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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

Power board pulled up for not carrying out reforms
Shimla, July 4
The Himachal Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission has pulled up the state power board and the government for their failure to carry out structural reforms in the power sector.

Police team leaves for TN in search of
con men

Shimla, July 4
A police team today left for Tamil Nadu to look for the persons running the Sanjauli-based Shivaji Traders company after they fled duping the residents of lakhs of rupees.

Panchayti Raj Act likely to be amended
Kangra, July 4
The state government is contemplating to amend the Panchayti Raj Act to suspend public representatives who fail to attend the panchayti raj trainings twice in a row, being carried out by the department, and Panchayti Raj institutions would be further strengthened to bring power to the grass roots level.

Change of counselling venue leaves students at sea
Dharamsala, July 4
Widespread resentment prevails among students of the School of Legal Studies here today due to last-minute change of venue for counselling for admissions from Dharamsala to Shimla.

Probe ordered into sale of substandard medicines
Palampur, July 4
The Himachal Government has ordered a high-level probe into the sale of substandard drugs in Kangra district. The Director of Health Services has directed all the SMOs in the district to check the sale of medicines being supplied by some companies at high rates and restrain the medical officers from prescribing the same to the patients.





YOUR TOWN
Baddi
Dharamsala
Kangra
Kulu
Shimla
Solan



EARLIER STORIES



Nod likely for basements as parking
Shimla, July 4
Traffic woes of residents of New Shimla may end as the Town and Country Planning Department is sending the case to the government for allowing the opening up of the basement of houses for making parking space.

Robbers’ gang busted, 9 arrested
Solan, July 4
The Barotiwala police today arrested nine members of a gang of robbers who had been active in the region for quite some time. The recovery of a country made pistol and some bullets from their possession has led the police to believe that the gang was planning to execute a big robbery and was targeting some banks.

Rape and murder case solved
Kulu, July 4
The district police solved a rape and murder case of a middle aged woman on Saturday night within three days and arrested Virender Kumar, a son of Bhagat Ram of Jia village.

Kokje, CM condole Banerjee’s death
Shimla, July 4
Mr V.S. Kokje, Governor, and Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, have condoled the death of Mr A.N. Banerjee, former Governor of Himachal Pradesh, who died in Kolkata.

Record output at Nathpa Jhakri Project
Shimla, July 4
With the level of silt remaining within permissible limits, the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Project has generated a record 2,415 million units of power in the first quarter of the current financial year.

Raw material worth  Rs 70,000 stolen
Baddi, July 4
Raw material worth has been stolen from a unit here on the intervening nigh of July 1 and 2. The thieves have allegedly stolen the spare parts being used to manufacture ceiling fans.

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Power board pulled up for not carrying out reforms
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 4
The Himachal Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission has pulled up the state power board and the government for their failure to carry out structural reforms in the power sector.

It has made it clear that non-adherence to the reform regime will entail heavy pecuniary costs as it will not allow expenditure on account of increase in dearness allowance and interest on loans to be utilised to meet the revenue expenses.

“The regulatory policy is increasingly shaping the structure and conduct of the power sector across the globe but the state utility has responded to the regulatory challenge in a ham-handed fashion and struggled with its responses to the changing scenario,” the commission observed.

“The politics of unbundling seems to have riveted the over-all tactical focus towards avoiding the imaginary evil of corporatisation and the consequent removal of opaqueness and organisational stenosis,” the commission observed while expressing its anguish over the failure to go for “unbundling”.

Since the utility had made itself a major hurdle towards unbundling, a disincentive strategy would have to be evolved for bringing the decision maker and the stakeholder towards the goal.

The cost of such a strategy would be paid by the utility and the government. As the implication for the government would be greater which meant indirect tax on the people, the board would feel the pinch in a step-by-step reduction of pecuniary advantage and the price for not reforming would shoot up rapidly, it further observed.

The commission worked out the employee cost for 2006-07 at Rs 1.05 per unit which was very high compared to other states. In the case of Uttranchal, which was also a hill state like Himachal Pradesh, it was 33 paise per unit.

Obviously, the board was overstaffed and yet there was a crisis-like situation due to an acute shortage of engineers and other technical manpower, which reflected the lop-sided human resource management being pursued.

The commission has, in its latest order, directed the board to conduct a detailed study to work out the future requirements of manpower, prepare a plan, keeping in view its restructuring and submit it to the commission within six months. The board has also been directed to induct at least 60 graduate engineers and as many diploma-holder engineers over the next four months.

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Police team leaves for TN in search of con men
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 4
A police team today left for Tamil Nadu to look for the persons running the Sanjauli-based Shivaji Traders company after they fled duping the residents of lakhs of rupees.

According to sources, the team today left after the police was able to get some vital clues about the whereabouts of the persons running the company. Five persons from Tamil Nadu had been running the company which sold household consumer items like television, refrigerator, utensils and furniture at half the market price since May 15. They had opened their office in the Cemetery area of Sanjauli.

The local police had been in touch with their Tamil Nadu counterparts for the last one month after the Sanjauli Beopar Mandal expressed apprehension about the genuineness of the company, which was providing goods at throwaway prices.

The police has again got in touch with the Tamil Nadu police to nab these persons who have swindled over Rs 1 crore from the residents of the area.

So far only about 10 formal complaints of defraud have been received by the police against Shivaji Traders.

“Even though the exact amount that the company has made is not known but some of the persons had made huge investments in the scheme where double the amount was being given within a short span of 15 days,” said a police official.

Despite warning by the Beopar Mandal and the district administration, people continued to invest in the company as within a short span, the owners had been able to win the confidence of the residents. They went about in a very systematic manner, keeping their excise and income tax documents updates. It was for this very reason that the police could not take any action against them despite a lot of suspicion.

The fact that the company went to the High Court against the police for harassing them, made the people more confident about them.

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Panchayti Raj Act likely to be amended
Our correspondent

Kangra, July 4
The state government is contemplating to amend the Panchayti Raj Act to suspend public representatives who fail to attend the panchayti raj trainings twice in a row, being carried out by the department, and Panchayti Raj institutions would be further strengthened to bring power to the grass roots level.

Mr Sat Mahajan, Panchayti Raj Minister, today told The Tribune that the government was keen to see that the public representatives connected with panchayats, block samities and zila parishads should get proper training. He said any public representative who fails to attend the training for any reason would be given a one-time chance which would follow his suspension after the amending the Act. He was inaugurating a five-day panchayti raj training program me currently going on in the town since yesterday.

He said that each panchayat would, after every three months, on the second of each month, have a general body meeting, which every government functionary of the area is supposed to attend. He said these meeting would also be attended by the local MLA, minister and M.P. The Chief Minister, MLAs, ministers and M.Ps had been communicated to attend these general body meetings.

Mr Mahajan said each panchayat would have its own building besides facilities of toilets for both men and women. Panchayat pradhans would be now be entrusted with the task of hoisting the National flag at panchayat bhavans.

Wards the panchayats would prepare and pass their own budget and after spending the funds the panchayat would ensure the proper completion of the works within the budget provisions. He said that watershed committees would be abolished and the Panchayati Raj institutions would operate these watershed projects.

Panchayati Raj representatives would be provided with identity cards to have access to the higher authorities, he said.

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Change of counselling venue leaves students at sea
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 4
Widespread resentment prevails among students of the School of Legal Studies here today due to last-minute change of venue for counselling for admissions from Dharamsala to Shimla.

The university authorities had issued a corrigendum, withdrawing its decision to hold combined counselling at Shimla and clarifying that it would be done at Dharamsala only, like previous years.

The 59 students, who turned up for counselling at Dharamsala had no idea about the change in venue for counselling. Though certificates of the students were checked up by the staff of the Regional centre at Dharamsala and a merit list prepared, they still will have to go to Shimla to make a choice between centres at Shimla, Dharamsala and Kala Amb.

Mr Anand Sharma, President of the Central Students’ Association, said a student, who was turning up for counselling at Dharamsala would obviously opt for Dharamsala centre and the very purpose of making him go all the way to Shimla did not make sense. “The students would be put through unnecessary inconvenience,” he said.

Sources said the last-minute decision to call the students to Shimla was due to fact the merit of the Department of Laws in Shimla was going down and students from Dharamsala dominated the merit. By calling a student to Shimla, the university wanted to impress the students to take up the course at Shimla instead an attempt to attract better students.

Till now, counselling for admission to the legal school was done at Dharamsala and earlier this year, the university had notified that combined counselling would be done at Shimla. However, this evoked sharp criticism from the students and the Vice-Chancellor formed a committee to look into the matter. Accepting the recommendations of the committee, it was decided to go back to the original system and hold counselling at Dharamsala only. But today when students turned up for counselling, they were told that this was merely an interview and combined counselling would be done at Dharamsala.

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Probe ordered into sale of substandard medicines
Our Correspondent

Palampur, July 4
The Himachal Government has ordered a high-level probe into the sale of substandard drugs in Kangra district. The Director of Health Services has directed all the SMOs in the district to check the sale of medicines being supplied by some companies at high rates and restrain the medical officers from prescribing the same to the patients.

A spokesman of the Health Department confirmed here today that the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, had taken this issue seriously and steps were being initiated to restrict the sale of medicines of substandard companies in the state. The Chief Minister had already warned the medical officers not to prescribe the medicines of substandard companies.

It was disclosed that the Chief Minister had decided to make radical changes in the functioning of the Health Department and the government was formulating a transparent policy for the transfer of doctors so that they did not develop vested interests at one station during their long tenure.

Meanwhile, Dr D.S. Chandel, SMO, Palampur, said that he would soon convene a meeting of local chemists to discuss the matter with them. He said efforts would be made to check the sale of such medicines as were being supplied by the substandard companies, offering commission and incentives to the medical officers for patronising such medicines.

The Tribune had carried a story on the flourishing business of the sale of substandard drugs in Kangra district through medical officers posted in the government hospital last month.

Last week the HP State Human Rights Commission had taken cognizance of the news item and issued a notice to the state government to reply within four weeks on the sale of substandard drugs.

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Nod likely for basements as parking

Shimla, July 4
Traffic woes of residents of New Shimla may end as the Town and Country Planning (TCP) Department is sending the case to the government for allowing the opening up of the basement of houses for making parking space.

It is on the basis of a request sent in by the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla in his capacity as Chairman of New Shimla Special Area Development Authority (SADA) that the case is being sent by the department. With majority of the houses already constructed in New Shimla having no provision for parking, the vehicles are parked all along roads, creating traffic problems.

“The file has to be placed before the Secretary (TCP) and after approval the residents can open their retaining walls for making parking space,” informed an official. Thereafter amendment will have to be made in the Town and Country Planning Rules to allow parking slots in the basements of old and new buildings.

He, however, added that a condition would be imposed that the space created with the opening up of the retaining wall would be used for parking only.

With land being very scarce in and around the town and on top of that restriction on the number of storeys, provision for parking has not been made even in newly constructed houses. — TNS

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Robbers’ gang busted, 9 arrested
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 4
The Barotiwala police today arrested nine members of a gang of robbers who had been active in the region for quite some time. The recovery of a country made pistol and some bullets from their possession has led the police to believe that the gang was planning to execute a big robbery and was targeting some banks.

It is the first time that Himachali youths, who had come to work in various industrial units, were found involved in such activity. The police said the metallic articles were sold to the scrap dealers while the household articles could not be sold. These had been recovered from their dwelling places.

The interrogation of the nine arrested youths has revealed that they had agreed to having committed a number of robberies in the region. Residing in a rented accommodation at Billawali village, they were vagabonds.

The gang confessed to having stolen at least half a dozen Bajaj fans from Sukrit Technology housed in plot No. 10, HPSIDC plot at Baddi. One of the arrested youths, Anil Pawar from Tihri Garhwal, is also wanted in a case of possessing illegal arms. The police has also recovered goods stolen from two places in the Barotiwala area.

Police officials said investigations were under way to establish their antecedents. Those arrested included Ganesh Shahi and Dadu from Sainj in Shimla, Bhupender, Kiran Singh and Sukhdev Singh from Shimla, Prakash from Nepal, Ajay Sharma from Gurgaon and Suresh Kumar from Bandarmatthi in Assam.

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Rape and murder case solved
Our Correspondent

Kulu, July 4
The district police solved a rape and murder case of a middle aged woman on Saturday night within three days and arrested Virender Kumar, a son of Bhagat Ram of Jia village.

Mr Joginder Singh, investigating officer, said here today that the accused had confessed having committed the crime. He said that the woman went to his house on her way back home from the hospital where he tried to molest her.

The accused confessed that the victim slapped him and he became furious. He put the “dupatta” into her mouth and allegedly raped her. In the meantime she was dead, he added. The accused has been arrested and would be produced before the court tomorrow, the police added.

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Kokje, CM condole Banerjee’s death
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 4
Mr V.S. Kokje, Governor, and Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, have condoled the death of Mr A.N. Banerjee, former Governor of Himachal Pradesh, who died in Kolkata.

In his condolence message, Mr Kokje said that the services rendered by Mr Banerjee to the state would always be remembered by the people of Himachal Pradesh.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said that Mr Banerjee was a veteran leader and in his death the country had lost a true statesman.

Mr Banerjee remained Governor of the state from August, 1981, to April, 1983.

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Record output at Nathpa Jhakri Project

Shimla, July 4
With the level of silt remaining within permissible limits, the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Project has generated a record 2,415 million units of power in the first quarter of the current financial year.

Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Chairman-cum-Managing Director H.K. Sharma said the plant generated 300 million units more than the last year over the same period, showing an increase of around 15 per cent. The revenue earned during the quarter thus exceeded Rs 500 crore.

The project, which commenced generation in September, 2003 had so far produced around 12,800 million units of electricity.

However, during 2005-06 the generation was only 4,055 million units and during 2004-05 it was 5,108 million units. — TNS

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Raw material worth  Rs 70,000 stolen
Our Correspondent

Baddi, July 4
Raw material worth has been stolen from a unit here on the intervening nigh of July 1 and 2. The thieves have allegedly stolen the spare parts being used to manufacture ceiling fans.

The thieves entered the premises of Shirshthi Technology at around mid night. A case under Section 457 and 380 of IPC has been registered. 

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Recruitment rally on July 27
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 4
A recruitment rally will be conducted by the 133 Infantry battalion for an ecological task force for the ex-servicemen of Himachal Pradesh on July 27, 2006, at Sainik School, Sujanpur Tira in Hamirpur district, according to an official release.

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