Posts Tagged ‘Shimla’
Shimla, Dec 10 (IANS) The hills of Himachal Pradesh might experience rains and snowfall this week, a weather official said here Monday.
“There are chances of heavy rain and snowfall in middle and high hills across the state Dec 13 and 14,” an official at the meteorological office here told IANS.
He said the western disturbances – storm systems originating from Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region – are likely to be active in the region from Tuesday.
The Met Office’s forecast has brought cheer to the state’s hospitality industry as snow is the biggest draw for the tourists.
“If there is a snow in nearby tourist spots of Shimla, we will have a good number of tourists in the coming weekend,” said Vijay Sharma, assistant general manager of Holiday Home Hotel, a government-run venture here.
Places like Kufri and Narkanda near Shimla and the hills overlooking Manali, about 250 km from Shimla, already experienced mild snow Nov 29.
The Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet), located 51 km from Manali, and Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft) have so far experienced good spells of snowfall.
The night temperature Sunday in Keylong, the state’s coldest place, was 4.6 degrees Celsius below the freezing point.
Kalpa saw a low of 0.6 degree, while the temperature was one degree in Manali and 8.4 degrees in Dharamsala.
Shimla recorded a minimum of 4.3 degrees while the maximum stayed at 15.4 degrees.
Shimla, Dec 9 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh has won the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s award for promoting industrial investments, a statement said here Sunday, adding that the award would be presented to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Dec 15.
The chief minister will receive the ‘Most attractive investment destination state’ award from President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi.
Himachal Pradesh has been adjudged the best state for creating quality infrastructural facilities besides best industrial investment friendly environment and extending cooperation in setting up industrial units, an official statement said.
Shimla, Dec 8 (IANS) A wireless transmitter, believed to be of Chinese origin, has been recovered in Himachal Pradesh’s remote Kinnaur district, which shares a boundary with China, police said Saturday.
“A VHS set in working condition was recovered from forests in Moorang area three days ago. We are investigating the case,” police told IANS here.
He said the antenna of the set, whose solar charger has some Chinese inscriptions, was hinged to a tree.
Kinnaur Superintendent of Police Veena Bharti told IANS that the set was recovered on the basis of information provided by state forest officials.
“We are investigating the origin of the set. We have questioned locals. Some tourists may have used the transmitter for communication, but it’s too preliminary to say anything right now,” Bharti added.
Police said the area from where the set was found was within 10-15 km aerial distance from the China border.
“The set was recovered just 1 km ahead of the Indian army check post at Akpa,” a police official said, who didn’t wish to be identified.
In March last year, legislator Ram Lal Markandey had said in the state assembly that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Kaurik had spotted helicopters close to the international border in Spiti Valley.
At that time, Markandey had said the latest intrusion by China at Kaurik, some 330 km from Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla, was the second of its kind in four months.
Himachal Pradesh shares a porous border with China and police say smuggling of rare species of fauna and Chinese goods like blankets and thermos flasks are quite frequent.
Shimla, Dec 7 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Friday said the state was always against foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.
In a letter written to Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Dhumal said: “We are committed to protecting the interests of petty traders and entrepreneurs by not allowing implementation of FDI in retail in the state.”
Expressing surprise over Sharma’s statement in the Lok Sabha two days ago that BJP states Gujarat and Himachal and Akali Dal-ruled Punjab never opposed FDI in writing, the chief minister said the statement “is concocted and contrary to the facts”.
“Sharma has never communicated with us in this regard,” he said in a statement.
Dhumal said the BJP government had always been opposing the FDI in the country and same was the case in Himachal.
He criticised Sharma for not supporting the demand of the fruit-growing state to increase import duty on apples to protect the domestic industry.
The government Friday won the vote in the Rajya Sabha on FDI, two days after it sailed through the Lok Sabha. This paves the way for foreign equity in multi-brand retail in the country.
Shimla, Dec 6 (IANS) Angry over delay in sanction for prosecution in corruption cases probed by the vigilance department, the Himachal Pradesh High Court Thursday summoned officials from several departments Dec 14 with details on pending matters.
The division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rajiv Sharma directed the additional chief secretary (cooperative) and principal secretaries of personnel, vigilance, irrigation and public health, revenue, public works, rural development and panchayati raj departments to appear before it.
They were also directed to furnish details of corruption cases where the prosecution sanction was pending.
The court’s order came during a hearing in a corruption case where the vigilance department was awaiting prosecution sanction for over three years.
Showing dissatisfaction with the working of the vigilance department, the judges earlier directed the inspector general of vigilance to furnish details of cases where investigation was complete but they were awaiting prosecution sanction.
Shimla, Dec 5 (IANS) State-owned Himachal Pradesh State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd. has forayed into the market of skimmed milk powder, an official said here Wednesday.
The milk cooperative has already made its presence felt in the northern region with the supply of dairy products, mainly milk and ‘desi cow ghee’.
“We have started the marketing of skimmed milk powder which has a good market in the state particularly during the lean winter months,” cooperative managing director A.K. Thukur told IANS.
‘Him Ghee’, ‘Him Milk’ and ‘Him Butter’ are the flagship brands of the milk cooperative and caters to about 50 percent of their demand in the state.
He said skimmed milk powder under the brand name ‘Him Milk Powder’ is available in the market in the packing of half kg at a rate of Rs.90.
Thakur said the cooperative has got an order to supply 750 tonnes of milk powder in a year to over 18,000 Anganwadis in the state.
For the production of milk powder, the federation has installed a unit at its plant near Rampur, some 120 km from here, with a capacity to produce five tonne per day.
The cooperative is procuring 60,000 litres milk daily on an average.
To promote dairy business in the state, the government increased milk procurement price by Re.1 from April 1 and reduced value added tax (VAT) on sweetmeats and milk products from 13.75 percent to 5 percent.
During the financial year 2010-11, the milk cooperative has a turnover of Rs.4,767 lakh.
Livestock plays an important part in the sustainability of the economy of Himachal Pradesh.
According to state’s economic survey of 2011-12, the contribution of major livestock products in 2010-11 was 11.02 lakh tonnes of milk, 1,642 tonnes of wool, 102.70 million lakh eggs and 3,610 tonnes of meat.
Shimla, Dec 4 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court has partly stayed its own judgment which asked the state to phase out the teachers appointed under the HP Primary Assistant Teacher Scheme of 2003, said a statement Tuesday.
A division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol said action for phasing out the primary assistant teachers, as decided by a single judge, would be deferred for the time being, said the high court statement.
However, the court directed the government not to regularise any unqualified primary assistant teachers as junior basic teacher (JBT).
The court directed the state’s education secretary and the director, elementary education to clarify that how many vacancies were available in the state since 2009 in JBT and how many vacancies have been filled.
New Delhi/Shimla, Dec 4 (IANS) The elderly parents of Capt. Saurabh Kalia, a Kargil martyr whose mutilated body was handed over to the Indian authorities by Pakistan after weeks of torture, may get a hearing in the Supreme Court Dec 14, a lawyer said Tuesday.
The Supreme Court has listed the matter for first hearing 10 days from now, counsel Arvind Sharma told IANS.
Capt. Saurabh’s parents, settled in the tea garden town of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, about 220 km from the state capital Shimla, moved the court last week.
They are seeking direction to the central government to take up the case of the torture of their son, along with the five other soldiers, in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The petitioners alleged that their son and others were victims of war crime, which indicated violation of the Geneva Convention.
Capt. Saurabh, of the 4 Jat Regiment, was posted on the icy heights of Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir immediately after he got commissioned into the regiment.
In May 1999, he along with five soldiers — Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh — was on a patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector within the Indian side when they were taken hostage by Pakistani troops.
They were tortured for weeks before being killed. Their mutilated bodies were handed over to India June 9, 1999.
“In all these years we failed to get justice from the Indian government… we got a standard reply from the president’s office: ‘Your letter has been received and would be forwarded for necessary action’,” said Capt. Saurabh’s father N.K. Kalia, 64.
British lawyer of Indian origin Jas Uppal, who has launched an international campaign to highlight the plight of Capt. Saurabh, has been demanding the blacklisting of Pakistan for the purpose of getting international aid.
“I am campaigning to discover the plight of the Indian prisoners of war captured and detained by Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971. Yet again (in Saurabh’s case) the government failed to seek justice (at the international level),” Uppal had told IANS in an interview.
India and Pakistan fought a limited war in Kargil in May-July 1999. India took back all the positions that had been occupied by the Pakistani Army. India lost 527 soldiers and Pakistan upwards of 700 men.
Shimla, Dec 4 (IANS) With flights to and from Himachal Pradesh suspended for over three months, former union minister Virbhadra Singh Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to ask Air India to resume flights to the state.
“With Kingfisher and Air India suspending operations, the air link to the state has been completely disrupted,” Singh wrote.
He said the airports at Bhuntar near Kullu, Gaggal near Kangra and Jubbarhatti near Shimla have not had any flight for months.
The five-time chief minister said the prolonged suspension of the flights has hit the hotel, tourism and local business.
Hoteliers of the tourist resort of Manali have reportedly written to the union tourism secretary seeking air connectivity to the state, but their efforts have yielded no results, he said.
Virbhadra Singh, who is seen in Congress circles as the one to head the state government if the party returns to power, urged the prime minister to ask Air India to resume flights to and from the three airports ahead of the Christmas.
State tourism and civil aviation officials said Kingfisher was the only airline that operated regular flights between Delhi and the state. However, it discontinued operations in the state before it was grounded in October.
Singh had met Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh in New Delhi last month and had apprised him about the problems the state is facing after the closure of airports.
State Tourism and Civil Aviation Director Arun Sharma told IANS that the department was also trying to persuade private flight operators to start services in the state.
“Closure of the Shimla airport has started affecting the hotel industry. Flights should be restored ahead of the Christmas season, otherwise we will lose tourists to Srinagar,” D.P. Bhatia of Clarke’s Hotel here said.
Over 1.5 crore tourists visited Himachal Pradesh in 2011.
The number of foreign tourists visiting the state has more than doubled from over 200,000 in 2005 to nearly 500,000 in 2011.
Shimla, Dec 4 (IANS) A red balloon was Tuesday tethered to the roof of the British-era municipal corporation building for the first time this season, signalling as it has for decades that Asia’s oldest ice skating rink in this hill town was open.
The temperature dipped early Tuesday to 8.8 degrees Celsius, and Shimla woke up to a thick sheet of ice on the rink’s clay surface. The skaters, mainly youngsters, lost no time in trying it out.
“This morning we had a trial session and it was successful. We are hoping to have regular sessions, initially in the morning, from Wednesday,” Bhuvnesh Banga, secretary of the skating club set up in 1920, told IANS.
“What a timely start?” remarked octogenarian Subhash Negi, who came along with his grandchildren, with skating gear.
But there’s no real hurry, say the organisers — the rink will remain covered with the ice till the end of February.
Pooja Sud said she was praying for crystal clear skies for fun-filled skating sessions.
“If the sky is clear in the night, the mercury falls and the water freezes automatically. In case of cloudy conditions, the temperature is up and the ice starts thawing,” said Sud, who was seen enjoying skating on the rink.
Water sprinkled on the rink freezes under natural conditions overnight.
Interestingly, in the era without telephones, locals were informed that the rink was ready and open to skaters through the practice of tethering a red balloon to the roof of the municipality located on the Ridge. The tradition survives.
The idea of a natural skating rink was developed by an Irish military official named Blessington who lived in Shimla during the Raj. He had inadvertently kept a bucket of water outside his residence and in the morning found it frozen. That gave him the idea of a skating rink and he created a small one of his own in 1920.
According to old-timers in this town, which was the summer capital of the British, in the early days of the club more than 150 sessions could be held in a season. Growing population, local deforestation and increasing human activity have obviously taken their toll.
The skating club normally holds two sessions a day – from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Last year, the first session was held Dec 15. The rink held 56 sessions during 2011-12 and 86 sessions in 2010-11 when the winters were more intense than the previous five or six years.
In 2009-10, it hosted 77 skating sessions. But a year earlier, only 27 sessions could be held, the lowest in the rink’s history.
Shimla, Dec 3 (IANS) Eight witnesses Monday deposed in a Himachal Pradesh court against All India Congress Committee secretary Asha Kumari in a 1998 land garb case.
The former state education minister 2003-05, Asha Kumari is accused of allegedly grabbing government forest land worth crores of rupees by tampering with revenue records.
Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) P.S. Thakur told IANS that the recording of evidence in the case would continue till Dec 7 before Special Judge Chirag Bhanu Singh in Chamba town, some 450 km from here.
The court framed charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy Aug 14 against Asha Kumari, who re-contested the assembly polls from Dalhousie in Chamba district, along with 12 other accused, including her late husband Brijender Singh.
On Jan 4, 2005, the Chamba court charged Asha Kumari and others with grabbing more than 60 bighas of forest land near Dalhousie by tampering with government records and fabricating wills in connivance with revenue officials.
In December last year, the Supreme Court ruled that cheating and criminal conspiracy charges against Asha Kumari could not be quashed.
Challenging the trial court order, Asha Kumari had moved the Himachal Pradesh High Court which granted her relief by setting aside the Chamba court’s order on the grounds that she was denied an opportunity of being heard properly.
Shimla, Dec 3 (IANS) Foreign tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh would now be able to register themselves online with various foreigner registration officers through an interactive police web portal, a top police official said here Monday.
“Any foreigner can register his/her name online at a police web portal,” Director General of Police (I.D.) Bhandari said.
He added that tourists can also lodge complaints in case of emergencies like accidents or crimes at the ‘Kanoon Vyavastha’ web portal.
The tourists, if they are cheated by a hotelier or a travel agent, can lodge an online complaint on the website (http://admis.hp.nic.in/himpol/), Bhandari said.
The state police in May 2010 also launched an SMS help service on a designated 10-digit number — 9459100100.
Police officials said since the launch of the facility, 4,392 SMSes have been received, of which 82 first information reports (FIRs) have been registered.
The portal also has the provision to pay online traffic fines for violation of the Motor Vehicle Act.