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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

Congress leaders back supporters
Kangni forest land row
Mandi, October 3
The Kangni forest land row in the town has taken a new turn as Mandi’s senior Congress leaders have thrown “their weight behind their supporters”, who have invented ways to grab prime demarcated forest land in and around the town to run a residential school and now install an idol of Lord Hanuman there.

IMA cadet cremated
Solan, October 3
Devinder Sharma, IMA cadet, who committed suicide on October 1 at the IMA, Dehra Dun, was cremated at his native village Taniana early this morning. He was bid a tearful adieu by his family members and colleagues from the IMA at Koon Khud, near Hathon village.

Dalai Lama returns from foreign tour
Dharamsala, October 3
Dharamsala town wore festive look today to welcome the Dalai Lama back to his official residence in McLeodganj and congratulate him on the award of the honorary Canadian citizenship and the US Congressional Gold Medal.

Assaulted tourist not averse to revisiting India
Dharamsala, October 3
“The image of that man chasing me with a sickle in hand still haunts me. But I would still like to come to India as such stray incidents happen across the world,” said 34-year-old Karina, the German tourist who sustained injuries when an attempt was made to outrage her modesty in Bhagsunag, near here yesterday.




YOUR TOWN
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EARLIER STORIES



Dulhasti project set for commissioning
Dalhousie, October 3
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has set the stage for the commissioning of 390 MW Dulhasti hydroelectric project in the militancy-infested belt of Jammu and Kashmir by the end of this calendar year.

Nathpa generation up from last year
Shimla, October 3
The country’s largest 1,500-MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power plant has surpassed last year’s total generation in just six months of the current year.

JP Industries to set up cement plant at Sikridhar
Dalhousie, October 3
The Jai Prakash Industries (JPI) recently qualified for the global tenders floated by the Himachal Government for the setting up of a cement plant at Sikridhar in Chamba district of Himachal.

Kokje inspects passing-out parade
Kulu, October 3
The Governor, Mr V.S. Kokje, inspected the passing-out parade of 636 trainees of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at SSB Training Centre, Shamshi, 8 km from here, today.

Lawrence School celebrates founder’s day
Sanawar, October 3
Delegates from Lawrence College, Ghora Gali, Pakistan, and Lovedale, Ooty, are participating in the 159th founder’s day celebrations of Lawrence School, Sanawar, that began yesterday. Sir Henry Lawrence was the common founder of these institutions.

Teachers oppose new system
Chamba, October 3
Before the system of elementary education is launched by the state government, various unions of teachers have joined hands to oppose the move of the government.

CM wants IT office restored
Palampur, October 3
The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today decried the decision of the Finance Ministry abolishing the office of Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) at Palampur.

BSNL scheme a hit among employees
Shimla, October 3
With 31,200 members, the BSNL mobile phone closed user group (CUG) of Himachal Government employees is the largest in the world.

Levy sugar quota for Divali increased
Shimla, October 3
Mr Singhi Ram, Food, civil supplies and consumer affairs minister, said here today that additional 100 gm levy sugar per head would be given for the month of October 2006 keeping in view the festival of Divali.

 

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Congress leaders back supporters
Kangni forest land row
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Mandi, October 3
The Kangni forest land row in the town has taken a new turn as Mandi’s senior Congress leaders have thrown “their weight behind their supporters”, who have invented ways to grab prime demarcated forest land in and around the town to run a residential school and now install an idol of Lord Hanuman there.

The society, which had secured lease for the Kangni forest to run a school, which later was cancelled following protest from residents, enjoyed the support of IPH minister Kaul Singh Thakur, while a devotee of Hanuman Diwakar enjoys the blessings of Mandi Sadar MLA and former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram, an opponent of Mr Thakur, revealed residents.

Though the district administration has been under pressure for allowing them to run their desired activities, but it has neither allowed society to run the school nor has it allowed devotee of Lord Hanuman, Diwakar Sharma, who has been on an indefinite fast here for the past three days to install the idol and perform puja in the Kangni forest land site.

A handful of Diwakar’s supporters, including his wife Mrs Lata Sharma today marched in procession and met Deputy Commissioner, Mandi Subhasish Panda.

Mrs Sharma pleaded her husband was a devotee of Lord Hanuman and wanted to set up a temple for which he has no land. He has not got pension from the Army as his case is pending in the court. He used to perform puja at a Nagchala temple, but was dislodged from the place”, she said.

Mr Panda clarified to the devotees that he would allow him to perform puja once only, provided he broke his fast and went home and allow the administration to take back the idol to some other temple.

Though the devotees at last agreed to the DC’s proposal, but Mr Diwakar, who was admitted to the zonal hospital Mandi following his fast, said he would continue the fast till the district administration fulfil his “small terms and conditions”, but he refused to explain further. Mr Panda clarified that the lease to the society had also been cancelled and would not allow him to install the idol there without a legal permission. “We are also looking into other such cases in the town”, he added.

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IMA cadet cremated
Our Correspondent

Solan, October 3
Devinder Sharma, IMA cadet, who committed suicide on October 1 at the IMA, Dehra Dun, was cremated at his native village Taniana early this morning.

He was bid a tearful adieu by his family members and colleagues from the IMA at Koon Khud, near Hathon village. Floral wreaths were laid on the body by the local Army officials on behalf of the IMA.

His body was brought by his father Prem Dutt Sharma at 8 am. His brothers Ramanand and Tiratha Nand and IMA cadets accompanied the body.

Hundreds of women, who had gathered at the site to mourn the death of the cadet, raised slogans that Devinder had not died but killed. They demanding an inquiry into the death.

Mr Prem Dutt, father of the deceased cadet, was totally speechless at the loss. The family elders who were trying to come to terms with the tragedy said since the police was already investigating the matter they did not want to comment.

Adverse comments made in an emotional state could jeopardise the rightful claims of their lost son, they said.

His uncles Tiratha Nand, Shanti Sarup and Om Prakash and father Prem Dutt were so dumbfounded with the tragedy that all they could do was but pray for the peace of the departed soul.

His mother Kamala, aunt Chandravati and other women wept inconsolably as the body was taken for the cremation.

A large number of people had gathered to pay their last respects to the departed soul. The whole atmosphere turned lachrymose as his father lit the pyre.

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Dalai Lama returns from foreign tour
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, October 3
Dharamsala town wore festive look today to welcome the Dalai Lama back to his official residence in McLeodganj and congratulate him on the award of the honorary Canadian citizenship and the US Congressional Gold Medal.

Various Tibetan support groups and Tibetan students had put up arches on different stops from Gaggal airport to the Dalai Lama’s residence.

Dalai Lama arrived here this afternoon after concluding his visits to Canada, the United States of America and Finland from September 6 to October 1.

The Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies cancelled its morning session and all deputies lined up streets to welcome the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama received honorary Canadian citizenship on September 9 from the Federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The US Congress on September 13 passed a Bill to award His Holiness the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal, the most distinguished award bestowed by the US Congress.

During his three-day visit to Vancouver from September 7 to September 9, the Dalai Lama inaugurated and participated in the Vancouver Dialogues 2006 organised by the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, said a statement issued by the Central Tibetan Administration.

In the USA, the Dalai Lama gave talks and participated in interfaith services.

The last leg of his visit took him to the Finland capital of Helsinki, where His Holiness gave talks and participated in interfaith meeting.

By end of this week (8-10 October), the Dalai Lama will visit the Czech Republic for the sixth time to attend the International Forum 2000 conference under the auspices of former President Vaclav Havel, it added.

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Assaulted tourist not averse to revisiting India
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, October 3
“The image of that man chasing me with a sickle in hand still haunts me. But I would still like to come to India as such stray incidents happen across the world,” said 34-year-old Karina, the German tourist who sustained injuries when an attempt was made to outrage her modesty in Bhagsunag, near here yesterday.

The incident has sent shock waves among foreigners in McLeodganj, even as the police arrested the accused, Shammi, who has reportedly given a confessional statement to the police.

Karina said had the sickle, with which the accused attacked her, not been blunt, she would have surely died. “He hit me with all his force after I refused to go with him to his cottage,” she said.

Karina appeared unnerved by the shocking incident but said she would like to continue to complete her scheduled stay till this weekend at McLeodganj.

“Today being German Unification Day, it is a holiday in the German Embassy. I plan to lodge a report with them tomorrow so that they could intervene in helping me get proper treatment and make sure that the police takes the case seriously,” she added.

“I think the accused is sick and needs some psychiatric help. I was keen on the police arresting him so that he does not cause harm to any other women in the area,” she said.

“Though there are not too many Germans in McLeodganj, many Israelis have expressed concern over the incident,” she said.

“I still don’t feel insecure walking alone in Bhagsunag or McLeodganj, like the way one does in certain countries where women cannot even think of venturing out late in the night,” she said.

Karina, who owns a garment shop in Germany, came to McLeodganj alone here to see the place and to take up a course in massaging and ayurveda.

Mr R.P. Jaswal, SHO, Dharamsala, said the accused, identified as 22-year-old Shammi, went into hiding in the forest area but was nabbed by the police.

The police said the accused had confessed to the charge of outraging the modesty of the German tourist at a secluded place close to the Bhagsunag waterfall. “A smalltime farmer, he claims that the girl had agreed to get physical with him but got annoyed when he asked her to sleep with him,” he said.

A case was registered yesterday.

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Dulhasti project set for commissioning
Our Correspondent

Dalhousie, October 3
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has set the stage for the commissioning of 390 MW Dulhasti hydroelectric project in the militancy-infested belt of Jammu and Kashmir by the end of this calendar year.

Disclosing this here yesterday, Mr S.K. Dodeja, Director (Projects) of the NHPC, said that Dulhasti hydroelectric project was located on the Chenab in Doda district in the northwestern part of Jammu and Kashmir along Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh. It was a run-of-the-river scheme envisaging generation of 390 MW through development of 235 metres gross head by construction of a 65 metre high concrete gravity dam.

The project would generate 1928 million units of energy annually in a 90 per cent dependable year. The power generated from this project would be fully absorbed in the Northern Grid. The beneficiary states will be Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Dodeja said.

The Corporation had also set a target to commission 510 MW Teesta hydroelectric project in Sikkim and 520 MW Onkayshwar hydroelectric project in Madhya Pradesh by next year, thereby crossing over 5000 MW generation capacity of the Corporation in the country.

Mr Dodeja claimed that various works on the 231 MW Chamera hydroelectric project (stage-III) on the Ravi in Chamba district had started picking up. These were held up in the wake of killings of three persons at Dakog in Chamba district on June 10 this year; adding that it would take some days to make the situation normal.

“The corporation would add generation capacity of 6367 MW of power generation totaling to 10,000 MW of hydropower by the end of Eleventh Five-Year Plan ending in 2012. At the moment the corporation was generating 3750 MW of power,” Mr Dodeja said adding that an amount of Rs 50,000 crore would be spent on harnessing river waters to generate this capacity.

“The Corporation would also invest Rs 50,000 crore to generate an additional capacity of 12,000 MW hydropower, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, Mr Dodeja said.

Mr Dodeja mentioned that Arunachal Pradesh had the available potential of hydropower capacity of 50,000 MW and would be the main base of hydropower generation in the country.

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Nathpa generation up from last year
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 3
The country’s largest 1,500-MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power plant has surpassed last year’s total generation in just six months of the current year.

The power plant, set up by the public sector Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, has generated 4,350 million units of electricity since April 1 as against 4,055 million units generated during 2005-06. The generation achieved in 2004-05, which was the first year of full operation, was however, 5,108 million units.

The target for the current financial year is 6,320 million units as per an MoU signed with the Ministry of Power. Currently, there is a shortfall of about 360 million units owing to high silt in the Sutlej, as a result of destabilised river banks and flash floods in the tributaries of the river.

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JP Industries to set up cement plant at Sikridhar
Our Correspondent

Dalhousie, October 3
The Jai Prakash Industries (JPI) recently qualified for the global tenders floated by the Himachal Government for the setting up of a cement plant at Sikridhar in Chamba district of Himachal.

Mrs Asha Kumari, MLA of the Banikhet constituency said here today that process of signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and the JPI was in the pipeline and the project would be launched soon.

“Earlier the MoU was signed with the Larsen and Toubro Company, it abandoned the cement business and sold this business to the Uni-Tech company. Consequently, the state government had to rescind its MoU”, Mrs Asha Kumari pointed out.

Meanwhile, sources revealed the cement plant was proposed to be set up at Sikridhar in the interior hills of Churah tehsil of the district with an outlay of Rs 650 crore that had 70 years’ deposits of limestone. Per day limestone extraction would be 6,000 truckloads with annual production of 1.5 million tonnes of cement from the plant, the sources informed.

The plant was expected to generate employment for 15,000 persons, including 5,000 skilled technicians and other staff besides a lot of indirect employment to the local people, the sources added.

The cement plant was conceived by former BJP leader and Industries Minister late Kishori Lal way back in 1977 when he was Public Works Minister in the Himachal government during the Janta Party regime. The plant has been lingering for the past 29 years and has been an ‘election issue’ during every Assembly and Parliament election during past several years.

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Kokje inspects passing-out parade
Our Correspondent

Kulu, October 3
The Governor, Mr V.S. Kokje, inspected the passing-out parade of 636 trainees of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at SSB Training Centre, Shamshi, 8 km from here, today.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kokje said the SSB was doing a commendable job by not only guarding the frontiers of the country but also connecting the people of remote areas with the mainstream.

He said the SSB was also playing a significant role in nation-building activities by initiating public welfare programmes, besides infusing the spirit of patriotism among the people.

The Governor said the paramedical and para-veterinary officials of the SSB were rendering yeoman service on the doorstep of the people in remote villages.

The Governor honoured the six best trainees on the occasion.

Ms Leena Kokje, the first lady of the state, Mr Mukesh Sahay, Inspector-General, SSB Headquarters, Delhi, and Mr Satya Prakash Thakur, Chairman, Himachal Pradesh Marketing Board, were among those present on the occasion.

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Lawrence School celebrates founder’s day
Our Correspondent

Sanawar, October 3
Delegates from Lawrence College, Ghora Gali, Pakistan, and Lovedale, Ooty, are participating in the 159th founder’s day celebrations of Lawrence School, Sanawar, that began yesterday. Sir Henry Lawrence was the common founder of these institutions.

The first day of celebrations began by paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi where the headmaster, Mr Praveen Vasisht, led the school. The delegation from Lawrence College, Pakistan, was led by their Principal, Air Cmdr Farooq Kiyani (retd). Others in the delegation were Noreen Tufail and Imtiaz Ranjha besides 17 students.

Mr Vasisht exhorted students to draw inspiration from the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. He said Gandhi’s philosophy was perhaps more relevant today than it ever before.

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Teachers oppose new system
Our Correspondent

Chamba, October 3
Before the system of elementary education is launched by the state government, various unions of teachers have joined hands to oppose the move of the government.

The government is going to introduce elementary education in the government schools from October 3 this year.

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CM wants IT office restored
Our Correspondent

Palampur, October 3
The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, today decried the decision of the Finance Ministry abolishing the office of Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) at Palampur.

Talking to mediapersons, he said the state government had already taken up the issue with the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, and would not allow the closure of this office at Palampur arbitrarily.

He termed the decision as great injustice with taxpayers of the hill state.

He said the office was opened at Palampur with the efforts of the state government for the convenience of taxpayers of eight districts in the state, who had to earlier go to Shimla or Chandigarh in connection with their income tax appeal matters.

Earlier, the Beopar Mandal, and the Taxation Bar Associations from Palampur, Kangra, Dharamsala and Pathankot submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and sought his intervention in getting the office restored.

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BSNL scheme a hit among employees
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 3
With 31,200 members, the BSNL mobile phone closed user group (CUG) of Himachal Government employees is the largest in the world.

Mr Shrikant Sharma, Chief General Manger of the BSNL, Himachal circle, said the CUG scheme was meant for 20,000 state government employees and the nigam expected to reach the figure by the end of December.

However, it became so popular within days of its launching that it had to be discontinued within two months as the CUG crossed the 31,000-member mark.

He also launched the FLPP (fixed line prepaid) service that would be available to public call office (PCO) operators initially and later extended to all landline subscribers. The service would be available at rate of Rs 1.20 per minute and spare the subscribers the problem of monthly bills. They could get recharge anytime. The existing landlines connections could also be converted to FLPP, he added.

The number of connections, since the setting up of BSNL six years ago had shot up in the state from 2.97 lakh to 8.10 lakh, including three lakh mobile phones.

The mobile network had covered all 12 district headquarters, 72 out of the total 75 tehsil headquarters and 49 out of 51 subdivisional headquarters.

The nigam planned to cover all villages with a population in excess of 2,000 by March, 2007. There were 174 such villages out of which 163 had been covered, he added.

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Levy sugar quota for Divali increased

Shimla, October 3
Mr Singhi Ram, Food, civil supplies and consumer affairs minister, said here today that additional 100 gm levy sugar per head would be given for the month of October 2006 keeping in view the festival of Divali. As such 800 gram of sugar per head would be distributed. — TNS

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