29HP01A.qxd 8/28/2012 6:04 PM Page 1 c Shimla 19.1° 16.2° m VIGNETTES b y HIMACHAL DIARY 2 Kathgarh — from where retreated Alexander the Great 4 Pouring rain has not been an unmixed blessing The Tribune Himachal Plus Shimla Wednesday August 29 2012 www.tribuneindia.com Palampur with manifold demands cries for attention Plying of overloaded trucks to project sites goes unchecked Regional transport offices of Kullu, Bilaspur, Mandi under scanner KULDEEP CHAUHAN TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE KULLU/BILASPUR, AUGUST 28 NONE TO CHECK THE MENACE: Sewerage openly thrown in local streams. RAVINDER SOOD PALAMPUR, AUGUST 28 Palampur is crying for immediate attention of authorities as residents here are living in unhygienic conditions. Potholed roads and streets, overflowing drains, contaminated drinking water tell the tale of this town, which is fast turning into a slum. Out of a total population of 40,000, only 3,000 residents living in municipal areas are receiving amenities like sewerage, streetlights and cemented lanes while the rest are living in the adjoining six panchayats without any amenities. The local municipal council was first set up in 1955; since then the municipal limits have never been extended. The governments which ruled the state in the past 15 years have meted out a “step-motherly” treatment to this town. BJP leader Shanta Kumar, who hails from Palampur, remained Chief Minister twice, but he could neither extend the municipal limits of the town nor could grant it the district status, which were the two main demands of the local residents. The ‘differences’ between Shanta Kumar and Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal further harmed the town’s cause as all development activities remained suspend- ed during the past four-anda-half years and no new project was sanctioned for the town. The sewerage project for the left-out areas of six panchayats and the parking complex sanctioned by the previous Congress government failed to take off because of lack of “political will”. Almost all interior roads and streets of the town are in a bad shape. Due to overflowing drains and leaking water-supply pipes, water collects on streets and roads, which stink every time, making it difficult for the residents to commute. Some of the paved streets have been damaged because of regular overflowing of drains and leakage of drink- The Ram Chowk area has virtually turned into a slum. Photos by writer ing water pipes. Garbage can be seen in every nook and corner of the town. It has not been removed from In Cinema and IPH roads for the past many days. Absence of sewerage system in panchayat areas has aggravated the situation further. The condition of internal localities of the town like Ghuggar, Aima, Bundla, Lohana, Chokki, Sughar and Bindravan is going from bad to worse day by day with an increase in population. Unplanned and hazardous construction of houses, shops and other commercial complexes has become quite common here. The local authorities have failed to remove the encroachments from road side. To get rid of grievances of the residents of this town, sewerage system needs to be laid in entire town on a priority basis, as the prevailing conditions are alarming. There is also shortage of potable water in the town. The drinking water being supplied here carries mud and is unfit for human consumption. The narrow PathankotMandi National Highway, which passes through this town, has become a major traffic hazard because of the frequent traffic jams. Despite repeated requests, the state government has not completed the construction of a CM opens multipurpose auditorium at school Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal inaugurates a multipurpose auditorium at Pinegrove School, Dharampur. A Tribune photograph AMBIKA SHARMA SOLAN, AUGUST 28 Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said quality educational institutes helped in enhancing tourism in the state and students served as the ambassadors of serene, calm and placid environs of the state by professing about the quality educational institutions here. He was addressing the students of Pinegrove School, Dharampur, after inaugurating a multipurpose auditori- um christened as “The Colosseum”, which has a capacity of 750 people and is equipped with modern facilities. The Chief Minister lauded the efforts of the school in providing state-of-the-art facilities to the students and said this would help in their all-round development. The commissioning of the auditorium has enhanced the beauty of the campus further by helping in adding another full-fledged play field on the rooftop, making double use of land and creating a large turfed-space which will assist students in getting opportunities to play games and other sports. Capt AJ Singh, headmaster and executive director of the school, while addressing the students, said, “Pinegrove has maintained the highest standard of academic achievement and has made continuous efforts to pay attention to games, sports and other co-curricular activities. The auditorium has been named ‘The Colosseum’ because of the Ves- Up above the world! pasian amphitheatrical three-sided wide-angled design with sports and entertainment facility which reflects our dedication to develop aesthetic talents of our children”. “Teaching of music shall be an integral part of "The Colosseum" as the new music rooms are an inherent part of the design element and it will also provide an apt ambiance for enjoying indoor games like badminton and TT,” he said. Head boy Ravyansh and head girl Gurmehak Mann welcomed the Chief Minister and other distinguished guests to the school. A cultural programme comprising a musical and a traditional-cum-modern fusion dance, which was a mélange of bharatnatyam, kathak and contemporary dance was also presented on the occasion. A documentary highlighting the achievements of the school in the past two decades was also screened. A 200-page “Coffee Table Book” depicting the growth of the school since its inception was also released on the occasion by the Chief Minister. c m bypass for the town. There has been manifold increase in the population and the panchayats are finding it difficult to maintain the town with meagre funds allotted to it. The residents demanded that a plan should be drawn to provide them basic amenities on a par with other towns of the state. Liberal funds should also be sanctioned to panchayats for the installation of streetlights and sewerage system in all localities of the town. Panchayats should also be permitted to charge toll tax from vehicles and tax on the sale of liquor so that it could raise its own resources for the development of the town, they demanded. Thanks to rampant corruption, the overloading of cement and steel trucks carrying goods to project sites and carrying clinkers from cement plants to other states have brought the role of regional transport offices (RTOs) of Kullu, Bilaspur and Mandi under scanner as the state exchequer has been losing crores as revenue that otherwise can be collected as penalty under the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) every year. As per inputs gathered by The Tribune from RTO offices and NHPC’s Parbati project sites, over 500 trucks were carrying from 14 to 18 metric tonnes of cement, permissible limit in 9-tonne slab, to Parbati project site in recent time. Even there were steel trucks that carry 40 MT bars on the Manikaran bridge of 21.2 MT capacity, violating the high court order under the nose of the RTO, Kullu. “According to a rough estimate, the penalty on overloading was over Rs 3 crore in the case of Parbati project for recent years,” charged insiders. “If the violations by over 2,000 cement carrying trucks plied from three cement plants at Barmana, Bagha and Darlaghat are taken into account, the penalty runs into several crores, revealed insiders. Not even 20 per cent of the penalty is charged, thereby causing crores of revenue loss to the state every year.” The overloading is not only corroding roads and creating congestion, breakdowns and even mishaps on highways, it has become a major source of corruption. The Assistant RTO, Swarghat barrier in Bilaspur, receives most of the goods (traffic-load) on the National Highway-21. But it has challaned 2,523 offenders for overloading and collected Rs 1.70 crore as penalty under the MVA for the past two years, from July 2010 to August 2012. Besides, the RTO, Bilaspur, has collected a dismal Rs 40 lakh as fine from 978 challans for overloading in other cases for the past nine years from January 1, 2003, to March 31, 2012. The alleged nexus of RTOtransporters-NHPC staff gets credence from the fact that the state Vigilance has caught RTO staff red-handed accepting bribes in the recent past, while the CBI Continued on page 2 A police team during a football camp at Dharamsala. Photo: Kamaljeet Scientist gets Young Researcher Award DHARAM PRAKASH GUPTA TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE HAMIRPUR, AUGUST 28 Dr Vikas Suman, a scientist working in Dr YS Pramar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, has been awarded the Young Researcher Award, instituted in the memory of great scientist Michel Josifov, for his research, at the recently concluded y b Sixth European Hemiptera Congress, held in Sofia (Bulgaria). Young scientists from more than 130 countries had participated in this congregation of scientists and Dr Suman from Nauni university had represented India in this Congress. Dr Suman, at present working as a senior research fellow in the Department of Entomology and Apiculture in Nauni university, received this award for his original results and quality of scientific research. The research paper on “cytological characterisation of chromosomes in Elasmolomus (Aphanus) sordidus,” presented in the plenary session was selected by the jury of the Congress presented for giving the award. He was selected to attend this Congress in Bulgaria by the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi.
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