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Govt. got temple inside office building, but no guard, CCTV, or visitors register

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shimla police at duty

shimla police at duty

Past Saturday, the purse of an employee stolen from office almirah at the HP Directorate of Ayurveda in Shimla, the Govt. office has a temple inside the building, but no guard, CCTV, or visitors register to ensure security against thefts, while Shimla Police’s pessimistic, blunt responses leave the victim sobbing in hopelessness.

SHIMLA- In a theft case yesterday, an employee’s purse was stolen from one of the office almirah at the HP Directorate of Ayurveda, situated at Kasumpti SDA Complex in Shimla. The purse contained gold jewelry worth more than 1 lacs including cash, bank passbook, Debit Card etc. According to the victim, Anita Sharma, the theft took place during the lunch break hours when she left the cabin for just 5-10 minutes.

theft in shimla office

The thief opened the almirah, which was full of files, and picked up the purse and disappeared. Interestingly, a smaller wallet inside another packet, which wasn’t visible otherwise, was also missing while the packet was left behind. Both the police and the staff suspect that the thief is likely an insider, perhaps, another employee as it’s not possible for an outsider to guess and pick selective items within such a short time. The police arrived at the scene after a distressed call from the victim, documented the statements, talked to the staff and left.An HW member was informed regarding the same and was present at the scene during all this time.

Now, let’s come to some serious, careless, and illogical mistakes on the part of the Govt. Department, which indeed complimented by director’s vision and sense of duty. First, three similar incidents of theft had already been reported in the same office, but no security measure is taken like providing a single CCTV camera anywhere, at least, at the main gate. Second, while some of the Govt. offices in SDA complex has a guard with a visitors register to monitor the movement of outsiders, the Directorate of Ayurveda did not provide one. There isn’t any visitors register or guard to keep a record of the visitors and check the entry of beggars, salesmen, or any other outsider who wanders the place for no reason. Why even the higher Govt. officials don’t pay attention towards facilitating the subordinate employees? Why no security measure was taken when there had already been theft cases in the same office?

Through on of the readers, we came across some constitutional issues related with secularism in Govt. Institutes. With a little search on Google we found that:

“So far as secularism is concerned, Articles 25 to 30 provide for the same. In Kesavanada V State of Kerala (AIR 1973 S.C. 1461) and in Indira V Rajnarain (AIR 1975 S.C. 2299) the Supreme Court has observed that by secularism it is meant that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on the ground of religion only and that the State shall have no religion of its own and all persons shall be equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion. To spell out the above ideas which in fact existed prior to 1976, the preamble to the Constitution was amended in 1976”.

We also found that on August 28, 2013, “the Odisha High Court had admitted a PIL seeking removal of temples, photographs, idols of deities from the premises of government offices and police stations and issued notices to the state government asking it to file counters within four weeks.”

theft in shimla SDA complex office
However, there is a grand temple space inside the same office building with a big statue, embellished and caressed with sufficient decoration, lights etc. What kind of joke is it to spend on temples inside an office building, but ignoring the need of a visitors register, a guard or any security measure like CCTV? In this case, CCTV footage would have easily solved the case because the mention cabin is the first one anyone sees after stepping inside the gate.

To Shimla Police

The Shimla policemen did all that they are ought to do at such a scene. We won’t comment on their procedure, but we do see a very relevant issue regarding the psychological aspect and blunt behavior. The concerned employee was sobbing, blaming herself for carelessness and the circumstantial co-incidents that facilitated the theft. When she asked cops how much hope is there to catch the thief, the cops replied very casually in a polite voice, “Ab dekhte hain ji. Ab to agle hafthe he kuch ho payega, election duty hai”

While writing down the cost of jewelry items, the traumatized victim tried to correct that her gold Mangal-Sutra cost, which she had mistakenly said to be 10 thousand less than its real cost. On telling the cops that it was 25 thousand and not 15, one of them responded, again with the same politeness, “kya fark padta hai ji, 15 ho 25 ho, hume to bus lump sum dekhana hai”

It sounds like a man catches cold, falls ill with a mild fever, and calls a doctor, who tell the patient that he is doomed and going to suffer a boiling fever for an unknown period and might not recover from it ever. Police is the biggest and the only hope after that of God for most of the victim of a crime or theft in which they lost their valuable assets. The hope is what should be given as a first aid to the traumatized victims, not pessimistic responses, at least, when the wounds are fresh. Registering FIRs, investigating the scene or such thefts are routine tasks for the police, but losing over a lac from the office almirah in just 10 minutes is a shock to any average citizen, who is a contractual employee in a Govt. department and have 5-7 thousand monthly salary. Does it sound routine to anyone?

The responsibility of police isn’t limited to just legalities on the crime scene. The people must feel that police really understand their pain, care about them, and give attention to the damage they suffered. It’s more a psychological aspect related to responses of police to the already freaked victims. In cases like the one we have here, the cops should be hopeful, not blunt. When they have options to chose words, they should have told the victim that in many cases, the thieves were busted and assets were recovered or a choice of more optimistic word would have helped better.

We would like to bring this drawback to the attention of Shimla Police SP, Abhishake Dullar. There was nothing offending about it. The cops were polite and friendly, but their bluntness sent the victim into a state of hopelessness. We hope, some tips on such common psychological aspects would be passed to the whole police department.

The conclusion is that the Himachal Pradesh Govt. and the higher officials at these Govt. departments are asleep in an age when even small shops and restaurants have multiple CCTVs installed. HW is forwarding this article to both Shimla Police SP and the Director of Ayurveda HP in hope that they’ll give a thought about the mentioned issues.

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 7 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 world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Ruling Govt taking cover of Congress misdeeds to justify Karnataka episode

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https://himachalwatcher.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Karnatak-governor-decision.jpg

Shimla: Congress party in Himachal Pradesh today staged a protest against the capricious decision of the Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Vala, to invite Bhartiya Janata Party to form Government despite the written statement of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) alliance claiming a clear majority. It has created a constitutional controversy.

If that was not enough, Yeddyurappa swore as the Chief Minister without proving a majority and had even announced waiver of all farm loans of up to Rs 100,000. Governor even appointed the BJP’s K G Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker.

This action of Governor has shattered the belief of those who honoured the constitution and political ethics.

A valid point that the Congress has raised here is that the ruling government did not play by the same rule in Manipur elections. In the 2017 elections, Congress won 28 seats in the 60 member House, BJP had managed to win 21 seats. However, governor Najma Heptulla invited the BJP leaders to form the government and denied Congress a chance to form the ministry.

What’s the biggest security a common man has in a democracy like India? It’s the constitution. This single weapon can set the entire country back on track if the people knew how to use it.

Anyway, politicians are taking care of it for you now. The ruling government has just over-rode the constitution, which is going unnoticed because the majority of the public has no idea about the business going on at the top level of governance.

In the present case, the Supreme Court of India intervened and overruled Governor Vajubhai and asked B S Yeddyurappa to prove his majority in the assembly at 4 pm on Saturday. Otherwise, the Governor had given BJP 15 days for horse trading. The Supreme Court only followed the constitution. The court has also proved the decision was unconstitutional.

It is not that opposition parties have always played fair, but the ruling party is taking unfairness to the next level.

There are only three ways in which BJP can form a government in Karnataka: by convincing elected lawmakers of Congress or JD (S) to resign or make them disappear today before floor test or create defection through horse-trading. Sadly, the Governor listened to the high-command and opted to be part of this game.

Another ironical fact is that BJP is trying to counter the resistance to its game plan by referring to Congress’s decades-old controversial decisions like the emergency imposed in 1975 and taking down BJP governments in four states including Himachal using tactics of defection. This is what the Spokesperson of BJP in Himachal, Shashi Datt Sharma said in a press statement on Friday.

The BJP followers are saying that the party is taking revenge from Congress.

Sharma alleged that Congress has always used politics of repression and at the same time the party is adopting the same tactic.

Why is the ruling government criticising as well adopting the same tactics at the same time? Why take the shield of bad deeds of past governments to justify own misdoings? What would be the difference between two parties then? Why is the public ok with it?

This trend of over-riding the constitution will take a toll on the public. No one is supposed to be above the constitution in India. However, this seems no more a rule of the political game.

One should wonder who will protect honest RTI activists, journalists, judges, or anyone resisting against government’s dictatorship when the constitution mo more has their back.

But, for now, no one is even close to understanding why they should be scared about it.

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Findings of magisterial probe into Nurpur Tragedy exposes HPPWD’s blunder

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Probe report of Nurpur school bus accident

Kangra: The Additional District Magistrate (ADM) has completed the magisterial probe ordered into the school bus accident in Nurpur on April 9, 2018, and submitted the report to the Deputy Commissioner.   

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led State Government had ordered the inquiry after unrest broke out among the people following the tragedy, which caused loss of 28 people including 24 children.  While 23 had died on the spot, one succumbed to injuries a few days later at a hospital. 

While Hindi and English Dailies told an altogether different story related to the report of the magisterial probe, a Government spokesperson today made some of the original findings public.   

Findings of the magisterial probe into Nurpur School Bus Mishap

1.   The driver was never challaned/charged even once for the offence of over speeding, drunken driving and rash driving. 
2.   The accident did not seem to happen due to any mechanical failure.
3.   The site of the accident was a black spot with loose soil and damaged edges abutting a landslide zone with cliff and did not have any crash barriers and the road formed sort of craters.
4.   The bus should have been on the left-hand side but due to the absence of eyewitnesses, it couldn’t be ascertained how and why the bus went to the right side of the road.
5.   As per a survivor, a 10-year-old, who was sitting on the right side window seat, divulged that a motorcyclist came from opposite direction after which the bus rolled down
6.   Since there was no eyewitness of the accident,  it is believed that just to save the motorcyclist, the driver, in a reflex action,  had negotiated the bus to the right-hand side, misjudging the space on the right-hand side road. He could not have been able to control the bus which had reluctantly rolled down. 
7.   The accident has occurred under unverifiable circumstances. The road was straight, not sloping up or down 
8.   The driver was never seen driving bus in a rash manner and reported to be a mature person
9.   The road on this point is in very poor condition, uneven and forming fatal craters. The edges of the road on this spot are badly broken supported/reinforced with no crash barriers/parapet.

 

What caused misreporting?

Surprisingly, the Dailies reported that the inquiry found a human error on the part of the driver Madan Lal (67).  These reports further said the driver was looking back as children were making noise or suggested that the driver might have dosed-off on a duty, which is not hectic in nature and includes boarding-off children after every 10 minutes.

The road was tip-top and was not in poor condition, these reports said.  It is not clear who fed the media this story.

However, the findings of the report have made it clear that the Public Works Department shares the responsibility for the massacre.

That’s why the government has haphazardly tarred the patch of over one kilometre and constructed new parapets on the spot from where the bus had skid-off the road.

Now, the PWD is also installing crash barriers too.

magisterial probe report in Nurpur Bus accident

Photos: Amar Ujala

Take a look at the two pictures. One of them was taken on the day of the accident and the second one clicked recently and published in the Hindi Daily Amar Ujala in its May 9, 2018, edition. The picture speaks itself. 

At the same time, the parents, based on the said media reports, questioned the findings and demanded a separate, most preferably a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The shattered parents of the 24 children including some who had joined the school a day ago killed in the perhaps one of the most tragic and heart-breaking road accident in Himachal Pradesh.

Most of the kids aged between five years to 10 years and some families lost more than one child, which was the worst part of it. It is too early for children of this age to die a horrible death, which cannot be called an accident in a literal sense.

The mass cremation of small pyres weighed heavy on everyone who keeps a heart.

However, it is to be seen whether the State Government would take a action this time or will opt to save the skin of responsible bureaucrats and just move on like the governments have been doing in previous cases. 

If the Government would not deliver justice to the victims of this massacre by taking action this time, there would be more such tragedies.

In fact, the reason the people keep dying in road accidents or due to jaundice outbreaks is that no action is ever taken against the responsible government officials, especially the bureaucrats.

In case the Government chose to patronize the sinful officials, the public must not remain silent this time.  

We believe the mass cremation of small pyres is too heavy to be overlooked for anyone who keeps a heart.   

Top Photos: Amar Ujala

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Amid Shimla city’s water-crisis, MC alleged of putting people on hold for Hotels, VIP areas under central zone

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Shimla city's water crisis

Shimla: Amid Shimla Municipal Corporation’s poor response to acute water crises in the city, the allegations have appeared that the VIP areas and hotels under the central zone are being given priority in the distribution of water. The tanks in VIP areas and hotels were full while the commoners were put on hold for them.

Opposed to equal distribution of the available supply, on Tuesday, as per the May 09, 2018, edition of a Hindi Daily and other media reports, the SMC supplied water to localities under central zone like the Mall Road, Ridge, Lower Bazaar, Ram Bazaar, Middle Bazaar, and some areas of Sanjauli. The reports alleged that these areas house majority of hotels, VIP residents, and officials.

Even BJP’s own Ward Councilors are now feeling agitated over the poor management of the SMC under the command of new Mayor. The people are questioning whether the Mayor and Deputy Mayor possess enough knowledge about managing a city with 1.70 lakh population?  

However, these Councilors are not able to muster enough courage to criticize their own party.  

The manifesto of the Bhartiya Janata Party for the SMC elections in 2017 had promised betterment in the water supply. It was one of the most important agenda before the elections.  

However, the situation has become so ugly that public toilets in the city were locked as there was no water for cleaning.  The government, as well as private offices, are also bearing the brunt of SMC’s miss-management.

For last two weeks, the people have no option but to buy water even for drinking. The SMC is receiving over 50 calls per day seeking supply through water-tankers.

The peak tourist season has begun on a bad note for Shimla. The hospitality industry is also surviving on either SMC’s alleged favouritism or through private tankers.

Betterment of Water-Supply in BJP’s Manifesto for SMC Elections  

The party had promised in the manifesto that the leakage in the main pipelines of the water supply schemes would be fixed to improve water supply. Natural resources would be cleaned and used to supplement the main water supply. The BJP has promised to cut water-bills and that the water would be lifted from Kol Dam to fulfil the demand of water in the city.

Unfortunately, a large amount of water is either wasted due to leakage in pipelines that awaits repair and water-tanks in the city including those of residential, commercial and government buildings. The water-tanks of the SMC can still be seen overflowing.

The State High Court has also noted that either water is waste in leakage in supply pipelines or being stolen through illegal connections. 

The supply to the city has dropped down to 23 – 27 MLD per day against the demand of about 45 MLD per day.  About 10 MLD is wasted due to the leakage.  In times of water-crisis, there is no effort to encourage people to not overlook leakages in their tanks or pipelines.

Rainwater harvesting is not even in the SMC books. 

The SMC has faced water crises earlier too, however,  but nothing was learnt to deal with water-shortage in future. Moreover, the formation of Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam Limited (SJPNL) will take its time.     

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