitness said that he saw the vehicle rolling into the river and said it appeared that either there was some mechanical failure or the driver fell asleep. The car first broke the parapet and then plunged into the river, he added.

The victims were identified as Amrish Goel (28), Jasbir Singh and Harpreet Singh. Ė PTI

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DFO killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Solan, June 26
A Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) posted at Nalagarh Mr R.L. Thakur, was killed when the official gypsy (HP-24-A-0716) that he was driving fell in a gorge after he lost control over it near Padotha village near Kandhaghat late last evening.

Mr Thakur was returning from Shimla when the mishap occurred. He is survived by his wife and two sons. The upper portion of the body was found burnt and it was located about 100 feet away from the vehicle. Intriguingly, there were no burn signs in any part of the vehicle. The doctors here could not establish the cause of the death as the vehicle was not found to have developed any technical fault or had not been burnt. The shirt of the deceased bore burns. His chest, stomach and head were badly burnt. While not ruling out foul play, the doctors said an attempt to hide the identity of the youth by burning his upper body had been made.

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36 pilgrims injured as truck overturns

Mandi, June 26
At least 36 pilgrims were injured, three of them seriously, after a truck they were travelling in overturned at Slapper, near here, on National Highway-21 of Himachal Pradesh last night, the police said today.

The vehicle was on its way to Manikaran from Punjab when the accident occurred at Slapper.

The police said SDM Pankaj Rai, who rushed to the accident site, supervised the rescue operations and added that the injured had been admitted to the Civil Hospital at Sundernagar and Mandi towns of the district. ó UNI

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Kaithal resident drowned in Manali
Our Correspondent

Kullu, June 26
A tourist, Raj Kumar Puhal (33) from Kaithal in Haryana, was drowned in the Beas near Manali today. He was playing near the river with seven friends when his foot slipped on a rock and he was washed away by the river.

His body was later fished out by the Himachal Fire Service men near Vashisht Chowk. The body was taken into custody by the police and would be handed over to the relatives tomorrow after a post-mortem examination.

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Counsel appointed
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 26
Mr Yashpal Singh Dhaulta, a local advocate, had been appointed counsel for the Central Government for conducting cases except those pertaining to income tax and the Railways against public officers in the High Court. He has been appointed for a period of three years. 

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