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    E D I T I O N

Snow greets Manali tourists
White blanket on Narkanda, Kufri, Dalhousie, too
Apple growers cheerful

Shimla, December 30
Tourists enjoy snow in Manali (above) and Kufri on Thursday. Tourists, who were disappointed over lack of snow on Christmas, were duly compensated as the weather god finally obliged key destinations in the state with a snowfall.


Tourists enjoy snow in Manali (above) and Kufri on Thursday. Photos: MC Thakur and Amit Kanwar

All set for white New Year
Manali/Mandi, December 30
The white New Year bash set to welcome revellers, who have already started descending on this tourist town in droves after receiving the news of fresh snowfall here.

Rain brings cheer to farmers
Hamirpur, December 30
The incessant rain during the past 24 hours in Hamirpur district has cheered up farmers and people. While this rain has brought a long dry spell to an end, it is also considered beneficial for rabi crops with people also feeling relieved to have first winter rain.

At 90, skating rink set to host nationals
Shimla, December 30
Ninety-year-old and still going strong — Asia’s only natural ice-skating rink — is all set to host skaters from across the country for the national skating championship next week.



YOUR TOWN
Dharamsala
Shimla


EARLIER STORIES



Weather fails to deter voters
75 pc turnout in second phase of panchayat poll
In the absence of electricity, the people cast votes in candlelight at Dharamsala on Thursday. Dharamsala, December 30
Despite heavy rain and cold weather conditions all over the state, people turned up in huge numbers to cast their votes during the second phase of the three-phased panchayati raj institution elections. As per official information, 75 per cent polling has been registered in the district. SP Daljeet Thakur said the polling had been peaceful and there was no news of clashes or any other untoward incident from any polling station in the district. As many as 253 panchayats went for polling today.

In the absence of electricity, the people cast votes in candlelight at Dharamsala on Thursday. Photo: Kamaljeet

Candidates flout poll expenditure norms
Hamirpur, December 30
The State Election Commission has fixed a limit of expenditure to be incurred by each candidate in the ongoing PRI and urban local bodies’ election, yet many candidates seem to be violating the norms by incurring lavish expenditure in their election campaign.

Ban on plastic
Central team to verify state’s claim
Solan, December 30
With the Centre nominating the state for its efforts to ban use of plastic, as an effort to preserve its ecology, a central team will now visit the state to ascertain its claim.

Books on HP’s culture released
Chief Minister PK Dhumal releases a souvenir in Shimla on Thursday.Shimla, December 30
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal released two books, "Samaj Sanskriti" (Volume IV) and Lok Varta” (Volume V), authored by Sudarshan Vashishth here today.


Chief Minister PK Dhumal releases a souvenir in Shimla on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Explore possibility of using plastic waste, HC asks state
Shimla, December 30
Expressing a serious concern over the issue of degradation of environment due to use of non-biodegradable packaging material, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the state to consider the possibility of collection and utilisation of plastic packaging material used for supply of all edible products by the state Food and Civil Supply Corporation to the ration card holders.

‘Pay licence fee to play music’
Shimla, December 30
Much of the fun may be taken away from the New Year celebrations with Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) initiating legal action against many well-known hotels and pubs in and around Shimla that have not paid the requisite licence fee to play music at their year-end events.

Children perform during a play, ABC, organised by the Sankalp, a theatre group, at Gaiety Theatre in Shimla on Thursday
Children perform during a play, ABC, organised by the Sankalp, a theatre group, at Gaiety Theatre in Shimla on Thursday. Photo: Amit Kanwar

Vision document for Solan out
Solan, December 30
With the Solan Municipal Committee elections becoming a prestige issue, the ruling BJP today released a vision document enlisting the developmental activities to uplift the town’s image.

Life term for 2 in double murder case
Shimla, December 30
A Fast Track Court today convicted and sentenced two persons, Virender Verma and Dev Raj, to life imprisonment in a double murder case. Judge Virender Sharma convicted both accused for committing murder of Om Prakash and Ganga Ram under Section 302 and Section 34 of the IPC.

Sainik welfare official ends life
Shimla, December 30
GR Bharati, joint secretary of the Sainik Welfare and Administrative Reforms, committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at his residence in Kusumpti here today.

Tehsildar suspended
Bilaspur, December 30
The State Election Commission has suspended Ghumarwin tehsildar Sidharth Acharya for not performing the election duty in connection with the PRI elections.

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Snow greets Manali tourists
White blanket on Narkanda, Kufri, Dalhousie, too
Apple growers cheerful
Tribune Reporters

Shimla, December 30
Tourists, who were disappointed over lack of snow on Christmas, were duly compensated as the weather god finally obliged key destinations in the state with a snowfall.

Narkanda, Dalhousie, Manali, Solang Nullah and the nearby resorts of Kufri and Fagu donned the white mantle as snow extended to the lower ranges. The forecast of the local Met office that the state would experience heavy snow and rain from the midnight of December 29 has come true and the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Lahaul Spiti, Kulu, Chamba and Kangra have been receiving heavy snow since the last evening. The Rohtang Pass, Hatu Peak, Churdhar, Chanshal slopes and Chitkul were already under 60 to 90 cm of snow. Kalpa and Sangla 
in Kinnaur were under 40 to 50 cm snow.

However, the “Queen of Hills”, which attracts the maximum number of winter revellers, was still awaiting snow. It was experiencing incessant rain interspersed with spells of sleet. There is possibility of snow over the next 24 hours. The tourists rushed to Kufri to enjoy the thrill of falling snow.

The snow cut-off several areas, including Chopal, Rohru, Narkanda, Sangla and parts of Kinnaur as slippery road conditions prevent the movement of vehicles. The Kannaur and Rampur-bound traffic was diverted via Basantpur. The Jalori pass was also blocked due to heavy snow disrupting traffic between Shimla and Kulu districts.

The snow brought cheer to apple growers as it will not only help in ensuring the minimum chilling hours but also provide adequate moisture, paving way for timely application of fertilisers. The state produced a record 4.46 crore boxes of apple last season and normally a bumper harvest is followed by a lean crop. However, with timely snow has raised the prospects of a good crop in the coming season. The state is having good snow in December after several years.

Lahaul valley cut off

Manali: The tourist town and its adjoining areas experienced a fresh spell of snow this morning, while the lower parts of the region were lashed by rain, renewing the cold wave in the region.

The town received the season's second snowfall.

Tourists were in for a surprise to see the town covered with a white blanket of snow. Snow covered roofs and deodar trees presenting a picturesque view to the tourists as well as the local residents.

Hundreds of tourists, who have come to Manali from plains to celebrate the New Year, were thrilled to see the surrounding areas donning an impeccable white mantle.

Before the beginning of the New Year, a festive atmosphere prevailed at Vashisht hot water springs, Nehru kund and Mall road, as tourists were seen enjoying the snowfall, making snow men and throwing snowball on each other.

The Lahaul valley was cut off from the rest of world after the heavy snowfall on 13,050-ft-high Rohtang Pass.

Traffic on the Manali-Rohtang road was disrupted at several points beyond Bahang, about 4 km from here today. The Rohtang road became slippery forcing tourists vehicles to return.

The snowfall brought smiles on the faces of hoteliers, taxi operators and luxury bus operators. The famous ski-slopes of the Solang valley also experienced a fresh snowfall, bringing cheer to winter sport lovers. Due to the fresh snowfall, the Manali region was in the grip of severe cold.

Saach Pass closed

CHAMBA: The Saach Pass, situated at an altitude of 4,413 metres in Chamba district, has been closed following the season’s first heavy snowfall and the tribal Pangi valley has been cut off from the rest of the country since last night, according to official reports.

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All set for white New Year
Kuldeep Chauhan/TNS

Manali/Mandi, December 30
The white New Year bash set to welcome revellers, who have already started descending on this tourist town in droves after receiving the news of fresh snowfall here.

The occupancy has soared to 60 per cent in Manali hotels today with tourists, including young couples, started reaching here for the white New Year bash.

From The Mall through the Circuit House and Club House road to historic Hidimba temple on the higher top of this snowy town, the tourists made fun in the snow, throwing snowballs at one another even as fresh snow flakes continued to lash them gently.

The Ski resort of Solang Nalla has received more than one-ft of snow today. The Atal Bihari Institute of Adventure Sports and Mountaineering, Manali, also offers ski course and competitions for the snow sport lovers here.

“We are lucky this time that we experience snowfall for the first time in Manali”, said Kapil and Anu Malhotra, the tourists from New Delhi, who were playing in the snow on The Mall.

Apart from Manali, Barot, Janjheli and Parashar lake received snow. The Barot is famous for trout fish and is a welcome destination for tourists who seek a respite from Manali town, said a guest house owner from Barot.

President of Manali Hoteliers Association Gajendra Thakur said tourists had started coming to Manali despite it continues to snow here and in the higher regions and it rains in the rest of the northern region. The occupancy has gone up to 60 per cent and we expect it will be a packed house for the New Year celebrations as Manali has experienced six inches of snow, he added.

Meanwhile, Kingfisher and Air India cancelled their flights to Kullu and Shimla due to bad weather. “If we go by the forecast for tomorrow, weather will clear by noon and we hope the DGCA will allow the operation of flights to Kullu and Shimla”, said sources in the civil aviation department. 

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Rain brings cheer to farmers
Tribune Reporters

Hamirpur, December 30
The incessant rain during the past 24 hours in Hamirpur district has cheered up farmers and people. While this rain has brought a long dry spell to an end, it is also considered beneficial for rabi crops with people also feeling relieved to have first winter rain.

The rain started at midnight on Wednesday which is still continuing and the district has received a widespread rain.

A relieved farmer Vijay Kumar from the Badsar area of the district said: “The rain is very good for all crops, especially wheat and it will result into good harvest.” Another farmer Ramesh Chand from Hamirpur said, “This rain is very timely and good for all crops and vegetables since frost had started setting in for the past few days. The rain will also save crops, vegetables and fruits from the frost.”

Deputy director, Agriculture, AS Rana, said, “The rain has broken a long dry spell prevailing in Hamirpur district for quite some time.”

“For the crops sown in November, this rain is good. The rain is bit delayed for crops sown during mid-October but, over all, it is very useful for the growth of crops and will result into almost bumper crop of wheat and vegetables.”

PALAMPUR: The entire Palampur region experienced heavy rain and snow for the last 24 hours. Kothi Kohar and Kothi Swar areas of Chota Bhangal have been cut off from the rest of the nation.

The HRTC and private operators have suspended bus services between Palampur and Barot following heavy snowfall on the Ghatasni-Barot highway. Many buses were stranded at different points due to snowfall. Many parts of the valley were without power supply since morning because of damage caused to transmission lines.

KANGRA: Life was thrown out of gear in Kangra valley due incessant rains and heavy snowfall on the Dhauladhar mountain ranges. It started raining in the valley late last night which continued till this evening. The mercury fell down considerably and the Dhauladhar mountains experienced heavy snowfall during the night. 

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At 90, skating rink set to host nationals

Shimla, December 30
Ninety-year-old and still going strong — Asia’s only natural ice-skating rink — is all set to host skaters from across the country for the national skating championship next week.

“The Ice-Skating Association of India has decided to host a three-day national championship in Shimla from January 3,” Simla (as the name spelled by the British) Ice-Skating Club secretary Bhuvnesh Banga said.

More than 75 skaters from across the country are expected to participate in speed skating and figure skating events. “The events will be held in three categories — sub-junior, junior and senior,” Banga said.

He said the meet was held last year at Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.

The skating rink was set up by Irish military official Blessington, who inadvertently kept a bucket of water outside his residence one-day and found that it had frozen in the morning. This gave him the idea of a skating rink and he created a small one of his own.

Blessington also trained his Indian servants in the art of sprinkling water on clay ground that freezes under natural conditions. The rink was set up by Blessington in 1920.

“The clear weather with extremely low temperatures this winter has provided ideal conditions for water to freeze naturally in the rink. As a result, 37 skating sessions have been held so far and two more months are still to go,” Banga said.

An official at the Ice-Skating Club said crystal-clear skies were ideal for natural formation of ice. “If the sky is cloudy, the night temperature rises and if it is clear, the temperature dips. The high humidity level enables the water to freeze quickly,” he said.

The club has created a record of hosting 165 sessions in 1960-61. However, in the early 1980s the sessions ranged from 110 to 120. In 2008-09, only 27 sessions were held - the lowest in the club’s history.

Forty-six sessions were held in 2007-08 and 77 in 2009-2010.

Meenakshi Bhanot, a young skater based here, said: “We are praying to the weather god that the sky remains clear during the championship and a thick layer of ice surface is formed every morning.”

The skating club routinely holds two sessions a day - 8 am to 11 am and 5.30 pm to 8 pm - depending on the ice formation. Even tourists can enjoy skating by paying Rs 100 for a session. The fee includes provision of skates by the club.

The Ice-Skating Club is affiliated to the Ice Skating Association of India and the Winter Games Federation of India. The first national ice-skating championship was organised here by the Indian Olympic Association in 2000. Old-timers recall how the skating rink was a centre of attraction for tourists and skaters alike.

MR Kaundal, an octogenarian who has lived in Shimla since 1950, said the skating rink was one of the landmarks of the town.

“Earlier people used to come from across the globe to enjoy winter skating. Of late, the town has been witnessing erratic snow and abnormally high temperature. These are slowly taking a toll on the skating rink,” he said. — IANS

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Weather fails to deter voters
75 pc turnout in second phase of panchayat poll
Tribune Reporters

Dharamsala, December 30
Despite heavy rain and cold weather conditions all over the state, people turned up in huge numbers to cast their votes during the second phase of the three-phased panchayati raj institution elections.

As per official information, 75 per cent polling has been registered in the district.

SP Daljeet Thakur said the polling had been peaceful and there was no news of clashes or any other untoward incident from any polling station in the district. As many as 253 panchayats went for polling today.

The enthusiasm was such that 105-year-old Taro Devi came to cast her vote in the Dari panchayat of Dharamsala and said it was her right and should not be wasted. She said we all must choose our representatives with utmost care.

Rains did not play a spoilsport. Voters showed good participation in choosing their representatives from the panchayat, said an election officer of the Indora panchayat.

The Deputy Commissioner said in the Baijnath block 17 panchayats went for polling, 16 in Bhawarna, 21 in Dehra, 18 in Fatehpur, 16 in Indora, 19 in Kangra, 18 in Lambagaon, 17 in Nurpur, 15 in Nagrota Bagwan, 16 in Nagrota Surian, 25 in Paragpur, 12 in Panchrukhi, 18 in Rait, 16 in Sulah and nine panchayats in Dharamsala.

Out of 760 panchayats in the district, polling has been completed at 512 and rest 248 will elect their representatives in the third phase on January 1.

HAMIRPUR: Despite incessant rain and shivering cold in Hamirpur district since this morning, there was no lack of enthusiasm among the voters to express their choice in the second phase of rural poll.

Almost matching the previous polling figure of voter turnout registered in the first phase of polling here, about 72 per cent voters cast their votes in today’s poll.

As many as 78 panchayats of the district went to the polls in the second phase in the district for which 454 polling booths had been set up.

The polling started at 7 am amid rain which continued throughout the day. Though intense cold kept the voters inside their houses in the morning hours, later during the day they came out in large number to vote.

Long queues of voters were witnessed at many places. The election was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any where.

The counting for panchayat office-bearers was started immediately after the polling and all results are likely to be out by late night.

SOLAN: Sirmaur district witnessed 85 per cent polling in the second phase of the panchayati raj elections with voting remaining peaceful. A large number of people were seen exercising their right to vote despite the inclement weather conditions.

Solan witnessed 82 per cent voting in the second phase where 71 panchayats elected their representatives today.

Kapur Singh at 91 turned out to be the oldest voter who exercised his right to vote at Bajrol booth. A resident of Kalaghat in the Seri panchayat, Singh was seen patiently waiting for his turn at the polling booth.

Voters were undeterred from their resolve to vote despite witnessing heavy rains at Basaal, Seri, Kotho, Dangri, Barog, Anji and Bajrol panchayats.

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Candidates flout poll expenditure norms
Dharam Prakash Gupta
Tribune News Service

Hamirpur, December 30
The State Election Commission has fixed a limit of expenditure to be incurred by each candidate in the ongoing PRI and urban local bodies’ election, yet many candidates seem to be violating the norms by incurring lavish expenditure in their election campaign.

As the campaign for the election is getting intense with the each passing day, so is increasing the election expenses too.

Huge cutouts of candidates, rows of multi-coloured posters, banners, festoons, buntings and repeated advertisement insertions in media make it quite evident that many contesting candidates are making expenditure above their expenditure limits.

The State Election Commission has fixed a limit of Rs 30,000 each for candidates contesting election for zila parishad. For candidates contesting election for the post of president and vice-president of nagar parishad, the limit of expenditure is Rs 60,000.

Similarly, a limit of Rs 40,000 has been fixed for candidates contesting for the posts of president and vice-president of nagar panchayat.

Candidates contesting as ward members for nagar parishad and nagar panchayat are allowed to spend Rs 10,000 each in the election.

Interestingly, there are a few candidates who seem to be adhering to these expense limits but most others are reportedly giving two hoots to the Election Commission norms of the election expenditure.

The Department of Urban Development conducting the election for the urban local bodies in the state had asked candidates to maintain a record of election expense and submit the same after completion of election to the department.

Having a look on election material used by many candidates, it becomes clear that they are exceeding the expenditure limits.

The department of election has also designated officers for checking the election expense record of the contestants.

Director of Urban Department Poornima Chauhan said, “We have instructed all contestants to maintain a record of expenditure and submit the same after the election, which will be forwarded to the State Election Commission.”

“Exceeding election expenditure limit can invite disqualification for contestant but this issue will be decided at an appropriate time,” she added.

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Ban on plastic
Central team to verify state’s claim
Ambika Sharma

Solan, December 30
With the Centre nominating the state for its efforts to ban use of plastic, as an effort to preserve its ecology, a central team will now visit the state to ascertain its claim.

The team, which is slated to visit from January 11 to 14, will begin its inspection from Solan. It will visit places which are generally littered with plastic waste, including river beds and national highways.

Apart from banning the use of coloured plastic bags in the state which are being manufactured from recycled polythene, a significant quantity of plastic waste emanating from the use of disposable cups, glasses, plates, etc and packaging material litter the state and campaigns have been launched to collect such wastes. However, to safeguard the fragile hill ecology the government introduced co-processing of plastic waste in cement kilns like ACC Barmana and Ambuja Cements, Darlaghat, besides using plastic waste in road construction at the Tutu-Jubbar Hatti airport road.

With processing of waste being a crucial aspect, an arrangement had to be created for it, opined Dr Nagin Nanda, member secretary, State Pollution Control Board, who spearheaded the campaign.

He added that in order to make it sustainable the government also created an institutional mechanism for buyback of polythene and plastic waste which was purchased by the PWD from gram panchayats and urban local bodies at the rate of Rs 4 per kg. The gram panchayats and urban local bodies also developed an arrangement to ensure collection of such wastes.

A campaign was introduced to collect the plastic waste littered on the hill slopes, forest areas and near the rivers and the nullas etc, as this was considered a major pollutant. Almost 142 tonnes of polythene was collected and another 66 tonnes was collected during another campaign on Earth Day.

With littering being a crucial issue of concern focus was shifted on monitoring to ensure compliance and an eco-monitoring scheme and an environmental audit scheme was also introduced during the third phase which led to the collection of 76 tonnes of plastic waste.

The PWD has managed to use plastic mixed bitumen and it constructed a road length of around 34 km. With nearly 311 tonnes of plastic waste being collected in the state a similar road length can be constructed, thus, utilising this non-biodegradable waste to its optimum.

The central committee will now visit various hot spots, including river beds, national highways etc.

ADM KC Chaman convened a meeting of officials of the district and they had been instructed to ensure litter-free environs in their respective areas.

He said the SDMs had been made chairman of the respective committees and had been entrusted the task to check littering. The executive engineer of the national highway had been specially instructed to ensure compliance from dhaba owners who had been directed to keep their surroundings clean.

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Books on HP’s culture released
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 30
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal released two books, "Samaj Sanskriti" (Volume IV) and Lok Varta” (Volume V), authored by Sudarshan Vashishth here today.

“Samaj Sanskriti” contains the details of the rich cultural heritage of the hill state focusing on the public beliefs, customs and traditions, marriage ceremonies and lifestyle. It also takes an in-depth look at the ancient script, manuscript language and traditional musical instruments and artists of the state.

“Lok Varta” contains compilation of folk theatre and other aspects of folk culture which will be of immense interest for research scholars.

Dhumal complimented the author for bringing out two more volumes to complete the five-volume series on cultural history of the state. He said Himachal had a rich and diverse cultural heritage and the people were deeply rooted in it.

Dhumal also released a souvenir on “International Folk Dances” brought out by Kapur V. Bhan, founder of the Charu Castle Foundation.

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Explore possibility of using plastic waste, HC asks state
Legal Correspondent

Shimla, December 30
Expressing a serious concern over the issue of degradation of environment due to use of non-biodegradable packaging material, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the state to consider the possibility of collection and utilisation of plastic packaging material used for supply of all edible products by the state Food and Civil Supply Corporation to the ration card holders.

The court further observed that the need to sensitise the consumers about the ill-effects of the use of non-biodegradable packaging material to the environment and public health should be emphasised.

The court also said there was a need to take steps for checking use of non-biodegradable packaging material used in packaging non-essential consumable items and other goods. The court suggested that to avoid excessive use of plastic by way of packaged water bottles, perhaps, the state could set up outlets for supply of pure and clean water at tourist centres.

The Bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol also appreciated the steps taken by the state in this regard and observed that there is no doubt that the state has taken some steps to ensure reducing the use of non-biodegradable material in the state. However, this is not enough. It is just a small, if not a half-hearted measure.

The state has to adopt a multi-pronged strategy. It has to not only legislate/lay down policies and make people aware but also ensure strict compliance of the same.

Undisputedly, the state has put restrictions and prohibited use of polythene carry bags and littering of plastic waste. Efforts made in this regard are appreciable, but it is just a small step taken in the direction of preserving the pristine environment and natural beauty of the hilly state.

For the use of plastic waste collected by the state, the court further directed the state to explore the possibility of further using this waste by various cement manufacturing units established within the state. The court passed this order on a petition filed in this regard.

The court listed this matter for further hearing on March 26.

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‘Pay licence fee to play music’
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 30
Much of the fun may be taken away from the New Year celebrations with Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) initiating legal action against many well-known hotels and pubs in and around Shimla that have not paid the requisite licence fee to play music at their year-end events.

Vipul Pradhan, CEO of the PPL, said, “New Year parties attract people promising them a good time through a combination of entertainment, food and beverage. A significant component of the sum charged from customers is for music, an integral element of the entertainment. Therefore, music companies, whose sound recording is regularly used, have a right towards claiming their due because their product is getting consumed too.”

Under the statutory sanction of Section 35 of the Indian Copyright Act, playing commercial music in public without paying the requisite licence fee is an offence liable to contempt of court. It grants exclusivity to the PPL to issue licences to hotels and pubs for playing music during the events on their respective premises.

The PPL had issued notices to all prominent parties that had not paid the music licence fee across the country and had planned to initiate legal action against defaulters in case the licence fee was not paid ahead of their planned events.

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Vision document for Solan out
Ambika Sharma

Solan, December 30
With the Solan Municipal Committee elections becoming a prestige issue, the ruling BJP today released a vision document enlisting the developmental activities to uplift the town’s image.

The BJP has highlighted its various achievements, including generation of employment avenues to the agrarian community by undertaking expansion of the state-level sabzi mandi.

Local MLA and Health and Ayurveda Minister Dr Rajiv Bindal while focusing on the measures to improve the lot of the agriculturists said the turnover of the sabzi mandi had been enhanced from Rs 50 crore to Rs 120 crore.

Touching the chord of the common man, the BJP has also taken credit of the Giri water scheme which has enhanced water supply in the town. Interestingly, the Congress too enlists this scheme as its achievement.

Creation of additional tourist circuits like Solan-Kandaghat-Sadhupul-Chail and Goura-Dharo-ki-Dhar have helped creation of job avenues while giving a boost to tourism, claims the document. Places like heritage centre being constructed by the Mohan Shakti Trust and Patanjali Yogpeeth will also bolster tourism activities, the BJP leader emphasised.

The opening of number of private universities may have drawn flak but the BJP has added it to its credit as it has enhanced the scope of providing education to the youth at its doorstep. Provision of better health facilities with the construction of a new hospital at a cost of Rs 10 crore, a 500-bedded private medical college and private nursing schools have also been highlighted.

Construction of the long-awaited multi-purpose indoor stadium at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore along with a modern auditorium at a cost of Rs 5 crore will help boost sports and cultural activities in the town.

Construction of additional parking at the old bus stand and creation of a transport nagar to de-congest the town were the other projects which were on the BJP’s agenda.

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Life term for 2 in double murder case
Legal Correspondent

Shimla, December 30
A Fast Track Court today convicted and sentenced two persons, Virender Verma and Dev Raj, to life imprisonment in a double murder case. Judge Virender Sharma convicted both accused for committing murder of Om Prakash and Ganga Ram under Section 302 and Section 34 of the IPC.

According to the prosecution, Dhani Ram, father of Virender Verma, and deceased Ganga Ram were real brothers. They were having a land in Theog. Dhani Ram had been denying his brothers and sisters share in the land and the ancestral property. Ganga Ram had also filed a case against his brother for the ancestral property. The other person Om Prakash had been supporting Ganga Ram in the dispute. Due to this land dispute, Virender Verma and his friend murdered both persons on June 6, 2009. After completion of the investigation, a challan was filed for trial and the court and recorded the statements of witnesses and found them guilty.

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Sainik welfare official ends life
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 30
GR Bharati, joint secretary of the Sainik Welfare and Administrative Reforms, committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at his residence in Kusumpti here today.

The police recovered his body this afternoon by breaking the windowpanes of his house. His wife, who was away to Kullu, called him from there. But her phone calls were not attended by him.

Police sources said he had left a nine-page suicide note which indicated that he was under immense pressure due to his extra-marital relationship.

The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. Further investigations will be carried out after the cause of death is confirmed.

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Tehsildar suspended

Bilaspur, December 30
The State Election Commission has suspended Ghumarwin tehsildar Sidharth Acharya for not performing the election duty in connection with the PRI elections.

Sidharth applied for leave as he had pleaded that he was to appear in his law exam. Since his leave was refused, he was found absent from duty. The commission took a serious note of this “dereliction of election duty” and directed the district returning officer to place him under suspension. — OC

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