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War over Annadale Ground in Shimla finally ends

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annandale-shimla-1941

Shimla: It is status quo for Shimla’s historical Annadale ground, the picturesque flat highland that could have well become a cricket stadium, with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh declaring that it would stay with the Army – as it has since 1941.

Stymieing the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s moves, Virbhadra Singh said this week that the Annadale ground, in the Army’s possession since 1941 when World War II was raging, would not be taken away from the Army’s protective cover. The ground, he said, had strategic value and compromising with it could impact security.

“The government will remain the custodian of the ground but it will remain under the Army’s control. Since it is of strategic importance, it cannot be compromised,” Virbhadra Singh said.

The 121-bigha (one bigha is 0.4 hectare) flat highland ringed by dense groves, just three kilometres from Shimla’s Ridge, was a bone of contention between the previous Prem Kumar Dhumal- led government and the Army. The government had initiated the move to take over its control and hand it over to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), headed by Anurag Thakur, a BJP MP and Dhumal’s son, for constructing a cricket stadium there.

According to Virbhadra Singh, top political functionaries of the previous government under the guise of developing a stadium were aiming to grab prime land surrounding Annadale ground.

The controversy came to end Monday when Lt. Gen. Sanjiv Chachra, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command, called on Virbhadra Singh, who took over the reins of the state Dec 25 last year. Immediately after the meeting, the Chief Minister said status quo would be maintained.

Official sources said Lt. Gen. Chachra stressed that the Annadale ground was needed for many Army operations. He also drew the Chief Minister’s attention to an arbitration case pending before the divisional commissioner of Shimla over the ‘legality’ of the Army’s claim over the ground.

The Chief Minister, soon after the meeting, issued directions to withdraw the arbitration proceedings, a government official said.

The tussle flared up last April when the Western Command inadvertently sent a statement on the Annadale ground to the media.

The unsigned note, which was not meant for distribution to the media but only for internal circulation, said the state government “seems to be hell-bent on destroying the meagre existing forest cover, all at the behest of land mafia, eyeing phenomenal profits, which the (proposed) cricket stadium project would bring”.

Dhumal took strong exception to the Army’s statement.

Subsequently, at a meeting of chief ministers on internal security in New Delhi in April last year, Dhumal took up his government’s row with the Army.

He had said the ground “is in the illegal possession of the defence authorities as its lease had expired many years back”.

Various sports organisations and local residents under the banner of the HPCA took out public rallies in Shimla, seeking the ground’s transfer to the local administration.

The Annadale ground was on lease with the Army, but the lease was not renewed after 1982. However, the state continued to accept the lease money till 2002.

Historians say the Annadale ground has a glorious past. It was once used by the Durand Football Tournament Society set up in 1888.

Author E.J. Buck wrote in “Simla Past and Present” that Major Kennedy, a British officer, was so struck with the ground’s beauty that he named it after Anna, a young woman he was in love with back home. Dale, or a meadow, was tagged on to her name to make the ground Annadale .
-IANS
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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal Reports 87 COVID-19 Deaths in 11 Days With a Steep Rise in Cases

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COVID-19 deaths in Himachal pradesh on november 10

Shimla-With nine more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, the tally for Himachal Pradesh has jumped to 399. The state is witnessing a surge in November as 87 deaths were reported during the last 11 days. Yesterday’s fatalities included seven males and two females aged between 45 to 87 years. Find the reasons for these fatalities below:

himachal pradesh -Update on covid-19 deaths

Further, according to the state Health Department’s official statistics, 610 new cases of COVID-19 were detected yesterday, of which Shimla reported highest (118) cases, followed by Mandi (116).

In Mandi district, as many as 26 more teachers and some students reportedly tested positive yesterday. The infected also included two doctors of Tanda Medical College, Kangra, and a couple of policemen in Sakoh.

Operation theatre at the Kamala Nehru Hospital, Shimla, was reportedly closed for a week. Similarly, the women police station in Shimla was also closed following the detection of a case.

Further, the state High Court has taken suo moto cognizance of a news report published in an English daily and issued a notice to the government. The news pertained to Indira Gandhi Medical College, which ran out of space for COVID-19 patients in isolation wards.

As per official data, the total for COVID-19 in the state had reached 27418 till yesterday evening (9 pm), of which 5605 were active cases. Mandi district has reported highest 4194 cases, followed by Solan (3958), Shimla (3725), and Kangra (3635).

The state government is barely speaking on the alarming rise in fatalities and its strategy to control it. But Chief Minister, while addressing a public meeting at Sihunta under Bhatiyat Assembly Constituency yesterday, did hail the Prime Minister and claimed that the nation is out of COVID-19 crisis.

“He (PM) has successfully brought the Nation out of Covid-19 crisis,”

Chief Minister said.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin for November 11, 2020 (9 pm)

 

 

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Himachal Reports 12 COVID-19 Deaths in Single Day, Surge in Cases in Shimla

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 deaths till diwali

Shimla-COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as a record 12 fatalities were reported on Tuesday. Of the 611 new positive cases yesterday, Shimla reported highest 148 with seven fatalities. The deceased included 11 males and a female aged between 47 to 92 years.  During the last three days, the state has reported 25 fatalities. Find the details regarding the causes of deaths below:

Himachal Pradesh Record COVID-19 deaths

The state government had yesterday decided to close all educational institutes in Himachal for 15 days after over a hundred teachers and students tested positive in schools. The government termed it as a special vocation for students, teachers, and non-teaching staff of all educational institutes.

The capital has witnessed a surge as over 750 cases were reported during the last six days. In the season of festivity and marriages, social distancing and other guidelines issued by the MHA for personal protection are being flaunted, which is only fueling the spread. 

On top of it, the COVID-19 Hospitals in the state have begun to run out of beds for patients in isolation wards. The largest medical facility in the state – Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital- was packed to its full capacity, which was only 85 beds. Dr Rajneesh Pathania, Principal of IGMC, confirmed the report. According to media reports, DDU hospital, Shimla, had also run out of space. The government is yet to prepare the make-shift hospitals it had announced a couple of months ago. 

So far, according to the official statistics, the state had reported a total of 26808 cases till yesterday evening (9 pm), and the official COVID-19 death tally had mounted to 390.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin for November 9, 2020 (9 pm)

Update Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 for november 10, 2020

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Amid Alarming Surge in COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, Hospitals Including IGMC Running Out of Space

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covid-19 in himachal pradesh igmc beds full

Shimla– Amid the festive season, Himachal Pradesh is witnessing an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases and fatalities. As a matter of huge concern, the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla, has run out of beds in isolation facility and can’t accommodate more patient, unless someone is discharged or dies. There was space for only 85 patients at the hospital, which is full presently.

The DDU hospital, too, is running out of capacity with a surge in cases. Further, make-shift hospitals announced by the state government haven’t seen light of day. IGMC is the largest medical facility of the state and COVID-19 patients in critical condition were referred here.  

The situation could worsen due to the ongoing festive and wedding season. Markets are crowded and people are hardly following social distancing norms in marriages.

Further, yesterday seven people including a 16-year-old girl lost their lives. The decision to open schools seems to be backfiring as hundreds of teachers and several students were found positive for COVID-19 during the past few days. There are speculations that the state government could decide on closing schools for some time in the Cabinet meeting to be held today.

Details regarding the causes of fatalities below:

Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 deaths in november 2020 f

On Monday, five doctors and nine staff nurses at the Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Medical College and Hospital, Nerchowk in Mandi district, tested positive.

Yesterday, the state reported a record 711 confirmed cases with seven fatalities in a single day. Shimla district reported the highest 204 confirmed cases.

The COVID-19 death tally has now mounted to 378, while the total number of cases had reached 26197 till yesterday evening (till 9 pm).

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin for November 9, 2020 (9 pm)

 

Himachal Pradesh covid-19 cases on november 10

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