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Separate Sikh jatha for Pak from HP
Shimla, September 8
The state government would take up the matter of permitting a separate Sikh jatha from Himachal Pradesh to visit Nankana Sahib in Pakistan with the Union Home Ministry and consider the compensation cases of persons who had refused it for the 1984 riots.

Construction workers’ body to strike work
Mandi, September 8
Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI) general secretary Debanjan Chakravorti today claimed that the over 60 multinational construction companies working in the country had reduced skilled and unskilled labour to the status of the bonded labour.

World Bank likely to fund tunnel projects
Shimla, September 8
The World Bank will consider funding of tunnel projects in Himachal Pradesh to upgrade road infrastructure.

Real estate boon returns in Baddi
Baddi, September 8
The real estate boom has returned to the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh-industrial belt thanks to the extension of industrial package till 2010. The real estate business was on the decline as the package duration was scheduled to end in 2007.

Head Constable held taking bribe
Dharamsala, September 8
The Vigilance Department has here today caught a Head Constable, Prakash Chand, of the Hamirpur police red-handed, accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000 to hush up a case that wasn’t there at all.






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EARLIER STORIES




Munir not Labour Bureau employee

Chandigarh, September 8
The Ministry of Labour and Employment has stated that Munir Alam, an accused in the Himachal Pradesh CPMT paper leak case, is not an employee of the Labour Bureau.

 

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Separate Sikh jatha for Pak from HP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 8
The state government would take up the matter of permitting a separate Sikh jatha from Himachal Pradesh to visit Nankana Sahib in Pakistan with the Union Home Ministry and consider the compensation cases of persons who had refused it for the 1984 riots.

This was revealed by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, while presiding over the third general body meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Minorities Welfare Board here yesterday.

The chief minister said he would take up the matter with the Government of India and seek assistance of the state MPs to get the proposal of a separate Sikh jatha approved so that the maximum Sikh devotees could offer their obeisance at Nankana Sahib.

He said his government had taken the Sikh community bodies into confidence and was finalising the identification work of the 100 recommended schools for teaching Punjabi and 100 more for teaching Urdu.

He said the government had prioritised the implementation of the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission and announced an additional compensation of Rs 1.92 crore to 326 identified Sikh victims of 1984 riots in the country.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said the local authorities had been directed to resolve the problem of providing additional land for the graveyards for the Muslim community and added that the authorities would identify suitable land for graveyards.

He said the state Wakf Board would look after the welfare of the minority. He directed the DCs to vacate the encroached graveyards and restore the same to the community in the area and make the necessary revenue entry in favour of the community.

He said education in “madarsas” needed to be governed under the provisions of the Himachal Pradesh State Education Board, besides religious teachings. He said the general education was required to be provided to the students in “madarsas” so that the community as a whole could progress along with other sections.

The Chief Minister said the Maulana Azad Educational Foundation had been established to provide a subsidy of Rs 50 lakh to the registered organisations and trusts to create infrastructure for technical education and general education under the social justice and empowerment scheme of the Union Ministry which also had the provision of providing scholarship to the girl students of Classes XI and XII.

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Construction workers’ body to strike work
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Mandi, September 8
Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI) general secretary Debanjan Chakravorti today claimed that the over 60 multinational construction companies working in the country had reduced skilled and unskilled labour to the status of the bonded labour.

The government had failed to implement the construction labour Act in most states, he added.

The CWFI would launch a countrywide general strike on December 14 to ensure a uniform labour Act for all categories of workers in the country, he said here today.

He was here for the sixth CWFI conference, to be held here from September 10 to 12, in which at least 400 foreign and Indian delegates would participate.

Mr Chakravorti stated that the government’s liberalisation policies had worsened the plight of workers as construction companies were dictating terms.

He said the labour intake in construction companies had been reduced as these companies used computerised technologies instead of labour intensive-technologies available.

The misery of lower and middle classes had multiplied as they could not afford to build houses, he said.

The government’s minimum wage of Rs 52 for skilled labour had landed lakhs of labourers nowhere as it had not been linked to the price index, he said.

Pointing out the health hazards faced by workers in asbestos units, he said polluting units should be phased out and workers rehabilitated.

He said the government was going by dictates of multinationals while Indian companies were subcontractors.

Construction companies and state governments were in league with each other in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, he alleged.

CITU leader Kashmir Singh Thakur said they had filed a public interest litigation and sought a CBI inquiry into the Dakhog killing of three CITU workers.

He said the Workers Welfare Board constituted by the state government was ruled by managing directors of construction companies while it had just one member each from trade unions.

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World Bank likely to fund tunnel projects
Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 8
The World Bank will consider funding of tunnel projects in Himachal Pradesh to upgrade road infrastructure.

This assurance was given by the team leader of World Bank Mr Pirce Vicker, during his meeting with Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, here today. The state government was contemplating road projects involving an expenditure of over Rs 1000 crore, including five major road upgradation projects, for World Bank funding. The Chief Minister said the proposal consisted of two components, upgradation, including intermediate double laning of about 800 km of roads and renewal coat and periodical renewal of additional about 3,000 km.

The five major road upgradation involving 400 kms consisted of the Mehatpur-Una-Amb, the Una-Bangana-Bhota-Jahu-Barsar-Rewalsar-Nerchowk, the Ghumarwin-Sarkaghat-Jogindernagar, the Kumarhatti-Sarahan-Nahan and the Theog-Kotkhai-Hatkoti Sections.

The proposal for boring tunnels through hills at different places would not only reduce the distance but also add to the tourism promotion. He said that the Garha Mora-Bilaspur traffic tunnel below Swarghat was being accorded top priority. It will be followed by tunnel proposed under the Jalori pass in district Kullu to connect the Banjar and Ani valleys by an all weather road.

He said that the Jalori tunnel would boost tourism activities in the areas as thousands of domestic and foreign tourists had been visiting the land-locked area. One more tunnel below Kharapatthar in the Jubbal-Kotkhai area had also been proposed in Shimla district.

The Chief Minister said the state had completed all the projects funded by the World Bank in a time bound manner and maintained good track record of utilisation of the funds. Separate post of Chief Engineer had been created to exclusively look after the execution of such projects.

He said that relief and rehabilitation of the affected people due to the road construction were being top priority and their interests safeguarded before taking up the execution of the projects in the area.

Mr Virbhadra Singh thanked the World Bank leader for his support and cooperation in providing funds for the development of the state and also for enhanced financial assistance for rural roads under the PMGSY scheme which was likely to touch Rs 400 crore.

Mr Pirce Vicker appreciated the excellent performance of the state under different World Bank financed projects and said that the bank was adopting liberal attitude towards the best performing states in providing funds. He said that the proposals submitted by the state were being accorded top priority. He lauded decision of the state to create a separate wing to look after the execution of the World Bank funding projects which was bound to speed up work.

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Real estate boon returns in Baddi
Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

Baddi, September 8
The real estate boom has returned to the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh-industrial belt thanks to the extension of industrial package till 2010. The real estate business was on the decline as the package duration was scheduled to end in 2007.

A random survey showed that there was a price hike ranging between Rs 5 lakh - Rs 10 lakh per bigha of prime land. A cross-section of property dealers said though right now there was not a big change, the scenario would change in the future. Most dealers are not expecting a situation like 2003 when the package was actually announced. At that time, the land prices had skyrocketed and most of the prime land was purchased by realtors.

As per information, some pieces of land purchased from farmers were sold to industrial units on three times the prices paid to the farmers. The phenomenon has attracted local players who have set up their shops. Reportedly the maximum prices per bigha of government and private land had recorded Rs 3.31 crore and Rs 1.19 crore, respectively. Presently land is no longer in Baddi. It is available in and around village like Mandhala, Kalu Janda, Boraawalan, Sattiwala and Jharmajri.

As per the industry association, the land should first be purchased by the government to construct its own industry sheds. This would avoid the hassle of land seekers in the Baddi area. “We have pleaded with the state government to look into the area as the past experience has gone against industry welfare,” pointed Mr A.R. Singh, president of the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh Industries Association.

The package extension has also gone in favour of locals who are offering their apartments for rent. As per the present rates, three-room, two-room and single room accommodations are available for a monthly rent of Rs 9,000, Rs 6,500 and Rs 3,500, respectively.

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Head Constable held taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, September 8
The Vigilance Department has here today caught a Head Constable, Prakash Chand, of the Hamirpur police red-handed, accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000 to hush up a case that wasn’t there at all.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr S. Zahur Zaidi, Superintendent of Police (Vigilance), said Brij Lal, a resident of Bhorang area in Nadaun sub-division of Hamirpur district, got a case registered on behalf of his daughter, Leela Devi, against her husband, Kehar Singh, and in-laws on August 17, 2006. He alleged she was brutally beaten up by her in-laws and had to be referred to Ludhiana for treatment.

The case was registered under Section 498 (A) of IPC, pertaining to domestic violence and harassment.

A few days later, the complainant, Brij Lal, got a call from the accused Head Constable. Posing as the SHO, he told Brij Lal that the opposite party had also come to the police station to get a case registered against him as well and this could land him in trouble, besides weakening the case of his daughter. He offered to hush up the case for a bribe of Rs 8,000.

Brij Lal approached the Vigilance Department and today after some haggling, the deal was struck for Rs 4,000. The accused was arrested red-handed by a team of the Vigilance Department. A case has been registered against him under Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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Munir not Labour Bureau employee

Chandigarh, September 8
The Ministry of Labour and Employment has stated that Munir Alam, an accused in the Himachal Pradesh CPMT paper leak case, is not an employee of the Labour Bureau. It may be recalled Munir Alam, who is alleged to be the main tout for Himachal, and his family went missing after the police started investigation in the case. He is still untraced. — TNS

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