Union Commence and Industry Minister Anand Sharma may have gone to Rajasthan for his re-election to the Rajya Sabha,but he continues to have a big say on the affairs of the state. Congress president Sonia Gandhis decision of naming Kaul Singh Thakur as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief is greatly,or perhaps solely,influenced by Sharma. Thakur,an estranged lieutenant of Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh,was appointed as the state party chief in 2008 after Viplove Thakur,a Rajya Sabha member,quit the post following the partys defeat in the Assembly polls. Kaul Singh Thakur emerged as a front-runner for the post after recent organisational polls. But Virbhadra turned out to be his strongest opponent. Thakur,who had earlier become PCC chief with CLP leader Vidya Stokess help,took shelter in Sharmas camp,who backed his candidature.
Creating A cricketing history in the hills
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumals son and MP Anurag Thakur is aiming to create history in the way cricket is played in the country. As many as 1,200 teams,comprising 17,000 players,will be in the state for the J P Twenty20 Mahasangram Season II that will start on November 13. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA),headed by Anurag Thakur,will host the event across 60 centres,including Kalpa in Kinnaur district. The event,says Sanjay Sharma,a close associate of Thakur and HPCA spokesman,will enter the Guinness Book of World Records and the Limca Book of Records. Last year,the tournament was played at 57 venues. The HPCA proposes to give away cash prizes worth Rs 30 lakh to the winners.
Floating eatery,boats on backwaters
With neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir witnessing law and order trouble,Himachal is gearing up to hard-sell its tourism potential. During the Commonwealth Games,the state organised tourism-related road-shows in Delhi and launched a first of its kind electronic catalogue,guiding visitors to different destinations here. It also cleared a proposal to run heli-taxis,granting licences to three private airlines. The government will allow the companies to use a network of 57 helipads in the state. Next in the pipeline is a floating restaurant at the Chamera reservoir on the lines of houseboats of Kashmir. A hotelier from Chamba also wants to introduce cruise boats at Dalhousie backwaters.
Probing precious wastage of blood
Every drop of blood is precious to save a life is one of the slogans motivating donors and the state boasts of a few having donated blood 81 to 151 times. But what has come as a shock is the wastage of 145 units of blood at government-run Rajendra Prasad Medical College (RPMC) at Tanda in Kangra district. An official probe was ordered after the matter came to light due to the efforts of a Shimla-based NGO. About 75 units of blood were destroyed after it exceeded the expiry date (35 days from the date of collection),the remaining 70 units were transferred to the RPMC from Chamba,Dharamsala and Palampur. Several units of blood were found infected with HIV,Hepatitis B and C and malaria.