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MC Shimla proposes park in Tutikandi to deal with monkey menace

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After years of failure to get rid of monkey menace, Shimla Municipal administration now plans a park for monkeys in Tutikandi forest

Shimla-To deal with the menace that the monkey gangs have been creating in Shimla, Municipal Corporation has proposed a new park in Shimla, in the woods of Tutikandi, where, one hectare of area would be sealed with barb wire fences and two forest guards would be employed to make sure monkeys don’t escape. The plan proposes providing water resources, growing radish, carrot, beans etc to ensure sufficiency of food and water in the park.

That’s so nice of MC Shimla. Everyone is aware of the efficiency with which the department successfully implement its reformatory plans, especially, when it comes to tackling monkey menace and growing stray dog population.

By the way, MC had built a dog shelter near Kachi Ghati to tackle the issue of stray dogs in Shimla, which is not being used in anyway. That suggests that the shelter is closed for reason unknown. The dogs are all on the Shimla Mall, and on a sunny day, most of them enjoy sunbath in front of MC’s office.

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Picture of Abandoned dog shelter in Shimla

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THE SAD TRUTH BEHIND THE STRAY DOG SHELTER IN SHIMLA (Published on Mar 8, 2012)

Video:groupusm

Published on Mar 14, 2013 (After one year)

As far as the monkeys are concerned, they have become more like unavoidable bullies in Shimla town, who could rob anyone, anywhere and most of the time, women and kids are preferred for they are easy targets. A year ago, the situation became so sensitive that people were forced to protest against the department’s inability to ensure safety against the monkey menace.

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In 2011, a Senior citizen Devki Nandan Kaushik wrote to the chief justice on the menace of monkeys, langurs and dogs and the problems being faced by the residents of Shimla. After which, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rajiv Sharma directed the municipal commissioner of Shimla and the divisional forest officer (Wildlife) to file affidavits as to what steps have taken by them check the problem.

However, nothing appealed to Municipal administration of Shimla until present date.

The main cause of failure of these two departments, Wildlife wing of Forest department and MC, to handle the issue is due to outdated methods, impractical strategies, and the lousy attitude e.g. farmers from district Bilaspur complained that there were no monkeys in their area until many were captured from troubled urban areas and released in their villages, and they started destroying the crops. No attention was paid to the fact that the growing population also required attention, and because of that, the population of monkeys went over six lacks during 2012.

In 2010, the situation became uglier when Himachal government allowed farmers to kill monkeys with other wild animals, which caused harm to crops. It was only after a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) in 2011 that the Himachal High Court directed the State Government to stop issuing such permits to the farmers and observed the following: “The state should have to protect all the beings… by giving permission to kill the problematic monkeys, the state has not understood and applied its mind to understand the basic intent of the Wildlife Protection Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act”

In 2012, the Forest Department had put a target of sterilizing two lack monkeys along with opening 21 sterilizing centers in Himachal by June 30 2012, which required 35-40 crores as expenditure. Hardly, one fourth of the target was achieved, and, of course, it would be idiotic to ask a question as stupid as asking about promised 21 new centers.

Wild Life Wing of Forest Department had even adopted unethical method of capturing monkeys. Public was invited to capture and handover monkeys to the department for which an incentive of Rs. 500 were being paid for each monkey captured. It’s a well established fact that the animal handling is a specialized task, for which people with adequate training are required. How could the department expect any common man to do the job. Nobody knows what method, unscientific or unethical, they would use to capture monkeys.

Previous BJP government spent near about Rs.1.5 crore on seterlization, but did not get any success in curbing the issue.

In 2013, the Congress government assured relief to the farmers, who were facing a large-scale destruction of their crops due to monkeys. For the assurance government claimed that a Rs. 100 crore monkey menace control project plan was drafted and was sent to the Central government for its approval.

However, nothing actually has been done to curb the issue. The issue of human- animal conflict in cities had began many years back, many plans and assurances were made, but the issue has rather taken a form worse than it was 5 years ago.

This time, MC Shimla’s plan for a monkey park is the latest assurance to the citizens and the tourists in Shimla. However, it is obvious that Tutikandi forests are very near to the main town, and it would need fences higher than the trees to keep the monkeys from hopping into residential areas. Further, in number, one hectare is not going to accommodate much. Let’s see, how much the plan appeals to the government.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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No Dialysis at Tanda Medical College; No Nephrologist, Machine Dysfunctional, Patients from Five Districts Left in Lurch

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Tanda Medical college dialysis facility

Kangra: Amid regular press statements of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur led Himachal Pradesh Government over its consistent efforts to improve the state’s health infrastructure, media reports have been highlighting facts contrary to these statements.

According to a report published in Hindi daily, Covid-19 patients with kidney-related medical conditions from Hamirpur, Mandi, Una, Kangra and Chamba are left in the lurch. The report said that these patients have no nearby options as none of the hospitals in the above mentioned five districts have dialysis facility for Covid patients. These patients are either referred to IGMC, Shimla, or PGI, Chandigarh. Also, the report says, the multi-specialty Hospital Tanda Medical College does not offer dialysis to kidney patients. Dharamshala hospital is unable to offer dialysis to Covid positive kidney patients as it lacks ventilator support.

The report cited a reference of a local who alleged that his mother, who was on dialysis, was admitted to a hospital in Nurpur. She was referred to Tanda Medical College where she tested positive. He said the hospital told him that they don’t offer dialysis facility. He was told that dialysis is performed at Dharamshala. But the hospital in Dharamshala lacked ventilator support for covid patients. The mother died while the son tried to arrange dialysis outside the state. The son said his mother would have survived if she could receive timely dialysis.

Dr. Bhanu Awasthi, the principal of the College, told the daily that Tanda Medical College does not have a Nephrologist and the available dialysis machine is not functional. The hospital has been requesting the government to fill the vacant post, he said. G.D Gupta, CMO Kangra, confirmed that patients in the district have died as they could not receive dialysis treatment because the hospitals in the district don’t have dialysis facilities for COVID patients.

Another report published in an English daily highlight the plight of cancer patients who are deprived of their chemotherapy session, posing threat to their lives.

The report says that various hospitals in the state were converted into Covid-19 treatment centres, and patients suffering from other severe illnesses were not receiving treatment in the districts of the lower Himachal Pradesh. Cancer patients in Kangra have alleged that they are not receiving treatment at Tanda Medical College which they fear could be life-threatening.
The report said Tanda Medical College is the only hospital with a facility for cancer treatment in the lower Himachal which was converted into a Covid hospital. The super-speciality wing of the hospital which caters to cancer, cardio and neuro patients has remained closed since last month. This is causing a delay in the completion of chemotherapy sessions.

Dr Bhanu Awasthi told  the daily that the treatment was suspended temporarily due to a surge in Covid cases. He said that patients who require immediate chemotherapy can go to Indira Gandhi Medical College. He said the cases in Kangra district were coming down and if the situation improves, they will be able to open the super specialty wing soon.

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World’s Highest Motorable Village Achieves 100% Covid Vaccination

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Image Ccredit: Hindustan Times

Lahaul-Spiti: Komic village, known to be the world’s highest motorable village, in Lahaul-Spiti has vaccinated all of its eligible population.  The village is located at an elevation of 15,000 feet and has a population of 130 people as per 2011 census data.

According to officials, all people in the 18-44 age groups have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. People falling under 60+ and 45+ categories were vaccinated with both the doses of Covishield. Only children below the age of 18 were not vaccinated. 

“100 per cent vaccination has been achieved in Komic village with people over 45 years age group vaccinated with both doses,” SDM Gian Sagar Negi told news agency ANI.

Further, all people above 45 years in age have been administered the first dose of the Covid vaccine in Kaza, the headquarter of Spiti Valley. All people above 65-years  have received  both doses. 

“Due to the problems related to internet connectivity in the valley, the state government had allowed offline registration for vaccination. Now, 80% of the registration for vaccination is being carried out offline. Vaccination slots are being booked with help of a lottery,” Gian Sagar Negi added.

Despite tough terrain and weather conditions of  the valley, the health authorities have taken a lead in vaccination.

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Patients Suffer as IGMC – Shimla City’s Only Hospital With Ventilator Beds-Runs Out of Capacity

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IGMC Shimla Ventilator beds
Image Credit: The Statesman

Shimla-  The  Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla, has maxed out of beds with ventilator support, a report published in a Hindi daily said.  The IGMC is the only hospital in the city with a facility of ventilator beds. The hospital has a total of 37 ventilator beds, all of which were occupied. Patients from other COVID-19 hospitals are referred to the IGMC only after the hospital confirms the availability of ventilator beds. The report said that this shortage of ventilator beds is giving a hard time to critically ill Covid-19 patients. Pertinent to mention that critical patients from across the state are referred to the IGMC. 

Earlier, a report had said that the two major Covid hospitals of Shimla – IGMC and DDU-were packed to their full capacity and patients were denied admissions. This raises questions over the state government’s claims that it’s prepared to tackle the third wave of the pandemic. 

Since the past two days, families of Covid-19 patients had been struggling to find ventilator beds in Shimla, the report said. Hospitals like Deendyal Upadhyay have been asked not to refer any serious Covid patient to the IGMC as all the ventilator beds were already occupied. Usually, when a critical Covid-19 patient needs ventilator support, the hospital where the patient is admitted makes a call to IGMC to inquire for beds and to refer the patient.

“Ventilator beds can only be made available when the patient on ventilator support gets discharged, or when the patient succumbs to the infection. Because such patients cannot be shifted or removed from ventilator support,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, Officer-in-charge Central Store, IGMC, told the daily.

The State Government had notified the Indra Gandhi Medical College, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Ayurvedic Hospital Chhota Shimla, and Walker Hospital as Covid-19 hospitals. But, out of these, only IGMC has the facility of ventilator beds. The DDU has ventilators but they are not operational since the hospital has only one anaesthetist. All the other three hospitals don’t have enough staff to to operate ventilators, the report said. Severe cases from these hospitals are referred to the IGMC only. 

Efforts to increase the ventilator bed capacity in IGMC were being made, Dr. Rahul Gupta told the daily. 

 

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