Shimla

Chief Election Commissioner to review poll preparedness in Himachal Pradesh

Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami
Shimla, Oct 16 : Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami, along with the other two Election Commissioners, will arrive here today to review poll preparedness for the forthcoming Assembly elections.

They are likely to discuss issues pertaining to the two-phase elections in the state, scheduled for November 14 and December 19, with all political parties.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and some of his Cabinet Ministers are also likely to meet Gopalswami.


Winters bring in foreigners to Shimla

Shimla, Nov. 13: A large number of foreign tourists start arriving in Shimla with the onset of winter. The scenic hill station has an unusual fascination not just due to its environs but also due to the historical significance linked to this place.

Thousands of foreign tourists besides domestic tourists from different parts of the country come here for a long stay. Their presence during November and December also brings a big cheer to the locals associated with the tourism industry.

Situated at an altitude of 2,130 metres above the sea-level, Shimla draws international tourists who wish to unwind and relax in a tranquil environment.


Polling underway in three tribal seats of Himachal Pradesh

Shimla, Nov 14: Polling in three tribal constituencies of Kinnaur, Lahaul Spiti and Bharmour in Himachal Pradesh began this morning in the first phase of the two-phased assembly elections.

Polling will conclude at 5 p. m. at all 298 polling stations in the three constituencies.

During the first phase, around 1,27.785 voters are expected to decide the fate of 12 candidates in these three constituencies.

This time, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will face tough competition from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Besides these three major parties, candidates include nominees from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and one independent.

Tight security arrangements have been made for the 68-member State Assembly polls.


Rural youth trained as mountaineering guides in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla, Nov.26 : Considering the demand for local guides among domestic and international tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh for adventure sports, an eight-day training course was held here recently to prepare the local youth for this job.

Organised by the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied sports supported by Department of tourism in Narkanda in Shimla between Nov.14 to 21, the camp attracted many local youngsters from rural parts.

Over 30 youth from the nearby villages were imparted training during the courses that were arranged and organized at different adventure destinations like Lahul-Spiti, Manali and Narkanda.


16 feared dead in Himachal road crash

Shimla, Dec 2: Sixteen people were feared dead today in a road accident that took place in Rampur district of the state.

According to sources, the van in which the deceased were travelling fell in a George near Remu.

They were going to attend a marriage ceremony, sources added.

Details are yet to come. (ANI)


Tourists' cheer as Shimla receives its first snowfall in December 2007

Shimla, Dec. 10: The hill town resort of Shimla today received its first snowfall, bringing cheer to both domestic and foreign tourists'.

"The winter season is peaking, and the snowfall will give a big boost to the tourism industry here, " said Hardyal Chauhan, a local resident.

Revellers thronging this cool and picturesque town, came out of their lodges, hotels and guest houses to enjoy the snowfall.

"I am here in India for two weeks. I am enjoying the weather here. It's lovely. It feels like home. It's very cool, wet and fresh, " said a Canadian tourist.


CEC to review poll preparedness in Himachal

Shimla, Dec 12: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N GopalaswamiChief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami along with the other two Election Commissioners will arrive here today to review poll preparedness for the second phase of Assembly elections, scheduled to be held on December 19.

During two-day visit, Gopalaswamy, Naveen Chawla and S Y Qureshi will hold discussions with the State Election Commission, observers, Director General of Police, District Magistrates and political parties.

The Commission will also hold a review meeting with the observers and other State officials.


Heavy snowfall affects electioneering in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla, Dec 13: Heavy snowfall is dampening the election spirit in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh, even as tourists are thronging Shimla and other hill resorts in the state to enjoy the snow.

The administration apprehends problems if it snows around the polling dates.

Taroon Kapoor, Deputy Commissioner of Shimla District Administration, said the situation is under control as of now but if the snowfall continues for another couple of days, elections might be affected.


Election Commission reviews Himachal Pradesh poll preparedness

Shimla, Dec 13: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N. Gopalaswami today reviewed the poll preparations for the second phase of Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, scheduled to be held on December 19.

Gopalaswami alongwith two Election Commissioners Dr. S Y Qureshi and Navin Chawla met representatives of the political parties, senior civil and police officials and election observers.

The team also discussed the contingency plan to meet the situation during winter season. However, the Commission has already set December 22 as repolling date if required.

The second phase of polling in 65 constituencies will take place on December 19.


Counting for Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls tomorrow

Shimla, Dec 28: Counting of votes for the two-phased Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections will take place tomorrow.

The results will decide the fate of contestants, including those from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).

The final phase of polling was held on December 19. Around 67 percent of electorate exercised their franchise in the 65 constituencies.

In Kangra district, 65 per cent of electorate voted for 16 seats that are said to be crucial for both the Congress and the BJP. During 2003 Assembly polls, the Congress won 11 out of 16.


After Gujarat, BJP makes a clean sweep in Himachal

BJPShimla/New Delhi, Dec 27 : After winning nearly two-third majority in Gujarat earlier this week, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday made a clean sweep in the Himachal Pradesh registering victories in 41-seats in the 68-member Assembly.

The saffron party has returned to power in the state after a gap of five years. This was the saffron party's best performance in the state, and has increased its vote share by nearly 12 per cent.

The BJP has comfortably unseated the ruling Congress, which finished with just 23 seats.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has won one constituency. Independents have bagged three seats.


Dhumal elected leader of BJP legislature party

Shimla, Dec 29: The newly-elected BJP MLAs in Himachal Pradesh met here and elected Prem Kumar Dhumal as the leader of the BJP legislature party on Saturday.

Party’s chief-ministerial candidate Dhumal is expected to meet State Governor VS Kokje to stake claim to form the next government in the state.

Dhumal, who is likely to take the oath of office on Sunday, will become state’s chief minister for the second time.

Dhumal won from Bamsan in Hamirpur district, defeating Congress candidate Col (R) BC Lagwal by 26,000 votes.

After winning nearly two-third seats in Gujarat earlier this week, the BJP scored a comfortable victory yesterday in Himachal Pradesh, bagging 41 seats in the 68-member Assembly.


Prem Kumar Dhumal to be sworn-in as Himachal CM today

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Prem Kumar DhumalShimla, Dec 30: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Prem Kumar Dhumal will today sworn-in as the sixteenth Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

Dhumal will be sworn-in by state Governor V S Kokje at the Ridge maidan here.

Kokje invited Dhumal after the latter met him to stake his claim to form the next government in the state following his election as the state BJP Legislature Party leader.


Prem Kumar Prem KumarDhumal sworn-in as Himachal CM

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Prem Kumar DhumalShimla, Dec 30: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Prem Kumar Dhumal today sworn-in as the sixteenth Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

Dhumal was sworn-in by state Governor V S Kokje at the Ridge maidan here.

Kokje invited Dhumal after the latter met him to stake his claim to form the next government in the state following his election as the state BJP Legislature Party leader.


Shimla’s annual Ice-Skating Carnival draws thousands of tourists

Shimla, Jan.1: Thousands of winter sports lovers in Shimla had a gala time recently, as they converged to attend the day-long annual Ice-Skating Carnival hosted by the Ice-skating Club of Shimla.

“I don't think that tourists can find a similar place elsewhere in India. Particularly, this ice rink attracts tourists. This rink is Shimla's heritage. I have enjoyed ice-skating at this rink quite a number of times. This year I have come here after a long time and enjoying every bit of the place," said Vipin, a tourist.

"Such a scenario is rare. We have enjoyed fancy dress show by children, ice-skating and ice hockey demonstration. Such a rink is not usual. This carnival is colourful and worth seeing," said Gautam Banerjee, a tourist.


Prem Kumar Dhumal to expand cabinet today

Shimla, Jan 9: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar DhumalHimachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal will expand his cabinet today.

Governor will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the newly appointed ministers.

According to sources, only seven to eight ministers will take oath in the first phase of the expansion.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place at Raj Bhawan at 10 a. m.

The BJP MLAs whose names were certain include Krishan Kapoor, J. P. Nadda, Narinder Bragta and Gulab Singh Thakur.


Dhumal expands cabinet, inducts nine ministers

Shimla, Jan 9: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar DhumalHimachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Wednesday expanded his cabinet with the induction of nine ministers.

The ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor V. S. Kokje at a swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhawan here.

The nine ministers are Krishan Kapoor, Ramesh Thamala, Ravinder Singh Ravi, Shraveen Chaudhary, Rajiv Bindal, Narinder Bragta, I D Dhiman and Gulab Singh.


Himachal caps become popular

Shimla, Jan 24: The caps of Himachal Pradesh have become a source of livelihood for thousands in the hill state.

These bright and colourful woollen caps have become the identity of the State and are generally called ‘Himachali Topi’.

They are popularly known as Bushehri, Kinnauri and Kulluwi cap’s conforming to the particular areas of the state.

"Himachali Cap has been a royal identity for us and it is still the same and will always be. The cap making industry has attracted a lot of people and almost 10per cent to 12 per cent of the youth are involved in it," said Raghunandan, Cap Maker, Shimla.

The colourful borders with beautiful patterns are separately woven on small looms by artisans across the State.


North India continues to shiver under severe cold wave

Allahabad / Shimla, Jan 25: North India continues to shiver under severe cold waveAn intense cold wave continued to grip north India as several regions reeled under extremely low temperatures.

In Allahabad, the temperature plummeted to around 2.4 degree Celsius, causing immense hardship to people particularly during the intensely cold nights.

Srikanth, a priest said: "It is intensely cold in Sangam. We would have died yesterday night if there had been no bonfire. It was excessively cold."


Afghan students have special attraction towards Himachal University

Hamid KarzaiShimla, Jan 28: Following in footsteps of President Hamid Karzai, a former student of Himachal Pradesh University, many students from Afghanistan are approaching the institution for various post-graduate courses.

Karzai completed a post graduate course in political science at the university from 1979 to 1983. He is today leading the war-ravaged nation on the path of peace and prosperity.

At the time when his native land was invaded and occupied by the Soviet Union in 1979, Karzai was leading a student's life in Shimla.


Himachal police chuck century-old khaki to sport new look

Shimla, Feb 2: Himachal Police has given up traditional khaki uniform to don a new blue dress.

The change came after the State’s police department proposed to the State Government a change in colour of its uniform.

“Earlier also few committees were set up just to see the viability of changing the uniform," said Vinod Kumar Dhawan, Assistant Inspector General of Police.

“With the change of time and everything, there is a requirement that uniform should also be changed. But I am of the view that by merely changing the colour, we will not be able to change our vision," said A. M Sharma, Senior Superintendent of Police.

But some others said they preferred the old khaki.


Fresh snowfall disrupts road traffic in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla, Feb 5: Fresh snowfall disrupts road traffic in Himachal PradeshFresh snowfall led to road blockade in Himachal Pradesh disrupting transport service in the hilly state and causing inconvenience to residents and tourists alike.

Heavy snowfall in the upper reaches like Narkanda, Kharapathar, Shimla, Rohru, Kinnaur, Pangi, Sirmour and Chamba has led to road blockade, paralysing normal life.

Inter-city state-run bus services were suspended as a precautionary measure to avert mishaps on roads winding their way through the slippery tract.


Heavy snowfall paralyses normal life in Shimla, Srinagar

Heavy snowfall paralyses normal life in Shimla, SrinagarShimla/Srinagar, Feb 8 : Heavy snowfall in Shimla and Srinagar has disrupted normal life in the region.

The hill town of Shimla received snowfall for the sixth consecutive day today. Heavy snowfall in upper reaches of Shimla has cut off many places from the State capital.

Roads to Kufri, Narkanda, Rohru, Chopal and Kharapathar have been closed for the past one-week. People are forced to travel long distances on foot.


Temperature plummeted to minus 10 degrees Celsius in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar/ Chandigarh/ Shimla, Feb 12: Jammu and Kashmir is still reeling under intense cold wave conditions with certain areas recording minus 10 degrees Celsius temperature.

At least three people have died due to cold at Jammu, Rajouri and Anantnag Districts of the State.

Pahalgam in south Kashmir and Baderwah in Jammu District recorded the minimum temperature of minus 10 degrees Celsius and minus 3.5 degrees Celsius respectively.

Himachal Pradesh is also gripped under intense cold wave conditions. The minimum temperature plummeted to 7 to 10 degree Celsius below freezing point.

Rajasthan is also battling with intense cold wave as several places recorded sub-zero temperature in the State.


Kufri photographers popularise Himachal culture

Himachal cultureShimla, Feb. 26: Located about 23 kilometers from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Kufri is a major draw for honeymooners and international tourists, especially during the winters. Besides fun n’ frolic at this snow covered hill station, most tourists enjoy being clicked in traditional dress.

For the last two decades, a group of 60 photographers, who recently formed an association, are contributing to the promotion of Himachal Pradesh culture at this small tourist destination in a special way.


A park for primates in Himachal

Shimla, Mar 15: A park for primates in HimachalTo keep a check on monkey menace, forest officials in Himachal Pradesh have opened a primate protection park.

Spread over an area of 232 hectares, the park will shelter over 2000 monkeys. The park will provide the monkeys a an opportunity to dwell in their natural surroundings with an assured food supply.

"The problematic monkeys cause damage to the agricultural crops and vegetables. We will catch them and bring them to Tutikandi sterilisation centre. We will sterilise them and release them in the park," said Nagesh Guleria, Deputy Conservator, Wildlife Wing.


Water crisis hits tourist haven of Shimla

ShimlaShimla, May 2 : Residents of the hill town of Shimla in Himachal are grappling with a severe water crisis that is expected to affect the flow of tourists to this summer destination.

Over sixty per cent of the population of Shimla is affected by the serious drinking water problem.

And the summer of discontent brewing over several years has turned acute this time round.

“The water shortage is of such acute proportions that children have to remain without bathing. The tanker comes once in four or five days. There is a lot of water problem. It has been going on for the past five to seven years,” said Suraj Lal, a resident.


Illicit opium tract destroyed in Shimla

Shimla, May 8 : Himachal Pradesh police has destroyed opium worth crores of rupees in the international market near the state capital Shimla.

The Police claimed that it had destroyed illegal poppy cultivation of over 175 hectares.

Farmers admitted to resorting to opium cultivation, as facilities for growing other crops were inadequate.

" We began opium farming a few days back. We used to earn our livelihood through this, but now the government has completely destroyed it," said Geeta Nand, a farmer.

As per the international market rate, the cost of the destroyed opium crop is worth over 4000 crore rupees.


Polythene bags pose threat to environment in Shimla

shimlaShimla, May 22 : A serious threat is posed to the environment in Himachal’s Shimla district due to the unending dumping and burning of polythene and plastic material in and around despite a prevailing ban on plastic bags in the State.

Many environmentalists and individuals from the general public in the city are a worried lot. Burning polythene or plastic bags and material in the open at various localities of the city despite ban is spoiling the environment.

One can find a lot of plastic dumps across the city.


President Pratibha Patil to arrive in Shimla today

President Pratibha Patil to arrive in Shimla todayShimla, May 27 : President Pratibha Patil will arrive here this afternoon on a six-day visit.

President Patil is arriving here from Jammu and Kashmir, where she is presently on tour.

On Wednesday, President Patil will be given a civic reception at the Ridge, which will be attended by Governor V. S. Kokje, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Mayor Narinder Kataria.


Himachal Pradesh''s apple crop infected by fungus

Shimla, Himachal PradeshShimla, Aug 8 (ANI): Apple farmers in Himachal Pradesh are worried about their crop being affected by the leaf drop disease this year.

The ''Marsonina'' disease is bound to have an adverse affect on apple production in rural Shimla.

The dropping of the leaves is because of an infection caused by a fungus called ''Marsonina''. The fungus mainly attacks densely forested orchards and moisture and
humidity act as catalysts.

About 20 per cent of the crop has already been damaged in the middle and the higher belts.


BJP to Pakistan: Dismantle your terrorist infrastructure

BJP President Rajnath SinghShimla, Aug 29: BJP President Rajnath Singh has urged Pakistan to dismantle its terrorist infrastructure.

"Pakistan should take initiative in dismantling the terrorist training centers (in Pakistan). If they want any help in doing so the Indian Government should cooperate," Singh told reporters on Thursday evening.

Attacking the Central Government for failing to tackle a host of problems, including vexed ones like terrorism and inflation, he said issues like Amarnath shrine forest land issue had the potential of promoting instability and communal disharmony of not resolved promptly.


Tibetans in Shimla pray for Dalai Lama''s health

Dalai Lama Shimla, Sept 10 : Tibetan exiles in Shimla offered prayers for the long life of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, today.

The monks said that September 10 is the 10th day of seventh month of the Tibetan calendar, an auspicious day for them.

"Today, we are offering special prayers for his holiness'' long life because his holiness is not in good health for the last few weeks," said Yonten a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

Similar prayer were held in Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Thousands of Bhuddhist monks and nuns prayed for the well being of Dalai Lama.


Tibetans affected by landslides in Shimla assured rehabilitation

Shimla, Sept 23: Authorities in Shimla have assured the Tibetan exiles, who have lost their livelihood after their shops got buried under a massive landslide, that they would be rehabilitated.

At least 17 people were killed and scores injured on September 20 when around twenty makeshift shops and a dozen houses at the famous Tibetan market came down crashing due to landslides.

Authorities said that they are committed to rehabilitate the Tibetans.

J. S. Rana, Deputy Commissioner, Shimla District Administration has said that the Government will relocate the affected people.

The exiles, whose livelihood is anchored to the roadside shops, said that they have approached the authorities for relief.


37 killed, Rs 400 crores property damaged in Shimla landslides

37 killed, Rs 400 crores property damaged in Shimla landslidesShimla, Sept 23 : Rescue operations in Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh are in progress after landslides and floods triggered by heavy rains caused immense loss to life and property.

"Thirty seven people have died and public and private property has also been damaged,” said J. S. Rana, Deputy Commissioner of Shimla District.


Himachal villagers organize Buffalo fights

shimlaBhont (Shimla), Oct. 20 : Thousands of people converged on the weekend at Bhont Village near Shimla for the traditional buffalo-fight fair. The rural folk of Himachal organize it as an annual ritual.

The fair showcased the traditional religious beliefs prevailing in rural areas. Over 25 buffalo from the different villages were brought for the buffalo fight here

"This fair holds historical importance. We have been celebrating this fair here for over 90 years. We believe that this fair helps to protect the people from bad omens," said Baldev Thakur, the village head of Bhont Village.


40 killed in Himachal Pradesh bus mishap

Shimla, Himachal PradeshShimla, Nov 4 : At least 40 people were killed and five others were injured when a private bus rolled down into a gorge near Lambi Dhar, close to Fagu in Himachal Pradesh this morning.

According to police sources, the incident occurred when the bus was on its way to Shimla from Koti Ghat in Rampur sub-division.

The bus was completely smashed.

The injured have been admitted to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) in Shimla

The cause of the accident was yet to be ascertained. (ANI)


Hundreds of devotees witness Radha-Krishna marriage in Shimla

Shimla, Nov 23 : Hundreds of devotees throng Shimla to witness a traditional and colourful marriage of Lord Krishna and his consort, Radha on Saturday.

Organized by the Sanatan Dharm Sabha, the wedding took place at Lord Ram temple.

Organizers described it is a historical moment, as this kind of celestial marriage was taking place for the first time in the city.


Himachal Pradesh gears up for Christmas celebrations

Himachal Pradesh gears up for Christmas celebrationsShimla, Dec. 23 : Christmas festivities have brought a refreshing enthusiasm to the local industry of Himachal Pradesh that had been facing a dull time for a while at many places.

Tourists in the hill resorts of Shimla and Manali that received a heavy snowfall this year, are awaiting the advent of Christmas with high hopes of celebrating it with loved ones amidst fun, frolic and more snow.


Cold climate cripples North India

Amritsar/Shimla, Jan 6 : Strong cold wind rose in the North India after snowfall in the upper reaches of the country.

The biting cold coupled with dense fog shrouding over Amritsar crippled normal life. School children found going to school tough.

"The weather is as cold as in Kashmir. We are facing difficulties in commuting to the schools. Because of the fog, we can hardly see anything outside," said Abhay Sharma, a student.

The minimum temperature fell to zero degrees Celsius in Amritsar on Tuesday.

"It is very difficult to wake up early in the morning to come to my shop, It seems that the weather in Amritsar is similar to that of Kashmir right now," said Krishan Gopal, a shopkeeper.


People in Himachal Pradesh relish dry meat stored for winters

Shimla, Jan 21: People living in the upper reaches in Himachal Pradesh, which gets heavy snowfall during the winters have devised a unique method of storing meat by drying it and smearing it with spices to prevent it from putrefying.

The roads to these hilly areas are blocked due to heavy snowfall during winter. Therefore people in Himachal Pradesh start collecting their food well in advance.

"There are two months of extreme cold, we chop the meat and store it in cold places. We get the ration for winters. We eat it with the dry meat in winters which is also good to eat," said Sardar Singh, a villager.


People in Himachal Pradesh relish dry meat stored for winters

Shimla, Jan 21 : People living in the upper reaches in Himachal Pradesh, which gets heavy snowfall during the winters have devised a unique method of storing meat by drying it and smearing it with spices to prevent it from putrefying.

The roads to these hilly areas are blocked due to heavy snowfall during winter. Therefore people in Himachal Pradesh start collecting their food well in advance.

"There are two months of extreme cold, we chop the meat and store it in cold places. We get the ration for winters. We eat it with the dry meat in winters which is also good to eat," said Sardar Singh, a villager.


An artist spearheads a ''bloody campaign'' for freedom of Tibet

Shimla, Feb 5 : In a unique effort to create awareness for the Tibetan cause, Dr. Mahesh Yadav, an artist-cum-crusader, has drawn portraits and letters sketched and scribbled with his own blood here.

Dr. Mahesh Yadav, who has started the campaign for freedom of Tibetan at Bhopal on December 25 last year, reached Shimla, and exhibited his blood-made creations on Tuesday.

Earlier, he exhibited them at Dharamshala.

He feels that the new US president would help to find a peaceful solution for the Tibetan movement.


Snowfall in Shimla brightens mood of locals, tourists

Snowfall in Shimla brightens mood of locals, touristsShimla, Feb 11 : A spell of fresh snowfall has cheered both locals and tourists in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

Shimla on Wednesday presented a picturesque look with houses, roads, trees and plants all covered by a blanket of white snow.

For tourists, the snow turned out to be a surprise package.


Vice President to arrive in Shimla today

Vice President to arrive in Shimla todayShimla, Apr 15 : Vice President Hamid Ansari will arrive here on a two-day visit today.

During his visit, Ansari will visit to his alma mater St Edward''s School.

The Vice-President is visiting the school for the first time since 1951 when he left the place after studying here for two years. He is expected to spend a few hours at the school interacting with teachers and students.

Besides, he is also scheduled to give lecture at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS). (ANI)


India is a political, economic paradox: Vice President

India is a political, economic paradox: Vice PresidentShimla, Apr 16 : Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Thursday described India as a political and economic paradox, a rich-poor nation with a weak strong state.

"Persistent centrism, and continuous realignment, is one of its striking features. This has accommodated a wide spectrum of interests, classes, status groups, regions and communities in the political process and development structures. This accommodation has not always been equitable," Ansari said.


Congress slams BJP for its mudslinging campaign

Congress slams BJP for its mudslinging campaignShimla/Jangipura, Apr 19 : The Congress party has hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for indulging in a low level of discourse during the election campaign.

"There can be disagreements between political parties and political leaders. During the election campaign, there is a debate and discussion but that should be within the parameters of civilised dialogue. Unfortunately, that dignity has been violated and the campaign has been dragged to a low level of discourse by the BJP," claimed Anand Sharma, Congress leader and Minister of State for External Affairs.


Country needs Congress’ experience to fight challenges facing it: Sonia

Country needs Congress’ experience to fight challenges facing it: SoniaShimla, May 2: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said that the country needs the party''s long experience in governance more than ever before to tackle the challenges facing it including terror.

Addressing an election rally in Shimla's Ridge maidan, Sonia opted to highlight Congress party's contribution in nation-building since independence.


Election Commission for the Right not to vote: V.S.Sampath

Election Commission for the Right not to vote: V.S.SampathShimla, May 4: Election Commissioner V. S. Sampath on Monday advocated an elector''s right not to vote, while saying, but this would have to be given shape through a legislation.

"ECI is in support of providing citizens the right not to vote like their democratic right to vote ... but a separate legislation is required to enforce it," said Election Commissioner V S Sampath here while adding "And you know that right (to bring a legislation) is not with us."


Congress-led coalition will form govt, says Mamata Banerjee

Congress-led coalition will form govt, says Mamata BanerjeeKolkata/Shimla, May 11 : Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chief Mamata Banerjee has expressed confidence that the Congress-led coalition will form government without Communists'' support.

Addressing a news conference here on Sunday, Banerjee said, "Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance will remain strong. Congress will form the government without the help of the Left parties."

Banerjee was reportedly upset after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had expressed hopes of forging a post-poll alliance with the Left Front.


BJP sweeping polls in Himachal Pradesh

BJP sweeping polls in Himachal PradeshShimla, May 16 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in all the four parliamentary constituencies of Himachal Pradesh.

The four seats - Shimla (reserved for Scheduled Castes), Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra - saw 59.17 percent polling May 13.

The main contest is between the Congress and the BJP. There are 31 candidates, including nine independents, in the fray.

The high-profile Mandi seat is being contested by five-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh (Congress) and Maheshwar Singh (BJP). This constituency saw the maximum voter turnout of 64 percent.


Himachal forest guards get trained to use global positioning system developed by US

Himachal forest guards get trained to use global positioning system developed by USShimla, June 8 : Forest guards in Himachal Pradesh are being imparted training under Global Positioning System (GPS).

Over forty forest guards are being trained by the Forest Department on how to use GPS at a workshop in Shimla.

First phase of this training was started in Nogli and Rampur districts of Shimla. The second and third phase of the training will be organized in Solan and Sundernagar Mandi district.


‘Suno Sunao, Life Banao’ Big FM echoes in Shimla

‘Suno Sunao, Life Banao’ Big FM echoes in ShimlaThe tagline ‘Suno Sunao, Life Banao’ of the Reliance Big FM is now echoing in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Yes, Big FM has launched its FM station in Shimla.

With the launch of FM station in Shimla by the honorable Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal on 10 July 2009, Big FM’s number of FM stations across India has grown to 45. Big FM has accomplished the phase II of its expansion in the country with Shimla FM station launch.   


Former Brit summer capital Shimla fights back against street dogs and decline

Former Brit summer capital Shimla fights back against street dogs and declineShimla, July 27 : Shimla, the once genteel summer capital of British India and playground of viceroys and maharajahs, is to reclaim its streets after being over-run by packs of savage stray dogs

According to The Telegraph, a court has ordered Shimla''s municipal corporation to remove an estimated 4,000 street dogs, which have attacked residents and tourists, from its famous malls and promenades and relocate them outside the town.


BJP''s ''Chintan Baithak'' to begin in Shimla today

BJP''s ''Chintan Baithak'' to begin in Shimla todayShimla, Aug 19 : The BJP''s ''Chintan Baithak'' or assessment-cum introspection exercise will begin here today.

Top BJP and RSS leaders will discuss the reasons, which led to their electoral debacle during the three-day conclave.

Latest controversies like former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's near rebellion and senior leader Jaswant Singh's just- released book praising Jinnah will also be considered.

All top leaders including L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley will attend the Baithak.


Jaswant Singh expelled from the BJP

Jaswant Singh expelled from the BJPShimla, Aug 19 : Taking stern action against former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday divested him form the party's primary membership.

Party president Rajnath Singh said: " Jaswant Singh is expelled from the BJP."

Singh, who arrived here last evening for the Chintan Baithak of the party, kept away from the meeting by changing his hotel.

According to sources Singh kept away citing bad health.

He also skipped a dinner hosted by Leader of Opposition L. K Advani.


Jaswant Singh says he sent an advanced copy of his book to Advani

Jaswant Singh says he sent an advanced copy of his book to AdvaniShimla, Aug. 19 : In a startling revelation, expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh said on Wednesday that he had sent an advance copy of his latest book “ Jinnah – India-Partition-Independence” to senior party leader and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L. K. Advani, and therefore, this made his removal from the party after 30 years of association even more painful and shocking.


Emotional Jaswant Singh “saddened” by his expulsion from BJP

Emotional Jaswant Singh “saddened” by his expulsion from BJPShimla, Aug. 19 : A shattered and emotionally overwrought Jaswant Singh on Wednesday said that his expulsion from the Bharatiya Janata Party for writing a book in which he described the founder of Pakistan, M. A. Jinnah, as a secular being, had saddened him to such an extent that he could not find the right words to react.


RSS maintains silence over Jaswant Singh''s expulsion

RSS maintains silence over Jaswant Singh''s expulsionShimla, Aug. 19 : The Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), the parent body of the BJP, is maintaining its silence over the expulsion of Jawant Singh from the party.

But informed sources in the BJP told ANI that the RSS has played a behind the scene role in Jaswant''s exit.


Jaswant Singh slams ban on his book

Jaswant Singh slams ban on his bookShimla, Aug 20 : Expelled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh has deplored the ban on his book titled -- Jinnah-India, Partition, Independence -- by Gujarat.

Jaswant said that books are medium of expression in the country professing right to freedom of speech and expression and so a ban on books actually means ban on thinking.

"I am greatly saddened by it because the other example takes you to Salman Rusdie and Satanic Verses. The day we start banning books in India, we are banning thinking," Jaswant said while returning back from Shimla.


Jaitley denies existence of BJP internal report, justifies Jaswant’s expulsion

Jaitley denies existence of BJP internal report, justifies Jaswant’s expulsionShimla, Aug. 20 : Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday denied existence or the tabling of any internal report prepared by Bal Apte at the three-day Chintan Baithak (brainstorming session) on reasons for the party’s debacle in this year’s general election. He also justified the expulsion of Jaswant Singh from the party.


Swaraj alludes to Raje’s possible expulsion from the BJP

Swaraj alludes to Raje’s possible expulsion from the BJPShimla, Aug. 21 : Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, on Friday indirectly hinted that former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje could be removed from the party on grounds of indiscipline.

Without directly confirming plans to remove Raje, Swaraj alluded at a press conference held here that: “The BJP has removed the party’s state level leadership in those states where it performed poorly in the last (state and general) elections.”


Rajnath stays mum on Jaswant, says Advani will continue to lead BJP

Rajnath stays mum on Jaswant, says Advani will continue to lead BJPShimla, Aug 21 : Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) President Rajnath Singh, on Friday refused to take any questions from the media on the issue of expulsion of former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh from the party and said L. K Advani will continue to lead the party "forever."

" Advaniji will lead the party for longer time."


Jaswant’s expulsion “painful” : Advani

Jaswant’s expulsion “painful” : AdvaniShimla, Aug 21 : Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L. K. Advani has described the decision to expel former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh as “painful.”

“ It was very difficult and painful to decide to expel a colleague who worked with us for the last 30 years.” Advani said in his concluding remarks at the three-day Chintan Baithak of the Bharatiya Janata Party here on Friday.

Advani’s speech was revealed to media persons by Deputy Leader of Opposition, Sushma Swaraj.


Afghan students elated over peaceful presidential election

Afghan students elated over peaceful presidential electionShimla, Aug 21 : Afghan students pursuing their post graduation degrees at Himachal Pradesh University are elated about elections back home being held in relative peace.

The students expressed their happiness with the elections getting over in peaceful mode by defying Taliban threats.

On Thursday millions of Afghans turned up to vote in the presidential elections in the midst of a worsening battle against Taliban militia.


Five-day folk dance festival begins in Shimla

Five-day folk dance festival begins in ShimlaShimla, Sep. 14 : A five-day folk dance competition began here on Monday, with dancers from the country and abroad participating.

The objective of the festival, which has girls participating from 2400 schools and colleges, is to revive Indian culture and promote women empowerment.


Heritage walk held in Shimla to protect historic buildings

Heritage walk held in Shimla to protect historic buildingsShimla, Sept 26 : To promote tourism and spread awareness about protecting buildings and monuments of historic importance, students here organised a heritage walk as part of the World Tourism Week celebrations.

The students of Masters of Tourism Administration of the Himachal Pradesh University along with residents and tourists walked through Shimla covering ten heritage sites, including Gaiety Theatre, Shimla Municipal Council Building, Scandal Point, General Post Office building, Telegraph Office, Gorton Castle and the Vice Regal Lodge.


Satluj Jal Vidyut, NHPC to set up power project in Manipur

Shimla, Sep 30 :Hydropower majors Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL) and NHPC Ltd will jointly set up a mega power project in Manipur at an investment of Rs. 9,000 crore.

"SJVNL is executing the 1,500-MW Tipaimukh hydropower project in Manipur in partnership with NHPC and the Manipur government," H. K. Sharma, chairman and managing director of SJVNL, told IANS Wednesday.

SJVNL owns and operates the 1,500-MW Nathpa-Jhakri project in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district.

NHPC will hold 69 percent stake in the Tipaimukh project, while SJVNL and the Manipur government will hold 26 and 5 percent respectively.

"The project would cost Rs. 9,000 crore and would be completed within 12 years," Sharma said.


Army training command gets new chief

Shimla, Oct 1 : Lt General A. S. Lamba Thursday assumed charge of the Army Training Command (ARTRAC), which is based in this Himachal Pradesh capital, an official statement said.

"Lt General A. S. Lamba is the 15th general officer-in-command of the ARTRAC. He assumed the charge this (Thursday) morning," the statement said.

General Lamba's predecessor Lt Gen B. S. Jaswal is now the general officer-in-command of the Northern Command that is based in Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.

General Lamba was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in June 1971.

"My topmost priority would be to prepare the troops for any eventualities and to improve their battleworthiness," he said after assuming charge.(ians)


Himachal imposes complete ban on polythene bags

Himachal imposes complete ban on polythene bagsShimla, Oct 2  Himachal Pradesh Friday imposed a complete ban on use of polythene bags, Environment Minister J. P. Nadda said.

"A total ban on the use of plastic bags would be implemented in the state from Oct 2," Nadda told IANS.

He said the traders were informed over a month ago and asked to switch to biodegradable bags.


Raid-de-Himalaya champion aims to retain title

Shimla, Oct 2  Known as the 'King of Racers', Suresh Rana of Himachal Pradesh's Manali town is once again ready to test his nerves and his machine in the 11th edition of one of the world's toughest motor rallies, the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya beginning Oct 6.

Five-time consecutive winner of the Raid in the X-treme four-wheeler category, Rana is once again aspiring to retain the title.

"This time I am aiming to win the 'Raid' for the sixth time. For this, I am trying to strengthen my concentration level. It is really an intense job," Rana told IANS here Friday.

"Of course, during such treacherous winding roads mind should be faster than the machine," he said.


Raid-de-Himalaya champion aims to retain title

Shimla, Oct 2  Known as the 'King of Racers', Suresh Rana of Himachal Pradesh's Manali town is once again ready to test his nerves and his machine in the 11th edition of one of the world's toughest motor rallies, the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya beginning Oct 6.

Five-time consecutive winner of the Raid in the X-treme four-wheeler category, Rana is once again aspiring to retain the title.

"This time I am aiming to win the 'Raid' for the sixth time. For this, I am trying to strengthen my concentration level. It is really an intense job," Rana told IANS here Friday.

"Of course, during such treacherous winding roads mind should be faster than the machine," he said.


Centre okays four-laning of Himachal highway

Centre okays four-laning of Himachal highway  Shimla, Oct 2 : The central government has approved a road project costing Rs. 5.49 billion for the four-laning of the Parwanoo-Solan National Highway 22 in Himachal Pradesh, state Public Works Minister Gulab Singh said Friday.

"The central government Thursday gave green signal for four-laning of Parwanoo-Solan section of the national highway. For this, it has allocated Rs. 549 crore," Singh told IANS.

He said the project would be allotted on design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) basis. It is part of the phase III of the National Highways Development Project.


Oldest boarding school in Shimla celebrates 150th anniversary

Shimla, Oct 3: Bishop Cotton School (BCS), one of oldest boarding schools in Shimla, is holding weeklong celebrations on the occasion of its 150th anniversary.

“We all decided a year ago to celebrate this with a big bang and it''s all gone off very till today. Yesterday, we had started it off at Chandigarh,” said Sukhbinder Singh, Organiser of Old Cottonian Association.

The main attractions of the celebrations are Goodwill cricket matches, opening of the doors of BCS hall and the cultural performances.

Speaking on the occasion Harish Janartha, Deputy Mayor of Shimla and alumni of the school, said: “It is one of the greatest achievement for the school and it is a great honour for us to be the part of the celebrations.”


Mobile governance launched in Himachal Pradesh

Mobile governance launched in Himachal PradeshShimla, Oct. 5 : The Government of Himachal Pradesh has taken the initiave to provide a range of government-related services and informations to the public through the mobile network which is one of the easiest and quickest forms of governance.

B K Agarwal, Principal Secreatary (Information Technology), informed mediapersons that the mobile governance scheme has been launched in Shimla, Solan and Hamirpur Districts.


Three more swine flu cases reported in Himachal

Three more swine flu cases reported in HimachalShimla, Oct 5 : Three more people in Himachal Pradesh have tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1) virus, officials said Monday. Now the total number of swine flu cases in the state has reached seven.

"Two students and a teacher of Alpine Residential School at Pinjore have tested positive," the state's nodal officer for swine flu Vinod Mehta told IANS.

Pinjore is located in Haryana on the border of Himachal Pradesh.

Mehta said the patients belonged to the hill state.


Bodies of soldiers killed in Himachal accident sent home

Bodies of soldiers killed in Himachal accident sent homeShimla, Oct 5 : Bodies of seven Indian Army personnel who were killed in a road accident in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla district have been sent to their native places, an official said Monday.

"All the seven bodies of Army personnel were sent to their native places this (Monday) evening after completing legal formalities," Col Mukesh Bansal, a spokesperson for the Shimla-based Army Training Command (ARTRAC), told IANS.

Earlier, the police said that eight soldiers were killed in the accident near Tattapani, 55 km from here.


Three all-women teams in Raid-de-Himalaya rally

Shimla, Oct 6  Three all-women teams are among the 108 entries in the 11th edition of the world's highest and toughest motor rally - the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya rally - that began Tuesday.

"There are 108 vehicles participating in the X-treme Four-Wheeler, X-treme Two-Wheeler and Adventure Trial categories. Out of these, there are three all-women teams, including one in the X-treme Four-Wheeler category," said Manjeev Bhalla, one of the organisers of the rally.

Shuchi Thakur, 29, and her navigator Molona Wati, 25, are the only all-women team in the X-treme Four-Wheeler category. Shuchi has been a participant for the past four years, while this is Molona's first attempt. She will be at the wheel of a Maruti Gypsy.


Padam second time winner at mountain bikingHimachal

Padam second time winner at mountain bikingHimachal Shimla, Oct 7 : Padam Sabenhang of Nepal has won again the fifth edition of one of India's toughest cycle rallies, Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal-2009, an organiser of the rally said Wednesday.

"Sabenhang, 24, of Nepal is the second-time winner of the Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal in the solo category," Mohit Sood, president of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), told IANS.

Last year too, Sabenhang was the winner in the same category.


Himachal court cancels allotment of hydropower project to Brakel

Shimla, Oct 7 : The Himachal Pradesh High Court Wednesday cancelled the allotment of a multi-million dollar hydropower project to Dutch firm Brakel Corp on a petition filed by Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RIL).

RIL, which was one of the bidders for the 960 MW Thopan-Powari-Jangi hydropower project in Kinnaur district, had challenged the state government's decision to allot the project to Brakel.

"We allow the writ petition and quash the decision of the council of ministers dated November 25, 2008, as being arbitrary, illegal and irrational," a division bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice V. K. Ahuja said.


Shimla's civic centre among world's endangered monuments

Shimla's civic centre among world's endangered monumentsShimla, Oct 8 : The century-old civic centre of Shimla, comprising imperial buildings that were once institutions of power when this hill town was the summer capital of British India, is among four Indian historical monuments that have been included in the endangered list by the World Monuments Fund (WMF).

The other Indian monuments are the 16th century Chiktan Castle and the 17th century Dechen Namgyal Monastery in Jammu and Kashmir and a palace in Uttar Pradesh.


Himachal by-elections: Wives hope to succeed husbands

Himachal by-elections: Wives hope to succeed husbandsShimla, Oct 8 : Two women are hoping to make it a family affair by contesting for two Himachal Pradesh assembly seats that were vacated by their husbands who are now Lok Sabha MPs.

Pratibha Singh, wife of former Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, is eyeing the ticket for the Rohru seat whereas Sudha Sushant, wife of the Bharatiya Janata Party's
(BJP) Rajan Sushant, is hoping to contest from Jawali.

Byelections to both the seats will take place Nov 7.


Satluj Jal Vidyut declares Rs.320 crore as dividend

Satluj Jal Vidyut declares Rs.320 crore as dividend Shimla, Oct 8 : Hydropower major Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam that owns and operates the 1,500-MW Nathpa-Jhakri project in Himachal Pradesh has declared a dividend of Rs. 320 crore for
2008-09.

"We have declared a dividend of Rs. 320 crore for 2008-09. Towards the 75 percent equity contribution of the central government, Rs. 240 crore was paid to it," company chairman and managing director H. K. Sharma told IANS Thursday.


Rahul Gandhi to visit Shimla next week

Rahul Gandhi to visit Shimla next weekShimla, Oct 9  Congress general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi will visit the Himachal Pradesh capital next week, state party chief Kaul Singh Thakur said Friday.

"Rahul Gandhi will visit Shimla next week for a day. During his visit here, he will also interact with students from Himachal Pradesh University," Thakur told IANS.

"The date of his visit is yet to be finalised. The tentative date is Oct 15," he said.


Probe demanded into Himachal hydropower project contract

Probe demanded into Himachal hydropower project contractShimla, Oct 9 Former Himachal Pradesh minister and Congress rebel Vijai Singh Mankotia Friday demanded a judicial probe into how a multi-million dollar hydropower project was contracted to Dutch firm Brakel.

The Himachal Pradesh High Court Oct 7 cancelled the allotment of the project to Brakel on the petition filed by Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.


Rahul Gandhi visiting Himachal to strengthen students' wing

Rahul Gandhi visiting Himachal to strengthen students' wingShimla, Oct 12 - Congress general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi is set to visit Himachal Pradesh Tuesday to woo students and infuse new life into the party's students' wing - the National Students Union of India (NSUI) - in the state.

Gandhi will have interactive sessions Tuesday morning with the students of Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), Shimla, and later in the afternoon with the youth in Dharamsala, 30 km from the district headquarters town of Kangra.


Suspension of senior Himachal IAS officer revoked

Suspension of senior Himachal IAS officer revokedShimla, Oct 13 - The Himachal Pradesh government has revoked the suspension of senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Sanjay Gupta, who was arrested by the state vigilance bureau on charges of corruption, an official said here Tuesday.

"The government Monday revoked the suspension of Sanjay Gupta on the orders of the chief minister. His posting orders would be decided later," a senior official of the personnel department told IANS.


Rahul in Shimla to strengthen party wings

Rahul-GandhiAll India Congress General Secretary (AICC), Rahul Gandhi is visiting Shimla on Tuesday to impress upon youth in the hill state. It is his first visit to Shimla as the general secretary.

There is much enthusiasm in the Congress cadres in the state ahead of his visit, which is also linked with the objective of giving a push to NSUI ranks.

Straight after alighting at Jubbarhatti airport, 25 kilometers away from Shimla, in morning hours from a chartered flight Rahul will drive to the Mall to address media, as per schedule.


We are giving too much importance to Pakistan: Rahul

We are giving too much importance to Pakistan: RahulShimla, Oct 13 - Pakistan doesn't deserve "half the importance" it was being given in India, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said Tuesday while stressing that the two countries could not be compared.

"We are giving too much importance to Pakistan. It is just a small piece of land. India can't be compared with Pakistan," Gandhi told reporters here.

He was on a day-long visit to the hill state to woo students for the party's student wing - the National Students Union of India (NSUI).


Major Brar, Moudgil win Raid-de-Himalaya rally

Major Brar, Moudgil win Raid-de-Himalaya rallyShimla, Oct 13 : Major A. S. Brar and Ashish Saurabh Moudgil won the 11th edition of the world's highest and toughest motor rally - the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya rally - in the car and bike categories, respectively, an organiser said Tuesday.

"Major A. S. Brar and Ashish Saurabh Moudgil won the 'Raid' in the X-treme Four-Wheeler and X-treme Two-Wheeler categories," Manjeev Bhalla, one of the organisers of the rally, told IANS from Srinagar, where the rally concluded.

Moudgil also won the race in the Two-Wheeler category last year.


Manali-Leh highway to be closed from Oct 31

Manali-Leh highway to be closed from Oct 31Shimla, Oct 14 - The strategic Manali-Leh National Highway 21 will be closed for vehicular traffic from Oct 31, an official said Wednesday.

"The Manali-Leh highway will be closed for traffic from Oct 31 onwards," R. K. Agarwal, a spokesperson for the Border Road Organisation (BRO), told IANS here. The BRO is responsible for maintaining the highway.

He said after the end of this month chances of untimely snowfall on the highway that passes through Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla (17,480 ft) were high.


Central government to help Himachal in tackling monkey menace

Prem Kumar DhumaShimla, Oct 14 : The central government will help Himachal Pradesh in tackling the monkey menace, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Wednesday.

"The central government has assured cooperation in containing monkey menace in the state," he told reporters here.

"The union ministry of environment and forests has agreed to finance various programmes being undertaken by the state to check monkey menace. It has also agreed to upgrade the monkey sterilisation centre near Shimla," he said.


No nominations on first day for Himachal by-elections

Bharatiya Janata PartyShimla, Oct 14 : The two major political parties in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Wednesday did not name their candidates even as nominations opened for the by-elections to two assembly constituencies.

Rohru and Jawali constituencies fell vacant after the respective legislators from there - Virbhadra Singh and Rajan Sushant - contested and won the Lok Sabha elections in May.

"On the first day of filing the nomination papers, no candidate of any political party has filed the papers," Himachal Chief Electoral Officer Anil Khachi told IANS.


Virbhadra's wife not to contest Himachal by-poll

Virbhadra's wife not to contest Himachal by-pollShimla, Oct 16 Pratibha Singh, wife of Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh Friday said she will not contest the assembly by-elections in Himachal Pradesh Nov 7. There has been speculation that the Congress party would nominate some other candidate from Rohru constituency.

"I have decided not to contest the by-election from Rohru due to some personal problems. I have conveyed my decision to the party high command too," she told IANS.


Virbhadra, Anand Sharma to campaign for Himachal bypoll

Virbhadra, Anand Sharma to campaign for Himachal bypollShimla, Oct 19 - Union ministers Virbhadra Singh and Anand Sharma will campaign for the Himachal Pradesh by-elections slated for Nov 7, a Congress leader said Monday.

"Virbhadra Singh and Anand Sharma are members of the state campaign committee for by-elections to the Rohru and Jawali constituencies. They will campaign extensively in both the constituencies," state Congress president Kaul Singh Thakur told IANS.


Snowfall forces closure of Manali-Leh highway

Snowfall forces closure of Manali-Leh highwayShimla, Oct 19 = The strategic Manali-Leh National Highway 21 was Monday temporarily closed to vehicular traffic following heavy snowfall at high altitudes along the highway.

The 475-km highway connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.

As authorities announced the closure of the highway, men from the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) have been deployed to clear snow on the highway. GREF is a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains the highway.


Congress candidate files papers for Himachal bypolls

Congress candidate files papers for Himachal bypollsShimla, Oct 19 : The Congress Monday took the lead in filing nomination papers for the bye-elections in two assembly constituencies of Himachal Pradesh.

"Manjit Singh Monday filed the papers for the Rohru constituency," the state's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Anil Khachi told IANS.

He was the only candidate from a political party who has filed papers till now.

?ccording to Khachi, Ashok Kumar Somal filed his papers for the Jawali constituency as an Independent candidate.


Government must act: hijacked Indian crewmember's family

Government must act: hijacked Indian crewmember's familyShimla, Oct 20 :The anxious family members of an Indian engineer, who is aboard a Singaporean ship hijacked by Somalian pirates last week, says television has been their only source of information and the government has not approached them so far.

In the hope of hearing of his release, the family of Raghubir Singh Pathania, chief engineer of the ship hijacked in the Gulf of Aden Oct 15, has been glued to the television. His family lives in Fatehpur village near Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district.    


Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka visit Shimla

Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka visit Shimla Shimla, Oct 20 : Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Vadra reached the Himachal Pradesh capital Tuesday to oversee the construction of Priyanka's cottage near here, an official said.

Gandhi and her family landed at the Kalyani helipad near here and spent most of the time at Charabra where Priyanka's cottage is being constructed, the official said.

This was the second visit of the Gandhi family within a span of three months.

Last time, Gandhi and her daughter spent a few days here in mid-June.


Eleven file nominations for Himachal by-poll

Eleven file nominations for Himachal by-pollShimla, Oct 21 : A total of 11 candidates have filed nomination papers for the by-elections from two assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh, a senior state poll official said here Wednesday.

"Eleven candidates have filed the nomination papers for two assembly constituencies. On the last day (Wednesday) of filing papers, five candidates filed nominations," state Chief Electoral Officer Anil Khachi told IANS.


Himachal Pradesh to issue show-cause notice to Brakel

himachal-pradeshShimla, Oct 22 The Himachal Pradesh government Thursday decided to invite fresh bids for a multi-million-dollar hydropower project and decided to issue a show-cause notice to Dutch firm Brakel Corp for causing financial loss to the state, a senior official said.

"The state cabinet Thursday decided to invite fresh bids for the 960 MW Thopan-Powari-Jangi hydropower project in Kinnaur district," Chief Secretary Asha Swaroop told reporters here.


Great Khali visiting Himachal next month

Great Khali visiting Himachal next monthShimla, Oct 23 - Famous World Wrestling Federation (WWF) wrestler The Great Khali is once again heading to his native village in Himachal Pradesh next month, his family said Friday.

Dalip Singh Rana, the tallest WWF wrestler at 7 feet 3 inches and weighing 190 kg, was born and brought up in a small remote village in Sirmaur district, some 200 km from here.

"The Great Khali is coming to attend the marriage of his younger brother Nov 12," his brother Bhagat Singh Rana told IANS on phone.


CPI-M not to contest Himachal by-polls

CPI-M not to contest Himachal by-pollsShimla, Oct 24 - The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) will not contest the Himachal Pradesh by-elections to two assembly seats next month, a party leader said Saturday.

"We have decided not to contest the by-elections in Himachal Pradesh this time, but we will support non-Congress and non-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) candidates," CPI-M central committee member and state secretary Rakesh Singha told IANS.

A total of 11 candidates are in the fray for the by-polls from Rohru and Jawali constituencies Nov 7.


Declare places linked with Mahatma heritage sites: Grandson

Declare places linked with Mahatma heritage sites: GrandsonShimla, Oct 24 : Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi Saturday demanded that the places where the Father of the Nation had embarked his historic journeys and where he stayed should be developed as heritage sites.


'Pakistan, India competing with each other to please US'

'Pakistan, India competing with each other to please US'Shimla, Oct 24 : Pakistan and India are competing with each other to please Washington and this has resulted in the strained relations between them, a senior Pakistani journalist said Saturday.

"Both Pakistan and India are competing each other to please Washington and both following its diktats," Hameed Haroon, chief executive officer of the Dawn Media Group, Pakistan's leading media conglomerate, told reporters here.

Haroon was here to attend a seminar organised by the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.


Eight in fray for Himachal by-polls

Eight in fray for Himachal by-pollsShimla, Oct 24 : Eight candidates have been left in the fray for by-polls to two assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh, a state electoral official said here Saturday.

"Eight candidates are in the fray for the two assembly constituencies in the state after three aspirants withdrew their papers on the last day of withdrawal of nomination (Saturday)," state Chief Electoral Officer Anil Khachi told IANS.

The Rohru and Jawali seats fell vacant after legislators Virbhadra Singh and Rajan Sushant were elected to the Lok Sabha.


Two Russian paragliders injured in Himachal

Two Russian paragliders injured in HimachalShimla, Oct 25 - Two Russian paragliders sustained injuries after they crash-landed in the high mountains of Himachal Pradesh, an official said Sunday.

"Two Russian paragliders were injured Saturday evening in a paragliding accident in Kangra district," Subdivisional Magistrate (Baijnath) K. K. Saroch told IANS.

He said the paragliders - Mikhil and Dennis Kulikov - took off from Billing for Bir, lost their way due to strong winds and had to crash-land.


Congress Himachal bypoll campaign launched by an upset Virbhadra

Congress Himachal bypoll campaign launched by an upset VirbhadraShimla, Oct 26 - Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh Monday launched the Congress party's election campaign in Himachal Pradesh for the Nov 7 by-elections to two assembly seats, while saying he should not be blamed if the party nominees did not win. He is upset because his wife was not nominated from one of the seats.


Russian paraglider rescued in Himachal

Russian paraglider rescued in HimachalShimla, Oct 26 - A Russian paraglider who went missing in the high mountains of Himachal Pradesh was rescued Monday, police said.

"Russian paraglider Dimitri, who went missing Sunday, was rescued safely this (Monday) morning from an altitude of more than 3,000 metres in Kangra district," Mast Ram Thakur, a police officer posted at Baijnath near the site, told IANS.

He said police got information regarding the missing paraglider Sunday afternoon and immediately a rescue team was sent to locate him.


Himalya to invest Rs.110 crore in Rajasthan

Himalya to invest Rs.110 crore in RajasthanShimla, Oct 26 : Himachal Pradesh-based frozen food manufacturer Himalya International plans to invest Rs. 110 crore in Rajasthan, a top official said Monday.

"Now we are going to invest Rs. 110 crore in an agro-food processing facility. The unit would be set up in Rajasthan and for this the state government has allotted 32 acres in Jaipur district to the company," Himalya chairman Manmohan Malik told IANS.

He said the facility would be set up at Keshwana Rajput, 80 km from New Delhi. It will start commercial production by next year.


'Himachal state Congress chief pushed, jostled'

'Himachal state Congress chief pushed, jostled'Shimla, Oct 26 Agitated over the denial of a ticket to Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh's wife for the Himachal Pradesh by-elections, some activists of the Congress party Monday pushed and jostled state party president Kaul Singh Thakur, party sources said. Thakur, however, denied the incident. Virbhadra Singh and Thakur Monday started their election campaigning in the Rohru constituency in favour of party candidate Manjit Singh. By-election is also to be held from Jawali assembly constituency.


Russian paraglider killed in Himachal, one still missing

Russian paraglider killed in Himachal, one still missing Shimla, Oct 27 : Five days after Russian paraglider Alexey Ashurov went missing in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, his compatriot was found dead Tuesday, police said.

"This (Tuesday) evening, we came to know that Russian pilot Elliyayudin died in the remote Tang area in Kangra district," Kangra's Superintendent of Police Atul Kumar Fulzele told IANS.    

He said one injured pilot, identified as Tenis Soyawa, was rescued from the hills.    


Congress deputes Punjab leader to end bickering in Himachal

Congress deputes Punjab leader to end bickering in Himachal Shimla, Oct 28 : The Congress party has deputed a leader from Punjab to end bickering among senior leaders of Himachal Pradesh ahead of the assembly by-elections slated for Nov 7.

Three veterans - Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh, legislative party chief Vidya Stokes and state unit president Kaul Singh Thakur - have been caught in a war of words after candidates were announced for Rohru and Jawali constituencies in Shimla and Kangra districts respectively.    


Five chief ministers to sign declaration on environment

Five chief ministers to sign declaration on environmentShimla, Oct 29 : Concerned over the impact of global warming, chief ministers of five Himalayan states will sign the Shimla Declaration Friday, the concluding day of a two-day meet on environment that began here Thursday.

A spokesperson for the state government said: "Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim would Friday issue a detailed action plan to save environment. The action plan Shimla Declaration would take up environmental issues that are affecting the hill states."


Himachal hydropower producer gets green award

Himachal hydropower producer gets green awardShimla, Oct 30 : Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL) that owns and operates the 1,500-MW Nathpa-Jhakri hydropower project in Himachal Pradesh has won the Greentech Environment Excellence Silver Award for another power plant.

"SJVNL has been awarded the 10th annual Greentech Environment Excellence Silver Award 2009 in hydropower sector for its 412 MW Rampur project," the company said in a statement Friday.    

The Rampur project is under execution in upper Shimla.    


Himalya net profit rises to Rs.8.78 crore

Himalya net profit rises to Rs.8.78 crore Shimla, Oct 30 : Himachal Pradesh-based food processing company Himalya International Friday said its net profit for the quarter ended Sep 30 rose to Rs. 8.78 crore from Rs. 6.47 crore in the like period last year.

The company's sales grew by 39 percent to Rs. 34.06 crore in the quarter under review from Rs. 26.32 crore a year earlier, Himalya chairman Manmohan Malik said in a statement.

Himalya has plans to set up two new food processing facilities, one each in Rajasthan and Gujarat.    


Green dividends, bonus for Himalayan states planned

Green dividends, bonus for Himalayan states plannedShimla, Oct 30 : The central government plans to release green dividends and a green bonus to the Himalayan states from the next financial year as a compensatory measure for protecting their ecology, Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said Friday.


Virbhadra begins campaign in Himachal's Jawali seat

Virbhadra begins campaign in Himachal's Jawali seatShimla, Oct 31- Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh Saturday started the Congress party's election campaign in Himachal Pradesh's Jawali constituency, ahead of the by-elections next week.

The former chief minister had been in Rohru, the other constituency where by-elections will be held Nov 7.

Virbhadra Singh, who has been chief minister five times, said the party was in a comfortable position on both the seats.


Paragliding event called off in Himachal

Paragliding event called off in HimachalShimla, Oct 31- The organisers of a major paragliding event in Himachal Pradesh Saturday called off the event that was to begin Nov 4 citing "non cooperation" by the state government.

The Billing Paragliding Association has called off the Himalayan Paragliding Open 2009 to be held in Kangra district.


Apple season almost over in Himachal, 1.2 cr crates sold

Apple season almost over in Himachal, 1.2 cr crates soldShimla, Nov 1 - With the apple season in Himachal Pradesh almost over, 1.2 crore boxes have been despatched to markets across the country.

"The season in districts like Shimla, Mandi, Kullu and Chamba districts is almost over," said horticulture director Gurdev Singh Sunday.

"A major chunk of the crop is currently coming from high-altitude areas of Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts," Singh told IANS.


RSS chief to visit Shimla Nov 7

RSS chief to visit Shimla Nov 7Shimla, Nov 2 - Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat is set to visit the Himachal Pradesh capital for two days starting Nov 7, the organisation's spokesperson said Monday.

"RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will reach Shimla Nov 7. Besides reviewing the functioning of various state wings of the organisation, he will also hold meetings with representatives of social and religious organisations," said the spokesperson.


Restrict movement of heavy vehicles in Shimla: High court

Restrict movement of heavy vehicles in Shimla: High courtShimla, Nov 2:  Shimla is to decongest its roads by regulating traffic and streamlining the movement of heavy goods vehicles during peak hours.

The Himachal Pradesh High Court in an interim order has directed authorities to regulate traffic and restrict the movement of heavy vehicles during the day.    


Special Olympics begins in Himachal Pradesh

Special Olympics begins in Himachal PradeshShimla, Nov 3 - The state-level Special Olympics started in Himachal Pradesh's Bilaspur town Tuesday, an organiser of the event said.

"More than 200 special children from all over the state are participating in various events in the three-day Special Olympics that started this (Tuesday) morning," president of the Himachal Special Olympics Committee Mallika Nadda told IANS.

She said the state government has agreed in principle to allocate three percent of the annual sports budget for organising and promoting games for the children.


Campaigning for Himachal by-polls picks up

Campaigning for Himachal by-polls picks upShimla, Nov 3 - With less than 56 hours left for the end of campaigning for the by-elections for two assembly constituencies, electioneering has finally picked up in Himachal Pradesh.

Though no national leader of either of the main political parties in the state - the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress - has so far made his or her presence felt during the campaign, state leaders are trying to woo the voters of Rohru and Jawali.


Chief minister violating election code: Himachal Congress

Shimla, Nov 4 - The Congress has filed a complaint with the election commission alleging violation of the poll code by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh, a party official said here Wednesday.

"Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is violating the election code by making announcements to lure the voters and using official machinery during the canvassing. A complaint in this regard has been filed with the state election department," state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur told IANS.

He said Dhumal's announcement Sunday that five news polytechnics would be opened in the state is a violation of the election code.


Himachal all set for polls amid tight security

Himachal all set for polls amid tight securityShimla, Nov 6 - Himachal Pradesh is all set to go to the polls Saturday amid tight security.

Campaigning ended Friday evening for the by-elections from two assembly constituencies.

A total of 143,483 voters are expected to decide the fate of eight candidates, including four independents, for the by-polls at Rohru in Shimla district and Jawali in Kangra district.


Leopard skins seized, one arrested in Himachal

Leopard skins seized, one arrested in HimachalShimla, Nov 6 - A man has been arrested in Himachal Pradesh for allegedly possessing two leopard skins, one of a fully grown animal, police said Friday.

"A poacher was arrested near the Renuka wildlife sanctuary Thursday for carrying skins of two leopards," police officer Narain Singh Thakur told IANS. Renuka sanctuary is 165 km from state capital Shimla and just 35 km from Nahan town in Sirmaur district.

Thakur said one of the skins was 8.4 feet long and the other was 2.7 feet long. The leopard is a protected animal and possession of its skin is illegal.


Polling begins in Himachal Pradesh

Polling begins in Himachal PradeshShimla, Nov 7 - Polling began in the two assembly constituencies of Rohru and Jawali in Himachal Pradesh Saturday, officials said.

Voters in both the constituencies - Rohru in Shimla district and Jawali in Kangra district - were seen standing in queues outside the polling stations even before voting started at 8 a. m.

"The polling process has started peacefully and well in time at all the polling booths. It will continue till 5 p. m.," state chief electoral officer Anil Khachi told IANS.


Probe begins in Himachal bus accident

Probe begins in Himachal bus accidentShimla, Nov 7  Himachal Pradesh Saturday began a probe a bus accident that killed 35 people in Kangra district.

Kangra's additional district magistrate started the inquiry into the Friday accident. The report will be submitted in a month, Superintendent of Police Atul Kumar Fulzele told IANS.

The bus was coming to Dehra from Nagrota Suriyan in Kangra when it fell into the gorge near Haripur Guler bridge, 250 km from Shimla.


Himachal police officer found shot dead

Himachal police officer found shot deadShimla, Nov 8 - A senior police officer was found shot dead early Sunday at his residence here. Police suspect it to be a case of suicide.

Inspector General of Police (Railway and Traffic) Jagjit Kumar, 57, was found lying in a pool of blood at his house, Shimla Superintendent of Police R. M. Sharma told IANS.

"It seems to be a case of suicide. His service revolver was found lying next to his body. Preliminary investigations indicate that the death took place between 1 a. m. and 1.30 a. m. His family came to know about the incident around 3 a. m.," he said.


ABVP strike call shuts Himachal colleges

ABVP strike call shuts Himachal collegesShimla, Nov 9 - Colleges across Himachal Pradesh were closed Monday following a one-day strike call by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) youth wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

ABVP's national secretary Umesh Dutt said the education shutdown was being observed in over 150 private and government colleges across the state.

"The call for the shutdown was given following the failure of the government to take action against the deputy commissioner of Mandi," Dutt told IANS.


Snowfall in high hills of Himachal Pradesh

Snowfall in high hills of Himachal PradeshShimla, Nov 9 - Moderate snowfall Monday covered the high reaches of Himachal Pradesh and generated hopes of revival of tourism in the state, officials said.

"Higher reaches of Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kullu and Kinnaur districts experienced moderate snowfall early this (Monday) morning," meteorological office director Manmohan Singh told IANS.

He said other areas of the state, including Dharamsala, Shimla, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Manali and Mandi received moderate to heavy rain, bringing the temperature down considerably.


Vote count begins in Himachal

Vote count begins in HimachalShimla, Nov 10 - Counting of votes began Tuesday morning in two assembly constituencies of Himachal Pradesh that saw by-elections Saturday.

The counting in Rohru and Jawali began at 8 a. m. The results are expected before noon, state chief electoral officer Anil Khachi told IANS.

While Rohru in Shimla district saw 69.36 percent polling, Jawali in Kangra district witnessed 66.99 percent polling.

The main contest is between the opposition Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). (IANS)


Congress, BJP bag one seat each in Himachal

Congress, BJP bag one seat each in HimachalShimla, Nov 10 - Himachal Pradesh's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday bagged one seat and the opposition Congress one in the assembly by-elections held last week.

Congress candidate Sujan Singh Pathania won the Jawali seat by 5,249 votes, whereas the BJP's Khushi Ram Balnatah won from Rohru by a margin of 8,473 votes, state chief electoral officer Anil Khachi told IANS.

Pathania got 25,168 votes while his nearest rival Baldev Raj Chaudhary of the BJP polled 19,919 votes in Jawali.


Mankind Pharma to set up second unit in Himachal

Mankind Pharma to set up second unit in HimachalShimla, Nov 10 : Pharmaceutical firm Mankind Pharma has got the Himachal Pradesh government's approval to set up one more facility in the state, a senior official said Tuesday.

The government allowed Mankind to set up the second unit at Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur district, where its first manufacturing unit is located, industries director Manoj Kumar told IANS.

The unit would be set up on an investment of Rs. 39 crore, Kumar said.


Temperatures drop in Himachal Pradesh after snow, rain

Temperatures drop in Himachal Pradesh after snow, rainShimla, Nov 12 : Keylong in Himachal Pradesh recorded minus 5.4 degrees Celsius Thursday as temperatures plummeted across the state following snow and rain, the meteorological office said here.

"Mercury plunged to season's lowest in the entire Lahaul and Spiti district this (Thursday) morning. Keylong recorded minus 5.4 degree Celsius," meteorological office director Manmohan Singh said.


Snow, rain bring on cold wave in Himachal

Snow, rain bring on cold wave in HimachalShimla, Nov 15 - The hills of Himachal Pradesh experienced a fresh spell of snowfall and rains Sunday morning, leading to a sharp dip in temperatures.

Meteorological office director Manmohan Singh said the high hills saw snowfall while it rained over the lower hills, bringing with it cold wave conditions.

"The high-altitude areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba and Kullu districts again experienced moderate to heavy snow," Singh told IANS.


Early winter snowfall cheers Himachal hoteliers

winter snowfall cheers Shimla, Nov 15 : Early winter snowfall in Himachal Pradesh has brought cheer to the state's hospitality industry and the hope that Shimla will witness a White Christmas after nearly two decades.

High altitude areas witnessed the season's first snowfall Nov 9, making most of the hill stations, including Narkanda, 65 km from Shimla, the Solang valley and Marhi near Manali and Kalpa in Kinnaur district more picturesque.


Lakes freeze in Himachal Pradesh, temperature plummets

Himachal-Pradesh-Maps.jpgShimla, Nov 16 - Most of the lakes in high altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh were frozen as temperature in some districts of the state dipped below minus two degrees Celsius early Monday, affecting normal life.

The high-altitude areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Chamba and Kullu districts have been experiencing moderate to heavy snow, meteorological office director Manmohan Singh said here.

"Chandertal, Surajtal and Manimahesh have frozen to huge ice bodies after the temperature plummeted sharply," he told IANS.


Steel Authority, NMDC to develop limestone mine in Himachal

Steel Authority, NMDC to develop limestone mine in HimachalShimla, Nov 16 : India's public sector firms Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and iron ore producer NMDC Ltd (formerly National Mineral Development Corp) Monday signed an agreement to jointly develop a limestone mine in Himachal Pradesh.

"SAIL and NMDC Monday signed an MoU to jointly develop the limestone mine in the Arki region of Solan district in Himachal Pradesh. The MoU for the 50:50 joint venture was signed in New Delhi," SAIL said in a statement.


Ten killed in Himachal bus accident

Ten killed in Himachal bus accidentShimla, Nov 16 : At least 10 people were killed when an overcrowded bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla district Monday, police said.

Superintendent of Police (Shimla) R. M. Sharma said the Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus fell into a 1,000-feet deep gorge at around 5 p. m. near Gumma, some 60 km from state capital Shimla.

He said 10 people were killed. Some of the injured have been admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital here.


Wrestler Khali calls Tendulkar 'India's pride'

Wrestler Khali calls Tendulkar 'India's pride'Shimla, Nov 17 - Popular wrestler The Great Khali Tuesday described Sachin Tendulkar as "India's pride" and surprised everyone by singing a Hindi film song in praise of the cricket legend.

World Wrestling Federation (WWF) wrestler Khali, who was attending a function at a government school here, sang "Tum jiyo hajaron saal...", wishing the batsman a long life.

"A batsman like Sachin Tendulkar is India's pride. He is a legend. I am his diehard fan," he said.


Pranab favours establishing smaller universities

Pranab Mukherjee Shimla, Nov 17 : Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday advocated the need for establishing smaller universities which were "easier to manage" and would serve to capture "synergies between teaching and research".


Special Olympics initiates'' awareness campaign about special children in Himachal

Special Olympics initiates'' awareness campaign about special children in HimachalShimla, Nov 18 : Wrestler Dalip Singh Rana, popularly known as ''Khali'' inaugurated an awareness drive about special children organised by the Himachal chapter of Special Olympics here on Tuesday.

The main motive behind the campaign was to spread awareness about the problems faced by the mentally and physically challenged children and also about the Special Olympics.


Himachal doctor suspended for sexual harassment

Himachal doctor suspended for sexual harassmentShimla, Nov 18 : A doctor in a government hospital in the Himachal Pradesh capital was placed under suspension Wednesday for allegedly sexually harassing a student, an official said.

Principal Secretary (Health) Deepak Sanan told IANS that Yogesh Bhardwaj, who was head of the oral surgery department in the Government Dental College of the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH), was suspended Wednesday for allegedly sexually harassing a postgraduate medical student.


Himachal doctor suspended for sexual harassment

Himachal doctor suspended for sexual harassmentShimla, Nov 18 : A doctor in a government hospital in the Himachal Pradesh capital was placed under suspension Wednesday for allegedly sexually harassing a student, an official said.

Principal Secretary (Health) Deepak Sanan told IANS that Yogesh Bhardwaj, who was head of the oral surgery department in the Government Dental College of the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH), was suspended Wednesday for allegedly sexually harassing a postgraduate medical student.


Himachal assembly winter session from Dec 14

Himachal assembly winter session from Dec 14Shimla, Nov 19 - The week-long winter session of the Himachal Pradesh legislative assembly will be held at Dharamsala from Dec 14, a minister said here Thursday.

Governor Prabha Rau has recommended convening of the winter session of the assembly from Dec 14 to 21 at Dharamsala, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs J. P. Nadda told IANS.


Kangna Ranaut has no links with Headley: Father

Kangna Ranaut has no links with Headley: FatherShimla, Nov 19 - After Bollywood actress Kangna Ranaut's name surfaced in connection with the probe into David Coleman Headley -- a man suspected of involvement in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai -- Kangna's father Thursday strongly denied any link.


Having denied Headley link, Kangna Ranaut heads back to Mumbai

Having denied Headley link, Kangna Ranaut heads back to MumbaiShimla, Nov 20 - Bollywood actress Kangna Ranaut, whose father strongly denied that she had any link with 26/11 terror suspect David Coleman Headley, headed back to Mumbai Friday morning after a few days at her ancestral home in Himachal Pradesh.


Insurance scheme for apple growers in Himachal Pradesh

Insurance scheme for apple growers in Himachal PradeshShimla, Nov 23 - The Himachal Pradesh government has launched an insurance scheme for apple growers in the state in view of the adverse weather conditions that hit production this year.

The pilot insurance scheme was launched in Shimla and Kullu districts Sunday to safeguard the Rs. 1,500-crore apple industry, a major revenue earner for this hill state, said Horticulture Director Gurdev Singh.


Spice to provide mobile governance services in Himachal

Spice to provide mobile governance services in HimachalShimla, Nov 23 : Mobile value-added services (VAS) provider Spice Digital has signed an agreement with Zoom Developers for rolling out mobile governance services in Himachal Pradesh, the company said Monday.

"Spice Digital has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Zoom Developers for starting mobile governance services from common service centres being run by Zoom Developers in the state," Spice Digital said in a statement.


Himachal to set up bio-technology park

Shimla, Nov 23 : The Himachal Pradesh government Monday gave the green signal for setting up a bio-technology park in the state and decided to invite bids from private developers, an official said.

"The state cabinet Monday approved the establishment of a bio-technology park under PPP (public-private partnership) model near Nalagarh in Solan district. It would be developed at an estimated cost of Rs. 200 crore," the official said.

The park, to be developed some 75 km from state capital Shimla, would generate employment for about 500 people.

"The government has sanctioned Rs. 14 crore for developing basic infrastructure in the park," he said.(IANS)


Death separates Himachal's longest wedded couple

Shimla, Nov 24 - Piyara Singh's hopes of casting votes in the next general elections along with his wife Hansa Devi have come to an end.

Hansa, 103, with whom he shared his life for 87 years died Sunday at her residence in a village located on the outskirts of Dharamsala town in Kangra district, some 250 km from state capital Shimla.

Family members said Hansa Devi died of heart failure. She was cremated in the village on the same day.

"Hansa Devi died Sunday morning due to a heart failure. She collapsed all of a sudden while talking to family members," said B. S. Rana, Hansa's eldest son.


Himachal seeks speedy reopening of Rohtang Pass

Himachal seeks speedy reopening of Rohtang PassShimla, Nov 24 : The Himachal Pradesh government Tuesday requested the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to reopen the Rohtang Pass in Kullu district, closed to the traffic since Nov 9 snowfall, as soon as possible.

"Public Works Minister Thakur Gulab Singh Tuesday met the BRO Director-General, Lt. Gen. M. C. Badhani, in Shimla and requested him to speed up the reopening of the pass," according to an official statement.


Two more swine flu cases in Himachal

Two more swine flu cases in Himachal  Shimla, Nov 24 : Two schoolchildren in Himachal Pradesh have tested positive for the influenza A (H1N1) virus, increasing the number of swine flu cases in the state to 12, a health official said Tuesday.

"Medical reports of two students tested positive Tuesday in Solan district. One is of a residential public school at Dagshai and the second student of Delhi Public School at Pinjore (Haryana) but residing in Parwanoo," Solan's Chief Medical Officer Ashok Tangra told IANS.


Himachal to promote grass skiing

Prem Kumar Dhumal Shimla, Nov 24 : Himachal Pradesh will become the first state in the country to start grass skiing in a bid to promote adventure-related activities, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said here Tuesday.

"From the next year, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports would start grass skiing at the grassy downhill slopes of Solang Nullah. This would attract adventure sports lovers," he said.

Solang Nullah is near the picturesque tourist spot of Manali in Kullu district.


Buffalo fight, a major draw for villagers near Shimla

Buffalo fight, a major draw for villagers near ShimlaMashobra (Himachal Pradesh), Nov. 25 : Hundreds of rural folks recently converged here at Mashobra village near Shimla for an annual fair in which buffalo-fight was the prime attraction.

The annual fair depicts the traditional beliefs that prevail in these areas in which the buffalo-fight is held to please the local deity the Shani Dev or, the Saturn God in particular.

Villagers from far off places brought their buffaloes on Sunday (Nov. 22)for the traditional fight in which the specially reared buffaloes were brought to the ring and then provoked for the duel.


Road link to snow-bound Lahaul Valley restored

Road link to snow-bound Lahaul Valley restoredShimla, Nov 25  : The road connectivity to Himachal Pradesh's snow-bound Lahaul and Spiti district has been restored after it remained cut off from the rest of country for two weeks, an official said Wednesday.

"More than 300 people, who had been stranded across the Lahaul Valley since Nov 9 when the region saw the season's heavy snowfall, managed to leave for their destination by this (Wednesday) evening after the Udaipur-Killar-Kishtwar road was reopened for the traffic," Deputy Commissioner (Lahaul and Spiti) Ritesh Chauhan told IANS over telephone.


Foreign commandos contact NSG to know Mumbai story

Foreign commandos contact NSG to know Mumbai story Shimla, Nov 26 : Security agencies from many countries have got in touch with the National Security Guard (NSG) to know how they succeeded in killing terrorists who attacked Mumbai, a senior officer said Thursday.

"Foreign security agencies were quite impressed with the successful completion of 'Operation Black Tornado'. They have been contacting the NSG to know more about anti-terror strategies adopted during the operation," NSG Deputy Inspector General Govind Singh Sisodia told IANS.


Stolen medal surfaces in Britain, widow hopes to get it back

Stolen medal surfaces in Britain, widow hopes to get it back  Shimla, Nov 26 : An octogenarian widow's hopes to get back her husband's posthumously-awarded bravery medal, stolen from her house seven years ago, have risen after news that it had landed up in an auction house in Britain.

The state police has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take up the matter with Interpol in order to recover the stolen medal.


Medal auction: High court gives notice to Himachal government

Medal auction: High court gives notice to Himachal governmentShimla, Nov 28 - Taking note of media reports on the auction of a gallantry medal awarded by Britain to an Indian soldier in 1946, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the state government to file a reply on the matter.

Acting on its own, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice R. B. Misra and Justice Rajeev Sharma Friday directed the state government to give its reply within three weeks on the planned Dec 2 auction of the George Cross medal.


'Himachal Pradesh does good business in trade fair'

'Himachal Pradesh does good business in trade fair'Shimla, Nov 28 : Himachal Pradesh-based companies have done good business during the India International Trade Fair (IITF) held in New Delhi Nov 14-27, an official said here Saturday.

"During the IITF, Himachal Pradesh-based companies received orders worth Rs. 5 crore from dealers," R. R. Patyal, director of the Himachal Pavilion, said in a statement.

As many as 15 leading companies including Spice Digital, Sonalika Group, Skyline and Marksons displayed their products during the IITF.


Himachal police contact medal's auctioneers

Himachal police Shimla, Nov 28 : In an attempt to stall the auction of a gallantry medal awarded by the British government to an Indian soldier in 1946, the Himachal Pradesh Police Saturday contacted the auction house in London and sought to drive home the point that the decoration was stolen.

"Now we are in direct contact with the auctioneers in London and trying to convince them that the medal listed for action is actually a stolen one and its auction is illegal," Additional Director General of Police I. D. Bhandari told IANS Saturday.


Government plans to make Himachal a steel hub

Atul ChaturvediShimla, Nov 30 : Steel ministry officials Monday visited the state capital to find ways to make Himachal Pradesh a steel hub and increase its production and consumption.

Briefing reporters later, Steel Secretary Atul Chaturvedi said the per capital consumption of steel in Himachal Pradesh was 15 kg, much lower than the national average of
64 kg.

"We have plans to develop Himachal Pradesh as a steel hub. It will supply steel to neighbouring states like Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir," he said.


George Cross theft case takes another turn

George Cross theft case takes another turn  Shimla, Nov 30 : The investigations in the alleged theft of the George Cross medal from a Himachal Pradesh village took a twist Monday with police saying that the witnesses have admitted that the thumb impression on an affidavit was that of the soldier's widow.

Brahmi Devi, the widow of Naik Kirpa Ram of the Frontier Force Rifles, who was posthumously awarded George Cross medal, the highest decoration for bravery in 1946, has been saying that the medal was stolen from her house in 2002.


Coffee table book to toast good old Shimla

Shimla, Dec 2 - Those nostalgic about the good old times in Shimla should be delighted. Coming up is a coffee table book detailing the history of this city that was a seat of power in British India.

"We are bringing out a coffee table book carrying details about eminent personalities and imperial buildings associated with the British era. This will also help tourists, especially from Britain, to know the heritage of the town," Tourism Director Arun Kumar told IANS.

He said most of the tourists have been complaining about lack of information about the heritage of this town.


George Cross medal recipient now fights another battle

Shimla, Dec 2 - She is now fighting a different battle, a battle to get the gallantry medal awarded to her husband posthumously back to India.

Brahmi Devi, 77, the widow of a pre-independence Indian soldier, is happy with the announcement that the auction of the George Cross medal in London has been put off.

Her husband, Naik Kirpa Ram was awarded the medal for sacrificing his life to save his army comrades from harm while disposing of a misfired rifle grenade at a camp in Bangalore Sep 12, 1945. She received the medal from the Viceroy of India, Field Marshal Lord Wavell, in 1946.


George Cross medal recipient now fights another battle

Shimla, Dec 2 - She is now fighting a different battle, a battle to get the gallantry medal awarded to her husband posthumously back to India.

Brahmi Devi, 77, the widow of a pre-independence Indian soldier, is happy with the announcement that the auction of the George Cross medal in London has been put off.

Her husband, Naik Kirpa Ram was awarded the medal for sacrificing his life to save his army comrades from harm while disposing of a misfired rifle grenade at a camp in Bangalore Sep 12, 1945. She received the medal from the Viceroy of India, Field Marshal Lord Wavell, in 1946.


One more swine flu case detected in Himachal

One more swine flu case detected in Himachal Shimla, Dec 3 : Another case of swine flu was reported in Himachal Pradesh Thursday, taking the total in the state to 13, a health official said.

"A woman was tested positive in Shimla Thursday. She has been admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH). She is recovering," state swine flu nodal officer Vinod Mehta said.

He said samples of two more patients have been collected in the IGMCH and have been sent for analysis.


Himachal restrains pharma firm from using brand name

Himachal restrains pharma firm from using brand nameShimla, Dec 4 : The Himachal Pradesh government has restrained pharmaceutical firm Fizikem Laboratories from using the trademark Beplex Forte tablets that is similar to an Anglo-French's brand product.

"Acting on the direction of a district court in Bangalore, we have asked Baddi-based Fizikem Laboratories not to use the trademark Beplex Forte tablets," a government official said.


Himachal gives show-cause notice to Ford's Ski Village project

Himachal PradeshShimla, Dec 4: The Himachal Pradesh government Friday decided to issue a show cause notice to Ford Motor Company that is executing a multi-billion dollar Ski Village project in Manali for not fulfilling mandatory requirements, an official said here.

"The cabinet at its meeting this (Friday) evening decided to issue a show-cause notice to Ford Motor Company, which is setting up the Ski Village project in upper Manali (in Kullu district)," Chief Secretary Asha Swaroop told reporters.


Chinese firm resumes road projects in Himachal

Shimla, Dec 5 - Work on two World Bank-funded roads, undertaken by a Chinese firm, has resumed in Himachal Pradesh, nearly two months after the employees of the firm had to go back to China after their visas were revoked, a government official said Saturday.

"Longjian Road and Bridge Company Ltd has resumed the work for the construction of two major road projects. These projects have already fallen behind schedule," Public Works Minister Gulab Singh Thakur told IANS.

Work on the Mehatpur-Una-Amb and Theog-Kotkhai-Hatkoti-Rohru road projects had come to a standstill after Chinese nationals left for home in the last week of September.


Himachal penalises Dutch firm Rs.280 cr for project delay

Shimla, Dec 5 - The Himachal Pradesh government has imposed a penalty of Rs. 280.69 crore ($60 million) on Dutch firm Brakel Corp for delaying the implementation of a multi-million dollar hydropower project in the state.

"We have decided to impose a penalty of Rs. 280.69 crore on Brakel for delay in the execution of the hydropower project by over three-and-a-half years," Chief Secretary Asha Swaroop told IANS.

The state government had signed an agreement with Brakel Nov 25, 2008, two years after the 960 MW Thopan-Powari-Jangi project was awarded to the Dutch company, for starting the pre-construction activities.


Congress' Madhu Sood is Shimla mayor

Cong-logoShimla, Dec 5 : Madhu Sood of the Congress was Saturday elected mayor of the Shimla Municipal Corporation, a day after the divided Congress councillors failed to come to a consensus over the names of the mayor and deputy mayor.

In the 25-member house, the Congress has 15 councillors, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have eight and two councillors respectively.

Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur told reporters that Madhu Sood has been elected as mayor, while Harish Janartha was re-elected as the deputy mayor for a second term.


Shimla gets special buses for women

Shimla gets special buses for womenShimla, Dec 7- "Only for women" special buses have been started in this Himachal Pradesh capital for the convenience of the fairer sex, an official said Monday.

"We have started special buses in Shimla for women. This is for the first time in the state that a bus service reserved only for women has been launched," Himachal Road Transport Corporation Managing Director Somesh Goel said.


Himachal Pradesh promoting exotic fruits

Himachal Pradesh promoting exotic fruitsShimla, Dec 7 - Himachal Pradesh has begun promoting cultivation of exotic varieties of fruits to ensure that farmers were not hit by a fall in production of traditional crops due to changing weather patterns, according to Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta.

"We are promoting new and improved varieties of peach, pear, plum, hazelnut and walnut. These varieties will not only ensure good yield but also be remunerative for growers," Bragta told IANS.


22-Year-Old Woman Dies Of Swine Flu In Shimla

Shimla, Himachal PradeshIn a shocking development, a 22-year-old pregnant woman died of swine flu in Shimla.

The resident of Betchwa village in Mandi, Guddi Devi, who was admitted at the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) with swine flu like symptoms on 3rd December, died on Monday.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar, Deputy Medical Superintendent at IGMC stated that when Guddi Devi was brought to the hospital, she was suffering from severe breathing problem and the examination of her blood samples confirmed that she had Swine flu.


Keylong freezes at minus 9.6 degrees Celsius

Himachal-PradeshShimla, Dec 8 : Keylong was the coldest place in Himachal Pradesh Tuesday, as the minimum temperature there fell to minus 9.6 degrees Celsius, weather officials said.

Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, said Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district was the coldest place in the state, with minimum temperature of minus 9.6 degrees Celsius.

He said high altitude areas remained under grip of freezing cold whereas the temperature rose marginally in mid and lower areas.

Shimla, located in mid hills, recorded a maximum of 17.9 degrees Celsius, up by 1.7 degree in comparison to Monday.


One more dies of swine flu in Himachal

One more dies of swine flu in Himachal  Shimla, Dec 9 : One more person died of swine flu in Himachal Pradesh Wednesday, taking the toll to four, a health official said.

"A middle-aged man who had been admitted to Shimla's Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital for quite some time died this (Wednesday) morning due to swine flu. He was tested positive for the virus Tuesday," swine flu nodal officer Vinod Mehta told IANS.

He said this was the fourth death in the state due to H1N1 virus. So far, 17 patients have tested positive for swine flu.


Court issues notice to Himachal government on felling of trees

Court issues notice to Himachal government on felling of trees  Shimla, Dec 9 : The Himachal Pradesh High Court Wednesday took suo-motu notice of media reports regarding thousands of trees facing the axe in Himachal Pradesh over the construction of a power transmission corridor.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice R. B. Misra and Justice Rajeev Sharma directed the state government to give its reply within three weeks.    


SJVNL donates Rs.1 cr for relief fund in Himacha

SJVNL donates Rs.1 cr for relief fund in HimachaShimla, Dec 9 : Hydropower major Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL) Wednesday presented a draft for Rs. 1 crore to the Himachal Pradesh government as contribution towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

"SJVNL chairman H. K. Sharma presented a draft for Rs. 1 crore to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal as contribution towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund," an official statement said.

Speaking on the occasion, Dhumal appealed to the public to donate generously towards the relief fund.


Himachal higher reaches get snowfall

HIMACHAL-SNOWShimla, Dec 9 : The high altitude areas in Himachal Pradesh Wednesday received fresh spells of snow, intensifying a cold wave across the state, a weather official said here.

Met department director Manmohan Singh said snowfall was reported from Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba and the upper regions of Kullu districts.

In Shimla, cloudy weather coupled with cold winds sent temperature plunging. The town recorded a day temperature of 12.5 degrees Celsius in comparison to Tuesday's
17.9 degrees.


Fresh snowfall in Himachal, Rohtang pass again closed

Fresh snowfall in Himachal, Rohtang pass again closedShimla, Dec 10 : Moderate to heavy snowfall was reported across the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh Thursday, a weather official said. The Rohtang Pass was again closed for vehicular traffic after fresh snow in the area.

"The higher reaches of Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur and Chamba districts experienced moderate to heavy snow Thursday," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, told IANS.


Congress expels Shimla deputy mayor from party

Congress expels Shimla deputy mayor from party Shimla, Dec 10 : The Congress has expelled from its Himachal Pradesh unit Shimla deputy mayor Harish Janartha for anti-party activities.

"The state-level disciplinary committee Wednesday decided to expel Shimla Municipal Corporation deputy mayor Harish Janartha for six years for his anti-party activities during the deputy mayoral elections," state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur told reporters here Thursday.


Chill brings good tidings for Shimla ice skating rink

Chill brings good tidings for Shimla ice skating rinkShimla, Dec 11 - A thin layer of ice has formed at Shimla's 90-year-old ice skating rink, bringing the promise of fun-filled skating sessions for professionals and tourists alike - something they were unable to enjoy last year due to negligible snow.

Bhuvnesh Banga, secretary of the Ice Skating Club, told IANS: "This year a timely setting in of the chill in Shimla has raised hopes of good skating sessions in the next few weeks."

The club manages the one-of-its kind natural ice skating rink that came up in 1920.


Himachal to have first eye bank by March

Himachal to have first eye bank by MarchShimla, Dec 11 : Himachal Pradesh's first eye bank would be established by March next year in Shimla's Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH), Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Friday.

"The state's first eye bank will be established by March 2010 at IGMCH in Shimla. Some of the modalities (regarding setting up of the eye bank) are yet to be worked out," he told reporters at a function here.

He said IGMCH has tied up with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi in this regard.


Cold wave grips Shimla

Cold wave grips ShimlaShimla. (Himachal Pradesh), Dec 13 : Shimla is in the grip of a cold wave that has disturbed normal day-to-day life.

Temperatures have dipped three to four degrees below normal during the last few days.

Travel agents, however, are delighted with the fall in temperatures, seeing it as a business opportunity.

"We are waiting for the snowfall because everyone will benefit out of it," claimed Kedar Dutt, a travel agent.

It should snow here because we have come to see the snowfall with our family," said Preeti, a tourist from Haryana. (ANI)


Two killed as bus falls into gorge in Himachal Pradesh

Two killed as bus falls into gorge in Himachal PradeshShimla, Dec 15 - Two people were killed and 35 injured when a state-run bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Solan district early Tuesday.

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus from Delhi to Darlaghat in Bilaspur slipped off the highway and fell into a 200-ft gorge near Jabli, about 35 km from Chandigarh.

"Two people died on the spot and 35 were injured," Superintendent of Police (Solan) Prem Kumar Thakur told IANS.


Mild snowfall in parts of Himachal Pradesh

Mild snowfall in parts of Himachal PradeshShimla, Dec 15 : Popular tourist destination Kufri, just 20 km from this Himachal Pradesh capital, Tuesday received the season's first mild snowfall.

"Kufri and its nearby areas received mild snowfall this (Tuesday) morning. This was the season's first snowfall," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office in Shimla, told IANS.

Kufri, located 2,510 metres above sea level, is known as honeymooner's paradise.

Singh said higher hills in Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kinnaur and Kullu districts also experienced fresh snowfall.(IANS)


One more swine flu case in Himachal

SwineFluShimla, Dec 16 : One more case of swine flu was reported in Himachal Pradesh Wednesday, a health official said.

The patient was admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla, swine flu nodal officer Vinod Mehta told IANS. He said the number of deaths due to swine flu in the state stood at eight.(IANS)


S Tel launches its mobile services from Shimla

S Tel launches its mobile services from ShimlaShimla, Dec 17 : S Tel, a mobile and Internet access services provider, Thursday launched its GSM mobile services in the country from the Himachal Pradesh capital, a company official said.

S Tel director P. Swaminathan told reporters here: "From this town we have launched the company's GSM-based services in the country. With the number of mobile users expected to double by 2015, we are now entering another exciting phase in telecom growth. The six circles that the company is entering in is where the next wave of growth lies."


Himachal IIT's second session to be held in Mandi

Himachal IIT's second session to be held in MandiShimla, Dec 18 - The second academic session of Himachal Pradesh's Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) will begin in the state's Mandi town, a minister said Friday. The first session was held at IIT-Roorkee, its mentor institute.

Initially, the IIT classes would start at Mandi's Vallabh Government College, the state's Technical Education Minister Narender Bragta told IANS.


Road construction by Chinese firm blocked due to new visa policy

himachal-mapShimla. Dec 18  : The Long Jian Road and Bridge Company, a Chinese firm engaged in the construction of a road in Himachal Pradesh is unable to execute the project, due to the non- extension of visas to 11 of its employees.

Further the company is also apprehending opposition from the very state for which it is executing this project vis-à-vis the question of the skilled and non-skilled labourers, which the government says cannot be from China but the local people.


Sunny day brings relief from cold in Himachal

Sunny day brings relief from cold in HimachalShimla, Dec 21 : A sunny day across lower and mid-hills of Himachal Pradesh Monday brought some relief from the cold wave, the Met office said.

The maximum temperature in Shimla was recorded at 16 degrees Celsius, a rise from Sunday's 13.5 degrees. The town witnessed a sunny day, said the Met office.

Similarly, Sundernagar town registered the maximum temperature of 21.1 degrees Celsius, whereas Bhuntar and Dharamsala towns recorded 16.2 degrees and 20.8 degrees respectively.


Warm home stays amid snow-clad Himachal mountains

Warm home stays amid snow-clad Himachal mountainsShimla, Dec 22 - How about celebrating Christmas and ringing in the New Year in a snug wooden cottage amid the orchards with the snow-clad Himalayas in the backdrop? Himachal Pradesh is promising tourists a cozy year-end with local cuisine and folk culture shows thrown in for good measure.

Tourism Director Arun Kumar Sharma said the 'home stay scheme' launched by the state government last year has received overwhelming response from the household owners.


Keylong in Himachal records minus 8.3 degrees Celsius

Keylong in Himachal records minus 8.3 degrees Celsius Shimla, Dec 22 : Keylong was the coldest place in Himachal Pradesh Tuesday at minus 8.3 degrees Celsius as high altitudes of the state remained under the grip of a harsh cold wave.

Keylong is the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti. Kalpa in Kinnaur district was the second coldest place in Himachal at a minimum of minus 4.5 degrees Celsius, the state's meteorological director Manmohan Singh said.

Shimla recorded a minimum temperature of 4.4 degrees Celsius. (IANS)


Woman dies of swine flu in Himachal

Woman dies of swine flu in HimachalShimla, Dec 22 : One patient died of influenza A (H1N1) in Himachal Pradesh, taking the state's toll to 11, officials said Tuesday.

A woman of Bhoranj town in Hamirpur district died Tuesday due to the H1NI virus at the Regional Hospital in Hamirpur, swine flu nodal officer Vinod Mehta said.    

The woman was admitted to the hospital Monday, he said.    

One more positive case of the virus was admitted to Shimla's Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital Tuesday.    

Mehta said that the patient belonged to Karsog in Mandi district.    


Swiss national found dead in Himachal

Swiss national found dead in Himachal  Shimla, Dec 22 : The body of a Swiss national was found from a house in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu district, police said Tuesday.

The body of Martin Karl, a Swiss national, was found from a house near Manikaran, 60 km from district headquarters town Kullu early Tuesday morning, Superintendent of Police (Kullu) K. K. Indoria told IANS on phone.    

He said that Karl, 59, was staying as a paying guest for the past many days.    


Court orders probe into garbage burning near Shimla

Court orders probe into garbage burning near ShimlaShimla, Dec 22 :The Himachal Pradesh High Court Tuesday took serious note of the burning of garbage on the outskirts of Shimla town since Sunday and appointed a one-member committee to probe into the causes of fire.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice R. B. Misra and Justice Rajeev Sharma appointed a one-member committee, comprising a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Deepak Shanan, to probe the cause of fire in the dumping site.


No white Christmas in Himachal tourist spots

No white Christmas in Himachal tourist spotsShimla, Dec 23 - There will be no white Christmas in the popular tourist resorts of Himachal Pradesh, the weather office here predicted Wednesday. Thousands of holidaymakers have booked hotels across the state in the hope of playing in the snow.

Temperatures have been above average in popular tourist spots like Shimla, Narkanda, Kasauli, Manali, Dalhousie and Chamba this winter, and the only snow is what one can see atop the high peaks.

According to the meteorological office here, the sunny weather will continue this week.


Keylong freezes at minus 10.3 degrees Celsius

Keylong freezes at minus 10.3 degrees Celsius Shimla, Dec 23 : Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh, Wednesday morning recorded the lowest temperature of the season with the mercury plummeting to minus 10.3 degrees Celsius, the weatherman said.

"The temperature recorded was minus 10.3 degrees Celsius," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, told IANS.

He said the high altitude areas have been experiencing extremely cold climatic conditions.


20 hurt as bus overturns in Shimla

20 hurt as bus overturns in ShimlaShimla, Dec 24 - About 20 people were injured Thursday morning when a private bus overturned in Himachal Pradesh's capital Shimla, police said.

The private bus overturned near the police headquarters here at 5.45 a. m., Superintendent of Police R. M. Sharma told IANS.

Thirty people were travelling in the bus at the time of the accident.

"The cause of the accident seemed to be some mechanical failure of the bus," he said.


Himachal cold; Keylong records minus 12.6 degrees

Himachal cold; Keylong records minus 12.6 degrees Shimla, Dec 24 : The cold wave intensified in Himachal Pradesh as the mercury plummeted further Thursday with Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district recording a minimum temperature of minus 12.6 degrees Celsius, the weatherman said.

"The temperature this (Thursday) morning dipped across the state with Keylong recording minus 12.6 degrees. It was minus 10.3 degrees Wednesday," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, told IANS.


British-era Catholic church fading into oblivion

British-era Catholic church fading into oblivion Shimla, Dec 25 : When the entire world is celebrating Christmas, a British-era Catholic church in this Himachal Pradesh capital is slowly fading into oblivion. Its walls have developed cracks and floors have started sinking.

Built in 1886 by British architect Henry Irwin, the St. Michael's Cathedral displays French Gothic style of architecture and has a cruciform floor plan.

"The church is facing the onslaught of time. It's a picture of fallen glory. Nobody is sincere to protect this historical monument," priest Father Xavier Harold told IANS.


Cold wave eases its grip in Himachal

Cold wave eases its grip in Himachal Shimla, Dec 26 : The cold wave eased its grip on Himachal Pradesh Saturday, with no fresh snowfall or rain, the Met office here said.

The minimum temperature in Shimla was recorded at 4.2 degrees Celsius, a rise from Friday's 2.6 degrees. The town witnessed a sunny day.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district recorded a minimum of minus 11.4 degrees, up by 1.8 degrees, said the department in an official release.


Himachal deploys quick reaction teams to tackle terror

Himachal deploys quick reaction teams to tackle terror Shimla, Dec 26 : Himachal Pradesh Police have deployed quick reaction teams across the state to tackle terror attacks, a senior official said here Saturday.

"We have deployed quick reaction teams in all the 12 districts to tackle terror-like attacks. Special action groups have also been constituted at Shimla and Dharamsala," Additional Director General of Police (Armed Police and Training) B. Kamal Kumar told reporters here.


Special Kalka-Shimla trains start for New Year

Special Kalka-Shimla trains start for New YearShimla, Dec 27 - The Northern Railway has started four special trains on the world heritage Kalka-Shimla rail line in Himachal Pradesh to cater to the tourist rush during the New Year's eve celebrations, a railway official said Sunday.

"Four special trains have been started to cater to the tourist rush to the hill station Shimla. These trains are in addition to five regular trains," Station Superintendent J. S. Rajput told IANS.

He said the special trains would ply to and fro between Shimla and Kalka in Haryana till Dec 31.


Shimla's ice skating rink back in action

Shimla's ice skating rink back in actionShimla, Dec 28 - A sudden dip in the night temperature for the past few days has brought cheers to ice skating lovers in this Himachal Pradesh capital.

The natural formation of a thick coating of ice at Shimla's 90-year-old ice skating rink has brought the promise of more fun-filled skating sessions this time.

"This year the natural formation of ice in the rink has started well in time. We are hopeful of having a good number of skating sessions this winter," Bhuvnesh Banga, secretary of the Ice Skating Club, told IANS.


Icy winds continue in Himachal

Shimla, Dec 28 - Icy winds continued to make people shiver in Himachal Pradesh Monday, with the higher reaches of the Himalayas recording sub-zero temperatures.

This state capital saw a further decline in night temperature. It recorded a minimum of 2.3 degrees Celsius Monday morning, a decline of 0.4 degrees from Sunday, according to the weather bureau.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district and Kalpa in Kinnaur district recorded the minimum of minus 9.7 degrees Celsius and minus 5.4 degrees respectively.

Elsewhere, Bhuntar near Kullu and Sundernagar in Mandi district recorded a low of minus 0.4 degrees Celsius and 0.2 degrees respectively. (IANS)


Central government not fair with Himachal: Dhumal

Prem-Kumar-DhumalShimla, Dec 28 : Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Monday alleged that the central government ignores the interests of the hill state while expanding rail network or for extending special industrial package.

"It was not fair on the part of the central government to ignore the interests of the people of the small state like Himachal in the field of expanding rail network and extending special industrial package," Dhumal, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, told reporters here.


Sunny days bring some warmth to cold Himachal

Sunny days bring some warmth to cold HimachalShimla, Dec 29 - Temperatures across Himachal Pradesh increased slightly with no fresh rain or snowfall, the weather office here said Tuesday.

"The minimum temperature in the state increased marginally Tuesday due to no fresh rain in the mid and lower hills and no snow in higher reaches," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office, said.

He said that most of the places were witnessing sunny days in the past few days. But chilly winds in the mid and lower hills kept people indoors in the morning and late evening.


Himachal to set up another apple juice concentrate plant

Himachal to set up another apple juice concentrate plantShimla, Dec 30 - To help apple growers, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to set up another apple juice concentrate facility in the state, according to Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta.

"We have decided to set up another apple juice concentrate plant at Gumma in Shimla district. This is in addition to the Parwanoo plant (in Solan district)," Bragta told IANS here Wednesday.

The unit will be set up on an outlay of Rs. 23 crore, the minister said.


Himachal 'warms up' to welcome tourists

Himachal 'warms up' to welcome touristsShimla, Dec 30 - The cold wave has temporarily eased its grip on Himachal Pradesh which is all set to welcome tourists from the plains of north India.

According to tourism industry representatives here, snowfall in December is almost a myth now. Promoting the hill station as a 'warm' destination is the new mantra.


Tourists throng Himachal on New Year's Eve

Tourists throng Himachal on New Year's EveShimla, Dec 31- Thousands of tourists are making a beeline for popular hill destinations in Himachal Pradesh to ring in the New Year, bringing cheer to the hospitality industry.

Most hotels were fully booked well in advance of the 'big day'.

"The response (of tourists) is good. Most of our hotels are packed to capacity well in advance," Subhashish Panda, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp managing director, told IANS.

This season is going to be quite lucrative for the state hospitality industry, Panda said.


Himachal initiates steps to protect ecology

Prem Kumar DhumalShimla, Dec 31 : Himachal Pradesh has initiated steps for preservation of its ecology and environment, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Thursday.

"Recognising the adverse impact of global warming, our government has initiated several steps for preservation of ecology and environment in the state," Dhumal said at the concluding function of the 14th All India Banbasi (tribal) Sports meet at Solan town, 45 km from here.


Coldest December in Himachal in 15 years

Coldest December in Himachal in 15 years  Shimla, Dec 31 : Himachal Pradesh experienced the coldest December in over 15 years this winter with the minimum temperature recording two to three degrees Celsius below normal across the state, the Met office said Thursday.

"This month was the coldest in the hill state in more than 15 years. It was due to the absence of the western disturbances," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office, told IANS.


Cold wave continues in Himachal

Cold wave continues in Himachal Shimla, Dec 31 : Higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh Thursday continued to remain under sub-zero temperatures while cold winds lashed lower and mid-hills, according to the weatherman. However, there was no fresh rain or snow.

Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district, was the coldest place with minimum temperature of minus 10.3 degrees Celsius, an official release of the Met office said.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw night temperature of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius, while it was minus 1.4 degrees Celsius at Sundernagar in Mandi district and minus 1 degree Celsius at Bhuntar in Kullu district.


Tourists throng Himachal Pradesh to usher in the New Year

Tourists throng Himachal Pradesh to usher in the New YearShimla/Kullu, Dec 31 : Tourists from all over the country and foreigners have poured into Himachal Pradesh to celebrate the New Year at the state’s best hill stations.

Shimla and Kullu have always been the preferred holiday destinations for domestic as well as foreign tourists, but the end of the year has seemed to work wonders for these hill stations as the influx of tourists soar year-on-year.

All the three hill stations have arranged for ice games, parties and other treats for their respective guests.


Shimla gets energy-saving streetlights

Shimla gets energy-saving streetlightsShimla, Jan 1 - The Municipal Corporation of Shimla has started installing energy-saving streetlights in the city, an official said Friday.

"We are installing LED (light emitting diodes) streetlights in Shimla to save power. Initially, the lights were installed around Town Hall (housing the corporation office on the historic Ridge)," Shimla's Assistant Municipal Commissioner K. K. Sharma told IANS.


Once again, no snow in Shimla on New Year's Eve

Once again, no snow in Shimla on New Year's EveShimla, Jan 1- The Himachal state capital once again witnessed dry weather on the last day of the year. The lack of snow disappointed thousands of tourists who came here in the hope of playing in the snow.

"Like the previous years, this time too there was no snow to cheer the locals and the tourists. The city witnessed a long sunny day Thursday," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office, told IANS.

He said that the city experienced snowfall on the last day of the year in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2002.


Cold weather continues in Himachal

Cold weather continues in HimachalShimla, Jan 1 - Himachal Pradesh shivered Friday with the temperature remaining below sub-zero particularly in the higher reaches, the weather bureau here said.

The night temperature in Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district, Friday morning dipped further. It was minus 11.9 degrees Celsius, down by 1.6 degrees from Thursday's.


George Cross winner's widow gets New Year greeting from Britain

Shimla, Jan 1- George Cross winner Kirpa Ram's widow Brahmi Devi, who is now fighting to get his stolen medal back to India, has received New Year's greetings from the Britain-based Victoria Cross and George Cross Association.

Wizened Brahmi Devi, 77, the widow of a pre-independence Indian soldier, is happy with the gesture of the association.

"It's a great gesture of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association that it has acknowledged the bravery of my late husband. I got the greeting card from the association early this week," Brahmi Devi told IANS on phone from her home in Bilaspur district, some 150 from here.


Dhumal launches grievance monitoring system

Dhumal launches grievance monitoring systemShimla, Jan 1 : Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Friday launched e-Samadhan (grievance monitoring system) at his official residence here for speedy disposal of public grievances.

Dhumal told reporters that the common man visiting him for redressal of grievances would be able to monitor the status of the request submitted online.

He said redressal of public grievances has been accorded top priority by every government department.


NSD theatre workshop concludes in Shimla

NSD theatre workshop concludes in ShimlaShimla, Jan 1 : A 15-day theatre workshop organised by the National School of Drama (NSD) for school children concluded here.

All the participants enjoyed the learning experience of drama.

Puneet, a participant in the theatre workshop said : "We learnt a lot of things in the theatre workshop like drama, acting, music and dance.”

In the concluding session at gaiety theatre, the chairperson of NSD, Amal Allana, encouraged the children to participate in theatre.


Prosecution against Virbhadra likely within month: Police

Virbhadra Singh Shimla, Jan 1 : Police is likely to start within a month the prosecution against union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh in corruption cases registered against them, an official said here Friday.

"We are still awaiting a few forensic reports from a Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL)... most likely the prosecution against Virbhadra Singh and his wife would start within a month," Director General of Police (Vigilance) D. S. Manhas told reporters.


Himachal resumes hydropower generation

Himachal resumes hydropower generationShimla, Jan 2 - Himachal Pradesh Saturday morning resumed hydropower generation after closing it for more than an hour due to northern grid failure owing to heavy fog, a official said here.

"The power in all the mini and major hydropower projects was restored around 4 a. m. The projects tripped after the northern grid developed snag due to fog at 3.02 a. m.," Suneel Grover, director of generation at the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board, told IANS.

"Now the generation and the supply of electricity are normal," he added.


Cold wave slightly eases grip on Himachal

Cold wave slightly eases grip on Himachal Shimla, Jan 2 : The cold wave has slightly eased its grip on Himachal Pradesh with longer sunny days, but the mornings and late evenings continue to be harsh due to strong chilly winds, the meteorological office here said Saturday.

The Queen of Hills, as Shimla was called by the British, recorded a minimum of 6.6 degrees Celsius, a rise of 1.8 degrees from Friday.

Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district, also saw a rise in the night temperature. It rose by minus 0.1 degrees Celsius from Friday's minus 11.9 degrees.


164 corruption cases registered in 2009: Dhumal

Prem Kumar DhumalShimla, Jan 2 : Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Saturday said that the state vigilance bureau and anti-corruption bureau had registered 164 cases against government officials and functionaries last year.

"The vigilance bureau saw an increase in registration of cases last year. It registered 164 cases, which were 71.06 percent more as compared to the previous year (2008)," Dhumal said while launching the website of the vigilance bureau and anti-corruption bureau.

He said that 44 of the total cases were related to bribery. "A sum of Rs. 38,69,640 has been recovered from the bribe-seekers."


Flights between Delhi and Himachal cancelled

Flights between Delhi and Himachal cancelledShimla, Jan 3 - Air connectivity between Himachal Pradesh and New Delhi was snapped Sunday owing to harsh weather conditions in the national capital, officials said here.

"All flights on the Delhi-Shimla, Delhi-Kullu and Delhi-Dharamsala routes have been cancelled today," Subhash Thakur of Kingfisher Airlines, which is the only air service provider in the hill state, told IANS.

The flights cancelled are IT 4349 Delhi-Shimla and IT 4350 Shimla-Delhi, IT 4351 Delhi-Dharamsala, IT 4352 Dharamsala-Delhi, IT 4357 Delhi-Kullu and IT 4358 Kullu-Delhi, he said.


Tourists enjoy season''s first snowfall in Shimla

Tourists enjoy season''s first snowfall in ShimlaShimla, Jan 4 : The season''s first snowfall has brought smiles on the faces of several tourists, who have thronged the country to celebrate the New Year.

Tourists played with snow and clicked pictures to mark their visit.

"We came to know that snow will be arriving here soon, we were waiting at Shimla but we came to know about Kufri, and now we are enjoying the snow it is a wonderful experience," said Anubhuti, a tourist from Delhi.

Meanwhile, the hazy weather in Agra did not deter the tourists from flocking to the Taj Mahal.


Industrial package for Himachal Pradesh extended

Prem Kumar DhumalShimla, Jan 4 : The commerce ministry has recommended that the special industrial package granted to Himachal Pradesh be extended to 2013, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Monday.

"The ministry of commerce has recommended to the prime minister and the union finance ministry the extension of special industrial package to 2013," Dhumal said in an official statement.

Dhumal was in New Delhi Monday to meet Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma.


Flights between Delhi and Himachal resume

Flights between Delhi and Himachal resumeShimla, Jan 5 - Air connectivity between New Delhi and Himachal Pradesh partially resumed Tuesday, an official said. The air link was snapped Sunday due to thick fog in the national capital.

"Flights between Delhi and Kullu and Delhi and Dharamsala were restored Tuesday. Flights to and from Shimla may be restored later today (Tuesday)," an official at the airport here said.

K. M. Mehra, airport controller at Bhuntar near Kullu, said that the Delhi-Kullu flight arrived on time at 8 a. m. Tuesday and departed for Delhi at 8.30 a. m.


Shimla airport remains shut for third day

Shimla airport remains shut for third dayShimla, Jan 5 - The airport in the Himachal Pradesh capital remained shut for the third consecutive day Tuesday, an official here said. The air connectivity between Delhi and Shimla snapped Sunday due to a thick blanket of fog in the national capital.

"No flight from Delhi arrived at the Shimla airport even on the third day today (Tuesday). No flight left for Delhi from here either," Anil Goswami, airport controller at Shimla, said.

However, air connectivity from Delhi to two other destinations in the state - Kullu and Dharamsala - resumed Tuesday.


For a milder winter, go to the hills

For a milder winter, go to the hillsShimla, Jan 5 - If the damp chill of the north Indian plains are giving you the shivers, consider a break in the hills -- it's sunnier and warmer up there.

Popular tourist towns in the hill state like Shimla, Kasauli, Dharamsala, Chamba, Dalhousie and Manali are witnessing long sunny days with little wind.

Director of meteorological department Manmohan Singh told IANS that these places are warmer compared to the plains of northern India.


Swami Ramdev to set up second yoga centre in Himachal

Swami Ramdev to set up second yoga centre in Himachal  Shimla, Jan 5 : Yoga guru Swami Ramdev is to set up the second 'Patanjali Yogpeeth' -- yoga training and treatment centre -- in Himachal Pradesh and help promote the medicinal herbs grown in the state, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Tuesday.

"Swami Ramdev has decided to set up the second 'yogpeeth' in Solan district," Dhumal said in an official release.

Dhumal was in Haridwar in Uttarakhand to attend a function organised by the 'Patanjali Yogpeeth' there.


Temperatures rise across Himachal

Temperatures rise across HimachalShimla, Jan 6 - Minimum temperatures in many parts of Himachal Pradesh rose Wednesday due to the prevailing dry weather, the Met office here said.

The night temperature at Shimla rose appreciably, Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office, said.

"Shimla recorded a low of 9 degrees Celsius Wednesday morning, a rise of 3.4 degrees from Tuesday," he said, attributing the rise in temperature to long sunny days.

According to him, the state capital's minimum temperature was 7 degrees above average.


Flights between Delhi, Shimla resume

Flights between Delhi, Shimla resumeShimla, Jan 6 - Air connectivity between New Delhi and the Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla resumed Wednesday, an airport official said.

"Flights were restored after five days," the official said. The air link was snapped due to thick fog in New Delhi.

Only Kingfisher operates daily between New Delhi and Shimla. (IANS)


Another swine flu death in Himachal, toll rises to 16

Another swine flu death in Himachal, toll rises to 16Shimla, Jan 6 : A 38-year-old woman died due to swine flu in Himachal Pradesh, taking the toll due to Influenza A (H1N1) in the state to 16, a health official said here Wednesday.

"A 38-year-old woman died at the Shimla's Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital last (Tuesday) evening due to swine flu. She was admitted to the hospital Tuesday," swine flu nodal officer Vinod Mehta told IANS.

He said the patient died within a few hours after being admitted to the hospital. She belonged to this town.


Temperatures dip across Himachal

Temperatures dip across HimachalShimla, Jan 7 - Temperatures in the mid-hills dipped even as the mercury stayed below the freezing point in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh Thursday, the Met office here said.

Temperatures across the state plummeted despite no fresh snowfall or rain in the past 24 hours, Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office, told IANS.

He said bright sunshine greeted the people in Shimla and the minimum temperature was recorded at 5.5 degrees Celsius, down from Wednesday's 9 degrees.


M.F. Husain out of Himachal school syllabus

M.F. Husain out of Himachal school syllabusShimla, Jan 7 - Renowned painters Sobha Singh and Nicholas Roerich have replaced artist M. F. Husain in Himachal Pradesh text books, an official said Thursday.

"We have decided to replace the chapter on M. F. Husain in the NCERT Hindi book taught to class XI students from this session," Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education chairman Chaman Lal Gupta told IANS.

He said that now a chapter on renowned artists Sobha Singh and Nicholas Roerich would be included in the text books.


NIA team visits Kufri to probe visit by Headley's ex-wife

NIA team visits Kufri to probe visit by Headley's ex-wifeShimla/New Delhi, Jan 8 - Sleuths of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) visited Himachal Pradesh's Kufri town to track the footprints of Mumbai terror suspect David Coleman Headley's estranged Moroccan wife who is said to have made a reconnaissance trip to the state in 2008.

After visiting Manali late December, the investigating team made a stop at Kufri, another popular tourist resort on the outskirts of Shimla, to find out whether Faiza Outalha had stayed there.


Cold wave in Himachal; it's -11.3 in Keylong

Cold wave in Himachal; it's -11.3 in KeylongShimla, Jan 8 : A cold wave continued to sweep Himachal Pradesh Friday, with its higher reaches shivering under sub-zero temperatures.

The minimum temperature in Shimla was 3.8 degrees Celsius, down from Thursday's 5.5 degrees, the director of the meteorological office, Manmohan Singh, told IANS.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district and Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw a low of minus 11.3 and minus 5.9 degrees respectively.


Himachal launches health insurance for poorest families

himachal-pradesh-mapsShimla, Jan 8 : Himachal Pradesh Friday announced it would launch a health insurance scheme in the state for people living below poverty line (BPL) from March 1.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told reporters that the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna or national health insurance scheme would be launched across the state from March 1 for one year.

"The scheme would be launched in all the 12 districts. Around 2.98 lakh BPL families would be benefited. For this, we have tied up with the New India Insurance Company Ltd," he said.


Tourists enjoy ice-skating in Shimla

Tourists enjoy ice-skating in ShimlaShimla, Jan. 8 : While most of the people in north India are facing the onslaught of cold wave and dense fog, tourists visiting Shimla from different parts of the country are having a gala time.

Recently, an ice-skating tournament was held here to welcome the New Year.

Skaters won appreciation of tourists as they exhibited their skills and entertained the spectators.


Cold wave continues to sweep Himachal Pradesh

Shimla, Jan 9 - A cold wave continued to grip the hills of Himachal Pradesh Saturday with Keylong region recording the lowest temperature in the state.

"Keylong (in Lahaul and Spiti district) was the coldest place in the state. It recorded a minimum temperature of minus 11.7 degrees Celsius," meteorological office director Manmohan Singh told IANS.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district was the second coldest place with a minimum temperature of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius.

The minimum temperature in Shimla was 4.2 degrees Celsius. Singh said: "Shimla recorded a rise of 0.4 degrees from Friday."


More Chinese get visas for Himachal road projects

Shimla, Jan 9 : Eleven more employees of a Chinese company have been granted visas to speed up the construction of two major World Bank-funded roads in Himachal Pradesh, a minister said here Saturday.

"Indian authorities have granted visas to 11 more employees of Longjian Road and Bridge Company Ltd of China to accelerate construction of two major road projects in the state. These projects have already been much delayed due to shortage of manpower," Public Works Minister Gulab Singh Thakur told reporters.


Himachal to promote bird spotting

Shimla, Jan 10 - If you are a bird watcher and want to chase flapping beauties in the wilderness, welcome to Himachal Pradesh, which is organising a unique bird spotting race this month.

The state forest department in association with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and WWF-India is organising a three-day dawn-to-dusk bird census from Jan 15 at the Pong Dam reservoir in Kangra district.

"To promote the concept of bird watching, we decided to invite bird watchers, especially students, to participate in the annual exercise at the Pong Dam. This will provide an opportunity to young ornithologists to learn more about the behaviour of wild birds," Chief Conservator of Forests Sanjeeva Pandey told IANS.


Temperature rises in low reaches of Himachal

Shimla, Jan 10 - Cold conditions abated in the low lying areas of Himachal Pradesh Sunday with night temperatures rising by a few notches, even as the higher reaches continued to remain under sub-zero levels.

The minimum temperature at Shimla was 5.8 degrees Celsius, up from Saturday's 4.2 degrees, director of the meteorological office in Shimla Manmohan Singh told IANS.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district and Kalpa in Kinnaur district recorded minimum temperatures of minus 11.9 degrees Celsius and minus 5.9 degrees Celsius as against lows of minus 11.7 degrees Celsius and minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, respectively, Saturday.


Temperature rises marginally in Shimla

Shimla, Jan 11 - The mercury rose marginally in this Himachal Pradesh capital Monday even as the higher reaches reeled under sub-zero temperature with Keylong being the coldest at minus 12.1 degrees Celsius.

"Shimla witnessed a minimum temperature of 6.2 degrees Celsius compared to Sunday's 5.1 degrees Celsius," Manmohan Singh, director of meteorological office here, told IANS.

He said Shimla's minimum temperature was four degrees above average for this time of the year.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district and Kalpa in Kinnaur district recorded minimum temperatures of minus 12.1 degrees Celsius and minus 5 degrees Celsius respectively, as against lows of minus 11.9 degrees Celsius and minus 5.9 degrees Celsius Sunday.


More Than 160 Hepatitis E Cases In Shimla Since Mid-January

More Than 160 Hepatitis E Cases In Shimla Since Mid-JanuaryAccording to health functionaries, over 160 people in Shimla have tested positive for Hepatitis E since the outburst of the disease in mid-January.

Mr. Vinod Mehta, the surveillance officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, said, "Patients suffering from jaundice (Hepatitis E) are being reported at various government and private hospitals of Shimla. Twelve patients were admitted to various hospitals yesterday (Wednesday). Till date, 161 patients have been reported."


Man pushes wife off cliff during honeymoon

shimlaA honeymoon in Shimla ended with the murder of a 28-year-old woman. Her husband allegedly pushed her off a cliff near the popular hill resort on February 22.

Her body was recovered on Tuesday. Simranpal Singh Bhullar, who hails from Ferozepur in Punjab, was arrested on Monday, after his parents complained that their son and daughter-in-law had gone missing. The couple had married on January 17.

Simranjit Kaur’s body was found from a gorge in Hasan valley, a thick forest area near Kufri on the outskirts of Shimla, on the basis of information given by Bhullar to Ferozepur police.


Shimla remains warm

ShimlaThe effect of global warming is causing a havoc on the residents of Himachal Pradesh especially Shimla with the temperature soaring an ever-high, i. e. above normal with the Mercury level in Queen of the Hills reporting at 27 degrees Celsius.

The climatic conditions tumbled as the night temperature in the capital town was 16.9 degrees.

Areas such as Sundernagar recorded a maximum of 36.8 degrees Celsius, Bhuntar 35 degrees, Dharamsala (32.8) and Una (40.6) during this phase of the year, according to the forecasts from the Met department.


Heat sucks seven lives, Shimla records highest ever temperature

Heat sucks seven lives, Shimla records highest ever temperatureThe heat waves across the northern and western region has taken seven lives in Shimla, at the same time recorded hottest ever day at 32.4 degree celsius.

According to the census, the recorded temperature of the ‘Queen of the Hills’, Shimla was 8.3 degrees above normal and was .7 degrees more than the earlier highest record of 31.7 degrees in May 20, 2004, said the Met officials.


Diarrhoea outbreaks in Shimla with 53 new cases

Diarrhoea outbreaks in Shimla with 53 new casesThe capital region of Himachal Pradesh is suffering from the threat of diarrhoea these days. As the total number of cases in the state has gone up to 170 in last three days with 53 new cases of the disease added on Friday.

Among the worst affected areas hit by the disease, the crowded locality of Sanjauli is the one with the maximum number of cases. As out of the 53 cases, 37 were registered at Sanjauli dispensary only while the rest seven were at IGMC hospital and nine at Rippon hospital.


Robbers contend with CCTV cameras after failed bid

Robbers contend with CCTV cameras after failed bid After a group of unidentified robbers was not able to loot the Bank in Shimla, they decided to be satisfies with the CCTV cameras carrying the footage of the same.

It is to be mentioned here that when the robbers entered the Sanjauli branch of Punjab National Bank, they failed to procure cash and other valuable items from the bank and at last decided to take away the CCTV cameras with them.


I was ignorant about Chittagong uprising: Abhishek Bachchan

I was ignorant about Chittagong uprising: Abhishek BachchanShimla, Nov 8 - After box-office dud "Raavan", Abhishek Bachchan is returning to the big screen as freedom fighter Surjya Sen in Ashutosh Gowariker's "Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey", based on the Chittagong uprising. The actor says he was embarrassed when offered the role as he was ignorant about the historical episode.


'Ghost writer' back to her spooky ways

'Ghost writer' back to her spooky waysShimla, Dec 5 - Less than six years after she came out with her first book of ghost stories, writer Minakshi Chaudhry is penning another collection of spooky tales based on this hill town.

"Real, strange and eerie tales which were not included in my first book 'Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills', will be part of the forthcoming book that will hit the book stores by the middle of next year," journalist-turned-writer Minakshi, 41, told IANS.


Parle to buy apple concentrate from Himachal

Parle to buy apple concentrate from HimachalShimla, Dec 17 - Food and beverage company Parle Agro will buy 300 tonnes of apple juice concentrate from the state-run Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corp (HPMC), a minister said here Friday.

The apple concentrate is used for fruit juices, nectars and drinks.

"Parle Agro has placed an order for procurement of 300 tonnes of apple juice concentrate. It's one of the major orders with HPMC," Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta told IANS.


Shimla shops shut to support Anna

Shimla shops shut to support AnnaShimla, Aug 24 : More than 6,000 shopkeepers in the Himachal Pradesh capital Wednesday kept their shops closed to express solidarity with fasting social activist Anna Hazare.

"We have decided to keep the shops closed for one full day to support the cause of Anna," Shimla Beopar Mandal president Ramesh Sood told IANS.

He said shops dealing with daily necessary items like medicines and eatables would be exempted from the shutdown.

The move is not associated with any political front, he added.


Renuka dam construction yet to begin: Dhumal

Renuka dam construction yet to begin: DhumalShimla, Aug 26 : The construction of the multi-billion rupee Renuka dam hydroelectric project in Himachal Pradesh which will provide drinking water to Delhi is yet to begin, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said here Friday.

"The construction of the Renuka dam has not yet begun. The National Green Tribunal in its order July 28 granted a stay on the project," Dhumal informed the state assembly in a written reply.


Shimla's coffee house will miss Anupam Kher's father

Shimla's coffee house will miss Anupam Kher's fatherShimla, Feb 12 - A familiar figure strolling along Shimla's Mall, greeting friends and chatting animatedly in the coffee house is being missed with the death of actor Anupam Kher's father Pushkar Nath Kher, 84.

Nath's friends and local theatre artistes, who once shared stage with Kher, mourned his demise. Nath, a Kashmiri Pandit by origin, died in Mumbai after a brief illness Friday.


SAIL not keen on proposed facility in Himachal

SAIL not keen on proposed facility in HimachalShimla, March 27 - Public sector Steel Authority of India (SAIL) is not keen on setting up a plant in Himachal Pradesh despite the state government extending facilities, Industries Minister Kishan Kapoor said here Tuesday.

The state had identified two alternate sites in Mandi district and written to SAIL twice last year, inviting it for spot inspections for the proposed steel processing plant, Kapoor said.


Virbhadra Singh takes oath as Himachal Pradesh CM this morning

Virbhadra Singh takes oath as Himachal Pradesh CM this morningShimla, Dec 25 : Congress leader Virbhadra Singh will take oath as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh at the historic Ridge Maidan of Shimla at 10.30 am on Tuesday.

Governor Urmila Singh will administer the oath of office and secrecy to him.

Virbhadra Singh will be the Chief Minister for the sixth time.

The Congress, which put up a spirited campaign under Virbhadra Singh, returned to power after winning 36 seats in Himachal Pradesh.


Congress suspends Himachal legislator

Ram-Kumar-ChaudharyShimla, Jan 16 : The Congress Wednesday suspended a legislator in Himachal Pradesh who has been booked for murder by the Haryana Police.

"The Congress has suspended Ram Kumar Chaudhary," state Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said here.

He is one of four suspects in the murder of a 24-year-old woman in Panchkula in Haryana Nov 22 and is now on police remand.

Chaudhary is a first-time legislator from Doon in Solan district.

"This is my first decision after assuming charge," Sukhu said. He took charge as the state party president Tuesday.(IANS)


Virbhadra congratulates Vijay Kumar for Padma award

Vijay-KumarShimla, Jan 26 : Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Saturday congratulated London Olympic silver medallist shooter Vijay Kumar, who belongs to the state, for being chosen for the Padma Shri award.

Expressing gratitude to the central government for bestowing the honour on the pistol shooter, the chief minister said in a statement the state would honour the players belonging to Himachal Pradesh who will bring laurels for the country.

Vijay, who is serving in the Indian Army, belongs to Harsour village in Hamirpur district.


Virbhadra Singh seeks central indulgence

Virbhadra Singh seeks central indulgenceShimla, Feb 8 : Hoping to boost an economy largely dependent on tourism, horticulture and hydropower, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his colleagues are lobbying hard with New Delhi to get central projects and schemes, particularly dealing with infrastructure and connectivity, sanctioned for the state.

Virbhadra Singh, who began his record sixth stint as chief minister on Dec 25, had attacked the previous BJP government for not appropriately using central grants and is clearly making sure he is not subjected to the same criticism.


No working CM needed, Raja Saab hard at work

No working CM needed, Raja Saab hard at work Shimla, Feb 15 : After rumours swirled that the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh would appoint a "working" chief minister as 78-year-old incumbent Virbhadra Singh would go abroad for treatment, many ministers asserted that no such thing was planned.

Seven of the nine ministers in the state said "some vested interests" were circulating baseless rumours, and dismissed reports that appeared in the press claiming that Virbhadra Singh would be heading abroad for treatment.


19 swine flu cases reported in Himachal

19 swine flu cases reported in HimachalShimla, Feb 24 : Swine flu (H1N1) continues to spread in Himachal Pradesh with 19 cases reported this year, an official said here Sunday. Two people have died of the disease this year in this hill state.

At Shimla's Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH), 102 patients with symptoms of swine flu were reported from across the state, a health official told IANS.

He said both the people who died had been admitted at IGMCH.


Opposition cries hoarse over raw railway deal

Opposition cries hoarse over raw railway dealShimla, Mar 1 - Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is at the receiving end of the opposition's ire, thanks to the seeming indifference of the railway ministry towards Himachal Pradesh in allocating new projects.

As Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal presented his budget in the Lok Sabha Tuesday, the opposition pointed out that the railways had been tardy in making budgetary provisions for timely completion of ongoing projects in the state.


Four-laning of NH-22 needs Rs.2,730 crore: Virbhadra

Virbhadra-SinghShimla, March 12 : The four-laning of National Highway 22 between Parwanoo and Shimla will cost Rs. 2,730 crore, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said here Tuesday.

The construction work to be executed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), likely to start in February 2014, would be completed within three years, he said in a written reply in the assembly.

However, he said, no funds have been sanctioned by the central government so far for the project.

While widening the 88-km stretch, Singh said the distance between both the towns would be shortened by 17 km.


Himachal hopes to clock 6.2 percent growth

Virbhadra-SinghShimla, March 13 : Himachal Pradesh's economy is expected to grow by 6.2 percent -- 1.2 percent higher than the national level -- in the next fiscal, the state's economic survey report said Wednesday.

"The economy of the state is expected to achieve a growth rate of 6.2 per cent in the current financial year which is comparatively better than the national growth of five percent," said the report, which was tabled in the state assembly by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.


Fresh snow in Himachal, cold wave revives

Fresh snow in Himachal, cold wave revivesShimla, March 14 : After days of pleasant weather, the cold wave again tightened its grip over Himachal Pradesh Thursday as the state's higher reaches had a fresh spell of snow.

 However, there was widespread rainfall in low and mid hills, an official said.

The weather office here has forecast more snow and thundershowers till Friday.

Shimla was lashed by rain but nearby destinations, including Narkanda, experienced mild snowfall, the official said.

Likewise, the Solang ski slopes, 13 km uphill from Manali, saw more snow.


Phone tapping row echoes in Himachal assembly

Phone tapping row echoes in Himachal assemblyShimla, March 16 - Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has equated the state's police during the previous BJP regime with the German Nazi regime's dreaded Gestapo, the secret police.

He even blamed the previous regime for unauthorised surveillance of telephones.

His predecessor Prem Kumar Dhumal, however, dared him to prove his accusations. "If found guilty, hang me," Dhumal retorted.


Mukherjee to address Himachal legislators

Pranab-MukherjeeShimla, March 20 : President Pranab Mukherjee will address the Himachal Pradesh assembly May 24 to mark its golden jubilee, Speaker B. B. Butail said Wednesday.

The president will reach Shimla a day earlier. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was the first president to address the Himachal assembly Dec 23, 2004. (IANS)


Himachal issues over 51 lakh Aadhaar cards

Aadhaar-cardsShimla, March 20 : A total of 51,94,552 Aadhaar cards have been generated in Himachal Pradesh by the Unique Identification Authority of India, the assembly was told Wednesday.

Every day, 50-60 people were being issued cards in every registration centre and by end of this year, the government aims to provide cards to 95 percent of the state's total population, Information Technology Minister Vidya Stokes said in a written reply.

She said to cover those left out, registration centres have been opened at the block level.(IANS)


BJP walkout in Himachal assembly over budget reply

Himachal-assemblyShimla, March 21 : The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday staged a walkout from the Himachal Pradesh assembly, expressing dissatisfaction over the chief minister's reply to a discussion on the state budget for 2013-14.

The opposition accused the government of being anti-poor and betraying the unemployed youth.

The BJP staged a walkout shortly before the house was to adjourn for the day.


Virbhadra bestowing plum posts on loyalists draws fire

Virbhadra-SinghShimla, March 23 : Septuagenarian Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh bestowing plum posts on two loyalists has drawn fire as this is being seen as a lack of confidence in the bureaucracy.

Subhash Ahluwalia has been appointed principal private secretary to the chief minister, the post he had occupied during Virbhadra Singh's 2003-07 stint. Ahluwalia is also media advisor to the government.

T. C. Janartha, who was Virbhadra Singh's private secretary during his 1993-1998 tenure, has been appointed officer-on-special duty (OSD) in the chief minister's office.


BJP walks out of Himachal assembly on colleges issue

Virbhadra-SinghShimla, March 28 : Himachal Pradesh's opposition BJP Thursday walked out of the state assembly against the refusal of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to reopen eight colleges.

Not satisfied with the reply of the chief minister on the issue, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members, who had moved cut motions for re-notifying the colleges, staged a walkout.

Virbhadra Singh said these colleges were notified during the BJP regime just before the assembly elections without making budgetary provision and allocation of staff and infrastructure.


Himachal to hire 100 doctors through walk-in interviews

Himachal to hire 100 doctors through walk-in interviewsShimla, April 4 : Himachal Pradesh will recruit 100 doctors through walk-in interviews to overcome the acute shortage of doctors in the state, Health Minister Kaul Singh said here Thursday.

The cabinet at its last meeting gave the nod to recruitment of doctors on priority, the minister told the assembly.

"A total of 198 doctors are currently doing post-graduate studies. We will recruit 100 doctors from among them this year, and the same number next year," he said.


Himachal asks cement firms to lower prices

Cement-companiesShimla, April 4 : Cement companies operating their plants in Himachal Pradesh have been asked to lower their retail rates, state Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said Thursday.

"The cement companies will have to reduce the prices of a cement bag sold in the hill state," Agnihotri said in the assembly, in his reply to a debate on a private member's resolution moved by Bharatiya Janata Party's Rajiv Bindal on tapping limestone deposits.


Rs.2.61 crore loss in Himachal power project: CAG

HP-Power-CorporationShimla, April 10 : State-run Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation showed undue favour to a private contractor during 2009-10 which led to a loss of Rs. 2.61 crore to the exchequer, the CAG has said.

The power corporation, executing the 111-MW Sawara Kuddu Hydro Electric Project in Kinnaur, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) favoured Patel Engineering Ltd., it said in a report Tuesday, which was tabled in the assembly.

The Bharatiya Janata Party was ruling Himachal Pradesh during that period.


Central Bank to open more branches in Himachal

Central-Bank-Of-IndiaApril 24 : Central Bank of India would open more branches in Himachal Pradesh and finance infrastructure development and other private projects to increase the credit-deposit ratio, chairman of the bank M. V. Tanksale said here Wednesday.

"We are going to expand our activities in the hill state by financing hydropower, horticulture, infrastructure development and tourism projects," he told reporters.

He said with 4,300-odd branches and 2,500 ATMs, the bank has a turnover exceeding Rs. 4 lakh crore.


Pranab to visit Shimla for convocation

Pranab-MukherjeeShimla, May 1 :  President Pranab Mukherjee will be the chief guest at Himachal Pradesh University's convocation here May 24, while Human Resource Development Minister M. M. Pallam Raju will be the guest of honour, an official said Wednesday.

Vice-Chancellor A. D. N. Bajpai said Mukherjee would confer the degrees.

During his visit to the hill state, Mukherjee is also scheduled to deliver the first Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Lecture at the Indian Institute of Advance Studies (IIAS) here and address a function to mark the state Vidhan Sabha's golden jubilee. (IANS)


Rahul Gandhi to review Himachal's performance

Rahul Gandhi to review Himachal's performanceShimla, May 1: The performance of the four-month-old Congress government in Himachal Pradesh will be reviewed by party vice president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi May 3, party leaders said here Wednesday.

Gandhi will hold a review meeting with Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and state party president Sukhwinder Sukhu. The meeting will also be attended by AICC general secretary Birender Singh Chaudhary, who is in charge of the party affairs in the state, and his deputy Anees Ahmad.


Marry outside caste in Himachal, get Rs.75,000!

Virbhadra-SinghShimla, May 4 : While 'khap panchayats' (caste councils) in Haryana continue to frown on inter-caste and sub-caste marriages and punish those who do so, marrying outside one's caste is ever so profitable in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh - it'll get couples all of Rs. 75,000.

To prompt young men and women to break the caste barrier, the cabinet headed by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has enhanced the inter-caste marriage incentive from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 75,000. It's given to couples where one of the spouses belongs to a Scheduled Caste.


President concerned over disruptions in legislatures

Pranab-MukherjeeShimla, May 24 : President Pranab Mukherjee Friday expressed concern over repeated disruptions in parliament and state legislatures.

Addressing members of the Himachal Pradesh assembly at its Golden Jubilee celebrations, Mukherjee appealed to leaders of political parties to discuss and find a solution to this problem.

"Every legislator has got his job after begging people for their votes, and after gaining their trust. It would not be fair if he does not discharge his responsibilities," he said.


President concerned over crime against women

President-Pranab-MukherjeeShimla, May 24 : Expressing concern over rising incidents of crime against women and children, President Pranab Mukherjee Friday called for effective measures to ensure their safety and security.

Underlining the need for arresting the moral decline in society, the president told students of Himachal Pradesh University here to find answers for reversing the degradation of values.

Favouring imparting moral and quality education, he said: "Our universities have the capability to shape the minds of the youth."


Himachal to reduce fertilizer use

Himachal to reduce fertilizer useShimla, May 25 : To reduce the use of fertilizers, Himachal Pradesh is going to check samples of soil under the Soil Health Programme, an official said here Saturday.

The government has asked the farmers to get soil from their fields tested free of cost, agriculture director J. C. Rana said.

He said that the department has set a target of checking 63,750 samples of soil during the current kharif season.

The report of the test samples would be recorded in the soil health cards of the farmers so that they could make judicious use of fertilisers.


Hydro projects causing degeneration of hill ecology: CAG

hydropower-ProjectShimla, June 5 : The hydropower projects in Himachal Pradesh -- in private and public sectors -- are not only gobbling up forests but also damaging natural resources, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found.

The compensatory afforestation by the state is highly deficient as 58 percent of the test-checked hydropower projects reported no afforestation at all, the CAG said in its recent report.

It pointed out that lack of re-greening of hills poses severe hazards both to natural ecology and stabilisation of hill slopes.


Virbhadra not to celebrate birthday

Virbhadra-SinghShimla, June 22 : Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh will not celebrate his 79th birthday Sunday in view of the natural calamity and deaths in the state and neighbouring Uttarakhand, a statement said here.

"The chief minister has decided not to celebrate his birthday in this hour of grief and sorrow due to natural calamity which struck Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh and neighbouring Uttarakhand," the statement said Saturday.

"The people of the state have sympathies with those affected by this natural calamity and pray for early mitigation of their sufferings," the chief minister said.


No move to appoint Punjab officer as Himachal DGP: Virbhadra Singh

Virbhadra-SinghShimla, July 4 :  Putting an end to speculations that Himachal Pradesh is appointing a Punjab officer as its police chief, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Thursday rubbished all claims that the state is getting in touch with the Punjab government.

"I have yet to take any decision (on the appointment of the new director general of police)," Virbhadra Singh told reporters here.

"Why should I write a letter to Punjab, Haryana or any other state," the chief minister said when questioned about his purported letter to Punjab for sending an officer on deputation to the state.


United Biotech gets green signal for Rs.550 crore Himachal facility

United Biotech gets green signal for Rs.550 crore Himachal facilityShimla, July 6 : The Himachal Pradesh government has allowed life-saving drug maker United Biotech Pvt Ltd to set up its facility in the state at an outlay of Rs. 550 crore, an official said here Saturday.

The state-level single window clearance and monitoring authority at its meeting here Friday approved two new industrial proposals and 13 expansion proposals of existing units, a government spokesperson told IANS.

He said all the proposed investment proposals were of Rs. 790.24 crore and would provide employment to 1,805 people.


Former Himachal CM's son questions Virbhadra's income

Prem-Kumar-DhumalShimla, Oct 8 : Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's son Tuesday questioned the increase in Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's income from apple orchards between 2008 to 2011 when he was union steel minister.

The revised income-tax returns filed by Virbhadra Singh for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 show a huge increase in his agricultural income from a few lakhs to crores, Dhumal's youngest son Arun Singh, facing a criminal case in a land purchase case by violating statutory provisions of land laws, said.


SJVNL net profit rises 8 percent

SJVNL net profit rises 8 percentShimla, Nov 6 : With an over 4.6 percent increase in electricity generation from the Nathpa Jhakri plant, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL) has recorded a 8.05 percent jump in profit after tax during the first half of this fiscal, the company said Wednesday.

The net profit increased to Rs. 758.87 crore from Rs. 702.30 crore during the corresponding period of the last financial year, it said in a statement.

The company's total revenue increased from Rs. 1,110.69 crore to Rs. 1,174.10 crore.

SJVNL is a joint venture between the centre and the Himachal Pradesh government.


Himachal, Kashmir receive season's first snowfall

snowfall-kashmirShimla, Dec 22 : Regions in the foothills of Himalayas in northern India received fresh fall of snowflakes on Sunday, much to the delight of hundreds of tourists from the plains and the local residents as well.

Despite the burst of cold weather amidst snowfall and icy winds, winter season is a boon for these states as the inflow of tourists is a bonanza for those engaged in hospitality and travel industry.

The snow-covered Shimla, ushered in cheerful mood among the hundreds of tourists and locals, just days before the Christmas.


Heavy snowfall lure tourists to Simla

shimla-snowfallSimla, Feb 15 : Unexpected fresh snowfall for the second day on Saturday here has attracted tourists from neighbouring states.

"This is first time we are experiencing snowfall. We are enjoying. We specially came from Chandigarh just to see snowfall," a tourist from Chandigarh, Raman said.

However, normal life has been disrupted as roads are blocked due to heavy snowfall.

The temperature in the hilly region plummeted several degrees below freezing point.


Dhumal blames Himachal government for assembly stalemate

Prem-Kumar-DhumalShimla, Feb 20 : BJP leader and former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Thursday blamed the state government for continued deadlock in the assembly for the ninth consecutive sitting.

"We have boycotted the house as the chief minister has made humiliating remarks against our legislators," Dhumal told reporters here.

And he said there was no effort from the government to end the stalemate.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party Thursday staged a protest within the Vidhan Sabha premises when the session was on.


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