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Virbhadra demands time-bound inquiry into Himachal phone-tapping

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himachal phone tapping

Congress on Tuesday demanded a time-bound probe into the tapping of phones, done by police during the previous Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP regime.

The Congress in Himachal Pradesh Tuesday demanded a speedy probe into the mass phone-tapping of politicians and government officials during the previous BJP regime. The BJP, in turn, asked the government to make public the orders, if any, issued on tapping phones.

“The BJP has just made an issue over accessing its leader Arun Jaitley’s call detail records, whereas it is silent where there was mass tapping of phones. It is simply the criminalisation of administration,” state Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu told reporters here.

He alleged that during the BJP tenure, more than 1,600 phones of politicians, mainly of Congress leaders, officials and journalists were put under surveillance at the behest of then chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

“The act of the BJP government is an offence against the innocent people of the state,” Sukhu said. The party, in a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, demanded a time-bound inquiry into the phone tapping.

Defending the previous government, BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt said the government was free to conduct any inquiry.

“We have already said the government should conduct the probe through the sitting judge of the high court. Why it is not ordering the probe,” Dutt told reporters here.

He said the previous government never issued any order to put phones under surveillance illegally. “If our government passed any order to tap phones, the present government is free to make it public. They are just trying to fool the public by raking up this issue and not fulfilling its election promises,” he said.

The state government last week handed over the probe into the phone tapping issue to the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau. Virbhadra Singh said the privacy of certain political leaders was infringed upon. The number of phones tapped clearly indicated the malafide intention of the then government, he said.

He claimed even his phones were tapped and rooms bugged when he was in the opposition. The second and final report into the illegal phone tapping March 1 said 350 telephones were tapped in six months, ahead of the assembly elections November last year.

The total number of phones tapped in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act was over 1,100, said officials.

The reports, prepared by the state forensic science laboratory, were on the basis of data retrieved from seized computer hard disks of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and vigilance bureau.

Director General of Police I.D. Bhandari, who was heading the CID when the illegal phone tapping took place, was removed immediately after the first report came out. IANS

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: 69 New COVID-19 Cases Including 27 from Solan, 10 from Shimla

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Shimla-The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday crossed the 2700 mark with the appearance of 69 new cases. These cases include two policeman, army personals, migrant labourers and some other locals.The number of active cases has now risen to 1115.

According to the State Health Department, Solan reported the highest 27 cases. Majority of these include workers in the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) area and contacts of COVID-19 positive persons. Most of these 27 persons weren’t quarantined, which is a matter of concern.

The capital Shimla reported 10 cases, of which five were said to be migrant labourers in Rampur. Shimla city reported three cases including an employee of the General Post Office, Shimla. What’s worrying about this case is the fact that the sample of this woman was taken in flu OPD after she visited the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla. The woman has been mobile and used public transport too. Her travel history is yet to be traced. The CMO, Shimla, Surekha Chopra confirmed the report. There was no report regarding the sealing of the GPO or other places the woman had visited. But her residence at crowded Sanjauli locality was sealed. Two other cases were reported from Kasumpti and Bharari areas. Details regarding the remaining two were awaited. The COVID-19 case tally of Shimla has now reached 178 with two deaths.

Remaining cases were reported from Kangra (8), Chamba (4), Hamirpur (6), Mandi (11), Sirmaur (1), and Bilaspur (2).

So far, Solan has reported the highest 690 confirmed cases, followed by Kangra (476), Sirmaur (346), Hamirpur (313), Una (217), Shimla (178), Mandi (183), Bilaspur (101), Kinnaur (45), Kullu (37), and Lahaul-Spit (4).

HP Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin August 2, 2020 (9PM)

 New cases in Shimla

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity UG Admission Process Revised, No Entrance Exam, Seats to be Allotted on 10+2 Merit

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Solan-Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has revised the admission process for its undergraduate programmes for the academic session 2020-21 in view of the COVID 19 pandemic. This year, the university will not be conducting an entrance test to fill the normal seats of UG programmes. The decision in this regard was taken during a special meeting of the Academic Council meeting held recently.

The basis of admission for normal seats would be merit drawn on basis of marks obtained at 10+2 level examination in four subjects-English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology/ Mathematics plus weightage of participation in sports/ NCC, NSS, scouting, co-curricular activities (if any). The university offers three undergraduate programmes B Sc (Hons) Horticulture, B Sc (Hons) Forestry while B Tech Biotechnology is offered only at the COH&F Neri. 

The candidates have been advised to download the counselling proforma from the university website and fill it as per the instructions mentioned on it. Those students who want to be considered for both normal as well as self-financing seats need to fill two separate proformas. A single page pdf file must be created, containing scanned filled counselling proforma along with legible documents mentioned in the checklist as provided in the counselling proforma. No column must be left blank. The counselling proforma for normal seats and self-financing seats will be uploaded on the university website on 3rd August (afternoon) and 5th August (afternoon) respectively.

For normal seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent through email to [email protected] on or before 18th August, 2020.

For self-financing seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent by email to [email protected] on or before 20th August, 2020. Every candidate must submit the duly filled counselling proforma in order to be considered for the admission. The detailed notification can be downloaded from the university website.

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HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios Re-shuffle – Reward to Loyalists, Warning to Dissenting Voices Within Party

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Shimla: The portfolios of Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers were re-shuffled extensively along with the induction of three new Ministers – Rakesh Pathania, Sukh Ram, and Rajinder Garg. Newly inducted Ministers in the HP Cabinet had taken the oath of office and secrecy in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan on July 30, 2020. 

Sukh Ram Chaudhary, MLA from Paonta Sahib Assembly constituency, Rakesh Pathania from Nurpur, and Rajinder Garg of Ghumarwin constituency took oath as Cabinet Minister.

While the shuffle is being justified by claiming that it was a punishment for not performing well, this opportunity has also been used to discourage dissent within the party and reward loyalists. Earlier governments have also re-shuffled portfolios during their reign, but not upto the extent it has been done this time.

Also Read: HP Cabinet’s Three Newly Inducted Ministers Take Oath

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur was heard warning ministers earlier regarding the possible changes, but the possible resentment did not allow it. However, the opportunity to fill up all positions in the Cabinet has also been used to re-shuffle portfolios of other ministers as well.

The Ministries of  Education, Forest, Health & Family Welfare, and Transport are some of the most important portfolios which have been shuffled. Further, the Chief Minister has decided to retain other important portfolios and all others that are not allocated to anyone.

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios After Re-shuffle

Name

Ministry 

Departments 

Jairam Thakur Chief Minister Finance, General Administration, Home, Planning, Personnel, Public Works Department, Tourism, Excise & Taxation, All other departments not alloted to any other minister.
Mahender Singh Thakur Jal Shakti Minister Jal Shakti, Revenue, Horticulture, Sainik Welfare
Suresh Bhardwaj Urban Development Minister Urban Development, Town &Country Planning, Housing, Parliamentary Affairs, law & Legal Remembrance, Co-operation
Sarveen Chaudhary Social Justice & Empowerment   Social Justice & empowerment
Ram Lal markanda Technical Education Minister Technical Education, Vocational & Industrial Training, Tribal Development, Information Technology, Redressal ofPulbic Grievances
Virender kanwar Rural Development & panchayati Raj Minister Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries
Biram Singh Industries Minister Industries, Transport, Labour & Employment
Govind Singh Thakur Education Minister Higher Education, Elementary Education, Language, Art & Culture
Rajiv Saizal Health & Family Welfare Minister Health & Family Welfare, Ayurveda
Sukh Ram MPP & Power Minister MPP & Power, Non-Conventional Energy Sources
Rakesh Pathania Forest Minister Forest, Youth Services & Sports
Rajinder Garg Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Printing & Stationary

 

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