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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    E D I T I O N

Govt open to policy on land-use change
13 projects worth Rs 1,586 cr cleared

Shimla, May 1
The government will consider formulating a suitable policy for change of land use in the state, particularly in the industrial areas, keeping in view the problems being faced by industrial units.

Shimla MC Poll
Cong releases 25-member list

Shimla, May 1
The Congress today finalised 25 party candidates for the local municipal corporation (MC) elections, while repeating only five of the sitting 16 councillors from the ruling party in the present House.

5 hurt in Cong-BJP clash at Kangra
Congress, BJP leaders booked
Kangra, May 1
Agitated workers of the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP clashed here, leaving at least five persons injured here this afternoon.

A scene of the clash between Congress and BJP workers at Kangra on Tuesday. Photo by the writer
A scene of the clash between Congress and BJP workers at Kangra

Tribune Impact
SAIC takes steps to revive HIMAGRICO

Nurpur, May 1
After a prolonged silence, the State Agro Industries Corporation (SAIC) has woken up to revive its sick unit HIMAGRICO at Jachh.


Launch of The Tribune’s HP edition




YOUR TOWN
Bilaspur
Hamirpur
Dharamsala
Kangra
Mandi
Shimla
Nahan
Nurpur




 

What is May Day? 
These poor labourers working at a site in HP University, Shimla, do not seem to be aware of their rights what to speak of participating in rallies held in observance of May Day
These poor labourers working at a site in HP University, Shimla, do not seem to be aware of their rights what to speak of participating in rallies held in observance of May Day on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by S. Chandan

Rs 1.5-crore cafe faces neglect
Palampur, May 1
“Café Bharve”, a prime property of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation situated at Baijnath is in the state of neglect. The corporation virtually abandoned this unit around six years ago.

Seven file nominations
Shimla, May 1
Seven candidates, filed nominations for the municipal corporation (MC) elections here today. BJP candidate from Tutu Sagar Chand and NCP candidate from Khalini Atul Vohra filed their nominations on the first day.

Observers named
Shimla, May 1
State election commissioner Rajendra Bhattacharya today appointed two senior IAS officers secretary finance and planning Arvind Mehta and Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) managing director Srikant Baldi. as observers to ensure free and fair poll. — TNS

Anti-Drugs Campaign
Task force hesitant to take action 
Mandi, May 1
Even as the Himachal Pradesh police and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) have planned a joint anti-drug campaign against the illegal opium cultivation that has been detected in the Chauhar-Banjar Sanij-Balichowki belt in Mandi and Kullu districts, but the anti-drug task force is dithering on initiating action against cultivators.

Water shortage grips Kangra district
Dharamsala, May 1
A severe water crisis has gripped several parts of Kangra district as traditional sources of water have started drying up because of a continuous dry spell that has been prevalent for the past few weeks.

Local bodies to help curb illegal mining
Shimla, May 1
The Himachal Pradesh Government will consider involving Panchayati Raj institutions (PRI) in checking illegal and unscientific mining on the river beds, besides, empowering mining guards to carry out raids, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said today.

Oxen corpses
5 Saharanpur residents held

Nahan, May 1
Sirmour SP J. P. Singh said today that with the arrest of five residents of UP's Saharanpur district, the case of killing 36 oxen had been solved.

Probe poor exam results: BJP
Bilaspur, May 1
The district BJP unit here has objected to the alleged mess created by the local Congress leaders in schools, who have been organising a number of functions during the year and thus wasting time of both teachers and students. They said this had resulted in collapse of the entire academic and educational atmosphere in the schools.

May Day observed
Hamirpur, May 1
Several programmes were organised to mark May Day at Hamirpur today. The district unit of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) organised a meeting in which activists of rehri workers union, forest workers union and horticulture workers union participated. Local MLA Anita Verma presided over the meeting. District president of AITUC Mukesh Kumar presented a memorandum to the MLA. He also highlighted demands of the workers.

Letters
No ring

Your report on ‘Dead telephones in trans-Giri area’, in the April 27 issue, speaks volumes about the grim situation in the HP Telecommunication Department. Telephones are the lifeline of Himachal Pradesh and at present, they have gone silent in 18 villages. Through the columns of your newspaper, I request the authorities to correct the situation as soon as possible.


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Govt open to policy on land-use change
13 projects worth Rs 1,586 cr cleared
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 1
The government will consider formulating a suitable policy for change of land use in the state, particularly in the industrial areas, keeping in view the problems being faced by industrial units.

Presiding over a meeting of the State-Level Single Window Clearance Authority here today, he said a number of units that came up during the initial years of industrialisation had become outdated and they were shifting to manufacture of other products which were in demand. Consequently, need had arisen to frame a policy to enable such units to shift to new products after observing all formalities. The government had been liberal towards industrialists and accommodating them to the extent possible to create an investor-friendly environment.

He said land and water were both precious resources and an evaluation of these resources was required so that new projects could be allowed keeping in view the availability.

The government was discouraging polluting industries and those which required huge quantities of water and big chunks of land. The priority was for non-polluting units with a large employment potential.

The government was also encouraging entrepreneurs to set up units in interior areas so that rural people could benefit from industrial boom. It had adopted an open-door policy to attract private investment in the industrial, hydroelectric power, tourism and education sectors. The condition of recruiting 70 per cent of the manpower from within the state was essential for all.

The authority cleared 13 projects involving an investment of Rs 1586 crore and having a potential to provide employment to 1,041 persons. The projects included a mineral water plant to be set up at Rohru by Guardian Water Resources and cements plants to be set up by Lafarge and Gujarat Ambuja Cements. 

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Shimla MC Poll
Cong releases 25-member list
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 1
The Congress today finalised 25 party candidates for the local municipal corporation (MC) elections, while repeating only five of the sitting 16 councillors from the ruling party in the present House.

Manoj Kumar, a former Mayor, who joined the Congress, yesterday, has been given the ticket from his old ward, Jakhu. The five councillors who have been given the ticket again include Shashi Shekhar, deputy mayor, Jitender Chaudhary, Ashok Sood, Harish Janartha and Sudhir Azad. 

Many councillors have been denied the ticket because their wards are either reserved for women or Scheduled Caste. The polling will take place on May 23 and the counting of votes on May 25.

The names of Congress candidates are as follows:

Ward no 1 (Bharari)- Jitender Chaudhary; Ward no 2 (Ruldu Bhatta)- Atma Ram Chauhan; Ward no 3 (Kaithu)- Seema Chauhan; Ward no 4 (Annadale)- Ravinder Nath Popa Ward no 5 (Summer Hill) - Sunil Kumar; Ward no 6 (Tutu)- Santosh Kumar; Ward no 7 (Boileaugan) - Usha Lakhanpal; Ward no 8 (Tutikandi) - Anita Hanoth; Ward no 9 (Nabha) - Amit Nanda; Ward no 10 (Phagli) - Shashi Shekhar Chinnu; Ward no 11 (Krishnanagar) - Kaushalaya Channa; Ward no 12 (Ram Bazar) - Gitanjalai Bhagra; Ward no 13 (Lower Bazar) - Ashok Sood; Ward no 14 (Jakhu) - Manoj Kumar; Ward no 15 (Benmore) - Narender Kataria; Ward no 16 (Engine Ghar) - Harish Janartha; Ward no 17 (Sanjauli Chowk) - Sudhir Azad; Ward no 18 (Dhalli) - Sanjay Kumar; Ward no 19 (Chamiyana) - Mohinder Singh; Ward no 20 (Malyana) - Vasundhra Chauhan;

Ward no 21 (Kasumpti) - Maheshwar Chauhan; Ward no 22 (Chotta Shimla) - Surinder Chauhan; Ward no 23 (Patyog) - Kusum Chauhan; Ward no 24 (Khalini) - Dev Raj Sharma; Ward no 25 (Kanlog) - Madhu Sood.

Meanwhile, the BJP is yet to finalise names for the four wards of Kaithu, Ram Bazar, Kanlog and Nabha. With the state BJP chief, Jai Ram Thakur being out of the state, a final decision is likely to be taken in a day or two. The last date for filing of nominations is May 5.

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5 hurt in Cong-BJP clash at Kangra
Congress, BJP leaders booked
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Kangra, May 1
Agitated workers of the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP clashed here, leaving at least five persons injured here this afternoon. Transport and tourism minister G.S.Bali has been named in the FIR for his alleged role in planning and instigating Congress workers for indulging into violence. Many senior leaders of the BJP have also been booked.

The situation took a violent turn when BJP workers led by its local leaders were planning to burn an effigy of G.S. Bali and hand over a memorandum to the local SDM, demanding an inquiry into the controversial hotel complex coming up at McLeodganj.

The Congress workers, who were allegedly supporters of Bali, also turned up on the scene and burnt effigies of senior BJP leaders. While BJP workers were asking the local police to disperse Congress workers from there, the situation turned violent, with the police being a mute spectator to the clashes that left at least five persons injured.

Malvika Pathania, president of the district unit of the mahila wing of the BJP, alleged that Congress workers-- with active backing of the local police--threw glass bottles and stones on them in which at least five party workers were injured.

On the other hand, local Congress leader Navneet Sharma alleged that it was BJP workers who came out of the hall in which they were holding a meeting and threw a stone on them leading to a clash.

The role of policemen was allegedly not neutral as they seemed to be protecting the Congress workers. The local SDM, who was present in his office just 100 metres away from the spot, did not turn up on the scene to pacify the agitators.

Both Congress and BJP workers held a protest against each other and blocked the Pathankot-Mandi national highway passing through the hill town for more than six hours. Traffic blockade was lifted in the evening at the intervention of senior police officials.

BJP workers also protested against the partial attitude of the local administration and the police. They raised slogans against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and transport and tourism minister G.S. Bali.

Late in the afternoon, SP Ajay Yadav came on the spot along with a heavy force and requested the BJP workers to help restore traffic on the national highway. The BJP workers accepted the request after which the blockade was lifted.

The SP then took BJP leaders and workers to the local police station for a dialogue in the presence of district magistrate Bharat Khera.

Former minister and senior BJP leaders Kishan Kapoor and Vidhya Sagar, party MLA Ramesh Dhwala, women leader Malvika Pathania, district president Vipin Parmar, among others, held a meeting with the DM and the SP and sought an FIR against the transport minister for provoking Congress workers. They also demanded immediate suspension of the local SHO and an inquiry against the SDM for their biased approach. When the district magistrate declined to take immediate action against the SDM and the SHO, the BJP workers present in the police station started raising slogans against him.

Bharat Khera managed to pacify the BJP workers, saying that an inquiry into the alleged role of the SDM and the SHO would be conducted at the administrative level. Many other Congress leaders were also booked under sections 147, 148, 149, 341 and 323 of the IPC, confirmed the SP.

A case was also registered against BJP leaders Kishan Kapoor, Vidhya Sagar, party MLA Ramesh Dhwala, women leader Malvika Pathania, district president Vipin Parmar and many other party leaders, the SP added.

However, the situation was tense till the filing of this report.

BJYM threatens Bali
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 1
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) today cautioned transport minister G.S. Bali to stop using anti-social elements to attack the BJP workers or else he would find it difficult to move around in the state.

Addressing a press conference here today, state chief of the BJYM Rakesh Jamwal lashed out at Bali for using terror tactics and targeting BJP workers. “The BJP will not remain a mute spectator to attacks being engineered by Bali as happened in Kangra today,” he said.

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Tribune Impact
SAIC takes steps to revive HIMAGRICO
Plan to provide Rs 50 lakh in the offing
Rajiv Mahajan

Nurpur, May 1
After a prolonged silence, the State Agro Industries Corporation (SAIC) has woken up to revive its sick unit HIMAGRICO at Jachh.

The Tribune carried a report on the unit on April 28. Taking a note of the media report, the SAIC swung into action and formulated a strategy to revive the sick unit.

According to sources, a proposal to grant a working capital of Rs 50 lakh to HIMAGRICO is being submitted to the state government. A strategy to fulfil at least 50 per cent requirements of agriculture implements, road and forest tools by the Public Works and Forest Departments is also being formulated. The SAIC will be submitting requests in this regard to heads of 11 public-sector undertakings (PSUs) in the state and Y.S. Parmar Horticulture and Forestry University, Solan.

The SAIC has also been referring to the review committee meeting held on July 28 last year under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in which a directive in that regard was issued.

Frontal organisation of the Congress, INTUC, had also launched a peaceful agitation to demand revival of the unit. INTUC general secretary Rajnesh Sharma also received a communiqué today from the SAIC relating to the strategy to revive the sick unit. He welcomed the strategy.

Workers of HIMAGRICO, who had been protesting against the apathy of the SAIC by wearing black badges since April 9, today announced to call off their stir following an assurance by the managing director of the SAIC.

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Rs 1.5-crore cafe faces neglect
Ravinder Sood

Palampur, May 1
“Café Bharve”, a prime property of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation situated at Baijnath is in the state of neglect. The corporation virtually abandoned this unit around six years ago. The building was left unlocked and there was no caretaker of the HPTDC posted there. Now, the building and other infrastructure is being used by mule owners as mule shed and private transporters as their workshop. The furniture and other equipment of the Café have been taken away by anti-social elements.

The café was constructed by the HP Tourism Department in 1985 and later the HPTDC was asked by to run it. The HPTDC continued to run it till 1997. Later, in 1997, under a new policy the then BJP government, it transferred the unit was to a private party on lease. In 2000, the Tourism Department cancelled the lease of the private party and asked to hand over the building and other equipment to the HPTDC.

A dispute crop up between the HPTDC and the HP Tourism Department in 2000, over the ownership of the unit. Being a sick unit, the HPTDC was reluctant to take over possession of the unit. On the other hand, the department specifically told the HPTDC that it was the property of the HPTDC as per rules, so it should take over the possession and run the unit. During this period, a number of private parties approached the government to buy this unit or take on lease, but in vain.

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Seven file nominations
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 1
Seven candidates, filed nominations for the municipal corporation (MC) elections here today. BJP candidate from Tutu Sagar Chand and NCP candidate from Khalini Atul Vohra filed their nominations on the first day.

The five Independents who filed their nominations were Meena Chauhan from Bharari, Narottam Singh from Sanjauli, Vijay Sharma and Inder Chopra from Chamiana and Milap Chand from Kasumpti.

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Observers named

Shimla, May 1
State election commissioner Rajendra Bhattacharya today appointed two senior IAS officers secretary finance and planning Arvind Mehta and Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) managing director Srikant Baldi. as observers to ensure free and fair poll. — TNS

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Anti-Drugs Campaign
Task force hesitant to take action 
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Mandi, May 1
Even as the Himachal Pradesh police and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) have planned a joint anti-drug campaign against the illegal opium cultivation that has been detected in the Chauhar-Banjar Sanij-Balichowki belt in Mandi and Kullu districts, but the anti-drug task force is dithering on initiating action against cultivators.

The task force held a joint meeting in Shimla in this connection yesterday and chalked out the strategy to carry out the anti-poppy and cannabis destruction campaign in the areas under the contraband crop.

According to sources, over 125 bighas of private land has come under poppy
cultivation in 12 panchayats in Goghardhar, Fotegarh, Drun, Sudhar, Dharmesh and Chuchal in Chauhar valley in Drang constituency in Mandi. Even the revenue staff has reported the matter to the enforcement agencies, the revenue officials claimed.

Inputs revealed that fresh poppy cultivation had been spotted in Bali Chowki Tehsil in Boong, Bashagad, Kuthari, Mangalwani, Shaighat villages and a few villages in Ani Tehsil in Kullu district.

The crop was also spotted in Peethukanda, Shalesh, Badathach in Sainj Valley and Chipni, Srikot, Mashair, Thari, Lagada, Sajaou, Sapnil, Bagishari Mazhan and other villages in Banjar valley, the sources said.

The sources told The Tribune “The poppy crop in the area is in full bloom and the farmers are getting ready to harvest it, but the task force is yet to put its teams in place to the launch the anti-poppy campaign”.

The government may dither as it was the election year and the farmers allegedly enjoyed political patronage, added sources.

The revenue and forest staff has been directed to report cultivation of the contraband crop both in private and forest lands to the police and the NCB under Section 47, of the Narcotic, Drugs, Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

CID IG I.D. Bhandari said a joint strategy had been planned to take action against the illegal poppy cultivation in the area. “We have asked the revenue and forest departments to send them reports on illegal cultivation. The police is well aware about the problem and will take action soon”, he added.

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Water shortage grips Kangra district
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, May 1
A severe water crisis has gripped several parts of Kangra district as traditional sources of water have started drying up because of a continuous dry spell that has been prevalent for the past few weeks.

The water situation in Dharamsala, the district headquarters of Kangra, is also not satisfactory, where a crisis is imminent in case the dry spell continues.

The situation is worst in Palampur, Dehra, Nurpur, Baijnath and Nagrota areas of the district, where 25 per cent to 50 per cent of water had already dried up in 50 water supply schemes and the hill folk have started feeling the pinch of water scarcity.

A total of 100 water supply schemes in the district have been affected due to crisis. Reports indicate that about 25 per cent water depletion has been recorded in 60 water supply schemes in the district. Depletion of 50 per cent water has been noticed in the rest of the schemes.

With all these reports pouring in, it is expected that Kangra district might face severe water crisis as most of the schemes are based on rain.

However, senior officials in the irrigation and public health department, claimed that the decline in the water level was not alarming and the situation had not required deploying of water tankers.

On the other hand, the ground water level has also dropped in plain areas and this might cause a scarcity of drinking water during the summers.

A senior official of the IPH department said the state government was making arrangements to provide adequate drinking water, but it should not be misused by the people.

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Local bodies to help curb illegal mining
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 1
The Himachal Pradesh Government will consider involving Panchayati Raj institutions (PRI) in checking illegal and unscientific mining on the river beds, besides, empowering mining guards to carry out raids, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said today.

He was presiding over a high-level meeting to discuss modes to be adopted to curb illegal mining, which was causing soil erosion and loss of revenue to the state. He said powers would be decentralised to enable the PRI’s to play an effective role in regulating the mining activity. It will also help provide them opportunity to generate revenue for the development of their respective areas.

The government proposed to associate the gram panchayats in the process for the issuance of mining permits in the areas declared open. He directed the principal secretaries of the Industries, Department, Irrigation and Public Health Department and Panchayati Raj to work out modalities for the purpose soon.

He said the Mining Department would be strengthened and more trained manpower would be provided. The mining guards, station house officer of the local police station, junior engineer and all other related to mining activities would be declared authorised officer for conducting raids, he said.

A control room will be set up at the state headquarters to monitor the mining activities.

He directed the department to install boards which would indicate closed and open areas of the river beds. He also asked it to ensure that no mechanical mining was carried out without permission. No mining should be permitted near road bridges, water supply and irrigation schemes, residential areas and agriculture fields.

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Oxen corpses
5 Saharanpur residents held
Our Corrrespondent

Nahan, May 1
Sirmour SP J. P. Singh said today that with the arrest of five residents of UP's Saharanpur district, the case of killing 36 oxen had been solved.

As many as 36 oxen were thrown at four places near Kunja Matrallion village, near Paonta town, on April 6. They had confessed their involvement in the crime. They had brought 40 oxen from Dharampur in Mandi district in three trucks. As 21 oxen died on the way, they threw the corpses the bank of the Yamuna.

The arrested persons are Matloob, Naiem, Furkan, Imran and Khasnur, all residents of Ranipur Kalan village in Saharanpur district. They were later released on bail.

It may be recalled that veterinary doctors who conducted a post-mortem of the oxen said that the animals had died of hunger, dehydration and suffocations.

During the past one year, over 150 cows were found killed in the Paonta area along road slopes. 

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Probe poor exam results: BJP
Our Correspondent

Bilaspur, May 1
The district BJP unit here has objected to the alleged mess created by the local Congress leaders in schools, who have been organising a number of functions during the year and thus wasting time of both teachers and students. They said this had resulted in collapse of the entire academic and educational atmosphere in the schools.

They said this had been reflected in the recent annual examination results, where the students had fared badly.

Addressing mediapersons here today along with six other BJP youth leaders, Bilaspur Sadar BJP Mandal general secretary Rooplal Thakur said class X annual exam results of nearby Government Senior Secondary School, Chandpur, had been disappointing. Thakur said parents of the students were naturally were worried and disturbed.

The leaders urged the Chief Minister, who was also the Education Minister, to order a high-level enquiry into the exam result and take suitable remedial measures.

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May Day observed
Tribune News Service

Hamirpur, May 1
Several programmes were organised to mark May Day at Hamirpur today. The district unit of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) organised a meeting in which activists of rehri workers union, forest workers union and horticulture workers union participated. Local MLA Anita Verma presided over the meeting. District president of AITUC Mukesh Kumar presented a memorandum to the MLA. He also highlighted demands of the workers.

The North Zone Insurance Employees Association and the Janwadi Mahila Samiti also held a meeting where leaders spoke about the importance of May Day.

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Letters
No ring

Your report on ‘Dead telephones in trans-Giri area’, in the April 27 issue, speaks volumes about the grim situation in the HP Telecommunication Department. Telephones are the lifeline of Himachal Pradesh and at present, they have gone silent in 18 villages. Through the columns of your newspaper, I request the authorities to correct the situation as soon as possible.

Shivli
Mandi

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more 
than 200 words, at [email protected] or, write in, at: Letters, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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