Goodbye Year 2008!

mh2008reviewBefore we completely forget Year 2008 and start adjusting with new resolutions of the New Year 2009, let’s refresh main happenings which made major news.

Taking a look over the prominent activities in various fields of the state during the passing Year -2008, let’s learn some lessons from the big happenings and mishappenings to make Himachal Pradesh a better place to live in.

MAJOR NEWS

Janaury: Dhumal initiated to provide employment through control over Monkey and Wild Life Menace. J.R.Katwal, a HAS officer, took over as Director of Information and Public Relations on 3rd in Shimla, formerly, he was Managing Director, MILKFED. Himachal govt. decided to provide 50 percent reservation for women in local bodies. Una, Dhali and Mandi police stations were selected in the initial phase for the ISO Certification and the necessary hardware and software infrastructure were being spruced up to meet the requirements of ISO 9001-2000 certification.

With the new govt. administrative changes were expected. Officials close to the previous government were bound to get cooling period postings and this really happened. Govt. also lifted ban on holding of RSS shakahs in public places and considered to handover management of religious shrines to previous managements. Rikhi Ram Kondal administered oath as interim Himachal assembly speaker and the first ever session of new assembly term was held outside state capital at Tapovan near Dharamshala on 11th.

To bring disgrace to former Himachal Congress Pesident Viplove, a woman was held in a raid from her son-in-law’s resort at Dehra whereas her daughter threatened BJP leader with libel case.

The days moved ahead and so did the news Dhumal announced to simplify the recruitment process, laid the foundation stone of Balh Valley Left Bank Medium Irrigation Scheme, and stated to reward honest and proficient officers in the state.

To amuse all, a thief got into our CM’s house in Hamirpur.

To counter the parking and traffic problem the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh Development Authority (BBNDA) planned to set up an integrated Transport Nagar at Baddi, Himachal’s largest Rural Water Supply Scheme faced Vigilance Inquiry and controversial Justice Jagdish Bhalla was appointed as Himachal Chief Justice.

Dhumal said to focus on fiscal discipline & generating employment, school children not to attend public meetings, Himachal Transport Deptt. decided to make all the offices and barriers online and BJP termed Excise concession withdrawal unfortunate. State celebrated Himachal Day and Dhumal attended function in Sarkaghat, where he announced opening of a Medical college in the Mandi district. Indians celebrated Republic Day in various parts of the world. To bring double smile on the faces of sisters govt. declared gazetted holidays on rakshabandhan and bhai dhuj for women. To benefit apple orchardists, apples were brought under Bima Yojna and CM asked ministers to be in office 4 days a week.

February: Another month of the year approached Bhalla took oath as new CJ, Himachal Pradesh State Wide Area Network (HIMSWAN) was launched, old age pension hike came as a ray of light to many in oldies, and new IRB located at Jangel Beri was looked upon to open more employment avenues for boys and girls separately. Himachal govt. fixed an annual plan of Rs. 2400 crore and Ramesh Dhawala ensured 70% employment avenues to be provided to Himachalis in industrial units.

John Sims told that Himalayan Ski Resort will be developed as a World Class Tourism Destination and on the other side Dhumal dedicated Rs. 241.72 lakh for Indoor Sports Stadium. With the rise in the fuel prices govt. mulled 25% hike in bus fares and planned to run Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses in plain areas in order to reduce the expenses on fuel. Widening the locomotion Dhumal asked the Lallu Prasad Yadav to expand railway network in Himachal. To delight drunkards govt. lowered vat on alcohol, top drug controlling official was put in police custody for bribery charges, which resulted Himachal Drug Licensing Authority-Pharma Unit Nexus to be probed.

Bhanupali-Bilaspur-Beri rail line found mention in the budget proposals of railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, and VMRT was decided to make functional in joint venture.

March: Dhumal announced to make Baddi a tehsil. While on other side the Himachal vigilance department lodged a criminal case against former minister Singhi Ram. First Primate Park was opened in the state and Dhumal aimed at introducing Yoga at schools. Himachal was selected for reforestation under World Bank grant. More than hundred Tibetan marchers, who had been stopped and forcibly taken away by Kangra police to local custody, started indefinite hunger strike in defiance to the arrest. On the other side Dhumal said to introduce award to progressive farmers and to establish one Head Office of new IRB at Bilaspur. The Tribal Development Department decided to execute the first phase of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Forest Rights Recognition) Act, 2006.

Education Board Chairman B.R. Rahi got Anticipatory Bail, but was later cancelled and fromer Minister Singhi Ram was also arrested in Fake Certificate Case.

April:
People welcomed the funfilled month of April by playing pranks on others. But to some it was not a funfilled Fool’s Day like Singhi Ram who was sent to four day police custody In Forgery Case and S.K. Sharma, CEO cum Secretary of HIMUDA, on whom eyebrows were raised on plot allotment.

Tibetans demanded land in Shimla. Cabinet sanctioned 413 new posts, considered new transfer policy and increased HP Power share capital to 200 crores. Second phase of Swan river project was launched by Dhumal and the much awaited Giri water lifting scheme was also inaugurated. Scam in sale of land in Palampur caused loss in lacs to the state exchequer daily. To benefit the people Himachal Tourism Dept. went for online bookings and Himachal High Court disposed case opposing Himalayan Ski Village Project before we entered into the month of May.

May: Himachal got 1365.40 crore assistance from World Bank for roads project. A doctor was absconded for illegal abortion in a local clinic at Shimla. On 27th, President Patil visited Shimla. And a Six-lane Parwanno-Shimla Expressway was proposed by Dhumal. Govt. also Sardar announced the revival of Sobha Singh Awards.

June: Himachal government got 347.87 crores under NREGA programme and decided to include ginger crop of Sirmaur district in the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme.

Asha Swaroop took over as new Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh and
Himachal decided to adopt ‘Van Mahotsava Scheme-2008’.

July: The State Government has constituted a new department named as Sainik Welfare Department in order to monitor welfare activities and decided to implement Bio-Carbon Afforestation Project in the State.

Hari Man Sharma of village Paniyala in Ghumarwin tehsil, district Bilaspur successfully cultivated apple, mango and litchi in the same farm and changed the whole notion of farming in the lower belts. And, Maharashtra PCC chief Prabha Rau was appointed Himachal’s new governor. Kalka-Shimla railway line was declared as world Heritage site by UNESCO. Dhumal named a Shimla road originating at Longwood Chowk near RKMV upto Keleston after Brigadier RD Mehta.

Putting election manifesto commitments aside the government announced winding up the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) as a measure for downsizing government expenditure and reducing litigation costs. District Level and Sub-Division Level Grievances Redressal Committees of all the districts and Sub-Division was formed in the state. Authority to make BPL (Below Poverty Line) certificates was given to the concerned Gram Panchayat Pradhan as per the new pattern. And, DGP Ashwani Kumar was appointed Director of CBI.

August: Dr Hari C Sharma became the first Asian to head ICE. Bal Tejinder Singh director Extol Chemicals was sentenced to two years imprisonment for operating a chemical plant without permission and discharging pollutants above the prescribed limits. Holidays and free traveling facility on Raksha Bandhan and Bhaiya Dooj was announced to females. Himachal Cabinet completely switched over to Hindi language.

September: PTA Teachers protested before Himachal Vidhan Sabha. SEL Manufacturing Co announced to invest about 5 billion rupees for technical textile park in the state. Gati made efforts to bring Kinnaur apples online. Upgradation of the Nagrota-Bagwan-Ranital Mubarakpur and Paonta-Sahib-Shillai-Hatkoti roads into national highways was sanctioned by Centre.

October: Himachal government took up one-rank-one-pension to the ex-servicemen. Probability of packaged food for Aganwari children was opposed by a number of social, paediatric and medical activists representing various organisations.

Senior IAS officer Subhash Ahluwalia was arrested in connection with a disproportionate assets case and was Police remanded for extented 4 days. Then he was sent to two weeks judicial lock up and a day after High Court granted conditional bail to IAS officer.

Rs. 200 crore was released by Centre Renuka Dam project and NABARD sanctioned 155 crore for poly houses.

Crackers sale was prohibited in Shimla but still we could see many shop vendors selling them and people celebrate Diwali with great pomp & show.

Ganesha Dutt was appointed as Vice Chairman of HIMUDA.

November: Dhumal stated that Rs. 632 crore to be spent on drinking water and irrigation, and Multi crore other projects for Himachal. Rajender Rana was appointed as first Media Advisory Committee Chairman. TCP, Parwanoo, issued notices to 15 illegal structures. And, Renuka Dam was announced to be named after Parshuram.

Finally, Himachal inked $800 Million Loan Agreement with ADB. Dhumal launched the ambitious Rs. 228 crore widening and strengthening of Theog-Kotkhai-Hatkoti-Rohru road project.

Vijay Sood got 1 year jail term for making obscene CD and Vigilance asked for Narco Test of Ahluwalia Couple in disproportionate Asset Case.

Govt. thinks of an alternate with Computerised Public Distribution System. Heritage villages would be insured, said CM. All Panchayats in would be made Online by 2009-10.

December:
Biolaya Organics won SEED Initiative Award for their project investigating Himalayan oregano essential oil as an antibacterial agent for MRSA. Central Potato Research Institute worked and is working towards organic potato production by trying to develop a blight free variety that can be grown in larger quantities. Cabinet approved amendment in the Himachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj (Election) Act, 1994.

Dhumal said that Govt. committed to give representation to the left out areas in the State Cabinet and First Daily ‘Jan Shatabdi Express’ was flaged off. Govt. increased Creamy Layer limit.

Dhumal launched E-Grievance portal.

BUSINESS


Janaury: On the very first day of the year 2008, US Multinational Nanobiosym Proposed to invest Rs 2000 Cr to set up Nano-Biosym Park in Solan District and with a change of guard in Himachal Pradesh governance, the new BJP govt. questioned the basis of setting up the Himalayan Ski Village without adhering to transparency. Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL) recorded highest generation at Jhakri Plant. HK Sharma, chairman-cum-managing director SJVNL, informed that the company during the financial year 2006-07 had achieved a 47% increase in electricity generation, net profits and the dividends paid. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) sanctioned Rs 18.76 crore loan to Himachal Pradesh for executing 19 minor irrigation projects and 15 rural drinking water supply schemes under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF). Dhumal also revealed that state government will get the Industrial Package, approved for the state, extended up to its original year of 2013 and he wrote a letter to Chhatisgarh CM Raman Singh regarding purchasing of electricity.

Touted as a power surplus state, Himachal in mid winter was in the midst of power crisis as industrial production schedules had been affected and urban and rural domestic consumers had to face persistent power cuts. On the other side, SJVNL tied up $ 400 Million World Bank loan for Rampur Project and the Eleventh Five Year Plan, beginning from current financial year 2007-08 and ending in the year 2012, was been fixed at Rs. 13,778 crore.

February:
Business sector of HP was moving ahead where, ABB won $71 million power order for Himachal project, Himalayan Ski Village was planned to allot to international companies by inviting bidding and the four days long strike at Lenovo plant come to an end. A Chinese construction firm was given the task of upgradation of three road projects worth Rs 431.13 crore in Himachal.

March: Ambuja laid foundation stone its Second Unit, Patikari Hydro Electric Project was inaugurated and under pressure from MNCs the central health ministry decided to close CRI. LIC Shimla topped Premium collection in North Zone and in Baddi 3 units of Ruchi Masala were sealed. While PHDCCI seeked Tax benefits for all New Industries in the state.

April: Dhumal commissioned Jindal Brothers Nalagarh Thermo Shield Plant and US fashion giant Fossil planned to make Watches in the state. Avesthagen introduced India’s first 100% biodegradable plastic and Airtel crossed 8 Lakh Customer Base in Himachal. High Court ordered partial demolition of Shimla Hotel.

May:
Himachal got World Bank approval for its Bio Carbon Credit Project and Consumer Court held Hyundai Motors liable for faulty car. SJVNL set Record Rs 307 Crore Insurance Claim and a Chinese company, Long Jian Road & Bridge Limited, signed an agreement of constructing a two-lane road of 80 kilometres from Theog to Rohroo.

June: On the other side, High Court asked Himachal Government to take clear stand about allotment of 960 MW Power Project to Brakel Corporation.

July: Himachal Cabinet served notice for cancellation of 960 MW Brakel Corp Project in the first week and after some days Govt. bought time to decide Project Allotment to Brakel Corporation. Himachal Police laid seize to Versa Inc Pharma unit, Solan.

September: Ratan Tata joined Nanobiosym Advisory Board. Kolkata based SPS group set up steel plant in Gwalthai.

October:
The Asian Development Bank has proposed to invest over 90 Million US Dollars in tourism related infrastructure in the state. Himachal Government nudged Banks to push for Credit Inclusion.

Himachal altered land buying process to suit Industry and HPL Socomec and Phoenix bagged CFL supply contract.

Dhumal categorically stated that Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) would not be allotted any project in Himachal Pradesh as the organization had cheated the state.

November: Cabinet increased Medical Seats and enhanced support prices for Citrus Fruits. GAIL-Himachal signed agreement for gas pipeline to BBN Industrial Belt.

CM disclosed that Rs 81 lakh for reconnaissance engineering-cum-traffic surveys to construct a new broad gauge rail lines from Bilaspur to Leh had been sanctioned. The government was bracing up to face a legal battle as it prepared grounds to cancel allotment of a 960 MW Jangi-Thopan-Powari mega hydro project on Satluj river, handed out to Dutch company Brakel Corporation, two years ago. Brakel fought to save the award of this power project to them. And finally, Cabinet handed over 960 MW Project to Brakel Corporation.

Government threatened to Cancel Agreements of Un-executed Small Hydro Projects. Hotel Wild Flower Hall lost dispute By Himachal Government.

December:
Unitech Wireless and Idea Cellular grabbed GSM spectrum in Himachal. BIG TV became the biggest DTH service in the state. Reliance again petitioned court over Brakel allotment.

Vodafone made a soft launch in Himachal and Himachal 2005 Economic Census was released.

MAJOR MISHAPPENINGS


Janaury:
The people of Kullu had not yet overcome the shock of Mohani village while another devastating mid-winter inferno gutted 150 houses of Malana village and to increase the discomfort of the villagers it started snowing two days later. Though CM announced a relief of Rs. 3 crore.
Samresh Jung’s brother accidentally shot himself, intense cold wave claimed 5 lives in first month, and about 30 persons were injured in a bus accident near Dhalli, Shimla.

February: Sometimes mishappening occurs due to our mistake and sometime nature become too harsh to take away lives, about 16 lives were lost due to heavy snow in state and a lady got AIDS from her husband and after his death even she committed suicide.

March:
In the starting of the month a major fire broke out in Birla’s Unit. While 5 people died and 15 injured in an off-season landslide in Manali and two bullet sprayed bodies were recovered near Kufri.

May: A mysterious death of an engineering student occurred who fell from 4th floor. Miss Seema Sood, a post graduate engineer (Gold Medalist) from B.I.T.S Pilani ( Rajsthan ) wrote a letter addressed to President of India and appealed for mercy killing as she was confined to one room for the past thirteen years.

Weather Vagaries Damaged Himachal Horticulture Crops By Rs 300 Crore – Bragta.

June: Nathpa-Jhakari Generation Plant got shut down for some days due to heavy silt in Satluj. 15 people died and 6 were injured when a Himachal Roadways Bus went off the road and fell deep into a gorge at Khaneoli Badrash near Rampur. Rain brought lot of misery for villagers.

A bloody scene of unprovoked firing took place at Shoghi industrial area, killing one and 4 others bullet injured.

August: 146 killed in stampede at Naina Devi.

September: Himachal Private Bus accident occurred near Chambi Khad in Shahpur area of Kangra, 42 Injured. Himachal lost more than 1540 crores in floods. Rain Damage losses in Shimla District was calculated at Rs 400 Cr. About 400 people stranded at Sarchu and Chhatru areas of Lahaul valley.

October: Fire reduced mixy unit at Parwanoo into ashes. Over two dozen people including at least five police personnel were injured outside the state secretariat when a protest blockade by PTA teachers turned violent. In another accident, 59 persons were injured, three of them seriously when a state transport bus of Himachal Roadway rolled off the road near Sharunta, Rohru.

A girl was mistakenly shot to death by a neighbour thinking to be an animal in Matiana. Diwali celebrations turned tragic for a family as all four members died in Diwali lamp fire accident.

November: Forty five persons were killed and another five were injured when an private bus traveling from Kotighat to Shimla lost control near Kufri and went rolling 600 meters down into the valley. A devastating fire gutted another heritage village.

December:
Third incident of suicide by a girl student of Himachal Pradesh Institute of Dental Science, Ponta Sahib, was reported. Himachal Holiday Special Kalka-Shimla train derailed in which one person died.


NEWS IN GENERAL


Janaury:
Dr. Vivek Sharma questions appropriateness of 50% reservation for woman . Big B visited Himachal for shooting. Read about The Army Heritage Museum by Ravinder Makhaik.

February: Days were still cold but news kept moving ahead; Rana Shamsher Singh released his compilation of poems under the title ‘Abhimannu Kis-Kis se Lade’, Losar was celebrated on 7th and IARI developed a new variety of cabbage. The fesitval of love i.e. Valentine’s Day was celebrated great fervor but BYJM carried a protest against it.

The craze for body art and rap style seemed to be growing among the youth of Shimla. And Karnail Rana launched his VCD.

March: Weather did not change much and light news also kept filling the media chapters, Youth Congress General Secretary was booked in an attempt-to-murder case, and adopted the “Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna” to provide an insurance cover for all below poverty line (BPL) families. HPTDC recorded 2.72 crore turnover.

April:
To rejuvenate the meaning and way of living of the people of Himachal, Yog Guru Swami Ramdev visited Bilaspur. Government announced to honor people in handicrafts and handloom sector. Dumal dedicated Jani Bridge in remote Kinnaur valley. Know little bit more about Kangra and its ancient fort. State considered relaxation of TCP norms in villages in industrial areas.

May: Ram Subhag Singh said that Govt. to start bigger aircraft at Kullu Airport during the current summer season. Read ‘The Fall’: The original creative genius of Tarsem Singh.

Villagers of Bagheri and Gholowal panchayat opposed land acquisition. A writer talked about the plight of widows and considered their re-marriage as no out-of-the-way decision. Rs 101 Crore was sanctioned for Himachal’s Total Rural Sanitation Program. Himachal govt. planned to set-up a centre of Pitanjli Yog Peeth in the state. A Lancet study said that Infant mortality can be checked by breastfeeding.

June: HBCFDC introduced special loans for backward classes, Government of India approved 13.33 crores to Himachal Pradesh under Macro Management of Agriculture. Issue of unsafe tattooing in melas increased with the passing of years.

July: Himachal constituted High Power Temple Committee to oversee the management of religious shrines in the traditional manner and even to suggestion. Himachal targeted 2010 to achieve total sanitation in the state. Govt. also extended the premium free insurance cover worth 50,000 to all the licensed fishermen.

August: Himachal government launched 59th State Level Van Mahotsava.

September:
Transparency International rated Himachal as “Moderately corrupt”. Scholars said SEZs are not an answer to India’s economy needs. Delhi Kala Gram, a NGO, at Kaithu jail gifted inmates’ television sets and books for the library.

October: Sanjauli-Dhalli Bye-pass Road was opened. Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, announced a dedication worth Rs. 11.25 crore developmental projects to the people of Lahaul and Rs. 5.22 crore to be spent over Yangla Bridge. A 108 ft. high statue of Lord Hanumana would be erected at Jakhu.

November: Kalka–Shimla Train was shown on UNESCO World Heritage site map. A food poisoning incidence case woke up municipal authorities to suspected contaminated food being served at eateries in the city.

Afghani Heroin Crosses over Jammu-Chamba Border and intercepted in Himachal. Dhumal revealed that Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra at Tanda would be developed at par with (AIIMS).

December: Centre to relocate submerged Bilaspur Temples. Himachal planned to implement ‘Panchkarama’ treatment in 20 hospitals. Dhumal laid the foundation stone of RFSL complex, Dharmshala. New Timber Distribution Policy drew flak.
In an effort to abolish AIDS Himachal consider to pre-marriage HIV tests compulsory.

POLITICS


Janaury: With the dawn of Year 2008, Himachal Pradesh’s newly elect BJP Government was all set to work and revitalize the state with its plans and policies. On the first day of New Year 2008 the Solan BJP Mandal on recommendations of the party high command took strong note of anti party activities by removing three of its office bearers, i.e. Davinder Verma, General Secretary of Mandal, Chatar Singh , Vice President and Prem Guleria the Secretary.

Himachal Pradesh declared the portfolio allocation of the nine ministers on 9th and the other day the state Congress Party’s president Viplove Thakur resigned and Vidya Stokes got elected as new CLP (Congress Legislature Party) Leader. Davinder Thakur a former national executive member of BJP Kisan Morcha was suspended from BJP. Kuldeep Singh was elected Chairman of CPM committee.

February: Manisha Sharma was unanimously elected as President of Jawalamukhi Nagar Panchayat and our lone lady Minister rode in the bus to attend personal function in Delhi. On the other side, Congress blamed BJP for burdening people with unjustified bus fare hike.

March: Politics one of the favourite topics of the people keeps coming up with masala for them, leaders are ready to do anything for ‘kursi’. Satyapal Jain said that Shanta Kumar would be the BJP candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat, Bitta raged against Raj Thackeray in Himachal and Irked over Virbhadra poem, Congress staged walkout. Veteran BJP leader Shanta Kumar filed his papers for the lone Rajya Sabha seat. Whilst Rakesh Singha accused less than three month old BJP government of abandoning its manifesto on the other hand, Dhumal complained of discrimination from central Govt..

April: State assembly opted for 50% women reservation. On the other hand Virbhadra Singh called Government’s 100 Days as the days of ‘Bluff And Bluster’ and Ravi, Dhawala & Bindal said over it that Virbhadra is unable to digest new Himachal Government Preformance. Additional remaining portfolios were allocated to ministers on 24th. On 29th CPI demonstrated against price rise and next day Former congress minister charged BJP govt. for neglecting Palampur. Anurag Thakur, son of Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, filed papers for Hamirpur bye election.

May: On the May Day celebration CITU blamed BJP in Himachal for making mockery of workers’ class. Throwing the ball back at Congress, BJP held UPA Government responsible for rising prices. Himachal grievances committee was constituted. Virbhadra Singh said that Congress introduced Carbon Credit Trading in State, not BJP!

52% voting was calculated in 4-Hamirpur PC by-election, and the young Bhartiya Janta Party candidate, Anurag Singh Thakur, was declared elected.

Vigilance raided Residences of Former CMs Private Secretary, Subash Ahluwalia.

June: GS Bali accused new government for having been at the helm of affairs for about six months and blamed them for being indecisive about the Himalayan Ski Village project. BJP Ministers blamed Congress for leading Himachal into heavy debt.

August: CPI(M) opposed to private medical colleges in state.

October: BJP picked out issues of price rise, cutting the state food ration quota, UPA government soft attitude towards terrorism and rising corruption levels toe the people for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. On the other side, Congress weaned away Narinder Thakur, the son of late BJP leader Thakur Jagdev Chand for Lok Sabha elections. BJP-Congress fought to gain hold over Volleyball Association.

November: Congress opposed attaching of government hospitals to private institutions for setting up new medical colleges.

December: Congress asked BJP govt. to reduce transport fares in Himachal. CPI(M) slammed the fiscal package announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for averting an economic slowdown as ‘too little, too late’. Himachal’s lone BSP legislator, Sanjay Chaudhary, joined BJP. A day before the BJP completed one year in power, the opposition Congress chose to mount a bitter attack, accusing the ruling regime of conspiring to “mortgage” Himachal and working under dictates of mafia. Advani addressed the ‘Vijay Sankalp Rally’ on the first anniversary of the regime of BJP govt. in the state.

EDUCATION


Janaury:
Prof. R.Natarajan, the former chairman of AICTE has stressed upon the need to Re-engineer the engineering education to face the challenges of twenty-first century, HIMUDA planned to set up education hub in Kallujhanda near Baddi, and parents cried foul over dental admissions.

February: To disappoint poor the proposed Mandi Medical college was announced to be given to private sector, whereas NIT Hamirpur signed a MOU with Sheffield Hallam University, England.

March: Anil Wilson resigned as Vice-Chancellor of HP University for personal reasons and Center allotted Central University for Kangra.

April:
Dr. K.R. Dhiman was appointed as VC of Y.S. Parmar University and Dr. Sunil Kumar Gupta appointed as VC of HPU. The government intending to turn the state into a knowledge hub, it was pushing for opening more centers of excellence and was considering proposals of nine more private universities.

May: AVBP-SFI Students clashed in HPU Campus. IIT Roorkee was assigned the task of assisting in setting up the IIT in Himachal.

June: The University students’ violence lead to the suspension of SHO. The Ministry of Tourism approved central financial assistance of 10 crores for construction of Institute of Hotel Management at Hamirpur.

The Director of Elementary Education announced that the State Government decided to provide Mid Day Meal from 1st July, 2008 in all the Government and Government aided Middle Schools.

July: Everonn signed MOU with the Education Department to provide IT education in 793 schools in Himachal. Himachal got approval for setting up IIT in the State.

August: Rajeev Bindal announced to introduce one-year Diploma course in Hearing Language and Speech (DHLS) in collaboration with All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore (Karnataka). Govt. planned to introduce ‘Anganwadi Attendance Certificate Scheme’ and increased education budget by 142 percent. Educomp Solutions launched Smart Class in Auckland House School.

SFI retained its hold over Himachal Pradesh University.

September: Newly revamped youth congress demanded that quota for Himachal students in private institutions be raised and sought making educational loans interest free to promote quality professional education. On the occasion of Teacher’s Day 12 teachers were conferred awards by Guv.

Government entered into an agreement with Tera Software Ltd. and GNG Trading Pvt. Ltd. to establish 2070 common service centres (CSC) in Shimla and Mandi Divisions. St Bede’s College, Shimla, was threatened with closure because of reduced grants.

October: Students seek restoration of grants for St Bede’s.

November: ABVP won HPU Students Council Elections. SFI and SCA submitted memorandum to Executive Council Members.

December:
The Himachal Minority Welfare Council asked for suitable legislation to make it mandatory for bringing madrasas education curriculum within the fold of formal education, so as to improve employability of Muslim youth. Dhumal announced, Rs 61.7 crore educational hub, ‘Atal Nagar HIMUDA Shiksha Kunj’ at Kalu Jhanda in Solan.

SPORTS


To bring a smile on the faces of ski champions, Dhumal announced to include Ski in 3% sports quota. Governor’s XI won Cricket Match at Dharmshala. 34th All India Interstate Electricity Board Kabaddi tournament held in April kicked off at Solan.

IPL T20 cricket championship delayed summer tourist season in Himachal and the Great Khali, headed to home with honor. In July, Himachal asked Centre to accord the status of National Sports Institution to Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institution, Manali.

Himachal Pradesh Football Association players lost to the St Stephen’s Football Academy. Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal-2008 flagged off on 27th, Sept. and on 1st, Oct. Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya 2008 was flagged off by Dhumal.

Suresh Rana, four time winner of 10th Raid de Himalya lead the car section and Ashish Modghil in the bikes category but in the end a controversy arouse on the part of the organizers in tabulating the penalty points. Nepal’s Padam won the Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal 2008.

Dhumal announced to spend 4.28 cr on International Para-Gliding infrastructure. Yogesh Lakhani won Shimla Motorcycle Challenge.

ENVIRONMENT


Global warming has affected the natural weather conditions of the world and the delayed rains affected the wheat sowing in lower regions. On 24th Jan., Shimla recorded coldest night in 15 years which affected water supply and the ground frost hit wheat and pea crops. To check pollution in Sarsa river water open auction of empty chemical drums were banned in Baddi.
Read a note on the preservation of the Himachali heritage. To surprise all Mild Snowfall was experienced in state’s Tribal Belt in the mid of April.

Prem Kumar Dhumal announced that the Draft Policy for Climate Change-2008 Carbon Credits through Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has been prepared for State. Water supply schemes were damaged by hydel companies in Palampur. In summer, heavy rain badly hit Shimla tourism and great losses were encountered in shape of landslides.
Kinnaur Manch Petitioned Governor to overturn Cabinet Decision to usurp tribal lands.

Himachal amended Land Laws for Industry and planed to create Environment Fund. Green tax to save Himalayan ecology. Farming of medicinal plants to be promoted, Bindal.

In November, Shimla experienced early snow. CM launched energy saving CFL Atal Bijli Scheme. Developer did not pay lease amount for Jakhu Hill Ropeway Project.

AWARDS


Awards injects an encouragement injection in the veins of the people or an organisation to work better and the passing year got many such motivational injections; SJVNL bagged Golden Peacock National Award for eco-innovation, Himachal Pradesh won 1st prize at ELITEX -2008. In May, CM was honored with the ‘Golden Peacock Award’ and Governor distributed Rank (Race for Awareness and Knowledge) and Bolt awards (Broad Outlook- Learner Teacher).

The reputed house of Life Books marked Wildflower Hall, near Shimla as the most romantic destination in the World. GAF announced ‘The Dalai Lama True Gandhian Award-2009 for Tibet cause’ in July. Dr. Majhail got Rashtriya Vidya Saraswati Puruskar award. Dalhousie Public School conferred computer excellency award. For Environment Management, Hydro electricity generator Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam bagged Green Award. Himachal confronted National Award for Green Environment.

Himachal Pradesh became the first State in the country for having highest contraceptive prevalence rate. Himachal Roadways gets 3 national awards. Chamba Rumal was registered with Geographical Indications.

SJVNL CMD conferred Hind Gaurav Award. Dr. Ashish Sadana amongest four people in India has been awarded by International Congress of Oral Implantologist (ICOI) USA. Ghumarwin was awarded Nirmal Gram Purskar. Himachal was declared as second best state in the country in e-Governance and HRTC received 3 National Level Awards. Himachal got National award for HIMSWAN.

HPPCL conferred upon Excellence Award and Spiti Ecosphere won 2008 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award. Biolaya Organics won SEED Initiative Award for their project investigating Himalayan oregano essential oil as an antibacterial agent for MRSA. Himachal scored Highest on the ‘Government Initiative’ Indicator on ESI.

MY HIMACHAL INITIATIVES


My Himachal carried an exclusive interview with a promising youth activist from Himachal – Sarika Katoch. In April My Himachal announced its new team and also launched ‘Save The Weaver’ project with students from SP Jain, Mumbai, as a result of this collaborative effort Himachal Government decided to implement Insurance Scheme for Weavers.

In the end of May, Fourth My Himachal Health Mela in Kullu – 2008, was organised.

My Himachal members celebrated India’s Independence Day in US.

Payson Stevens was honored by PCI for his work with My Himachal. Dr. Des Kashyap brought music and name of state on US Radio as well he launched podcast ‘Awaz Pahadan Di’ on My Himachal Blog.

My Himachal and Censud organised AIDS Awareness Programme in November. Agri Business orientation program was organized by My Himachal and CENSUD.

My Himachal allocated HOPE Scholarships to the students.

Wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2009!

Raised in Shimla and originally from Mandi district, Disha wears many caps which includes being part of a lead team of a fast growing IT company based out of Chandigarh. Earlier Disha was associated with My Himachal and visits Shimla regularly.

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