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Misc News/Press Release

Stay on regularization of illegal constructions in Himachal as HC seeks clarification from Govt.




SHIMLA- State Government’s plan to regularize illegal structures in Himachal under the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act, 2016, has received a setback as HP High Court stayed its move. Orders came from division bench of Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan while hearing a PIL filed by advocate Abhimanyu Rathore. In his petition, Rathore had pleaded that such laws would bring discomfort to law abiding and honest citizens of the state. The government, by endorsing such laws, is patronizing law breakers, he had stated in the PIL.

With this order, dream for regularization of thousands of unauthorized constructions has shattered for now. As per Sudhir Sharma, HP Urban Development and Town and Country Planning Minister, by March 30, 2017, government had received about 9,097 applications for regularization. (District wise number is given in the infographic above)

The town and country planning department and municipal corporation have been directed to not take final call under ‘as is where is’ basis until further orders. The court established that the Supreme Court has termed such regularization as against the spirit of law. In the next hearing that is listed on April 17, the court has asked the government to clarify whether these orders were tabled in the HP Assembly before making amendments in the town and country planning bill to regularize unauthorized structures or not.

Through an Ordinance, the HP Cabinet, in its meeting held in March, 2016, had approved regularization of the deviations made by the building owners in the Town and Country Planning areas and other local bodies on ‘as is where is’ basis provided 30 percent open space is available as per the requirement of set-backs.

It is noticeable that the state government is ignoring community rights of tribal population on forest resources and is very strictly evicting them. State is lacking behind in proper implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2016. However, on the other hand, it’s keen to regularize illegal constructions in cities and towns.

Misc News/Press Release

DC Kangra confirms abduction of 3 Himachalis in Nigeria, CM seeks Centre Govt’s help



Himachali held hostages in nigeria

Shimla: The Deputy Commissioner of Kangra today confirmed that Nigerian sea pirates have held three men hailing from Kangra hostages for ransom.

The state government said it has taken up the matter with the Government of India and requested the safe release of all three hostages.

The step came after the news appeared in regional media.

The State government claimed that in a communiqué to the Western Africa Division, Ministry of External Affairs, the state government said the three youths namely Sushil Kumar, Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Kumar, who belong to Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh have been kidnapped by the Nigerian pirates as per the confirmed report.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has sought the intervention of Union government to ensure the safe release of three hostages.He hoped the union government will act fast and get the hostages released safely.

You can read the entire matter here in HW’s previous article.

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Misc News/Press Release

Govt silent over safety of 3 Himachali youth allegedly held hostages by Nigerian pirates for ransom



Himachali held hostages in nigeria

Shimla: Three youths hailing from Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district, who were serving in Merchant Navy, have reportedly ended in the hands of armed Nigerian sea pirates as hostages. The armed pirates hijacked their ship and demanded a ransom of 11 million nairas (20-22 Lakh INR) from the parents of one of the hostages.

The details are scanty as no official confirmation has been made by the State or Centre Government. It is not clear when they were abducted. 

The news broke out when Raghubir Singh (62) of Nagrota, father of one of the hostages, reached media yesterday.  

As per the information given by Raghubir, the other two men included Pankaj Kumar of Samloti and Ajay Kumar of Palampur.

The three men were currently working for a private shipping company named Max Marine Services in Cortnou Benin.

On March 12, the parents of one of the abducted youth, Susheel Sharma (37), who was the captain on the ship, received a call through a satellite phone. Susheel told the parents that he along with two others had been held hostage in some jungle. He told the parents about the pirate’s demand for ransom in exchange for their release.

On March 21, Himachal had received a shock after the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed, while speaking in the Parliament, the killing of 39 Indians in Iraq including four men from Himachal. Three of them hailed from Kangra while remaining one belonged to Mandi district.

Now, this fresh case of abduction has again jolted Kangra.

Surprisingly, as alleged by the parents, the Centre or State Government have not given any reaction to the situation.   

The district administration also said it was not aware of the situation.

The parents also alleged the shipping company of keeping them in dark whenever they contacted it to know whereabouts of their son. The owner of the ship told the parents that a negotiation was ongoing with the pirates.

However, recently, the owner stopped picking up phone calls from the aggrieved parents.  

Ultimately, the family on March 18 approached the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Prime Minister, Modi,  through a mail with their plea to intervene and rescue their son.

However, the parents allege that they did not receive any satisfactory response from anyone. 

As per the statement of the parents, Sudhir had told them that they are getting only one meal per day. The pirates will starve them to death if the ransom is not paid, Sudhir had told the parents.

Now, the parents do not trust the company anymore and have put their hope on the Government.   


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Misc News/Press Release

Man killed as stone rolls down hill, breaks through moving HRTC bus window in Kullu



Bizzare Bus Accident in Himachal's Kullu

Kullu: A big round stone rolled down a hill and broke through the window of a moving Himachal Pradesh Road Corporation (HRTC) bus that was heading towards Kullu from Rampur today. The accident occurred near Luhri in Kullu.  A co-passenger who was sitting beside the deceased also came in spate and received injuries.

However, the deceased, who was identified as Manohar Singh (60) of Tippal village in Anni, died on the spot.  The injured was identified as Vijay Kumar of Kumarsain. He was taken to hospital in Rampur. 

The death came from nowhere and picked up its prey within a fraction of a second, said the eyewitnesses. The stone hit Manohar right on his head, which was badly crushed.  

Other passengers were horrified by the bizarre and sudden manner the stone broke through the window like a bullet.  

A police team from Luhri rushed to the spot and took custody of the dead body.  The elected MLA Kishori Lal Sagar also arrived at the spot on hearing the tragic news. The body was later handed over to the family after the postmortem.

The district administration provided Rs. 20, 000 to the victim’s family as immediate relief. The HRTC also announced Rs. 10,000 as relief money.  

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