SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H I M A C H A L   P R A D E S H

Mining lease signed without villagersí consent
Sundernagar, February 17
Residents of Chambi, Khatrwar Kangar and Neri villagers have criticised the Director Industries for signing a mining lease with Harish Cement Limited for setting up a cement plant near Sundernagar without seeking the approval of the land owners of the villages.

Final list of BPL survey to be released soon
Solan, February 17
With the state government convening gram sabha meetings across the state tomorrow, the final list of the below poverty line survey are likely to be finalised soon. The lists will be displayed to seek objections, if any, from the public or include families, which have been left out.

Mild showers, snow in higher reaches
Shimla, February 17
Even though today was the first day in the past one week when there was no snow but mild showers lashed the town later in the evening, reducing the temperature further.

Rs 53 crore released for drought relief
Shimla, February 17
To deal with the drought like conditions prevailing in various parts of the state, the government has released Rs 53.14 crore to provide immediate relief to the affected persons.

Declare 2nd Saturday as holiday: Teachers
Chamba, February 17
The Himachal Government Teachers Union has urged the government to declare the second Saturday as holiday in the tribal educational institutions falling in Kinnaur, Pangi and Bharmour regions.



YOUR TOWN
Chamba
Shimla
Solan
Sundernagar
Nahan



EARLIER STORIES


Labour stir hits work
Nahan, February 17
Work at a hydroelectric project, being executed by Manglam Energy, a private company, today came to a standstill with more than 250 workers of the company going on an indefinite strike.

Travel agent held for duping Professor
Palampur, February 17
The police has arrested Prem Sharma, a travel agent, for defrauding Dr Manmohan Singh Dardi, a Professor of H.P. Agricultural University, on the pretext of sending his brother-in-law to the USA.

Manís body found in forest
Palampur, February 17
A man was allegedly murdered near Kalu di Hatti and his body thrown in a forest on the National Highway No 21. The DSP said killers had tried to deface the body. He suspects that the victim might have been killed with a sharp-edged weapon.

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Mining lease signed without villagersí consent
Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, February 17
Residents of Chambi, Khatrwar Kangar and Neri villagers have criticised the Director Industries for signing a mining lease with Harish Cement Limited for setting up a cement plant near Sundernagar without seeking the approval of the land owners of the villages.

It was confirmed by official sources that recently the Director Industries had signed a mining lease of 8,964 Bighas in favour of Harish Cement Ltd. The lease deed was signed on January 31.

Although no objections from the land owners or different departments were attached with the lease deed, it was executed for a period of 30 years.

The residents have criticised the decision to install a cement plant near Sundernagar. They alleged the government has every right on the minerals, but even then the lease could not be signed without the wishes of the land owners, which was not done in this case. They further alleged that the installation of the plant would ruin the Balh Valley, which is the most fertile valley of the hill state and more than two lakh people would be affected adversely.

According to Mr Upenmder Sen, general secretary of the Pryvaran Surakhsha Samiti 95 per cent of private land is agricultural land. Most of the oustees from Beas Sutlej Link Project are settled in the Chambi area, which has been selected for the installation of cement plant). It is close to Sundernagar town and the decision to install the cement plant will further uproot these villagers.

He said the government till date could not solve environmental problems faced by the residents of Balh valley such as silt problem (caused by Beas Sutlej Link Project), which is being thrown in the Suketi Khud by ruining thousands of bighas in Balh valley even after 30 years of completion of project.

He further added that the government has not tried to solve the problem of air pollution being caused by the ACC cement factory Barmana (Bilaspur). Eight panchayats of Sundernagar face direct pollution due to dust released from the plant, but different state governments have never tried to solve the problem of pollution as claimed by the company.

Mr Tek Chand Dogra, Congress MLA from Nachan Assembly segment (where the cement plant will be set up) has also joined hands with the local residents and said that he is against the setting up of cement plant near Sundernagar, as it would turn the life of local residents miserable. He said he would raise question in Assembly regarding this.

When Vikas Mohan, Manager, Geology, was contacted, he said the case was pending before government. But later on it was confirmed from the office of Tehsildar Sundernagar that he had signed the lease deed as witness.

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Final list of BPL survey to be released soon
Ambika Sharma
Tribune News Service

Solan, February 17
With the state government convening gram sabha meetings across the state tomorrow, the final list of the below poverty line (BPL) survey are likely to be finalised soon. The lists will be displayed to seek objections, if any, from the public or include families, which have been left out.

The inordinate delay in the release of the list has, however, cost the people dear. Earlier, the gram sabha meetings had been deferred as the state government had failed to finalise the cut-off score regarding the number of beneficiaries. Despite referring the matter to the Cabinet as many as six times, it had failed to come to any conclusion.

This delayed the survey, which should have been over at least three years ago.

Funds received under the Tenth Five Year Plan were disbursed among the old beneficiaries. Since the utilisation certificates had to be sent till February, the funds were disbursed among the old beneficiaries in a haste.

That was done in violation of the latest norms of the Planning Commission stating that the funds provided under the Tenth Five year Plan should be distributed according to the latest BPL survey.

Officials in the district administration said Rs 75 lakh and Rs 90 lakh had been received for disbursal under the Indira Awaas Yojna and Rajiv Gandhi Awaas Yojna, respectively, for the current financial year.

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Mild showers, snow in higher reaches
Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 17
Even though today was the first day in the past one week when there was no snow but mild showers lashed the town later in the evening, reducing the temperature further.

Despite brief sunshine in the morning, there was no respite from the cold as the higher reaches experienced fresh snowfall. After brief sunshine in the morning, the sky was covered with dark clouds brining down a mild shower late in the evening.

The minimum temperature recorded in the town today was minus 0.5 degrees Celsius while the day temperature was recorded at 18.4 degrees Celsius. There has been 7 mm of rain in the town during the past 24 hours.

The minimum temperature in Sundernagar was 2.4 while the maximum was 18.4. The minimum temperature in Bhuntar was 2.0 while the maximum was 18.6.

Most places in the higher reaches, including the tribal belt, reeled under sub-zero temperature as there was fresh spell of snow. The minimum temperature in Kalpa was minus 6.2 while the day temperature was 6.7 degrees Celsius. According to the local met office, the western disturbances, which were earlier positioned over Pakistan and the North-East Afghanistan, have now moved towards North Pakistan, causing rain and snow at isolated places.

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Rs 53 crore released for drought relief
Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 17
To deal with the drought like conditions prevailing in various parts of the state, the government has released Rs 53.14 crore to provide immediate relief to the affected persons.

Mr Daljeet Dogra, Secretary Revenue, said Rs 28.60 crore had been given to 12 Deputy Commissioners for relief work. Another Rs 24.54 crore had been released for various departments.

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Declare 2nd Saturday as holiday: Teachers
Our Correspondent

Chamba, February 17
The Himachal Government Teachers Union has urged the government to declare the second Saturday as holiday in the tribal educational institutions falling in Kinnaur, Pangi and Bharmour regions.

Mr Suman Minhas, state vice-chairman of the union, requested the Chief Minister to formulate a 'joint consultative committee' for addressing the grievances of teachers' communities and also to find out a solution to the emerging problems of elementary education.

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Labour stir hits work
Our Correspondent

Nahan, February 17
Work at a hydroelectric project, being executed by Manglam Energy, a private company, today came to a standstill with more than 250 workers of the company going on an indefinite strike.

The workers have been demanding medical allowance and other allowances besides payment of salaries in time.

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Travel agent held for duping Professor
Our Correspondent

Palampur, February 17
The police has arrested Prem Sharma, a travel agent, for defrauding Dr Manmohan Singh Dardi, a Professor of H.P. Agricultural University, on the pretext of sending his brother-in-law to the USA.

Mr K. C. Sharma, DSP, said Prem, posing as a close relation of an influential politician, told Dr Dardi that he had been sending persons to the USA and other countries for the past many years. Dr Dardi paid Rs 13 lakh through cheques to him. When Dr Dardi failed to get a visa and travel permit to the USA for his brother-in-law, he tried to contact Prem on his mobile phone. He came to know that Prem had changed his SIM card.

On a complaint of Dr Dardi, Prem was arrested in Dalhousie.

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Manís body found in forest
Our Correspondent

Palampur, February 17
A man was allegedly murdered near Kalu di Hatti and his body thrown in a forest on the National Highway No 21.

The DSP said killers had tried to deface the body. He suspects that the victim might have been killed with a sharp-edged weapon. A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered in this regard.

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