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Stinking sewage, wrecked roads, ignorant residents: That’s Totu

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While the Mayor of Shimla clings to the ‘Best City Award’ memento, let’s take a look at another populated station of Shimla city.

Totu station shimla

The Totu Chowk is covered with rubble eroding out of the ditches on the road, the crowd stands in wait of their buses amidst dust, nearby stinking, leaking drains full of sewage, while the garbage embellishes the backyards of the market. The safety railings are missing, and the actual bus stoppage has become a taxi stand.

garbage problem in shimla city

Totu is a setback to our hopes to awake common men. We once again feel hopeless for the citizens of Shimla city. How could we expect them to bring change when the Deputy Mayor of Shimla himself resides in the same region but could not see these issues, including the household and market garbage? Perhaps, he has also adapted to the system.

Condition of the Powerhouse – Totu Chowk Road & Nearby Area (VIDEO)

sanitation in shimla

One of the shopkeepers, an aged man who run a shop near the Chowk, approached the photographer and uttered, “ajj Totu ki shayamat hai?” Following a positive response from HW, he pointed towards an old water tank and added, “this tank is here for decades, but the department has disconnected the supply because it started leaking after rust had it. It could be a facility for the shopkeepers and the locals if the tank could be replaced and the water connection is resumed.”

We asked him whether they tried to talk to the deputy mayor, Tikender Panwar, in this regard as he also lives in Totu, to which the old man replied, “We did request him many times. He gave us a very positive assurance, but that came out to be only an assurance like always. No one cares. We gave them a chance, but not much has changed, at least, in Totu.”

Then, the same man pointed his fingers towards the public toilet and added that the upper part of the toilet stinks so much that people find it hard to use it.

garbage disposal shimla mc
We really appreciate the elderly man who approached us and showed interest in raising the issue once again despite seeing continuous ignorance and disappointments. It doesn’t matter who he is, what he does, or what kind of person he is. He did represent the whole crowd standing on the Chowk or sitting in their shops.

All credit goes to HPPWD and Shimla MC for being such slackers. To the deputy mayor sir, we would offer our condolences for the death of your ideological activism and passion. We don’t see there has been any efforts to aware and involve people in critical issues like the proper garbage disposal, sanitation, and maintenance of public roads. It doesn’t matter how much you plan to spend on the beautification of Shimla when the public isn’t aware enough to preserve it.

Public chose you so that you could represent the town, and people don’t have to take the headache to jump into the management of a number of tasks, so that you could correct the errors in community behavior, rectify their negative practices, and to prepare a road-map for a better future with more aware citizens. But unfortunately, the Shimla MC is as ignorant as ever. Even if they have something to boast of in the name of development, then it wouldn’t count as a favor. After all, no one forced you to take the chair and hold the responsibility of public service.

Like always, we have a few words for the residents and the shopkeepers at Totu as well, which say that your manners of waste disposal are pathetic, and you just believe in shouting ‘we love Shimla’ in the FB comment box, but internally there isn’t any respect or a sense of responsibility towards sustaining the cleanliness and the beauty of the very station you live in. Please, wake up. It’s time.
totu-shivnagar-road

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.

Art & Culture

Wah Re Corona: Himachali Folk Artist’s Lyrical Satire is Factual Rendition of India’s Agonizing Catastrophe

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wah re corona

Shimla-Otherwise blatantly vocal and distinctively mass-mobilizing government of India is suddenly in the most subdued self after its proclaimed victory over the deathly virus; participation in uncontrolled election rallies; and permitting maha melas. The stalwarts are in the hiding, while helpless citizens – who voted them into power not once but in landslide victories twice – are dying due to lack of oxygen, poor – unavailable – medical facilities, and the denial stance of the ignorant in the helm.

Drawing a comparison between the fatal coronavirus and the mismanagement of the entire situation by the appalling government; a Himachali folk artist has released a factually appropriate lyrical satire that will tickle your mind and leave you to imagine what has brought this catastrophe onto us. The song is written by Rameshwar Sharma and music by Lalit Sauta. 

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HP Govt Faces Backlash Over Fake Covid e-Passes Issued in the Name of Trump and Amitabh

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Fake e-covid pass himachal pradesh government

Shimla-Two fake COVID e-passes in the name of Donald Trump and Amitabh Bachchan for obtaining permission to enter Himachal Pradesh, which were approved by the state government, have raised questions over the validity of the registration process. The passes reportedly cited addresses of  Sector 17,Chandigarh, and had the same Aadhaar number and phone number. The vehicle is also registered in Chandigarh. 

The Himachal Pradesh Government has made it mandatory to obtain permission through Covid e-pass registration on its official web portal in order to enter the state. 

Pertinent to mention that the state government is already facing flak over flexible rules of corona curfew imposed in the state at a time when the fatality rate is spiking massively.

The state police, through its Twitter handle, confirmed receiving a complaint and has registered an FIR under relevant sections and the IT Act.  

The Covid e-pass software has been developed by the State Information Technology Department The purpose is to keep records, the department says. People desirous of entering the state are supposed to get the names and addresses registered in the software so that their travel history could be tracked and traced. However, the current incident of approval to fake passes has brought the system under the scanner.

After facing a backlash on social media from people and opposition, Urban Development and TCP Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, and Information and Technology Minister Dr. Ram Lal Markanda issued a statement today.

Without clarifying the cause, the statement said,

“State Government has allowed free movement to the State from other parts of the country with few conditions, but at the same time was also ensuring to maintain a proper record of those visiting the State.”

“It was unfortunate that some mischievous elements with ulterior motive and nefarious designs were furnishing fake names and addresses while applying for Covid e-pass which was unfortunate and uncalled for. Such cheap deeds  were not only unlawful and illegal but were also against the safety and security of the people,” the statement said.

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With Neighboring States Going to Curfew, Himachal’s Tourism Sector Again Comes to a Halt

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curfew in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government may not have imposed restrictions on tourist movement, but the industry is facing the heat of second wave of coronavirus pandemic, which has now reached an alarming level.  Alarmed by massive spike in new cases and fatalities, Delhi yesterday imposed a curfew for six days. 

Further, with neighboring states including Panjab and Haryana going into a lockdown-like situation with the imposition of weekend curfews, tourist influx in Himachal Pradesh has dropped drastically, hitting the tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh. Last weekend the hotels claimed the occupancy was almost zero. The hoteliers and other stakeholders said the current situation is similar to what they faced during the lockdowns last year. After lockdowns spoiled the peak tourist season of the last year, the industry is hardly in a position to take another blow, hoteliers said. 

Conditions in Himachal are no better. In 19 days of April month alone, the state has recorded over 14,000 cases and the infection has claimed 155 lives, which is a massive surge in a very short duration. The rates of the surge in new cases and fatalities have also been recorded to be much higher as compared to the previous year.

The state government on Monday said that all educational institutions of the State would remain close till May 1 2021, and faculty of schools, colleges and universities wouldn’t have to come to duty.

The State Government also decided to put a complete ban on transfers of field functional staff.

Right after getting a nod from the Centre, the state government had also postponed the board and UG examinations.  Further, the HP Board of School Education is reportedly mulling over promoting class 10 students.

Chief Minister on Monday also said that the government could take more decisions to contain the spread in the meeting to be held on April 22. Some media reports said that the state government has hinted at the imposition of a curfew. While interacting to media yesterday, Chief Minister had also said that there are no plans for a complete lockdown, but if the situation continues to worsen, a curfew can be imposed. The Chief Minister had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort as it would hurt the tourist influx, thus, cause economic damages.  

However, if the businessmen and hoteliers are to be believed, currently keeping the state open for tourism is hardly providing any relief. Moreover, they are not able to differentiate between a curfew and lockdown. They have begun to seek relief from the state government.  

On the other hand, in case the state decides to impose a curfew, the situation would get quite difficult for the poor, especially migrant workers, daily wagers, and small street-side vendors too.  

Further, fear of the collapse of health infrastructure haunts the state as the government is still in the phase of passing directions to the officers to enhance the bed capacity in the hospitals.  As per the statement given by Chief Minister on Monday, the state is yet to take steps to ensure the proper availability of oxygen and staff.

“Steps would be taken to ensure the proper availability of oxygen and medical staff in the State.  Bed capacity would be enhanced in Nerchowk Medical College, IGMC Shimla, Zonal Hospital Dharamshala, Tanda Medical College, Sunder Nagar Hospital and various other hospitals. Health workers would be posted in appropriate number for the care of Covid-19 patients,” Chief Minister said.

Chief Minister is being condemned for not completing make-shifts hospitals during the lockdown period along with strengthening the health services the way the it was required.

With the re-notification of Shimla’s DDU hospital- one of the busiest in the state- as a dedicated COVID care hospital, the OPDs has been closed. With the ongoing surge in new cases, more hospitals are likely to be re-notification as dedicated COVID care hospitals, and regular OPDs would be closed for other daily patients.

Moreover, for setting bad examples for the people, all political parties and their leaders, including Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, had faced severe criticism over blatant violation of COVID-19 protocols during campaign rallies for the elections to the Municipal Corporations. As a result, the public is hardly taking the second wave seriously and lowering their guards against the infections, which is only worsening the situation.

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